3/15/2006

 

I Want You All To Be Very Very Wealthy

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Bradley University is going to beat Kansas University in the first round of the NCAA Tourney on Friday night.

Go put some money down, because it's going to happen.

And I want you to become rich. Actually, richer than rich. Richer than that silver spoon sucking Rick Schroeder. So rich that you will have no option but to hire me to be your personal assistant. And by "personal assistant", I mean you pay me to get drunk and text message you jokes about how fat Sidney Ponson is and why I think James K. Polk is underrated while I sit and sun on your manor in Costa Rica.

"What?" You say, "Kansas won the Big-12. Bradley was 5th in the Missouri Valley. That doesn't make a lick of sense."

No, to the untrained eye it does not. But here's the reason: Bill Self and I do not get along. And whenever the two of us come to blows, it seems as if I come out victorious (and, by saying "I", I am assuming the role of Illini fans worldwide.) Since Self bolted Champaign for Kansas, Illini-nation has morphed into a Parker Lewis-type non-losing streak, while the Jayhawks continue to under-achieve come tourney time.

When the seedings came out on Sunday, and I saw that Kansas would be playing Bradley, I immediately did a Tiger Woods fist-pump and ran outside to make about 15 phone calls. Needless to say, I was ecstatic (and, a little gay. Fist pumps and phone calls? Yikes.) I've always been a Bradley Brave supporter. My grandpa went there. As did my dad. My aunt works there. My cousin is in grad school there. I'm contemplating taking some classes there this summer. Obviously, I have a few allegiances to the institution.

But, I hadn't been too into Bradley basketball in the last eight years or so. Until this year. Moving back to Peoria will do that to me. It's funny...when one reads the Peoria Journal Star , and especially the Sports section, it seems as if Peoria, Il is the center of the universe. It's easy to forget that Bradley University isn't a national powerhouse and that nobody on earth cares about who's winning the local bowling tourney.

Being back in P-Town, catching some games on the radio (their announcer, former BU Coach Joe Stowell, is not only awesome in a Mike Shannon way, he is also former roommate Injury McProne's uncle... Yeah, it's a small town), reading the local columnists reports the next day, catching the reports on the local news... I got caught up in it. I got caught up in Bradley Basketball.

While I was doing research for the Bradley preview I wrote for Deadspin ( here's the SIU one, too -- for all you Salukis), I stumbled across this old article from the Journal Star and it had me seriously cracking up with memories from the Braves teams of the '90's (especially remembering Deon Jackson's game winning, buzzer beating, 40-foot fall-away shot which beat Southwest Missouri State in the '96 Missouri Valley Semi-Final game and remains the greatest buzzer-beater I have ever seen.) And I am seriously excited for their game on Friday.

Now, we come back to Kansas. And my burning hatred of Bill Self and his toupee. And his constant choking come mid-March. Last year it was Bucknell. I remember it well -- It was the day after St. Patty's day, and I was on my way from St. Louis to Peoria. After having to leave one of my classes at 11:30 in the morning due to violent vomiting (15 Guinness's the night before will do that to me) I decided it was time to leave class and begin that drive north up I-55. I made it about an hour before I had to pull into a rest stop and have a puke and a three hour nap (man, I love rest stops, huh?) By the time I made it home, it was halftime of the Kansas-Bucknell match. By the end of the game, my hangover was a thing of the past and I was screaming my head off, not necessarily rooting for Bucknell, but rooting against Kansas. When the game ended, I shared a congratulatory phone call with fellow KU-Hater Roommate Matt (who had actually called in order to settle a bar bet about whether or not Kevin Mitchell was on the 1986 Mets. He was) and called it a night. I knew then, as long as I'm watching, Bill Self will not succeed.

Then, the Bradley draw on Sunday. It all came perfectly together. No way do the Braves lose. Not to a team that lost to Mizzou. Not on my watch.

Place your bets, people. If Kansas actually wins, I will eat my hat.

Comments:
I love Bradley as well as the next Peorian and will be rooting hard for them, but dude, I really think they'll get their ass handed to them...twice.
 
I wouldn't be me if I didn't make recockulous predictions (site me calling Matt Morris throwing a no-hitter on his last ever start at Busch II) but I seriously think Pat O'Bryant is going to go for 25-15 in a BU upset. Book it.
 
I actually picked Bucknell to beat KU last year in the tourney. I hate KU just as much as the next guy. Probably for the reason of growing up in Mizzou Country. But I'm not a big mizzou fan, but that doesn't mean I can't hate KU, because I do.
I always thought they were overrated and the NCAA tourney proved me right year after year.
But this is the first year that KU has not been overrated and I fear they may do well in the tourney.
 
I'm pulling for Bradley, if for no other reason that then the MVC will be 2-2 and will have won the game they were seeded to win and upset one team. I'm sure that Packer will still be down on the MVC, but fuck him
 
The word is "manor".
 
Dually noted. Unfortunately, I am not a baron, and I rarely have to spell "manor." Thank you.
 
I had the Braves over KU.
 
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