Monday, November 08, 2004

Random College and Media Musings

1) Last year my friend Nick invited me to join his office's fantasy Big Ten basketball league. While I did have the requisite amount of fun, it was a painful league in which to manage a team. Filling out a team was murder, and the draft was impossible. There just aren't enough good players to go around in and 8-team fantasy league when there are only 11 real teams out there. Making a good pick in the 10th round probably means that you know who the 8th man for Michigan State is, and even though I like basketball, I don't want to know that much. By the way, my team finished poorly, but would have been excellent if not for Alando Tucker's injury and Maurice Hargrow flaking out. At least I avoided the "guys getting busted with weed" curse that my fantasy football teams seem to be burdened with.

2) Anyone ever watch a game on ESPN Classic from the late 1980s or early 1990s where Dick Vitale is the announcer? The difference is eerie. It's as if there's a dial on his back determining how Dick Vitale-ish he's going to be, and in 1988 it was set between 2 and 3. He's still Dick Vitale, but he's way more subdued. Of course, much like the stereo volume at a college dorm party, that dial has moved steadily upward, and I'm thinking he just might take it to 11 this year. DIPSY DO, DUNK-A-ROO!!!!!!!

3) Am I the only one who's disappointed that ESPN no longer covers midnight madness? In the mid-1990s, I remember planning to stay in on Saturday night so that I could see things like sophomores at Kansas trying to win tuition by making half-court shots, or just to get my first glimpse of the freakishly large new freshman for North Carolina. I think this year I saw Gary Williams driving a race car at midnight, but there was no full-on coverage. I miss those days.

4) I have come to realize that women make basketball season more difficult to navigate. I owe an apology to the woman I was dating last year during the season, because no female should have to put up with me during basketball season. It's not just me, though--I had a moment of camaraderie with one of my friends last year when I called him to complain about missing games to be with my girlfriend. My friend, who shall remain nameless for his own protection, replied "I know what you're talking about. Last night I missed most of the Pitt game because my girlfriend and I rented a video. Luckily she got a phone call, and I was able to see 8 minutes of the second half." At least last year was limited to my petty complaining, though. Let's remember that I am the same guy who once made my girlfriend go to the Milwaukee Vincent holiday tournament with me, and once during college denied the advances of a young woman because I wanted to watch a Duke game. The former I cannot defend, but in defense of the latter, I did have control of my dorm's big screen television that night.

5) I swear, I'm not as big a nerd as that previous paragraph makes me out.

6) Sometimes when I see Jay Bilas on ESPN, it gives me hope. I think to myself, "If Jay Bilas has a law degree, and has this great job as a college basketball analyst, why not me?" Then I remember that in addition to knowing a hell of a lot more about basketball than me, Jay Bilas also played and coached basketball at Duke, qualifications that I lack. And to add insult to injury, he also went to a better law school than me. Looks like I'd better not cancel that reservation at the tax seminar next week.

7) Count me among those who think that the ACC's Sunday night game of the week is a great innovation. It's Sunday night and I'm finishing a dinner twice the size of what I should have eaten at my parents' house. I return home, and there's North Carolina and Florida State tipping off to ease me out of the weekend. I might work the next day, but for that night, I'm sitting around in my underwear and watching the Heels.

8) There is no greater sports exclamation than "Boo-Yah," unless you count "Sweet Sassy Mollassy," from a Saturday Night Live skit.

9) Not sure if anyone noticed, but Evan Eschmeyer recently retired dur to injuries. Yes, our favorite long-term player at Northwestern is out of the league at the young age of 29, meaning that he spent way more time at college than he ever did in the league. Sure, this happens to tons of guys, but this one seemed to interesting not to note. Then again, when you spend that much time in college, the odds are kind of stacked against you having a longer pro career.

10) Who are the people that order ESPN Full Court? I suppose I might consider it if I lived outside of the region of my favorite team, but other than that, it sure seems like a bad idea to me. I watch a hell of a lot of basketball, and if I needed any more than regular ESPN and ESPN2 give me on a nightly basis, I think I'd need to check myself into counseling. There's so much out there already! That said, don't be shocked if I'm backing off of this statement later on this year. There's always that chance that I'll temporarily lose my mind and think it's a good idea to drop and extra $100 to see Dick Bennett on TV four times.

11) I think my greatest goal in life at this point is acquiring a large screen televison with high-definition capabilities so that I can watch basketball in its best possible remote form. It's not a noble goal, but I can think of few things in life as sweet as the idea of watching Duke and North Carolina playing a game in high definition. Yes, I am a 26 year old man who does not have a girlfriend.

12) Time Warner cable, for all of its faults, did a wonderful thing last year in giving digital subscribers such as myself access to all four simultaneuous games going on during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Those of you who were in my living room last year during this weekend know how great this access can be when you have a cursory knowledge of cable signal flow and access to four televisions. I'm convinced that the free access last year was a ploy to get saps like me to pay for such service this year. Here's hoping that I'm wrong about that, but if I'm not, the marketing ploy worked and I'd like to know who to send my fee to. And my living room's not big, but the four TVs will be going strong again this year for anyone that wants to stop by.

13) I have seen an artist's rendition of the new Kohl Center floor, and I'm surprised to say this, but I actually like the old one better. I never thought I'd be able to say that.


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