We were on the fence as to whether we were going to ramble this week. Between packing our house for a move (more on this later) and recovering from a stomach bug from hell (more on this soon), our energy levels are low. But, any time Carolina puts a beating on Duke and a former supporting actress on a USA show marries a prince and then convinces him to leave the royal family and then tells the real story with renowned investigative journalist Oprah, we have to Ramble. Those are the rules. We didn’t write them.
To get us started on the right foot, parenthood is one of the great joys of life. Baby Hangover brings some much light, laughter and happiness into our home. This week, he also brought a lovely disease that ravaged our digestive systems, and potentially our plumbing. We won’t bore you with the finer details, but this weekend has been highlighted by delicious meals of crackers and water. Fortunately, we’ve sold the house and are bringing in a professional cleaner before closing day. And we have scratched lasagna from the menu for the forseeable future.
Speaking of selling the house, Hangover Headquarters is excited to announce that we are relocating to Pittsburgh. While we’re sure there will be much news coverage of this major transition for one of the world’s leading sports website (Oprah’s hoping to leverage this “interview” to join our Hangover team), we wanted to be sure that you, our dear reader, are the first to know.
No, Mom. Not you. We already told you. The OTHER reader.
Anyway, we will be blunt with you. During this transition period, we wouldn’t expect much from Work Hangover. Which, we realize is a tough sentence to read, but trust us, it is tougher to write. However, with March Madness just a week away, you can rest assured that we will have commentary and will do our best to have you ready to lose to a middle schooler in whatever bracket pools you may choose to enter (for entertainment purposes only).
But, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss some of the basketball games that took place over the past week.
For the Tar Heels, they week as a mixed bag with a loss to a bubbly Syracuse team but bounced back with a ho-hum win over a .500 team who will be playing on Tuesday of the ACC Tournament. Nothing to get too excited about, but the Heels should be safely in the Big Dance. Avoiding the bad loss was all they really needed to do.
What, THAT was Duke?!? Oh man…then it was GREAT week in Chapel Hill. Listen, this version of North Carolina is not going to win 4 games in 4 days to claim the ACC Tournament. They also won’t win six straight games against increasingly difficult competition to become national champions. But, they will always be able to say they swept Duke, and there are a lot of Carolina teams that cannot say that. And, after the soul crushing defeat in Chapel Hill last year, it was a bit of sweet relief for Tar Heel nation.
Meanwhile, in Ann Arbor, Michigan lost 2 of 3 in the week to stumble into the postseason. Except, you know, the one game they won was a complete beating of Michigan State and clinched the outright Big Ten Regular Season Championship* in Juwan Howard’s second year at the helm.
*Covid-rules which some people in Champaign, Il may take issue with.
You can forgive the Wolverines for being a little lackluster with nothing to play for this afternoon in East Lansing. Throw in Eli Brooks ankle injury, and the loss today is excused. If Michigan is smart, Eli won’t see the floor all week in Indy to recover and be ready to go for the NCAA Tournament. When you’re going to be a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament with a regular season championship banner from the best conference in college hoops hanging in your arena, the conference tournament has very little significance. If Michigan wants to win the whole thing, they must have a fully healthy Eli Brooks.
Now, if you are in a mid-major school in a 1-bid league, your conference tournament is your only ticket to the Big Dance. And for many of the schools that fit this description, a trip to the Big Dance is not only a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the team, it’s also a major financial benefit for the entire athletic department. So, let’s say you had your best regular season in several years, and really felt like you had a chance to win the conference tournament. And then, a few days before your first game, you discover two of your starters are unable to play due to COVID and contact tracing protocols. That would really suck, right? Well, welcome to the SoCon Tourney experience for the Chattanooga Mocs. And we’re sure more of these stories exist around the country, which is heartbreaking for the individuals and teams involved.
And let’s be clear, this will happen to someone around the NCAA tournament. And it will suck then too. But, on the flip side, there will be an NCAA Tournament, and we couldn’t be more excited.
With that said, let’s wrap it up for the week and get some rest so we can get ready for the best month in sports.