It doesn't get much better than Selection Sunday when it comes to goofy live theater. Every year there's an awkward moment -- either accidentally funny or painful -- that validates the entire viewing process.
This year, for instance, we present the Pittsburgh Panthers. We were looking live at the Panthers as the bracket unfolded and they were revealed to be the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. The camera panned the players as they sat in some sort of balcony type deal, and the players stared back, as expressionless as the lens itself.
Perhaps prodded by some zealous -- stricken? -- off-camera producer, a few of the Panthers clapped politely. Their body language seemed to be saying, "I will clap politely for maybe three seconds, then I will leave this balcony type structure and eliminate you from my presence."
|If CBS wanted this reaction, they should have hung out with Holy Cross.|
The announcers dutifully said the typical, "Show some excitement, guys," and made no mention of the reason for the Panthers' attitude. As winners of the Big East and Big East Tournament, the Panthers were hoping for a No. 1 seed. They weren't interested in No. 2, especially when No. 1 is Kentucky. These facts combined to make Pitt slightly less interested in the camera than CBS would have liked.
Were they supposed to be excited about seeing their name? In October -- hell, last April -- they knew their school's name would make it on the board the third Sunday in March.
To be fair, this wasn't the undiluted pain we got a few years back when Mike Jarvis allowed the cameras into the George Washington University dorm for a moment that never came -- the moment his team would erupt with joy at the sight of its name on the big board.
Still, it didn't exactly rank with the fall-on-the-floor-and-scream performance of the IUPUI coach after his team won its conference tournament. Nobody really knows what tournament that was, or what IUPUI is supposed to mean, but the coach knows how to celebrate. There hasn't been a coach squirm like that since … well, since Jim Harrick.
And by the way, how hard is the Selection Committee rooting against BYU? They made a bonehead move by putting the Cougars in a bracket that forces two regions to be rearranged if BYU wins two games. The Mormon religion, and school policy, prohibits Sunday games.
So if you're headed for Spokane on Thursday, look for the big UConn party downtown, sponsored by the NCAA.
This Week's List: Just filled out my bracket, and here's how it looks: Seton Hall, Tennessee, Texas Tech and surprise pick Eastern Washington are headed for Madison Square Garden, ready to play for fame and glory.
Someone should tell this guy to be thankful a few people care enough to attend his press conferences: Geno Auriemma.
It's been a long time since America was caught in the grip of a legitimate dance craze, so if you'd like to be ahead of the curve, here are a few tips for doing the Guillermo Mota: First you throw your glove, then you pretend for a few seconds, then you run backward like a mother.
By the way, it's clinically proven to be the least effective fighting technique known to man: the throwing of the glove.
Next to Ed Ott, he's got the best deal going: Oklahoma's Ebi Ere.
That's the old win-one-for-the-Gipper morale boost you're looking for from your owner this time of year: Steve Schott, the A's owner and one of the leading closed wallets in big-league history, pulled Miguel Tejada aside before Saturday's spring training game to tell him the A's wouldn't sign him after this season.
|Miguel Tejada is OK after being kneed in the crotch by the A's owner.|
While he's at it: Schott might as well call the team together and announce, "Any of you with plans on being really great ought to know you won't be able to do it here for very long."
So, Eric Chavez: Let that be a lesson -- or motivation -- for you.
Hey, if Bob Knight doesn't want his paycheck: I'm pretty sure Tony Cole will take it.
Just for the heck of it: Delray Brooks.
OK, wise guy, five times fast: IUPUI.
Existential question: If Indiana University, Purdue University and Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis all make the NCAA Tournament, what does this say about the concentration of power among conglomerates in the Indiana system of public education?
Here's one thing that would never have been remembered if everybody was smart enough to let it die: Omar Vizquel's book.
But, in the all-important category of record at neutral sites for play-in games, they're 0-0: UNC-Asheville, in the tournament with a 1-14 road record.
In case you missed it: Kansas State's Pervis Pasco is No. 1.
And finally, the least he could have done was lobby for the bulk discount: If Dan Snyder liked the Jets so much, why didn't he just buy them in the first place?
Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.