Wildcat Dynamics, or Why the Tournament Might Make Me Throw Up
It’s official, I will get no more joy from this NCAA Tournament. Okay, maybe, hopefully, there will be some joy at the end, but until that point the next two weeks shape up for me as a vomit-inducing combination of nervousness and unfortunate choices.
The problem stems in part from how well my Homer Picks bracket has done…at least in the South Region. That Region is a train wreck in every other bracket compilation method I used, but on that Homer Bracket, it’s aces. That leaves UK having to knock out Indiana tonight to advance. Normally this isn’t a problem for me (although I have never really hated Indiana), but currently the Hoosiers employ a friend and mentor and genuinely great guy as their Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations. After all of the things he’s been through at IU, he deserves for his Tournament stay to last longer. Sadly, I can’t wish him luck with that.
Then there’s the fact that the Cats face the prospect of facing my second favorite college team – the Xavier Musketeers (no matter how disappointed I was in them for the Cincinnati brawl and its aftermath) on Sunday. I have NEVER had to root against Xavier and just the potential for that experience is about to make my head explode.
Granted, by the time the Cats take the court in the middle of the night tonight (who sets these schedules?), that possibility could be out the window, but that doesn’t mean that Sunday will be stress free? Why? Because of what happened last night.
There have been few Tournament joy-wrecking nights like last night in Phoenix. Louisville and Florida both advancing guarantees that either a team I loathe or a team I loathe more (I’ll leave you to decide which is which) will be in the Final Four. If, somehow, Kentucky fails to advance that far…well, I don’t even want to think about it.
But even if Kentucky exerts its massive superiority tonight and Sunday and goes on to New Orleans, they are assured of facing a team with a score to settle – either hated rival Louisville or slightly less hated rival Florida. Both teams are smoking hot right now, and when Kentucky and Florida last met, the Gators made Kentucky look vulnerable.
And should Kentucky clear all of those hurdles, there the nerve-wracking experience of having to wait and see if they can win the last game of the college basketball season. Joyless.
Look, I know Kentucky is the best team. They have better players at every position than most teams they’ll face the rest of the way (except maybe in the championship game). I’m not worried about talent. I’m suddenly worried about dynamics and what’s left of my own personal mental health.
The next 10 days are going to be a pretty rough ride and I’m not sure if I should start slamming Pepto Bismol or bourbon to cope (bourbon is the leader in the clubhouse, at least for tonight).
Oh, and I love this article from The Onion. (For those of you not familiar with The Onion, it’s satire. Do not panic. Cal will be at the game.
I’ll be filling in for Dick Gabriel tonight on Big Blue Insider from 6-7 pm on NewsRadio 630 WLAP. I will stick around from 7-8 for the Kennedy’s Wildcat Den Wildcat Preview with Leland. So I guess I’ll be on the pre-pre-game and pre-game shows. Tune in and talk some Cats.