As if we weren’t already immature enough here at RTC, this season we figured we’d regress further into our childhood years and come up with a Christmas list, each participant naming one or two things we’d like for ourselves and/or the game of college basketball. As you can see, the answers ranged from the practical to the impossible, the civil to the…well, hostile. Above all, we hope that you, our faithful readers, will have a happy, healthy, hoop-filled holiday season. Enjoy the list, and thanks for being here.
rtmsf, RTC founder/editor/contributor:
All I want for Christmas this year is for a titanium-based super extra force field with double-secret password protection to be built on, around, above and under the current NCAA Tournament format. Seriously, I want this thing to be more hermetically sealed than Tiger Woods’ brand-new Swiss bank accounts or Jerry Jones’ new face. Please, Santa, no matter what the rest of these guys ask for — the new rear spoiler for nvr1983, a clue with the ladies for Stevens, that ridiculous jumpsuit for Hayes, and whatever Penn nonsense Zeitlin wants this year — just throw away their lists. Please. The single most important thing you’ll find on anyone’s list this year is mine (ok, I say that every year, but I mean it this time). The possibility that some television money-men and NCAA decisionmakers long on greed but short on perspective and common sense support the idea of expanding the single most exciting and grand spectacle in all of sports to 96 teams should appall your jolly sensibilities. If you can make this happen, Santa, I promise to be good all year round; I’ll even send in that cash pledge this year I keep promising to do but never do, I swear. Thanks.
–Signed, 65 is Enough.
nvr1983, RTC editor/contributor:
- The NCAA finally gets a sense of reality and actually go after some big name programs instead of focusing on the relatively little guys. Sure, Memphis and Renardo Sidney were involved in some shady dealings, but was it any worse than what USC has done over the past decade?
- Have ESPN get ESPNU on every major cable provider or at least put those games on ESPN360.com
- Go back to 64 teams. Forget this talk about 96 teams. I don’t even want the 65th team. The play-in game has been a joke for years and everybody knows it. It cheapens the tournament by making the official start of the tournament a game that even die-hard fans don’t care about.
- Someone needs to fix this one-and-done rule. I love watching these guys—Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and John Wall—play, but I know that I will never get to see them mature in the college setting. Either make them stay 4 years or let them enter the draft right out of high school.
- Fire the guy running the clock at Hinkle. Somebody has to get some coal this Christmas…
John Stevens, RTC editor/contributor:
I can’t lie, there are some things I want for the other guys. Heck, this is the giving season, right? I’d like nvr to remember how to sleep, since he rarely gets to. I think it’d be nice if rtmsf’s, er, “rash” finally cleared up. And yeah, there are some things I’d like for myself. Michelle Beadle’s phone number. Fran Fraschilla’s tweeting abilities. But those are things I’d rather earn of my own efforts. As far as gifts that revolve around college hoops, there’s just no way I can limit it to one thing. Yes, I’m that selfish. But I think I want things that everyone wants, so I’m willing to share. I’d like Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery to be the implied #1 announcing crew for any weekend CBS game, even though I still love and respect Enberg, Lundquist, Elmore, Bilas, et al. I’d like fewer TV timeouts. I’d like the NCAA Tournament to be freaking left alone. But most of all, what I want is for the rest of the season to be free of major injuries. The Evan Turner fall was scary and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse than just a couple of fractured transverse processes. After Derrick Roland broke his leg last night I went outside and sat in my car for half an hour just to avoid the television. That’s gotta be it for the gruesome injuries. I don’t want to watch Kansas or Kentucky or Duke or Texas or anyone come tournament time and think, “That’s not the same team, compared to when they had (x).” It’s been too fun of a season so far to have some team’s chances ruined by a misstep or a freak accident.
Zach Hayes, RTC Bracketologist-in-Residence:
This one might cause some controversy, but I’d ask Santa for some duct tape for Dick Vitale. Watching the Texas-UNC game on Saturday sent me over the edge. His shameless self-promotion and constant hyperbole is incredibly irritating and the man fails to make one cogent basketball point from an analytical perspective the entire telecast. His quirks and habits get extremely tiresome by December. While others like Bill Raftery have their fun, they bring to the broadcast a true sense of the intricacies of basketball to further my understanding of the sport. Jay Bilas is constantly providing enlightening analysis and former coaches like Bob Knight and Steve Lavin are tremendous. Yet ESPN keeps giving us Dick Vitale in the biggest games so he can yell things like “I’ll tell you, Ed Davis has talent!” and “go onto dickvitale.com for my freshman of the year, coach of the year, fans of the year…” It’s enough. Santa, send me some duct tape so I never have to hear that old man screaming again.
Dave Zeitlin, RTC Ivy League Correspondent and feature writer for Backdoor Cuts:
What I really want for the holidays is for Penn to beat Duke on New Year’s Eve. But since the odds of that happening are about as slim as Isiah Thomas doing one good thing in his life, I have another wish. I want big-conference coaches to stop whining about tournament expansion. I mean, really? Everyone knows college football is a joke because of the BCS, but let’s not turn college basketball into a joke on the other end of the spectrum by completely diluting the regular season. Yes, I like the idea of more mid-major teams getting berths, which would be a side benefit to tournament expansion. But here’s a better solution for that: limit the number of berths for big-conference teams. How about you have to have a .500 record in the conference and finish in the top half of your league to be eligible? I’m tired of the sense of entitlement some of these coaches have. You have a whole season AND a conference tournament to be one of the 65 teams to make the Big Dance — that should be enough. Most of these guys should take a lesson from Bill Carmody, who in nine seasons at Northwestern has never guided the Wildcats to the NCAA touranament. Still, he is against expansion, saying it would make every game a little less meaningful. Merry Christmas, Bill. I like you even though you coached at Princeton.