Archive for the ‘college basketball’ category

Illinois-Minnesota live blog

March 15, 2008

Illinois_Minnesota 

I’m not a huge Illini basketball fan, but I decided to fill a few hours on a lazy Saturday live-blogging the Big Ten semifinal game against the Golden Gophers.

19:19–Minnesota starts the scoring by getting a turnover, going on a 3-on-1, settling for a 10-foot jumper, missing it, and then scoring on a putback. Who says Big Ten basketball is bad this year?
18:08–Billy Packer says that both teams are playing ‘very comfortably’ at this point in the season…….yes, both teams are very comfortable with the fact that they both suck and still have the chance to make the NCAA tournament.
16:25–While watching the Minnesota-Indiana game last night at a sports bar and grill, Mrs. HHY was bewildered by the fact that Minnesota’s nickname is the Golden Gophers, and their coach’s name is Tubby Smith. She didn’t believe me until about 12 minutes into the game on either count.
16:08–Alert the press: Illinois is 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
14:15–Illini lead 7-4 at the first commercial break. I decide to flip around and land on a ‘Sopranos’ rerun on A&E. Its the episode where Finn finds Vito blowing the security guard. I wonder if Vito will ever get another acting gig. Thats a tough thing to be known for, even if it is just a part.
13:26–I don’t know how familiar you are with Illinois and Minnesota basketball, but these have to be the two worst offensive teams to play each other in a Big Ten semifinal…….ever. The Gophers just ran the clock down for 30 seconds only to have the center throw a shot off the side of the backboard.
12:36–There hasn’t been a field goal in over four minutes. This was a great idea. Oh. There we go….shot made by Calvin Brock of the Illni. 9-5 Illinois.
11:41–Another commercial break. This time I flip to the White Sox-Cubs exhibition game. I stay long enough to hear my guy Hawk Harrelson say ‘choppertwohopper’. I’m ready for Spring, even if the Sox suck.
10:59–To this point, Illinois looks far better than Minnesota. The Gophers are struggling just to get a shot off. Neither of these teams have a chance tomorrow against Wisconsin.
10:05–Illinois just blew a 3-on-1 break of their own which resulted in a turnover and easy hoop for Minnesota. We’re halfway through the first half, and Minnesota is on pace for 28 points. Against the 10th best team in the Big Ten. Lord.
8:06–Things are starting to open up a bit, as Trent Meachem hits a three for the Illini to give his team a 18-12 lead. There’s hope yet.
6:23–Illinois is showing some life, up 22-14, and they’ve hit five straight field goals. But as Illinois fans know, the first halves of games haven’t been the problem this year. But that is balanced by the fact that they haven’t lost to the Gophers since 1999, according to Packer and Jim Nantz. I have pretty much forgotten all of the years between 1995 and 2000. I was in college; I’m sure you understand.
4:30–Neither of these teams have anyone who can get their own shot or has enough balls to take a contested jumper. Therefore, if one of these teams makes 60 points I’ll be shocked.
3:27–Demetrius McCamey, the best player on the Illini by far, hits a three to make it 26-19. Minnesota responds by running the shot clock down to two for the 12th time of the first half and then throwing a brick off the front iron.
2:46–The real story of the game so far is that Illinois is 10-of-14 from the free throw line, and Shaun Pruitt is 4-of-5. In other equally-as-believable news, Diora Baird just walked in to my apartment naked offering a free titty-fuck and I told her I was busy.
:20–Pruitt just hit a contested fall away to give him 12 points, 5 boards, and 3 blocks in the first half. Minnesota center Spencer Tollackson is not going to rush to include this half on his highlight reel.
Halftime–Illinois 29, Minnesota 23. Illinois’ defense has been strong (or Minnesota’s offense has been atrocious) and they have hit their free throws, and the Illini are only up 6. I’m gonna see what the second half line is; I’m liking the Gophers.
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20:00–The second half spread is a pick ’em. There’s no way Illinois is winning by more than six. I drop a 50 spot on the Gophers.
17:23–I see that Duke is losing to Clemson early in the second half. I would turn that game on if I wasn’t blogging; its probably for the best–if I saw the ridiculous calls Duke will get down the stretch of that game, I’d get so upset I might want to kick a baby.
15:16–Some dude named McKenzie just hit a fallaway three for Minnesota which stayed in the air for about a week before toasting the nylon. These are the types of shots the Gophers are taking on half their possessions. Just awesome offensive production. Why did I bet again?
14:51–Minnesota alum Tony Dungy has joined Packer and Nantz to talk about the game. After ten seconds, he realizes Packer is gay and that he hates him.
13:42–McKenzie hits a runner in the lane to cut it to 32-30 Illinois. Feed McKenzie, Tubby! Feed him!
11:58–Tied at 32 as Williams (?) hits a jumper from the free throw line. Dungy says that the Gopher defense is the reason for the ‘comeback’. Yes, thats probably it….not that Illinois is one of the worst ten offensive teams in the country. Stick to blowing playoff games and hating gays, Tony.
(Can someone explain these AT&T commercials with the guy doing the Harry Caray impression? Why Harry Caray? What does he have to do with my phone service? Also, its not exactly topical–he died ten fucking years ago. Plus, the impression sucks. A buddy of mine in college did a better Harry impression, and he’s a damn IT consultant now.)
10:08–Its till 32-32. Seriously.
9:24–McCamey heard me complaining….nails a three to make it 37-32 Illinois. While I’m typing, Brock hits a jumper in transition for the Illini and I’m losing by a point.
8:14–McKenzie AGAIN!!!! You can’t stop him, you can only……well, you can probably stop him if you try really hard. Well, not really hard. Just get a hand in his face.
6:55–The two teams have 8 field goals and 9 turnovers in the second half. What am I doing watching this?
6:00–Illinois by 4. This is about the 6th commercial break in the last 4 minutes. I click over and see Clemson up 5 over Duke with a minute left. Dickie V and Mike Patrick announce they are starting a petition saying that if Clemson wins, the game doesn’t count.
4:22–Its obvious that the Gophers have absolutely no one on offensive. Outside of McKenzie’s three crazy shots, they have 6 points in the second half.
(Also, Clemson has beaten Duke to advance to the ACC Championship against a team–North Carolina–they haven’t beaten since the early 80s. Stacey Dales does an interview with some Tiger and immediately shows she is pushing Erin Andrews for sideline reporting supremacy.)
2:32–Brian Randle hits a layup to make it 50-40 Illinois. I might be done, unless the Illini go back to the team that can’t hit a free throw to save their lives down the stretch.
1:37–Minnesota’s Nolen hits a layup and gets fouled, but misses the free throw……fucking Illinois is supposed to be the team that misses key free throws.
1:17–Nolen hits 2 free throws. Also, I learn McKenzie’s first name is Lawrence. 52-46 Illinois.
:52–Meachem misses a free throw, Minnesota gets the rebound–and promptly dribbles the ball of the foot of an Illinois player. The Illini get the loose ball and get fouled again. Kill me.
:39–The Illini continue to foul the Gophers as if they have money on their opponents. So I got that going for me. 53-47 Illinois.
:20–After Chester Frazier hits one of two for the Illini, some white dude on Minnesota who I haven’t seen in the game all day hits a three for the Gophers. 54-50 Illinois. I’m up 2. I’m almost positive Illinois will end up winning this game by 7 or 8 at this point.
:15–Illinois inbounds the ball to Brock and he dribbles it off his foot out of bounds. What athleticism. Minnesota inbounds the ball, puts up a shot, misses, and Brock rebounds the ball and simultaneously gets punched in the face, falling to the ground. The refs take about five minutes to determine that its neither a foul or a travelling violation. Illinois ball. All righty. This game is truly a shining example of how James Naismith dreamed it up.
(Now, the refs are saying there should be 4.8 seconds on the clock, even though replays show Brock hit the ground and the ref blow his whistle with 7.4 left. Whatever.)
4.8–After all that, Illinois inbounds the ball and the Gophers fail to foul. Illinois runs out the clock and wins 54-50. I win!!!

Folks, when this Illinois team make your conference’s final, you have a shitty conference. Hope you had fun. At least I made 50 bones while watching this piece of garbage.

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I guess its time to talk about college hoops

February 7, 2008

Well, football is over. I’m starting to come to terms with the loss of the NFL for another 6 months or so. Baseball doesn’t really start to get interesting for another 6 weeks. And while the NBA Playoffs, especially out west, will be interesting, the Bulls are an abortion and the association is almost worth ignoring until April or May.

So that leaves me with college hoops.

I really am not a college basketball expert, but I have a strategy when it comes to deciding who I am going to pick in my brackets come March. Around this time, after football, I start watching some games and making determinations about which teams I really like. I pick one of these teams, and although I reserve the right to change my mind after the conference tournaments, usually I end up riding that team all the way through my bracket predictions.

Two years ago, after watching them play a couple times, I decided that Florida would be that team. They got hot in late February and early March, won the SEC tourney, went into the NCAAs as a 3 or 4 seed, and eventually won the title. I picked them in all my brackets. The same happened back when Arizona won it in 1997.

I hate picking the favorites. Sometimes, I’ll pick a number one seed to go all the way–like in 2005 when North Carolina beat Illinois. It was obvious that those two teams were the best in the country, and I picked them to make the final. But I felt dirty about it. ‘Hey, you picked the number one and number two ranked teams to go the distance, huh? What an expert! Did you stay up late analyzing tape for two months in order to come up with that conclusion?’ I’d much rather pick a 3-6 seed and have a small chance to look like I know what I’m talking about. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick a 1 seed just because I want to look smart. If I think a ‘1’ is far and away the best team in the country, I’m gonna ride them.

Anyway, here are the teams I am watching now. Not all of them are ‘longshots’, but these are the teams which have caught my eye so far:

Memphis (#1, 21-0): Yeah, I know. But I liked the Tigers at the beginning of the season. They were returning a large part of a group that had a great 2007 season, and they added Chicagoan Derrick Rose, who is just a beast.
Tennessee (#7, 19-2): The Vols are one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation. They are deep and play a wild, up-tempo game on both ends of the court. If they get the guard play it takes to go deep into the tourney out of Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith, they’ll be a really tough out.
Michigan State (#11, 19-3): Every year, especially when the Big Ten seems down, one of the league’s teams makes it to the Elite 8 or Final 4. This year, that team will be the Spartans, Wisconsin, or Indiana. Out of those three, I like Michigan State. Tom Izzo is the best coach in the country, in my opinion, and the Spartans play an ugly and rough game which translates well into March. Also, I love Raymar Morgan.
Notre Dame (#22, 16-4): It would be ironic that what is seemed as such a bleak period in Irish sports, with the football team sucking like Gianna, that the hoops team comes out of nowhere and makes a run. Notre Dame has three top-level players, Luke Harangody, Kyle McAlarney, and Rob Kurz, but may lack the depth it takes to win multiple tourney games.
Mississippi (unranked, 16-4): Listen, I have a hard-on for SEC sports. Not only are almost all the teams good in football, basketball, and even baseball, but the weather is awesome for the most part, and the women in the stands are ridiculous (check out the website SEC Poon for proof). This Rebels team probably won’t be more than a 6-8 seed in the tourney, and they are under .500 at this point in conference. But they played Tennessee really tough on the road, and Dwayne Curtis in the middle is a solid post presence.

So, there you go. There are other teams which I obviously like (Duke, N. Carolina, Georgetown) because everyone likes them, and there are other teams who are in the Top 20 and I have yet to see play but yet I like what I see on paper (Stanford, Drake, Arizona). Plus, USC intrigues me, mostly because of O.J. Mayo.

If I had to pick a bracket right now, I’d be taking the Volunteers to go all the way. But there is still 6 weeks and a lot of basketball before I make that decision. Lord. 6 weeks. Maybe I should back into ‘Lost.’

Just once I wish someone would say that to me

January 25, 2008

Ironically, I said the same thing to Pearl Washington in 1986.

Thanks to Mr. Ufford at withleather