Man, what a weekend of college basketball, huh?! It had a little bit of everything.
The good -- anything having to do with the Kentucky-Michigan game, the emergence of Julius Randle as a viable number one pick in the NBA Draft, the emergence of Shabazz Napier as a sneaky back end of the lottery guy, the storyline of Kentucky's "one and done" philosophy staying alive in the face of an upperclassman laden gauntlet, Kevin Ollie, Scottie Wilbekin, the Harrison twins, Bill Raftery, Madison Square Garden, a Wisconsin team that is actually fun to watch...
The bad -- the elimination of Archie Miller which means the elimination of Morgan Miller, every excruciating replay review in the last two minutes of a game, Adreian Payne's inexplicably deciding to become the biggest two guard on the planet, Reggie Miller's saying anything...
The ugly -- Tucson after the West Regional finals....
The one thing that all eight schools remaining on Saturday and Sunday had in common is that, by and large, they reside in towns that are built around the college teams in that city -- Gainesville, Dayton, Madison, Tucson, Storrs, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Lexington. Usually, the police in the cities that win their games need to be put on high alert.
However, when you enter the tournament as one of the three or four favorites to win the whole thing, perhaps there is some unresolved angst that manifests itself in couch fires and overturned vehicles. Which brings us to Tucson, Arizona, and the University of Arizona.
Following the Wildcats' 64-63 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night, apparently, there were riots in the air, a simmering buzz that the city could explode at any second. That's the only explanation for an army of Tucson police officers lined up in riot gear even before the game had ended on Saturday night.
In the end, the perhaps overly cautious deployment of all of these officers yielded successful results. There were a relatively scant 15 arrests, and a few minor injuries, pretty good overall PER (my acronym for "Police Efficiency Rating") for a college town on a drunken Saturday night following a season ending loss by the only team that the students' really give two shits about (sorry, Brooks Reed).
However, there were a couple of notable incidents that emerged as the signature events for this gathering.
First, there was "superhero bro," some clown by the name of Alexander Davidson, who took multiple pepper bean bags off of his torso before sustaining the blunt force trauma of a riot mask to the face at full speed...
Now, from another angle...
And finally, the battle scars....
— Jacob Cooper (@bearjew53) March 30, 2014
Are the cops not allowed to aim at his face? Because I would have aimed at his face.
Then, in a far more sobering and mildly infuriating incident, some overzealous riot cop decided that this girl talking on her cell phone while trying to vacate the area was a big enough threat to jettison into next week with his billy club or whatever, and he sent her careening onto a bench. At about the 0:20 mark, keep an eye on the right hand side of your screen....
This is where you can tell that these kids are mere teenagers or early 20-somethings, if they were older, they'd have known that the poor girl should have stayed down, faked a back injury of some sort, then she would probably have received a settlement big enough to cover beer money for her sorority for the next five semesters.
Amateur move on her part, and a shame there was no one
like me there to counsel her. Missed opportunity.
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Hey look, I don't approve of the excessive use of force on the girl in that last video. (I wholeheartedly approve of spraying the jackass in the previous video with whatever those items were.) But I'm not in Tucson, so I don't know the history of rioting there after games. (Note to self: Start up a new website that gives the history of rioting in college towns, complete with RER, "Riot Efficiency Ratings." Make millions.)
From the sounds of everything I've read, people thought the police were being maybe overly cautious, but hard to argue when they kept the carnage after a heartbreaking loss to a relative minimum.
But perhaps Tucson can learn a little something from their friends in Lexington, who are the most orderly couch burners of all time.