Last year, the analogy I made to the disaster that is my bracket was to a crashing airliner. Last year was the first in all my years of this basketball-driven self-flagellation where I lost my champion in the first weekend. This year marks the worst bracket I’ve ever had while still keep all of my Final Four intact. Somehow, I managed to end up tied for ninth in a sixteen-team pool.
There’s two weird part is that despite the fact that I’ve already lost three of my Elite 8, I am in a perfect position to make up some serious ground next weekend. Not only do I have all of my Final Four, but in the Schadenfreude portion of this blog, it’s time to look not at how intact my bracket is, but how fucked the others are.
- Two brackets have already lost their champions - Syracuse, Wichita State, and Kansas took care of that.
- Two brackets have lost three of the Final Four – The aforementioned suspects figure in that crime, with the additions of Duke, North Carolina, Creighton and the guy who made the plaintive cry for help by picking UMass.
- Out of a 16-team pool, there are only two others with all of their Final four intact, and only one of those has the same champion.
Having said that, what realistically are my odds of winning? Roughly the same as that of my splitting a bottle of Dom Perignon with the Abominable Snowman on a non-missing Malaysian airliner. Why? Because I’m J-Dub.
Obviously, the top half of this region for me features more red ink than bag of Twizzlers. And much like cheap, mass-produced candy, it’s giving me a fair amount of gastrointestinal distress. To cure that, I will be a steady diet of Wisconsin beer and cheese for the next week.
You would think after all this time, I would have learned my lesson about the fucking Kansas Jayhawks. They should all get rectal cancer.
Between St. Joseph’s and Villanova, Philadelphia basketball has phucked me once again. If Michigan State doesn’t win this region, my chances of winning become very spartan.
Somehow, depending on Rick Pitino to save this region for me feels like trusting a dentist who sells miniature ivory figurines. Then again, Kentucky is not known for the stellar orthodontia of it’s Skoal-sucking residents, so what the fuck?We’ll let you know once the search party finds my hopes of winning on the bottom of the ocean.
Raise your hand if you remember Robert “Tractor” Traylor. For those of you whose hands are at their sides, let me refresh you. Traylor was a McDonald’s high-school All-American the same year as Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. At the University of Michigan, Traylor’s impressive size (6’8″, and north of 300 pounds) helped lead the Wolverines to the 1997 NIT title and was named the tournament’s MVP. Traylor cemented his status as a big-time big body in his junior year when he averaged 16.2 points and 10 rebounds while leading his team to the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship.
After his career at Michigan (which ended under some controversy and NCAA sanctions for the Wolverines) Traylor was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the sixth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, after which he was promptly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for one guy you never heard of (Pat Garrity), and one guy you may know (Dirk Nowitzki). Traylor’s NBA career also included stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, and even a failed trade to the New Jersey Nets. The stat line showed Traylor as a 14.3 minutes, 47% from the field, and 3.7 total rebounds per game.
Traylor’s planet-like girth also carried him tto the world of global hoops; teams like Antalya Kepez Belediyesi in the Turkish league, NSB Napoli in the Italian league, Halcones UV Xalapa in the Mexican league, and Cangrejeros de Santurce and Bayamon Cowboys in Puerto Rican league all got to have 5XL uniforms made to fit the “Tractor.”
Sadly, the “Tractor” passed away in 2011, but the first weekend of this NCAA Basketball Tournament showed us several guys who could easily match up to Traylor’s carriage. The trouble is that all of the guys we found in this yearr’ tournament have already had their “March Madness come to an end. So, in case you missed them, here are the five starters on our All-”Tractor” Traylor Memorial team.
The Alanis Morrisette-level irony is that as heavy as this team is, it is also not-so-shockingly light on guards.
The day after Selection Sunday is historically the best for my brackets; it’s the one day there’s still hope. Sometime between now and the end of the weekend, the hopes for my brackets have generally disappeared faster than a Malaysian airliner. That’s precisely why this post comes with a disclaimer. It’s really not a question of whether you should stand back; it’s a matter of how far way you need to be avoid sucking in fatal amounts of smoldering wreckage when my bracket eventually collapses on itself. That’s why I have provided you with the following Civil Defense chart, as the force of my collapsing bracket has been estimated by some serious science-type guys to be roughly that of a 1960′s era nuclear weapon.
So, now that you’ve seen that, this is the part where I tell you (on the advice of my serious legal-type guy) that you read further solely at your own risk. So, while you putting on your helmet and goggles, putting batteries in your Geiger counter, and hoarding canned goods and beef jerky, I’ll break down a very breakable bracket.
My 2013 NCAA Bracket.
All of them were disasters which made you understand how fleeting life can be. While my bracket will never have the ever-lasting imagery of the Hindenburg or Challenger, it was a tragedy of unparalled proportions in my own bracket-filling history. Never in my twenty-plus years of bracket mayhem has it been this bad. Never had I lost my two finalists in the first weekend. Only one other time have I missed seven of the Sweet Sixteen.
So, while my bracket is not officially dead yet, it’s like an airliner headed for the ground the hard way. It’s on fire and plunging toward earth; it’s just a matter of time before the final meeting with a corn field seals it’s fate on a rather permanent basis. With that, let’s move past the screaming and praying, through acceptance, and right to the crash investigation.
Now that my brackets are so much smoldering wreckage, it is time for a big dose of what the original purpose of this blog was: a profanity-filled tirade about shit I don’t like. This promises to be a particularly nasty edition since for the first time in the history of my filling out brackets, I’ve lost both teams I had playing on Monday Night in the first weekend tournament. So, since I can’t like this tournament anymore, here comes the bile…
In alpha-suck-abetical order:
If you haven’t filled out a bracket yet, you are running out of time. Games start at noon eastern time tomorrow, which gives you just under 24 hours to fill out your bracket, and spend time tweaking it. Up until then, you can still join the Dubsism Bracket Challenge.
But when it comes to your bracket, there’s two facts you may want to consider, and they both come from people who know more than you do…there’s the odds-makers in Las Vegas, and there’s what the NBA guys think of some talent on these teams.
A) What Vegas Thinks Continue reading →
Without further ado, here is the official 2013 Dubsism NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket:
Midwest Region Champion: Michigan State
West Region Champion: Gonzaga
South Region Champion: Georgetown
THE FINAL FOUR:
Gonzaga over Michigan State; Georgetown over Miami (FL)
So, now that you’ve seen this bracket, and if you think you can do better, just click here to fill out one of your own.
If you are my age, you remember “Emergency!” – the Jack Webb-produced homage to firefighter and paramedics. This was my favorite show when I was seven years old, and it made me want to be a firefighter, until I realized they are basically mailmen who get to drive a way cooler truck and have to deal with occasionally being broiled like a Whopper.
If you aren’t my age and don’t remember this 1970′s cheese-tacular, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that since this show went off the air, this group of dedicated Fire/EMS professionals…Rescue Squad 51′s Firefighter/Paramedics John Gage and Roy Desoto, Engine 51′s Captain Hank Stanley, Engineer Mike Stoker, Firefighters Chet Kelly and Marco Lopez…and the staff at Rampart General Hospital, Nurse Dixie McCall, Dr. Joe Early, and their ringleader, Dr. Kelly Brackett…they have all dedicated themselves to saving your tournament brackets.
By showing you some transcripts of actual bracket rescues, we hope to inform the college basketball tournament-bracket-filling public of how to avoid some of the most common bracket-life-threatening situations. In other words, this isn’t just a series of flat-lining jokes about a show you don’t even remember, this is a goddamn public service.
Now that my brackets are so much smoldering wreckage, and now that my teams are out, it is time for a big dose of what the original purpose of this blog was: a profanity-filled triade about shit I don’t like. And since I can’t like this tournament anymore…
In alpha-suck-abetical order:
When the hell did Baylor start to mean anything in college sports? Whatever happened to the good old days when Baylor was just the “free square” in the bingo card that was the Big 12 schedule? I blame women’s basketball; after they gave up immolating religious whackos, that was the first sport anybody in Waco anybody paid any attention to until a few years ago, and it’s only gotten worse now that Joakim Noah plays for their womens’ team.
If I were a doctor and were going to give the state of Ohio an enema, Cincinnati is where I would stick the nozzle. What amazes me is that this miasma of suck has two universities, and both of them got into the Sweet Sixteen (more on that later). Shit-cinnati is a subtle blend of all that is wrong with city-living and all the suck that bucolic splendor brings. Want to know what walking down a street in downtown Cincinnati is like? Dress all the zombies from “The Walking Dead” in Ohio State shirts, Bengals hats, all in various states of filth and mis-sized. If you get past this parade of freaks who will attempt to panhandle you to death, you get the upscale Cincinnatians who are all rude and pretentious just because they have reservations at the “Steak and Shake” that has tablecloths.
I think the above photo says it all. That’s the university president.
I know this may be hard for anybody under 50 to realize, but there was a time within the last 30 years where a college basketball team in Indiana could actually win something. Obviously, that was never Purdue or Notre Dame , and it got so bad in the land of basketball people were actually rooting for Butler…fucking Butler. Calling Butler “real college basketball” is like calling a hot dog “real meat.” Now that Indiana is back in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in a decade, every in-bred slackjaw south of Fort Wayne is resplendent in his IU 1981 NCAA Champs t-shirt that he wore while doing a lube job on his 1985 Ford pick-up truck, because nothing hides your sister-mom’s DNA like a few quarts of Quaker State.
The fundamental problem is that Kansas fans believe that they should win every single year, and when the Jayhawks don’t, their fans cocoon themselves in this layer of false history. Jayhawk fans think the entire sport is their birthright; that its history is proprietary to Kansas simply because their legendary coach Phog Allen was rumored to be Dr. James Naismith’s gay lover. To understand this fraudulent nature, let’s break down that history they love so damn much. First of all, while Naismith was the inventor of basketball, he didn’t invent it in Kansas. Do you know what did get invented in Kansas? Shooting people over slavery. But that’s not as “feel-good” as believing your basketball team is historically elite.
It says all you need to know about Kentucky to notice this is a program which replaced Tubby Smith with Billy Gillespie, then replaced him with career criminal John “Don’t Drop the Soap” Calipari. Think about that; this is a program so myopic they dumped the last guy to win anything for them and ultimately ended up with a guy who has managed to make Final Four appearances disappear at two different schools because of NCAA violations. Despite the fact that other than last year, they hadn’t earned a trip to the Final Four in thirteen years, UK fans still believe they are relevant, and will continue to think that even after this season inevitably gets wiped off the books. It must be a great time for bail bondsmen in Lexington.
Dear Residents of Louisville,
Let me explain to you why nobody has any respect for your city. First of all, to be a world-class city, you have to settle on a standard pronunciation. You would never see a sign the like the one above in a real city. Secondly, you keep describing your city as the “capital of Kentuckiana.” If it weren’t bad enough there is no such place, you’ve created one out of the two worst parts of two of the worst states in America. Combining Indiana with Kentucky is like joining infected, oozing hemmorhoids with a bowel obstruction.
Now, let’s talk about this basketball team for minute, shall we? Somebody in Louisville needs to tell Rick Pitino that coaching basketball in Kentucky in a building called the KFC Yum! Center while wearing white suits is just begging for “Colonel Sanders” jokes…and having a bird mascot doesn’t help. I’ll get you started – “Cardinal basketball – a special blend of eleven secret fouls and turnovers.”
Since Marquette is a catholic school in Wisconsin, insert your own “alcoholic pedophile” joke here. That also means they really aren’t worth thinking about, so here’s exactly what I said about them last year. I think you will find it is all pretty much still true.
This place ought to be renamed The University of Gutless. Marquette’s basketball team used to be known as the Warriors, until every member of their board of trustees grew multiple vaginas and decided AGAINST the will of the student body and the alumni that the nickname was “insensitive to Native Americans.” Of course, this completely ignores the fact that a “warrior” is defined as a person experienced in or capable of engaging in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate combatant class. There’s a whole range of cultures to which that applies, ranging from the Bushido Samurai to the Spartans. Yet, the pointy-heads at Marquette decided it could only apply to those who when they cash their government checks get blind-drunk on the “firewater,” then build casinos.
This begs another important question. Since when does the Catholic Church give a flying fuck about political correctness? Don’t forget that Marquette is a Jesuit school, and the Jesuits aren’t just garden-variety papists; they are the Waffen-SS of Catholicism. They can show up in any diocese and do whatever the hell they want, and the local bishop can’t say shit to them. In other words, these aren’t exactly the guys who cower at a bunch of soccer moms who think “we might be being mean to the Indians.”
If that weren’t enough, the Catholic Church as a whole isn’t exactly the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to being sensitive to public opinion. In fact, their only recent change on the position of contraception is it is acceptable to use a condom only when the altar boy has diarrhea.
Really, I should just write a generic bit for all the Big Twelevten in this tournament; Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, and Sparty. They all really do the same thing. They get into the tournament, and then somehow lose to some peckerwood SEC team like Kentucky. But Michigan State deserves a special layer of scorn and derision as they aren’t even an original member of the Big Tweleveten. They didn’t join until 1949 when it was still known as Michigan State Sit When You Pee College and Tire Care Center.
Once again, I will quote the good people at Deadspin since I can’t improve on the accuracy of their assesment.
No school has benefited more from having an archrival who happens to be even more haughty and douchetastic. I’m onto you, Tarheels. You think just because you hate Duke that you can sneak by without anyone hating your fucking guts. But you are WRONG. But the truth is that, if Duke didn’t exist, YOU would be Duke. You’d be the most hated program in the country, what with your gross sense of entitlement and Dickie V lapping up Roy Williams’ seminal fluid like it’s cereal milk. You people owe Duke a steak dinner for covering up so much of what makes you despicable.
FACT: Every three seconds, a person in the North Carolina wilderness is being raped. I drove through the state once, and you see the forests on the side of the road and you just know, twenty feet in, someone has a penis inside them that they don’t want inside them. North Carolina is also the only state where it’s legal to rape someone and fish at the same time.
North Carolina State
Thanks to the fact that Georgetown’s John Thompson III is one of the shittiest tournament coaches in the history of shitty tournament coaches, I’m going to have to re-live this moment about a bazillion times between now and the time NC State wakes up and remembers they are NC State. 1983 was almost 30 years ago, Jim Valvano is dead, so is Lorenzo Charles, and NC State is still the school people only go to when they can’t get into to Appalachian State.
According to the good folks at Listverse, Ohio University is the most haunted university in the country.
This should not be a surprise. It is well known and documented that Ohio University is perhaps one of the most haunted places in the world. From ghost teachers that talk to students, sounds and voices heard in sealed rooms, to an entire ghost basketball team, this campus is truly full of haunts. Nearly every single building on campus has at least one ghost associated with it. In a place literally full of ghosts, one manages to stand out among the rest. Wilson Hall is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United States, and was featured in the TV series “Scariest Places on Earth”. A female student practicing satanic rituals supposedly died violently in room 428. While this story has no real backing, what is true is that school officials have closed and sealed the room because no student could live in it peacefully. Voices are heard throughout the halls, doors lock and unlock, open and close on their own, and ghostly figures wander the building. The building is also dead center of a pentagram formed by five cemeteries which surround the campus. Rumor has it that this building itself was built on top of an old mental hospital cemetery, however this was proven to be untrue.
So in other words, this university has a student body that gets wigged out by the same kind of faux spooks that even Shaggy and Scooby-Doo could figure out in under 30 minutes. Perhaps this means we will see Daphne and Velma on the court for the Bobcats come this weekend.
Even though he was a football guy, nobody was a more loyal Buckeye than Kirk Herbstreit, and even he was giving double-birds out the window on his way out the the shit-hole formerly known as Columbus. In other words, even he had to split town because he only fellated the statue of Woody Hayes once a day rather than the expected thrice. This is exactly the problem with Buckeye fans; they have so little else that unless you swear your undying devotion and back it up on an hourly basis, they declare you a heretic and kill your house pets. In all honesty, the best description I’ve ever read about Ohio came from the good people at Deadspin:
“We make fun of Ohio here at Deadspin an awful lot, and with good reason. If you placed an electrified cupcake in the center of the state, half the population would be dead by morning. And the other half would be asking for extra sprinkles.”
What else can you say? These are the people who expect perfection while investing only idiocy; the kind of people who try to “return” foster children after they’ve raped them. Buckeye fans belong in that same circle of hell reserved for pederasts, people who run scams on the elderly, and deadbeat fathers.
Syracuse fans are always bitching because they feel they never get any respect. Half the time, they don’t deserve it, like when they kept trying to tell me Gerry McNamara was the best scorer in college basketball. The other half of the time they spend missing the point; like during all that McNamara twaddle they forgot they had Carmelo Anthony.
Then there’s this year. First, longtime assistant and Jim Boeheim’s right-hand man Bernie Fine was accused of sexually molesting two young boys. To top that off, it seems Fine’s wife may or may not have slept with players while they were members of the team. Then it was revealed that the school violated its own drug policy and that the school may or may not have reported it to the NCAA years ago. And if that weren’t enough, Fab Melo was ruled out of the tournament because may or may not have been academically eligible this semester.
Despite all that Syracuse, makes the big dance as a #1 seed, and advances to the sweet sixteen. The fun part: Earlier this season, when Syracuse was #1 in the AP poll they received 61 out of 65 first-place votes, and Syracuse fans, after all the shit that team had been through, did nothing but bitch about the four writers who didn’t vote Syracuse first.
As long as the state of Wisconsin exists, R.J. Reynolds will never go broke since they own Kraft Foods, Miller Beer and Marlboro cigarettes, which happen to be the three dietary staples in America’s Dairyland. Sconnies drink and smoke on an Olympic level because Wisconsin basketball is to watch four sausage-fed forwards and one guard who doesn’t play like Herman Munster. It’s hard to watch, hence the Wiscy-level of drinking, which easily can put even the most moonshine-riddled southern peckerwood to shame. If you see a Badger fan on the street, crash him over the head with the nearly-empty whiskey bottle he’s carrying and bring him to the local hospital for a liver transplant. He will need it, trust me.
Here’s a fun, yet useless fact I’ve been hearing all day: there are as many schools from the city of Cincinnnati (2) left in the tournament as there are from either the SEC (2), Big 12 (2), or ACC (2). Here a more accurate statement. There are as many teams from those conferences that anybody gives a shit about as there are from the entire state of Ohio. Whats’ funny is that at the beginning of the season, Xavier and Cincinnati got into a brawl in a game for intra-city bragging rights. This is like two bums fighting over the least piss-stained raincoat at the Salvation Army.
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Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For Duke: Largely Because Thanks to Lehigh, You Can’t…And Mike Krzyzewski Is a Dick
First of all, Duke sucks. Even when they don’t suck, Duke sucks.
Second of all, I honestly didn’t think I would have to write my annual “Fuck Duke” post until next weekend, but thanks to the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh University, now that annual screed becomes more of a Blue Devil post-mortem. I went into this tournament thinking Duke was over-rated as a two-seed, but even I didn’t have them going out in the first round (check out my bracket destruction at Sport Blog Movement).
So, having said that, let’s take a look at why I thought Duke was over-rated:
- They have no inside presence
- They rely to much on perimeter shooting
- They can’t defend against speed
All three of those thing congealed to end Duke’s season early. But a big part of the problem with this season’s team is that it traveled too far on a reputation that it couldn’t back up, and a big part of that problem is the complete sham that is the reputation of Mike Krzyzewski.
What I’ve never understood about Krzyzewski is that he’s a known disciple of Bobby Knight, and carries on just as much as Knight did, but Krzyzewski never gets called out for being such an unconscionable asshole. Sure, he doesn’t throw chairs during games, nor does he have outbursts at press conferences, but all the other signs are there.
Raise your hand if you are tired of watching Krzyzewski scream unrepentantly at officials until every call goes Duke’s way. Raise your hand if you wonder why the media has never exposed Krzyzewski for being every bit the abusive tyrant his mentor Bobby Knight was. Raise your hand if you don’t get why nobody has ever noticed the Paterno-like ring of sycophants willing to lay down their lives for him. Raise your hand if you wonder when Krzyzewski and Dick Vitale are going to pick out a china pattern together.
Naturally, that last sentence explains a lot about why none of these questions ever get asked; resident ESPN analyst and personal Krzyzewski fellatrix Dick Vitale just can’t understand why there is all this Duke hatred out there. Let’s see if I can clear this up for Dicky V. While Knight may have been an asshole, at least he was an honest asshole. It is one thing to be an asshole; it is an entirely other thing to spend thirty years hiding you are an asshole.
The definitive rundown on this attitude toward Krzyzewski comes from a work called Duke Sucks authored Reed Tucker and Andy Bagwell. It is described by the good people at Deadspin as “a thorough charge-by-charge frisking of the worst college basketball program known to man.” The following excerpt gives a detailing of the tone of this work, and if you still don’t get it, we here at Dubsism will break it down for you.
Charge #9: [This charge has been redacted for fear that Coach K might call us and scorch the earth with f-bombs for twenty minutes.]
There’s really no way to sugarcoat this for sensitive palates, so we’re just going to come out and say it. Coach K is probably not the sweet hoops coach/business genius/grandfather-of-five that he, the media, the Duke basketball information office, Nike, Chevy, and American Express would like you to believe he is. In truth, he’s probably kind of a jerk. Or a nickname-for-Richard. Take your pick.
Of all the high-profile coaches in the games, is there one you’d less like to spend a night drinking beer and playing Boggle with?
Okay, Rick Barnes, but after that? Really think about it for a minute.
Well, Bob Huggins always looked to me like he might be in the Russian mafia, especially when he took to wearing the track suits. Not to mention, Frank Martin from K-State..well, if he’s not a KGB agent in the off-season is just a fucking scary dude. But, I digress…
On the likeability index, Coach K rates somewhere between Chris Brown and whoever runs Uzbekistan’s intelligence agency. Krzyzewski is prickly. He takes himself way too seriously. His ego is inflated. He must be a little paranoid—a fingerprint scan is required to open the elevator doors to his office. No one would describe his sense of humor as “winning.” He seems constantly in a bad mood and is quick to anger. He once told the media that he agreed with a player’s assessment that his teammates were all a bunch of “fucking babies.”
In the Old West, he’d be called “ornery.” He’s like one of those villainous dads from every high-school movie—the retired military man who makes his son’s life miserable because of his unbending code of discipline. Hell, he probably uses military time. (“Practice is at oh-nine-hundred, sharp!”)
That’s a generous rating on the “likeability scale.” In the old west, he’d be the guy who gets ambushed along the trail and left for the buzzards. For a West Point graduate, Krzyzewski is the kind of guy who becomes the Army officer who gets shot in the back of the head by his own troops, precisely because he does little beyond berating them. We’ll come back to this point.
Here’s a fun little exercise you can do yourself. Pull up a Google images search for “Mike Krzyzewski” and look what you come up with. See all those photos of him frowning or yelling? Keep scanning. Do you see any of him smiling? We mean, aside from his official university head shot where they probably ordered him to seem halfway cuddly? Do you see any candid photos of him on the sideline, out in the real world or at a press conference smiling? You don’t. He looks downright constipated in most of the pictures.
But so what? He’s an intense guy, we get it. That’s probably, in part, how he’s able to win so many games.
And that would be just fine, except that like so much when it comes to Duke, there’s an element of hypocrisy here. You don’t have to look too deep into Coach K before you realize that there’s a huge disconnect between the guy’s public image and the real person. Here’s a man who theSporting News dubbed “what’s right about sports.” Here’s a man who’s beatified during practically every telecast. Here’s a man who smugly intoned during his awful American Express TV commercial a few years ago, “I don’t look at myself as a basketball coach. I look at myself as a leader who happens to coach basketball.”
How easy is it to dislike someone who exemplifies the most human characteristics of a rat all while being a two-faced elitist scumbag? This is Krzyzewski’s major contribution to Duke; he is the titular head of the Hypocritical Douchebag Committee. At once, the Duke athletic culture (led by Krzyzewski) has developed a drum-beat, party-line rhetoric about creating scholar-athletes at a private university, which Krzyzewski seems to believe is the sacred ground for all that is holy in college athletics. This becomes more important later.
And when it comes to leadership, this guy is clearly more Dick Nixon than George H. W. Bush.
“I guess the thing that surprised me the most was you don’t realize how much he curses and how much he’s on the refs all the time,” says former UNC guard Bobby Frasor. “I remember someone telling me about [former Duke player] Taylor King during his freshman year and how he thought his name was ‘motherfucker,’ because that’s how Coach K got his attention. I don’t know how true it is. I mean, he’s a great coach and I’m not going to deny that at all, but the way he handles his players or acts with the refs and media, sometimes it kind of rubs people the wrong way.”
Here’s the part where you have to understand the difference between a leader who happens to be a dick (Bobby Knight), and a dick who is in a leadership role (Krzyzewski). While Knight had a reputation for being harsh with players, when he got the “bum’s rush” out of Indiana, there were tons of former players who came forward in his defense. Again, he was an asshole, but he was an honest asshole. I get the feeling Krzyzewski would not get the same brand of loyalty, if for no other reason he has a huge case of “ivory tower syndrome,” which is just a nice way of saying “complete hypocrisy.”
Knight built a winning program and graduated his players at a public university, which Krzyzewski clearly has contempt for. What Duke and Krzyzewski simply don’t get is that they have created a culture which mirrors all of the false idolatry which has gotten so many other people into trouble, yet stick their collective heads in the sand clinging to the “can’t happen here” mentality with the false belief that Duke’s ivory towers have some sort of shielding capability.
Duke and Krzyzewski in many respects have built each other. The Duke campus is rife with things named for Krzyzewski, there’s a tightly knit culture in the program funded by wealthy donors and protected by an unwritten code about “keeping family business in the family.”
Krzyzewski said it himself. In his 2007 book To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever, Will Blythe quotes Coach K as saying “Let’s say at Ohio State that we did what we have done at Duke. There would be statues. There would never be anybody looking for anything wrong with what you did.”
In retrospect, that’s a chilling statement. While he uses Ohio State as his example of a large, public university with a brobdingnagian athletic department where a “Penn State” style problem can exist, there’s no denying that Penn State completely fits the description he offers. Even worse are the suppositions hidden in that statement. Krzyzewski believes himself, and wants you to believe that such idolatry can only happen in a big, public-school setting, and that it is only because of private-school envy that people begrudge him in his success. Pot calling the kettle black, pure and simple.
So, how does that sort of hypocrisy affect one’s leadership style? Well, for starters, it allows you to breed a culture of hypocrisy.
A New York Post reporter, sitting behind Duke’s bench during a 2005 game, described the proceedings during a team huddle thusly:
“Krzyzewski himself was an unfiltered Chris Rock concert for much of the day, but one of his assistants was worse. During one timeout, with the starters sitting on the bench, gulping Gatorade, this was his idea of “coaching” them: “You’re a bleep, and you’re a bleep, and you’re a bleeping bleep-bleeper of a bleeper-bleeper. You bleepers don’t bleeping deserve to wear the bleeping colors of Duke University! Bleep! Are you bleeping bleeping me? Bleep all of you. Get out of my bleeping faces.”
“At which point, he was replaced by Krzyzewski, whose assessment was far more succinct: “You bleeping make me bleeping sick.”
That’s more bleeps than a Source Awards telecast.
“His mouth is terrible. He has that reputation. You don’t want kids sitting behind the bench, that’s for sure,” says former UNC guard Dewey Burke. “It takes a certain kind of player to deal with that over the course of four years. As players sitting around, yeah, we’ll talk about how I don’t know how I could play for a guy like that.”
Of course, to really build such a culture, you have to let it spill down beyond the coaching ranks.
One of Coach K’s tried-and-true motivating tactics is reportedly to completely blast the freshmen and other weak-link players during practice, only to later send a senior over to the player’s room to explain why he was so angry.
After a particularly poor 2005 workout, during which Coach K reamed his players in front of more than two hundred invited guests, including NCAA president Myles Brand, forward Lee Melchionni told Sports Illustrated, “That’s one thing about the Duke program: You’re always going to get the absolute truth from Coach. You may go back to your dorm room and cry, but you’re going to come back the next day and be better because of it.”
This is the part where Dukies will try to tell me Krzyzewski gets loyalty from players. Sure they do, as long as they are still on the team. Krzyzewski is an unquestioned ruler, and you have two choices in Durham-istan; you can either toe the party line, or you can get shipped off to Siberia in a cattle car. I don’t care how much hate mail I get for this, but I’m convinced Mike Krzyzewski is like the church minister who secretly likes little boys. He’s got all the respect of the people who could out him, but none of them do because, after all, he is the minister. Besides, he’s also that hypocritical asshole who preaches about character and discipline, then stomps around on the sideline like the biggest petulant shithead out there.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that he treats everybody with a complete lack of respect.
And it’s not just his players that he can be peevish with. It’s also members of the media, whose existence Coach K seems to barely tolerate.
How many other head coaches won’t deign to spend fifteen seconds with the designated TV sideline reporter at halftime, dispatching a lowly assistant instead?
“I don’t agree with coaches doing that. It’s a philosophical thing,” Coach K has said. “The only people I should talk to are my players.”
About the only time anyone gets access to the coach is during the postgame press conference, which can often turn churlish.
“Obviously, you didn’t see the game tonight, okay?” Krzyzewski snapped, interrupting a journalist who was asking about Duke losing a lead during a 2004 game versus UConn. “Which question would you want me to answer?” he later barked.
During a 2008 press session for the U.S. Olympic team, the coach ridiculed a foreign journalist who asked in hesitant English whether the American team was showing off by dunking too much.
“There was no showing off,” K said defensively, glaring at the journalist. “You dunk when you have to dunk. Maybe it’s a difference in our languages. Maybe in your language playing hard means showing off.”
And then there was Krzyzewski’s most infamous run-in with the media—the student media, that is. In 1990, the coach blew his stack after a student sports reporter in the university newspaper dared to give his team a B+ midseason grade.
He summoned ten newspaper staffers to the locker room and let loose with an eight-minute profanity-laced tirade that would have given a gentler man a stroke.
Unbeknownst to K, one of the reporters secretly recorded the blowup with a tape recorder hidden in his bag.
Coach K began by calling the midseason report card “full of shit,” and went on to whine, “I just wonder where your mindset is that you don’t appreciate the kids in this locker room. I’m not looking for puff pieces or anything like that, but you’re whacked out and you don’t appreciate what the fuck is going on and it pisses me off—I’m suggesting that if you want to appreciate what’s going on—get your head out of your ass and start looking out for what’s actually happening.”
Another coach might have been fired for a blue-streaked outburst against—again—student reporters. And not only students, but ones at his own school. But Coach K’s reputation took only the slightest ding. Dick Vitale was probably on the air that very night gushing about how much K does for charity.
Are you starting to get the picture here? Lot’s of other coaches would have at least been called on the carpet for such behavior. But not Krzyzewski, because he is the head of the Politburo in Durham-istan. That means he can get away with being a derogatory ass-hat, which by the way, is NOT a quality associated with great leaders. Nor is being a petulant cry-baby.
But let’s face facts. The dude is just plain mean.
When Nick Collison, who was heavily recruited by Duke, called Krzyzewski to tell him he was going to Kansas, K didn’t exactly wish him well. Or even pretend to. “He was like, ‘I don’t care. We got a commitment from Casey Sanders anyway,’” Collison told Kusports.com. (Sanders, a six-foot-eleven center, averaged 2.7 points for his career. Collison, meanwhile, currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.)
During a 2005 Duke–North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, Coach K became incensed by a fan who yelled, “You’ve got [referee] Larry Rose in your pocket!” The coach had security move the fan farther away from the bench, according to the New York Post. The fan later turned out to be Scott Williams, son of UNC coach Roy Williams. Oops.
Anyone want to hire this guy to entertain children at a birthday party?
Why don’t Krzyzewski’s accomplishments come with a big, fat, shiny asterisk? Why does the man continue to be canonized in the media, while his surly side gets buried? Does winning basketball games make him that bulletproof?
No one is asking Coach K to become soft and cuddly, or even to clean up his language. His players, at least the ones that don’t transfer, seem to like—or at least tolerate—his raw approach, and far be it from us to question that. But why can’t a fuller picture of the coach be presented, so that we, the public, can form our own opinions, free of all the manufactured BS that Duke, Coach K, the media, and the advertisers want to shove down our throats?
When Yankees owner George Steinbrenner—another sports figure who was known to be demanding and prickly—died in 2010, his obituaries presented him as he was, warts and all. The New York Times recounted his felony conviction and the way he had been “overbearing and even verbally abusive” toward his children.
We can hope for nothing less for Coach K. But why wait until he passes away? No time like the present to start setting the record straight.
Verdict: What’s former VP Cheney’s first name again?
Frankly, to me, hating Duke always seemed so self-evident. It doesn’t require Jim Rockford or the NASA supercomputer to figure out why. All you have to do is watch watch Coach Krzyzewski on the sidelines.
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