Thursday, March 24, 2011

16 Teams Remain, 1 Future Favorite Team (Podcast Below)

As I look at my Yahoo! Sports College Basketball Tournament Bracket, which is coated in enough red to paint a side of a barn, I can’t even be upset about how utterly pathetic my selections were. For those who are wondering, I currently have picked 27 out of 48 games correct, good enough for 2191746th of all Yahoo! users (aka 23rd percentile). Despite the fact my bracket is as battered as Ronnie and Sammi’s relationship, I can sit here and say that I am 98.7% pleased with this tournament so far. The only way it could’ve been 100% is if Duke lost in the first round to Hampton, if I had a perfect bracket going at this point or if Gus Johnson came to my house and called every game from my couch as I sat beside him as giddy as a twelve year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. The truth is none of those are ever going to happen. Well, I guess there is a slight chance for the Gus scenario if I ever become Mark Zuckerberg level rich and pay him to come to my house and scream “Rise and Fire!”

If you remember correctly, at the start of the season I proclaimed that I needed to have a favorite college basketball team and that would be decided by whoever won this years NCAA Tournament. Sixteen teams remain, and one of them will become the official team of Sonny Giuliano. Here is the official contract which I will be hypothetically signing after the NCAA Tournament is complete.

Sonny Giuliano’s Favorite College Basketball Team Contract

I, Sonny Giuliano, aka The Captain is now officially a fan of _______________________________. This is due to the recent crowning of ______________________________ as 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion. The stipulations of this contract are:

I. This school will remain my favorite team for four seasons. I will pledge my loyalty to this team in the first podcast after the NCAA Tournament.
II. After four seasons, I have the option of renewing my contract for as little as one to four seasons. This process can continue for as long as I wish.
III. I must buy or acquire at least one piece of team paraphernalia and wear it at least one time during the course of each college basketball season in which I am a fan of that team. I must also make at least three Facebook posts relating to my new favorite team. Any bracket groups I join to pick my bracket, I will join the “Fan of…” group for my favorite school.
IV. I will make sure that my knowledge of this team is far greater than any other team. I will track recruits and do my best to memorize their upcoming schedule. I will also familiarize myself with the school’s history.
V. I can opt out of my contract after one full season for any of the following reasons:
a. A coaching change which drastically changes the face of the school.
b. A major school infraction which takes away from recruiting.
c. I present good reason as to why I dislike at least 75% of players currently on the team in written form on my blog.
d. The team does not make the NCAA Tournament, or make the final four of the NIT in any season after the 2011 Tournament.
VI. If I do opt out of my contract before the four years is up, I do not have the power to choose my new favorite team. The upcoming seasons NCAA Tournament will determine my new favorite team for another four year period.
VII. If I choose to stay with the winner of the 2011 tournament for four seasons, and then choose to not to renew my contract, I am free to select my new favorite team either by any means (my own selection, NCAA Tournament winner, random draw, etc.)
Initials _________
Signature _______________________

With all of that being said, this is my preference for how much I would like to be an official fan of each school. 16 being lowest interest, 1 being most interested.

16. Duke- Well, what could I say about Duke? Nothing good really. I despise them at a cellular level. I can’t stand their biggest supporter, Dukie V. I hate how they get favorable calls from the refs. Their players are arrogant D-bags and I think it’s ridiculous that Coach K makes Chris Collins do his halftime interviews. Besides all of that, it would be a real pleasure to be a Duke fan.

15. Richmond- I like the Richmond story and I sincerely hope they beat Kansas for no other reason besides the fact that my bracket has been slaughtered and I would like to see a double digit seed in the final four. But chances are Chris Mooney is going to get a lucrative job offer at a bigger school which means Richmond will most likely take a step back in the Atlantic 10.

14. Marquette- Why would I want to be a fan a team that floats around the middle of the pack in the Big East on a consistent basis? I will admit that Buzz Williams gets the best out of his team, but do I really want to rely on a hard-working less talented team as my team?

13. Wisconsin- Surprising stat about Wisconsin under Bo Ryan, who I like many others feel is a terrific coach- Wisconsin has made the tournament all nine seasons Bo Ryan has been coach. Six of those nine seasons Wisconsin has not advanced past the first weekend… So do I really want to be a part of a team that has regular season success then disappoints in the post season? Well, if I were to become a Wisconsin fan that would mean they won the championship which means they didn’t disappoint this post season, so technically I wouldn’t be a part of that anymore… Alright, I’m getting dizzy.

12. BYU- I love this BYU team. If you know me you know I like to latch onto the players who carry their teams into the tournament (Adam Morrison, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Evan Turner). Now it is Jimmer Fredette. If you are a college basketball fan, you are currently living in the United States of Jimmerica. You have been Jimmered. My mom, who does not watch college basketball is even a Jimmer fan. She commonly refers to him as “the cute boy.” The only problem with BYU is after this year there is no Jimmer. There are only a bunch of Mormons who will forever live in the shadow of Jimmer.

11. Florida State- Even if Florida State makes a miraculous run to a championship they will still always be at best the third most important team in the ACC. Plus the Seminoles are absurdly boring. I would want to jump out of a building if I had to constantly cheer for them.

10. San Diego State- It’s difficult to tell if this is the start of a Mountain West powerhouse or if San Diego State is just a flash in the pan. They have had a tremendous year losing just two games in the regular season, and I feel like they are a championship threat this year. But I don’t really feel like this is going to be a sustaining program.

9. VCU- In the same boat as Richmond as far as possibly losing their coach to a bigger school, except VCU has shown the ability to remain a quality program even though they have had 3 coaches since 2002 (Jeff Capel, Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart). Also, it needs to be mentioned that VCU has absolutely ripped through their tournament opponents thus far defeating USC by 16, Georgetown by 18 and Purdue by 16. Can we credit this to the fact that they were much better than USC and had one more game experience than Georgetown and Purdue or is VCU really this good and they are peaking at the right time? I expect them to defeat Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen, and call me crazy, I’m not willing to say that they can’t beat Kansas.

8. Connecticut- If Connecticut wins the 2011 Championship they will have completed the best four week run in NCAA history, winning 11 games to win the deepest conference tournament and then the NCAA Tournament. Not to mention Kemba Walker will go down as one of the All-Time greatest college players if he could take a relatively mediocre UConn team to the championship. However, the story with Connecticut is similar to that of BYU. Kemba, much like Jimmer will be gone after this year.

7. Kansas- I’m looking for a winner as my favorite team and it is hard to argue with the Jayhawks credentials over the last few years. Big 12 championship after Big 12 championship sounds like a team I want to be backing. I can’t say that I completely trust Bill Self though. Even though he has a 236-45 record at Kansas and has won four Big 12 tournaments, he’s still been bounced three times in the first weekend of the tournament. I feel like I would go crazy not knowing what the hell to expect from my team.

6. Kentucky- There is a lot of upside for Kentucky as my favorite team and it all hinges on John Calipari. As long as Calipari is there, Kentucky is going to be in the top five of every recruiting class, which means they will be in the title picture every year. There is also a chance he could get fired next year when he find out he conducted some shady stuff with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins last year. In that case, we start this whole process over again. That will be fun.

5. Ohio State- All signs indicate that I will be a Buckeyes fan starting April 4th. They have looked like the clear cut best team in the tournament. There might be some awkwardness going back to an Ohio basketball team after my sudden departure as a Cavs fan last July. I know the people of Cleveland were pretty upset with my move to South Beach. I’m not sure how the Ohioans will react to me coming back.

4. Butler- Butler on the other hand has proven they are not a flash in the pan. As I watched my elite eight pick Old Dominion go down to Butler in the first round, I realized that I simply picked the wrong team in that matchup that would defeat number one seed Pittsburgh. I knew Butler was going to beat Pittsburgh. They have a winning mentality (Duh, Winning!) and a never say die attitude (Dying is for fools, dying is for amateurs). Plus Pittsburgh is a big time underachiever in the tournament. I can definitely see the Bulldogs making another final four run. Butler, not Gonzaga or Memphis or Xavier will be the consistent mid-major power in college basketball as long as Brad Stevens stays there, and I can’t see him leaving.

3. North Carolina- It would be very easy for me to become a North Carolina fan. I have experience as a North Carolina fan (I hopped on their bandwagon during their title season in 2005) and I absolutely despise Duke. It’s a match made in basketball heaven. Not to mention their up and down style is amazingly fun to watch. I pray that if North Carolina does win this championship Kendall Marshall stays in college because I praised him as the best pure point guard I have seen this year.

2. Arizona- I don’t know a single Arizona Wildcats fan, and that excites me that I can have a team of my own; a team on the west coast that could soon become the class of the Pac-10 due to the ability of Jimmy Kimmel look-alike, Sean Miller to quickly turn Arizona into a contender again. If Arizona were to win the NCAA Championship this year that would mean that they beat Duke tonight. That feat alone might be good enough to make Arizona my favorite team.

1. Florida- The obvious number one choice is the Florida Gators. I have two years experience as a Gators fan, Paul Clark is a Gators fan, I’m a Florida Gators football fan. I like to think that I look good in Blue and Orange. And from experience, I know that the Gator chomp is butt loads of fun to take part in. I’ll be honest, I went to the Florida vs. UCLA game as a Florida fan and I almost called off the whole search for a favorite team. But that isn’t how the NCAA Tournament works. Every year coming into the tournament there is a big time favorite, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t play out the tournament. There is always the chance of a 16 seed defeating a 1 seed. I’m praying that it does not happen according to my rankings of the remaining teams.

Captain's Corner Featuring Paul Clark