Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two Very Quick Movie Reviews

Since I have nothing better to do and I sure as hell am not going to write a Super Bowl preview.

First, we rented the movie College, and it was awful, which we probably should have suspected going into it. It pretty much tried to capture the magic of Can't Hardly Wait, but that movie actually had a semi-believable story, good actors, and a likable group of characters. This movie kind of takes Can't Hardly Wait and tries to sort of merge it with Revenge of the Nerds and fails miserably, with poor acting thrown in just to complete the circle. And, just in case you aren't quite getting the picture, the story had more holes in it than the moon landing hoax, there were no laughs, and the inevitable gross out humor was just that; gross, not funny/gross. Stay away.

On the other hand, I got up with the baby this morning and happened to catch Pterodactyl on Sci Fi. Now this is looking good so far. It's about, well, a group of people who stumble into some kind of forgotten wilderness wherein lives a Pterodactyl. Yep, cheesy as hell but we have:

1. Cheesey, overdramatic dialogue
2. A horrible CGI Pterodactyl that looks more like a moth with claws and a head
3. A hot blonde
4. Over-accented evil Russian commandos who for some reason speak to each other in English
5. The scene where the pterodactyl first shows up, the hot blonde, finding a idyllic little pond in this lost world decides, inexplicably, to strip down to her underwear and go for a little swim, for no other reason that to show off her cans.
6. The nerd character who is in love with the blonde who will almost certainly end up sacrificing himself to save her and/or kill the beast.
7. Last but not least, Coolio plays the captain of an elite squad of U.S. Commandos. COOLIO PLAYS THE CAPTAIN OF AN ELITE SQUAD OF U.S. COMMANDOS!

All this and I'm only 15 minutes in. I can already highly recommend Pterodactly.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gophers vs. Illinois, Sort of Live Blog

Do you realize it's the first live blog of the year for me? It's also not completely live, since I'm watching this on Tivo on tape delay, by request from Mama W. Since I can't wander over to The Daily Gopher or From the Barn to chat, I might as well put my thoughts here.

Oh, and yes I'm drinking. Bet you can't guess what.

- Dawger just called and Holy F is that kid fired up about both tonight's game as well as whoever that was who called his ugly baby ugly. I also got a facebook message from Mama Dawger you just said, "I am going to kill you." This is a terrifying evening.

- Text from Snacks. The tickets that were sold tonight apparently went to a spastic, energetic and loud Illini fan, currently sitting right next to him. Murder is imminent. Bogart be at the ready, he's going to need a real lawyer.

- Geez big night already and the game hasn't even started yet, at least not for me.

- I still don't get the Gorillas. I'm not even close to getting them. Was it just the cheapest costume at Ragstock? Is it some kind of social commentary? Blatant, and crudely obvious racism? I don't get it.

- Westbrook on Meachem tonight. That says about where he ranks on the defensive confidence scale right now. It's an important assignment, but not necessarily a tough assignment. He will have to work and work hard coming around a lot of screens, but won't have to worry about being taken off the dribble. It's a worker role, not a skill role. It will be interesting to see how the laziest player in Gopher history does.

- And he hits a three to put the Gophers up 3-0. Urge to Kill: fading.

- Nolen gets absolutely toasted by Frazier and picks up foul #1. I have no clue, not even a tiny one, what is going on with Nolen sometimes. It's like trying to find Carmen Sandiego; impossible.

- Great, Iverson has decided he can't make layups anymore. Gophers really not looking particularly good here, but still lead 3-1 with 16 minutes left. Luckily the Illini aren't hitting, but a lot of that has been good Gopher defense - said as future All-American Ralph Sampson blocks yet another shot.

- Great drive by Nolen to find Shamala for the easy lay-in. If Nolen can do that thing where he's actually good tonight that would go a long way towards a win.

- I just realized Shamala came off the bench before Hoffarber, and I have to say I don't like this one bit. As one-dimensional as Hoff is, Shamala is ten times worse. Plus, could there be a worse message to send a struggling shooter than, "You haven't hit much lately, we're going to put in a poor man's version of you because we don't trust you anymore?"

- Bostick misses a three badly, hopefully we haven't entered the part of the game where the Gophers just chuck threes.

- Hoff for three, and it was pretty. I am now shifting my prediction to a Gopher win.

- Tisdale just abused Iverson. Where is Sampson? Did he get two fouls when I wasn't looking? He then follows that up with a really lazy pass stolen by Illinois. Still no sign of Sampson.

- Tisdale = 0-1 vs. Ralph. On the other end, he draws a foul on him.

- Ralph needs a nickname. I vote for "Program Changer."

- Whoever #23 is = 0-1 vs. Sampson

- There has been some seriously good defense in this game, particularly on the Gophers side. I don't really know what happened or what changed, but they are looking like the late 80s Pistons over here. Even Hoff and Jamala are in shut down mode.

- Tisdale 1-2 now against Program Changer after hitting some lucky bullshit hook shot that looked less coordinated than Program Changer's own hook. I have also decided that I would accept "The Dynasty" as Ralph's nickname.

- Ralph Sampson's nickname related poll added on right.

- I still don't get the green guy. Dawger tried to explain it to me and mentioned something about Philadelphia, and then I tuned him out because I started thinking about Cole Hamels.

- Starting the second half, leading scorer in the game has 5 points (Keller, Hoff, Westie). I guess when you combine two very good defensive teams with two very balanced teams that sounds about right. I'm also less than thrilled to see Iverson out there. He's regressing faster than Voshon Lenard between his sophomore and junior years.

- McCamey absolutely loses Westbrook on a screen for a wide open layup. I don't really so much get what is what with him. Maybe when his cousin lost in the NFL playoffs it really messed with his head?

- The Dynasty is absolutely an awesome passer. He might win POY four times.


- Gophers really doing a stellar job getting the ball inside, whether getting it to Iverson and Sampson or with Nolen driving.

- The Dynasty with an o-board and an assist on the same possession. Best gopher ever.

- Great pass from the best passing big man of all-time to set up Iverson for a three point play; of course he misses the free throw though. Sampson follows it up on the next possession by almost dunking on some stupid fool who got in his way. We are at 35-22 with 12:25 left after Ralph makes 1-2, probably because the rim isn't regulation.

- I'm starting to love the whole emotionless thing Sampson has going on.

- I'm now caught up, so I'm now chatting at the Daily Gopher. I'm pretty sure I'm drunk and obnoxious.

- Dammit. You know what would be a good name for Sampson is Jesus. Too late since the poll is already up.

- Sampson, Carter, Shamala, Hoffarber, Joseph? I've said this about fifty times this year, but I really don't like this lineup. Of course, Jesus makes 2-2 from the line to give the Gophers an 11 point lead. Which i like.

- Good news if you like awesome movies that are awesome. Mama W was trying to find something to watch online because she's really not interested in basketball, and particularly not in a defensive struggle. She finally decided to watch Nick & Nora'sInfinite Playlist, laughed several times in the first couple of minutes and finally decided to stop watching it saying, "This is good. We need to watch this together." That's good. She did not have this same reaction to Bride Wars.

- Someone over at the Daily Gopher just badmouthed Rico. I think heads are going to have to roll. I learned back when I was a drug dealer that you can't let one person get away with insolence. Once one does it, they'll all do it, so when you get the first whiff you have to kill that person. And that's how I ruled the west side.

- Ralph dunk. Call it game.

- Awesome awesome awesome. The only downside is that slacker Damian Johnson won the defensive player of the game and lazy ass Westbrook got player of the game from Big Ten Network over Ralph, I mean Jesus, who clearly deserved it. What more do you want him to do, rise from the dead? Cuz you better believe he'll do it.

- STOP with the overrated chant. Isn't the From the Barn guy there? He seems pretty sharp, can't he make them stop with that crap?

- Really though, they just picked up a 20+ point win over a 20th ranked Illinois team they hadn't beaten since the Nixon administration. They did it with perhaps the best defensive effort I can recall since I started watching the team, and by getting the best college big man of the last 20 years involved. Awesome.

- Since I'm in a such a good mood, here's a picture of Wonderbaby(tm), Dawger, and myself in Gopher gear. We look almost as good as Audrina.

Jesus that was a good, decisive, and significant win.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Larry David is My Friend

Still here in L.A., or, more accurately Marina del Rey (or Marina del Gay) and just got back from the Laker game at Staples. The game went to double O.T. and the Bobcats actually won, but that's not the important thing. The important thing happened before the game even started, which stresses the importance of getting to games on time, a skill that has been sorely lacking for me when it comes to Gopher games.

We're sitting there up in the third deck, basically the top of the world and the only seats we could get for under $100, and before the game we see some people standing around with tags around their necks that say "Curb Your Enthusiasm Crew." We assume they're in some kind of fancy skybox or something as a thank you or crew get together or something. Not so. Right before the game is about to start, they turn on the cameras and all of a sudden Larry David and the guy who plays Jeff start walking up the stairs. Of our section. About ten feet away from me.

Awesome. They go up and sit in their seats, two rows behind us, and do this about five or six times to get the shots they need. They then leave before the ball even tips off, but it was a truly excellent experience, especially considering I think of Larry David as pretty much the comedic genius of all-time. I didn't get to talk to him or anything of course, but at one point he looked at me and we made eye contact and I'm pretty sure he gets that we should be friends. So now I consider us so. Probably even best friends, I don't know, I don't want to speak for Mr. David. I have a cell phone video of him walking up the stairs, but I have no idea how to post it or youtube it or whatever you kids do, so I suppose you'll have to take my word for it. But if you're some fancy rich guy who gets HBO and you watch the next season of Curb, in the episode where he gets nosebleeds to a Laker game, look for the really handsome guy who gets all the chicks in a black polo shirt - that's me.

- Overall Staples was pretty cool. Very nice stadium, where the third deck actually has a better view than the Target Center, although I haven't been there in years and haven't sat in anything other than a suite in over five years. The funny thing was we ended up with an extra ticket, because the dude we were going to go to the game with (my boss) ended up having to fly home early, and we wanted to sell his ticket for beer money, since they are $9 at Staples (for a Miller Lite) but you can't scalp tickets there.

So there were a bunch of people just walking around and would say under their breath, "need tickets?" or "got tickets?" We tried to play the game but we aren't really Golgo 13 kind of guys, so the closest we got to selling the ticket was when I tried to get a guy to buy it for one dollar and he wouldn't take it. At that point we just decided to go in and forget it, but when we were in line to get it some dude comes up and asks if anybody has a ticket. We say yes, to which he says, "Can I have it?" And we said "how much" and he said, "no man, I just really want to see the game, I don't have any money." And he looks somewhere between a homeless guy and a hippy, and he's white, so we are like, "ok fine, but buy us a beer." Obviously we don't really expect anything, but we don't want to have to buy him a beer. So we get in and we go into the souvenir shop and the dude ditches us, and we don't see him again. But at about halftime, some mexican kid shows up with the actual ticket we gave that dude. We didn't ask him how that whole thing went down, but I'm pretty confused here because it's not like it's a premium ticket. Very weird.

- Overall it's been a pretty good day out here in Marina del Gay, mostly because our boss is the one who left and we've been able to accomplish twice as much in half the time. I didn't get any more insight into the peculiarities of women of varying ethnicities, but we went to a bunch of stores today, which is what we're out here for - to understand the L.A. market because it's very different from Minneapolis. Although at one point we accidentally ending up at the Crenshaw Walmart (Crenshaw is the neighborhood Boyz N the hood was based on), where it was really busy and we were literally (and I mean literally not the way stupid people use the word) the only white people in building. It was a little scary but not really because it's California and the people here are pretty much hippie pacifists, much like the people in Madison.

Not only did I meet and become best friends with Larry David, but I also got to try In-N-Out Burger for the first time (good, but a bit overrated) and I got to walk out on the pier at Venice Beach and have a beer whilst overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which I've rarely seen. Pretty cool day.

- As far as the game goes, Kobe Bryant shoots the ball the time but also looks about ten times more athletic than everybody else out there, Adam Morrison cut his hair and completely sucks, and the best thing was watching Shannon Brown play well. I've always been a Shannon Brown fan, and tonight he scored 14 points and looked really good, especially since he was matched up on both ends against your boyfriend Kobe all night. Really like that kid.

- If you really want to be entertained, check out the post below this one ("L.A. is garbage") and head down into the comments section. It once again proves what I think everybody knows - the commenters are what really make this sight go. God bless you people.

- Remember on Seinfeld, how there's that whole thing about when George and Elaine have to be together without Jerry it's totally awkward and then have nothing to talk about? Well that's crap. Because in an earlier episode they work together to slip George's ex-boss a mickey, so they should be pretty comfortable around each other.

- Oh, and the guy I was with tonight, who seems like a pretty solid guy despite the constant racist and sexist comments, gave me an interesting statement tonight. He said, "When I have the opportunity to go golf with clients or co-workers I love to take it, because I usually come off as a god." So I was like, "Wow, what's your handicap" and he said, "about a fifteen." A fifteen. And you're a god? I was expecting more of a "3" or similar answer. Hell, my good friend 2P is like a three, and that guy sucks.

- If you're looking for a Gopher/Illinois preview, you should just go ahead and check one of the other blogs. I know you're thinking I should do it, but jesus christ stop being so god damn lazy and do your own research, I'm not your mom.

- Since everybody scared the golf guy away, here's your preview: If Mickelson doesn't win, it's going to be Baddeley or Snedeker. Sleepers: Villegas and Howell.

- By the by, if you're thinking about hoops here, Notre Dame is one of the worst defensive teams ever. Harangody looks like a Neanderthal, but it seems he's pretty effective. After than Mcalarney is a damn good shooter and Tory Jackson is good but a horrible shooter. That's pretty much it, and coupled with their horrid defense they could be an easy out.

- I think maybe my sleeper pick of Baylor is not going to quite pan out. Now, the first time I ever picked a sleeper and put money on them it was Syracuse at 40-1 and it was the year they won, so expect to win every year, but I don't think Baylor has the horses and losing to almost every good team they've played doesn't exactly win me over. It's not as bad of a pick as that Missouri team I thought would be awesome when they had Paulding and those other guys and missed the tourny, but I'm starting to think Baylor has no shot.

- For that one weirdo one time who wanted more baby pics, here you go:

That's her dicking around in her grib. As far as a Wonderbaby genius update, she currently says "hi" to pretty much everyone and everything, and the first time she saw stairs she didn't F around and just booked ass heading upwards. So smart. Much cuter and intelligent than Souix Baby (tm)

- Speaking of Sioux, I miss Super Sioux fan.

- Speaking of babies, you people should really buy more condoms. But only the most famous brand, none of that second or economy brand crap. And if you're a condom buyer, some real advice is to buy them at a place like Target. Honestly drug stores mark them up so crazy, don't ever buy there.

- We drove past Pepperdine today. Pretty sure my heart skipped a beat.

- Have you ever done this steak for the cash garbage on ESPN? That shit is hard. I had a streak of five at one point, but since 2009 started my best is only two, and I'm actually something like 8-12. Way harder than I would have thought.

- Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

- You want to know who I don't feel sorry for; Brandon Jennings. You should remember him as the #1 recruit before this season who was too effing dumb to get into anywhere, even Arizona, and decided instead to just head over to Italy to play ball, hoping to still get drafted highly next season. Well, he gave an interview this week where he cried about not getting paid on time, and getting treated like a kid and how some nights he didn't even play. well cry me a river you big baby. How about qualifying instead and getting into a school? Thamk god it seems this isn't working out so we don't have to worry about this turning into a whole thing.

- I really can't recommend the King of Kong any more highly. You've got to rent it. So good.

- too drunk now. hope that was good. westbrook still takes carter in a fight. Illini 68, Gophers 61. Here's a picture to make it up to you. Can we still be friends? Although I'm best buds with Larry David so I don't really care.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

L.A. is garbage

As much as I hate to step on a Sidler post, seeing as they are so rare, I have no choice since I'm out here in L Gay and it sucks because I have no car and the two people I'm with are lame as hell. How lame, you ask? So lame that we were back at the hotel at 8pm. 8 freaking pm. In Los Angeles. We had a nice dinner and all (Bacon wrapped filet, steamed colossal malaysian prawns, steamed asparagus) but then it was straight back to the hotel at 8. And I know these guys are better than that. They are in their mid-forties/early fifties, and some drops of wisdom I picked up today were, "American Indian chicks are hot until they turn twenty" and "Hawaiian girls are amazing until they get married, then they get fat." Sounds like good guys, right? Yet, extremely lame. So lame that when I was talking to the bartender about Jamaica one of them actually asked, "so are you rastafarian or what?" and when I was talking to him about eating goat, which aparently they do, he said, "oh my god why don't you just eat cat." For reals.

So this is pretty lame. I had no other recourse but to pound vodka like I was my dad, and now I have plenty of beer and time in the hotel room (it's only 10) to type some stupid crap that sucks. So just read it.

- Oh my god Jumper is on HBO right now. I'm not even kidding. This is the worst movie ever. Anakin and Summer? That would never work.

- So I'm currently reading American Psycho, and what's awesome is that in the first chapter alone the main character, Patrick Bateman, orders a cranberry & vodka and also calls someone a zipperhead. What's awesome about this is that it proves that cranberry & vodka is a totally manly drink, and that zipperhead is an awesome term. I only wish it wasn't racist. Seriously, it just sounds so good. It would be like when Dawger is all like, "god JAS is some awesome" I could call him a zipperhead, but I can't, and it makes me sad.

- Have you ever had flaming hot funyuns? Me neither, until tonight. They're hot, and they're funyony. Good stuff.

- I'm really havin gsome trouble typing here.

- Sports right, I'm supposed to be about sports. So did you here about the New Jersey Institute of Technology finally winning a game last week after losing like 50 or something in a row? That's great from them, and all, but mostly kind of sad. I mean, they play teams like Longwood and Bryant; barely even real schools. Shouldn't you be able to win more often? And if you can't, maybe you should rethink your D-I status.

- On the positive, I'm going to the Laker game tomorrow. Or maybe that's a negative. I don't know.

- It's freaking bizarre out here how all the sports are done by 8, or at least the college hoops. and what ever happened to big Monday? Am I crazy or didn't there used to be games on at like 11pm central time, which would be nine out here? there aren't anymore apparently, and that sucks. I want to sit here and be drunk and watch Rico Tucker but I can't. I'll just have to gaze at the topless pictures of him on facebook instead:

- Whooo. I'm hot. Let's calm things down for a minute and talk about how Marquette beat Notre Dame in south bend tonight. That was yet another big win for the Eagles, and I think they might be encroaching on final four territory at this point. That trio of guards they have is pretty much in another league. I can't even decide who is the best one. They're so good, and the fact that they can stop a team like Notre Dame and a guy like Harangoy speaks volumes. Let's go ahead and pencil them in for the final four.

- Psycho T is still the worst nickname ever.

- Too drunk. Sorry. I'm really letting myself down here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This guy is not a third baseman any more

Hi, the Sidler here with a quick Twins post.

Michael Cuddyer is not a third baseman at this point of his career. At best, he was OK and certainly a better option than Terry (S)Tiffee, Glenn Williams, and Tony Batista.

He hasn't played the position since 2005 and his fielding (as a RF) has gone downhill over the past couple years. He also can't stay healthy.

But fans won't give up on the idea. Apparently, neither will Star Tribune columnists.

Gardy hates the idea, reality hates the idea, and Cuddy hates the idea.

So please stop.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekend Review

Hi folks. Writing this one from L.A. here in the hotel. I thought it would suck but the first thing I find on the TV now that I'm in the room after dinner (grilled Swordfish, steamed vegetables, rice pilaf) is Varsity Blues, and I'm immediately put in a good mood at the sight of Ali Larter. Maybe this will be a good trip after all. Plus, my room has a fridge. Holla.


1. Ralph Sampson III. A truly dominating performance from the big guy against the Hoosiers, finishing with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots. With Colton Iverson in early foul trouble, again, the big man responsibilities all fell to Ralph, and he responded in a big way, playing well enough that Iverson was pretty much kept on the bench the whole second half. Sampson isn’t necessarily polished, as his one move on the low block seems to be that awkward hook that continues to always go in, but he plays the position very well. He’s a very good passer, both from the low block and in the high post, and seems to have a very good head for the game. He is also an excellent defender, as evidenced by those six blocks. His jump shot needs a little work, but I’m confident it’s in there somewhere. He should maybe just put that in his back pocket for now, however, and work on it in the off season to add as an additional weapon in his arsenal for future seasons. I’m beginning to think that the all-american in two years projections are a little conservative. I’m thinking more like three all-american seasons with two National Player of the Years thrown in, if he sticks around for that long. And never forget, he was the first one to sign with the Gophers, and started this landslide of talent that's now coming in.

2. Craig Brackins. No, not the linebacker who once played for the Jaguars, the power forward extraordinaire for the Cyclones. What this dude is doing in the wasteland of Ames I’ll never know, because he’s a stud, and he had an incredible game on Saturday against Kansas and your boyfriend Cole Aldrich. Brackins put up 42 points in a losing effort, as the Cyclones lost the game 82-67 in Ames, but learned a lot about themselves in the process, and really, that’s makes them the real winner here. Lest you think this was a Stephen Curry kind of 42 points, Brackins needed just 19 shots, going 11-19 and 3-5 from three. He was also 17-21 from the line, since the Jayhawks realized they couldn’t stop him so they just started hacking, and he grabbed 14 boards as well. The 42 points are the most this season by a player in the Big 12 (surpassing Brackins 38 against Houston earlier) and were one shy of the all-time Big 12 scoring record of 44 held by Michael Beasley from last season. None of this should be a surprise, since Brackins was a stud in high school and was the #20 recruit in the country as a freshman last season. I have no idea why he’s in Ames, especially since he’s from New Hampshire. Maybe he got sick of going to Lake Winnapasaukee. I blame that god damned Bob Wiley.

3. Butler. After last season, things were supposed to change. Last year, the Bulldogs were ranked in the top 10, made the sweet 16, and became the first Horizon League team to win 30 games. Butler was losing four of their top five players going into this year, including Butler poster boy AJ Graves, and the talk was it was Cleveland State’s conference now, and the Bulldogs would probably end up somewhere towards the top, but definitely not the way it was the previous year. Well, not so much. While Cleveland State continues to flounder at 4-5 in the Horizon, the Bulldogs are kicking ass. They currently sit at 18-1, and 9-0 in the conference, and already beat Cleveland State at their place earlier this year. The two teams chasing Butler in the Horizon are UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee, who just so happen to be the two teams Butler beat this week, UWGB by 11 and UWM by 30. It looks like Butler is back to annoy the crap out of you once again.

4. Washington. At the beginning of the season, I was counting on the Huskies to contend with Arizona State and UCLA for the Pac-10 crown. They started out really slowly, losing 3 of their first 5 games including a loss to Portland, and were making me look like a jackass. Well, something has clicked since then, culminating this week where the Huskies beat UCLA on Saturday, following up a Thursday victory over USC to bring them to 6-1 and on top of the conference standings, a game up on the Bruins. They are a very good offensive team, and are interesting because they are in the bottom four in the country in three point attempts per field goal attempt. They don’t need to rely on the three, because they have size in Jon Brockman, a freaking behemoth, and Matt Amaning, and really gifted slashing, driving type guards in Isaiah “No Relation” Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Quincy Pondexter. With Ryan Applby gone, the Huskies aren’t a very good three point shooting team and so don’t bother. And right now, it’s looking like they don’t need to.

5. UCONN. A Home win over #20 Villanova followed up by a road win at #19 Notre Dame? Yeah, that’s a pretty good week. I’m telling you man, look out for this UCONN team, they are absolutely for real. They are 6-1 against ranked teams, and will have plenty of more tests in the ridiculous Big East. They have balanced scoring (five players in double figures), and are great on offense (5th in offensive efficiency) and defense (27th). With Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien, they have a dominant front court, and with Jerome Dyson and A.J. Price they have the kind of backcourt that makes a big difference in March. They have a deep bench as well, with Craig Austrie and Kemba Walker who can go for twenty at any time. If Stanley Robinson can recover fully from his “leave of absence” to deal with academics, and he’s well on his way, look out. Hell, I think I just talked myself into this team as my national champion.


1. Maryland. I don’t really know any way to not put this team here after losing to Duke by 41 on Saturday, the worst loss in the rivalries history. They managed to shoot just 28%, and were outrebounded 52-29. Luckily for me I got to watch the end of this game while at the gym, and thus got to see both Jin-Soo Kim, perhaps one of the worst players in NCAA history, and Steve Goins, a one-time Gopher recruit play for the Terrapins, a rare occurrence. I saw Kim get two of this three shot attempts blocked, and Goins kick the ball out of bounds. It was a delight. As a team, the Terrapins are just 2-3 in the ACC, and have been heading downhill fast after that unexpected win over Michigan State. Interestingly, Snacks’ guy Greivis Vasquez leads the Terps in points, rebounds, and assists, which I have to think doesn’t happen too often; although Ralph Sampson will probably end up doing it the next three years, if he sticks around that long.

2. Syracuse. For a normal team, losing to the #4 and #9 ranked teams in a week wouldn’t be so bad, but for a team with final four aspirations it kind of says something about your team when you get blown out by Pitt and can’t win at home against Louisville. They are both very, very good teams, but Syracuse wants to be on that same level and those two games pretty clearly tell you they aren’t, at least right now. The Orange’s big weakness right now is in their rebounding, they were killed by Pitt 37-24 on the boards and gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Cardinals. Other than Onuaku, they don’t have any real size. Paul Harris plays bigger than his 6-4, but against bigger teams that height disadvantage hurts. Rick Jackson is 6-9 and can also help out, but he’s wildly inconsistent and disappears at times. It doesn’t help that Andy Rautins still sucks at shooting, going 1-6 from three in the Louisville game. I still think the Cuse have a shot at the final four, but they’re going to need Jackson to really step it up against teams with size.

3. Georgetown. Another Big East team, and a conference that good and that deep is always going to beat up on itself, but, like Syracuse, the Hoyas definitely took a step backwards this week. Georgetown lost earlier in the week at home to a good but unranked West Virginia team, and then followed that up by losing to Big East doormat Seton Hall on Sunday. That was the first win of the Big East season for Seton Hall, and was a pretty healthy upset for the Pirates, a game that Ken Pomeroy estimated the Pirates had only a 14% chance to win. They managed it despite a horrible shooting performance from their superstar, guard Jeremy Hazell, who is averaging 22.7 points per game but shot just 5-21 for the game, including 0-10 from three. The fact that the Hoyas lost despite limiting the Pirates best player has to be scary for G-Town fans. The Hoyas have a good chance to get healthy, with their next three games against Rutgers, St. Johns, and Rutgers again, but after that things get tough. I am not a big believer in this team.

4. Arkansas. It seems like every week the Razorbacks have found themselves in the Weekly Recap, sometimes on the good and sometimes on the bad. This time it's definitely bad, after losing to a bad Auburn team, and at home no less, by 22 to fall to 0-4 in the SEC. After beating both Texas and Oklahoma in the non-conference season, they looked like they might be the surprise team of the nation, but four losses in the SEC, all to ranked teams, leaves Arkansas looking like the crap everybody thought they were at the beginning of the season. One of the big issues has been the dropoff of Courtney Fortson, who looked like an absolute all-star earlier but has really struggled, averaging over 5 turnovers per game in the four SEC contests, including 8 against Florida and 6 against Auburn. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be an Arkansas fan. Wow, such a weird team.

5. Cal. Another team that nobody expected much out of who came out of the gate hard, the Golden Bears were on a roll, winning their first four games in the Pac 10 before dropping a game to Stanford. Then came this week, which didn't go so well, although with the two Oregon schools coming to Berkeley it should have been an easy week. Not so, as the Bears struggled and lost to a bad Oregon State team, and then barely pulled off the win against a winless in the conference Oregon Ducks team. The Bears had a win in hand, with a 12 point lead with just nine minutes remaining in the game, but then scored just three points after that as the Beavers came back to win 69-65. The Bears are still in good shape, and have a couple of awesome players in guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, but this is certainly not a good sign.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This Better be Easy

Yes, this better be an easy win for the Gophers. I don't feel like sweating through a barn burner against the worst team in the country, knowing that a win essentially means nothing and a loss pretty much ends the Gophers' season, or at least damages it more severely than whatever gave Dawger the brain damage he has to live with every day.

And there's no reason why it shouldn't be easy, the Hoosiers stink. They are 5-12 overall, 0-5 in the Big Ten, and come into the game carrying an eight game losing streak which includes losses to Northeastern and Lipscomb. They come into the game last in the Big Ten in scoring, field goal percentage, and 3pt shooting percentage. They rank 300th in the country in offensive efficiency, and 310th in effective field goal percentage against. So they don't play offense well or defense well, and even more juicy for the Gophers they are 340th in the country in turnover percentage on offense, turning the ball over on 27.3% of their possessions.

As far as individual players go, hell, your guess is as good as mine. I watched about ten minutes of Indiana basketball this season, and the only thing I really noticed was Verdell Jones getting outplayed by mega-nerd walk-on hometown white boy Daniel Moore, who I can almost guarantee is a fan favorite for all the reasons previously mentioned.

They have four guys who do most of their damage stuff; Jones at the point, Juco transfer Devan Dumes and freshman Nick Williams on the wing, and another freshman Tom Pritchard down on the block. Pritchard is probably the biggest surprised, as he was not even ranked by rivals and was only offered by Penn State and Miami (OH) beyond Indiana, but has really played well and leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 and is second in scoring at 12.4 per game, both numbers lead the Big Ten for freshmen. Dumes is the leading scorer at 12.5, and was the 29th ranked JuCo player last season - which we're finding out is quite the crapshoot. Jones adds 8.5 points and is second on the team in assists (to Moore) at 2.6 per game, but he also turns it over 3.0 times per game and shoots just 15% from three. Williams is probably the highest regarded of the prospects - he adds nine points and five rebounds, and also can't shoot the three at all.

Really, there's no reason here at all for this game to even be close. The Gophers are better in every single way. Yet my spidey sense is tingling. I'm nervous. My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There's vomit on my sweater already; Mom's spaghetti.

Even at home, Indiana is too god awful to pull this one out, but you're not going to enjoy watching this: Minnesota 65, Indiana 55.

Also a programming note: I will be leaving tomorrow for the city of angels, which is not a reference to that crappy Nic Cage movie but means I'm going to Los Angeles. Last time I was there I kicked a forty yard field goal at the Rose Bowl. This time I'm staying in some shitbox hotel. What this means is that there either won't be many posts, or there will be some late night drunk posts.

Probably the latter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When Doves Cry

Yep, that's pretty much what we've come to at this point. It's probably time to realize the Gophers are a thoroughly mediocre team after dropping a game at home to Purdue 70-62, a score I almost called. In a game which was made even worse by rush-hour like traffic both before and after, the Gophers followed up their sloppy effort against Northwestern on Sunday with an even sloppier, uglier, lazier effort last night. A lot of that can be credited to Purdue, who is a fabulous defensive squad, but if you're a national ranked team with aspirations on a good seed in the NCAA tournament you find a way to get it done, especially when you're at home.

An ugly game was made even uglier by Heavy Handed Hightower who, along with those other guys, called a ridiculous 49 fouls leading to a total of 61 free throws between the teams. The Gophers were actually right there in the rebound battle (losing 32-29) and forced the Boilers into 17 turnovers to just 14 for the home team. Unfortunately, none of that matters when you shoot just 28% (3-19 from three) and allow the other team to shoot 47% (6-11 from three).

It's time to ramp down projections and temper your hopes and dreams, as it's becoming clear that maybe this Gopher team just isn't as good as it had appeared. They can't guard or score against the really good teams. I'm not saying they are a bad team, far from it, but after the Wisconsin win expectations really rose, my own included. It's time to realize they are basically a bubble team, looking at a 7-11 type seed if they get in and possibly one victory in the tournament. That is the new level of success we should hope for. Pretty much exactly where we were going into this season. Still a good team, but my hopes have been dashed. Let me pose something, perhaps the win over wisconsin wasn't an indication of how good the Gophers are, but how bad the Badgers are. I just blew your mind.

Anyway, here's some stuff:

Halftime Show: That was awful. When it's a bunch of girls running around jumping and flipping about like the Fargo-Moorhead Acro Team it's awesome. When it's two dudes doing the same thing, it's just gay.

Lewis Jackson: I don't know that I've ever seen anybody as fast as this little midget. His numbers aren't all that impressive this year or anything, but I have no idea how that's possible since he appears to be completely and totally unguardable. He did turn it over five times last night, but I think that's just the kind of thing you have to take sometimes with a guy like this. Not even Nolen could stay in front of him, and I didn't think that was possible. Speaking of unguardable...

Al Nolen: He's still unguardable as well, and can get to the paint anytime he wants. Here's the problem, he gets in too deep, and has no idea what to do. He either needs to start pulling up for a jumper, commit to getting to the rim and just keep going, or pass it back out before he gets in too deep. He seemed to have two modes last night, either drive and stop and have no idea what to do once he got in the lane, or keep charging in. He keep charging in thing has it's place, and last night it worked thanks to the refs as Nolen had 17 points, mainly thanks to his 10-10 on free throws. The stopping in the lane thing, however, has got to stop. He's got a ton of talent, and other than his 3-14 shooting and the driving and stopping thing, he had a great line (17pts, 6rebs, 4assists, 3steals). He's starting to become quite the enigma.

Poor Unsuspecting Girl: This was just some poor girl Snake pointing out to me, vulgarly referring to her as "Trim." Then she turned around, and was clearly no older than thirteen and wearing braces. I hope you enjoy prison Snake, say hi to Tweeder for me.

Lawrence Westbrook: I'm pretty upset with myself for defending Westbrook in the comments of my last post, he really played a very lazy game last night. He got lost on defense a few times, and even seemed to have trouble handling the ball - like he couldn't quite dribble correctly, more like an 8 year old girl than a nationally ranked team's leading scorer. One play was completely inexcusable - I don't remember exactly the situation, but a ball was heading out of bounds of the Boilers and in Westbrook's direction, rather than grab it, he lazily waited for it to go out of bounds, when instead a Purdue player ran over and saved it to a teammate. Just inexcusable. I honestly think he might have the flu or mono or the HIV or something, because I've never seen somebody play with less energy.

Ralph Sampson: One of the lone bright spots last night, Sampson finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds and won the coveted "Boston Scientific Heart of the Game." I still think this guy has the most potential out of any of the newcomers, and he seems to be gaining confidence. His outside jumpshot is pretty much completely random, either it's on or it's way, way, way off, but I have faith in him. All American in two years?

Devoe Joseph: I really liked how he tried to take over the game offensively for a stretch when the Gophers couldn't seem to score. It showed he has a scorers mentality, despite being used mainly as a PG - including playing the 1 when he and Nolen were in together. It wasn't his best game, but I saw something I really liked - much like when I watch that stats lady walk across the floor.

Green Guy: Honest to christ, what the hell was that? I don't even get it. Am I just old? I think it's pretty much just kind of stupid and weird. If you're going to be weird, at least make sense. Like, I get the guy who dresses like a cow, and I get the guys who painted their chests. It's demented and sad, but I get it. I don't get the gorillas (they aren't found in barns - you don't make sense) and I really don't get the green guy.

Travis Busch: Busch played 12 minutes which is far too many against a team like Purdue. I get that you want to mix it up a bit when things aren't working, but how about giving Devron Bostick more than 8 minutes? He might be our most complete offensive player, so why not give him more of a shot against a good defense? Sorry, I know I'm not allowed to question Tubby, my bad. The only memorable thing Busch did was when he blocked the shot of a 5-5 midget, then backed away from the ball which allowed the midget to grab it and throw it over to Hummel for a wide open three pointer, which he thankfully missed. You'd think a guy with all that grit and hustle would know to grab the ball, and probably dive at it even when not necessary.

Cross Country Hat Wearing Guy:
This dude sat in front of us, wearing some kind of cross country hat, which was completely unformed and the back tab thing wasn't tucked in so it stuck out like some kind of reverse antenna. Every single timeout he had to stand up. It may not sound like much, but when me, Snake, and Snacks all noticed it separately, it's clearly pervasive and completely irritating. Just stay in your god damn seat, you damn hippie.

JaJuan Johnson: I said I was a bit concerned about Johnson, and didn't think Iverson could handle him and hoped Sampson could. Turns out nobody could. "The College KG" led Purdue with 19 points and 8 rebounds, and tossed in five blocked shots just for kicks. Completely unstoppable force. Big Ten Player of the Year.

Paul Carter:
I didn't much notice Carter, and other than a very short stretch where he grabbed a steal and blocked a shot or two, he didn't do much, but the important question is: Who would win in a bar fight, Westbrook or Carter? Official bar type fight, where whatever weapons you can find (broken bottle, pool cue) are available? Snake says Carter, I say Westbrook.

Worst halftime show ever. And

Worst halftime show ever. And also the gayest.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not that it Matters

But Kevin Payton has been suspended for academic reasons. No word on if he'll be able to stand at the end of the intro line and do complicated handshakes and jumping butt bumps while wearing a suit.

Also Northwestern won at Michigan State tonight, which is very stunning but good news for the Gophers profile.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Minnesota/Purdue - Let's Get This Over With

The Gophers are a very gaudy 16-2 on the season thus far, and there's no doubt all fans should be very happy with the way things are going. Tubby has made the program relevant already in just two years, and has pulled in a top 25 recruiting class in both of the past two seasons. Beyond that, his game coaching ability reminds me every game how much I hate Dan Monson and Ron Gardenhire, as he seems to be able to come up with an answer to almost everything. The teams' two losses were due to facing a more athletic team in Michigan State, tough to coach against that, and against a team with a disciplined, frustrating defense in Northwestern. What do you get if you combine those two teams? Purdue. Great.

Starting with the defense, Purdue is one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking fifth in the country, not conference, in overall defensive efficiency (Northwestern is 42nd). They also first in the nation in adjusted field goal percentage, mainly due to their complete and total lockdown on 2 points shots, where they allow opponents to shoot just 38%, ranking second in the country behind just Vanderbilt. They aren't exactly weak guarding the three either, allowing opponents to hit just 32% of their threes. They also block their opponents shot 14% of the time (20th) and turn the opponent over 24% of the time (35th). In other words, pack a lunch.

As far as being more athletic I suppose that's at least a little debatable this year, which is a huge improvement from Monson's days, but no matter what kind of homer glasses you're wearing, the Boilers have the better players, starting with Big Ten POY candidate Robbie Hummel.

Hummel doesn't quite look the part of an elite athlete, but he plays like one. He's an excellent all-around player, and can hurt you in a whole bunch of different ways. He leads the Boilers and the Big Ten in rebounding at 7.9 per game, and also ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.8 per game, and chips in with 2.4 assists and a steal, while shooting 41% from three. He might not quite get the respect he deserves because of his Northwesternian looks and not eye popping numbers, but he will be a major factor Thursday night, even if you don't notice him. He can dominate game without it being obvious, as he doesn't need to take a lot of shots (season high of just 14, Steve Curry's season high is 33). He's very important to the Boilers; in there two Big Ten losses he was hurt, against Penn State he didn't play and against Illinois he only scored seven points. I have no idea how the Gophers will handle him.

I'm not exactly sure how they'll handle Purdue's leading scorer, E'Twaun Moore at 13.9 per game, either. Westbrook can probably handle him since he's shown he can handle bigger guards and Moore stands at 6-4. Although the best plan might be to just let him have the ball and go nuts. This season he can't shoot (41% from the floor, 34% from three) or take care of the ball (1-1 Assist/TO ratio) and put up a 1-12 against Wisconsin and a 2-8 with 7 turnovers against Northwestern. The Gophers don't force turnovers this season quite to the pace they did last year, but they are still in the top 41 teams in the country in doing so. If they can get after Moore, it will go a long way towards helping them to a win.

A major concern going into this game is the Gophers' rebounding woes, and it's amplified in a game against a team like this, who rank second in the Big Ten in rebounding per game. It's not just due to Hummel, either, as they also have misspelled name guy JaJuan Johnson, an athletic jumping bean 6-10 type who more than doubled his scoring from last year (from 5.4 to 12.5 per game) and blocked shots (1.0 to 2.3) and increased his rebounding from 3.1 to 5.7 per game, all while shooting 55% this year (up from 42% last year). I know that's a lot of numbers to throw out at you math challenged retards, but let's just say he was good and has gotten a lot better. I'm actually pretty excited to see how Ralph Sampson handles him, I think they match up fairly well, with Johnson having a bit of an advantage athletically and with his experience. I am not looking forward to how Johnson matches up with Iverson, because he will destroy him and probably steal his girlfriend.

Finally, because I'm getting bored and drunk (on Cranberry & Vodkas - with Lime), I'll talk about the three non-E'Twaun guards; Lewis Jackson, Chris Kramer, and Keaton Grant.

I'll start with Kramer, since you probably know who he is since he's been around for twelve years. I thought I saw where he got hurt this year, but unfortunately it wasn't serious because it would appear he's back. Kramer is basically the new version of Brian Cardinal, but a shorter, slightly less annoying version. You know the type, he gets props for his tough defense and hustle when really all it is is hustle and lack of ability - like Dusty Rychart. Expect him to be irritating.

Lewis Jackson is the main triggerman for the offense, he's started the last 11 games for the Boilers and leads the team in assists with 3.3 per game, and the freshman tied a career high with 6 assists in the Boilers last game against Iowa, not an easy team to get assists against. I'd say more, but in the two Purdue games I've watched this year I don't remember him. I'm assuming Al Nolen can make him cry.

Finally, Keaton Grant who is kind of depressing. Last season, he was a huge part of the Boilers success averaging 11.2 points and leading the team with 66 three pointers made. Then he had knee surgery in the off-season, and has struggled to find his old form. His scoring is down to 8.0, and he's only beat his average from last season twice this year, and more importantly is only shooting 34% from the field this season. In the games I've seen him play this year, he seemed to be a step slower but could still get to the rim; the real problem was he couldn't finish - unlike me with your sister. He did play maybe his best game of the season in their last game against Iowa, with 12 points thanks to four three-pointers, so maybe he's turning it around. And, seeing as how the Gophers are next up, I'm going to assume he's hit his stride.

Overall, we have a team with a shut-down defense and some really good offensive players starting to become the team everyone thought they were going to be after some early season struggles going against a very young team that has had some real success, but may have overachieved and is starting to deal with some serious questions. I know how this ended up in Hoosiers, but there's no Jimmy Chitwood here, no matter how Norman Dale Tubby might be. Purdue 71, Minnesota 60.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Andy Rautins Update

I always thought Andy Rautins was a really, really good shooter. But he's only shooting 38% this year, and has only shot 35% over his three year career. So I'm forced to amend my opinion to "he's not really that great of a shooter, but he can get really hot at times and light it up." See how I had a subjective opinion, but then checked objective stats to back up my opinion, and when I saw it was wrong, I changed my mind? Some of you baseball fans who frequent this site should maybe think about that. Otherwise you'd end up thinking Craig Moore is a really big weapon.

Weekend Review


1. Jodie Meeks. I featured Meeks in the section before, right around Christmas time when he dropped 46 and 32 points in back-to-back games, but after this week he gets on here again. He led Kentucky to two huge road wins with 22 points Sunday at Georgia and a Kentucky record 54 in the win at Tennessee, running the Wildcats record in the SEC to 4-0 and showing how you can follow up a huge road win against a big rival by actually winning the next game on the road against a doormat. In the big win over the Vols, Meeks 54 shots came on just 22 attempts, as he hit 15-22 from the field, including 10-15 from three, made all 14 of his free throw attempts, and helped out with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Wow, 54 points on just 22 shots? Are you paying attention Stephen Curry who scored 28 points in Saturday’s win over Georgia Southern but needed 30 attempts to do so?

2. Wake Forest. The Deacons are starting to truly look like a Final Four kind of team, and their pretty much impossible to ignore after winning two ACC road games this week, over Boston College – the team that knocked off UNC – and at #9 Clemson to move to 16-0, 3-0 in the conference. Wake is a really balanced team, with five guys scoring at least 9 points per game and three guys averaging at least seven rebounds per game, but they are really led by sophomore guard Jeff Teague, who is just 6-2 but plays much bigger. He leads the Deacons in scoring at 21.4 per game, assists at 4.1 and steals with 2.1, and chips in with 4.0 rebounds per game as well. He turns the ball over a little too much (3.7 per game), but makes up for it by shooting over 50% from both two and three. If you get a chance to watch this team, take it. They play lockdown defense, and are very athletic with the ability to score from any where and are about to be ranked #1.

3. Larry Fitzgerald. Remember how I always said that Andre Johnson of the Texans was the best receiver in football? I think I’m maybe changing my mind. Fitzgerald has been an absolute beast in the playoffs, going for 9 catches for 152 yards and three scores yesterday in the Cardinals 32-25 win over the Eagles, sending them to the Super Bowl. That followed up his destruction of the Panthers last week, when he tallied 8 catches for 166 yards and a score. These two games, along with his 6 for 101 in the opening round, give him the all-time record for receiving yards in a single postseason, breaking Jerry Rice’s record. Fitz’s hair might look ridiculous, but he’s pretty much uncoverable right now, and had several big receptions on the Cardinals game-winning drive. He’s no Andre Johnson, but he’s right there with him with size and speed. And he’s a young buc too, not an old man like Steve Smith. Lots of years left to watch.

4. Louisville. I could probably have gone with Terrence Williams here, who has been on fire, but the Cardinals had a great week and look to have things figured out. Not only did they notch the big win over then #1 ranked Pitt, earlier in the week they took out #13 Notre Dame, a struggling Notre Dame (more on that below), but still a win over a highly ranked team that looks good on the resume (and consequently, on the Gopher resume as well). Williams led the team with 20 points (on 7-12 shooting) and 4 assists in the 69-63 win over Pitt (and chipped in with 7 rebounds), which followed up an even more dominating performance over Notre Dame where he put up 24 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals. Williams, Clark, and Samuels are a tremendous front court, and as long as the Cardinals' guards play well, they are starting to look like the National Title contender many pegged them as when the season started.

5. Arizona State. Huge, huge win for the Sun Devils this weekend, knocking off #9 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, a much needed win after dropping a very winnable game at USC on Thursday. No surprise here, but ASU Was led by guard James Harden's 24 points, along with forward Jeff Pendergraph's 18. They are a hell of a tandem, and would make a killer NBA Jam team. Harden, who might have been a lottery pick if he came out last year, is the Pac 10s leading scorer at 22.1 per game, and has already broken 30 points four times. USC managed to hold him down (4 points on 0-8 shooting), but that's a major exception.


1. Gopher basketball. Game thoughts are here and here. If anybody tries to say this week was a success, you should punch them in their stupid face because they are too dumb to live.

2. Notre Dame. You can’t convince me that Notre Dame is a good team, much less that they are the twelfth best team in the nation (which is where they were in the last polls). Everyone is so in love with this team, and you know why? Because they have a big, dopey, hard-working, farm-raised white boy, and there’s nothing Amerikkka likes better than that. Too bad he’s completely overrated. Harangody was destroyed by the Cuse on Saturday, where Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson combined to completely dominate him as the Orange rolled 93-74. Oh, you probably won’t get that from any highlight shows, you will point out to you that he had 25 points and 16 rebounds. The 16 rebounds are great, there’s no doubt, but he had to take 28 shots to get those 25 points (9-28), a number even Stephen Curry would be embarrassed about. Meanwhile Jackson had 14 and 10 and Onuaku went for 19 and 7, and combined they only took 22 shots, making 15. You want to talk overall as a team for the Irish? They are now 3-3 in the Big East, and scanning the schedule they have one good win at home over Georgetown, and one over Texas. That’s it. There isn’t a single other good win anywhere. The next best win on here is over freaking Seton Hall, and don’t forget they lost to Ohio State too. They are a pretty good offensive team (6th in offensive efficiency) but awful on defense (167th before giving up 93 points and 55% shooting to the Cuse). I’m sure they’ll make the tournament, but are looking at getting sent home the first time they play an opponent with a decent front court.

3. Clemson. It seems a bit weird to put a previously undefeated team here after losing to another undefeated team, especially the soon to be #1 in the country Wake Forest, but this was, in a way, a must win for Clemson. I know, that seems weird too, since they were 16-0 and ranked #10 at the time, but if you remember last season, the Tigers shot out of the gate with 10 straight wins, and were as good as 12-1 before going into a free fall, finishing up by going just 10-7 in their last 17, barely squeaking into the NCAA tournament where they were run by Villanova. This year’s team has similar questions, as of those 16 wins, not a single one was over a ranked team, and their win over Illinois is the only one that could be considered a “quality” win. With a chance to make a huge statement with a win over Wake, at home, and favored by 2.5 in the game, the Tigers flopped, shooting just 33% and getting beat handily in their own gym, 78-68. It has national commentators and college basketball fans questioning Clemson’s resume, and I have to guess after last year, a whole lot of Tiger fans and maybe even the team themselves.

4. Kansas State. I haven't really followed K-State this season, and why would I? Beasley and Sky Walker are gone to the pros, and although I like their PG Jake Pullen he doesn't exactly pull me into a game. Unfortunately, he hasn't really improved this year, and K State has suffered. I only noticed them because I saw they lost by more than 20 to Nebraska, and when that happens you know something is wrong. The Wildcats are 0-3 in the Big 12, and 11-6 overall with their best win being over Cleveland State, and there's nothing else even close. Looks like the Huggins experiment worked, but when he jumps ship almost immediately there's nothing else left to draw players to Manhattan, KS, and this program is pretty much back to being at the bottom of the barrel.

5. Alex Kangas (sorry Snake). I don't know much about hockey, but I know that the Jesus on the ice is struggling lately. After getting run by the hated Sioux the previous weekend, giving up six goals in back-to-back games, he looked like he might be back on track against St. Cloud, making 24 saves on Friday night and only giving up one goal on Friday. Then came Saturday night, and he once again was lost, giving up six goals on just 31 shots. Luckily, the St. Cloud goaltenders were even worse, letting the Gophers score 8 times (one an empty netter) to grab a wild 8-6 victory. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure if your goalie doesn't play well you aren't going very far.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Completely Disgusting

Absolutely embarrassing. You can't lose that game after the big win at Wisconsin, you just can't. Everything about that Wisconsin game is now completely erased, and may as well not have even happened. Huge road win? Doesn't matter. 4-1 in the conference? Who cares? Statement game? Countered with another statement, this time a loss. Momentum and confidence? Gone.

Once again who knows where this team is headed. It's hard to take them seriously again after this loss. You just can't lose at Northwestern if you're a good team, and especially not by ten or so, and not by getting completely wiped out in the second half.

Everything about this game screamed Dan Monson is back (he's not, is he?). Poor second half shooting. One dimensional weiner Craig Moore going off for 22 points. Inability to figure out that stupidly passive Northwestern 1-3-1, resulting in an over-reliance on three pointers (over 50% of FGAs were from three) and forgetting about getting the ball inside (Sampson/Iverson combined 5 shot attempts including a low-shot clock heave from three by Ralph). Inability to make free throws (5-11). Stupid turnovers (total of 19). Getting outrebounded by an inferior team (well, almost. 26-25 Minnesota, against a team that was getting outrebounded by an average of 17 in Big Ten games). Giving up easy shots. Everything about this game felt like a Dan Monson team.

I just don't understand why Minnesota teams can never figure out Northwestern's zone. I thought they kind of figured it out with Tubby last year, but, like the momentum from the Wisconsin win, it pretty much disappeared.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Freaking Incredible

I can't get over it. Minnesota 78, Wisconsin 74. In overtime. In Madison. Unreal, just unreal. And I (along with Dawger and Bogart) had the pleasure of being there. Can't get over it. Since I just go back from Madison and am incredibly tired thanks to the long, long, hungover drive instead of trying to write anything resembling a coherent, flowing post, I'll just list out everything that was awesome.

- Tubby Smith. It's been said over and over again, but it's impossible to say enough about this man. Setting aside the recruiting, which has obviously been incredible, his game skills are just insane. Tubby outcoached Bo Ryan last night, and that was the biggest reason for the win, apologies to Lawrence Westbrook. For most of the night, and especially first half, the Gopher offense looked completely out of sync and mostly just lost. Nothing seemed to be working, but in the second half Tubby switched to a smaller, faster, and more athletic lineup of Westbrook, Carter, Bostick, DJ, and Hoffarber. Wisconsin had no answer. With a slower, less athletically inclined team, Wisconsin could not keep up with the Gophers. On defense, they swarmed the Badgers, forced them into numerous turnovers - 17 total for the game, most of which came in the second half. On offense, they ran three man weave, where Hoffarber would bring the ball up, cut to a side and hand off to either Bostick or Westbrook who would then look to drive and if it wasn't there would hand it off to the other one. The Badgers couldn't stop it, and the Gophers got layup after layup. As a matter of fact, the Gophers scored 20 points on their last 10 possessions, many of which using this offense. Great job by Tubby.

- Lawrence Westbrook showed how he scored 40 points a game in high school, showing the aggressiveness we've seen in a couple of early games but this time finishing. For the game, L-Dub ended up with 29 points on 10-16 shooting from the floor. He scored from the outside (2-2 on threes), he scored driving, and he scored in transition. An absolute huge game from Westbrook, rivaling the Vincent Grier display from the Wisconsin game back in the day.

- Damian Johnson made some of the biggest plays of the day, mainly a blocked shot on Wisconsin towards the end as well as a putback late off a missed layup and, of course, the huge three pointer to cut Wisconsin's lead to 1 with under a minute to go. The guy who I said should probably not shoot the ball beyond about twelve feet made a nice jump fake, dribble-step back, and easily swished the second biggest shot of the game and looked smooth doing it. DJ became Voshon Lenard for one play, and it was awesome. He still probably shouldn't make a habit of it though.

- Paul Carter and Devron Bostick, showing why they belong and taking over in the final half. Bostick became scoring option #2 on the day, playing a career high 21 minutes and putting up 11 points, including the game sealing dunk which shut up the stupid Wisconsin fans for good. It was clear that after Westbrook, he was the guy. Carter made a couple of bad mistakes towards the end, including missing the front of a one-and-one and then dribbling the ball of his leg, giving it back to Wisconsin. He more than made up for it with the most awesome blocked shot in history on Jason Bohannon's layup (and thanks for not just pulling it out and running clock, by the way) and his tenacious rebounding. Carter pulled down a game high 11 rebounds as the Gophers damn near outrebounded Bucky, which is a pretty big deal by itself. The fact that Tubby never pulled him speaks volumes about the confidence he has in Carter, and I for one, agree.

- Let's not forget this win happened without much of a contribution from Al Nolen, other than in the early minutes. He finished with 7 points and 5 steals, and certainly got the team out to the big first half lead (which was quickly erased) but was almost non-existent in the second half due to foul trouble, and was gone before the overtime. Nolen showed once again that he is nearly unguardable when he drives, but the Badgers didn't give him any passing lanes to dish and he foreced up a huge variety of horrible "layups" that only Lawrence Westbrook could have made. It's the first time this year I've been horrified by Nolen, and the fact that they won anyway is a beautiful thing.

- I still can't believe they won in the Madison. I can't believe I was there. I can't believe I got a free SoCo shirt from the SoCo girls. I can't believe how subdued everyone was at the bars. I can't believe the Badger fan we went to the game with threw up a little bit on the floor of one of those bars. Awesome trip, all the way around.

- I don't think I'll have a chance to write a full-on preview of the Gophers vs. those nerds from Northwestern. If I get a chance I will, but make no mistake this is a perfect set-up for a let down game. I'd like to think it won't happen with Tubby as the coach, but these kind of things happen to some of the best teams. The Gophers have them on talent and coaching, and should win this game by at least ten, but after a big win on the road, as well as Northwestern's near miss against Purdue which will have them pissed off, I think they throw everything they have at the Gophers. Despite another career day for Shamala, a sluggish game coupled with the Wildcats getting hot down the stretch results in the cancellation of the biggest Gopher win in at least ten years: Northwestern 58, Minnesota 52. Prove me wrong kids, beat the nerds.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eat it wisconsin

Eat it wisconsin

Omg whats a press i

Omg whats a press i cant handle it i am so scared - bucky

So awesome, i've never been

So awesome, i've never been so happy to be anywhere ever. Also props to dawg for willing them to victory.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to Mad-Town

That's right, the Gopher hoops teams heads over the the dirtiest state in the union to take on the hated Badgers on Thursday. The good news is that me, Bogart, and Dawger are taking a road trip to watch the game. The bad news is that the Kohl Center has been a death trap for the Gophers, who haven't won in Madison since 1994. Yes, that includes the most awesomely cheaterful season ever, 1997, which was totally worth the ten years of misery that followed.

Although the Badgers only lost five times at the Kohl between 2001 and 2007, they looked vulnerable earlier this year. Early season wins at home over Long Beach by just seven and Iona and Idaho State by just two made it look like the Badgers might be a pretty poor team this year. The team's leading scorer and rebounder, Brian Butch, had graduated from last year, and the team's defensive leader and fourth leading scorer was gone with him, in Michael Flowers. They've gotten pretty much nothing from any of the freshmen, and returning starters Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft, and Trevon Hughes and sixth man Jason Bohannon looked like they were the same or worse than last year - basically the Badgers looked to be ripe for a Gopher victory in Madison.

Well then conference play started, and suddenly Wisconsin looks like a whole different team. Wins at home over Penn State and Northwestern aren't anything special, but the win @ Michigan says this team could be a contender. With their only at Purdue in a must win for the Boilers, the Badgers are once again terrifying. It's hard to really say what the turn around is, because Wisconsin has seen several different guys step up to drive them to victory.

The scariest guy on the team is their leading scorer, 6-7 senior scorer Marcus Landry, averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He's been really inconsistent this year. After starting the season with 23 points against Long Beach, he didn't break the twenty point mark again until 13 games later when he tallied 23 again against Penn State; he's also put up six games where he failed to break double-digits this season. His rebounding is also down this year over a full board per game, and he's grabbed more than five just three times in the team's 16 games. His inconsistency, and his ability to disappear from games completely, lead me to believe Damian Johnson will be able to handle him.

I'm supposed to say that the second most dangerous player is their second leading scorer, Trevon Hughes, but I'm not scared of him. Yes, I know he lit up the Gopher guards last season at the Barn and had his best game in their most high-profile win last year over Kansas State in the NCAA tournament, but I don't think he's all that good. He's pretty much the exact same player as last season, but with a better shooting touch, and that means that while he can torch some teams he'll put up some serious stinkers too, and he's on a stinker streak. In the four Big Ten games he's shot 5-12, 3-10, 3-8, and 3-11 and has twelve assists to seven turnovers. He has a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio on the year, which is good, but he only averages 2.8 assists per game, which is bad, and puts him behind 9 of the conferences 10 other team's primary ballhandler. He will be most most effective on Thursday if he can drive and draw the defense, then kick it out to his teammates for open shots. But with an average of just those 2.8 assists per game, and the Gophers tough perimeter defense, I don't have a whole lot of faith in him. Of course, he also shoots 48% from three so if they let him get off that skews everything about this game.

Another guy who doesn't scare me is the Badgers' designated three-point shooter, Jason Bohannon. He doesn't scare me for a couple of reasons. First, because the Gophers defend the three very well if your name isn't Matt Gatens, and Jason Bohannon's name is spelled and pronounced differently from Gatens. Second, because for a three-point shooter guy he's really not that good. In his three seasons (including this one) he's never shot better than 40% from three (36% this year), and never averaged as much as two makes per game. Lest you think he's actually not a three point specialist, keep in mind 65% of his field goal attempts are from behind the line - for reference, Shamala is only at 49%. I don't see any way possible Bohannon hurts the Gophers unless they completely fall asleep. Or Hughes manages to kill the Gophers with the penetrate and kick.

A guy who I am scared of is traitor Jon Leuer, the gay kid from Orono. In case you haven't been paying attention, as a freshman last year Leuer mostly played sparingly, but showed his potential in the game against Michigan, scoring 25 points on 8-9 shooting including 5-5 from three. He's taken advantage of the opening for tall white guy who can shoot the three with Butch's departure and made the most of his opportunity. He's more than tripled both his scoring and rebounding to 9.8 points and 4.2 rebounds and has a very confident look about him. He can score from the three point line to the paint, and Sampson and/or Iverson will have their hands full. I think Ralphie will be able to handle him, but I'm more concerned with Colt. Plus I'm sure Leuer has a bit of a chip, and will want to show the Gophers what he's really capable of.

The last guy I will mention for the gay Badgers is the super annoying, Travis Busch crossed with Brian Cardinal type guy who is senior Joe Krabbenhoft. Describing him as workman-like would be an understatement, but he's a hard worker who is pretty much the only Badger you can count night after night. He averages 8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and you can bet he'll be right around those numbers. What I really don't like here is that offensive rebounding is an effort thing in a lot of cases, and you know Krabby will bring the effort against the Gophers, whose biggest weakness is still allowing offensive rebounds. It's a concern.

Team stats-wise, Wisconsin does two things extremely well: they don't turn the ball over and they don't give up offensive rebounds, two things I probably could have predicted without actually looking anything up. The Gophers are actually pretty good at getting offensive boards - I know, I had no clue either - and excel at turning teams over, so it should be fairly interesting here.

If Minnesota can get Wisconsin out of their tempo (one of the slowest teams in the nation; again) and force turnovers (not bloody likely) they will be in good shape. The Gophers are infinitely more talented than the Badgers, and I honestly think Hughes and Landry are the only guys on the team that would crack the Gophers rotation (real rotation, not the one that includes Busch and Shamala). That being said, this freaking game is in Madison, and as we know it's damn near impossible to win there. With me, Bogart, and Dawger there will things change? No, unfortunately they will not. Hughes will play one of his random good games, Bohannon will go off, and Leuer will step up hugely to prove he's the worst traitor since Marcus Brutus, and the drunken morons will taunt us at the campus bars after the game until Dawg gets in a fight and I get my glasses knocked off (ha-ha, I'm going to wear contacts instead) as the dirty evil stinky faggy jerkstore Badgers win, 63-60 as a Westbrook three pointer clangs off the front rim as time expires.

Damn it.

On the bright side I guess, I fully expect the Badgers to use single coverage on Sampson and Iverson with Leuer and Nankivil, so they'll have their chances to shine. Also with a chance to shine, Wisconsin girls. Holy hell:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baseball Fun Facts

Even in the midst of this very exciting Gopher basketball season, and a fun college hoops season in general, the other day I found myself looking forward to opening day for YOUR Minnesota Twins (This is Twins Territory, after all). Perhaps influenced a bit by the Hall of Fame Inductions today, whereupon the inimitable Rickey Henderson and overrated Jim Rice got in, but our very own beloved birthday-lover and compulsive circler Bert Blyleven fell short again, I am very much in a baseball mood.

I don't really feel like breaking down the arguments for and against Blyleven (should be in), Black Jack Morris (out), Tim Raines (in), Tommy John (out), Mark McGwire (in), Andre Dawson (out), Lee Smith (out), Alan Trammell (in) and the rest. I also can't really break down any major Twins happenings, since that roster has seen less action than the Todd so far this winter. The only moves of even the slightest note were the Punto signing, which shouldn't have happened - not for that much money, and the R.A. Dickey signing which I already blogged about, less than enthusiastically. Although I could mention that the Egyptian was on the same plane as Punto last month, and unfortunately couldn't quite place who he was, at one point wondering if he was mildly retarded.

So what's a brother to do? I think I'll just play around with both baseball reference and Minor League Ball and see what happens. I should also note I'm having a drink right now (vodka & cranberry - with lime - naturally) but I don't plan to get drunk so this probably won't be all that funny.

- Speaking of funny, don't forget that we here at Down with Goldy are proud sponsors of the Scott Stahoviak page at baseball reference.

- Do you know who is the career leader in home runs amongst Hall of Fame eligible players other than Mark McGwire? It's Jose Canseco, with 462 steroid-free home runs. Ozzie Canseco hit zero; although he did hit 49 in his minor-league career. I read his book by the way, Jose's not Ozzie's, and it was ok. There's no review of it on this page because I finished it on February 13, 2007 but didn't start the blog until April of 2007. It was mostly Jose bitching about how the league didn't treat him fairly, very much like the Pete Rose book, actually. A lot of whining in both.

- If you're wondering how I know the exact date I finished the Canseco book, it's because I keep a very nerdy list in Excel detailing all the books I read. Yes, I'm fully aware how nerdy that is, but I don't care. For the record, it was 52 books in 2006, 62 in 2007, 43 in 2008 (stupid baby), and 1 so far this year (Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea by Charles Seife - if you like math I fully recommend it, if you're a typical mouth-breather who reads this crappy blog, stay far way and stick to your Maxim).

- The non-HOFer with the most career RBI is Harold Baines with 1,628 which surprises me a bit. He had more RBI in his career than George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Harmon Killebrew, Joe DiMaggio, Tris Speaker, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, and Jim Rice, among many others. That's impressive. More impressive if RBI was a stat that wasn't so largely dependent on good teammates and opportunity, but still.

- Corey Koskie had more RBI in his career than Mike Pagliarulo, although Pags kicks the Canadian's ass in non-sensical blog entries.

- How about batting average, since I know you people are so in love with it. Don't have to look far down the list, as Lefty O'Doul ranks fourth all-time with a career average of .349 and he is not a HOFer. Pretty good player, but was only around for like seven years or so, amassing just 1,140 career hits. He was basically Matt Holliday if Holliday's career ended right now, but with a higher average and slightly less power.

- By the way, I just want to let it be known that Luke Harangody cannot guard Samardo Samuels, and I mean at all.

- How about OPS+, that's a good one. You know who the top 5 guys in OPS+ all-time are? Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, and Rogers Hornsby. Yeah, it's a pretty good talent evaluator. Interestingly, Albert Pujols ranks tied for seventh on that list, I guess he's been pretty decent. The leader not in the hall of fame is Pete Browning, with an OPS+ of 162 which is tied with McGwire and better than Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. Of course, Browning's last game was played in 1894 so his numbers are a bit weird, although his 9 home runs in 1885 were third in the American Association.

- Here's something interesting I stumbled upon: Ned Williamson hit 27 home runs in a 112 game season in 1884 for the Chicago White Stockings, a record that stood for 35 years until some fat ass named Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. However, "Williamson benefited from a very short outfield fence in his home ballpark, Lakeshore Park. During the park's previous years, balls hit over the fence in that park were ground-rule doubles, but in 1884 (its final year) they were credited as home runs. Williamson led the pace, but several of his Chicago teammates also topped the 20 HR mark that season. Of Williamson's total, 25 were hit at home, and only 2 on the road." Interesting, looking a bit deeper, the previous year he had just 2 home runs, but 49 doubles. I'm guessing most of those were at home.

- I love how the parks were all quirky back in the day, which is why I loved the crazy hill in center field at Enron, but nothing could compare to the Baker Bowl. The home park of the Phillies until 1938, the Baker Bowl had a wall in right field that made the Green Monster look like a little girl. It was 60 feet high and was just 280 feet from home plate, compared to the Monster which is just 37 feet high and 310 feet away. So it was about 20 feet higher and 30 feet closer than the Green Monster. Crazy. And basically the reason Chuck Klein destroyed the league from 1929 - 1933.

- Ok, enough about with the history lesson. Let's take a page from Doc Brown's book and look to the future, but I warn you it's bleak.

- The Twins top 20 prospect list is out from John Sickels of Minor League Ball, and I warn you it ain't pretty. Look:
1) Ben Revere, OF, Grade B+: Picking between Revere and Hicks is tough, but I went with the guy with the bigger track record. Kenny Lofton possibilities here.
2) Aaron Hicks, OF, Grade B+. Could flip with Revere due to higher power ceiling.
3) Wilson Ramos, C, Grade B: Good glove, strong bat.
4) Shooter Hunt, RHP, Grade B: Some worries about his command.
5) Danny Valencia, 3B, Grade B-: Might have strike zone problems.
6) Jose Mijares, LHP, Grade B-: Terrific arm, erratic, has command and personality issues.
7) Kevin Mulvey, RHP, Grade B-: Exact opposite of Mijares, okay stuff but with strong command and makeup.
8) Carlos Gutierrez, RHP, Grade B-: Not going to bet against this guy after the Twins proved to be right about Revere.
9) Rob Delaney, RHP, Grade B-: Is this too high? Should he be a C+?
10) Chris Parmalee, OF, Grade C+: Got hurt, low batting average, but still young, lots of power and walks.
11) Angel Morales, OF, Grade C+: Great tools, power, but plate discipline a big problem.
12) David Bromberg, RHP, Grade C+: High ERA masks strong K/IP ratio, looks interesting to me.
13) Tyler Robertson, LHP, Grade C+: Would rank higher if not for arm problems.
14) Anthony Slama, RHP, Grade C+: Good solid relief arm.
15) Luke Hughes, 3B, Grade C+: Worried about the strike zone with this one.
16) Anthony Swarzak, RHP, Grade C+: Check out the component marks in Triple-A; they are more important than the pretty ERA.
17) Steven Tolleson, INF, Grade C+: Intriguing player, could rank higher depending on what you want to emphasize.
18) Jeff Manship, RHP, Grade C+: Could have been victim of bad luck in Double-A, as K/IP and K/BB remained steady.
19) Jason Pridie, OF, Grade C+: Interesting mix of strengths and weaknesses, still seem him as a fourth outfielder.
20) Charles Nolte, RHP, Grade C+: Favorite of ground ball fetishists.
21) Bobby Lanigan, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper from the 2008 draft.

Before I talk about who is on this list, let's talk about who is NOT on this list: Deolis Guerra. Remember him? The second big prospect from the Santana trade (other than Carlos Gomez who Snacks says has the most talent of any Twin and that includes Mauer and Morneau) who was ranked the #2 prospect in the Mets system by Baseball Prospectus and instantly became the #1 Twins prospect? Uh, yeah, it's not good. A little deeper digging shows that Guerra had some serious problems this season, not just in his numbers - 5.47 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, disgusting 1-1 BB/K ratio - but also in his mechanics and ability. Apparently his fastball has fallen down to the 86-88 miles per hour range, and had several starts where he didn't touch 90 on the gun. What this means is the Twins pretty much traded Sandy Koufax for Vince Coleman, Les Straker, Brien Taylor (or Todd Van Poppel), and David West. THAT'S SO AWESOME.

- Should I live blog a movie again? I enjoy doing it, but is it entertaining to read?

- Back to that Santana trade, it looks like Mulvey still has a shot at least, coming in as the #7 prospect, but Humber is nowhere to be found. THAT IS ALSO SO AWESOME.

- #15 on the list, 3B-man Luke Hughes is intriguing, mostly because he was first pointed out to me by Dawger in this post. As Sickels mentions, Hughes strikes out a ton (once every 3.8 ABs last year in AA/AAA) but he still really made some leaps in hitting the baseball last year. With the black hole that seemingly will not be filled at third base, if he can duplicate his AA numbers from last year (.319/.385/.551 and 15 homers in 285 ABs) at AAA this year, we could see him with the big club. I guarantee he's better than Tony Batista.

- #11 on the list Angel Morales could be an absolute stud. He's just 18 years old, but led the Appalachian League in home runs last season with 15 in 183 at bats, racking up a line of .301/.413/.623. Seventy-two strikouts in 185 at bats is a bit troubling, but he can hit for average, takes walks, and hits for power and to the gaps. Keep your eye out for this dude.

- Lastly, you'll notice Jason Pridie at #19 despite sucking badly. Eduardo Morlan, who the Twins traded back to Tampa in that deal, checks in at #13 for the Rays and continues to put up excellent numbers as a reliever in the minors. That's depressing. Not as depressing as Matt Garza winning NLCS MVP, but still.