THE GAME: North Carolina vs Gonzaga
I had not yet eaten In-n-Out in 2017. It was intentional. I knew that once I returned and had one of those glorious Double-Doubles, it would be all downhill. I would crave it every day. (And once upon a time, I actually did eat it every day - it was freshman year of college and I probably gained at least 25 pounds.)
But still... I've been watching a lot of March Madness. More than I have in probably a decade. Which means I've seen the In-n-Out commercial - the one where it's nothing but a close-up photo of the burger - quite a few times.
Tonight, for the championship game, I broke down.
(And yes, I'm well aware that the first game for the Angels is also tonight. I will be watching it concurrently on my laptop. But it's hard to get too excited about this season when the Angels' opening day starter is Ricky Nolasco. The rotation is not exactly the '71 Orioles.)
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I always order my Double-Double Animal-Style: cooked in mustard with grilled onions and extra spread.
- I also order my fries that way, with grilled onions, melted cheddar, and a deluge of spread piled on top. I am definitely in the group who thinks In-n-Out's fries are not very good, but when paired with all these extra flavors (and calories), I like it.
- Both of these together cost just under 8 bucks. I like Five Guys and Shake Shack, but there is nothing in all of fast food - hell, there's nothing in any restaurant category, period - that is a better value than In-n-Out.
- Admittedly, the food doesn't travel all that well. It is much, much better eaten at the restaurant, so 99% of the time, that's what I do. But, you know, I wanted to get home and watch the game.
- It's still freaking delicious, though. I'd be lying if I said I don't want to go get another one tomorrow. But I will try to resist.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- Gonzaga has beaten a 16 seed, 8, 4, 11, and 7 to get here. It will be interesting to see how they look against #1 UNC, who in their last two games have beaten Oregon and Kentucky - arguably two of the top 5 teams in America.
- I was surprised to learn the other day that Jim Nantz is 57 years old. He's been around so long - I literally do not remember March Madness without him - that I assumed he was at least 7-10 years older than that.
- When did people start considering Arizona to be part of the West Coast? I've heard three different people say that Gonzaga has a chance to be the first champion from the West Coast since U of A in 1997. Arizona is not on the West Coast, if for no other reason than that Arizona has no coast. Is Las Vegas on the West Coast? Salt Lake? Denver?
- Gonzaga missed the free throw that would have given them a rare four-point play, but they're still up by 2 after five minutes.
- I've mentioned before that Justin Jackson's floater is my favorite shot in college basketball this year. It still is, but I have to say, the more I watch him, the less sure I am that he's going to be a star at the next level. He's 22 years old; isn't it possible that this is one of those cases of a 22 year old dominating against 18 and 19 year olds, and he won't ever look this good in the NBA?
- Of course, I'm also the guy who didn't think Kevin Love would start in the league and that James Harden would be a total bust.
- I've got the Angels-A's pregame on, but no sound. Rickey Henderson is giving a speech after having the field named after him; can anyone confirm if he is talking about himself in the third person?
- Gonzaga is up by 3 at the half, but UNC has to be content with that. UNC is shooting 31%, including a godawful 2-13 (16.7%) from three. It feels like Gonzaga should be up by at least 10.
- Gonzaga opens the half with two careless turnovers in 30 seconds and now North Carolina has the lead. Just like that.
- With 11 minutes left, Gonzaga is shooting 34.1%, UNC is shooting 34.0%. This shit is ugly.
- On the plus side, I have no hesitation turning the channel whenever I see Mike Trout is coming up to bat, so I just saw him hit a home run to put the Angels ahead.
- Commercial Note: Do people actually get paid to write the commercials with Charles Barkley, Samuel Jackson, and Spike Lee? Or do the actors just make stuff up 5 minutes before they start filming? I'm prepared to believe either answer.
- Right now, UNC is 3-23 from three. That's 13%. THIRTEEN PERCENT.
- They are also 11-19 (58%) from the free-throw line. And they are winning by four points, which pretty much sums up this crapfest.
- The refs have a lot to do with it, too. I don't remember such trigger-happy refs in a championship game. I wonder if they have some money on the game.
- During the UConn-Butler championship game a few years back, the basketball was so atrocious that I went to the grocery store during the game. (And then I went to In-n-Out for dinner that night, too.) We're not there yet, but getting close.
- As soon as I typed that, the teams made back-to-back three-pointers.
- Woah. You could have given me 50 chances and I would not have guessed who this is:
- North Carolina wins by 6. If you're interested in seeing all of the terrible stats, here's the link to the box score. UNC shot 35.6%; Gonzaga shot 33.9%. There was nothing enjoyable about this game.
- Can they do the "One Shining Moment" montage without using a single clip from this game?