Editor’s note: Neal Farmer is Executive Director of the Touchdown Club, a former reporter for the Houston Chronicle and an all around good guy. He will be doing the Monday updates.
This is the second most exciting time each year in college basketball. Teams make The Dance you don’t expect, and others have their hopes dashed and their teeth gnashed — but are readily available for the second-chance forgiveness of the NIT.
Stats — what a sports junkie lives for — as to why a team made the NCAA Tournament are as common as a Tony Romo interception. There are wins against Top 10 opponents, wins against quality opponents, losses against quality opponents. And even the ever-sexier proposal that is thrown out there — this player is worth the whole nation seeing in The Dance, so let’s hope this 18-14 team makes it.
The most exciting time in Bracketology is later this week, with all the upsets that will take place during the first two rounds. I’m especially talking to you, 4th seeds. My guess is that some 4th seeds will continue the tradition of choking in the first round. And (almost) everyone will love it.That’s a tip from me to you for those who use mybookie.com, code word Fred50.
I suppose, technically, that it is considered gambling to fill out brackets for the NCAA Tournament. In a Jeff Sessions, uptight, follow-the-by-Gawd-law kind of way. (I remember a brief Sports Illustrated article where a Major League Baseball team was late to an MLB anti-gambling seminar because the team was in the locker room filling out their NCAA playoff brackets. It’s sports’ ultimate definition of irony.) But this is one case where I go with the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law. People who might not otherwise exchange curse words early in the morning are now talking colorfully about how their NCAA brackets are ruined after the first weekend, and act like they are proud of it.
It’s a tradition. It’s what makes college basketball so exciting.
And it is what makes college basketball better than college football. Both are great, but let’s see the equivalent of Gonzaga, Georgetown or Butler in college football — University of Houston? BYU? Navy? — get into the national championship equation. It won’t happen because the powers that be squeezed out the little guys. The Power 5 Conferences get a vast majority of the football money, and even if a little guy gets into the football playoffs, the big money is just for one year.
College football is fascist, predetermined by those in power. College basketball is a democracy, which like sausage-making, you won’t like the way the decisions are made — but everyone literally has a shot. And God bless democracies.
LOCAL FLAVOR — In addition to Baylor and SMU, TSU won the SWAC and will play in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers get North Carolina in round 1. The TSU women also made that tournament. Houston is a 2 seed in the NIT and will open against Akron.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Posts this morning from a new writer, Jeff Springmeier, on Houston fans from an outsiders perspectivefrom an outsiders perspective and Lamont Man weighs in on whether Twitter should ban Trump.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT — By now you most-likely have seen that BBC piece where an expert on South Korean policy was being interviewed in his home and his two small kids break into the room while he is on live TV. Those of us with hard-headed kids watched with awe, anxiety and extreme entertainment. I’ve seen the video three times and I think the mom’s reactions are funnier each time. I finally have decided her look was one of sheer terror.
There is no need to put a link here because the video went viral. But I have decided that the reason the person being interviewed did not get up: Since he was at home, he was not wearing pants.
WHEREFORE ART THOU ROMO — I have a problem with the recent Tony Romo converts in Houston. When did he become Romeo for Houston Texans fans? You’ve seen the anti-Romo memes, put out against “Romosexual” fans. And if you are handed a hand-on-Bible court order, only then would you admit you have forwarded one of them — or 20 — to your friends in Dallas.
The move does make sense. Romo can keep his home in Dallas and commute, and there more likely is a need at QB for Houston. <Most likely is in sarcasm font>. But c’mon. Are you going into full, anti-Osweiler mode when Romo throws another two-interception game as a Texan? And when that happens, are you going to answer the phone from any of your friends from Dallas? Who would be Delusional then?
RABBIT, RABBIT, RABBIT — Disco Biscuit, another new writer for Houston Sports & Stuff, has a piece last week on this site about what mammal she could defeat in battle. One was a rabbit.
If you watch Monty Python movies, you know that probably wouldn’t happen against sharp, pointy teeth. I would advise her to run away.
CLASSIC CHOICE — It’s time to choose more classical music, just in case you want to sound more intelligent and well-rounded. And with Rodeo Houston in town, there is really only one choice. American Aaron Copland wrote songs about the West, and the top one is his fourth movement, Hoedown, from his work, Rodeo. (Pronounced Roe-DAY-o.) If you want a more-modern rendition of Hoedown, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had a version in 1972 that No. 1 in in the United Kingdom.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”
— Maya Angelou
HOTTIE OF THE DAY