Friday, March 30, 2007

So, the Final Four is upon us again. I have been very hesitant to report on Sedition in Red Sox Nation Bracket Challenge of late. Let us just say that I took a man sized beating. The only team I had in the Final Four which ended up making it was Ohio State. Texas, Kansas and Notre Dame were not the best picks, I guess. So I offer congratulations to the Daniel Bellott entry, which according to my calculations is so far ahead at this point that it cannot possibly lose.

If you have the time, and let's face facts if you're reading this you probably do, check out Bob Ryan's take on the Final Four. It's not half-bad. Of course, with the magnitude of the Final Four, you know that I have to offer my irrational and quite possibly insane prediction for the event's outcome.

Watching this tournament, I finally realized why I hate Joakim Noah. He's a giant tool who celebrates every little thing like he just cured cancer. It's not just that he celebrates a dunk, or a big shot or block or assist. But he emerged from one exchange against Butler where a guy four inches shorter than him pushed him as they battled for a loose ball pounding his chest and screaming.

It got me thinking what is he like off the court? Does Noah beat his chest and scream to celebrate waking up in time for class because he set his alarm clock correctly for daylight savings time? If he gets his whites whiter and his brights brighter in the laundry room does he take a victory lap and taunt his neighbors? He needs to take it down a notch, or 12.

I think UCLA will beat Florida this time out. I don't want to see either team win, but one of them has to. I don't think Humphries will be as hot as he was last game (or in last year's championship game, for that matter), and I don't think UCLA will be anywhere near as cold. Plus UCLA improved by leaps and bounds over last year's team. Never has addition by subtraction accomplished so much as it did when Jordan Farmar went pro.

I am not comfortable with either of the coaches in this matchup. Ben Howland is bald. My sources tell me that bald people have tremendous difficulty with idea retention, what with not having hair to keep the thoughts from wafting up through the top of their head and all. On a more serious note, I think the slow-down defense first style can choke all the life out of your offense if one or two of your players isn't hitting shots.

Then there's Billy Donovan. Outside of the fact that he's a Pitino disciple, and I hate Pitino (a vestige of my days as a Celtics fan), there's the fact that he looks like Matt Damon. And not so much Matt Damon the actor as Matt Damon the puppet doppelganger from Team America who couldn't say anything beyond shouting his own name. For some reason that's all I've been able to think about as Billy Donovan attempted to sidestep the Kentucky rumors this past week.

I simply do not like Georgetown. I was 6 when they last made a Final Four, so I don't remember the Ewing Sr. teams. I do remember the teams with Mourning and Dikembe Mutumbo who underachieved like crazy. But more than just the basketball team, I don't like the school.

If you're from the Northeast, it's reasonable to assume that you went to high school with a guy who ended up going to Georgetown or really wanted to. Think back on that guy, and what a tool he was. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that that guy was a sort of arrogant sycophant. When it couldn't possibly hurt him, he was a tough guy, but when there was a grade to be grubbed or a chance that he could catch a beating, then our Georgetown guy was not so formidable. I do know a few guys who attended Georgetown and were good guys, but they are the overwhelmingly small minority.

That sort of arrogant sycophant is a type that gravitates to the Catholic schools of the Northeast, and it not a phenomenon exclusive to Georgetown. BC is packed to the rafters with them. And Holy Cross has produced the two most visible, the dueling lizard kings of the arrogant sycophants in the CHB and Bill Simmons. If you don't believe me, think about the CHB's dust up with Jurassic Carl Everett. Or Bill Simmons full on retreat from Isiah Thomas.

To make a long story short, I see Ohio State beating Georgetown. Oden (provided that he stays out of foul trouble) can shut down the Georgetown's inside game. And I'm not buying a team with the son of Doc Rivers as a championship contender. To say nothing of how sickening the montages of John Thompson Jr/Patrick Ewing Sr. and their sons will be.

And I think Oden is strong enough to shut down the middle against UCLA too. I've heard roughly one billion times in the last five years that the NCAA tournament is all about guard play. So let's agree now to call this year the exception that proves the rule when Oden leads Ohio State to the title.

After the last 50+ years, I think the last thing the Boston Celtics should want to do, from an organizational standpoint, is make franchise history. After the 16 titles, 11 in a 13 year span and all the facts that you already know, it's almost impossible to break any of the positive records. Unfortunately, what will go down in history as the 3rd consecutive year Danny Ainge should have been fired (even the year they went to the playoffs should have cost him his job, nothing says I have no idea what I'm doing like reacquiring Antoine Walker) will have seen two milestones in Celtics history eclipsed.

The franchise record losing streak was bad enough. But these things happen. The worst thing about is that the Celtics are going to play the Sixers tonight without Paul Pierce. And at stake is the fifth 50 loss season in franchise history. But I'm the only guy who thinks Ainge is the problem...

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