IT IS THAT TIME AGAIN.
(I tried to find a video of a full, professional orchestra playing that song on repeat, but failed. Would have settled for something like this, but came up empty. Whoa, John Tesh has enormous hands. All really talented musicians do. Of course I'm stuck here with these NORMAL sized hands like some kind of loser. Ugh.)
SMACK N' CHEESE from Dimo's. Macaroni, with creamy cheddar alfredo sauce, chipotle peppers, roasted jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese. I also added bacon and hot sauce because sometimes you gotta feed a little need to your ride. You know what I'm saying? And that's me, quoting Blue Streak. Hilariously underrated movie. But the pizza - really, really good. Shouldn't be a surprise since I'm guessing 99% of the people reading this have had Mac N' Cheese from Ian's/Dimo's before, but this variety was absolutely spot on. They're essentially doing a March Madness bracket of Mac N' Cheese varieties this month, and my main takeaway is that I'm glad from a health and financial perspective that I don't live two blocks away from Dimo's anymore.
You can always tell when I'm REALLY excited about something because 9 times out of 10 I'll write out full words instead of using contractions. I'm willing to bet that my non-contraction usage SKYROCKETS around this time every year. Seems like a difficult thing to track, so you're gonna have to take my word for it. And what's not to be excited about (if you live in the Midwest and say 'the weather', I hate you)? It's Spring. People are emerging from their hibernations. Patio drinking is right around the corner. And of course, it's NCAA Tournament time.
Are you feeling a little more optimistic about this team's chances after the run they went on in the B1G Tournament last weekend? A certain genius had UW losing to Michigan, and after 20 minutes that prediction looked to be pretty accurate. But then UW went out and scored 51 points on Michigan in the second half, sending those elitist losers back to the hell-forsaken hole they call home. I do not like Michigan.
I also do not like Tom Crean. Bo does not like Tom Crean. Most importantly, Bo does not like losing to Tom Crean. His solution? NEVER LOSE TO TOM CREAN, EVER AGAIN, EVER. That kind of strategery is yet another example of why Bo was a very deserving choice for Coach of the Year. Also, this:
Nothing like a little 7-0 run from the Sheboygan Stallion to get the juices flowing. And the entire sequence was a great look at the wide array of talents Dekker has. The first bucket came on a coast-to-coast drive where he drew the contact from one of the best defenders in the nation while smoothly finishing off the glass. The next possession had Sam stepping behind the three point line and splashing one home. A few seconds after that, he was pushing another one in transition down the left side of the court, squared up, and banked it in. All of that in 50 seconds. I don't wanna stray too far from the current team at such an exciting time, but this team WILL run more in the next few years with the influx of talent coming. The thing is, I don't think Bo is averse to pushing the ball - but it requires the right personnel. When you have Evans and Bruiser running down the wings with Jackson bringing the ball up, you don't really have a good finisher in the group. But once you put Dekker in there and mix in the kids coming in next year, things should pick up. WE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE BORING. #DEKKER
TV: TRUTV, KINDA LIKE BEING ON FX DURING FOOTBALL SEASON. NO RESPECT.
THERE ARE PRECISELY TWO THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OLE MISS
1. They played absolutely NO ONE in the non-conference:
(Translation: they had the 333rd toughest non-conference schedule in D1)
Certainly seems like a classy kid.
WILL THE BIG TEN GO UNDEFEATED THIS WEEKEND?
Opponents: James Madison, NC State/Temple
Undefeated Chances: 90%
Down-Low: Big time catch-22 here (I have never used that correctly in my life and I didn't read the book. It's a book, isn't it?): either IU goes 2-0, Hoosier fans are happy, and the B1G looks solid... or they lose, Master P installs a Hoosier Tears waterfall in his pool since ain't nobody else got that in the rap game, and the B1G loses its top contender the first weekend. I'll let you guess which I'm rooting for.
FINE, here's a hint:
And a reminder to STAY OUT OF THE LONG GRASS
Opponents: Iona, Notre Dame/Iowa State
Undefeated Chances: 85%
411: I felt so smart telling people how overrated OSU was all year. "Oh yeah, Thomas is awesome, but Craft sucks on one side of the ball and they don't really have any other scorers. WRITE THIS TEAM OFF" - Me, boasting in January. Now they're a 2 seed on an 8 game winning streak including wins over Minnesota, MSU (twice), IU (on the road), Illinois, and Wisconsin. Can't really argue with that. WELL PLAYED, METH-MEN.
Opponents: Valparaiso, Memphis/St. Mary's
Undefeated Chances: 80%
Hit Me With The Horns Tony: Kinda bummed that Duke and MSU would hypothetically meet in the Sweet 16. You can usually do pretty well in your pools by betting on Coach K and Izzo to make runs. Now I have to pick one of them to beat Louisville. Just fucking write it down now: whichever team I pick to lose the Duke/MSU match-up will for SURE beat Louisville. I know Louisville is the popular pick to win it all, but the Midwest is absolutely STACKED. If Duke/MSU doesn't get Pitino, that's only because Tanner Bronson and his Billikens beat them first.
Opponents: South Dakota State, VCU/Akron
Undefeated Chances: 55%
#HateMichigan: DREAM SCENARIO: VCU beats Michigan. Wisconsin wins the National Championship. Bo retires. Shaka comes to Madison and wins the next 3 NCAA titles. Shaka retires. Michigan is sold to Ohio, which is secretly controlled by the Chinese, who immediately ban Google, Facebook, Twitter, fun, freedom, and socializing with people not from Ohio or Michigan. That's a whole lot of win right there. I sincerely hope I get to play this out as a dream sometime soon.
Opponents: Mississippi, Kansas State/Play-in winner
Undefeated Chances: 50.1%
Fight Right Through That Line: Here's the frustrating thing about UW: they've clearly shown they can beat any team, anywhere. Away wins at Indiana and Illinois, neutral wins over Michigan and Indiana... impressive. The only thing that would really prevent UW from making a run is the ability to play at that level consistently over 4-6 games. Remember that 3 game stretch where we were murdering teams by 20+? Immediately preceded by blowing a game at The Barn and followed by the Senior Day Stinker against Purdue. Play like we did in the middle three there? Final Four. But toss up one vomit-inducing 31% FG performance on Friday or Sunday? Curtains. Hard team to predict. I'd also like to point out that winning the B1G Tournament was about as difficult as making the Final Four. We needed to beat 3 top-10 teams to win the B1G Tournament, and we'd have to beat KSU/Gonzaga/OSU to get to the Final Four. It ain't easy. But you've always got a shot when you've got The White Wizard of Wisconsin leading the way:
Opponents: Colorado, Miami/Pacific
Undefeated Chances: 15%
Pepperoni Toni: One of my prized possessions is the Bulls Dynasty Series DVDs - specifically Untouchabulls: 1992 NBA Champions. At one point during the playoff run, they show a frustrated MJ walking up the court as the announcer says, 'Boy, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde or whatever... you just don't know which Bulls team is going to show up!' Replace 'Bulls' with 'Illini' and you'd have your 2012--2013 Illinois Fightin' Illini. Oh fuck me, did I just compare this crappy Illinois team to my favorite Bulls team of all-time? Scratch it all. I think shitty Illinois shows up.
Opponents: UCLA, Florida/Northwestern State
Undefeated Chances: 3%
Sad Story Time: I was walking home two nights ago in the cold when I saw something dart across the street. It was a small dog, faster than Benny Rodriguez, flying in the opposite direction as me. I froze. No idea what to do. Didn't see an owner anywhere. And the poor little guy was too far away for me to chase after him. HOWEVER, in my head I tossed my backpack and coat and sprinted after the little rascal. After 10 minutes of chasing, I do a baseball slide on the sidewalk next to the dog to scoop him up. Jeans ripped, bleeding, I check for a tag to call its owners, only to discover that the dog has no collar. Unsure of what to do, I bring Slider home (I named him Slider since I had to slide to grab him) and decide to call the local animal shelter the next day to make arrangements for them to take Slider in if his family can't be located. Unfortunately, it would not be that simple.
Once I got to the shelter, they informed me that if they could not locate the owners within 2 weeks, they'd be forced to put little Slider down. NOT ON MY WATCH. Even though my apartment building doesn't allow dogs, I SNEAKILY keep Slider in my place as my right-hand man, not unlike Ace Venture outsmarting his landlord. KEY JIGGLE ALARM INCLUDED. Slider immediately takes to me as though we'd been best friends since birth. Hollywood catches wind of this tale, and the script for A Boy And His Slide-Piece is penned. Slider and I become millionaires. Sure, Slider may pass away well before I. But he will never be forgotten. Never.
(Seriously, I had no clue what to do. I kept looking around for someone to tell, but it was so cold and no one was outside. I didn't know if I was supposed to call someone or some place. I went home and laid in my bed for a half hour wondering what happened to the little guy. Anyone who grew up with a dog that would bolt like that knows it's one of the worst feelings in the world when your dog takes off. Hope he found his way home, and holy shit what are they feeding him, fastest dog I've ever seen. Good luck, Slider.)
[Adding Slider to my list of potential dog names.]
RANDOM MUSIC THAT I'M DIGGING HARD THIS WEEK
Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
Let me tell you how this is going to work: between the end of hoops season and the beginning of football in the Fall, I'll discover about 10 new songs. So I'll burn through those in the first few Previews and then IMMEDIATELY regret doing this damn section again. Ugh.
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Little Wing
My brain cannot make sense out of how good some people are at playing guitar. This would be one of those times.
Dream Theater - A Change Of Season
Insane. In the version I listen to on Spotify, the guitarist plays a little riff from a video game or a movie or a TV show. I KNOW what it's from, but I don't know what it's from. Such a short part of a 25 minute song, so I can't even tell you where it falls in that video. Or if it even happens in this version. But if you know what I'm talking about, please let me know.
Collective Soul - December
Grasping at straws here.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES IN HAIKU
Can't wait for Friday
Plus Za Hut and Rolling Rock
Hot two-day stretch here
Chris Webber narrating a guy not giving his girlfriend ice cream is surprisingly hilarious. Also, where the fuck did she get that little spoon from?
Billy Joel did a Q&A at Vanderbilt. One of the kids there asked if he would accompany him on 'New York State Of Mind'. He did. Pretty cool. But does Billy Joel waddle? Dude should play the Penguin if they remake that Batman movie.
I don't think anyone ever needed a reason not to mess with street performers, but just in case you did.
One time when I was a kid, I was dribbling an over-inflated basketball and it hit me right in the face after what I felt was a normal dribble. Ever since, I've been terrified of over-inflated basketballs. Fear: JUSTIFIED
(In case you Chicago people haven't heard, they're opening a new location in Wicker Park by the Damen/Milwaukee/North Six-Way Intersection From Hell. You thinking what I'm thinking? Probably not. Because I'm thinking of ways to combine the food from Big Star with the pizza at Dimo's. And there's no way that's a healthy thought. But it is a delicious thought.)
PICTURES OF PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES OF SKYPORN. New trend I'm starting. Not sure if it has #BillionDollarIdea potential or not (too early to tell), but I think we could do some really big things here. I love looking at the tiny little #skyporn on his phone. SO CUTE
Not buying the Steph Curry/Marshall Henderson comparisons. 1) Curry was a significantly better shooter. 2) Curry was not a raging asshole. 3) Curry did it against good teams in the non-conference schedule for Davidson, Henderson didn't even get a chance to do that. I just don't think Mississippi has faced a defense like ours. We're gonna start Brust on Henderson I'm guessing, but Bruiser/Evans are more than capable of switching on screens and containing him. The book will be simple: get him off the three point line and force someone else to beat you. The only remaining question will be about our shooting. Can we hit enough shots and avoid the huge droughts? Will Dekker be UNLEASHED on the nation (and by nation, I mean the TruTV audience)? THE PICK:
WISCONSIN 65, MISSISSIPPI 54
Let's just assume Kansas State will await in the round of 32. They say it's hard to beat a good team three times. Well, we took down Michael Beasley in '08, and we ended Jacob Pullen's career in 2011. Can we send another Kansas State team home in 2013? They may lack the star power of previous versions, but they have a coach who is intimately, but not sexually, familiar with Bo Ryan and his style. Should be a pretty intriguing match-up, but you know where I'm going with this. THE PICK:
WISCONSIN 62, KANSAS STATE 58
The push for a third straight Sweet 16 begins Friday morning. Here's to hoping these seniors have 6 more victories in them.