Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NIT Fever

"Coaching casual" on the invitations has a variety of interpretations.

In about two hours, the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament get started when Ole Miss and Dayton meet (immediately followed by North Carolina and Rhode Island). Both games promise to be as compelling and rich as one would imagine them to be, especially to those with no rooting interest. "Live from Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night, it's Ole Miss and Dayton!" has approximately zero percent appeal to those outside of Ole Miss, Dayton and degenerate gamblers. So, you might ask yourself, why am I reading about the NIT right now? Well, first, you have run out of other things to read on the Internet and have found yourself here, and second, Ole Miss is involved in a sporting event on a Tuesday night and I have nothing better to do than to think about it. So there.

But, since I only understand one team (Ole Miss) and vaguely another (North Carolina), I can't give an accurate breakdown of the matchups (my apologies to the Dayton and Rhode Island fans, I only have so much time and the large portion of that is devoted to doing nothing). So this breakdown will be based purely on the the picture above and the fashion sense that each coach chose to display, knowing that members of the press would be in attendance.

From left to right...

Roy Williams, North Carolina

By wearing a Tar Heel blue sweater vest and navy blue windsuit/track pants, Roy is announcing that he's won two national championships and he can do whatever the hell - whoops, sorry Roy - "heck" he wants to do. He's in the NIT, but his attire suggests he's watching an intra-squad scrimmage in Chapel Hill or perhaps an AAU game at a Nike camp. The man wants to win, but if he doesn't, so what. He's got a ring on his finger and a fat paycheck coming every two weeks. I think that attitude will translate well with his players and they'll show that same feeling into the finals.

Jim Baron, Rhode Island

Either the real Jim Baron had a prior engagement or the real Jim Baron is also the University of Rhode Island's Dean of Student Housing. Or Student Government. I think Jim was filled with nervous energy about Rhode Island's appearance on the New York stage and didn't want to seem to casual about it. And there could have been an academic conference taking place as well and he didn't want to go back to the hotel to change, which I think is an idea we can all appreciate. Jim's stiff, professional demeanor makes me a little wary about the Rams' chances. I think they'll play most of the game as if they too are wearing a suit. For you degenerates out there, I like North Carolina to beat them (and cover).

Brian Gregory, Dayton
Brian is wearing what I would assume most coaches would wear to an event like this. The Not Guilty Look - coat, dress shirt and no tie - says I wanted to dress up, but I'm not getting carried away (it also says I am not guilty of the crimes of which I stand accused). And because Brian is keeping it so real, I like Dayton's chances. The Not Guilty Look tells me he's approaching this time in New York just like he would any other game. He knows what his team is and is confident of their ability. Dayton is my pick to win it all.

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
Was Andy aware that this was a public event? The custom Ole Miss track suit with the Jordan brand t-shirt says "Where is the entertainment again? Over here? Oh, behind that curtain. Gotcha." I do not like Ole Miss' chances. And I think it's safe to assume that the charter plane isn't leaving New York until Friday, not because of the finals on Thursday but because Andy has a few dozen places to visit in Manhattan.

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