Monday, January 2, 2012

Week in Review - 1/3/2012

I was considering doing a "Year in Review" post, like similar to the usual week in review but covering the whole year.  But then I realized that would require me writing about things that happened like, months ago and years of heavy drinking and glue sniffing have made my memory really similar to that Memento guy and so I said eff it.

And really, other than highlighting an awesome guy and a sucky guy from the Gopher game on Sunday I don't really have much to say about the Gophers' two games this week (partially because I didn't watch most of the Illinois game.)  They were expected to lose both games and did, while not embarrassing themselves in the process.   What I'm really not sure what to think about are how the team has had chances to win both games and blew them both.  If Julian Welch makes two free-throws, or even one, rather than missing the front end of a one-and-one in regulation against Illinois they probably win that game (certainly with two, maybe with one).  If Welch makes an open lay-up in the first OT, they might win that game.  If Rodney Williams knocks down a wide open three-pointer against Michigan we head to overtime.  And if the team gets a good shot instead of a shot clock violation on their second-to-last possession, maybe the result is different (this one I blame on Tubby - nice playcall).

On the one hand, they were in both games and absolutely could have won either or both.  On the other hand, they won neither and failed to capitalize on any of the opportunities that came their way.  Since they weren't expected to win either game I'm going to choose to make no changes to my opinion of this team as a deeply flawed squad that has enough ability to be in the hunt for an NCAA bid as long as they make no mistakes (like losing to Iowa - suck it, Badgers) and win a game or two that they probably shouldn't.  They had chances to steal two of those wins this week and whiffed.  Hopefully they find a way to take advantage next time.


1.   Ricky Rubio. Moral victories are for grandmas, sissies, and liberals so I'm really glad they beat the Mavs because I'd feel kind of weird talking up Rubio if the Wolves were sitting at 0-3, but I'd probably do it anyway because oh my god Ricky Rubio is so awesome he makes me crap my pants. Dude sees the court like a mofo.  No, seriously, he's incredible.  The way his head is always up and some of the angles and passes he sees are un-freaking-real.  A lot of point guards can make a great pass hear and there, but I've seriously never seen anyone like this since Magic Johnson.  Yeah, you heard me.  Name another PG that sees the court the way Magic and Rubio did/do?  Stockton?  Every single assist he had was on a pick-and-roll and was the exact same pass (you can look it up).  Paul?  Please.  Nash?  Poor man's Rubio.  He's just so good.  We'll see about his defense and shooting in the future, but his passing is like whoa.  Plus Ricky's even contagious because I saw Beasley pass up an open jumper to try to find a teammate for a lay-up against the Mavs.  No, seriously it happened.  Of course he turned it over by throwing it into traffic, but, like self-exploration, it's the thought that counts. [and then tonight, after I wrote this, they go and dominate the Spurs in a game they led wire-to-wire.  Can you say playoffs?  I'm seeing playoffs.]

2.  Alamo Bowl.  If you like stuff like defense and tackling you probably hated the Alamo Bowl and are also probably like 60 years old and drink sherry because that was freaking awesome.  Baylor 67, Washington 56 in mother effing regulation are you kidding me?  A bowl record for yardage, touchdowns, points, and "are you freaking kidding me" moments - how could you not love it?  Baylor had three guys rush for over 100 yards, while Washington QB Keith Price waited until this bowl game to have the best game of his career, throwing for 438 yards and 4 TDs and rushing for three more scores.  Fun fact:  This was just Price's second career game with 300+ yards, second game with 4 TDs and no picks, and those 3 rushing TDs were the first 3 of his career - not his first 3 TD game, the first 3 rushing TDs ever.  Just a crazy entertaining game in every way, and anything that gets cranky curmudgeons all up in arms whining about the days of leather helmets and 6-3 ball games ok in my book.  Suck it, grandpa.  Go listen to some Mellancamp.

3.  Trey Burke.  Son of a whore is this kid good.  I don't even think I can blame the Gophers for this one because so much of what he did was just knocking down shots after creating space for himself.  Obviously he's not going to shoot 8-11 from the floor very often, but his 46% from the field so far this year is pretty solid for somebody who takes as many mid-range jumpers as he does, particularly for a freshman, and his 76% free throw accuracy this year says he's probably going to be a very solid shooter who is just going to get better.  Which depresses me immensely.  You know where Burke was on Rivals Top 100 list?  #142.  You know where Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman were?  #110 and #121.  I like some of what I've seen from those two, but they are NO WHERE near Burke.  God damn Beilein.  

4.  Spencer Hawes and Kyle Lowry.  This is more representative of any player who is having a crazy good start to the NBA season but Hawes and Lowry stand out to me because Hawes is averaging 12.5 rebs per game so far and Lowry is leading the league with 11.5 assists per game.  You know in a shortened season with basically no training camp you're going to see some weird things, and I suppose you could have seen Lowry coming, especially with Aaron Brooks out of the picture, but Hawes?  Guy had the look of a career back-up and another big white stiff since he came out of Washington, and is suddenly shooting 68% from the floor after being a 47% career shooter with career highs in points and that massive jump in rebounds (career just 5.6 per game).  Did he suddenly get it?  Doubtful.  It's not like he had anybody blocking his development, so I'm going with fluky fluke.

5.  Indiana Hoosiers.  How can I possibly leave them off after the beat Ohio State, which now means they've beat the #1 and #2 teams in the country this season (or that's what they were ranked when the Hoosiers beat them).   What's most amazing to me is that it's basically the exact same team from the last couple of years when they were terrible.  The only real change was the addition of Zeller, and although I'm really impressed with him (as documented somewhere within this stupid blog), he shouldn't be able to just suddenly make a terrible team good.  Did Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones suddenly become good?  No, of course not.  So I don't know.  Maybe Zeller is that good.  Maybe Tom Crean deserves a hell of a lot of credit.  Maybe it's the whole Victor Oladipo thing.  I don't know because I haven't watched Indiana yet this year, but I'm thinking I should probably want to do that.


1.  Ralph Sampson.  Have you ever seen a big man more passive when he gets the ball on the block?  It's like that center in that Simpsons episode about soccer - wing passes to center, center holds it, holds it, holds it.  Every time just looking to pass, waiting for the double team.  Almost hoping for that second defender like a chubby 17-year old girl staring at the phone just hoping that really cute boy will call (ok fine, chubby dude and cute girl and it was me, you happy now?).  I looked at the box score for that Illinois game that I didn't really watch and saw Ralph had 19 shot attempts.  19!  How is that even possible?   What happened?  That's a career high in shot attempts, the first time he's hit double figure attempts this year (you cannot make a big enough question mark/exclamation point combination for that one), and just the second time in his career he's topped 14 FGAs in a game.  The last time?  Last year against Illinois when he had 17 attempts.  I'd say he must like the matchup against Illinois but their front line is completely different this year so you fucking figure it out.  I give up on this mess.  He now joins Voshon Lenard's senior year, Michael Bauer''s senior year, Rick Rickert, Adam Boone, and Antoine Broxsie on the most disappointing Gophers ever list.

2.  Brock Lesnar. As you know if you pay a shockingly creepy amount of attention to the things I write you know that I used to be like way into boxing and am trying to get back into boxing and/or UFC or MMA or whatever you call it.   Well I watched it again on Friday night and I saw some fairly entertaining undercards (Nate Ortiz omg hi 2 u) and then the main event happened and oh my Tebow.   I wish we were having an actual conversation right now because I'd be all like "did you see that" and you'd either be like "yeah dude wtf" and we'd high five or you'd be like "no dude, what happened" and we'd high five.  Basically Lesnar came out, clearly didn't want to be there, looked terrified like a little bunny, got kicked in the ribs, fell down, and instead of trying to get up he just covered his face with his hands either to cry or to try to block the 83 haymakers the other dude landed on his noggin before the ref mercifully ended the fight (maybe both).  Then he quit the sport.  It was, well, not very impressive to say the least.

3.  Wisconsin Badgers.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.   OMG.  hahahahahahahahahahahaha.  Iowa?  You lost to Iowa at home?  Oh my god so awesome.  I knew the Badgers sucked this year.  3-28 from three.  Awesome.  And Iowa isn't even good at defending against the three-pointer.  Nice offense, Bo Ryan.  You know it's ok to drift inside the arc from time to time, right?  So awesome.

4.  Pitt Panthers.  For whatever reason, behind Wisconsin, Iowa, and Duke on my most hated basketball schools list sits Pitt, so this pretty epic collapse they have going on is yet another loss, this time to Cincy, and this time at home.  That loss follows an embarrassing home loss to Wagner and a road loss at dreadful Notre Dame.  You may recall that Pitt started the year ranked 10th and won eleven of their first twelve games, so this is quite the slide.  Turns out when you forget how to shoot, don't take care of the basketball, and play terrible defense you end up losing a bunch of games.  Hell, at least the Gophers play defense (sort of).

5.  Florida Gators.  Since I consider Florida to be a legit sleeper to win the NCAA Tournament their loss earlier this week against Rutgers, one of the worst teams in the Big East, was a bit troubling.  Both teams are pretty heavily backcourt dependent, so you'd think this would play right into the Gators' hands, but it wasn't meant to be.  Although Florida's guards (Brad Beal, Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario, and Erving Walker) scored a total of 55 points it came on just 18-53 shooting, they turned it over 15 times to just 10 assists, and they allowed Rutgers guards (also four dudes) to score 74 points on 31-57 shooting and they dished 15 assists to just 7 turnovers.  I know they say Rutgers gym is a tough place for visiting teams to play (and I only remember that from way back when Quincy Douby was there and the team was decent), but this shakes my confidence in my sleeper team a little.  On the other hand it's tough to believe all four of those guards will play poorly on the same night again.  It would be like lightning striking twice, although if you ask that dude from The Great Outdoors that happens all the time.

I was gonna put something else here but it's really late and I'm still watching this damn Fiesta Bowl so I don't feel like it anymore.

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