The Hyball: Upsets And Wooden Nets

By Bobby Loesch on March 31, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Boiler Down
© William Bretzger-The Record / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Hyball is a weekly basketball column.

When it ends full circle, the writing comes easy.

A season that started with Purdue... cool? epically ended not-so-cool for the Boilermakers.

But let's rewind a little.

My uncle turned 60 this fall. He lives in New Jersey and is a regular hooper who actually organized a run the morning of my wedding. He also works for DTLR, so his shoe game is light years ahead of most (he just got these; peep the red X's on back).

So, in November, just before his b-day, I was online and was gonna get him, like, a t-shirt before the light bulb went off. Why not give him the gift of an experience? I threw out the idea of a trip (with little help outside of that). Because he's a better planner than me, he came up with the idea of a Sweet 16 and/or Elite 8 games in Philly combined with a pilgrimage to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

I was in before we even started talking logistics. But, oof, there were logistics. I flew out from Chicago to Baltimore where he works during the week, then we drove 2.5 hours up to NJ. From there, it was about 45 minutes into Philly. We were really worried the Sweet 16 was going to be a dud after 2-seed Kentucky and 1-seed/defending national champ Baylor got bounced, but I retained optimism. Purdue-St. Peter's had the Big Ten angle us Midwesterners say we don't need but probably do + epic upset potential, and UNC-UCLA was pretty dang blue bloody.

After knocking back a couple at Evil Genius and Second Street Brew House in the early afternoon, we got to the stadium about an hour before tip.


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Though I knew, at the end of the day, I'd be St. Peter's all the way, I've beaten the drum for Purdue a lot this year, and Jaden Ivey is one of my favorite players in all of college basketball. So, mostly as a joke, I found myself watching the Boilers and FANNING UP.

Ivey was seriously incredible live. He has that Caitlin Clark hyper fluidity thing where he just moves Differently And Better than anyone else out there. So, in all seriousness, I did root hard for him.

But this was my first ever IRL NCAA Tournament game. We needed an upset, we got one, and if it felt bad (it didn’t), we pushed through.

If Disney movie means preordained, then I'll give it to you. The end was a whole mood.

The pain of the Purdue fans in the crowd could only be compared the pain we've all encountered from college football, the World's Worst Sport™.

UNC-UCLA was equally good. I really believed in that Bruins team, but it seems like the Heels are really figuring things out at the right time.

The taste in our mouths was so good after, we were basically afraid to push our luck and go back for the Elite 8. So we didn't -- and it sucked. UNC handled their business, and the Final Four got blue bloodier.

I can get with that.

* * *

Hoops hall was a nice little trip as well, for the record. Though I didn't learn all that much, my favorite part was this court they have at the end of your tour. It's full but also has some old school baskets on the side (including the peach!).

Super Court

I'm a slasher with a janky jump shot, but we all have our moments.

Seriously, it's perfect; you elevator up to the third floor to start but can hear people dribbling and shooting as you walk the hall for the more traditional part of the tour as you make your way back down to the bottom; perfect ambiance.

The Hyball

“At your highest moments, be careful -- that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Last Week


This Week
Caitlin Corner
Brad Davison Is Definitively A Senior.

With pleas--aw damn it, Thicc!

Yeah, not toppin' that.


As expected. Though I always held out hope with my irrational "is he really gonna leave his twin brother?" take, he had to do it. Had to. Keegs, we are in your corner always.

* * *

While I should have expected the next one, it gutted me.

Joe Toussaint, you will always have a fan in me. I hated when you let your athleticism get the best of you but loved literally everything else. You could really set guys up when you put your mind to it. Plus the game winner vs. Virginia.

Well, can't get worse than that news.



There's only one thing that could make this worser than worse: combining the two.


Wait, What?

Legit had no idea he had any eligibility left. Coulda saved the tribute for next season!

Obligatory Michigan Section

You know, when people already think you kinda look like Will Smith...

...slapping people only, like, a month apart is not going to stop the comps.

Yes, yes -- but can we go with something a little more innocent and generic?


/assistant whispers in ear

Ah, yes, the basketball team. Well, I mean, you know:

Not ideal.

For sure.

Still, as we talked about last week, getting to the Sweet 16 rules. I should hate Villanova, but I don't. They play well, they're coached well, Jay Wright rules; a loss like that sits about as well as one in the postseason can.

That said, I've held back on a lot of Caleb Houstan slander this year... and I'll leave it at this: had he been a little more as advertised (um, 5-star), I think this would've been a Final Four team. That's me trying to be civil. The memes... the memes were less civil.

Well, that's less a meme and more just a description. Here are the memes.

Was just the right amount of drunk seeing that last one; there was no going back.

* * *

But at least we had the women. They made the Elite 8 and took Louisville down to the wire before, well...

In all earnestness: seriously beautiful.

So yeah, after the men lost to the Villanova program that beat them in the natty, the women lost to the (women's version of the) program that beat the boys vacated the natty. In conclusion:

The good news is South Carolina remains. As well as UConn.


* * *

Ending this on a fun note:



The Mini-Hybrid

Ah, college football logic.

OK, no, that's college football logic.

* * *


Bill Walton's Western Civilization 


No Context College Basketball

Even with my '90s Bulls bias aside -- jk, can and will never be put to the side, ever -- I will very much miss Ron Harper Jr. at Rutgers. Will they ever be this interesting again?

Speaking of interesting players for other Big Ten teams...

Noooo -- will miss him. As someone who lived the highlights and didn't care about the turnovers (as a non-fan), he was must see TV. Wonder how they'll fare without him..., nowhere to go but up, really.

Where are we all at on the "is Gonzaga a major fraud?" talking point that seemed to emerge this week. To me, there's enough on both sides to make strong cases, but, my assumption, is most people are gonna be entrenched in one camp or the other. I think I started as "frauds!" -- even thinking they should maybe never be a No. 1 seed ever again, ever -- before drifting back to the middle and maybe even fully reverting back to "I dunno, they're pretty great despite no titles."

No matter where I land, I can definitively tell you the most fun side to be on was the "frauds!!!1111" one for. shore. Hatin' shouldn't be so easy.

* * *

Wrapping It Up...

Love sports and football scores being separate.

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at]

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