I really don’t want to dive deep into a preview of this tournament. Or any post-season for that matter.
I could tell you that I really like Arizona’s talent or that Shabazz, Jahii, Askia, Crabbe/Cobbs, or Powell are terrifying in single elimination. We could touch on which Stanford team we think shows up in Vegas and whether or not my buddy Matt is right when he just says, “Dammitalltohell! Oregon State’s gonna win it!”
How healthy or unhealthy is Dre Roberson? Can Brock carry a big run? Will the Huskies play their way out? Is Oregon in a breakable slump? Why has “Judo Ken Bone” twice been Googled this week in arriving at PacHoops.com?
All things to ponder.
Right now I’m ecstatic that we’ll be treated to a rivalry game and a 5-12 matchup that features a twelfth seeded Oregon State Beavers squad that just beat the fifth seeded Buffaloes. And all the rest of it.
But come this time of year, I prefer the Billy Beane school of thinking. Have you seen or read Moneyball? The entire story centers upon the agonizing work Beane and his staff put in to creating the best possible baseball team they can on a limited budget. They are painstakingly trying to win. But when asked about the playoffs, what Beane’s approach to the most critical time of year is when legacies are cemented and legends born, Beane says, “My job is to get us to the playoffs. Everything after that is fucking luck.”
Well my job isn’t really to get anyone to the playoffs. It’s actually completely unrelated and if you’re ever interested email me and we can discuss it but I guarantee you it’s a complete tangent from college basketball or Moneyball or really anything remotely pertaining to a final score.
I spend the working months of the season trying to rationalize every piece of the year. I want to fathom just what effect Shabazz will have on his team or Arizona’s three bigs on their squad or whether Ahmad Starks really can spark the team defense Craig Robinson so glaringly lacks. I rationalize that some of these teams aren’t as good as expected and others are better. Basically I try my best to meld the summer’s recruiting gossip, the preseason’s practice hype, and then actual game play into some rational argument for whatever the hell is going on.
Similar to how Beane said it, all bets are off. This is tournament time and we’re in the midst of one game seasons. While “anything is possible” is an overplayed phrase this time of year…anything is possible.
It’s to this hope that we cling and there’s a reason for that hope, a rationalization of irrationality I suppose. No longer are we seeking the best over the course of 30-games. Because that’s when luck – as Beane puts it – can be diluted. Across 30-or-more-games, the cream is going to rise to the top. The aberrations and anomalies will be weeded out.
But now this is where we thrive, the fans. This may be Billy Beane’s nightmare but it’s a fan’s dream. It’s why we’re fans.
That finite peek at some semblance of hope that our team, on this night, on that court, might have a shot to make the shot and win a game they might otherwise have no business competing in.
At this point in the year we know every bar that can broadcast the Pac-12 Network. And the ones that don’t. We know the spot we can watch an FSN broadcast and we all have an opinion on Bill Walton. And we know our own team inside and out and that isn’t about to stop us from picking them to win this damn thing and Dance.
Somewhere across these great interwebs I will and have made some rational prognostications. But here, in this moment, know that my favorite part is the fucking luck.