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Some Thoughts on the Eve of Roundball '09

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(The following comes from the WAO half of 40AS, although I feel confident that JMA agrees with the general sentiment. Except for the first one. I know he disagrees with that one.)

 

  • Sixty-four teams will get good news in March: they will have the opportunity to win the national championship on the court. By beating other teams that also want to win it. Many supporters of the BCS argue that the system makes college football's regular season better than those of other sports, yet the basketball regular season stands in clear defiance of that notion. Basketball season is proof that, in the moment, we fans simply want our team to beat the other team, and the end of close hoops game is every bit as gut-wrenching in January as a football game in November. It may only be the difference between a 3 seed and a 5 seed, but it matters. 
  • Here comes the real heresy: I had more fun in college at the Drum than at DKR. That's not necessarily to say that I liked basketball better than football. I simply mean that I have more specific game memories from hoops than pigskin. Reasons after the jump.

 

  • TJ Ford was still in Austin my freshman year. I was there when TJ hit a shot after being fouled hard, on his way to the floor. He released the ball while parallel to the floor, about a foot from hitting it. I am not making this up. I was there in Waco when TJ came out of absolutely nowhere to throw down a rebound. I was in the building, yet it still felt like he came in from off the TV screen. I can' find it on YouTube. You'll just have to believe me.
  • The student section is right on the other team. I have ben a part of (or witness to) yelling at Danny Manning to put his Horns up, screaming at the KU team to raise their hands if Roy Williams lied to them, chanting until the entire arena was on its feet for the whole first half of an Oklahoma State game, and making a sign that said "Hey Aggies: BAAAAA means No!" The unifying theme is that the five guys in visitors' uniforms actually heard us every time. It's not that I am naive enough to believe that we actually had an impact on the game, but the ability to interact more directly with the players made basketball special.
  • The Texas basketball team's wins result in a feeling of pure joy for fans more often than those of the football team. Out of 12 potential regular season victories for Mack's boys, at least 9 per year can only cause two reactions: misery or relief. Win and the sense is one of survival. From just a quick perusal of the hoop schedule, wins over USC, Iowa, either Wichita State or Pitt, Carolina, Michigan State, Arkansas, A&M (twice), Kansas, UConn, OU (twice), and Okie State (twice) have the chance to bring pure joy to the hearts of Longhorn fans. And losses need not be totally devastating. The overall happiness factor during basketball is higher.
  • We get to watch Texas twice a week.
  • The lack of major punishment for losing a single game allows fantastic intersectional matchups like the ones listed above. There's no reward for playing it safe in the non-conference schedule and major upside to plying the big boys. Every year, Texas fans can look forward to big games from November all the way through the Big Dance.
It's time to get pumped for some hooping ball. Hook 'em.