Almost Time for the Big Dance

I’m looking at the March 9 Sports Illustrated cover showing the Elite Eight picks – as they say themselves “for now” and thinking it is a measure of just how unpredictable the tournament is going to be.  Of the eight, only Memphis, Duke, and Louisville have survived in conference tournament play.  The cover curse striking?

Louisville overcame a worn out Syracuse team which has played 7 overtimes in the past two days and just ran out of gas.  I think it is remarkable that the Orange still only lost by 10.  I have to say right off that I don’t like either Louisville or Syracuse – not because of their player but because I don’t particularly like either coach.  I’ve never forgiven Pitino for his awful years trying to be Mr. Celtic and trying to make Antoine Walker into something he was not.

The Big East is bragging that they will get 3 number one seeds.  I think Memphis and North Carolina (despite their loss to Florida State) will be number one seeds.  That gives the Big East two possible slots. 

Some things I wish for:  That Ty Lawson’s big toe heals and Carolina makes into the final Four.  That Memphis loses in an early round (I wish they would play in a more competitive conference and get beaten up like ACC and Big East teams do).  That Virginia Commonwealth makes at the least Sweet Sixteen.  Ditto for Syracuse.  That there are no injuries and every game is close.

Sleeper team?  Haven’t decided yet.  Robert Morris or American University?  Maybe Morehead State.

Signs that Spring is coming

Yesterday, the Red Sox played their first exhibition games beating Boston College and losing to Minnesota.  Spring is just around the corner even though it was cold and blustery in Boston.  The big controversy seems to be whether the thrill of the Sox has worn off or not.  Exhibit A:  There are a few tickets left for a hand full of games in April and May.  As many of the bloggers pointed out, this has much to do with the state of the economy and little to do with becoming jaded about the Sox.  See Mazz’s Blog in Boston.com.

Meanwhile someone at work mentioned March Madness for the first time in a year.  My favorite league, the ACC, is busy with teams knocking each other off.  Question:  how do you maintain a high national ranking when everyone knows you will lose games in your league?  But, the North Carolina Tar Heels should, barring disaster in the ACC Tournament, get a number one seed.

The Boston Celtics are also readying themselves for the playoffs.  (Even as they lost last night to the Clippers, who are, I think the worst team in the NBA, in a close one.)  It looks as if they will be signing Stephon Marbury – maybe today.  I haven’t decided if that is good or bad.   Marc J. Spears wrote in the Boston Globe

Marbury  fell into the doghouse of then-Knicks coach Isiah Thomas during the 2007-08 season. With Thomas gone, new Knicks president Donnie Walsh and new coach Mike D’Antoni preferred a new script without Marbury last offseason. After being suspended from the team for allegedly refusing to play in a game, Marbury was outspoken about his disappointment. He eventually worked out a buyout Tuesday.

I’m sure there will be more on Marbury in the next few days.

The President Elect and Basketball

I’m tired of Rod the Governor, whether the Cabinet is too conservative and status quo, and if Caroline Kennedy is really qualified to be Senator so I decided to write about Mr. Obama and basketball.

Nia-Malika Henderson wrote a nice little piece on Politico.com yesterday.

President-elect Barack Obama decided to talk a little trash Tuesday. After lauding his choice to lead the department of education and ducking a question about that distracting Illinois scandal, he let go with this:

“I think we are putting together the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history,” he said. “And I think that is worth noting.”

According to Henderson Obama had a great nickname in high school: Barry O’Bomber.  As to speculation as to who will be playing with him along with various cabinet members (Arne Duncan and General Jones) there is always Secret Service, other White House staff (like Reggie Love) and various current and retired NBA and college stars.  I know Charles Barkley is just waiting for an invite.  Wish I could find the picture I saw somewhere with then candidate Obama with the UNC team.

The President Elect is a Chicago Bulls fan, but the Boston Celtics are the team to beat.  And he and I both picked the UNC Tar Heels to win it all last year.  We were both wrong, but it looks like it might be a good pick again this year.