Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

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by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

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by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

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by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

North Carolina vs. Villanova, The 2009 Final Four, and "I Love You, Man"

April 4, 2009

First off, if you go ask another guy to go and see I Love You, Man with you, then expect their response to initially be an awkward pause.  Saying "do you want to see I Love You, Man" just sounds like you're delivering a pick up line, which is why after asking my friend Stevo to go and see it I felt like I had to ask some other dude to go with us.  You know, just so the pressure of our first man date wouldn't be too much.  I wound up asking Stan Yuengling to go.  He said yes after an awkward pause, and then he sat a row in front of Stevo and I because Stan didn't feel comfortable watching I Love You, Man in a row of all dudes.  I could go into a list of things that do make Stan comfortable, but they're best saved for a night full of playing Kings and taking Breathalyzer tests.    

Anyway, I bring up I Love You, Man because, besides being a great movie, it is forever tied to the memory of basketball for me, and today is the day of the Final Four. You see, I remember everything about that magical evening with Stevo and Stan Yuengling because it was a terrific man date.  After watching a delightful little film about two guys who bond over beer, farts, primal screams, and "slapping the bass," Stevo, Stan, and I made our way to Summer's in Court Square so we could watch the Villanova-Pitt game. 

Stevo and Stan were clearly rooting for Pitt.  Stevo has a strong affection for the city, and Stan found a Maryland connection to pull for in Juan Dixon's little brother Jermaine Dixon, which basically meant that Stan cheered for Pitt with comments like, "Juan would have made that" or "Juan would be off the floor by now.  His groin is tough as barbwire.  Jermaine's embarrassing the Dixon clan rolling around on the ground like that."  Stan's very supportive.     

Personally, I didn't know whom I wanted to win this game.  Carolina would play the winner, so I felt like pulling for either the Panthers or the Wildcats would align the stars for that team to beat my Tar Heels in the Final Four; and on top of that, there was the fact that with each round my bracket looked more and more like I'd never watched a game of basketball in my life.  I bring this up because I had Pitt winning the whole thing.  I picked Pitt because I thought they had the strongest posse in the tournament.  I was mistaken.   

In basketball, it's never about the individual.  In fact, when a team only has one guy, they become awkward to watch when they encounter teams that have a posse.  Blake Griffin didn't have a posse, so when his team ran into Carolina last Sunday, he looked like Peter Klaven from I Love You, Man, which means he was as awkward as a caveman lawyer trapped in the modern world.  

At the beginning of the film, Paul Rudd has no male friends.  Women love him, and men find him awkward.  He comes across as more effeminate than his gay brother, played by Andy Samberg.  He sounds like he's speaking gibberish when he attempts to use simple slang.  He makes one wonder how he could ever make any male friends, and he he makes one contemplate what life would be like without one's drinking buddies, without guys to watch sports with, without the guys we complain about women with, without the guys that we confide in, without the guys that we would go to war with, without the guys that we learn how to be men with.  Without other guys in our lives, would we basically become women that always wear pants?   

When this movie was first advertised, Langston said he didn't buy the premise cause who wouldn't want to be friends with Paul Rudd.  One could also ask the question who wouldn't want to play basketball with Blake Griffin. Peter Klaven and Blake Griffin have successful careers, but they have no friends.  I can't imagine what that's like.  I'm not saying I have a lot of friends, but I've always had a handful of guys I can count on no matter what.  

In elementary and middle school, I always had Robert Cooper and Matt Rauschenberg.  Robert and I would shoot baskets in my driveway for hours, and I remember telling him one day in between shots that I had a thing for Jackie Webb.  He told me to ask her out, and so I did.  She turned me down, but I had no regrets.  Friends help us to do things we wouldn't normally do.  Matt and I would spend the night at each other's houses a lot, staying up all night listening to Green Day and Nirvana tapes.  We would walk around the neighborhood with root beer in glass bottles and pretend we were drunk.  Sometimes, we even cussed.  We also thought we we were super tough when we would piss on construction sites or set fire crackers off at our elementary school.   Matt also got me into a lot of trouble.  I remember getting a lecture from a police officer and our geography teacher about the evils of trespassing and vandalism.  Still, Matt helped me learn where the boundaries in life are and how far past them I was willing to venture.  Friends help one to meet their potential.

Peter Klaven doesn't meet his full potential until he meets Sydney Fife, played by Jason Segel.  Blake Griffin never met his Jason Segel, so he never met his full college potential; and it would be a real shame if he doesn't meet him in the NBA because if he doesn't, then he joins the list of Peter Klaven's who never met their Jason Segel: Allen Iverson, Glen Robinson, Dominique Wilkins, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and a bunch of other guys I can't remember at the moment.  

The teams that are left in the Final Four are the teams that have found their Robert Cooper's, Matt Rauschenberg's, and Sydney Fife's.  

Michigan St. plays great team defense.  Each player has the other one's back.  It's how they beat Louisville.  In fact, their defense reminds me of the time when my dog Coco went into heat and all the neighborhood dogs had their turn with her because my mom left her chained up in the backyard.  My mom washed Coco down before I got home from school that day, but decided to tell me about the incident years later.  I didn't need to hear about it, and I'm guessing that's how the Louisville players will feel when Pitino pulls out the game tape of that Michigan St. game.  

UConn has a posse.   There's no doubt about it, and unless Goran Suton goes off from behind the arc again for Mich. St., the Huskies will win this game.  Seriously, Louisville's players had to be caught completely off guard by Goran the Barbarian.  I mean, from watching the tapes, they probably thought they were getting Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian and were shocked when Goran gave Russel Crowe's performance from Gladiator.  I expect UConn to take Goran down a couple notches.  

Villanova is interesting.  Looking at the stats, they've got a posse.  Dante Cunningham, Scottie Reynolds, and Corey Fisher all average double digits, and Dwayne Anderson and Corey Stokes both average 9 ppg.  They've also got eight guys that play 17 mpg.   The problem is they lack size.  They've got a posse, but they all do the same thing.  Langston put it best: "When I watch Villanova, I feel like I'm watching five Scottie Reynolds'."  I agree.  This dilemma also isn't helped by the fact that their team doesn't have names on their jersey.  They're like Favreau's group of friends in I Love You, Man.  They all drink.  They all play poker, and they all wear the same shirts.  

They're perfectly interchangeable suburbanites, and Peter Klaven pukes all over them.  

Yeah, Tyler Hansbrough is Peter Klaven.  His freshman and sophomore years, he did everything on his own.  He didn't pass out of double teams well, and other teams always ganged up on him; and it wound up costing Carolina games in the tournament.  His freshman year, the team was shocked by George Mason.  His sophomore year, he struggled against Roy Hibbert and the rest of the team went cold.  They didn't know how to win games when their wrecking ball came up against a wall that could match it.  Georgetown won and went to the Final Four.  Last year, Kansas was better.

This Carolina team is different than the three previous teams that Hansbrough led.  I would have a hard time saying this is solely Hansbrough's team.  They're Carolina's team now.  They've got four guys in their starting lineup that can go out and win a game on their own.  Their defense is tightening up, and they don't all do the same thing.  They're like Peter Klaven's wedding party.  There's the old man Roy Williams.  There's Peter's father Bobby Frasor.  There's his brother Deon Thompson.  There's the guy with the Elmo voice Ed Davis.  There's the eccentric cameo Danny Green.  There's Wayne Ellington somewhere in the film, and there's Sydney Fife making it all possible in Tywon Lawson.  

I fully expect Carolina to meet UConn on Monday for an epic championship game.  They were the best teams all year.  We just nitpicked each one too much and gave too much credence to a few games, and while Thabeet is awkward, he's no Peter Klaven.  2009 Carolina team, I love you guys.  

PS Yes, I'm getting paid by Dreamworks to get the four people who read this website to go and see the movie.

3 comments:

Langston said...

I always pegged Ellington as a big MLS fan. I can see him now with his high pitched voice yelling GO GAlAXY!!!

April 4, 2009 at 7:05 PM
beamaw said...

I'm really sorry about Coco and I probably won't go see this movie, but I will be cheering for Carolina on Monday night...

April 6, 2009 at 12:13 PM
Teach said...

The more I think about it, I love Ellington having the Elmo voice, especially after he sinks a big shot.

April 6, 2009 at 6:39 PM

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