Archive for March 22nd, 2007

sweet_27.jpgMy blogroll homes Jack Cobra asked me if anyone in the blogosphere was compiling lists of Sweet 16 predictions, and it turns out nobody was. Not only that, but very few bloggers of my acquaintance are even trying to predict the next two days of action. Taking a few turns around the internet, I was able to come up with these four prognosticators.

3manlift.com: It’s Serioustime

Digital Headbutt: Previewing & Live-Blogging the Sweet 16

A Price Above Bip Roberts: Time to Mix It Up

Complete Sports: Sweet 16 Preview

Just Call Me Juice:  Ranking the Sweet 16 Contenders

If you’ve read or written a sweet 16 preview, email it to theextrapolater (at) gmail (dot) com within the next hour or so. I’ll link you up. If you’re anywhere near 7pm ET, however, I will be in full bipolar mode watching the Jayhawks try to advance to the round of Eight.

By the way, my predictions are:

Kansas over Southern Illinois

Texas A&M over Memphis

UCLA over Pittsburgh

Tennessee over Ohio State

and tomorrow:

UNC over USC

Florida over Butler

Georgetown over Vanderbilt

UNLV over Oregon

And this, ladies and germs, is why I don’t wager on my hunches or predictions.  Last year I would have been killed by my refusal to pick upsets, this year I would have been killed by my refusal to pick all top seeds.  <billsimmons>The lesson, as always: the NCAA tournament is a complete and total crapshoot.</billsimmons>

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nervous.gifThe NCAA pool is getting smaller, and will be cut to four lucky teams by Sunday night. But as of this moment, fans of sixteen schools large and small are undergoing an all-day anxiety attack, waiting for a fateful tip-off, whether it comes tonight or tomorrow.

Making the Sweet Sixteen used to be de rigeuer for my Kansas Jayhawks. But the past two years have left Bill Self’s uber-talented teams as the butt of the “first round loser” jokes. This year a coworker berated me for “choosing with your heart and not your head” because I picked Kansas to go all the way. This despite the fact that eight others with no Kansas ties had done the same.

So, basically, I sit here all day, waiting for the 7:10 tip and having an all-day anxiety attack. I’m wearing my new Kansas shirt that my dad sent me last Thursday, even though it clashes with the business casual attire I’m required to wear. To make matters worse, I refuse to wash it until the Jayhawks either lose or win out. If they make the championship game, that’s six wearings.

nervous.jpgMy pulse rate is a little elevated, and I can be jumpy. My mind is preoccupied with the question of Southern Illinois’ defense. I’m also a little perturbed that I have to root against a team that I would usually be rooting for – I like it when mid-majors play well. I keep wondering if Bill Self is really a bad game-day coach. I mean, they used to slag Roy Williams as “not good enough” when he was at Kansas, but it only takes one photo op with a net around your neck to turn a guy back into a genius.

It can’t be healthy to be this worked up for a full 24 hours, can it? There has to be a way to minimize the effects, because the pressure intensifies with each win. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Move without the ball – Try not to sit at your desk all day, chewing your cuticles. Go out to lunch with co-workers. Carry a piece of paper around the office, looking impatient and busy. Just do something to walk out some of the turmoil.
  2. Play help defense – Stay away from people with no dog in the hunt, they won’t understand. Find the guy in your office (or online) who lives and dies with Carolina, or the woman who went to UNLV, and talk about hoops a little. You may love different teams, but you’ll be speaking the same language.
  3. Provide energy off the bench – Hit your team’s message board to trade purely theoretical player matchup assessments. Or head over to Awful Announcing and complain about the announcing team your region drew. Get some role players involved so you can rest your starters for a few minutes.
  4. Take good shots – Thinking about the whole kit n’ kaboodle is a sure recipe for madness. Pick one aspect of your team, or one player you love, and let that be the security blanket for your mind. It could be “Tim Floyd is a great college coach-he’ll find a way to win”, or “Their starters might be better, but we’ll wear them down on Defense”. It could even be something as ridiculous as “Sasha Kaun has been quiet all season, but I think he’s due for a big night”. As long as it keeps you positive.

nervous.pngThose are your Chevrolet Keys to the Game. Basically, you won’t be right in the head until your game is over. If you lose, you’ll sulk for a couple of days and then head to the sports bar for your fantasy baseball draft. If you win, you’ll start the cycle all over again. But if your team makes the Final Four over the weekend, at least you’ll have a great excuse to go out and get drunk with the college kids.

How do you deal with the stress? Let me know in the comment field.

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rightingwrongsfixed.JPGI’m not going to give you some lame excuse about why I don’t keep up with the other blogs in the -sphere, something like “I’m too busy” or “Due to a global conspiracy, the IT department at my office blocks blogspot but lets ESPN through scot free”. The truth is I have a tiny little brain and a short attention span, and I just don’t get to all of the blogs out there. Even the ones I have been hearing about for months now.

But the world is opening up for me even as I languish near the bottom of the JCMJ sports bloggers challenge (I’m so close to the penny, I’m tasting copper). I really can’t “not-read” a guy’s blog if I’m exchanging jocular emails about Bruce Pearl with him, can I? Nay, I cannot.

And, of course, I read up and find out I’ve been missing tons of good writing, and funny bits, and great weekly features. So here’s my first attempt to rectify my mistake. Three links to great blogs I had never read before today:

Rumors & Rants – Is Kelvin Sampson offensive to Native Americans? All signs point to yes.

More ways in which college basketball is a microcosm of real life. Primarily in the way that the popular get all the love while the rest of us sulk. From A Price Above Bip Roberts.

We blog because we suck at math. I can’t believe I missed talking CAA basketball with the guys from Gheorge this year. Well, now I know.

And my usual targets, whom I love for a reason. They give me the bump I need to get through the workday.

Tony LaRussa is STILL celebrating the World Series win.

I certainly can’t choose favorites among the lovely and talented Ladies… , that would be wrong. But Texas Gal is the only one who will talk to me in public, which is every bit as compelling now as it was when I was in college. Besides, she’s been to spring training.

Amelie and Andrea are hurting. Wait, which one is a man and which one is a woman, again?

My man Schaub is finally getting out of Mike Vick’s shadow. Frankly, I don’t so much care about the David Carr part. But good luck to him wherever he goes.

Hopefully later today I’ll finish off my “How to survive an all-day anxiety attack” post, prompted by the fact that Kansas is in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in three years, and I have to act like I care about work when all I can think about is how they’ll handle SIU’s defense.

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cain.jpgI’ll say this: for a professional shit-stirrer, Jay Busbee is very sensitive to the pain of others. He waited a full two days before emailing me to ask “What the hell happened to Virginia?” With a little distance, and some questions from Jay to get the ball rolling, I was able to come up with an answer. Which he has spread around the internets.

Like to read it? Of course you would. It be here.

In addition, Jay was kind enough to add a profile of his distinguished alma mater over at College Rule Notebook.  Fans of the Daily Show will want to read up.

I’ll be maintaining my alliance with the Channel 4 News Team over at Awful Announcing, as well, and we’re trying to sort out ways that the team can further assist AA in bringing you everything you need or want to know about the pros who cover sports. More about that after we work out the details, and I stop crapping my pants about whether Kansas will advance tonight.

Suffice to say, I’m keeping busy, keeping up the blogosphere tradition of cronyism, back-room-dealing, and vague hints about future projects. That’s how we roll.

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