I love days like yesterday. Sure, the drive was a beautiful 8.5 hours of the same view — that is to say, farms, farms, and more farms, and where there weren’t actual farms, there was grass. And it’s all flatter than a Shaquille O’Neal free throw. But no matter the surroundings, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Is there any greater feeling — especially right after thawing out from a tough winter — than packing a bag and a cooler (of fruit, granola, and bottled water, mind you), filling the gas tank, and hitting the road? There aren’t many, for me. Especially when the Big 12 Tournament is waiting at the end of that journey. Don’t get me wrong, though — I was thankful for the satellite radio. Have the satellite radio guys received their Nobel Prize, yet? One second, I’m listening to ESPN Radio or Sporting News Radio dudes talking about hoops. Then the NFL talk starts and I switch to, say, the BBC’s Europe Today, or a song by Gomez, or some blues from B.B. King. Then back to hoops talk. Fantastic. And no, we’re not affiliated with them in any way. I’m just being honest.
One of the best parts of any journey like this is when I text my friends who are at their jobs. I’ll send them some generic message asking them what they’re doing, and they’ll respond with some variation of, “I’m at the office, knee-deep in status reports/memos/directives, trying to knock things off my action items list. You never text during work hours. What’s up?” And I’ll type, “Oh, nothing. I was driving to the Big 12 Tournament, enjoying some tunes, a gorgeous drive, a 70-degree day, and the prospect of four days of top-flight basketball. Thought I’d give you a shout. But you go back to your thing.” Even though this is a blog and I’m allowed to type almost anything, I’ll spare you the vitriol that my friends offered in response. Not even close to being safe for work.
So, as the comedian says, I’m here all week. This’ll mostly be about basketball, but you might see some reviews of barbecue restaurants and/or interviews and pics from the festivities here. This is such a great time of year, and this is the conference tournament at which to be. Now, some notes from Wednesday’s games:
Texas 82, Iowa State 75
I didn’t know what we were going to get in this one, since Texas was obviously reeling, having dropped eight of 14, and Iowa State had just scored that victory over Kansas. But is this what Texas needed, meaning the second season to arrive? There’s a small part of me that’s been wondering if Texas mentally checked out at the midpoint of the season after they took their first loss because of the boredom that can take over teams. A longshot, I know. But there aren’t many reasons why a team this talented and athletic can’t get themselves out of first gear, a place they seemed to be stuck since the middle of January.