My Super Sweet Sixteen (Not Featuring Annoying Little Twats*)
I went to the college with the best sports journalism program in the nation, but I never had any interest in the industry. Nevertheless, my outsized ego still leads me to believe I’m a better analyst that any one in the field. And, being that sports is one of my great passions, it’s about time I occasionally discuss them on The Vice Blog.
My breakdown of the upcoming weekend and the tournament in general as it’s the only thing on my mind right now.
Much like their insanely talented 2005 team that got upset by George Mason, I thought this year’s UConn squad simply didn’t have “it.” Now, that’s not the most rigorous or intellectual of analysis, but sometimes these indescribable things just stand out: a seeming lack of heart, a seeming lack of interest, a clear lack of a coach that isn’t a huge fucking asshole. More specifically, I thought the injury to Jerome Dyson deprived UConn of their best non-AJ Price outside shooting threat and halfcourt player. Then, when Calhoun missed their 1st round game with a mystery ailment (a brutal case of crabs?), I was sure UConn’s team was not long for this tourney. Instead, they’ve been the most dominant squad of the first two rounds and should have no problem dispatching with Purdue despite the manly-cocktail-named team being well-coached by Matt Painter and featuring a solid back line with Hummel and Johnson.
In the region’s other game, every one will be taking Memphis, but recall that Mizzou will be the first “decent” team they have played since squeaking by mediocre Tennessee (can you be “decent” and “mediocre” in the same sentence?) in late January and the first truly good team they have played since losing to Syracuse in late December. Memphis has arguably the best defense still in the tournament–I prefer Louisville or Team Thabeet–and also one of the best lead guards in Tyreke Evans, but I think the major conference Tigers not coached by a weasely cheater will prevail due to their ability to dictate the tempo and get a lot of transition buckets while lacking the turnovers that are crucial to poor-shooting Memphis’s game.
UConn will take Missouri down in the Elite Eight as the Tigers’s solid bigs in DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons will face bigger and better players in Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien.
My pre-tournament favorite, I thought this was surely the year Pitt wouldn’t choke what with the second most dominant center in the tournament in DeJuan Blair, a great veteran point guard in Levance Fields, and a top-notch athletic swing in Sam Young. This would be the year they’d finally beat a team better than a six-seed, the year they’d finally advance past the Sweet Sixteen–and admittedly they obviously still have the chance–but I’ve never seen a #1 team look so lackluster in the first two rounds. Nevertheless, they should be able to slip by Xavier in a very low-scoring defensive bore-fest.
Nova/Duke will be a fascinating game as both teams play similar multi-guard, dribble-drive, kick-for-the-three offenses. Nova has the vastly superior athletes–not to mention a mid-range threat in Dante Cunningham–but Duke pays the refs, so this one has to be a toss-up. Jay Wright is one of the finest coaches in the game and should be able to get by a cryin’ and cursin’ Coach K. (By the way, any one notice Krzyzewski saying a silent prayer before Duke’s matchup with Texas? Weird. I wonder who he was praying too, I thought he already sold his soul.)
In a rematch from earlier this year cheaply played at the Spectrum so that the Wildcats would be allowed to play in Philadelphia in the first two rounds, I again think the better coached, better skilled, less grabby Nova will take out Pitt as the Panthers struggle to match them score-for-score.
I’ll be back tomorrow with my analysis of the Midwest and South regions and how embarrassing CBS’s coverage truly is.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Sierra Nevada’s first new and regular release since the company began in 1980, I was stoked to try this “extra” IPA. And it was pretty solid. Citrusy with mild hops and a thinness and smoothness which made surprised at the ABV. Drinks like a single IPA which I suppose can be a good thing. Ultimately, I found it not even as tasty as their iconic Celebration. I guess you got to admire Sierra Nevada for not trying to go “extreme” like all the other breweries are going nowadays. Unfortunately, I like extreme. I like hop bombs that numb my tongue. Still, it’s refreshing to know I can find this in most every single bodega and deli in my neighborhood so now, even in a pinch, at any hour, walking just a block or two, I will always be able to get a decent IPA.
*Save Greg Paulus.