|This is seriously the best picture I could find of the Napa Know How guy. I think even the internet has rejected this commercial!|
In case you were curious, and I'm sure you were, this man I've been talking about is actually me. I've spent the last four days enjoying Madness with podcast regulars Casey, Laney, Prince, and Frankie! Alas, real life has caught up with all of us (except Laney, he doesn't count as a real person until he graduates). Here's the thing, I'd love to give you a wonderfully written recap of all the action, but I'm not really all that coherent at the moment and most of the games feel jumbled together. However, I'll do my best and if it gets too whacky then all three of you readers can walk away.
I'm really surprised at how irate I am over the 1st/2nd/3rd round thing. Really, is there any reason why I can't say just one derogatory thing about it and then move on? Believe me, I tried....no, that's actually a lie, I didn't try at all. I'll take any reason to hate the NCAA! First, they screw over my beloved Kentucky Wildcats by not letting Enes Kanter play. Second, they screw over my beloved Kentucky Wildcats by giving them a 4 seed in the toughest region. Third, they suck at seeding! Fourth, they sucked at seeding some more! Then, they can't even get the name of the rounds right! On the plus side, Casey and Prince are twice as angry as I am about it. You should have seen the death stares they shot at me every time I brought it up!
Both foul calls at the end of the Pitt-Butler game were great calls. I could write about this topic all day, but I'll try to keep it brief. A foul is a foul whether it occurs in the first minute of the game or the last minute of the game. The rules DO NOT CHANGE at any point in the game. The idea that a foul shouldn't be called at the end because it will affect the game is the most illogical thought process on planet Earth today! If you don't call the foul, it affects the game too!
There's no arguing what happened; Shelvin Mack overpursued an errant pass, didn't beat Gilbert Brown to the ball, and then ran him out of bounds. Foul! Great call! If Brown had hit both free throws and Pitt had won, they would have deserved it. I don't know how Butler fans would have reacted had events gone that way, but it would have been a great call; end of story.
However, the story didn't end there. Brown missed the second free throw, Matt Howard got position on the rebound, and Nasir Robinson grabbed his arm. Again, GREAT CALL! I've seen a lot of Pitt fans complaining about the way things ended, but really, take off the blue and gold shaded glasses for a second and look at the replay. The guy grabbed Howard's arm! It doesn't matter if the ending wasn't "special" or whatever crap you're looking for. The game ended exactly the way it should have, with the rules applied properly (for the first time ever by the way).
Side note: I promised my friends I would buy a Matt Howard jersey if he hit the game winning shot. I have a giant man crush on Howard! Anyone know where I can find a good one?
N-N-N-NAPA KNOW HOW!!!!!!!!
Seriously, what the heck? Observe this exchange to know exactly how we feel about it...
Prince: "I'm serious, even if my car broke down in the parking lot of a NAPA, I wouldn't go in!"
Me: "I think I would go in and ask if they could let me use their phone to call A-A-A-Auto Zone"
My bracket sucks...I'm in next to last place in our Bracket Challenge!
Here's the lowlights from my picks:
Tennessee over Michigan: I'm pretty sure Bruce Pearl is going to end up like Ron Burgundy on Anchorman. I can picture him roaming around Knoxville with a giant beard and a carton of bad milk in his hands. "I am completely miserable Tennessee!!!"
Missouri over Cincinnati and Connecticut: So, apparently, I shouldn't pick teams that can't make shots. Who knew?
Georgetown over VCU: Not so much for picking them to beat VCU (most had that), but for touting Georgetown as a Final Four contender. They looked completely horrible.
Gonzaga over BYU: Take it easy Jimmer! I really thought the 'Zags would dominate in the paint, but Jimmer just carved them up.
Kemba Walker still has some legs. I thought the first weekend could be a stumbling block for them, but they didn't look even a bit winded. Crushing Bucknell wasn't terribly impressive, but Cincinnati is a legit Big East team. I'm still not terribly optimistic given they only have one scorer, but you absolutely have to be impressed with how they played.
The Big East is really, really disappointing. They entered the tourney with a record eleven teams. Eleven teams! You'd think they could run more than two into the Sweet Sixteen! Or, wait, is it the Elite Eight? I'm not sure, I've got my rounds confused. Anyways, the Big East kinda did this last year too and it seems like it's starting to become a trend. We started this thing with a 1 seed (Pitt), a 2 seed (Notre Dame), two 3 seeds (UConn, Syracuse), a 4 seed (Louisville), a 5 seed (West Virginia), and three 6 seeds (Cincinnati, Georgetown, and St. John's). What's left is UConn and a freaking 11 seed Marquette! How could this happen to the "toughest conference of all time?" I might have to do some more research on this and figure it all out...
N-N-N-NAPA KNOW HOW!!!!!!!
The Kentucky-Princeton game scared the crap out of me! Here's the thing, if you're a superior team, both athletically and talent wise, why would you settle for playing the other teams style? Kentucky had major athletic advantages at every position on the floor and they contented themselves with playing Princeton's slow paced halfcourt game. WHY?! I've already questioned Calipari's coaching ability earlier this year and I've never been terribly impressed with his gameday skills. This, to me, is what makes me nervous as a Kentucky fan. You can't question Cal as a recruiter obviously; he's the best in the game! However, there have been many, many talented teams fall short. A great example would be, umm, let's say, LAST YEAR'S KENTUCKY TEAM!
The fact of the matter is the college game is not like the NBA. Guys like Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson reign supreme in the NBA because they manage egos, not because they micro manage the on-court product. Players are smart enough to know what sets to run, they're smart enough to know what a good shot is (sometimes), they're smart enough to know who should get the ball and who shouldn't, they're smart enough to figure out their roles. In college, nobody seems to have any idea of what's going on! Coaches like Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, and Brad Stevens have success because they instill discipline in their teams play. Talent wise, Butler has no business playing with Pittsburgh, but just watch how that team runs their offense! Their sets are crisp, their screens are solid, they get good shots, they get good position...in short, they do everything you need to win a basketball game. So what if they don't have any NBA superstars on their roster!
Therein lies my concern with Coach Cal. I love him so much because he gets the best talent out there. I can't really kill him as a "bad" coach because he's had enormous success with his teams (no Final Four jokes please). However, I can't shake the feeling that he's always going to get his coaching bell rung by a Coach K or a Jim Calhoun when the big game rolls around. Sad for me...
As much as I love college basketball and March Madness, I have to be honest about something. At times, the level of play in the tournament made me want to jump off a 12 story building. There were enough missed layups, turnovers, and airballs to make you think you were watching a WNBA game! I don't know if it's always been like this or if the continuing one-and-done type attitude has caused this, but I really hope there's at least a few well played games during this thing.
Ohio State looks really good. I mean really, really good. I already feel sad about this Kentucky-Ohio State matchup. I don't think it's going to go well. Did I pick Kentucky in my bracket...you know it!
Also, Jimmer looks good. I mean really, really good. I honestly and truly believe Gonzaga is a good team and I was extremely impressed with BYU. Now that Pitt is gone, that region is wide open and, if Jimmer can stay hot, they might actually have a chance at the Final Four.
Joshua Smith from UCLA is massive! He's so huge! I can't believe I missed putting him on my pre-tournament fat list. Sadly, I'm pretty sure he got winded after three trips down the floor. Maybe try a salad next time Josh...
Also....N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-NAPA KNOW HOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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