So we are down to it. All Four #1's have made into the Final Four, thus finally proving Clark Kellogg, a smart man who knows more about basketball than I will ever learn, finally right.
So what does it mean? Let's check in with CBS online columnists.
Gary Parrish says it will be totally unfair that if UCLA loses, coach Ben Howland will be thought of as the coach who couldn't win the big one. That given the history behind UCLA, what with that old guy who won a bunch of championships and has a trophy named after him, and cheater Jim Harrick, some coach who plays by the rules, assembles quality teams and gets to 3 Final Fours in 3 years is going to be criticized for not taking the next step.
I can honestly say that that idea never occured to me until I read Parrish's column. Only Idiots would compare the era Howland is coaching in to what John Wooden coached in. Hell, Bill Walton was never tested for drugs during his run to the Championship. I think 3 straight Final Fours is comparable to a National Championship, especially when 2 of those Final Fours were with the ridiculously loaded Florida team of the past 2 years. Parrish may be right, but I hope he isn't. Ben Howland can't possibly be on a hot seat of any kind.
Mike Freeman suggests that Kansas and UNC could be considered a David and Goliath, except that Kansas is too good to be a David. So Kansas is Goliath, and UNC is Superman. What? That's a meaningless point. It's just a question of scale--either way, Freeman, you are suggesting that Kansas is a huge underdog. And I think you are very wrong. Bonus points, though, for the Tyler Spazbrough line.
Gregg Doyel, worthless as always, spends most of his column talking about meaningless trivia, and his haircut. Yes, somehow, his haircut is elevated above worthless trivia, possibly because he mentions it more than once. We get it, Gregg, you have a nutty hairstyle. I dare you, I FUCKING dare you, to read his column, and find anything more important than Doyel's mixed feelings about his faux hawk. Keep in mind, he got paid to write that. HE GOT PAID for it. (To be fair, he also revealed that Kevin Love isn't a great singer! Fantastic insight, Gregg. At least you aren't accusing black men of racism towards you this time around.)
My picks for the games tomorrow are what they were when this tournament started--Memphis over UCLA (which is now suddenly a sexy pick, which I'll get into in a second) and Kansas over UNC.
On the undercooked bacon that is ESPN's First Take, Satan's Excrement aka Skip Bayless actually argued that Memphis has lost a huge component in their game because they are favored by Vegas by 2 points to beat UCLA. He said that since this tournament began, Coach Calipari has been able to use the underrating of Memphis to motivate his troops, and now that they are favored, he has lost that advantage. It is because of this sort of "insight" that makes me wonder if Skip has ever played a competitive game in his life. Memphis made to the Elite 8 last year, they are in the Final Four this year, and I don't think the Tigers give two shits whether they are favored or not. And certainly, even if they were, being favored by 2 points, or ONE FUCKING BASKET isn't exactly being in a position of overwhelming dominance. Oh, and they were a #1 seed, which suggests that the whole "We're barely considered to be in the Top 5 of the country" wasn't that much of an argument.
And when his counterpart argued that Memphis would win the whole thing, Skip "The Devil's Leftover Asswipe" Bayless shrugged his shoulders and muttered, "Conference USA", thus negating the very point he had spent minutes building and yelling about. Hey, if they are favorites, how can you dismiss Memphis with a shrug and a mention of their conference? Because Vegas says so? Fucking idiotic, Skip Bayless, you fart from Satan's mom's ass.
I predict Memphis vs. Kansas come Monday. The fact that Skip disagrees fills me with optimism. Because as sports are to Skip Bayless, caves are to coprolites.