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.


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.


And then there was one

January 17, 2009
National POY

In ink: ACC POY; Pencil in: National POY

Prior to Saturday afternoon, there were three undefeated teams left in all of Division I basketball, Wake Forest, Clemson and Pittsburgh and by Saturday night it would only be possible for two teams to remain unblemished.  In a battle of the unbeatens, Wake traveled down to Death Valley to take on Clemson.  The game did not live up to the hype as Clemson was not able to stick with the Demon Deacons.  Dan Collins of the Winston Salem Journal says the key to the Saturday’s 78-68 victory was the team’s ability to stick together and grind it out for the road W.  Once again Jeff Teague placed himself at the top of the list for Player of the Year candidates with his 24 points and 5 dimes.

The most entertaining moment of the night came at the disposal of Wake Forest goon Chas McFarland:

 

 


And the Wake is building

January 12, 2009

We want to be friends with Jeff Teague

We want to be friends with Jeff Teague

On Sunday night, after digesting some not so exciting NFL football, we began uncontrollably salivating at the Wake Forest – UNC matchup. We kept asking ourselves: Is Jeff Teague and the rest of the Demon Deacons legit?  Do we throw a party if UNC goes 0-2 in the ACC?  As the game went on it was…is Jeff Teague POY material?  And who the EFF is Chas McFarland?

Teague and his cronies proved they are more than just legit, they showed they might be the most entertaining team in all of college basketball, with a 92 – 89 win over the assumed national champs.  Our new favorite guard led all with a whopping 34 points, showing the ability to create shots for himself regardless of what defense was thrown at him. Complimenting Teague was the aforementioned Chas. The seven foot center who stole his name from 1992 battled Psycho T all game, and it was highlighted by a coast to coast lay-up we thought would end with Chas face planting under the basket– only it didn’t.

What will this mean to the UNC? Not much…probably, but we said that last Monday when they lost to BC.  What’s most encouraging here is that the ACC may be more competitive than we had envisioned, and that bodes well for any fan of college basketball.


Quickie Recap 1.3: Take nothing for granted in the Big East, Wake still perfect

January 4, 2009
A lot of love in Pittsburgh, maybe too much

A lot of love in Pittsburgh, maybe too much

Georgetown received a giant reality check on Saturday afternoon, or maybe it was just the reality of how vicious the Big East will be this year.  After going to Storrs and knocking off the #2 Huskies earlier in the week, they were rewarded with a match-up against the undefeated and energized Pittsburgh Panthers.  The Hoyas kept it close in the first half, with DeJuan Summers putting the team on his back.  However, the depth and toughness of the Panthers was too much for the Hoyas.  Tied at 40 with just under 15 minutes to go in the game, Pittsburgh outscored the Hoyas (turned puppies) 30 – 14 down the stretch in order to prevail 70 – 54.  DeJuan Blair may only be 6’7″ but he may be the second coming of “The Round Mound of Rebound.”  Blair finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds and the Panthers out rebounded the Hoyas 46-21.  Levance Fields dished out 8 assists with zero turnovers, improving his assist to turnover ratio to 4.8 : 1.  The 16 point loss was the Hoya’s worst home loss since 2004.

Moving up I-95 a few hundred miles, there is a little something to jam about today in Jamaica, New York.  The St. John’s Red Storm created a lot of havoc for a sharp shooting Notre Dame team, in order to get a major upset 71 – 65.  Notre Dame came into Saturday’s game averaging slightly under 10 three balls a game.  The Fightin’ Irish were not able to weather the Red Storm’s tenacious defense that only allowed the Irish to hit on 4 of their 17 three point attempts.  DJ Kennedy aided on the offensive end with 20 points, he also collected 10 boards.  Luke Harangody still “got his” in the form of 28 points and 14 rebounds.  This is a bad loss for the Irish, who can’t afford to drop ones to the bottom feeders of the brutal Big East.

Wake Forest took their unblemished record to the Land of Latter Day Saints and were able to keep it perfect in downing the BYU Cougars 94 – 87.  The loss ended a 53 game home win streak for the Cougars.  In an ESPN recap it was stated, “Wake Forest had to rally from an eight-point deficit in the second half and an entire game of deafening taunts and chants from the home fans, who were loud and rowdy throughout the night.” Wrap your head around that.  Mormons = sober, we’re awfully confused.  Jeff Teague led the Demon Deacons with 30 points and James Johnson helped with 22 points and 15 rebounds.  BYU was led by Jimmer Fredette’s 23 points and 9 rebounds, a majority coming from his first half performance.  We’re guessing BYU will not be inviting anymore Demon Deacons into their church gym anytime soon.  Wake now has a full week off before inviting the #1 UNC Tar Heels down Tobacco Road.