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March Madness Q&A, Part 2

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

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Notre Dame Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Hey youuu guyyyyysssssssss

This here is a continuation of yesterday’s March Madness Q&A, Part 1, so here are all the lesser questions people asked (kidding) and my answers to all of them (not kidding)! Remember, we start with the ND and sports-related ones, and then get to the bizarre ones later on. And believe me, there are some bizarre ones in Part 2.

Let’s explore.

Is Notre Dame a Football School or a Basketball School?

Collin, this is an excellent question, and I think my answer depends entirely on how you would define “basketball school” and “football school.” I see a few possible interpretations here:

  1. The sport in question is the most important to the school and its alumni, fans, donors, etc.
  2. The sport in question is the most successful of the two
  3. This school is literally a place that just teaches all of its students that sport and actually isn’t an accredited university at all

I think we can rule out #3, because I don’t think anyone would make the claim that the University of Notre Dame is not a real college and only exists to teach students to play a sport (if this were the case, it’s pretty clear ND isn’t a football school, considering the team’s performance! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

So, looking at the other two options, I would have two different answers to those questions. Let’s start with the second one, because this one is easy peasy lemon squeezy - if we are looking at it in the frame of #2, then Notre Dame is already a basketball school, without question.

Objectively, the Notre Dame men’s basketball program has been a force in the Big East and the ACC for roughly 17 years, constantly competing with the best teams in the country. The program’s winning percentage is .672 in Mike Brey’s 17 seasons, he’s won 20 games in 13 of them, and his team has made the NCAA Tournament in 12 of them. Oh, and in the postseason, Mike Brey’s Irish have made a Sweet Sixteen (2003) and have also made back-to-back Elite Eights in the past two seasons, not to mention winning the ACC Championship in 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina, by beating two schools of the bluest blood, Duke and North Carolina.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Notre Dame vs North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The football program, meanwhile, has seen 20+ years of mediocre-to-bad football (.612 winning percentage in the same time period), with one dream regular season (2012) thrown in with a few okay regular seasons (2015, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2000). And don’t get me started on postseason success, which has been unequivocally terrible. If any Notre Dame fan is pleased with the only postseason success stories coming in the form of the Hawaii Bowl, Sun Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, and Music City Bowl, then that just adds to the argument against Notre Dame being any sort of “football school.”

Blatantly clear facts aside, all I have to do is look at how each program makes me feel when I think about them and it becomes obvious what Notre Dame is all about nowadays. Basketball makes me all warm and fuzzy, and I end up looking up a bunch of YouTube videos of past games to relive the awesomeness. Football thoughts make me feel a sense of dread and disappointment as I recall how the program once again let me down and didn’t live up to its potential when it mattered.

Tulsa v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

But okay, let’s think about this through the lens of #1, because despite the huge gap in the two programs’ performances in the 21st century, the football program still reigns supreme.

I definitely won’t argue that football isn’t the most important sport at Notre Dame. It absolutely is, and the needs of that program will take precedence over a program like basketball, at least for the foreseeable future (i.e., until fans stop spending an unbelievable amount of money on tickets, parking passes, bookstore purchases, etc.). For that reason alone, I’d respond with a “no” if we’re answering Collin’s question from that angle.

But I will also make the argument that if Notre Dame wants to preach about its excellence and its uniqueness compared other schools, maybe it should reward the program that’s winning with next to nothing in terms of resources and support, while the program that’s just scraping by year after year gets everything it needs to compete (except the right leadership to use it).

Before I rant anymore, I’m going to wrap this up by saying:

  • If we are looking at this from the perspective of which program is the most successful, Notre Dame is definitely a basketball school, and I applaud Mike Brey for making it that way, considering I don’t think there’s ever been much of an argument to be made in that regard in the school’s history (because the football team was pretty solid during Digger’s tenure, I’d say)
NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Notre Dame v North Carolina Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
  • If we’re looking at this from the perspective of which program is still the king of the school and gets priority from the administration, Notre Dame is definitely still a football school. But it doesn’t have that title on merit, but rather for financial reasons that directly contradict what the University proclaims it stands for

I choose to think of Notre Dame as a basketball school with a football past, and until some serious changes are made, I think that’s the most valid description of Notre Dame you could give.

Welp, since that was a somewhat scorching hot take, let’s just move right along to this question.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL HOT TAKES

I could never pick just one, so here are my hottest takes for this season (at least a few of them aren’t all that hot, as probably a number of people would agree with them):

  • This season is just another in the list of seasons that make me want offensive charges to be banned. It makes the game unwatchable and teaches guys to fall over instead of actually, you know, playing defense. Charges are garbage
  • Gonzaga wouldn’t have finished in the top 4 of the ACC; related: Saint Mary’s would not be a tournament team if they played in a Power 5 conference
  • Monmouth should be given a tournament bid because their conference stole their conference tournament championship by making them play a road game as the 1 seed. Yeah, they could have just beaten Siena, but that’s a horseshit move overall and they earned the right to their conference’s automatic bid by being MUCH better than the rest of their conference throughout the duration of the season
  • BONZIE COLSON deserved ACC Player of the Year over Justin Jackson (who was probably deserving of the award - in a world where BONZIE doesn’t exist)
  • Grayson Allen is a little shit (this isn’t even a hot take, but I AM fired up about it because it’s true)

Let’s get to some more light-hearted stuff, I can’t rant about frustrating things all day.

Pat Needs a Wingman

This is incredibly tough, so I’m definitely still frustrated. But to tackle this, I’m going to list some potential ND athlete wingmen, and then pick one at the end:

  • Pat Connaughton - just seems like such a good, charismatic guy. He’d be a great wingman, without question
  • Jerian Grant - never afraid to shoot his shot and always sets up his teammates to score
  • White Steve - well of course I’m including White Steve
  • Chris Thomas - all-time ND assists leader
  • Tom Knight - I’d trust the White Knight with my life, so obviously I’d trust him with my night
  • Sheldon Day - charming and funny and fantastic dreadlocks
  • Jaylon Smith - I’d be afraid of him ending up getting the girls he tries to set up with me, but he’s such a nice guy that I think he makes it work for me in the end
  • Golden Tate - wild and fun and cocky, he’ll make sure I have a fun time
  • Kapron Lewis-Moore - magnetic personality and nice, talkative guy
  • Louis Nix - hilarious and huge, the women will flock to me when I’m with Nasty Dawg Nix
  • Zeke Motta - I once shared Goldfish with him, he owes me
  • KeiVarae Russell - will talk girls’ ears off until they agree to hang out with me
  • Joey Getherall - I loved him as a player, I really have no other reason for picking him
  • Vontez Duff - I loved him as a player, I really have no other reason for picking him
  • Rocket Ismail - I just feel like his storytelling abilities could be useful at the bar
  • George Gipp - he knows how to have a good time, although this does run the risk of my night ending with pneumonia

Looking at all those names, I’m going to choose either Pat Connaughton, Sheldon Day, Louis Nix, or Golden Tate. Those were the guys I could really see being effective wingmen.

USC v Notre Dame

Because Hux’s question asks for just one, I’m going to go with Pat Connaughton - he just seems like the best possible wingman to spend a night out with, he’s a fellow Pat, and will have your back no matter what. He’s an all-around great guy and is a great leader, meaning people (girls) will listen to what he says (“you should get to know Pat”).

Runner-up was Sheldon Day, because everyone loves Sheldon Day and his inclusion might mean his mom comes along, and she is hilarious.

Actually, I just convinced myself, the answer is Sheldon Day. Sorry, Pat.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Notre Dame vs Ohio State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Okay what else, you guys?

Conor’s Cool Courts Question

This is another difficult question, especially because it made me start looking up cool court designs, which made me want to include courts not just for center court logos but for overall design. So here are a bunch of courts I really like:

San Jose State

Drexel

UC Santa Barbara

Long Beach State

Florida International

Colorado State

California

UTEP

George Washington

Northern Kentucky

James Madison

UAB

Cal State Northridge

If we are defining “center court logo” as only a logo that is at least partially within the circle at center court, then John Jay College is up there with San Jose State, Long Beach State, and Drexel as my favorites. None of those are clearly better than John Jay, though, so I’ll give it the nod. That’s a good dog.

What else should we discuss?

Duke Player’s Hair

This is a great question. He’s nearly done with his sophomore season, and no one has brought this up.

Duke v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I imagine next season, as an NBA rookie, Mr. Kennard will be receiving the LeBron hairline jokes treatment on social media and the like. Be patient, my friend.

By the way, Joe, do you have any other questions about ACC players’ body parts?

BONZIE VS. T-REX

The T-Rex would absolutely be jealous of his arms, and would consider eating him out of jealousy, before reminding himself that it’s always a bad idea to come at BONZIE FUCKING COLSON because he will absolutely embarrass you.

Your phone clearly doesn’t understand what I just explained, so I imagine it will only stop the autocorrecting once BONZIE teaches it a lesson. That is, unless BONZIE has been replaced by my brother’s friend Tyler Butler...

BONZIE’s Replacement

Because I’m positive those statistics are exaggerated, I’m going to say the Irish win about 2 games total with you in place of the team’s leading scorer and rebounder and only consistently effective big man.

I know how tall you are, Butler, and I know it isn’t tall enough to help the team given your other limitations.

Speaking of small players...

The Stormin’ Mormon Who Refuses to Graduate

I did not see him play, I was unfortunately doing something dumb and boring (celebrating my friend’s birthday and drinking great beer and eating delicious barbecue).

However, I can tell you how long he’s been in college, and that answer is that he has always been in college. Stilman White founded the University of North Carolina in 1789. He played for its first basketball team in 1910. He was a bench player on Frank McGuire’s 1957 championship team. He was a reserve for legendary coach Dean Smith for 36 years, and then languished on the pine during the Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty seasons. Finally, Roy Williams came along and won him a couple more titles as a player (bringing his total to 5), and he now plans on graduating with a fake degree this spring after 228 years of earning his keep for the Tar Heels. Well done, Stilman!!!

NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal - Syracuse v North Carolina Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

What other legendary little guards can we discuss?

Thomas Kopko, Esquire

Your answer: Tom Kopko is currently in Chicago. After his ND basketball career ended with a bang, Kopko went to Cornell for law school, graduated last summer, and began working at Sidley Austin LLC, where he advises and represents clients in securities, derivatives, and futures-related corporate and regulatory matters.

Now what other former ND “greats” can we get reacquainted with?

Sherman and Salad

I’ll be honest, I have no thoughts on what Garrick Sherman is doing these days. Hopefully he’s still tweeting with reckless abandon, but otherwise, here’s what I found out:

Garrick Sherman is now playing basketball for Jászberényi KSE in Hungary, and a year ago played for Donar Groningen in the Netherlands, averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds per game. Enthralling stuff!

As for NDH salad guy, I can only hope that he’s somewhere surrounded by the freshest of ingredients and is having a great time making people salads, as he was born to do.

Can I Get a Hot Tub?!?

No, because the Gug already has a hot tub. So unless a bunch of high school defensive linemen are big brand ambassadors for Whirlpool appliances, I doubt the company’s groundbreaking foray into that space will make a difference.

Reesus Christ, Our Quarterback Coach Savior

Without a doubt, Thomas Kevin Rees, commonly referred to as Reesus, is currently spending 40 days and nights in the desert, combing the area for pass rushers and Louis Nix-esque defensive tackles.

He will be tempted while out there by the 3-star devil known as “The Project Defensive Lineman,” but ultimately he will return to ND with what he was looking for, and will be handed the keys to the kingdom as the new head coach.

When Hip Hop Meets Football Guys

I’m just going to pick a super entertaining cast of rappers to run the team:

Brian Kelly replaced by: Ice Cube - just seems like a guy who could take this program to the next level

Chip Long replaced by: Chance the Rapper - his music is beautiful, and that’s what I want the ND offense to be

Mike Elko replaced by: DMX - the defense will never come out flat and emotionless again

Brian Polian replaced by: Outkast - can you imagine those two tag-teaming special teams, and also being the star recruiters?

Autry Denson replaced by: Kendrick Lamar - I don’t really know why, it just felt right

Harry Hiestand replaced by: Fat Joe - we need someone who can relate to those behemoths in the trenches

Todd Lyght replaced by: Ja Rule - Irish defensive backs will Mesmerize opposing receivers with their coverage abilities

Clark Lea replaced by: Eminem - linebackers need a fellow chip-on-their-shoulder guy

Mike Elston replaced by: Coolio - I just had to get him in here somewhere

DelVaughn Alexander replaced by: Nelly - we need a great athlete here to ensure our receivers know what it takes to be Number 1

Next question.

Kissing, Ryans, and Answering Jadakiss

I decided to answer this one next mostly because of #3 being relevant to the last one, but first let me VERY QUICKLY address #s 1 and 2

  1. If I know that the two potential coaches are literally Tom Crean and Rick Pitino, then I will pick Crean every time. He’s just more respectable as a person, even if he is a much worse coach. If I don’t know it’s those two specifically, then probably the premature ejaculator. That’s not something my coach can control, whereas kissing his son on the lips is strange and definitely, absolutely within his control.
  2. Not a super huge fan of my choices here, but I’d marry Rob Ryan, and I’d kill Rex Ryan. So that leaves the MVP to sleep with, I guess. What do you think of that, Matt Ryan?
Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year Press Conference Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Now, as for #3...as much as I would love to answer every single question Jadakiss asks in that wonderful hit from 2004, I counted approximately 53 unique questions in the lyrics I looked up on Google Play. I’ll answer about 13 of those because I want people to maybe, possibly make it to the end of my article.

  1. Yo, why is Jadakiss as hard as it gets? I have absolutely no idea...we are not off to a great start
  2. Yea, and why they gonna give you life for a murder? Because you killed someone, Jadakiss. That’s a terrible crime. One of the worst, I would argue.
  3. Why are you even alive? Philosophers have been asking variations of this question for centuries. The meaning of life still has yet to be conclusively discovered, but hopefully you, Jadakiss, can help us reach that enlightened answer.
  4. Why them bullets have to hit that door? I’m assuming because someone shot bullets at the door.
  5. Why they gotta do me like that? Sometimes they gotta do what they gotta do, even if it means doing you like that, Jadakiss.
  6. Why did Bush knock down the towers? Reggie Bush?? Where are you getting this info?
  7. Why they gotta open your package and read your mail? Who is doing this to your mail, Jadakiss? That’s a felony. You should report that.
  8. Why they come up with the witness protection? I’m just spitballing here, but I assume it’s to protect witnesses.
  9. Why they let the Terminator win the election? California, man. Who knows?
  10. Why rap? Because that’s your job. That’s how you make money. I wouldn’t question that Jadakiss, because I have a feeling you don’t have a ton to fall back on.
  11. Why they ain't give us a cure for AIDS? I don’t think this is a case of someone withholding the cure, Jadakiss. They’re working on it...
  12. Why the whole world love my voice? Because it’s just beautiful, Jadakiss. Always remember that.
  13. And you know why they made the new twenties? I do not know. Do you know? Or are you asking me for the answer? I’m honestly not sure and don’t feel like Googling this one. I guess it will remain a mystery

I hope the next question really catches me off-guard, and potentially comes from the mom of one of my high school friends.

Windows Are The Eyes to the House

Perfect! I’ll be honest, I had to Google this to understand what was being asked, because I thought I was both. In doing so, I happened on this handy resource, and can confidently say that I am, indeed, right-eyed.

Now I hope a childhood friend poses a downright disturbing question that makes me question whether I should publish this article at all...

What the Damn Hell?

Oh dear God.

Johnny, my answer to your horrific question is probably the soul of my cousin in a supermodel’s body (because at least I’m not physically kissing my cousin), but either way I would absolutely prefer not to kiss the person(s) in question.

Can we get an easier question in here, please?

Sagehens, Catholicism, and #BusinessTrips

1. I’ll be honest, Russell, the Sagehens are in a great spot for next season. They went 10-6 in conference this season, and their three leading scorers are sophomores (Corbin Koch - 15.5 ppg, Daniel Rosenbaum - 14.7 ppg) or freshmen (Micah Elan - 12.6 ppg, James Kelbert - 7.7 ppg). I mean, hell, they only have one senior on the entire roster - Mitchell Finkel - and his leadership will be missed a lot more than his 5.3 points per game.

With that said, with Finkel being the tallest man on the roster at 6’6”, I think the Sagehens can take the next step by adding an elite rim protector to the squad, and potentially someone else with some bulk to help with rebounding. If you get that help in there, the SCIAC is theirs for the taking!

Works Cited:

http://www.sagehens.com/sports/mbkb/2016-17/teams/pomonapitzer?view=profile&r=0&pos=sh

http://www.sagehens.com/sports/mbkb/2016-17/roster

2. Fantastic question. My thought is that in basketball, just as in sports like soccer and baseball, the travel team a recruit plays on is much more important in recruiting than the high school team. I bet a lot of top recruits at Catholic schools don’t necessarily identify with the Catholic part of their school as much as they do with how good of a basketball team they have. Either way, the AAU circuit seems to be where the hardcore recruiting is done, so I have a feeling that is what the players care most about anyway, and thus the Catholic angle might not have as great of an effect as it used to years ago.

With that said, I also think ND does a pretty strong job recruiting Catholic schools, as they’ve done well recently at schools like Dematha in Maryland (Jerian Grant, DJ Harvey), Marian High School in Mishawaka (Demetrius Jackson), St. John’s Prep (Pat Connaughton), Mater Dei (Rex Pflueger), Seton Hall Prep (TJ Gibbs), Mount Saint Joseph (Eric Atkins), Cardinal Ritter (Cam Biedscheid), Moore Catholic (Kyle McAlarney), Andrean (Luke Harangody), and probably a bunch more if we were to look them up.

I agree, though, that any 5-star recruit at a Catholic high school never seems to even have interest in the best Catholic university in the world, and that is a little disappointing.

3. Tomorrow, I promise!

Tony Delvecchio’s Perfect Hair

Ahh yes, the greatest mystery of our time.

My theory - it has something to do with that lollipop he’s always got in his mouth. I haven’t yet figured out how that makes sense, but I have a hunch it’s involved.

I’ll keep you posted as I investigate further (i.e., find a way to download Backyard Baseball on my Macbook Air and then play it for a week straight).

Backyard Baseball League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Just to give everyone a quick background, the BBL is the Backyard Baseball League, which is the name my friends and I borrowed from the Humongous Entertainment computer game Backyard Baseball to name our pick-up baseball league.

As kids we used to play essentially every day during the summer in my family’s backyard, and then during college we played a couple times a week during the summer at a local little league field. It’s a wacky league that my brother now runs with his friends (who are all about to graduate college and thus will have to move away or get busy due to jobs), using tennis balls and going lob-pitch style in order to encourage lots of offense.

So, now that you know all that, here are my responses:

  1. The future of the league, with the inevitable mass exodus of talent, is definitely my youngest brother Timmy. He is currently a high school freshman, and so soon he and his friends will be learning to drive and able to get over to the fields to play. Timbo is gonna have to grab the torch and carry it to ensure the longevity of the league. In the meantime, current Commish Michael needs to keep the league running as best he can, recruiting new players and making sure games are still played fairly regularly.
  2. This feels like you’re fishing for a BBL HOF endorsement, but despite that, I’d say you, T-Butt, John Hummel, Steve Stempky, Jack Stephens, and probably a few others would be names put up for a vote. And yeah, my brother and Kryah are basically shoo-ins at this point. Everyone agree?

This is true, Alex Kryah is a known insulin user, as he refuses to stop having diabetes. Severely frustrating, but nothing we can do about it, T-Butt.

What else?

Work League Basketball Is A Serious Affair

A bit more background - “the Bricklayers” refers to the Twin Cities Bricklaying Association, the work league basketball team I captain that is playing in the Lower Division championship this evening against our hated rivals.

Our team focuses on playing basketball the right way - fouling, attempting elbow passes, half court shots, having the most fans in the league - so it’s no surprise that we are the 1-seed for our division. We lost to this team a couple weeks ago, though, and thus have to beat them twice in a 4-day span to win the title (it’s double elimination).

I predict we will come out and smack the WP Tropics in the mouth tomorrow night, and will withstand a run from them and ultimately win 47-39 to send the season series to a decisive Game 5 on Sunday afternoon for the Lower Division title.

#PaulSucks (our team motto)

Okay, I think I have time for one final question.

Long Time, No See, Brian

Next time I’m in town, man! I’ll shoot you a text. Also let me know if you’re ever in the Chicago/Michiana area. It’s been way too long.

Now We Are Finally Done

That’s it! Thank you for reading this far (all 4 of you), and I appreciate all the questions you guys sent me and all the reading you do of my articles!

Now let’s go enjoy March Madness. Go Irish!