John Feinstein's basketball column is back, meaning it's that time of year again when Galley Slaves readers, regardless of their politics, begin exchanging their more vicious barbs over who will make a run in March. No surprise, both ESPN and AP have Duke at the top of their preseason polls. Indeed, four of seven Blue Devils are seniors, including J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams. (Speaking of the latter, I wonder if cheerleaders do in fact say to him, "Do it to me Sheldon, you're an animal Sheldon, ride me big Shel-den"?)
Also highly touted are Texas, Villanova (this will change since Curtis Sumpter is injured), UConn, and Michigan State. Let's also not forget Syracuse, which still has Gerry McNamara (who must be close to 30 by now).
Not that any of this really matters. As Feinstein points out, "It is worth remembering that a year ago at this time no one dreamed Washington would be a No. 1 seed or that West Virginia would come within seconds of the Final Four. People thought Illinois had a nice team, but no one was predicting 37-2 and a trip to the championship game for the Illini. It was laughable to think that Bucknell would be the team that would end Kansas's season or that Vermont would send Syracuse packing on the same remarkable night."
Not to mention millions of brackets that were torn to pieces.
But this year will be different. I can feel it.
1 hour ago
"People thought Illinois had a nice team, but no one was predicting 37-2 and a trip to the championship game for the Illini."
Huh? Illinois was ranked FIFTH in the AP and USAT preseason polls last year. In fact, Illinois got first place votes in both polls. So Feinstein is categorically incorrect.
(And, of course, UNC was also ranked in the top-5 last year. So, if we are basing it on last year's experience, it "really matters" who is ranked in the top-5 in the preseason polls - since they really are more likely to go to the championship game.)
Feinstein's WAY overrated.
The best thing about this post is the crude, yet brilliant, reference to Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. Shelden the Wonder-schlong, hilarious.
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