March Madness 2015

This isn’t specifically about the 2015 tournament. Though I should note I am off to a great start in the Draft Pool. No, I felt the need to rant against poor coaching. This is similar to my feelings about football coaches lacking strategy.

I really haven’t watched regular season college basketball in many years (college basketball has gotten very boring), so I’m basing my entire opinion on the NCAA tournament. Which is OK because the failure there is most egregious. Unlike the regular season, we are dealing with a one-and-done scenario, so you better get it right.

This happens every year. The scenario is generally something like this:
Team is trailing by 1 and has possession with 30 seconds on the clock. Coach decides to go for the final shot with no time left. This is the mistake. JUST SHOOT BABY! (Voice of Dick Vitale.)

The coach thinks he is going to win the game. He is also concerned about the other team having enough time to re-take the lead. He is wrong. JUST SHOOT BABY!

The problem is they need to start the play with 12 or maybe as much as 15 seconds to go. But they always wait to 6 or 8. They’re not that good. These are not NBA players. They never can make anything happen, or turn the ball over, or get nervous and jack up crappy 3’s. JUST SHOOT BABY!

Here is an early example from this year.

Northeastern has possession, but is down 2 against Notre Dame. And they don’t even get a shot off. That sucks. And it’s worse if you are a huge underdog like Northeastern. At least give your kids a chance. JUST SHOOT BABY!

Now if you start the play earlier there is a better chance you get off a quality shot. And means it’s more likely to go in. So what if you miss? Well, under my scenario there is still time for an offensive rebound or perhaps fouling a defensive rebounder to extend the game. But if you wait until there is no time left to shoot and miss…welp, game over. JUST SHOOT BABY!

And what if you do make it? That’s good, right? We can all agree that making the shot and taking the lead is a good thing. So my coach is worried about the other team having too much time left. But guess what? They’re not that good either. These are not NBA players on the other team. So they can’t make anything happen, or they’ll turn the ball over, or they’ll get nervous and jack up a crappy 3. They won’t make it. So…JUST SHOOT BABY!

Other complaint about coaching: Up 3, other team has possession. Please foul. It’s pretty simple math. If you foul, they can only score 2 points and lose. If you don’t they can shoot a 3 and tie. JUST FOUL(?) BABY!

Super Bowl XLIX

Some random thoughts, then a longer story.

Scoring at the end of halfs. (Is it “halfs” or “halves” when you refer to it like this?) Same as NFC Championship game. When games are close, teams seem as if they are able to march down field at will every time using hurry up offense. Watching this happen in every game is the thing that frustrates me the most in football. (Actually about the game. I have documented my hatred of the NFL for all of the off field issues – Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell, deflate-gate, concussions, Aaron Hernandez, Washington franchise racist name, Richie Incognito, replacement refs, Saints bounty scandal, etc., etc., etc.) Any coach who doesn’t utilize this strategy (basically all of them) for the entire game should be fired. I am confident that I would be a dominating football coach based on this alone.

That said, great job by Pete Carroll going for the TD with 6 seconds left in the first half instead of settling for the FG. I believe most coaches call plays so that they don’t get second guessed or fired. Few actually play to win. It’s amazing…football culture is supposed to be manly men but the coaches really are a bunch of pussies. It was great to see Carroll play to win. I didn’t really have a rooting interest until I saw that and then decided to pull for Seattle.

Jermaine Kearse’s catch. Unbelievably acrobatic. Unbelievable concentration. And the part that everyone is overlooking, in the midst of all of that, to have the wherewithal to recognize he wasn’t tackled, get up and try to get more yards. This should be compared to Willie Mays catch in the 1954 World Series. He makes the catch and spins to try to get the tagging runner.

I don’t have much to say about Idina Menzel’s national anthem (it seemed too slowly paced), or Katy Perry’s halftime show (they billed it with Lenny Kravitz…but he was only on stage for 10 seconds and not even for his songs???), but I will highlight a commercial I really liked:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26hl9YWLyn4
Good all around, but love that anxious, sombrero-wearing polar bear gasping when it was Mexico’s turn to draft.

OK, now for the most important part of the game – the gambling. Though I love to gamble, I am usually anti- box pool. Look at these odds! Plus it is seriously just random luck. I like to participate in things where I feel like I have some effect on whether I whether I win or not. However Pops has been running a box pool for a couple years now and he always asks if I want to get in. For anyone other than Pops I would say no. It’s only $20/box. Plus he pays for every scoring change so more numbers are in play.

I got a copy of the pool about a week ago. On the side where all the rules are listed Pops writes “GLAH”. Julia saw that and asked, “What’s GLAH?”
Me: “Good luck”
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[ignoring her]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[Tries to change the subject]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
[Tries to distract her with something on TV.]
“What’s the ‘A’ ‘H’?”
Pam snaps: “Just tell her already!”
“ASS HOLES! Good luck, Ass Holes!!!”
Pam shoots me a look. There is dead silence for half a second. Julia busts out laughing.

This year I drew New England 8, Seattle 4. Pretty shitty #’s. I chalked it up as a loss and forgot about them. I am not a person who obsesses “maybe NE will get 4 safeties and Seattle will get 2 safeties”. I hate those people who strategize the whole game hoping for their numbers to come out. So like I said, I forgot about exactly what I had until it was Seattle 24, NE 21 and Pops says if NE scores a TD I’ll win. NE scored and I got $50 for the score change. And with only 2:02 left, there was a good chance that I would get the end of game remaining pot of $850. BTW, I am no longer rooting for Seattle. Winning money clearly trumps the fact that Pete Carroll went for the First Half TD.

So basically there are 2 possible outcomes left. NE wins 28-24 and I get the money. Or Seattle scores a game winning TD to win 31-28. So who has 1, 8…Tommy! With 2 minutes left the money is basically mine to lose, so I figure that I’ll hedge my bet. I offer Tommy $200 for his box. He declines. Seattle starts moving down field. I offer $300. He declines again. Then the Kearse catch. Pops jumps in before I can say anything and offers $500! And Tommy declines again!!! Oh well. At this point it looks like I’m getting the $50 and that’s it. And then the inexplicable call on 2nd & goal from the 1 that resulted in the Malcolm Butler interception to essentially end the game! I hold on and win! Went home with $800 (I threw $100 to Pops for running the pool.) And poor Tommy went home with nothing. Poor guy should’ve taken the offer.