It’s the End of the World As We Know It…

(And I Feel Fine…)

Tom Pecora once told me that the power conferences are making policy, and he was okay with that. This was more than three years ago, and it took until Monday morning to resonate fully with me, and hopefully now with you.

There’s no point railing on the selection committee, nor comparing “resumes” and the like. That is an exercise akin to pointing at the sun on a sweltering August day. Think Murray in Meatballs: It just doesn’t matter.

Fill out your brackets and enjoy the tournament, just like you always did. Cheer Siena and Northern Iowa and Western Kentucky, and of course VCU. There’s no need to alter your course.

The selection process was exposed on Sunday, we all know it. No makeup of men or statistical analysis can ever alter the topline. Nor the bottom line. You may feel better sniping off a letter to Mike Slive. It may be your most carefully-worded and professional missive possible. It’s utterly useless, and that’s fine, too. It bears repeating: Enjoy the tournament.

Prior to the selections, I said to everyone who would listen–and to some who would not–that this was the ultimate policy year for the committee. I was careful to use those two specific words together because you could see it coming from a mile away. There was enough bubble malleability and enough sameness to get a true understanding of the NCAA tournament worldview despite the mid-numbing rhetoric thrown around by the various “ologists.”

Resumes and bodies of work and RPI and SOS and top 50 wins aren’t the point. We all see now.

(Side note: loved Lunardi taking ESPN to task on Sunday afternoon: “frankly we’ve talked more about Memphis in this segment than the committee will all weekend.”)

The two things I see, as it relates to the CAA:

1. Punt Bracketbusters. It is useless and distracting for what we are trying to accomplish. In fact, get LeCrone on the horn to join us. What big loss is an 11am ESPN2 or 9pm ESPNU game, really? I’d trade that–and the return game–for two nonconference games, such as:

2. If you are a CAA coach entertaining an at large berth, you’d better acquiesce an ego point. Take your check and go play in Cameron Indoor or the Carrierdome. It’s nice to say you are big enough and good enough to the point of NOT having to buy games; in reality, you MUST accept a buy game for reasons and goals having nothing to with your status in the world.

I’ve made my peace with it, and you should, too. There are others who have the energy, desire, and platform to take this on. These folks, guys like Gregg Doyel, will have an ally here.

For the past four years, and the 15 or so basketball seasons prior to that, I’ve been pointing at the sun. No more. I’ve strung together far too many conversations that get me to the point of this diatribe.

We need to be celebrating what we have, not railing against that in which we don’t have. It’s what we do here and what we should do here. It’s what we did way-back-when.

Issues arise when there is an imbalance to your dosha; you intellectually mask the imbalance as “growth” or “necessary change.” Our dosha is discussing that which makes mid major basketball great and joyous.

In Anthony Grant speak, you play to your identity. In dad-to-daughter speak: be yourself. In Jeff Jarvis speak: do what you do best, and link to the rest.

So we’re taking a mulligan, a Bobby Ewing dream sequence, a flux capacitor-induced trek to when we were very good in this space, and we will strive to redo the future.

That means a return of CAA: LAMM and a return to celebrating mid major basketball, not using it as a platform. It isn’t about the man keeping us down. It’s about success in the face of reality. It’s underdogism (or underdogma) but without the crutch, because the crutch is anti-underdog.

That was the whole point, really, in the entire book. A light needed to be shined on the plight and struggle of mid major programs; to give them their rightful due so they could celebrate success, too. Nobody ever told that story in detail.

In many ways, the George Mason Final Four run loused up my book. At some point between Tony Skinn punching Loren Stokes and Roy Williams punching that chair we got off path. Oh, it was a wonderful path and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve made friends I hope to never lose and will have many fond memories of those three weeks.

But it’s high time I wrote that book, the one I really wanted to write in the first place.

And since the publishing industry is currently swirling in its own toilet bowl, we’ll do it right here, with song titles as our blog titles.


~ by mglitos on March 16, 2009.

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