Last March, I discovered my love of the 3-point shot and my man-crush on Gus Johnson. Part of my New Year’s resolution was to follow college basketball more closely. Which should have been easy considering I only watched the NCAA tournament last year. On Thursday, three days before Selection Sunday, I saw Kemba Walker for the first time and immediately thought, “He’s smaller than I thought.” That’s when I realized I had failed.
But I had time! And memories from last year! The hipster in me wants to stand and shout “Hey! I liked Jimmer Fredette when he was a Junior!” before going back to listening to bands you’ve never heard of while riding a fixed-gear bike, wearing a scarf and trying to grow an ironic mustache. To be honest, I don’t know what a fixed-gear bike is and unfortunately, I still cannot grow a decent mustache, but I digress. Anyway, I decided it was time for a crash course on college basketball. Friday morning I woke up with a goal. I turned on the TV and found UNC vs. Miami (FL). Good start. About ten minutes in my mind began to wander. I hadn’t eaten yet. And really, do people actually watch more than the last five minutes of college games? Time for a McDonalds run. I get back home with my ten piece chicken nuggets (only 10, I always hope they make a mistake and give me 11), get settled in and it’s just in time to start the second half.
I fire up Twitter to see if I’ve missed anything and join the party like I’ve been watching all along. With a full stomach, I was ready for my first exciting finish of the year. Miami had led all game and North Carolina was handling the ball about as well as Brett Favre. Then came the threes. Oh do I love the three. North Carolina went on a run hitting almost every three they shot and all of a sudden, that 19-point lead Miami had was down to two. With about 45 seconds left, Tyler Zeller put in a hook shot to tie the game at 59. I didn’t know who Tyler Zeller was but his name is too close to Pvt. Fredrick Zoller from Inglorious Basterds. I can’t like a Nazi sniper, so, unfortunately, I couldn’t like the 7-foot UNC forward. Even so, I found myself cheering for the Tar Heels. I always like the underdog. At the end of the game, UNC got the ball back in a tie game and an open Zeller took the ball to lay it in at the buzzer. UNC took their first lead of the game when it mattered most. A furious comeback on the back of four straight threes with a game-winning buzzer beater to top it off. What a game.
On Saturday, I tuned in just in time to catch the last few minutes of the Pac-10 Championship between the Arizona Wildcats and the Washington Huskies. Being a Husky, I should have known the game was on but if anyone asks, yes I did technically watch the game. I got a chance to see C.J. Wilcox hit the game tying 3-pointer with 7 seconds left that eventually sent the game to overtime. And what an overtime it was. Seattle finally got their Gus Johnson moment as Isaiah Thomas (no, not the Isiah Thomas that is in the process of destroying the Knicks again, they aren’t even related) hit the game winner. Cold blooded. Gus Johnson says it best.
Going into Selection Sunday, I had decided which teams I would be rooting for in the tournament. My UW Huskies and the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Of course the NCAA gods won’t let me off that easily. If the Huskies and Tar Heels both survive the first round, they’ll be matched up against each other in round two. Looks like I’m in the same position I was in last year and will be filling out my bracket based on who has the coolest uniforms. Not to worry though, I’ll have a perfect bracket. ESPN’s Tony Reali (@AroundTheHorn) said that the odds are only 1 in 147,573,952,589,676,412,928.
So you’re telling me there’s a chance!