The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

NCAA Tournament Moments: Elite Eight

The Bruin Issue

Josh Shipp Foul Ucla Blows Texas A&M Hosed

The Tournament has begun. In my respective pools, my bracket is performing like Hillary in front of a microphone; leading me astray with every game it plays. Nonetheless, my spirits remain high, and three out of four Final Four’s remain. If those dill weeds from Duke would have decided to play basketball and not sit on their hands like a home-schooler at a strip club–I may have a chance in this thing. But alas, with no one over 6’8, I should have known. My chances were slim.

With the Terrific Twelve squarely in place, and the Elite Eight being rounded out later tonight, I want to recap on the shenanigans of the last week. Top five moments of the the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2.5 rounds of play:

5. The Belmont Foresight: I should have known, I know, I know. It was all I could do not to put Duke as my winners. My ex-roommate (who has since moved to SC, and is a terrible human for it) is a raging, die hard UNC fan. Hailing from the Northwest, I’m a fan of Washington teams, but really couldn’t bring myself to put Washington St. past UNC–so I compromised. I went with my next favorite team, Duke, because I knew, somehow, that my Zags would piss it down their leg like an overheated 6 year old after too much hot chocolate. However, I didn’t think the Dukies could win it all, so I put them to the next closest thing: playing in The Championship Game. Fact: Duke, I hate you. Coach K, I still want to be you. Go Memphis.

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4. Puke-on UCon:
Whowould have thought that such a big UCon team could literally, physically, mentally and emotionally fold once their best player got hurt? Besides that, what’s a Torero–a bullfighter? Who cares. Here’s the deal: At college, I played lacrosse. And every time we played USD, we got our anuses handed to us on a rusted-out platter. One time we were pretty amped because we were leading at halftime, but and in the second half, once we lost the lead, we just started swinging our sticks at anything that moved and drilling players at random–USD still won the National Title, vis-à-vis, UCon had it coming. Go USD. Go Lacrosse. Go Memphis.

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3. Bobby’s Brain, and Mouth, and Charisma: I have never enjoyed pre-game and post game charades more in my entire life than when I get to watch, listen and stare at Bobby Knight in his V-neck sweater get up. His Mohave-dry take on each Tournament saga is like listening to Dante tell a fairytale. Combine that with Digger Phelps’ increasingly noticeable resentment and blithe hatred, and you have on-screen genius. Pure Joy.

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2. I want Curry! Stephen Curry at, let’s be honest, 6’1 (maybe) 170 lbs soaking wet, has taken not only the tournament by storm, but also the weight room. I guaranteed you, here in West LA, across the street at our little Park-le-gangster, there’s a dozen middle and high school kids spray painting their t-shirts red and adopting an anorexic lifestyle, in hopes of becoming The Next Great Under-165lbs-Kinda-White Hope.

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1. The UCLA Plague: I wish that UCLA never existed. Not because it would be doing all mankind a favor, but because their history is tainting everything we know. Yes, Kevin Love looks like my uncle Craig after 14 beers, a nine course buffet, and in training for a role in Meet the Klumps IX. But besides the fact that he’s bra-less, can we address the brewin’ (pun) issue? UCLA is infecting the world. Its like they have a weird strain STD and every time they play, they infect those around them. Its not Mojo, its…like…athletic syphilis. I don’t want to comment on the foul at the end of the Texas A&M game (see top). Nor do I want to speak on Kevin Love’s 9 foot Halo of Death, where upon entering, a whistle will blow faster than at the start of a co-ed mud wrestling match. The fact of the matter is that we all need to use protection, we need to get something to fight it. Turn to what wins: USC. And not just anything USC … USC Football. Get out there and buy yourself a jersey. Then, come game time, you’ve got protection. Be prepared, be responsible, wrap your rascal. Go Memphis, I think it all makes sense now.

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March 28, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Sports, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tourney Time: Only a Flip Away!

Many Shining Moments…

North Carolina Duke

Tourney time has arrived and my food intake has now officially gone on sabbatical in hopes of breaking that hiatus with chips and salsa for the next two weeks.

First things first, we all know its a crying shame that Jon Brockman rolled his ankle in the University of Washington’s ‘basketball Apple Cup’, thus severely weakening UW’s hopes for a championship. But we must face facts: the Dawgs are not in the tourney. I know, I know its ridiculous and the world won’t be the same without them but — OJ ain’t in jail neither — so I suppose this world still upholds various, mind-blowing atrocities.

The sports world is wrought with the woes of a poorly-filled bracket. Each piece of advice claiming supremacy above the rest. Then it dawned on me: what if I threw my proverbial bracket into the hands of George Washington? No, not the team (they didn’t make it to this year’s tournament), I mean the President. More precisely, the President on the quarter. Yes, let’s do it. That is my stance. That is my advice. Before you fill, before you scribble and scratch and rant and rave; flip a coin.  Flip two coins. Flip till there’s a victor –– this is the President of the United States speaking.

Round 1:

The flips began much more smoothly than I had imagined the first round going with all my #1’s and #3’s squeaking by with wins. I noticed that I had suffered devastating loses by two #4’s, three #5’s and…all my #2’s. Who would have thought in round one Austin Peay could present itself as a clear favorite?! With my #1’s still in tact, the next toss rose high…

Round 2:

Soon I found that this game didn’t allow for as much control as I thought it would. Each flip causing new emotion as if the coin was speaking fact and no longer rose as a game. Surprisingly, all my #1’s made it through round two sprinting headlong towards round three.  I’m sweating…

Sweet Sixteen:

UNC faced off against a blazing Winthrop team who had just taken down Washington St (my father’s Alma Mater) in the first round only to slip by George Mason in the second. Kansas would have to defeat Villanova for their chances for National Title to stay alive. Memphis would face off with Michigan St and UCLA will play the LDS boys from BYU, respectively. As the Coin was flipped, in true Presidential form, our Elite Eight held three of the four #1’s (what?!), with the only loss coming to our Midwest buddies, Kansas.

Who has the stamina  to overcome President George? Up until this point, it seemed nearly feasible. Outside of UMBC, San Diego and my boys over at Austin Peay, this could happen…maybe. My Elite Eight was as follows:

Louisville over UNC
UMBC over Villanova
Austin Peay over Michigan St.
Purdue over San Diego

Sometime between the Michigan St.––Austin Peay game, I drop my quarter in toilet. I was sitting there doing flips and — bloop! — there it went. I’m finishing this out with a Penny.  Generally, rules are rules and I would have to go after George, but this is flippin’ basketball folks, and Lincoln knew better anyway.

The Final Four:

Apparently Lincoln didn’t know squat either because Austin Peay pulled out the upset…again.  Lucky-to-be-there Purdue didn’t show up and got smashed, whereas Louiville came to play — simple as that.

My Championship: Austin Peay vs. Louisville.

As I sit here thinking of the implications of this flip, nothing is going through my brain except, “Come on Louisville, come on Louisville.” If Louisville wins, there’s still hope for this to come true. Without thinking, my thumb released. As it turns over in air, my eyes read its high looping arc, all fate resting on its descend.

Louisville wins!

If I were a gambler, I would be out a lot of cash right now. I’m not, I’m a blogger. I’m a blogger that takes back everything he said about flipping a coin. Don’t do it. Never do it. To be forced to watch your teams fall to the wayside and get played like black/red Roulett is far too painful. I feel like the guilty middleman, forced to deliver the news. As I sit there in their locker-room, I look into the player’s eyes and slowly begin. “I’m sorry guys, it wasn’t your day. That terrible, under-performing UMBC team brought a lot of talent into this gym tonight.” Devastated, they look at me, hoping for answers. I open my mouth and say the only thing one could. “I know, its like, I mean, what are the chances…”

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment