Saturday, March 31, 2007

Georgetown proving to be dumber-er than us

Leslie Visser greeted me with a haircut that answered a lot of, "What does Princess Leah look like just after she wakes up?" Scared from that, and tired of hearing everyone picking against us, I change it to ESPN to watch what basketball looks like when no one bends their knees on defense...the NBA. Cavs win!

The Final Four is probably the most expensive ticket to get because it's actually 3 games. Once upon a time, in nintey-four '99 Reader Wise and I made our way down there with 2 friends. We picked up our four 10th row seats, took about 5 steps and were offered $8,000 for the 4. We declined and were forever given a license to boo any OSU athlete anytime we felt they needed it. Not many 21 year olds turn down $2000. (We then sold the UCONN vs. Duke tickets for $250 each as that was sure to be a Duke blowout victory)
I don't regret the decision, I got to brush my hand along Heather Benedict's ass and Reader Wise got to practice his wrestling holds on a 95 pound girl. Anyway, the Final Four is a big deal and I'm trying to get over the fact that 8 years later in my life I would gladly take the two grand. Onto the game-eage. TBDBITL got to play the National Anthem showing that we love America more than the Hoyas. Ahh, getting settled in unannoyed with CBS for the most part as long as Seth Davis doesn't perform some stupid limerick. Oh.

Before I can say, "Why didn't I buy any beer for this game?" Oden picks up his second "foul." It's like it's our gameplan or something. We're like the hare who insists on screwing ourselves instead of getting a big lead. And my local CBS station lets off a series of 16 beeps and shows a giant map of the Missouri/Illinois area getting some THUNDERSTORMS! What's the score? I can't tell, they're listing a dozen counties that no one lives in! EVERY 5 MINUTES I GET 16 BEEPS AND A LIST OF COUNTIES THAT SIMPLY MUST BE INFORMED IT'S RAINING IN CASE THEY DIDN'T HAVE WINDOWS!

Onward...Wow, it's nice to finally play a team not shooting 90% from 3 point range in the first half. Twig is in the game and God bless his little heart he's holding his hand in the air while he posts up like someone's going to feed it to him. "Low post suicide" is what we call that formation...put it down Matt, we're not playing Youngstown State. He does eventually get a rather feminine looking tip in.

We jump out to a 14-7 lead...See that Tressel? Speaking of not so good coaching decisions, our worst lineup ever takes the floor and let the runners begin! We miss 7 in a row but then Hibbert picks up his second foul on an obvious takedown the next possession.

Commercial update...Bud Lite releases 6th (and hopefully final installation) of its "what if our fridge was crazy and somehow kept getting more Bud Lite?" series.
Holy shit, is that Crispin from Penn State in a Coke commercial? Is he banging the CEO's daughter? Do they actually screen these stupid Coke stories and find real ones? (everyone else's was a lie?) Will Mike (or was it Matt?) Stenginga have one soon?

We give up an easy basket on the last play of the half as Conley seems to be the only one playing zone, thus leaving his man wide open. We look lost on defense a lot of times but damn, it must be the James Worthy strategy because they keep throwing it to us.

3 point lead at halftime, Oden is mute but rested.

We start the 2nd half in the worst excuse for zone defense I've ever seen, or at least since January 8th. PLAY MAN!
Oden comes back in with the game still in control, Packer suggests a rest after 8 minutes of playing (uh, no)...oops should've, 3rd foul. Our offense continues to stall as the only movement on the next time down the floor is Hunter's pivot foot. Shortly after, perhaps play of the game and a good call, Hibbert picks up his 4th foul giving the Hemlich maneuver.
I ponder using the mute button after hearing the phrase, "Alabama rainmaker."

Georgetown is just...stupid. I knew there was a reason I wanted to play them instead of Carolina. Did Cook skip curfew last night? 7 minutes for the game. Sideshow Matt is sweatier than him (mostly from the back of Hibbert, but still).

Did anyone ever play Tecmo basketball? It was pretty simple, hit B within layup range and your guy dunked it. That's a lot like Oden's offensive strategy...and he must have hit B from the foul line on that one, thanks for calling that a block.

The Hoyas get their 2nd goaltending violation...Patrick Ewing smiles. Here's a new stat I made up. Ron Lewis leads the game with about 7 of them under the category of WTF's. We're up 6, just missed a 3, get the rebound and with 30+ seconds left on the shot clock Ron "Did you ever know that I'm your hero" Lewis chucks a 3...and why not? (He ended up 1-8 for the game, thanks for taking Butler's spot)

Greg Oden shoots what some folks call a "ju-ump-er?" And hits! That's the final sign of the apocalypse if you're Georgetown...Terwilliger has points and Oden's hitting from almost 20 feet...good night.

"Lighty gets the and one" and I rack myself in excitement! Ouch.

We come out of the time out with a good set play to get a high percentage shot off showing that Thad should be coach of the years having Butler shoot a 32 footer.

And with a few made free throws we continue on. We still haven't had all 5 starters play a great game at once. Our defense was good when we weren't in our 2-2-0-1-0 zone.

As UCLA's game starts Noah's got her pony tale all tied up and she's ready to make more of the most annoying, overplayed highlites. Go UCLA? If they win I believe Reader Wise wins the brackets.

pregame jitters

Let's face it, none of us our all that confident are we? I've just been passing the time today on CBS. Earlier they showed Charles Barkley Serena Williams win another tournament. They did a half hour special on whether college athletes should get paid. Of course a certain #11 had to weigh in on that matter. They already get paid, plenty! cash, grades, and women. Speaking of point shavers there was a scandal by some Toledo Rockets this week. Wow, who the hell bets on those games anyway? Who would care enough to arrange that scandal (probably the mayor of Detroit).

Anyway, I'm going to do a game blog similar to the way I did it for the Super Bowl. I'll take my notes and hopefully won't need to call my therapist with 6 minutes left. (I had an appointment earlier this week so I'm feeling good)

So in a matter of hours the story could be "A BCS rematch! (fuck)" Otherwise, I'm rooting for Georgetown on Monday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Still on track...

...for Operation: Destroy Dur's Hopes and Dreams III.

As I'm watching the last few minutes of this Florida/Oregon game I'm just thankful I'm not a Duck fan. Porter can't hit anything. His off balance summer league three's that fell on Friday are now airballs. The Ducks are fouling out Memphis Tigers. Does Noah have to scream and gesture at every fucking play? His Her teammates have to be sick of her by now. After ths game she'll be running up and laughing to each one of them while saying, "Weeeee'rrrre baaa-acck!" They all pretend to laugh a little and then roll their eyes. "Hey, hey guys! (here he goes again) Weee'rrrre baaa-aack! Get it, like back to the Final Four?! We---"
"OK, shut the fuck up Noah!" Awkward team silence. "Look, me and the guys are sick of it! Your dancing, your yelling like a soprano (not the mob kind either), your stupid hair on all of our soap. We're sick of it! Just because you're the tallest chick with a penis doesn't mean we like you. Everyone knows you push your free throws with your left hand."
Noah puts head down...sulks a bit. "Sorry guys, I didn't know. I really am. I just have one thing to say."
"What's that?"
"Weeee'rrrre baaa-aaaack!"
"That's it, you guys beat the hell out of her while I pee on her mouthguard!"

So, onto our game. The stat that jumps out and ultimately made the game safe at the end was that we made 18 straight free throws. Apparently some guy named Dorsey talked shit about Oden before the game. Note to Dorsey: Big Ten centers are better than Conference-USA posts. Dorsey's giant shoulder to points ratio was 2:0.

We still aren't shooting well at under 30% from 3 point range. We're still getting everyone else's best shooting performance. They were near, if not matching Tennessee's 3 point percentage in the first half.

It all comes down to if Oden is in the game. (And game finally ends with Noah yelling something to someone in stands. I have a good idea of what it is) You all already knew that. So should we make the finals against what I can only assume will be Florida what do we need to happen?
(I claim no responsibility of jinxing if we lose our next game just for writing this blog) I guess the same is true for our semi-final game.

--Can't withstand other team's best shooting performance like we did Xavier, Tennessee, and most of the Memphis game.

--Must shoot much much better from 3. That means you Bookler Butler and Cook.

--Oden must play at least 30 minutes of the game.

Other than that there isn't much else. We're rebounding well (or at least it looks like it). After that I just leave it up to God's hands on whether or not this is some elaborate plan for me to give up on sports completely. Sometimes in sports the story of revenge holds true. The Red Sox got it to work, why not us?

Noah: "OK, what about this guys? When we get to Atlanta and get off the bus...right when the CBS cameras find me I'm going to say, "Theeeey're heeeeeeeerrrrre!"

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Droopy Dog Lookin' Mother Fucker

If you've got a hankerin' for some hilariously one-sided officiating, I hope you're watching the USC-UNC game right now. I sure hope Carolina loses this game, so I can watch the postgame press conference and see Roy Williams bitch about the refs without a hint of irony, despite the fact that his team has been the beneficiary of their usual 8-12 questionable inside fouls called on the opponent. If you're playing UNC, and they happen to get the ball inside to Wright or especially Hansbrough and his enormous Christopher Lloyd eyes, you might as well tell your players to get the hell out of the way, because even if they miss, there's gonna be a foul called. As I type this, UNC is going on an enormous offensive-rebound-fueled run after - surprise! - USC's best big guy picked up his fourth foul with about 12 minutes left.

And all of a sudden I'm a Georgetown fan. Never thought I'd see the day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

This team is gonna give me a heart attack

So, for the second time in six days, I find myself milling around and mumbling "I can't believe we won that fucking game." I called Dids immediately afterward, and he picked up his phone and, without any initial pleasantries, said in a weary, tired voice, "Jeebus." "Indeed," I replied. "Sweet, sweet Jeebus," he said. Things went on like that for a minute or so before we were able to get our bearings and have a rational if somewhat emotionally drained conversation about the game. I suppose it also bears mentioning that Evan sent Jeff, Todd, and I the same text message as soon as Ramar Smith's runner hit the floor: "Whistles go WOO!"

As has been pointed out by Wonk and others, OSU probably took Tennessee's best shot last night. Wonk said on Tuesday that the game would come down to how Tennessee shot from beyond the arc -- he essentially said that if they were missing their threes, they'd lose, but if they were hitting a high percentage of them, they might win. And so it was, as Tennessee finished 16-31 on triples. (The only other key variable was turnovers, and we only turned it over 8 times in a 68 possession game.) Without question, the Vols could not have scripted a better beginning to the game: at the 10:00 mark of the first half, 1.) UT was 7-10 on threes, and 2.) Oden and Conley were both on the bench with two fouls (and each would pick up a third before the intermission). And make no mistake: this team looked God-awful with those two riding the pine. I've seen some people around the eBays today say crap about OSU proving they could win "without" Oden. Well, they won without him putting up much in the way of stats, but the team was +14 in Oden's scant 18 minutes on the floor. And note that Conley was +9. I'm more surprised that we won with those two sitting so much than I am that we won despite UT being so hot from 3.

Tennessee employed a more aggressive (and insidious) form of the "try to get Oden in foul trouble" ploy: with their flex offense constantly sending cutters through the lane, any time one was in the vicinity of Oden, they would run into him and stagger backward. This somewhat infamously was the root of Oden's fourth foul, which came at the tail end of a big run in the first 8 minutes of the second half. And quite frankly, I think every one of Greg's fouls in this game were chincy at best, except for the offensive "hook" he used to get his second foul. His first and fourth were on similar "bumps" in the lane, and his third was one of those "well, it looks like he might have grazed some arm there on that blocked shot" referee assumptions. Which drive me crazy.

And yes, Sideshow Matt was 100% serviceable, which in my mind he is every time he doesn't shoot. He got us a lot of second chances by tipping misses back out to midcourt, which I suppose he really should have been able to do, considering the midget lineup Tennessee employed for much of the second half. If DaQuan Cook is still entertaining notions of jumping to the NBA, he's clinically insane. I mean, it's okay to get cold - Dr. Je'Kel spent the last two months of 2006 eating moon pies with Frostillicus, after all - IF you can contribute in other facets. But Cook got backdoored in embarrassing fashion - twice! - in the first half yesterday, and isn't rebounding as well as he did pre-Oden, either.

I have such a love/hate relationship with Ron Lewis. I mean, he takes some terrible shots, but he's hitting a mindblowingly decent percentage of them, and that's the main reason we're still playing in this tournament, as Jamar Butler - the guy who got to the point this year where if his feet were set I'd be legitimately surprised if his jumper didn't go in - has gone through some lulls where he's apparently forgotten how to shoot. Ivan Harris is still doing this weird thing where, when he's in the game, the offense looks like crap but he hits a few threes. Is he saving our bacon, or is he the reason the rest of the offense looks so-so when he's out there? Last night he played 17 minutes and scored 1/3 of the points we put up while he was playing. Ivan Harris! Zuh? Woozle wuzzle?

Also, David Lighty made a three-pointer. And the universe hasn't collapsed on itself yet. I'm gonna take that as a good sign. On to Memphis tomorrow. I think I need to take some Pepto.

So do we suck or are we good?

What the hell is going on? I can't even begin to try and explain this one! I guess for the first half it's easy to let momentum kick your ass. From the opening tip (Oden tips to wrong guy resulting in a 3) The Vols became the greatest 3 point shooting team of all time. It was like a fucking musical montage scene. I can handle that. Fine, they got hot, whatever. What pissed me off is how many layups we gave them. I'll break down those totals for the game. Bruce Pearl said we only gave them four 2-point field goals in the second half...I'm pretty sure those were all layups so most of the numbers below came from the first half. Did they shoot anything midrange in the entire game? I can't remember it. OK, player by player:
layups (or dunks)...

R. Smith: 7-9 (Nine? NINE!)
Lofton: 3-4 (damn)
J. Smith: 0-3 (thank you)
Bradshaw: 0-1 (he pissed down his leg on this one)
Chism: 2-2 (ouch)
Crews: 2-3 (ouch)

That's a team total of 14-22. 22 layups! A conservative 15 of 22 should have been made (and would have won the game), it's a pretty high percentage shot but luckily it was only 14. Just under 66%. We cant' keep giving those up. A lot of that was because Oden played little enough to probably not need a shower, just stitches. His third foul, a little iffy, his 4th foul had to be the worst call of the tournament against us. Tennessee not being able to hit 2 out of every 3 layups, and then going 8-17 on free throws (47%) is what did it for them. They went "cold" in the 2nd half on 3's but still ended up over 50%. Their 3 point shots, 16-31 is the equivalent of shooting 77% from 2 point range, throw in all of those layups and it's no wonder they were on pace to score 100 by the half.

But let's go back to halftime. What could Thad have done to get us going? I know Bruce Pearl was over in his locker room smiling and high-fiving his team and setting up a brunch with the women's team. But readers, it had nothing to do with what went on there, oh no, The Dur will take credit for this one. I went over to this very computer, brought up my MP3's, and played Bobby Knight's halftime speech. I suggest you download it yourself and give it a try when your team needs a boost.

I would like to give our team some credit though. (How generous, Dur) I got a call from Reader Wise and another friend when Sideshow Matt ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING! I couldn't believe it either. So in your mind you're saying, "Wow, he really played well!" 5 points, 3 rebounds, a few clutch free that too much to ask for every game? As a 7th or 8th man on the #1 team in the country can we ask that of him and not feel greedy? Too bad there isn't a stat for setting picks. He averages 4 of those per possession. Just watch him run around and get in everyone's way. One of these games I'll keep track of that number. I'll point out a few more individual performances that are worth noting.
Butler went 1-6. Sans his stats against Cupcake State Butler has shot 14-46 or 30%. The glass is 70% empty from someone who used to be reliable! Harris picked up the slack though by shooting 100%. Why can't you guys be more like Ivan? Cook is still talking about going to the NBA? I'm sure the scouts will be impressed with his 8 minutes in this one. Ocho. 6 less than Twig. Yeah son, you'll be ready for the NBA. I should also note Lighty's 3. For some reason I thought he was 2 months overdue to hit one. Reader Wise was ready to blame Ron Lewis for his shot selection, but I still support him. He's making a lot of tough shots...probably because he takes nothing but tough shots, but still, thank you Ron.

Teams are giving us their best shooting performances. Oden is getting in foul trouble. We just keep winning though. I worry. I worry this is all God's elaborate plan to have us lose to Florida in the finals. Although Digger just said, "Florida is like the Yankees in the postseason." Hmm, okay. Your thoughts please...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kevin Durant to sign shoe deal in 2 hours

Holy shit. How close were we to another huge disaster? Down 12 points? Down 9 with 2:50 in the game. I sat defeated in my chair fending off text messages from my Kansas friends. Moments later I'm up screaming, "That's my...!" and pounding my chest to Ron Lewis.

We taped the game and watched the last few minutes again today. How sick the Xavier fans must be. Conley's steal was inches from being out of bounds. That free throw with 9 seconds left was even closer to going in. But alas, Roooooooon Lewis comes through. Was that a designed play? Conley set one hell of a pick and almost laid the guy out. Oden was also inches from getting an intentional foul but the refs probably felt like that would add insult to injury. So let's break this down a bit further to see what saved us from having to watch Xavier's coach's wife from having a glorious postgame slow motion moment with her husband while Natalie Merchant's These Are the Days blares in the background.

The officiating was terrible. That no call on the rebound was the final touch on what experts are calling "The rapiest game of all time not involving Duke." The refs must hate Thad or something. He works them the whole game and still doesn't seem to get any calls for Oden.

Oddly enough though, Oden fouling out for OT was the best thing that could have happened. Xavier had no game plan with him not in there. We had to abandon our shitty game plan as well. I'm not even sure what it was. 11 points in overtime though is superhuman. Someone get that man a Tri-Delt for his efforts!

So should we be encouraged? Are we a team of destiny now? Or is this all leading up to one giant loss to Florida in April which could result in one less writer for this blog?

Onto a few other things...the brackets can suck me. Durant should have had his parents walk him onto the court for his last game as a Longhorn. He didn't even get to check out of the game and get the ovation he deserved for his years at Texas. Like I said before...or probably meant to say but didn't. The other 4 guys on Texas might be the worst team of all time (that means you too Augustine!).

And in one last story Jon Diebler will be in the Ohio State Tournament. I heard he got fouled hard a la Duke/Carolina, was supposed to go to the hospital and declined so that he could strap on a mask and finish the game. You know why? Because next year it will be even rougher. Some Purdue stiff will break his leg, punch him the face and body slam him into the ground. But as he's lying there he'll see Thad walking down the bench and leaning over to Terwillger. "Noooo!" he'll think, I'm okay. That's the kind of team effort I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Picker's remorse

Every year it's the same thing. Why didn't I know they were going to get upset? Or, why in the hell would a team who won some shitty conference upset Michigan State? Or, of course all four #1 seeds didn't make it, they never do! I've just filled out 6 different brackets on 6 different sites. Most of them with OSU winning. Should be lose early, I'm out of everything of course. I've played so many fantasy sports on The Sporting News website since 2001 that it's ridiculous. I continue to expect myself to be psychic, never once have I been in the top few thousand of anything. I'll get in the top 3% every 4 years but the numbers eventually go against me. I play (I'm not kidding) fantasy NBA, NHL, MLB, college football (they do it by teams instead of players), golf, soccer (I stopped soccer), and NASCAR. Yes, I've played fantasy NASCAR for 4 years now. And guess what, after a few races, out of 35,000 people I'm ranked 290th. My best ever. I also have done well in Hockey and won 2 leagues with 19 other strangers who I then send a taunting e-mail to about how I didn't watch a hockey game all season and still beat them because their sport is dumb. I'm getting off track though on purpose to make a few points.
First--Don't beat yourself up and rule #2, as you've read this and realize it's true, no one wants to hear about how bad your bracket is. If you're pulling a super-high %, perhaps you could mention, if you successfully predicted "play-in game" into the 3rd round, let me know...but please don't ramble on (like this) about how close you were and what a victim you are. Shut up.
Just have fun drinking and go to a game if you get the chance...

One of us eventually got braces, one of us lost 40 pounds, and the other won a 2 million dollar lawsuit.
This lovely photo was taken on St. Patrick's Day a few years ago the day before Miami beat us in the 2nd round. Coach instructed us to "Drink some green beer," for him.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

GET A MAP! ...and Drexel can stop whining

Only a few things wrong with the brackets today. A lot of people are upset I'm sure that since we seem to be the team with a long streak over other good teams that we should be the overall #1 seed. Perhaps, but then Florida could say, they beat us without Oden playing healthy and fair officiating excuses. Fine, whatever Florida, you can have the #1 seed overall. You're part of our nation's Atlantic coast, 90 minutes from Cuba, the only state warm enough to grow shitload of oranges, and the Tropic of Cancer runs through your state...would you like to play in the East...West...Midwest...or South? Now you're from the South Eastern Conference, so we'll do our best to put you in the right region. In fact, last year we decided to name the regions after cities instead of directions...this year though we'll make it a point to GO BACK TO using the GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS!
So let me look at my map here....hmmm, here's a state shaped like a penis ready to plop its way into the Bermuda Triangle...and here's another state next to a body of water that borders Canada. Both have #1 seeded teams in them. Committee?

Woman on Committee: "Hi, I'm Barbara, I'm a double token woman from the Sun Belt, can I be in charge of placing those two teams in regions since you won't let me do anything else?"

Head of Committe: "Yes Barbara, you may, and while you're at it go ahead and compare Arkansas's numbers with Syracuse's and get back with us on your results."

So why do I care about this so much? I bet you both remember. As I've mentioned the St. Louis Midwest Regional games are a 12 minute ride away on the Metrolink from my apartment. Now my town will be flooded with Florida assholes instead. Committee, you've cheated our readers out of a rare on-scene photoblog.

Onto what everyone is bitching about, Drexel...(crank up sarcasmator)
Look, just because they finished 4th in the vaunted Colonial Athletic Conference doesn't mean they should have to settle for the NIT. I mean c'mon, the Colonial Athletic Conference deserves at least 4 teams in. We go through this every year...The Big Ten gets over half of its teams in, as does the ACC, the CAC deserves some credit as well. They're not just a Chess conference anymore people! It's not like there's a clause that says anyone who finishes behind Hofstra shouldn't get in! (Barbara, get to work on that for next year. Yes sir!) I can only imagine how the writers of feel. Let's go through and breakdown the Dragons season. (Oh I get it, a somewhat creative mascot that uses alliteration, that doesn't reek of small school at all)

Just a few weeks ago on November 18 we won AT Vermont! You don't just stroll into Catamount arena rec center and get a win. Now sure Penn beat us by 19, but they're obviously awesome, they won the Ivy League. And then sure we lost to Rider by 8 to even up at 2-2, but with that kind of November, who wouldn't? Rider's tough, they finished a whole game above .500. I know, a win over Toledo isn't anything big. That's one of those schools focused on learning...Especially law, they're excused. But @'Nova and @Syracuse...let us in! Those 2 teams combined for a total of 1 bid. We sneaked our way in over Christmas break and got out with 2 big wins. Isn't that an automatic bid? Everyone plays their best ball of the season a week the third week of Advent. Our high powered offense took down the likes of Northeastern and Towson. Why should it matter that we lost to William and Mary 60-47. I'm sure they're really tough. Look, over 4 teams from our schedule made the big dance. Those 5 teams played us tough but we pulled an amazing 2-5 record against them and only got outscored on average by 10 points including those 2 wins. So yes, let us in.

Now as far as our south bracket...I love it! We couldn't have asked for a better 15 to share it with. Sure we didn't get the overall #1 seed in the tournament, but if you had asked which #1 seed's bracket I'd take, it would be the south. I think we can beat Xavier or the Fighting Mormans. I'm not going to share my picking strategy with everyone for fear that they'll do the opposite and win bigtime. But here are a few tips...

1. Find teams that Reader Wise roots for, choose against them.
2. Don't pick a 15 seed to advance, that's crap, it won't happen this year either.
3. Look at the number of senior starters a team has...if there's one with a child in the stands know that he will he playing hard because he needs to make it to the NBA. He was too busy fucking to study.

So good luck to all.

About yesterday's performance, a solid A. When Twig hit that 3, I heard echoes of the announcer of Gibson's game 1 home run. Wisconsin knew they must have been in trouble at that point. Sure he still missed a layup, but his "Lean on Me" defense made that zone strong.

Friday, March 09, 2007

OSU v. UM: third time's a third time

So, Reader Wise is inexplicably interested in finding out how the game's going from me instead of from, like, Yahoo! or something. That sounds fantastic. I've decided that I'm just going to update this post every time there's a timeout or lengthy stoppage of play, because ... why not. If you're scoring at home, or even if you're alone [/Olbermann], this is like my fourth different format for a "running notes during a game" post. Super awesomeness.

So what are my expectations for this game? Being the borderline-pessimist that I am, all week I have been resorting to the adage that it's extremely difficult to beat a good team three times in the same season. The thing is, the glaring question is obviously "Is Michigan a good team?" I suppose we're going to find out today. Things we know: the Wolverines played OSU very tough in the two meetings so far this season, as OSU closed out both games with late runs that 1.) put the first contest out of reach, and 2.) completed a come-from-behind victory in the second, largely enabled by some Tommy Amaker Era late-game gaffes (patent pending). Courtney Sims has been surprisingly effective against Greg Oden in the two meetings, as the two have almost canceled each other out (blocked shots notwithstanding). The difference in each game was an amalgam of turnovers and late-game execution (and probably Mike Conley Jr. - you can't overstate how important it is to have a really good PG when the clock's winding down).

In a very real way, this contest is a "put up or shut up" game for the Wolverines. Personally, I think a win puts them in the Dance. It's "gut-check time" and all those other tedious motivational slogans, but, you know, for realsies.

11:30 a.m.: I feel the need to update right now in order to let everyone know that Cinco de Cuervo will be teeing off approximately 13 weeks from right ... ... now. Do with that information what you will.

Pregame: Where the fuck is Brent? Oh, doing NASCAR. Balls. As such, we have Dave O'Brien and Steve Lavin. Oh, and Erin Andrews. She tells us that Thad says UCLA should be a reminder that the top team can lose in this round of the conference tourney. Starters for both teams are the same as always. UM comes out in yellow, OSU comes out in wifebeaters and capri pants.

Game starts: In nine years of the B10 tourney, the 1-seed is only 5-4 in the quarterfinals. Wow. UM's first possession uses up the entire shot clock, and ends with a turnover. Huh-HA, stereotypes!

Fast break off the miss, 2-0, UM. Oden and his "great" footwork forget the meaning of "pivot foot." Travelling. Both teams going 2-3, and Michigan looked to the high post and scored. Get OUT. Jump hook for Oden. Shot clock violation for UM. Playing ... slooooowwwwwwww. Cook is on a stationary bike with a "knot" in his leg. Oden drills two free throws - nice to see. Teams trade baskets (the zones look passive), and Conley with a backcourt steal leading to a foul. OSU timeout at the 16:03 mark, meaning we'll get another TV timeout in like 30 seconds. I hate it when coaches do that. 8-6, OSU.

16:03: HOLY SHIT. We're swinging the ball around the perimeter, and - get this - whoever is on the weakside wing is flashing to the high post!! I KNOW!! This leads to a wide-open triple for Lewis. 11-6. Another steal, but Lewis hoists a 1-on-4 three. "Bad shot," says Lavin. Yep. Charging on UM, aaannnnddd TV timeout.

15:04: Cook is off the bike and in the game. Lavin points out that the two teams are attacking the zones differently: UM is drive-and-kicking while OSU is always looking to feed the post, playing an inside-out game. I love Steve Lavin. UM is in a MANTAMAN. Dion Harris violently bricks a three (the rebound came out past the 3-point line), and OSU comes down and misses a lob to Hunter, but Sideshow Matt gets fouled on the attempted tip. Does he hit the FTs? Especially the first ... BUT ESPECIALLY THE SECOND. OSU stays 2-3. Wait, is that a 1-3-1? No, it's a matchup 2-3. Turnover, but Conley misses the contested layup. Michigan gets the ball to no-man's-land and hits a cutter, leading to a slam (Only BoD gets that). Charge on Conley. 13-8.

Terwilliger with the block! Lighty misses a turnaround in-and-out. That poor kid couldn't buy a bucket if he had won that MegaMillions thing. OSU is in a man-to-man now. Miss, offensive board, near-steal by Lighty, and a foul on OSU. Bucks bring a line change over the boards.

11:27: OSU back in a 2-3. I think we're going to this more because of how teams have tried to attack Greg early in games, trying to get a couple of quick cheap fouls on him. Rebs: 9-3 Michigan. Long 3 leads to another offensive board. Jerrett Smith airball hits Cook in the face and goes out off OSU. More patience ... then White Reed Baker hits a 3. Through the magic of TiVo, I go back and see that that UM possession lasted 1 minute and 48 seconds.

Harris drills a pull-up J to end a string of 5 straight misses. 15-11. OSU now in a passive 2-2-1 3/4-court semi-press, dropping back into a 2-3. Another offensive board, foul on Oden. Lavin points out that the zone has been effective in contesting shots, but we're getting killed on the boards. Misses the second. Cook takes it to the basket and gets fouled. O'Brien calls Cook "one of the best 6th men in America." Hmmmm. Erin Andrews says Wrigley sent Thad a shitload of gum because of that "5 second rule" incident against Wisconsin. 1 out of 2. 16-12. UM's inbounds pass goes out of bounds for theit 7th TO already. Oden with a follow-up tip-in. Petway tries a nifty post move leading to a reverse attempt, but Oden swats it. Cook drives the length of the floor unmolested for a layup. That was stupidly easy. The Other Sims gets another board, puts it in, and gets fouled by Oden. 20-14, with a FT upcoming.

7:40: FT is good. Conley does some shimmying crossover shit, finds himself open, and rattles in a long J. Michigan has missed 10 shots and gotten 8 offensive rebounds. That's somewhat offset by OSU's 9-0 lead in points of turnovers, as both teams play down to their Wonk profiles. Surprise! Conley's dad is eating popcorn. 2 free throws for UM. Long 2-pointer by Lewis after a skip pass from Sideshow. Wide open 3 from Abram. 24-20. Good ball movement from both teams. UM back in a 2-3. Butler shoots a 3 from Joliet and bricks it. Nice: that alley-oop to Petway's gonna be on SportsCenter. 5:22 mark. Book it.

OSU misses but Michigan picks up a nickel-dimer of an offensive foul. Refs called him for hooking, but that looked cheap. Hunter flashes to the foul line and hits a wide open 12-footer against the zone. I nod appreciatively. Everyone in OSU's 8-man rotation has scored except ... Lighty. Hunter intercepted a pass, but came down on the endline. Woops: the clockkeeper reset the shot clock. Let's set it for, let's say, 6 seconds. Why not. No, make that 8. Huh. Miss, ad OSU pushes, then pulls it back out (not an effective method. Ew, gross.). Oden misses a hook. One and done for OSU on every possession. Dion Harris gets wide open as Lewis got stuck on the screen: 3-pointer. Thad is PISSED. Lewis decides to make up for it by shooting a Ron Lewis Patented 25-footer ... but he makes it. 29-25. Lewis has 10. Courtney Sims looks intimidated and shoots a weird leaning/fading away jumphook (seriously). OSU pushes a 4-on-2 for a pretty layup to Butler. Nice pass from Conley. 31-25.

2:11: Other Sims hits a long 2 at the buzzer of the shotclock. OSU was in a man on the out-of-bounds from under the basket, for some reason. Oden splits a 1-and-1. Lavin and O'Brien talk about how Conley is good. No kidding? Dion Harris's 3 at the buzzer of the shot clock (I should make a macro out of that) rims out, but UM gets the board (that too). Harris puts his head down and drives to the basket, drawing a foul. Is that 3 on Oden? Split-screen of the two coaches earlier, to illustrate their differences: Matta crouches, shouts, and gesticulates wildly while Amaker stands there with his arms folded. I'm sorry, Joel. Lavin says Matta is like Mike Ditka and Amaker is like Bill Walsh(!) or John Wooden(!!!!!??!?!?>A@*&(@*#). Butler misses, but Hunter gets one of those fouls where you're boxing a guy out and he tries to jump over you and you end up sort of undercutting him. But Other Sims misses the front end. Conley runs the clock down, gets into the paint and hits a short turnaround at the buzzer of the half. This game has been just about exactly what I expected so far.

34-29 OSU at the half.

Second half: Gorgeous post move by Oden = layup. UM is +9 in second chance points, while OSU is +11 in points off turnovers. Block by Oden, but UM gets it back in a scrum on the floor, and Smith hits Sims wide open for a dunk. Unlucky, but Oden can't take off like that 'til he knows we have the ball. Man-to-man. Oden misses. Oden blocks Sims twice in a row, but the second one looked like a foul. Aiyeee, I'll take it. Conley hits one of his little semi-runners, where he all of a sudden he just flicks to the ball toward the basket. 38-31. Oden tries for another block, but there's a foul. Who's it on? Butler? Yep. Courtney misses the first, makes the second. Ivan Harris misses a 3, then draws a frustration foul in the post on defense. Abram dribbles he ball off his foot and out of bounds. Lavin says turnovers have been the "only chink in UM's armor" today. Yeah, but they're on pace for 23 turnovers. That's less a "chink" than a big-ass hole in your armor. Ugly-but-effective jumphook by Oden. OSU in man-to-man. Probably Thad's response the rebounding problems. O'Brien does a passable raftery impression: THE KISS! OSU misses o the fast break, UM brings it down and Dion Harris airballs a 3. Michigan backtips the ball from Butler but it goes straigh to I.Harris for a 5-foot bunny. 42-32, Lavin thinks UM needs a TO. Petway misses a follow-up jam, and we go to a TV timeout.

15:54: It's the Hunter & Terwilliger show. Lighty almost picks off the inbounds pass. Hunter block's J. Smith's shot out of bounds. Keep it inbounds, kid! Whoa, for the first half of the possessio it looks like everyone's playing zone except Hunter. Are we busting out the box-and-1? I doubt it. C. Sims abuses Sideshow, but Hunter comes over to foul and prevent a bucket. Sims makes one out of two. OSU hasn't committed a turnover in the last 18 minutes ... nice drive-and-kick by Lighty, and Cook drills the 3. 45-33. Man D by OSU. The game's getting out of hand; UM can't keep stalling. Just as I say that, Abram hits a 3. That was a yooge bucket. Long miss by Cook; UM comes down and Sideshow fouls Sims away from the ball. Another near-steal by Lighty. Jerrett Smith hits a 3 and all of a sudden it's a game again. Othello Hunter shoots a 3 while I swear at my TV, but Cook sneaks in for the board and gets fouled. 1 out of 2. 46-39. Nice post feed to Sims, but Oden's mere presence forces him to try and double-clutch the shot, which he misses. Alley-oop in transition to Oden is actually too high for him. Udoh hits a Dreamshake turnaround baseline J, and I'm stunned. UM goes small and goes back to the 2-3. Cook misses a 3, but OSU gets the loose ball and calls timeout. UM is +20 in rebounds.

11:27: Oden gets Udoh 1-on-1 in the post, and Udoh just shoves him in the back so that OSU has to inbound again. Cook drives, misses, but tips his miss back in. Off a miss, Conley makes a great long pass to Lewis for the layup. Amaker calls a smart timeout. Gotta head this off right away. 50-41.

11:01: In the middle of UM's possession, I notice that Amaker is sending 3 guys to the scorer's table. Why didn't he put them in coming out of the timeout? OSU's gone man the whole second half, except when Oden's on the bench. Greg turns around and the ball's right in his face; he sticks an arm out and forces a jumpball. Smith misses a wild layup; Conley comes down and misses a layup in traffic. Nice steal by Lewis, but Smith sort of makes up for it by getting back and drawing a charge on Conley. Then he comes down and hits a 3. Hhhhanging 'round. Kid's got alligator blood. Oden gets fouled, but the ball comes right to Hunter, so it looks like a pass and nothing gets called, then Hunter gets blocked/fouled (can't tell) and Thad has a conniption. He gets T'd up. Bad timing for a T. And right after I type that, Lavin says it. Ooh, replay: aaaand both plays looked clean. Thad, you just gave up two made free throws for no reason. 50-46. And the announcers are talking about the 5-4 record of 1-seeds. Then a handcheck foul on Butler. Thad, Thad, Thad. Abram misses the front end, though. And we get a similarly-weak foul on CourtneyMan. That's his 4th, and it's Udoh time. Michigan is in a man-to-man on the under-the-basket inbounds, so the ball goes right to Oden, and he backs in, hits a leaning jumphook and gets fouled. Misses the FT. Udoh misses a J. Hunter gets fed slashing to the basket, but his shot actually hit the bottom of the rim. How does that happen for a 6'9" guy? On the secondary break, Abram hits an open 3. Immediate TO by Thad.

7:47: Near-steal by Petway, but OSU gets it back. Down low to Oden, and he makes a nice move to the middle and lays the ball in with his left hand while getting fouled. TV timeout.

7:24: FT rolls around and in. Jerrett Smith drives into the lane with nothing to do, freaks out, and loses the ball. They're feeding Oden non-stop now, and Udoh has no chance. Nice dropstep from the right block goes under the basket and leads to a reverse layup. That was one of the best moves I've seen him make. Missed shot by UM. OSU runs some clock, and Lewis gets fouled on a ugly drive to the basket. Lavin has the Big Ten getting six in. I'll believe that when it happens. Lewis hits both, and it's 59-49. D. Harris hits 2 FTs. Then Conley hits a 3 off a drive-and-kick from Cook. Another foul on Hunter, and Petway hits both. Gorgeous alley-oop slam from Hunter off a drive by Conley. O'Brien says OSU looks like "one of those teams that just has an extra gear they can go to." Eh, maybe. 64-53. Another turnover by UM. Ron Lewis hits 2 free throws. This game has gotten choppy. Lavin talks about how OSU has huge advantages over most teams because of the size advantage of Oden combined with how Conley never turns the ball over and makes great decisions. Okay, yeah, pretty much. OSU back in a 2-3. Terwilliger fouls Sims on a nice pass from no-man's-land. He hits the FT: 66-56. Backdoor wasn't there; Conley got greedy. Michigan flies back down, but Harris just loses the ball going up. D'oh.

3:52: I just noticed that Iva Harris has hardly played at all this half. We've been much more effective on both offense and defense with Hunter and Oden out there. Jumphook by Oden is good. A win will set OSU's school record at 28. Two FTs by J. Smith. Michigan goes to a trapping man-to-man. Hunter missed another long jumper. I'm not happy with him taking so many of those. Another offensive board for Michigan leads to a ferocious dunk for Petway. Lavin drops a Vida Blue reference for no apparent reason, and I love it. Oh, okay, he was talking about the "velocity" with which Petway dunked the ball. I would have liked it more if there was even less of a reason for it. Replay shows that Oden unintentionally punched Petway in the face on the dunk. 68-60 and with 2:15 left it looks like we might be in "tedious repeated fouling by the losing team" territory. Conley hits both. Smith loses the ball out of bounds. Obligatory talk about how people are dissatisfied with Amaker, while we get a token shot of Amaker sitting on the bench not doing anything. OSU uses shot clock and misses. Courtney misses a turnaround (he's clearly terrified of Oden now), but UM gets the rebound and Dion Harris misses a 3. Oden gets the board and gets fouled. Graphic comparing Oden's freshman season to those of other notable freshman big men: Ewing, Olajuwon, and O'Neal. Greg averages more points than all of them, more rebounds than all but Shaq, and has a better FG% than all but Ewing. OSU has 5 turnovers for the game. And there's fouling and missing and fouling and missing. Michigan raises the white flag and we're in clock-wasting time. Lavin is impressed that OSU seemed to take UM's best shot today. Aside from the turnovers, the Wolverines did play pretty well, but I get the sense that you could say that about most of their games this season.

Final: 72-62, OSU

2:05 p.m.: Oh dear. I just found out that my endeavor is mirroring one by Brian over at MGoBlog. See how wildly homeristic we both are!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's getting to be about that time...

I haven't made up my mind yet whether or not I will do the third annual "how to fill out a bracket, AKA Jack's annual attempt to look even stupider than he usually does," so I'd appreciate a little feedback from both of you who still read this. It may be coming, it may not. Also, what the hell, maybe I'll do a liveblog/running diary/SOC of the Bucks' first round game in the B10 tourney. WHIMSY! TO THE TIN!!

Also, a couple of things got me thinking recently: Brian over at MGo said in a post of his something about the backetBucks being "hideously overrated," or something to that effect, and one of the commenters wondered where OSU ranks nationally in terms of BTW's wildly interesting "efficiency margin" semi-stat. Since I'm a nerd and I'm bored, I used his tempo-free aerials to find out what every "power" conference team's margin was this conference season. As The Man himself has noted, these rankings may or may not be an adequate predictor of tourney success, but they're like, neat and stuff. Anyway, here's the nation's top 20 (or 21) teams in terms of efficiency margin this season (conference games only):

2North Carolina.17
4Ohio State.16
5Texas A&M.15
9Louisville (?!).12
12Washington State.09
14Notre Dame.08
16Michigan State.06
16Southern Cal.06
19Mississippi State.05

So, what the hell does this mean? Probably nothing concrete, but it's interesting and fun to look at the breakdowns of conferences, like which conferences have some bottom-feeders that everyone gets fat off of (the Big Ten) and which appear to be fairly even (the SEC). Whatever.

Also, for people who have grown weary of "Lost"'s meandering, go-nowhere plots, the following video is pure gold.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Okay, if you're someone who would show up at this site, you probably already heard about how the Buckeye hoops team, along with a few other squads around the country, will be breaking in new threads for the Big Ten tournament and the NCAAs. Sean over at Around the Oval is observant and not, you know, lazy, so he has gone and found out what they look like. Good. Gravy.

Imagine Cameroon's infamous one-piece bodysuit crossed with your standard run of the mill 21st-century basketball circus tent shorts. Judging by the photos available, we're gonna look like we're wearing body paint and pantaloons. On the plus side, as you all know, I have long advocated the wearing of pantaloons during any and all sporting events. On the downside, the look as a whole is, you know, pretty stupid, just like the rest of Nike's experiments in "unconventional" attire for college teams. Doesn't a line have to be drawn in the sand sometime? Doesn't someone have to stand up and say "no more"? To stand up and say "I have had ENOUGH of your swooshes and your ... Oregon, in general, and your GODDAMN ONE-SHOULDER-SLEEVE THINGY"? Please???

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I originally had a post up here that wasn't very nice. We all know I'm not a Terwilliger fan. Pictured left is his girlfriend only making me more upset. But anyway, I'll make this short. Apparently we can score 10 unanswered anytime we need to. UCLA lost so that dipshit at CBS with his #1 ranking for the Bruins can shove it. The Badgers barely won and looking back I think we're in definite #1 seed status no matter what happens in the Big 10 tourny. They never seem to care who wins the Big Ten tournament do they? Remember that year we had to play the 9 a.m. game in New Mexico?

I went to downtown St. Louis tonight and the city is flooded with the Missouri Valley Conference teams. SIU sweatshirts galore! Why is it that for the smaller the school the more old men in turtle necks under their XXL sweatshirts?

And now Texas...for as good as Durant is, the rest of the team must suck for them to blow a 14 point lead like that. He had 25 at the half and didn't even play the whole time. Let's keep them out of our bracket...I'll take SIU instead.