By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

And the Missouri Valley shall run red with the blood of the unbelievers.

So did anyone else find it somewhat peculiar that Billy Packer wasn't quite as opinionated yesterday on the merits of mid-majors as he was a week ago? Perhaps he was thinking to himself: "People need to understand -- Bradley advancing to the Sweet 16 is just the exception that proves the rule. Same with Gonzaga. And George Mason. Oh, and Wichita State, too. I mean, come on! Mid-majors only make up a quarter of the Sweet 16, for crying out loud! There's no way they could hang in a power conference like, say ... uh, the Big Ten, for example."

Of course, I can poke fun at Packer because I picked all four of those mid-majors to reach the Sweet 16. Yes, siree. Bradley knocking off Kansas and Pitt? George Mason beating Michigan State and North Carolina? Tooootally saw that coming. Yep. I just didn't tell anyone about. Well, that's not exactly true. I did tell my girlfriend who lives in Canada. (You wouldn't know her.)

It's amazing what we learn from a 40-hour orgy of basketball, though. And not just about the various teams. When you watch one network nonstop for four straight days, as I more or less did with CBS since Thursday morning through Sunday night, you become very familiar with its commercials. More important, you learn a lot about the products and sponsors. For example ...

I learned that when Shaquille O'Neal wears his Icy Hot Pro-Therapy support brace, he miraculously loses a good 30 to 40 pounds of fat from his stomach. (Unless that's a body double in the commercial. But I doubt an advertiser would purposely mislead us in such a way. 'Twould be unheard of.)

I was reminded that there are more than 350,000 NCAA student-athletes -- and that just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports. So that's kind of depressing. Although they do all seem to be getting really cool jobs in fields like neuroscience or as successful jazz musicians. Apparently, they never end up working third shift at some factory in their hometown, or spend their days cruising in a Trans Am outside their old high school in their varsity jacket, hoping to wow girls with stories of playing Division III volleyball. Nope. It's nothing but post-playing career success stories for all ex-college athletes. And for that, the NCAA should be commended.

I learned that based on the graphics in the show promos, every program on CBS is a "Hit Drama," "Hit Show," or "New Hit Comedy." Not that I in any way fault the network for hyping its shows -- it's CBS' right, and every network does it to some degree. Plus, I'm sure that "Hit Show" approach works better than: "Two And A Half Men: Seriously, People Actually Watch This! No, Really!"

I was reminded that four companies qualified for the Car Insurance Final Four: State Farm, Geico, Progressive and Allstate. But although State Farm ends up winning, Allstate is a clearly the second-best option if you don't want to go with State Farm. And, who knows, Allstate might even be the best. Maybe it had an undefeated season up until the title game and State Farm just happened to catch it on an off night and was able to pull an upset. It could be that, in a seven-game series, Allstate would romp four games to one. So, who really knows which is the best between State Farm and Allstate?

I realized that even if the Chevy Impala is a good vehicle, there's no way I'll ever purchase one just on the off-chance there actually is some sort of miniature, metallic deer that runs around all over the interior whenever I get out, only to hide again when I return. The last thing I'd want to do is get in my car and sit in a pile of miniature, metallic deer droppings.

Headlines ...

Footage of Big Ten teams to take up entire "One Shining Moment" losers montage

North Carolina, Ohio State receive much-needed wake-up calls; vow improvement in next round

Bill Self's NCAA Tournament performances helping Kansas fans forget Roy Williams

Everyone in office misses deadline for turning in women's tourney bracket

Isiah Thomas interested in signing this Starbury guy to a max deal

Yankees excited to see Johnny Damon throws no worse with tendinitis than without

Three Things I Thought I Thought While the Shockers Busted My Canadian Girlfriend's Bracket ...

1. I understand the significance of Candace Parker dunking. I do. But why doesn't Florida's Joakim Noah get any credit for doing it against men? And it hasn't been just once or twice. Noah has been throwing them down all season -- and doing it with the figure and hair of a supermodel to boot. So let's give her some love, too.

2. Let's be perfectly honest about John Thompson III, Georgetown and nepotism. To deny it's there is to lie to yourself. Thompson III is the successful head coach of the most prestigious program in Washington, D.C., and his father somehow has a job in the D.C. area as a sports radio commentator? As though his dad, some guy in his mid-60s with no broadcast background, didn't get that cushy little job simply because his son coaches the Hoyas. Riiight.

3. For how well Cuba has performed in the World Baseball Classic, it's surprising to see how poorly its fans travel. Both in Puerto Rico and in San Diego, the Cuban team has been very underrepresented compared with the number of fans from other countries. If Cuba truly is the baseball-mad country it's claimed to be, you'd think a lot more people would get on a plane and fly here to support their team. So what gives, Cuba? Do you love baseball or not? It must be that you don't, because there's no other explanation for not showing up to cheer on your fellow countrymen.

DJ Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine, as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also contributes headlines to "The Onion."




DJ_Gallo
DJ
Gallo
HOOPS AND ADS