Here is the final chapter from the Daily Gumboot’s Alex Grant and John Horn, who have been engaging in a rip-roaring back-and-forth discussion of one of the most interesting, exciting and unpredictable community-experiences in all of sports. It’s called March Madness, and you couldn’t have had two better guides to help you dribble, cut, post-up, and dunk your way through an event that is so much more than just a basketball tournament. We hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves. We sure have!
ROUND 2 RE-CAP | WE SUCK!
ALEX: Hey John, at this point don’t you think we better let our dear readers in on the little joke we’ve been playing the whole time? What? You’re too nervous? Okay, I’ll tell them.
WE ACTUALLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BASKETBALL AND WE WANT TO DESTROY THE GAME WITH HORRIBLE PREDICTIONS AND MINDLESS BLATHER!!!! MUHAHAHAHA!!!
And our evil plot would have succeeded had I not been hopelessly seduced by the beautiful possibilities of the empty bracket and tried to chart a course based on logic and rational thought rather than malicious intent and lunacy. Always a terrible strategy. My girlfriend took the latter approach and ended up trouncing me in another pool. She treated this victory flippantly by saying, “Yeah, but don’t you finish last every year?” Um…NO!
Sigh. I remember two weeks ago smugly thinking that the only thing that could tarnish my bracket was if Kentucky beat Ohio State by 7 points instead of 9. Now, surveying the wreckage, I can only blame…Northern Iowa and the cursed Vegas oddsmakers. (But really, I think this year’s tourney has been great. High drama, lots of plucky underdogs, screaming broadcasters. However, every good thing about March will be ruined if Duke wins the championship.)
JOHN: Sure, I’m now ranked 5,503rd in my Sportsnet.ca online pool/community, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a cha- forget it; I feel stupid trying to write that line. It’s over, my friends. My bracket isn’t just broken, it’s been pulverized into an unrecognizable smudging of blue and red lines that represent the potential of once-promising teams to make it to the pinnacle of the best darn sporting event this side of the World Cup of Soccer/Football.
One of the dark sides of March Madness certainly presents itself when you are no longer part of the bracket-community; I possess no more conversational currency with which to engage the folks who picked one or all of Michigan State, West Virginia, Duke, or Butler. They’re outta my league. Now there are many quiet college campuses out there, silenced by crushing defeat earlier than expected or because their journey deep into the tournament finally ran out of gas. And such is the beauty of sport like this: only one team is truly happy at the end of the year. Me? No, I’m not happy.
The Butler did it! Mostly, I blame myself for this mess. But mostly, I blame the Butler Bulldogs and their improbable run. I’ve been getting a ton of flak from the mustache-lobby – not to mention the butler-lobby and the mustached-butler-lobby – for my comments towards Alex and Butler, but I regret nothing. The Madness is all about shouting semi-reprehensible, possibly-offensive comments to players, referees, opposing fans, players’ families, and, perhaps, kidnapping a mascot or two when things don’t go your way. Now, being out of the competition means that my Western, self-indulgent narcissism is at odds with my Generation Y attention deficit disorder, which are trying to reconci- hey, does anyone wanna turn of the TV and go ride bikes?
THE PREDICTIONS | FINAL FOUR
JOHN: I’m not going to change a thing here. Butler isn’t getting past Michigan State, which is, quite possibly, the gutsiest team in March Madness history. Through blown achilleses (is this a word?), staggering expectations, unprecedented odds, and Northern Iowa, MSU has thrown together everything from stifling defense to last second shots to pull together a run that is truly one for the ages. They will destroy Butler by at least 30 points en route to being defeated by Duke in the Final. Duke will get to said Final by shooting the lights out against the mountain men of West Virginia, who, incidentally, will need to change their team name from “Mountaineers” to “Flattened Hellscape-eers” after the coal mining companies level the once idyllic state in order to find delicious, delicious dusty black fuel.
So there it is. Butler, stumbling under the pressure of playing at home, will finally falter! And it’s about time. Also, Alex Grant is clearly making it into the Final Four of life, which, I gotta say, is totally impressive and a true testament to the young man’s glorious character.
ALEX: I obviously need to disagree with everything John has said (except for that last sentence) so that there is a modicum of intrigue and we can salvage some bragging rights from this whole damn debacle.
1) BUTLER WINS IT ALL. INDIANA ENJOYS A RENAISSANCE. MEN AROUND THE WORLD GROW BUTLERESQUE MUSTACHES IN A GLORIOUS CELEBRATION.
2) Back in Vancouver, John Horn rocks and hugs himself whilst weeping and cursing his mousy beard patches.
3) At the opening tip versus West Virginia, every Duke player finally tips over the precipice and falls into a stupor of haughty entitlement rendering them totally useless. Dukies can only buff their nails and laugh like priggish nobles while the Mountaineers throw down monster tomahawk jams.
All these things will come to pass. Butler 92 – WVU 90 (2OT)
Here are our stupid brackets…
Final Score (out of a possible 160 points):
[INSERT TRASH TALK HERE]
JOHN: Sir, it has been an honour and a pleasure to jibba-jab with you over the past three weeks. You are a scholar and a gentleman and next year’s March Madness will not come soon enough. In the meantime, to practice, I suggest that we begin putting more “things” into competitions with a 64-seed bracket. Whether it’s friends, animals, gods and deities, historical figures, mobsters (real and fictional), world leaders, cartoon characters, superheroes, food, or – you guessed it – types-of-mustaches, I think that engaging in different kinds of 64-thing predictions will help hone our skills for next years tournament. What say you?
ALEX: John, I gotta say that my biggest complaint about this whole March Madness conversation we’ve had—other than being snubbed for co-authorship—is the civility and decency in our trashtalking section. Where are the attacks on country and kin?? Why is our admiration for one another so blatantly apparent?!?! That’s not the way this is supposed to work! This was the space to spill tears and draw blood, and damn your Canadian eyes, you refused to take it there. And while you may have beat me in our race to the bottom bracket, let’s go double or nothing with a game that you should know plenty about, eh? FROZEN FOUR!!!