Trophy Ceremony

College basketball is at long last over for the season. And that can only mean one or more things: we have an official and undisputed winner in the Brick-à-Brack (ID#21100) NCAA tournament pool: Julie Meloni. Given that this is Julie’s second EWM Tournament Pick ‘Em win in, what?, two or three years, we can either 1) urge her to write a ProfHacker entry on the blood, sweat, and tears it took to out-predict the rest of us or 2) conclude that something statistically suspicious is afoot and impose a three-year Pick ‘Em probationary period for this possible (some would say “probable”) violation. Okay, so maybe No. 2 is too scornfully anti-congratulatory. Whatever the case, this second championship elevates Julie into Krzyzewskian ranks. Congrats, Julie!

No, I really mean it. I do. Like everyone else you defeated, I’m sincerely “happy” for you.

I don’t have much else to say about this NCAA Tournament (read CGB’s entry on why college basketball in general comes away a winner after a tournament like this). By the end, I was rooting enthusiastically for Butler. Like this, “Go Bulldogs! Woof! Woof! Woof!” Not really. I mean, I *was* rooting for Butler, but without barking. To be honest, though, I misjudged Duke and Butler as upset specials. Neither of them had even a slim chance in my vision of how things would play out. I had Butler losing to UTEP (first round) and Duke losing to Louisville (second round). Be forewarned: Next season I will keep these hallucinations and blindnesses in mind.

MAC Championship

As plainly as I can say it, I’ve never looked forward to a MAC Championship game like I am looking forward to today’s MAC Championship game: Akron vs. Ohio, 6 p.m. tip-off. ESPN2.

Above all, I would like to see Ohio win because one of their freshmen, #3 Ivo Baltic, was on teams I coached in the KC area from 2000 to 2004. Now Ivo’s a 6-9 forward who developed an impressive facility for basketball (although I got to know him because I coached his soccer team when he was even younger). Often Ph. and I would pick up him for practices; he was what my own coach approvingly called a “gym rat,” would leave a practice asking about when would be the next time he could get in the gym. For perspective, and because I am proud of what he has done for himself, here are a couple of photos to contrast with the one below, which D. took after we saw Ohio play EMU at the Convocation Center five weeks ago.

After EMU-Ohio Game

So, easily, I am a fan. And I would greatly enjoy seeing his 9-seeded Bobcats beat the 3-seeded Zips.

The other side of the coin for me, as far as my personal interest in today’s game, is that I once had a try-out in front of Keith Dambrot many years ago.


Did you watch the game last night?  Whatever your answer, I can’t say I blame you. 
What does that mean, anyway, "can’t say I blame you"? I watched, using it as a good reason to stay up and eat jellybeans, until nine minutes remained in the second
half.  Reminded me of the time my good mutt
Tony was
surprised to find himself sniffing around in tie-up-reach of two German
Shepherds, double-surprised when one took him in its jaws, and surprised yet
again when the beast shook him around like a rag doll and tossed him up in the
air like a UNC jump shot in the first half of last night’s drubbing. T.
scamperlimped away and hid under some neighbor’s deck.  By association, it
comes down to this: I’d have been happier if the Spartans won and I’d have been
more interested if the game was ever close.

The pool
is complete, and the victor is Julie M. with 145 picktelligent points. What
stands out to me the most about JM’s impressive finish is that last year she was 12th; this
year she was 1st.  Guess who was 12th this year? Yours truly. This can only
mean that next year I am due to join the elite company of EWM Tournament Pick’em

2009  Julie M.  (1 of 24)
2008  Billie H. (1 of 18)
2007  Jason L.  (1 of 17)
2006  Chuck T.  (1 of 11)
2005  Mike J.   (1 of 7)
2004  Jeff R.   (1 of 7)