Vol. 51, No. 2 • January 2014 • .pdf version
• Kirk Wessler: Let officials explain themselves
• Joe Mitch: SiriusXM, CBSSports.com are partners
• Dana O'Neil: Patience will prevail over pontification
• Ed Graney: As always, tough choices abound
• Jerardi, Lapides, Norwood are Hall of Famers
• Record-setting number of entries in best-writing contest
• Lodge Notes: Gould leaves Sun-Times

Dana O'Neil

A prediction: Patience will prevail over pontification

USBWA First Vice-President

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We are paid to predict and more frequently, to make snap decisions and then bold statements off these snap decisions. The first part, the peak into the crystal ball, is usually fun and harmless. It's the second one that gives me pause.

Right about now, no one is any good in college basketball. Or at least that's the general consensus on the journalistic barometer that is Twitter. Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Duke, all of these teams we were salivating over and more, all of these freshmen we couldn't wait to see play, are at best, vastly overrated and at worst, flat-out horrible.

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Mostly because they had the audacity to lose once or, in some cases, twice; and mostly because that's what we do. We hop to Twitter or to our laptops and say,

"School X has no chance of making the Final Four," and "Player Y will be lucky to be a first-round draft pick" or "Coach Z needs to be fired."

All before Dec. 15.

I'm not preaching from an ivory tower here. I'm as guilty of pontificating from a pulpit as anyone else. But I'm determined to try and stop. In fact, along with eating well (postgame wings and libation at midnight check some critical food group, I'm certain), my New Year's resolution is to actually allow the season to play out before I declare anyone out, dead, awful, or overrated.

It will not be easy. Readers and followers like bombast and pronouncements. I can already see the virtual eye rolls when I answer the typical chat question of "Can (insert team name here) improve enough to make it to the Final Four/tourney/conference title" with a, "We'll have to see …" I will be no better than the Nuke LaLoosh of sportswriters, spouting off tired clichιs that have no meaning.

Ah well. It's worth it. I'll be glad to offer my predictions with a disclaimer that it's merely that, but anything more will be out of bounds.

Feel free to call me boring, but I prefer to call it patient (and anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that's not a word often associated with me, so this is a huge New Year's leap).

I'm going to see what happens before I declare what will happen. I'm going to watch for who emerges over four months before I decide who won't in two.

In other words, I'm going to enjoy the season as it unfolds, before I decide how it will end.

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