Astute perusers of jack.html already know this, but Henry set up a discussion group for readers of jack. It can be found here. It’s kind of cool.

Anyway, Andrew writes there that my band entry was one of the best entries I’ve posted. Thanks, Andrew! (And when the heck are you coming to visit?) Again, let me point out that Allie called that entry “boring.” Since then, multiple people have commented on that particular entry’s thoughtfulness, entertainment value, inspiration, and spiritual encouragement.

Who then, has the problem, me or Allie?

Dave writes: “Every year we lose to the exact same team–a team that is quicker than we are, and has a bona fide superstar on their team.”

Umm, that’s actually untrue. Who did we lose to last year? We lost to Gonzaga. I wouldn’t characterize them as a quicker team than us; they played unselfish ball and shot well. And they had no superstars at all (can you remember the name of a single player on that team?). So if he’s asserting the teams we lose to are always quicker, that’s false.

2 years ago, we beat Rhode Island, a team that was clearly much quicker than us, and had a “superstar” in Cuttino Mobley. As much a superstar as anyone currently on Arizona, at least. So if he’s saying that if a team is quicker and has a superstar on their team, then every year we always lose to them, that’s also false.

Maybe Cuttino Mobley isn’t a “superstar.” 3 years ago, to get into the Sweet 16, Stanford beat Wake Forest, featuring Tim Duncan. A veritable superstar, the player of the year. And their team was hardly slow. That same year, we beat Arizona, the eventual NCAA champions. Fast, with several NBA players. Again, David is wrong.

Maybe he’s just talking about this year. Well, this year, we beat Duke, a pretty athletic team, and Auburn with Chris Porter, a star player. So we clearly can beat quick teams with superstars, even this year. Granted, those were early in the year, but the point is we can and have beat teams like this.

So basically, no matter how you parse David’s statement, it is wrong.

I was looking at the past few years of our team, and basically, the only definite pattern that you can see is that we usually lose to Arizona. We often lose at home, and at Arizona we’ve beaten them once the last 17 years. Yikes. That really, is the only thing you can say. And it turns out that Arizona generally tends to have more superstars and is usually quicker than us.

For some reason, Arizona just always has our number. Who knows why that is. It’s strange. We can beat other good teams, and other teams can beat Arizona, but we have trouble with them. It’s really weird how sports can be like that. For a while, the Seattle Supersonics would always beat Houston in the playoffs. It got very tedious – how long could we last until Seattle beat us? Part of the reason they got Charles Barkley was so that we could beat Seattle. And we did that year, only to lose to Utah in the conference finals (do people even remember that Houston made it to the conference finals that year?).

For several years in the late 90s, San Francisco would always lose to Green Bay in the NFL playoffs. Again, this got tedious. You may not remember this, but the team would make various moves for the express purpose of being able to beat Green Bay. This was part of the reason Steve Mariucci was hired – he came from Green Bay (before being Cal coach).

At any rate, it’s just weird how some teams have other teams’ numbers. It’s weirder in college sports, since there’s turnover. But for some reason, Lute Olson tends to beat Mike Montgomery. It’s really weird.

As for Stanford’s chances in the tournament, I think we have a decent shot. Really, our best shot ever was 2 years ago, and I think every realized it the second we saw the tournament bracket. It was a dream come true. The hardest challenge before the region finals was Purdue. Purdue was easily the best #2 seed for us to play.

By the way, if you recall, and I might be wrong about this, but there were the same concerns about us not being able to play quick teams that year. Some people worried we wouldn’t be able to hang with Western Michigan, but we beat them 83-65. Who knows whether we would have beat Kansas had Rhode Island not beat them. Had we beat Kentucky (we lost by 1 freaking point) we could easily have beat Utah.

But yeah, a lot depends on our bracket this year. But I think we have a shot. I think these last 2 losses were good for us. It reminded us what we’re weak on, and we’ll definitely be more prepped for that going in to the tournament. I guess we’ll see. But you know who I’m picking to win it on in Simon’s little thing.