Doc: The best two days in sports are here – Cincinnati.com (blog)
So it’s 5:15 AM in Sacramento, meaning in about four hours I’m gonna find a restaurant with TVs, sit down to my green eggs and ham and watch the first four games. How cool is that?
Will you shirk today? Will you abstain from all productivity? My dad called it “gold-bricking’’. What?
The first two days of the tournament are the best two days in sports. The joy the newbies and non-big timers feel when seeing their school’s name appear on Sunday night is exceeded only by the joy they feel if they actually crash the cocktail party. A close 3rd is the gator piles they form when they win that conference tournament title that guarantees them admission.
For many of these guys, this is the apex of their basketball lives, and we are privileged to witness it. So you go Drew McDonald. Tear it up, Jacksonville State, which beat seeds 1 and 2 to win the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Let’s see a sequel, Florida Gulf Coast.
The closest we get to sports democracy is the Madness. Number Two is the US Open golf championship, where if you have game through a few rounds of qualifying, you too can play in America’s most prestigious golf event.
March Madness might not be a perfect meritocracy – 16 seeds still are winless since the 64-team deal began in ’85 – but the underdogs have a puncher’s chance, and they earned it.
And by the way, if the Norse beat the ‘Cats, I’ll be calling you immediately, J. Ruby.
So, who wins today? I think Xavier. Xavier wins. The Musketeers have had a strange, star-crossed season. March is for point guards and while Q. Goodin has done well in a difficult situation, XU without E. Sumner has suffered. I do think, though, that against a Maryland team that starts 3 freshmen and looks tired, Xavier squeaks one out tonight.
It’ll be small consolation to the Musketeers, who started the year with bigger dreams. But also a tribute to their resiliency. The mostly unmentioned irony here is, Myles Davis might be making a big difference by now, had he stuck around. Another guy to handle the ball and score. Poor JP Macura has to be more tired than a bad joke.
Winning two in Orlando wouldn’t be impossible, but given XU’s inconsistency not likely. Though somehow the 11th-seeded Musketeers got an easier draw than 6th-seeded UC.
THE BEST MADNESS GAME I’VE EVER WITNESSED involved the 2010 Musketeers. Remember the double-OT loss to Kansas State? Sheer highwire brilliance, start to finish. Tu Holloway drained three FTs with 5 seconds left in reg, when X was down three. Stones. Jordan Crawford remains the best scorer Xavier has produced during my time here, which dates back to Byron Larkin’s senior season. Apologies, B, but this kid was a machine.
Grantland did a whole piece on this game. TML sez ckitout to put yourself in the mood for what is about to transpire.
I KNOW NOBODY CARES ABOUT MY BRACKET BUT ME. It’s like fantasy sports people, and parents of newborns who can’t wait to show you pictures. . . the need to let everyone know about You is overwhelming.
So, here goes. Consider it an opportunity for you to tell me how dumb I am (again).
1ST ROUND UPSETS, GUARANTEED: Marquette, Oklahoma State, Wichita, Middle Tennessee.
2ND ROUND UPSETS, DITTO: SMU over Baylor. That’s it. Unlike some, I’m conservative when picking. I’d rather win the pool than look sexy-smart with upsets early on. And really, the Committee proves almost every year it knows what it’s doing.
3RD ROUND UPSETS, UM, AH, WELL. . . Notre Dame over Gonzaga. Always fond of Mike Brey’s teams. They play pretty basketball, they make 80 percent of their free throws, they start two seniors and two juniors, they beat Virginia and Florida State to get to the ACC tournament finals, where they played Duke almost to the wire. They’ve been to the Elite 8 the last 2 years.
Plus, I don’t trust West Coast teams. One, I don’t see them play a lot and A, they never seem to exceed expectations. How long have Gonzaga, Oregon and Arizona fallen short?
I’d feel a whole lot better about this pick if Bonzie Colson weren’t recouping from an ankle sprain. But I still like ‘em next weekend.
FINAL FOUR: Duke, AZ, Kansas, UNC
CHAMP: UNC over Duke.
Lots of folks are riding the ‘Nova bus. These quite possibly are people who look at their numbers and haven’t seen them play. They’re still very good, but their post defense isn’t great and they don’t have the same look about them as last year.
We shall see.
LAVAR BALL IS SHREWD, or so says SI.com:
With Big Baller Brand, Ball has found a shrewd way to do an end-run around the NCAA’s sanctimony and position his family to make money in the process. Other college athletes may want to take notice. “People are talking about, oh, LaVar is exploiting his kid,” says LaVar. “Wait a minute. How do you exploit something that’s yours? Exploiting something is making money off of something that’s not yours. Basically that’s all UCLA is doing.”
This is about using his son Lonzo, UCLA’s point guard, to sellgear for the family’s brand, Big Baller. (Du-u-u-mb name, BTW.) While I don’t disagree with LaVar’s stance re the NCAA, he’s being oafish promoting it, saying idiotic things like Lonzo’s better than Steph Curry.
This doesn’t position LaVar or his brand as cutting edge, gotta-have-it. It positions LaVar as a clown.
He’s calling attention to himself and his brand, all right. In a silly way.
Earl Woods wasn’t a carnival huckster when he said Tiger would change the world. Marv Marinovich wasn’t seeking self-attention when he groomed his kid to be Robo-QB from age womb. LaVar Ball is doing this to make money. Period. Big difference.
AND NOW, FUN AND GAMES FROM THE –ESPONDENT.
BeermanDave likes IPAs. . .
IPAs are literally everywhere right now, so apologies to Doc for going deep on the sticky stuff. I visited Houston this week and had the chance to sample some of their local suds. In Cincy-esque fashion, they have numerous microbreweries popping up all over the city, many of which are located in interesting locations to say the least.
Sigma Brewing for instance, conveniently located in an industrial park with a scenic transmission manufacturing facility across the street, offers up some solid beer. The XPA was a good palate cleanser before moving on to their three best beers on tap currently. First, 08/29/97, an IPA paying homage to Judgement Day in the Terminator Franchise. At 8.9% and 96 IBU, this one could definitely lead to a scorched Earth scenario if not properly handled.
Next you tackle the Murdoc Double IPA, and the Bonesaw Black IPA, both excellent brews. I am constantly amazed by the quality of product that can be produced this regularly all over the US. Whenever I am in Texas, I try my best to try a couple Karbach beers, like their most popular Hopadillo or the delicious Hop Delusion Double IPA. Back in the hood, Braxton Brewery of Covington canned their Revamp IPA recently and it is tasting great. I also picked up a 4-pack of Rhinegeist Knowledge Double IPA which is dangerously good. I rounded out the week with a Mikkeler Monk’s Brew, a solid Belgian Quad, so at least I can’t be accused of drinking only IPAs. Cheers!
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . I haven’t revisited these guys in awhile. Personal favorites of mine, their music always sounds right when I’m in California. And no, it’s not the Eagles, my OG compadres.
“I never questioned the smile only lasting for awhile…’’