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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Welcome to the Post-George Mason World

(The only thing that would have made this better is if the afro guy would have gotten to play)

Everything seems brighter for NCAA Men's College Basketball now that Connecticut is gone. They insisted on playing just well enough to win; eventually, that caught up with them. There was nothing to like about this year's Connecticut team -- they had the most talent, but they seemed to think this made the NCAA Championship their birthrite, and were surly/arrogant/joyless most of the time. Maybe that's just their personality, but I didn't like it. I'm so glad I don't have to watch them stink anymore.

In the first round, they came the closest to losing to a #16 seed as any #1 seed had since Georgetown vs. Princeton in the 80's. Then, they let a subpar Kentucky team hang around in round two. In the Sweet Sixteen, they should have lost to the #5 seed, Washington. We'll make that bullet point number one in my NCAA Tourney-related quick hits:
  • Washington should have beaten Connecticut, and would have if not for: A freakish double technical that gave Washington star Brandon Roy (not pronounced "Wah") 4 fouls with 13 minutes to go in the game. He was taken out, and Connecticut erased an 8-point deficit. However, they still would have lost if not for an incredibly stupid foul by the "Hitler Youth" (that one guy on Washington who looks like the white Demolition Man. You know who I'm talkin' about) on Marcus Williams' drive that gave Connecticut enough points to tie the game at the end. Not to mention Washington not really covering the three-point line on the final play. There were so many little things that went UConn's way, it's almost like they were a team of destiny...
  • Of course, they then ran into a real team of destiny in George Mason, who had beaten three good strong teams to get to the regional final. I thought for sure they would mess it up, even though they had been outplaying Connecticut all afternoon. It's such a great story, and I hope it continues. Who's to say that they can't beat Florida, and then UCLA and LSU? That would be amazing.
  • Speaking of amazing, remember back when the pairings were announced and Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were spitting up all sorts of bile about small schools who haven't beaten "anybody" (their words) getting in the tournament over bigger schools like Maryland and Cincinnati. Now they're both acting like...well, like they agreed with the committee all along. The thing that makes me mad is that the other announcers are letting them get away with this. Where's the gentile but passive-agressive razzing?
  • Here's a Nantz quote from last week: "obviously, all the intensity and the close examination and scrutiny of what they (the selection committee) did has created a heightened awareness of what our position was(that Bradley and George Mason didn't belong in the tournament), what they did. They should feel very vindicated today and I'm happy for them." Packer, regarding the criticism leveled at he and Nantz because they were wrong: "But I think it's in a way a compliment and in a way to me very comical to think that those two or three minutes and two questions could be such a giant issue when it's about the guys playing the game anyway. So I take it with a grain of salt and find it rather funny and amusing." Yeah, I'm glad you do, Billy, cuz we don't.
  • I just want them to say they were wrong. Just say it, Nantz and Packer. Admit your logic was flawed. Explain that your data wasn't complete. Tell me something that makes me think you're actual men, rather than the PR-obsessed mice you appear to be right now. If everybody makes mistakes, how come people on TV can never admit theirs?
  • Paging a big-time player -- any big-time player -- to show up in a big game. Let's see: J.J. Redick? 3 for 100 in their loss to LSU. Adam Morrison? Looked lost against Washington, especially at the end. Tyler Hainsbrough or whatever his name is? George Masoned. The entire Connecticut team? George Masoned. Everybody on Memphis? Played like they'd never seen good defense before. Allan Ray? 3 for 100 against Florida. Dee Brown and James Augustine? Nothing without Luther Head. LaMarcus Aldridge? Not so tough when he's not playing against midgets.
  • The good players still left, and therefore the ones who have shown up in big games: Big Baby and that Tyson Thompson from LSU who's everywhere at once; That skinny UCLA Center and that kid that looks like a Ferengi -- Farmar?; That fat guy on George Mason, and Tony Skinn, who is memorable mostly for his name and the fact that he punched somebody from Hofstra in the groin; The girl-guy, Joakim Noah, on Florida's team. Who would have thought that the all-tournament team would be Big Baby, a Ferengi, a fat guy, the groinpuncher, and a girl-guy? March Madness indeed.
  • I'd like to thank Marquette, Wisconsin, and UWM for showing up and having a cup of coffee at the tournament this year. I'd also like to thank Wisconsin for losing to North Dakota State at home earlier this year, as long as we're talking about their failure. Better luck next year. For real.


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