For one more day, I am going to write a sports blog. Hang with me friends.
The thing that most qualifies me to WRITE a sports/college basketball blog?
That I DON'T WATCH SPORTS OR BASKETBALL. Because I have watched the tournament for 3 weeks and listened to Charles Barkley (who actually PLAYED the game) sound like an idiot. Lordy, that man voiced opinion, after opinion, after OPINION, about how Butler was going to be overpowered in the second half of every game they played. What was he watching???? And really, he was just a very vocal example of a group of *experts* that consistently picked EVERY team but Butler to advance. Well, except for the VCU match-up, because then, of course, Butler held the higher, magical *seed*.
(Side note: It is equally ANNOYING when commentators remark that it REALLY comes down to this game, for a particular team. Well, duh. It's a single elimination tourney, that's true for EVERY team, dumbass.)
You basketball fans, and your seeds and your stats. I kind of get it. I mean--if you'll allow me to put this in terms that I am more intimately familiar with--even I was SHOCKED when Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol, you know, because of all of the hype and prediction and what not. I pride myself on being somewhat of a pop-culture-idiot-savant, and I TOTALLY get the way Idol works, and how you can't sing a Celine Dion song without falling short, or expect people to vote for you after you act like a douche (on camera) by ripping on a sweet, chubby 16-year-old kid. That is Idol 101, people.
So, sports fans: Is that what it is like when a team like Butler makes it to the finals? Do you equate it with a Sanjaya, or that red-headed kid from seasons past? Did someone call them in a vote to the championship? Do you think that Butler's practices consist of watching the movies "Hoosiers" and "Rudy" over, and over, and over. And over???? I mean, you might as well go ahead and believe that they grow a magic beanstalk and eat of its fruit for breakfast and ride unicorns.
Because the (limited) amount of commentary I have watched has NEVER picked Butler to win a game against a competitor with a higher seed, which is just about every game besides the VCU match-up. Seriously, if this is what it takes to give my two-cents on sporting events, sign. me. up. Just pick the better rated team and restate the stats? Shoot, I can READ, so that must make me capable.
Listen. I get that if your stats are right, then Nolan Smith is Jesus come to save the world with a sweet lay up, or something equally ludicrous. I get that there needs to be some kind of ranking,and that it's hard to put a lot of weight in a small program that just doesn't win the players with the "flash" because their league isn't a *BIG* something. I get that seeing them in last year's final seemed like a sort of wish-granted, or a peak with great timing (verses a season of hard work). I get that they are physically smaller, their coach is young, their STATS (those damn stats!) don't compare.
Except that they win. Everybody seems to overlook the fact that they WIN. Even when it's ugly and they do look physically mismatched (Florida). Still. Winning.
WHY, experts? Tell me WHY they are still winning? And for-the-love-of-all-things-holy, do NOT refer to a STAT. Duke is out! Kansas? Dead! Pittsburgh? Buh-Bye.
So yeah. Those magical stats and seeds and whatever are great...but they are obviously wrong. There is a measure of something else that is missing and yet equally important. And as I only watch college basketball for 3 weeks out of the year, I have no idea what that something might be, but TV commentators might look a heck of a lot more knowledgeable if there was a number assigned to grit? Mental acuity? Performance under pressure? Or scrappy-ness?
Seriously. Charles Barkley and his team of experts need a print out of those numbers before the game, so that they can stop referring to Butler in terms of fairy tales and magic flying trolls that seem to put the ball in the basket. Because HEAVEN FORBID that they grow a pair and have an opinion outside of the STATS.