On the bright side, it's NCAA Tournament time, and that's one of the coolest times of the year that doesn't include football season. So, with all that happening, here are some random thoughts from over the weekend.
— Really, I'm happy for Georgia. I am. Stop looking at me like that. I'm thrilled for them.
That said, the SEC's doing backflips that the last-place team that just happened to make a storybook run at the SEC Tournament title is the red-and-black — not only are they the favorite team of the southeast's biggest state, they also have the oppressive Atlanta media breathlessly following their every move (why do you think two-loss UGA, who couldn't win its own division, still got consideration for the BCS title game last year?).
The fact remains that UGA is a terrible basketball team that happened to catch fire against a lousy conference — not to toot my own horn here, but I actually predicted something like this way back in January:
There's some serious potential for the SEC to be way, way down in basketball this year. Florida is rebuilding, Arkansas and Kentucky both have new head coaches, LSU still employs John Brady for whatever reason, Auburn is going through its 64th consecutive season of being a young team, and Alabama wouldn't have been very good anyway, but losing Ronald Steele (the best coach on the bench, counting Mark Gottfried and the nine suits) was a killer. So who's left? Only Tennessee and Ole Miss — in the midst of a 13-game win streak to start the season — look like legitimate threats to make any noise in March. This could be one of those weird SEC years, where most everybody finishes 8-8 in conference and we wind up with one of those championship games between two teams that barely made it in the tournament (like 2001, when Arkansas won the conference title over a depleted Auburn and was promptly shellacked in the first round of the NCAAs).— The hot topic at Monday morning's UAB media luncheon (kicking off spring practice) was the SEC and how it handled the weather-related fiasco over the weekend. The consensus was that they really couldn't have done anything else, and that's probably correct. Seriously, how else can you handle moving a 25,000-seat event to a 9,000-seat arena? Do you let in the first 9,000 to show up? What do you say to customer 9,001 — "sorry buddy, but this guy got here before you"? There'd be riots in the streets.
— One more thing on the weather: Mykal Riley may have inadvertently kept several thousand fans out of danger by making that game-tying 3 on Friday — if the game ends in regulation, then there's likely a mass of fans leaving/trying to leave as the weather rolls into downtown. So maybe somebody was on Mykal's side, at least for them.
— The person who had the worst weekend? My friend Peter, a minister who grew up a Tech fan, then became a Tide fan when he went to school in Tuscaloosa. So not only did he have to sit through the debacle that was Friday night, he then watched as UGA became the nation's darlings, winning three games in 30 hours to claim the SEC title ... and on G. Tech's court, at that. Yikes. I thought about posting a text message he sent me on Monday, but decided against it for everyone's health.
— Speaking of my friends, I have to throw one out for another friend of mine, Tim Roberson, currently making an effort to raise money for cancer research. I'll let him explain:
It's a Bracket Challenge pick'em that benefits Charity (specifically the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). I've been fundraising this winter while I'm training for a 1/2 Ironman in California (Don't all gasp at once) and I'm getting closer to my goal of raising $5000. For a $10 donation to the LLS, you can not only help fund research to find a cure for blood cancer, but you'll also get the Group ID and Password for my Bracket Challenge group! Enter as many times as you want. The top two winners will get a portion of the $$$ and prizes. I'd say it's a 50/50 split, but I don't know how many people will be in the group yet.
You can donate online safe and secure at my fundraising webpage:
Please pass this on to co-workers/friends/family that you think might be interested!
Thanks and Roll Tide
class of '01
And with that, some links ...
• Bama Hoops has a good itemized list of thoughts about the season.
• Tired of dumping on Nick Saban and Tommy Tuberville, Finebaum spares a few moments to dump on LSU. Good for you, Mr. Burns. Good for you.
• A new blog I've added to my rail: Heart of Georgia Sports, the blog of my former employers in Dublin, Ga. Here, my old buddy Jason Halcombe — a borderline comedic genius — posts his filled-out bracket.
• Speaking of brackets, here's the Sports Gal's. I'll even copy her "Bachelor" note for my wife's benefit.
"The Bachelor" started Monday night, and it was a competitive first show because girls were doing everything to impress the Bachelor, including singing, arm wrestling and playing the clarinet. It was like a beauty contest for crazy people. But they always have one black contestant who makes it two rounds before she gets voted off -- Bill always compares her to Gonzaga because she's an underdog who never makes the Final Four. Anyhoo, this year's bachelor is A HOT GUY FROM BRITAIN and seems to really like this year's black contestant, so maybe she will make the "Final Four" before Gonzaga does! The other highlight from last night other than THE BACHELOR BEING REALLY HOT was a woman with fake lips who got tanked, fondled the Bachelor's knee and gave him her panties before passing out face-first on a bed. I love this show. Ladies, did I mention that THE BACHELOR IS SMOKING HOT????wlh