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March Madness Q&A, Part 1

Pat Rick fields all the questions you sent him on social media - even the unsettling and disturbing ones...Part 1 of 2

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about time for March Madness again, so to kill some time before Notre Dame basketball plays its quarterfinal game on Thursday night, I asked y’all for questions on Facebook and Twitter, promising to do my best to answer all of them, no matter the topic.

Of course, I have plenty of friends who took “no matter the topic” as a personal challenge, so for your benefit, I’ll start with the actual ND/sports related questions and get down to the questions farther down the page. I’ve also broken what was once a 6,000-word article into two parts, to make it a little easier for y’all to to read.

So without further ado, let’s get going with Part 1! I’m excited for all of your fantastic questions, especially those relating to ND basketball!

Oh God damnit.


Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

How Does Steve Vasturia Measure Up?

It’s no secret at this point how much I love White Steve. I’ve made that quite clear.

Furthermore, this is a question I’ve actually thought about somewhat, and thus I can give you a definitive answer. Here are my top 10 favorite Notre Dame basketball players of all-time, and please keep in mind that I was born in 1991 and thus my memories of Notre Dame basketball essentially start with Troy Murphy’s teams:

White Steve will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I’m already sad just thinking about next season without him. I’m going to cherish forever the many, many great moments he’s given us, including this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this, among others.

But I can’t honestly place him higher than 5th on the list, because the 4 ranked above him had more spectacular careers and I enjoyed watching them play even more than I enjoyed the exploits of White Steve (which is saying a lot).

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Quick note: it’s no coincidence my top 5 were all key contributors on the 2014-2015 Elite Eight squad. Those guys, along with Zach Auguste (#12 in my favorite player rankings), formed my favorite Notre Dame sports team in my lifetime, bar none. It makes me sick that they had to play Kentucky in the regional final, because I truly believe they would have made the Final Four, and probably the title game, coming out of any other region. They were THAT good and they were THAT strong in terms of senior leadership. Oh, what could have been...

Anyway, while we’re on the topic of White Steve...

I’ll let Torii Hunter Jr. answer that excellent question. Let’s keep moving.

Who Can Shut Down BONZIE COLSON?

My first instinct was to choose Virginia and its pack line defense that Tony Bennett’s been using to own Mike Brey since Bennett was at Washington State, but BONZIE hasn’t really struggled against Virginia, at least scoring-wise (20 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the teams’ January meeting).

I will say their defense and rebounding make it difficult for BONZIE to get good position and own the glass like he’s used to doing, as he collected only 3 boards in the Cavaliers’ 17-point win. Also, if we are talking about a tough matchup for ND’s style of play as a whole, no matchup is tougher than Virginia, as the past 4 years of ACC play have shown.

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Other teams that might be built to “Beat the Bonz” would probably be teams with either a lot of shot-blocking and height and length (e.g. Miami, who held COLSON to 8 points in January) or a team with a big man who can really challenge BONZIE by taking him off the dribble or making him defend on the perimeter, like Lauri Markkanen of Arizona.

Other than those guesses, I’m not sure there’s really anyone that can “Beat the Bonz.” The dude has shown the ability to dominate similar and smaller-sized guys on the block, as well as score around/over/from the perimeter against bigger guys. Really, the way to “Beat the Bonz” is simply to contain him a bit, not let him get offensive rebounding position, and shut down VJ Beachem, Matt Farrell, and Steve Vasturia so he has to carry the entire load. BONZIE COLSON is simply too good and too smart of a player to really be stopped completely.

Digger Phelps Deserves More Love

My good friend Hux brings up an excellent point. The football program has statues outside Notre Dame Stadium for every coach who’s won a national championship.

And yes, Phelps’ best season took the Irish to the Final Four, not to a national title victory, but he is undoubtedly the best basketball coach Notre Dame has ever had.

He brought ND from being a decent program to being a national contender, and had a career record of 393-195, 14 seasons of at least 20 wins, and the all-time record for most wins over #1-ranked teams with 7 (tied with Gary Williams at that total).

So, if ND is going to splurge on a weird leprechaun statue, maybe they should consider permanently honoring the man who put Notre Dame basketball on the map.

Now, let’s quickly discuss another former ND basketball coach.

My Thoughts on Matt Doherty

I don’t know how to answer this question - partially because I barely remember Matt Doherty (I was only 8 or 9 when he was the coach of ND) and partially because of how Jeff spelled Doherty as “Dougherty” in his tweet, making me incapable of thinking about anything except this:

Beautifully-done photoshop in “Keynote” on my Macbook Air

I apologize for haunting your dreams.

Let’s Objectify the Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Team!

  • Matt Gregory: that chair in my bedroom (I don’t use it often, but I really like having it around)
  • Patrick Mazza: Halley’s Comet (witness its greatness once in my lifetime)
  • Nikola Djogo: frozen broccoli (it will be good for me, but I’m preserving it for the future)
  • John Mooney: my very dated vacuum cleaner (I wish I used it more often, but to be fair, it hasn’t been super effective in limited use)
  • Elijah Burns: a shirt I like, lost under my bed for months (at first I wondered where it was, but now I just go with whatever shirts I’ve been wearing and hope I find it and can see it back in action someday)
  • Austin Torres: a push broom (moves things around consistently, but doesn’t always effectively get the job done)
  • Matt Ryan: a melon baller (has a very special purpose, doesn’t seem to actively add much very often, though)
  • Martinas Geben: hammer (using it provides much-needed strength and force, but it might not be the tool I always need)
  • TJ Gibbs: a microwave (lots of energy and quick results, but those results aren’t always ideal)
  • Rex Pflueger: a lit fireplace (consistently exuding energy, great at defending against intruders coming at it)
  • Matt Farrell: a television (most of the time it shows me some awesome stuff, but occasionally it’s just off)
  • VJ Beachem: a string bean (long and skinny and pretty damn good, but not a good object to use in defense of anything)
  • BONZIE COLSON: the grill on my deck (a little short and bulky, but it consistently does its job and is literally on fire whenever I need it to be)
  • White Steve: my 2001 Buick LeSabre, “Betty” (old-fashioned and fundamental, not sleek or bouncy but knows how to handle itself, can’t get too high off the ground, has been a constant in my life for 4 years and I know I can rely on it)

Flag Football: A Critical Thinking Exercise

So first, let me pick the team you’ll be playing against.

I considered Alizé Jones Mack and Arike Ogunbowale for the squad, but ultimately cut them from consideration and settled upon this squad:

Brandon Wimbush: 6’1” QB and the future of Notre Dame’s offense

Equanimeous St. Brown: 6’4” WR who had a mere 58 catches for 961 yards and 9 TD last season

CJ Sanders: 5’8”, wide receiver and kick returner, definitely the fastest person on the field

Julian Love: 5’10”, Freshman All-American cornerback

Brianna Turner: 6’3” center, fantastic shot blocker, and 1st Team All-ACC player

Lindsay Allen: 5’8” guard, speedy senior leader, and 1st Team All-ACC player

Jackie Young: 6’0” guard, Indiana high school basketball career scoring leader, and first team ACC All-Freshman Team

Honestly, you’re lucky this question wasn’t asked last season or two years ago, when DeShone Kizer, Will Fuller, and Jaylon Smith would have been available. I think my answer then would have been that no lead is safe, period.

But anyway, with this team out there, I first need to know what the play clock is. If it’s, say, 30 seconds in between plays, and assuming this ND team can score in one play every time by just throwing deep to St. Brown or Sanders using Wimbush’s cannon of an arm, then I think the lead you need heading into the 4th quarter needs to be about 49 points to win this game.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Below is my explanation:

Let’s say ND has the ball as the 4th quarter starts. They can score in about 15 seconds, and convert a 2-point conversion immediately after. You then kneel the ball 3 times and then “punt,” wasting about 2 minutes of clock. They score in 15 seconds again and get the 2-point conversion again. Then you kneel 3 times and “punt.” They score again. You kneel and punt. They score again, you kneel and punt. Now, with 45 seconds remaining, they score again, and then you take 3 straight sacks after running around a bit, as they will be using all 3 timeouts to stop the clock at this point, so you need to waste some time via on-field action.

You’re able to run off about 15 seconds total (being very generous) taking sacks, since Sanders and Love and co. will be on your QB in a heartbeat with their speed. You punt, and they now have the ball, and score again with 15 seconds to play, and of course get a 2-point conversion. Your team then kneels the ball on the next play and ends the game.

All-in-all, I see six touchdowns (and thus six 2-point conversions), resulting in 48 unanswered points. Thus, you will need that 49-point cushion heading into the 4th quarter if you want to beat this team of ND athletes I’ve assembled.

A Bunch of QBs Wrestling

Let’s break down the two teams:

6-foot-3 Team:

  • Rick Mirer: 6’3”, 210 pounds, age 46; co-owns a winery; at ND he accounted for the most points running and throwing (350) of any player in Notre Dame history
  • Brady Quinn: 6’3”, 235 pounds, age 32; set 36 Notre Dame records, including pass attempts, completions, passing yards per game, touchdown passes, and wins (tied with Powlus and Clements); married U.S. Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone

High School Hype Team

  • Ron Powlus: 6’1”, 245 pounds, age 42; one of the most hyped recruits of all-time; held 20 ND records before Quinn came along; after brief NFL career, worked for Pennsylvania State Senate, in the banking and pharmaceutical industries, and was QB coach for Charlie Weis at ND and Kansas
  • Jimmy Clausen: 6’2”, 210 pounds, age 29; one of the most hyped recruits of all-time; set ND bowl records with his Hawaii Bowl performance in 2008; put up a ridiculous line of 3,722 yards, 68.8% completion, 28 TDs, and 4 INT his final year at ND; a line in his Wikipedia says analysts said he had a “cocky demeanor and persnickety smirkness

Although Clausen’s “persnickety smirkness” might give him the confidence to do well in this fight, and Powlus has the most mass, I think this is an easy win for the 6-Foot-3 Team.

Mirer and Quinn have the size advantage overall and a chip on their collective shoulder because they weren’t nearly as hyped up as Clausen or Powlus as “the next big thing” but ended up having better total football careers. They’re hungry to prove once again that you have to earn that kind of success. I take Quinn and Mirer in a landslide, and then the two enjoy some of Rick’s wine afterward in celebration.

Predictions Based on Pets

This throws up a bunch of red flags for me, as it feels like a last-ditch effort by a parent who is about to lose custody and is trying to curry favor, or who wants to distract the kids because of something bad about to happen.

However, I’m going to say good sign, because there is indeed a possibility that the golden retriever turns out to be pretty much the best football player on the team, and I’m a sucker for that kind of hope.

Okay, Time to Take a Break & Look at Some Images of Tom Crean

I’m quite glad you asked. As it turns out, there are an unlimited number of amazing Tom Crean pictures/GIFs that exist on the internet today. Just in the USA Today and Getty photos we have access to here at One Foot Down, I found these gems:

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Ohio State
Tom Crean biting a referee on the elbow. A classic.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Indiana
Tom Crean struggles with constipation
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Indiana vs Michigan
Tom Crean does his famous dog impression
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana v Duke
Here’s another angle
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Michigan v Indiana
Tom Crean does that thing where you pretend you’re squishing someone’s head with your fingers
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Indiana v Kentucky
Tom Crean...casting a spell on an opposing player?
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Crossroads Classic
Tom Crean hears his “jam” on the loud speakers
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Iowa v Indiana
Tom Crean attempting to breathe fire
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Indiana v Michigan
Tom Crean runs from the cops
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball Tournament - VCU v Indiana
Here’s a picture of Tom Crean that’s mostly just some player’s pants
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

I think you get the idea.

But if not, here are some other pictures and a couple GIFs I can’t embed here. All of them are amazing and will make you chuckle.

Great job, Tom.

Let’s talk about Tommy Crean just a tiny bit more, eh?

I imagine it’s pretty similar to how much the other characters in Parks and Rec make fun of Garry/Jerry/Larry/Lenny/Terry/Barry Gergich/Gengurch/Gergrench.

And I imagine this is what happens when Tom tries to hang out with them:

Mike Brey, or Batman?

Ignoring Tyler’s and Greg’s responses because they’re both wrong, let me quickly explain why Michael asked this question. There’s a solid college basketball writer named Jon Rothstein who tweets the same tweets about specific teams over and over and over and over again. Here’s JUST A SAMPLE of what he routinely says about Mike Brey:

Okay, I think you get the idea.

So, back to Michael’s question: who would I rather bet on, Mike Brey or Christian Bale in a Batman movie?

I pick my man Mike Brey every time. Real heroes don’t wear capes. They wear mock turtlenecks for a good chunk of their career.

Brey calls a play Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

What is the Ceiling?

That isn’t a question, but I do feel the need to share this counterpoint:

Phil Collins is the Reason for the Season

Really, Mr. Toombs? Because otherwise this song wouldn’t exist. Next question.

Red Panda is a Superhero

My gut reaction is that Red Panda is above being labeled as either, but to answer the question, let’s review DC and Marvel characters, which I had to Google because this is not my area of expertise...

DC: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Suicide Squad, etc.

Marvel: Avengers (Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, etc.), Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil, Luke Cage, whoever Captain Marvel is, etc.

Marvel is clearly superior, especially considering the movies, which have been my only exposure to these things. Also, Red Panda is MARVELous, so the story checks out.

Red Panda = Marvel, folks. Just accept it.

Podcast Recommendation!!!

I had no idea this podcast existed, but I’m going to say yes.

You gotta believe in something, ya know? I think he’ll end up making an appearance in the end. Also I’m definitely gonna start listening to this podcast.

I am Now a Human TV Guide

I just used the voice function on my Xfinity remote to find out, and unfortunately it is not currently on television. However, I can rent/buy it for $3.99/$15.99, so that’s pretty neat.


I refuse to answer this question, because an ocean without sponges is an ocean without this:

But if you really wanted to know, I found this Yahoo Answers link and we all know that’s a rock-solid source for accurate info.

Basic Math

No. Two birds are worth more than one bird. Location is irrelevant.

It’s just simple math. C’mon Paul, you’re an accountant.


Ohhhhh boy. If you know me at all, this question is an absolute DOOZY. Picking just 3 people is not fair, because there are so many good choices and Timbering should always be done in massive throngs of people, not a tight-knit group of 4.

My first thought: I would use my wish to dance with all my friends :) AWWWWWWWW

Just after not nearly enough consideration, my three choices are probably:

  1. Genghis Khan
  2. Peyton Manning
  3. Katie Nolan

Here’s an artist’s rendition of what that would look like:

I’m starting to get sad that this will probably never actually happen

Honorable mention, in no special order: Shea Serrano, Billy Mays, Teddy Roosevelt, Aubrey Plaza, Lance Stephenson, Eva Mendes, Manute Bol, Bill Gates, Mila Kunis, Abraham Lincoln, David Ortiz, Jennifer Aniston, Tim Duncan, Greg Ostertag, Yao Ming, Rik Smits, Alison Brie, any of the original Power Rangers, Mother Teresa, Manny Ramirez, Coach Yoast of the T.C. Williams Titans, Rihanna, Guy Fieri, Michelle Rodriguez, Andrew Luck, Skylar Diggins, Mike Brey, Bill Walton, Joan of Arc, the dog from Air Bud, and probably a bunch more

Part 2 Coming Soon

Okay, that’s all for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I answer questions about Notre Dame being a basketball school, the best Notre Dame athlete wingmen, BONZIE vs. a T-Rex, Luke Kennard’s hairline, hot tubs, hip hop artists as football coaches, and much more.