Weep No More My Lady: It’s Basketball in the Bluegrass
Hey Y’all! Welcome back to Watercooler sports. For the sports averse, brace yourself—March Madness is coming. College basketball is about to take over every conversation, every bar, and everywhere you look. Most basketball fans consider March Madness to begin with the major conference tournaments: SEC, ACC, the Big 12, etc. Take note, that some conference tournaments have finished—this is relevant as the Ohio Valley Conference covers a portion of Kentucky Universities; Murray State, Morehead State (Go Eagles!), and Eastern Kentucky University.
Again, my hope is that this blog serves as a guide letting you know the key points of the game along with major highlights likely to be the discussion of your colleagues. Treat this as your TL;DR March Madness Edition for the next few weeks.
Selection Sunday is next week; Selection Sunday is the NCAA’s selection of the teams that make it into the NCAA tournament. Ten dudes—technically eight dudes and two ladies—join together from November to March and monitor teams and their progress. These ten people will meet again starting this Tuesday to duke it out and determine the 68 tournament teams. More highly concerned people will gather around and watch the hype surrounding this release. You can feel comfortable glancing over a bracket upon release. More on picking your bracket next week.
When you hear someone talk about a bubble team:
Substantially less fun than it sounds, a bubble team is a team that is in consideration for the tournament but is not guaranteed a spot. There are twenty-eight teams in consideration for twelve spots. If anyone asks, a great way to look really knowledgeable is spouting knowledge about a bubble team. My favorite bubble team is the Wofford Terriers because their mascot is an angry little dog. They’re also pretty good, having gone 28-4 this season. Additionally, their losses were to big ticket teams such as North Carolina and Kansas. If they win the SoCo tournament finals, they’re in the tournament.
Into the Bonus:The NCAA adopted a new ranking system for aiding in evaluation for tournament selection. The tool is known as NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool), relying on a multitude of factors to sort through the teams. As this is a new system, if you can toss this into casual conversation you will look incredibly smart. DO NOT mention RPI as NET is its replacement.
As I mentioned, conference tournaments are the beginning of March Madness. This is because every team that wins their conference is given an automatic trip to the NCAA tournament. However, not all conferences are created equal. So, I’ll tell you what you need to know to survive the week.
The SEC tournament begins this Wednesday. Due to the outcome of last week’s games (Kentucky won, Tennessee lost), Kentucky was able to avoid the dreaded 3-seed. Be grateful as you see the Volunteer fans drudge through a 10 pm game and whip back around the next day for a 2 pm game. The Cats will be enjoying sitting out a few games (in sports slang this is known as a bye meaning a team advances to the next round of a tournament without playing). Break out your blue this Friday night at 7 pm; they will take on either Alabama or Ole Miss.
Cheering on the Cats: Kentucky hasn’t lost the tournament since 2014, so don’t take your eyes off the kitties* and see what they do. Watch to see who wins the tournament, the team given a number one seed will be either UK or UT depending on who wins here.
The non-biased (aka not living in the SEC) basketball fan has their eyes set on the ACC tournament to be the most intriguing conference this season. The major question of the tournament cycles back to our Nike-busting, big-boy Zion Williamson and if he will play this week. Duke has essentially sucked without him but take notice that this is absolutely ridiculous because they still have RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish who are both projected to go as top five picks in the NBA draft.
Also, Louisville may make some noise.
Kansas did not win the Big 12 season for the first time in fifteen years. Let’s see if they can get better in the tournament.
Fun Fact: Fifteen years ago, 2004, Snoop Dogg taught us all to Drop It Like It’s Hot.
**Snoop or Texas Tech fans?
The OVC tournament finished this past weekend. Though the OVC is particularly uninteresting, a Kentucky school—Murray State—is the first team into the tournament officially. Sophomore Ja Morant ended the season with a with 36 points against Belmont. Morant had a 24 ppg average with 10 assists. I love cheering for both an underdog and a Kentucky school which is why I will 100% be cheering on Murray State and Ja.
NBA Connection: Ja is widely considered to be a top three draft pick.
Olivia Pope-less Scandal
Will Wade of LSU has crumbled what was the ultimate feel good story. Wade, the LSU head coach, was redeeming LSU’s basketball status one game at a time. In his first year, he won the SEC outright (not the conference, but standings at the end of the game). In his second year LSU is bopping towards play in the NCAA tournament. But this week, the ball dropped, and it was released that Wade was implicated in the FBI scandal from last year. Even worse than that, Wade himself finds himself caught on tape discussing out to pay a player, Tremont Waters. Waters was complaining saying he wasn’t “getting enough of the pie.” Though he 200% meant money, I can’t help but picture this. Wade is now suspended indefinitely.
Crime May Pay: The LSU Tigers won the SEC regular conference title amid the release of all of this drama.
NBA Tidbits To Go
College basketball needs too much. Enjoy your NBA takeaways
- Bottom of the Lakers: For the first time in twelve years, LeBron James did not make the NBA finals. The fact that Bron couldn’t carry a team to the finals is a pure miracle considering the dead weight he hauled up out of Cleveland. The injury-ridden team is essentially now LeBron and some G-league boys (G-league is essentially the minor leagues of basketball). Lonzo Ball’s ankle injury also put him out for the rest of the season.
- Good Vibes Needed: Brandon Ingram, Lakers, has a blood clot in his shoulder. This is a potentially life-threatening injury. No matter your team, send Ingram and his family all of the good vibes.
- Relaxed Warriors: Klay Thompson, everyone’s favorite carefree NBA player, dropped 39 points on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. He also is just a cool dude.
- Golden Nuggets: Denver lost to Warriors drastically—a hot take would be to say that they are radically overhyped this season and will lose due to lack of explosive scoring options. I don’t believe this because I still really like their jerseys.
- Calibrating the Celtics: Is Boston back in play? It’s been a rocky season, but never count out robo-coach Brad Stevens and his rag-tag team of absolute superstar talent.
If you want more detail, head over to The Blow-By and listen to Drew, Ben, Jordan, and I!