Thursday, March 28, 2013

Elliott Here, I'm Ready To Play!

I can't pretend that my mind isn't anywhere besides the tip-off at 6:37 tomorrow evening, so I'm not going to try to blog otherwise.  I hate the four days in-between the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16, when all you can do is freak out about the upcoming matchup, but yet you're expected to go to work and be a functioning member of society?  It's bogus.  I'm sitting here on my lunch break watching last year's KU/Carolina Elite 8 game on youtube for good luck, and getting ripped on by the ladies in the office.  What do you want from me.

I've been wondering if KU's game vs. Michigan isn't a little bit of "Be careful what you wish for."  Before the tournament, I was deathly afraid of what VCU's press could do to KU.  As a result, I was a huuuuge Michigan fan while I was watching their second-round matchup.  But then as the game went on, and the Wolverines kept on absolutely drilling VCU, I was starting to wonder how badly I should want KU to play them.  This is, after all, a Michigan team that was ranked in the top 5 most of the season, and only a couple of really tough Big 10 losses at the end of the year dropped them to a #4 seed.  So now, predictably, I'm scared to play Michigan.  I don't know, maybe I should just quit thinking I'm going to be anything but terrified this time of year.  KU could win the title five years in a row, winning every game by a 20-point margin, and I'd still sit here going "I dunno, KU usually struggles in dome games, plus I don't think the style that Central Connecticut State plays is a great match-up for KU.  We could have a battle on our hands."

Whatever.  It's March.

Also, my gambling tip of the day:  remember to bet on Arizona, they're covering like gangbusters lately, and even when they don't cover, it's worth it just to spend 2 hours yelling "W!  I!  L!  D!   CATS!....W!  I!  L!  D!   WILDCATS!"  You can't put a price on that type of fun.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Bracket Thoughts In Nine Minutes Or Less

Had to fire this off quick, just to go on the record:


Louisville- I like their defensive ability, and it's easy to look good running a suffocating full-court press when they're up 20, but I don't like how many close games they blew in the regular season.  Who takes their last shot?  Their lack of poise will come back to haunt them somewhere before the Final Four.  (Important disclaimer:  I hope I'm wrong on the 'Ville.  Due to preseason bets and things of that nature, I stand to make some money if Louisville goes all the way.)

New Mexico- It never works out well for Mountain West teams that receive surprisingly high seeds.  Plus no team with Hermes the Elf Dentist running the point is going far in the NCAA tournament.

SYRACUSE- They're ripe for an upset.  Montana shoots the three ball well (which is bad news for 'Cuse's 2-3 zone), and Jim Boeheim might as well be a library book, he's so checked out right now.

KU- We'll cover this later.


UNLV- They underachieved all year, but they've got some studs and can score with anyone.  They can't play defense, but that isn't a big a concern with their matchups.  I've got them going to the Sweet 16 and losing to Indiana in a shootout.

Davidson- They've won 17 in a row, and are definitely under-seeded as a 14.  Heads up, Marquette. 

Arizona- Too many people are ignoring how well they played early on in the year.  Their guard play is outstanding, which is always a key in March.


Pittsburgh over Gonzaga, North Carolina over KU, St. Louis over Louisville, Arizona over Ohio St., Oregon over Oklahoma St.


Montana over Syracuse, Davidson over Marquette, VCU over KU, Wisconsin over Gonzaga (What?  Wisconsin?)


Anything involving Wisconsin.  I've made plenty of money over the years betting against them in the tournament; for some reason I feel different about them this year.  Let's hope it doesn't turn out like the Super Bowl National Anthem, where I bet the under for the first time in my whole life, and then the over got crushed by an entire minute.


I like figuring out this team somewhere during the season; it's incredibly helpful for gambling purposes.  Last year it was Kentucky, the year before it was KU, the year before that, Syracuse.  This year, it's Indiana.  It doesn't necessarily mean they'll win it all, but if they play their perfect game, it doesn't matter what the other team does-- it won't be enough.


So you may have noticed that I picked KU to lose to VCU.  I don't have a lot of confidence of KU coming out of their region.  If they were in the West, I'd probably pick them to go Final Four, but that South region has too many minefields.  Carolina, VCU, Michigan, Florida, Georgetown....yikes.  I started out the year thinking the season would be a success if KU made the Sweet 16.  Then they started rolling solid teams by 30 and 40 points in December, then won at Ohio St., then started off the Big 12 7-0, and the ceiling was removed.  It could be a championship year.  But then came the three-game losing streak, including the disastrous TCU game, and I saw what the Jayhawk's basement was.  And it ain't pretty.  They righted the ship, and looked impressive in the Big 12 tournament....but I can't erase how badly they bottomed out.  I can't watch a team play that bad and pick them go to Atlanta coming out of that tough of a region.  Plus VCU's havoc defense is not a good set-up for KU and their spotty point guard play, not to mention all the residual feelings from the 2011 Elite 8 game.  Is it weird that I'm more scared of VCU than I would be against Duke, or Gonzaga, or Miami, or any number of high seeds?  I wouldn't be shocked if  KU makes it to the Final Four, but I'd be pleasantly surprised.  I never expected this year's team to be a 1 seed (again).  Either way, it's already been an incredibly fun year.  I've thoroughly enjoyed this year's squad.


Louisville vs. Duke, Wisconsin vs. Ohio St. (I haven't even finished typing this sentence and I already regret that pick), VCU vs. Florida, Indiana vs. Miami.


Duke, Ohio St., Florida, Indiana


Indiana over Duke

Enjoy the best weekend of the year and Rock Chalk.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Laid Plans....

Everyone knows that things rarely go as planned.  But last weekend, while up in Grand Forks and Thief River Falls for Russell's wedding, was a prime example of NOTHING going as I had it worked out in my head.  For example:

-Internal monologue:  Hey, there's a big screen TV not being used on that wall in the bar, I can watch the KU game tonight after all!  It's not like there's a UND hockey game starting in half an hour, and it's not like as soon as people realize the TV is turned on, they'll immediately go request that we watch the UND hockey game instead, and even though they wouldn't have known to ask about the TV without me, I'll have absolutely no recourse, because I'll be outvoted 20-1?  That would be rude, right?  Right?!?!

What happened in reality:  NOW I remember why I moved to Kansas in the first place.

-Internal monologue:  Mixing cheap whiskey with room-temperature orange powerade could taste OK....I'mma go ahead and mix up a few of them and pass them around the table, this will be sweet!

What happened in reality:  About what you'd think would happen when you mix those two together.

-Internal monologue:  Hey, if we start taking groomsman pictures in the morning, and the photgrapher asks us to crack some beers and pretend like we're shooting pool....after we finish up, and we're waiting for the girls to finish getting ready before the real wedding party photo session, we'll be responsible enough to just sit and wait patiently, right?  We're grown-ass men.

What happened in reality:  The one beer we were supposed to drink for the photos turned into us going back to our rooms and grabbing a case, sitting around a poolside table in the hotel, and busting out a bunch of quarters and playing a drinking game.  It took much longer than expected for the girls to be ready, so by the time we were ready to leave to go take our actual photos, most of us were half in the bag.  I'm sure my smile looks ridiculous in our pictures, because my #1 priority was to not pee my pants, since I had already broken the seal before we started, and I had to pee every 18 minutes or so-- we call that the Noland Plan.  (My #2 priority during pictures was to avoid frostbite, since it was 0 degrees and windy outside.  This won't be the last time I say this in this post:  the upper midwest sucks.)

-Internal monologue:  Any minute now, everybody in this god-forsaken hotel room will stop snoring, and I'll actually fall asleep.

What happened in reality:  Maybe the worst night of my life?  I officially laid my head down and tried to start sleeping at 3am.  Easy E, who knows he has a snoring problem, was considerate enough to stay awake for an extra half an hour, to give all of us a chance to pass out before he starting cutting wood (he made it 15 minutes before passing out, sitting upright and watching SportsCenter with a beer in his hand).  And that plan was a success...for everyone except for me.  For awhile, I could've sworn everyone was fucking with me.  As soon as Easy E would stop snoring, Fundy would start.  Then he'd drift off, right as Katie was firing up her chainsaw.  And it would just rotate around and around.  Sometimes there were multiple people snoring at once, but never was it completely silent for more than 30 seconds.  And during every one of those 30-second windows, I would get my hopes up that everyone was really done for awhile, and I'd be able to fall asleep.  As the hours ticked by, and 4am became 5am became 6am, I gradually lost hope.  I wish that there would've been a Paranormal Activity-style camera set up in our room, because it would've been entertaining to watch me all night.  I alternated between rolling over and punching Fundy in the arm, to stretching to the other bed to shake the shit out of Easy E, to walking over to the cot and gently moving Alfsonso and Katie (I couldn't hit a girl) to walking around the room looking like this.... opening up the fridge and debating whether or not to just say fuck it and crack a beer, to just sitting upright in bed, staring at nothing, thinking about how much I hated my life at that particular moment.  That night was a pretty low point.  I finally drifted off sometime around 7....and we were all awake by 8.

-Internal monologue:  I'm going to split up the drive back to Kansas, so instead of 11 hours of a hungover nightmare, I can leisurely drive to Minneapolis, watch the Selection Show, visit LZE and relax, then wake up the next morning and cruise the rest the way home.

What happened in reality:  Because it's the upper midwest and everything sucks, a blizzard was rapidly bearing down on Minneapolis Sunday night, so I had to make a snap decision to get back in my car at 11pm and pull an all-nighter to avoid the storm.  So I slept for 2-3 hours on Friday night, 1 hour on Saturday night (both due to the aforementioned snoring) drove 5 hours, chilled out and got an hour nap, then didn't go to bed again until 6 in the morning.  AWESOME.

-Internal monologue:  KU won't get matched up with a terrifying 8/9 matchup in their bracket again, right?

What happened in reality:  Yes.  Yes they will.  Even if you set aside all the "Once again, we have to play Roy Williams in the tournament" drama, North Carolina should've been a 6 seed at worst.  The last time KU caught a brutally under-seeded team in the second round, and made me punch some furniture as it was announced during the Selection Show, it was Northern Iowa in 2010.....and we all know how that turned out.  The committee loves two things:  to give KU a terrible 8/9 matchup when they're a 1 seed, and to give them the possibility of going up against Ol' Roy.

-Internal monologue:  Russell's daughter Sienna won't be a wild card when she's onstage at the wedding, will she?

What happened in reality:  She watched all the bridesmaids in front of her slightly hike up their dresses to go up the stairs, so she figured she would hike hers up to her chest.  When that got some laughs of encouragement from the crowd, you knew there was an encore performance coming, and it resulted in some of the best pictures of the whole day.  Congrats Russell & Angie!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lousy Smarch Weddings

March weddings and I are not amigos.  Back in 2007, I missed the Final Four because of a wedding, and I still haven't completely gotten over it.  It's tough to fully commit to the Electric Slide mentally when you know that somewhere March Madness is going on, right that very moment, without you.

When Russell first told me his wedding date, the best I could do at pretending to be excited was to let out a "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!"  I was pretty much inconsolable for a couple days, until I realized that March Madness was starting a bit late this year, and didn't officially begin until the following weekend, so it was only the conference tournaments that I would be missing.  I can live with that.  Russell is just lucky his wedding wasn't scheduled one week later, during the Big Dance (and I'm not talking about The Macarena).  Actually, I'm the lucky one, since I don't have to come up with an awkward excuse to skip his wedding that isn't "I'm going to be watching basketball for 12-13 hours a day, for four consecutive days, just like I've done basically every year for the last twenty-four years.....soooo I'm probably not gonna be able to make it.  You can find another groomsman, right?  Hey, by the way, congrats!"

So anyway, I'm headed up to northern Minnesota to celebrate the blessed union of Russell and Angie.  At least I won't be missing 75 degree weather in Kansas while I'm gone.  Oh wait.

(Seriously though, I am excited for this wedding.)

((Also seriously, though, if this wedding was happening during the NCAA tournament.....))


You know it's officially March when Bill Self has been prominently involved in my dreams three out of the last four nights.  Don't worry, they weren't sex dreams (not that there's anything wrong with that).  We just enjoyed a nice round of golf at Ray Richard's in one of them, went off-roading in his Range Rover in another (that was by far the weirdest one) and argued over which movie was better, Aladdin or The Lion King (no, seriously, the Range Rover dream was weirder).  I definitely have too much basketball on the brain.  And maybe too many Disney movies, too.

"Aladdin?  Are you bullshitting me?  ALADDIN?  Bro, that's a musical.  Straight up.  The Lion King has songs, yeah, but they get you jacked up.  Tell me you can listen to 'The Circle of Life' and hear that last slam-the-door note, and you're not ready to punch through a fucking wall.  I play that song in the locker room before big games, dude.  True story.  Aladdin is for children.  You can still bring a girl home, put in Lion King, and without even trying that hard, you're gonna touch a boob at the very least.....Aladdin is for babysitting.  Aladdin is for calming the kids down and getting them to take a nap so you can put your feet up, throw in a rub, and change the channel to baseball or pro wrestling or the X Games or something.  Grow up, Peter Pan. Click your heels together three times and go home, Dorothy."


Friday, March 8, 2013

What's A "Conventional Oven" Anyway?

Product not intended for microwave preparation?!?  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 

Do you have any idea who you're talking to?  I'm the Rachael Fucking Ray of microwave preparation.  If you don't think I'm going to put these potato skins in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes, then rotate each skin roughly 45-60 degrees, put them back in for another 2:15, and proceed to enjoy the hell out of are sorely mistaken.

No microwave preparation?  Child, please.  Tie your shoe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jersey Chasing

Well, Adidas did it again.  I didn't think it would ever get worse than the neon Baylor unis and infrared Louisville gear from last year, but they managed to top themselves.

These jerseys are an absolute abortion.  The good news is that Bill Self thinks so too, and we probably won't have to watch KU wear them for more than one game in the Big 12 tournament, and they will definitely be buried in the closet during the NCAA tournament. 

KU's jerseys under Adidas the last few years, while not awful, have definitely been definitely a step down from their old ones with Nike.  My all-time favorite KU jerseys were the ones worn from 2004-2005, and the ones right before them from 1998-2003 are a close second.  If we could maybe bring back that classic Kansas font or something, instead of wearing fucking Zubaz, that would be super.  Maybe I'm asking for too much here.