Saturday, April 03, 2010

Butler 52, Michigan St. 50

That was a hideous basketball game, but I'm glad that Butler won. I think there were two different stretches of longer than five minutes during which neither team made a basket from the field. Now I'm watching the Duke game, and it's a testament to how much I hate the Blue Devils that I'm strongly rooting for a team coached by Bob Huggins, who represents everything that's wrong with major college sports.

Having Butler win it all would be a great story, especially because this is probably the last year of the tourney as we know it. The NCAA seems serious about expanding the field to 96 teams next year, which makes me think the hoops people there have a sizable side bet with the football folks to see who can have a sillier postseason (or lack thereof). Ninety-six teams is a terrible idea for at least the same number of reasons, and it reminds me of something philosopher Mary Midgley said, in a very different context: "the idea that growth . . . is natural and required, is a mythical idea. This can't be right, because things do not grow indefinitely in nature; they grow until they're big enough."

But the tournament being so great has always been an anomaly for the NCAA, which is otherwise among the dumbest organizations on the planet. There's a long trail of evidence for that statement, but let's limit ourselves to this year's basketball event, in which there were first-round games in the "West" bracket played in Buffalo, New York, and first-round games in the "East" bracket played in San Jose, California.


Blogger Levi Stahl said...

Joe Posnanski wrote a hell of a blog post about Huggins the other day. (Does he write any other kind? No, no he doesn't. He's a god among men. A humble, entertaining god.) I have zero interest in college sports (because of a combination 1) I already spend too much time watching MLB, 2) lack of longevity in playing careers (seriously: why should I get involved with players who are only going to be around three years? I got to hate Roger Clemens from 5th grade until age 34!), and 3) that whole the-NCAA-is-hideous-and-takes-advantage-of-its-unpaid-labor-pool thing . . . and Posnanski doesn't quite convince me, especially because the infractions he mentions seem pretty damn serious, but at the same time he mounts a defense of Huggins that I can at least appreciate, if not fully buy.

Whew. That was more thought than I've given to college basketball . . . since that time in 1991 when I was in the barber shop in my hometown, seventeen years old, and one of the guys getting his hair cut said to the barber, "I like Duke because they've always got a couple of good white guys." At which point I decided, like all good Americans, to hate Duke despite not caring about college basketball.

10:10 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Thanks for the link, Levi. I'll check that out. I'm already feeling a little bad (a little) for writing what I did about Huggins and then watching him very sincerely comfort a player who was in a lot of pain.

10:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home