Thursday, March 15, 2007

Well, after the first day of the tournament, my bracket isn't quite the smoking ruin I feared it would be at this point. I lost a few games, but only one of my Elite Eight was eliminated. It served me right for picking Texas Tech, but what can I say? I like Bob Knight, and I'd rather have my bracket die than pick BC over any team of his.

Bob Ryan had a good piece on Knight in the Globe to get the readers ready for the BC-TT game. Every now and then he almost makes me forget that he called Antoine Walker a punk when Ainge traded him to Dallas. I like Bob Knight because he is honest. He might be a mean old man who doesn't waste his time working the media, but he says what he feels. That's why the media doesn't like him. Not because he threw chairs or choked a player, but because he doesn't make tearful apologies and he doesn't show any deference to the press.

I didn't have enough confidence in VCU to pick them over Duke in one of my brackets, and I'm too lazy to check the other right now. I was rooting for them big time, and I'm thrilled that they won. I hate Duke almost as much as I hate BC. Duke well may be the Harvard of the South, but what exactly does that mean? Do they play Dueling Banjos with a chamber orchestra?

I hate Duke basketball because they're frauds. Every Duke player flops with far too much frequency to suit me. They work the officials, they whine and that's not how the game is meant to be played. Just about every questionable call seems to go their way. Three quarters of the national media fawn over them. And the limited success enjoyed by Duke players on the next level goes to show that their skills don't translate to the pro game. The best NBA players from Duke are invariably the ones who leave early. Look at Elton Brand and Deng.

I get so sick of people praising Shane Battier. He's not a great defender. He is a master of clutching and grabbing and flopping. The US National team had no business taking him to the World Champions over Gilbert Arenas. But when you hear the national television commentators discuss him, you'd think he was one of the 50 greatest players of all time. He isn't even one of the 50 best players in the NBA right now.

But then, I have problems with the cottage industry of basketball experts. I haven't criticized Ric Bucher in a while, I've had other things on my mind. But last week, he said Shaq ranked below Kareem on the list of all time centers because Shaq played with superstars like Kobe and D Wade on his championship teams. This is an excellent point, because it is a little known fact that not only did Kareem never play so much as a second of basketball with another star on his team, but the NBA insisted that his teams always play with 4 players rather than the standard 5 because Kareem was so amazingly talented. Give me a break. Kareem played with Magic, Worthy and the Big O (the real Big O, not Glen Ordway). What are they? Chopped liver?

I should have more to say after the rest of the first round games are played. I have a bad feeling that something terrible is going to happen to my brackets this weekend. And by that I mean something worse than the death of an Elite Eight team on the first day.

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