Wednesday, March 24, 2010

September Gurls and October Revolution: My Contribution to the NCAA Zeitgeist

You weren't imagining things. There really was a new post here on Friday, one that disappeared completely by the next day. When I wrote the post, I discussed a few of the college basketball games that day and I was in the middle of a completely understandable search for an appropriate photo of Murray from Flight of the Conchords and the next thing I know, it's 90 minutes later and my unexpected nap is over. Still, in my groggy fog, I felt it necessary to publish the post without finishing it and without checking for errors or lack of humor. On Saturday I chose to remove the entry. Don't worry - the good jokes will get recycled eventually.

Which brings us to:  There's no better way to revive a sleepy fading web presence than to predict some basketball games between teams I know little about. (If this entry goes on for too long, just skip to the Chilton song and the final game at the bottom and you'll be happy)

NCAA Basketball Tournament predictions, Round 3:


West Virginia vs. Washington
As I wrote in the disappeared post, I was recently trying to figure out how many states I've visited. I came up with 39. I included two states - Tennessee and Texas - even though my entire experience in each was limited to time in airports waiting for connecting flights. My justification: if you're on a giant flying machine and that machine makes a thunderous entrance onto state pavement, you deserve to claim that state.

So what does this have to with West Virginia vs. Washington? I've never been to the state of West Virginia. I've been to the state of Washington four times and those four trips are some of the most memorable ones of my life. This is enough for me to pick Washington to win this game and continue to be the lone Pac-10 rep in the tourney.

Kentucky vs. Cornell
I'd really like to pick Cornell to win this game. My nephew goes to school there. They could really use the happiness. They're not Kentucky. People say Duke is the most annoying basketball team with the most insufferable fans. I disagree. It's Kentucky. I have no reason for this belief. In fact, I'm bored expressing this belief. Back to the game. Kentucky is the best team in the nation. Cornell is the lowest seeded team left in the tournament. I have to listen to the voice of reason deep within me. But this is a blog. I have no accountability. I'm taking a chance. Cornell wins.

Syracuse vs. Butler
This one might seem like yet another upset. But I'm going with Butler. When I was running late for work a few weeks ago, I accidentally caught a radio interview with the Butler coach. He seemed like a nice guy, Yes, that's all I've got.

Xavier vs. Kansas State
Wow. I think you may be reading the dullest, most pointless thing I've ever written. It will either continue to devolve or it will become an exercise in meta-blogging, in which little pearls of quotable wisdom dot the landscape of your browser. Kansas State will win because... because... I don't know.


Michigan State vs. Northern Illinois
Michigan - what the hell are you? You've housed the car industry. You've launched many boring music careers. You've given us cereal. You sent us Rabe. You allowed Sufjan Stevens to reach his peak. Definitely a mixed bag. Rabe is a godsend and cereal is a blessing. Sufjan needs to get back to work. The auto industry has seen better days. But if you put it all together, Michigan and its secondary state university far surpasses Northern Illinois because really if you're north of, say, Des Plaines, you might as well be in Iowa. Or Wisconsin. Michigan State wins.

Tennessee vs. Ohio State
There's a lot I could write here about one of my musical heroes spending time in Columbus. Or I could write about my employer's head football coach quitting his position at Tennessee and setting off a level of anger there surpassed only by the level of bemusement here. Or I could write about hot middle-aged women. But I'm getting tired. Ohio State is a better team. I pick them to win even if Big Ten basketball is not fun to watch.

Postscript (the next day): I have changed my mind. I must pick Tennessee for not other reason than it contains Memphis, the hometown of Alex Chilton (1950-2010).  You'll be missed, you big big star:

 Duke vs. Purdue
What the hell is this? Another goddamn Big Ten team and no sign of my Gophers? Go away Purdue. You annoy me. Yes, you annoy me even more than Duke. Duke wins.

Baylor vs. St. Mary's

I'm assuming this is a typo in my bracket. Maybe I'm looking at the women's tournament. Apparently these are colleges in America. In Waco, TX and Moraga, CA. Further research into St. Mary's reveals that it is the alma mater of Tom Meschery, a mustachioed basketball player of the 60s and early 70s, a man whose image on basketball cards is still familiar to me now, more than 30 but fewer than 40 years after I saw it as a little boy card collector, a man whose Wikipedia page reveals a truly awesome life: 
  • born in China in 1938 to Russian parents, both of whom escaped the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 
  • is held in a Japanese-run internment camp (of confined Chinese and maybe Russians) near Tokyo during WWII
  • emigrates to America, ends up in San Francisco
  • becomes a star at St. Mary's, graduates in 1961
  • plays in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors alongside Wilt Chamberlain
  • plays in his hometown after the Warriors move to San Francisco
  • plays in Seattle, grows mustache
  • retires from basketball and makes the typical post-NBA move to....
  • ...
  • gets his MFA from the Univ. of Iowa Writers Workshop
  • studies poetry under a poet Laureate at the Univ. of Washington
  • teaches high school English in Reno
  • writes poetry, publishes book of poetry
  • gets inducted to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame AND the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame
  • marries with an art professor
  • lives with the art professor in Sacramento
To review:
Russians in China / Chinese in Japan / Camp / San Francisco
Basketball / Wilt Chamberlain / Seattle / Reno / Poet / Art professor
Sure, living in Sacramento might sully the legacy but come on! Is Tom Meschery - born Tomislav Nicolayevich Meshcheryakov - the badassest badass of them all? His school - St. Mary's of Moraga, CA wins.



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