Louisville Saved Their Asses


I love how all these talking heads at ESPN or “insert network sports department here” fashion themselves as experts on who is going to cut down the nets every year at the NCAA tournament. Let’s take a look at this graphic from ESPN that detailed all the picks from 13 of their “experts” who cover College Basketball regularly. And we’re talking big name College Hoops names – Dick Vitale, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas, and on and on.

A total of 13 “experts” each selected their picks for the Final Four – so that’s 52 total slots (13 x 4) across all of them. Eleven of the 13 picked Louisville to make the Final Four, which really didn’t take much hoops knowledge to pick. However, if we removed that pretty obvious Louisville region/pick from the equation, a grand total of one Final Four slot across the remaining 39 was accurately predicted by these ‘experts’ – Dickie V picking Michigan. That’s a 2.5% accuracy rate for those of your scoring at home (or for those of you who are alone).

Yeah, yeah…it’s parody in college basketball. The talent is distributed to all the different teams out there. I know, I know…that’s the cover. But really, these guys are supposed to be experts and cover this sport daily so I would expect them to have a better take on who is really going to go deep into the Tournament and make the Final Four. But the reality is that I could have showed up in Bristol and sat in front of a camera and predicted the Final Four just as well as they could.

Wait, I did…I had Syracuse AND Louisville in my Final Four bracket.

Fast Times at JC Penney High

JC Penny ad on ESPN

OK, this is just wrong on so many levels.

I was on ESPN today watching news about the latest NCAA scandal, this one about Jim Tressel resigning as Ohio State’s football coach because of something involving his players selling OSU memorabilia for money (just for context…this is really irrelevant here). Ahead of the ESPN video clip was a video ad with ESPN’s own Kenny Mayne as the pitchman for JC Penney and some deal on Van Heusen shirts (screen shot above is from the actual ad).

Somehow, someway, with some creative editing, they tied in the beyond leg-en-dary Phoebe Cates getting-out-of-the-pool-scene (link is very very NSFW) from Fast Times at Ridgemont High within the ad.

How dare they!! Heretics!! This is the Phoebe Cates scene from Fast Times!!

But beyond using an epic scene from one of the greatest cult hits in movie history, which is tattooed in the minds of most males who grew up at some point the 1980’s (seriously, ask any 10 guys who grew up at that time their top 5 sexiest movie scenes from that era, and I guarantee you 9 of them will say Phoebe Cates getting out of the pool in the red bikini in Fast Times.), do they not recall the broader context for the scene (Judge Reinhold taking care of, er, “business” in the bathroom)? Anyone who recalls this scene will also know the broader context. That’s what made it such an epic scene. So as a brand manager, not only would I have to seriously question the immense lack of creativity in this ad (oh, I have an idea…lets edit in the Phoebe Cates bikini scene from Fast Times into a video ad for dress shirts), I’d have to ask if this is the type of association I would want in the mind’s, er, eye of my customer? Really? The worst part? The tie in makes absolutely no sense within the context of the ad!!

Oh, wait wait wait…I get it. That was the whole point! To start a conversation online about the ad. You got me. You’re good. #not


A stunningly awesome photo of Carmelo Anthony dunking last night during the Knicks’ big win vs Orlando. You can see and feel the silent purity of the play – Its as if there is no one in the gym but the Knicks and the Magic, and they are playing for nothing but the love of the game

The full set of photos from the game are on ESPN and many of them were taken by Nathanial Butler from Getty Images in the same shadow/spotlight motif. Just some amazing photos that I’d encourage you to check out.

Celtic Chants

This reinforces the amazing potential of Twitter and online communications.

Bill Simmons, the prolific columnist and podcaster from ESPN, is a fellow displaced native New Englander (he chose sunny Los Angeles while I’m in New Jersey…clearly a better decision but I digress…). So with the Celtics making a deep run in the playoffs this year (how about that win vs LeBron and the Cavs last night!!), and he being 3,000 miles away from Boston, he created a Twitter handle @celticschants where he could communicate to folks attending Celtics game to get some chants started during the game. A creative way to demonstrate his loyalty to the hometown team.

So last night he decided to tweet this:

And then, during the actual game, when LeBron went to the free throw line, the crowd started going with the chant to the point where it was audibly heard on the ESPN broadcast. Folks may think this is a big ESPN conspiracy but in reading today’s Daily Dime about the Cavs loss and the implications for the LeBron sweepstakes, I could not help but notice this quip from author Chris Sheridan:

The Celtics fans certainly had their fun letting James know their prediction, chanting “New York Knicks” whenever James stepped to the foul line on a night when his triple-double of 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists was buttressed by his nine turnovers.

Just awesome. A very creative use of Twitter. Look out Dwight Howard and Orlando, the Twitter-verse will be ready and waiting!

UPDATE: In the NY Times today, even more credit to the @celticschants initiative:

First came the New York Knicks chants, a taunt instigated by Bill Simmons, an ESPN columnist and lifelong Celtics fan, via Twitter. In the second quarter, the in-house video camera found a fan wearing a Knicks jersey with James’s name across the shoulders, over the No. 6 the number James plans to wear next season, wherever he lands.

ESPN Chicago

Another nail in the coffin of newspapers and local media. Today, ESPN launched ESPN Chicago, a version of ESPN.com specific to Chicago sports. Basically, they are going to try to leverage their scale to deliver localized content to Chicago. But it’s not just Chicago, this is going to scale to the major markets across the US and Canada. The incremental cost to develop this site was probably relatively minimal, but they will now be able to charge a premium to advertisers who want to market online to a predominantly Chicagoland audience. I’m sure NYC, Boston, LA, Dallas and others are not far behind. And just think, with ESPNZone in Chicago, they can have some serious multimedia, multi channel promotions to dream up. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this – whether they will gravitate to this offering or if they will continue to stick with their trusted sources like the Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times and the bartender at Harry Caray’s.

Nah, He’s Not Biased

A couple of nights ago, Duke beat Clemson at Cameron Indoor on a last second play that was very controversial because the refs screwed up the clock management at the end of the game, giving Duke additional time to score (which of course they did) and win the game.

So watching ESPN this evening, as always, they over analyzed the play and asked Jay Bilas, a Dookie from the late 1980’s and their college basketball analyst, to provide commentary. And what did he do? He defended the refs! He had the audacity to imply that Duke would have won no matter how many seconds were on the clock and that Clemson never could have won the game.

Are you kidding me? How can you imply that? The ref’s screwed up. Duke got away with one. Just admit it.

Naaah, no bias towards Duke from that journalist.