Addiction - the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Yes, I have an addiction. I acknowledge it. I admit it. I think I realized it somewhere between 4:00 & 4:30am when Idaho State and Hawaii were going into overtime. Why? I thought to myself? Why am I watching this game? Neither of these teams really matter to me. And this game really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I doubt we see either of those teams in the Big Dance come March. So why am I watching this?
The answer? Because it's College Basketball. And I can't not watch. Even when I don't care about the outcome of a game, even if I don't sit through an entire game, I'll check the scores and stats as often as possible. I have to know. I just have to know. Because that's the beauty of basketball. Anything can happen. A loss this early in the season can be devastating (See last year's Kentucky loss to Gardner-Webb) or it might not mean anything (2004 saw UNC losing to Santa Clara in their first game of the season. Not to worry though, you might remember UNC only lost one other game that season and they went on to become National Champs.)
Thanks to ESPN's 24 hour College Hoops Tip Off Marathon I've been able to completely binge on basketball today. It started at 10:00 last night. And when I got too tired to keep watching, I set the DVR to record and resumed watching first thing this morning. I justify to myself that knowledge is power. When March rolls around I want to be informed about everything that's happening in the basketball world. Is it such a crime that I'm keeping track of injured players this early in the season? Is it so bad that I taped four and half hours of Sports Center during the wee hours of the morning that was devoted to basketball? How awful is it that I know the name of next year's top freshman recruit and where he's committed to play? (His name is Xavier Henry and he's going to Memphis. FYI, though, Roy Williams & UNC landed the number 3 recruit for next year, power forward John Henson. But they've also managed to land #19 Dexter Strickland, #25 Leslie McDonald, #49 David Wear and his twin brother #50 Travis Wear. It all adds up to the best recruiting class for the 2009-2010 season. So all of you who were hoping that after the graduation of Tyler Hansbrough (and the probable departure of most of the rest of the team to the NBA next summer) that UNC would hit a slump and quietly go away for a few years, don't hold your breath. Didn't we learn after the 2005 season that UNC doesn't rebuild. They reload.)
But I digress. See I know this stuff because I've just spent 24 hours happily getting indoctrinated. I also know that the Big East is the most heavily loaded conference right now. And that Memphis is probably going to cruise through C-USA again. I know that Patrick Mills at St. Mary's is going to spoil a lot of fun for some big basketball schools because he can shoot the lights out. I know that Notre Dame's basketball team has a better shot of getting to the final four this year, than their football team has of having a winning season. I worry about the situation Tom Crean has to clean up at Indiana. (If the man can win 10 games this season they should give him a medal.) I'm thrilled that the Boilermakers of Purdue are going to be legitimate contenders this season (if only Grandpa Doc were still around to see it. Michigan State and Purdue at the top of the Big Ten. What an epic battle that will be.) I'm excited to see if Wake Forest can live up to the hype. And how long the Tar Heels can run with such a huge target on their backs. I have an obsessive desire to watch the entire season to see which player might be the biggest challenger to Hansbrough for Player of the Year. Stephen Curry at Davidson? Patty Mills at St. Marys? Blake Griffin at Oklahoma? Harangody at Notre Dame? Thabeet at UConn? I love the fact that it's all undecided at the moment. We have a fresh new season ahead of us to determine all of these things.
For most people, Thanksgiving week means football. For me, it means basketball tournaments! The Maui Invitational, Preseason NIT, Coaches Against Cancer, Great Alaska Shootout, the Las Vegas Invitational...and the list goes on and on. It's a chance to see basketball powerhouses, like UNC play teams like Chaminade. It's also exciting because it gives us the opportunity to preview potential tournament games. UConn vs. Duke or Notre Dame vs. Texas. And because it's basketball you never can tell which way it will work out. That's beauty of tournaments. If basketball were like BCS football, this year's champs, Kansas wouldn't even have played for they championship. They were ranked number 4, so they would have watched the game and played in some other consolation bowl. But since it's a one and done tournament play off, anything can (and usually does happen.)
But here I am babbling again. See, I told you, it's a sickness. Most of you would probably say I need help. But that's the thing, I don't want help. I still love my addiction. I'm sure there are other people out there like me. But I don't think they have a support group for us. But I don't know anyone else like me. Most of the people I know, even the college basketball fans, don't really start to pay attention until January. When the Superbowl is over and the NCAA Football Championship has been awarded, most people will shift into college hoops mode.
But what about those of us who are already there? Who can we talk to until that happens? I don't know. I guess that's why I'm blogging about it. Maybe someday my son will grow to appreciate it the way that I do. Until then, I guess this will be my outlet.
For those who got bored (or lost) in the first paragraph, I'll summarize. I love college basketball. I hate that I'm the only person so into it this early in the season. My Tar Heels rock! Get ready for lots of fun basketball posts.