College basketball... there's really nothing like it. This is the time of year in sporting community (read: gambling community) that really can grind the gears if you're not careful. The NBA has maybe 2 or 3 teams that try. Seriously. It's Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, and what? The Lakers? Then why does Andrew Bynum look like he just doesn't give a fuck? Oh yeah, is it because he's like every other NBA player? It's no coincidence that the Wolves always get "hot" this time of year. Oh yeah, you think? I think it might be more "Phoenix doesn't give a fuck because it's not playoff time yet" than it is "Kevin Love is actually a quality player and doesn't go boom-boom in his diaper before the game". If you're tracing money in the NBA, it pretty much starts AND stops with New York Knicks overs, and the rest is just darts at the board.
They still won't let you bet on college hockey, and if you bet on the professionals, you may just as well be wearing a Polaris jacket.
The NFL is fucking rigged, so nothing matters at all. Arizona, win in Carolina? SURE WHY NOT?!?!? It's stupid. There was money to be made in bowls, but those times are gone, and we're left thinking about our next year's future bet, which will probably involve some dogshit Big 12 team who will get its teeth kicked in by LSU/Alabama/Florida next January. Fuuuuuuck it.
So what is there to do? RESEARCH YOUR COLLEGE BASKETBALL!
(lyrics provided by Eazy E, of course)
"I hope that your fans understand when you're talkin bout sprayin me / The same records that you're makin is payin me"
UNC and Duke. Hey, that's a cute little rivalry you guys have. And you realllllllly think you are the top two teams in the country, eh? Well, you kids on tobacco road have your fun. Because the teams that are going to get it done in March live in ghettoville, as we saw from Memphis last year. Sleep on UCLA at your own risk. Same with Wake.
I have this theory about Duke (no, not that every one of their basketball players needs a fist in their kiss-holes) ... They play like horsepiss in the tournament every year because they get so used to getting waxed off at home by those idiots in Cameron. Seriously.... their fans go deathly quiet when one of the Blue Dukies is shooting free throws. Do you guys think that's going to condition them to play well in pressure situations? You can just see Singler stepping up to the line with this year's Chris Douglas Roberts barking at him from down low with the game in the balance? Hey guess who's going pee?!?!?!
"I don't think I'm all this or that, but I'm all me"
Don't look now, but the Golden Gophies are running and gunning their way to the top of the Big 11. Bo welcomed you to this column with double thumbs, but he looked like he took a kick in the groin on Thursday, eh??? Here's a hint for Wisconsin, you might think that recruiting the latest iteration of Sam Okey will please your fans and help you grind out wins against Indiana with remarkable consistency. AND IT WILL. What it will not do, however, is enable your team to pass the ball beyond the half-court line anytime when it matters. 6 foot 9 white guys who make their throws and can't seem to close their mouths when shooting may SEEM to be the answer, and within Bo Ball, well they look downright golden, but when you guys play Michigan???? JESUS MERCY. Someone's getting ghetto, and it's not Madison.
Back to the Gophers, I'm actually not surprised that they are as good as they are... they've played over their heads in spurts, but have also made a lot of rookie mistakes. That will happen when you employ Ralph Sampson III. Seriously, this looks like a child who just got his driver's license.... he's one of those kids you see in your Sophomore math class and just KNOW that he's in 8th grade and on the "fast track" to MIT. His baby face is only made worse by the fact that he's a manchild in the paint, but when it comes to decisions, sometimes Ralph just slips up. That's ok though. The child will have time to grow. He's got good genes. And he blocks your shot just like he drinks a cup of coffee... actually strike that. He's not old enough for coffee yet.
"Doin wicked shit cause shit is wicked on the streets / And from what my eyes see, the wickedness will never cease"
I've been having some fun with the following betting creed:
When a team ranked 10-25 plays on the road, against a respectable, but unranked, conference opponent, BET THE HOME TEAM DEAR GOD BET IT ALL.
Home crowds are good for a 10 point swing these days, maybe more. USC just absolutely demolished Arizona State, after they had beaten the Oregon teams by a combined 1000 points the week before. Duke can't cover shit in Florida State, but get them at home and it's BOY HOWDY NOBODY CLAP DURING THE FREE THROWS OR KYLE GETS CONFUSED. Then there's the Big 10, Northwestern took Purdue to the dick, and Ohio State's fans have to cheer loudly because their football team kisses the pink these days. Don't even start with Michigan. About the only stadium where the home crowd doesn't seem to matter is in Indiana, but I bet they'll beat Iowa there. Why not? These kids are looking at a deepening depression, and by the time they get out of college, it's going to be like "Well, that's a great degree in Sociology, can you swing a maul?" and that's the lucky ones that even get the interviews. Cheer like hell, Brianna, because these are the times to remember. And they will not last forever.
"You can fool the people on the east coast, and the midwest / But in LA, you still ain't passed the test"
The recruiting monopoly in LA is over. And UCLA is the winner. USC is still keeping it horribly gatto, but that's only good for a second round berth. Ben Howland has beat the game, and he's got the system in place to keep churning them out. I don't know how far they'll go, but I can say this: There is a GLUT of pretenders this year, teams from Pitt to UNC to Georgetown... these scumbag teams who couldn't cover Bethune Cookman, and someone's going to put them in their place. Come tournament time, it's going to be balance that takes it all, as Kansas proved last year. Well, had Memphis been able to make A free throw, let alone 4 free throws, they would've won, but still.
And, in conclusion: