RECAP: Saint John’s lost to the 24th ranked team in the country Wednesday night in the first round of the Battle for Atlantis by nine points, 72-63, and this morning on various SJU fan forums the knives are out for Chris Mullin. Some of that is of course just trolling by trolls and some is just shit posting by shit posters and some of it is just dummies being dumb; the kind that is borne of the sort of impatience that little children exhibit on Christmas Eve waiting for Santy Claus to come is the easiest to understand but is no less inexcusable. Because anyone who went into this year thinking that Saint John’s – of 351 Division One teams the 349th least experienced, with five players who have never played college basketball before, and four sophomores who were last year 1 and 17 in conference play – was not going to spend much of the year getting its brains kicked in delusional; anyone who thought they were going to go on the road and upset Tom Izzo is nuts; and anyone who thinks there is anything to be gleaned from Wednesday’s game about Chris Mullin’s basketball acumen or the direction of the basketball program at Saint John’s is a fool … So yes, SJU lost by nine. Once again they went up early – it was 17 to 9 SJU at one point – and once again the bottom fell out, this time in the form of a 2-14 scoring drought to end the half. They kept things close in the second half until a similar drought, this one 0-10, finished them. Take away Marcus Lovett and the rest of the team shot 29 percent from the floor (14 for 47); they were outrebounded by 20, 53-33; they had eight assists to 16 for MSU. All of which is going to beat absolutely no one, and certainly not the number 24 team in the country coached by one of the best coaches of his generation and there’s nothing Chris Mullin could have done about it, not even implementing the various brilliant suggestions bandied about this morning by the many arm genyiouses who once were assistant coaches in a CYO league in Valley Stream: short of building a working time machine there were no “halftime adjustments” that would help. Pressing would not help, playing zone would not help, running the great Federico Mussini off more screens would not help, the box and one or triangle and two or pentagram and zero would not help. What would help would be if all the players were six months or a year older and smarter and more experienced and 20 pounds heavier. That’s what would help. Because this what happens to young inexperienced basketball teams: they lose games, lots of them, and sometimes badly. As Saint John’s fans I’d have thought you all expert in losing but evidently it needs to be beaten into some of you a little more righteously. Which is why I’m here.
PLAYERS: Marcus Lovett again led all scorers, which I think it’s safe to say you can pencil that in for the rest of the year. Twenty points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds. He’s beginning to remind me of another Marcus, see if you can guess who I’m thinking of … The rest of these bums don’t even deserve mention, but it’s a holiday, so: Owens, Yawke, and Sima were a combined 3 for 15 from the floor with 9 rebounds in 62 minutes. Probably there would have been more minutes but Tariq “Baruch Slayer” Owens fouled out again, this time in 11 minutes. For those of you scoring at home that’s 11 more minutes than Christian Jones played last night for UNLV and he’s sidelined with an injury. In two games Owens has managed 10 fouls in 25 minutes of floor time. Some fan forum wag suggested he should foul less often, which I concur …. The other two are 600 minutes into their college careers and I usually don’t throw players over the side until they reach 700, so they better pick it up …. Ponds had 12 points but was invisible most of the night. …. Malik Ellison’s entry into the game is usually the beginning of the end but last night it was only the end of the middle – that’s all Mo’s coaching baby! My expectations for Ellison are so low that I take his 3 points, 3 rebound, 4 foul 20 minutes as a step in the right direction …. Ahmed hit a couple of threes early, then got a couple of fouls, then got a couple of more fouls and then fouled out with a technical. They’ll need him to do better than 4 for 13 from the floor with one assist if they hope to win some league games. He did have 7 rebounds though … Mussini made a couple of threes but also got called for a couple of offensive fouls and was an embarrassment on the defensive end unless you confuse stumbling around flailing your limbs with a fine defensive effort in which case he was excellent…. But not as much of an embarrassment as Darien Williams, who committed a foul less than a second after entering the game and got burned half a dozen times in three minutes by Miles Bridges – the second freshman to beat SJU single handedly – before Mullin mercifully euthanized him …. Alibegovich probably should have played more, that’s how bad the front court was … All I heard over the summer was what a sweet stroke Richard
Heydrich Freundenburgh had and what a graceful athlete he was an so on. He does not look graceful to me and when he shoots he looks like he’s having a seizure.
NOTES: Last night’s game was (ironically) only available on a station called Access, which is the brainchild of Mark Cuban – which is what happens when a moron has too much money – and Ryan Seacrest – which is what happens when a moron has too little talent. This I accessed [sic] through a free trial subscription to Sling TV, an internet based TV service, similarly owned. Although in the not too distant future generations who enjoy cheap on demand entertainment will wonder why television consumers let themselves get fucked for so long by the monster that is time warner – just as today’s television consumers cannot understand the concept of getting up off the couch to change to Channel 11 in time for a Honeymooners marathon – Sling and AXS TV do not seem to be the answer. The Sling TV interface is slow and clunky and the channel offerings in the basic package pedestrian. Like the rest of you I’ll be cancelling on Friday …. The game was called by Kenny Rice, Seth Davis and someone called Tom Walsh. Of Kenny Rice who inflicts himself on much of TV’s horse racing coverage the best thing that can be said is that he’s not Kenny Mayne. Seth Davis is ubiquitous on college basketball halftime and pregame coverage but since I usually fast forward through that dreck I have mostly avoided him before last night. Turns out he’s sort of a self-important know it all douche bag, which made sense once I wiki-ed him and found out he’s a graduate of DoOk university, which makes him just another in a conga line of self-important know it all douche bags that includes cigar store Indians Quinn Snyder, Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkle , drunkards Bob Wetzel and Bucky Waters, Alaa Abdulakbar, Jay “Look Out for that Tree!” Williams, the repulsive Jay Bilas and Shane Battier’s furrowed head. A little known fact about Seth is that he’s the son of Lanny Davis, long time consigliere of the Clinton crime syndicate…. This was the third meeting between SJU and MSU, and the first MSU victory. Saint John’s rallied from 16 down to beat Cazzie Russel’s 2nd ranked Michigan State team in the 1965 Holiday festival in what is arguably the greatest victory in school history and then beat them again in December 1980, with Michigan half a dozen games removed from a national championship …. Today is Thanksgiving, I mention that only so as to work in the picture of Marilyn Monroe. Gobble gobble.