WHO WAS AWESOME.
1. Gopher hoops. Click here for a proper recap, but to put it short, that was a solid win against a solid team, and the fact that they were able to actually manage to come back from down 5 with six minutes to go, against said solid team, just really impresses me. I guess I have a low impress threshold. I suppose it's just one more thing Gopher basketball has stolen from me. And yet I can't stop going back. I'm like a beaten woman, aren't I. Oh my god I'm Aaliyah and the Gophers are Chris Brown.
2. Royce White. God mother hell shit fart. This sucks. Royce with 25 and 11 in his ISU debut, with 3 blocks and a couple assists to go with it. And here's you, sitting there in your Laz-E-Boy watching Cops and swirling your brandy around even though it's fucking Korbel and making snide comments about how you wonder how many security guards he's pushed down or how many laptops he's stolen. It's people like you that will always hold the Gopher basketball program down with your judging judgement. What about the bible, fella? Doesn't it say "don't be a pompous judgmental ass or I'll turn you into a pillar of salt" or something? I think it's in Leviticus.
3. Utah State. There were better wins this weekend - UNC's over Michigan State for one - but between pure emotion and actual effect on an NCAA bid Utah's State's win over BYU might end up being the biggest. In terms of NCAA Tournament implications, Utah State always needs quality wins since they're in the WAC where quality wins are basically impossible to come by and this was only one of three games against quality opponents for USU. Huge win in the RPI sense. Also a huge win in the "i hate these fuckin' guys" sense, because Utah Staties hate BYU, mostly because they're a bunch of prissy dickheads. Here is a video of Utah State students welcoming BYU to their arena. Solid effort.
4. Kendall Marshall. You know how sometimes thing don't live up to the hype like Terra Nova, every Hannibal Lecter movie after Silence of the Lambs, flavored Mountain Dew (other than Live Wire), the last two George R.R. Martin novels, or having kids? Well I finally got a good chance to watch Kendall Marshall on Sunday against UNC-Asheville and this dude is straight legit. The stats are crazy - he had 15 assists - but just watching him it's clear he's the best point guard UNC has had since Ed Cota and he might even be better. He's got that smooth playability about him where he doesn't really look like he's moving quickly or even really trying (like Evan Turner) but continually gets past people and his court vision is off the charts. Whether it's a simple entry pass, running the break, or getting the ball up the court as fast as possible by passing it ahead, he's a legit point guard and as far as pure points go I'm thinking he might be the best in the country. Outside of Justin Cobbs, of course.
5. Mark Sanchez. Actually he sucks and couldn't get the Jets in the end zone with four plays inside the 10 at the end of the game, but he's awesome because as part of a teaser I had Jets/Pats under 54 and so boom. The final leg is Vikes/Pack over 43, and there's almost no way the Pack doesn't even get there by themself, am I right?
1. UCLA. You know how the Pac-10 has been in shambles for a few years and getting even two NCAA bids was kind of an accomplishment? Well it's probably going to happen again. Arizona looks like a sloppy mess right now, but at least they managed to not eff it up so badly that they actually lost, unlike the Bruins. Yes, UCLA managed to lose their opener. Not only did they lose, they lost to a mid-tier WCC team in Loyola-Marymount. At home. By 11. The first time LMU beat UCLA since 1941. Ouch. Particularly impressive was point guard Lazeric Jones going 1-11 from the field for the Bruins, but they'll get some help at the point next game when Jerime Anderson is back, who was suspended one game for stealing a laptop this summer. Huh? A one game suspension for stealing a laptop. How interesting. Personally I would have run him right off campus and made sure he transferred out, probably going to a school in a neighboring state where he'd have a right smashing debut. It's the proper way to handle it.
2. Butler. I know Butler lost to Evansville last year early and still made the Nat Champ Game, and I know that losing Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard would be pretty tough for anybody so dropping a game to Evansville (in Evansville) is probably not that big a deal. Then again, last year at 9-9 was the first time Evansville reached .500 in conference (MVC) play since 2000 so losing to them is not exactly excusable. Let me put it this way, outside the Aces two wins over Butler the last two years their only notable non-conference win dating back to 2001 was over Purdue in 2005. This ain't exactly a giant killing program. Maybe Evansville just has Butler's number, or maybe it's going to take a while to adjust to no Howard and no Mack, but maybe Butler just flat sucks this year. They're going to struggle there's no doubt, because there's some quality Horizon opponents this year. And speaking of......
3. Vanderbilt. You know how every time Vandy has a supposed good team they get bounced early in the NCAA Tournament? Well apparently this year's version decided just to go out and start disappointing people right away because they lost on Sunday to Cleveland State 71-58. Now in reality losing to Cleveland State isn't that bad of a loss because Cleveland State is one of the best teams in one of the best mid-major conferences in the country, and they will likely be in the running for an at-large bid come end of the year if they don't win the Horizon tournament. But still, this was at Vanderbilt and the Commodores supposedly have their best team of all time and are ranked 7th in the country, so due to those circumstances this is a pretty crappy loss. Vandy sucked, you might even say.
4. Kansas City Chiefs. Actually there were so many NFL teams who embarrassed themselves this week it was hard to pick just one. The Chiefs lost (at home) to Denver despite the Broncos completing just two passes the entire game. The Ravens lost to the T-Jax led Seahawks while passing 53 times and only giving Ray Rice eight carries. The Lions got smoked by the Bears by something like 50 points, the Eagles continued their unstoppable march to mediocrity by losing at home to a terrible Eagles team, and Buffalo reminded everyone they are Buffalo by getting crushed by Dallas. Just a bizarre week in the NFL with a lot of really ugly games by ugly teams. I'd say at this rate the Vikings actually have a chance to beat the Pack tonight.
5. Cain Velasquez. I don't know why I keep trying to get back into these fighting sports. First Mayweather/Ortiz which ends in Floyd knocking out Ortiz while Ortiz is defenseless (his own fault but still), then Hopkins/Dawson which ended with an essential body slam and/or an old man looking to quit. Now Saturday night I decide to check in on UFC and I get to see Velasquez, the "champion" (quotes should be read as air quotes), get hit in the face once, fall down, and then cry. Seriously, pros should be able to take a punch, if I wanted to watch someone get knocked out I'd just ask someone to hit me (although the one time it actually happened after Dawger pickd a fight with some gang member and some other dude sucker punched me in the face and I was all like I will kill you mother fucker but he knocked my glasses off so I couldn't see shit and had no idea what was going on but I asked some other gang member dude to help me find my glasses since it was bullshit that the dude sucker punched me and he actually helped me look for them). So yeah, I could beat up Cain Velasquez. FACT.
As far as the Gophers go, they keep it going by taking on South Dakota State tonight. The Jackrabbits are on a very similar plane as Bucknell as far as talent level goes - a good team from a terrible conference - and it should be a similar story to the Bucknell game - they have some good players and can be dangerous if the Gophers either don't play well or take them too lightly, but the Gophers really have no excuse for losing this game.
SDSU is another team that shoots the ball very well from three (41% last year) and they have a player in Nate Wolters who can take over a game and who many people who are stupid think should be a Gopher. Wolters has a shot at winning Summit League Player of the Year this season, averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists per game last year, and opened up this year by dropping 32 (with 11 assists) in the Jackrabbits' win over Western Michigan. Wolters is also from St. Cloud, which means people in this state are needlessly in love with him and also means he'll have a bit of extra motivation. Him coming out and scoring 30+ is a very real possibility.
There are a couple of other decent players here (Jordan Dykstra in the post and SG Griffen Callahan both have the ability to score 20), but, like on Friday, the Gophers have more size, athleticism, ability, talent, and depth. I expect SDSU to come out with a burst of emotion and grittiness and keep this one tight in the first half, but the Gophers should pull this one out by 10+ by the time it's over. Of course, I say should, but once again this isn't a cupcake opponent and if the Gophers let them get hot from the perimeter and nobody's making shots for the Gophers isn't going to be tough. Mbakwe and Sampson will probably be doubled again all day, so somebody else is going to have to help.
Or Mbakwe just grabs 20 boards and scores on putbacks all game because SDSU has absolutely nobody who can keep him off the glass.
Minnesota 72, South Dakota State 62
(If you're looking for something a little more in-depth, I'd assume From the Barn has got you covered)
|This picture comes up if you search for Jackrabbits Cheerleaders. Good enough, amiright?|