Monday, March 28, 2016

Tourney Day 8: The Final Four

Hey Everybody,

Have you ever experienced a food paradox? It happens to me with good meals; I enjoy the food so much that I consume it more quickly than I intend to, so I slow my consumption almost to the point of not enjoying it any more. Each bite rides a line between pleasure and a sense of loss. What once seemed so abundant is dwindling, and the realization of the imminent end pervades everything. Just wondering. No reason.

  • The headlines switched pretty quickly from "Could All Four 1-Seeds Make the Final Four" to "Will Any 1-Seeds Make the Final Four?" this weekend. 
  • Oklahoma and Carolina are the most fun teams to watch of the four left.
  • Villanova has finally put together the team we've thought they had for years. Perry Ellis disappeared for Kansas, ending an amazing career on a disappointing note.
  • I like Mike Brey, but he became Twitter fodder this tournament. His strategies to sit Auguste in the first half and burn his time outs by the 8 minute mark in the 2nd half were bad looks. Notre Dame played a great game against Kentucky last year, and looked like they could pull one off against UNC, but it was not to be.
  • Syracuse went on a 29-8 run over the last nine minutes to down Virginia. UNC's win set up a semifinal between two schools undergoing NCAA investigations. A-C-C! A-C-C!
  • I still don't understand exactly how Syracuse won. They were shooting 30%, turning the ball over, and their zone was giving up layups to Virginia. Then, for the last 15 minutes of the game, they played like a cheat code had been enabled on a video game. Malachi Richardson was the best player on the floor. <--- been="" font="" has="" he="" in="" middle="" school="" sentence="" since="" that="" typed="" was="">
  • Syracuse's cheerleaders did their part to contribute to the "are cheerleaders athletes?" debate after the Orange players cut down the nets.
  • Roy Williams will get to fire off a bunch of dadgums this week. He's the head coach of a team playing brilliant basketball, but somehow comes across as hapless all the time. Who is the real Roy?
  • Buddy Hield's performance in the Tournament so far puts him on a short list of great players I've gotten to watch in my life. This article mentions Kemba Walker and Steph Curry, but I think of Dwyane Wade, Glen Rice, and Danny Manning too. Even if you don't usually watch college basketball, you should tune in to watch Hield Saturday night. He had 37 Saturday with no assists, which is the kind of game you usually only see at Rucker Park.
  • CBS aired an interview with Mark Emmert after the UNC-Notre Dame game. In it, Emmert admitted that "90% of the revenue" for the NCAA is generated by the men's basketball tournament, and that the money couldn't be shared with players fairly because it pays for other sports and tournaments in Divisions 1, 2, and 3. Then he said "Men's basketball just happens to be really popular. It could just as easily be volleyball or lacrosse." This comment offends me the same way it does when people say "Star Wars / Star Trek; same thing."
  • Without explanation or preview, this happened on CBS Saturday. It was absurd, even more so because there was no warning or clear inspiration for it. I can only imagine the production meeting before the show:
    • Producer #1: "We've got 4 minutes to fill."
    • Producer #2: "Let's go back to the touchscreen."
    • Producer #1: "Please don't ever suggest that again. Maybe a remote interview?"
    • Producer #2: "Too cliche'. We need something innovative."
    • Producer #3: [snorts as he wakes from Wisconsin-induced nap] "No! Um, tangled, the. .. the strings are tangled THE PUPPETS are, uh . . . what?"
    • Producer #1: "Genius! Call the puppet guys!"
  • Clark Kellogg explained the puppet show by saying "Innovation happens when ideas collide; somebody had a crazy idea of collision with these puppets being us. And here we are." I don't think he was talking about basketball; he's exploring metaphysics. He's talking about all of us, and the statistical improbability that we get the chance to share this world together at this exact moment. Somebody [beyond our control and fundamentally unknown to us] had a crazy idea [creation] with these puppets [a shared form that can be perceived with 5 senses] being us. And here we are. Exactly: And here we are.
  • On Sunday, after noting the Easter holiday, and while discussing Virginia's lead over Syracuse, Kellogg said: "Love covers a multitude of sins, as shot-making covers a multitude of mistakes." At the time, Virginia was leading 35-21 (each score divisible by 7).
    • Kellogg is quoting 1 Peter 4:8 to make his analogy to Virginia basketball. The 1st Peter verse itself is an allusion to Proverbs 10:12 "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs." 
    • The analogy here is twofold: 1. Love as a principle will trump strife for those on the righteous path. 2. Teams will advance that continue to shoot a high percentage, regardless of their other deficiencies.
    • That Virginia wavered in its shooting serves as a twofold reminder to each of us that when we don't choose love (or good shooting), we do so at our own peril. 

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