I am currently sitting outside on campus of Philadelphia University, waiting for the Quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament to begin. There is $500,000 dollars on the line, and after sending a few emails, I was awarded press passes in order to cover the event. Because more of my sports content is located at Tuesdays with Horry, I decided that it would be best to cover the tournament there, as it is a bit off brand for ShittyBanter.
I have done my best to cover the tournament with journalistic diligence. With a few classes on sports journalism under my belt, I am well aware of the classic definition of my responsibility here: I am to report the facts objectively and relay the story to a larger public, in order to bring them closer to the action.
This is not my usual responsibility.
At Tuesdays with Horry, I usually take the facts reported by hard journalists on the ground and make my own opinions on them, picking who will cover the spread while making jokes about Jay Cutler’s face. But things are different here at The Basketball Tournament. Because this is the first year of the event, I am one of the few people reporting the facts on the ground. Unless you are watching here in person, there are not enough facts out there to base your opinions on. The burden of responsibility usually held by SportsCenter and basketball-reference.com has fallen upon my shoulders.
I am trying and writing as hard as I can to do it justice. If anything, it is a unique opportunity to see (and hopefully prove) that I am capable of handling it, and might generate some work that I could use to apply for a job as a beat reporter.
But I have a tough time with objectivity; I much prefer to have opinions.
It is so much easier for me to write about things that I love and hate and hope for and cry for than to simply tell the story of what is happening. I want to tell the story of what is happening to me and to us because of what is happening. So here, in secret, on the lawn outside the Gallagher Athletic Center, I’m going to release all of the stuff that Reporter Tyler isn’t allowed to say, or think about.
After reporting on the tournament for two rounds I have feelings on each of the eight teams remaining, and in my heart I’ll be cheering for one team to prevail. But I can’t let Reporter Tyler talk about it. I have to keep it over here, at ShittyBanter.
Here is the bracket of the eight teams remaining in the tournament:
I wish I could tell you that I had precisely predicted this elite eight, with Rep Your City beating DMV’s Finest being my only misstep. Unfortunately, this is the bracket I have been keeping throughout the tournament, and my error was simply one of absentmindedly swapping three letter abbreviations. Classic me.
Here is what my heart will be pulling for in each of tonight’s games:
Illinois Hoopville AllStars over Big Apple Basketball
Although Big Apple Basketball is a ton of fun to watch, and the presence of Smush Parker makes it slightly more likely that a certain website will let me write for them, I am pulling for Hoopville in the first game of the Quarterfinals. Yesterday, a good portion of the Hoopville squad sat next to me in the bleachers after their game. I watched them watch basketball, as I was sure they were better at it than I, and I thought I could learn something from them.
And these guys were the best.
At one point I started a conversation with one of their players. I asked him how they found out about the tournament, and he informed me that it was a bit of a rush job. “They didn’t tell us about this shit all the way in Chicago.” was one choice quote I can remember. I didn’t get his name, as I am still new to the journalism side of this and basketball players who look three feet taller than you are extremely intimidating, but it was still one of my favorite human-and-non-basketball moments of my time here.
I want that guy to win a cut of $500,000. Go Hoopville.
CitiTeam over ND Alumni
If you know me at all, you know that I would never cheer for Notre Dame, especially in bracket format. The Notre Dame group has been one of the hardest to remain objective towards, as my hatred of everything Fighting Irish is automatic at this point of my life. It would be much easier for me emotionally if I didn’t have to pretend they were just another team instead of some collection of humans that my veins unconsciously despise for nonsensical reasons.
I would much prefer that CitiTeam win this game.
DMV’s Finest over Team Barstool
Team Barstool was put together by “El Presidente” of Barstool Sports, David Portney. The team is stacked, anchored by former pros Dahntay Jones and Matt Walsh, but David Portney is also at the end of the roster. Because of the amount of Facebook support Team Barstool received, they were allowed to select their opponent in the first round. They chose the team of their sibling blog Barstool Philly and soundly defeated them. At the end of the game with a lead hovering around thirty, Portney checked in and did his best to get on the stat sheet. He succeeded to an extent. At the post game press conference he emphasized his importance to the team as a gag and it was a good laugh.
In the second round, Princeton’s Alumni squad, PUBB Champions, kept it extremely close with Team Barstool, missing a three pointer at the buzzer that would’ve forced overtime. Portney didn’t get any minutes. And that bums me out. I know that $500,000 is tons of money, and that the ex-pros recruited definitely weren’t about to risk it by putting an Average Joe in during crunch time. But I want to live in a world where an Average Joe gets to take a jumper with huge stakes. I want to live in a world where regular people like me can live a fantasy that they played out countless times at their backyard hoop. And David Portney is actively robbing us of that world.
Also, I feel bad for accidentally crossing out DMV’s Finest on the tournament sheet.
So go DMV.
North Broad Street Bullies over PeacePlayers International
Because I am still a Temple student, and this is as close I imagine I’ll ever get to a Temple National Championship run.
Okay, I have to go, the Quarterfinals have just tipped off and I have to get back to real reporting.
I hope my work is helping you cheer.
PS: In the media room, the Belmont Stakes are about to start, and I have Commanding Curve at 8-1 and a 2,4,5, trifecta box. Just wanted to say it here in case I’m right.