We won the Big Ten Tournament this past weekend in exciting and impressive fashion by beating Michigan, Illinois, and eventually Minnesota in the championship game. Speaking of exciting and impressive fashion, I managed to wear the exact same pair of scarlet sweatpants to all three games without getting anything on them. This was particularly surprising because on at least two occasions I had the same pair of pants on while eating french fries that were doused with ketchup. Since they were the only pair of pants I packed for the trip, it was almost guaranteed that I'd get them dirty somehow, so I'm pretty pumped that I managed to keep them clean for an entire weekend. Especially considering the fact that our game against Michigan was so intense that I thought I was going to wet myself and our game with Illinois was so close that I literally almost soiled the rear of my pants.
I'm guessing most of you either saw or heard by now, but our game against Michigan was a complete blowout, provided you think a complete blowout is a game that is won by a single point after a 35 foot shot is made by The Villain as the final buzzer sounds. The Villain's heroics (it feels so dirty to type those three words) provided me with my first opportunity to rush onto the court in a very long time, which is something that is exactly as much fun as it looks like. If you didn't click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph, I highly suggest that you do because it captures my awesome celebration, almost in its entirety. Go watch it if you haven't already and I'll meet you at the next paragraph.
Before you criticize my celebration (seriously, though, why would you criticize that?), let me first explain what was going through my mind during that entire sequence. Immediately after the ball went through the basket, the first thing that I thought of was, surprisingly (read: not surprisingly), professional wrestling. More specifically, upon realizing what just happened, I felt like our entire team was DX (with me being Shawn Michaels, obviously) and Michigan represented the rest of the WWE. The 35 foot shot that The Villain (playing the role of Chyna, obviously) hit was like a Pedigree and Sweet Chin Music all rolled into one. Because of this, my first inclination was to do a crotch chop at all of the Michigan players who were standing under our basket. As I went for the first crotch chop, though, I realized that I only had one arm, as my left arm was restrained in a sling because of the recent shoulder surgery I had to repair my torn labia. On top of this, the famous towel that I wear around my neck during all games had now found its way into my non-restrained hand. What resulted was a one armed crotch chop (not to be confused with a one armed embrace) that turned out looking like the underhanded towel wave that Larry Bird perfected so many years ago. Ultimately, it was probably a good thing that my left arm was restrained, because doing a DX crotch chop in a guy's face right after his season had been ended might have been the most unsportsmanlike thing in the history of sports. I meant for it to be more of a celebration and an homage to DX rather than a taunt, but I doubt the NCAA would have seen it that way, as they probably would have suspended me for being just a little too badass for their liking.
After a few would-be crotch chops, I saw that most of my teammates were running toward The Villain and jumping on him, presumably because they wanted to get on TV. I liked their strategy but the fact that I had shoulder surgery a week earlier meant taking part in a mosh pit just wasn't going to happen. Instead, I decided to include other people who, like me, are part of the Ohio State team but have absolutely no impact on the game, so I ran to the media table to high five our radio team of Paul Keels, Ron Stokes, and Skip Mosic and then ran toward the cheerleaders and slapped hands with them a little bit. Apparently, my behavior made me look like I was a random fan who made his way past security and had his sights set on murdering everyone by high fiving them to death, because (as you can clearly see in the video after it gets done panning to the Michigan student section) some lady in a red track jacket lost her Michigan when she saw me putting everyone's life in danger with my fierce high fives. I told her to calm the Michigan down because I was on the team and we just won in an incredibly improbable way. I then proceeded to crotch chop all in her face, even if it was only in my mind. Not being able to crotch chop during the postgame celebration was the first tough mental test for me and my adjustment to life with one arm. If Friday is any indication, this road to recovery is going to be a little longer than I originally anticipated.
In our second game, we beat Illinois in double overtime, mostly because Illinois gave The Villain a noogie and they honestly expected to get away with it. The Villain scored 31 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and ripped out the collective heart of Illinois in what ended up being a game that was heavy on the trash talk. Apparently we made our move early in the second overtime and jumped out to a lead that we wouldn't relinquish. I say apparently because I missed the first three minutes of the second overtime (there are only five minutes in an overtime period) due to a bout with diarrhea, or as I like to eloquently put it, "barfing out of the wrong end". I originally felt the need to relieve my bowels with about seven minutes left in regulation, but because the game was so close, I thought I'd hold it in until the end. Then, fate kicked me right in my rumbling stomach by making the game go into overtime. I decided to try to hold it for an extra five minutes but when the game went into double overtime my bowels let me know that if they weren't freed from their duties quickly, things were going to get ugly and I was going to defecate at a rather inopportune time ("Give me liberty or give me def"). I managed to make it to the locker room and do the dirty work before any real damage was done, but I ended up missing the beginning of the second overtime, when the game was hanging in the balance, all because I had my own battle going on that was hanging in the balance more than any of you ever cared to know.
As it turns out, my stomach problem was not a unique happenstance with our team. On our return trip to Columbus following our championship game, Kyle Madsen puked onto the bus floor so badly that I could have sworn someone told him that Finkle is Einhorn. Not only did Kyle spew, rumor has it that PJ Hill, Jeremie Simmons, Nikola Kecman, and Zisis Sarikopolous all felt sick to their stomachs and would have also puked if Kyle hadn't beaten them to it (nobody wants to be a copycat). I'm convinced that we were all victims of food poisoning and disgruntled Michigan fans are to blame. If that's the case, I wouldn't even be upset because the thought of me being poisoned seems like it's somehow straight out of a Shakespeare play, which is flattering because I just so happen to be a fan of his work (I'm not a fan, however, of Michigan fans plagiarizing Shakespeare's ideas).
In the championship game, we pulled away from a good Minnesota team in the second half to win by a comfortable margin. When I say comfortable margin, what I really mean is that we won by enough for me to play. The only problem is that my labia surgery has put me out for the season, unless we can somehow make a (really) deep run in the NCAA tournament and play until July. It was a little depressing to know that I could have played in my second Big Ten Championship game of my career (I played against Wisconsin in the tournament final as a freshman), but I think my postgame antics more than made up for inability to play on Sunday.
Because this wasn't my first Big Ten Tournament championship, I knew that following our victory there would be a prime opportunity for me to get some face time on CBS and represent the Trillion Man March. I remembered from my first championship that we huddled around Coach Matta while Jim Nantz interviewed him and Billy Packer waited off to the side to interview Greg Oden. The Nantz-Matta dynamic remained unchanged this time around, but a couple of new faces presented themselves as Clark Kellogg was set to interview The Villain. Because Clark and The Villain are both much taller than me, I decided that if I were going to get on TV, my only hope was to set up shop directly over Coach Matta's shoulder. So I did. And it was fantastic. My combination of creepy smile, wink, and creepy stare was enough for the CBS cameras to adjust their shot and try to keep me out of frame. I can't say for sure whether or not this is why they decided to suddenly change camera angles so frequently, but my gut is telling me that I played a big role in it. Either way, I'm almost positive this footage will become the Zapruder film for the Trillion Man March as you all try to figure out whether or not CBS was trying to cut me out of the picture. In the end, none of it really matters, because I got my revenge during the selection show for the NCAA Tournament, when they put a camera on our team and I did a one armed raising of the roof for 30 seconds, which is at least 25 seconds more than your customary roof raisings. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video of my selection show performance. I'm guessing it has something to do with the CBS conspiracy against me. I'll let you be the judge.
Up next for us is the first round of the NCAA Tournament and the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos, whose logo kind of looks like Snoop Dogg wearing a pimp hat while lurking in the shadows. I'm pretty confident that most of you reading this blog don't know too much about UCSB, so I thought I'd take a second to give you some inside info and tell you what our scouting report says about them. UCSB is the alma mater of ESPN personalities Jim Rome and Josh Elliott, as well as everyone's favorite Big Ten Network sideline reporter, Charissa Thompson (true story - Charissa worked one of our games this year when I had a stache and she told me at least three times that she was digging it). I assume that UCSB is also the alma mater of my favorite television duo, Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like Shawn and his free spirited personality wouldn't be the type to go to college. Finally, UC-Santa Barbara is also an animation studio that brought us some of the most famous cartoons of all-time including the Flintstones, Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and Yogi Bear. Who knew that UCSB had so much going on? Clearly we are going to have our work cut out for us, but I personally believe that Charissa Thompson swooning over my mustache is a sign that we currently have the upper hand.
Our game with Michigan produced three one armed embraces from Stu Douglass, Matt Vogrich, and Josh Bartelstein, one of which I know for sure was one of the guys who was afraid to pull the trigger for the one armed embrace the last time we played them. Illinois had two repeat embracers in Tyler Griffey and Bubba Chisholm. Minnesota also had the same repeat embracers in Director of Basketball Operations, Joe Esposito, and Blake Hoffarber.
One Armed Embraces: 46 to date (7 in postseason, 2 last game) ___________________________________________________
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