Seton Hell

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RECAP: A team of players who Steve Lavin thought were not good enough to play for him at Saint John’s defeated a team of players who are not good enough to play for Chris Mullin at Saint John’s 79-60 in New Jersey Wednesday night. With the latter ahead 18-10 about ten minutes in I turned to the long suffering missus fun and said “at least it looks like it’s going to be a game,” at which point Seton Hall went on a 24-8 run to close the half en route to outscoring Saint John’s by 27 the rest of the way. This was disappointing, but not as disappointing as what’s going to happen on Sunday, when Villanova comes to town. That should be a blood bath.

PLAYERS: Chris Jones led the team with 15 points and had 5 rebounds and 3 steals. That sounds like a pretty good night. It was not … Mvouika, in one of his rare displays of competency, was 3 of 4 from three … Yawke had 8 points and 10 rebounds which would have been pretty good had Angel Delgado not gone for 15 and 17. Four of six from the free throw line though, which was perhaps the one bright spot of the evening … Federico Mussini – who one astute observer recently called the best shooter Saint John’s has seen since Chris Mullin – is 16 for 45 from the floor over his last 4 games and is shooting 33 percent from three for the year. Oddly we did not last night hear half time commentator Steve Lavin give Steve Lavin credit for recruiting Mussini, as he did during the Syracuse game, which was about the last time it was not painful and depressing to watch Mussini play basketball. He and Durand Johnson were a combined 7 for 25 from the floor and they’re the ones who are supposed to be able to throw the ball through the round thing … Ali Alimakeawish had two turnovers and shot an air ball in the first two minutes of the game in route to a zero point, one rebound performance. If Steve Lavin credited himself with AA’s recruitment I did not catch it … Felix Balamou was one for eight from the floor …. Not to be outdone Malik Ellison was 2-9. One thing you can say about him is that he’s not shy. Another thing you can say is that he’s not good. Was credited with six assists, which is pretty remarkable considering Saint John’s only had 21 field goals … Both walk-ons played about half a dozen minutes midway through the second half, in tandem. Whether Mullin had a premonition or was trying to teach his players a lesson is unclear. The odd thing was that the team did not look any worse when they were in there.

NOTES: Now that Steve Lavin is not around to neglect the Saint John’s basketball program Kevin Willard isn’t going to have local players like Khadeem Carrington and Angel Delgado fall into his lap. Perhaps that’s why his eyes get beadier and beadier every time I see him. That may also be why he took it easy on Chris Mullin last night, resting his starters late, lest he face a series of vicious Sailor Ripley beatings down the line.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee;
For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee

RECAP: I woke up this morning pretty sure I wasn’t going to write anything about Saint John’s 10th straight loss, this one to Marquette 78-73 at Carnesecca Arena Sunday afternoon. Frankly I’m bored with this exercise: without Lavin here to fuel me I am like Ahab without Moby Dick. They lost another game, they’re going to lose a bunch more, next year will get here eventually. Frankly I was last night happier to see Tom Brady suck it than I would have been had Saint John’s won. It took some fan boi moron referring to Steve Lavin as a “magic wand” – some geniuses are using the occasion of the loss to rehash the ‘was Lavin a better coach than Norm debate,’ which no he wasn’t, he’s not a better coach than anyone, he sucks – to get me to produce even this dreck and only so I can point out what a complete and utter tool that guy is, Lavin is a magic wand, LOL. Hey Rocky, watch me pull a prostate out of my ass.

PLAYERS: Durand Johnson led the team in in points, steals, assists and had 5 rebounds. Imagine what he could do if he hustled … Mussini scored 19 points, all of them after Saint John’s was already down by 15 … Malik Ellison had 4 turnovers and 5 fouls and missed 4 shots, in only 18 minutes. That’s a little less than one screw up a minute. It’s a shame he didn’t suit up for Marquette, Saint John’s might have won … Yawke had 7 points and 8 rebounds, which would have been pretty good had not Ellenson gone for 16 and 18 … Balamou got pulled early after not closing on Duane Wilson who hit back to back three from the same spot early in the first half. He did not play much after that and who cares … Alibegowich once again see sawed back and forth between the sublime and ridiculous. For example early in the first half he had a put back that might well have been on ESPN’s top 10 and then on the very next possession threw a stupid lazy ¾ court pass that led to a Marquette break away … Mvouika and Jones were a combined 2-11 from the floor

NOTES: Some magic riffs, which this morning I can’t be arsed to flesh out.

– Wasn’t Rico Hines the real magic wand on that staff?

– The only time Lavin would say open sesame was when he went out for sushi after the game.

– Lavin was less Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and more aBRAcadaBRA, (because he had pasta titties)

– Keady’s incantation: By the Power of Grayskull

That’s gold Jerry, gold.

And now, hocus pocus:

 

Get to Steppin

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It occurred to me this morning as I sat down to reminisce about Saint John’s 9th straight loss to Butler Saturday afternoon how similarly situated Chris Mullin and I are. After the Georgetown loss Mullin said something to the effect of ‘what do you expect, look at our roster,’ which would be a strange way for an educator to describe his efforts to tutor his delicate charges, but not at all a strange way for a former NBA GM to explain his team’s moribund results, because he realizes that even a minimum level of competition requires a cohesive group of complementary players, which players Mullin does not yet have, which is why he’s sitting on the scorer’s table: he’s waiting for them to arrive. What does that have to do with me? Well, Mullin’s talents are wasted coaching these players and mine are wasted describing their play. And I don’t know how much more patience I have for it. Because unlike Mullin nobody’s paying me a couple of million a year to rehash this dreck … Saint John’s shot 33 percent from the floor, 20 percent from three, and 60 percent from the FT line. Do we need to know anything more than that? No … Last time out versus Georgetown the refs called 52 personal fouls. This time they called 46. What was interesting is that in the first half the first foul was not called until the 16:40 mark and in the second half the first foul was not called until the 15:40 mark. That means that the two teams combined to play about four pristine minutes at the beginning of each half, eight minutes total, in which no player on either team made illegal contact with any other player on the opposing team and then for the next 16 minutes they combined to commit a foul every 40 seconds. Anyone believe that? Me neither. What’s ironic is that amongst all that carnage and whistle blowing a brief SJ flurry in the second half was squelched when Mussini was all but tackled on a breakaway – he ended up under the stanchion with a Butler player laying on top of him – and nothing was called. Whereas if Alibegowitch had made that play they’d have suspended him for two games.

PLAYERS: Ron Mvoika was named in a pregame feature as a “Game Changer.” That designation turned out to be precipitous: he finished with 5 points … Alibegovic responded to his insertion into the starting line up by going 1 for 7 from the floor and scoring three points, all of those on one shot midway through the first half … Yawke had 8 rebounds and 4 blocks but was 1 for 7 from the free throw line … Mussini and Johnson combined for 26 points on 10 shots each and that includes a combined 10 for 10 from the FT line, meaning they otherwise scored a total of 16 points on 20 field goal attempts … If you had asked me after the game whether Felix Balamou had scored 13 points on 6 of 8 from the floor I would have said no. But evidently he did … Jones missed a couple of chippies and had only one rebound. And yet if I were Mullin I would have Jones playing the point guard over Malik Ellison, who had 4 turnovers and no points and fouled out in 15 minutes. I suppose the seasoning will help him the long run but personally I’d be quite happy to not see him on the floor again until next November

NOTES: I don’t know who’s scheduling these games but whoever it is might want to avoid the ones that are slated on memorial days, because these guys have enough problems on the road. A couple of games ago it was Al McGuire Day on Al McGuire court and this time there was a tearful pregame ceremony honoring some poor bastard who died of cancer. (Question: how come every time someone dies of cancer it’s said that they “battled” the disease? Doesn’t anyone just get diagnosed and give up? I gave up like 20 years ago and there’s nothing particularly wrong with me yet.) I mean sure, RIP and all that but Saint John’s has enough problems guarding the three point line, much less ghosts … The game was called by former first round NBA draft pick Dickey Simpkins, who was slightly less incoherent than Bill Walton with the added bonus that I didn’t have to see him in bicycle pants. Hashtag win win. Simpkins played eight years in the NBA and got two rings with Jordan’s Bulls, but didn’t contribute much: mostly he sat on the bench behind Bill Wennington, so how good he have been really. At 43 years old no one should be called Dicky, except perhaps former child stars like the great Dickie Roberts … Finally, speaking of cancer, it was revealed this week that former Saint John’s assistant coach Rico Hines was being divorced by his wife Tichina Arnold after she discovered sex tapes featuring her husband and more than 20 “Kim Kardashian wannabes” in flagrante and raw dog. Normally I’d leave such prurient material to fester in the sewer that is Daily News, but it occurs to me that since Hines and Arnold were married in 2012 all of this footage was likely filmed while Hines was on the Saint John’s payroll and might well explain at least in part the laughable results the former staff achieved. I know from bitter experience that snaking broads is an expensive and time-consuming process and if that’s what Hines was spending his time doing and Lavin was at Rao’s cutting up Keady’s food and wiping marinara from his chin that doesn’t leave a lot of time for hanging out in high school gymnasiums. And yet there are still rubes who defend that snake oil salesman and bemoan his passing from the scene. Go figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovett or Listeth

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When he was borne to his grave they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom.

RECAP: Saint John’s dropped their 8th straight 93-73 to Georgetown Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The score though was deceiving, because if you believe as I do that the free throw is the most exciting play in college basketball and perhaps even in all of sports, then Wednesday night you spent most of the game on your edge of your seat, as the teams combined for 52 fouls and 55 free throws, which amounts to a clock stoppage every 46 seconds, not counting time outs, turnovers, and TV time outs. Which as you can imagine made for some exciting television …

<interlude>

One of last night’s referees, Mike Stephens, holds a full time civil service position in Providence – Director of Recreation no less – while at the same time earning close to $ 200K refereeing 90 college basketball games a year. In many cities holding a second job  that interferes with your full time employment is grounds for dismissal and in some cases, jail time. In a cesspool of corruption like Providence it earns you the key to the city, which was awarded to Stephens this past spring.

</interlude>

… The deficit was seven about midway through the first half when Saint John’s went on one of their patented scoring droughts – they managed only 12 points in the last 10 minutes of the half, during which time only Ablivickwith and Johnson made field goals and were down 17 at the break. Saint John’s was down 26 when John Thompson III took his starters out and 16 when he put them back in after a brief SJU flurry, as if the outcome was ever in doubt. Which it wasn’t … It’s hard to understand from looking at the box score just what went wrong. The officiating, although egregious, was reciprocally awful: 28 personal fouls and 33 free throws for the one, 24 and 32 for the other; turnovers were 14 to 11; each team had 14 assists and 32 rebounds; both had 54 field goal attempts and even the shooting percentages were roughly equivalent, free throws 81 to 75 and 3-pointer 41 to 39; only field goal percentage reveals a bit of an advantage, 52 to 39 (oddly Saint John’s shot 38.9 from both the floor and from three). And yet it was a slaughter. Mostly because whatever little SJ did well they did well in the second half when the game was already over … There is no safe harbor on the horizon: home and away with #23 Butler, at Seton Hall, at Xavier, home  versus Villanova and Marquette. I feel bad for DePaul though, Saint John’s gets them twice in February, when historically they’ve played their best ball.

PLAYERS: Mvouika led the team with 15 points. He scored all of them in the second half, when the game was already over. Congratulations Ron … Alibegowitch had 12 points in 21 minutes before fouling out. His aggression is appreciated on the team as currently composed but here’s hoping he does not become too enamored of being the team’s first offensive option … Mussini hit two 3’s four minutes into the first half and did not score again until four minutes were left in the game. He finished with 11 points: 3 for 10 from the floor and 2 for 9 from three … By comparison Durand Johnson, who finished with 10, was the model of efficiency: 3 for 9 from the floor and 2 of 4 from three … Balamou has perhaps the ugliest and most ridiculous jump shot in the history of college basketball. Six for six from the FT line, for which improvement I credit my calling him out in a recent essay, he’s only missed one since I scolded him … Jones had 4 points 4 rebounds and three assists, which would be a nice line from a seventh man. Unfortunately he’s the starting PF … Yawke missed a couple of chippies but considering how full his hands were single handedly defending Georgetown’s enormous front line, he gets a pass. PS Jessie Govan is the most terrifying player I’ve seen since Michael Graham … Malik Ellison was 1 for 5 from the floor with 2 assists and three turnovers. To the extent that Ellison is a freshman and a stop gap he also gets a pass but anyone who thinks that he’s the answer at point guard is delusional.

NOTES: Which brings us to Marcus Lovett. Speculation was rampant this week on various Saint John’s forums that the point guard of the future was planning on transferring. There seems to be no evidence that this is the case – at least there was no report of it in the press – and in fact the rumor itself traces back as far as I can tell to an offhand comment by a well-known forum troll who’s not even much of a Saint John’s fan. And yet the idea dominated the conversation this week. Self-important posters with moles and sources claimed that they had heard rumblings of the rumor themselves. Wise old sages counseled patience, as who knows what lurks in the hearts of teen aged boys. Proactive posters scoured Lovett’s twitter feed and Instagram account, looking for hidden meanings and reading emojis like hieroglyphics. And the usual hysterics felt faint and swooned on the divan, wondering how anyone could subject fans like themselves to such drama and where would it all end. All that was missing to make the spectacle complete was a poster called Tituba reporting that she and Lovett had been dancing in the woods with Old Scratch and Goodman Brown. On the face of it there seems to be no evidence that Lovett is or was contemplating leaving – although admittedly I haven’t yet analyzed his body language and facial expressions from the tape of last night’s game, which he viewed from behind the bench –  and objectively there would seem to be little reason to: next year he will be from day one the starting point guard on a team sorely in need of a point guard, playing in what I am continually assured is the best BB conference in the country, where he will learn basketball from two hall of famers, while living in the greatest city in the world, on a team and program that seem headed in the right direction. Seems like a no brainer. What strikes me is that Saint John’s fans have been down for so long and are so conditioned to disappointment that they create their own drama, so that even if the sky doesn’t fall they experience the frisson of doom that real catastrophe engenders. They are like a battered wife who burns dinner on the off chance her husband comes home from work in a good mood, because deep down she knows that she deserves a good beating.

Wojo Is Me

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Saint Johns dropped their 4th straight to start the Big East season 81-75 at Marquette Saturday afternoon. The last thing I want to be doing on Sunday morning afterwards is phoning in another one of these dopey essays. Because in the aftermath there isn’t really anything for me to complain about and let’s face kvetching is what I do best. During the previous regime when they lost or even when they didn’t I could always find fault in something Lavin did or didn’t do or his clothing or how much make up he wore or the stupid things he invariably said after the game and even if all that was unavailing Chris Obekpa would have grinned like an idiot after elbowing some poor defenseless bastard in the back of the head or Phil Greene would have shot 2 for 13 from the floor and I would have been off to the races. Now though none of the players who are even vaguely annoying are going to be here long enough to get annoyed at and Mullin can do whatever he wants – even read the newspaper during silent time outs late in the game – and sure they lost but what’s another loss or even 10 in the pantheon of futility that is SJ basketball. So I’ve got nothing except platitudes: good entertaining game, kids played hard, on to the next one … After a brief Marquette spurt to start the game Saint John’s outscored them by 15 or so to go into halftime up 8, which was the margin more or less about 8 minutes into the second half when SJU lost the thread. At that point the play by play reveals

Frederico Mussini turnover.

Frederico Mussini turnover.

Christian Jones turnover.

Christian Jones turnover.

Felix Balamou turnover

Durand Johnson turnover

in about a 4 minute period, punctuated only by a couple of free throws. By the end of it Marquette was up two and never looked back. To the extent that the box score is revealing it doesn’t really reveal anything. Other than Saint John’s 20 assists the only thing that jumps out is that SJ once again got the short end of the FT stick, 21-12, but context explains that that was the result of 10 straight free throws Marquette made in the last minute. And actually for most of the game the refs didn’t call hardly anything, which accrued to Saint John’s benefit. The only anomaly was two moving picks the refs called while Marquette was making their second half run, which were the only two they called the entire game. Which was a little odd point of emphasis wise.

PLAYERS: Yawke had a remarkable game against bigger, stronger, more highly-regarded front line: 9 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks and he even took a couple of charges. The bright side of Sima’s absence is that Yawke will get his minutes … Durand Johnson’s entry in the first half coincided with the run that led to Saint John’s 8-point half time lead. He led SJ with 18 points although 6 of those were two late threes of interest to no one but the guys who took the points … Mvouika had 13 points and five assists, his second straight game in double figures … Mussini had ten points but it took him 9 shots to get them and four turnovers as well. Good thing he doesn’t have a mohawk and tattoos, things might turn ugly …. Jones 6 points but only three rebounds. The more he plays, the less productive he is …. Balamou made the first 3 pointer of his career but missed the front end of a one and one late …. Alibegovic played 15 minutes that seemed like an eternity …. Ellison played a bunch of point guard. On the one hand having a 6’6” PG is a good thing. On the other hand, having Ellison as a point guard is not.

NOTES: Saturday at Marquette was Al McGuire Day, celebrated by an Al McGuire Day game on Al Mcguire Court. Everything was in place for Coach Wojo to achieve the defining loss of his career. But instead of climbing that mountain he managed a win, which will be remembered only as just another small step on his long journey to floor slapping mediocrity. Because Wojo is a dope. But not so much of one that I do not regret seeing him squander an opportunity like that, because life is short and only rarely do the stars so align.  Oh well.

X-Wray

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RECAP: Saint John’s lost to #10 Xavier 74-66 Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena for their third straight loss to start the Big East season. Oh and three is not good but lest we forget Steve Lavin’s 2013 team full of juniors started the Big East season 0-5 and righted the ship on their way to a glorious first round loss to Robert Morris in the NIT, so perhaps all is not yet lost. In any event I’m not going to start to worry until Mullin starts his redshirts and walk-ons, which was Lavin’s solution to his team’s woes … I took copious notes during the game but in light of morning they turn out to be none too helpful. I started out trying to track the comings and goings of the players relative to the score to see if Ellison really was the Jonah I perceived him to be but stopping and starting the DVR and scribbling notes became pretty cumbersome and not just because I was knocking back absinthe at a pretty good clip. So I’ll have to trust my memory, and we all know how unreliable recollections can be … Xavier led most of the way as you would expect the number ten team in the country to do against a bunch of freshmen, but Saint John’s made a game of it late before faltering. All in all it was an entertaining affair and at the risk of repeating myself them being competitive is about all a rational fan can hope for at this stage … Except for field goal percentage the numbers – 3 point shooting, rebounds, turnovers, assists – were about even. The difference was that Xavier’s guards – who were otherwise 8 of 20 from the floor and 3 for 8 from three – combined for 37 points, thanks mostly to the 20 free throws they were awarded, of which they made 18. At least a couple of those fouls were ridiculous calls on poor Amar Albiviowitz, who stood statuary under the basket while people scaled him like King Kong crawling up the Empire State Building. Unlike Fay Wray at least he took it like a man. I don’t like to whine about the refs but a differential of 11 free throws in a game that was within one point with two minutes left is a big deal. The differential is all the more puzzling because SJU took nearly 20 shots more than Xavier. Ordinarily one would not think that 40 percent more FG attempts would result in 30 percent fewer free throws, unless you’re playing dewk obviously … In other news Chris Mullin sat on scorer’s table again. I think like me Chris Mullin is just waiting for Chris Mullin to have enough players who are capable of learning basketball from Chris Mullin. If that’s the case he might as well wait on the scorer’s table as anywhere else.

PLAYERS: Mussini was on his way to another abysmal performance before he hit four threes in a 4 minute stretch  during Saint John’s late comeback. It was for a brief moment like being whisked back to that magical day in December of last year when Phil Greene had his 3 minute career versus Syracuse. Unfortunately on the very next play after the fourth one Mussini got a stupid technical that resulted in a 9-2 Xavier run that put the game away … Ron Mvouika emerged from his three week coma to score 19 points. He was only 5 for 14 from the floor and 2 of 8 from three but somebody’s got to shoot. In the first half he banked in a three as the shot clock expired, which is usually something only the other guys do … Speaking of shooting Durand Johnson took many bad shots, few of which went in, including none of his 8 threes. He did however lead the team in rebounds (5) and assists (3) and had a pretty thunderous tomahawk dunk in the first half that I watched a bunch of times … Alibeckowith played his usual game. One minute he makes a beautiful turnaround jumper on the baseline and the next kicks the ball out of bounds trying to take his guy off the dribble. When I think of the European vacation that resulted in Amar’s recruitment I’m reminded of David Puddy’s line “what do you think they have in the Gap in Rome that they don’t have here” … Sima had 5 rebounds in 11 minutes before injuring his hand and not returning. I appreciate his aggressiveness on the offensive end but every time he shoots the ball someone is in danger of decapitation … Ellison and Yawke played 20 minutes between them and scored 2 points. Yawke had an excuse: he didn’t take any shots. Ellison otoh was 1-5 … Felix Balamou was a 91 percent free throw shooter over his first two years at SJ. He is in his last two years a 66 percent FT shooter. Last night was no exception … Chris Jones had 4 points and 4 rebounds in nearly twice as many minutes as he has been playing previously. I will leave it to the great basketball minds among us to determine whether 4 rebounds in 28 minutes is more or less better than 10 rebounds in 18 minutes when you take into account intangibles that do not show up in the box score

NOTES: It’s amazing how much more prepared and engaged Steve Lavin is as a halftime analyst than he was as a head basketball coach. When he was on the sidelines at SJU he jumped around like an epileptic monkey in a track suit and prattled on incomprehensibly about condiments and super heroes and box stores. In the studio though he’s all this guy is 5 for 7 from inside the arc on Thursdays while the moon in in its third phase. It’s almost as if he takes being on TV seriously … Lou Carnesecca in attendance, looking no worse for wear after celebrating his 91st birthday late into the afternoon on Tuesday. Many happy returns on the day.

Well Dunn

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RECAP: I’ve got little to say about Saint John’s loss to Providence 83-65 on Saturday afternoon and probably would not have bothered writing at all except when I don’t Rabinowitz gets cranky. So: PU is number 12 in the country, they’ve got a consensus all American, the game was in Providence and oh yeah, Saint John’s stinks. That they kept it respectable is about all you can ask for and about all they did … Saint John’s shot 36 percent from the floor and 2 for 13 from three. They had a paltry six assists and were outrebounded by 10. They had 13 TOs and missed a third of their free throws. Meanwhile Providence shot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three and Kris Dunn came as close to a triple double as you want to see the other guys best player come. That it was as close as it was – SJU got within six in the second half – seems in retrospect remarkable … SJU has now lost five in a row and I don’t see a win on the horizon until January 23rd and maybe not even then, which best case scenario means a 1-6 start in conference. There’s not a lot to be done about it except to hope that the lumps they take this year pay benefits next year. Of course it could be that Chris Mullin’s teams play their best basketball in February, which if that’s the case we could be in line for a Lavinesque magic carpet ride to the CBI finals. Stay tuned.

PLAYERS: Not much here to chew on. The one bright spot was Sima, who led the team in points (14) and rebounds (6) … Chris Jones had 7 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes. That’s two games in a row where he’s played short minutes despite being productive. To the extent that Mullin is seasoning his underclassmen at Jones expense that’s probably a wise decision … Balamou played 37 minutes, perhaps in an effort to contain Dunn. If so, it did not work … Durand Johnson was 2 for 10 from the floor. Four rebounds and three steals though … The score was 25-20 when Malik “Jonah” Ellison’s name first appears in the box score at the 7 minute mark in the first half. He played 23 of the next 27 minutes during which time the PU lead ballooned to 18. If that plus minus is a coincidence it’s the third or fourth coincidence in a row. In any event he missed all his shots, turned it over a couple of times and managed one rebound … Yawke had seven points and a couple of rebounds but took two horrible shots on consecutive possessions in the first half when SJ was briefly in the lead … Albivevowith played 27 minutes, most of them credibly. I thought he was called for a bogus flagrant foul late but not according to the box score … Mullin wisely spared Federico Mussini the embarrassment of trying to cover Kris Dunn. He played only 13 minutes and did not contribute … Speaking of not contributing, Ron Mvouika

NOTES: I got nothing. Even I can only find so many ways to make fun of Cooley’s head.

Old Lang Sima

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RECAP: Saint John’s lost its fourth straight game New Year’s Eve, 80-70 to Creighton University at Carnesecca Arena. It was a game you’d like to win oh well but as a spectacle it was pretty entertaining and with this team as currently comprised entertaining is about all you can hope for … Essentially, Creighton went up ten midway through the first half and stayed there. Sure, it went to seven or twelve and whoever you were rooting for you said okay, this is it, a blow out or a comeback, but the scales never tipped. Every time Saint John’s threatened to make a game of it someone would bounce the ball off their foot and Creighton would hit a three and it would be 11 again. That went on for a while and I would have hit the FF button except I have a very strong constitution … Saint John’s was troubled by a quick guard and had no answer for Geoffrey Groselle, who sounds like Chaucer character but is actually some golem from Texas in the Kent Benson/Joe Kleine mold, meaning that he’ll have a nice career as a car salesman in Houston after a few years playing overseas. Despite that and as bad as SJ played, the numbers were even. Both teams shot ~ 40 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three; both had 39 rebounds and 13 assists; TOs and blocks were even. Free throws though were 30 to 20 and the score differential was 10. Coincidence? You make the call. Beside the differential Creighton was in the bonus early in both halves, which slowed the game to their benefit. It seemed to me that the refs were not calling the body, which accrued to the benefit to the uncoordinated Midwest lummoxes. Not that it would have made any difference, SJ shot 62 percent from the FT line and that includes three guys who went 10 for 10 out of 19 total … I was impressed by the coach, Doug McDermott’s father. I wouldn’t say that he coached Mullin’s balls off but he’s a clever son of a bitch and on a level playing field will win you a couple of games. Last year he played the triangle and two versus SJ and it flummoxed Lavin for about 20 minutes. Anyway, getting Mullin to coach these guys is like getting Werner von Braun to tune up your Volkswagon. If Knute Rockne were the coach it wouldn’t make any difference, they just don’t have the horses. They do though have the foals

PLAYERS: Malik Ellison led the team in scoring with 17 points, including 6 for 6 from the free throw line and a Sports Center put-back. But his entry into the game in both halves coincided with Creighton runs. I didn’t write it down in the first half but in the second Saint John’s was down seven when Ellison entered at 14:50 and was down 12 – the biggest deficit of the game – with eight minutes left. It did not seem to me that his play led directly to the deficit, but if it were merely his presence that would mean he is a Jonah, which is worse, because bad juju does not go away … Johnson (14 pts, 4 rb, 2 steals, 2 blocks) kept them in it in the first half. In one remarkable sequence he dove to the floor, wrestled the ball away from a Creighton player and threw a pass over his head to ignite a fast break. Which is a nice effort from a lazy player … Great white hope Federico Mussini was 1 for 5 from three. He’s now 1-12 in his last two and 10 for 51 since Syracuse. And no Lovett on the horizon … Sima had 13 points and 5 rebounds but generally got punked by the white guy, which should not happen. Got T’ed up when he hung on the rim to quash a SJU run … Chris Jones had nine rebounds in 15 minutes … Balamou reminds me of what Dom Pointer looked like as a junior when they used to clear it out for him and say make a play. It’s not quite basketball but it’s entertaining nonetheless. And anyway unfortunately Balamou is a senior … Speaking of seniors – high school seniors – Yawke, who should be one, had 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in his first BE game … Mvouika and Jessica Albavicowitz were non factors.

NOTES: This blog is hosted by Word Press, which recently added a feature allowing owners to see the search terms by which users locate their website on the vast internets. As you might expect, some people were searching for this site specifically, using appropriate terms

bigeastboards

big east boards

the dead storm st. john’s

www.bigeastboards.com

And so on.

 

Others were looking for general information on SJU basketball. People were directed here seeking information on

does jamal branch have any eligibility left (No thank goodness)

where is rico hines coaching (who cares)

will steve lavin. be fired at sju (my sources say yes)

what ever happened to heath orvis basketball (Heath who?)

does jim burr have anything against st. john’s (no, he had something against basketball)

 

Others were fans looking for answers to burning questions like

why does ed cooley`s head look fucked up?

 

And then there were the haters

marquette basketball + fuck wojo

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and the curious

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And then there was this guy, I’m not sure what he was looking for but I hope he finds it

raylan givens gets spanked

 

A reader writes to ask: Fun, this is comedy gold, but wtf does it have to do with today’s Creighton game. Well reader, after a loss last year to Creighton that dropped SJU to 2-5 in the BE and signified to me the end of the SJU season I wrote an essay that described Nebraska as “a big flat pile of nothing” and “other than South Dakota perhaps the stupidest state in the union.” To which essay an angry Cornhusker replied pointing out the many virtues of his state and the many prominent Nebraska-breds who have made contributions to American culture, up to and including Kelly Cuoco, a piece of milk fed veal whose picture adorned the recap

kaley_cuoco_thong

The appearance of that one photo has driven the following traffic here from perverts searching for

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Not that there’s anything wrong with that … Happy New Year, and speaking of which is there a better way to ring it in than with Dan Fogelsberg? I mean, come on:

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car

 

 

 

 

Cock Games

swin-cash-espn-body-issue-5

It wasn’t a bad game, Saint John’s loss to South Carolina 75-61. Of course it wasn’t a good game either, but there’s a big difference between rolling over like a bitch to some Division One Johnny come lately on the one hand and getting ground down by a more experienced more talented team on the other, the other being what happened at Mohegan Sun on Tuesday night. Not being delusional I didn’t expect them to win and so have to settle for being pleased that at least they bothered to show up, which has not been the case always this year … Once again the numbers were not kind to Saint John’s: they shot 45 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three (5 for 20) and an astounding 12 for 27 from the free throw line, where they are now shooting .63 percent as a team for the year – only Mussini, Johnson and Balamou are above 70 percent. And they were outrebounded by nearly double, 43-26. That’s not going to beat too many people and certainly not a South Carolina team that shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and even higher from three, which is the second or third time this year that a team has shot a better percentage from farther away from the basket than closer to it, which you wouldn’t think is possible, unless you’d watched Saint John’s guards not play defense, in which case you might … The real games start New Year’s Eve versus Creighton. For the superstitious among you Saint John’s has not won a game (0-5) on December 31st in the Twenty-First Century. So either they’re due or they’re cursed. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

PLAYERS: Lazy and shiftless Durand Johnson (16 and 5) once again led the team in scoring and rebounding… I was informed this week by a knowledgeable basketball fan that Federico Mussini is the best shooter Saint John’s has had since Chris Mullin, despite which pronouncement Mussini missed all seven threes he took, which makes him now 9 for 46 (.19) this month outside of the Syracuse game. Based on those numbers he’s not even the best shooter since Terrance Mullin … I suspect that once again the plus minus does not flatter Malik Ellison, who was oh for 6 from the floor. It’s unclear to me why he plays at all, much less the minutes he does at the expense of Ron Mvouika. I guess maybe they’re letting him take a beating now rather than down the road or maybe Pervis has photos of Mullin in flagrante with a six-pack of hard cider. Obviously it’s much too soon to write Ellison off but it wouldn’t bother me if I did not see him play again for a while …. The rest of them did stuff, but none of it noteworthy enough for me to even bother reciting. What am I a box score?

NOTES: Unlike many SJU fans I don’t have moles or sources who feed me scoops and insider information but I did hear when Norm was let go that Frank Martin – resplendent last night in a three piece pinstripe suit from the Benny Blanco from the Bronx collection – was being considered as a possible replacement. Alas that did not come to pass, partly I suspect based upon his how should I put this delicately, fiery Latin disposition. Because he’s a bit of a psychopath. According to Martin’s Wikipedia entry he was drawn to coaching when as “a bouncer at a local nightclub .. he was subjected to gunfire while on duty,” which I don’t see the career trajectory there but maybe it’s just me. After a high school career that saw Martin have one of his state championships vacated for recruiting violations, Martin ended up at Cinncinnati where he studied at the vomit splattered feet of Bob Huggins, who he followed to Kansas State and eventually replaced as head coach … Speaking of guns and heinous criminals, the game was called by Doug Gottlieb, who’s awful. But it turns out there’s something Gottlieb – who said many dumb things last night, the dumbest being that “Amar Alibegovic is a tremendous shooter,” which, no he isn’t – knows less about than college basketball. Gottlieb tweeted this week relative to his views on gun control that the right to bear arms is a chimera because the Bill of Rights is not part the US Constitution, a statement of such monstrous ignorance that it boggles the mind. Perhaps if Gottlieb had not gotten expelled from Notre Dame for stealing from his classmates he might have been afforded the opportunity to take a civics class, and then would not be so completely ignorant of history, the law, and liberty … The halftime crew included the unctuous Jon Rothstein, who exudes all the sincerity of an Albanian kidney broker, Wally Sczcerbiak’s terrifying eyebrows, a giantess called Dana and someone of whom I’ve never heard called Swin Cash (pictured above) whose sentence starting “If I were Frank Martin” I completed “I’d bang Frank Martin” but fortunately Mrs. Fun was in the kitchen baking cookies and didn’t hear me.

 

 

Down the Shore

dog_fishing

RECAP: There are days when I can’t even bother faking it, and today is one of those. Not because Saint John’s lost 83-74 to New Jersey Institute – previously oh and 21 against the Big East – at Carnesecca Arena on Sunday afternoon. The losing I can take, I’m well used to it. But sometimes it’s exhausting the way they lose, doing the same dumb things over and over again, not covering guys and missing free throws and whatever. What’s tiring is summoning the patience that losing demands, and especially when the future looks so promising. I mean sure, I’ve been fooled before: there was not a coaching hire since Mahoney that I thought wasn’t a good one and although I wouldn’t throw Mullin in with that conga line of losers I wouldn’t on the other hand presume that he’s the only ship the Utopia Triangle won’t swallow whole, because Jamaica is where coaches come to die. But of course this talk is silly and too premature to even be premature. What is needed is patience. But today I could not summon it and so fast forwarded through the last eight minutes of the loss, because I’ve seen those eight minutes before … So yes where was I: Saint John’s lost 83-74 to NJIT Sunday, blah blah blah blah. Here’s a quiz: Team A shot 34 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, and 50 percent from the free throw line and Team B shot 52 percent from the floor, 55 percent from three and 75 percent from the line. GUESS WHO WON? Exactly. Relative to those numbers the ebb and flow of the game is meaningless and I can’t be bothered to describe it … As ridiculous as was Team A’s offense, its defense was worse: to the extent Saint John’s cover anyone they do not do it well, and especially the guards, who two barely D-1 guys called Lynn and Chris lit up for 51. Let us lay the blame where the blame should be laid, in the backcourt. These guys stink … And meanwhile Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond sit on the bench watching this disaster unfold, which is like Sir Isaac Newton and Copernicus watching their second grade math class fail an addition test. If my patience is being tested imagine how they feel … This was a tough beat considering what’s coming. They better beat someone by New Year’s, because after that it’s not going to be pretty for a while.

PLAYERS: It’s fashionable among the Red & White crowd to blame Durand Johnson (10 points 4 rebounds) for Saint John’s troubles: their chief claim is that Johnson is lazy. That’s because the Red & White crowd are racist, but not so unaware of it that they still call lazy black guys shiftless. Meanwhile Federico Mussini hasn’t covered anyone at the three point line since Garibaldi was a force in Italian politics and he’s their savior. Whatever. Federico was 5 for 14 from three Sunday, which makes him 9 for 39 this December absent the Syracuse game. Imagine what Heath Orvis might have done had he been afforded 10 threes a game, or Steve Shurina. Oh well, I reminisced enough about GWH Bobby Kelly last time. Time to move on … Mvouika (12 points 4 assists) is another guy who doesn’t cover anybody. It’s a shame he’s Saint John’s best offensive player, otherwise they could sit him … It was in my notes last time that Chris Jones is aggressive going to the basket but “timid finishing,” which is true of all the Saint John’s bigs. They work very hard to establish position but when it comes time to seal the deal go flaccid. Jones had the softest double double in the history of Division I; Sima had 14 rebounds, most of those of his own misses; Yawke was fine but he should still be in high school … Prediction: Albiveckowack is a clown car now but by the time he graduates he’s going to be the best white player at Saint John’s since, I don’t know, Bob Werdan. Which BWP starting five in my lifetime comprises Mullin, Werdan, Wennington, Ron Rowan and I guess maybe the ill-used Tim Doyle, whose basketball IQ was so high he transferred rather than play for Mike Jarvis. The other guy I might go for is Phil Missere, anyone but floor slapping dope Matt Brust, the most overrated player in SJ history. And yes old guys don’t bother emailing about Billy Schaeffer and the Mcintyre brothers and whoever, they were before my time … I’d like to see the plus minus for Malik Ellison, who played nearly 30 minutes, because the game quickly went south when he came in in the first half. He’s the sort of four year player I wish had played when Lou was coaching because he’d never have seen the floor as a freshman because he’s not very good

NOTES: I got nothing. Steve Lavin showed up at halftime commenting on the game, which is like Mrs. O’Leary showing up and commenting on the Chicago fire, but you have to live with his shamelessness. Looks like he’s gone back to coloring his hair although it might be that he has so much mousse on there that you can’t see the gray. Between his coif and Donny Marshall’s sculpted eyebrows it must have been a long morning in the make-up room.