March 12, 2007

Shall We Dance?

Let’s get this out in the open right now – we have absolutely no wisdom to offer as to how to properly fill out this year’s NCAA tourney bracket, or any NCAA bracket for that matter. In fact, we're actually considering filling out our bracket by flipping a coin, blindfolded, while playing Russian Roulette.

The truth of the matter is, we haven’t really felt like we had much of anything resembling a clue since we correctly picked Kentucky to win it all back in ’96.

Actually, that needs to be rephrased: We always think we have a clue as to what we’re doing, but it just so happens that our clues are more often than not terribly misguided.

However, not wanting to be completely useless, we have painstakingly perused the tournament field and come up with a series of thoughts and observations that should enlighten the mind and dazzle the imagination.

(Or if not all that, they might at least be good for a laugh or two.)

Here’s what we discovered:

Gonzaga may not be quite as good as in years past, but the Zags still have ample entertainment value.

First, consider the team’s senior point guard, Derek Raivio, who’s listed at 6-3, 177 and looks like he’s about seven months shy of his 15th birthday. Honestly, this guy looks like Macauley Culkin might have resembled had he gone on to a normal adolescence instead of... well, going on to an abnormal adolescence.

The other noteworthy thing about Raivio is that he likes to dribble a lot, but doesn’t really believe much in passing – he led the team in FG attempts and scoring (18.2 ppg) but only averaged 2.6 assists. Which probably means he’s not that fun to play with.

Sometimes running around alongside Raivio in the back court is a guy by the name of Matt Bouldin, who looks like he ate former standout Zags point guard Dan Dickau, along with Dickau's entire family and unborn children.

It also must be noted that the Zags have arguably the best-named player in all of college hoops – Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes. The only disappointing drawback is that his hoops game is more "Marie" than "Pierre."

And if all of this isn’t enough, there’s even a Pargo on the team. That would be Jeremy Pargo, brother of the NBA’s Jannero Pargo, of the famed basketball-playing Pargo clan. Never mind that Jeremy and Jannero look virtually nothing alike and that Jeremy weighs about 45 pounds more than Jannero and looks like he could crush him with his bare fists – the two are indeed related. And Jeremy may end up being the better player of the two.

Hang Time is in full effect.

Yes, that’s right – for all the loyalists of the spectacular Saturday morning show that nurtured us through many a college hangover with its mix of hilarity, social dilemmas and important life lessons, you’ll be glad to know that Hang Time alum Reggie Theus has his New Mexico State team poised to make a dramatic and improbable run through the tournament field.

How can we possibly pick against legendary coach Bill Fuller in an NCAA tourney game?

We won’t lie – it’s going to be very tough to do so.

But then again, New Mexico State is playing Texas, and Kevin Durant is really, really good.

As much as we’d love to be able to make as many Hang Time references as possible throughout the next few weeks, we have a feeling that even the great Reggie Theus himself won't be able to devise a scheme to stop Durant, who averaged a ridiculous 25.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.9 spg and 1.9 bpg on 47.4% shooting from the floor and 81.0% from the line as a freshman.

Wow. Is there any question as to whether or not this guy’s the best player in college hoops? And is there any question that he should be the #1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft over Greg Oden? Okay, the answer to question #2 is "yes, there is some question." But from this vantage point, it’s a clear choice – you take Durant.

And now that we’ve made our nomination for best player in the field, it’s only logical that we cast our ballot for the tournament’s biggest goon.

And for our money, there’s no bigger lummox out there than UCLA’s Lorenzo Mata. Have you seen this guy? Granted, he looks more ridiculous when sporting a facemask, and we understand that he can’t help the way he naturally looks, but that doesn’t change the fact that he naturally looks ridiculous. Can’t you just picture this guy hiding out in a dimly-lit alley waiting to strike you in the back of the head with a coin-filled sock?

Did you know that the sons of Patrick Ewing, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge are all appearing in this year’s tournament?

Did you also know that none of them are very good?

The best of the three is probably the Ainge offspring, a BYU senior named Austin who averaged 7.8 ppg and 4.5 apg this year. We also believe that Austin is the only one of the three to have been mentioned on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website.

And now, a handful of names that caught our eye:

Lukasz Obrzut (Kentucky): a man desperately in need of a vowel.

G.B. Burningham (Weber St.): reminds us of the character of E.B. Farnum from Deadwood, and frankly anything that brings Farnum to mind is a cause for celebration.

Cyrus McGowan (Arkansas): We’re just hoping that in a moment of sheer unbridled ecstasy, Gus Johnson screams out, “Can you DIG IT!!” after a crucial hoop by Arkansas'
Cyrus in a nod to the gang leader from The Warriors. Probably not gonna happen, though. The more likely scenario is that Gus Johnson yells out a whole bunch of other annoying stuff instead.

And lastly...

Ken Tutt (Oral Roberts): We have to say, we’re particularly fond of this one. Here’s a guy who has two of the requisite ingredients for becoming a tournament cult hero: a ready-made nickname (King Tutt) and the game to back it up (he averaged 16.1 ppg this year).

Can’t you just picture #14-seed Oral Roberts springing an improbable upset of Washington State in the first round thanks to a relentless barrage of treys from King Tutankhamen himself, whose name becomes forever etched in the hallowed annals of NCAA tournament greatness?

For some reason, we can picture this scenario with great clarity, and almost feel certain that it’s destined to happen.

Which, given our recent track record, probably makes it a safe bet that Oral Roberts is going to lose by 25.


Blogger Gert Bruhn said...

Thanks just what I need to read today. I think this is an excellent reason for people (like you and me) to stop fearing the big stacks... and to stop bullying the small stacks. It was quite useful reading, found some good/nice stuff in here. Thanks!
I have a Website Keep up the work :-

4:00 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger James said...

Hey, GERT, whaaaa?!?!?! I take it back, you definitely read the article.

OCC, the #1 pick next year is going to be a great debate. I think if you need a big man, you have to take Oden. Celts, Grizz, Hawks - all take Oden. Bobcats, Bucks - Durant. Do the Hawks even have their pick this year?

11:48 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Matthew said...

Gert kind of threw me for a loop with the whole talk of "big stacks" and "small stacks."

If I didn't know better, I'd say that comment is quite clearly an advertisement. And it definitely takes a "big stack" to post unsolicited ads around here. I would have deleted it by now if it wasn't so weird.

As for the Hawks, they have their pick only if it's in the top three. Otherwise it goes to PHX. And they have Indy's first-round pick this year as well.

12:18 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Patrick Ewing Jr is actually pretty good, but he doesn't start.

Derek Raivio plays just like "The Professor!" from And1 MixTape Tour. Right down to all the crazy dribble moves. He even does something fancy as part of his free throw routine.

12:32 PM, March 14, 2007  

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