Good morning and greetings, college hoop’s fans. There is excitement in the air throughout the college basketball nation, as the NCAA tournament is once again upon us. College basketball fans and gamblers waited all year for a chance to see their teams go to the big dance and come away with a winning lottery ticket.
It’s three weeks of wall-to-wall excitement, end-to-end action and fantastic finishes, as 68 teams will vie for the chance to cut down the nets and walk away with the title of NCAA champion. Who will be this year’s Cinderella team? Who will be the last team standing for that one shining moment? And who will catch me when I fall?
Unfortunately, for some, the fun has been taken away, as this year March Madness has been tainted with some March Sadness. It seems this year’s champion has already been preordained, and that would be the University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Now I’m not saying the fix is in, but this year’s powerhouse squad blitzed through their opponents during the regular season, leaving them undefeated, with a perfect 34-0 record. This team is as loaded as Charlie Sheen on a Friday night.
Now this has happened because Coach John Calipari has recruited enough McDonald’s All-Americans to stock the running of the Kentucky Derby. You’ve got first year diaper dandys sitting on the bench, patiently awaiting their time until they’re drafted into the NBA. There’s a gross surplus of more than moonshine in the blue grass state.
We’re talking basketball royalty, as the Wildcat’s basketball team is the winningest program in NCAA Division I history. They lead all schools in NCAA tournament appearances, as they rank first in wins, are second to the UCLA Bruins in championships and third in their cheerleaders GPA scores.
Now Kentucky was once coached by the Baron of Lexington, Adolph Rupp, a college basketball legend who was as winning a coach as he was a possibly a racist.
One of the biggest games during Rupp’s career was the 1966 NCAA championship game. It featured Kentucky’s all-white starting five playing against an all-black starting five from Texas Western University. Texas Western came out on top in a dandy of a contest, and it helped lead to the integration of black athletes into college basketball during the days of the civil rights movement.
This is not to take away from the hoopla and hysteria surrounding this year’s tournament. It’s possible that the number one overall seed Kentucky will be knocked off their perch, but I believe the boys in Las Vegas already know who will be left standing at the alter when the final buzzer goes off.
After all, basketball is not a complicated game. In the words of former Texas coach Abe Lemons, “There are really only two plays: Romeo and Juliet, and put the darn ball in the basket.”
Now it’s kind of a shame because in my younger days, I had a lot more interest in college hoops. That was because when players were recruited to colleges, they stayed for four years. You could follow them throughout their collegiate days and seem them matriculate into future NBA players. NCAA basketball was a farm system for the NBA.
But then back in 1975, two high school players named Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby went directly from high school to the NBA, and all bets were off. Their thinking was, if I’m ready to play with the big boys, why do I have to go to college? They wanted to be paid.
For some, like Emmy winning award sportscaster Dan Patrick, the college regular season is now unwatchable. For me, I’m totally tuned into the NBA and don’t have time for the college game. You see very few talented seniors on the floor, because the NCAA has a one and done rule, as in you must attend college for one year before your eligible to be drafted into the NBA.
This is really a joke, because one season does not make a college career. Of course, a few of the highly touted high school players are ready for the big show, but the rest should stick around for a while and learn the fundamentals of the game before going to the big top. Perhaps get an education. But the lure of money is a big pull.
Now March Madness is not just for the maniacs. Anyone can check out the brackets and pick the winners down to the Final Four, and if there’s money involved, it’s even better. It’s all about picking the winners and predicting the upsets.
Personally, I’m picking Syracuse Orangemen to come out on top. They’re not eligible for the tournament due to numerous recruiting violations, but they’re still my emotional favorite.
I spoke last Thursday with senior college basketball analyst Dr. Michael Schur, who for some unknown reason (Florida International University booster), was left off of this year’s selection committee. Here are his thoughts on the Final Four.
‘I’m only selecting three teams because everybody’s picking Kentucky. So here’s my Final Three. The Duke Blue Devils, the Wisconsin Badgers and Notre Dame. I like the Irish and their defensive intensity. They’ve got three point shooters and are able to score from the inside and outside. And I always loved the movie ‘Rudy.’”
So the question remains, who will take down these mighty Wildcats? Stay tuned.
For today’s photo selection committee, we are featuring some March magic. The year was 2008 and I was shooting from Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive. There were lots of clouds during the day, and the sunset didn’t look promising, but much to my surprise, an opening appeared on the horizon late in the day and the sky just blew up.
It was a spectacular March night, one that I won’t soon forget because of the peculiar shaped clouds coming down from the heavens that I have conveniently forgotten the name of.
On to some late night humor. “Mayor de Blasio has legalized ferrets. Now you can legally own ferrets in New York City. I want to tell you something. If I want to see anymore beady-eyed little weasels, I’ll just keep riding the subway. The new Apple Watch is out. It gets email. You can send texts. It has a corkscrew, nail clipper, tooth pick, scissors, tweezers, a compass, and if you put it on the floor and stand on it and it will tell you how much you weigh.” -David Letterman
“Now in Utah if you get the death sentence, they have the firing squad. In Russia, they call that early retirement. Because Utah is largely Mormon country, the firing squad’s a little different. You’re blindfolded but no cigarette.” – David Letterman
“President Obama’s trying to work out a nuclear deal with Iran, and the Republicans are steamed. They got together and sent Iran a letter about the nuclear deal. They said if this doesn’t work, by God, they’re going to send Seth Rogen and James Franco. The ayatollah in Iran says he believes that he got the letter, but he thinks he accidentally threw it out with his Crate & Barrel catalog.” – David Letterman
“This is a very big week for us here. Tomorrow night on our show we get a visit from President Obama, which means that all of you here tonight just missed having to get a cavity search to get in here tonight. There’s a new study that says giving your child too much praise can harm them later. They become more narcissistic. Narcissism is a condition of excessive self-interest that affects approximately one out of every one Kardashian.” – Jimmy Kimmel
So we’ll catch you wowing the NBA nation by scoring a NBA season high and career-high 57 points against the Spurs last week. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kyrie Irving fans.