Saturday, December 13, 2008

Watch Out for the A-10

As I said earlier this week, I won't be writing a Weekend Review because I'm heading to Chicago for vacation tomorrow, but if I did surely the top spot for WHO WAS AWESOME would go to The Atlantic 10 conference, giant killers of the basketball world.

Earlier today Temple knocked off #8 Tennessee decisively, 88-72, and UMass went into Kansas and beat the Jayhawks 61-60, despite trying as hard as they could to choke the game away. Add in that earlier this week St Joe's came within a hair of winning at #15 Villanova and Xavier's continued dominance (currently ranked tenth) and it's possible this conference might be for real this year.

They have a nice handful of good wins earlier this season as well, with Xavier having beat Memphis, Dayton over Marquette, St Louis over B.C., and Charlotte over Mississippi State (and don't forget Rhode Island almost beating Duke at Cameron). Add in the wins from today, and the A-10 is looking pretty good, although it might be tough to get more than 2 bids, as per usual.

Other stuff:

- Took in the Georgetown/Memphis game this afternoon, and got to see two of the better freshmen I've seen this year in Memphis's Tyreke Evans and Greg Monroe from Georgetown.

Evans didn't play his best ever game, shooting just 8-24 and turning it over five times but you can see how good this kid is by watching him. He makea more mistakes and forces more shots than you'd like, and with him and fellow freshmen Wes Witherspoon in charge of the backcourt the Tigers are pretty much doomed to not make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, but he is immensely talented and full of potential. He's already one of the best I've ever seen at getting to the rim. When he drives, where most people would pull up and shoot the jumper he finds a way to get just a little bit closer - it's crazy. And he plays the game faster than anybody else out there, he will absolutely be gone after this year.

Monroe's numbers didn't stand out either in the 79-70 OT win for the Hoyas, but the guy looks crazy good. He's an excellent defender already, as is typical of a Georgetown big man, and is an excellent scorer in the paint and a very intelligent player with the ball. What sets him apart from most seven footers is his perimeter game. Not so much a jump shot, which I don't think he really has, but he's very comfortable with the ball out there, whether passing to set up the offense or putting it on the floor to get to the rim. His ball handling skills are among the best I've seen in a center, and when another seven footer has to guard him out there he can go right by him - a big reason Memphis held him in check is their big men are athletic, not the bigger, stronger, plodding types.

- Speaking of plodding big men, I didn't get to watch as much of the Kansas/UMass game because I was paying more attention to the Memphis/G-Town game, but from what I did see Cole Aldrich was getting worked over by the Minutemen's Tony Gaffney. It turns out they both ended up with 13 rebounds and Aldrich outscored him 12-6, but Gaffney had six blocks and my eyes don't lie my friend, Cole struggles with the quicker, more athletic guys. Texas is going to beat them by twenty.

- Speaking of my eyes, I know people like it when I interrupt my rambling words with pictures of attractive young ladies, so here's a picture of the video game channel's Olivia Munn dressed up as Princess Leia. Rawr:


- Ok, pay attention again. Speaking of video games, if haven't rented The King of Kong yet, I must insist you stop what you're doing right now and go rent it and then watch it immediately. And if you want more red-hot Billy Mitchell action, search MTV for an episode of True Life called, "I'm a gamer." The whole episode is awesome and mainly follows other people, but there is a nice little bonus of some Billy Mitchell d-baggery that puts a nice follow-up (even thought this episode was filmed first) to King of Kong.

- So you know what's weird and actually pretty irritating? Utah has, right where the player's name is supposed to be, the word "Utah." So it says Utah on both the front and back of the jersey. What I'm guessing is that this is a seriously annoying dork motivational bit to say, "We aren't a collection of individuals. We're a team. We're UTAH!" Gayest thing ever? It's up there. Top five probably.

- And, just to make sure I end this on the right note, can anyone explain why the hell ESPN is showing a game from 1958 on ESPN in prime time tonight? So they've decided to take a game that should be on ESPN Classic, prettied it up and colorized it and made it HD, and then put it on in prime time on Saturday night. What the Mother F? As if it wasn't bad enough when they tried to force their stupid movies and insipid weekly series down our throats in prime time, now they try to give us a fifty year old game? Who is going to watch this? Eighty year olds? I'm lame, I'm not doing anything except sitting around the house tonight and not doing anything remotely interesting, and this is still dead last on the list of things I want to watch at 8pm tonight. Seriously. You know what I'd rather watch that is going up against this? Super Troopers on Comedy Central, and that's a horrible, horrible movie, but it's better than watching a game from back when Leave it to Beaver was must see TV (did you know there's a patron saint of television by the way, as named by the Pope in 1958? That is truly bizarre). You know what else I'd rather watch? ANYTHING. It boggles the mind. There are plenty of basketball games not being televised tonight, and you're supposed to be an all-sports station. PICK ONE.

[Added] I'm popping back in here again because while we were watching Twilight online I had the Cincy/Xavier game on in the background and some big guy for Cincy made a very nice, athletic move at the free throw line leading to a nice dunk, and when he turned around his name was Toyloy, and sure enough, it's the same Steven Toyloy the Gophers offered a scholarship to this offseason. He ended up signing with the Bearcats, and is playing pretty well and looked good the little bit I saw him. He's averaging 16 minutes a game, putting up 4 points and 5 rebounds per game, good enough for second leading rebounder on the team. Guy seems pretty solid.

And also congrats to Sammy "Sixxkiller" Bradford on winning the Heisman trophy. I'm just glad that moron Tim Teblows didn't win.