For the rest of the world, today is St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Curmudgeon Central it is the Tuesday before the men’s basketball tournament begins and that can mean just one thing:
It is time for the annual “Names Rant” for players in the tournament.
As you watch tournament games, you will be certain to see the NCAA flogging the idea that their student-athletes are going to be professionals in something other than sports. Well, just in case some of those folks paid attention to the omen of their name, here is what they should be majoring in:
Ron Baker (Wichita State) – Culinary Arts
Romelo Banks (N. Florida) – Finance
Evan Bradds (Belmont) – Carpentry
Farad Cobb (Cincy) – Electrical Engineering
Elgin Cook (Oregon) – Culinary Arts
Quinn Cook (Duke) – Culinary Arts
Tekele Cotton (Wichita State) – Fashion Design
Dallas Ennema (Albany) – Nursing
Jarred Guest – VCU) – Hotel Management
Igor Hadziomerovic (Boise St.) – Medical Technology
Stefan Moody (Ole Miss) – Psychology
Deron Powers (Hampton) – Electrical Engineering
RaShawn Stores (Manhattan) – Marketing
A few other players might find themselves drawn by fate into fields that do not necessarily demand a college degree – although the experience of college surely benefits everyone exposed to same.
Anton Beard (Arkansas) could become a barber
Anthony Barber (NC State) could go into business with him
Kris Dunn (Providence) could become a bill collector
James Farr (Xavier) could become a travel agent
Tony Parker (UCLA) could become a valet parker
London Parrantes (UVa) could become an airline pilot
Sir’Dominc Pointer (St. John’s) could become a dog breeder
MJ Rhett (Ole Miss) could become a butler
Lee Skinner (Wofford) could go to work in an abbatoir
Thomas Walkup (Stephen F. Austin) could become a bellman
Dez Wells (Maryland) could work in an oilfield.
As the college basketball season unfolded, I happened to run across a name that I noted just for this “Names Rant” because I would have to include it should his team make it to the tournament. Alas, Ohio University did not make it so I can only refer to the name but cannot put him on my Tournament All-Name Team:
Not to worry, there will still be an All-Name Team and here it is … or maybe I should call this the tournament team that will give copy editors around the country nightmares:
Martavious Newby G Ole Miss
Shivaughn Wiggins G Coastal Carolina
Chinanu Onuaku C Louisville
Zena Edosomwan F Harvard
Sir’Dominic Pointer F St. John’s
First off the bench on the All-Name/Copy Editors’ Nightmare Team would be:
Scoochie Smith G Dayton
Mamadou Ndiaye C UC Irvine
Dallas Ennema F Albany
Speaking of great tournament names, I wonder whatever happened to Orsten Artis and Fennis Dembo…?
As usual, there are mirror image names in the tournament – players where you can reverse the first and last names and not be sure which order is correct. Consider:
Lawrence Alexander G N. Dakota St.
Remy Barry F N. Mexico St.
Drew Brandon G E. Washington
Dallas Cameron G Stephen F. Austin
Jerian Grant G Notre Dame
Tyler Harvey G E. Washington
Parker Kelly G E. Washington (Did E Wash recruit these guys on purpose?)
William Lee F UAB
Dakota Mathias G Purdue
Dyshawn Pierre F Dayton
Jacob Parker F Stephen F. Austin
Tony Parker F UCLA
Aqeel Quinn G San Diego State
Brandon Taylor G Utah
Chris Thomas F Texas Southern
You could assemble a tournament team and call it the All-Presidential Team Here are your potential roster candidates:
Darius Carter – Wichita State
Quincy Ford – Northeastern
Xavier Ford – Buffalo
Jerian Grant – Notre Dame
Aaron Harrison – Kentucky
Andrew Harrison – Kentucky
D’Angelo Harrison – St. John’s
Nigel Hayes – Wisconsin
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Arizona
Justin Jackson – UNC
Parker Jackson-Cartwright – Arizona
Brice Johnson – UNC
Reginald Johnson – Hampton
Robert Johnson – Indiana
Stanley Johnson – Arizona
Tyler Harvey – E. Washington
Kennedy Meeks – UNC
Brandon Taylor – Utah
There are some players’ names that make you stop and think along the lines of “Don’t I know you form somewhere else?” or possibly “I thought you did XX and not play basketball.” Consider:
Gary Clark (Cincy) – – I thought you played football…
Vince Edwards (Purdue) – – You don’t look like Dr. Ben Casey…
James Farr (Xavier) – – You don’t look like Corporal Klinger…
Charles Mann (Georgia) – – I thought you played football too…
Johnathan Motley (Baylor) – – I wonder if he has a “crue”…
Jervon Presley (Hampton) – – Is your uncle, Elvis, really dead?
Quentin Snider (Louisville) – – Aren’t you the guy coaching the Utah Jazz?
Travis Souza (UC Irvine) – – Shouldn’t you be marching somewhere?
Ralston Turner (NC State) – – Do you have a brother named Ralston Purina?
Justice Winslow (Duke) – – Did you ever catch up with Burt Reynolds?
Enough with the silly players’ names stuff? I think so… I want to give you a couple of things to think about as you figure out your brackets for this year. Without going through the monotony and uselessness of picking every game, let me give you three things to consider as you fill out the brackets:
1. Two coaches I do not trust in tournament play are Mark Few and John Thompson III. I am not saying they are bad coaches; what I am saying is that their teams have not shown well in the tournament over the past few years. Both coaches have teams with a bad habit of losing to teams seeded well below them in March.
[Aside: Living in the DC area I have gotten to see Georgetown and Maryland play more than a couple of times this year. How both of them wound up as #4 seeds in their brackets is a mystery to me. Georgetown is not nearly as good a team as Maryland.]
2. On the flip side, I have faith in two coaches to have their teams ready to play well in early rounds of the tournament just about all the time. Those coaches are:
3. One of the teams that wins a play-in game can win another game or two – remember VCU and LaSalle in those circumstances. If you can pick the team out of those that will have a Cinderella performance for a while, you can amass a lot of points in your bracket pool.
Speaking about teams in the play-in games, the Selection Committee really screwed the pooch when it put Dayton in one of those games on Dayton’s home court. That is simply wrong. If the Committee felt that Dayton HAD to be in the tournament, they should have put them in one of the #16 seeds where they did not have to be in a play-in game held in Dayton. In the big picture it does not matter because Dayton is not going to win it all. However, the placement of Dayton in the bracket where it is represents a humongous brain-cramp for the Selection Committee.
Here are some first round games I am looking forward to:
N. Iowa/Wyoming: I saw N. Iowa play twice this year and their senior center, Seth Tuttle, is a good all-around college basketball player. This could be a close and low-scoring game that goes down to the final minutes.
Wichita St./Indiana: I am still not sure why Indiana is in the tournament at all since it lost 13 games this year.
VCU/Ohio State: It will be interesting to see how Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell handles the full-time frenetic defense of VCU.
SMU/UCLA: UCLA is another team that is in the tournament with 13 losses on their record; I would like to see what the Committee saw in them. Oh, and Larry Brown is the coach at SMU and if they win their first round game it will be interesting to see if he leaves for another job before the second round game.
Have any of you even bothered to look at the NIT brackets – or are you like me in that you consider the NIT really as the National Intramural Tournament these days? Here is a link to the 32 teams involved in the NIT this year and the opening round pairings. If you can see a compelling match-up there, you are better than I am. The next time you hear anyone suggest that the NCAA tournament needs to be expanded to 96 teams, consider that this is the roster of teams that would be added this year. Take a look and tell me there is a good reason to put any of them in the “Field of 64”.
Finally, here is an interesting view on the process by which we arrive at the teams in the brackets each year from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. It is hard to argue with it:
“Much ado: So be it if this brands me a curmudgeon – though that’s been pretty well established by now, I suppose – but most conference basketball tournaments leave me cold. I can’t be the only one who thinks this way, though, judging from the rows upon rows of empty seats in the background of so many games. By and large, conference tournaments are intramural squeaking. The concept is played out, and the sport needs to come up with something better to promote the product.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………