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

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Breakfast with Berndon: Cheaters Sometimes Prosper?

March 15, 2010

In this edition of B.B.E., Berndon tries to replace his first love with another, if only for a couple weeks. Hit the jump for the result.

An Affair to Forget:
Before I start, I would like to note that I failed miserably in my quest for picking 70% of the games right in the conference tournaments. Although I take some consolation in picking 3 of the 6 champions correctly (Washington, Ohio St. and Kansas), I went 37-29, for a winning percentage of 56%. I had my moments, like correctly picking Minnesota to make it to the Big 10 championship game, but I mostly struggled. In my defense, conference tourneys are even more unpredictable than picking the real bracket, so I’d say that my street cred is still moderately in tact. I’ll be breaking down the regions both scientifically and randomly in the upcoming days, leaving info for both the non-basketball fan who wants to fill out their bracket based on random things like how vicious one’s mascot is, and how good of a party school places are, and those that know the game and want to see my thoughts on how it will play out going off of X’s and O’s. But before I get to all that, I need to figure out who to root for…..

There will be a tremendous void in my March Madness viewing this season. For the first time since the great Coach Doh roamed the sidelines, UNC will not be part of the field of 65. Last year was amazing, with the Heels coming together at precisely the right time, winning 6 in a row and only really struggling with LSU in the 2nd round. I got to see them beat Radford in Greensboro live, making the fact that they won it all even more special, like I was somehow part of the ride. I actually shed tears when “One Shining Moment” came on, as UNC’s magical championship run coincided with the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my personal life. For 3 weeks, Ty Lawson and the boys made me forget about everything, and know that through hard work and determination, I too could get through what I was going through and prevail just like they did.

This year is a different story, and although I could just root for whomever I pick in my bracket, I’d rather have one team to rally behind, jumping on their bandwagon with two feet. I liken it to having an affair. I’m wedded to UNC both in good times and bad, and while infidelity is not excusable, they’ve been unfaithful to me this season with not just the losses, but with the way that they whimpered and whined through the season. So without further ado, I’m cheating for 3 weeks. Think less of me if you will, but I need to have someone to pull for, otherwise I will just be watching this thing as an objective observer, like some basketball-loving robot with no soul.

I’ve come up with some criteria for myself, some stupid, some not so stupid. I decided that it has to be a team that has a legitimate chance to do some damage. Therefore, all of the cute little Cinderella teams seeded 14-16 are eliminated. Here are the categories that I thought of:

1. Who are my favorite coaches in the tourney?
2. Do I have any personal ties? Have I been there, know someone who went there?
3. Do they have a white-boy shooter who reminds me of how I used to play?
4. Do they generally have a player or two that I really like watching?
5. Do they have cool colors?
6. Do they have alumni on my favorite pro teams?
7. Do they have a sweet nickname?
8. Do they have players from Chicago or Virginia playing significant minutes?
9. Are they from a city that I’ve enjoyed visiting?
10. Will they be playing against Duke?
11. How far are they picked to go?

I’ll start with number one and work my way down, exploring and figuring out who my spring time mistress is going to be.

1. I’d have to go with Gary Williams, Tom Izzo, Bruce Pearl, JT 3, Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon, Buzz Williams, and Matt Painter.

2. Schools that fall into this category include Maryland, Tennessee, Georgetown, Ohio St, Xavier, Pitt, BYU, Marquette, New Mexico, West Virginia, Notre Dame, ODU, Baylor, and Richmond.

3. I’m not trying to be racist, but I get a certain satisfaction out of watching a white dude that can sit out on the perimeter and just drain 3’s. Here are a few that in some ways make me feel like I'm looking in the mirror: Kansas (Tyrel Reed), Maryland (Eric Hayes), Oklahoma St (Keaton Page), Ohio St. (Jon Diebler), Syracuse (Andy Rautins), Gonzaga (Matt Bouldin), Butler (Zach Hahn), Minnesota (Blake Hoffarber), BYU (Jimmer Fredette), Florida (Chandler Parsons), Wisconsin (Jason Bohannon), Clemson (Tanner Smith), Louisville (Kyle Kuric), Notre Dame (Ben Hansborough), St. Mary’s (Mickey McConnell), Villanova (Taylor King).

4. I’ve watched a whole lot of ball in the last two months, and along the way certain players have caught my eye in different ways. They include: Maryland (Grevis Vazquez), Georgetown (Austin Freeman), Oklahoma St. (James Anderson), Ohio St (Evan Turner), Butler (Gordon Hayward), Pitt (Ashton Gibbs), BYU (Jimmer Fredette), Kansas St. (Denis Clemente), Marquette (Lazar Hayward), Washington (Isaiah Thomas), New Mexico (Darington Hobson), West Virginia (De’Sean Butler), Cal (Jerome Randle), Purdue (E’Twaun Moore), Notre Dame (Ben Hansborough), Baylor (LaceDarius Dunn), St. Mary’s (Ben Allen), Villanova (Scottie Reynolds)

5. I’m skipping this one.

6. The Vanderbilt Commodores lead the way here, as there are 5 Chicago Bears that went to school there. Also receiving votes are Florida, Texas, Clemson, Duke, and Cal.

7. UNLV calls themselves the Runnin’ Rebels without the stink of racism attached to it. I also like the Georgia Tech Ramblin Wreck, Xavier Musketeers, Temple Owls, Purdue Boilermakers, and of course, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I feel like Ramblin Wreck could be a nickname for myself and my self-destructive actions. Musketeers just makes me think of how badass the 3 musketeers were. There’s something understated about an Owl as a nickname. They aren’t ferocious, but they’re always watching and always know what’s going on. Boilermakers make me think of the first and only time I drank this drink of the same name on my 21st birthday, and how I did it wrong by pouring the shot into the beer. And of course, the Fighting Irish is the coolest nickname on the planet.

8. There are Chicagoland players a-plenty in this tourney, with Evan Turner, Sherron Collins, Iman Shumpert, Jacob Pullen, DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), Maurice Acker (Marquette), and Jerome Randle just to name a few. Virginia comes with Scottie Reynolds, Jason Clark, Andre Dawkins, Julian Vaughn, and a bunch of kids on ODU’s and Richmond’s roster.

9. Having not yet been to Vegas, schools that get a point here are Maryland, Georgetown, Minnesota, Pitt, Wake Forest, Temple, Marquette, Notre Dame, ODU, Richmond, and Villanova.

10. Excluding the shit sandwich of Winthrop and Arkansas Pine-Bluff, potential Duke foils include Cal, Louisville, Texas A&M, Purdue, Siena, Baylor, Notre Dame, and Villanova.

11. I haven’t done my bracket yet, but for me to root whole-heartedly for a team, they have to be generally perceived to make it past the first weekend. Kansas, Maryland, Georgetown, Tennesee, Ohio St. Syracuse, Butler, Xavier, Pitt, Kansas St, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Marquette, New Mexico, West Virginia, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Villanova fit into this mold.

     Allow me a minute or two to tabulate the results...... and... here’s what I have starting in reverse order:

5. Ohio St.
4. Marquette
3. Georgetown
2. Maryland
1. Notre Dame

     All of these schools actually tied, along with Villanova with 5 points apiece. I have to go with Notre Dame even though the likelihood of them going to the Final Four is pretty slim. I’m picking the Irish based off the fact that they are my favorite college football team, they have a badass nickname, and because they have Tyler’s little brother playing significant minutes. I also could wax poetic about the merits of the great Luke Harangody for hours, but I’m choosing not to at this juncture. To quote ESPN’s Nick Bakay, “It all makes sense when you break it down scientifically.” Science was never my strong suit, but I feel comfortable in my methodology. Time to dust off my Notre Dame hat and get ready for Thursday.


deckfight said...

i thought hansbrough's bro wen to ole miss. he transferred?

March 15, 2010 at 9:56 PM
Teach said...

he was at miss st and transferred to notre dame

March 15, 2010 at 10:04 PM
Langston said...

Yeah he said he transferred because he wants to become a better basketball player and the facilities in Starkville don't offer that opportunity, since they don't have a practice facility. Sounds like a better reason than most, but didn't he notice the facilities or lack thereof during his visit?

March 15, 2010 at 10:37 PM

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