Now? No dissent. Absolute tyranny. And you might be surprised to know that SCSD!, our unassuming little blog, had a hand in the sudden coup. That's right: we're the muscular forearm of the Blue Devil junta. I don't want to give away confidential information, but let's just say I made a few phone calls last week. We may never know whether it was my influence or Duke's play that propelled us to the unanimous #1 ranking. That much is true. But I'll reprint a couple of the conversations, just a couple, and you can judge for yourself.
#1 - Me and some douche from the AP poll who gave Michigan State a first place vote.
Some Douche: Hello?
Some Douche: I stand by my decision.
Some Douche: Look, I think with Kalin Lucas leading a senior backcourt, the Spartans are going to have the kind of leadership and grit that Duke is missing.
Some Douche: Not to mention their strength on the interior. Plus, they have one of the best coaches in college basketball.
Some Douche: Are you just going to say 'dude' over and over again?
Some Douche: Then explain to me why I'm wrong.
#2 - Me and some douche from the AP Poll who gave Kansas State a first-place vote.
Some Douche: Two words, bitch: Jacob Pullen.
Some Douche: Frank Martin could break Coach K like a Twix. I know you've seen a Twix get broken before. It has that satisfying crunch.
Me: COME ON.
Some Douche: Go away, I'm reading Perez Hilton.
Me: Anything good on there?
Some Douche: Not really, it's a slow day.
Me: I heard there might be some Lohan stuff going up later.
Some Douche: I hope so.
Me: We still on for backgammon tonight?
Some Douche: As long as you don't pussy out, you smirking Irish doofus.
Me: What the fuck, man?
#3 - Me and one of the two douches from the Coaches' Poll who gave MSU a first-place vote:
Me: I KNOW THIS IS YOU IZZO, YOU SELF-PROMOTING EGOMANIAC. FESS UP! FESS UP NOW!
Angry voice: Actually, punk, this is Bobby Fucking Knight!
Me: Oh...oh damn.
Angry voice: That's right, you lily-white mama's boy chewing bubblegum in a minivan, you just dialed the wrong fucking number!
Me: Sorry, sir, I just-
Angry voice: I'm going to come after you with a chainsaw and a pitchfork made of shark's teeth! Do you know how many men I've killed?
Me: I, uh...the talk on the streets is more than ten.
Angry voice: Try more than twenty, you fat little nerd collecting bubble gum wrappers by a roller coaster.
Me: Sir, I just want to say that-
Angry voice: Sometime while you're sleeping in the next month, I'm going to fly through your window wearing nothing but a cape and a set of Turkish teeth I bought in Istanbul. It's going to be holy hell, you tuba-blowing, bubble-gum loving, mincing little queen!
Me: Yo, this probably won't help my cause, but what's your deal with bubble gum?
Angry voice: OH MY GOD I HATE BUBBLE GUM! THE SIGHT OF IT MAKES ME WANT TO BREAK A FLOWER POT OVER THE POPE'S HEAD!
Me: By the way, my name is Harrison Barnes and I live in Chapel Hill.
Angry voice: Hold on, let me get a pen.
#4 - Me and Tom Izzo
Me: Coach, I'm feeling super out of sorts in a disturbed way.
Tom Izzo: Let me guess: you either watched your father riding a tiny bicycle or you just got off the phone with Bobby Knight.
Me: Bingo on #2.
Tom Izzo: And he was waxing strange about bubble gum.
Me: Yeah, and something called Turkish teeth.
Tom Izzo: Don't worry about it. Count to one hour and he'll already have forgotten. Man's brain's as old as a buffalo nickel and twice as rusted.
Me: That is a relief. Listen, were you the other guy in the coaches' poll who voted Michigan State #1?
Tom Izzo: Yeah, that was me.
Me: Do you really think you're better than Duke?
Tom Izzo: Nah, I just like to see Coach K get pissed. His face turns all red.
Me: I hear that.
Tom Izzo: Gotta take pleasure where you can find it.
Me: Yo, you coming to backgammon later?
Tom Izzo: What do I look like, an Irish bitch? Fuck right I'm there.
I never did learn what happened between Bobby Knight and a piece of bubble gum.
Anyway, we're one day away from Sparty, but the ACC-Big 10 challenge starts today. This is going to sound ridiculous, since it's a manufactured contest between two conferences, but I really, really want the ACC to win. The whole thing started in 1999, and the deal is that over three days, every team from one conference plays a team from the other. This year, there are 11 games (the ACC has 12 teams, so one team doesn't get to play...this year, it's Miami). The Big 10 had never won until last season, when Wisconsin upset Duke in the second-to-last game to give the Big 10 a 6-5 edge.
Normally I'm not a huge conference loyalty guy. I could care less what happens to schools like Virginia Tech or Boston College in the big dance, and I actively root for Maryland and UNC to lose. But something about the Big 10 pisses me off. It's not like I even grew up in the south, but I take a strange pride in believing that the ACC is the best conference in basketball. The Big 10 is boring, sledgehammer play. They're all big thugs specializing in 53-49 type games. It irked me to no end when they won last year, particularly because Duke lost on the road.
This year's version of the ACC-Big 10 challenge began last night, when Virginia pulled off a bit of a stunner on the road against #17 Minnesota. The Gophers were undefeated, and that had to be a game the Big 10 thought they had in the bag. It makes it very tough for them to win.
That makes the score ACC 2, Big 10 0.*
*I count the 12th game as a forfeit loss for the Big 10. We had Miami all set to go, and they couldn't match it. It's like in college tennis. If you don't put 6 players out for singles, the extra points don't disappear; you lose them. Too bad for the Big 10. Score one for us- the Canes win by default.
Tonight it kicks into high gear with these match-ups:
1. Iowa at Wake Forest
2. Georgia Tech at Northwestern
3. #2 Ohio State at Florida State
4. Michigan at Clemson
5. North Carolina at #21 Illinois
I will be rooting for the ACC in 4 of these 5 games. Can you guess the exception? Actually, if that one ends up close and we need it, I'll probably still pull for the Heels.
The way it shakes out tonight, though, the Big 10 should have two pretty clear advantages (Illinois and Ohio State), and Clemson is a 9-point favorite against Michigan. There's no clear edge in the other two, though Vegas gives Northwestern and Wake Forest slight nods for playing at home. By the end of the night, I wouldn't be surprised if the challenge is deadlocked 3-3. And I'd really love it if it was knotted at 5-5 coming into the Duke-MSU game tomorrow night. But I'd take a blow-out too.
Last on the docket for today: Obama at a basketball game. It seems the President attended the Oregon State-Howard game to watch his brother-in-law coach, and reporters were on hand. Check out this particularly creepy passage from the ESPN story:
Obama paid close attention to the game, leaning forward in his seat at times. He occasionally munched popcorn or sipped bottled water, and at one point 9-year-old Sasha reached over and kissed her father on the cheek opposite his stitched lip.
"President Obama then swiveled sideways, appearing to look at something behind him. It soon became clear, though, that he was merely stretching his back in a twisting motion. He then whispered something into Michelle Obama's ear, and a slight smile appeared on the first lady's face. Later, the president stood in his seat and shouted homophobic slurs at the Howard players. Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson appeared embarrassed. As the game wound to an end, Obama turned around in his seat and did a sort of defiant 'ass dance' for the cameras, to the delight of his daughters. Then he grabbed his crotch, spun around, and threw a full soda on the court, delaying the game for five minutes. On his way out of the building after being ejected, Obama punched an unsuspecting usher in the ear."
Okay, that's all the tomfoolery I can stomach for one day. I will leave you with one prediction: Florida State will make it a closer game than anyone expects.