The best players from the first NCAA Tournament I was extravagantly wrong about as a CSTB contributor are mostly out of the NBA. In 2007, the year of the first CSTBracket, Florida won its second consecutive NCAA Tournament title, and only Corey Brewer, who is still implausibly doing his lanky and effortful thing with the Oklahoma City Thunder—and quite well, at that—and Al Horford have played in a NBA game this year. I am compelled to note here that Marreese Speights (above) is apparently still active with the Orlando Magic, although I defy anyone reading this to produce any proof of this. Marreese Speights, who played in that game mostly to foul a temporarily immortal Greg Oden, is now 30 years old.
Anyway, this is how it goes. Mike Conley Jr. will play in one next year, and there is a universe in which both Greg Oden and Joakim Noah will somehow play in one again, although that universe is a kinder and more pleasant one than this one. In this universe, 2007 was a long time ago. There was the looming Kevin Durant/Greg Oden question in the next NBA Draft. The broader culture had not yet capitulated on everything that we ever held dear in favor of a rancid carnival of pure animus. I don’t think Instagram was a thing yet. It sucked, mostly, but we did not yet know how good we had it.
Anyway, it is 2018. I would love to tell you otherwise, but the facts are what they are. And the fact of the matter is this—you, if you are at all like me, have not gotten any better at predicting what unconscionably uncompensated teenagers will do under pressure, on television, in March. I have always sucked at this and I always will.
I sucked at it, like sucked out loud and stank on ice, when I put up the first CSTBracket post in 2007. I am just as bad at it now as I was then, if not worse. At this point in my life and this shared journey, it is not not about getting it right. It is not about getting it slightly more right right. It is, I think, about the ritual of getting it wrong. That is the thing that has endured and will endure, whatever comes. These players will get it wrong, because they are human and young and scared and unfinished; we will get it wrong in attempting to essay how that all will go because all of that is impossible to predict. That is the game. That is the point. That’s what’s fun about it. It’s all we’ve ever really had. Click here to get wrong again; I don’t think there’s a password, but if there is one it’s “cstb” without the quotes. Go forth. Be wrong. There is no other way to be.