The college basketball game of the year took place on Sunday, and amazingly, it was not the Liberty vs. North Alabama game that we’ve all been eagerly anticipating. With a COVID-pause forcing a postponement of that game, someone needed to step up in its place. So, we turn to Columbus where to friendly allies, Ohio State and Michigan decided to play some of the best basketball of the year. Michigan, much like its football team, gave up 87 points, but fortunately brought a little bit of some offense with them on the bus, winning 92-87.
If the college basketball gods are listening (we know they get our emails), we’ll get this game again in a Big Ten Championship game, although Illinois and Iowa might have something to say about that in Indy in a few weeks. Both teams cemented their status as Final Four-caliber teams. If they’re able to reach the Final Four, it will mean that they spend the better part of two months in a hotel in Indianapolis. This certainly sounds luxurious, but that’s just because you would do anything to get out of your mother’s basement. Or wait, is that us?
Fortunately, we are in the midst of a move, which inevitably leads to that wonderful experience of going through boxes that haven’t been unpacked since you moved into your current home. The debate over whether you should save something that you haven’t even laid eyes on in over three years is a special moment. The really fascinating thing is that all of Mrs. Hangover’s items that fit that category can definitely be thrown out, but somehow, all of our cherished keepsakes should be kept forever. Listen, we can’t help it if Baby Hangover is going to definitely want a bound copy of emails shared between us and Dr. G. during the 2009 UNC National Championship run. After all, one day, the Work Hangover Empire will be his, and these epistles between two literary giants will be invaluable.
Speaking of the Tar Heels, UNC demoralized the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. Granted, Louisville was coming off a three week pause, and were missing some of their top players, but the other 10 guys on the roster just gave up about 5 minutes in to the second half. We have seen Carolina teams of the past crush the spirit of teams – one of our favorites was the 2005 NCAA Tournament second round when Iowa State came out saying they wanted to run with UNC and ran back to Ames with a 30-point loss. But, to be fair, this team is not quite to the caliber of the 2005 Heels. However, it was enjoyable to just sit back and watch the Heels dominate.
Elsewhere, Duke showed some signs of life with a win in Charlottesville between the two forces of evil, the Spiders took a tough loss against crosstown rival VCU and Penn State continues to be the best 7-12 team in all of college basketball. With three weeks to go until Selection Sunday, the excitement is starting to build for what will be the strangest tournament ever. But, we’ll take strange over canceled every year.
Also in the “let’s just appreciate that these events are happening” category, the Australian Open wrapped up while you were sleeping last night, with Novak Djokovic winning his 18th career Grand Slam title. We can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for Djokovic. On one hand, he’s the third best player of all-time. On the other hand, he’s also the third best player of his own era, behind Federer and Nadal. He has dominated the Australian Open more than anyone. The problem is Nadal is the greatest clay court player ever and Federer is the greatest grass court player of all time. Every time we think their run atop the world of men’s tennis is about to end, they win another tournament. We look forward to seeing Nadal hoist the champion’s trophy at Roland Garros next.
On the women’s side, Naomi Osaka continued her ascent to the top of the women’s tennis world. She defeated Serena on her way to her fourth Grand Slam title. Serena continues to be a force, and we’d all be crazy to say she couldn’t pull off another win, but it’s starting to feel like surviving the two weeks and 7 matches of a grand slam are just too much for her at this point. But, if you’re a tennis fan of our age, you’ve been fortunate to watch the careers of Serena, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic at the same time. What’s also amazing is that they are all younger than we are, and we’re talking about them as if they are already eligible for the COVID vaccine.
In our tour of country club sports, Max Homa won the PGA Tour stop at Riviera today, which appears to be one of the hardest, yet most fun courses to play on tour. Homa, who might be better known for his twitter account than his golf swing, is a popular winner. Congrats to Max, but the real story was the 10 minutes Tiger spent on the broadcast talking with Jim Nantz.
Tiger was the official host of this week’s tournament, and we’re sure he did a lovely job picking out invitations and matching plates and napkins, but his update on his physical health was, shall we say, less than optimistic. Apparently, having back surgeries every 18 months is not conducive to a consistent golf career. Now, Tiger has never been particularly forthcoming, so this could all be a smoke screen, but the only golf club he’s apparently touched recently is a putter that he had to lengthen so he didn’t have to bend over as much. Again, not sure that lends itself to competing at Augusta in less than two months. Remember when we were talking about appreciating that we’ve had the opportunity to watch the four greatest tennis players of all time? Well, ditto.
Finally, you may not be aware, but the college football season kicked off this weekend, with FCS taking center stage. Several of the top teams played, but all eyes were on Jackson State and the debut of “Coach Prime”, Deion Sanders. Coach Prime led his team to a resounding 53-0 over something called Edward Waters. Feels like they should have allowed Eddie to bring a few friends to play with him.
Of course, the real highlight took place behind the scenes, as apparently Coach Prime’s office was robbed during the game. Or, maybe he lost them. Or maybe they were taken and then recovered. It’s tough to say, but all we know is that Jackson State games are going to be the highlight of the spring. And yes, we get great joy out of writing Coach Prime.
The job of an SID at an FCS school is hard enough. When you throw in a football season in the spring when they undoubtedly have other sports they need to be covering, it makes their job impossible. When your Coach refers to himself in the third person, has 1.2 Million Twitter followers and has a long history of creating his own version of reality, you might as well just give up.
We’re going to take our own advice and give up for the night. Coach Prime!