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.

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Let’s not protect our house

January 22, 2009
Chest bumps are free, VT can party like a Rockstar

Chest bumps are free, VT can party like a Rockstar

Not a good night to be wearing the home threads. Wednesday night we saw two top 10 teams go down in their own gym, including current top dawg Wake Forest.  The Demon Deacons appeared disinterested in actually maintaining their #1 ranking, and were pounded by Virginia Tech.  Jeff Teague, who we tagged as ACC POY earlier this week, pitched a tent and posted up camp beyond the 3 point line when his team was down in the final minutes.  This kid could be the salesman for those knives that cut through phonebooks with the way he can slash through defenses off the dribble, but his nonchalant attitude towards the end made us question his determination.  Dan Collins of the Winston Salem Journal reports that even Wake’s own James Johnson questions the Demon Deacon’s desire.  Combine the POY statue with the four bulldozer charges in the final minutes and Wake pretty much handed the game to the Hokies.  An ugly win, but a win it was and Seth Greenberg walked off the court as fast as he could, like he stole something. 

Despite missing four consecutive free throws with just under two minutes to play (Big Ten Punchline), Northwestern got their first win in East Lansing since the Reagan administration.  Led by a spastic 6’8″ Kevin Coble and his 31 points, the Wildcats put together their second straight conference win 70-67.  The loss by the Spartans was their first loss at home in 28 games, third longest streak running in NCAA Basketball.  According to Shannon Shelton at the Detroit Free Press, Tom Izzo knew that this day was a foregone conclusion.


Summers saves Spartans

December 20, 2008

 

Summers three propelled Mich. St. to a win in Houston

Summers three propelled Mich. St. to a win in Houston

 It preempted Duke-Xavier in most markets, and was what a game between two elite teams should look like.   Durrell Summers clinched a big win for the Spartans, knocking down a deep ball with 18 seconds left, to secure a victory over Texas. 

Goran Suton showed how vital he can serve when healthy, leading his team with 18 points and limiting production from Dexter Pittman.  Despite poor play from Aj Abrams (eight points) the Longhorns played well enough to win. We think Abrams should be the fall guy here.  He made some questionable decisions down the stretch and is Exhibit A of how a “shoot first” point guard can hinder his team from winning.  Isolation and “getting mine” isn’t always the answer kid, especially against a Tom Izzo coached team.

The Spartans are now clicking after two ugly early season losses, and should have some renewed confidence heading into conference play. Texas should look to clean up their offense as they prepare for another gritty Big 10 team in Wisconsin.


Quickie Recap 11.27: Spartans Tryptophaned

November 28, 2008
Turkey Hangover

Turkey Hangover

Fear the Turtle? There’s been nothing of the kind for the latter part of this decade, but Gary Williams’ kids just raised their fans expectations for the season with a convincing T-Giving win over Michigan State. The game went back and forth until about midway through the 2nd half, right when we woke up from a nice nap. Maryland was running away with the game and Gervais Vasquez was running around desperately seeking attention and affirmation from anyone in the building. We love the enthusiasm, but frankly he’s annoying.

So should we expect this to serve as foreshadowing for what’s going to go down in the ACC / Big 10 Challenge next week? We were really looking forward to UNC – Michigan State, but that excitement is quickly dissipating. Anyone think there is an audience for ACC / MAC Challenge next season? Not to embarrass Raymar Morgan but Dave Neal, a four year Terripan bench warmer, had more points (17) than minutes Morgan logged in the game (14). Somewhere, Tom Izzo is scratching his head wondering what happens next.

In the second game of the night session down in Disney, Gonzaga showed their “length”–,said Jay Bilas, in a nice win over Oklahoma State. Kidding aside, this team has the personnel to outscore nearly any team in the country, and we probably should of included them in our preseason Top 10. Despite his reliance on the undershirt, Austin Daye is a pretty good player who can beat you in a number of different ways, and Jeremy Pargo dribbles around the court with the tenacity of an angry bull.

So Maryland now plays Gonzaga, with Tennessee meeting Georgetown on the other side of the bracket. Sorry though, we got nothing on the Vols and Hoyas, too busy eating. We’ll try and multi task better next time.


Quickie (football) Recap 11.23: Penn St wins Big10, Big12 South gets confusing

November 23, 2008
Sam Bradford now has a strong case to win the Heisman

Sam Bradford now has a strong case for the Heisman

The Oklahoma Sooners created a three way tie for the Big 12 South with their impressive 65-21 beat down of #2 Texas Tech on Saturday night in Norman, Oklahoma. So now that Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, the water gets a little murky. Do not forget that there is still one week left in the season and all three teams don’t play “roll-overs.”

Texas will host Texas A&M in their annual Thanksgiving weekend game.

Oklahoma travels to hostile Stillwater for the Bedlam Game.

Texas Tech gets the mediocre Baylor Bears.

Everyone seems to be looking past Chase Daniels (one of Preseason favorites for Heisman) and his Tigers from Missouri, who await whichever team floats to the top of the Big 12 South. Nothing is a given.

In the Big 10, Penn State rolls on Michigan State, 49-18 in State College. Everyone gets a rose!!! When do we get rid of that? We think someone killed that whole Sports Illustrated Cover pic. With the win the Nittany Lions assured themselves a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, with a possible rematch against Oregon State and NOT Southern California; Oregon State traveled to Penn State on September 6th, 45-14 Nittany lions. If Oregon State takes care of business next week at home vs. the #24 Oregon Ducks, then they are in the Rose Bowl and USC will be in another BCS game (thank goodness, we don’t know if we can stand another Big 10 vs USC game in Pasadena for the Trojan Invitational).

I (Matt) officially am done talking about Notre Dame, I’ll quietly hang to every snap of the football in which they are involved but you will no longer need to listen to me…until they show me something (at USC next week, wouldn’t that be nice?)


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.