Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Most Unusual Week in Wrenball

Much virtual ink has been spilled about the unfairness of William and Mary's postseason hoops fate, some of it right here in our comments section. Some of it by your humble author. It was bad enough that North Carolina, possessors of a 16-16 regular season record and lower RPI rating than the noble Wrens, would be tabbed to host the teams' NIT opener. Then, insult was added to injury when UNC chose to bypass the palatial Dean Dome in favor of Carmichael Arena, thumbing their blue-blooded noses at the interlopers from Williamsburg, defenders of the underdog faith and representatives of all that's good and holy in college athletics.

We're nothing if not up for some righteously impotent indignation. But a funny thing happened on the way to the soapbox. The tag team combo of perspective and reality are a persuasive pair. Wheelhouse Jerry would be proud of me.

The perspective theme has been explored here at some length as it relates to W&M's season in the sun. That doesn't change this simple truth: if we were told in November that the Tribe would be playing the defending champion Tar Heels in the first round of a postseason tournament in March, every single W&M fan would've been ecstatic. We wouldn't have believed it, but we would have been ecstatic. It was telling that my first, second, and third reactions after seeing the W&M/UNC matchup were all some form of glee - that the Tribe got shafted honestly didn't occur to me until I started looking around the interwebs to gauge public reaction.

And as for reality, well, we can rant, rave, and gnash our teeth until they're ground to dust, but that won't change the fact that the big programs and their money rule the NCAA. Thus has it always been, thus shall it always be. It's why we'll see a 96-team tournament sooner rather than later. It's why we don't have a football playoff. And it's why William & Mary will play its second-ever postseason tournament game in Chapel Hill.

Acceptance isn't nearly as fun as unhinged lunacy, but it has a way of focusing one's attention on the matter at hand. Even without the injured Ed Davis, Carolina has talent, tradition, and the home court on its side. But this game means immensely more to William & Mary than it does to a UNC team that's gone through the motions for weeks and will be playing in a gym usually reserved for the women's team. Roy Williams will be certain to remind his charges that W&M's already knocked off a pair of ACC teams this season, so the Wrens won't be sneaking up on the Heels. And Tony Shaver will tell his team that UNC has a tendency to be lazy on defense, soft on the boards, and erratic from the outside.

All things being equal, the Tribe is still climbing a steep slope. But if those things remain equal, I'll take the little guy's heart and attitude over a team playing out the string in a game about which they couldn't care less.

Give 'em hell, Tribe.

91 comments:

rob said...

have i ever mentioned that i really, really dislike carolina?

Geoff said...

Roy Williams doesn't give a shit about North Carolina.

Shlara said...

Maybe they are trying to make Shaver feel comfortable. Didn't he play in Carmichael?

TR said...

Maybe the apathetic vibe from playing in the small gym will help demoralize the Heels and work in the Tribe's favor.

I hope some folks trek down from the 'Burg. Chapel Hill is a blast. I went on a rugby trip when I was 18. I had the worst fake ID of all time and still got into a bunch of bars.

mayhugh said...

W&M fans don't strike me as a fanbase that traditionally has travelled well, but they haven't had much for which to travel either.

It would be nice if Schneider found his shot. In the last few games I watched he was terribly erratic, and if he doesn't have it going early, he usually can't flip the switch later.

Marls said...

I, for one, am sticking with unhinged lunacy.

Marls said...

http://www.bmfwallets.com/

zoltan said...

http://tinyurl.com/ydkv52o

Mark said...

Chapel Hill is a great place to party. The school I went to in North Carolina was a few hours away but my roomate/teammate was from about a half hour outside of Chapel Hill and had a ton of friends that went to school there. We partied there on a few different weekends and it was always a great time.

In other UNC related news, both Greg and I played in Carmichael Auditorium during our week at the Carolina Basketball School.

Marls said...

Along the same lines as the Z-man's link, some friends of mine from the Bronx DA's office report that NYC cops refer to the rectum as the "meat wallet". As in, "Somebody get some gloves, because I think the perp has drugs in his meat wallet."

TR said...

I love a good rectum anecdote. Thanks, Marls.

Dan said...

laughing at the meat wallet.

moved here from pinehurst, north cackalacky...many unc alum friends and many trips to chapel hill..good times....good times.

went to duke ball camp...played a few pick-up games against coach k -actually guarded the polish fuck...i put a few j's in his face, and he likewise. he was a quick little bastard.

one of you guys i believe is from upstate ny...used to go to utica college bball came every year...it was tight! all the old s.u. boys used to make appearances - the father son schayes team - louis orr, and the like - you like those references don't you? dave cowens - billy cunningham...good, good shit let me tell you.

laughing more at meat wallet.

Mark said...

I believe you're speaking of The Teej, Dan.

zoltan said...

Or the Grappler.

Dan said...

i believe you're right. very well then.
and yes, i realize billy cunningham and cowans weren't su...
good luck to the tribespeople this evening.

Michael said...

The Crappler story is one of my all-time favorite Teej stories.

TJ said...

I love me a good Louis Orr name drop...but not as much as I love the Crappler.

Greg said...

Ketchup only.

Dan said...

i like funny stories.

rob said...

buck marston's got the tribe +9 tonight. anyone else got action on the game?

Marls said...

Plucky Northeastern squad hanging tough in Storrs. Would be so happy if UCONN got dumped tonight.

Marls said...

Uconn won't be called for a foul anymore. The fix is in.

rob said...

not really sure what chase allen was doing there.

Marls said...

Michael, bet on UNC. Done deal.

rob said...

the part of me that's afraid of carolina's superior talent is winning out over the part of me that thinks the tribe has the emotional advantage.

rob said...

quinn mcdowell out for the tribe tonight. dagger.

rob said...

this play-in game's gonna go late. meh.

rob said...

7-0 carolina. that's bad, right?

rob said...

character! or something.

rob said...

3 dunks for the tribe in the first 10 minutes, but no transition defense.

Geoff said...

Its just a matter of can they hang around long enough to get UNC's guys to lose interest.

rob said...

completely agree with that

Whitney said...

Not much Tiger talk 'round these parts. Not that there needs to be, but I thought Dan would weigh in with another inside take on Tiger

rob said...

steady. steady.

Whitney said...

We need to only shoot 3's from here on out. And that press has our guys peeing down their legs.

Whitney said...

I love K.I.T.T. Can't stand Marcus "Tool" Kitts.

rob said...

speed, size, skill not on our side. bet we study harder, though.

Whitney said...

I got three letters for you, Carolina. S-A-T.

Rob, if it makes you feel any better, UNC playing William & Mary in the NIT while Duke awaits the winner of the play-in game has the UNC folks I know absolutely despondent. Not good times.

rob said...

that makes me happy, whit. thanks.

Jerry said...

At least we haven't been involved with any groin punches.

rob said...

herb pope working the speed bag against texas tech tonight. ejected for a pair of egregious nut punches. electing himself shortly thereafter.

rob said...

well played, jerome

Shlara said...

Just getting home and tuning into the game. Do you think the UNC students made their pledges go to the game to fill the arena?

And, I knew Tiger would be back for the Masters. He couldn't pass up the chance for redemption on the best weekend of the year

Whitney said...

Did I just see Don Beck in the Tribe crowd?

rob said...

was he wearing something gaudy and yelling at hippies?

Shlara said...

You did see Don.
And what's up with the "sneaky threes" comment?
Our players live behind the line...

zoltan said...

The password is "sneaky."

Shlara said...

I could def get used to seeing the Tribe games on ESPN in HD

Whitney said...

Not getting the rolls, they are. That's the difference.

rob said...

this is a fun fucking game

rob said...

love to see schneider's shot falling

rob said...

listen to the tribe fans chanting 'defense'

Shlara said...

Now its REALLY fun!

rob said...

monty mason sighting.

Shlara said...

Oh I love it...we're Hickory High now

rob said...

best w&m nit game ever

zoltan said...

How big is W&M Hall?

rob said...

8600 to 11300, depending on the configuration.

Shlara said...

Oh. My. God.

zoltan said...

I thought it was bigger. Maybe the announcers are right, the small venue helps the Wrens psychologically.

zoltan said...

Do you see the bummed-out 50-year-old ladies in powder blue behind the Wrens' goal? They make me laugh my bitter schadenfreude laugh.

Mark said...

I saw a pretty hot W&M girl in the stands. Banner night for the Tribe.

rob said...

kitts done. that'll hurt on the boards. but it makes whitney laugh his schadenfreude laugh.

zoltan said...

I think that was Don Beck.

Whitney said...

Yeah, I'm gonna end up regretting that. Hess, step up, hoss.

Whitney said...

Hess, steps, hoss. Fuck.

Shlara said...

The tweets about this game are awesome

rob said...

wow, did that not look like a block

Whitney said...

Horrible call. Thanks, refs. Might as well kiss us...

rob said...

soft pass. dagger.

rob said...

tribe hasn't scored since the 4-minute timeout. fuckfuckfuck.

Whitney said...

A small highlight film of Hess's launch into academia or the custodial arts.

Shlara said...

This has still been the best season ever for the Tribe

Whitney said...

How do we look for next season? Pretty depleted, eh?

Shlara said...

I still want to cry for our kids though.

rob said...

tribe covered for marston. so there's that.

one helluva season for w&m. helluva season.

Marls said...

Thanks NIT committtee. This game was played in the home arena of a team that did not deserve a home game. Good job fucking a school that actually does it right. Congrats to the UNC alums and the players who they would be embarassed to go to the same schhol with if they could not play basketball. You should be very proud. All you did was weaken a country today Caffee. Fuckers.

In all seriousness, great year for Tribe athletics. We played at a level that most of us could only dream of. I only wish that the effort of some real student athletes had not been over looked by the money centric powers that be.

Marls said...

Journey. 3:40 am. NYC cab. Casey advises me that the Teej woul love this.

Dan said...

nice game...
i too took tribe - i got 'em at +8 1/2 but admittedly a child-sized wager.
couldn't have done it w/o you.

Marls said...

Dan, you're welcome. I will take all the credit just because I can't believe I am at work already. Not going to be a fun day.

Dan said...

wow. and ouch. are you foregoing st. paddy's day tomfoolery or do you plan on rebouding and getting back out there?

Dan said...

rebouding, as in, rebounding

Marls said...

I will get back out there later, but my 9 am conference call takes preference. I just hope I don't barf.

Dan said...

get'r done hardcharger! the barf that is. prior to concall.

rob said...

mason blew a 27-point second-half lead last night. gack.

Dan said...

espn seems to have every nit score up but that one rob - did mason lose? i took them too at -1 1/2...
talk to me goose.

Dan said...

never mind...

rob said...

mason was in one of the other tourney - cit, cbi, whichever. went from up 63-36 to losing in overtime by 5. blew a 9-point lead in the final minute-plus.

Marls said...

Methinks I need to hang out with Dan more. His appreciation of a boot and rally work strategy as well as his penchant for gambling on second tier athletic events is fantastic. You, Lee Harvey, are a wild man.

Dan said...

just saw the box score...pretty impressive loss. i think 5 of us could have held out for a W there.

Dan said...

thx marls - not only 2nd tier, but i was unaware that it wasn't (is that a double negative rob) the nit.
unfortunately i have to go light today on the partay'in...leaving for sin city tomorrow so must pay penance this evening.
shit...as i say that, bagpipes being played outside where there are 2 irish bars within sand wedge distance (60 degree)