I'll be on hiatus (mostly) for the next couple weeks, so before I check out an assortment of random thoughts from the 2008 installment of March/April Madness:
* I'm sure Billy Packer is a wonderful human being, but he needs to be taken off the air. Now. He's threatening to eclipse Vitale as the worst color-commentator in college basketball. He's so bad that I find myself rooting against whichever team he's not-so-secretly rooting for. Why does this man have a job?
* D. Rose is a pretty nifty player. He could even be a star at the next level. But I sure wouldn't want to use a top-three pick on him.
* Ditto Kevin Love, who's the most skilled big-man I've seen since Andrew Bogut. I don't know that there's even Luke Walton or Scott Pollard NBA prospects for him, but he really is a pure joy to watch at the college level because he clearly knows so much more about the game than everyone else on the floor.
Also, maybe the single most gasp-worthy play of the tournament was an inbounds pass Love made after a made Xavier basket in the round of eight. From behind the baseline, he threw the ball three-quarters of the way down the court to a streaking Bruin, putting it right in his hands on the way to a lay-up. But here's the crazy thing: It was a chest pass. Unbelievable.
* Last night, somewhere, Jana Novotna cried.
* Worst ad of the tourney: The Volkswagen ad with the beeping car alarm. Annoyed the crap out of me (Beep! . . . Beep! . . . Beep!) and made VW owners look like d-bags ("No, this works just fine."). Way to dent the brand.
* But the two ads which struck me most were the ATT Wireless spots with the cell-phone alter-egos talking to the camera. There were three of these ads, but two of them--the black guy playing Super-Shot in a bar and the biker shooting pool--really stuck out because of a single word.
In the biker ad, the guy's phone calls the biker a "dill-weed." The word sticks out like a sore thumb in the spot--it's so strange and out of the ordinary that it must have been very consciously chosen. Why "dill-weed" and not "jerk" or "loser" or some such?
In the Super-Shot ad, toward the end, the cell phone laments that his owner will be "shooting tiny hoops with the townies". Here, "townies" makes no sense whatsoever. The ad's main character is a generic twenty to thirty year-old in a bar with others his own age. "Townie" is a disparaging term used to describe the full-time residents mainly in college towns and vacation destinations. The ad gives us no context to think that this bar is in either of those settings. "Townie" sticks out even worse that "dill-weed" because it's a word we never hear in ads, but also because it makes absolutely no sense.
So what's going on? Who knows. One guess might be that the original ads were written a lot more radically, with words like "d-bag" or "jack-ass" or something totally, like, edgy, man. Maybe someone was initially thrilled with the idea of pushing the envelope, but then was overruled and forced to find more anodyne replacement words. Hence the jarring, imperfect fit.
Or maybe it's just poorly-written ad copy and it's as simple as that.
2 hours ago