Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tourney Day Six

Hey Everybody,

Woo! Because of our vacation schedule, I actually got to stay up to the end of the last game last night. No more relying on DVR to accommodate West Coast TV schedules. I propose a single time zone for the whole country. It's a good idea, and sure to solve our problems.

  • Syracuse finished on a 9-1 run to win by 3. Notre Dame finished on an 8-0 run in the last 19 seconds to win by 5. With Northern Iowa and Xavier falling in similar fashion earlier, this tournament's calling card is comebacks. Or avoiding bad losses. Or epic collapses. Maybe all at the same time.
  • Most of you have ties to the Triangle. This tournament feels pretty familiar, I'd guess. Even if you're in denial, you've got to recognize it's pretty remarkable that half the Elite 8, half the Final Four, and one finalist will be from the same conference.
  • Trevor Cooney has been a solid contributor at Syracuse ever since his role as Stevedore #3 wrapped up on the second season of The Wire.
  • Virginia and Carolina join Villanova as "the team" that looks "best" in the tournament this weekend. I was sold on Villanova Thursday night, and now I'm here to share the news that Virginia and Carolina look ready to cut nets. I hope they continue to play at that level so we're not subjected to anything like Wisconsin/ND's first half last night.
  • Related: the Wisconsin-Notre Dame's final score was 61-56, making it one of the best halves of basketball I've seen this year. 
  • I'm becoming immune to commercials. But why aren't we all furious that "Moisturizing Lotion" is redundant? Are there desiccating lotions? Also: Meet the Hoopers has to stop. Has. To. Stop.
  • Mike DeCourcy summed up my thoughts on late-game collapses; these teams seem to be baffled by pressure defense at the end of games.
  • You guys know I love Clark Kellogg, and this tweet is a good example of his clever facility with English: In case you can't click the link: "Purloins late . . . means . . . Joy for Irish" is the base sentence. At first glance, Kellogg seems to be pluralizing "purloin" (a verb) as a replacement for "steal" (usually a noun in this instance). "OK, so he's got a Thesaurus app on his phone," you say. But nobody uses purloin as a verb. Instead (stay with me a minute here), since "means" is also a singular verb in the tweet, both of these verbs share an implied, singular subject: an "Irishman." By suggesting an Irishman who gets joy from thievery, Kellogg is obviously tossing a subtle allusion to Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," in which Irish people are ironically characterized as base, immoral people through the lens of an oppressive English gentleman. The analogy created here suggests English Protestants are to Irish Catholics as the NCAA is to College athletes. In less than 140 characters, Kellogg deftly implies the bulk of the NCAA-as-paternalistic-sharecroppers argument. That he does it from the belly of the Tournament Beast only confirms it may be the singular moment of speaking truth to power we've seen in this year's tourney. He is our basketball Bakhtin.

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