Friday, November 28, 2008

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey.

I'm still feeling the effects of all the turkey I ate yesterday. Well that and the pie, cookies, dip, stuffing, mashed potatoes, crackers, cheese, and whatever else got in my way. Now I plan to spend my day after Thanksgiving like any other money grubbing American. I will spend it shopping. If by shopping you mean buying several beers at the X then yes, I will be out shopping. And since I'm on a roll from yesterday I might as well throw in some cheese curds. Yum.

Mrs. Optimator and I will be attending the Wild game this afternoon at 1:00. The Wild are coming off another terrible loss to the Stars. They have lost their last 3 of 4 at home. Today they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It should be close, low scoring, and boring game. Both teams are easily ranked in the bottom half in the NHL in goals for. It will probably be a total snooze fest but hey, it's hockey, and an excuse to go drink beer at 1 on a Friday. However, I was just thinking. That is actually later than a recent time with Snacks and the Todd when we met for lunch. W was MIA. More like AWOL. Back to hockey. I've been playing quite a bit of NHL 09 on the playstation lately and being the rube that I am I have to play as the Wild. They have this guy on the video game roster that is just awesome. He is so fricken dominant. I wonder what it would be like if that guy actually played for the Wild. His name is Marion Goborik. Have you heard of him before?

There was a quality article by Mr. Reusse the other day. I know. Hard to imagine. This was the "2008 Turkey of the Year" awards column. Wouldn't you guess who took home the turkey. Good old Marion Gaborik.

"We're now ready for the Grand Turkey -- and for the first time the winner is a ghost ... Marian Gaborik.

He was invisible for the Wild in the playoffs last spring. He's been invisible for the past seven weeks after allegedly suffering a mid-torso injury in an intense game of Hacky Sack.

Between these disappearances, Gaborik turned down the Wild's long-term offer for many millions.

Sad to say, the Turkey Committee couldn't locate Gaborik to invite him to the banquet and to hear our clarion call for change. Of course, in Marian's case, change could come in the simple act of playing a game." -

I think the really funny part about this is that Glen Taylor was the runner up. That is hilarious. I was thinking he would have been awarded a much more prestigious life time achievement. Check out the Wolves sweet win percentage this year, 0.231. Ouch.

Moving on to Gopher hockey.

For the second consecutive week, the Gopher hockey team is at the top of the list in the nationwide polls. I'm not sure how that works after splitting and getting destroyed 0-4 in the loss. I'll take it though. I guess we just suck less than the rest.

The Gophers will be hosting Michigan tonight and Michigan State tomorrow. I'm thinking they car pooled over here to save money on gas. The Gophers should win both games handily. The Todd and I will be attending tomorrow nights game. The Gophers have yet to lose the second game of the weekend and the trend will continue. I'm happy to say that Sioux fans can't say the same. Not even if you could understand them through their drunken, mumbling mouths and their team didn't suck...or blow. I don't know which. I always get them mixed up with Wisconsin.

For those of you not at at work, I hope you can enjoy the day off by doing something other than shopping. For those of you at work, sucks to be you. I'll have a beer on your behalf.


Ok, The Todd and I are watching this embarrassment and decided to fire up the ol' laptop. We will be live blogging the remainder of this terrible game.

The Todd and I (Optimator) turn on the game during the first intermission. Much to our chagrin they are down 2-0. Nothing to worry about right? WRONG!!! Within in the next few minutes they give up two more. What is going on here.

Have you ever wondered who the backup goalie is for the Gophers? Well we just found out. His name Ken Patterson. I'm not sure if that name sounds porn starrish or local on-the-scene news reporter. Either way, the name does not sound like a hockey goalie.

10:42 in the 2nd - Freshman Jordan Schroeder puts one on the board for the Gophers. He is a stud. Let's hope that's not the last one for the Gophers tonight.

11:53 in the 2nd - Ryan Stoa takes a stupid penalty. He should be scoring goals, not giving up power plays.

I have tought Mrs. Optimator all of the different penalty calls so she is quite savvy. She knew the penalty and the hand gesture straight away. That got us to talking. The Todd has almost no clue about basketball fouls. I just explained how 1 and 1's work. He kept saying 1 in 1. No The Todd, 1 AND 1!

The Todd is here.

Hello my peeps...I have to piss. I'm happy to report that the first Gopher action I'm able to take in this year is a complete poop sandwich. WTF. Lifeless is the best term I can come up with at this point.

On a lighter note, Optimator and I will be taking in the game live tomorrow from the Yooch against the hated MSU Spartans. If you're wondering, I'll be wearing my Gopher Jersey SANS my name on the back. I'm never too old for that.

I did my part today to stimulate the economy, good times right there. How about the savages in NY who happened to trample to death some poor Walmart employee? Jesus, I've lost all faith in the human race, I mean honestly. If you don't get the Sponge Bob Square Pants backpack for $4 off, life will go on. Pretty sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

Surprise surprise, open the flood gates...the Wolverines just scored to take a 5-1 lead with 1:09 left in the second which at this point, seems insurmountable. F to you Red Berenson, F to you. PS, the flat top went out of style in the 70s, get with the times.

I'd also like to point out that I'm 5th wheelin it right now and the two married couples are conversing about muskrats and dogs fighting in the BEAVERS..."those things are BIG."

Stop the presses, the Gophers just scored with 18 seconds to go in the period...Ryan Stoa to the rescue...there's still a shred of hope.

2nd intermission is upon us with the Gophers in quite a hole down 5-2. I've been in worse situations, like that time I shat on a friend's lazyboy chair in my drunken sleep...that was EMBARRASSING. With that, I'm off to get myself a High Life Light, in a pretty decorative camoflauge can...nothing screams class more than that. Toodles...

And we're back...start of the third...still The Todd here. I just glanced and someone scored for the Gophers cutting the lead to 5-3 with about 15 minutes to we go boys.

I just finished explaining to Optimators what "Wall-to-Wall" means on Facebook.

In the mail today I received a sweet Christmas card from Snacks and his wife...LOVE IT! Swear to god buddy, I've got it up on my fridge. I think it'd be funny if I took one of myself and sent them out. Yes, I'm a little bitter about a single loser at this point in my life.

We've got music rockin in the background and a little Freak On A Leash by Korn came up...ah yes, the good old days. Blind, circa the mid 90's sticks out for me for some reason.

13:22 to go here, still down two. It's hard to live blog and still watch the game. How do you do it WWWWW??

I haven't gotten a lot of good sleep this week as my parents are in town so I've been relegated to the single bed in my spare bedroom being the nice guy I am. Oh yah, and I'm with the dog (no, there's no peanut butter). He won't move to save his life so yah, I've got a kink in my neck and bags under my eyes the size of Bogart's sack.

Optimators was dead on by saying how lame it is without Woog giving the play by play. TBN just isn't cutting it.

Oooo, I think we might be firing up an intense game of Phase 10 shortly...AND, Prince just came up on the shuffle...said Optimators, "people are going to start having sex!" I hope it's me...with a girl.

I just realized I haven't showered today. Up early this morning to hit Best Buy. Oh how I love BB and schmegma i.e. fumunda cheese.

I'm happy to report I'll be starting a new cardio program possibly as early as tomorrow. DDR. For those of you out of the loop, that stands for Dance Dance Revolution. That's right, laugh all you want but I hate running and this will hopefully get me off the couch unlike Facebook and Guitar Hero.

Mmm, the McDonald's adds on the boards are making me really hungry.

And UM (Wolverines) just put it away with 9:14 to go. We'll give them that, that was pretty. Ain't no thang, it's not even December for cripes sake...lot of season left.

This is a terrible live blog and I'm 100% sure it's because I'm stone sober. I know, I can't believe it either.

I might be on my own here but I do like Michigan's helmets with the yellow on it.

Ooo and now a Wendy's add I've spotted on the boards. Did I ever tell you the time I went to Wendy's twice within 45 minutes spending about $15 total? Great day right there.

Mike Hoeffel, WTF have you been all year...he hasn't done shit yet has he? Bring back Bonin.

Best part of the night...guess the band game...I name the band...Optimator's wife doesn't hear it, throws out some band name which is wrong...with Optimators turning to her and saying, "you're embarrassing me."

And with that, we're off to play cards...good night and good luck!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gophers v. EWU

Sitting here, hoping Mrs. W stops talking about baby clothes some time soon, and about to watch the mighty Gophers as I drink down a drink or two.

- Drink of choice tonight is a Vodka/Cranberry. I don't know why, I think I've maybe had one of these before in my life. I guess with tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I'm in a cranberry mood. Which is extra weird because I don't like cranberries, fresh or canned. The drink is pretty good though, and not at all girly or gay if mixed properly, where mixed properly = at least 50% vodka. I think I'm running at about 71% right now.

- Awesome how we're missing the game here in order to watch the end of a women's game, and a women's game that is a complete blowout with Mich State leading ODU 70-46. There are about 3 minutes left. I suppose it being a blow out is good, so then we don't have to wait through the fouling and free throws at the end. They better not start the Gopher game til this band of strumpets finishes up.

- We missed about 20 seconds, and according to announcer guy an Abu Shamala drive for a score as the Gophers lead 2-0. It really sucks we missed it, because Shamala scores on a drive about once a year.

- DJ with a three point play, followed up by the kid from the sandlot scoring against him. Bad defense.

- Iverson takes it right at a short bald guy who is trying to D him up, and shows more moves right there than Kevin Loge did in his career. Excellent footwork by Iverson, helped out by the four inch advantage he has on EWU's "center."

- I had heard Westbrook may be out with a shin injury tonight, and that is indeed the case unless the Gophers "need him." Although if the Gophers "need him" against EWU, they "need" a lot "more" than "just" Westbrook and it's going to "be" a long "season."

- Abu Shamala is reading the starting lineup in a bit that hope becomes a regular occurrence on Big Ten Network. He reads well for a muslim.

- I think Busta Rhymes just checked in for EWU. Also, I'm dismayed to mention that it's 9-9 right now. 11-9 now. Iverson looking very aggressive against the overmatched Eagles with 6 points already, and this is a very, very good development. Also a good development: salma Hayek's chest:

- Devoe from deep, deep three. Dude is so much the man. He might be my new boyfriend.

- Bostick hits a three, which is awesome and also at the same time makes me sad because the fact that Bostick hit a three against Eastern Washington is something I thought would be routine, not cause for a flippin' parade. It's 24-11 now, so we should see plenty of Bostick the rest of the game.

- Bostick hits another three, and he's just going to go ahead and "leave it up there" Sidney Deane style. I thought he was supposed to be some kind of slasher.

- Count how many times Travis Busch gets the ball at the three point line or closer to the hoop and actually passes the ball. Honest to god, I think he's worse than Kris Humphries when it comes to shot to touch ratio.

- Shamala just drove past a guy. Right past him. What does that tell you?

- Announcer guy just referenced 2 Hard 2 Guard and how he would probably be the leading scorer for the Eagles if he was here. Of course, he used his "white world" name that "the man" would recognize and didn't call him 2H2G. Racist bastard.

- Halftime: 47-29 and it's basically a call your score kind of night. The guard play actually hasn't swung as much in the Gophers' favor as I thought, but it hasn't had to as the big guys, and specifically Colt Iverson, have completed dominated EWU who I don't think has anybody over 6-5. Colt has recgonized this and used it to his advantage in a big way, scoring 14 here in the first half. I really like this kid. In other news, the Eagles are bad enough that we will get a long look at Bostick in the second half. So far he's been ok, knocking down a couple of jumpers and a breakaway dunk, but hasn't particularly impressed just yet. He's looked unsure of himself at times, and I think he looks at the ball when he dribbles, but he's definitely looking better than he has in the other games.

- Taking a break to watch Top Chef. Tivo is running. Drinking will continue.

- Nolen having more trouble than I anticipated guarding Valentine on the outside, but now that I've seen him in person that little midget is crazy quick. It doesn't matter much, as he just drives past the guy guarding him but seemingly has never heard of a pull up jumper so he keeps going into big guy land and has to throw up some dumb swoopy-woopy crap.

- The defense is really giving up too many open shots early in the second half, but the offense is getting nothing but easy shots on their end so the lead remains 16, but this poor defensive effort is troubling.

- Rico Tucker is back, by the way, as I'm sure you were all worried. He's played in their last three games, but the knee must still be bothering him quite a bit as he's only played 12-15 minutes per game. Hopefully he gets better so we can all be witness to the glory once again.

- Busch with a catch on the block and a shot. He never, ever passes. You watch.

- Busch with a catch in the paint and a shot. He never, ever passes. Start noticing.

- Ooh boy, Paul Carter looks to be in a considerable amount of pain, and is rolling around on the floor. This is not a good development.

- I think Trent Tucker has a crush on Benny Valentine, and why not? Seemingly nobody can guard him.

- I'm calling an end to this as I have no real energy left to keep doing it. For the rest of the game I'm expecting more points from Valentine, no passes from Busch, and a 20 point gopher win.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stuckey's Not Here, Man

It was just a couple of short years ago Eastern Washington had Rodney Stuckey there, scoring crazy mad phat points covering spreads like he bet on the games himself. Not anymore. Now they just plain suck at basketball. They finished last year at 11-19, and lost their best player, but are 3-1 this season. None of those wins are in the least bit meaningful, and their loss was a 15 pointer at Illinois. There's really not a whole lot to worry about here, but if I stopped writing now this would be too short, so let's just move on.

They do have a couple of less than terrible players, starting with point guard Benny Valentine, a 5-7 lightning bug in his first year at EWU after transferring from Texas Tech where he averaged 3.5 points and 1.2 assists per game as a freshman. He's more of a scorer than a distributor, though he does lead the Eagles in minutes, points, assists, shots attempted and made, and turnovers. He dropped 28 on UT-Arlington (insert dismissive wanking motion) but is a bit of a chucker, as he really likes to throw the ball at the basket despite making just 40% from the floor and 25% from three, and shot just 4-15 against Illinois. All these facts lead me to believe that Al Nolen is going to eat him for lunch.

The other major factor, well, relatively major, on the team is 6-9 F/C Brandon Moore, the team's second leading scorer and leading rebounder. He has improved after last season, and has scored in double figures in three of the team's four games, with double figure rebounds in two. He's got some size to him, so it will be interesting to see how Sampson and Iverson handle him. My guess? Easily.

There isn't much else here. Senior guard and commie bastard Milan Stanojevic is the team's third leading scorer at 9.3ppg and shoots 41% from three point land, but if he's like most foreigners his defense is Shamala-like. Two other starting guards are back from last year in Trey Gross and Gary Gibson, but Gross averages more turnovers than assists per game and Gibson shoots under 39% from the floor. There's really nothing notable up front.

The biggest shame of this whole thing is that EWU's returning leading scorer from last season, guard Adris DeLeon (no relation to DeLeon Eskridge) is suspended indefinitely due to academics. DeLeon was discovered by Eagle's coach Kirk Earlywine (bet that's not his real name) on the streets of NYC. As in playing streetball. As in he's a streetballer from New York with the handle 2 Hard 2 Guard. And apparently he is, at least against Northern Colorado who he dropped 42 points on last season. It is truly a shame we won't get to see the next 'Skip to my Lou' in action, especially since he really put up some gems last season including a game where he shot 2-16 and another game where he turned it over 9 times. I'm sad and shocked that this kind of player would be in academic trouble.

Overall, this isn't going to be a good game for the Eagles. Their strength is in the backcourt, which unfortunately for them mirrors the Gophers strength. Also their strength actually sucks, and they have more turnovers as a team than assists this year - while the Gophers excel at turning teams over. With a weak EWU frontcourt as well, expect to see a stomach-turning amount of Travis Busch, and a 20-point victory.

If you still want your 2 Hard 2 Guard fix, here's a highlight video of him versus someone called "Homicide", a classy handle if there ever was one. 2 Hard is #10 in white:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Game Notes

From time to time, I like to give some observations from various games I watch in the evenings. Half to inform, half as my own personal note pad. Feel free to enjoy. Or to ignore. I really don't care.

- Eric Devendorf still looks pretty lost out there. Maybe he was just never that good.

- Florida is really struggling against the stronger front court of Syracuse. With Onuaku and Paul Harris they have some serious muscle in the paint. The Gators are getting pushed around like little girls, and it looks like this has the potential to an issue all season, as with Speights gone they don't really have anyone with any beef. Keep this in mind for any future betting endeavors.

- Greg Camarillo out for the year??!?!?!! Oh noes!!!!!!1

- Jon Diebler looks like a whole new player for the Buckeyes. If you recall, last season he couldn't seem to hit anything from the outside and looked a little timid at times. This year he has much more confidence in his jumper, and it's translating into more confidence in all areas of his game.

- Ohio State having all kinds of trouble with Bowling Green, who has all their players back but from suspension, but, I mean, it's still Bowling Green.

- Why do shows insist on having laugh tracks? I'm now watching The Big Bang Theory with Mrs. W, and it's a pretty decent show with plenty of nerd jokes, but the laugh track is completely disturbing. The level of laughs seems to have a completely random correlation to the humorousness of the jokes, and there is some clearly insane lady (or it could be the joker) whose laugh dominates the track, and it's breaking my ear drums and brain.

- I was going to stay up and watch Alabama/Oregon but then I remembered that both of those teams suck and I'm tired and crabby so nevermind.

Weekend Review

Once again, in my highly educated opinion, the Gopher hoops team didn't do enough to get into the Who was Awesome bucket, but also certainly didn't suck, so they won't be making an appearance in this Weekend Review. For all my thoughts on the win at Colorado State, see the post below this one.


1. Michigan Hoops. The Big Ten basketball pecking order was pretty well set, with Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State in one tier, and everyone else in the other. Who would step up and take that fifth spot, and likely put themselves in the bubble conversation come season’s end? I had hoped it would be the Gophers, but after this week Michigan took a big step in the right direction with their 55-52 upset win over UCLA in the Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals. They ended up losing by 15 to Duke in the final, but that win will loom large if they end up on the bubble in March, not to mention it may serve as notice that the Wolverines are back to being a legitimate team.

2. Utah Football. I had mentioned BYU in this space before as a team that had a chance to come from outside the Big Six conferences to grab a BCS bowl bid, but they’re old news now, with Utah smoking them 48-24 to finish the season 12-0, winning the Mountain West and giving them a spot in one of the BCS bowls. Utah is no joke, as they have the most wins against Big Six teams for a team outside those conferences since the BCS began with 16, and are 10-3 against those teams since 2004, with wins over Michigan and possible Pac-10 champ Oregon State this season. They are going to give some BCS team a hell of a game this bowl season.

3. Michael Turner. The Burner rushed for 4 Touchdowns and 117 yards, kicking division leading Carolina right in their stupid faces and bring Atlanta to 7-4, just one game back. I've spent a lot of time writing about the Falcons here, and rightly so as it's a hell of a story. They are likely a playoff team and a dark horse super bowl contender, all with a rookie quarterback and a pretty much revamped offense. I'm sure Bogart's guy Mike Vick is having a great time in prison though, so that's good. His team will probably win the prison bowl, so that's a ring right there.

4. Xavier. The Musketeers won the Puerto Rico Tip Off Challenge after beating Missouri, Virginia Tech, and #13 Memphis in the final. An impressive run, particularly for a team I thought had lost too much from the excellent teams of the last few years to be anything other than an Atlantic 10 contender. Just like the last few years, they are doing it with a balanced attack; they have three guys averaging double figure scoring, and six who are at 7.8 ppg or better. The big key to this team is freshman point guard Terrell Holloway, who has stepped in for Drew Lavender and is keeping the team going. He doesn't put up great numbers and isn't particularly flashy, but he runs the offense well and keeps the game in his control in the final minutes, and his 96% free throw shooting helps immensely down the stretch. Two things about Memphis: it is impossible to keep Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggert off the boards, and free throws are still going to be a problem. Oh, and Tyreke Evans is really good, and perfect for that system.

5. Down with Goldy. I know what you're thinking, "DWG is always awesome, you don't need to put it in this list to tell us that, we all know." And it's true, DWG is always awesome, but we recently received some nice praise that I want to tell you about. A site called Learning XL, which gives tips, tools, and resources for lifelong learners, has included us in the Top 100 College Sports Blogs. We here at DWG are flattered, humbled, and bewildered by our inclusion. A big thanks to LearningXL and their parent,


1. Gopher Football. Embarrassing. Anyone who calls this season a success should be stabbed in the face.

2. Pac 10 Hoops. Remember last year, when the Pac was arguably the best conference in the country? Yeah, that’s not happening this year. UCLA lost to Michigan. USC lost to Seton Hall and Missouri. Washington lost to Portland. Arizona lost to UAB. Oregon lost to Oakland. Oregon State lost to Howard. Essentially, the Pac 10 has lost every significant test they’ve had this season, other than UCLA’s win over Southern Illinois. There were arguments last season that the conference could have had 8 teams in the tournament; this year it looks like four would be lucky.

3. SEC Hoops. Not quite an embarrassment to the level of the Pac 10 this year, but SEC teams aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire right now either. Kentucky has that big loss to VMI and was embarrassed pretty good by North Carolina. Georgia lost to a horrible Loyola of Chicago team, Vandy lost to Illinois, Alabama and Auburn both lost at home to Mercer, Arkansas lost to Missouri State, and Ole Miss lost their only test against Utah. They aren’t quite down to the level of the Pac 10, and Tennessee and Florida should both be fine, but the conference has not impressed thus far.

4. Philadelphia Eagles. Stick a fork in the Eagles and Donovan McNabb, they suck - as I predicted. In what may have been the ugliest game by a team this year other than the Gophers, the Eagles got rolled by Baltimore 36-7, after turning the ball over five times including a 108 yard interception return for a TD by Ed Reed. McNabb was benched after putting up a 13.4 rating for the game, replaced by Kevin Kolb who was much better with a 15.3. Even worse, the 7 points they managed to score didn't even come from the offense, and was on a kick return by Quinton Demps, who I'm going to assume is the brother of Will. According to an article on yahoo what that I can't find the link to now, McNabb is likely on his way out of Philly. Welcome to Minnesota, Donovan. The good news here is that Baltimore was my defense in one of my fantasy leagues yesterday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gophers 72, Colorado State 71

Luckily, thanks to DirectTV's Regional Sports package, I get the Mountain Sports Network, the only place to watch last nights Gopher victory over the CSU Rams. Actually, the lucky ones are those who weren't able to watch the game, because it was ugly.

I anticipated the game being a struggle. Since the schedule came out, I'd had this game pegged as a loss, and it easily could have been. It came down to a missed three by CSU's Andre McFarland as time expired - a wide open three pointer from the corner, I might add. But you know what? To go on the road against a non horrible team with some pretty good players and a good coach and come out with win is a great step for this team, no matter how ugly it was. I am very pleased with the outcome of last night's game, however many ugly spots there may have been.

The good:

1. Pressure defense. The Gophers press and overall pressure was excellent, and the Rams seemingly had no idea how to deal with it, turning the ball over 20 times, including six by last year's leading scorer Marcus Walker, who was held to just seven points on 2-11 shooting, mainly due to the Minnesota defense. Another factor was he was hit by a car the night before the game, as the MTN Network announcers made sure to mention every five seconds. Tubby pulled the press off with about four mintues to go or so, which baffles me.

2. Blake Hoffarber. Not just for his outside shooting (5-8 on threes), but for his aggressiveness as well. It didn't work out all the time, but Blake was once again putting the ball on the floor and trying to get to the rim. He is developing into a very good offensive player, particulary when he gets involved inside and out. Slight negative here is that he was at 20 points with about sixteen minutes left in the game, and finished with the same 20 points.

3. Al Nolen. Particularly when he drove the ball. He, like pretty much the entire team, has a tendency to settle for the long three pointer at times rather than trying to get to the rim, but last night when he got inside he was unstoppable.

4. Devoe Joseph. Once again he played limited minutes for some reason, only getting in for a total of 9 but putting up five points, two rebounds and an assist while not missing a shot in that time. I can't figure out why he's not getting more time, as I haven't seen anything that makes me think he needs to develop further or why he shouldn't be a first wave off the bench kind of guy. The only excuse I can come up with is that the Gophers are already deep on the perimeter, and they are, but that doesn't explain the ten minutes Kevin Payton got last night.

5. Offensive rebounding. They managed to grab 17 offensive rebounds, which really kept them in the game on a mediocre shooting night.

The bad:

1. Stagnant offense. The offensive philosophy seemed to come in waves, for a while they were happy to just shoot the ball from three with littel ball movement, then they would work in inside through the pass or the dribble, and then fall back in love with chucking it up. The offense was much more effective when they utilized the inside game, but they didn't do it enough. I'm not entirely certain Damian Johnson needs to be putting up 3 three-point attempts, although it was good to have him back in all other ways.

2. Free Throws. They didn't get to the line much (only 13 attempts) which is not surprising when you consider the entire team turned into Rick Rickert for a large chunk of the game, and even worse they only made 7, with Al Nolen going 2-5. The team is going to have to greatly improve their foul shot shooting to have much more success this year.

3. New guys minutes. This is very much not what I expected for the season, as other than Paul Carter's 22 minutes, none of the other new guys played much. Sampson got 10 minutes (he was banged up, however), Iverson 11, Joseph 9, and Bostick just 1. I'm hoping Tubby is just trying to ease them in to college basketball, but the 1 minute for Bostick is very alarming. It screams to me that Tubby has decided he isn't counting on him making much of an impact this year, and that sucks, considering it seemed likely when he was signed he would end up being the team's top scoring option.

4. Travis Busch. He clearly has a place on this team, and although I expect his minutes to switch to Iverson and Sampson as the season goes on I'm sure he will always get his handful of playing time. The problem as I see it is he doesn't know his role. There is no reason he should have taken six shots last night, as his role on offense should be garbage baskets and offensive rebounds. There is no reason for him to shoot a three-pointer, ever. There is not reason for him to come off a screen 17 feet from the hoop and catch-and-shoot. It's not what he needs to be doing, and hopefully Tubby can reign him in. There's gotta be some game film of Zack Puchtel out there he can watch, right?

All in all, I'm very happy with the result, and I think the Rams were the perfect team for the Gophers to face as their first road test; bad enough to be beatable, good enough to actually test them. They certainly didn't play perfectly, and some flaws were very much in evidence, but they got the win, and at this point, that's the most important thing. The rest will come.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Do you think Iowans call

Do you think Iowans call minneapolis "the city?" Downtown is lousy with them right now.

Gopher Hockey

Last weekend the Gophers opened the series with a tie for the fourth consecutive time. I really thought they would break the streak of mediocrity but I was wrong. The game really had my attention though. I was almost paying as much attention to the hockey game as usually do when playing drinking cards. Who's turn is it anyways? They started off strong with two quick, unanswered goals in the first period. My prediction was looking good. However, the Huskies managed to bore the Gophers into giving up two lazy goals in the third period and managed to hold on for the tie. The second game of the series started out much the same as the previous game. The Gophers went up 2-0 by the end of the first. The difference this time was they managed to stave off any defensive lapses that would result in a goal. The Gopher goal tending was again dominant as Alex Kangas posted his first shutout of the year by stopping 38 shots.

This weekend the Gophers head to Denver to play a very good Pioneers team. They have been tough to beat at home with only one loss and one tie while hosting at Magnus Arena. I expect much of the same from the Gophers this weekend. Why not go for 5 opening series game ties? They managed to make it #1 in the nation this week with this approach so why stop now. This isn't something to brag about though. The big keys for the weekend are point production from Ryan Stoa and super frosh Jordan Schroeder as well as capitalizing on the power play. The new rules have allowed officials to call the slightest infractions and it is tough to watch. Every little thing results in penalty. The only bonus to this is that there are more penalties and the Gophers have been fairly successful on the power play so far. The trouble is that almost half off their total goals come by the power play. Let's just hope for lots of stupid penalties by Denver.

I predict they will tie tonight and then lose tomorrow. I know, I'm all debby downer on this one today for some reason. I hope I'm wrong. I'm pretty sure I will be. On a side note I unfortunately won't catch more than a few minutes of the game as I'll be tits up on tippy cup and balls deep in beer pong. You might ask if I'm going to a college kegger. I'm not. I'm going to a 30th birthday party for some sad sap and we are all in denial about the fact that we finished college several years ago.

PS. I realize that I should provide a disclaimer at the beginning of my posts indicating how ridiculously boring these are. My bad. I miss the days of Snakes posts about Stu Bickel's crank. I know how The Todd just can't get enough of Stu Bickel's crank. Maybe I'll come up with something more entertaining next time. In the meantime I'll just use some filler. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sad Day

It is with a heavy heart that I comment on the upcoming retirement of Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina. One of my absolute favorite pitchers, and players, of all-time.

As a kid, one of my first little league teams was named the Orioles, and so I latched on to them as my team of choice behind the Twins and kept them there until Mussina left for the Yankees. It absolutely broke my heart that my hero would take the money and sign with the evil empire. As I got older, I was able to look at that decision with a more level head, and realized that it made sense for him. He was from Pennsylvania, and was always a homebody and a hometown boy, living in the same town he grew up in and even coaching his old high school's basketball team. New York was a drive away, rather than a flight from Baltimore, and given that he grew up a Yankee fan as well, I was able to forgive the decision, and went back to being a big fan.

It started one afternoon in 1991, when I was home and watching the Saturday game of the week, which pitted my beloved Orioles against the not-hated yet Chicago White Sox, who featured another favorite of mine, Tim Raines, getting on to the tail end of his career. The pitching matchup would be another favorite, knuckleballer Charlie Hough vs. a rookie pitcher for the Orioles named Mike Mussina. I tuned in to watch Hough's knuckler baffle hitters, always a fun thing to watch. It did, as Hough turned in a masterful performance, going the distance and giving up just five hits and 0 runs. But what I walked away from that game with was an absolute love of Mike Mussina and a kid's confidence that he was going to be one of the greats of all-time. In his very first career start, he went 7 and 2/3 and gave up just 4 hits and 1 run on a homerun to Frank Thomas. He was amazing, not overpowering anybody (just one strikeout) but I remember being enthralled by his use of five pitches (including a sweet knuckle curve) and his ability to change speeds and hit locations, resulting in a whole lot of weak swings by the fooled Sox.

Sometime in the next few days, my family went to a baseball card show when those were still around, and I snatched up every Mussina rookie card I could find, getting most for under a quarter. I was convinced I was going to be filthy rich in the future. Of course, baseball card values have tanked faster than, and he didn't quite turn into an all-time great, but still one hell of a pitcher.

This past season he won 20 games for the first time, and will become the first pitcher since Sandy Koufax to retire the season after winning 20. But don't let the just one 20 win season fool you, he was a victim of circumstance on many occasions. In 1994, he had 16 wins in 24 starts when the strike happened. Give him approximately 12 more starts, and it is very likely he would have won four of them. The following year, he finished with 19 wins, closing out the season with three straight complete games, two of them shutouts. In 1996, he again finished with 19 wins, after the bullpen blew leads in his final two starts. In addition, he won 18 games twice and 17 twice, and finishes out his career with 270 wins.

Hall of famer? Probably not. He was never considered the best pitcher in the league at any point in his career and never won a ring, despite being a pretty good postseason pitcher. If he had hung on and gotten to the 300 win mark, he would be a virtual lock, but it is not meant to be. Consider his consistency: At least 11 wins in all 17 full seasons of his career, and 9 top-six finishes in Cy Young voting. Perhaps most telling is the results of Bill James' four hall-of-fame tests. I won't go into a whole thing, but they are defined here. In three of the four tests, Mussina tests out as a likely Hall of Famer.

If he gets in, I am guessing it will be many, many years down the road, perhaps when the 300 win mark has become a complete thing of the past rather than merely a rarity. When the peaks of the careers of guys like Pedro and Randy Johnson aren't as fresh, and a more objective look at Mussina's career consistency can be had. He finishes up with 270 wins and an ERA of 3.68. There have been 23 eligible pitchers with 265 wins and an ERA under 3.69, and 20 of them are in the hall of fame. He ranks 33rd in career wins and 19th in career strikeouts. Expect a lengthy, entertaining, and probably ill-informed debate in five years.

If I had a vote, I'd put him in. Enjoy retirement and your precious crossword puzzles. Don't expect to see him doing much in the way of TV or professional coaching. If you want to read an excellent book chronicling his 2007 season (along with Tom Glavine's) with plenty of candid discussions from the pitchers, check out Living on the Black by John Feinstein, an excellent book and great look at two great pitchers at the end of their careers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Hoops Stuff

Just a few random observations from the handful of games I've been able to watch this season.

- It was kind of funny watching Indiana squeak out a 60-57 win against IUPUI and celebrate like they had just won an NCAA tournament game. I suppose it makes sense since they have pretty much nobody on that team who has ever played college basketball, and they don't really realize they are Indiana and should be destroying IUPUI. Well, at least in most years.

- Speaking of the Hoosiers, I think Verdell Jones is going to get beat out by Errek Suhr. Ok, not really Errek Suhr, but your basic Suhr-clone. Short, white, mediocre, full of spastic energy and little skill, but effective none-the-less in Daniel Moore. And he's even got a facemask because of a broken nose. Throw in that he's a hometown Indiana guy, and you know he's going to be the most beloved son of the Hoosier state, and rival Brian Cardinal levels of annoyance to everyone else in the Big Ten.

- Georgia is really, truly, brutally, awfully, bad. Like, record levels of bad for a BCS hoops team.

- Oh, I got so caught up in the Daniel Moore lovefest I forgot to mention that Verdell kind of looked like he didn't belong out there tonight. His numbers weren't god awful (18 min, 1-5 shooting for 2 pts, 3 assists and 1 TO) and he did have 18 points and 5 assists against Northwestern State in their opener - but still turned it over 3 times, shot 4-11, and scored 10 of his 18 from the line - so who knows what to make of him at this point.

- Remember when I mentioned Josh Akognon in this post? Well he scored 41 points against Hawaii. The bad news is that despite being one of the best shooters in the country, right now he's just 8-24 from three and 17-44 from the field, so he's definitely struggling (the 41 points were more a product of volume, not effectiveness - true Michael Jordan style). I haven't been able to watch him this year, so I don't know if it's defenses really clamping down or just bad shooting. Be sure to stay tuned, as I'm sure you're riveted.

- Every player on the Badgers is gay.

- Tubby one-time Targets Krys Faber and Josh Crittle are playing a little for their new teams. Faber played five minutes in DePaul's only game this year, missing both field goals attempts and two free throws. Crittle has been more meaningful for the Ducks, averaging 17 minutes, 4 points and 6 rebounds in their 2 games, including a loss against Oakland. Yes, a loss against Oakland.

- Eric Devendorf absolutely looks like a player who missed all of last season right now. He should be fine though, and so should that team. Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris are so fun to watch, and their bigman, Arinze Onuaku is a beast.

- Ty Lawson still can't shoot for crap, but he doesn't have to. That team is absolutely loaded, and Deon Thompson has stepped in for injured mouth breather and worst nickname ever owner Tyler Hansbrough without missing a beat. They should probably be 1-1 to win the championship.

- An interesting little subplot with Davidson's season was that with last year's national assist leader Jason Richards gone, Stephen Curry would handle most of the point guard play in order to not only help the team, but to boost his NBA stock as well. It worked out well enough in the first two games, as Curry notched 10 and 9 assists against a couple of very bad teams. Last night against #12 Oklahoma, in Davidson's first real test, things reverted in a big way, and Curry went back to the off guard and the bomber role for most of the game. He brought the ball up most of the time like a point guard would, but then passed it off to Brendon McKillop to initiate the offense most of the time. Curry ended up scoring a career high 44 points, but it took 12-29 shooting to do so, and the Wildcats couldn't quite get it done falling to the Sooners 82-78. Also Blake Griffin is much better than I thought.

- With the Gophers signing class for 2009 in the fold, a couple of one-time targets have joined other schools with Kadeem Batts going to Providence and Terrence Shannon to Florida State. Johnny Lacy, Erik Bledsoe, and Darius Smith still have yet to sign.

- Sadly, I think I might have passed Saved by the Bell by. I have always loved the show, but I watched a few episodes again the other day and it was kind of painful. Kind of what everyone else thinks, while I always defended the show and enjoyed watching it. I might be too old now. Sad day. At least I'll always have my autographed photo of Zack and Kelly that Mrs. W stole from her brother (Dr Acula) to give to me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Review ( + Gopher talk)

Since the Gopher hoops squad definitely didn’t suck this weekend, but didn’t impress me enough to put in the “Awesome” pile, I’m going to use the intro here as my opportunity to run down their play over the weekend.

The first two games, wins over Concordia and Bowling Green, were kind of disappointments. These were not good teams, and the Gophers didn’t look overly impressive. Sure they beat Concordia by 25, but it felt like it probably should have been more, and it definitely should have been more against Bowling Green, a terrible team missing three of it’s top players and whose basic offensive strategy seemed to be to give the ball to Darryl Clements and let him chuck, even though he shot just 37% last season. They finally picked it up in game 3 vs. Georgia State, and even though the final margin was only 60-52, the Panthers were also the best team by far in this thing other than the Gophers and I thought they looked best in this game out of the three..

As far as individual players go, Al Nolen and Lawrence Westbrook have looked absolutely amazing – like all big 10 type players so far. No, they won’t both be on the All-Big 10 team, but they’ve looked that good and both seem to have their confidence at an incredibly high level. Shamala is another one whose confidence seems very high, but confidence doesn’t mean he magically learned how to play defense. Neither did Hoffarber, and his shot has been way off so far this year. In the exhibition games he looked like he might have added the dribble drive to his game, but it seemed to disappear this weekend.

For the new guys, Devoe Joseph absolutely looks like a player despite inexplicably playing just 9 minutes against Bowling Green. Tubby seems to be using him at the point a lot, which is ok, but I hope they find ways to let him play the 2. He can shoot and he can drive, and he's going to be a lot of fun to watch the next four years. Iverson also impressed me. He's raw still on offense, but is an excellent defender already (9 blocks against BGSU) and is physical. He'll have to play a big role right away and looks ready. After being very luke warm on Ralph Sampson early he's winning me over. He displayed some very nice offensive moves against Georgia State on Sunday, and is rounding into shape nicely. Paul Carter is still struggling with his shot, but shows some very good athleticism. I've projecting a Tavarus Bennett type: excellent defense at the top of the zone and point of the press, with an offensive game that kind of comes and goes. As for Bostick, I really don't know what to think. He seems to be getting a bit more comfortable, but still hasn't shown what I was hoping to see. I'm not ready to completely drop my expectations just yet. I'm counting on Tubby to work some magic here.

Overall, it was a very successful weekend with the team going 3-0 to win the tournament, if you want to call a round-robin a tournament. This was about the right level of competition they needed to get tested, but also to work on some things and figure out who fits where. I know I was in the minority when the schedule initially came out, but I'm still very wary of the upcoming road game at Colorado State. The Rams aren't expected to be anything special, but they did beat a Montana team that is supposed to contend for the Big Sky crown by 30 on Saturday. They have a big (6-8, 240) transfer from Ole Miss in Andy Ogide who really made his presence known with 20 points and 14 rebounds. It will be very interesting to see how Iverson and Sampson handle him. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish Jon Williams was available.

And Travis Busch really needs to settle the F down. On to the usual waste of time...


1. Florida Football. I keep mentioning them, but they just keep stomping people to death. This week they won 56-6 over the 24th ranked team in the country in South Carolina. That’s the impressive thing about the Gators right now, they aren’t just beating up on the bottom feeders of the conference, they’re beating nationally ranked teams and beating them badly, as shown by their 51-21 win over then #4 LSU and 49-10 win over then #8 Georgia. They can kill you on the ground or through the air, and if I had to pick a team to be ranked #1 right now, I’d go with Florida. And now they play The Citadel next week. They may hang 100 on them. By halftime. And speaking of the Gators……..

2. Dan Werner. I hadn’t heard of him either, so don’t worry, but look out for this guy. He’s a 6-8 junior forward for Florida, and after getting a chance to watch him play a couple of times this weekend I’m impressed. He was actually a decent contributor last season, playing almost 30 minutes a game and averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds per game. With Florida kind of falling off the radar last season, and most of the press going towards Calathes, Speights, and Jai Lucas you never really heard about him. Even this year, Calathes “gambling”, Lucas transferring, and high profile freshmen took all the focus away from Werner. The Gators played halfway decent teams this weekend and beat both Toledo and Bradley handily with Werner leading the team in scoring in both games with 17 against Bradley and 19 against Toledo. He can score inside with his back to the basket and has a good touch from the perimeter. Remember this guy.

3. UNLV Basketball. There was really only one truly meaningful game this weekend in college hoops and that was UNLV welcoming San Diego to Vegas in a matchup of first round NCAA tournament winners from last season. The Rebels came out on top, 65-60 behind Wink Adams’ 19 points. I’m not entirely certain what to make out of UNLV, but since Lon Kruger got there the program has taken major strides. This season, the Rebels are set up to do some damage, losing just one player from the team that knocked off Kent State in the first round last year, and adding a couple of impact newcomers including transfer from Memphis Tre'Von Willis. The should win the Mountain West, and should end up in decent shape for an at-large if they fall in the conference tournament. This was a good start.

4. Kurt Warner. Won’t someone please stop Kurt Warner and the Cardinals? My lord, they’re throwing it around like the 98 Vikings right now, with Anquan Boldin playing the role of Randy Moss. Yesterday, Warner threw for 395 yards and was at 250 before halftime. Since the team’s bye in week 7, he’s thrown for 381, 343, 328, and now 395 with Boldin getting 186 of that in Sundays game, a win over Seattle. It’s phenomenal, just when I thought Warner’s run was over and done with, he makes a new deal with the devil is having an incredible season. And he looks great, too, especially for 37. I guess when you’re boring and god loving and don’t do drugs and drink and all that you don’t age quite as hard. What a loser.

5. Jimmy Baron. Rhode Island’s guard who had one of the most incredible shooting performances I’ve been privileged to witness in the Rams 82-79 loss at Duke . He scored 24 points on 8-15 shooting, including 8-10 from three. And the Dukies weren’t leaving him open, not by any means. He hit two fadeaway threes with a dude in his face, one shot fake and then duck under the defender type shot, and one from about 30 feet, Jake Sullivan style. Baron is relatively unknown, but he is consider one of the best shooters in the NCAAs, hitting over 40% of his three point attempts the last two seasons, including 48% two years ago. The Rams aren't expected to be much of a factor in a very good Atlantic 10 this season especially losing a couple of very good player off last year's squad, but this game showed they can be deadly on the right night.


1. Kentucky Basketball. There are a lot of Gopher fans out there who enjoy seeing bad things happen to the Wildcats, I think because of the treatment of our new golden god Tubby Smith by the fans of that program. Although I can see their point, I am not one of those fans. Even so, it’s hard not to get a little bit interested when an all-time top program and NCAA contender loses to a team picked to finish at the bottom of the Big South, especially by a score of 111-103. The amount of points isn’t all that surprising, since VMI led the nation in scoring last season and was #2 in tempo, following up on the prior year when they were #1 . They are known for scoring points and creating turnovers, which they did against Kentucky. After losing all three main ball handlers from last year’s team, the Wildcats couldn’t handle the hectic style and turned it over 25 times, and lost despite shooting 54%. I’m guessing UK will get it figured out and end up being in the conversation for an NCAA bid, but with their next game at North Carolina, the Cats are staring 0-2 right in the face, as well as a whole bushel of pissed off fans.

2. Gopher football. Not so much for the loss, I mean a three point loss in Madison would have made me happy if you told me about it before the season, but for the complete collapse, mirroring the season to this point. A 21-7 lead at halftime, and then just absolutely getting their doors blown off in the second half. The entire Gopher offense in the second half consisted of penalties, turnovers, and getting sacked, ruining what had been a very impressive game for the team in the first half. I was actually all ready to write up WR Brandon Green as being awesome after he caught a TD in the first half and another deep ball as well that almost went for another score. He really stepped up without Decker in the lineup this week, too bad the team didn’t bother to play the last two quarters. This should have been the last game of the year, it would have put the crappy capper on what has turned out to be a crappy, disappointing season (yes, you are allowed and should change expectations as the season goes on.)

3. Western Michigan basketball. The Broncos were expected to contend for the MAC title this season, but after their performance in the Charleston Classic this weekend I suppose we can go ahead and scratch that. Out of the 8 teams, WMU finished dead last losing all three of their games to such powerhouses as Texas Christian (sans Brandon Smith), Hofstra, and SIU-Edwardsville. Yes, that’s Southern Illinois – Edwardsville. SIU has two D-I teams now, although it’s just the first season for SIU-E, which usually means they are very sucky at sports, but they managed to knock off the Broncos anyway. MAC player of the year contender David Kool played well, going for 22, 24, and 27, but the rest of the team is total garbage.

4. Brad Childress. Not so much for a loss, as a road loss against a good Tampa team isn't anything to be too upset about, but for the completely unforgivable sin of not getting the ball to Adrian Peterson in the second half. According to the radio, and I'm too lazy to go through the play-by-play and count, Peterson only touched the ball four times in the second half. Four! He's not just the best player on the team, he's the best player by several orders of magnitude, and you can only get him the ball four times? Remember last week when he gained something like 65 or the team's 69 yards on the final game-winning drive? Where was that? Down 3 with the ball and 3 minutes left, they run four passes, none to AP, and turn it over on downs. Then down 6 minutes left, they managed to run two plays before Chuck Taylor fumbles. Taylor! A good player no doubt, but a backup to Peterson for a reason. He proved he can catch and run last week, if not long before, so get him in there and get him the ball. I'm not usually one to rip on coaches, realizing even those that seem kind of dumb (Childress, Tice, Art Shell, etc.) know more about football than I can even come close too, but some things are obvious.

5. South Carolina football. Just watch at about the 30 second mark. Hilarious.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Gopher Puck

Fear not, Gopher Hockey fans! My good friend Optimator has heard the desperate call for Gopher hockey related posts, and has answered the call like Roland Deschain! His first ever guest post is below, and I'm pretty sure it sets a DWG record for least grammatical and/or spelling errors, and certainly it does for hockey posts. Without further ado....

can’t wait to sit down tonight with a cold beer and watch some Gopher hockey. What’s this? Why was I not notified of this? Apparently the usual Friday and Saturday night college hockey bout is off for this weekend. The Gophers will be hosting, the other husky women of the WCHA, the Michigan Tech Huskies on Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM. I can’t seem to find any information as to why the time change is in play. Anyone? Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?... In all seriousness though, what is going to get my blood pressure going on Friday night and encourage copious amounts of drinking if not for the Gophers regularly scheduled Friday night tie. Nothing. Reading the previous post would probably do the trick though…moving on.

The usually slow starting Gophers appear to be off to a very strong start this year. This quick start is largely contributed to the outstanding goal tending of Sophomore Alex Kangas. This bodes very well for the Gophers if he bucks the usual trend as of late and sticks around for two more years. I’m not holding my breath. Couple this with good scoring production from the junior class and stud freshman Jordan Schroeder and things start to look like the dominant Gopher teams of the past.

This weekend’s test against the Huskies is hardly a test. I expect the drunken play of the Huskies to give away the game. I imagine it will look something like this to Husky fans:

Michigan Tech might hang around for awhile and then boom, they’ll be on their ass trying to figure out how they got there. Much like the Todd on an epic bender. Bummer. The Huskies give up an average of 3.2 goals per game compared to the Gophers 2. If the Gophers’ 3rd period efficiency from last Saturday’s game is any indication it will be a blood bath. This will be very beneficial in that I won’t have to channel flip between hockey and football for 3 hours. The Gophers scored 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd period last Saturday and all 4 were well earned. No bad bounces or garbage here folks. Just good old highlight reel passes and shots. Brilliant! I fully expect a sweep with the first game being a blow out and the second game coming down to the wire.

Somebody get me a beer, it’s Friday.



Well done Optimator, feel free to send me any Gopher related posts that you come up with in the future. Maybe we'll even have some sort of debate between you and Super Sioux Fan, assuming you can understand her responses.

Super Sioux Fan is Back

So to wash the taste of an 0-2 basketball betting start out of my mouth, I thought we should talk some puck. Since Snake stopped writing because he's too busy killing animals and The Todd can't afford a television, I've been reduced to getting my hockey posts from Super Sioux Fan, aka Mama Dawger. Won't someone else step in? Do it for the Gophers. Do it for America. Do it for the non-racists of the world. Do it for the English language. Here we go, unedited as always

"Epic".......? Hockey
Yeah so I 'was' officially kicked off the blog by Dawg but since he is not the boss of me (and WWW's wont shut up about it) here is a sweet post.

So it is pretty hard to be a Sioux fan right now, more like embarrassing. But I trudge on hoping that Kangas on day soon decides he likes the colors green and pink better then marroon and gold (gayest colors ever).
Or we pick up a juniors goalie soon, either way SOMETHING needs to be done.

UND plays Anchorage this weekend and Minnesota takes on Mich. Tech, which should be a blood bath.
I will again be happy if we can manage a split, which is a shame because Anchorage Fing blows. They blow harder then Lucia during PRIDE weekend....this is a fact.
As of today Minnesota is #1 in the WCHA and ND is in an impressive aka embarrasing 3 way tie for 5th place.
I think someone needs to remind Ryan Duncan that he is a God Damn Hoby Baker Winner.

I have been contimplating going down to the Park Tavern when Lucia is doing his little show and just poppin him. Just punch him straight in the mouth....seriously the dude looks like he should be hanging out in his mom's basement looking at kiddy porn, and asking his mom where the Fing Meatloaf is. But I guess we cant all be as classy as my boy Hakstol now can we?

It is a shame we only play each other once this year....thankfully it will be in GF (where they actually serve booze) because.........well because it is Grand Forks. Me and Dawg wore our appropriate jerseys (me in sioux-with my name on it Thank you very much, and Dawg in my brothers, BO smelling hand me down) and somehow the tickets snake got us were in the nose bleed section among all the gopher fans. Somehow they all ended up in 1 single section. Well lets just say they were NOT fans of me.....It may or may not have been that I was Obnoxious, Drunk...Very Drunk, and almost fell to my death and took a slew of gopher fans with me. It was pretty amazing if you ask me.
Dawg got sick from some jalepeno rolls (you know all that "spicy" food in North Dakota). Can you say "buzz kill"......
But it ended with Snake almost getting beat up my some happy/angry Sioux Fans at the greatest restaurant on earth...Suite 49.
All in all it was a good weekend......for me and my boys.

Well not much more to say other then GO SIOUX and SUCK IT DAWG, I do what I want.

And I STILL want that apology or else..............


Thanks Sioux Fan. Naturally, the picture above is from her and is apparently of some 14 year old I've never heard of dressed up like a hockey player for halloween. I think the most disturbing thing from that entire rant, worse than the grammar on the level of Eazy-E, is that Sioux Fan here has a jersey with her own name on the back. I guess that's to be expected.

And I assume you want gambling picks, since I'm so awesome so here you go

Rutgers -10 vs. Marist
Jacksonville State +22 @ South Carolina
SE Missouri State +26 @ New Mexico
Georgia State -1.5 vs. Bowling Green
Western Michigan -8 vs. TCU
SMU +11 @ South Florida

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NABC Classic Preview

With the sad, sad news coming in that the Twins locked up Gardy until 2012, I thought I'd turn my attention to more pleasant things, such as the World Renowned NABC Classic, taking place this weekend at Williams Arena. At first glance, the teams may look pretty inconsequential, but a closer look shows that we can learn a bit about our beloved Gophers from two of the three games. I'm ignoring Concordia here, because who cares, really, but lets focus on Georgia State and Bowling Green.

Bowling Green will be the Gophers' opponent on Saturday, and is the only game I will be able to attend this weekend so I am most interested in this game. The Falcons finished last season 13-17, 7-9 in the MAC which was a disappointment after some early season success, including wins over Belmont and at Cincinnati. The good news for them is they have the entire team back from last season and are expected to compete for the MAC East title.

They are led by 6-4 shooting guard Nate Miller, who led the team in scoring (13.2) and steals (1.5) and was second in rebounding (6.5) and third in assists (2.7). He does have his weaknesses, including poor shooting (29% from three, 40% overall) and turnovers (2.6ppg) that he will have to guard against if the Falcons are going to upset the Gophers. He can be deadly when he puts it all together as evidenced by his 21-11-5 against Toledo last season.

Speaking of turnovers, two of the other wing players struggle there as well, as starting point guard Joe Jakubowski turned it over 2.5 times per game last year, and wing Darryl Clements 2.6 times. Clements is a brutal shooter, shooting just 38% from the field and 28% from three, which didn't stop him from chucking up 89 3-pt attempts last season anyway. Jakubowski isn't a major scoring threat, but can get hot from the outside at times.

The starter at the 3 spot is Brian Moten, who is great outside shooter (43% from three) and isn't afraid to chuck it up, and scored in double figures in 13 of 16 league games.

In the paint, the Gophers will have to worry about 6-7 power forward Chris Knight, an excellent rebounder and was the team's second leading scorer last season. He's joined down low by 6-9 center Otis Polk and 6-7 Erik Marschall, returning after missing all of last season to a knee injury. Marschall was one of the team's best players two seasons ago, and getting him back will be a real boost.

Overall, Bowling Green doesn't shoot well, score much, or take care of the basketball, and they don't play very good defense. But they do rebound well. Really, there's no reason the Gophers shouldn't win this game. Now, the Falcons do have three players with the potential to have big games, and as long as the Gophers play good, intense defense they should be able to pressure BG up and down the court and force turnovers. Gophers win 77-60.

Sunday's opponent is Georgia State, and they have some potential but are pretty much on the same level as Bowling Green, which is not a very high level to be on. It would be like the Strawberry level on Ms. Pacman. They are picked to finish seventh in the Colonial Conference, not a terrible group of teams, but certainly not as good as they were in their halcyon days of just a few short seasons ago.

The Panthers return their top three scorers in guards Leonard Mendez (16.0ppg) and Trae Goldston (9.3ppg) and forward Rashad Chase (7.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and have a whole group of interesting transfers becoming eligible this season: Dante Curry from South Florida, Shamaine Dukes from Wake Forest, Trey Hampton and Xavier Hansbro from Ole Miss, and Bernard Rimmer from Mississippi State. All had interest from BCS conference teams out of high school, while Curry was a Rivals Top 150 (#133) and Hansbro made Rivals Ten Transfers to Watch list this season.

There is a lot here, and certainly more talent than you would expect a Georgia State type team to have, but it's a question of how it will all come together with so many talented new faces. The upside of that is they are dealing with transfers, not freshmen, so these guys have at least all practiced together. Something tells me this will be the toughest test for the Gophers this weekend, but I don't see them falling; Gophs win, 68-60.

I was going to write about the five other tournaments that are going on this weekend, but I realized that I write like, way, way too much. I just wrote about 750 words freaking Bowling Green and Georgia State for God's sake. Ok, fine, I'll keep this short though:

Charleston Classic (true tournament style, Charleston, SC). First round games are TCU vs. Western Michigan, Temple vs. E Tenn State, SIU-Edwardsville vs. Charleston, and Clemson vs. Hofstra. Definitely the most interesting of the weekend tournaments, and it's nice it's not some round robin crap. Clemson should waltz through this as a probable NCAA tournament team, but Western Michigan has a MAC POY candidate in David "Menthol" Kool, we can find out if Brandon Smith is really on TCU or not, Temple is the best bet to finish second in the A-10 to Xavier, and Charleston is a good team who could challenge Davidson in the SoCon and has home court advantage. Hey, it's pretty slim pickins until next week, but this is the best of the lot.

World Vision Classic (round robin, Ames, IA). Participants are host Iowa State, UC-Davis, UW-Milwaukee, and Loyola-Marymount. Basically an ego feeder for the Cyclones, something they desperately need this season. All three visiting teams are bottom feeders in their conferences, which I guess means all four teams in this thing are horrible teams.

Tip-Off Classic (round robin, Honolulu, HI). Participants are host Hawaii, San Francisco, CSU-Fullerton, and Texas State. You don't hear much about San Francisco since Bill Russell graduated, but they've been a pretty good program over the years in the WCC, just way overshadowed by Gonzaga and St. Mary's and are decent again this season. Fullerton would be more interesting next year for us with Bryce Webster joining the Titans, but they are a top Big West team and have one of the best shooters I have personally ever seen in Josh Akognon, and Hawaii has the best conference background but lost seven players from last year. This is probably the most evenly balanced of the weekend tournaments.

100 Club Classic (tournament style, Kennesaw, GA). First round games are Northern Illinois vs. Maine, Western Illinois vs. Kennesaw State. Definitely the lowest of these low tier tournaments. None of these teams has even the slimmest glimmer of slim hope of getting anywhere near a slim hope of making the NIT. Northern Illinois has last year's MAC freshman of the year coming back. That's the only remotely interesting thing about this tournament.

Garden State Challenge (round robin, various sites). Participating teams are Rutgers, Delaware, Robert Morris, St Bonaventure, and Marist. I'm not really sure how to classify this, but all five of these teams play each other, the games take place at various sites, and it takes place spread over a week. The interest hear lies in Rutgers results. They have a very bally-hooed recruiting class this season, and if they want to take any kind of step in the Big East this season they need to breeze through these stiffs 5-0.

That is certainly a lot of words.

Oh Hell Yes

First two college hoop bets of the year are down:

Weber State -11.5 vs. Prairie View A&M
UCLA -15 vs. Miami (OH)

Ride with me and we'll make BOATLOADS of cash.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Signing Day Opinions

With today opening the signing period for college hoop, there are a whole bunch of opinions out there. With apologies to The Daily Gopher, let's take a look at this Golden NuggetsTM style.

- First off, From the Barn has the official press release. I have no doubt this can probably be found somewhere more "official" and "boring" but I don't feel like looking for it, and the From the Barn dude seems like a good egg, so here you go.

- King of the recruiting world,, ranks Tubby's 2009 class at #22 in the country, ranking Royce at #19 and Rod Will at #95. That puts them at #3 in the Big Ten for now, behind just Indiana and Illinois (What the hell?)

- ESPN's recruiting guru and definite Irishman Brendan Murphy didn't give rankings, but said, "The Minnesota Golden Gophers' 2009 recruiting class has to be an encouraging sign for Tubby Smith & Co. Smith was able to keep top-50 prospects Rodney Williams (New Hope, Minn./Robbinsdale Cooper) and Royce White (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) in state, and get point guard Justin Cobbs (Torrance, Calif./Bishop Montgomery) to leave the West Coast."

- Staying with ESPN, during a chat with's Paul Biancardi (no relation to Buddy Biacalana, I checked) said, "I love Tubby's class. It's filled with athleticism, size and skill. This is a Top 20 class. I'd be very excited if I was a Gopher fan.

- Dave Telep of ranks the Gophers' class 11th, and calls Royce and Rodney the best two incoming freshman in the Big Ten right now.

- College Hoops Update ranks the Gophers' third in the Big Ten.

- Myron Medcalf gives out his grades to the incoming players. Justin Cobbs gets a B, Mbakwe a B+, Rodney an A- and Royce an A while Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press doesn't even break it down and just gives the whole class an A+.

I'm done now. This is exhausting, and I only looked at the main places. I have no idea how The Daily Gopher does this every day, and looking at infinitely more sites than I did. I have a new admiration for what goes on over there, unless they have a staff of 20. I also want to point out a site I found called Hoop Scoop Online. This is, without question and without peer, the most annoying site I've ever laid my eyes upon. Go ahead and click on it, I'll wait. Did your eyes explode? Mine nearly did but I looked away in time. And yes, I totally get that my site looked kind of similar for a short time today, but I changed it so no comparison is relevant and also shut up.

You want content? They rank classes all the way down to 6th graders. And guess what? It can all be yours for just $45 a month. A MONTH!!! Or you can get the discounted long-term membership for the low low price of just $499 for a whole year!!!! They need Billy Mays to sell this crap. Based on the web design, I wouldn't shell out $2 for this, even if they threw in two tubs of Oxi Clean and some Mighty Putty.

Quick News

Just a quick break from fixing this blog's appearance and links and my, you know, real job, to hit a couple of things in case you haven't heard already.

- In really bad news, Pat Neshek of the Twins will need surgery and is likely out for all of next season. After sitting out nearly all of last year with this same injury, he re-injured his elbow last week throwing and will now need Tommy John surgery and will be down for the count. This makes an already high priority, getting bullpen help, the absolute number 1 priority no doubt. Forget Atkins or Blake or whoever else to play third base, get a top notch reliever. I have no idea who is out there, but if I feel like it later I'll get more into this. This sucks.

- One possibility would be Trevor Hoffman, who was unable to reach a deal with San Diego and will never play for the Padres again. He's a big name, and his entry music of Hells Bells is the best ever, but he's also 41 and has lost a lot of velocity. The good news for him is that his changeup has also been his out pitch. Can he become the Jamie Moyer of relievers? A quick look at his numbers says it's possible. He's just two seasons removed from finishing as runner-up for the NL Cy Young award, and last season posted a 1.04 WHIP and a 3.77 ERA, with opponents hitting just .229 against him. He would be a good fit with the Twins, as he doesn't walk anybody and his home run rate jumped through the roof last season. I think he would be a great get for the Twins, except for the pesky little salary problem. He made $7 million last year, and the Padres offered him $4 million plus incentives which he turned down in a huff. Even if the Twins were able to offer him a $4 million or so salary, doubtful at best, he would have to accept, also doubtful at best. I would love too see the Twins make an effort to get the future Hall of Famer, but fully expect someone like the Yankees to swoop in and offer him a contract more to his liking.

- Billy Beane is at it again, defying "conventional" logic and seemingly trading prospects for an expensive star player in the Rockies' Matt Holliday. Holliday is an awesome player, but you kind of have to wonder how inflated his numbers are playing in Coors (Sidler?) The A's are (allegedly) sending over Huston Street (established high-end closer), pitcher Greg Smith (highly regarded prospect) and OF Carlos Gonzalez (super highly regarded prospect) for a guy with only one year left on his contract at $13.5 million. I'll assume they won't make the trade unless they get a long term deal in place, but I still don't understand why the A's are making this move. I'm not going to question Billy Beane, but I'm very curious to see what the plan is here. If they don't get a long term deal done, my best guess is Beane thinks the pieces are there to make a run at the playoffs this season, and wanted a bat to put them over the top. If things don't work out he will just trade him again at the deadline.

- Lastly, as I'm sure everyone has already heard, Eric Decker won't be playing at Wisconsin this weekend because of that ankle injury. This is, once again, a huge blow to the offense and Adam Weber's radar lock. I'll also go ahead and take this time to officially admit I was very, very wrong about Decker. I thought his early season success was more a product of the talent on the other side of the ball that his own talent, but he's won me over. Hell, he could be the next Wes Welker.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aaargh adfjlknk

Blogger made a change which ended up creating a very annoying blue line down the page, somewhat obscuring the posts. I am in the process of trying to change the layout of this awesome blog, but there are some issues, such as somehow the thing that shows the recent comments, probably the most valuable thing on this whole page, is now broken as well as all the links I had are now gone. Please bear with us as we try to get this crap figured out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Review

(note: Weekend Review will now include the entire previous week's events, due to college basketball being awesome and taking place all week not unlike stupid football)


1. Iowa football. I wasn’t exactly sure if I should mention this as Iowa being awesome or Penn State sucking, but I decided to put it here mainly because of the performance of Shonn Greene, who also gets points for finding yet another way to spell the name Shawn – every time I think all possibilities have been explored, someone comes up with another one. Anyway, Greene was the main offensive reason the Hawkeyes managed to knock of #3 Penn State 24-23 on a last second field goal. Greene ran for 117 yards and two TDs, and has exceeded 100 yards in every game this season, putting him third in the country in rushing yards and well on his way to becoming sort of a darkhorse Heisman contender.

2. Adrian Peterson. Sweet fancy Moses this guy is just ridiculous (the Vikings’ one, not the Bears’ one if he still exists). It’s been said before, but his combination of size, vision, speed, and quickness is probably even better than LaDainian Tomlinson’s was before he decided to start doing his Shaun Alexander impression this season. On the final drive for the Vikings, AP ran and caught for 64 of the team’s 69 yards, culminating in what turned out to be the game winning 29 yard TD run. But it just doesn’t do the guy justice to talk about his stats, he is simply incredible to watch. Remember when the Vikes had Culpepper and Moss, and you never wanted to miss a play because they could score at anytime from anywhere on the field? That’s what Peterson is like, and I can’t remember a running back like that since Barry Sanders.

3. Atlanta Falcons. I’ve written about this team here before, but I just can’t get over how good they have been this season, moving to 6-3 on the year after beating the Saints 34-20 yesterday. Rookie QB Matt Ryan is looking like the next Peyton Manning, and with high quality skill position players in RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White, this team could be a contender for years. Turner is third in rushing yards this season, White is fourth in receiving yards, and Ryan has a better QB Rating than Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Speaking of Peyton Manning….

4. Indianapolis Colts. Are the Colts back to being a Super Bowl contender? I say yes after going into Pittsburgh and beating the Steelers 24-20, bringing them to 5-4. They won't catch the 9-0 Titans for the division crown, but they are right in the Wild Card race and, if they make it, will be a very dangerous wild card team. After a very bad start to the season that included two pretty "lucky" wins over the Vikings and Texans, Peyton and the rest of the team seem to have hit their stride. A pretty easy schedule the rest of the way that includes Detroit and Cincinnati has the Colts in a very good position.

5. The BCS Title Game. Obviously it hasn't happened so it wasn't awesome, but the circumstances got awesomer with Penn State's loss to Iowa on Saturday. This essentially guarantees the title game will be between a team from the SEC and a team from the Big 12 (or possibly USC) and should make for a very entertaining and competitive game with the two best teams in college football, rather than an awesome team taking on the weak big 10 representative and kicking the crap out of them yet again.


1. Gopher football. Omg omg omg omg. You guys, seriously. What the holy hell? As I said last week, I expected them to lose at least one of their last four, but I didn’t expect them to drop back to back games at home against bad teams. And to score just 6 points against the horrible Michigan defense is embarrassing. It’s beyond embarrassing, there’s just no word invented to describe it. And it’s not even like they were at least moving the football and then made mistakes and turnovers, they couldn’t get anything going all game and didn’t even bother to get a first down until almost halftime and ended up with less than 200 total yards against the same team that let Purdue rack up over 500 the previous week. I picked a hell of a game to go to. And to make it worse, the crazy lady who sits next to us wouldn’t even say anything crazy. I kept trying to talk to her and get her to say something weird, but her answers were all normal and rational. She must have gotten on some kind of medication and that sucks. Just a horrible day all around.

2. Tennessee football. Not the Titans, they’re good, I mean those guys who wear orange and used to be awesome and now suck worse than the Gophers. The program has managed to completely collapse, leading to the school forcing long time coach Phil Fulmer out at the end of the year, and culminating this week in an embarrassing loss to Wyoming at home, 13-7. Wyoming is dead last in college football in scoring, but managed to put up just enough for the big upset. How bad is Wyoming? Tennessee was favored in this game by 28 points, and Tennessee sucks. They have just three wins on the year and got destroyed by South Carolina last week, but were still favored by 28 against Wyoming. That’s how bad Wyoming was, and that’s how embarrassing this loss is. Truly rock bottom.

3. Notre Dame. It’s been easy to pick on the Irish the last few years, but I can’t lay off any longer. Like Michigan and Tennessee, this is another formerly great program that has just imploded. They are 5-4 this year, so it kind of looks like they are turning it around, but that schedule is laughable. Being an independent, they can mess around with their schedule and get it to their liking, and this year’s is a joke. The five wins are against Washington (0-9), Stanford (5-5), Purdue (3-7), Michigan (3-7), and San Diego State (1-9), five of the worst teams in the country. When your best win of the season is against Stanford, you’ve had a bad year. And with Navy and Syracuse still on the roster, the Irish will be heading to a bowl game and everyone will think things are wonderful again but trust me, Notre Dame sucks and their stupid quarterback Jimmy Clausen sucks (4 INTs Saturday vs. Boston College) and is only a sophomore, so it will be at least three more years before they get good again.

4. Vikings special teams. Specifically punt coverage. It's an embarrassment, as Green Bay's Will Blackmon returned yet another punt for a TD against them, bring the season total to 27 against the Vikes. I have no idea if it's the personnel, the special teams coach, or Childress, but something needs to change in a big way. And don't give me the whole "Heath Farwell is out for the year" BS. Who cares? It's Heath Farwell, a ninth string linebacker. It has gotten so bad, that earlier in the game Blackmon fielded a punt two yards deep in his own endzone. Normally a very stupid move, but against this team, why not go for it? It didn't work, but it certainly could have.

5. College Basketball. Obviously, college basketball doesn't suck, it's awesome, but whoever makes programming decisions sucks. The season starts tonight, with the Duke region of the coaches vs. cancer classic. Two games will be played this evening, Georgia Southern vs. Houston and Duke vs. Presbyterian. However, whoever is in charge of these kind of things isn't putting either game on TV, or at least regular TV people get, as the Duke game is on ESPNU, the Houston game is on nowhere despite being the more interesting game of the two. Why? Well ESPN has the Monday Night Football game tonight, but guess what is on ESPN2: a World Series of Poker marathon. Isn't this whole stupid poker craze over? Sure, I got hooked for a while, but then I realized it was really stupid to be watching people play cards. And now it's being televised over college basketball. Looking ahead, there are basketball games all week, and none of them are on anything other than ESPNU or ESPN360, which works for nobody. I blame you America. The terrorists have won.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let's talk Wolves, baby!

I have too much time on my hands now that the baseball season is over and was disappointed to find out that a dominating MAC team still has to play in the Motor City Bowl in NCAA Football 09. So I've actually watched the Wolves a little bit this season and have some opinions:

1. Randy Wittman still really sucks as a coach. His starting lineups change too often, there is no rhyme or reason to his substitions, and his teams get smoked in the 4th quarter.

2. It looks like the Wolves are finally giving up on the "Randy Foye is a PG" thought. Thankfully.

3. This team could be really interesting offensively. Jefferson is a beast on the blocks, Love brings some skills to the table, Mike Miller can shoot, and Telfair has come a long way from his early days. The pieces fit together fairly well.

4. This team is interesting defensively, only because it is a train wreck. Brewer's the only plus defender and they don't appear to have much of a game plan (see point #1). Expect the Wolves to be one of the worst defenses in the league again this year.

5. They could have four first round picks next season if things fall in place. FOUR!!! Will McHale take Abu Shamala before the NBDL can get him?

They still look like a 30-win team that might have some issues with the way their young players fit together, but I'm thinking they'll be more interesting since offense will be better and Love and Jefferson are worth watching.

I KNEW I should have drank more before writing a Wolves post. W, you know you want to do a drunken Wolves liveblog later in the season.

A quick Twins addition--please don't sign Casey Blake. Thank you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This looks exactly like the

This looks exactly like the same gopher team I've been watching for years.

If adam weber ever throws

If adam weber ever throws to his second option it will be the first time