Tonight two juggernauts will meet one another in battle. I’m not talking about the terrible looking Wrath of the Titans, although it will surely have at least 18 commercials and 12 loosely constructed tie-ins like “The Wrath-iest Moment of the Game” or “The Titan-tastic Dunk of the Tournament.” I’m talking about two of the greatest, most history-rich programs in college basketball meeting for the national championship.
It’s Kentucky V.S. Kansas. The Jayhawks V.S. the Wildcats. UK V.S. KU or as a dyslexic guy would put it, “I give the F- up.” These two heavyweight programs playing in the finals might have some of the more upset-friendly college hoops fans wishing they’d gotten a chance to see a few more Cinderellas in the final few rounds, but I believe this title games has all the makings of a terrific finale to the tourney.
I believe it was Aristotle who once said, “I’m crunk as a mug right now” and I cannot think of a better way to describe my feelings about this NCAA Championship game.
Here’s a few of the best storylines to keep your eye on this evening:
Calipari VS Self
This sure-to-be-beaten-to-death plotline is still something that I’m excited about watching this evening. Calipari might be the single greatest villain in college hoops history, or at least in recent memory, but despite his used-car-salesman-y vibe and his propensity to go all Farenheit 451 on the NCAA rulebook he seems. . .well. . .pretty cool. And he routinely lands such absurd recruiting classes that they might as well just call Kentucky what it is: the starting five in the “Rookies V.S. Sophomores” game at the NBA All-Star game.
This year is no exception. However, despite his immensely talented recruiting classes the last few years, Calipari hasn’t been able to translate all those NBA players into NCAA titles. This team, though, seems different. Sure they have all the talent in the world, more stars next to their names than Justin Bieber in a tweenage diary, and will all probably declare for the NBA draft during halftime of the title game, but there’s something very un-Caliparian about this bunch.
They play defense. They pass the ball. They’re unselfish. They genuinely seem to give a damn about winning. Maybe they don’t care about winning for their school. Maybe they’re not particularly worried about the state of Kentucky. But they do seem to have a will to win that makes it seem like they’re taking a championship run far more seriously than some of Calipari’s old players (*Author’s note: you know, the guys who seemed to think of college as a tiny speedbump instead of a stop sign. They barely slowed down and blasted right on through, damage be damned).
Where Calipari’s team is highly-touted and chalk full of McDonald’s All-Americans, the Jayhawks are chalk full of rock (*Author’s note: get it?!?!?) and a group of overachievers that, for Kansas, really don’t have that much talent on paper. Which, if you’re Kansas, “not having that much talent” your talent disparity against all but maybe 10 teams is like the Globetrotters playing against the monsters in Scooby Doo.
In a related note, and what conversation can’t truly be brought back to Scooby Doo regardless of the context, does anyone else think that Jeff Withey (*Author’s note: or as I like to call him, Jeff “Whitey”) bears a striking resemblance to Shaggy? The pictures below, we’ll call them Exhibits A and B, is definitely not the best picture of Withey, but I think you’ll see where I’m going with this.
Bill Self has done another marvelous job with the group from Lawrence this year. A team that many thought would be in rebuilding mode has played gritty, inspired basketball in the tournament and has suddenly found themselves in an enviable position: in the championship game, as underdogs, and with far less expectations and weight on their shoulders than on those of their opponents.
Self beat Calipari in the national title game once already, as Calipari’s Memphis team bricked their way to doom at the free throw line, despite Calipari’s insistence that his squad would “make them when they count.” Will he be able to keep his hyper-talented team interested, out of foul trouble, and playing within themselves for long enough to hang on? Or will Self continue his miraculous run and continue to maximize what he has, which is more than some would admit but less than KU might be used to?
AP All-American Showdown
Thomas Robinson is Kansas’ best player. A huge man-beast in the paint he manages to effort his way to double doubles with freakish athleticism and power. While he may not have the most refined offensive skillset, Robinson kind of Dwight Howards his way to points and rebounds.
On the other side is the Browhairmian Rhapsody: Anthony Davis. This unibrowed wunderkind has been an immediate impact player of the highest caliber for the Wildcats this year. His immense wingspan coupled with great athleticism and great instincts around the rim make him a one-man wrecking crew.
He’s blocked more people than a snotty high school girl on Facebook, taken all the pressure and attention he has gotten and come out looking every bit the best player in the country that many predicted he’d be at the beginning of the year. He answered the question that many people wanted to know, when looking at his singular mass of fur connecting over his nose: what can Brow do for you? Apparently, a lot.
Will Robinson or Davis come out on top? Will Robinson continue his rapid and impressive improvements or will Davis continue to knock back shots like an insecure frat boy trying to prove his worth? Does Davis realize that his eyebrows look like a bird drawn by a 6-year-old in art class or a human version of the McDonald’s arches? Who knows.
Will Clark Kellogg Continue to Call the Basketball a “Pumpkin?”
I’m honestly not even sure if Kellogg is on tonight’s championship game call, but anyone dumb enough to decide that they need to call a ball anything other than a friggin’ ball is a moron. Pigskin is semi-acceptable. But referring to the basketball as “the orange” or “the pumpkin” makes me want to Vincent van Gogh my ear clean off.
Glad I got that out of my system.
Will This Ad Win the Un-Coveted Title as the Tournament’s Most Obnoxious?
Yes. Yes it will.
If these guys were following me in their tour bus I’d make sure to run them off the road. Or, at the very least, to put a bomb underneath that would blow up the moment they went under 55 MPH. Check out the lead singer’s outfit. Here’s to hoping that, during the shooting of this atrocious commercial, the brake line of this bus was cut and they ended up going off a cliff. Too harsh? Look at his pants.