SPORTS

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February 21, 2003

IM Playoff dreams ripen

It's playoff season, and it's time for everyone to elevate his or her game. This means, in some cases, establishing games in the first place. It's no secret that some teams, in genuine Orlando Magic style, will sleepwalk through the regular season and then be surprised to find themselves on the outside looking in. Or some teams, in imitation of this year's Lakers, will be shocked to find their names gracing playoff brackets. Who, after all, knows what it takes to make the IM basketball playoffs? Sometimes it's effortless; sometimes it's a Sisyphean struggle against intra-house apathy.

Regardless of how one gets into the playoffs, they are the culmination of a rather plodding regular season. Like the recently vampiric Bruno Ganz riding over the sand flats at the end of Herzog's glacially paced Nosferatu, the playoffs are the moment when things finally cut loose. Now for tens, perhaps even dozens of students, the dreams of personal glory, team accomplishment, and favorable mentions in this venerated space will become reality. Journey with me now, on the glory/publicity train, as we finally start to pull out of the station.

Teams like Rickert, Vincent, Freshman Soccer, the Graham women, and Agent Orange are either concluding their dream seasons (5-0! Oh, who could have seen this coming?) or are rolling toward such a conclusion. Other teams, despite regular season setbacks, stand poised for playoff runs. Top 50, captain of the 3-1 Top 50 and the Immortals (who very well might win this year's award for the best team name), has sworn that "Top 50 and the Immortals will play every game as though it is their last."

The trouble with any elimination tournament is that there can be only one winner. Yes, only one team can earn a set of free T-shirts in March, because such an honor is rare and because nobody wants to pay for two sets of T-shirts. Do small (or smallish) houses like Flint dream of a Hoosiers-esque run through the undergraduate bracket, followed by an improbable victory over a team of grad students, most of whom probably went to schools where people care about basketball? Well, how many houses have a middle-aged Gene Hackman and a drunken Dennis Hopper pulling the strings? How many houses harbor a disgruntled Jimmy Chitwood type?

Because I'm not above shoddy gimmicks, I'll usher in a new feature of the IM Insider: the play of the week. This week's play, setting a standard for plays of the week that might never be broken, goes to the anonymous Vincent House point guard who, in a game against Wick House, slashed to the basket, lost his glasses, caught them in mid-flight, put them back on, and then made an easy lay-up. Sweet merciful McGillicutty that was a sweet play. Anyone wondering why a small house in the middle of Burton-Judson can be both undefeated and so highly ranked by this year's Insiders need only refer to this play.

In League 5 (Men's Graduate) the Pritzker Pudenal Nerves tied the Richard Stabones (who may or may not be in the best names competition, depending on my feelings toward T.V. when I write that column) 33-33. Laimbeer's Revenge (almost certain best-name nominees) defeated Mike Higler: American Hero, 85-60. Panthers defeated Bury the Biscuit 45-26.

In League 4 (Men's Undergraduate Independent) Structure defeated Phi Delta by forfeit. The Revolution defeated Top 50 and the Immortals 41-36. The Homewreckers defeated Perch Combo 50-29.

In League 6 (Women's Undergraduate Residence) Graham defeated Filby 46-24. May defeated the Ladies of Alper 36-22. B-J United defeated the Woodward Ladies 56-22.

On to the rankings. Did I mess up your league? Just be happy to see your name in print. You skipped to this part, didn't you? What a jerk.

Men's Graduate and Independent

1. Law School Scrubs (Ironically named? "Irony is the lifeblood of the law."--Oliver Wendell Holmes.)

2. Laimbeer's Revenge

3. Flying Isenberghs

4. Top 50 and the Immortals

5. Homewreckers

Women's

1. Agent Orange

2. Graham

3. Chicago Soccer

4. Apathy

5. Filby

Men's Undergraduate Residence

1. Freshman Soccer (Associated Press)

1. Vincent (NY Times Computer)

3. Rickert

4. Flint

5. Delta Upsilon