By Dan Bernstein–
Death penalty for college basketball. For a year, at least.
Shut the whole thing down and reboot it, and maybe when we power it back up it’s all fixed, sorta like a DVR.
That was a few vuvuzelas short of a soccer game, except it wasn’t as interesting.
I know, nobody forced me to watch. I’m glad I did, though.
Even the presiding hypemasters caved to the misery, eventually, with Clark Kellogg invoking the grandiose phrase “unparalleled ineptitude” during a game that was 22-19 at half, saw Butler sizzle through a 1-for-23 shooting stretch in the second, featured 88 missed shots, eleven total assists, and a “national champion” that made just one three pointer.
Steve Kerr seemed dumbfounded with every next errant attempt or fumbled pass, and Greg Anthony declared the first twenty minutes “the worst half of basketball ever seen in a national championship game” with no hyperbole intended and no disagreement possible. As much as I looked forward to Charles Barkley’s countrified drawl of “turrible,” we had to settle for “ah-ful.”
Only Jim Nantz, bless him, continued to see the beauty and glory, his prosaic, middlebrow narration unimpeded by actual events. He had mentally flown off to his happy place, apparently, already seated amid the blooming azaleas of Augusta National, enjoying a pimento-cheese sandwich and dreaming dreamy dreams of eagle putts and six-iron saves from the pine straw.
Turning away from the TV only shifted the sensory experience, as the eye pain was replaced by mental images of transmission trouble, or serious, industrial plumbing problems, thanks to the overmixed effects-mic under those poor, abused rims.
It looked like salvation would come when the game would, inevitably, tighten to the point of possession-by-possession strategizing. The end-game could then redeem the game – in the eyes of some – with the quality-independent drama that is the crutch for those who continue to fool themselves into thinking college basketball is, you know, “good.”
Alas, even that never happened. Bad stayed bad, and then got boring.
Bulldog stalwart Matt Howard was wheeling and flailing as if in a cloud of bees, making one shot in his 37 minutes of “action.” The Butler Way managed 18.8% shooting. Who is Andrew Smith, why can’t a guy seven feet tall even come close to making a basket when standing right next to it, and, more importantly, how does he not play for Illinois?
Now Connecticut, which finished ninth in the Big East this year, gets to parade the trophy, enjoying it before they go on probation and their wizened, corrupt coach serves a suspension.
“One Shining Moment” has never been so out-loud laughable.
This was an all-timer, and everybody knows it – one of the worst important games of anything, ever. The disconnect between the size and scope of the event and what transpired on the floor was like something out of a cautionary fable about hubris and human frailty.
Never has the ceremonial cutting of the nets looked like such a merciful, heroic act.
Get those things off of there and make them stop.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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