Tee's Top Ten
By Tee Kane
March 27, 2008
I apologize for the lack of updates last week. I was auditioning for the sequel to “Leaving Las Vegas” that’s going to take place in New York, Washington, D.C., and Salisbury, MD. The script calls for five Paddys to fly in from Dublin Airport four days before Paddy’s day and stay for a week in America while hopelessly traveling across the East Coast. It was an extraordinary experience in method acting. After finishing the audition I have a new level of respect for Daniel Day-Lewis, though I’d like to see him get so inebriated that he did not notice someone had lit his chest on fire at a Saw Doctors concert.
A few of you have asked for a blow-by-blow of the week, but while it would almost certainly be entertaining, I’m not quite ready to commit career suicide. I will give you a few details that resembled what PTI host and the funniest man on radio Tony Kornheiser calls the “Mr. Tony experience.” Tony Kornheiser doesn’t really go out of his house other than to travel to the radio and television studio, but when he does make the occasional public appearance he describes his “celebrity” experiences with strangers as the “Mr. Tony experience.” It usually involves a star-struck teenager taking out a camera phone.
Well, when you walk around with five Irishmen in matching hoodies and behaving poorly you are bound to attract a bit of attention. We happened to be walking around the southwestern tip of Manhattan along the Hudson River on Sunday with no other pedestrians within eyesight when a US Coast Guard powerboat dramatically diverted course directly at us. Thinking we were about to be apprehended for some crimes committed the night before, we all froze, but much to our surprise the cabin window was thrown open and a passenger jumps out for a second and shouts hello before slamming the window and speeding off up the Hudson River. I still have no explanation for this. I guess he wanted to wish everyone an early Happy Paddy’s Day, but I couldn’t say for sure.
We were also accosted in the Washington Metro by someone named Peggy Quinn who within 11 seconds of meeting wanted to offer housing to whole group and then gave us a load of free metro cards. I was in the unique position of being able to judge these things as not normal. I’m also fairly certain that the Market Street Bar and Restaurant in Salisbury witnessed its first ever Irish sing-song, complete with a rousing version of Molly Malone.
Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the trip was the Big East Finals at the Garden. For the non-natives it was their first college basketball game and they were turned off by all the stops in the play at the end of the game. When basketball is broadcast in Ireland they take out all the timeouts and run the game continuously, so the game in-person resembled an indoor seven-day test cricket match. In fairness, it was an extraordinarily slow game near the end.
The good part of the game is that we got to try out most Irish pubs within a six or seven block radius of the Garden. If you are around for the late games, try Stout pub.
Moving on to the Big Dance, I want to thank all those that who voted in Tee’s Weekly Top 10 poll throughout the year. It was a motley group that served with distinction; eight of the final 10 teams in the poll are still alive as the Sweet Sixteen begins. They can’t all make the Elite Eight, but it’s a good showing by the panel.
In trying to figure out the final two weekends, it’s important to remember what Rick Pitino said about his Louisville team this week on PTI: “we can beat any of the 15 teams remaining and any of the remaining 15 teams can beat us.” No team is immune from losing before they get to the Final Four and only three teams have no realistic shot of winning the whole thing (Nova, Davidson, Western Kentucky).
A lot of commentators are saying that this is the year that all four number one seeds make the Final Four. There’s really no chance of that happening (three would be remarkable), but it is true that the number one seeds do seem to possess a different level of class than the remaining teams. Here’s my own opinion of the best 10 teams remaining (note this is not the same poll we had for the regular season with guest voters).
10. Tennessee – Sweating as much as Bruce Pearl after the first two games.
9. West Virginia – I’m just closing my eyes and pretending Huggins isn’t on the sideline.
8. Stanford – Can’t get excited about them, but good enough to make it to San Antonio.
7. Texas – Slight favorites over Stanford.
6. Wisconsin – Will probably ruin the tournament by keeping Stephen Curry to 12 points.
5. Louisville – Very difficult road to the Final Four, but certainly capable.
4. UCLA – The trendy pick, because of its path of least resistance.
3. Memphis – Not sure anyone will be all that pleased if the Tigers end up cutting down the nets.
2. UNC – I have a bad feeling about the match-up against Washington State.
1.Kansas – If the team name were anything other than Kansas they would be the consensus choice to win it all.