Our Horns are in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five years (a mark bested by only Duke) and I was there to see it. PB has already covered the on the court action. Let me offer some off the court observations.
1. Add scalping tickets to the list of jobs you don't ever want
I went to Dallas early on Friday morning with one friend. We had eight tickets for the two of us. Arkansas, Memphis, and Texas were all placed in Big D for the first two rounds. I had no doubts that we would be able to unload all of them for at least face value if not even make a profit. Unfortunately, we were against some tough competition. The scalpers were out in force outside the American Airlines Center. We quickly realized that we were outmatched. Neither of us had the size, strength, quickness, or most importantly bullshit skills for a fair fight. Oh yeah, our tickets weren't any good either. As one Arkansas fan described his seat location in his best Southern drawl, "There on up." Yeah, our tickets were closer to the heavens than to the court. So, we had limited experience, bad tickets, and tons of competition. The "professionals" were quick to attack just about every fan that crossed the street. "What do ya got?" "What do you need?" "Who needs lowers?" "Center court, floor level. Who wants `em?" I'm sorry but not every freaking scalper has center court floor level seats. There aren't even that many tickets that meet those qualifications. My favorite run in came before the first game tipped. Both a "pro" scalper and I approached the same fan. He wanted cheap tickets. I had those and of course so did the scalper. Our buyer asked where the seats were. I said upstairs (accurate). The scalper said center court upstairs (false). What happened next was truly amazing. The scalper whipped out a laminated seating chart of the AA Center which proved what he had said just second earlier to be false. I don't know why he did it. Maybe he was confused, maybe he was high, and maybe he actually thought he was telling the truth. Whatever the reason, the fan was not pleased and didn't buy from either of us. As heard many times in Dallas, I hate scalpers.
2. The Texas fans were underwhelming
That may even be too kind. The Texas fans were bad. There were way more Arkansas fans there than Horns' fans. The Hogs suck. We are one of the best teams in the country. Memphis had nearly as many fans as we did. Our fans sat on their asses and quietly enjoyed another social event. A lot of our fans were more concerned with getting another drink at the Jack Daniels bar than with cheering for the Horns. No one got rowdy. No one even really yelled. No one even got too agitated or concerned during the Penn game. Yeah, I know it was Spring Break. I know it was in Dallas and not Austin. I know it was SXSW in Austin too. But please show up and be loud. The "homecourt" advantage was almost non existent.
3. John Calipari is fat.
Aren't coaches supposed to be workaholics? They stay up late studying film and worrying about their next opponent. Not John. He looks like he spends time more time on his hair and in the kitchen than in the film room.
4. Memphis' bench would be ranked in the top 25.
Just about every Tiger is over 6'5", long, athletic, and can play multiple positions. They press all game and nobody ever gets tired or in foul trouble. Don't be surprised to see them as the last #1 seed standing.
5. Oral Roberts could have beaten at least 30 tournament teams on Friday.
Jay Bilas called the Golden Eagles the best #16 seed ever. They looked like the best ever. ORU probably would have advanced if they had drawn a different seed.
6. Even after another 1st round upset, no one knows where Bucknell is located.
The Dallas Morning News didn't say. I never heard a fan say with absolute certainty. I'm not even sure their fans knew.
7. There is no logical reason why we brought only four Texas Pom girls.
We traveled a mere 200 miles up IH 35. There wasn't room for more than four girls. Give me a break. I am happy to report the chaps did make the trip.
8. The announcer for all six games was hammered constantly slurring scores and mispronouncing names.
The guys behind us laughed throughout Friday and Sunday. Sometimes the announcer would even give up mid name and just announce a player's first name. A few times he got really lazy or confused and just went with the player's number.
9. There are bad seats at American Airlines Center.
As we headed to our seats, I thought of that Real Men of Genius ad which gives thanks to the fan in the nose bleeds. While we didn't need a sherpa and couldn't see Canada, there was only one row higher than ours.
10. No sporting event even comes close to March Madness.
I couldn't stop talking about or thinking about the tournament. We don't have games for two more full days and I am in desperate need of more basketball. Even if your bracket is in shambles, there is still a way you can win. I can't wait until Thursday.