Topic: "Not North Carolina" (6)
During the 1984-85 college basketball season, Frodo and Sam were being held as Prsioners of War in Philadelphia. The only socially redeeming aspect of that time was to be an observer of the rivalry between the teams at Villanova and at Georgetown University. Georgetown, led by John Thompson and his super-star Patrick Ewing, were successful combatants in their two regular season games against their arch-rival group of mackeral snappers. Rollie Massimino led a rag-tag group of inner-city kids all the way through the NCAA tournament, only to find themselves, once again, paired against the behemoths from Georgetown. The predictions, virtually unanimous, were that Villanova would get its come-uppance in the National Championship game, the third meeting between the two teams in the same season, and all would bow to the powers of the Hoyas.
Frodo was not so sure. Frodo, in fact, grew increasingly confident that the Villanova team, and their inspired coach, were saving their best for Georgetown. Frodo, given the eventual outcome, was viewed as a borderline psychic by some, and a virtual basketball genius by others. It was, however, the last successful prediction by Frodo in the outcome of the basketball pools now known almost universally as "March Madness."
Frank Mandel was a witness to the Frodo Magic. Every year since, he calls Frodo the very night that selections are made for the tournament, and the two old friends go over their respective charts, convinced, at last, that they are on the precipice of a return to that magical night of yesteryear. Last year, they both picked North Carolina. Yawn, like that really didn't count, since it was a year-long walkaway for the tar-footed supermen.
This year, Frodo is rolling the dice. There is no doubt that the Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech have the most talented athletes in the nation, but that fact is countered by the unbelievable inconsistency of America's youngest team. They can play like nobody's business for 20 or so minutes, then, without any explanation, can throw the ball away, fail to score, and appear totally befuddled, with their pants on the ground. Their coach, the Barack Obama lookalike Paul Hewitt seems absolutely impervious to the application of teamwork and sound judgment to those whom he attracted to the South's pre-eminent technical training institute. Frodo has got to be out of his mind for this prediction.
Ah, but that is why it is fun. If they lose, nobody will remember Frodo's madness. If they do, indeed, win, then Frodo will never let you forget.
Hey, Frodo could also have picked Vermont.