With all due respect to Taylor v. Hansbrough, I'm pretty sure what you're about to see is the semifinal battle the nation (or, based on the results of yesterday's voting, 36 states) has been waiting for.
It's Gonzo vs. Barney, Bobby vs. Mitch, insufferable head basketball coach vs. equally insufferable athletics director. These two have been on a collision course since T.J. Houshmandzadeh was embarrassing Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and Luis Flores was the mack of the MAAC.
Each put in considerable time and effort over the past several months to make it this far, but alas, there's only room for one in tomorrow's title bout.
Ring the bell!
2) MITCH BARNHART - Director of Athletics, Kentucky
--Put spite ahead of the well-being of his own program when he declined ESPN's offer to air the Louisville/Kentucky football game on Labor Day evening, presumably because it was what Tom Jurich wanted.
--When turning down the offer to have his team play in the time slot previously reserved for the Miami/Florida State rivalry, Barnhart used the excuse that playing on Monday would make Kentucky vulnerable for the following Saturday's home game against Norfolk State. Tennessee and UCLA ultimately accepted an offer to play the Labor Day evening game.
--Once again refused to sobbingly beg for forgiveness for his "we will own this state" remark when he took the Kentucky AD job in 2002.
--Looks goofy in pictures.
--I thought he handled the multitude of Tubby/Gillispie situations well (the ones that stretched into this academic year).
3) BOBBY GONZALEZ - Head Coach, Seton Hall
--Did everything this side of a naked headstand to get attention during his team's 92-82 upset victory over Louisville on Jan. 19.
--Got into a fist fight with an assistant during halftime of an eventual loss to West Virginia on Feb. 17.
--Got into an altercation with Rutgers head coach Fred Hill during a regular season-ending loss to the Scarlet Knights, and then harshly criticized the officials during his postgame press conference. His actions led Seton Hall AD Joe Quinlan to suspend him for the first Big East game of next season.
--Called a reporter to berate him for a piece he had written, and then asked him if Rick Pitino had put him up to it.
--Basically acted like himself for six months.
--Did come out looking pretty good in one of the more hilarious announcer flubs of the season.
--Guided his team to nine losses in its final 11 games and failed to make the NIT.
Larry Taylor is scared and lonely (because he isn't cool) at the end of the bracket. It's time to give him some company.
UPDATE: The tournament continues to hold form as Barnhart rolls into the finals.
Once again, the voting will cease at midnight.