Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday 03/23 A.M. Quickie:
Name of Game: "Survive and Advance"

Wow, how amazing was that Ohio State-Tennessee game? (Well, at a minimum, the best of the Tournament so far, despite the late finish. Yikes: There is no tougher morning than the Friday after the first night of Sweet 16 games and those late-night tip-times.)

I'm not quite sure how Tennessee blew a 20-point lead (or, alternatively, how Ohio State ralled from 20 points behind), but give the Buckeyes credit for not folding like the young team they are.

After the way they have gritted through the last two rounds, I think they'll finally find a "we're-on-a-mission" complex and beat Memphis – the only thing standing between them and the Final Four. After watching OSU the last two games, I certainly can't doubt them anymore in this region.

Speaking of Memphis, they euthanized my bracket by beating Texas A&M. End-of-game clock issues aside, I wouldn't have called that foul on A&M with three seconds to go, giving Memphis the chance to win the game.

On the one hand, Memphis deserved the call after battling for what seemed like a half-dozen rebounds on that final offensive play. On the other hand, if they couldn't put it in after three tries, they didn't deserve the gimme of the free throws. (Yes, I know the FT shooter wasn't one of their best, and he deserves credit for making 'em both.)

Ah, why should I hide it? Mainly, I'm just pissed one of my Final Four teams was bounced.

Meanwhile, the real pool-killer for me (and let-down for fans everywhere) was SIU losing to Kansas. God, did the Salukis look scrappily upset-worthy. But I'd rather advance in the tournament without honor than lose with respect. In the end, this SIU team was nothing more than a Sweet 16 team.

The other game in the South – UCLA over Pitt – simply showed that Teacher still knows how to kick Student's ass.

The upshot of last night – which I'll post about in more detail later – is that we still have two 1-vs-2 games in the regional finals... which isn't particularly good for the Tournament or compelling for fans. I appreciate that 1-vs-2 is, seeding-wise, the best you could hope for (in theory), but given the history of the Tournament, it's a let-down.

Tournament Challenge: Unsurprisingly (given that I had SIU over Kansas and Texas A&M to the Final Four), I have plummeted to the 40th percentile, but if you used the "National Bracket" to make your picks, you would be beating 85 percent of the field.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Day 2 Previews coming shortly.

CBB Coaching Carousel: In the Big Ten, Alford out and Tubby in (albeit at different schools).

CBB Coaching Carousel A: Steve Alford leaving Iowa for New Mexico. Hmm: Who will take over at Iowa? How about Winthrop's Greg Marshall?

CBB Coaching Carousel B: Tubby Smith avoids the indignity of being fired by Kentucky by quitting and bolting for Minnesota, a program perhaps even worse off than Northwestern (and that's saying something).

The far more juicy subplot: Who replaces Tubby at Kentucky, which – for all of its recent flaws – is still one of the most legendary coaching roles in college hoops?

(I would equate Kentucky basketball with Alabama football: It's still got a ton of brand value, but it ain't what it used to be. Still, they have the cachet – and booster money – to lure a big-name coach.)

People are saying Billy Donovan, and – as a Florida fan and Donovan fan – I just don't see it. Texas A&M's Billy Gillespie's name has come up, and even though the guy is insanely ambitious, he's also a Texas guy.

I repeat what I said yesterday: What about Rick Pitino?

NBA: Kobe scores 60, making him only the fourth NBA player ever to score 50-plus points in three straight games. Wow. Just wow.

NBA Draft: Duke PF Josh McRoberts declares for the draft, probably a year late in a pool stocked with so many better big men. His final college game (that loss to VCU) aside, I have never seen a big man with so much talent do so little to dominate a game. He's the next Vin Baker. (Meaning: Soft, underachieving big man -- not alcoholic NBA washout.) But you don't need an MBA to know that.

Arenas Watch: I know you all think I'm in the bag for Gilbert (and I am), but I recommend you read his latest blog post, which could be unmatched in terms of star athletes speaking frankly. Here's the link.

MLB: Papelbon to close. So, in the end, the Red Sox will stick Jon Papelbon back in his role as closer. (Most intriguing implication: How does this affect his fantasy-draft value?)

NFL: Anyone want to trade for David Carr? You won't find a more experienced backup QB. (But I'm not sure I would give him the starter's keys.)

Vick Watch: Uh, do you believe that the special compartment in his water bottle was for jewelry? (Yeah: If "jewelry" means "pot.")

Women's College Hoops: Penn State coach Rene Portland was never going to be confused with Pokey Chatman -- what with Portland's whole "no-lesbians" thing -- but she resigned from Penn State. Wanna bet there's more going on behind the scenes than has been reported?

Cricket: Pakistan's coach was strangled to death. Holy shit, that's a crazy turn.

Pop Culture: Peyton Manning to host "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, marking the final evolution of him into the NFL's most omnipresent fame whore. He can redeem himself by reprising Joe Montana's role with the classic "I'm going upstairs..." line.

5,000-to-1 odds of me being the next Editor-in-Chief of I'd think I would at least have a 300-to-1 shot, which is the Nationals' MLB-worst odds of winning the World Series.

-- D.S.


rafael said...

Ohio State was a running team when Oden was hurt. For the first...8? 9? games of the season, OSU was all defense and scoring. When Oden returned, they lost 15ppg it seemed.
How did Ohio State comeback? Conley. He led that team offensively and played well defensively. The OSU bench (damn, they are deeper than I thought) played incredibly well, especially on defense. Tennessee couldn't get anything to fall.
Karma for the first half? Maybe. Sweet game though.

OSU fans are worried Kentucky will go after Matta.

Hm. With the team he has..would he really think to go from OSU to UK?

I'm very glad I snagged Papelbon in the Quickie fantasy draft. wooo

Matt T said...

That Agent Zero blog was really long, but really poignant and well written.

And he's right, these are games. Its entertainment. have fun.

TJ said...

In the end, this SIU team was nothing more than a Sweet 16 team.

Really? Were you watching the game? SIU put the fear of God into a Kansas team that looks like the runaway best team in the tourney this year. I have a hard time believing that SIU could have lost were it playing a team other than Kansas (except maybe Florida and Georgetown). What a great, tough game that was. Of course, 3/4 games last night were great--what a night.

TJ said...

@ matt, that really was a great essay by Arenas. Could have used an editor, but as a 21st-century athlete manifesto, I thought it was great.

(And anything that kills Skip Bayless so stongly is all right by me.)

Big D said...

Wish I'd stayed up to watch the late games. Fantasy draft ran late (3+ hours for a 12-team, 22round draft. Ridiculous) so I decided to just go to bed. Oops.

Scary thought here guys... are we that much closer to all four #1 seeds making the Final Four, and even scarier, that much closer to Dickie V being absolutely correct?

And as far as en-of-game clock management in the A&M game... they refs got it 100% correct. The ball bounced in bounds, took a high hop, then landed 2 rows deep. I can agree with that taking about 1.1 seconds.

Papelbon will be a BEAST in the 'pen. I passed on him in 2 leagues before last night... when I took him in the 6th round.

Dan Shanoff said...

Don't get me wrong: I was enthralled by this SIU team, the way they played and the upset they almost pulled.

But what I was trying to say is that history is less kind: In the end, the record simply will show they made the Sweet 16 and lost.

They are "merely" a Sweet 16 team that couldn't make it out of the round, no matter how close they came.

soxfan2550 said...

dude...every game since the beginning of time is based on simple math; on average good teams shoot 48+/ if you are behind by a ton at the half and shooting low 40's and the other team is shooting high 50's then do the math! did they catch up...make more baskets to get to your natural FG% and watch them miss to fall back...nothing more than that really....and that is exactly what happened last night..the real story is VOL's repeat choke performance at the in Jan Smith coudn't knock em down and the result is the same....

Roge said...

I just can't believe the Buckeyes came back last night. I fell asleep at halftime (down 17) and woke up as Conley was hitting the first free throw with 5 seconds left.

Here's the question: Dan said it was the best game of the tournament, but what makes a game great? Let me tell you how badly that first half sucked. Tennessee was just NASTY- hitting everything, punching Ohio State right in the mouth. So can a game be the best of the tournament with 20 minutes of a flat out beat down?

rafael said...

btw Dan, the reasoning for your choice as editor is great.

Haaaarvard. Don't take that crap! Stand up for Northwestern too!

soxfan2550 said...

one more note and im a memphian i have watched now for 2 yrs you essentially make a fool of yourself (remember last yr 16 vs 1 call?) dissing memphis. 2 elite 8's back to back is no small feat and even now you are griping about the calls? jeez, cut us a actually diminish your effectivness by not even trying to hide your hatred (yesterdays rant was a great example of your vitrol) memphis is a good team and could very likely beat OSU..i understand it will take at minimum a final 4 or perhaps even the whole deal to convince you but i would at least request a modicum of respect now they've gotten as far as they've come...

CMFost said...

Peyton Manning on SNL, just another reason not to watch a show that is no longer any good.

rafael said...

Jeff, I think the 'I can't believe they are coming back' feeling for 10 intense as that can be... tied with the back and forth final 10 minutes...and exchanging of 3s throughout...

yes. you can say that it was the best of the tourney (Instant History of course...noone remembers the first round anymore)

Brian in Oxford said...

Played some 1-on-1 hoops in the cold rain by streetlight before deciding to go in and check the ends of the first games last night. Just in time, too.

The guys in for Mike and Mike made an interesting parallel between OSU this year and UConn last year.....are they a team of destiny that can't be killed, or are they just getting by, about to fall off the very ledge they're walking on.

Was the Memphis guy the only one in a really tight game (UCLA-Pitt doesn't count because of the buffer) where a guy went 2/2 at the line late?

I'm off to update bracket sheets....Rock, chalk, don't mess up my pool!

CMFost said...

Papelbon going into the closer role just changed him from a middle to late round pick as a starter to the second or thrid closer taken in most leagues which would probably be not later then the 5th or 6th round.

Anonymous said...

ok lots of thoughts.

first off the gilbert thing was great, and we finally found one person who watches that show.

second osu tennessee was exciting as hell but tenn shoulda won.

third an/m and siu both lost because there best players both missed gimme shots down the stretch, the acie law layup and the tatum put back.

Finally kobe is so good.

Matt T said...

I have a question about the clock thing at the end of the A&M/Memphis game.

I thought on an inbounds the clock did not start until a player in bounds touched it. This is why teams will roll the ball in to save a little time.

If that is the case, there is no way 1.1 seconds went off after the memphis guy deflected it.

Can anyone answer that? I really don't know

Chremdacasi said...

Tremendous piece by Gilbert Arenas. Its so great to have an athlete give you insight into what makes them tick, especially an athlete with so much love for the game.

Big D said...

@matt t: See my comment above...

Basically, the ball was touched, bounced inbounds, then took a high hop before landing 2 rows deep.

So, if the clock starts when it's touched, then keep running until it actually lands out of bounds, 1.1 seconds is completely reasonable.

Matt T said...


Everytime they said Chalmers last night all I could think about was Superintendent.

There was also a Meet the "Falker"
On SIU I think

Jen said...

I love going to sleep with the Buckeyes down 17 and being awakened by my husband telling me that they won!

I would have gone 4 for 4 if A&M had won...damn.

Matt T said...

@Big D.

I gotcha. I couldn't remember when it was touched.

DP said...

I couldn't get over the refs calling that late foul last night. The free throw differential in the second half was just disgusting. Man, I knew I hated Ohio State for a reason. Well, go Florida, I guess.

Real Men Eat Haggis said...

Not only would the National Bracket be at whatever percentile it is, but I put in a bracket at the WWL picking pure chalk and as of this morning it's percentile rank is 96.9

Dickie V = blind pig/acorn???

rafael said...

wow. such a hater, bluebird.

Unless you're talking about some of the bogus foul calls on Oden?

Anyways, Tennessee didn't get to the line because they hardly drove all game, even with Oden out! I didn't get that..i know the 3 was successful, but you have to go into the paint. UT didn't do enough of that.

DP said...

yes, I am a hater. A hater of bad officiating to keep a powerhouse in the game so that no one loses too much money. That last foul was a fluke. Just calling it ipso facto. you can't get mad about that.

Luke Bell said...

@ Paulie:

All of those nicknames have been spouted amongst my friends when we watch games together. Along with other obscure stretches, like anyone named "Crandell."

Some team had a Wiggum also, if I am remembering correctly.

Mega said...

Todd- "Not saying Carr will have the same fate but the talking heads have cut Carr way more slack without any real justification."

I have to disagree. I have heard that no other QB in NFL history has come close to getting hit/hurried as much as Carr has in his first 4-6 years in the pros. I still think that this guy would be awesome as a starter for a team like say KC or GB.

As a Saluki-alum, nobody is crushed more than I am this morning. When I went to sleep last night, I thought the hangover from the loss would be gone. Its still here. We took Kansas to the brink and HAD A CHANCE TO WIN but failed. This. Really. Sucks.

chitown italian said...

Talk about getting HOSED by the Referres. How huge is that three point differential for the Saluki's now?

It would've forced OT that's how huge.

Refs had blinders on or were paid really, really well by Self.

WuzUpG said...

Uh, UCLA is in the West bracket, not the South.

Anyhoo, me and my friend have somewhat of a debate. Are UCLA's games played with horrible offense or is it a resultant of good defense?

The past 3 games, it seems that UCLA's opponents consistently miss easy shots inside. The only game that had any excitement was the Indiana game, but even then, it wasn't until the last two minutes.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

What talent did David Carr have at Houston? Andre Johnson and maybe Dominick Davis that is all I can think of. In Detroit they at least tried to surround Harrington with talent, Jones, the Williams and Charles Rogers.

Houston could have given car the ultimate weapon last year with Bush but they fucked that one up royally. I still have no idea how they are trying to build their team. I think it was a mistake to have Charlie Casserly as your GM and Dom Capers as the coach when you launch your franchise. Casserly is a moron and has not gotten as much blame as he should for drafting Mario Williams instead of Bush.

Chremdacasi said...

What is this Bush nonsense? That's silly, no RB is going to correct your franchise. If you want to complain about the Houston pick, then complain that they passed on hometown hero Vince Young, who proved that a good QB can lead a horrible team (which Tennessee is) to the verge of the playoffs. Too bad for him, the team around him has gotten even worse this offseason. Bush may have sold tickets for the Texans, but Young would have had them winning games. (Plus if they had planned on taking Young they wouldn't have paid the $8 million bonus to Carr which will now go to waste, as they cut him, and also you would still have the 2 2nd round picks that you just traded for the lowly M. Schaub.)

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Bush would have done wonders for Houston like he did for New Orleans. You can line the guy up anywhere and he can make plays. I am glad that Houston passed on Young because that meant the Titans got him and I have seen what he has done on the field and how he has re-energized the fans of the organization.

As far as saying the Titans have gotten worse that remains to be seen. I would not have matched the 30 million that St. Louis offered Bennett and Travis Henry is one failed drug test away from being suspended for a year. I think the Titans are going to be fine and I hope that they use the 1st round pick on a receiver and begin to surround Young with talent which is something they never did with McNair.

ToddTheJackass said...

Woah, there's another Todd now? This could get confusing. While I maintain that I had first dibs (and status as a regular commentator), I'm willing to bend...

Anyway, as far as Papelbon was concerned, there are a few things I read that do reassure me this was the right decision.

1. Apparently the Sox pitching coaches were concerned that Papelbon wasn't pitching very efficiently, and that his stuff wasn't holding up well later in his pitch counts (by the 4th inning his velocity was down to around 88-90 on his fastball).

2. Sox doctors have reported that his shoulder strengthening program in the offseason has yielded very positive results.

3. And most importantly, his mom said it was cool. I found this on a Sox message board that Paps' mom posts to:

"I've known for days that this was happening but couldn't say anything. First of all, this move is 100% what Jonathan wants, it has nothing to do with want anyone else wants. We have had many discussions over the last couple of days and I can say closing is in Jonathan's heart, he thrives on the pressure and competition...

His shoulder was never injured, his MRi in 2003 was exactly the same as his MRI in 2006, the muscles were tired and couldn't hold his shoulder joint together. Jonathan is comfortable as the closer he wants the game to be on his "shoulders". He has not been able to concentrate, sleep or enjoy playing without thriving in the postition of closer. I have always said if the day comes when you are no longer having fun playing it's time to get out. He loves closing and I'm just glad he doing what he loves...

Jonathan's delivery is exactly the same as last year. I go through every pitch motion by motion when he pitches and I can say watching him today it was the same, now I will say I saw his demeanor in the 8th and 9th , the stare, the look, the confidence. I hadn't seen it thus far in ST. I think he's finally happy.

Jonathan is not concerned at all about his health because he knows what his offseaon strenthening did to help his shoulder, he said he's never felt stronger"

If his mom approves, I guess it's okay then.

Andy said...

Does anyone really care what his mom thinks? This is getting ridiculous with all these parents getting so involved. First you have those idiot parents that screwed things up in Arkansas. Now we have Papelbon's mom giving us her take. Who freaking cares what she thinks?? Papelbon's closing. THat's it. End of discussion. Why do we need to sit here and analyze it so mcuh? We don't. Let's talk about the games tonight. Those actually have something to talk about.

ToddTheJackass said...

I think it's kind of interesting the way parents have taken to posting on fan message boards. If for nothing else, it's an interesting way of obtaining otherwise unavailable knowledge. It's not as insightful as player blogs, but I personally enjoy hearing that perspective.

I like UNC, Georgetown, Florida, and Oregon. Something tells me Oregon will be in for a dogfight though.

Lou said...

UCLA didn't kick Pitt's ass at all. Pitt did it to themselves (missing layups, turning the ball over, completely failing to hit easy shots). Howland was making a huge mistake by consistently double-teaming Gray, who really was no threat to them at all. Gray was too busy turning the ball over from there, or Pitt would just simply miss open outside shots.

No one can convince me UCLA's a great, or even very good, team. They have no interior game. If they somehow get past Kansas (with Julian Wright in there instead of Gray, and equally athletic guards to Afflalo and Collison, I don't like their chances), Florida will eat them alive on the inside with Noah and Horford.

Monkey Boy said...

CBB Coaching Merry-Go-Round.... The rumors out of Iowa for the Head BBall coaching job look like this:

Dana Altman
Steve Lavin
Tom Crean
Greg Marshall

Personally, I would love to get Steve Lavin as the new coach.

Andy said...

What if Iowa can talk Dr. Tom Davis back? That would be AWESOME!

TBender said...

...Young would have had them winning games...

Um, no. Longhorn fans would have been screaming about the Texans trying to kill their hero.

Even Saint Vincent needs blocking upfront.

Chremdacasi said...

Richard, I totally agree that Leinart would have been just as nice a pick as V. Young would have been. I personally like Young better long term, but its close. Bush, however, is being given way too much credit by futurelegendvinceyoung. He did not do wonders for New Orleans. There are 3 bigger factors in their turnaround than Bush. J. Payton the coach, D. Brees the new QB and M. Colston the 7th round pick. So not only was Bush not the best rookie on his team, he also wasn't the best receiver (2nd to Colston) or the best running back (2nd to McAllister). Bush was a nice piece, but the real keys to the winning were Brees and Payton. RBs don't bring wins to downtrodden franchises, at best they sell tickets. (This doesn't even get into the whole point that drafting a RB #1 overall is dumb because you will end up paying him way too much money just because he was the 1st overall pick. QB (and possibly DE and LT) is the only position that deserves the type of money the #1 overall pick is going to get.)

Chremdacasi said...

I agree that Bennett is no great loss at WR, especially for that kind of money. I think B. Jones will be adequate there. The T. Henry loss is a much bigger blow. Sure he got injured a lot, but the guy was a warrior, and a solid all around back (blocker and receiver). Now you're left with L. White who is the antithesis of a warrior, which he proved by getting fat and slow as soon as his college career was over.

Then there is the other player who might be missing, who was perhaps the 2nd best player on the team. Pac Man Jones. Not only do you lose a lot on the defensive side of the ball, but your return game loses a ton, if he's suspended for the year (or outright cut).

Brian in Oxford said...

Lavin? He seemed like the type who was happy as an announcer. How would the slicked-back 'do play in Iowa, anyways?

Brian in Oxford said...

Love the Red Sox radio feed....pumping up Bedard's no-no into the 5th, when bam! a homer by Varitek to cut it to 2-1

IkeKrizzule said...

I've always been against 6 fouls for college players: the games shorter, if the pro's need 6 they should be able to get away with 5. But watching Greg Oden pick up his 4th last night makes me wonder.

The Tennessee player just ran into Oden without the ball, generated a little contact, and then flopped so bad that even Vlade Divac would have shook his head. But he got the call, he forced the best player in the game to the bench, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to keep this from happening.

Why wouldn't teams continue to do this? There no punishment for failure, the refs either give you the call or if they don't then your team and fans complains loudly and the ref has that doubt in his head. Did I make the right call?

I don't have an opinion on 5/6 fouls yet, but I'm definitely thinking about it a lot more than I was 24 hours ago.

Death Before Disco said...

Great piece by Arenas; It should be a must read for anyone with even a fleeting interest in the NBA. The NBA should market him more--he seems like a good guy and can relate from a fans perspective