As far as I’m concerned, Championship Week, the week we are entering right now, truly is the best week of the entire sports calendar. Sure we have better days (Opening Day in baseball, Sunday at the Masters, Duke’s first loss of the college basketball season) and even better weekends (like the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for example), but nothing beats this week, when hoops will be on your TV from noon ‘til bedtime, Tuesday through Sunday. Other than being a Saudi oil sheik and hanging out on a Yacht your entire life, I can’t think of a better way to spend one seven day period.
Anyway, in honor of the great American holiday known as Championship Week, I’ve decided to bring back my long-retired “50 Random Thoughts” column. For you first time readers, “50 Random Thoughts” is exactly what it sounds like. There’s no analysis here, or even strong opinions, just 50 half-baked ideas that kind of popped into my head when I started thinking about the week ahead of us.
In no particular order…
1. To me, the Harrison Barnes era at North Carolina has been a lot like the show “Two Broke Girls”: There’s been a lot of hype, little substance, and every time I’m done watching I always think “So wait, what’s all the fuss about?”
2. Just because UConn is the No. 9 seed in the Big East Tournament, and just because they’re opening with DePaul does not make this year “just like last year.” Please stop.
3. This week, we’ll finally get the answer to one of life’s great unknown questions: If the Pac-12 hosts a conference tournament, but no one watches, did it really happen?
4. I gotta stop sending texts at 2:30 in the morning after I get home from the bar. Ok, that has nothing to do with Championship Week, but I feel like it needed to be shared anyway.
5. I’m not a religious person, but if there is a God, he or she will give us Kansas and Missouri one last time in the Big XII Championship Game.
6. Speaking of which, how weird is it that Missouri is going to be in the SEC next year? That one is going to take a while to get used to.
7. Cuonzo Martin looks much scarier in an orange blazer than Bruce Pearl ever did.
8. On Friday, I hosted Long Beach State Athletic Director Vic Cegles on my podcast. On Saturday, Long Beach State lost their first conference game of the year. I feel like those two events are somehow correlated. I also feel like I’ve jinxed that poor program.
9. It seems like this is the 20th year in a row that we’ve gotten St. Mary’s and Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game. And you know what? I’m totally cool with it.
10. Have we ever gotten an explanation on why the Big Ten chooses to host their conference tournament in Indianapolis? For everyone involved, doesn’t Chicago sound like a much better option?
11. For the sake of quality basketball, nothing beats the Big East Tournament in New York City. But for the sake of fun, I’d much rather be going to the SEC Tournament in New Orleans this weekend.
12. Erving Walker… yeah, I’ll just let you insert your own joke here.
13. Speaking of which, what’s up with Kevin Stallings? I feel like I’ve made every joke there is to make about the guy, yet somehow, his suits continue to get uglier every single game. (John Jenkins jumpshot? That's a thing of beauty though)
14. I’m just gonna say it… Aaron Craft is overrated. Wow, I can’t tell you how much better I feel.
15. I’m just gonna say it… I’m getting emotional thinking about the end of the Anthony Davis Era at Kentucky. Brow down my friends, brow down.
16. This week will prove to be a very interesting case study in the age old question: “Is Indiana capable of winning a game outside of Assembly Hall?” Speaking of which…
17. I really enjoy watching Cody Zeller play basketball. You know what? I enjoy watching Tyler Zeller play basketball too.
18. My only thoughts on Mississippi State are the following: I don’t know what to expect from them this weekend, but regardless of what happens I expect to need a cold shower and a date with my therapist when it’s all said and done.
19. Louisville… What’s up with those guys?
20. You know it’s a bad season to be a UConn fan when on Saturday night I was chatting with my buddy and said, “Man, we need Harvard to win tonight. They’re one of our best wins and it’ll look good for our resume.” Wait, what?
21. It still makes me sad to think about a day when the Big East Tournament will be played without Syracuse. It’d be like playing the ACC Tournament without Duke. It just ain’t right.
22. It makes me sad to think that Bob Huggins has been at West Virginia six years now, and no one has been nice enough to buy him a suit. Poor guy.
23. Shaka Smart is one cool dude. That hasn’t changed since last year.
24. Who do you think is more likely to show up drunk to UCLA’s Pac-12 Tournament opener on Wednesday: The players? Or the fans forced to watch them? What? Too soon.
25. It’s going to be weird having an NCAA Tournament without Gus Johnson.
26. Sad, but true fact: I’ve watched upward of 15 Notre Dame games and still can’t tell you a damn thing about that team.
27. Same with Michigan actually.
28. Just a hunch, but at some point this week someone will pronounce “Marquis Teague” as “Mar-key-s” rather than “Mar-cus.” My guess is the person to do that will be Charles Barkley.
29. Creighton’s win over Illinois State Sunday afternoon was a really fun game to watch. Given what I saw though, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was Creighton’s last win of the season.
30. At some point during Championship Week, Jimmy Dykes will say at least one thing that will piss you off.
31. Actually, let me rephrase that. At some point during Championship Week, Jimmy Dykes will say at least five things (possibly consecutively) that will piss you off.
32. On Sunday, Marv Albert and Steve Kerr broadcasted the Kentucky-Florida game. You will never hear me complain about hearing those two call a college basketball game.
33. You will also never hear me complain about five straight days of Big East basketball. Ever.
34. Six weeks ago, I proclaimed Baylor as a dark horse National Championship contender. Well, I still believe in them… maybe even to make it to the Sweet 16.
35. I know they lost on Sunday in the MAAC Tournament… but Iona is one of the 68 best teams in college basketball. They need to be in the NCAA Tournament.
36. Northwestern? Not so much.
37. UConn, South Florida and West Virginia? Ask me in a week.
38. Just a hunch, but I don’t think we’ll see Billy Gillispie coaching in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
39. I wish my name sounded half as cool to say as “Spiro Dedas.” Sadly, it doesn’t.
40. To me, the New Mexico Lobos are a lot like the TV show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” I don’t know why I like watching them so much, yet every time they’re on TV I can’t change the channel.
41. I will never get tired of listening to Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough make fun of Bill Raftery.
42. “Man, I can’t stand watching Michael Kidd-Gilchrist play basketball,” is something that no one has said, ever.
43. I enjoyed watching the Wolfpack in The Hangover on Saturday night much more than I’ve enjoyed watching the NC State Wolfpack this season. They’ve got one week left to impress me.
44. I haven’t watched Temple play a single basketball game this year, and with all due respect, I plan on keeping it that way.
45. Just a hunch, but I suspect Fab Melo is going to make a lot of coaches at the Big East Tournament pay for keeping him off the All-Big East team this year. Seriously, how did that happen?
46. Selection Sunday just won’t be the same without Seth Greenberg on my TV holding back tears and whining after Virginia Tech gets left out of the Big Dance. That’s one of my favorite early-spring traditions.
47. I don’t think I’ve ever been this indifferent about Duke. I neither love them or hate them, and wouldn’t be surprised if they lost in their ACC opener or win the whole tournament. Just one of those years, I suppose.
48. I am not indifferent on Coach K’s hair however. How is it possible to still be the same shade of black it was 30 years ago? I want answers, dammit!
49. In the last two years, West Virginia and UConn have had semi-surprising Big East Tournament championships, before ending their seasons in the Final Four. It wouldn’t surprise me if Marquette did the same this year.
50. Sit back and grab a beer. This next week is going to be a lot of fun.
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And my semi Alma Mater made it to the Dance. Western Kentucky was my alma mater before I left streaking back in the 70's. Great random 50 Aaron!
@Aaron_Torres #28 made me literally laugh out loud. Sir Charles makes the down time between games so much more entertaining!
I think I remember discussing this with you two years ago. As you may remember, I was in the building when WKU beat Drake on a buzzer-beater (working for UConn at the time, who played against San Diego the next game) in 2008. Still one of my fondest memories of postseason basketball ever. Either way congrats... and best of luck to the Hilltoppers in avoiding UK in the first round!
@Aaron_Torres And of course referring to Duke's first loss of the season as a great day earned you some bonus points.