NCAA TOURNEY PREVIEW: THE POST ABOUT NOTHING

Let’s get one thing straight, the secretary does not win the office pool. Actually we should qualify that, she doesn’t win unless she knows something about college basketball or has a boyfriend/husband/life partner that does. We’ve been doing NCAA pools since before we could drive, and frankly if somebody completely clueless is winning the office pool, you may want to take a good look at yourself – you may be gay (A few simple tests: Is your favorite meal of the day brunch? Does watching Kathy Griffin for more than 20 seconds not make you want to claw your eyes out? Are you currently reading this in bed naked with another man?) Pool success takes a little bit of knowledge. Should the secretary/soccer mom/Interior Decorator not have working knowledge of the RPI or a husband who co-writes a smarmy yet amusing and highly knowledgeable college basketball blog, they’re going to at least have to read the Sports section for the first time since the Winter Olympics and educate themselves a bit.

So here’s what we’re doing. As this will likely be the only post our mothers read all year, it has to be accessible to everyone, no insider terms like “2 guard”, “motion offense”, and “weapons charge”. Every team in the field of 64 (sorry Coppin State) will have a capsule to tell you a little bit about them. The team will also be assigned a symbol, something even the office secretary can relate to. No, not types of Imposter perfume and drinks that end with “…tini”. What we’re going to do is assign each team a Seinfeld character. Granted it’s not terribly cutting edge in 2008, but it’s a show nearly everyone knows and loves, and there is a certain common symmetry to it. The Tourney has four top seeds and there are four principal characters. The Tourney has 32 teams that will play one game and go home, and Seinfeld has a multitude of one-and-done characters. So here’s our look at every team in the Tournament, from the top to the bottom, with their corresponding Seinfeld doppelganger.

THE FOUR

  • Jerry/North Carolina – The Tournament’s overall #1 seed is deserving of the guy whose name appears on the show’s title. The Tar Heels are deep and as dangerous as any team in the country with the ball in their hands. The problem is when it is not. Jerry had his fatal flaw as well, because as funny as he was, he couldn’t act to save his life. Fortunately that was part of his charm. Carolina’s deficiencies may charm for a couple of weeks, but come April they will be playing on as many seinfeld46.jpgscreens as “Bee Movie”.

  • Elaine/Kansas – Most people probably don’t remember that Elaine didn’t start out as much of a character and likely wasn’t intended as part of the gang. Lucky for us the writers realized what they had. This Kansas team is as good as anybody in the country and has played like it, but as usual for the Jayhawks the problem is surviving the early rounds. Spongeworthy? Yes, but don’t think they’re going to get another ride on our train with anything short of a Final Four berth.
  • Kramer/UCLA – Two great things that may have been victims of their own success. Ben Howland’s selfless team basketball serves the Bruins well on the defensive end, but we sometimes wonder if they could use a little more selfishness on the offensive end, where no one seems to want to step on toes. Darren Collison may end up being that man, but if Kevin Love’s back is balky it may be too late. As a victim of his own success, Kramer was sometimes more caricature than character, which would be ok if the youtube era didn’t make it just the teensiest bit creepy.
  • George/Memphis – Probably as a credit to the most credible actor on the show, George Costanza was arguably the most rounded character on Seinfeld, no pun intended. Memphis may not be able to shoot free throws, but if that’s the worst you can say about a team we’ll take our chances with them. Florida couldn’t shoot free throws either.

…AND THE DEFACTO FIFTH

  • Newman/Tennessee – In some corners, including their own, the Volunteers were a #1 seed. We’ve given them a hard time during the season, but frankly we can see things breaking well for them, at least until the Sweet Sixteen. As unconvinced as we remain and as retched as the SEC was this year, Tennessee’s resume speaks for itself. They deserve the spot reserved for Newman, the postman with a surprising knack for the ladies, not unlike a certain husky basketball coach.

ALSO STARRING…

  • J. Peterman/Duke – The team that taught basketball fans of all creeds and colors to hate whitey is well represented by one J. Peterman, bastion of pompous East Coast WASPism. This Duke team is more tangibly flawed than any in the last ten years that did not include Josh McRoberts, but is surprisingly effective. A favorable draw means their run may be even longer than the 15 minutes that John O’Hurley is currently milking.

  • Puddy/Louisville – In the same way David Puddy seemed to be left for dead after one shot as Jerry’s mechanic and practitioner of The Swirl (or was it The Knuckle?), pre-season darling Louisville was virtually left for dead by December. The Cardinals now look poised to upstage their higher-ranked co-stars. Just feels like an Arby’s year for Louisville.
  • Frank Costanza/ UConn – Like Frank Costanza’s pool room, Storrs may be the place to be. Another seinfeld2.jpgteam that looked ready for an early recruiting season, UConn could very well upstage some of the big boys if they survive the first couple of rounds.
  • Estelle Costanza/Notre Dame – Go ahead and make your boutique first round upset, but realize that George Mason isn’t the team they were two years ago and this is far from the same Irish team that lost in first round last year. Still, we like the looming North Carolina buzzsaw even less than Mrs. Costanza’s paella.
  • Mr. Pitt/Pittsburgh – An admittedly lazy pairing, but the Panthers do have a fastidious approach to basketball if not remotely as fey. Here’s the thing about Pitt though. You know when you like something that you think is kind of your thing, then suddenly everybody likes it? Same thing with Pitt, where people seem to be going just a tad too far in their love of the Panthers. Sweet Sixteen? Sure, but we just can’t see them matching up athletically with likes of Memphis.
  • Steinbrenner/Texas – There seems to be two hip picks out of this bracket, and Memphis ain’t it. We like Texas, and especially DJ Augustin, as much as Steinbrenner likes a good calzone. We just happen to like Memphis better.
  • Mr. Lippman/Georgetown – Mr. Lippman had his purpose, particularly as proprietor of Top Of The Muffin To You!, we just have trouble getting terribly excited about him. Ditto the Hoyas.
  • Mickey/Marquette – A vastly underrated character and actor, Mickey brought a lot to the table that wasn’t just about short jokes. We don’t like diminutive Marquette nearly as much as we do Santa Union-breaker Mickey, but that looming second round matchup with Stanford sure looks nice.
  • Sue Ellen Mischke/USC – Guilty admission. We think the Trojans will upset a usccheerleaders-2.jpgcouple of teams, but frankly this pairing was done just so we could post another picture of the USC Song Girls. We love their whole free-swinging, free-wheeling attitude.
  • Uncle Leo/Clemson – Clemson has gotten a bad rap from us, mostly because their resume was about as impressive as Leo’s son Jeffrey’s with the Parks Department, but we actually think they’re going to have an easy road to the Sweet Sixteen. After that? Eh.
  • Wilhelm/Xavier – A very good team that is a lot more dangerous than you realize, but only if pocket-sized, banged-up guard Drew Lavender is right. Wilhelm was a helluva Traveling Secretary for the Yanks, but only when he was on his meds or not being brainwashed by Sunshine Carpet Cleaners.

FEATURING…

  • Kenny Bania/Wisconsin – So bad he’s funny, so ugly they’re great. Still, you never know exactly what to expect from the Badgers in the Tourney. Will they play as poorly as Ovaltine jokes or as well as the soup at Mendy’s? Our gut tells us not to get in the Wisconsin business.
  • Helen Seinfeld/Stanford – Quite honestly the most worthless of Seinfeld’s recurring characters, not particularly funny and only necessary to set up other character’s jokes. We’re not saying that Stanford is as bad as Jerry’s mom, we just think their backcourt will be exposed pretty early on.
  • Morty Seinfeld/Purdue – Not nearly as useless as Helen Seinfeld, he did at least have occasional flashes of funny (particularly when he thought “The Bro” was too ethnic), but not great. Nice season for a young Purdue team, but we’re pretty lukewarm on them as well.
  • Jackie Chiles/Arizona – Who the hell knows about this team. Their play has sometimes been deplorable, unfathomable, improbable, it’s been outrageous, egregious, and preposterous. A lot of distractions for the Wildcats this year, but still there’s enough talent to win more games than the crazyjoed1.jpgsupercilious Jackie won court cases.
  • Crazy Joe Davolo/Texas A&M – Makes Arizona look like the model of sanity and consistency incomparison. I’d no more want to stake my Tournament life on the Aggies than I would have Bear Stearns managing my nest egg. Sic semper tyrrannis!
  • Susan Ross/Gonzaga – Everyone seems to want to bury this team under an avalanche of cheap, toxic wedding envelopes, but there are enough pieces here that the Zags can build a legacy on the scale of The Susan Ross Foundation.
  • Peggy/Drake – Going against the obvious pairing with the Drake here, particularly since he only appeared in one episode. Underrated germaphobe Peggy makes our list if for nothing else than her telling Elaine that, “it was very nice of you to bring the man you’re currently sleeping with over to talk to me”. While other experts are high on one-man show Western Kentucky, we love the Drake to win an easy one.
  • Sidra/Indiana – Their coach was canned and their conference season went in the dumper, but people forget that the talent on this team is real, and it’s spectacular.
  • Poppy/Michigan State – Michigan State has always been a source of Tournament gold for us, but woody.jpghonestly this year we’re just hoping they don’t wet our sofa.
  • Tim Whatley/Butler – From adult-oriented dentist to converted Jew, Tim Whatley was a versatile form of entertainment. We don’t know why everyone is so hot on South Alabama all of a sudden, but we’re not buying into the raging anti-Butlerite sentiment.
  • Mr. Ross/Mississippi State – Will at least enjoy a three day weekend before the shit hits the hansom cab.
  • Mrs. Ross/Kent State – see above.
  • Lloyd Braun/Washington State – Not nearly as dangerous as they once seemed. Of course Lloyd Braun didn’t seem quite the same threat once he left the mental hospital, but he still had a knack for getting under George’s skin, even if he just liked ringing the bell.
  • Dolores/St. Mary’s – A sensation at the time, but soon forgotten. Remember, though, that “Mulva” did come back for at least one more episode.
  • Maestro/St. Joe’s – Coach Martelli may not have a masterpiece in store with this team, but he should have at least one game up his crooked baton.
  • Kruger/Siena – Kruger’s Industrial Smoothing wasn’t much of a company, but Kruger himself was an underrated bit of hilarity. Yes, Siena smacks of a hip pick, but we’ve seen them play and they’re easily talented enough to pull off the job.

ONE AND DONE

  • The Drake/Western Kentucky – Love the Drake, hate the Western Kentucky bandwagon.
  • The Drakette/Davidson – Another one-man show whose gift we’re returning.
  • Soup Nazi/West Virginia – No soup for you, Huggy Bear!
  • Bubble Boy/Vanderbilt – The world isn’t such a hospitable place outside their dumbass gym.
  • Sally Weaver/Georgia – Kathy Griffin sucks. So does Georgia.seinfeld-thelibrary2501.jpg
  • Lt. Bookman/Oklahoma – The single greatest one-shot character in Seinfeld history. Killed us every time he came on the screen in “The Talented Mr.Ripley” as he always looked on the verge of telling Matt Damon, “I know your type – fancy, making the scene.” We love Blake Griffin, we’re just not enthralled with his injuries or his backcourt.
  • Jimmy/Miami – Jimmy can’t understand how a team that neither played nor beat anyone is a 7 seed. Jimmy thinks Arizona State got screwed.
  • T Bone/Boise State – In honor of their football team, a valued employee of the company that botched the Statue of Liberty cleanup.
  • Fragile Frankie Merman/Oregon – One bad shooting night and they’re digging a hole in Central Park.hill1.jpg
  • Pigman/Arkansas – Somewhere in this Tournament the anguished cry of Pigman calls out for Steven Hill.
  • Donna Chang/George Mason – Trust us, not quite the team you think you’re getting.
  • Little Jerry Seinfeld/Kentucky – Just because you’re a has-been, don’t make next year’s Wildcats a never-was!
  • Ramon/UNLV – We are friends with Lon Kruger, but not this year. 
  • Stanky Hanky/Villanova – Still waiting for an apology from them for even being in the Tourney.
  • Franklin Delano Romanowski/Cornell – A team other than Penn or Princeton has been waiting a long, long time, but no way they get their shot.
  • Rushdie/Temple – May look familiar, but not the team you’re expecting.
  • Rebecca DeMornay/San Diego – All-around good kid Rob Jones, grandson of Jim Jones, does as much for his name as DeMornay, principled defender of the homeless against muffin bottoms, does hers.
  • Dr. Cooperman/Oral Roberts – Because we always suspected that Oral Roberts was an ass man.
  • Katya the Gymast/Baylor – You may have a fancy record, but you are no NCAA Tournament team.
  • Sister Roberta/BYU – You gotta have some kind of kavorka to pull that many wives.250px-whitesnake_kitaen.jpg
  • Isabel/Cal State Fullerton – The only thing more white trash than Fullerton has to be Tawny Kitaen.
  • Shmoopie/Winthrop – Cute last year, not so much this year.
  • Izzy Mandelbaum/South Alabama – Not as tough as they or everyone else seems to think.
  • Alec Berg/Austin Peay – They have a good John Houseman name, “Austin Peay”.
  • Joe Mayo/American – “Hey, can you do me a favor and get the fuck out of the Tournament?”
  • Geoffrey Harharwood/UMBC – Even the “Spartacus” costumer had an easier name to remember.
  • Sylvio/Belmont – Will look as bad as a dude in a man-fur.
  • PIng/Mississippi Valley State – Don’t cross the street fellas, you’re about to get run over.
  • Lupe/Portland State – Not a half bad 16 seed, but even as good a maid as Lupe was, she still didn’t get the tuck right.
  • Babu/Texas Arlington – This is a very bad team, a verrrrry bad team.
  • Marla The Virgin/Mount St. Mary’s – There’s a first time for everything. This ain’t it.

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