Definitely ... any photos of mis-proclaimed bracketologist Joe Lunardi in ANY degree of undress is a disturbing concept (unless you're into the tasteful positioning of a No. 3 seed and a No. 14 seed acting as "an obstruction" to obscure Joe's teensy-weensy genitalia).
Anyway, it's not the decision of this tribunal, but rather America's choice/right to determine who has the better bod -- Joe Lunardi or Lumpy Rutherford.
Sayeth Nick Bakay: "Advantage? Puuuuuushhhh."
Not everybody in America is old enough to remember Wally Cleaver and his pal, Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford -- but, for those who do, nobody will ever forget how well Wally shot the rock (back in the days when "shootin' the rock" meant chest-passes and set-shots accomplished while wearing the traditional, black, canvas Chuck Taylors).
So, here we are on the eve of March Mildness and, for those of us who were grand sweepstakes winners last year (when we astutely selected FLA to beat UCLA) in a 100-plus-participant field of cut-throats in this nation's most-respected pool, our stomachs are the intestinal equivalent of an eight-car pileup.
That's because we've seen our own deaths.
And the coroner's report is all but a formality -- a 73rd-place finish for the "defending champion."
But, that's more game than Joe Lunardi, who makes us wanna bolo-punch our neighbors and loved ones by showing up everywhere BEFORE the tourney until he disappears to the safety of the condo he shares either with his mom or those two, male "buds" from college.
At least after Lumpy Lunardi pulls his vanishing act, we have the legendary Jim Boeheim and Dickie Vee to explain the game of basketball's inner-workings.
After the selection committee "snubbed" his Big Least Tied-For-Fifth-Place Orange Assassins, Boeheim spent Monday and yesterday informing America of the crime which was visited upon his Sorrycuse B-Ball gym dandies.
That Boeheim ... he's one lovable scamp, isn't he?
Y'see, when the BLF (Boeheim Lovability Factor) yields to the BAP (Boeheim Annoyance Paradigm), it's not that difficult to empathize with the man's profound frustration. It's easy to see how his inner-rage (which he expresses in a calm, whiny manner) reached this boiling point ever since recruiting warlord Bernie Fine failed to lasso another 'Melo to bring another nat'l title to The 'Cuse.
Now, Jimmy Bee's quick-fix solution is to expand the field from 64 to 128 or 256 or 512, even though only 300-something teams play "Division I" b-ball.
Citing the college football, bowl-game structure and the 60 of 119 D-I teams which "qualify" for bowls, Jim wants b-ball to get away from the problematic contricts of taxation without representation
The Boeheim Tournament Solution is to mirror college football's 50 percent range -- meaning that we need a playoff with 168 of the 336 college b-ball schools which "claim" to be "Division I."
Some might claim that Jim's philosophy is founded on the principles of specious reasoning and circular logic. In truth, though, it comes from Jim's lack of enlightenment, a short-term memory and a failure to view long-term logistical nightmares.
Jim is opposed to only 19.34 percent (65 of 336 teams) representation in the postseason, yet he might be failing to acknowledge that The MLB sends only 26.67 of its teams to the playoffs.
162 hard-fought, grueling days of baseball fought out in the heartland of America ... and all Dusty Baker (the black Jim Boeheim) got for his 103-59 season of 1993 was empty platitudes.
(Fun fact: 103-59 is better than 10-6 and a tied-for-fifth-place in the Big Least during a season in which a team plays one road game during the first two months of that season)
When Boeheim was a little kid listening to ballgames on the Philco, pro/college basketball, pro-college football and The MLB allowed only playoff teams to advance to the playoffs -- dismissing fifth-place Big Least teams which played all their Nov. and Dec. games at home as "cat piss."
On a happier note, if God decides to ever expand the field from 65 to 168, the can of worms will be officially opened.
Black-top, pick-up teams will be petitioning (and winning) for inclusion into the field and then those black-top, pick-up teams will be facing (and beating) Michigan State in a play-in game ... and then when they finally win it all and hoist the championship trophy, lawsuits will ensue re: whether said trophy shall become property of the trophy case at the rec center where the boys normally play of if said trophy is property of the back seat of Larry's metallic-blue Subaru since that's where said trophy currently rests.
Think it through, Jim.
Bernie does the "recruiting" ... you do the "coaching."
And, for god's sake ... think of the children.
Luckily, God's probably not going to tamper with the sovereignty of the tourney because, well, if He did, the Kentucky Derby would be open to rhinos and go-carts, et cetera, et cetera ...
Well, that's the fun part of having ambassadors for the sport -- the fact that there's always a big "ASS" in the middle of the word ambASSador.
But, what of Boehiem's contemporaries and disciples?
Yup ... "the committee" preferred a Big XII Conference also-ran (O'Reilly Auto Parts-Lubbock Campus) and its Head Coach Designate (a cardboard cut-out named Pat Knight) over Boeheim's Battalion of Orange Marauders.
What's unfortunate about the O'Reilly Auto Parts-Lubbock Campus playoff scenario is that the KnightRaiders had careless losses at Baylor and Missouri and home defeats to Nebraska and K-State (after winning by 10 in Manhattan earlier).
If O'Reilly Auto Parts-Lubbock Campus had turned those four L's into W's, Head Coach Designate's papa would be heading into the tourney with 894 career wins instead of 890.
What better retirement gift for The Mis-Named GENERAL than for the KnightRaiders to go 6-0, win the national championship and send Bob off to his favorite fishing hole with 900 career victories?
Now, with nuthin' to play for, we can probably expect O'Reilly Auto Parts to lose in the first round against NAPA Auto Parts ... meaning that the Head Coach Designate will continue to wear his paper "trainee" hat for at least seven more years until Bob reaches 1,000 career wins (with seven first-round NCAA tournament losses tacked on for good measure).
Bob used to be a lot more fun when he was a bitter, unemployed coach driving to Akron to see his Head Case Designate son.
His exact words, as he banged on the stering wheel, went something like: "Jesus Christ! This is bullshit! I'm not here for a fucking inquisition! And if that's what this is, then get the fuck out and hitchhike back home! The fucking stepfather was a fucking goddamn fucking asshole from the word goddamn go. He fucking lied and he lied and he lied! Jesus Christ! I mean, this is my fucking life we're talking about! My fucking heart was ripped out by this goddamn bullshit!"
Again ... this proves the flaw in the Boeheim Resolution. If we expand the field to 168 teams, a head coach from Quinnipiac or (insert name of junior college here) might "go off" because his team underachieved or didn't play smart.
When we reserve the tourney for Bob, the mike remains a sanctuary for contradictory remarks and empty rants which have us smiling and saying, "That coach from Quinnipiac was a dick, but what Bob said about the F-ing stepfather being an F-ing goshdarn F-ing (jerk) and how he F-ing lied and lied and lied and how it affected his F-ing life and how his F-ing heart was ripped out, man ... that moved me, dude."
Remember, kids: Boeheim's the lovable scamp -- Knight's just a rascal.
Well, that Boeheim protege likes to do the coaching thing in his $1,500 suit, his $550 necktie, his $630 cuff links and his $755 dress shoes.
Not Bruno Magli's, though.
O.J. called those "ugly-ass."
Lucky for Slick Rick, he probably won't get any Stanford Cardinal blood on the dress shoes which were paid for by the sweat of his Lousyville Cardinals.
The Cardinals will bury the Cardinal in what#####????? Stanford got in?
That's a lovely university sprawled across a few hundred acres of farmland along the foothills of the San Francisco peninsula (and some of us resided right next door and enjoyed the wilderness and plethora of hiking trails), but, Jiminy F-ing Christmas, someone hand us a steering wheel so that we can pound on it and drop the F-bomb repeatedly while asking, "What the F did Stanford do to deserve a berth?"
The lack of credentials for Stanford is one of the many subplots as we we head into tomorrow's shindig.
Of course, last night's "play-in" game was, ummmm ... "play-in-credible."
Niagara's a cute story if you happen to know a pair of sweethearts who met there almost 30 years ago (as some of us do) ... or if your wife's dad used to broadcaast Purple Eagles games 35-40 years ago (as some of our wives' dads did) ... or if your handsome pup -- The Outlaw Josey Wales -- was born less than two miles from the Falls a little more than 4.5 years ago (as some of our dogs were) ... or if you still like shopping at the Niagara Falls outlet mall (next door to the torn-down high school, La Salle, of ex-MLB'er Rick Manning, who is not to be confused with current-NFL'er Ricky Manning, Jr.) ... where were we?
Right ... after you've logged a 10-hour day, and you're preppin' for the treacherous 3.5-mile commute home, maybe you don't wanna hear the radio broadcast of the Niagara-Florida A&M game as you put the key into the car's ignition.
On the other hand, maybe Niagara is this year's George Mason.
Or maybe George Washington is this year's George Mason.
Or maybe Georgeclown is this year's George Mason.
Georgeclown is a bit of a puzzlement because one never knows how good of a coach John Thompson III (JT3) is because his papa has been known to sit behind Sonny and bark at officials.
On the other hand, if you've heard Papa Thompson's radio show, it's difficult to image how much of that barking is discernible.
Coach has a rough time with "enunciation."
Georgeclown's most-recent "interesting" game was the Big Least tourney semifinal squeaker which the Hoyasexuals won over Notre Shame in which 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert did basically nada.
Hibbert missed badly on his first shot attempt, dunked twice midday through the first half and then didn't attempt another shot until scoring with 1:59 to play to put the Hoyas ahead, 80-78 (the deciding points would eventually come on a Jeff Green basket with :14 to play, which snapped an 82-82 tie).
Sure, Roy was saddled with some foul trouble, but to not attempt a single shot in 26 minutes of elapsed playing time?
JT3's gotta tell his boyz to stop acting as though Roy Hibbert is Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje or Boubacar Aw.
Green and the other bigs got the job done, though, for a team which gave the eventual-champion Gators their toughest tourney test (a 57-53 verdict) last year.
G'clown, though, was stymied by what stymies a lot of teams which are prone to being stymied -- crappy from beyond the arc (5 of 21) and weak at the foul line (only 8 FT attempted).
Nip n' tuck all the way ... the Hoyas led, 53-52 on a bucket by Ashanti Cook with 1:42 to play, but FLA always has somebody comin' through in the clutch, right?
Corey Brewer's bucket and FT w/ :28 to play was the back-breaker -- and then it was Darrel Owens takin' a 3 (1 of 5 on 3-balls to that point) and -- naturally -- clanking it with :07 to play.
Coaches, fans, alumni. etc ... everybody loves it when the guy who's 1 of 5 from "distance" upchucks the game-winner inside of 10 seconds to play (even though a university administrator is more qualified to hit that shot).
So, it looks as though G'Clown is the only thing keeping Florida from goin back-to-back. A lot of people shy away from the "repeat" factor, citing failures by every team since Shuhsheffsky State in '91 and '92.
That angle is a little misleading, given that R-Kinsaw went to back-to-back finals in '94 and '95 (beating Shuhsheffsky; losing to Cameron Dollar) and Can'tucky went to three title games in a row ('96-win; '97-loss in OT; '98-win).
Sometimes, talent really does prevail.
And, Florida has oodles of it.
Alas, if only Sorrycuse and Lousyville could square off in an unforgettable Sweet 16 showcase wherein the teams combine to go 13 of 41 from "distance" and 23 of 38 from the foul stripe.
Certainly some other teams will provide us with stats which are equally magical.
Some people think that Winthrop might be the ultimate darkhorse -- and, apparently, we're supposed to be all impressed by the Thorpies' 28-4 record which includes road losses against North Carolina (by 7), Maryland (by 11), Wisconsin (by 3) and Texas A&M (by 20).
Some of us, though, remain highly skeptical of a team which spent Feb. playing a pair of 19-loss teams and a 22-loss opponent and who beat a team called "Limestone" in early-Dec.
"How'd ya end up playing Limestone?"
"Because Formica Tech wasn't available ..."
"What's up with beating 8-22 Charleston Southern three times by an average of 29 points?"
"Because it would've looked bad if we'd put 'em on the schedule FIVE times ..."
We need to tell the Thorpies to get off our cloud.
Mellencamp sez, "This is ourrrrrrrrrrrr kunt-treeeeeee ..."
Yup .. it's gonna suck hearing Mellencamp during every frickin' commercial break.
If only Cadillac, not Chevy, was an official sponsor.
Many of us are pleased as punch to see/hear the latest TV ads for Caddy and recognize the song "Start!" by The Jam as the background music.
"... and what you give is what you GET!"
Let's all agree on that as this postseason is on our doorstep -- A PLAYOFF SYSTEM SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK.
If we always lived our lives with the "we need a playoff!" stimuli, then we'd have to say that "But I'm Different Now" is a better track than "Start!" on The Jam's epic 1980 "Sound Affects" LP -- and then we'd need to stage some sort of playoff to determine if that group's "Setting Sons" LP is superior to "All Mod Cons" for the right to face The Police in the quarterfinals of three-man bands.
But, that's what happens when coaches do not post the battlecry on the chalkboard:
"Yield not to treason; submit not to tyranny ..."