College basketball faces fundamental crisis of identity

College basketball faces fundamental crisis of identity
March 24, 2013, 10:00 pm
Share This Post

A No. 15 seed in the Sweet Sixteen? Something's wrong with college basketball. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

So someone has killed college basketball for everyone. We just aren’t sure who yet.

It might have been the NCAA Tournament Committee, which established a new low in figuring out what makes a good team, an accurate seed, and a sensible plan for finding a champion. It’s like the 10 people in the room gut liquored up, took a big swig of gin, did a spit-take, and ranked the teams by the size of the wet spot.

It might have been all the TV and Internet wise guys, who break the tournament down to subatomic level and pretend like they know what the hell they are seeing. This time, they were given a swan, broke it down to its constituent molecules, and reassembled it as a three-legged, five-eyed donkey with gills.

It might have been all the fans who think they know what the hell they see, and found out that, like everyone else, they know nothing at all.

All I know is this: College basketball faces a fundamental crisis of identity, and nothing says it more than the fact that every pool in America will be won by either a 17-month-old baby, a dog, or Kim Jong-Un. And that, boys, girls and undecideds, is everyone's fault. Hang your heads in shame, and line up on the baseline. We're going to run for awhile.

***

Marshall Henderson's greatest regret this weekend is that he only had the two hands. Or that he didn't have greater control of his feet and longer toes. Either way, he went out in character, and his next job interview should be televised for the good of society.

***

While we’re at it, auto racing is turning into the very thing that people who hate the NBA say about the NBA. You just wait for the last two minutes, wait for the wreck, and then you get a winner.

Points to Tony Stewart and Joey Logano for going to handbags after Logano blocked Stewart on the restart late in the Your Sponsor’s Name Here Something-Hundred And Somewheresville. I mean, that’s the old-timey race-rasslin’ people say they want from NASCAR, but at this rate, we’re going to want the boys to step up their game. A midweek garage brawl, no-rules, full-tool-box fights, will fill in the dead times between Sundays, and probably do wonders for NASCAR’s indifferent TV ratings.

Sure beats Jeff Gordon’s recurring role in Downton Abbey to reach out to the grandstand, that’s fo’ sho’.

***

I’m no expert on golf (if it’s a bad thing to cheat, count me out), but I will say this: If Sergio Garcia had thrown down a couple of slugs of Pliny The Zygote before he’d climbed that tree to play that show at Bay Hill, he’d be healthy today. God does not protect golfers as a matter of course, but He/She/It will make at least a half-hindered effort to protect drunks in trees with golf clubs.

Or should.

***

And finally, here’s to Ben Howland, who, having learned that UCLA basketball coach is not a job for the satisfied, will be hired somewhere where he can say how many lessons he learned in the last few years in Westwood. Well, here’s one: Don’t recruit players based on their parents’ emotional needs. And another. Don’t recruit kids you’re not comfortable coaching. And a third: Stop looking on the sideline like you’re passing a friend’s kidney stone. I mean, people are watching, Benji. Always watching.

More Team Talk