This whole Lebron saga just reinforces why it's absolutely
pointless to be a "fan" of any professional sports team. I mean
these guys do not give one fuck about the average "fan". They
always say stuff like, "we couldn't have done it without you guys",
"we're so lucky to have the greatest fans in the world", blah,
blah, blah. It's all bullshit. The truth is, what they're most
thankful for is that you're buying tickets, concessions, merchandise,
etc. Because all that helps pay for their ridiculous salaries thus
allowing them to make millions of dollars and live a life most could have only
dreamed of growing up. In the end it's the "fan" that gives
everything and gets nothing back. I mean look at that guy in that
video. What has he gotten out of the last seven years that he's rooted
for the Cavs? NOTHING. And now he's gotten completely back-stabbed
by the self-absorbed King James. It's an inverse system.
Actually, I am a fan of certain teams. I'm a fan of any team that helps
make me money. That's who I like cheering for. If not for that
though, I don't see how anybody can make such a big emotional and financial
investment in these players when they're not getting anything back in return.
Even if the team you do cheer for gets lucky and wins a title, what do you get
out of that? Okay so you're happy for a few hours but after that life
goes on. The bottom line is these arrogant, entitled, egotistical
millionaires don't give a fuck about you or I.
All year they've been harping on how wide-open college basketball is. "Anyone can win it", "There's going to be a ton of upsets in the tournament", "I can definitely see team X making a run at it", "Team X is really underrated, they have what it takes to make the final four."
But what happens when the brackets come out? They take all chalk and almost every single one of them has the 1 and 2 seed facing off in the elite eight.
I don't think anyone would disagree that this season has been an unmitigated disaster for the Tar Heels. After a rather promising start that hinted at another deep tournament run, the bottom has fallen out and North Carolina has sunk to the bottom of the ACC Standings, tied for fewest conference wins at two. But as America's most high-profile college basketball team, the odds-makers haven't had to make any drastic adjustments to their lines, because the betting public has remained inexplicably infatuated with the young men in powder blue, in spite of their money-burning 7-14 A.T.S. record (2-6 A.T.S. in ACC play). That is until now. As the losses keep piling up, bettors have begun to grow weary of this sluggish and underachieving bunch. People are sick and tired of being burned by these guys. But tonight the mindset is all different and here's why. For the first time in eons the Tar Heels are a home underdog. They've sunk to such depths that finally the odds-makers have had enough and they've been forced to jack up their lines. Due to this adjustment, I feel like finally there is some line value in betting on North Carolina. This evening the Heels aren't being to asked to cover an inflated chalk line like they have failed to do countless times at home this season. They are now the ugly home underdog, and that's a completely different role. When nothing is expected of you, it's a totally different mindset. Not only are they underdogs in the betting line, but I think the team feels that way as well and because of it I think they will thrive.
Furthermore, who is Duke to be laying this type of point-spread on the road? As bad as North Carolina has been at covering home spreads, the Blue Devils have been equally as inept on the road, sporting an unremarkable 2-5 A.T.S. record away from the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor. This included straight-up losses as huge 11.5-point favorites at N.C. State and 7-point favorites at Georgia Tech. This team isn't exactly a juggernaut when they aren't getting that sweet home-cooking.
Given their abysmal season, it would take a minor miracle for the Tar Heels to sneak into the tournament. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. But if it is going to happen, a winning streak must start tonight. A rivalry game against a hated in-state foe like Duke is sure to elicit maximum effort and inspire emotional play. But emotion and effort are already assumed in a rivalry game as fierce and heated as this one. I think the lessening of expectations and underdog mindset will allow the Heels to play infinitely more care-free and ultimately will be what propels them to the upset.
Tar Heels +6
Tar Heels ML +228
I really think we have a great situation tonight in Spokane to catch a vastly superior team that will not only be extremely focused to win, but win BIG and by a MARGIN. First though, let's examine the Gonzaga basketball season so far to help uncover the mindset and make-up of this Bulldogs team.
After an impressive non-conference season that featured wins over Wisconsin (N), Cincinnati (N) and Illinois (A) and close losses to Wake Forest (H) and Michigan State (A), the Zags embarked upon play in the West Coast Conference. They began the conference season rather impressively, winning and covering their first three games at Portland (-2) 81-78 (wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated), at St. Mary's (+4.5) 89-82 (led by as many as fifteen before the Gaels rallied late) and at San Diego (-8) 68-50. So at this point the entire team must have been brimming with confidence considering their quick start. They were also rising up the national rankings. However, that's when complacency appeared to set in for this talented, albeit young squad. In their fourth conference game, they stumbled and bumbled around at home against Pepperdine as 23-point favorites winning 91-84. They followed that up with yet another lethargic home performance vs. Loyola Marymount (game was tied at half-time) before pulling away to eventually triumph 85-69, but any chance of covering the large 20.5-point spread was foiled by the slow start. But those two weak home efforts ended up being the calm before the storm. The over-confident Bulldogs waltzed into Santa Clara last Thursday laying 13 big points against an over-matched Broncos squad. Well predictably the Zags came out flat against an inferior opponent as they proceeded to sleepwalk through the entire first half. After being down by five at recess, the Zags allowed the feisty home team to increase their lead to as many as fourteen in the second half. They finally awoke from their deep slumber to quickly erase that large deficit and took the lead for good with just under four minutes left to ultimately prevail 71-64. This game only reinforced to the players that they could "play in spurts" and "turn it up" whenever they felt like it and still win. It's almost like negative reinforcement. You know why play hard for the whole game against a bad team when giving just the minimum amount of effort is still good enough? Well eventually that's going to catch up to a team and burn them. And that's exactly what happened last Saturday against San Fransisco, another team the Zags could name their score against if they wanted to. The Dons played very hard, were fueled by some hot outside shooting, and the Bulldogs let them hang around long enough to force OT. The momentum of the home crowd spurred San Fransisco on in the extra period as they eventually pulled off the huge upset, winning 81-77. Give all the credit in the world to the Dons for playing and competing as well as they did, but Gonzaga shouldn't be losing to a team like that considering the talent they have. It had to be an extremely humbling loss for Gonzaga as it also snapped their 27-game conference winning streak. Afterwords, a dejected Bulldogs team spoke about their recent uninspired play with Junior Guard Stephen Gray admitting: "We've been putting ourselves in that situation it seems like just about every game..........We're not playing with the energy that we need and it finally caught up to us. Hopefully it will be a wake-up call." Head coach Mark Few didn't hold back either stating: "We've been playing with fire a little bit".
So after everything that's unfolded in the past few weeks, I think this team is finally ready to start playing hard and up to their vast potential. They finally got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and I don't think they want it to happen again. Nobody is pushing the panic button, but the players all realize it's time to step their game up and stop playing around. Mark Few agrees saying: "We've just got to get back to playing the best we can at what we do best, and we've kind of gotten away from that a little bit."
This really is a talented team, it's probably the most athletic team they've ever had. Portland is a nice squad, they're well-coached and play hard, but that is all. If Gonzaga is motivated on home-court, like they will be tonight, this game is really no contest. They say heart beats talent unless talent has heart. Well tonight Gonzaga will have BOTH instead of relying on just natural ability. I fully expect a double digit victory and the Bulldogs combination of hustle, toughness, talent and athleticism to be far too much for the Pilots to handle in a forty-minute destruction.
That's the only logical explanation I can come up with to explain how awful they are. How is it possible to lose to Golden State by thirty when they've got only nine guys and three of them are from the D-League? And no I did not take the Nets tonight but I'm still bitter about losing with them earlier this week. I honestly believe this team could be on the take though.