WHAT A WEEK it's been. How will the Stoudamire and Davis controversy affect the Cats? At this writing, Damon Stoudamire has been reinstated by the NCAA, Ben Davis' status is still uncertain. Will the Cats adopt an us-against-the-world stance and suck it up, or will they be ripe for an upset and their third first-round exit in the past four years? Who the hell knows?
What I do know is that Stoudamire's biological father sucks, the agent who bought the plane ticket for him sucks geometrically and the NCAA sucks exponentially for not having the common sense God gave a worm. How could they even think of punishing a player for something his long-time estranged father does? How could Stoudamire have possibly benefited from the whole thing? Oh yeah, he looks up in the crowd in L.A. and says, "Gee, there's the guy who wasn't man enough to take care of me my whole life." I understand now.
As usual, the NCAA Selection Committee had a tough job picking the 64-team field for the NCAAs. And, also as usual, they bungled it. The fact that they allowed in six teams from the Big 10 stinks worse than Axl Rose's underwear after a three-hour concert in leather pants during which he had a bout of flatulence brought on by his lunch of menudo and sardine surprise.
The Big 10 has a strong and largely well-deserved basketball reputation. But that league was waaay down this year. It was apparent from the start.
Purdue lost last year's National Player of the Year, but they still were good enough to win the league title this time around. Indiana had a really crappy season, as did under-achieving Illinois, but they both got invited.
Worst of all, Michigan lost at home to Arizona in what should have been an easy revenge win for the ass-whuppin' they took the year before at McKale Center. The sorry Wolverines also lost to Penn of the Ivy League and a stunningly weak Duke team. Going into the last weekend of the regular season, everyone said that Michigan would have to win at Purdue to reach the tournament. They lost, but the Selection Committee kissed their ass anyway.
At the same time, the committee managed to exclude a deserving Iowa team. But then again, the Hawkeyes don't have a national following of goofy-ass white kids who buy into all that Michigan Wolverine gangsta bullshit.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Selection Committee has marketing revenue as one of its mitigating factors.
Georgia Tech didn't get invited to the NCAAs, so in a fit of pique, they turned down a spot in the National Invitational Tournament, a 32-team tourney of also-rans which manages to extend the seasons of those teams who didn't quite make it to the Big Dance.
Tech probably deserved to go to the NCAAs, but their turning down the NIT smacks of the reaction of one big collective spoiled brat. If we can't play on that court, we're not going to play at all.
To top it off, the reason they gave is that they would rather give their kids the opportunity to do well on their midterm exams--whoa, I'm sorry. I bumped my head when I fell down laughing.
C'mon guys, if you want to be whiny-ass babies, that's fine with us. Just don't insult our intelligence by inflating your intelligence. We're not buyin'. How important would those tests have been if you had made it to the NCAAs? We thought so.
A record five teams from the Pac-10 made the NCAAs. I hope, I hope, I hope they don't all lose in the first two rounds. All that does is reinforce in the Selection Committee's collective mind (such as it is) that the Pac-10 was over-rated this year and corrections should be made next year.
UCLA has a great shot at reaching the championship game, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the UA made a good run at returning to the Final Four. Arizona State could give a lot of people trouble, or they might just fold under the pressure of the tournament and their own inflated egos. Look for Oregon and Stanford to exit quickly and quietly.
Washington State was hoping for a bid, but apparently they weren't even close to making it. The Cougars will play in the NIT and will return all five starters from this year's team. They could make some real noise in the Pac-10 next year.
I don't envy the guys at The Arizona Daily Star their jobs. ('Course, as lazy as I am, I don't envy anybody anybody's job.) The knee-jerk training that most journalists receive should have them salivating over the UA-NCAA hassle and the Star, especially, has shown some serious anti-Lute leanings over the years.
Most of all, Star columnist Greg Hansen has had a hard-on for Lute for as long as anyone can remember. He could see this as a big opportunity. But, to his credit, he appears to be taking the High Road in this whole thing, siding with Stoudamire (if not Olson) against the NCAA.
Perhaps he sees the injustice done by the NCAA. Or maybe he realizes the vast majority of his readers don't share his cynicism and suspicions toward their beloved Wildcats and the coach thereof.
As for the Tournament, I pick UCLA and Arizona in the national championship game. Believe me, anyone who knows anything about this crazy sporting event will agree that guess is as good (or bad) as any.
I love this time of year...
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