Penn Live Sports Columnist David Jones must live under a bridge somewhere on the Susquehanna River. He’s certainly a troll nonpareil with his latest column, and one that comes across as nothing more than a bitter screed by a sore loser:
Jones starts by hurling an insult towards Syracuse:
I’ve heard Syracuse referred to as “Wilkes-Barre with a dome” and what better place to play host to a quartet of posers. Anyway, somebody is getting out of here to the Final Four and my money is on one of the two Hall of Fame coaches, one in each game. Maybe we can at least have a little fun on Sunday with Pitino versus Izzo.
That’s a bit rich coming from someone who hails from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — you know, the town whose biggest tourist attraction is Three Mile Island. It’s the capital of the state, but its downtown looks like it served as inspiration for Soviet-era Russian architects who were instructed to design buildings to be drab, lifeless affairs. Or if grey concrete doesn’t hold your interest, you could go up the highway to Hershey, a nice enough Cary-like suburb famous for its chocolate factories, and its roller coasters. In other words, there’s not much to do in Harrisburg. It’s also a city that recently came perilously close to becoming the east-coast edition of Detroit, when it went bankrupt.
But hey, at least its not Syracuse, right?
When he gets around to describing NC State, Jones quips thusly:
The Wolfpack, meanwhile, did away with Nova by basically playing tougher and toward their athleticism. Nothing about Mark Gottfried’s Pack is particularly compelling.
Except their toughness, their athleticism, and of course their ability to have already beaten two of the tournament’s #1 seeds — Duke in the regular season and Villanova last weekend in the tournament. The Wolfpack also added midseason wins over their next opponent, Louisville, on the road at that, as well as archrival UNC, again, on the road. They ended their regular season by defeating Wilkes-Barre, err, Syracuse for good measure.
Yes, the team struggled mid-season, but the NCAA Tournament is played now, not in January, and after disposing of the #1 seed, NC State is automatically somewhat compelling, even to impartial observers. The Big Dance loves having a Cinderella at its annual ball, and this year, NC State certainly has to be considered that. But nothing to see here, move along. For Jones, apparently, that means a trip to pick up some linens with his wife:
Any way you slice it, if there’s a game you can pretend to really want to see, then agree to join the wife on a Bed Bath & Beyond trip because, well, you miss her, this is the one. I expect an ugly game in the high 50s or so with Louisville prevailing only because Pitino gets the edge on Gottfried: ‘Ville, 59-54.
Fair enough to pick Louisville, but make no mistake, this ought to be a good game featuring two teams that are playing well. The very fact that they are still playing testifies to that, and it’s something that 52 teams now sitting at home would like to be able to do: play for a trip to the Elite 8.
All in all, Jones comes across as a writer mad at nearby Villanova for having the gumption to lose to NC State. Granted, it was a bit of a shock to people who hadn’t watched the NC State play all year and didn’t know that this NC State team can play with anyone not named Kentucky when it is playing its best. Jones, being from another part of the country, probably saw the Wolfpack play for the first time this year at the end of the LSU game. I get that. But as a professional columnist who ostensibly knows the subject that he’s writing about reasonably well, Jones should have looked over the schedule and seen that State is capable of remarkable win. Villanova was just the latest one they’ve notched. It may not be the last — we’ll know for sure Friday evening.
Until then, we can all get a good laugh reading the comedy stylings of a writer who gets paid to scribe columns for a major regional website without knowing what he’s talking about.