Tater’s Monday Musings

  • I read two different books over the weekend that were written when the author was a teenager. If you ever want to feel even more like a failure, spend the weekend being reminded of people who have achieved more than you before they are out of their teens.  Sure, I have a good job and I now have a title, but I’m pushing 50 and I still feel like something of a failure when it comes to the career thing.  20 years in jail really hinders your job prospects even if you just work there.
  • I joked recently that I was going to write a book called The Power of Positive Negativity after I one again posted something negative only to be proven wrong. I feel like it is better to expect the worst in situations and be pleasantly surprised when things go right.  This weekend I did the opposite and posted something positive about a car buying experience only to have it go bad just a few minutes later. I’ve learned my lesson. No more positivity until after everything is done.
  • I might be biased because of my hate for the Washington baseball team, but  I watched the local coverage of the game yesterday and their broadcast team is horrible. Constant bad jokes that fell flat, making fun of a between innings activity and just a bad job in general. You are one of the best regular season teams in baseball(playoffs, not so much). Spend some money for some decent TV coverage.
  • I just wrote the check for my ticket to my 30 year high school reunion. How is that possible? I can’t be that old. Can I?
  • This is the end. I have to leave for work. Aren’t you glad this is the last bullet point?
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We Are Family: College Basketball Edition

At the end of the college basketball season Georgetown fired their coach. This was a big deal because their coach was the son of legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson. Before he was fired, several articles were written in the Post about the possibility that he would be fired. Many thought he would get more time because the school didn’t want to upset Big John. Once he was fired and the coaching search started there were articles about who should be the next coach and the concept of “keeping it in the family” came up. In the end, Georgetown did keep it in the family and hired Patrick Ewing. Word is that they tried to hire several non-family coaches and were turned down. Ewing has a lot of experience as an assistant NBA coach, but no college coaching experience. He might be good. He might not. I do wonder if they would have hired a non-family guy with the same experience. Did they hire Ewing because he was the best available after the others said no or did they hire him because of his name?

I’m not a big fan of the “keep it in the family” mindset. I watched(with glee) UNC go through down years because of this. When Dean Smith retired they hired his long time assistant Bill Gutheridge and then Matt Doherty. Everyone knows they wanted Roy Williams back then, but he was not ready to leave Kansas. The problem was that once he was out they were still set on hiring a UNC guy and ended up with mediocrity. A program like UNC should be able to hire almost any coach they want and should hire the best available, not the best UNC guy available. They were fortunate to get Roy Williams after Doherty didn’t work out. Now, both UNC and Duke are getting closer to a time when they will both need to replace a legend. Does UNC still try to keep it in the family? Will Duke go that direction as well? Are there viable family options for them? It will be interesting to see what they do when the time comes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dadgum Roy retires now that he won another championship.

I am a Kentucky alum and still a big fan of the program. There are many UK fans who are always pushing for a Kentucky guy to be the next coach. The problem is there are no viable options out there for this. None of the Kentucky guys n coaching are at a level to be ready to be the coach of Kentucky basketball. I wish someone like Travis Ford or John Pelphrey had been successful and ready to take over whenever Coach Cal leaves, but they will probably never get there. The closest we have to someone in the “family” as a successful coach is Richard Pitino.  I would be curious to see if he is an option in a few years when we are looking for a new coach. Having Little Ricky as the coach would be interesting. However, as much fun as it would be to have a Kentucky guy ready to take over, I would much rather just hire the best coach available even if he is a Dukie or Little Ricky. I never have understood why others feel otherwise.

NCAA Bracket Projections

Before I post my bracket projections I will admit that I am  Kentucky fan and in years when they have a team with a legitimate chance to win it all I never pick against them.

Upset specials:

1st round – Rhode Island over Creighton, MTSU over Minnesota, Wichita St over Dayton, UNCW over Virginia, Marquette over South Carolina, Princeton over Notre Dame

2nd round – UNCW over Florida, Iowa St over Purdue, Michigan over Louisville, MTSU over Butler, Cincinnati over UCLA

Final 8 – Iowa St, Michigan, UNC, UK, Villanova, Baylor, WVU, Arizona

Final 4 – Villanova, Arizona, Iowa State, UK

Championship – UK over Arizona

My biggest concern with this is not UK, but Iowa St. I think Kansas has a chance to lose before the Final Four. I almost had Louisville out there, but decided to go with the hot team of Michigan and their 3 point shooting instead. Once UL is gone, Oregon is the next best, but I still had a feeling that Michigan will stay hot. I made the decision to jhave Kansas go down to Iowa St and that means it is Iowa St vs Michigan, it ended with Iowa St in the Final Four. I’m sure that bracket will be my downfall.

My Unpopular Opinions

A friend posted his 10 non-political unpopular opinions on Facebook recently and then I saw someone else ask the question on Twitter. I’m not sure I can think of 10, but I decided to post some of mine.

  1. Elvis over the Beatles – It is probably because I grew up in an Elvis house and didn’t really know the Beatles’ music until late teens, but I’ve always liked Elvis more than I like the Beatles. If I had to make the choice to never listen to one of them again I would choose to keep Elvis. I do like the Beatles. I just like Elvis more.
  2. Pineapple on Pizza – My friend had this in his list as well. I also didn’t realize it is as controversial as it is. I love pineapple on pizza. It is one of my favorite toppings. Ham and pineapple, bacon and pineapple, chicken and pineapple. It all works and works well. Why would you not want pineapple on your pizza?
  3. Benching High Priced Players – I hear all the time “They can’t bench him. He makes too much money.” This makes no sense to me. The purpose of a professional sports team is to win games. If your high priced, QB, RB, point guard, pitcher, outfielder, etc is not playing well and there is someone on the bench who might be better why would you not make a change? Is this like the Wall Street bailout of “too big to fail”? If I thought Ryan Mallett would give the Ravens a better chance to win(he wouldn’t) I would be fine with high priced Flacco on the bench, It drove me crazy when the Braves would play Dan Uggla. I don’t care they you overpaid for him. He is not good and shouldn’t be on the field. I also think there are times when you should be able to bring in a “relief QB”. If your starter has thrown 3 picks in the first half and can’t get anything going, go to the bullpen. It works in baseball.
  4. Various Education Opinions – College isn’t for everyone. Instead of pushing all kids in to a college prep curriculum schools and parents should work instead on removing the idea that non-college work isn’t good enough. You can make a good living as a plumber, carpenter, mechanic, police officer, etc. but no one is working toward those careers because we are insisting that everyone go to college. College isn’t for everyone. Similarly, why are we requiring kids to take 4 years of math but not offering a variety of math courses for those who aren’t going in to a field where they need calculus. There should be business or “every day” math available for those students who don’t want or need to move on to higher math just to get the 4 years done. There should also be English classes that teach practical writing skills for those who don’t want or need to take AP Lit. Of course schools get money for the number of kids who take AP classes, so they will keep pushing kids to take them to get the money and the rankings.
  5. I Like TV – This one isn’t as unpopular as it used to be as we are in what they call the golden age of TV, but I’ve been a big TV guy since I was a kid. Working in libraries I got a lot of the “I don’t own a TV” over the years said in a way that made it obvious that the person who said it thought it made them superior. I still read books. I’m at 92 for the year right now and that is below my average, but I love TV. Not just “quality” TV, but sitcoms, cheesy dramas, Survivor, etc. One of the things that makes me sad about my new work schedule is that my weekly daddy/daughter night watching Survivor gets pushed to tape delay. Every Wednesday night for years we have popped popcorn and watched Survivor together. I’m sad about Alan Thicke’s death because watching shows like Growing Pains was a big part of my younger years. I even wrote a poem for English class in high school where I turned the TV Guide in to a poem.

So, that’s all I can think go for now. Feel free to add your own in the comments or make fun of mine.

A Couple of Old(and Odd) Thoughts

I put these two in a draft last weekend and expected to add more as the week went on. This week has not been one that was conducive to jotting the odd thoughts in a draft, so nothing else was added. So, I decided to just go ahead and post these. I’m sure everyone es very excited about this.

 

Odd TV Promos – I have seen the commercials for both the Pitch and Lethal Weapon TV shows recently. While I think both shows look decent, there is something really odd at the end of the promos. When listing the cast, Pitch says “Introducing Kylie Bunbury” and Lethal Weapon says “introducing Clayne Crawford.” Bunbury was in the Freeform show Twisted and in CBS’ Under the Dome. Crawford has TV credits dating back to 1997 and recently did 22 episodes of Recitfy. He also has a ton of movie credits. These two are not newcomers to the acting scene. Who exactly are the introducing them to?

Olympic Trials – The recent Olympic trials reminded me why I love track and field so much. In track and field, the winner is the person who runs the fastest, jumps the highest, etc. There is no question about who will move on the represent the country in the Olympics. Did you run faster? Jump higher? If you are top three you are in. Gymnastics is a different story. The judging is not as clear cut and only the top scorer is guaranteed a spot on the team. This means that Gabby Douglas who placed 7th and Madison Kocian who placed 8th are on the team while the ones who placed 4-6 are alternates. I get the reasoning. Douglas and Kocian are in because of expertise on the uneven bars and will only compete in that event. It just sucks for the people who did all they could, placed in the top five, but are still left off the team.

Tater’s Take on March Madness

This is the month we get the best event in sports: March Madness. I love the upsets, the buzzer beaters and the thought that any random team can go on a run and win it all. Normally, it is even more fun for me because My Kentucky Wildcats are there until the very end. This year, though, I’m adjusting to life without the Wildcats being around. It’s hard, but I’m still watching.

Buh Bye: I am happy to see that Duke, Wisconsin and Indiana have all been eliminated from the tournament. There are still plenty of teams that I don’t like, but I’m very happy that none there seams will win it all. I was even happier with the way they lost. Duke and IU are beaten easily and Wisconsin choked. I guess it’s petty to watch in hopes of others being disappointed, but I don’t care. I laugh at the defeat of these teams. Also, this picture is still valid

crean

Shut Up: Of course Duke and rat face Coach K@#@$$@ couldn’t go quietly. Coach K@##$@#$ decided to lecture an Oregon player for taking a shot at the end of the game. Not as the clock expired, but as a shot clock expired with time still on the game clock. I guess the polite thing to do is to hand the ball to Duke instead of continuing to play the game. This took place after trippy Grayson Allen refused to shake hands with the Oregon players as the clock expired. The same Grayson Allen who tripped at least two opponents during the season and was not punished. I’m sure coach K@###@$@$ would have been OK with the Oregon coach lecturing Allen on sportsmanship, right? To make things worse, when asked about it, Coach K@##$$ lied about the exchange and said it never happened. Stay classy, Duke.

Frauds: UNC and Syracuse are in the final 8. Both teams are teams that have committed academic fraud. UNC still has not been punished. Syracuse got in the field because the committee felt their losses while their cheating coach was suspended shouldn’t count against them. Yet somehow people still say Calipari is what’s wrong with college basketball and we hear more complaints about UK players going pro instead of the academic fraud issues. We need to get rid of the one and done rule and let the kids who have no interest in college go pro. That might help with the need to commit academic fraud to keep players on the court when they can’t do what it takes in the classroom.

Refs: College basketball officiating is horrendous. You know it’s bad when someone like Doug Sirmons is considered good enough to officiate a tournament game. The NCAA needs to find a way to fix this. They are ruining the game. Limit how many games they can call in a week. Actually review their work and install consequences for screwing up. Suspend the ones who call technical fouls when none are warranted. Fire the ones who are consistently bad. As long as they can be bad at the job, penalize people who complain about them and suffer no consequences, there is no reason for them to want to improve.

My Dream Final Four: I don’t have much love for any of the teams left in the field. I guess I will go with a dream final four of Oregon(though Oklahoma would be fine), Villanova, Virginia and Notre Dame. Most of those picks are because I dislike the other teams, not because I like the ones I picked. It would be interesting to watch the announcers blatantly ignore the academic fraud issues while calling a Syracuse/UNC gme, but not enough for me to want to see them win.

Reflections on the Season and the Loss

I know some will think it is bad timing to post a basketball blog on the morning of the attacks in Brussels, but this is the first time I’ve had the time to type out my thoughts on the season. So, here goes:

Early this season when Kentucky lost to teams like UCLA and Ohio State, I would have said a second round loss was to be expected. The team looked OK, but not great and a second round loss wold not be a surprise given what I saw on the court. Unfortunately, wins against Duke, overtime against Kansas and a surge in the SEC tournament made everyone think the team was finally getting it together and had what it took to get to the championship game. This week against Indiana we discovered that the team was who we thought they were early in the season: a team with two great guards, but not much else A team not built for a long tournament run. It’s disappointing, but we are spoiled. This is only the second team in the Calipari era to not go to the final eight. That’s a pretty good run and there is a monster recruiting class coming next year.

I will miss watching Ulis and Murray play. They were one of the best guard combinations we’ve ever had. I wish we had them for another year, but we can’t expect a kid to pass up millions of dollars to stay in college one more year. I will miss good Poythress and even inconsistent Poythress. I can’t say I will miss Skal, because I barely saw him play, but I wish him the best in the NBA. Once a Cat, always a Cat no matter how much you were on the floor. You still wore the uniform and that’s enough. I will look forward to next year and the hopes of another final four run and will always be a fan no matter the results.

Now, the rest of the tournament field: Normally, I would want the team that beat Kentucky to go far so that we at least lost to a team on a championship run, but that team is Indiana. I can’t cheer for Indiana. Especially after Yogi Farrell’s mom tweeted trash about Ulis after the game. Learn how to win with class. It would be interesting for UNC to win since that might mean Roy Williams would retire and shake up the coaching world, but I can’t cheer for UNC(plus I can win money if they lose). No way I can cheer for Duke, Syracuse or Kansas(plus, again, I can win money if Kansas loses). So, I’m left with the Gonzaga Fighting Wiltjers(once a Cat, always a Cat) as my heart choice and the Oregon Ducks as my head choice. I guess an A&M win would be good for the SEC, so that would be OK as well. But, really, basketball is over for me and I will look toward the rebuilding Braves as my next source of sports frustration.