Saturday, March 28, 2015
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.
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
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.
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. 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.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
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
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 Anthony Munoz, Charles Mann, Alan Page and our own beloved Billy have Bednarik to thank for the glory he brought to hideously unaligned fingers.
"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
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.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Syracuse's run in the NCAA tournament ended in bitter defeat against the Gamecocks of South Carolina, on the Cocks home floor. They were just bigger, faster and better. But the Orange gave a valiant effort, especially Alexis Peterson who followed up her 24 points against Nebraska in the first round with 23 more, most of them coming on reckless drives to the basket against South Carolina's bigger front line. The Orange have played their hearts out and ended a great season with a loss to a great team, a serious title contender. And they conduct themselves like true student-athletes, no failed drug tests, no fabricated grades, no booster at the YWCA (to my knowledge) while constantly showing great effort and emotion. The women's program (unlike the men's) is improving every year and given the prominence of the ACC, they will get opportunities to draw top recruits and consistently compete against the best teams in the country. And a lot of this has to do with Coach Quentin Hillsman who is a good coach, and you can tell he cares deeply about his players. So what is embarrassing about that? Nothing, except this shirt:
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between good defense and horrible shooting. I actually think we've had equal helpings of both from Virginia and Michigan State. Also the referees have done a poor job. The game has been very physical, at some points they allowed a lot of it, then at other times they whistled everything. Someone needs to school these guys about the 18-foot jump shot. It is the worst shot in basketball. So inefficient. You don't make it with the consistency of dunks and layups, and you don't get as many points as you would if you moved back 2 feet. Both teams going huge stretches without a field goal. Not only bad offense, but the fact that every time someone goes to shoot, they refs call a foul, some of which really were fouls. Trice got carried away with himself. Made a huge 3, then took a long 2 with his feet on the line (worst shot) and 20 seconds left on the shot clock. There's no need for it. And that is why I always pick Michigan State. They have a great tournament history. They're the anti-Villanova. Also historically I have a tremendous record in selecting the correct #2 seed to lose in the second round. It happens almost every year and very often I'm right on it, but too often I have the wrong team beating them. Dominant performance by Duke. I really think they're a different team this year. They have athletes and big men, and they were fast-breaking whenever possible. Ron Baker is not making Mrs. Poop's All-Hair team but she concedes is current style is a big improvement over what he was rocking in high school. A local sportscaster joined the Pack family.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
To repeat: this is the second round. Those first four games are not the first round, I do not care what the committee tries to sell me. Billie must not have been watching UCLA very much recently or he surely would have remarked on the awesome uniform patches commemorating Wooden and his Pyramid of Success. But he died 5 years ago, how long are they going to honor him? Bertram the Butler from "Jessie." Julian picked Butler because they have the "butt" sound in their name. Pat Conaughton's father is sitting right behind Jerome Bettis. And a couple row in front of Harvey Grant. Where Jerami at? (I know he's with the 76ers and actually playing pretty well. I know it's a tough call to make at the end of a game, but Auguste absolutely double dribbled that ball. It was so blatantly obvious it had ot be called. How do you leave two shooters wide open in the corner? You know that's their safety valve. I'd sooner leave a guy open at the top of the key. Terrible late game defense by Butler, but great execution by Notre Dame. You still gotta make the shots. Add the driving layup by Jerian Grant and they got 8 points in 3 possessions while simultaneously using a lot of time. Great way to end the night with an overtime thriller.