Hoping for New Blood.

Save the Chalk for Some Sweet Hopscotch.

It hasn’t really sunk in for me that in a little over 48 hours I’ll be staring at this year’s NCAA bracket.  That moment every year when I become the fabled child that walks into a movie theater.  Yesterday I was trying to philosophize about exactly how I sabotage myself every year, but I couldn’t pinpoint the exact problem.  I just know every year I look at my Final Four and know in my heart that it won’t happen.  Then, I try to go back and fix it, but it’s like the window has closed.  My bracket cannot be fixed.  It’s a powerful feeling.  Anyway, that will all get started Sunday evening, which means we’re about to be inundated with predictions.  That means, Chalk City.  Pick the favorites.  In my copy of the Sporting News they have 8 guys pick the winner.  Six say Ohio State.  The other two say Duke.  Careful boys.

I’m sure I’ll be toeing the line with everyone else and littering my late rounds with the top seeds, but assuming I’m not going to win any pool, I’d like to see the thing get completely blown up this year.  Butler was a good time last year.  I’m a clean slate this time around.  I’m ready for some team to capture my imagination.  What I know for sure, though, is that it won’t be one of the top contenders.  The current top-10 and why I loathe thee…

1.  Ohio State.  Is it just me or does Ohio State’s basketball team just feel like an extension of their football program?  All the recent issues with the players and now Tressel I lump right onto the basketball squad.  Don’t some of these recruiting classes look a little too good?  I’m getting a Calipari feel.  Also, I don’t like when “football” schools crossover. Stay in your lane.

2.  Kansas.  Anywhere Roy Williams has ever been is tainted.  How did Wilt Chamberlain ever end up at Kansas from Philly?  And, how did they not win a National Title when he was there?  Standard Kansas.  I can honestly say if I was old enough to really remember it, Danny Manning’s Cinderella run would have been one I wasn’t feeling, I would have been rooting for the bad guy.  Who wears knee pads?  I also hate Kansas fans that feel the need to tell you the origin of Rock Chalk Jayhawk every two seconds.  It’s made up nonsense.  No one cares.

3.  Pittsburgh.  Pitt is not a real abrasive team.  Can I dock points for their association with Dave Wannstedt?  Aside from the fact that the only Pitt fan I’ve ever really come across was an insufferable annoyance, I think I am going to have to focus on Gary McGhee here.  Have you seen this project?  He looks like one the old school goons John Chaney would send out there for Temple.  Plus, I don’t like the whole “H” in McGhee thing.  Awkward.  Lastly, Pitt can’t score enough for you to really trust them.  Stuff like UConn’s buzzer beater will always happen to them, and they’ll crush your bracket.

4.  Notre Dame.  I should probably like this Notre Dame team, because they love to shoot the three and I love to shoot the three.  I am going to preemptively hate on Notre Dame because they are going to ruin your bracket.  They might ruin my bracket.  I could conceivably talk myself into them.  I’ll be sorry.  Also, Digger Phelps.  And, then one more step removed, Jamie Moyer.

5.  Duke.  The only thing worse than Duke making a run is Duke making a run to repeat.  At least it doesn’t feel inevitable. Those were the horrific years of my youth when you said, still with Laettner, really?  A Duke run this year will be intolerable, because they are cast in an angelic glow by the media who will use words like, “experience, unity, leadership, discipline.”  You get the idea that they love Duke so much because they don’t bring in the one and done “student athletes.”  Duke makes people feel safe.  Screw that.

6.  North Carolina.  See above for thoughts on Roy Williams.  But, I must add that Williams should have stayed in Kansas where he and the team never would have won.  Suddenly he leaves, gets a title and Kansas gets one too.  That’s throwing off the natural order of things.  The one area I would agree with a Duke Fan:  North Carolina’s blue is annoying and not a good color for everyday clothing.  Also, Rick Fox.

7.  San Diego State.  Are you kidding me?  Thank god this isn’t football, because San Diego State would be Boise State, and they’d be demanding a shot at the BCS Title game.  In basketball, they’ll just get stiffed on their seeding (I’m predicting a 4), and then they’ll probably lose in the first round, maybe the second.  How can a team who has played two legitimate games all year and lost them both be in the top-10?  Also, remember my comments about San Diego in regard to tortured sports city?  No one wants their sleeper to be San Diego State, San Diego is too nice.

8.  BYU.  Here’s a classic.  BYU ranked below San Diego State.  What kind of dislike can I possibly drum up for Jimmer? Well, I’m pro-Jimmer.  I can’t go back on that.  My annoyance here lies in the fact that BYU sabotaged their own season and Jimmer’s chance for glory.  They booted one of their best players for “making time” with a young lady.  I swear that is what it actually says in the code of conduct, making time.  But, seriously, wouldn’t April 8th or so been a better time to review this situation?  Think of the TV viewers.  Bottom line?  BYU is selfish.

9.  Purdue.  Purdue?  Purdue.  Wil Perdue?  Purdue reminds me a bit of the Buffalo Bills.  You just shake your head a little bit and say, think about those poor bastards at Purdue.  I guess they have Drew Brees going for them, but I can honestly say I haven’t watched a Purdue game since the Big Dog and Gene Keady.  Purdue could set their starting five on fire and I wouldn’t be interested.  It’s Purdue.

10.  Texas.  Um, Chris Mihm.

I know what you are thinking, this doesn’t leave me much room to find a team that has a chance to win that I don’t dislike, and you are right.  That’s the beauty of the tournament, though.  The shifting story lines.  Something will crop up in the next week or so that I’ll find endearing and I’ll latch on my jinx wagon.

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16 thoughts on “Hoping for New Blood.

  1. Wisconsin is going to be everyone’s dark horse. Wait for them to make a run in the big ten tourney and then suddenly they are the sexy pick.

    While I can’t disagree with people liking them I am coming out early and claiming Wisconsin as my semi-sleeper in the tourney.

    For a big-time sleeper you can give me Illinois.

    Kansas is dying to screw up brackets this year

  2. Wisconsin does it every year, they have one of the most successful NCAA records i think. Bo Ryan is a total animal.

    The BYU thing is disgusting. Kid didn’t deserve it, clearly was singled out, its insane. Punish him, penalize him, but suspension for the year?

  3. Wisconsin, huh? Very interesting.

    I have to agree about Ryan. He seems very hardcore.

    He needs to get some talent up there.

  4. I mean, Wisconsin isn’t really a “sleeper”, they’re 23-7, perennial top 25 team, pretty sure Ryan is like top 5-10 in Final Fours or Elite Eights. Always good, just never good “enough” type of team.

    • Bo Ryan is good, but he’s never been the the Final Four and only has one Elite Eight appearance.

      I’m not saying Wisky is a pure sleeper so I’m goin with the semi-sleeper tag. How would I define it? A team seeded 3-6 that isn’t on the tips of everyone’s tongue.

      It’s very scientific.

      I do agree that Bo is an animal and his team takes on that persona. The only bad thing about his teams is they slow the pace down and allow some teams they are clearly better than to hang around with them. They also lack a true go-to scorer.

      The best thing is they play great defense, and can shoot 3s and free throws well.

      • I mean, are they your semi-sleeper to win the tournament? To go to the Elite Eight? I think that’s what defines a sleeper. There are sleepers to “make noise” or have upsets, then there are sleepers to win it.

    • Sleeper to win it. The field is wide open this year so a team like Wisconsin would not surprise me if they won it all.

      P.S. I’m already sick of UNC.

      • Hey now. How can you be sick of UNC? A team that has completely come together during the course of the season and is actually playing team basketball? Moving without the ball on offense, rotating on defense? And a point guard who does nothing but make great passes? You must hate watching basketball. Perhaps you prefer watching Nolan Smith take 35 shots per game?

  5. it’s all about the quiz, huh?

    you know you can just go to the site yourself…

    I don’t have exclusive rights to their quizzes.

    but, i understand, you want to measure yourself against the mental athlete.

  6. Put a little stink on Wisconsin today, huh boys?

    Dropped a smooth 33 against Penn State.

    Jimmer would have beaten by 20

  7. Hahahaha. You beat me to the bunch. I guess that’s a good example of slowing it down and letting an inferior team hang around

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