And So We Begin Again…
Everyone take a moment and step out of football for just a couple minutes. Bring your noses out of the stat sheets and BCS rankings and settle for a moment on college basketball. Believe me, your brain will thank you for it. There’s only so many times you can read that BCS computer formula before you go cross-eyed.
Friday was the official first day of the 2008-09 college basketball season. According to the NCAA, it’s the first time that the team can actually get together and practice…for real. Most schools now have a midnight madness event on that first Friday. It’s called Midnight Madness because the NCAA used to say you couldn’t practice until midnight of that specified Friday night, but eventually they changed the time to something a little more realistic. The name, however, stuck.
Due to the scheduling of the fall break at North Carolina, the Tar Heels did not have their midnight madness (Late Night with Roy Williams) this past Friday night because Roy wanted to make sure the students could attend. Therefore, the event was postponed to this Friday evening (October 24th) and guess who’s going to be there. Yep…that’s right Tyler Hansbrough…kidding…I’ll be there…and so will Tyler. 🙂
North Carolina did hold its first official practice on Friday following Media Day (which is what the above picture is from), it just wasn’t in front of the public, and I hear it was about 20 minutes of conditioning and nearly two hours focusing on nothing but defense. Gosh I would have loved seeing that! I kind of go back and forth in my sports. In football, while I love a good defensive stop, I’m a sucker for an awesome offense that either airs it out or keeps it on the ground, but in basketball, there is nothing I love more than watching a team frustrate its opponent with what I call clingy defense. I’m a sucker for man to man. Hate zone. I go back and forth on the press I think because I’ve never seen it work consistently for a team. Probably because teams abandon it rather early. That’s not saying it hasn’t worked for some…just not in the games I’ve watched throughout my life.
In any case, I was really excited on Friday morning when I realized it was the official start of basketball season. It means I can start getting that bad taste from the previous season out of my mouth. I’m really looking forward to this season, which basically means I’ll be sorely disappointed…a lot. If I go into a season not expecting much, I tend to be surprised…in a good way. If I go into a season really excited because I think they can quasi run the table, I’m usually disappointed…and early on, too. But, my favorite part of a new season is that no matter what happened the previous season, you get to start all over.
This senior class is one of my favorite ever for North Carolina. I have watched these boys grow up since their freshman season in 2005-06, and I have never had more fun watching a group of basketball players play. Sure they’ve disappointed me several times, but I have never been madder at them than they’ve been mad at themselves. It’s going to be bittersweet watching them play this season because it is their final year, and I don’t think we’ll ever see a senior class like this, again no matter what age limit David Stern approves for the NBA next.
Just as an interesting aside, this is what Bobby, Danny, Marcus, Michael, and Tyler looked like freshman year. Most of them haven’t changed: