Now Playing: Learning to Fly, by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.
“Well some say life will beat you down; Break your heart, steal your crown; So I’ve started out, for God knows where; I guess I’ll know when I get there.”
I had good intentions going into this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. Without the Heels in it, there was little pressure. I could watch games or not watch them, it didn’t matter. All I wanted was one thing: for dook to get knocked out. Didn’t seem like much to ask, given the Blue Devils poor performance in recent tourneys. Other than that, I just planned to enjoy the tourney, taking advantage of “being between jobs” to catch more of the first two days than usual.
Then the brackets got announced. dook got the softest bracket in NCAA history, a slumping Villanova as a 2 seed, a crippled Purdue team that had lost its best player as a 4 seed, underachievers California and Louisville (did the Cardinals beat anybody this season other than Syracuse?), as the 8-9 seeds. I still wasn’t too worried. There were good teams dook would have to play before they got to the finals. Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, someone would surely spare me the trauma of a Blue Devil run.
We know now that didn’t happen. Duke’s bracket collapsed to injury, poor play and baffling calls. How does Scheyer escape a technical for swinging elbows at Baylor players, while a Baylor player gets T’d up on the same play? How does cinderblock-footed 7-footer Brian Zoubeck draw one critical charge and escape one critical blocking call against Baylor and West Virginia. This is a guy who couldn’t get in front of a cruise ship?
Meanwhile, I got caught up in the tournament and enjoyed some of the upsets. I like Kansas, but I was excited to watch Northern Iowa upset the Jayhawks. I hate Kentucky, and I enjoyed watching West Virginia beat the Wildcats. I was pulling for Syracuse, but … you get the picture.
And that’s how dook ended up in a Final Four with a Michigan State team missing one starter, with injuries to two other key players, a West Virginia team missing its starting point guard and a Butler team that might be playing tonight without its starting center. (In a way it doesn’t matter. He’s already got four fouls.) Weakest. Final. Four. Ever.
I hate them so much, particularly coach Kfrsdfasdli. I couldn’t believe his reaction to the Indianapolis newspaper illustrating a story about how dook had become the nation’s villains by decorating a photo of coach K with drawn-on devil’s horns, etc. The magazine I once worked for used a similar photo illustration on a cover to promote an article I wrote about Jim Blaine, CEO of State Employees Credit Union, whom bankers thought of as Satan. Jim took it in stride, laughing with us at his image. Coach Krfrsdrsfdssi, not so much. He whined and bitched and got an apology from an editor who wouldn’t stand up to him.
Barring a Villanova-type effort from Butler, dook will win tonight. It’s at least partly my fault. I had those good intentions. And we know where they pave to road to. And believe me, this is my hell. (Coming Tuesday: Good Intentions, Part Deux – a serious one.)
“It’s just a fact of life; That no ones cares to mention; She wasn’t good; But she had good intentions.”
– Lyle Lovett, Good Intentions