A night of revelation

February 5, 2009
We love Dejected photos of the Dorks from Durham

One of us loves dejected photos of the Dorks from Durham, the other weeps

Monday, March 16th, 2009 will not be any normal Monday.  On that particular morning, after you tap into that free coffee that tastes like muddy water, you will collect your 5 brackets from the printer.  Instead of analyzing financial reports, government projects, or whatever garbage occupies the morning hours of your day, there will be brackets to browse.  This year we recommend taking a different approach, by just freakin’ guessing.

There’s been talk about a pattern of incongruities (can you say that?) throughout this season, with team’s not being able to “find” themselves.  Last night’s slate of games pretty much sold us on that school of thought. Syracuse started all the action with a response victory that had Syracuse fan’s thinking of Eric Devendorf as a Catholic Alter Boy.  Jeff Diveronica of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle referred to the ‘Cuse as a “boxer on the ropes.” Syracuse’s beat down of the Mountaineers helped Jim Boeheim and the Orange out of the corner they were backed into, losing three of their last four.

Wake Forest, everyone’s favorite big game team got waxed on the road by the ‘Canes, 79 -52.  The end result: The ‘Canes snap a three game losing streak and sending Wake to their second straight loss, both to an unranked club.  Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald called the ‘Canes victory, “the perfect remedy.” That’s now three ACC road losses for the Demon Deacons.  Will Wake’s fate be a loss to a 14 seed?

Halftime Score: Michigan State 42, Minnesota 16…Game Recap done.  The #19 Golden Gophers came into The House that Izzo Built after building a 18-3 record on the year.  However, the Spartans defended Sparta from warm ups on, jumping out to an impressive halftime lead.  Durrell Summers dropped in 21 on only 10 shots compared to the entire Minnesota starting lineup’s 19 on 27 shots.  Myron Medcalf of the Minneapolis Star called the Gophers debacle “an identity crisis.” He’s probably right, but let’s not forget the Spartans lost both games to Penn State this year.

Two weeks ago Clemson was downed by the very same Wake Forest team that was previously mentioned.  One week ago Wake eeked out a squeaker over the then #1 Duke Blue Devils.  We saw a completely different Tigers team when Duke rolled in last night.   The swarming press of the Tigers made Greg Paulus, Brian Soubek and the rest of the Dookies cough it up more than a pediatrician conducting back to school physical exams.  Clemson was able to pour it on, handing the Blue Devils their worst loss since 1990, a 27 point mauling 74-47.  Clemson did not let the lead drop below 20 points over the final 9 minutes.  Ron Green Jr. of the Charlotte Observer reports that even Clemson Coach, Oliver Perry was surprised by margin of their victory. Clemson might be a National Contender after all.

Notre Dame came into the season as one of the Big East favorites and a Top 10 ranking.  How the mighty have fallen, losing to Cincinnati on Monday night.  Notre Dame drops its SIXTH straight loss and Mike Brey still think “The beat goes on baby,” reports Joe Kay of the Chicago Tribune. Notre Dame is now on the outside of the bubble looking in at teams like Providence, Cincinnati and WVU.

The one certainty from tonight: Heather Cox should not be in HD.


Next time, face guard!

January 28, 2009

James Johnson gives hope to young men looking to make it out of Cheyenne, Wyoming

James Johnson gives hope to young men looking to make it out of Cheyenne

It always blows our mind when we see a player or team disregard fundamentals, emit a brain-fart, then subsequently lose based on that breakdown.

Tonight Gerald Henderson–after hitting very Kobe-like mid range jumper that tied the game in the final seconds–forgot about the Cardinal rule of defense: stay BETWEEN your man and the ball.  This forgetfulness allowed Demon Deacons forward James Johnson to slip to the basket for an easy lay-in, giving Wake Forest a 70-68 win with just 0.8 seconds remaining.

After the game the Blue Devils seemed to play the “well…what ha..what happened was…” card and said they are taught to switch on all-screens, and weren’t sure what went wrong. That’s probably the right approach, and it will be interesting to see how Coach K covers up this mishap.  Bottom line, they lost because they effed up.

What’s overlooked in all this is that Wake Forest looked like the better team tonight, frankly, playing great defense that resulted in 10 steals and nine blocks. They may have let a 13 point lead slip away, but they were clearly superior down low, and hindered the Blue Devils from behind the arc (where they were 4 of 22), something we know they are highly reliant on.

So Duke’s view from the top will last just as long as the team able to dethrone them, and have now lost in five of their last six visits to Winston-Salem.

Let’s welcome UCONN to the top spot…for now.


Maryland got overwhelmed

January 25, 2009

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Has anyone checked in on Gary Williams this morning? Is he breathing OK?  Duke destroys their [former] rival 85-44, at one point holding a 43 point lead (as displayed in the line graph above).

How much do you think the Terrapins miss even their mediocre and forgotten players– like I don’t know maybe a Laron Profit or even a Mike Jones (Back then the Terrapins didn’t want me, now they’re in complete dismay and...ok sorry I’ll stop). Anyway, those guys probably seem like pretty damn good basketball players right now.

We loved this match-up at the beginning of this decade, but not anymore. The Terps are now 2-3 in the ACC, and are starting to generate talk that this program is headed south for the forseeable future.


ACC tops the Big East

January 17, 2009
Yeah, their togetherness pisses us off too

Yeah, their togetherness pisses us off too

And so it begins…the debate for best conference.  All along the east coast the debate for strongest conference has been fairly hostile among ACC supporters and Big East supporters.  Before the season almost 100% of college basketball fans believed the Big East was the beast of the east but with team’s like Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke and UNC posting up in the Top 10 at the mid season mark, the argument gets a little hazy. 

Saturday afternoon a lot of arguments got a little more heated when Georgetown, coming off an impressive home victory over Syracuse earlier that week, traveled into the Cameron Crazy Kingdom to take on the Dukies.  Earlier in the week, even Coach K got into the mix, proclaiming that the ACC is better than the Big East.  Well, his team responded, defeating the G’town Hoyas 76-67.  The game remained tight until Duke went on an 11-0 run to finish the final 4:38 of the first half.  Duke seemed to have it in cruise control for the remainder of the game.  The debate will finally be settled in March when the dust settles and one by one teams are eliminated.


The NBA is awesome? Baby?

January 7, 2009

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In an intelligent move by ESPN to drum up some interest, we tuned into the unique NCAA/NBA double header and were generally entertained at the dichotomy between the two levels of play and respective announcing crews involved.

At Cameron Indoor, Jeff Van Gundy was astounded that two basketball coaches could tell his players to run an offense for an entire game, Mike Tirico seemed perplexed that a campus could be so bereft of the quintessential college coed, and Mark Jackson had nothing, absolutely nothing, to say. 

Davidson got off to a slow start, and didn’t seem too interested in actually keeping this game close until about seven minutes left in the game, getting down by 27 at one point.  Too late however, as Duke gets another convincing victory.

Davidson Duke Basketball

Sixteen turnovers killed the Wildcats, seven coming in the first eight minutes of the game. Steph Curry smugly walked around chewing on his mouthpiece, but his impact was not extraordinary.  That said, he still managed to “get his,” finishing with 29 points on 10 of 22 shooting.  While the ESPN producers pushed the crew to discuss, ad nauseam, Curry’s prospects in the NBA, it’s clear Van Gundy can’t stand college basketball players.  He lauded the atmosphere and Duke as a program, but clearly wouldn’t draft one of these guys if given the chance…to coach again.

For Duke they’re supposed to win games like this, but it was their fifth consecutve convincing victory — winning by an average of 27.4 points. As Caucasian-laden as they are, the Blue Devils clearly belong in the Final Four equation.

The varsity game featured Dwayne Wade in a uniform, and Carmelo Anthony in a sharp red suede sport coat.  Vitale was naturally lively, and seems to do a much better job keeping up on professional basketball then Van Gundy and Jackson do on the interscholastic game.  Score and story line don’t interest us too much here, as we eventually moved on to round two of Gonzaga – Tennessee.


Duke is a top 10 team, Xavier is not

December 20, 2008

 

A no-doubter for Henderson & Co.

A no-doubter for Henderson & Co.

It was a chance to grab some national attention, silence the haters, and force Dick Vitale to see beyond the BCS schools.  But that wishful thinking never materialized, as Xavier was pummled from start to finish by the Dukies in East Rutherford, 

It was a made-for-tv match-up–with Duke making one of their regular trips to the Tri-state in order to appease their area alumni–but ended up being one of the most disapointing top 10 games in recent memory.  Duke flawlessly capitalized on the Musketeers initial timid and clueless play, jumping out to an 18-1 lead. 

John Scheyer got his, in the form of 23 points on 5-7 from deep, and Gerald Henderson added 19.  Conversly, Xavier’s most noteworthy stat:  nine first-half field goals coupled with 10 turnovers.  Yikes.

The Meadowlands is clearly a comfortable place for Coach K and his players.  Let’s not forget his last December game here, in 2005 when an upbeat Texas left bruised and battered by the Blue Devils.

There will be speculation, however, that Xavier suffered from a post-finals week hangover, but that’s more of a lame excuse. Frankly, Duke is Duke and Xavier is still just an elite Atlantic 10 team still adjusting their eyes to the bright lights of network television.


Quickie Recap 12.6: No Percy no problem, Big 10 earns some respect

December 7, 2008

Rulers of the South

Rulers of the South

Oh what a dreary day to be a ‘Bama fan; a waste of a resurgent season, in our opinion. Granted they exceeded expectations, but this is where college football becomes irritating, We’re glad we have no deeply rooted allegiances and can instead crush Bud heavies every Saturday, all while watching 118 programs slowly widdle away like a slug doused with salt.

‘Bama can now likely look forward to a Sugar Bowl match-up with non-BCS children, Utah or Bosie State. Boring.<a name=”5476386886″></a>

In the other quasi-semifinal, Bob Stoops continues to proves he’s the biggest bully in college football by putting up 60+ points for the fifth consecutive game. It was over before it started and to us, Chase Daniels looked disinterested.

So it’s most likely going to be the Sooners vs. Gators for in the BCS Championship Game. Start your fact checking now Mr. Thom Brennaman.

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In roundball, the Big 10 may have gained some respect with two upset victories…

Meeeechigan’s Deshawn Sims had his shining moment, leading all with 28 in a win over the Dukies, who played like absolute sissies. Coach K’s boys didn’t get to the free throw line even once in the first half, and shot 2-18 behind the new arc. The Wolverines now have two signature wins (UCLA) to hang their hat on come March.

No football left in South Bend? No problem! There’s still reason to be pissed off…as the Buckeyes take down the Irish in Indy. Luke Harangody is back and looking healthy, but the story here is Ohio State’s Evan Turner. He also led all scorers with 28, and has basically emegred as the team’s go-to-guy.

One final game of note, attention-seeking Marquette protects their house, with a win over identity-seeking Wisconsin. Both of these teams have talent but right now aren’t really getting any chatter, especially from us.


Quickie Recap 12.2: Jack McClinton has to slap Buckeye?

December 3, 2008

In a game that showed how reliant Miami is on their standout Jack McClinton, the Hurricanes blew a 14 point lead after “Apples” slapped Ohio State’s Anthony Crater about midway through the first half.  Great audition tape for the Real World (see Jack’s Profile from Siena days).  Ohio State, who really isn’t that good, dictated the pace of the game and chipped away at the Hurricanes, turned tropical depression, to get the mild upset W.  

Steve Lavin made the whole situation sound cool and unfortunately Nick missed it, instead electing to watch the beginning of the end of Will Ferrell’s movie career.  Anyways we’ll wait to see if McClinton is reprimanded further, aside from the predictable bashing he’ll hear from ACC crowds.

In the night cap, Purdue students slept in the cold for two nights just to see their boys play 40 minutes of fairly uninspired basketball, losing 76- 60.  The Boilermakers are clearly talented but are going to have to learn, on-the-fly, how to win big games after missed opportunities against Oklahoma and now the Dukies.  The Blue Devils got 20 each out of Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer.

Notre Dame has announced that Mike Brey will be the offensive coordinator for the football team…well no, but it’s not a terrible The Irish basketball team rained triples all over South Dakota. They were without the services of Luke Harangody (pneumonia), but that had zero bearing on the outcome.  Ryan Ayers and Kyle McAlareny were the key culprits responsible for the team’s 37 three point attempts.  Usually that’s enough to make a coach cringe, but when you hit a school record 19, apparently you just keep telling ’em to fire away.


Quickie 11.20 Recap: We’re gonna party like its 1992

November 21, 2008

Oh yes, the nostalgia is hitting us

Oh yes, the nostalgia is hitting us

Now the college basketball season is finally here. Our first huge upset of the season has taken place. On Thursday night in the Mecca of basketball arena’s, Madison Square Garden, an unranked Michigan Wolverines team took down Ben Howland’s #4 UCLA Bruin’s.


Michigan was able to hold off the stingy Bruin’s to get their first win against a Top 5 team in 11 years. The win was propelled by Deshawn Sims 18 points and Manny Harris’ 15 points.


Big Blue needed this victory in many ways. It ushered in new head coach John Beilein, by way of West Virginia…and no, it wasn’t a package deal with Rich Rodriguez. Also, this win should ease the pain of the Michigan faithful, since their football team is an abysmal 3-8. And finally, it is Ohio State weekend, so they will only have 36 hours to enjoy this massive victory before their football team is disassembled in C-Bus like a dog chewing on a nyla bone.


The win for Michigan sets up a final in the Garden with against Duke, who ironically so, was the last Top 5 team Michigan beat (1997 #1 Duke). The Blue Devils beat Southern Illinois on Thursday night, 83 – 58.

So maybe the Wolverines will get to celebrate once more, before the big football game.

Down in the 51st state, Xavier, Memphis, and Virginia Tech win as favorites, and Seton Hall comes up with a minor upset over USC. Those four winners move on to tomorrow’s semi-finals in the Puerto Rico Tip Off. Is it just us or can you almost guarantee nine Big East teams in the big dance? Wow. Anyways, it will be X-A-V, IER facing VA Tech and, by process of elimination, the Tigers against the Pirates.


Quickie 11.17 Recap: Lot of Games, Little Action

November 17, 2008

Pitt's dominating win over Miami was like a girl _____________ Tower

So there was a bevy of games on the slate last night. For those of you looking for some drama and hoping for something like Miami of Ohio following up their effort against UCLA–well nothing of the like really happened. Pittsburgh turned it on in the 2nd half and steamrolled those Red Hawks, UCONN scored two more points in the 2nd half than their opponent put up in the entire game, and Stephen Curry is doing his best to extinguish any doubt that moving to point guard will prevent him from scoring points, dismantling a trifling JMU squad. Villanova also put up an impressive 107 points to annihilate Fordham. Er scratch that…Fordham would struggle against Division III teams, they’re atrocious

The closest game on the Top 25 scoreboard was Georgetown (probably on auto-pilot) with a nine point win over Jacksonville. Boring.

Yes, I (Nick) am aware that it appears I am purposely overlooking Sunday’s Duke-URI outcome, where Jimmy Baron nearly single-handedly snapped the Blue Devils 62 game home non-conference winning streak. My response…this time of the season is like Spring Training: If you win, great. If you lose…well it’s just Spring Training. Right? RIGHT? Anyone?

Anyways we’re looking forward to the first big matchup of the season…UNC and Kentucky. The Wildcats still suck but at least it’s a “brand-name.” Tyler Hansborough is still out with that injury, so we won’t need a big bottle of Aleve handy just to watch the entire 40 minutes of play.


Obligatory Preseason Top 10. #’s 5-1.

November 12, 2008

OK it’s just about that time. Baseball is finito, ESPN is in full on “NFL ALL DAY EVERYDAY UNTIL IT HURTS!!!” mode, and it’s getting effing cold in the Northeast. That can only mean one thing…National Novel Writing Month college basketball is about to finally tip-off. We’re not that into the whole preseason prediction crap–we’ll leave that to the talking heads. But even so we must post something. So we will stick to a quick top ten, as we finally get this blog rolling.

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#5 DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Elliot Williams might actually make the Dookies seem cool

Elliot Williams might actually make the Dookies seem cool

There’s a lot of Dukie haters out there, we fully understand that. Those haters are already piping off about how Kyle Singler and Greg Paulus have no business being in the discussion of All-Americans. They’re piping off about how Coach K will surely have an Olympic hangover, and they’re piping off about how Duke is a school for tools. We get that, but Duke is back.

Despite only three tournament wins in the past three seasons, the Blue Devils will have a swagger again, despite having the highest percentage of Caucasians in this top ten. That’s OK though, cause white boys can shoot and usually come from wealthy families that were able to pay for superior private education. This means they are smart and resourceful.

Expect an unbelievable season from Gerald Henderson. This guy is a poor (yes very poor) man’s version of Kobe Bryant, with his ability to slash and beat anyone off the dribble. Nolan Smith will see more minutes this year, and can play any guard position, as well as help out Paulus at the point.

Also take note of incoming freshman Elliot Williams. He’s drawing Jason Williams comparisons, which is good news for Cameron Crazies. He also has a nick name: E-Mail, we guess that kind of makes sense. They rumble with UNC on February 11th, and again on March 8th to close out the season. Hopefully the Dukies, and “E-Mail”, can fill the Tar Heels inbox with spam. ZING!!!!!!!

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#4 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

He's got two left feet, but we still love Idong Ibok

He's got two left feet, but we still love Idong Ibok

It’s easy to forget about how consistent the Michigan State program has been under Tom Izzo. But hey, they play in the Big 10 and that conference can’t really be analogized with anything overly exciting.

Despite losing fan favorite Drew Neitzel, the Spartans return more experienced and more athletic. Kalin Lucas will take over the point. He’s a solid all-around player who will pose more of a scoring threat than Neitzel. Raymar Morgan is the league’s most versatile player and our darkhorse for national player of the year. And while he won’t make or break the season, Idong Ibok is back. He’s off the charts in terms of unintentional humor.

Keep an eye on incoming freshman Delvin Roe, who missed much of his senior year of high school after severely injuring his left knee. Tom Izzo is high on this kid who is from talent rich Ohio and could make an immediate impact once he’s 100 percent.

College basketball enthusiasts will get a good read on the Spartans early in the season, as they once again have some great match-ups against the likes of UNC and Kansas, and are playing in the Old Spice Classic with headliners Gonzaga, Tennessee and Georgetown.

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#3 UCONN HUSKIES

Loaded with NBA talent once again, UCONN is scary good

Loaded with NBA talent once again, UCONN is scary good

If incoming freshman Kemba Walker is as advertised, then Jim Calhoun will just have a ball with his backcourt rotation. Between him and team mainstays AJ Price, Craig Austrie and Jerome Dyson, this quartet could moonlight selling ball-handling instructional DVD’s to AAU coaches across the country.

Price will probably start the season off a little slow. Let’s not forget he suffered a torn ACL in the 1st round of last year’s tournament, which they were beaten at the buzzer by San Diego and bounced from the tourney. Another story line to keep an eye on: Jerome Dyson. He’s gonna have to stop pissing off Jim Calhoun if he wants to stay in the rotation. Hey UCONN fans, does it hurt thinking about all this? Should we cut deeper. OK we’ll stop.

On the flip side, Calhoun absloutely loves Hasheem Thabeet. The big man really came into his own last year, and we expect him to be the most imposing player in the country by the end of the season. Also, don’t forget about Jeff Adrien — “The Banger from Brookline, Mass” (We totally just coined that ourselves). If someone gave us three to one odds that he throws down at some point during the always grueling Big East schedule, we’d wager 50 bucks and expect a $150 payout. We’d also bet on them winning 30+ games, and making the Final Four.

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#2 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS

A lot of people get peeved at Rick Pitino, and a lot of people think he gets dressed in the dark, but we like him even though he made a mockery of the Boston Celtics by letting roughly 27 Kentucky Wildcat guys play for the green during his tumultuous tenure. Nonetheless, he’s a great recruiter who has put together a roster of upperclassmen and underclassmen who can all contribute, and will certainly compete for minutes throughout the season.

Earl Clark is back for his junior season, Terrence Williams is our choice for Big East Player of the year, and incoming freshman Samardo Samuels will easily fill the void of David Padgett and Juan Palacios. Thankfully, the negativity in Louisville doesn’t suck like it does in Boston, so their departure won’t lead to a Pitino rant justifying why his team is in shambles. No really we do forgive him, seriously.

Not a lot to complain about this team, except how we’re still not sure how to exactly pronounce Louisville (is it Lulville, Loulville, or Louisville). Whatever, we’re never going to live there so screw em. Just enjoy this team, and their fairly easy schedule even though they’re in the Big East. This team is destined for the Final Four, and a potential 2008 Elite Eight rematch with UNC, only this time it could be for the national title.

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#1 NORTH CAROLINA TARHEELS

Yeaaa Bobby Frasor, you're wicked sweet

Yeaaa Bobby Frasor, you are wicked sweet

Duke fans can bitch and moan all they want, so I (Nick) guess I will too, but this could become the season of the ubiquitous Tar Heels. Anyone not predicting UNC to tear down the nets on April 4, 2009 either wants attention, or is a complete and ignorant homer of one of these other nine teams.

We love attention and we hate UNC, but have to be rational and give them their props. Ty Lawson is back, Wayne Ellington is back and, oh yeah, that goon with limited NBA potential who has Medusa like powers when others look at his face, Tyler Hansborough, is back to patrol the middle and bother us tremendously.

The good news for the Tar Heels is obvious: there’s a wealth of talent and experience from top to bottom and that should allow them to overcome any and all obstacles thrown at them. The bad news is they will be expected to win nearly every game, and anything less than a title will certainly be labeled a failure. If they fail it will be awesome but, realistically, don’t expect it to happen.