The editor gets humbled, and retorts with a preemptive volley against our best writer’s pending Big East article

Indeed, I’ve been lazy.

I blame it on the Buffalo Bills bye week.  Whats to get excited about?  Texas vs. St Louis in the World Series?  (I was at Three Needs with CJ’s younger dumber brother when Pujols hit a 3 run homer; exciting, but extended an already two run lead) Nah, big market teams bring the media attention, nobody really cares about baseball this year except John Kruk and Ator, who I’m sure is turning in his Princeton grave that the Phillies didn’t follow their Atreyu-like destiny.  (The Red Sox choking worse than the 2007 Mets was like watching that big f*cking turtle sinking in the “Swamps of Sadness”)  I’ll pass on baseball this year.  I eventually turned on ESPN early enough to see ‘Cuse ‘Cuse SYRACUSE beat up on Huggy Bear’s alma mater.  Which brings me to my talking point for the evening/REALLY early morning:

Right.  I don’t really understand Grantland.com‘s excursion into college basketball in this way.  I gather that the premise of the website is to bring an edgy feel to sports coverage combined with witty articles about reality TV, video gaming (big ups to Gears of War 3), and the movie business, all while using Disney’s Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pit of gold doubloons to sponsor incredibly wordy writers, their research, and content.  By all accounts, I go there every day to read and get caught up with a personal take of sports that I can’t get on normal TV.

When I saw their first college hoops article on Why the North Carolina Tar Heels Will Win the National Championship, I was all “I can smell some real hoops coverage coming down the pike”, much like when I drive through Vermont and smell cow turds while approaching a successful milk or veal farm.  I actually believed much of what was said, since the content based UNC’s Superdome hopes on the health of their stud point guard, Mr Kendall “not Brandon” Marshall.  I am skeptical of the result since I hear and observe that Roy Williams’s style of play is run run run, while Jay-K47 writes that Marshall is no Ty Lawson, but a slower, smarter BASKETBALL player (think Charlie Ward, Heisman Trophy winner, yet eschews it to play hoops cause he’s a smart mo-fo who knows how to pass the rock. Ewing should be thankful).  I nearly orgasmed twice when I saw BenDamnI’mGladYouGrewUpInWesternNY write about ‘Cuse winning the title this year, though I realized it was very premature when I remembered that Upstate NY teams often have long drawn out histories of shame, dreariness, and failure, which as a former Southern Tier resident I know all too well. (Imagine Binghamton University actually upsetting Duke in the 2009 NCAA Tourney to become the 5th team in history to upset a #2 seed. The area clings to so much hope that the local Press and Sun Bulletin considered victory as a distinct possibility where in reality there is no way in hell that Kreshchevskiveski loses to f*cking Binghamton U)  My assumptions were confirmed when I saw follow up articles about Duke, Ohio State, and Kentucky rise out of the woodwork,  and I figured it was only a matter of time that something will eventually be written about the current champions, the University of Connecticut.  Much to my surprise, the first “this team will not win the national championship” article was written about those pesky Huskies.

If you haven’t read the article, read it.  Then read CJ’s post immediately previous to this one.  I’m not at liberty to comment about either, because:

  • A: I’ve been to Hartford once to see Motley Crue.  The only other time I’d consider going again is for an Alice Cooper show or to compete in an eating challenge.
  • 2: A true fan will make all points necessary about their sports club, and probably would be way more knowledgeable about them than the other guy (that guy being myself).  For example, I could tell you that University of Buffalo alum Naaman Roosevelt was a practice squad guy last year for Buffalo as well as this year, but since the Bills always seem to be injured at every important position at some point during the season, he’s made the active roster both years.  CJ doesn’t know that fact, but he could probably tell me Jacoby Ford’s favorite food, color, and sexual position, while also explaining who the f*ck is Stefen Wisniewski.
HOWEVER, the big news that initially made HUGE news but will now be ignored until 27 months from now is that the Orange (and Pittsburgh) is bailing the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.  This is obviously a football (i.e. money) move, but it has large implications for basketball as we know it.  Currently the Big East is king of college hoops with ACC arguably being the queen or prince (or earl/viscount/princess depending on your conference allegiance).  As Boeheim indicates on PTI, the place for ‘Cuse to be is in the ACC. Games against perennial favorites for the tournament in Duke and UNC?  Battling the ever dangerous Wolfpack and the newly vulnerable Terps?  I’m in!
 A shakeup of the status quo will have an affect on all other parties left out of the… party…, say, UCONN, Marquette, the Hoyas, Villanova, etc., if they let the departure deeply affect them.  I can sympathize for fans of these schools to a point, and that point extends as far as how good those fans think of Pitt and ‘Cuse’s hoop programs.  The attitude going forward has to be to continue their run of dominance.  Last year, the Big East sported eleven teams in the NCAA Tournament.  In two years, that number will probably remain or improve (just take a look at St. John’s re-emergence) based on how those Big East programs continue to progress, build upon previous successes, and learn from playing top competition.  Will not playing Syracuse and Pittsburgh during the year hinder a program’s ascent to winning the Tournament?  I doubt it, and if it does, I think there are other problems beyond conference alignment that should be addressed.

The greatest travesty out of all of this is that by 2013 we can expect to never see a game quite like UConn vs. Syracuse 6OT in 2009, which to this day is the greatest college basketball game I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. (And I saw the ‘Melo led Syracuse team win their first and only National Championship in New Orleans from the second tier.  GERRY)  Yeah, perhaps epic-ness can emerge from a Seton Hall vs West Virginia matchup in a decade of close games and a few fistfights, but not much can compare to the primal, gutteral feeling of pure emotion and excitement inspired by a UCONN ‘Cuse matchup, unless you are Norman Dale before, during, and after kicking the athleticism out of Muncie Central.

So CJ, I’m in total agreement with your riposte of JackOLantern’s dissing of UCONN this year.  Lamb ain’t no slouch, and can only have gotten better this offseason preparing to take the offensive reins from Kemba.  (But can he reach the heights of my all time favorite Huskie Rashad Anderson?!?)  They absolutely have a chance to win the Tourney, much like every other damn team in the hunt.  I just hope that realignment garbage doesn’t taint what really matters: program building and keeping the focus on earning the ultimate prize of a piece of net from The Big Easy.  With perhaps a few hurricanes on the side as celebratory compensation.

About: Esteban

Esteban is the Editor in Chief of RantingEsteban.com. Check out his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @RantingEsteban, or send him an email.

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