Sports

Sports

A toast to each team in Final Four

March 29, 2011

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You know who you are. You are not me. You are one of those people who put Connecticut, Kentucky, VCU and Butler in the Final Four of your NCAA men’s basketball bracket.

I don’t know any of you, but I do know you, based your choices of Final Four teams. I can make certain assumptions. Call it Final Four choice profiling. You know full well who you are:

VCU: You believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and that winning a lottery is an appropriate and legitimate financial planning tool. You believe that there is life on other planets, and when they come, they will come in peace. You believe in the goodness of the human heart. You believe in the kindness of strangers. You believe that younger men with receding hairlines who shave their heads actually look good. Chaka Khan is your favorite musical artist. Maxwell Smart is your favorite old TV character. You have never thought ill of another human being except Jay Bilas. You believe with every fiber in the power of the three-pointer.

Kentucky: You know Adolph Rupp was the name of a coach not the Kaiser. You have seen every Ashley Judd movie. You know that Dario Franchitti is not a famous Italian shoe designer. You believe John Calipari is misunderstood. You toasted Louisville’s early exit from the tournament. You believe the pinnacle of Pat Riley’s career came when he played for Kentucky. You believe God prefers the Wildcats’ blue to any other blue hue in college basketball, particularly North Carolina’s. You still believe you should win a national championship every three years. You don’t know the name of Kentucky’s football coach. You believe the Atlanta Hawks destroyed the career of Jack Givens. You favor Southern cuisine, but in honor of the head coach, you have shown a willingness to bring tortelloni alla zucca or risotto al cavolfiore to the family dinner table on occasion and no one complains. You believe Rick Pitino is a damaged soul with breathtakingly bad judgment.

Connecticut: You believe athletes cannot get tired, ever. Your favorite baseball record is Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Your favorite Olympic sport is the marathon. You are not Charles Barkley. You believe in old coaches. Your favorite Walker is Kemba, not Jimmy. You’d love to introduce your best player to the VCU coach: “Kemba, Shaka. Shaka, Kemba.” You believe your coach is misunderstood. You would pay to see Kemba Walker play Sue Bird one-on-one. You can’t say if you have watched more Connecticut men’s games than Connecticut women’s games this season. You believe the pinnacle of Ray Allen’s career came in the city of Storrs, not Boston and certainly not Milwaukee. You believe Connecticut basketball is more important to the state (heck, to the world) than ESPN.

Butler: You believe the sequel to a hit movie can be better than the original. You believe in serial miracles. You believe frogs can turn into princes at consecutive balls. You believe right after you tug on Superman’s cape you can tug on Batman’s cape. You don’t believe in luck, but you do believe in Brad Stevens. You believe whatever “it” is, your team has it, and Pittsburgh does not have it. You don’t believe the meek will inherit the earth. You do believe the fearless will defend the paint. You believe in Hoosiers and Hinkle as others believe in Helen of Troy and Hogwarts. You believe the Horizon League is underrated. You believe a team that lost four out of five games during one stretch of the season, to Wright State, UW-Milwaukee, Valparaiso and Youngstown State can be a Final Four team. You are insane.

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