Monthly Archives: March 2011

Predicting Jim Nantz’s NCAA Championship Call for All 16 Teams

The 2011 NCAA tournament has been similar to others in the recent past. There have been a few major upsets and many games decided in the final seconds. Unpredictable and full of drama.

One thing you can always count on in the tournament is Jim Nantz will eventually script his final call when the winner is determined. He is probably already working on a few.

Since he’s become master of the cheesy NCAA championship pun, I figured I’d help him out in advance. In the past, I’ve seen blogs that have done this sort of thing just prior to the Final Four. Let’s get an earlier start this year, and give Jim a few options for all 16 remaining teams.

I could not find any video of examples of Nantz’s wordsmithery, but here are a few in text form:

“Nothing could be finer…North Carolina is your National Champion.” (as in “nothin fina’ than Carolina” from UNC’s 2009 title)

“Rock Chalk Championship.” (a play on Kansas’ famous slogan, “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” from 2008)

“A milestone victory for Arizona.” (in reference to Arizona’s Miles Simon, from the 1997 championship)

OK, now that we’re up to speed, here are some incredibly corny puns that only Jim Nantz could love. Some of these are stretching it a bit, but hey, that’s what Nantz does anyway.

Arizona Wildcats

That’s two, son! (a reference to Arizona winning its second national title and also a play on words with Tucson)

Arizona has risen!

Duke Blue Devils

A Double Dose of Duke. Back-to-back titles!

A devil of a team!

(OK, OK they’ve won it too many times. He wouldn’t have anything original left anyway, hence last year’s “Duke is the king of the dance!”

Connecticut Huskies

“They may have Walker, but what a RUN to a championship!”

“UConn call the Huskies the 2011 champions!”

What will Jim Nantz say if the Aztecs win it all? Here's a candidate.

San Diego State Aztecs

“Fisher reels in a championship for San Diego State!”

“Go Diego, Go! The Aztecs are national champions!”

“A championship made to order just above of the border!”

BYU Cougars

“A night they’ll never Fredette! BYU is the 2011 national champion!”

“Sex and drugs may be out, but a championship is allowed at BYU!”

“This feeling will never get OLD at Brigham YOUNG! The Cougars win the title!”

Florida Gators

Gator done! Florida wins the 2011 championship!

Chomping for a championship!

Butler Bulldogs

This time, the Butler did it! (way too obvious, of course)

BUT of course! The Bulldogs are the 2011 champions!

Wisconsin Badgers

Bucky ain’t so sucky! The Badgers are the 2011 national champions!

Nothing cheesy about this night!

Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Virginia is for championships!

Nothing COMMON about winning a title!

VCU is the SMART pick. The Rams have SHAKA the world!

Florida State Seminoles

They are too much to (pan)handle! The Seminoles win the 2011 national championship!

A Hall and Oates reference is unlikely, but you never know with Nantz.

Richmond Spiders

The itsy bitsy championship goes to Richmond!

From rags to Richmond!

She’s a Richmond! You can rely on your old man’s MOONEY!

Kansas Jayhawks

Kan-sas really be happening?? The Jayhawks are champions!

You couldn’t have asked for anything Morris!

Rock Chalk Cham – oh shit, I used that one already.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Milwaukee’s Best! The Golden Eagles are 2011 champions!

Right on the Marq!

The Golden (Eagles) Rule!

North Carolina Tar Heels

A Tar-iffic season ends with a championship!

What a thrill for Chapel Hill!

Head over Heels for a national title!

Kentucky Wildcats

Yes, they Ken!

Look what the cats dragged in…a championship!

Ohio State Buckeyes

O what a night!

One of the great nights of Columbus!

It’s not bad being Thad! The Buckeyes are the national champions!

If you stuck with me all the way to this point, you have my extreme gratitude! Enjoy the rest of the tournament.


Thinking About the Devestation in Japan

I realize I am a few days late with this, but I want to express my sympathy for the people in Japan who are dealing with the recent earthquake, tsunami, and now radiation in some areas. While I typically like to keep things light and sports-related here — I am most certainly amped up for the NCAA tournament and upcoming baseball season — I feel it necessary to make mention of this.

Having a sister-in-law from Japan, who still has relatives there, has made this hit a little closer to home. Luckily her family is located far enough away from the most severe damage and is doing OK. Even so, I can’t even imagine how scary this must be for them.

The vast majority of crises in the world are caused by some person or group of people. The unique thing about natural disasters, however, is that there isn’t anyone to blame. In a way it creates a helpless feeling. Though perhaps a silver lining here is that instead of causing arguments, this has brought a lot of people together. We’re already seeing the support from here in the U.S.

I’ll be back soon with some NCAA tourney thoughts, but I’ll leave that for another day. Thank you for reading.

Advice For Filling Out Your NCAA Brackets: Don’t Take Anyone’s Advice

Other than the rare times when my favorite teams are playing for championships, there isn’t anything in sports I get more excited about than the NCAA tournament. I love college basketball in general. I am a rare fan who will watch from the very first tip in early November all the way to the final buzzer of the championship game.

With that said, I get into the tournament largely for the same reason as the guy from your office who doesn’t know Georgetown from George Mason: the brackets.

While I’ll certainly watch as much of the tournament as I possibly can, the games in the later rounds lose a bit of their luster once my bracket has bit the dust. For all of its faults — and this year’s selections have many — the tournament format is still as close to perfection as you’ll find. The brackets and the pools that go along with them have a perfect marriage with the games themselves. If the NCAA ever decides to reseed after each round or make some other fundamental change to the format, CBS (and now TNT, TBS and TruTV this year) would lose a huge number of viewers because filling out a bracket would be impossible once a true tournament style is taken away.

Enjoy the game. Enjoy making your selections. But one piece of advice: Don’t seek out any kind of help. Chances are it won’t lead you to the glory of winning your pool.

I’ve never won an NCAA pool, and I’ve probably done about 20 or so in my life. I don’t even think I’ve come in the top three. Again, I’m a huge college basketball fan. I’ve seen almost every one of the 68 teams in the field play this season, and many of them multiple times. This isn’t a good thing when it comes to making picks.

I’ll start to think, “this team has more seniors, so its experience will put it through” or “that team doesn’t have the size inside to match up with its opponent.” This type of overthinking is what you’ll get if you listen to any one of ESPN’s college basketball talking heads — most of whom I like by the way. And those guys know a lot more than I do, so they’ll really have you trusting them when it comes to bracket assistance. Don’t fall for it.

The tournament is always filled with upsets and who the heck knows where they’ll come from? This year appears to be tougher than ever. There is no dominant team, and beyond the top four seeds in each region you might as well pick out of a hat for teams seeded 5 through 12 (no team is favored by more than six points in such matchups).

Of course I will still do my research, recall the games I’ve seen involving the teams, and make my most educated predictions for the tournament. And more than likely I will have a below average bracket that will be fit for shredding on Sunday afternoon, if not earlier.

So if you like to pick based on mascots or team colors, go for it. If you want your dog to make your picks, have at it. If you pick based on which school requires the higher SAT scores, good for you.

Just don’t listen to the experts. Don’t even listen to me. In fact, forget you even read this. Just make your picks and enjoy the games!

The Miami Heat Cried and That’s OK

I hate to do this, but I am going to defend the Miami Heat.

In his press conference yesterday, following a fourth straight loss, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “There are a couple guys crying in the locker room right now.” 12 words he’d probably love to have back right about now.

In fact, he has backtracked today and blamed the media for blowing that statement out of proportion. He may just be doing some damage control, but there is no need.

A four-game losing streak in the middle of an 82-game season, where the team is 43-20, is not a reason to freak out, but whichever players did allow a salty discharge to drip down their cheeks actually care. Not something you can say with certainty about every professional athlete.

It’s OK for Little Leaguers to cry. It’s OK for collegiate athletes to cry when they realize they have just completed the final games of their careers. Once athletes reach the pro ranks and are paid millions, we tend to think of them as machines. In a sense they are because their jobs are to perform at the highest possible level and bring their teams championships, while putting more money in their teams’ owners’ pockets as well as their own. When it’s all said and done, however, it’s the same game they played as 10-year-old kids.

Maybe crying shows weakness. Then again, if I were a Heat a fan, I’d much rather hear a couple players were crying following a fourth straight brutal loss than partying the night away at a South Beach club after the game. I wouldn’t want them to be crying after each loss, of course, but perhaps they reached a breaking point, which may consequently be a turning point in the season. Again, the Heat are 43-20. They can rebound from this and still gain home-court advantage in the playoffs.

After all the pomp and circumstance from this past offseason, when LeBron James had his “Decision” and the Heat held a glitzy pep rally of sorts to introduce their Big Three, most non-Heat fans have savored the few rough moments the team has had. The tears in Miami have quickly become fodder for bloggers, talk radio, sports TV shows, and likely will get a mention on the late-night talk shows tonight. However, world-class athletes tend to be at their best when people are doubting them. Now they’re not only doubting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and company, they are laughing at them. As a Knicks fan with no love for the Heat, this is scary.

I admit that I got a chuckle out of hearing that a couple of Heat players were crying after the game. I’m enjoying this losing streak as much as anyone — especially when the Knicks beat them on February 27. I also understand the media making a story out of this; crying isn’t deemed acceptable in male professional sports. Erik Spoelstra doesn’t need to cover up his tracks, though. His team is hurting. They are mentally and physically drained from four awful games and it’s human to let your emotions get the best of you.

While I can only hope the Heat continue to struggle, I fear that is a far cry from what will actually happen.