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.