Friday, November 30, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons to Smile this Holiday (Basketball) Season


Patrick Kendall (

This holiday season I find that there are many things to be grateful for. For instance, I’m grateful that my daily commute isn’t longer than it is given the cost of gas. And I’m grateful that my house isn’t fully operated by gas appliances given the rising costs of that fuel source. Also, I’m grateful that the taxes in my bonus check this morning only hit me for 40%. But mostly, and most importantly, I’m grateful that the season is underway and that things are going very well for my two favorite teams.

Actually, in a somewhat startling turn of events – at least as far a my humble expectations anyway – it could be argued that Duke is one of the great surprises so far this year but we’ll save that full argument for a later date and time. Right now it’s time for me to release my Top Ten Reasons to Smile this Holiday (Basketball) Season (in case the title of the article didn’t give it away already).

Number 10: the ACC wins the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Again

Now obviously this only rates if you’re an ACC fan but since I qualify the judgment stands. Nine years in a row. It has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

Number 9: Bobby Knight is alive and well in Texas

As long as this remains true, there will always be a chance that a fight will break out on the court or at a press conference.

Number 8: UCONN looks average again

For all of us Duke fans, this is really good news. Normally I would match Coach K against anybody in a title game but for some reason Calhoun seems to have his number in the big game – you can have your shot block records, just stay out of the tourney and I’ll be good.

Number 7: Freshmen look like freshmen again

Now that Greg Oden is in the Pros (injured but getting his checks – nice!) freshmen have gone back to looking their age. I don’t about you, but I find comfort in that. Oden reminded me of Morgan Freeman – only older!

Number 6: Jay Bilas was wrong!

He inaccurately predicted that Wisconsin would handle Duke’s pressure and cause problems on the boards because of their size – the 24 point beat-down they laid on the Badgers seemed to argue against that so better luck next time. Hey didn’t Jay go to Duke or something?

Number 5: Missouri whipping Maryland in a consolation game

I don’t know if this was a surprise to anyone but the look on Bob the Terp’s face the next morning here at the office was priceless – therefore it had to make the list.

Number 4: North Carolina seems to be rounding into form—again

Obviously, if you’re picked preseason number 1 (though not all polls have kept them there) then you’re doing something right, but it’s nice to see Carolina getting Ellington and Thompson more into the game offensively. They need the support if they expect to advance to the Final Four this year – remember: Georgetown is still out there and they’re still good too.

Number 3: North Carolina vs. Kentucky

An early season treat that is going to test Carolina in a very hostile environment. I love that they don’t fear the road. Wouldn’t mind seeing Duke take a page from Roy Boy’s play book in this regard.

Number 2: Duke’s guards are the deepest and best overall in the country

Duke can hurt you with five different guards and that doesn’t count Kyle Singler, who can handle the ball away from the basket at 6’8. If they all buy into Coach K’s system all season and continue to work together, this is going to be one very tough out in the tourney for any team in the country.

And my number one reason to smile about this holiday basketball season...

Number 1: No Joakim Noah!

Need I say more?

Happy Holidays!

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