This delightful image, which came to my brain as another of Monday morning's gifts, roughly corresponds with Jon Scheyer's play against Cal. Some of you will call me ungrateful, but allow me this one bit of Duke negativity and I promise I'll gush like a fawning fanboy later.
But 1-11 from the field? 1-8 from three? And this wasn't the typical tough tourney game for our man, where he was being dogged nonstop and had to force shots. Many of those long balls were wide open, and it seemed like all of them came at spots where they could have buried Cal. You can just feel those moments intuitively; the team is on a mini-run, up by double digits or close to it, the crowd is getting louder, the opponent is looking discouraged, and then there's that one final turnover or miss, and you're fast breaking, and your guy is wide open, and oh man, if this one just goes down those sonsabitches will not recover...
And he missed every time. When will this cold streak be out of his system? I hope it's soon. Cal is a fairly weak team, and it was possible, even easy, to survive Scheyer's bad game. It will be harder against Purdue, a team that uses unrelenting muscle to punish opponents, and damn near impossible against Baylor and everyone beyond.
2 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Mislaid Burger King French Fries
What does mislaid mean? What does it mean? This question will torture you as you examine the fries.
This goes to the Big East, who are not sweet at all. 2 teams in the Sweet 16? Prety ridiculous for the undisputed best conference in the nation. It's especially funny to me that two Pac-10 teams beat them in the opening round. When you think about it, though, only one loss should have been a huge surprise. Louisville was highly overrated, Villanova stunk at the end of the year, Notre Dame is a perennial tourney disappointment, Marquette was facing a red-hot Washington squad, and Pitt was a middle-of-the-pack team who you knew would have a close second-round game. Then there's Syracuse and West Virginia, the cream of the crop, who probably won't even be tested before the elite 8.
That leaves Georgetown, who should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for losing to Ohio. How can you possibly allow a team to make 13 3-pointers in a single game? Don't you make defensive adjustments at some point? Isn't there a line? After the 8th 3-pointer, don't you say "okay, no matter what else happens, they will not beat us with the 3." It just seems absurd to me. The Hoyas are a team who looked amazing at times this season. When they beat Duke and Syracuse, they played like a team who could contend for a national title. So why the Jekyll-and-Hyde act? If I were a G-town fan, I'd feel betrayed, and be absolutely furious with the players and coach.
3 - As Sweet as a Bucket of the Opposite of Pride
Hmmm, what's in that bucket? You don't want to look, do you? You don't want that bucket in your home.
This bucket is as sweet as all the fools who said that Louisville or Villanova were going to beat Duke. OH REALLY?! OH REALLY?!
Dear Duke-haters: those teams stink, and Duke doesn't. You should have noted this beforehand. You should have watched some Duke games. I am laughing at you from my mountaintop. I am holding up your flawed bracket and beaming at the camera like I'm motherfucking Harry Truman. I am dancing on your grave.
4 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Cranberry Sauce from Bono's House
You don't like cranberry sauce, you don't love buckets, but you are more intrigued than you should be by the fact that it's from the house of Bono.
This is as sweet as Michigan State. How do these guys always land on their feet? They're like nimble cats. That should be their nickname. Get it in writing. You could make Tom Izzo a #26 seed, send him to Zimbabwe to play in the jungle against a collection of hungry lions, and he'd still find his way to the Elite 8. If you looked at that bracket before, you're thinking 'okay, Michigan State is having a down year and Lucas is hurting, but they still have a fighting chance to make the Sweet 16. But after that, Kansas will annihilate them.' Well, they did make the Sweet 16 (I love that Maryland lost on a buzzer beater...if anyone has video of a large group of Maryland fans reacting adversely to this, be in touch...I'll pay extra if they have wide, annoying faces), but Izzo used his mind magic to make Kansas lose. Now they have Northern Iowa in the next round, and an awesome shot at going up against a Big-10 opponent in the Elite 8. When two conference teams meet up, that's an anything-can-happen situation. Ideal for the underdog.
*A Hilarious Photoshopped Picture of Tom Izzo as a Nimble Cat*
5 - As Sweet as a Bucket of 'Flemish' Pie
You've never heard of Flemish pie. The idea of such a dish is both appealing and revolting. It could go either way.
Sorta like Joe Mauer re-upping with the Twins for 8 years. Could be bad, could be good. Certainly ruins the fantasy of the Yanks having a sweet replacement for Jorge, but at least the Sox will keep their grimy, greedy paws to themselves.
6 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Swedish Meatballs
Man, I could go for some Swedish meatballs. Just like I could go for some Ivy League upstarts taking down Kentucky in the next round. This one goes to Cornell, who looked plainly superior to Temple and Wisconsin on their way to the Sweet 16. They only get a 6 because they're probably all uppity. But I'm struggling to remember what the Cornell stereotype. Here's what I've got for the rest of the Ivys:
Harvard: Women who act all liberal and conscientious and then marry a rich dude and smile indulgently when he swerves in his SUV to run over a cat on purpose.
Yale: Boring dudes who immediately get really rich doing boring business jobs, but have secret societies that involve strange masks and someone dying accidentally once every ten years.
Princeton: The most arrogant human beings on earth, they all become lawyers and over-aggressive youth sports coaches.
Brown: School for people who have sexual fetishes about the way dust smells on an old book.
Columbia: People who go home on Christmas break and act like they're too cool to make a snowman with their little brother because that's so not New York, and they also wear framed glasses to try to make normal people hate them.
Dartmouth: School for people who can't enjoy drinking games without making them needlessly complex.
Penn: Everyone here has a complex because half their conversations with other people include the line "nahhh...Penn's not Ivy League, is it? Really? Noooo, come on, you're messing with me...it's a state school, right?"
But I don't have a handle on Cornell. Perhaps someone can help me out in the comments.
7 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Swedish Meatballs when you were Expecting Bono's Cranberry Sauce
St. Mary's! Northern Iowa! Washington! I particularly like St. Mary's. One eccentric big man named Omar plus a bunch of Australians equals a team I can get behind. I especially love Dellavedova, the dude who wears a two-tone mouthguard that makes him look kinda feral and crazy.
And bonus points to Mick McConnell, who pulled off looking cocky and badass after a huge three pointer despite the fact that he banked it in.
8 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Increasingly Smaller Buckets
You can do anything with all those buckets. Anything in the world. Just as sweet as this year's tourney, where anything can happen. I was upstate this weekend in Glens Falls for the boy's high school championships. It's a yearly tradition outing with my dad, grandfather, and brothers. Inside the Civic Center, they have a big room called 'Heritage Hall' where you can watch the NCAA games, and on Saturday the Northern Iowa-Kansas ending happened during halftime of one of the high school contests. So everyone packed into Heritage Hall, and we all groaned and got nervous as Kansas made their comeback. Then Farokhmanesh made his crazy, ballsy three, and the whole place erupted.
And I'm sure the same scene happened in a million places around the country. Upsets like that bring everyone together on the same page, and are one of the greatest collective moments you can have. It rarely happens in pro sports or other college sports. But the true underdog story is alive and well in March Madness, and this year's bracket has really delivered.
9 - As Sweet as a Bucket of Old Snowshoes
Fantastic, wonderful, inspiring. Zoubek leads the nation in everything. He's the greatest college basketball player in history. He brings terror and peace at his will.
10 - As Sweet as a Bucket of National Championship Rings
That'd be pretty sweet, right? But only equally as sweet as Sweet Nolan, the stone-cold Blue Devil assassin who never heard of pressure and doesn't want to meet him. He scored 20 last night, most of them on moves so sick I actually vomited in my living room. One crossover in particular had me so nauseous that I had to ask my girlfriend to pour pepto bismol down my throat. He was just absurdly good. Last year's Nolan wasn't up to the occasion. This year's Nolan was made for the occasion.
And let's not forget that he shut down Jerome Randle, holding him to just one field goal in the entire second half.
More on Duke's sweetness later.