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Patrick Hruby

March Madness Glossary

How to talk tourney

Sports on Earth

Know the difference between the Big East and the Catholic 7? Between havoc and the pack line defense?

Not to worry. We’re here to help.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament once again upon us, and as office pools across the nation overflow with bracket know-nothings — the tourney is to casual college hoops fans what New Year’s Eve is to casual partiers — Sports on Earth presents our first March Madness glossary. Consider it a public service:

Atlantic Coast Conference: A conference adding schools from Indiana and Kentucky.

Big Ten: A conference with 12 schools.

Big East: A conference downsizing from 15 schools to seven.

Bracket buster: Image in mirror on Saturday morning.

Bracketology: Valuable predictive science focusing on valueless predictions. See also: astrology, presidential election forecasting.

Bracketologist: A paid entertainer. See also: circus clown.

Brust, Ben: Made college basketball’s shot of the year.

Butler: A school celebrated for repeatedly losing in the NCAA tournament.

Bubble team: a) major school that squeaked to 20 wins by feasting on mid-major opponents; b) mid-major school that squeaked to 24 wins by flattening minor opponents; c) minor school that squeaked to 30 wins by beating high schools which lost their conference tournaments when potential game-winning three-pointers hit the YMCA ceiling; d) Kentucky, no matter how terrible they are.

Catholic 7: A fringe religious sect that denounces the worship of football.

Cinderella: Team you failed to pick in your bracket.

Duke: Beloved educational institution whose equally beloved basketball team coincidentally shares a nickname with Abbadon, the evil one, the old serpent, the father of all lies, the author of all sin, the chief of the demons, the enemy of righteousness, a horrible M. Night Shyamalan movie and that History Channel actor who totally looks like President Obama.

Elite eight: Refers to at least four teams you failed to pick in your bracket.

Expert analysis: The musings of a Magic 8-Ball, filtered through hair, makeup and a sport coat.

Final four: Refers to three games that have yet to be played.

First four: ?Como?

5-12 game: Game in which knowledge of likely upset does not produce correct pick.

Florida Gulf Coast: A team composed of players who could use a little luck.

Gonzaga: See Butler.

Harvard: A team composed of players who will never need luck again.

Havoc: Innovative defensive system in which defenders spend entire period of time on defensive side of the ball defending.

Jones, Roosevelt: Made college basketball’s other shot of the year.

Kenpom: The most accurate and objective way to assess college basketball teams without having to watch college basketball.

Miami: School featuring Shane Larkin, son of former professional baseball player Barry Larkin.

Michigan: School featuring Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, sons of former professional basketball players Tim Hardaway and Glenn Robinson.

Mississippi: School featuring Marshall Henderson, not the son of Puck from “The Real World: San Francisco.”

Mid-major: Educational institution that will never be esteemed enough to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Marquette: School responsible for the greatest team photo in basketball history.

Milk carton: Probable location of 2012-13 University of Kentucky basketball team photo.

Monorail: Public transportation device sold by Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

NCAA: Organization devoted to upholding not-for-money amateur sports purity by policing unsponsored drinking cup use during official postseason basketball tournament.

NIT: Cable sports network programming alternative to prime-time reruns of “Bodyshaping.”

Office pool: Annual workplace charitable drive in which donations are solicited in mid-March, held in an interest-free envelope for three weeks and then distributed to the employee with the least amount of personal interest in college basketball outcomes.

Oladipo, Victor: Missed college basketball’s dunk of the year.

One shining moment: Semiannual appearance of single, salty tear smudging a cheerleader’s Duke University cheek decal.

Pac-12 Conference: Valuable semiannual content contributor to Playboy magazine.

Pack line defense: Defensive system designed to reduce: (a) athletic advantage of superior opposition; (b) hypnagogic advantage of Ambien.

Pom-pom: Sideline cheering apparatus; not related to Ken.

Scoring: College basketball phenomenon rumored to exist. See also: Yeti, Higgs-Boson particle pre-2013, “Chinese Democracy” circa 1993-2008.

Second round: The first round.

Seed: A team’s ranking in the NCAA tournament, as determined by a complex formula that includes record, strength of schedule, recent performance, size of regional television audience, telegenic properties of head coach, whims of television networks, whims of advertisers, assist-to-turnover ratio and how much money a sneaker company has invested in the team’s uniforms.

Shot clock: Device that places 35-second time limit on offensive possessions, thereby reducing average number of aimless perimeter passes before eventual high ball screen leads to shot attempt from 15 to 10.

Sleeper: Tournament game involving Wisconsin.

Southeastern Conference: Consortium of schools deeply concerned about spring football depth charts.

Sweet sixteen: For mid-major schools, ending your season here is a reason to re-hire your coach. For major school, ending your season here is a reason to fire your coach and hire one away from a mid-major.

Student-athlete: An unpaid entertainer.

Upset: Gastrointestinal state that occurs following realization that President Obama picked a better bracket than you did, and he’s only busy being the leader of the free world.

Zubaz-inspired uniforms: No. A thousand times no.

Read the original article at Sports on Earth