- Tomorrow is definitely the greatest day of the sports year. And I really don’t think any other day can come close. I’m glad I’m still unemployed, because I don’t think it would be as easy to ditch work as it was to ditch classes at Wake Forest for four years on the first two days of the tourney. There’s nothing like watching Price is Right at 11:00 and going immediately from Bob Barker imploring America to have their pets spade and neutered to hearing the opening notes to CBS’s NCAA Basketball Theme. Then Greg Gumble and Clark Kellogg (who CBS seemingly puts in storage for 49 weeks a year, then breaks out for the Tournament) come on and preview the early games, sending the audience out to some random city where Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel are calling the Duke-Radford tilt. What follows are 48 games stuffed into 80 hours over four days that sees the 64-team field cut by 75%. I watched the Maryland/UNC-Wilmington game on ESPN Classic last night and it got me all excited for the 1st Round games. I can’t wait.
- I guess that got me thinking about what the other best days in sports are. Here is my Top 5 list:
5) New Years Day, College Football Bowls
4) NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend
3) Baseball Opening Day
2) Sunday at the Masters
1) 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament
New Years would have been higher a few years ago, but since they have spread out the games and put the important ones later in the week, the first day of the year has lost some of its luster. I bet a lot of people would have the Super Bowl on this list, but the game is usually more hype than substance (this year being a rare exception). I also really like the 1st and 2nd round of the US Open, but figured that one golf event was enough.
- I have no clue what to do with North Carolina in my brackets. This is a team that has one of the most talented players in the nation in Rashad McCants, a solid point guard (Raymond Felton) and an effective big man (Sean May). They can beat anybody in this field. But this is also a team that lost to Clemson and could lose to a good amount of teams in the brackets, including Air Force. Will UNC score too much for Texas to keep up, or will the Longhorns big men make the game too physical for a Tar Heels team that likes to play an up-tempo game? I really have absolutely no clue. And I think both of these teams will take out Mississippi State. Either way, I have a feeling that my South picks are going to come back to haunt me. More on that tomorrow when I reveal my picks for all 63 games.
- Can you imagine what would happen if CBS signed Dick Vitale away from ESPN? If Dickie V were calling a Duke Final Four game I would have to presume that his head would explode from the excitement.
- Why is everyone giving Gonzaga a tough time about choking in the tournament every year? Am I missing something? Is this not the same Gonzaga team that made a run to the Elite Eight a few years back and played a classic game against #1 seed Arizona last year in which they lost in heartbreaking fashion in double-overtime? The Zags seem to be a victim of their own success. They come from the WCC, a small conference with the likes of St. Mary’s and San Francisco, yet are a major player on the national scene. Mark Few, and before him Dan Monson, have turned a small school in Spokane into a perennial Top 25 team. Stop hating on Gonzaga and appreciate all they’ve done.
- Read Thomas Boswell’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post. Excellent stuff.
- I received a couple kudos on my two John Stamos references yesterday, so I figured I’d beat the joke into the ground today. If Uncle Jesse were filling out the brackets this year he would probably pick Gonzaga, Florida, Louisville and Stanford to be in the Final Four. Why you ask? Because Ronny Turiaf, Billy Donovan, Rick Pitino and Josh Childress would easily run through their brackets if success in the tournament was based upon the merits of their respective tresses. And while Childress has made a bold choice with his Dr. J-esque afro, Uncle Jesse would definitely have Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinal winning the whole thing. Pitino’s hair is about as immovable as Marlon Brando, but still maintains a healthy shine in addition to that killer widow’s peak.
Some of you might be thinking that Mr. Stamos would be a fan of Missouri coach Quinn Synder, he of the locks adored by the press, but then you’d be forgetting that Uncle Jesse probably hates Dukies as much as the next guy.
- Pick Kentucky to make it to the Final Four. If for no other reason then to just get karma on the Cats side so they keep winning and CBS can keep showing gratuitous shots of Ashley Judd jumping up and down.
- How much of a buzz kill must it be for ESPN to have to broadcast the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and act like they actually care what happens. While hosting the Women’s Selection Show Rece Davis had the same look on his face as Harrison Ford did midway through Hollywood Homicide. The worst part about it is that ESPN feels obligated to show the women’s scores on their ticker. Does anybody really care about the Vanderbilt – Lipscomb game? Does anybody know where Lipscomb actually is?
Alright. I thought I was going to have more to say about the brackets, but then realized that everything I had to say had to do with my predictions, which will be in tomorrows entry. So, check back tomorrow morning for the full rundown of my bracket predictions, from the 1st round all the way to the Final Four.