Friday, January 9, 2009

REALITY CHECK: THE DEFINITION OF SAD

We don’t typically publish the weekly polls for football or basketball, but we do include a team’s AP ranking (soon to be the ESPN poll ranking) in our recaps of various games.

T.A.H.’s opinion on this is relatively simple (which should come as no surprise considering the source): In basketball ,where there is an actual playoff to decide the National Champion, polls aren’t particularly important on a week-by-week basis.

They matter most in two ways: 1) on a cumulative basis and 2) in March when the Selection Committee’s opinions are being finalized. Being in the top five all year is helpful in securing a No.1 regional seed for the Big Dance. This is important, but plenty of No.2 seeds make it to the Final Four. Being highly ranked all year helps a team keep it’s presumed No.1 seed if they stumble in their conference tournament. So it matters, but only so much.

Enter Duke head coach Mike Krzyzhkbmr3ski. Evidently, it matters to him.

So much so that our beloved Coach K felt it important to notify the media that his Blue Devil squad has ascended to the No. 2 spot in both of this week’s polls. As the very famous line from the long-suffering butler Hobs (John Gielgud) in the movie Arthur so appropriately goes: “I’ll alert the media.”

Duly noted, and appreciated.

Apparently the local wags for the N.C.'s Research Triangle’s newspapers didn’t write a headline one single day in this week’s sports pages that said “DUKE RANKED SECOND IN EARLY JANUARY POLL – ALL HAIL COACH K AND HIS MERRY BAND OF CONSTANTLY ACHIEVING STUDENT ATHLETES.” Unbelievable, no?

The News-Observer’s J.P. Giglio pointed out today that he had published this earth shattering news on the paper’s ACC blog ACC NOW, but it had not been in print until his article today.

"I don't even think it was mentioned in the newspapers here, that we were No. 2 in the polls," Coach K said after Duke's 79-67 win over Davidson on Wednesday. "Fact, I know it wasn't mentioned, so I guess nobody really cares.”

He went on to question the “subtleties of the local press” and said, "I know it's not that big here, but it's pretty damn good. So when this group makes No. 2, it's a new group, they should be celebrated for doing something good. I'm sorry that doesn't happen very much. It's sad."

Hey, Coach, look around the world and you will see legitimate “sad.” In fact, look at the recession right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and you’ll see a boat load of sad as well. Your boys not being lauded by the local media for winning 13 out of 14 basketball games while having their education paid for at one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the county? Not so sad. Disappointing perhaps, but hardly sad.

Giglio, who we believe to be quite good at what he does, closed his article with:

“So for the record, Duke is No. 2 -- one spot ahead of that other unnamed school.”

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