UCLA’S LORENZO MATA HAS HIS POOL UNDER CONTROL: I’ve been wavering on UCLA’s chances to make a made dash back to the Final Four, but after seeing this O.G. snap of Bruins’ big Lorenzo Mata pimped-out by the pool, my belief in the Westwooded quest has officially been renewed:
But I’m guessing that hasn’t diminished the ebulliance of ever-jocular Joakim Noah, who apparently isn’t shy about showing what is fueling the Gators in their bid for a piggy-backed payoff:
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that predicting the NCAA tournament is a lot like a buddy trying to teach me an obscure table game in Vegas (in case you haven’t been to Sin City this century, Teach = Lose).
I have as much chance of hacking the brackets as getting comped at the 4 Queens after a 3am session of 3-card powered by innumerable house vodka-and-stones.
That’s why I like to leave the prognostication to the experts, like ESPN’s Andy Katz, who is always zeroing in on the all-important storylines of the tournament, like abhorrent mascot bleacher behavior.
And the impartiality and point-on professionalism of Digger Phelps means you can always count on ESPN to give you the best chance to soothsay your way through the dizzying maze of games.
My innate inability to accurately assess games means that most of my enjoyment from the early rounds comes from observing the mostly obscure announcers (at least to non-New Jersey Nets fans) that CBS rolls out.
We’ve seen the tired acts of reach-for-the-mini-thins bores Jim Nantz, Billy “Blackhead” Packer and studio hosts Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg too many times. So it’s a refreshing respite to hear new voices, though they are usually as inept as their more celebrated colleagues.
Top of the list is Jim Spanarkel and Ian Eagle, whose voices I hear once a year - much like a bad date or unfortunate acquaintance forcing me to fulfill my one-reality-show-per-365-days quota.
When you combine Spanarkel’s first-hand experience of the NBA’s narcotic-infested early ’80s era and Ian Eagle’s ability to prove the NEW YORK TIMES has online archives dating to 1993, you’ve got yourself a pants party.
But ultimately I would be remiss if I didn’t salute the man who made college basketball broadcasting the time-honored profession that it is today, Dick Vitale.
Now can somebody please get Dick some powder for chrissakes?