[Editor's note: people, the Editor-in-Chief of this blog loves basketball, higher education, community, competition, and when they all slam together in a mess of cheers, tears, body-paint, over-achievement, and ridiculously awesome excitingly uncontrollable hyperboles. Exclamation point! Over the next three weeks, John and his American-import-possibly-mustached-BFF, Alex Grant, will engage in witticisms and precarious predictions pertaining to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. As players, teams, schools, regions, bank accounts, pundits, pride, and - yes - nations collide, you will get a true sense of what the March Madness community really means. Enjoy!]
JOHN: Well, we all went 2-4 in terms of picking the last teams standing … except for Michelle, who went 0-4 in her quest to select Final Four teams. Her formula will be forever called into question. But her energy, confidence and sense of community never will!
In other news – meh - that is the news, or at least the word, that kinda sorta describes the 2012 March Madness tournament from my perspective. Sure, there were a few big upsets during the first weekend, but there hasn’t really been the game that’s defined the tournament; there have also been three times as many semi-colons used in this “journalistic” series than there have been buzzer beaters in the tournament. Disgraceful. Even the Kansas vs. North Carolina game (fun fact: Barack Obama picked UNC to win it all, which Sean Hannity will undoubtedly use as evidence that the President is secretly controlling gas prices and is, at best, a mediocre basketball player) saw some great first-half moments, but what could’ve been the game of the tourney truly fizzled into, well, a +10 point victory for Kansas (the team I picked to win it, by the by).
Oh, and I’m sad about Michigan State – I think that this is the first time in Tom Izzo’s career where a team he coached that was ranked No. 1 didn’t make it to the Final Four. But I guess that there’s a first time for everything; for example, Ohio State is actually good this year! Semi-colon!
In any case, my conclusion for the tournament thus far is that, first, I still love the energy, poise, lack of poise, and pure basketball that these kids play and, second, I’m too old, “professional” and in possession of cooler priorities to watch the required amount of television to accurately comment on this tournament.
But that’s okay. We make up stuff on this blog all the time. Alex is from Saskatchewan, not Indiana. And Kentucky’s fourth guy off the bench is actually – literally - a Wildcat (like, the offspring of a puma and wolverine) from rural Ontario.
ALEX: Well, you know what they say…two out of four ain’t bad. I believe they also say
that two out of three is nearly perfect. These two old chestnuts happen to neatly summarize my performance in both Final Four predictions, and in mental acuity for
blog article deadlines.
Well, the rock chalk has settled, and here we are. A #1, #2, #2, and #4. All in all
a pretty good year for the tournament, not least of all because Duke went down
in flames in round one. I missed the opportunity to delight at this fact last week,
so let me just share the final delicious moments for further savoring. Take that
LET’S MAKE BOLD PREDICTIONS
JOHN: Kansas all the way, baby. They’ve got all the ingredients for an NCAA championship team: outstanding guard play, the ability to stroke the three-ball, a legit seven-foot-bigman-not-named-Big-Country, stifling defense, great open-court play, and a guy who wears 0 on his jersey named Robinson that does all the intangibles with great intensity.
The only problem with the above facts is that Kentucky does all these things, too. Better even. But I didn’t pick them and my extensive research shows that Kansas fans are nicer, so, let’s go Jayhawks!
I also think that the Louisville vs. Kentucky game is going to be absolutely brutal and will probably result in several people getting hurt – may the basketball gods ensure that none of the injuries are permanent or life/career threatening.
ALEX: Now let’s quickly review what’s left and partake in the yearly tradition of casting
aside all bracket-bound loyalties, and instead root based on arbitrary gut instinct!
OSU vs. Kansas – Really, I wish this was the final because either team winning the
Big Dance would be mildly palatable. However, because I like Aaron Craft, I’m going
to be rooting for OSU, even though the Buckeyes are a bunch of big-school cheaters
and a hated Big10 rival. Such is March Madness!
OSU 76 / KU 73
Kentucky vs. Louisville – I’ve never really liked Louisville for some reason. But the
searing humiliation their coach publicly suffered may have started to turn the tide
in that regard. Who doesn’t love a good insane extortion story?? The upshot here is
that it’s only a matter of time until Kentucky’s coach John Calipari is exposed as a
trafficker of human organs. Well, maybe not that, but he’s clearly up to no good.
UL 80 / KU 78
Final: I have no idea. Who knows? I’m picking Tim Tebow in straight sets.
LET’S SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT EACH OTHER
JOHN: Well, Alex, I can only assume that your lack of chatter on this weekly forum is a result of your emotional attachment to Canada’s national sport, Lacrosse. Perhaps you’re learning the game and trying to understand how, during a really cold winter, it was transformed into hockey (dude, it wasn’t; they’re totally different – also, we stole hockey from the Mayans).
As always, good sir, it has been a pleasure exploring this important element of community with you.
ALEX: You really had a golden opportunity to rake me over the coals last week Horn.
I would have been defenseless against your biting critiques. And all your witty
statements of scorn would have been correct! Missing a deadline in the 21st century
is pure bush league. But instead you took the high road. You even complimented
my personal hygiene and my bracket picks…And this has made me very suspicious.
What’s your angle here?! Are you and Robin in cahoots? Do you two have a deal to
sell my supple kidneys to John Calipari?!?! OUT WITH IT!
In any case, provided I don’t wake up in a bathtub of ice next week (or, even if I do)
it’s another great crazy year in the books and I look forward to our next battle of
wits and words.
ROBIN & MICHELLE WILL PROBABLY WIN
ROBIN: Okay, so here we are at the end of another college basketball season, ready and poised to crown another victor. As usual, I have remained almost entirely (and blissfully) ignorant of any happenings in the tournament. I have dutifully turned the channel when I chanced upon some game while ellipticalling at the gym. I have abruptly left friendly workplace conversations when the topic changed to who came out on top in last night’s game (thereby ending up on Wanda’s blacklist). I have overtly cast the stinkiest of stink eyes at people cheering in a bar. Yes, I have remained my most curmudgeonliest self. That is, until Saturday. I was ambushed. Without warning, I walked into my parent’s house and my father told me that Kansas had just beaten UNC. And I cared. I cared that I had picked UNC to win the game. And I felt betrayed that they had nevertheless lost. How could they!? And then I was shocked and embarrassed that I actually remembered my bracket picks. I’m not supposed to care about this drivel. But I did. I haven’t yet processed all that this realization means. I do know one thing, though. Because I now care, friends, I am almost guaranteed next year to lose.
MICHELLE: Well, that was unfortunate…
Editor’s note: the scoring system for this particular bracket is based on the idea of exponential growth and the law of accelerating returns. So, one becomes two becomes four becomes eight becomes 16 becomes 32 becomes I can’t count higher than that. Does it make sense? No. Does this tournament? Nope.