This is hilarious material from our good friend Bob Battle. I hope you all enjoy it. Maybe not Louisville and Duke Fans. 

What I Hate About March Madness

Most of my loyal newsletter subscribers know that I am a huge basketball fan and grew up as a total gym rat. I was known as an unabashed gunner, with the shot selection of a drunken hunter. My teammates were extremely lucky that there was no 3-point shot back in the day or I would have had one more excuse not to pass it inside. (“Hey big guy, you were only going to get us two  points on that wide-open lay up, but I was going to get us three on that off-balance double pump 30 footer that almost drew iron!”) So I am sure that most were surprised to read the headline of this article. First don’t let the picture fool you. I love the Mercer Bears basketball team. It is un-American to (a) not pull for the underdog; and (b) not root for Duke to lose! But I am sincere in stating that there are many things about the NCAA Tournament that I cannot stand.

1) NCAA sues over use of “March Madness” The NCAA is extremely litigious in protecting the term “March Madness” and officially licensed and trademarked the term in 1988 even though the Illinois High School Association had used the term for a longer time. Come on NCAA, don’t you think you make enough money off the TV rights alone? The NCAA gets $771 million per year on just TV broadcast rights. So, instead of saying “Let the March Madness begin,” maybe I should say “Let’s get ready to rumble.” Maybe not. Michael Buffer the boxing ring announcer trademarked his name and has made millions just suing people who unwittingly used the phrase. Damn lawyers!

2) Scrubs linking arms on bench! Second, the annoying shots of the scrubs on the bench linking arms at the end of the game. This is done solely for the purpose of trying to get some screen time on national TV. Bob Battle’s solution- One technical foul shot for each linked arm.

3) Towel over head of player who fouls out! Third, the obligatory player from the losing team who fouls out at the end of the game and puts a towel over their head and starts crying. Cry if you must, but take the towel off your head, Hot Dog! Bob’s solution. If you foul out and want to cry, you have to change into a cheerleader’s skirt and hug it out with one of the always plentiful crying cheerleaders.

4) Head coach standing inbounds! But worst of all- the head coaches who insist on standing well inbounds on the court while play is going on. The NCAA still has a rule requiring coaches to stay in the designated “coaches box.” This box does not cover standing inbounds while the clock is running. The worst offender, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. 

So here is my fantasy. NCAA Men’s Title Game. Louisville is up by 4 points with 6 seconds left against Virginia (or any team on the other side of the bracket.) U.Va. has no more timeouts. If Louisville does not foul, the game is essentially over. Tony Bennett, brilliant coach of Virginia whispers something in the ear of star player Joe Harris. Pitino is on the floor, flailing his arms and screaming to his players over and over, “Don’t foul.” The players do not need to be reminded of this obvious fact, but Pitino wants to hog camera time (and credit) from his players. Harris takes one dribble and turns and wings the basketball off of Pitino’s dome, just like it is a dodge ball game. The ball hits Pitino and he is clearly inbounds. As is the new annoying tradition in college hoops, the refs huddle over a crappy TV screen for 5 minutes to confirm what they just saw with their own eyes and the rest of the world has seen 30 replays of on much better high definition TV’s at home. Pitino was 3 steps inbounds and the ball hit him. The refs HAVE to give him a technical foul and award 2 foul shots to Virginia. Another 5 minutes is spent wiping the “greasy kid stuff” off the basketball from Pitino’s hair and then Joe Harris hits 2 free throws. Virginia inbounds and Harris hits a 3 pointer at the buzzer. Wahoos win, Wahoos win. Oh well, I can always dream and at least last year I got to see Pitino flinch at the end of the championship game when the confetti gun exploded.

Women’s NCAA Tournament And yes, to add insult to injury, the ever smarmy Geno Auriemma, coach of Connecticut women’s team, has the best starting 5 I have ever seen on a women’s team and is favored to win another NCAA title. My only comment, there’s an old joke, “Who is the only person who was able to hold Michael Jordan to under 20 points a game?” Answer: Dean Smith! (Jordan’s college coach at North Carolina.) The new version, “Who is the only person to hold Breanna Stewart under 20 points a game?” Geno Auriemma! It took an entire regular season and conference tournament for him last year to tell his other players to get Stewart the ball. Notre Dame has another great team and anything can happen in one game (If you don’t remember Georgetown-Villanova in 1985, how about Duke-Mercer from a couple hours ago.) I have seen Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw outcoach Geno many times in the last few years, so I will be rooting for my alma mater to pull off a perfect season. Either way, the Notre Dame’s women’s team is doing just fine, thank you. Last year, Notre Dame women’s star Skylar Diggins was a first round WNBA draft pick. Her agent, rapper Jay-Z, gave her a brand new Mercedes as a graduation present! When I graduated from Notre Dame, I didn’t get a car, not even a picture of a Studebaker from their old South Bend location, I got a nice brunch at the Golden Bear Restaurant on Route 31 in Mishawaka, Indiana. And not so much as a phone call from M.C. Hammer!


Bob “Bracket Buster” Battle

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