Friday, March 20, 2009
What Really Grinds my Gears: NCAA Tourney edition
1) More Gus Johnson less Dick Enberg please- Dick Enberg did the impossible last night. Virginia Commonwealth University was trailing by 1 and holding for the game’s final shot. Its superstar Eric Maynor had the ball and was isolated 1 on 1 against UCLA stud Darren Collison. This was epic sports drama. Man vs. Man. Mano y Mano. However, you wouldn’t have known that from listening to the listless Dick Enberg. He sounded as if he not only didn’t care who won the game but also sounded as if he had zero appreciation for the incredibly exciting few seconds that were about to commence. As Maynor’s ill-fated game winning shot attempt was on its way up Enberg said in a very calm and understated tone, “Maynor to win, no, and that’s it.” Then there is the excitable and admittedly over the top Gus Johnson. However, Gus Johnson is, as the legendary Seinfeld character George Costanza said about fictional comedian Kenny Banya, “the voice of new generation, my generation!” The same can be said of Gus. Gus is the voice of my generation. He is passionate about sports and he lets that passion ooze out of him during his broadcast. Being impartial does not require an even tone but rather an equal amount of excitement for the success and failures of each team playing in a given contest. Gus is the master of this. So yea, more young blood Gus and less Old fart Dick please.
2) We the American people identify with college basketball players because their coaches treat them like our bosses treat us- I just realized this today while reading a brilliant column in the New York Daily News by Mr. Bob Raissman. He reminded us that the coaches are waaaaaay bigger stars than the players in each and every tournament . A certain element of this is the nature of the beast. College players stay for a maximum of 4 seasons where as coaches such as Jim Boehemim and Coach K (no fucking way I’m trying to spell that name) have coached a their schools longer than I have been alive. So naturally more drama will be built up for and more fan allegiance will go towards a coach than would be built up towards players. However, part of this is the media’s fault. As Raissman astutely noted, the media will oversell and exaggerate the greatness of isolated coaching moves such as a slight change in a practice or a very subtle change in a defensive scheme. Chances are, these coaches are just brilliant recruiters and excellent motivators but not so brilliant at the x’s and o’s that a slight tweak in a game plan will make their team of stars play well. His article made me realize that the reason we love NCAA basketball way more than the NBA (though not me as you know I love the association) is because we identify with the players more. Not only are college players more likely to be white than NBA players, they also are treated like dogshit in the same way we are by our bosses. These players are yelled at because their coaches are displacing their anger at their wives onto them just like our bosses yell at us because they are projecting their own insecurity about their job status onto us (okay now it’s getting personal). Still though, the fact remains, we can relate to college players waaaay more than pro players. However, you know my view; I’d rather watch the greatest players in a particular sport play against each other than watch a bunch of slow 6”5 white dudes “hustle!” and show “grit.”
3) CBS needs to buy up and/or create other networks ala NBC, ABC and FOX- Having boring monotone conservative white men calling most of its games is not the only issue I have with CBS’s coverage of this tournament. It also needs to make some new sister channels so that it can broadcast more of its games simultaneously in the first few rounds of a given year's tournament. How sweet would it be if you could watch one game on CBS, another on CBS news, yet another on CBS family and yet another on CBS sports channel. I know you could pay a boatload of money to get this opportunity on your favorite Satellite or Cable Company but comeeoooooon; we should be able to do this for free.
4) Too many near huge upsets that were not to be- Whether it was the aforementioned near upset by one of Virginia’s 25 Division 1 schools of UCLA or Kansas’s scare today against North Dakota State, there have been some tantalizing near upsets that have not come to fruition. Perhaps the most exciting one was last night’s 14 point come from behind win by Villanova against upstart American University. Memphis also nearly blew its load prematurely before realizing it wanted to give the girl a chance to have an orgasm too and stick around in this tournament or the long haul. It is just clear to this sports fan and basketball enthusiast that these high seeds were not that into these games until they had to be. Put another way, good coaching job by you Jeff Capel (Oklahoma) and Jim Boeheim getting your highly seeded teams to play hard against inferior competition. However, bad coaching John Calipari and Jay Wright.
5) It’s not going to be a Merry Christmas in Woodside under a Morning star- Of course I am referring to the wonderful names that have been casualties of the first round of the NCAA tournament. The North Dakota Bison boast a mediocre team but two phat last names in its starting lineup: Woodside and Morningstar. Sadly the Bison lost in a hard fought 84-74 game against the superior and tournament tested Kansas Jayhawks. Even worse, the Temple Owls' star Dionte Christmas will also apparently be bowing out after today as his club is on the brink of defeat as we sit here at 4:15 pm. Oh well, I guess the nation can now turn its lonely eyes to you ex Providence standout God Shamgod.
6) It’s a down economy unless you are a fairly good but not great 2 or 3 seed- Apparently being in the top 15 but not in the top 5 in the country is the secret to earning home court advantage in the tournament’s opening weekend. Duke and Nova barely have to pass a stop sign or two to get to their NCAA tournament opening round game sites where as consensus #1 overall Seed Louisville has to travel to Dayton, Ohio. Now I do believe Dayton is not too far from Louisville but the Cardinals definitely have to travel at least as far if not farther than Duke who is playing in Greensborough and Nova who is playing inside its own city of Philly as a 3 seed!!! How is this possible????
7) Where have you gone NCAA tournament pools?- I tried my hardest to find money pools to join. I have many social outlets including my fellow SUS buddies, people who are friends with my parents, White Girl, and friends at school. Somehow though, I was completely unable to find a single pool to join with money involved. I had to settle on joining one yahoo tournament with the artist formerly known as the B.I.G. (he’s too thin now to keep that moniker.) Anyway, to add insult to injury, I also joined a second pool through Facebook with a certain high ranking official at SUS who will remain nameless. However, this pool only has two members, myself and himself and it only has one member who actually filled a bracket, yours truly. Ugh. Oh well, I guess I get to root for bragging rights and pride. Woo hoo!
-WHITE BOY SOUTH BRONX