Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend Review

[Sorry this is being posted so late. I had the whole thing typed out and then the internet connection at the NWA lounge crapped out on me before I could post it. At least I'm in Whore-lando now. My hotel room (or, Villa, more accurately) is bigger than my house.]

I'm writing this from the awesome lounge at the airport for awesome people, mostly because I'm so awesome, so I don't know exactly how far I'll get before I have to head to the gate. Be sure to check out the post below this for the first ever live hockey blog on DWG, written by hockey gurus Optimator and The Todd (no, that's not him pictured above. Looks just like him though). Excellent work, despite what a certain anonymous commenter might think. Anyway.......


1. Gophers Hoops. Ok, awesome seems a bit strong, but another win over a less than awful team, this time beating NDSU 90-76, has me feeling pretty good about the team. Shamala put up a 20 spot, continuing to show his ability to dominate slow white guys, but I’m more impressed with the completely emotionless Ralph Sampson. The Third put up 12 points, six rebounds, and 3 blocks and was pretty much the catalyst for the second half run to put the game away. So far I’ve been impressed by Sampson, Iverson, Joseph, and even Carter; still waiting on Bostick. The team overall has looked solid, and although the wins over Georgia State, Bowling Green, @ Colorado State, and NDSU don’t register officially on the “quality wins” scale, I certainly consider them good wins. This week we are going to learn a lot more about this team, with games vs. Virginia and Cornell, probably the two toughest non-conference games other than Louisville.

2. Syracuse Hoops. There were a whole mess of tournaments this weekend all during Thanksgiving week, and thus a whole lot of winners. One of the first winners, with their tournament wrapping up pre-Turkey day, was the Syracuse Orange, winners of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Knocking off two ranked teams, #18 Florida and #22 Kansas, has taken the Cuse from Big East Middle-of-the-packer to a team that will make some noise in March. And why not? Onuaku is a beast in the paint, Paul Harris can do it all, and Jonny Flynn is one of the top point guards in the country. That’s not even mentioning Eric Devendorf, who has looked bad but is coming off an injury that has caused him to miss all of last season. If the Cuse are beating teams now, wait until he gets his basketball ability back and their freshman continue to develop. Very, very good team.

3. UTEP Hoops. I know, right, it’s like, “what?” but the Miners have looked a little bit frisky this season. They certainly aren’t going to challenge Memphis for the C-USA crown, but they might be a little bit of an NCAA dark horse bubble contender. They are just 3-3 right now, but one of those wins is a very impressive 75-62 win over St. Mary’s on Thanksgiving. They also had a near miss with a 82-79 loss to Wake Forest. Their two excellent guards, Randy Culpepper and Stefon Jackson both average over 19 points per game and can take over when need be. I’m not saying they are a lock for the tournament, especially after getting trounced by Arizona State on Sunday, but keep this team in the back of your head.

4. Baylor hoops. I told you all Baylor was going to be awesome this year, and they proved me right. It takes a bit of the shine off their weekend with their loss to a surprisingly stellar Wake Forest squad in the championship of the 76 classic, but it was still a very successful weekend. A big win over Providence in the opening round and a very nice victory over Arizona State in the semifinals have them going in the right direction. They are very dangerous, with four guys averaging over 12 points and two more at 8 or better. Guard oriented to be sure, and that will help in the tournament, but a big key for this team will be the play of freshman forward Quincy Acy. With Kevin Rogers being their only major contributor over 6-4, the 6-7 Acy will need to keep up his high level of play to make the Bears more than just a tournament team and turn them into a real contender. He's averaging 9 points and 5 boards per game thus far, but has struggled to make much of an impact against the better teams. Baylor heads to Washington State to play on Saturday, and how they handle the size of Aron Baynes, Daven Harmeling, and Klay Thompson will be a good indicator if they will be able to handle the size of some of the guys they will face in conference play.

5. Bogart. The legend himself was in town for thanksgiving, and we had a great ole time. He brought Mrs. Bogart with him, who is expecting a little Bogart in May, and she managed to grab a picture with the man Spencer Tollackson (as seen above). Not quite as exciting as meeting Rick Rickert, but close. He also deserves mention for helping me come up with the best bit ever about Ralph Sampson III. Notice how he never, ever shows emotion or even seems to have his heart rate raise above average? Just imagine that he always reacts to everything with that same lack of emotion, and responds in a slow motion, monotone, eeyore voice. I know this makes more sense when you can hear it instead of read it, but bear with me because it’s funny. So, like, as Snake says he will be an All American after his junior year, and they call him and say “Ralph, you’re an all-american!” and he would respond, “Ok” in that monotone, slow voice. Then picture us all laughing like retards. Trust me, it’s funny. Also, back to Bogart, it was cool on Wednesday night when you made the drive over to my neck of the woods to hang, much appreciated, particularly because I didn't really want to do anything that night, and you talked me into it. Great night, great fun had by all. I don't think Oakdale will ever be the same. See you in Chi-town in two weeks.


1. Detroit Lions. Worst loss in Thanksgiving history, and the path is well and laid for a 0-16 season. I know there are some out there who root for a winless season, such as epic douche Jim Rome, but not me. I’d love to see the poor, hapless Lions win a game, I just don’t know when it could happen. The lost their starting QB, and their backup, and their backups backup, and when Culpepper went out on Thursday they were reduced to Drew Henson. Remember him? Former three sport All-Stater in high school, started at QB for Michigan and was drafted by the Yankees. Played a few years in the minors and managed all of 8 major league at bats before calling it quits and deciding to suck in the NFL instead. I don’t think there’s a guy out there whose career ended up as far away as from what I expected as Henson. The bright side here though, is that the Lions are a virtual lock to beat the Vikings in a few weeks for their first win.

2. Siena. It’s not that they necessarily suck, but they definitely squandered a golden opportunity at the Old Spice Classic this weekend, going 0-3 and killing any slim hopes they had of picking up an at-large bid if they don’t win the MAAC. Asking the Saints to beat Tennessee was probably a bit much, but a loss to Wichita State is something that shouldn’t happen to a team that made the sweet 16 last year and had pretty much their whole team back this season, and Oklahoma State was definitely beatable on Sunday. Siena will still have an opportunity to get a marquee win with games at Pitt and at Kansas, but those teams might be out of the Saints’ league. They will probably still win the MAAC, but now will likely have to win the conference tournament in order to make the Big Dance, where a quality win this weekend would have gone a long way towards helping build their profile.

3. Louisville Hoops. I’m a Louisville guy. I’m a big Pitino guy, and always have been, but the Cards laid an absolute stinker out there Sunday against Western Kentucky, losing 68-54. What’s even worse is the game was in Louisville, and they still couldn’t muster up a better effort. The Cardinals shot just 28% for the game, lowlighted by point guards Edgar Sosa and Terence McGee going a combined 0-13. All those missed shots led to a lot of rebounds, and specifically a lot of rebounds for the Hilltoppers, who ended up with a 48-34 edge on the boards. The Hilltoppers aren’t awful, but they did lose Courtney Lee and 60 percent of their scoring from last year’s sweet 16 team, and shouldn’t have been able to even hang around with the Cards, much less beat them. Consider this slightly worrisome.

4. Buffalo Bills. I was informed that when a west coast team, in this case the less than mediocre 49ers, traveled east and played the noon game that they always play poorly. In fact, I was told that the Bills -6.5 was easy money. Not so. The 49ers may indeed have played poorly, but the playoff hopeful Bills played even worse, mustering all of three points against a very bad defense. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, considering they only turned it over once and Marshawn Lynch had 134 rushing yards (they outgained the niners overall 350-195) but I'm guessing it was really ugly. Like your sister. Rian Lindell's two missed field goals certainly didn't help.

5. Pat Reusse. I’ve gone after the retard before, but when he posts articles like this garbage I can't help myself. I won’t get into a whole Fire Joe Morgan style rundown again, but if you read the article his main gripe is that the non-conference home schedule sucks, outside of the Virginia game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Reusse makes shit up pretty much constantly, and rarely, if ever, does any research. If you want a schedule similar to the ones teams like Michigan State or Duke play, you’re a retard. Will that come in time? Yes, assuming the program continues to improve, but at this point it would be counter-productive. Why would you want to trot a team that is counting on five new comers for major minutes and have them play a top 25 type schedule? It’s asinine. It’s worse that that, it’s unfathomable the depth of stupidity it would take to write this article. Ignoring for a moment the ridiculousness of dismissing the Lousville game because it’s not at Williams, how about I take, oh, about two minutes to look at the non-Virginia non-conference games? Concordia – cupcake, but traditional type of season opening opponent. Bowling Green – Upper division MAC team. Georgia State – Middle of the road Colonial team. Eastern Washington – bad. NDSU – favorite to win the Summit Conference. Cornell – favorite to win the Ivy. South Dakota State – bad. SE Louisiana – bad. High Point – upper division Big South team. So is it awesome? No, it’s not an overly tough schedule, but if you know college basketball – at all – you can see there are some pretty decent teams in this group. Just because there are no “name teams” retards like Reusse are going to sit and bitch like the uninformed dorks that they are. There's other bitching in here too, mainly about recruiting kids from Minnesota and how he hates games that aren't on Saturdays, but it makes less sense than the rest. Yet another reason why I miss Barreiro so much. Sure, he bitched, but he did it well, he did it in the right spots, he was generally informed about what his subject was, and he could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves. This makes me so mad. Luckily I have to stop now and get on a plane to go to Orlando (work, not pleasure) otherwise I could write about this for hours.

I'll holler at you later, probably with a few beers in me.