Last year I wrote this piece about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, essentially complaining about non-fans participating in this glorious event. I saw the snobby error of my ways and decided that this year, I would instead provide a community service and write a column for you ladies who are not that into sports, but would like to know just enough to discuss the game with your significant others tonight.
Tonight is the final game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament so yes, you can let out a collective sigh of relief that your homes will no longer be filled with the near constant sound of someone trying to make balloon animals. (Cue editor suggested joke explanation: balloon animals = sneakers squeaking on the court. And I honestly have no clue if they still call them sneakers, but don’t let that diminish your faith in my sports tutoring qualifications.)
Take solace in the fact that you’ll get a short reprieve from basketball. I’m sorry to be the one to inform you, but you only have a couple of merciful weeks before everyone starts paying attention to the NBA again during their playoff season, which unfortunately feels like it lasts at least 4 or 5 lunar cycles.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a very difficult time of year for sports fans in general, and so don’t be surprised if your husband seems a bit depressed tomorrow. Sure baseball is starting, but with the exception of transient opening day excitement, most people’s interest in baseball is entirely correlated with the 4-6 games they attend each year (e.g. the mandatory team building corporate outing, a second date after you’ve passed the dinner date by not ordering anything containing quinoa or kale, or the afternoon game with your kid, which depending on the age, can quickly turn into a $200 day of sampling cotton candy, the mysteriously terrifying Dippin’ Dots, and a foam finger that you’ll end up cursing for the remainder of the year because it’s always in the way, never played with, but instantly lamented the second it finally finds its way to the dumpster).
But I digress.
The teams playing tonight feature two perennial contenders: the Kentucky Wildcats, probably best known to the casual fan as the skinnier Judd sister’s team
and the UConn Huskies, probably best known to the absolute non-fan as the YUKON Huskies. (No, I don’t think they actually play basketball in Canada.)
Your husband most certainly did not have either of these teams in his bracket so there’s another reason for a potential Tuesday morning hangover, particularly when he receives that email from his bracket manager hounding him for his entry fee that will be awarded to Marla the receptionist with magenta hair.
Coach: John Calipari best known for being a complete smarmball and for his recruitment of the nation’s best “one and done” players. In case you’re wondering what those words mean together, “one and done” refers to the number of seasons they will play for their University before leaving to play professionally for the NBA. You know, similar to the frequency of post marital foreplay techniques.
Players of Interest
Julius Randle: A top 5 NBA draft pick next year, tenacious on offensive and defense. Looks about as 19-years-old as I do.
The Harrison Twins: I know it’s been a long day with the kiddos, but you’re not seeing double…yet. Kentucky’s backcourt is made up of twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison. Backcourt means their guards – or the shortest dudes on the team (and keep in mind “shortest” is relative, we’re still talking significantly north of 6 feet). Guards are known for their outside shooting, which means they’re known for taking shots that are farther away from the basket, often “beyond the arc,” which literally means beyond the arc that you see painted on the court.
University of Connecticut
Coach: Kevin Ollie who mercifully took over for Jim Calhoun (who was basically your unlikeable crotchety old uncle) a couple of years ago.This is important because Ollie instantly increases the Huskies’ cheerability. (It’s the NCAA tournament, making up stupid words and catch phrases are ubiquitous.)
Players of Interest:
UConn also has a very strong backcourt – probably the best in this year’s tournament – made up of Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier. Shabazz who not only has the coolest name in the tournament has also arguably been the best player in the tournament this year. If he has a good game, the Huskies should take this.
My Pick to Win: The UConn – not Yukon – Huskies
This expert pick is based on several complex algorithms, which include the degree to which I don’t care for Kentucky’s coach and my bitterness towards the Wildcats for beating one of the tournament’s best mascots: Bucky the Badger, and his Wisconsin team, on whom I may or may not have bet $10 to win it all this year at 100:1 odds.
Don’t worry, we’ll cover degenerate gambling next column because we all need to be more resourceful when it comes to paying down that Nordstrom card, right?