Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Song of the Week

"Somebody" - Natalie La Rose featuring Jeremih
This is Mrs. Poop's Shazam jam. She figured out how to e-mail songs from Shazam and this is the first one she sent me.
It also has a nice sample from the late great Whitney Houston.
And I love big hoop earrings!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tournament Thoughts: Elite Eight Sunday

His first name is really Lourawls? And he's a Junior? You'll never find -- a name as dumb as that.

The refs missed one when a Louisville player had his hand literally up through the next and hoop, but they didn't call anything.

Both sides victimized by poor free shooting down the stretch of regulation.

Huge mistake on that lane violation, giving Michigan State an extra point. It was absolutely the correct call though.

Terry Rozier following in the great tradition of volume shooters on Louisville. When they're hitting they win games for you, when they're not, they kill you. Somewhere Russ Smith is smiling.

Late-game strategy question: Dawson gets the rebound with 32 seconds left in overtime and a 2-point lead. I think he should have come down with it and forced Louisville to foul. If he misses Louisville gets a great chance to win or tie. Yes, he made it, but that doesn't necessarily make it the most winning long-term strategy.

Terrible possession by Louisville, waste 20 seconds and then throw it away without getting a shot. They would have been better off driving into someone and hoping to get a foul called.

Damn, I wish I had picked Michigan State for the Final Four. I seriously debated it, but chose Northern Iowa instead.

Seventh Final Four since 1999 for Michigan State. If it were Duke or Kentucky it would be impressive but at Michigan State it's amazing.

Two terrible late fouls by Sabonis in the first half. We always talk about that, how those fouls that put you in foul trouble come on the offensive end. And they interrupted a great Gonzaga comeback, aided by some brutal shooting from Duke.

If there's a loose ball and all ten players are equidistant from it, I like Pangos's chances to come away with it.

Adam Morrison in the crowd!

Jim Nantz loves the Bushes.

Not impressed with Wiltjer at all. He's no better than the third best player on the team. And he seems to shy away from contact. He missed a huge layup that would have tied the game at 53, and I think it was because he was worried about Okafor coming over.

Gonzaga completely choked down the stretch of this game, blew every opportunity.

This is what happens when you have a team full of great players. Great game by Matt Jones. Much needed lift.

For all the upsets early, three #1 seeds made the Final Four.

Congrats to the Daminos, Damino and BigKev, maybe their teams will face each other in the final game and the brothers will fight and beat the crap out of each other.

Tournament Thoughts: Elite 8 Saturday

What an amazing game. By far the best game of the tournament so far.

I kind of felt bad rooting for Goliath there but I want to see history. I like watching this team play.

Aaron Harrison, ONIONS!!!!!! I told everyone who would listen that Kentucky would win this tournament and one of the first things I mentioned was Aaron Harrison who has shown himself to be a player who can hit big shots.

Jerian Grant has ONIONS!!!! too.

What a great game by Zach Auguste. He went against one of the best front line in college basketball history and had a huge game. He just couldn't guard Karl-Anthony Towns.

Calipari was completely outcoached by Mike Brey -- and me. If you read my blueprint for beating Kentucky the executed it, fewer 3-pointers, more drives. Too often Kentucky had their great interior defenders stuck outside 1-on-1 isolated against quicker guards. Willie Cauley-Stein cqn't guard Pat Connaughton. And they got of position so much, giving Auguste room for offensive rebounds.

My only regret with this game is that it basically ended on my pet peeve of basically plays. Andrew Harrison took the ball, drove hard, ran into someone and got fouled.

The worst thing an announcer can do is put fake words in players' mouth. The infamous example involves Isiah Thomas saying something about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Batman and Robin.

Lots of Polish surnames in this tournament. Kaminsky, Tarczewski, Karnowski, Bachynski.

I wonder what Billy thinks of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's free throw routine. We all know Billy is a stickler for fundamentals, but he also loves to shimmy. He must be very conflicted.

There is only one thing to say about this game: Wisconsin had one of the best shooting games in the history of shooting, especially the second half. I don't even think Arizona's defense was bad, the Badgers just made everything.

Arizona actually played really well. They made 28 of 30 (93%) free throws which is amazing, and they made 56% of their shots from the field, turned it over only 10 times, and never really had a chance.

55 points in the second half on 10 of 12 from 3-point range.

Sam Dekker made 5 of 6 and scored 27 points.

If they can repeat that performance in the next round they might stay within 20 points of Kentucky.

Well we got the game we wanted. It is going to be huge. I think Wisconsin can see a little bit of what Notre Dame did and execute it with their players and we might have a game on our hands.

But again, this is the thing I love about this Kentucky team. They don't just blow people out and choke when it's close. When it's close they execute on offense, they clamp down on defense and they win games. Other great teams that didn't go undefeated were equally as dominant but just didn't close out one or two close games the way Kentucky does.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Notre Dame's Only Hope

Desperate times call for desperate measures and even before the game tips off Notre Dame is in desperation mode.
When you're playing any opponent, the best strategy is to neutralize their strength. Kentucky's biggest strength: interior defense.
How do you neutralize that? You don't go inside. And Notre Dame is equipped to do that because they have so many good 3-point shooters.
Pat Connaughton (43%), Demitius Jackson (43%), VJ Beachem (42%), Steve Vasturia (41%) and Jerian Grant (32%) can all makes shots from outside.
So I would put Zach Auguste and the middle and station 4 other players around the arc and bomb nothing but 3-pointers. Try to get hot early, try to get some long offense rebounds, try to get Towns, Cauley-Stein and Lyles out of their comfort zone. It might sound crazy but I think it's their best chance to win.

Tournament Thoughts: Sweet 16 Friday

Every time I've seen them play I've really liked Gonzaga.

I love everything about Pangos except for his hair.

Przemek Karnowski is the Polish Jake Voskuhl. With the conditioning of Matt Stainbrook.

Love Donatos Sabonis. He looks like he could be a star. A shame we'll never know what his father could have been if he had been allowed to play in the NBA in his prime.

How many times do you think he's heard the Not Your-Vidas, Not My-Vidas, he's Ar-Vidas?

After Louisville kicked Chris Jones off the team he is accused of raping one girl, in the ass, and with two other guys, forcing a second girl into unwanted oral and vaginal sex. Nice guy.

Valiant effort by NC State they just couldn't make the plays at the end.

Last time I ever listen to Mike Francesa. I thought Louisville wasn't very good and when he said he thought they would go out early, he just sounded so sure. So I picked them to lose in the first round. You see how well that worked out.

I normally don't buy that crap that teams have to adjust to shooting in domes and big stadia, because I have a lifetime of evidence of Syracuse home games to disprove that, but Duke and Utah certainly took long enough to make a field goal.

We've mentioned this before this tournament but you can definitely see that Duke has more athleticism this year than they have had in the recent past. I'd even put this team above the 2010 title team in terms of ability to run the floor.

I'm a little concerned about Okafor's defense on the NBA level. I saw a couple times Utah's big guys put the moves on him.

Delon Wright did not live up to his billing this game.

I hate these arena setups where the floor is elevated and you have to step down to get o the bench. I realize it's necessary in these huge arenas, but it's still silly.

Michigan State was 3 of 10 from the line, but Valentine and Trice nailed 4 down the stretch when they needed to.

Love Tom Izzo. The guy just wins in the tournament. But this does not mean they were underseeded. Michigan State lost 10 games this season, including 0-6 against top 40 teams until the Big Ten tournament, when they beat Maryland. They were 23 in the RPI which favors them for playing such a tough schedule. So 6 or 7 was a fair seeding, 5 or 8 would be a stretch. You can seed a team based on how awesome their coach is in the tournament.

Although this bracket didn't turn out as we planned, a Louisville-Michigan State matchup is pretty interesting.

And even though tonight's games weren't that great, I think we have 2 great matchups to look forward to on Sunday.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Nicest Thing Ever

Even Damino will have to leave a nice comment on this post.
In his will Dean Smith left $200 to every varsity letterman, whom he coached, 180 in all. The executor of Coach Smith's will sent a check and a letter explaining the Coach's wishes.
The one below was sent to one of Billy's all-time favorite Tar Heels, Dante Calabria.

The letter reads, in part:

"Each player was important and special to Coach Smith and when he prepared his estate plan, Coach wanted to reach out to each of his lettermen. Accordingly, Coach directed that following his passing each letterman be sent a two hundred dollar ($200.00) check with the message "enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith." Enclosed is a check in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200.00) with the notation "Dinner out".

180 lettermen, $200 each, equals $36,000. Pretty generous and very classy of the Coach who must have planned this long ago because his health and mental acuity declined rapidly in his final years.

I hope the UNC players receiving this benefit will follow the lead of the coach and do something better with the money than enjoy a dinner out. Maybe Michael Jordan could invite all the players to a dinner to remember their coach and donate $36,000 to charity in his name.

Tournament Thoughts - Sweet 16 Thursday

For all the talk about how bad the play in college basketball has become, Wichita State and Notre Dame play a good game with passing and shooting.

Fred Vanvleet is a fun player with a fun name. Though if he were my friend I would call him Derf.

Zach Auguste got himself a fresh new haircut during the days off.

I am totally against the kill the ball with a lead strategy (I called it the Jim Boeheim Memorial No Points Offense because it kills him all the time) but with a 14 point lead and 3 minutes to go, it seems the prudent approach.

Tokoto sounds like an Indian tribe.

I know I said this last year but Traevon Jackson is the son of Jimmy Jackson and looks just like him.

Wisconsin won this game during that brief stretch when they were down 7, then came back with 6 quick. Not allowing the game to get out of hand makes a huge strategical difference in how the game is played.

Great try by Marcus Paige. Almost single-handedly kept them in the game late.

That noise you hear is a bunch of Daminos cheering. Not only are Damino's and Big Kev's alma maters still in it, North Carolina is not.

Also, I really didn't think Big Kev was old enough to go to college yet.

I love L.A. Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn in the crowd rooting on Wisconsin.

Fresh pair of kicks worn by an unnamed North Carolina player. They're brand Jordan so it isn't a big surprise but the Ram on the side is pretty cool.

Kentucky vs. West Virginia is one of the biggest dominations in the history of the tournament. You expect to see a 16 seed get beaten like this in the first round. Not a 5 seed from a major conference in the Sweet 16.

West Virginia scored 18 points in the first half, and 1 for the first 8 minutes of the second.

Just an absolute slaughter.

Billy wants to add Billy Dee Williams to his all-name team.

I make fun of Matt Stainbrook's appearance, but he actually is a pretty good player. But I think his lack of conditioning slows Xavier down at times.

He also did the funniest flop when he got whacked in the face.

Good game between Arizona and Xavier, Arizona just made a couple more plays down the stretch.

I hate to see plays like the one that really ended this game, Davis drives into the lane with no intention to do anything other than draw a foul. He just tried to run into Hollis-Jefferson and hope for the best, when he backed off Davis was in no position to even put up a shot. Draw a play, run something, set some screens, don't count on the refs to bail you out.

Some good games tonight, nothing spectacular and all four favorites (by seeding not spread) won their games. We may see some more upheaval tomorrow night. I hope so because I have Michigan State beating Oklahoma.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'd Hate to Be the Person Who Made This Mistake

I often criticize the Associated Press for occasional dumb shit, but for the most part they do an incredibly hard job, very well.
Not this time.
Here is the write through for the arrest of Robert Durst:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A Louisiana State Police trooper says millionaire Robert Durst has been booked on weapons charges in that state – on top of a first-degree murder charge lodged by Los Angeles authorities. Trooper Melissa Matey told the Associated Press that an arrest warrant was issued for the former Limp Bizkit frontman and he was rebooked in the Orleans Parish Jail on Monday under two new charges.

Here is the subsequent correction:

In the second item of the California 10th NewsMinute sent March 16 to users of the state broadcast wire, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Robert Durst is a member of a band. He is a real estate heir; Fred Durst is the former frontman of Limp Bizkit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Farewell to the GOAT of Crooked Fingers

Philadelphia Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik died this week at the age of 89.
He is known for three things:
1) he was the last player to play both offense and defense regularly in the NFL
2) he knocked out Frank Gifford, causing Gifford to miss a year and a half, and then stood over his stiff body

3) he was generally a tough son of a bitch. He is Godfather of the mangled finger. Anthony Munoz, Charles Mann, Alan Page and our own beloved Billy have Bednarik to thank for the glory he brought to hideously unaligned fingers.

Song of the Week

"Grazing in the Grass" - Friends of Distinction
Mrs. Poop was incredulous that there was a song about grazing in the grass but it's true and there's good reason for it. The song was first an instrumental by Jazz great Hugh Masekela (who also plays the flugelhorn, making him a flugelhornist according to his Wikipedia), and the father of Sal Masekela whom you may have seen on ESPN over the years, and whose Wikipedia says he lived in Staten Island for part of his youth.
But back to the song, a year after Masekela released it, the Friends of Distinction got a hold of it added some lyrics, trying to keep with the theme, similar to what the Sugar Hill Gang did with "Apache" (SOTW, 8/22/2007).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Man After My Own Heart

If you've ever covered a sporting event (very few of you have) you would know that reporters are furnished with a sheet of quotes from the postgame press conference. So who compiles those quotes? A courtroom style stenographer.
Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes decided to have some fun with her.
In response to the first question he said “Before I answer that question, I would like to say a few words: cattywampus, onomatopoeia and antidisestablishmentarianism. Now, back to your question.”
When asked why he did that Hayes responded “She [the stenographer] does an amazing job of typing words, sometimes if words are not in her dictionary, maybe if I say soliloquy right now, she may have to work a little bit harder to type that word, or quandary, zephyr, xylophone, things like that, that make her job really interesting.”
Apparently Hayes, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker were fascinated with the stenographer and her machine from the previous day.

Funny thing is, none of this would have gotten out, if not for the stenographer.

Story suggested by Billy