Kentucky conquers The Ides of March
Today is the Ides of March, the date on which in 44 BC Julius Caesar was stabbed by Marcus Junius Brutus and his associates in the Roman Senate.
In 1970, a rock band named The Ides of March released its one and only hit single, “Vehicle”. The song is a staple of high school and college marching bands throughout the United States. In fact, the first time I heard the song was when it was played by the Brother Martin High School band at football games in the fall of 1989. I didn’t know about its status as a hit for The Ides of March until 1991. LSU’s band has played “Vehicle” at basketball games as long as I can remember, and they would break it out at football games every now and then.
Kentucky is 34-0 heading into the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournaement. The Wildcats defeated Arkansas 78-63 in the SEC tournament championship game in Nashville. They have already been named the number one overall seed for the NCAA tournament, and I would be beyond shocked if they don’t cut down the nets April 6 in Indianapolis. When UCLA won seven consecutive national championships from 1967 through 1973, there was no shot clock, so a team could stall as long as it crossed midcourt. Today, that’s not possible. If you’re going to milk the shot clock down to a few seconds on each possession, you had better shot somewehre north of 60 percent, and no team can do that on a night in, night out basis.
The only problem Kentucky is going to face is going to be the ridiculous media pressure from here on out. You can bet every newspaper which regularly covers college basketball will send a writer to wherever Kentucky is playing. First, the Wildcats will travel west on Interstate 64 to Louisville, where it will play the first two rounds at the KFC YUM! Center, home to the archrival Louisville Cardinals. Every fan not wearing Kentucky blue will be cheering hard against the Wildcats to blow it. Ironically, Kentucky ended Wichita State’s perfect season in the second round on its way to the national championship game, where it fell to Connecticut.
Needless to say, I’ll pick Kentucky to win any and every bracket I may fill out this tournament season.
Even with Kentucky dominating the men’s scene, it will still be far more intriguing than the women’s tournament. Does anyone give a damn outside of Connecticut, South Carolina, East Tennessee and Waco?