The University of Virginia has always been good to me. The Center for Politics at UVA has had me speak and take part in seminars and while doing so, they’ve put me in nice hotels, a great bed and breakfast, have fed me in swanky restaurants, and even once gave me football tickets. Yeah, it was UVA vs Duke, but still…it was nice. I was on a panel at UVA just a few months ago. They have one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation when Trump-supporting tiki-torch Nazis aren’t invading it. So, even though I’m an SEC guy, I feel that I have to root for UVA in at least one sport. I root for them in basketball. Go, Cavaliers!
Virginia’s basketball program has been great since the hiring of coach Tony Bennett in 2009. He inherited the worst UVA team since the 1960s and turned it into a program that’s won two ACC tournaments (remember Duke and North Carolina are in the same conference), won or shared 6 ACC regular season titles, has four 30-win seasons, and won the national championship in 2019. Unfortunately, this great basketball powerhouse that runs with the likes of Duke and UNC also has epic losses of historic proportions.
Teams that are first seeds in the NCAA tournament don’t lose to teams ranked 16…until Virginia did it. In 2018, number-one seed Virginia lost to the 16-ranked University of Maryland at Baltimore County, the Retrievers. They won the national championship the next year and have had ups and downs since.
This year, I actually made a bracket and picked fourth-seed UVA to win the national championship. Once again, UVA gave us another epic loss, falling to 13-ranked Furman. Furman? Where the hell is Furman? It’s in Greenville, South Carolina. You gotta watch out for those Paladins? What the hell is a Paladin? Anyway, my bracket went bust on day one. The sun hadn’t even gone down yet and my bracket was toast.
Anyway, don’t take underdogs lightly. So far in this year’s NCAA tournaments, we’ve seen #1 Perdue fall to #16 Fairleigh Dickson, #2 Arizona fall to #15 Princeton, and in the woman’s tournament, we’ve seen #1 Stanford fall to #8 Ole Miss, and #1 Indiana fall to #9 Miami.
We’re also seeing Russia fall to underdog Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to crush Ukraine within weeks, capture its president Volodymir Zelenskyy, absorb the entire nation as a Russian state, and stroll through the streets of Kyiv for photo-ops. Now, he’s begging for military supplies from China, Iran, and possibly North Korea. Putin is getting his ass kicked by this underdog.
It’s like Putin is a basketball coach but he doesn’t know the sport, with the only games he’s ever watched being those by the Harlem Globetrotters, who are as much of a real basketball team as they are real sleuths when they help out Scooby-Doo.
Putin probably has the means to keep fighting this illegal invasion, even if he has to use hardware from Iran, private armies, other assorted mercenaries, and recruits from prison, but he’ll never win as long as Ukraine has the support of the west. The west needs to give Ukraine everything it asks for because if it falls to Putin, so will other nations in the future. Putin will go west.
This is NOT what Florida Governor has called it, a “territorial dispute.” This is an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic nation by a war criminal. And even though there are a lot of Republicans who are not rooting for them, I saw we cheer on and support the underdogs.
Except for the Paladins. Yeah, screw those guys.
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