Monday, March 26, 2007

Boise Bracket

When people ask ya how ya enjoyed the NCAA Tournament games this past weekend and how yer bracket is shaping up, have ya ever messed with their heads and said, "Didja see the Boise State Broncos pulling out the hook-and-ladder, the wide-receiver-turned-halfback-option pass on fourth down and the Statue of Liberty on the two-pointer at any time during the weekend?
"Well ... DIDJA?"

Ya didn't, didja?
As the kids today often say, "No, yu ditt-INT!"

That was the coolest thing about what Boise State did to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl nearly three full months ago.
The memory of it gives ya either goosebumps (if that term isn't too girlie) or a woody (if that term isn't too graphic).

Either way, let's agree that the combo platter of the hook-and-latter, the WR/HB-option pass on 4th down and the clinching Statue of Liberty 2-pointer definitely trumps these dog days of March when Dickie V is stating the obvious (such as some player is having trouble with his trifecter) or Lavin is being obtuse or obscure with some reference to the diagonal passing vs. the 1-3-1 zone.

What made Boise State a goosebump/woody manifestation was that it was a case of a David slaying Godzilla with actual brainpower and athleticism, rather than an outcome getting tossed onto the pile of "Games Which Somebody Choked Away."
Not that Boise State didn't try -- particularly with 1:02 to play in regulation when Oklahoma DB Marcus Walker scored that INT TD on a ball thrown right to him on an obvious miscommunication by Jared Zabransky and receiver ... a damn shame, too, because Marcus Walker had gotten his ass torched on the game's first TD, a 49-yard TD bomb from Zabransky to Drisan James.

It didn't seem like justice that a mediocre DB such as Walker would be 1:02 from celebrating and talkin' smack about "You know wee's Number One ..." -- especially when the most-deserving DB-to-be-celebratin' shoulda been Marty Tadman, first for making the goal-line INT in the second quarter (when Paul Thompson had a man wiiiiiiiiide open and badly underthrew him) and then for making a smart read, jumping a route, making the pick and breezing 27 yds for an INT TD to put the Broncos ahead, 28-10, midway through the third quarter.

See? That's the impact that Boise State had on America -- even in the depth of b-ball season, we can talk about that Boise State outcome, all day every day.
And, why not? It was the single-greatest ending to any game (in any sport) in '07 -- because one team TOOK the game while that team's opponent realized that it couldn't do a damn thing about it.
(Well, actually, on the game's final TD -- on the WR/HB option play -- Oklahoma LB Zach Latimer could've done a better job making sure that TE Derek Schouman didn't work his way through traffic and into the clear ... by the time that Latimer realized that he need to play the pass instead of the run, he'd lost a step-and-a-half ... and that was enough for Schouman to gain a bit of separation ... and America thanks you for getting suckered, Zach Latimer, because it made the subsequent Statue of Liberty play that much sweeter and meaningful)

The '07 3-Ball Free-For-All, ummmm, errrr ... sure ... UCLA's 24 turnovers in that "dominant" performance vs. Kansas (which was a reported 14 of 33 on dunks and layups) ... yes, that definitely made male genitals do "the turtle" and perform the full recoil into the region at the base of the tummy.

Inversion alert!

For those of interested in some X's and O's to counteract the ZZZZZZZZ's, this tournament ain't happenin' ... UCLA's "incredible" defense (wink, wink) notwithstanding.
The most-common mistake made during the weekend in which the Sweet Sucksteen (or whatever Hollywoodland calls it nowadays) is paired down to the Fantastic Four (or whatever Hollywoodland calls it nowadays) is that the 12 games of that weekend were epic and that the upcoming three games (semis and final) will be somehow Biblical.
Fatally so.

Part of college basketball's allure of years past was the smaller schools (such as Boise State, which, somehow, doesn't get labelled as a "mid-major" in football) or the lesser-known superstars showcasing some dazzling talents/teamwork on the grand stage vs. a more-established program.
Y'know ... in a life-like, David vs. Godzilla scenario.

It was pretty cool when Sports Illustrated made Larry Bird a coverboy before the '78-'79 season (when he was posing with those two Indiana State cheerleaders in full "Shhhhhh!" pose) -- and then Larry Legend and the Sycamores (a mid-major before there were mid-majors) advanced to the national title game.

Larry Legend was Larry Legend because there was something legendary about him.
A program such as George Mason '05-'06 was the so-called Cinderella story last season, but then performed like Cindy Relish in the Final Four (also, Billy Packer was correct when he insisted on Selection Sunday that Mason didn't belong, despite the love affair which America would eventually have with Mason after not giving a crap about the program before ... or since).

Villanova in '85 was much like Boise State '07 ... using an actual strategy to win the biggest game of the season -- but, we're not likely to see another scenario like that again.
Definitely not from a mid-major, so sit the hell down and shut the hell up, Southern Illinois and Butler.

Seton Hall's run in '89 was compelling ... and, if not for some ungodly jump-shooting by Glen Rice and an iffy foul call that sent Remedial Robinson to the free-throw line ... P.J. Carlesimo's team would've had a title.
Utah in '98 ... same deal ... great run after the Keith Van Horn days.

College B-Ball Gameday would be a lot more interesting (not to mention honest) if the rodeo clown from the Holiday Inn Express commercial was sitting in for Vitale and telling us that "Crusher here has an extra deltoid muscle and that gives him exponentially-greater bucking propulsion, so you lean back and hold on ..."
He's with the birthday party!

Speaking of clowns who are with the birthday party and not the rodeo, Lavin's axle-greased hair got torched by Jay Bilas on when Jay (rightly so) acknowledged that the greatest difference in UCLA now and UCLA "then" (under Coach Axle Grease) is "the level of discipline and toughness under (Ben) Howland is on a much higher plane than it was before his arrival."
Bilas -- the only Espy Network part-timer who has a clue -- definitely took a swipe at Lavin (inadvertently?) with a pro-Howland stance.
(Hot tip: Steve Lavin doesn't really know college basketball, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night)

As per the brackets of those of us who spend most of our days polishing our King of Brackets crowns from 1997 and 2006, it wasn't too difficult to predict 3 of the final 4 (w/ Fla. d. Georgeclown in the championship).
Still, we wish that there was a Boise State-type scenario unfolding.

Without it, though, we'll rewind to what we talked about yesterday ... Georgeclown radio announcer Rich Chvotkin and his legendary call at the end of his team's win over UNC.
The local radio gods (Czabe and Andy) on "The Sports Reporters" on WTEM 980-AM replayed it and Chvotkin yelled, "Hoyas win!" 17 times in succession.
Rich almost lost his breath at Hoyas Win! #8 (and at Hoyas Win! #12, he almost ran outta gas)

Lucky for Rich, it was because of a clear-cut traveling violation by Jeff Green on the game-winning shot against Vandy on Fri. nite that Rich had the opportunity to yell "Hoyas win!" 17 times in succession on Sunday.

Honestly ... that's not very original (not to mention professional).
Chvotkin coulda gotten a little more creative and screamed, "This is a two microphone game, America! There's the microphone into which I'm yelling -- and there's the microphone growing inside my pants!"

For the rest of us though, this tourney is a half-a-crayon affair.

Inversion alert, indeed ...

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