"Crazy shit happens in the Twilight Zone"
-anonymous Mr. Red friend
While killing time this week until, well, today, I was catching up on some old episodes of the Twilight Zone on Netflix. Shooting the breeze with a buddy of mine, trying to express how much I was enjoying revisiting the groundbreaking series, he jumped the gun and summed it up for me perfectly: "Oh yea, crazy shit happens in the Twilight Zone".
In addition to perhaps being my new life motto, I think the quip sums up all that needs to be said about tonight's matchup against Michigan State. It's been a big week for the Xs and Os aficionados, but for all the verbiage, there are sparse few conclusions to be drawn about what's going to transpire tonight. Not only are predictions from the pundits split, with the Cardinals finally getting some "trendy pick" respect (which scares me), but few seem to have much of a clue of how the winning team will advance.
Will they speed it up or slow it down? Does Siva need to just run the offense or attack with abandon? Should the Cards focus on shutting down Draymond Green, or let him get his and focus on the rest? And of course, the ubiquitous "they have to make shots" applies for both teams.
The pre-game buzz from both camps was similarly calculated and understated. Both coaches praised the other's team, spoke of the monumental task at hand, but each seemed to be speaking with a quiet confidence in his own squad's chances. The only player-smack was Draymond Green answering a question about UofL's press, saying they handled it in 2009 and "ran them out of the gym".
If that's qualifying as bulletin board material, then it's time to tip this one off.
As much as I would like to put my faith in Pitino's stellar record in the Sweet 16 and how dangerous he can be with a week to prepare for a tournament opponent, I do not think that will play much of a factor. There is no secret strategy, no weapon that will be unveiled, Chane Behanan will not start raining in threes.
It there is a key for this one, it seems to be coming out on the right end of those quirky 50/50 plays. Not losing a ball out of bounds after snagging a rebound. Blocking out on free throws. No blown dunks or layups. Praying that Gorgui gets a fair shake from the refs.
So it's about focus, most of all. Other than that, I doubt either team will have success trying to gimmick a way to victory. It's a simple, roll the ball out and may the better team win game.
And I like our chances. But if Behanan does turn into a three-point specialist and we ride that wave to New Orleans, don't be entirely shocked. Crazy shit happens in the Twilight Zone.