Arts & Entertainment, Sports

Picking Splinters: March: A Perfect Time For The Magical Mail Bag

Even in March there’s time for the magical mail bag, especially one featuring NCAA Tournament questions.

Mike,

I love it when seven-footers tangle. Give me a hand breaking down the Georgetown-Ohio State matchup. Who do you think wins the battle of the big men between Roy Hibbert and Greg Oden? Will this be as good as when I mixed it up with Patrick Ewing Jr.’s pops in 1984?

Sincerely,

The Dream

 

Dream, where are you right now? Seriously. After you retired from the NBA you fell off the radar screen faster than MC Skat Cat, that animated fur ball from Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” video. Hope you’re well at any rate.

I think a lot of people are giving Hibbert the edge because of experience, but I tend to think Oden makes up for that with athleticism. When Oden injured his right wrist right after he came to Ohio State, the coaching staff helped him learn to shoot free throws with his left hand. When Hibbert came to Georgetown, the coaching staff had to teach him how to run. Yes, run — as in, putting one leg in front of the other in rapid succession.

I honestly think that the two of them will be a push. I can see Hibbert getting Oden into foul trouble, but I think Oden will be able to keep Hibbert more or less off the scoreboard. The real test for Ohio State will be keeping Hibbert from kicking it to Jeff Green or someone else on the perimeter. And one other, always-important thing the Hoyas can claim about their center: Theirs is bigger.

 

Mr. Hume,

How nice is it that we don’t have to listen to Dukie V. during March Madness? And yes, that is a rhetorical question.

Signed,

The Collective State Legislatures of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina (with the Distinguished Gentleman from Durham abstaining)

 

I can feel where you’re coming from guys, but I really don’t have a problem with Dick Vitale. Look, his analysis might pale in comparison to guys like Billy Packer or Jay Bilas (who is the best in the business right now), but there’s a lot more to college basketball than Xs and Os and Dickie V does a great job of conveying that. I mean does anyone love the game as much as he does? His energy is great for the sport and young people getting into college basketball. Is his comical yelling ridiculous? Sure, but no more so than when Bill Raftery (another great analyst) tries to squeeze his signature “manuhman” call into the broadcast when a team is playing zone defense.

And if you like excitable broadcasters, do yourself a favor and track down the Sportstalk 980 broadcast of the Georgetown-Vanderbilt game. Dickie V has NOTHING on the one-man-wrecking crew that is Rich Chvotkin.

 

Mike,

We’re throwing a Final Four party and would like to get your opinion on what delectable treats to serve that would befit such a special occasion.

Cheers,

Martha S.

 

Well, Martha, I was going to say that a spread of crudite sounds about your speed, but then I saw how heinous that word looks in print. Yikes. Wings are always good, but if you want to go with something a tad more creative and thematic you can go with the Roy Hibbert diet. It primarily consists of feasting on an array of undersized post players.

 

Mr. Hume,

With so few upsets this year and no real Cinderella to speak of, what does this mean for mid-majors going forward?

You pal,

David

 

I think it means you need to get some bigger rocks Dave. I mean, not all incoming freshmen are going to be Goliaths like Greg Oden, but with the rules mandating that players can not enter the NBA until they’re a year out of high school, big programs are only going to be deeper. We’ve already seen it this year. Look at all the non-lottery freshmen that had huge impacts this year: Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Tajuan Porter and pretty much everyone at Definite Article U not named Oden.

If Mids want to run with these big boys, they’ll need to buy into team concepts like Southern Illinois and Butler did. Hard nosed defense and unorthodox styles will always upset teams no matter how much talent they have.

If you’re looking for parity, I think you’re going to be looking for a long time. Cinderella though, she’ll be back.