American Idle


So, upon my return Friday from an extremely peaceful, and beautiful, business trip to Vermont, I decided to rest up as I basked in the cool air from the A/C I had just installed. I had a long week, in high elevation, in a place that could be Charlottesville’s hotter older sister, and I was tired. Plus it was like a million degrees in Hoboken. I mean the type of heat where you see the haze rising from the city sidewalks like that of a BBQ grill and you just want to kill yourself. Hot like it was on the Naughty By Nature Feel Me Flow video. Still an underrated cut BTW. Albeit, I am the asshole who decided to drive back in on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, but hey, that’s neither here nor there.

Anyways, as I flipped through the channels and watched the Twins lose another on my Blackberry, the dial landed on one of those, “Hey, Are you something-aged and too busy to hang out? Wellll, what are you waiting for? Mosey on over to this website where something-aged folk can peruse and immediately judge other something-aged folk.” Well, not exactly, but you get the picture. Anyways, it got me thinking. Are we all presently living in a society where people are soooo busy working that they don’t have the time to simply go out and enjoy life? At first glance that would seem the case. But keep digging into that nebulus of a rectum and by golly you’ll find that golden dingleberry of truth after all. The true reason we are all steadfastedly running around like kids who just banged their head’s on  the wall in P.E. is quite simple, because we have to. There’s so garsh darn many of us now, and with the population growing everyday like penis’s at a Levitra pill party, your loss is even moreso someone else’s gain. My solution is do as some of us do. Work your tired job simply so you can rock out at night on what you really like to do, alongside your best friend. If you’re not doing that, then well, you my dead-on-the-inside friend, are presently missing out. And you would also be a key figure in the inspiration of this peice.

As I watched the tube I also happened across a series of commercials. Ads. Propaganda, if you will. Analyzation once again crept its curious head and I started to breakdown just what it was I was watching. Through all the local lawyer advertisements (NJ-creepy Bruce S. Gates/VA-stern Lowell “the Hammer” Stanley) and Tech school nursing nonsense that is regurgitated on unsuspecting malcontents, I fished out two shining examples that in my eye, epitomized what I fear America may be turning into. In a world that is slowly starting to celebrate the ideal that everyone should do as little as possible in order to get by, this laziness has reared it’s noggin nationally and I am disappointed. Why? Because we’ve basically told on ourselves. Here’s how:

1. T-Mobile biting an Apple

Remeber this. Now watch this. Hmmmm. Hey wait a minute, somethings amiss! So I could just chalk this up to T-Mobile being the Khloe Kardashian of the big three cell networks, but screw that. Mrs. P had nothing to do with this. This was just sheer and utter laziness. Your first mistake was getting this fake, Jay wait for it, Anne Hathaway looking, random ass girl as a spokesperson. Your second. Getting that Asher Roth/Twista hybrid white guy to rap some weird NBA rap that although quick, was rather juvenile. Your third. Being T-Mobile. Just get Catherine Zeta Jones’ ass out of rehab and get back to what you do best. Being second tier. Like Zeta-Jones will always be to my sweet Salma.

*I could have also mentioned Lady Gaga rehashing Express Yourself, but I have to believe that Madonna not speaking on it has something to do with some sort of monetary compensation. I just think, I mean, my finace’ just thinks they sound too similar. Yeah, Gladys thinks that.

2. Cetain Dri. Making woman more materialistic with every swipe of the armpit

Never has a commercial made women take a step backwards more than this. This put women so far back, I swear I just saw Eve walk into the garden. I mean, why on earth would this complete embodiment of a slut be at this classy of a shindig? I know what you’re thinking. That was my first guess as well. Prostitute. I know, but ironically  not this time. That’s right. It was so she could show how to do as little as possible, in this case be “attractive” around rich people,  in order to “succeed”. I mean she’s already got the used up, Fiona Apple in her Criminal video look going for her, so why not go for the gusto. This is exactly the message I’d want my daughter to see. And of course this guy MUST be a doctor. Why? Because he’s wearing spectacles, that’s why. Head nod. Tactical. Wink. Does that then make me a doctor? Nice. Dunn, M.D.? No thanks. I’ve always preferred ESQ. anyways. I mean, you GOTTA love this exchange:

“Don’t tell me YOU’RE a Doctor?!”

“I, am.”

“Cool.”

Advertisement gold.

So there you have it America. No, No. Don’t try and rebuttal this. You already did it to yourselves. And I could go further and mention how Dairy Queen should be cutting my man Mustafa a check because if these new ads for DQ aren’t a complete dopplganger of Old Spice’s then I ain’t whistle’n dixie. And dawg gone it I was born in Alabama. So shape up America, or if you not careful, we’ll all be Asia’s and half of Europe’s bitch soon yet. Are you ready for learning. And techno. Didn’t think so. Buck up America. Buck Up! 

So please help me to answer:                                                                                             What commercial more said, “Eh, I’ll do it tomorra.”

Shaq – Biggest sports star of the modern era?


Today is a sad, sad day. My heart cries out a lonely song. I knew it was coming; hell, we all should have seen it coming: Shaq has retired. I would have Shaqrificed my left leg to give Shaquille O’Neal one last shot at recapturing his old form, but the time was right.

The Shaqtus, The Big Leprechaun, The Big Shamrock, The Big Aristotle, The Big Baryshnikov, Shaq Daddy, Shaq Fu, The Diesel, Superman (the original Superman, Dwight…other than the real Superman). If there is one thing that can not be debated, it’s that no celebrity figure in modern or ancient times (like the ’80s) has had such an uncanny knack for self proclaiming highly entertaining nicknames. (And as a quick aside, Shaq has asked fans for help creating his nickname in retirement. My choices: The Big Early Bird Special or The Big Arthritic)

But Shaq’s late-career knack for using nicknames to stay relevant while the Lego pieces he called body parts kept falling apart and eroding his play was only one small part of why I am convinced Shaq was the biggest sports star of the Millenium Era, which I’d describe as the era of athletes that dominated the sports landscape in the decade before and after the year 2000.

First, I am well aware Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretsky and Dale Earnhardt were competing in part of this era and were bigger stars than Shaq, but the fact is all of them belong to a different time. Jordan’s title-winning Bulls will always be tied to the very end of the NBA’s Golden Age of Magic, Bird, Barkley, Isiah, etc. Gretsky was still The Great One in the ’90s, but his star status was never the same after peaking that first year after leaving Edmonton for L.A. Earnhardt was the last great driver of NASCAR’s Budweiser-Swilling Go-Fuck-Yourself-Because-Mustaches-Are-Awesome Real Redneck era; not the $500 sunglasses, pussy fight, manicure-before-the-race era NASCAR is enjoying today.

Still, the Millenium Era has some impressive stars – Tiger in his prime, Roy Jones Jr., Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Allen Iverson and Shaq’s own personal nemesis Kobe, the Tommy Gunn to Shaq’s aging Rocky.

Roy Jones in his prime was incredible – as dominant and entertaining as Ali, but his terrible attempt at a rap career alone is enough to dim his star under Shaq’s. And for anyone who wants to hate on Shaq’s rap career, don’t forget The Diesel put out a platinum album in ’93, followed that up with a gold album in ’94 and, the ultimate testament, even Biggie gave Shaq props for his rap skills once upon a time. Sorry, Roy.

Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire – juice. Enough said. (Did you know Barry Bonds’ head grew like an inch in circumference from the start of his career to the end? Seriously! Look it up. But it was just the flax seed oil, right, Barry?)

Derek Jeter? Jeet is a mega-star no doubt; anyone who’s ruled the Big Apple for 15 years and banged the crazy out of Mariah Carey is, but the fact is the guy’s just never been that great of a baseball player. I’m sorry, dude is a savvy, smart, classy guy, but Yankees fans are convinced whoever is the face of their franchise gets to take ritual baths in the semen of Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, therefore making them equal to all former Yankee greats.

Tiger? Tiger owned this title before his little penchant for nailing anything with a pulse and a vagina, pulse optional, went public. You simply cannot be the biggest sports star of an era if you are picking up waitresses at the IHOP and driving them back to their trailer after banging them. That’s not even Class A minor league baseball level. That’s your drunk redneck uncle in Reno shit right there. The man might have won majors at a never before seen pace right through the heart of the Millenium Era, but Tiger’s head and body are so broken down now that even the mystic healing powers of Shaq’s Icy/Hot can’t heal him.

Whereas Shaq’s star has faded steadily over the past four seasons due to age an injury, he’s remained a pretty desired commodity for quality teams with legit title hopes. Contrast that to Iverson, who fell so far from grace so fast that he hopped on a plane thinking he had been banished to the NBA wasteland of Memphis only to walk out of the terminal in Turkey, less than two years removed from scoring over 25 per game with ‘Melo on a solid Denver team. A.I. hasn’t commented on the rumors that he was checking out Osama bin Laden’s crib in Pakistan ahead of his tryout with the Islamabad Goatherders of the Pakistani Basketball Association.

Lastly, Kobe, who has the wonderful distinction of being the face of the NBA for those terrible couple of seasons when he surpassed Shaq as the Lakers top weapon and before everyone could run to Lebron as fast as they could just so they didn’t have to pay attention to Kobe whining anymore. So why is Shaq bigger than Kobe, who the NBA always worked harder to promote than The Diesel? A) Shaq was better than Kobe in each of their primes. Shaq was literally unstoppable and played a one-of-a-kind game that no one has or ever will play again. Kobe is great at rising to the occasion, but there are literally dozens of players in the past 20 years that can pretty much do what Kobe does. B) Shaq was a legitimate cultural phenomenon when he blew up in the mid-90s. Kobe, pretty much, was the pretty boy primadonna that girls thought was cute and Europeans liked because he was a fan of soccer, both of which just annoyed most American fans. C) Shaq never raped anyone (Oh, right, Kobe never did either…). D) Kobe’s one extra title will never erase Shaq dissing him over and over again in impromptu raps.

But enough of those other guys. This is a celebration of Shaq, and he makes his own case for greatest sports star of his era, and one of the tops of all time.

As a player, Shaq tallied: 6 NBA Finals appearances, 4 NBA titles, 3 Finals MVP awards, 1 NBA MVP award (a travesty perpetrated by Karl Malone loving voters), 15 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA team awards and 3 NBA All-Defensive Team awards. He ranks 5th all time in NBA scoring, 12th in rebounds and 7th in blocks

As a celebrity, Shaq cut four rap albums (one platinum) and scored a Billboard top 40 hit; starred in his own Super Nintendo video game (Shaq Fu); swam against Michael Phelps, boxed Oscar de la Hoya and took on Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh in his reality TV show Shaq Vs; starred as Neon in all-time classic sports flick Blue Chips then set a new standard for acting athlete ridiculousness by starring as rapping genie Kazaam and a kid-friendly Robocop in Steel (hate on Kazaam if you will, but no terrible box office bust is cited with more regularity by nostalgic 20-something potheads than Kazaam); and proved he has the best dance moves of any plus-7-footer in history, first by throwing down with the Jabbawokeez in the greatest All-Star game entry in sports history then schooling Justin Bieber in a Shaq Vs dance off.

Seriously, who the hell can top that combined resume? If all this Shaq nostalgia doesn’t have you a little misty to see the big man go, something is just plain wrong with you. We’ll miss you, Big Shuffleboarder.

Better crazy hair – Coco Crisp or Tony Allen?


Today’s professional sports have become very corporate.  Players are encouraged not to express their own personalities and to fall in line with the norm.  This shows itself in many areas including press conferences – where players just talk in generic coach-speek, fashion – where players all have their own personal stylist to adhere with the league dress code, and with their hair – where “high and tight” is the norm and not just another way to describe 6’8″ Britney Griner’s vagina.

That’s why it is refreshing whenever an athlete like Brian Wilson or Scotty Hopson does something a little different and crazy.  All athletes are a little bit crazy in one way or another (or in the case of Ron Artest every way humanly possible), so why not show it with your hair?  Recently two athletes did just that. So who has the better crazy hair?

Tony Allen – Memphis Grizzlies

Tony Allen is known as a guy that is a little bit crazy – a tenacious defender who is an above average athlete but mostly gets along on heart, grit and grind – which is why this t-shirt exists and this one is about to.  I am a fan of Tony Allen because his success in the NBA has been above and beyond what his talent says it should have been.  You have to respect that.  But then he went and got his hair cut like this:

Yes, that is the Memphis Grizzlies logo  etched into the back of his head.  He took inspiration from the old school styles of Dennis Rodman and Anthony Mason and went to a whole other level with it.  The detail is amazing.  The white chalk outline!  The white chalk mouth! The glitter for eyeballs!  This dude is confident enough in his manhood to wear glitter in his hair! Amazing! Exclamation point!

Coco Crisp – Oakland A’s

This is another guy that I have always been a fan of.  Lets just get the obvious out the way – knowing damn well there is a cereal called Cocoa Krispies, he willing goes by the name Coco Crisp (actual full name is Covelli Loyce Crisp).  Add that to the fact that he started his career with my Indians and stole about 30 bases in half of a season for my fantasy baseball team last year and you have one my favorite baseball players even before this amazing hair was unleashed.  For years Coco sported really long braids.  A couple of weeks ago he took them out and this was the result:

Now that is an afro.  He has to have on like a size 30 cap to contain all of that hair.  He took inspiration from Oscar Gamble’s old school fro but went even bigger. I love how retro this is and how it matches perfectly with the A’s throwback jersey.

Both of these are great, but ultimately I have to give the edge to Coco because he has worn his hair like this for several games now and Tony Allen’s hair unfortunately never saw the court.

NBA Playoff Preview


Please note something very important below – neither Dunn or Jay think the first round will ever be completed.  When they e-mailed their picks to me both of them seemed to think that the first round was a best of five.  The NBA first round switched to a best of seven EIGHT YEARS AGO! 8!  This is what happens when you reach 30 – you only remember things the way they were when you were a child. You forget about the great Bulls/Celtics 7 game first round series from 2009 or the 8th seeded Warriors knocking off the top seeded Mavs in six games and instead you remember Dikembe Mutombo falling to the ground holding the ball above his head after his Nuggets beat the Sonics in a best of five way back in 1994.  Also, it apparently makes you not realize that the Lakers and OKC can’t meet until the Conference Finals.

Perron’s Picks

First Round

Bulls over Pacers – 4-0
The Pacers actually have a very promising, very young, and very white team, but the Bulls go hard every game and will not let up at all. Sadly – this is going to be a thrashing.  Does anyone know if Reggie Miller has a son?  How about Cheryl Miller? I would settle for Reggie’s nephew to save the franchise. Everyone knows Cheryl is really just Reggie wearing a wig anyway.

Magic over Hawks – 4-0
The Hawks have given up on the season yet again.  With all of the crazy off-season drama last year and the greatest collection of free-agents ever you know who got teh largest contract of all of them?  Lebron? Wade? Bosh? Amare? No x 4.  It was Joe Johnson.  That’s why you are the Hawks.

Heat over Sixers – 4-1
The Heat are the opposite of the Bulls – they like to take a game off here and there. This should be a sweep but it won’t be.  Because the Heat are Like a Bosh:

Celtics over Knicks – 4-3
I badly want to pick the Knicks but they can’t win on the road.  Neither can the Celts. This will go seven and the C’s will blow them out in game 7 after everyone gets excited about how the Knicks are back, then promptly forget about them until they sign Deron Williams in July.

Spurs over Grizzlies – 4-2
The Grizz will make it interesting, but ultimately some random guy the Spurs got from the D League will step up and everyone will wonder where he came from.

OKC over Denver – 4-2
Denver is super deep and will give the Thunder some trouble, then Kendrick Perkins will set a pick so hard that the Birdman’s neck tattoos turn black and white.

Lakers over Hornets – 4-0
The Hornets fate was sealed when David West was lost for the year.

Blazers over Mavs – 4-2
Here is the first round upset.  Portland is simply playing way better basketball than Dallas right now.  Hopefully the nation can finally see Lamarcus Aldridge play – dude is a beast.

Second Round

Bulls over Magic – 4-1
The Bulls don’t take games off so they will roll once again – or else Thibodeau might kill them because he is the NBA’s version of Frank Martin.

Heat over Celtics – 4-3
Let me reiterate – the Celtics can’t win on the road.

Lakers over Blazers – 4-2
The Lakers got themselves into the easy half of the West bracket.

OKC over Spurs – 4-2
Changing of the guard out West.  The Spurs big three will officially be dead after this.  And Tony Parker might actually be dead if he runs into one of Kendrick Perkins picks.

Conference Finals

Heat over Bulls – 4-3
The Heatles will put it all together by this point.  Lebron is still the greatest player on the planet and should win MVP again.  The team he was on this year won 11 more games than last year.  The team he left won 42 fewer.  In addition to being the best player alive, I’d say he is pretty valuable.  Rose will win the MVP and recieve the award sometime during this series. Lebron will not like this.

OKC over Lakers – 4-3
Before the season I picked OKC and the Heat to meet in the finals. I’m sticking with it.

Finals

OKC over Heat – 4-3
This I am switching up.  OKC is too physical with Perkins and Westbrook.  Lebron and Wade are both physical but Bosh will cower the first time Perkins hit him with an elbow and he runs into one of those signature picks.

Dunn’s Picks
West First Round
Lakers over Hornets
Bottom line the Lakers are extremely lucky to have gotten this match up. CP3 by himself equals a sweep.
3-0

Thunder over Nuggets
A lot of people seem to think because the ex-Melo’s are rolling this is somehow gonna extend into a playoff series win. I think opposite. The Thunder are deep and stole the C’s mojo when the Celts made the worst trade ever.
3-2

Spurs over Grizzles
I’m just gonna give you the “c’mon son” face.
3-1

Mavs over Blazers
If the Blazer trainers weren’t on a personal mission to completely sabotage what should have already been a great career for Brandon Roy, the Smokers would prevail. But the docs are, and I don’t bet against my brethren. Viva Deutschland!
3-2

East First Round
Bulls over Pacers
If Granger puts on my authentic 31 jersey and somehow morphs into Miller Time then we might make one game close. Might. Probably not.
3-0

Heat over Non-Iversons
Wrong AI means no chance. I’m not sure three AI’s, a Thr-Iverson if you will, could help this team win the series. Well that might be a stretch, but you catch my drift.
3-1

Magic over Hawks
The Hawks only play half the time so I only see them winning half the games. Plus Howard’s first five tech series will give the Hawks a game or two. Hey Dwight, calm down buddy. You’re not Shaq.
3-1

Knicks over Celtics
I can’t believe I typed that. I am just seeing an older and older Celtic team. Moving on.
3-2

West Semi’s
Lakers over Mavs
I really don’t care who wins. But, I would bet a nice chunk on the Mavs imploding.  4-2

Thunder over Spurs
One is just too old. The other is the future. Guess who prevails? 4-2

West Finals
Lakers over Thunder
Barely. And Odom gets sodomized by Durant. Literally. In front of Mrs. Piggy. 4-2

East Semi’s
Bulls over Knicks
This ain’t MJ against Pat. Get serious. But, same outcome.
4-1

Heat over Magic
Dwight Howard and his arsenal of shooters might as well have cap guns against the Big 3. Too much firepower, for the Heat
4-2

East Finals
Heat over Bulls
I will not be another person that deny’s the destiny of this team. I wanted the Pats to go undefeated and fucking Eli and company ruined it. I love the Heat’s team and I want LBJ to get a ring.
4-3

Finals
Heat over Lakers
Artest won’t have some miraculous game this time around. Go Heat!!!!
4-2

Jay’s Picks
West First Round
Lakers over Hornets – 3-1
I can’t wait to see the stripes, aka Kobe’s “fucking faggot” brigade,” give him
a de facto suspension in game 1 whistling him for every push off and crybaby
face. Lakers still role. Kourtney Kardashian still ugly.

Thunder over Nuggets – 3-2
Having no stars is the new having big stars. Amazing how every once in a while
the NBA teaches you how it actually does count to be a “team” that “listens” to
its “Hall of Fame coach.” Thunder are still too good for the Fighting George
Karl’s.

Spurs over Grizzlies – 3-0
Grizzlies went undefeated in the preseason. I then picked them to make the
playoffs as the No. 8 seed. Let’s go ahead and cut predictions of miraculous
Grizzle feats while we’re ahead.

Mavericks over Blazers – 3-1
I like the Mavs, but I like the Mavs every year. I’m going to go ahead and
predict right now that one of my predictions of the Mavs winning a series will
be wrong. Dirk is soft as strudel.

East First Round
Bulls over Pacers – 3-0
Here’s the team I should be picking to come out of the East.

Celtics over Knicks – 3-1
Here’s the team I will be picking to come out of the East. Let me explain –
While Man was given the great gift of reason while walking this earth, he was
also given to thinking he’s way more awesome than anyone if he says something
before anyone else says it’s going to happen. Why do you think we love
Nostradamus so much. The world loves a good prophet. Now, since I called
Lakers-Celts one mo’ gin some seven months ago, and both teams are in decent
enough position to make a run at the finals, I am tied by man-pride to stick
with that preseason prediction even though every fiber of my being knows the
gray-haired, dangle-testicled, gout-having, arthritis-ridden, prostate-swollen,
finicky-colon-having Celts are in no shape to make a run past the Heat or the
Bulls (much less both). As for this series, remember what I said about Denver?
Melo is the new Iverson (love you Chuck) – team cancer.

Heat over Sixers – 3-0
The Sixers talents will be lost somewhere in the airport on the way to South
Beach.

Magic over Hawks – 3-2
Poor Hawks. Always good enough to roll through the two-thirds of the East that
is pathetically bad. Never QUITE good enough when the real competition starts.

West Semis
Thunder over Spurs – 4-3

In preparation for the most exciting seven game series in years in the next round, the Thunder will win the most boring seven game series in years. Not a single game will be decided by less than eight points.

Lakers over Mavs – 4-2
It’s just inevitable, like Kardashians on TV. The Lakers will march to the finals. Just get over it.

East Semis
Bulls over Magic – 4-2
Man, the Bulls have an easy road to the East Finals. Yes, the Magii are pretty
tough in the playoffs, but isn’t Gilbert Arenas still on this roster? My
apologies to ‘Melo. The biggest cancer in the NBA lives in Disneyland.

Celtics over Heat – 4-2
Yeah, despite what I just wrote about the Cs, I honestly believe this right now.
More and more every second I type it. How is that possible? Did I not just see
the Heat destroy the Cs 100-77 when home court for this series was on the line?
Of course I didn’t. I watched the highlights. Look – the Heat are still such a
fragile collective ego that the grizzly ole nut sacked Cs will know all they
need to do is punch them in the mouth in game 1 and the Heat will fall into
disarray.

West Finals

Lakers over Thunder – 4-3
Best series of the playoffs alert. I probably love Kevin Durant for no better
reason than Kobe continually tries to mind-fuck him, and he just responds by
balling on the Lakers like no other team. 

East Finals
Celts over Bulls – 4-3
So if the Baby Bulls took the Cs to the limit a couple of years ago when the
Celts were near their very best, how is this one going to work out? Well, one,
my man-pride requires me to make this pick. Two, Shaq. My entire premise for the
Cs making the Finals this year has been Shaq, and my entire reason for still
picking the Cs is the absurd bet Shaq is actually healthy for the playoffs.
Honestly, I still don’t think the Bulls are ready to run all the way to the
finals. They’re a year away.

Finals
Lakers over Celts – 4-2
I hate Kobe Bryant. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. But here, the Shaq
juice runs dry for the thin-lipped, saggy-assed Cs. As much as I’m betting Shaq
helps in the East, he is actually the absolutely worst thing the Cs could have
done to prepare for another Lakers-Celtics finals match up. Kobe is going to be
so energized by asshole power, he’s going to average a tripe double in this
series – points, rebounds and points on absurdly difficult 19-ft turnaround
jumpers in double coverage when he had a teammate wide open under the rim. I
mean, seriously, Cs? You thought it was a good idea to give Kobe a chance to
prove once and for all he is better than Shaq?

2011 NCAA Tournament: Year of the small school run?


There is a particular resident LND writer, not naming names, but let’s call him Schmerron Schmingleton, who is proudly proclaiming victory over his preseason college hoops prediction that 2011 would be the year of the small conference schools running deep in the tournament. This claim of victory might have gone unnoticed, except another LND writer, not naming names, but let’s call him Sexy Square Nuts, called out Schmerron’s manhood before the start of the Tournament saying 2011 would be dominated by the big league schools.

Following the first weekend, Perron…oops, I mean, Schmerron…declared: “way back in the preseason i wasn’t calling for chaos in the tournament – but rather small conference schools making long runs. richmond, vcu, butler, byu, sdsu have proven me right already. it’s another year of the small school. at least one of those teams will win another game or two.”

Mr. Schmingleton’s apparent inability to use caps aside, this caused Square Nuts to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, can you imagine a pair of nuts with eyebrows? It’s like dirty Mr. Potato Head.)

So why is this debate happening? A) It’s timely. B) What else are we going to talk about? Regular season NBA or NHL? Pass. C) Perron thinks he’s right, and Jay just can’t stand when that happens. D) It turns out, it’s a pretty interesting analysis and it hinges on a couple of key assumptions.

The head to head returns to LND right now! Let’s get to it.

Jay says: This ain’t no year of no small conference school.

This debate calls for getting a few things unLiberace—that is to say, straight—first.

1) Perron and I agree – a “long run” = making it to the Sweet 16 for a small school.

Perron leans on Richmond of the Atlantic 10 and BYU and San Diego St. of the Mountain West to make his small school argument. Let’s just throw those teams out the window, because the assumption that the A-10 and MWC are small conferences is patently absurd.

Both the A-10 and MWC have received 9 bids over the last three tournaments (the PAC 10 has only garnered 10). Going back a decade, both have 25 bids over the last decade – a solid 2.5 teams per season. The only other league that has averaged more than 1.3 bids per season in the last decade outside of the “BCS Conferences” (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, PAC 10, SEC) is C-USA with 26 bids, but 17 of those came in the 2002-2005 timeframe before the Big East raided the cream of the conference, taking Marquette, Cincinnati and Louisville (and a few other teams no one gives a shit about).

The A-10 and MWC both also sport multiple teams with a lot of hoops history—Xavier, Temple, Utah, UNLV anybody?

So I’ll admit the A-10 and MWC aren’t “big conference schools,” but they’re clearly in another league above Perron’s “small conference schools.” Let’s call them “middle conference schools,” and there’s a distinction there from “mid-majors.” Mid-majors are the better teams from the small conferences. Gonzaga was the quintessential mid-major in the late ‘90s. (Although the ‘Zags are like Boise St. in football at this point – they’re established as a major).

So, eliminating the Big 6 conference and the 3 middle conferences (A-10, MWC and C-USA-which was really a big conference from 2002-2005 and then a small conference plus Memphis from 2006 on, but we’ll split the difference for this debate) and you’re left with VCU and Butler as small schools left in 2011.

Does two small conference schools in the Sweet 16 qualify as “another year of the small school?”

As mentioned, I refuse to count Gonzaga as a small school, and that actually benefits Perron’s argument (because ‘Zaga didn’t make the Sweet 16 this year, but would have pushed the small school average up over the last decade). That said, 4 small schools not named Gonzaga made the Sweet 16 in 2010, 3 made it in 2006, 2 did it in 2008, 2007 and 2002, and  1 did it in 2005, 2004 and 2003.

So, in the last 10 years, more small schools have made the Sweet 16 in 2 years and the same amount have made it in 3 years. Two small schools is the median and barely above the mean (again, these numbers would be even better for me if I counted Gonzaga, but I’m not). Basically, count on two Cinderallas per year.

Curious about those middle conference schools?  They’re the real aberration this year. Three middle conference schools made the Sweet 16 this year compared to a 10-year average of only 1.5 (which is actually the average both pre- and post-C-USA shakeup). So, there you have it, P, it was the year of the conferences that are always really good at the top and just aren’t as deep as big conferences not named the PAC 10.

But back to this “small school” thing. I feel like I made a safe assumption that everyone can agree with when I said you just can’t consider Gonzaga as a small school anymore. That time ended in 2001 after the Zags made their third straight Sweet 16.

So if we can make that leap with Gonzaga, what about Butler? The Bulldogs made their fourth Sweet 16 in the last 10 years this year. They were about two inches away from winning a national title last year against Duke – officially, The Man (in the bad context, not the good) of college hoops. Want to know how many teams have made the Sweet 16 more than Butler in the last 10 years? Eight—Duke (8), UConn (6), Kansas (6), Michigan St. (5), North Carolina (5), Texas (5), Arizona (5) and Kentucky (5).

College basketball success is measured in March. Can you really count one of the 10 best postseason programs of the past decade as a “small school?”

If you do, fine – then 2011 was the same as any other year for small schools. If you think the 2010 national runners up have ascended beyond small school status, then 2011 offered you all of one true Cinderella run.

Good luck VCU!

Your ball, P-diddles.

Perron says: This am so another year of the small conference school.

Since Jay used up the entire allowable word count for his argument,  I will make this a short retort.

The main problem with Jay’s argument is that there is too much focus on the other teams in the conference of the schools in question and not enough analysis of the schools themselves.  Xavier, Temple, Utah, and UNLV do indeed have strong basketball programs, but you have to make a Grand Canyon-sized leap to apply that to the other teams in their conferences. That is like saying Duke is a big football school because they are in a conference with Virginia Tech and Florida State. So lets look at these small schools individually:

San Diego State – this team has never won a single game in the tournament before this season.  Enough said.

Richmond – they have only been to nine tournaments ever and only one other sweet sixteen way back in 1988.

BYU – they have not been to the sweet sixteen in 30 years with 1981 being the last time.

Butler is more interesting because they have become somewhat of a staple in the sweet sixteen.  But we are talking about a team that plays in the Horizon League – a conference that perennially only gets one bid. They play in the gym that was used in the movie Hoosiers.  Despite their recent run of success, they are the defining example of a  small school.  In fact my original argument was that a small school will make “another Butler-like run to the Final Four.”

Add VCU and you have 5 small schools in the sweet sixteen this year and a victory for me.

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More pretentious: Microbrew or red wines


Let me just admit it: I love microbrews, and I love red wine.

I mean, I don’t know a note of lead pencil from bouquet of black cherry, and, no, I don’t taste the orange rhind finish in your bourbon barrel chocolate stout, but I love all that shit anyway. Why? It gets me lit the fuck up, and I look fancy drinking it. Drinking such esteemed beverages allows me to wear fine linen pants, say things like “Well, darling, I’m well enough into my cups that I am now three sheets into the wind. I believe I shall retire to my chambers,” and swirl my beverage around in a glass pretending it will make it taste better when really I just think it makes me look cool.

So, the point is, you can enjoy drinking microbrews and red wines until your heart’s content, but don’t lie to yourself — it’s still pretentious as fuck.

The debate here is which is MORE pretentious? Red wines, long crowned king of the bourgeoisie elite dating back to the glory days of old Europe, or microbrews, new upstart raising a rapidly ascending mismashed class of yuppies, hipsters and upper middle class up the social ladder on a surging frothy head scented with a tinge of shade grown Peruvian coffee beans.

Microbrews

Let’s just take Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron as a microchosm for how pretentious microbrews have become.

A) Anytime the New York Times writes like a 2,000 word style feature on your beer, you know someone’s been ejaculating pretentia all over the walls.

B) When the story that NYT piece is about revolves around the journey of a small microbrew owner traveling to the wilds of Paraguay to lock up a source of an exotic wood known as Palo Santo, which means “holy tree,” so that said microbrew owner may construct a 10,000 gallon wooden barrel to brew an irreplicable libation that is dark as crude oil, strong as Dionysus’ urine and wild as Lindsey Lohan’s nightlife, you know that pretentia ejaculate is actually the foam left on your lip after every sip you take of this $10 12-ounce.

And, representative of a good many microbrews, just look at the glass the sad sap who took this picture was drinking Palo Santo Marron from. Anytime you are drinking brew from something that isn’t a bottle, a can, a standard pint, or something with a big fucking handle, you are pretentious. If you are drinking a ruddy chocolate-colored beer with a firm caramel head out of a glorified snifter, you are fucking absurdly pretentious. What? That perfectly cold 12-ounce bottle the beer was already in wasn’t letting the flavors ripen? Wow…

Might I also mention Dogfish, which I adore because I am secretely a pretentious beer fuck myself who just happens to have retained a taste for Natty Light in plus-48-ounce serving sizes, suggests you pair Palo Santo with chorizzo. And THAT my friends is the final nail in the coffin: If your beer even comes with a suggested pairing, you are covering yourself in ejaculated pretentia. Wanna know what you pair PBR with? …More PBR.

Red wine

For the first time in LND history, I am going to make the case for one side of a debate using solely photographic imagery to prove my point. I make my case:

Click here for a price check.

And finally…

I rest my case. Well, almost, one more thing. This “aroma wheel” actually exists…and wine drinkers actually use it to pretend they taste “wet dog” and “green bell pepper” in their vin du merdre.

So which is more pretentious? Too close to call in my book. What say you, earls of erudite inebriation?

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