Thursday, March 16, 2023

2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket

This humble blog, Drive and Dish, has had a years-running tradition of publishing the handwritten Tournament brackets of its founding members and part time contributors.                                         

That longstanding tradition was interrupted for three years because of COVID-19 -- the 2020 NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to COVID (so there were no brackets to publish), and Drive and Dish published non handwritten brackets when the Tournament resumed in 2021.

Non handwritten brackets were also published again in 2022, due to our continued vigilance here at Drive and Dish to keep everyone safe from brackets that had passed through our potentially Delta and/or Omicron variant-infested hands.

But now with COVID-19 officially in the rearview mirror, Drive and Dish has resumed its tradition of publishing the handwritten brackets of its founding members.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket

From its inception in 2007 to 2019, Drive and Dish maintained a tradition of publishing its writers' hand written NCAA Tournament brackets on the morning of the Tournament's opening day.

Last year, in light of COVID-19 health concerns, the Drive and Dish Board of Directors made the health related decision to relax some of its stringent guidelines for filling out NCAA Tournament brackets.  For the first time in our history, we gave our writers the option of submitting an electronic, non-paper and non- handwritten bracket.

The result was that 50% of our published were electronic and not hand written, while the other 50% were done in traditional Drive and Dish fashion--hand written and submitted on dog eared paper.

This year, Drive and Dish has implemented an ironclad vaccine mandate: all Drive and Dish contributors, regardless of whether or not they physically work in the Drive and Dish headquarters -- contributors who work from home and only submit content online must comply as well -- are required to submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, which includes having received both booster shots.  

Additionally, all Drive and Dish contributors must submit a record of all other vaccinations and proof that they've received this season's flu shots.

We also require all contributors to wear N95 masks covered by cloth surgical masks -- double masking -- when writing and submitting their contributions to this website, regardless of whether they appear in person at the Drive and Dish headquarters, or whether they write remotely from home and submit their work electronically.

Anyone who fails to comply with the Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines will be suspended from Drive and Dish indefinitely and prohibited from contributing to Drive and Dish during their suspension.

We have also extended our relaxed guidelines for submitting NCAA Tournament brackets for another year.  Thus Drive and Dish contributors who are eligible to post brackets have the choice of whether to submit paper, handwritten brackets or whether to submit electronic brackets.

Unfortunately, due to our contributors' widespread lack of compliance with the Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines, no Drive and Dish contributors are eligible to submit and publish brackets this year.  

Thus, Drive and Dish has been forced to submit an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) generated bracket for 2022 -- a historic first for this blog.  

We've gone to great lengths, however, to ensure that the Artificial Intelligence algorithms accurately replicate the thought processes of Drive and Dish publisher "S.K."  The A.I. software has learned all that there is to know about the way "S.K." thinks, writes, and acts.  It's recorded and analyzed hundreds of hours worth of data from EEG tests that monitored "S.K.'s" brainwaves -- from the beta waves present during daily activity to the theta waves present during his sleep.  Ss a result, the A.I. has accurately modeled everything about "S.K." -- from his overtly stated preferences to his unconscious, pattern recognition based biases.

The result is a virtual Drive and Dish 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket that completely replicates not only the preferences of the Drive and Dish braintrust (which has been reduced to just "S.K." these days), but the tone, tenor and overall "ZFG" attitude that this blog has employed through the years.  

Without further ado, we present the 2022 edition of the Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket (BTW, Happy St. Patrick's Day):

Thursday, March 18, 2021

2021 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Since the inception of Drive and Dish way back in 2007, it's been a longstanding tradition of this humble blog to publish our handwritten brackets early in the morning of the first day of the NCAA Tournament.  

Casual readers may assume that we've always posted our brackets early in the morning of the Tournament's opening day because of our commitment to serving our readers with high quality content in as timely a manner as possible (i.e., we want our readers to be able to see our brackets first thing in the morning, before they head off to work or to school).

But the actual reason that we've always published our brackets in the early morning of the first day of the NCAA Tournament is because our Editor in Chief has always decided to just click the "publish" icon upon stumbling home from the annual Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash . . .  just to be on the safe side, in case he found himself too hung over to do so later.

This year, after a one year COVID-19 lockdown-mandated hiatus, there was a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for us to resume hosting our annual Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash.  We received countless inquiries from our readers and fans who wanted to know if the annual Bracket Release Blowout Bash would be reinstated, and if so, how to go about purchasing tickets.  For the record, we were planning to have Steve Aoki and Dillon Francis play the reinstituted 2021 Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash.  Unfortunately, we encountered a significant number of difficulties relating to logistics when we were in the planning stages of reinstituting the Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash, and as a result, had to postpone the official announcement of the Bash (and its ticket sales) until we had secured a venue and had worked out the attendant contractual details.

Drive and Dish was founded in Chicagoland, and our Blowout Bashes were always held in Chicago.  But Chicago is still in semi-lockdown mode, so it's not really possible to host a giant blowout bash there at the moment.  Besides,  Chicago has devolved into a mostly deserted, lawless and violent shit-hole over the last couple of years.  So it wouldn't be a great idea to host our party there anyway.

We investigated the possibility of renting a private island in the Caribbean for our blowout bash, but several of our financial backers ended up having cold feet over hosting a party on a private Caribbean island.  It turns out that Fyre Festival and the Jeffrey Epstein/Epstein Island saga are still casting dark shadows over the Caribbean island rental industry.

So after having exhausted nearly conceivable option for the reinstitution of the Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash for 2021, the Drive and Dish Board of Directors ultimately came to the difficult decision to break with tradition and forego the Bracket Release Blowout Bash for the second consecutive year.

But we're not alone in breaking with tradition this year: Many of the nation's most august institutions have been forced to break with tradition in 2021.  For example, after having cancelled the 2020 NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19, the NCAA itself has more or less thrown tradition out the window in 2021 by in order to ensure that the '21 Tournament is able to take place at all.  Thus, all NCAA Tournament games will be played in the Indianapolis area, and the Tournament officially tips off on a Friday, rather than on Thursday.

What's more, all teams participating in the NCAA Tournament must quarantine in their respective hotels when not practicing or playing in Tournament games, and only a limited number spectators will be allowed to attend Tournament games.

Thus, in the spirit of breaking with tradition, Drive and Dish has elected to forego filling out handwritten brackets in favor of "touch-free" virtual brackets.  

Make no mistake, it was a difficult decision for us to make--we at Drive and Dish has built our brand over the years by holding steadfast to our principles, even when it's been unpopular to do so.  We've stayed true to what we've believed in even when doing so has caused us to be accused of being defiantly contrarian.  The handwritten bracket has been a staple of Drive and Dish since our founding, and we understand that some of our longtime readers may be disappointed by our decision to break with our tradition this year.  

The Drive and Dish Board of Directors deliberated long and hard before coming to our decision.  We held hours of Board-wide virtual meetings on Zoom, and several late night one-on-one FaceTime calls between several of the key decision makers on the Executive Editorial Committee. All options were considered; every conceivable course of action was given a fair hearing.  But in the end, we decided that the safety and health of our staff and our readers were too important to leave to chance.  Even if it meant breaking with tradition. 

In other words, our lawyers won out and we decided that is was smarter to make the "CYA" move of trying to limit our potential liabilities than to hold steadfast to our principles.

The following is the official "touch less" Drive and Dish bracket for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, as agreed to virtually on Zoom and officially recorded by Editor in Chief, S.K. (it will be uploaded to the blockchain and offered for auction as an NFT on the first day of the Final Four):

Update (03/20/21):

Occasional guest commentator G.O., has delivered a handwritten bracket -- in the traditional Drive and Dish pen-on-paper format -- to Drive and Dish headquarters.  G.O., also known as "Ozzie," was unaware of the new Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines and the corresponding changes that have been made to our NCAA Tournament Bracket filing policies.

The Drive and Dish Board of Directors held an emergency Zoom call and decided to allow the G.O. handwritten guest bracket, even though it violates the new Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines.  

However, pursuant to our new COVID-19 health protocols, the G.O. handwritten guest bracket was quarantined for 48 hours in a fully sealed disinfectant chamber that was guarded by armed private security contractors dressed in hazmat suits.  Upon the completion of the 48 hour quarantine, the bracket was cryogenically frozen for six hours, and then thawed by a laser.  

It was then delivered to the Drive and Dish headquarters, where it was scanned and uploaded to Drive and Dish:

Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship Game: Virginia vs. Texas Tech

Tonight Texas Tech will play Virginia for the 2019 NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship.  Both Texas Tech and Virginia will appear in the Championship game for the first time in their respective schools' histories.

Based on the gaming industry's published odds, Virginia enters tonight's game as a slight favorite.  Both teams, however, play stifling defense and run controlled offenses that attempt to probe the opponents' defense until they can generate a "good" (high percentage) shot. 

Usually, the team with the most future NBA players and the best leadership at Point Guard will win the Championship.  Looking forward to tonight's game, neither team is loaded with future NBA players, though both Virginia and Texas Tech have one or two players who will likely play at the next level (Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver is a likely future NBA draft lottery pick).  Both Texas Tech and Virginia are led by experienced Point Guards who run their respective offenses very well, who display strong leadership and who can either score all night long from behind the three point arc or by putting the ball on the floor and generating shots in the lane.  Virginia PG Ty Jerome leverages his 6'6" frame to his advantage against smaller opponents; he can get shoot over smaller Point Guards, and when he gets into the lane, his size allows him to get shots off against other teams' big men that most PGs couldn't.  Both teams also feature outstanding three point shooters on the wings, with Virginia's Kyle Guy being widely recognized as one of the best shooters in the game. 

Texas Tech's backcourt of fifth year South Dakota graduate transfer Matt Mooney and Italian import Davide Moretti are essentially combo guards who are equally capable of being both the primary ball handler, and of lighting it up from behind the three point line.   Mooney stands out for his grit and leadership, though, as well as for his ability to score off the dribble.  Virginia's guards are great shooters, and Jerome is noticeably bigger than either Mooney or Moretti.  But Tech's guards can shoot the lights out too, and nobody on either team is tougher than Mooney.

Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver and Virginia shooting guard De'Andre Hunter are both future NBA players.  As mentioned earlier, Culver will be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.  Both players are big (6'7"), athletic wings who can create shots for themselves off the dribble with relative ease, and who shoot well enough from three point range.  Culver had a quiet outing against Michigan State in Saturday's semifinal victory, but he stepped up in the last three minutes of the game by making two crucial shots at the most opportune of times, which effectively served as the daggers that sent Tom Izzo's Spartans home to East Lansing, MI.

The Culver vs. Hunter matchup will likely be almost as interesting as the Jerome/Guy vs. Mooney/Moretti matchups.

Virginia has more size on the front line than most teams, including Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders from Lubbock counter with tough, experienced big men of their own. 

Overall, the game is likely to be a lower scoring, defensive minded affair.  Both teams have outstanding backcourts with great three point shooters, as well as players who can create shots for themselves and create shots for others.  The backcourt is probably where the game will be won or lost.

Drive and Dish expects tonight's game to be close (if low scoring), but we expect Virginia to come out with an edge.  Texas Tech surprised the world by beating Michigan State, and Virginia had the good fortune to escape (thanks to a missed double dribble that wasn't called on Ty Jerome in the last seconds of game) against Auburn.

Virginia knows that they're lucky to be here and that they have something to prove.  Texas Tech knows that they have something to prove as well, but we expect Virginia to play with a slightly bigger chip on their respective shoulders.  We also expect Virginia to be the beneficiary of the referees' calls.

Most of America will be attracted to the storyline of Virginia going from the only Number one seed to lose to a sixteen seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament, as they did last year when they lost to 16 seeded Maryland-Baltimore County, to winning the National Championship a year later.  It's our hope that the referees in tonight's game aren't also attracted to that storyline. 

Here's to hoping that upstart Texas Tech keeps that from happening.

Friday, March 29, 2019

DJ MIxes

SK DJ Mixes

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament Bracket

Drive and Dish has a longstanding tradition of publishing handwritten NCAA Tournament brackets on the morning of the Tournament's first day.

The tradition began one night in the late '00s, when after playing pickup basketball into the wee hours, Drive and Dish's founders decided to fill out brackets and post them to this blog at a 24 hour Kinko's near the health club where our post-pickup hoops brainstorming had taken place.

It would probably be smart (for branding purposes) to say that the reason we decided to fill out handwritten brackets, as opposed to publishing more professional looking text brackets, was because we were committed to keeping this blog "authentic," with a DIY, lo-fi, boutique blogging hipster sensibility.

But the real reason we filled out handwritten brackets is because it was faster to just download a bracket, fill it out, scan it and post it to the blog.

Of course, origin story aside, the decision to continue publishing handwritten brackets year after year has been motivated by our recognition that "authenticity" is the current lingua franca in online media.  Thus, doing handwritten brackets helps to brand this blog as unyieldingly "authentic," DIY, lo-fi and boutique.

And just to keep things even more "authentic," yours truly has continued the somewhat more recent Drive and Dish tradition of waiting until the morning of publication to actually fill out a handwritten bracket.  That keeps the bracket from being well thought out, and helps Drive and Dish continue to promote the "fly by the seat of your pants" culture that we've worked so hard to foster.

In other words, it's still faster to just download a bracket, fill it out, scan it and post it to the blog.

But it would be great if we could turn that lack of preparation and thoughtfulness into a marketing/branding strategy.

Thus, Drive and Dish presents its 2019 brackets.

For the second consecutive year, brackets have been filled out by Drive and Dish founding member "S.K.", and Trainer to the Stars (and soon to be Florida Man [more here]) "C.H."

C.H.  Bracket:

S.K. Bracket:


Drive and Dish has decided to publish an even more "authentically" DIY, intentionally grimy and lo-fi hand written bracket courtesy of guest bracketologist "G.O." (not unlike a $500 pair of ripped jeans, or a pair $900 intentionally dirty Gucci kicks, this bracket even comes replete with folds, creases and crinkles!).

G.O.  Bracket:

Update (3/27/2019):

The first week of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone.  Survive and advance is the name of the game.  Sixty four teams have been cut in half to thirty two, and then cut in half once again to sixteen.  The losers have all gone home.  The wheat has been separated from the chaff.  The Sweet Sixteen is set, and Drive and Dish is keeping score of its prognosticators' respective bracket wins and loses.

The following is a run down of how the Drive and Dish experts' respective brackets have fared thus far:

C.H.  (Record: 12-4):

S.K.  (Record: 12-4):

G.O.  (11-5)

Update (4-06-2019):

The results are in.  We have an official Drive and Dish Bracket Challenge winner, even though the Final Four is only beginning, a National Champion won't be crowned until Monday night (4-08-2019), and the "win" is by default, since only one bracket of the three filled out by Drive and Dish's prognosticators correctly predicted a Final Four participant.

The winner is the bracket filled out by "G.O.," or "Ozzie," who should probably heretofore be referred to as the Bracket "Wizard of Oz," since his bracket has Auburn in the Final Four, and none of the other Drive and Dish bracketologists' brackets even has a single team still playing.

So by virtue of having predicting Auburn's ascendency to the Final Four, "G.O.," or the "Bracket Wizard of Oz" wins by default, regardless of who ultimately goes on to win the National Championship on Monday (G.O.'s bracket has Auburn losing to Tennessee in the semifinal game).

All in all, it was a completely pathetic showing by Drive and Dish's "experts,"  given that only one of our "experts" even correctly predicted so much as a single Final Four participant.  But then most of the "experts" in the national media picked super Freshman Zion Williamson and Duke to win the Championship, so most prognosticators ended up looking bad this year. 

Maybe the public relations department at Drive and Dish should try to spin our "experts'" dismal brackets as having been among the few in the nation who were prescient enough to see that Duke wasn't as good as everyone else thought.  Maybe Drive and Dish could issue a press release with a title like "Drive and Dish experts saw what ESPN's Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, etc. didn't."

More to come...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Official 2018 Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament Bracket and No-Holds-Barred Death Match Bracket Challenge


It's that time of year again.  The 2018 NCAA Tournament officially tips off today.  That means millions of college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) will be missing-in-action from school, work and other areas of their lives in which they have all manner of responsibilities to uphold.  

American GDP may temporarily dip anywhere from 10% to 30% for the first two days of March Madness, as the gears of the American economy grind to a near-halt because the nation's workforce has bailed out on work and on its other responsibilities in order to watch the daylong cavalcade of televised NCAA Tournament games.

Hard core fans of college basketball (and degenerate gamblers) are well known for treating the first day of the NCAA Tournament like children treat Christmas morning: they spend weeks, if not months, in eager anticipation of the moment  -- often going so far as to count down the days -- that the Big Dance finally arrives. 

The smartest college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers), however, treat the first day of the NCAA Tournament like children treat Christmas morning for another important reason as well . . . because the first day of the NCAA Tournament is also the day in which Drive and Dish publishes its annual handwritten NCAA Tournament bracket!

And there's another import reason that those same smart college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) count down the days to the release of the official handwritten Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket each year:  It's now just about the only time all year that Drive and Dish actually publishes anything new.

Much as deer spend the waning days of summer feverishly preparing for rutting season in the Fall —bucks viciously lock antlers and fight, instinctively understanding that it will be their only chance all year to procure a female for mating -- the smartest college basketball fans (and degenerate gamblers) spend their winters in anticipation of reading the enlightened basketball acumen that graces each megabyte of bandwidth used to host the official hand written Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket . . . for they've come to instinctively understand that it could very well be their only chance all year to read the sage basketball wisdom of Drive and Dish!


Drive and Dish began publishing on March 8, 2007, as the major conference tournaments were wrapping up, and just before that year's NCAA Tournament field was revealed to the public by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.  At first, Drive and Dish co founder Mark Buckets wrote earnest articles about college basketball, while yours truly talked trash and published smart-assed, "click-bait" style blog posts written in "hot take" fashion about almost anything that was even remotely connected (however loosely) to college basketball or the NBA.

On the eve of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, yours truly toned down the smart-assery just a hair (though not all the way) in order to publish a rambling mashup of random thoughts about college basketball, titled "Deep Thoughts (About College Basketball)."  In that post, Drive and Dish made its  first official NCAA championship prediction (though it was done in a pretty unofficial manner) when yours truly correctly picked Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford's Florida Gators to sober up just long enough to win the ‘07 national championship:

It's usually easy to identify the best teams in college basketball. There always seem to be at least two or three teams that are significantly better than everyone else, and thus, seem like sure-fire bets to reach the Final Four. That's not the case this year.
A lot of teams are pretty good, but nobody is really good.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Ohio State and Wisconsin top the polls, but they just don't appear to be championship caliber teams. Ditto for for North Carolina and Kansas. The only team I can think of that has what it takes to win a championship is...Florida.                                                                                                             

Hmm, Florida...where have I heard...hey wait, didn't they win the championship last year? And, wow, it looks like they have everybody back from last year's championship team.  

So why haven't they played better this year? Oh yeah! Gainesville is a party town. Those players are rock stars on campus and...they know that they're better than every other team in college basketball. Florida will get serious once the Tournament starts.

Drive and Dish published near daily for the next year or so, and in 2008, we began what would go on to become our now time-honored tradition of publishing our hand written NCAA Tournament brackets early in the morning of the first day of the Tournament (obviously before the games start).

We also filled out handwritten NIT and CBI (and eventually, CIT) brackets just for the hell of it in those days.  Oh, and Mark Buckets truly did yeoman's work back then by live-blogging every game of the Tournament (examples here and here).

Trouble started brewing, though, after Mark's Duke Blue Devils were upset in the first round by a then-unheralded Virginia Commonwealth team.  As soon as Duke slinked off the court after having been stunned and humiliated by VCU, Mr. Buckets abruptly burned out on live-blogging NCAA Tournament games (gotta admit though, live-blogging's not for everybody!) and flaked began to waver in his commitment to basketball blogging altogether (damn Millennials and their flakey troubles with commitment!). 

By that point, yours truly had soured on trash talking and "hot take" styled "click bait" blogging, and had begun to publish longer, better thought out pieces (known today as "long form" writing).  Mark Buckets left Drive and Dish for greener pastures and although yours truly kept pumping out semi-long form blog posts for some time, eventually it became clear that basketball blogging wasn't going to pay the bills (though in fairness, through this blog, we actually received some legitimate offers to write about basketball for well known websites).  Drive and Dish began publishing more and more infrequently, until eventually, the only thing we managed to get up each year was the aforementioned annual handwritten Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket .

We explained it pretty well last year:

Drive and Dish was established in March of 2007.  In our ten years of existence, we've only undergone a handful of changes.  First, after receiving some constructive criticism on our original, basic, plain-as-vanilla Blogspot design, we adopted a slightly more stylized design template (with a Duke Blue Devils-inspired blue, white and black color scheme in order to appease the late Drive and Dish co-founder, "Dukie" Mark Buckets)... 
...Our second major change came when we began posting our hand written NCAA Tournament brackets on the eve of the 2008 Tournament.  Later that year, our third big change occurred when Mark Buckets retired from sports blogging in order to spend more time with hookers and blow his family.  Thereafter, the Drive and Dish blog became a sole proprietorship.

One of the biggest, and most unfortunate changes to Drive and Dish came after "life changes" * forced yours truly to curtail the amount of time spent blogging about basketball. This blog kept going in earnest, but its output slowed down to but a few posts per month.

* "Life changes" can refer to any number of life events that can cause one to reorient one's life priorities, including but not limited to the following: running from unpaid child support payments, tax liens, gambling debts, lost savings in a notorious Ponzi scheme, faking one's own death to get out from under one's debts . . . plus hookers and blow...
...The final change came about in 2013, when the blog went into complete radio silence, with the sole exception of posting the official Drive and Dish handwritten NCAA Tournament Bracket on the morning of the NCAA Tournament's opening day.

Longtime readers know that we're all about tradition here at Drive and Dish, so we're certainly not going to disappoint our readership by neglecting to publish our 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket.  However, this year we've added a twist -- Drive and Dish founder and longstanding Executive Publisher, Executive Producer and Assistant Associate Junior Copy Editor, "S.K." (formerly known around these parts as "T.S.", and sometimes still known as "yours truly") has accepted a challenge from "C.H." to publish dueling brackets in a no-holds-barred, all out battle to the death, handwritten NCAA Tournament bracket death match.

Neither "S.K" nor "C.H." has watched much college basketball this year, though yours truly has seen a few games throughout the season (mostly games from mid-major conferences though).  So really, neither of us is well prepared for this battle.  But we're looking forward to it nonetheless.

That much is tradition here at Drive and Dish.

Thus, in keeping with tradition, we submit our special 2018 Drive and Dish hand written NCAA Tournament death match brackets:

SK (aka, "T.S."):  



Just for the hell of it, here's S.K.'s official 2018 Drive and Dish hand written NIT bracket (there's no challenge, or no-holds-barred death match for this one though, because nobody really cares about the NIT):

Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 NCAA Championship Game: North Carolina (Who Else?!) vs. Gonzaga

North Carolina will play Gonzaga in tonight's 2017 NCAA Men's Championship game.  North Carolina is appearing in its twentieth NCAA Final Four -- the most Final Four appearances of any NCAA Division I Men's basketball program -- and will be playing in its second straight NCAA title game (the Tar Heels lost the 2016 NCAA Championship game on a buzzer-beating three point shot by Villanova's Kris Jenkins).

Gonzaga, by contrast, will be playing in its first-ever NCAA Championship game, after having just made its first Final Four appearance in school history during Saturday's semifinal win over South Carolina.

So what's the official Drive and Dish prediction for tonight's Championship game?

Dunno.  Hate to say it, but haven't seen enough of either team this year to have an informed opinion. This has been something of a "gap year" for Drive and Dish.  It's the first year in decades in which none of the writers, editors or reporters associated with Drive and Dish have payed attention to college basketball during the regular season.  Our interns didn't even watch college basketball this year (they didn't even watch their own colleges' teams)!  For the 2016-'17 season, we've been more or less like the average sports fan in America, insofar as our viewership of college basketball only began in March.  Accordingly, our Official Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament Bracket was the worst one we've ever posted.

In other words, you shouldn't listen to anything we say, and you're wasting your time if you read another word we write.

Having said that, we think that Gonzaga has its most talented team in school history, and as such, probably has an outside chance tonight against Head Coach Roy Williams' Tar Heels.  But North Carolina is stacked from top to bottom with big, athletic and talented players . . . as they usually are. 

Perhaps most importantly, the Heels are a veteran, experienced team.  Having played for the NCAA title last year, they should know exactly how to handle themselves on the big stage that tonight's game will present.  

North Carolina will probably come out and try to run Gonzaga off the court early in the game.  

For Gonzaga, the first key to the game will be playing with poise and not letting North Carolina set the tone early on.  A bigger key, though, for Gonzaga will be the play of 7'1" 300-plus lb big man Przemek Karnowski. Karnowski will have to stay out of foul trouble in order for the Zags to have a chance against the talented and experienced Tar Heels.  Gonzaga has other good big men who should be able to keep pace with Carolina's bigs, but they're young and inexperienced.  The massive Karnowski is Gonzaga's "X-factor."  If he's able to play extended minutes, Gonzaga may be able to hang around in this game.  But if the referees give North Carolina a little bit of "home cookin'" (as they've done in NCAA Tournament title games in the past), and blow the whistles early and often against Karnowski and his teammates, it will be a long night for the Zags.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Drive and Dish was established in March of 2007.  In our ten years of existence, we've only undergone a handful of changes.  First, after receiving some constructive criticism on our original, basic, plain-as-vanilla Blogspot design, we adopted a slightly more stylized design template (with a Duke Blue Devils-inspired blue, white and black color scheme in order to appease the late Drive and Dish co-founder, "Dukie" Mark Buckets).

We made those adjustments early in 2008, and haven't touched a single element of this blog's layout since that time.  So stylistically, Drive and Dish is stuck in 2008.  Incidentally, we're probably stuck in 2008 in other ways too.  For instance, we still have Young Jeezy, The Black Eyed Peas, Akon, David Guetta and Thirty Seconds to Mars on our official Drive and Dish iPod. And we're starting to get into an up-and-coming young cat from Miami called Pitbull.  Don't sleep on Pitbull.  We think he could blow up big this summer!

Come to think of it, maybe it's time we ditch the iPod for one of those new iPhones. We understand that the iPhone lets you play music on your phone!  Our official Drive and Dish Blackberry Bold could finally be on its last legs!

Our second major change came when we began posting our hand written NCAA Tournament brackets on the eve of the 2008 Tournament.  Later that year, our third big change occurred when Mark Buckets retired from sports blogging in order to spend more time with hookers and blow his family.  Thereafter, the Drive and Dish blog became a sole proprietorship.

One of the biggest, and most unfortunate changes to Drive and Dish came after "life changes" * forced yours truly to curtail the amount of time spent blogging about basketball. This blog kept going in earnest, but its output slowed down to but a few posts per month.

The final change came about in 2013, when the blog went into complete radio silence, with the sole exception of posting the official Drive and Dish handwritten NCAA Tournament Bracket on the morning of the NCAA Tournament's opening day.

Longtime readers know that we're all about tradition here at Drive and Dish -- thus, we present the official handwritten Drive and Dish 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket (apologies for filling them out with a leaky pen):

* "Life changes" can refer to any number of life events that can cause one to reorient one's life priorities, including but not limited to the following: running from unpaid child support payments, tax liens, gambling debts, lost savings in a notorious Ponzi scheme, faking one's own death to get out from under one's debts . . . plus hookers and blow.

Monday, April 4, 2016

When the 2016 NCAA Tournament began, we published our handwritten 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket right here on the front page of Drive and Dish (as has been our custom since the early days of this blog).  We predicted that North Carolina would beat Villanova in the 2016 NCAA Championship game.


Tonight, North Carolina and Villanova will, in fact, play each other for the NCAA Championship.

That means that we got the final two teams of the Final Four correct!  So give us a gold star for our prescience, or something!

But do we still think that our prediction of North Carolina winning yet another NCAA Championship will come true?

Yeah, probably so.

In our NCAA Tournament bracket posting, we admitted that we'd viewed too little college basketball this year to consider ourselves experts on the subject of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.  But we also mentioned that we'd seen just enough of the top teams in the Tournament to know which teams were for real, and which were mere pretenders.

North Carolina and both Villanova stood out as being the real deal.  In short, they passed the cliched "eye test" with such flying colors that we forwarded them through to our bracket's National Title game without so much as even glancing at either team's respective Tournament résumé or analytical profile.

Our Championship Game synopsis is as follows:  North Carolina is probably too big, too talented and too deep for Villanova to overcome.  And their best player, Marcus Paige, also happens to be a savvy, experienced senior, which has become a rarity in big time college basketball.  So they'll probably win.  

But Villanova is an outstanding team in their on right, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if they were to pull off what would be a major upset.  That said, talent, size and depth win NCAA Championships.  North Carolina has more future NBA players than Villanova does.  So in the end, North Carolina will probably win.

But despite the presence of North Carolina alums in the family of one of Drive and Dish's editors, we'll be pulling for Villanova.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Our Bracket Was So Bad Last Year That We Took the Rest of the Year Off From Blogging ... So Here's Hoping We'll Do Better This Year!

Another year has passed since last we corresponded.

Our bad.

The last time we posted on this blog was to continue the longstanding Drive and Dish tradition of publishing our handwritten NCAA Tournament bracket . . . for 2015!

Regrettably, we've let another year slip through our grasps without publishing so much as a random thought, inane joke, half-cocked prediction, or expletive laden, late night drunken rambling about the game that we (still) love.  But as inattentive and incompetent as our blogging has become, we'd nevertheless be loathe to permit the NCAA Tournament to begin without at least keeping up the Drive and Dish tradition of sharing our handwritten bracket with our readers (however many, at this point, remain).

Come to think of it, managing to merely dribble out but a single, poorly thought out, and meagerly argued post per year has probably become a Drive and Dish tradition in and of itself.

But we're all about tradition, so here's our bracket:

We have North Carolina beating Villanova in the National Championship game, and we have three teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in the Final Four.

Hopefully, we'll be a little more accurate than we were last year, though that's probably unlikely, since we watched just about as little college basketball as we did last year ... which, incidentally, is why we've been so negligent in our basketball blogging.

Nevertheless, we've seen enough mid major basketball this year to know that there are some good teams from the obscure conferences that will score first and second round upsets.  And we've seen just enough of the big boys' games to have a good feel for which teams are for real and which teams are pretenders.

So while we're not as up-to-speed about college basketball as we have been in years past, we're still fairly confident in our opinions of those teams that we have seen play this year,  however few they may be.

Or maybe we're just cocky and full of hubris (again).

The Official Drive and Dish 2016 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Drive and Dish Goes Old School (Again), Fills Out 2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket By Hand (Again)

It's been a long time.  Drive and Dish has been silent for the last year.  The last time we posted new content on this blog it was to release our handwritten 2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket to the world... and it appeared exactly 364 days ago.

We didn't even continue our long-running tradition of posting a thorough scouting report on Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

We probably owe our readers (those who remain) an explanation for our protracted absence.  But most likely, nobody cares about that. 

So what do our readers care about?

Well, assuming anyone still cares about the Drive and Dish take on basketball, our readers want to see the official handwritten Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket.
Thus, we're obliged to deliver (even though we haven't delivered a damn thing else this year):

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Drive and Dish: Return of the Bracket

Drive and Dish has been inactive since last year's NCAA Tournament title game.

Sorry about that.

But just as the city of Chicago's dearly departed rise from their resting places each election day in order to fill out their straight-party ballots, we've returned in order to publish our annual handwritten NCAA Tournament Bracket.

Disclaimer: It's been a long year, and your humble author has viewed a grand total of *four* college basketball games this season.  So our picks are based on nothing more than our general impressions of each team's roster, coaching staff, strengths, weaknesses, health, potential position-by-position match ups against potential opponents and record since the second week of February. 

So even though we have something resembling a general formula for making our picks -- it's a "formula" that's served us pretty well in the past, by the way -- we're completely "winging it" this year.

Thus, without further ado, we issue our 2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket:

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 NCAA Championship Game Preveiw

Tonight, Louisville will play Michigan in the 2013 NCAA Basketball Championship game.  Nobody at Drive and Dish is a gambler, so we haven't checked the Las Vegas lines for tonight's game.  But we're reasonably certain that Louisville is the heavy favorite.

Drive and Dish didn't fare so well in predicting the Final Four in our 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket.  To our credit, we correctly anticipated Syracuse's surprising (at least to the "experts") upset of Indiana en route to the Final Four.  But we expected Duke to get to Atlanta instead of Louisville, and expected Ohio State to get there instead of Wichita State.

We actually weren't terribly surprised by Wichita State's surprising Final Four run.  We've been paying attention to the Missouri Valley conference for a long time, and we've long been aware that head coach Gregg Marshall and his Wichita program are top notch.  Of course, we didn't pick them to get to the Final Four in our bracket, but we definitely considered them to be a team that could make a deep Tournament run.

We picked Kansas to win the Championship, and of course, they lost in overtime to Michigan in the Elite Eight.  When filling out our bracket, we tried to anticipate how each team would match up against each other.  We thought that Michigan was the real deal, but we expected Kansas to cause match up problems for the Wolverines.

And we weren't wrong.  Kansas did give Michigan all kinds of problems.  In fact, Michigan had to put together a herculean comeback effort just to tie Kansas at the end of regulation (which they with a dramatic buzzer-beating three pointer courtesy of Trey Burke). 

Kansas did everything in the book to beat Michigan, but in the end, they got upended by a performance for the ages by Burke -- the eventual college basketball player of the year.

So what do we expect to see in tonight's Championship game?

We expect a very close game that goes down to the wire.  Neither team is clearly superior to the other.  They're both extremely well coached, they've both got size, and they're both loaded with talent and depth. 

Louisville has four players who will be on NBA rosters in the near future: Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng.  But Michigan has three players who are clearly certain to be future NBA first round draft picks: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Mitch McGary.

Louisville will apply full court pressure defense on Michigan for the entire 40 minutes of regulation, and when they have the ball, their lightning-quick guards will relentlessly attack the lane, drawing Michigan defenders in and creating easy layups and dunks for the Cardinals' big men, and open three pointers for perimeter players off of kick outs.  All Rick Pitino coached teams do those things.

But Michigan has an electric offense as well.  If Burke can break down Louisville's tough defenders, it will open up good looks from the three point line for Michigan's talented three point bombers.

The "X" factor for Michigan will be freshman big man McGary.  If McGary can establish himself from inside and out on offense early, it will force the shot blocking Dieng to focus on trying to stop McGary, and draw him away from swatting other Michigan players' shots.  Perhaps more importantly, if McGary and Michigan's big men can get Dieng into foul trouble, the lane will open up for Michigan.

And since we expect tonight's game to be so close, we think that it will probably turn on fouls.  The team that gets in foul trouble first will probably be the team that comes up short.

We think these teams are so closely matched, that neither team will get much more than a 4-6 point lead.  Thus, fouls will be critical.  The team that loses players to foul trouble first will probably lose.  Concurrently, the first team that gets to shoot foul shots in the bonus will probably win.

Drive and Dish is usually pretty certain about who we expect to win, but we think this one will be so close that it could go either way.  Louisville probably should win, but we think Michigan has the guns to bring home the Big Ten's first Championship since 2000. 

We'll go out on a limb and take Michigan ... with the caveat that Michigan will be massively screwed if either Burke or McGary finds himself in foul trouble early.  If that happens, Louisville will be too much for Michigan, and Rick Pitino  will have coached his second school to an NCAA Championship (Pitino won an NCAA Championship at Kentucky in 1996).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Drive and Dish Fills Out NCAA Tournament Bracket, 2013 Edition

Drive and Dish was launched one week before the start of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. In 2008, we began publishing our handwritten NCAA Tournament brackets. The night before our first brackets appeared, Mark Buckets and yours truly spent the wee hours deliberating over our picks in a then-24 hour Kinko's in the western suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Buckets abruptly retired from sports blogging during Duke's upset loss to West Virginia in the second round of that year's Tournament. He came out of retirement to pen a post or two later in the week, but left blogging for good after the 2008 Final Four.

Drive and Dish Senior Editor Trashtalk Superstar took sole responsibility for handwriting and publishing the annual Drive and Dish NCAA Tournament bracket in 2009. Like a monk who spent years copying the Bible by hand during the Dark Ages, Mr. Trash Talk devoted himself to handwriting and publishing the Drive and Dish brackets for the remaining years.

The 2010 Drive and Dish NCAA bracket proved to be our most prescient. Drive and Dish eschewed the conventional wisdom (we were among the few who didn't pick Kansas that year) and correctly predicted that Duke would win it all. To be sure, we never envisioned that the Blue Devils would meet then-unheralded Butler in the Championship game, but our selection of Duke was a bold pick at the time. Believe it or not, virtually nobody picked Duke to win it all that year.

We had previously predicted an eventual NCAA champion that most "experts" missed when we picked Florida to win its second consecutive NCAA Championship in 2007, even though the defending champs' lackluster regular season performance had caused most of those "experts" to write them off (we didn't publish our brackets that year, so readers will have to work their way through the bullet points in the linked post to find the Florida Championship prediction).

Duke in 2010 and Florida in 2007 seemed fairly apparent to us because we make our picks based on how we expect teams to match up against each other.  By the time teams get deep into the Tournament (i.e., past the Sweet Sixteen), match ups become the most important factor in determining the outcomes of games.  Put simply, teams don't get to the Elite Eight unless they're talented and are playing well, so games played deep in the Tournament turn on match ups and momentum swings. 

When filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket, it's not to hard to pick winners by envisioning how the various winning teams in your bracket figure to match up against each other at each position on the floor.

Of course, predicting winners based on match ups doesn't guarantee that you'll be right every time.  Drive and Dish picked Duke to win it all again in 2011, even though the Blue Devils lost some key starters from the 2010 Championship team to graduation.   That year, Duke fell short as Connecticut came out of nowhere to win head coach Jim Calhoun his third NCAA Championship.

And last year, we ended picking North Carolina to beat its mortal enemy Duke in what we expected to be hyped up to be an NCAA Championship game for the ages (because it would pit bitter conference rivals North Carolina and Duke against each other).  Instead, Coach John Calipari's freshman-laden Kentucky team won the Championship and forever discredited one of Drive and Dish's long-held "ironclad rules": namely, not to expect championship caliber play from teams that rely on freshmen at several key positions.

But envisioning potential match ups is still the preferred way of filling out our brackets here at Drive and Dish.

So we employed that method when we filled out our 2013 bracket.  It needs to be stated, though, that our 2013 bracket should come with the following disclaimer: the current proprietors of Drive and Dish eschew watching television.  So the Drive and Dish 2013 bracket has been completed in spite of Drive and Dish writers' relatively limited exposure to televised college basketball in the 2012-2013 season.  We've viewed select games online, but our focus has been on Notre Dame, the Missouri Valley conference and the Big Ten conference.  We've probably seen enough of Notre Dame and the Big Ten, though, to know the Irish and each Big Ten team inside and out.   That said, we're not as well acquainted with the entirety of NCAA Division I basketball as we have  been in years past.

That was the case last year and in 2011 as well (which, come to think of it, could well explain why we didn't see Connecticut coming in 2011 or see Kentucky coming last year).

Still, it wouldn't feel like March without Barack Obama sitting down with the media to discuss the finer points of his bracket in an Obama Bracket Unveiling Special on national TV, and without Drive and Dish publishing its hastily assembled, hand-written bracket a few short hours before the first Thursday game of the Tournament tips off.

Thus, without further ado, we present our 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scouting Report on Santa, Christmas Eve 2012

Ever since Drive and Dish began its run in 2007, we've published an annual Christmas Eve scouting report on Santa.  In 2009, personnel losses, as well as business, work and life demands forced the Drive and Dish proprietors to cut back on our hoops blogging.  As a result, Drive and Dish went from being a blog that published on a daily basis (at least during basketball season), to a blog that published only a few times per week.

Over time, Drive and Dish devolved even more -- we eventually reached the point where even multiple posts in a single week became the exception, rather than the rule.  But while output went down, the quality of our writing probably went up.  After all, if our writers found some issue or occurrence to be so compelling that they (we) moved heaven and earth to blog about it, the resulting Drive and Dish post was likely to be well thought out and, accordingly, at least fairly well-written.

Without a doubt, though, the posts that we most enjoyed writing were our annual Christmas Eve scouting reports on Santa.  Year after year, the scouting report was more or less the same.  In the interest of saving time and space, here's the ultra-truncated, Cliff/Spark Notes-style version of the annual scouting report: Santa is old and fat, but since  he can still pilot his flying sleigh to every corner of the globe (minus Saudi Arabia, Iran and most of Pakistan) in a single evening and sneak into and out of your house to leave presents by sliding down your chimney and jumping back up to the roof, it's fair to say that he hasn't lost a step, that he can still sky, and that he's still got his hang time.

This year, we've let the blog go more than ever before.  Without doubt, it's been the most stressful and trying time for our remaining writers/editors since the blog was founded.  Since the start of basketball season in October, Drive and Dish editors have been involved in the liquidation of two corporations and the sale of the corporations' commercial real estate.  We've also been trying to lay the groundwork for the start-up of something new (but more on that later).  It's been a chaotic time around here, and as such, we've neglected our blogging duties.  So this year, we don't have a new scouting report on Santa to post.  We're just referring our readers to last year's scouting report.

But if you must know the truth, we'll probably be able to slide by with last year's scouting report because we've heard that even though Santa is a year older and a few pounds fatter,  he can still pilot his flying sleigh to every corner of the globe (minus Saudi Arabia, Iran and most of Pakistan) in a single evening and sneak into and out of your house to leave presents by sliding down your chimney and jumping back up to the roof, it's fair to say that he hasn't lost a step, that he can still sky, and that he's still got his hang time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day/4th of July

Drive and Dish wishes all our American readers and friends a happy 4th of July/Independence Day.  Of course, we hope that all our non American readers and friends have a great day too, but since Americans celebrate their nation's birth every July 4th by picnicking, drinking alcoholic beverages and watching fireworks (sometimes setting them off too), our 4th of July "shout outs" are targeted at our American friends.

Last night, one of the Drive and Dish editors finished playing basketball at a gym in Burr Ridge, IL, and walked out into the gym's parking lot as the Burr Ridge firework show was starting.  So he took a video of the show.

The camerawork gets a little shaky at times (as does most handheld video), but it's nothing major, and it doesn't detract much from the video.  We hope you enjoy it:

Of course, Drive and Dish officially endorses leaving the July 4th pyrotechnics to the professionals.  People who set off their own July 4th fireworks are asking for trouble ... especially if they're drunk.   You don't want to end up like one of these guys:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gang-Related Violence Explodes In Upscale Chicago Locales: Is Chicago Becoming Detroit?

University of Cincinnati Professor Emeritus of Political Science, and native Chicagoan, Abraham Miller, writes at the conservative PJ Media about the recent eruption of violent, gang-related crime in some of the most affluent parts of Chicago:

Streeterville is a quiet, upscale part of Chicago that encompasses the Magnificent Mile and is just south of the Gold Coast. Northwestern University’s Law School is in Streeterville, as is its hospital. Oprah has an apartment in Streeterville. A close friend of mine once lived in Steeterville, and I spent many a late night walking off jet lag on its streets. After all, if you’re not safe in Streeterville, where are you safe?

As a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital learned the other night, you’re really not safe in Streeterville.  Accosted by a “flash” mob of black teenagers, the physician was repeatedly hit and beaten.  He wasn’t robbed.  He says the motive wasn’t racial, as he’s Asian.  But typically such mobs are black and their victims are whites, who are abused with racist insults while they’re being injured.

The physician observed that the teenagers had accosted others before they attacked him. The teenagers were simply looking to have fun by hurting someone, and the next someone was him. And, of course, this is not the first instance of such mob behavior flowing out of the deteriorating inner city into the city’s wealthier areas. It isn’t even the first foray into upscale Streeterville. The criminals now have done what any species does when it exhausts the resources of its immediate environment. They have moved on to another habitat.

Streeterville, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in particular, are relatively frequent haunts for some the proprietors of this blog.  So we know both the area, and the institution well.

And as bad as it may sound, when the Drive and Dish proprietors initially heard that there had been an attack on a young, male Northwestern physician, we more or less assumed that he was probably, well, Asian.

That's not to say that the roving bands of teenaged and pre-teen thugs who have been venturing into posh Chicago neighborhoods from their ghetto stomping grounds aren't on the hunt for white guys to beat down.

They most certainly are.

But Northwestern is full of young Asian doctors.  And on the whole, Asian-American males tend to be smaller, and tend to appear less threatening than their white American male counterparts.

Is that an unfair stereotype?  Sure, but, like so many stereotypes, it's rooted in a level of truth.  

Of course, most of the time the teenage thugs (or "youths," as the media prefers to call them), hit upscale, urban white guys -- most of whom appear as soft as tapioca pudding to thugs from the 'Hood.  But just as in nature, where predators tend to prefer hunting the weakest (i.e., easiest to catch) prey, 13-15 year old up-and-coming ghetto thugs will hit the softest-looking target they can find.

Up-and-coming "shorties" from Da 'Hood tend not to care that stereotyping people by their race or ethnicity violates the principles of political correctness.  And since even 13 year old ghetto thugs  know that most young Asian-American doctors don't know to fight like Bruce Lee and didn't work their way through medical school by busting kneecaps for the Yakuza ... well ... do the math. 

That the young Asian-American Northwestern physician would be so hopelessly naïve as to actually assume that a throng of black, teenaged ghetto thugs would leave him alone simply because he's not white ... well, again, do the math. 

But if the clueless, Asian-American physician from Northwestern has his head planted firmly in the sand, so too does most of Chicago.  Miller hits on a couple of largely unspoken factors that have been quietly enabling Chicago's dysfunctional inner city street gang culture for years -- indifference and the reliance on smug, bien-pensant politically correct tropes:

Sure, Chicago, like most major American cities, has its crime-polluted neighborhoods where going out on the street at night is about as safe as going out in Baghdad. We all know how to avoid those, unless our economic circumstances regrettably compel us to live in such neighborhoods. Last week, 53 people were shot in Chicago. Most of us will dismiss this as an irrelevant statistic.  After all, we know without reading the papers where those people live: in the south and west sides. There, the population is largely black or  Latino,  gangs fight turf wars over the drug trade, and getting a gun is not only a rite of passage but also is more common than getting a high school diploma...

We assume that because people who look like the victims are also the perpetrators, it’s not our problem. Our continually reinforced ethnic tribalism really comes down to: we don’t give a damn about black-on-black violence or what happens in the deteriorating parts of our city. We can be smug about gun control because none of our neighbors are shooting each other. We can be self-righteous about microscopic adherence to due process because none of us will have to testify in open court against people who belong to vengeful criminal organizations.

Such delusions are part of what makes us not only smug but also hypocrites. We invoke the notion that poverty causes crime.  If only we’d have greater redistribution of income and wealth, all this would go away. We take comfort in the idea that there is a solution to the problem. Why not? It’s ingrained in our psyches, pontificated as one of the few real “laws” of social science, and comes to us as strongly from the classrooms as it does from the bar stools. We can, thus, avoid the thought of 53 white people being gunned down on our streets over a few days.

Miller then raises a critically important question and challenges one of the aforementioned longstanding politically correct tropes: does poverty cause crime (as we're always told), or is it the other way around?

(The) late James Q. Wilson so artfully pointed out decades ago, it might be that poverty causing crime is just another logical fallacy. Wilson challenged us to think that maybe it’s the other way around: crime causes poverty.
My brother drove a chemical tanker in Chicago. He was a big, powerful man who had been an amateur boxer. One day, while he was setting up his hoses on the south side to pump chemicals into a factory’s tanks, a group of teenagers surrounded him and demanded his money. He carried a spiked billy club for such purposes and instead of producing his wallet produced a lesson in night stick justice. When he returned to his yard, he told his dispatcher that he’d never deliver to that business again. Next time, he said, the kids might have guns and a shot would explode the flammable chemical truck and take out a city block.
 Eventually, no driver would deliver to the business. The business moved to the northern suburbs and with it went the neighborhood jobs. Repeat this by tens of thousands of times encompassing all types of crimes, and you get a snapshot of an environment where few are eager to invest capital or write insurance. Add to that a demographic of low education and criminal conviction, and you have a labor force no one is eager to hire.
 As gangs of black teenagers roam the streets of places like Streeterville looking for nothing else but to hurt people, we need to realize that the social order has changed. More important, we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that if we just pump more money into the inner city, the problems of teenage violence will be solved.

Last night, mere hours after Dr. Miller's PJ Media piece was published, there was a gang-related shooting on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile at Michigan Ave. and Ontario St. That’s the most high-end and high profile location yet to get a taste of Chicago’s burgeoning citywide explosion of violent crime.

For years, Chicago got a bad rap, as most people around the country — conservatives in particular (especially after the advent of Chicago’s own Barack Obama) — mistakenly thought of the Windy City as some sort of impoverished, post-apocalyptic Rust Belt war zone inhabited by gang-bangers, project-dwelling “welfare queens,” mustachioed blue collar fat guys in Bears jerseys from an old Saturday Night Live skit (Da Bears!) and … well, Eskimos. But Great Lakes locale aside, Chicago never actually suffered much from the kind of decline that sucked the life out of nearby crumbling Great Lakes cities like Detroit (and to a lesser degree, Cleveland) over the past 35-45 years.
That’s not to say that Chicago didn’t have its share of God-forsaken, hell hole neighborhoods that were overrun with poverty, gangs and violent crime. Chicago, in fact, had those in spades. But what people outside of Chicago often didn’t understand is that Chicago proper was, is, and has always been, home to both areas of great wealth and areas of great poverty, and that Chicago’s notorious crime-infested precincts have largely been confined to sections of the South and West Sides — two areas that were/are more or less isolated from the rest of the city.

The heart of Chicago, though, with its pedestrian-friendly lake shore and canyons of skyscrapers, has traditionally been as safe, as clean and as crime-free as the central part of any big city in the country.

Unbeknownst though it’s apparently been to much of the country, Chicago’s center core became so gentrified that, for years, it’s been safe enough to walk alone at night through great swaths of the city, including its bustling downtown business district, its fashionable Near North Side (Streeterville, River North, the Gold Coast, Magnificent Mile, etc.), its North Side Yuppietopia (Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Ravenswood, Roscoe Village, Andersonville, etc.), and even its trendy/hipster regions on the ever-gentrifying Near West and Near Northwest Sides (Greektown, Fulton Market, West Town, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, etc.).

Contrary to the widespread perception of Chicago as some kind of gritty, hardscrabble, post-industrial wasteland, the aforementioned areas have heretofore mostly served as urban versions of the kinds of upscale, safe, Caucasian-dominated hamlets that the professionally angry black journalist Richard Benjamin disparagingly terms “Whitopias.”

Chicago’s central location, no doubt, accounts for much of its up-to-now mostly unfounded bad reputation. Opinion makers from the East Coast don’t typically set foot on non-coastal real estate unless they have to.  So Chicago usually doesn’t figure very prominently in their collective consciousness ... unless, of course, it’s being used to fulfill some kind of unflattering regional stereotype (i.e., violent racist crackers from the South; dumb, "Bible-thumpin'", "gun-totin’" hillbillies from Texas; fat, blue collar rustics from the Midwest, etc.).

Thus, it’s been easy for people to conflate Detroit and Chicago, and to lazily assume that Detroit’s problems are Chicago’s. After all, they’re both older, industrial cities in in the upper Midwest…

But perhaps more so than any American city (other than New York, of course), Chicago has, over the past 20 years, come to resemble a European city of sorts, replete with a wealthy, expansive and largely white central core, and with poor, high-crime areas that have been pushed ever farther to the city’s far-flung edges (not unlike the Paris and its crime-infested banlieues).

The bulk of Chicago’s crime, however, has historically been contained to neighborhoods which are best described as being in "the ‘Hood," and thus, it never much figured in the lives of people in the heart of the city.  That general attitude of indifference to crime was even prevalent during the much-hyped crime wave of Summer 2010, when a rash of gangland shootings grabbed headlines and figured prominently on the Drudge Report (thus, “confirming” the preconceived notions so many conservatives had of Chicago as a Detroit-style ghetto hell hole).

The big secret that everybody in Chicago intrinsically understood — and which, of course, could never be acknowledged in polite company — was that as long as the crime and violence stayed in the ghettos on the South and West Sides (well, at least crime and violence of the non-white collar variety, non-Italian “wise guy” variety and non-City Hall “Corruptocrat” variety), the rest of the city didn’t really give a rat’s a** about who shot whom.

And even though the city has become so overextended (err, broke) that it’s slashed 3000 officers from the police force since 2007 (those curious as to why violent crime has been on such an dramatic upswing in Chicago might start by pondering that fact), the mostly good liberals of Chicago’s fashionable parts can be forgiven if they adopted a “see no evil” attitude.

If it’s not in your back yard, it’s not your problem.

Of course, that all changes the minute that it comes to your back yard. And with gang shootings and gang-related violence having suddenly moved downtown and into ever more upscale sections of the city since last summer, it’s everybody’s problem now (even if a lot of wealthy downtown liberals are uncomfortable acknowledging the ethnicities of the perpetrators).

None of that is likely to register in the national consciousness, though. For most, Chicago’s recent troubles will just confirm what they already knew (or thought they knew) … that Chicago is just like Detroit.