Thursday, April 29, 2010

Run For The Roses

I am only a couple short hours away from embarking on what has become my favorite weekend of the year (which is probably about 83% due to the Derby being a truly amazing experience, and 17% because I haven't been to Vegas in...shudder, hand starts uncontrollably shaking....almost two years.)

One thing I like about the timing of the Derby is that with March Madness, The Masters, the weather being beautiful, the nationally-recognized 'Break Out Your Boobs In Public After A Long Winter' holiday, etc. etc., I don't drive myself completely insane by counting down the days for too long. Having said that, these last two or three weeks have been excruciating.

The horses I like, based entirely off of reading about 5 or 6 horse racing articles in the last couple days (which of course makes me an expert in my mind) are Jackson Bend and Super Saver. I should probably do more research and find out which horses are good mudders, because it's supposed to pour all day long on Saturday. But I probably won't, because "actual research" is not the strategy that has won money for me the last two years. (Also, if you happen to be taking bets on which horse has the best chance of collapsing and getting euthanized right there on the track, the smart money is on Devil May Care.)

As my longshot, I like Mission Impazible. I'm definitely putting money on that horse, if for no other reason than it gives me ample opportunities to drunkenly scream the Mission: Impossible theme song, and maybe even yell out Tom Cruise-related things during the race. Which, of course, is half the battle when gambling on horse racing. If I've taught you nothing else, at least remember that.

I don't have much else to say, really. My excitement clouds over everything, and I already used up my 'Red being released from Shawshank and getting ready to visit Andy Dufresne in Zihuatanejo' monologue before last year's trip. If you're bored on the interwebs today and need more cowbell, here are my stories from Derby weekend in 2008 and 2009.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lazy Dog-Dangling Afternoon

Four random thoughts while I'm courageously battling a crippling hanger on an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon:

>> The Midnight Streak is officially over. I knew I wouldn't be able to do it without assistance because I'd just lie awake and think "Do I REALLY want to end this right now?" So a couple nights ago I took some allergy medicine and knocked myself out. The last time I remember looking at the clock was 11:07. I woke up refreshed. Bergman had the best quote: "You took the greatest streak of our childhood and ruined it with drugs. Allow me to be the disappointed parent for a while."

>> A couple days ago Noles 'Rickrolled' me (which is sooooo 2007, get with it Fatcat....) with an email subject line of "Red Sox trade David Ortiz to Cubs." Now I don't want to pile on Big Papi or anything; for everything he's done over the last six years, he'll always get free pancakes at my house...but I have to admit, my knee-jerk reaction to the email was pure excitement, followed by a "Damn, the Cubs are suckers!" It's always sad to watch superstars get old....especially when they stop juicing.

>> A while back I wrote about the Billy Enforcee situation, and how hard it rocked my world because I had no idea I had been wrong for the last 16 years (SIXTEEN YEARS!!! That's how long ago Dumb & Dumber came out. Holy shit we're getting old.) Well, now it happened again, albeit on a lesser scale:

This is how you spell 'Dwyane Wade.'

DWYAne Wade. Not DWAYne Wade.

I read a lot. I also read a lot about sports. I also read A LOT about the NBA. Since I'm not a true fan of the NBA anymore, and I can't ever sit through an entire regular season game, I just watch highlights, and read about it a ton during the regular season, then jump on various bandwagons during the playoffs (Cleveland and OKC in 2010, if you're interested.)

There are a lot of reasons why James Harden is my boy: he's a lefty (like me) sports a headband (like me) and has a great old school, crafty, get-to-the-basket-without-being-quick game (also like me, I would like to think.) Pictures like this certainly don't hurt anything, either.

The point is, I have probably seen Dwyane Wade's name in print at least 1,000 times in my life. On top of that, I pride myself on being a phenomenal speller. Spell check is for pussies. And it pains me that I have been spelling 'Dwyane Wade' wrong for years now, like some oblivious asshole. Apparently this was common knowledge, too. How had I never heard about this?

>> Question of the day: You have the option to go back in time for one purpose: to change a historical event, presumably in a positive way. The key word being presumably. Part of the deal is that you have no idea how the world will turn out afterwards.

For example, you could go back and assassinate Hitler in, say, 1933, with no personal risk to yourself (you will return, unscathed, back to present time immediately after your task is complete.) So you think you just nipped the Nazi regime in the bud, prevented World War II, and saved millions and millions of lives. However, there is no guarantee on what happens next. Maybe a different German revolutionary emerges, and is even worse then Hitler, only this time the Russians side with him, and maybe we get a couple A-bombs dropped on us, and America is now a Communist country. Or, going the other way, maybe the assassination of Hitler leads to a peace agreement that ends all wars forever, a peace that is still enjoyed to this day, creating an almost eutopian world. Anything and everything is in play here. So basically, would you willingly alter what the present is like in order to positively affect the past?

Now, back to my regularly scheduled hangover.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


13 years. 156 months. 676 weeks. 4,745 days (give or take a couple, I still don't really know how leap year works.)

That is how long it has been since I fell asleep before midnight (April 19, 1997.) What started out as a result of the Flood of '97 and the 11:05 pm episodes of The Simpsons, turned into my regular sleeping habit, briefly became one of my lifestyle choices (freshman year of college, I started getting all Aristotle-like and philosophizing along the lines of "going to sleep before midnight is like quitting on a day before it's over"- really, it was just an excuse to justify to Paul my refusal to turn down the music and turn the lights off in our dorm room until midnight.....and before you hop on your 'Jump to Conclusions' mat and decide that I was a bad roommate, read this.) Then somewhere along the way, maybe around five or six years ago, it turned into a stupid prideful streak that only I cared about. And if there's one thing I love, it's a good meaningless streak.

A couple years ago, basically once I started my big kids' job and couldn't sleep in until 11 on a random Wednesday anymore, was when the Streak began to get slightly uncomfortable from time to time. Until then, I really didn't ever have the urge to go to sleep early, besides the random Springfest/tubing/March Madness/day where we started aggressively drinking before 10 in the morning and were hammersmithed by 7 pm. Since them there have been a few close calls, especially during the exhausting tax seasons. Days like the Kentucky Derby became an exercise in mental toughness. I remember I had my first Danny Glover-in-Lethal Weapon-"I'm too old for this shit" moment at last year's Derby, when after two days and three nights of heavy drinking, everyone was crashing out on Saturday night, it was about 11:15 pm, and I was sitting awake on Schne's blow-up air mattress in the dark, literally counting down the minutes until I could let myself pass out. And all for what? Long, long ago, I passed the point where anyone cares about this streak besides me.

Here were my main concerns about breaking the Streak and going to bed early:

1. The Streak itself.
2. Not having as much time "to do me", i.e. fulfilling my multiple hobbies, almost all of which involve a Sega Genesis, listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack with the lights off, and Google images of Selena Gomez.
3. Hopping off the chair lift and starting down the slippery slope of going to bed early, which if nearly all my friends are accurate barometers, quickly leads to going to bed earlier and earlier as time goes on. The Streak was my way of delaying the beginning of that slide.

But I've reached the point where those concerns have been mitigated somewhat:

1. Nobody cares but me. It's not like I'm Cal Ripken Jr., and I'm gonna be getting a ceremony for my accomplishment. And even he sat out a game, eventually.

Although my biggest regret through all of this is that I didn't start some huge wall banner like the Orioles did for Ripken's consecutive games streak. How great would this have looked on the side of Culligan? That is, until some boozehound came stumbling out of Charlie Brown's at 4 pm after 26 Busch Light drafts (a steal at 85 cents/glass during their eight-hour-long Happy Hour!) and tore it off the building.

2. Admittedly still a little bit of a concern. Maybe I'll have to start multi-tasking, like playing NBA Live '95 while listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and just googling pictures of Selena Gomez while I'm driving or something.

3. Simply put, I'm not going to let this happen. I think if I'm mentally tough enough to not go to sleep before midnight for half of my life so far, I think I can keep myself from going to bed at 10 pm every night. I'll still spend the majority of my nights staying up late; I'll just be able to have some other nights where I can catch up on sleep now.

An important clarification (or really, really unimportant, depending on your point of view) here: I'm not saying I'm gonna break the Streak tonight. I'm just saying I'm finally ready to. The next time it's 10:30 pm and I feel a little bit tired, I'm going to bed. It may happen tonight, after pickup basketball tires me out. A prime opportunity may be next weekend at the Derby, when a weekend of mint juleps, beer, multiple tins of chew, a cigar or two, and a bunch of Mexican food leaves me feeling a little Eight Belles. However it happens is unimportant. The point is, it's happening soon.

Good night and God bless.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jim Nantz And Me

I've always been a huge fan of Jim Nantz. I love how he starts every telecast with "Hello friends....." I love how he turns every event he covers into the sappiest event in the world. He just blankets The Masters with a batch of sweet sugary announcing syrup, to the point that even Alex once called it "kind of gay." I prefer to look at it as "a tradition unlike any other."

And I especially love his cheesy one-liners as the final seconds are ticking off the clock, or as the putt drops in the 18th hole on Sunday. Did anyone hear Nantz on the Simmons podcast last week, when he claimed that he rarely, if ever, comes up with those one-liners in advance? That was a lie on par with Bill Clinton claiming he never had relations with Monica Lewinsky. Take a look at some of these little gems and tell me they were spur of the moment cliches:

"You gotta believe, folks, because just when everyone says you can't, you can, and UCONN has won the national championship!"

"It started in March, ended in April, and belonged to May!"

"Y.E. Yes!!! Y.E. Yang has won the PGA Championship!"

Unbelievable. I mean, Nantz is the one who inspired the perpetually cranky Billy Packer to deliver the "Simon says: Championship" line in 1997, maybe the best one of all. Don't disrespect us like that, Jimmy.

All blatant lies aside, Jim Nantz is my boy. But things took an interesting turn last night, when I bolted upright in bed at about 4 am, being awoken by a dream where I was the nanny for Jim Nantz and his family. That's right, the nanny. I think I've been spending too much time peeping elementary school playgrounds again. And the dream was getting intense, to the point where after I woke up, I was depressed for like 10 minutes once I realized it wasn't real. In the dream, I had been thoroughly enjoying the daily in-depth sports conversations Jimbo and I had been having, as well as the free tickets to the Masters, Final Four, and Super Bowl.

So now I'm back to living my life as a regular person. I can only hope that one day I meet Nantz, and he greets me with a "The dream is still would you like to be our nanny?" Or maybe drops a "A house with two Jim's, a win for the family!" What about "You may not have any experience, but I'm gonna go out on a Jim here, and hire you to be our nanny!"

Those all sucked, but you get the idea.

Also, why do all my weirdest dreams happen on Sunday night? Most of them end up like this, and then I struggle to sleep the rest the night. Monday mornings are bad enough as it is without being depressed about not being the caretaker of the Nantz family.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Search For A Superstar

Question of the day (it's been too long since we've had one of these):

If you had to go on American Idol and do as good a job as you could, what song would you sing?

The reason I specified American Idol is because I want to be specific on your performance here. This isn't just 'what song you would sing in front of a large group of people?' This isn't gonna be a karaoke night where you get up there with all your girlfriends after doing a combined 32 kamikaze shots and you all crowd around the microphone and screech out 'I Will Survive' while giggling and twirling around in your neon-colored feather boas that you just bought at the thrift store before you climbed on the party bus. You're up there by yourself, and you're sober.

Nor are you going for the William Hung factor, where you just climb onstage and make an ass out of yourself, and then instantly become famous because our country is fucked up sometimes. This is expected to be a decent performance.

So, what song would you sing if you were on American Idol, being watched by millions, and trying to do as good of a job as you could? Say, a million dollar bonus for advancing to the next round?

Some of my honorable mentions:

- 'Fire and Desire' by Rick James. Really, just for the opportunity to yell out "You as cold as ice!" on national TV- and also, any song with spoken-word narratives interspersed with actual verses and choruses is awesome in my book. Had to be eliminated because duets aren't allowed, and because I couldn't hit 70% of the notes that The Baddest Motherfucker Of All Time hits during this song. Hold my drink, bitch. It's a celebration. (Note: the 'not being able to hit even half of the notes' factor eliminated a LOT of Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder songs that otherwise would've been in consideration here.)

- 'Mmmmmm' by The Crash Test Dummies. Because this song is amazingly fun to sing along to, almost too much fun. It's like a mix of early-morning-and-I-drank-about-six-too-many-White Russians-last-night voice, combined with Weisser's award-winning Creed impersonation, combined with a slight touch of Kevin Costner's brutal accent when he tries to play somebody from Boston. Eliminated because like I mentioned above, no gimmicks. Even if you nailed the shit out of this song, you're not getting a good score from the judges because of what this song is. (Not that I agree with the bad rep- the instruments in this song are wonderful, and if the chorus wasn't such an abortion, maybe this band wouldn't have become such a joke and would've had some staying power and I could be singing this song in my theoretical episode of American Idol. Also, I can't hear this song without hearing Lloyd Christmas yelling "Well pardon me, Mr. PERFECT!!! I guess I forgot you never make a mistake!" But alas.)

- 'Whoomp! There It Is' by Tag Team . Because I can rap along to this song in my sleep. I may not be better than Steve Roll'n, but I'm at least on his level. Eliminated because like I said, this isn't karaoke, I'm not gonna be 17 beers deep, and because I know the words a little too well, if there is such a thing. During one spring break, Paul and I performed this song in downtown Indianapolis, and I got a little caught up in the lyrics and dropped the n-bomb. I was aware of my slip-up, but like any great entertainer, soldiered on with my performance. After we were coming off the 'stage', a group of thuggish looking black guys were waiting to greet us, and before I had a chance to run my ass off in the other direction, they enveloped Paul and I in a giant group hug and told us it was one of the greatest things they'd ever seen. It was heart-stoppingly lucky, especially a couple hours later, when we heard from some locals that this particular establishment had just re-opened after having been closed following a shooting.

(Side note: the video for that song is absolutely fantastic. It captures 1993 perfectly. Throw this video in one of those time capsules, along with some episodes of Saved by the Bell, and maybe Mortal Kombat or something, and you'd be all set. For most of my life, black people have always provided me with my own personal standards for what is cool....and even I have to say that 1991-1994 wasn't exactly a high-water mark for black-person-coolness. OK the pilot just turned on the 'no rambling' sign. Moving on.)

- 'Fool in the Rain' by Led Zeppelin. Because it's my favorite song of all time; so as a result, I could remember all the words no matter how nervous I was. Also, I feel like I'm hitting most of these notes as well as I can, considering I have a shitty singing voice. However, that may just be because I have the song playing so loud I can never hear myself clearly. It's anyone's guess, really. The only reason I had to eliminate it is because of the looong instrumental break in the middle. I have no idea what I'd do onstage during that time, besides play the air drums and try to hit on Kara DioGuardi. Poses a problem.

- So my winner became 'Train in Vain' by The Clash. It's quick, it's easy, it's awesome, and it's my #1 most-played song on itunes, so remembering the words won't be a problem.

So put yourself on that stage with Ryan Seacrest. What song are you singing?

Monday, April 12, 2010

...While Tiger Manages A 69 Through All Of This

>> Just so everybody is aware of it ahead of time, if writing about how excited I am to cheer for Tiger results in Phil winning the tournament in spectacular fashion....get ready for a Tiger post before every major tournament for the rest of Phil's career. Expect the next one in mid-June. What a great Masters this year- the only way that leaderboard could've been any sexier is if Selena Gomez would've put up a 67-65 on the weekend. I can't remember a Masters with so many great shots from so many great golfers. Plus, on a personal note, I needed this, after sitting through championships from North Carolina, the Lakers, Yankees, and Duke the last year-plus. Attaboy Phil.

>> This past weekend, the Red Sox were in Kansas City, and so I was wearing some Sox gear while out on the town on Friday night. I ended up running into not one, but TWO girls in their mid-twenties who were extremely knowledgable Sox fans; it was incredibly bizarre.

Girl 1 was probably the most knowledgable female baseball fan I've ever talked to in my life. There wasn't a single topic I threw at her that was over her head- we discussed everything from "Jonathan Papelbon's reluctance to throw his split-finger in big spots is ruining his effectiveness as a closer" to "Mike Lowell left more years and more money on the table when he re-signed with Boston in 2007, and the Sox have done nothing but try and get rid of him since." It was an eye-opening 20 minutes, I'll say that much. Unfortunately, I had to cut the convo short, since I was supposed to be playing wingman, and this girl looked like Charlyne Yi, only with a liiiiiittle bit of an acne problem. (Before the girls jump all over me for being a dick, please understand that as a wingman, you have to respect the wishes of your pilot, and my pilot wasn't interested in being introduced to the girl who played Martin Starr's stoner girlfriend in Knocked Up. Personally, I would've sat there all night chitchatting with the Asian female version of Peter Gammons, but Maverick was telling me we were going to another bar, and Goose had to listen.)

Girl 2 was born and raised in Connecticut, so she knew a lot about the history of the Sox, and could hold a pretty decent baseball conversation, though not nearly as well as Girl 1. Plus, every few minutes, she would remind me that she was, in fact, a 25-year-old girl, and not some grizzled 57-year-old with season tickets at Fenway. On one hand, she was smart enough that I was comfortable enough in telling her that "Marco Scutaro only signed a 2-year contract because he's just holding down the fort, and remember the name Jose Iglesias, he's gonna be the starting shortstop within the next few years" and I still had confidence that she would know what I was talking about. On the other hand, her response was to squeal "Oooooooh! That won't be hard, it's just like Enrique Iglesias!" So it was an interesting dichotomy. However you look at it, it was a weird night, meeting two diehard female Red Sox fans in Lawrence, Kansas within three hours of each other.

>> The latest song in my life that has crawled into my brain and won't leave until I listen to it on repeat for at least 20-30 minutes per day for a week: 'Warm Heart of Africa' by The Very Best, also featuring my boy Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend (and that is the first and probably last time you'll hear me use the words 'my boy' when describing someone who hasn't worn a pair of non-skinny jeans in his life.) Just a fantastic song. Since I indirectly discovered the song from the show Community (did you know that the black guy from that show, Donald Glover, takes indie pop songs and raps over them on the internet? Me neither) it immediately becomes the second-best thing from that show to positively influence my life.

Number one being Alison Brie, obviously. Holler.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Let's Go Tiger! (Huge, Quickly.)

Quick disclaimer: I am, always have been, and always will be a Phil Mickelson guy. Even in the years before I golfed, when I thought it was a boring sport and only watched it with my dad because it has always been tough for me to take naps, and a half hour of golf on TV when I was 11 years old was the equivalent of mainlining a bottle of Sudafed....I still enjoyed that Mickelson guy. Now, 18 years, a couple of majors, a decent pair of man-boobs, and WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HAIR later, Phil is my third favorite sports 'figure', behind only the Jayhawks and the Red Sox. So everything I'm about to write about goes out the window if Tiger and Phil are in the final grouping on Sunday afternoon, tied for the Masters lead.

I am cheering for Tiger Woods this weekend. Also, for the first time ever, I've hitched my gambling wagon onto the Tiger train, and I feel good about it. I want Tiger to romp the field, 1997-style. And I want him to do it in the most badass way possible. I want him to bury a 15-footer on #18 on Sunday when he's already up eight strokes, and then instead of giving his trademark uppercut fist pump, I want him to just stroll right off the course, maybe even with a middle finger in the air. I can't remember who said this the other day; it might have been Schneweis, or maybe it was Schneweis quoting a radio show, or it might have been someone else altogether at dinner that night (alcohol's a hell of a drug.) But anyway, someone made the comment that Tiger should just pull a Hulk Hogan circa 1996, when he dropped the Hulkamania, kids-take-your-vitamins, All-American role model image, dyed his beard, joined the nWo, and became an all-out bad guy. Everyone already hates Tiger now, he should just embrace it and live it.

Now I'm not condoning what Tiger did, you shouldn't cheat on your wife and ruin your family, blah blah blah.....but don't make Tiger the biggest villain since Hitler here. He's only doing what the vast, vast majority of professional athletes do. He just got caught, and he got caught in a bad way. Yes, what he did is indefensible; but really, you could make the case that he's just a victim of 1) today's obsessive 24-hour-a-day media, and 2) having a wife who cared enough to get pissed and chase after him with a golf club. You don't think Michael Jordan was banging everything that moved during (and after) his playing career? His wife just let it slide, since she was on the way out anyway, and knew she'd get $150 million in the divorce settlement. Two tidbits about MJ that I'm going to drop to make myself feel cool, and disguise them as relevant to the topic at hand:

1. Back when Ol' Roy was still the coach at KU, he used to have golf tournaments at the course I work at now, and when Jordan came to play in it the first time (North Carolina connections and all) and after being told how much the round was going to cost him, he replied: "Fuck it. I'll just take a membership." So even though he hasn't been back in like nine years, he's still technically a member at my course.

2. As a result of these annual excursions to Lawrence, he met a girl, the sister of a buddy of mine down here, and they became fuck buddies. I find the fact that I'm only one person removed from somebody who's banged the greatest basketball player of all time (multiple times, no less!) intensely cool. It makes my torrid affair with Rebecca Lobo seem tiny in comparison.

So ANYWAY, a million professional athletes pull the same kind of shenanigans that Tiger did, so I don't think that Tiger should have been relentlessly crucified for the last four months (and counting.) But since that did happen, and now that he's the bad guy, I think I can finally like him. Tiger has always been kinda OK in my book; some of his commercials are kinda funny (the one where he does his Bill Murray in Caddyshack impression) or heartwarming (the one where they show a bunch of clips of Tiger with his late father, with the song 'This Will Be Our Year' playing in the background) and every once in a while, he lets us see how much of a badass he is (after Stephen Ames trash-talked him before a match, Tiger tore him apart on the course, then responded to virtually every question in the press conference with the final score "9 and 8.")

So even though he was making things tough for my boy Phil, I've never quite hated him like I've hated most of the other incredibly dominant athletes of our generation.....Jordan, Sampras, A-Rod, Kobe, Manning, and Henry Rowengartner all come to mind.

What a dick.

But that begrudging respect was more of an appreciation for the history I was watching, rather than a true enjoyment of Tiger Woods- kinda like the round of Golden Tee I had a couple weeks ago, where I was on my way to shooting a course record -18, but one of my playing partners, the co-worker of a buddy of mine, was busy shooting a -25 at the same time. -25!!! I'm not even mad, that's amazing.

Well now I'm actually cheering for Tiger. And after 18 holes of the experience, I've gotta say it's pretty awesome. Keep being the bad guy, Tiger.

P.S. this new Nike commercial is fucking phenomenal. The disembodied voice of (Tiger's late father) Earl Woods asking Tiger if he learned anything? Did somebody order extra goosebumps?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tax Season

I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010 All-Ugly Team

After a down year in 2009 (BJ Mullens starting was kind of a joke) the All-Ugly Team is back with a vengeance this year. I was going to make this year's coach Fran Dunphy, in honor of that gorgeous pushbroom mustache....but I think I'll stick with John Calipari and his hideously ugly personality.

(There is one honorable mention this year: Stanley Robinson of UCONN. At the beginning of the year, when he had those dirty-ass, slightly balding, prison-style cornrows that made him look like a 37-year-old gangbanger doing three-to-five for a B&E, he was solidly on the team. Then he got a midseason respectable haircut, and as a result he just misses out. Shades of Deron Washington cutting his shitrows in 2008 and costing himself a starting spot on the squad.)

Lucas O'Rear, UNI: takes the 12th spot in Robinson's absence, only beating out Steven Pearl because Pearl looks juuuust enough like Shia Lebouf to get him off the hook. O'Rear has the scraggly mop of an irishman, and the sideburns of a 90210 character if they were just released from a three-month-long hostage situation.

Curtis Kelly, Kansas St.: as Lieutenant Dan told Bubba, "You better tuck that thing in before you get it caught on a trip wire."

J'Covan Brown, Texas: I'm excited for the potential of Brown and his pug-face over the next few years. I hope they caught the guy who gave Brown's face a hit-and-run shoveling.

Jordan Eglseder, UNI: He was a lock for the team. And THEN he shaved his head. You gotta give him props for being the greatest seven-footer in UNI's long and storied history of seven-footers, though.

Andy Rautins, Syracuse: I would pay upwards of $400 to punch him in the face, just once. He flew under the radar a little bit since he went to the 'Cuse, but don't get it twisted: if he played for Duke he'd almost be as nationally hated as JJ Redick was a few years back.

Corey Fisher, Villanova: the rare case of an All-Ugly upperclassman getting benched after previously being a starter. Hey, it happened to Greg Paulus in actual basketball, and if Coach K can do it, so can I.

Ryan Evans, Wisconsin: now THAT, my friends, is an NBA Live '95 flat-top. Patrick Ewing, Robert Horry, Derrick McKey, Detlef Schrempf, and Elden Campbell would be proud.

The starting five:

Kyle Singler, Duke. I could pretty much cut and paste my paragraph on him from last year. Personally, I think he's only bench-worthy in ugliness. But a few dozen people a week find this blog by googling Kyle Singler ugly, so I'll let him be the people's choice in the starting five.

Alex Tyus, Florida. There comes a point in every man's life where you just gotta look in the mirror and say to yourself, "You know what? I don't think I have the hairline to pull off dreds anymore."

James 'Big Lumber' Eayrs, Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Two cool facts about Big Lumber: he used to attend the North Dakota College of Science in Wahpeton; and he jacks up a ridiculous number of three pointers, which is totally natural for a 6'7'', 340-pounder. The picture above actually subtracts a few pounds. He is normally much fatter, and between the yellow jerseys and #55, there is an obvious comparison here......

Obligatory. Teen Wolf, dude.

Deniz Kilici, West Virginia. A prime example of why I wait until the tournament to finalize the All-Ugly Team. I hadn't even heard of this guy until he checked in against Washington in the Sweet 16, and I promptly spent the next three minutes watching nobody else. The way he runs around the court giving 200% effort at all times, elbows swinging, body swelling with pride after every made basket, rebound, or assist......I haven't had so much fun watching someone on a basketball court since I used to help coach Brother's YBL team when they were in elementary school, and this kid Chisholm wouldn't say a word, unless it was in a Beavis from Beavis & Butthead voice. He was a dominant player for a 5th grader, but nobody could take him seriously because instead of saying "I'm open" like most 11-year-olds, he would make a noise that sounded like Beavis yawning, loud at the beginning and then tapering off. I'm babbling. Anyways, keep an eye on The Big Turk during the Duke game on Saturday. He's an enjoyable watch.

Bryan Davis, Texas A&M. One of my all-time favorite players in the history of the All-Ugly Team. He's a four-year member, and returning captain from the 2009 team. After he graduates this year, we will struggle next year to fill the leadership void, as well as the void of looking like a brontosaurus. I feel like Roy Williams on Senior Night right now, so I'm gonna cut this short before I get too emotional. All best in your future endeavors, Bryan.

There is one more farewell due to graduation this year, that of Duke guard Jon Scheyer. We always play the "what athlete reminds us of our friends" game, but never have we had someone so closely resemble one of our crew. The first time I saw Scheyer shoot free throws, I almost spit beer out my nose, it was so uncanny.

You may not be on the All-Ugly Team, Jon Scheyer, but I'm sure glad I don't look like you.