GAMMBOOLLLLLL!!! Big East Tournament Semifinals

We still love you, Jawanza. A lot. Your teammates too. Thanks for the ride this year, let's hope it keeps going.

My only employment-related task today was a work meeting this morning at 11am, so I was done by noon. This was by design so I could sit at home in front of my HDTV and just watch college basketball all day. Usually I consider this a blessing as BIg East Semifinal and ACC Quarterfinal Friday is one of my favorite days of the year to be a couch potato.

But I've been watching CNN and surfing the 'net all day, because I can't even put on a basketball game. That's how much last night hurt. I thought the WVU game to end the season was the Most USF Thing Ever, but the final game at the Forum paled in how much it impaled. Last night was a stomach punch the likes of which even my diehard USF ass could barely comprehend. We had it. It was right there, and all we needed was our best leaper to dunk the basketball. A curse of 20 years would have died on the spot. The dream matchup with a Louisville team we know we can beat in the semifinals was just a bonus.

I was at The Rack on Platt, about six SoCo and Gingers deep, and I actually yelled "DUNK IT JAWANZA!!" as the head-man pass was made. When he missed it, the "OHHHH" was the first time the bar had been paying attention to the game outside of my party. I couldn't even watch his free throws afterwards, because there was no way they were going in. The overtime was akin to the 5 minutes of polite conversation you have after you get dumped; just a series of noises and sights you don't really remember because your mind keeps replaying the "I think we should see other people" you just heard over and over. I've been in a fog all day. Basketball shouldn't mean this much.

For me personally, fulfilling the dream of USF Basketball has always meant winning a regular NCAA Tournament game. So in my eyes Dayton doesn't count despite what the Indianapolis Mafia might tell you. We've got to win a game in the part of the bracket everyone fills out. I don't know if we get that chance (though I think we do), but now it's a nauseating, grinding weekend of waiting instead of a celebration. But after all, we are USF. How could it happen any other way?

More on last night, Doug Gottleib being a troll, and my picks after the jump.

Two side notes from last night:

First, if you're a USF fan, and took shots at Jawanza or any other USF player last night on Twitter, stop reading this and go jump in a lake of fire. I unfollowed two people last night for that offense. It was completely inexcusable, and pretty disgusting. You think anyone feels worse than he does? And how the hell do you think we got this far in the first place? Because Poland has been an unselfish, athletic revelation this year, as well as a great teammate. I hate it when our fans are dick heads.

And finally before we get to the picks, let's remember that everyone makes mistakes. And when they do, I'd say this is pretty good advice: "When you screw up, you admit you screw up. The only way you are going to change someone's opinion of you is everything you do after the mistake...follow the path that you admit you screwed up. There's no hiding from it. There's no excuses. There's no blaming."

So when an ESPN analyst sends out a snarky and untrue Tweet about a school of which he clearly knows nothing, deleting it from his timeline and acting like it didn't happen is hardly a way to change someone's opinion to the positive after they made a mistake. Especially when his biggest mistake is one usually made only by really shady people, and he doesn't exactly seem too sorry or repentant for previous transgressions. Troll so hard, Doug.

Picks time:

Cincinnati +8 over Syracuse

I don't think they win outright, but Syracuse was OH SO Syracuse yesterday. Dig a hole early, make a furious run and putting it all together to show why they can look like a national championship team for stretches, start fighting with each other on the bench in the middle of making a run, then make it close at the end and fail to cover because Fab Melo went all Mr. Hyde again. I thought that was an impossible -6 cover to blow with 2 minutes left, and yet they managed. This team makes absolutely no sense... so take the points.

Notre Dame +3.5 over Louisville

I'm just going on history here, because the Louisville team that showed up and beat Marquette yesterday is absolutely good enough to blow Notre Dame out of the gym. But they haven't put two consistent performances together in forever. Maybe Ricky P has them peaking at the right time, but I'm still not convinced. Gimme ND and the wood, plus keep in mind that a not very deep UL team is playing their third game in 3 days here. Playing USF is taxing on you mentally, but not as much physically. ND should be fresher tonight too.

Overall Record: 4-4 (with zero wins in the overtime games... ugh).

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