Web Exclusives: From the P-Nut Gallery
a column by Nate Sellwyn nsellyn@princeton.edu

March 24, 2004:

P-Nut’s Basketball Diary
Thursday, March 18, 2004


I’ve been locked in my room doing thesis work all day. By that, I mean playing on-line backgammon, talking to friends on Instant Messenger, and downloading live Talking Heads tracks. Don’t worry, it’ll all come together in three weeks. Getting the ideas down on paper will only take a few days, I’m busy formulating them right now. Besides, 75 percent of this school is off in the Bahamas right now, enjoying Spring Break properly, so I’m entitled to my leisure time. Anyway, there’s a senior study break in Frist in half an hour, where we can get some free food and watch the game. I’ll go for the food, but I couldn’t care less about the basketball. I mean, there are simply better games on tonight. I love Princeton, but I’m a realist. We don’t have anyone who can guard Mouton. The first round, like my freshman year, is a formality. I have yet to see one bracket that picked the Tigers for the upset. Even Alex Wolff, whose blood runs black and orange, picked a Texas victory in his CNNSI expert bracket. Then again, he also picked Kansas to win it all. Anyway, I better get changed if I want to get down campus in time for some of this free food.


Man, that four-minute shower felt great. But are you kidding me? There must be 700 kids here, all lined up for some free chicken fingers and pizza. I feel like decking every one of them who I know isn’t a senior. They don’t know from suffering. Forget this, I’m going downstairs to the grill. I’d rather pay than wait for some mass produced, fried and greasy garbage.


Ah, back safely in Foulke. That big classroom in Frist is open to kids who feel like watching in the company of other students, but I’m happy in the common room of a suite. Of course, I’m faced with another problem: Sure Princeton is on, and I’d love to watch my buddy Mike Stephens, but I know what’s going to happen… and only a few channels away, ESPN is giving me a chance to watch the Maple Leafs and Flyers. Now, I don’t like the Leafs, but my Canadiens are going to have to go through one of these teams on their way to the Cup in a month’s time, and I wouldn’t mind this chance to scout the competition. Plus, I have three fantasy players (McCabe, Leetch, Sundin) in the game. Of course, the problem is solved when my suitemates and I remember we have two TVs. In a display of school spirit, we allow the Princeton game the privilege of highest volume.


This has to be the most exciting game of boring basketball I’ve ever seen! Sure, the total number of points is still under 30, but we’re killing them! Plus, Rick Barnes is going small! Is he crazy? Texas’s whole advantage is Brandon Mouton, he’s got that size on the perimeter. Our lead is small, but it’s growing… and at this rate, a six-point comeback could take several hours. Baskets are about as scarce as a clean cup at Tiger Inn after 3 a.m. Could we really do this? Man, that means I’ll have to go out tonight. We have a brief conversation about what the partying must have been like after the UCLA upset, or the U.N.L.V. victory in ’98. We definitely have to go out tonight if Princeton wins, thesis or no thesis. Something like this is big, right? Really big. We crack our first beers.


It’s the half, and we’re winning. Winning at the half, over Texas! Some more kids come in to watch. Plus, it’s snowing again. Some people start talking about Nude Olympics. Sure, it’s not the first snowfall, but it’s a March 18 snowfall, and the NCAA Championship is only twenty minutes and five games away. Can we light a bonfire on Cannon Green in the snow?


Mouton’s stroke is so sweet. I’ll tell you one thing my Princeton education has taught me: 11 for 15 is 73%, and you’re going to have a hard time losing when you shoot like that from beyond the arc.


I missed you, dear thesis.


You can reach Nate at nsellyn@Princeton.EDU