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Friday, March 24, 2006 

How Sweet It Was And How Sweet It Will Be Again Tonight

I told you that you better get Duke in the Sweet 16 if you wanted to get them. Well, Big Baby and the Tigers got ‘em! Before getting to a preview of the D.C. and Minneapolis Regionals, here’s a few quick observations from last night’s action:

1) The officiating in the L.S.U./Duke game was abysmal. It broke both ways, but with a different officiating crew there is no way L.S.U. would have won this game. The refs let this thing deteriorate into something that resembled a Knicks/Heat playoff series from back in the day. Simply unacceptable at this level. There is no way the names Bruce Hicks, David Hall, or Jim Burr should appear at the bottom of another box score in this tournament!

2) The best thing to come out of the L.S.U./Duke game is the chance that if L.S.U. advances to the Final Four, they will replace the 2004 Georgia Tech team as the worst fundamental team to ever advance to the Final Four. That’s a good thing. I mean, it says a lot when the nicest thing the announcers can think to say about your coaching ability is “L.S.U.’s best offense is a missed shot.” Sorry coach Brady, you just aren’t very good.

3) One more thing about Brady…did you see his wife, Misty? Not since Lyle Lovett scored Julia Roberts has someone been so far out of their league. My buddy Joseph summed up the shock when he called and said, “what’s going on there? Misty isn’t a Russian name!” Unbelievable. Not only is he a horrifying coach who has somehow made his way into the Final Eight, but he has out-punted his coverage by 60 yards. I officially hate him.

4) Memphis has a very good chance to win the national championship. Like L.S.U., they are incredibly athletic and tough. Unlike L.S.U., however, they have a coach that can actually coach. (Have I abused John Brady enough? Fine! I’ll stop.)

5) I’m pretty sure that Bradley is the first team to ever make the Sweet 16 that I had no idea where the school was actually located. I wasn’t alone, the roommate had no idea either. Turns out that it’s in Peoria, Ill in case you care. What did we do before the Internet?

6) Nobody told me that Ala Abdelnaby had put on 30lbs and was playing for Gonzaga! Oh, that’s J.P. Batista. Are you sure? (that’s a shout out to old school ACC fans)

7) I’ve seen hockey teams with fewer white dudes than Gonzaga. Mark Few might actually be the greatest coach of all time. There’s just no other explanation.

8) Sorry to pile on the Dukies, but after watching Redick and Morrison back to back, it’s strikingly clear that Morrison is the better player. He’s just smoother. He gets open easier, and he never has a problem getting his shot off. Above all that, however, the biggest difference is that Morrison has “it.” He’s a stud and he knows it. There is never a moment that he doesn’t carry himself like he’s the best player on the court, and he’s always the coolest guy in the gym. Yea, he may be a tree-hugger, he might be a psychotic spas, and he may be stoned, but he’s the best player in America, and he has a chance to make a big impact at the next level.

9) You got to love Len Elmore. He was all over the one sided nature of the officiating in the Gonzaga/UCLA game. Based on the message Vines left me with 11:41 left in the second half, I think it’s safe to say he felt the same way. I’m not going to harp on it, because I think Elmore said all that needs to be said, but I will say this: These games are just too important to have poor officiating. Whether it be one-sided, or cut against both teams, it doesn’t matter. The constant poor officiating in this tournament is embarrassing. End of story.

10) That being said, what UCLA accomplished last night was simply astounding. Down 17 points, apparently playing against the best player in America, the rest of the Zags, and the officials, and never really finding their rhythm all night, they still managed to pull off one of the most remarkable comebacks I can ever remember. They could have packed it in about 50 different times, but they just kept fighting, and then they pulled off the W with a frenzied and heart stopping finish. Unbelievable! Very few teams have ever earned a victory the way the Bruins earned this one. This was the type of game you will never forget.

11) Am I the only one that thinks if Kevin Pittsnogle was six inches shorter he would have quit high school in the 11th grade, gotten married at 17, rented a double wide, and would spend every Friday night drinking Natty Light and listening to old Skynard records while sharing a can of Spam with his wife?

12) Anybody else think Pittnogle definitely knows all the words to Kevin Federline’s “Popozao”?

13) Okay, one more…anybody else think Pittsnogle’s tattoos look like shit?

14) LaMarcus Aldridge went for 26 points and 12 boards in a big game. That’s what you like to see from a potential #1 overall. Were you paying attention Rudy Gay?

15) What a classic game West Virginia and Texas played! Just like the Bruins win over the Zags, this game was truly special. It had it all. Great players making great plays and hitting huge shots at big moments, and a classic finish. Now, no matter what he does in life, Kenton Paulino’s name will never be forgotten. That, my friends, is what March Madness is all about! If anybody ever asks you why this Tournament is such a big deal, all you need to do is pop in the tape of last night’s Texas vs. W.V.U. and UCLA vs. Gonzaga games and that will tell the whole story.


Enough about last night, let’s talk about today. On to D.C. and Minneapolis.


D.C. Regional

Sweet Sixteen


UConn over Washington - This is a very dangerous game for UConn. Washington is tough. They are athletic, they have the vigor of youth with a touch of veteran leadership, and they are very well coached. Lorenzo Romar has quietly built a very solid program at Washington. Combine all that with the fact that this game is essentially a Final Eight game with the winner a mortal lock to advance to the Final Four, and emotion will be running high. You can probably tell that I would really like to pick Washington, but…well…I can’t. UConn played uninspired basketball in the first two rounds, but the fact remains that they are the most talented team in this tournament. Not to mention that the guy running the show from the bench has two National Championship rings. I just can’t pick against them.

George Mason vs. Wichita State – Who Cares?


Final Eight

UConn over Whoever - Does this really require any analysis?


Minneapolis Regional

Sweet Sixteen

Villanova over B.C. – By now, I imagine most all of you could predict how I feel about this one. As a little experiment, I figured I’d let my roommate Hans give it a shot. So, after many shout outs her on The WAD, it’s my pleasure to introduce for the first time, my roommate Hans:

The WAD asked me to eloquate [not sure if that is actually a word, but it sounds like something the wad would say when he is preaching on his soapbox] his thoughts on Friday night's impending BC/Nova game. He is probably expecting me to discuss at length the many shortcomings that befall BC's powerhouse of a coach, Al Skinner. He probably expects me to discuss how AJ Foye [I know it's randy, but AJ just sounds better, doesn't it?] had a rough childhood, and that Allen Ray is missing an eyeball, and how Nova is the great, feel-good story of the season. He is sitting over there, sprawled out on the couch with an empty bag of cheetos on the floor [true story] assuming that I am going to write about Nova's poetic style of basketball compared to BC's in-your-face Thug/street power game, and that Nova just plays the game fundamentally and "the way it should be played." What does that mean anyway? I know this because I just sat through the Duke/LSU game with the man, and there are several pertinent similarities between the styles of these 4 basketball teams. Let me preface by saying that, to me, Duke basketball is akin to UGA football, which is to say that I would rather them...um...lose. So, granted, my views here might be a little skewed and maybe a bit more than usual because I am watching this game with the only person who slurps Mike shoosheski at a level similar to Dicky V. That being said, to the WAD...LSU is to BC as NOVA is to Puke, er I mean, Duke. LSU is an aggressive, streetballin', no backing-down kind of team, which to the WAD means [paraphrased] "they foul a lot" and that they are poorly coached [Personally, I think the officials let the boys play]. From the onset of the game, I could tell the wad was rooting for Duke, and to his credit, despite my fervent hatred of that basketball program, he kept his cheers muted. [Anyone who is familiar with the Wad, knows this is quite an accomplishment.] Anyways, after my vocal cheering for LSU teetered on the brink of being flat-out obnoxious [for the record, I didn't know a single player on the team before this evening, but I am now going to buy a Glen Davis jersey], the wad OPENLY began cheering for the Blue devils. I was aghast...but he claimed he had to cheer for Duke simply because they are in the ACC and because he HATES the way LSU plays them. Well, BC plays exactly like LSU; BC has a shitty coach just like LSU; Al Skinner's wife is just as hot as the LSU's coach [yeah, I don't know about that last one, but neither do you]. For the reasons I wrote many, many sentences ago, The WAD is picking Nova to win this game. Firmly. Emphatically. And yet, I pose a question to The WAD. BC is, in fact, the last ACC school left in the tourney. So, who are you gonna root for, ACC-boy? (And don't give me that "they aren't a real ACC school" shit, because they are here to stay and we might as well embrace them.)

[Disclaimer: I don't really know shit about either of these teams, or college basketball for that matter - the coach just gave me the rock and told me to shoot, and I ain't quit dropping raindrops since. So, take my "analysis" with a grain of salt. But I do know the wad...and the aforementioned points are EXACTLY what he is thinking about tomorrow night's game. In a nutshell, it's a contest between teams that represents all-that-is-right-in-the-game against all-that-is-wrong-in-the-game. More simply, a classic matchup of good versus evil.]


Wow! That was pretty dead on, right down to the empty back of Cheetos. I just have two follow up points:

1) Yes, BC may officially be the only ACC team left, but I don’t care. They haven’t earned the right to carry the conference banner, so as Ivan Drago might say, “If they lose…they lose.” Or, as I might say, f**k them.

2) If somehow John Brady faces off against Al Skinner in the National Championship game, I may never watch college basketball again.

Georgetown over Florida – So, here’s the thing. If I picked Florida, I’d have to root for them on some level, and that is simply not an option. Let’s put it this way, if Billy Donovan was coaching a team full of angels vs. a team full of demons coached by Satan, I would have to think long and hard about which team I was backing.


Final Eight

Villanova over Georgetown Holy 1985, it’s the Cats vs. Hoya Paranoia. They met once earlier this season, and the Cats handled the Hoyas by ten. I’ve got four reasons for you why Villanova will win this game: Rand Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Nardi. The NCAA Tournament is all about guards, and Nova has four of the best guards left in the field. If that’s not enough for you, consider the fact that Jay Wright has supplanted Rick Pitino as the best dressed coach in college basketball. That’s got to count for something…right?

I hope everybody enjoys the weekend. If the next three days are anything like last night, this will be a tournament for the ages.

It's ALAA Abdelnaby. Show the man some respect. After all, he deserves it with a quote like this:
"The only way I can make five A's is when I sign my name."

- Alaa talking about Duke's academic requirements

And how about Lamarcus Aldridge? Good lord. That guy looks like a freak of nature out there. He's got the body of a center but the athleticism of a small forward. I was in awe just watching him move around the court. Now if only the Hawks could get the ping pong balls to drop the right way so they could nab him...

About Morrison...
He must have lost his "it" with about 6 seconds left when he started crying before the game was even over. They still had a chance, albeit a slim chance, to tie or win the game. Wouldn't you want your stud "best player in the country" to take the shot? Instead he was wiping tears from his eyes and Batista has to take the last shot.

WAD: "I told you that you better get Duke in the Sweet 16 if you wanted to get them"

Nobody can turn a missed pick into an "I told you so" moment quite like the WAD.

Three things:

1) I could get five A's at Duke with my eyes closed. Hell, Shalls, you could probably get 4!

2) Rock, you are a H-A-T-E-R. The end of that game was all about UCLA, and had very little to do with Gonzaga. If you must roast one of the kids from Gonzaga, the aforementioned Alaa look a like is where you want to go. A big man should NEVER have the ball stripped! NEVER!

3) Ithought LaMarcus was great last night, but guys like him really scare me. I mean, everybody in the NBA, with the exception of Tyron Lue and Dan Dickau, is an athletic freak of nature. Here's a list of guys that looked very much the same way as LaMarcus at 19:

Stromile Swift
Kwame Brown
Chris Bosh
Dwight Howard

In other words, it's 50/50! If the Hawks had the #1, the would almost have to take him. I mean, you can't take Rudy Gay, you already have nine dudes just like him. As much as I slurped Morrison in this column, he's still a goofy looking white dude. That makes him way off limits for the Hawks. They've been down that road too many times. So, unless you can package the pick for a veteran point guard, and a future #1 (preferably to a team that has a good chance of winning next year's lottery so you can draft Greg Oden after he completes his one year tour of Columbus, Ohio), I guess you have to take Aldridge.

Two huge signings in the NFC South this week...who came out on top? Falcons or Panthers?

Looking at the addition to each team, I think the Panthers did better than the Falcons. Now Carolina has someone to take some coverage off Steve Smith, as well as a guy that can block for whatever running back isn't injured that week.

As for the Falcons, it was a nice pickup but I think MeShawn adds more to the Panthers O than the Falcons gained on D.

Tampa Bay came out on top....no more mediocrity of Griese

8 Clap.

that is correct. I do H-A-T-E lots of people. That being said...
While the loss should be thrown on the team as a whole, Morrison had the chance to become an immortal and the undisputed top basketball player in the country. Instead of putting the team on his back and making something happen, he started crying. Last time I checked, Laettner was not crying his eyes out with only a couple of seconds on the clock against Kentucky. He grew a pair and made something happen.
I blame this on the media. If it wasn't for the constant slurping of Morrison and Reddick, I wouldn't have even watched this game. They show commercials touting them for the Naismith Award and then they both choke when their team needed them the most.

I can't leave Vines hanging.

U... C... L... A... U-C-L-A fight fight fight!

Scary that Texas is gettin damn close to pulling the tri-fecta for the first time in NCAA history.

Okay, I'm taking the bait, but only partially. First of all, I know the image you are talking about, and it did look like Morrison may have been crying with 1.9 seconds left, but I'm not sure if he was or not. This kid makes so many distorted, weird, and scary faces that I have no idea if he was crying. Second, crying or not, Morrison didn't choke and Redick didn't choke. Give me a break. Morrison poured in 24 points in the Sweet 16. What was he supposed to do? Run over, rip the ball out of Batista's hands and throw up the last shot. Do you know how hard it would have been to get him the ball within 60 feet of the basket on that last play? No self respecting coach will ever repeat Rick Pitino's mistake of not guarding the ball in that situation. That's not to say that Al Skinner or John Brady wouldn't do it, but Ben Howland was letting Morrison get his paws on that ball.

Now, as much as I just don't care, I've got to come to Redick's defense. When you use the word "choke", you insinuate that a kid crumbled in the face of the pressure. For example, D. Washington, Jr. choked against Louisville last year in the C-USA Tourney. Redick didn't choke just like John Starks didn't choke in Game 7 in '94. Redick, like Starks, however, did have an abysmal night shooting the ball. It happens to great shooters from time to time, especially when they are faced with the combination of great athletes on defense that are given cart blanche to hold your jersey all night and the horrendous shooting background of the Georgia Dome. Yes, he shot horribly, he lost, and he leaves Duke. I'm not upset about any of these things. But, he didn't choke.

Don't cheapen the term "choke". Save it for the moments that really warrant it. Give it time, I'm positive Al Skinner will give us one before long. Just stay patient.

how about a little caption contest dickWAD

Even though the WAD has mentioned it, i have to jump in and back him up here to ram this point home. JP Bautista blew that game for the Zags. Not only was it bad that he got stripped, but how does he not see the 90% FT shooting point guard STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM!! I still can't get over it. Every player (and especially big men) knows that in situations like that at the end of the game, you get the ball to your guards immediately. If he throws that ball to Raivio, the ball game is over. No question. (or at worst UCLA hits a desperation 3 to force OT). You can't fault Morrison for anything in that game or all year (except for maybe the moustache). I think he was crying at the end there and you know what...so what? He just willed his team to dominate the favored #2 seed for 39 1/2 minutes, seemingly moments away from the Elite 8 and then all of a sudden (in the blink of an eye) some bozo screws it up and his NCAA career is finished. If you didn't feel for Morisson at the end there then you have no soul.

By the way, the picture of Morrison on espn.com right now is quite frightening...he looks like he's straight out of 1983.

Also, I'm not sure who was more devastated last night...me or Morrison. Had the Zags hung on for the W, I'm pretty sure I would've locked up last place with my 2nd entry in the bracket challenge...the good news, my 1st entry currently resides in that illustrious position.

I was really surprised by this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=2382470

Shalls- If my aunt had nuts, she'd be my uncle. I thought you'd be slurping your boy Farmar. That's the first time I've ever said slurp.

Howland is on Rome right now. Does this guy have any emotions at all? He's like the Friedgen of college hoops.

Sorry guys. I didn't get my cup of coffee and breakfast this morning, and LSU & UCLA pretty much screwed me in my office pool. I guess, like the Dirty Sanchez, I let my emotions get a hold of me. Redick pretty much got molested for 35+ minutes (he deserved it after what he did to Ish last year) and I think that discounting his performance was pretty crappy when it was clear that UCLA was not hounding Morrison as tough as Redick. As far as Morrison goes I still would have rather seen him pull a "what did the 5 fingers say to the face?" on Abdelnabyboobybobby than get emotional.

WAD, I love you!

Unbelievable baby! You completely shit the bed, Mr. Wad! JJ I miss you baby! Me and the Wad are your biggest fans!

Enjoyed a lot!
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Weekly Top 7

All-Time Top 7 Sports Movies

7) Kingpin - "The world can really kick your ass. I only have a vague recollection of when it wasn't kickin' mine" - Roy Munson

6) Caddyshack - "Don't sell yourself short Judge. You're a tremendous slouch." - Ty Webb

5) Major League - "Want me to drag him outta here, kick the shit out of him?" - Rick Vaugh

4) Eight Men Out - "Say it ain't so Joe. Say it ain't so." - Pee Wee

3) Rocky - "If I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood." - Rocky Balboa

2) The Natural - "I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book." - Roy Hobbs

AND...

1) Hoosiers - "My team's on the floor!" - Coach Dale

MAN OF THE WEEK


Getting this Laker team into the playoffs is the best coaching job Phil has ever done. Now he can list "The WAD" Man of the Week right next to his 9 rings on his list of accomplishments. Is there any reason for him to keep going?

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