Filed by Darren Epps
PITTSBURGH -- I'm not going to risk my life to see Tennessee vs. Drake.
This was the thought twirling through my head when my stylin' 1997 Toyota Avalon began slipping and sliding on I-79 North during a driving snowstorm Friday.
Here's the trip: I watched my man Gus Johnson call the end of Xavier's win over BYU on Thursday night (I picked BYU, but Johnson was still awesome. Referring to Xavier's upcoming matchup with Ohio State and former coach Thad Motta, Johnson bellowed, "This isn't just business. It's personal!" Classic.) and then hit the road.
Yeah, I drove from Chattanooga to Pittsburgh for some Lady Vols action. I can't stand flying. Not the act of flying itself, but getting to the airport early, checking bags, not having fluids, taking shoes off, waiting at the gate, waiting some more, the inevitable delay, cramped seating, layovers, bags getting lost, waiting for bags, getting a cab, not having a car...you get the point. Sometimes, it's quicker to drive.
(I seriously considered making a Virginia swing to drop a flaming bag of poo on Old Dominion's doorstep and then lighting George Washington University on fire, but then I remembered I was the idiot who picked them in the Sweet 16).
At no point during this trip did it stop raining/snowing heavily. I spent the night in Beckley, W.V., which looks like the kind of place where people get taken to the woods and mutilated. Glad I'm here in the middle of the night. But the next day, man did it snow. Cars were in ditches, the side of the road and against guardrails -- not a good sign for someone (me) who lived most recently in Dallas and Atlanta. Not exactly a pair of winter wonderlands. So after skidding twice, I said, "That's it, I'm going 40 mph the rest of the way. Call me a wuss. I'll be the wuss who's not in a ditch." I missed most of the first two sets of NCAA games, but at least I'm still alive to watch the last two. Pittsburgh, in case you're interested, got six inches of snow Friday. It's also 25 degrees. This is why I live in the South.
This has to be one of my worst years picking games in the first round. Although, I do feel better since Virginia Tech had absolutely no business beating Illinois. Feel like I stole one there.
Great moment -- Kentucky checks the wrong Perry (sparingly-used Dwight, not Bobby) to start against Villanova. So Dwight Perry has to start and immediately fouls to get himself out of the game. Factor in the tough season and the free throw violation blunder against Mississippi State, and Tubby Smith can do absolutely nothing right. He'll get killed for this, just because.
I think Tubby is also responsible for global warming and Chattanooga's budding gang problem. Shame on you, Tubby.
The SEC will be judged on these late games -- three teams playing at the same time. Check back in tomorrow.