RTC is at the Final Four in Houston, our sixth as a fan but our first as a member of the working media. What that means, exactly, we’re still trying to figure out, but we think it has something to do with wearing a rectangular piece of plastic with our mug on it and nodding approvingly at the people in the NCAA blazers walking around the innards of Reliant Stadium. Or maybe it means dropping dime on one of the coaches at the dais for one thing or another — we’re not sure. Anyway, over the next four days of collegiate basketball activity here in H-town, we’ll be providing a daily diary in much the same way we’ve done with our correspondents throughout this year’s Tournament — equal parts observation and analysis, with a hint of the absurd.
Friday, April 1 – Houston, Texas
- Houston sucks. I’ve never been to a place that angers me more than this city. Ok, maybe Vegas after a specific trip to the Luxor Hotel & Spa a few years back, but nowhere else I’ve been in this country enjoys such a harmonious mixture of horrendous traffic, non-walkability, preponderance of bad chain restaurants, paucity of natural beauty, unbearable heat, and a culture-less culture than this place. I’ve been to most major US cities before, and there’s a reason I’d yet to make it to this one — now I know why (as I prep for my credential to be rendered invalid around 4 pm CDT tomorrow). Credential or not, you’ve got three more days, Houston — my poison pen is raring. Other than that, it’s great.
- On to Final Four Friday, as it’s called in the local parlance. Not to go all Negative Nancy on you all in this diary, but the four practices this afternoon couldn’t have been more sleep-inducing. I was lucky enough to bring the RTC Babe along for the ride this weekend, and she put it rather succinctly when asked about her impressions of the four-hour snorefest — “It was boring, but I did get to see Jimmer,” her voice lilting at the end. That she did, and as she’s somehow managed to convince herself in the last three weeks that BYU’s Jimmer Fredette possesses a hotness that most mere mortals cannot reach, we say bravo. After all, The Jimmer is in fact the guy we all want to be anyway, and it could be worse — she could have mentioned somebody like, ugh, Chandler Parsons.
- Back to the practices, though, and although it was cool to be in the building and to look around, enjoy the decorations and speak with some colleagues, the practices were by and large worthless. A few light drills, a lot of jump shooting, coaches and players taking it all in — these were the activities of the day. No Big Country tearing the backboard down or Kevin Love hitting 100-footers or a horrific injury to a notable player today — just a lot of quiet. Even the Kentucky fans were largely muted, a completely unexpected occurrence given that it’s been 13 long years since the BBN last saw a F4 Friday practice.