There are “annual tasks” that one does not look forward to. Just a couple of examples:
- What to get one’s mother-in-law for her birthday
- Filling out one’s tax return to send to the IRS
- Trying to explain how Danny Boy Snyder is more appealing than a bowl of pickled assholes. Ooops; sorry! That happens more than once a year…
And then there is an annual event here in Curmudgeon Central that I look forward to – simply because it is fun. Here is my annual look at the NCAA Basketball Tournament from a perspective that has NOTHING TO DO with brackets and/or which team will advance and/or bracket-busting upsets and/or things of that nature. This is simply about fun.
Let me begin with a recent comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot:
“Off course: The Big Ten basketball tournament is in Washington, D.C., the ACC tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y. This is what happens when our schools de-emphasize the teaching of geography.”
Professor Molinaro could not be more on target with this observation unless the SEC had held their conference tournament in Duluth MN – – which they chose not to do this year. I might only add this comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World Herald to explain how the Big Ten even started to think about holding its tournament in Washington DC:
“There is online video of Michigan fan Verne Troyer supposedly being hypnotized to think he likes Ohio State. Of course, hypnosis hasn’t been seen in the Big Ten since Jim Delany was put under that spell to admit Rutgers.”
College sports can pretend that they are all about the noble goal of pure competition and that none of its decisions can be linked to “economics”. But we all know that is abject nonsense and so I will just go off on flights of fancy here.
For example, at the end of this month, we could have a Final Four where all the mascots are prey animals:
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- Bucknell Bison
- Creighton Blue Jays
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
The alphabet could lead us to the Sweet 16 where teams would square off to advance. We could have Sweet 16 matches between:
- Villanova and Virginia
- SMU and South Carolina
- Notre Dame and Northwestern
- Maryland and St Mary’s (Give me a bit of slack here…)
- Nevada and NC Central
- Oregon and Oklahoma State
- Middle Tennessee State and Texas Southern (Talk about a bracket buster!)
- Kent State and Kentucky
However, I will find my most fun in looking at the names of players in the tournament and musing about what they might portend for the future. For example, might these be the fields of major study for the following scholar-athletes:
- Ty Outlaw (Va Tech) – – Criminal Justice/How to beat the system
- Vic Law ((Northwestern) – – Criminal Justice/How to apprehend Ty Outlaw
- Miles Bridges (Michigan St) – – Civil Engineering
- Mikal Bridges (Villanova) – – Also Civil Engineering
- TJ Leaf (UCLA) – – Botany
- Kethan Savage (Butler) – – Anthropology
- Terance Mann (Fla St) – – More Anthropology
- London Parrantes (UVa) – – Geography
- Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern) – – Computer Science
- Nazareth Mitrou-Long (Iowa St) – – Middle East Studies
Might these players find themselves pursuing a rather obvious career:
- Ian Baker (New Mexico St.) – – Self-evident
- Kevin Baker (Troy) – – Self-evident
- Steven Cook (Princeton) – – Self-evident
- Matt Taylor (NM State) – – Self-evident albeit spelled incorrectly
- Amir Coffey (Minnesota) – – Barista
- Dererk Pardon (Northwestern) – – Public Defender/May represent Ty Outlaw
- Duane Bacon (Fla St) – – Fry cook
- Quinton Hooker (North Dakota) – – Whatever
- Avi Toomer (Bucknell) – – Cancer researcher
- Anthony Lamb (Vermont) – – Animal husbandry
- Keyshawn Woods (Wake Forest) – – Carpentry
Just a couple observations about some random player names:
- Duane Notice (South Carolina). Glad his mother did not name him “Didja”.
- Jack Salt (Virginia) Glad his mother did not name him “Table”.
- Joe Toye (Vandy) Glad his mother did not name him “Sex”
- Shadrac Casimir (Iona) Might he have brothers named Mesach and Abednago?
- Jawun Evans (OK St) Does he have a twin named JaOddaWun Evans?
- Dajuan Graf (NC Central) Does he have a twin named DaOddaJuan Graf?
- Dakota Mathias (Purdue) He surely knows North from South.
- Giddy Potts (Middle Tenn St) I guess it’s better than being named “Chamber”.
- Alpha Diallo (Providence) Does he have a brother named “Beta”?
- Duane Notice (S. Carolina) If you read his name backwards, it is a complete sentence.
- Desi Rodriguez (Seton Hall) Does he have a sister named Lucy?
Now how about players whose names are palindromic – – you could reverse the names and still believe that the announcers were talking about a player in the game you are watching:
- Dean Wade (K-State)
- Khadim Sy (Va Tech)
- Marcus Howard (Marquette)
- Justin Jackson (Maryland)
- Christian Terrell (Fla Gulf Coast)
- Jared Terrell (Rhode Island)
- Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
- Tarik Phillip (West Virginia)
- Zach Thomas (Bucknell)
- Khyri Thomas (Creighton)
- Matt Thomas (Iowa St)
- Eric Thomas (New Orleans)
- Zak Irvin (Michigan)
- Lindsey Drew (Nevada)
- Deon Edwin (Kent State)
- Jonathon Isaac (Florida St)
Proofreaders and copy editors have become less pronounced in newsrooms around the country as the newspaper industry has sought to cut costs over the past 15 years. Some still exist and those folks live in fear of the possibility that one or more of these players just might make a critical play in a game in the upcoming tournament:
- Chimezie Metu (USC)
- JoLual Acuil (Baylor)
- Eli Chucha (NM State)
- Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga)
- Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas)
- Xeyrius Williams (Dayton)
[Aside: Play-by-play guys and stadium announcers might have some trepidation here also.]
Florida starts three players named Kevarrius Hays, KeVaughn Allen and Kasey Hill. My question is simple.
- So how did Kansas and Kentucky miss out on these players?
We could construct an entire Starting 5 named “Brown”:
- Zach Brown (Wichita State)
- Bruce Brown (Miami)
- Stephan Brown ( Bucknell)
- Vitto Brown (Wisconsin)
- Sterling Brown (SMU)
Nonetheless, Princeton is the Ivy League team in the tournament.
Of course, no such summary of players’ names in the tournament would be complete without naming the 11 members of the All-Presidential Team:
- Miles Wilson (Mount St. Mary’s)
- Duane Wilson (Marquette)
- DJ Wilson (Michigan)
- Rashaun Madison (NC Central)
- Kevarrius Hayes (Florida)
- Matt Taylor (NM State)
- Amile Jefferson (Duke)
- Justin Jackson (Maryland)
- Josh Jackson (Kansas)
- Jevon Carter (West Virginia)
- Jordan Washington (Iona)
Finally, let me pose a Q&A for you as I sign off this annual fun exercise:
Q: What does the March say to all the Madness?
A: What’s all that bracket… BaDaBing! BaDaBoom!!!
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………