The College Basketball Closer is written by the gang at Storming the Floor.
I just found out that a guy who works in my office reads the Closer. You know how I found out? Because he sent me a Motivational Platitude for today. Actually, this is an anti-platitude, uttered by that old softie Moe as he coached a softball team on The Simpsons:
All right you ragtag bunch of misfits, you hate me, and I hate you even more, but without my beloved ringers, you're all I've got. So I, uh, want you to remember some inspiring things that someone else may have told you in the course of your lives and go out there and win."
Thanks, Andrew, that's perfect. Especially for the Sunday finals, which mostly feature power-conference teams packed with McDonalds All-Americans.
In other news, I've finally caved. I really wanted to call Michael Beasley the Player of the Year, and argue it to death, but Beasley's team flopped to a lower-seeded Texas A&M team in the Big 12 Semis, while Tyler Hansbrough knocked in the winning shot over Virginia Tech with :01 on the clock to move his Tar Heels into the ACC finals. Good show, bowl-cutted white dude. Good show. I guess Beasley will just have to console himself by shaking David Stern's hand within the first five minutes of the NBA Draft.
Today's Championship Action
This is the last day for conference tournaments, though I'm not sure what we'll do if another tornado hits the SEC tournament in Atlanta. The Meaningful Collateral thinks it never should have gotten this far. They say cancel it, and give the auto-bid to Tennessee. Thoughts, concerns, questions? No? Then let's get it on.
ACC Final: #3 Clemson vs. #1 UNC. Well, "pulling a Clemson" has a whole new meaning now. The Tigers look good in their dark blue unis with orange accents, but this may be the last time they have to wear them this season. This is their first ACC final in 46 years. UNC barely nipped Virginia Tech, as Tyler Hansbrough took the big shot yet again. Sadly, he also felt the need to run down the court with his eyes closed, high-stepping and windmilling his arms. And that's why a lot of people are looking for any excuse to name Michael Beasley as POY.
Big Ten Final: #10 Illinois vs. #1 Wisconsin. What is this, tennis? And the ten-seed vs. one-seed is the widest seed disparity for a final this season, though the SEC result is somehow even crazier. This would be the lowest seed to ever make the Big Ten final, except that the Illini took a #11 to the Championship game in 1999. Oh yeah, and they're facing the #1-seeded Wisconsin Badgers. Don't Stop Believin'.
Big 12 Final: #2 Kansas vs. #1 Texas. This is getting to be a broken record. These two teams have met for the Big 12 championship the last three times it was played, and one or the other has been in the game eight out of the past 10 years. Look for both teams to spread the scoring around and play tough defense. Depending on other conference results, this could be for a #1 seed in the NCAAs.
SEC Final: #6E Georgia vs. #W2 Arkansas. Just an insane tournament for the SEC. First the hallways of the Georgia Dome look like outtakes from "Titanic," and now this. Georgia played what amounted to a double-header against superior competition, and won both. Is there anything these Bulldogs can't do? Arkansas is riding high on a last-second defeat of Tennessee, after lightly regarded seven-foot Senior Steven Hill dropped in his only two points of the evening at exactly the right moment.
Southland Final: #7 Texas-Arlington vs. #5 Northwestern State. You may remember Northwestern State from their 2006 upset of Iowa (yes, I know, Lady Andrea, I'll just go ahead and get bent now). Arlington, on the other hand, has never been to the Big Dance, and built a highly suspect 20-11 record by touring the community colleges of Texas (not literally, but close). Coolest name on the UTA roster belongs to Freshman Center Trey Parker. Hey! He invented South Park!
In with Auto Bids: Cornell (Ivy), Winthrop (Big South), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Drake (Missouri Valley), George Mason (CAA), Siena (MAAC), San Diego (WCC), Butler (Horizon), Davidson (SoCon), Oral Roberts (Summit), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Mount St. Mary's (NEC), Portland State (Big Sky), American University (Patriot), UMBC (AEC), Memphis (C-USA), Temple (Atlantic 10), UNLV (Mountain West), Kent State (MAC), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC), Coppin State (MEAC), Pittsburgh (Big East), Boise State (WAC), Cal State Fullerton (Big West)
Selection Sunday Live Blog: Bizarro Joe Lunardi
Check back shortly after the Selection Sunday show to get the Deadspin version of bracket analysis. Then regional previews begin on Monday, along with all the Pants Party fun you can shake a stick at.