Let's do a Weekend Awesomeness Scale, shall we? Today's theme: literal (see also: lazy).
1 - As Awesome as Drawing Louisville in the Second Round
This one goes to drawing Louisville in the second round. We should beat this team. Let's be clear on that. But Rick Pitino is a slippery fish, and he'll have something slippery up his fish sleeve. He's the kind of guy who plays poker and goes "oh, I only have two pair...kings and kings." If the dude was in an old school cartoon go-kart race, he'd have the little drills that came out the side of his wheels. I think he'll try to trip Scheyer and hurt him, or poison the food at Duke's pre-game meal.
Anyway, I don't like it one bit. That wee bastard Sosa can get red-hot if the mood strikes him, and Samuels is very talented in the post. Plus, they're going to press the hell out of Scheyer, and he hasn't looked good handling it recently. This is not a good match-up for us.
2 - As Awesome as Dicking Around with Crappy Teams All Weekend in the ACC Tourney
Yesterday's effort was particularly embarrassing. The game started, we took an 8-0 lead, Tech turned it over on like five straight possessions, and everyone in the building knew we were the superior team. Did we proceed to blow them out, rest our studs, and take the ACC title with ease? Nope. We refused to fast break, refused to press, and played passive offense until a cold streak let them back in the game. We'd stretch the lead to 11 or 12 at points, but they always came back. Finally, up double digits, Coach K went into his patented stall offense. You know the one: it's cost us NCAA titles, ACC titles, and countless big games.
We were up 9 with 3 minutes left. With 18 seconds left, we were up 1. Scheyer's clutch jumper sealed the game, but it could easily have gone the other way.
Coach K, I'm fucking begging you. I'm on my knees, begging: STOP STALLING TOO EARLY. WHEN YOU HOLD THE BALL FOR 25 SECONDS EVERY POSSESSION, IT GUARANTEES YOU WON'T GET A GOOD SHOT. SOMEONE WILL HAVE TO FORCE IT UP AT THE VERY END, AND THESE SHOTS ALMOST NEVER GO IN. THIS GIVES THE OTHER TEAM MOMENTUM, BECAUSE EVERY TIME WE DON'T SCORE, THEY CAN GET CLOSER.
One more thing: THE REASON YOU'RE LEADING THE GAME IS BECAUSE YOUR PREVIOUS STYLE OF PLAY WAS SUPERIOR TO THEIRS. CHANGING THIS STYLE OF PLAY IS TOTALLY ILLOGICAL.
Whatever. I'm like a broken record at this point. I just don't get it. It's like reading an absurdist play and getting frustrated at a character's behavior. Except now, you can't put the book down and return to life, with its semblance of normalcy. It's maddening. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say there's a 50% chance we lose to Louisville after having a big lead late. They're exactly the kind of team who can burn us.
3 - As Awesome as Mississippi State Not Making the Tourney
This might be one of the more heartbreaking exclusions of all time. After a great run in the SEC tourney, and finishing first in the SEC West, they outplayed the #2 team in the country for 39 mintues and 57 seconds. Then Kentucky reverted to a tactic that almost never works (missing a foul shot intentionally and going for the board), and it worked. They scored the tying bucket, and took Mississippi State down in OT.
It was the second time this season they've lost to Kentucky in overtime, and those two losses aside, they finished the year 7-2, with wins over Florida, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt. And honestly, they looked really good in the SEC tournament. Their guards are tough, and Varnado played like one of the nation's best big men down the stretch.
But the committee denied them in favor of...Wake Forest? Clemson? I'll just use those two examples for now. Wake Forest is terrible. I mean really, really bad. They dropped five of their last six, and all of those losses were to awful teams. They even lost AT HOME to UNC, who I don't think were even interested in winning. Their final record was 19-9, and they have no chance to advance beyond the second round (I'd say first round, but somehow they got matched up with Texas, another feckless team with no shot...it's possible neither team will win that game). Clemson is another example; they're a group of underachievers who faded bad at the end of the year and lost to a very poor NC State team. How do either of these teams (much less Georgia Tech, who despite their late run finished 7-9 in a weak conference) deserve a berth over the Bulldogs?
4 - As Awesome as Scheyer's Disappearing Act This Weekend
Yeah, he made the big shot yesterday. But he was 13-40 for the tournament, and it's not like he made a huge impact beyond shooting. Defensive pressure completely nullified him; he didn't want to drive, he didn't want to crash the boards, and it didn't even seem like he wanted to hustle. I finally saw him get pissed off in the second half against Tech, but before that I was legitimately wondering if some part of him had given up. That sounds ridiculous to type, because it's not his style at all, but man, things got bad. It's like he forgot how to play.
If that doesn't change, we're done. No Scheyer means no Duke. Doesn't take a genius...
5 - As Awesome as the Sampras-Agassi "Incident"
Don't know what to think of this. You should probably just watch the video, but the basic synopsis is that they were playing in a Hit-for-Haiti exhibition when things got strange. They exchanged jabs that became increasingly personal, and then Sampras tried to hit Agassi with a serve. Kinda funny, kinda ugly.
6 - As Awesome as Ronan Tynan wearing a Red Sox Jersey
Apparently he was singing for some Irish breakfast ceremony in Boston, and they slipped the jersey on. This is awesome because I called it way back in October. Behold:
You may or may not have come across this bit of news, but Ronan Tynan, the smug Irish Tenor who sings a 17 minute version of "God Bless America" during the 7th-inning stretch at Yankee playoff games, has been fired for Anti-Semitic remarks. He wants another chance and has apologized, and etc., but career-wise, insulting the Jewish population isn't the best move in New York City.
So I was hoping maybe some of my readers could help me out...where could Ronan possibly find employment? It has to be an American city with a baseball team, but I'm struggling to imagine a good fit. Keep in mind, he's pompous, Irish, arrogant, and racist...come on, brain! Work! Why can't I think of a city that would willingly accept an obnoxious Fenian bigot with a chip on his shoulder???
7 - As Awesome as Duke Winning Another ACC Title
Can't knock it. That's 9 of the last 12 championships for the Blue Devils, a pretty remarkable feat. Granted, the conference was down this year, and I'd gladly trade all 9 titles for another national title. And there were a couple years where it didn't seem like UNC even wanted to compete. That's why this is only a 7. But it does indicate a sustained success that no other team in the country can boast. Credit where it's due, so this one's for Coach K.
8 - As Awesome as the Rest of Our Bracket Besides Louisville
Purdue as the 4 seed? That is an absolute gift. There's a decent chance we might face a team like Siena in the Sweet 16. Get by Louisville, and nothing will keep us from the Elite 8. There, we'll probably meet Baylor or Villanova. Nova took us down last year, and Baylor ended the season on a roll, but it could be a lot worse. We didn't draw Kansas State or Ohio State or, especially, West Virginia. It's our best chance for a Final 4 appearance since '04. Don't blow it, guys.
9 - As Awesome as Kyle Singler
It's hard to describe how bad he looked early this year. Now, he's our best hope. He was amazing in the ACC tourney; he carried us in the first two games, shooting over 50% and 7-12 from long range. Yesterday, when he struggled from the field, he managed to get to the line 16 times, making 14. He also took out ESPN announcer Dan Shulman on a nice leaping between-the-legs save. He's playing his heart out, and we wouldn't have won the title without him. Needless to say, he won the tournament MVP. For once, we have a player peaking at the right time. Make that two players, since Nolan has been his usual solid self. Now, if Scheyer can just match their effort and performance, we might have something.
You can listen to a post-game interview with Singler here. I love the wide-eyed SOB.
10 - As Awesome as the Fact that March Madness is Here
This deserves mentioning. The excitement is just so contagious. Example: I hate Kentucky. I don't like Calipari. I don't like John Wall. But when that crazy foul shot play actually worked, and the layup went in, I couldn't help standing up and yelling. The drama has you constantly on edge. And the four day stretch beginning Thursday is the best of the best. Rock-and-roll time, baby.