Monday, November 19, 2007
I'm back from Chicago, and I have to say, I'm really sick of waiting for another Gopher basketball game. The football team just isn't doing it for me. Although it is an entertaining bit to watch a team do everything it possibly can to lose.
While down there, I managed to pull together a 13-8 record on basketball, bringing the season total to 21-22. Must have been Bogart's influence.
After the blackjack debacle of the previous night, Bogart did the responsible thing, and threw another $100 down on Depaul -12 before we headed to the Depaul v. Northwestern game. I, of course, went the other way, taking Northwestern for a whopping $5.
When Bogart mentioned going to the game, I said "It's not at the United Center, is it?" I hate the United Center for college basketball. His reply was, "It's pretty much like a littler United Center, do you still want to go?" I, of course, unfortunately said yes, and despite protestations from the Maddog, of we in. This would turn out to be a mistake.
First off, the drive to All State Arena is about a half hour from downtown Chicago - which is where the DePaul campus is - and in traffic it took us about an hour. So this already sucks. Then when you get there, the place kind of looks like an overgrown White Castle from the outside. Either that or a manufacturing plant. It has zero charm, and zero appeal.
This inside isn't much better. It really is a little United Center, and has all the atmosphere of watching a game at the Metrodome. Plus, with the half hour to hour drive from campus, there's no real student presence. There were a few kids trying to be loud behind on of the baskets, but it isn't much. We renamed it "Dumpster Arena." Even the concourse area is terrible. It's more like a third-rate airport walkway. Then there's the "jumbo" dogs. These are about half the size of Dome Dogs, yet cost five bucks. I seriously almost wanted to go order a regular hot dog. It must have been invisible. The last thing I'll metion about Dumpster Arena is the scoreboard. They have one of those hang down types in the middle of the arena, just like at Williams. However, this one doesn't have a score on it. I'm not even kidding. It's basically just a giant TV. The only way to figure out the score is to look at the tiny scoreboards on the side, which are actually configured for hockey, since some minor league hockey team plays there, and appears to be a hell of a lot more popular than DePaul hoops. The stupid thing is also big enough to completely block the scoreboard on the opposite back wall, so if you're sitting at half court, you can't see the scoreboard across the way - the one with individual players' stats - because the big TV is in the way. Just brilliant.
On to the game, which DePaul ended up winning 54-53 when Draelon Burns knocked down a driving leaner with 6 seconds left. It should have been a thrilling game, but it really wasn't, because not only did the arena suck in every possible way, but the dance team sucked, the halftime show sucked, and both teams sucked.
The dance team's big go-to move was the jump and spread your legs. If fact, I'm pretty sure that's the only move they did the entire game. Their big finish was when they all did the jump and spread your legs move all in sequence - one after another. It was magical.
The halftime show might have been worst thing ever. They brought out a Globetrotter (allegedly) - in order to pimp the fact that the real Globetrotters are coming to Dumpster Arena in January. The guy, "Hot Shot" Branch, brought out five little kids with him as well, and they were all going to do tricks to entertain and delight us all. But they all sucked. Now, I think he maybe just grabbed kids from the audience, because they had no skills and it looked like no training, so I can't fault them for that, but Hot Shot was pretty bad, and maybe drunk. He managed to execute maybe 50% of his tricks without dropping the ball. I'm not even sure he was an actual Globetrotter, he might very well have just been pulled off the street and told to do something interesting because they realized how bad their dance team was and didn't want to send them out there again.
Anyway, enough about how much Dumpster Arena and everything about it sucked - on to how bad the teams sucked. There were two players who were halfway decent - freshman Michael Thompson from Northwestern, and Will "Wheel" Walker from Depaul. Thompson does look like he's going to be pretty good in the Big Ten, he seems to know not only how to direct on offense, but can score as well. Depaul can't shoot, but they still should have had this game in the bag, as Northwestern is one of the worst teams I've seen in a while. Their entire offense is to swing it around the perimeter, and nobody other than Thompson even bothers to try to penetrate. DePaul also has a big giant fat guy named Wesley Green, who goes 6-9, 300, who should have just camped out in the lane and been fed the ball all game, considering the biggest guy who played more than 11 minutes for the Wildcats was 6-6, 190. But between his unwillingness to shoot, his inability to get up the floor before there were only fifteen seconds left on the shot clock, and his teammates stubborn refusal to get him the ball because they were too busy missing jump shots, he only shot the ball four times.
I wish there was more I could write about the game, but it was seriously really brutal to watch. You know how poorly played that Oakland/Vikings game was yesterday? It was like that, but basketball. And you're trapped in the worst arena ever the whole time. And deep inside you know that the greatness that is the city of Chicago is out there, waiting for you to come drink beer and Red Bull, but you feel like you should stay for the whole game. In conclusion, bet against DePaul and Northwestern all year long.
So, yeah, Bogart lost his bet, so even though he went 6-2 on basketball bets, he had also lost that game for $100 and the two $100 blackjack hands that Maddog played. So he did the responsible thing and threw another hunny down on the Bulls later the night, riding my coattails, and it hit, so he managed to make it up some.
I'm sure there are some things that happened this weekend in the sporting/gopher world that I should be writing about, but when you spend an entire weekend in a drunken blur, you miss these kinds of things. Anyway, here's today's picks:
Wichita St -1 vs. UIC
Baylor -2 vs. Winthrop
Okla St -2.5 vs. LSU
Arizona St +2.5 vs. Illinois
Michigan St -3 vs. Missouri