With each passing night, more and more teams lock themselves into one of the 31 automatic slots sometimes inadvertantly locking the teams they defeat into at-large berths. All the while the Purdue Boilermakers sit on the sidelines, push through daily practice, and deflect every question they can about their tournament possibilities. Coach Matt Painter has made it quite clear that," We're not going to talk ourselves into this. We have to play our way in."
The Boiler faithful may be wearing out their refresh buttons bouncing back and forth between ESPN.com, CBS Sportsline and collegerpi.com, but it's purely academic at this point. There's no reason to think the selection committee will even begin to mention Purdue until their game with Iowa Friday afternoon. Until then we'll try to distract ourselves with the Big East tournament and stalking the committee...
As noted in the IndyStar.com article, "Dinner tonight at an Italian restaruant, a place that's become a selection committee tradition (but one it would rather not divulge)."
So the wife and I are going to attempt to dine at the same establishment and hone our ears for light banter of RPI, road records, and whether or not Tyler Hansbrough's readjusted nose has any effect on UNC's seeding. The trouble of course is pin-pointing the non-divulgeable restaurant. So I've popped on my own selection hat and hereby give you
SELECTION WEDNESDAY: THE DRIVE TO MARINARA.
There's really only four options for Italian for the committee that would give them decent food and keep them a stone's throw from the Downtown Westin, but only one option that would be tradition worthy.
- We can throw out Buca di Beppo because I doubt these guys are chain restaurant material and Buca's non-conference schedule sucks no matter how many pictures of Sinatra you throw on the wall.
NCAA equivalent: UCONN
- The Milano Inn has pretty good fare, but it's head-to-head with the two remaining joints quickly relegate it to supplying take-out for the NIT folks.
NCAA equivalent: Michigan
- Amici's was my sentimental choice. Small, out of the way. A place most people drive past not even realizing what's there. But the great food can't overcome it's lack of seating (unless they committee gets the private room upstairs).
NCAA equivalent: George Mason.
- The odds-on favorite has got to be Iaria's. The history is rich in this place. Not only is the dining room primed for guests of this caliber, they also have bitchin' pizza, and a former owner who once pulled a gun on his own family in an attempt to sell the restaurant. Oh, and Rick Majerus loves this place, and if anyone is going to hold sway over NCAA basketball dining it has to be Majerus.
NCAA equivalent: Kansas/UCLA.
Dinner is between 7:00 and 7:30 and I'll have the digital camera in tow. If I'm lucky I'll get to ask Craig Littlepage about Purdue's victory over Virginia (his school) while sipping a nice chianti.