Broken Down Like Obama, I Now Pick West Virginia
It wasn't long ago when Bob Huggins, now the toast of every country road and mountain mama in West Virginia, was stumbling through a field sobriety test with vomit stuck on the driver's side of his automobile. Asked by a policeman to say the alphabet from "E'' through "P,'' he mumbled, "E, F, G, H, I, K, L, N, Z,'' according to the officer's report. This sad episode of drinking and driving came two years after Huggins suffered a massive heart attack, the result of a hard-driving coaching career marred by too many sideline tantrums, media confrontations, rules violations and law-breaking players, including one who allegedly punched out a 2,000-pound horse four times during a traffic stop.
Doesn't it figure, then, that he would rise through his private hell six years later and become the newest favorite to win the most charmingly dysfunctional NCAA basketball tournament on record? Have you ever seen a sports event when so many great games funneled to the final seconds and the difference between the so-called favorite and underdog was so minuscule? And can any bracket-owner in this country say -- in all honesty -- that they had Butler, West Virginia, Duke and battered Michigan State in their Final Four?
No wonder President Obama fled to Afghanistan. March mangled his bracket and forced him to seek other pursuits. It's fun, admittedly, to see an outlaw like Kentucky's John Calipari have his coaching flaws handed to him, unable to adjust when Huggins, he of the man-to-man defensive principles, befuddled the celebrated UK freshmen with a 1-3-1 zone. For $31.65 million, Calipari is not supposed to falter in the East Regional final, then let stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins go the one-and-done route and instantly enter the NBA draft. For all the adoration in the Commonwealth directed his way, Calipari could become a pariah quickly if he doesn't reach a Final Four soon. The good news for the rest of us is that Kentucky, at least this spring, won't be the third Calipari team to vacate a Final Four berth because he used an illegal player. But there's still plenty of time for that.