BASKETBALL HEAVEN – Shattered
brackets everywhere. The carnage is devastating. It’s like an
explosion scene from a Jerry Bruckheimer film, but do I care that
my bracket is uglier than Wisconsin’s No. 44 who reminds me
of the ogre from “Shrek”? Nope.

J. Brady McCollough

Disclaimer: If you watched less than 30 hours of
basketball the past four days or opened up a book since Thursday at
noon, you should stop reading this column right now. The chance of
you understanding my warped mind is slim to none. Please flip to
page 8B and check out a Daily diaper-dandy’s first feature
instead. It’s awesome, baby!

Thursday, 5 p.m.: I don’t know which is more
startling — Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara’s 43 points
or coach Jimmy Boeheim’s wife. No wonder Carmelo Anthony went
to college for at least one year.

Thursday, 7:20 p.m.: My friends and I have just realized
that subscribers to Comcast digital cable get to see all four games
on at any given time on channels 185-187 plus CBS Detroit. My life
just became complete — and we don’t have to go to
Damon’s.

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.: Every year, players like Princeton
freshman Luke Owings (No. 20) are suddenly introduced to the world.
Did he do anything well against Texas? No, but he caught our eye
enough to make us perform a Google search. The son of Jeff and
Maria Owings, Luke was valedictorian in high school, loves country
music and could kick all our asses in chess.

Thursday, 9:30 p.m.: Michigan State’s Paul Davis
always looks like he’s been cutting raw onions, and while it
didn’t help the Big Ten’s reputation, there’s
nothing better than watching Sparties cry.

Thursday, 10:45 p.m.: The reason CBS’s Jim Nantz
chose to cover the Denver region? The chance to refer to Air Force
as “The Academy” as much as possible. Don’t get
me wrong — I love Nantz’s poetry and could never thank
him enough for his endorsement of a Michigan tourney berth last
weekend in Indy. It’s just too bad he has to work with Billy
Packer. I wish CBS would play The Masters’ theme music after
every time Nantz speaks so that we wouldn’t have to listen to
Packer.

Friday, 12:30 a.m.: What would LeBron James have done to
teams as horrible as Dayton and DePaul? Even though the game went
to double overtime, it was quite possibly the worst basketball game
I’ve ever seen in the tourney. The quality of college hoops
is diminishing each year.

Friday, 1 a.m.: Must figure out way to combine
Comcast’s brilliance with some kind of shindig for Friday
night’s games. My friends and I decide that a four-room
progressive would do the trick. Starting at 7 p.m., the Orlando
region games provide screwdrivers (gotta love Florida oranges), the
Kansas City games supply boxed wine (Pacific [Calif.] is playing
there), the games played in Columbus will serve Jack and Coke
(Kentucky and East Tennessee State are playing there) and the
Milwaukee games give us a chance to serve the Beast. The e-mail is
sent, and I’m spent.

Friday, 3 a.m.: I get an e-mail informing me that
Friday’s games are not included in Comcast’s package.
Damn, I feel dumb. I send the “boy who cried NCAA
progressive” e-mail to deliver the bad news.

Friday, 5 p.m.: Cincinnati guard Tony Bobbitt hits a
3-pointer to end East Tennessee State’s upset bid. Leave it
to a guy named Bobbitt to cut off a team’s manhood.

Friday, 8:30 p.m.: Nothing better than getting your
girlfriends together to watch sports. I crack up when my friend,
Molly, asks of Wisconsin’s Clayton Hansen, “Is he the
walk-in?” Molly, this is basketball — not a hair salon
or LSA advising.

Friday, 10 p.m.: Everybody at Scorekeepers knows
I’m the king. Wisconsin (my surprise final four pick) gets
over its arachnophobia and steps on the Spiders. I go nuts, and
declare, despite Xavier’s early deficit against Louisville,
that Xavier will still win for no other reason other than that I
picked them.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: My brackets are beginning to unravel
after a pristine first round. I can’t stand Bobby Knight, yet
because I picked Texas Tech to upset St. Joe’s, I find myself
begging for Knight’s happiness. St. Joe’s wins, I feel
bad for a minute, but then I remember that my basketball coach in
high school, who made my junior year unbearable, was a Knight
disciple. I smile at the thought of him sitting in his mom’s
house (yes, he lived with his mom) doing his best Paul Davis
impression.

Saturday, 8 p.m.: As a Boston Red Sox fan, I’m
disgusted at the lack of a “DARRYL! DARRYL!” chant as
Darryl Strawberry Jr. misses the final two shots of
Maryland’s last-second loss to Syracuse. Mrs. Boeheim, will
you marry me?

Saturday, 9 p.m.: Welcome back to DePaul’s LaVar
Seals! After serving his one-game suspension for taking a shot at
Bobbitt’s groin in last week’s C-USA tourney, it was
great to see Seals back in action. What is the deal with
below-the-belt shots these days? A Seton Hall player blatantly
kicked Duke guard Sean Dockery (Michigan wide receiver Jason
Avant’s best friend) in the junk earlier in the day. Have
some respect.

Yesterday, 3:30 p.m.: There are 40 sports writers on the
Daily staff, most of whom will go pro in something other than
sports writing.

Yesterday, 4:45 p.m.: I start counting up the Sweet 16
teams I picked correctly and include N.C. State who was up by about
eight points over Vanderbilt late in the game. Looks like Kentucky
and Alabama will be the only SEC teams to make it.

Yesterday, 5 p.m.: Teams in this tournament do not know
how to finish games. N.C. State was by far the worst, committing
stupid fouls and getting off a horrendous 3-point attempt down two
points. It honestly looked like something Michigan would do. Call
timeout and at least try to get off a quality shot!

Yesterday, 7 p.m.: In the span of 20 minutes, the entire
left side of my bracket is a wash, my Kentucky-Wisconsin final four
matchup is erased and there is still one afro alive in the tourney.
My friend, a diehard Kentucky fan — he would root for
Kentucky over Michigan — leaves Scorekeepers in silence. The
University of Alabama-Birmingham?

Yesterday, 9:12 p.m.: This column is over. What a
weekend. See you tonight at the NIT baby!

J. Brady McCollough can be reached at
“mailto:bradymcc@umich.edu”>bradymcc@umich.edu.

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