Alright, settle down. Have a seat, take a five. Can we just take a five, please? Put your feet up for a while and relax. Especially you, Kobe. You’ve had more than enough to last you a lifetime. Now that the NBA’s regular season has drawn to a close, we all have a moment to catch our collective breath and reflect on what has just happened, which: what has just happened?
The Golden State Warriors have reset our perceptions of what basketball is and what can be accomplished within its strict confines. In particular, Steph Curry has been a supernova among supernovas; along with seemingly every other forum featuring a human being, a pair of eyes, a computer and a relative understanding of the game of basketball, we have covered them both extensively here already. The single most emblematic action this team routinely commits is the very play setting the standard for the league as it is now, the three-point shot.
College basketball has become an Etch-A-Sketch. Each year, as the season progresses, an elaborate drawing forms. Star players emerge, storylines form, Cinderella crashes the ball, and by the end, we’re left with an ornate image to remember the season by. But the moment the season ends, the slate is wiped clean, because any player using half of what he learned in his introductory business classes is packing his bags and heading straight to the NBA Draft. The next season, we learn the names of a new crop of freshman, the names of tomorrow’s lottery picks, and the cycle repeats itself, with a brand new drawing.
For every great office, there is an office pool come March. A test of brute strength, statistical analysis and, more than anything else, a test of pure luck. At its most, college basketball is thrilling and heartbreaking, and college basketball pools are both of those emotions taken to extremes. Here now is the 2014 Tuesdays With Horry NCAA Tournament bracket pool.
“Revenge is like serving cold cuts.” – Tony Soprano
An editor at Tuesdays with Horry reported to me a few weeks ago that University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was spotted at a Dunkin Donuts in the Big Apple. Unless Calipari was hammering out a point-shaving deal with the Five Families (not unheard of in UK basketball history, and not above the suspicion of the editor who told me about the Cal sighting), his squad this year promises to be nearly unstoppable. The problem with UK’s team last year was that, with the exception of Kyle Wiltjer (who has since transferred to Gonzaga), the team was a mix of highly touted but underperforming freshmen. While people claim that such is always the risk with Cal’s rip-and-run, one-and-done recruiting philosophy, they fail to realize that last year was the first where Cal had to deal almost exclusively with freshmen: the three previous teams had veterans like Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller to provide some level of cohesion amid a sea of talent. No one would seriously argue that Willie Cauley-Stein is Patrick Patterson, but we’ll take the former when we have a historically talented recruiting class coming in, even without Andrew Wiggins. The SEC and the country as a whole is on notice: UK is coming for revenge, and I don’t anticipate it being pretty.