GAME: I asked following the loss on Sunday whether Saint John’s was playing up to dewk or dook was playing down to Saint John’s. That question was answered Wednesday night in Omaha Nebraska with Saint John’s 77-74 loss to winless last place Creighton. Because the team that played dook to draw, and Gonzaga to a draw, and beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, that team was snowed in on Long Island. The team that flew to Omaha two days early was the one that squeaked by Saint Mary’s and lost to Butler at home. In the pregame the dynamic Ben Howland – and if I’m oompa loompa Chris Monasch I’ve already made preliminary inquiries in that direction – said that the Saint John’s players knew that this was a must win and predicted that they’d come out with a sense of urgency. Whereas that happened not so much. Because this team – other than Pointer and Harrison, both whom of are foxhole material – displayed all the resistance of a 5 dollar whore in a Bangkok brothel. They are the perfect reflection of their airhead coach, who’s quite willing to state publicly that he doesn’t much care whether he wins games or loses them. They may even be a reflection of the times in which we live, where hashtags and placards like #saveourgirls and #jesuischarlie are considered acts of courage that display the righteousness of their authors without exposing them to the sort of real world consequences that might accrue should they be moved to actually get off the couch. If that’s the case it may be that we already won these games back in October, when the players who rolled over last night were festooning their tweets with #unfinishedbusiness and #hammertorock hashtags … Speaking of couches, I was sitting on mine at about 11:30 last night, having watched yet another college basketball season swirl down the toilet and scribbling notes on a legal pad by the light from the television refracting through the dregs of a glass of Crispin Cain Low Gap Clear Wheat Whiskey when I thought to myself: what the hell are you doing? How many ways can you describe a lump of shit? It’s brown and smells and feels like day old mashed potatoes. The rest of it is just ego and purple prose, signifying nothing. But then I remembered that we’re just meaningless carbon based life forms hurtling through an infinite and godless universe on a rock and I had to do something while sitting around waiting to die so why not drink and mock Lavin. Existential crisis passed … To the extent that the game itself deserves mention, it was awful. I had not seen Creighton yet this year but if last night was any indication they stink. Fortunately Saint John’s obliged them by being worse. Oddly though, Saint John’s outperformed Creighton in nearly every statistical category: the two teams shot the same percentage from the floor (41); Saint John’s shot 55 percent from three, to CU’s 40; SJU outrebounds Creighton 40 to 34; more assists, 19 to 17; more steals, 6 to 2; more blocks, 6 to 5. The only significant difference was at the free throw line, where Creighton shot 85 percent (18 of 21) to SJU’s 60 percent (10 of 17). Regular readers will recall mention of Saint John’s exemplary free throw defense earlier in the season, how it was responsible for several wins and how it was fool’s gold that would come back to bite them in the ass at some point. Teeth meet sphincter … Coaching wise Lavin was not any more awful than usual. Specifically there were some peculiar time-outs, at least one of which stopped a SJU rally dead in its tracks. I can’t really blame him for not preparing his team for the ridiculous triangle and two that Greg McDermott used to flummox Saint John’s for the first ten minutes, except to the extent that he doesn’t prepare his team for anything. And I’m not even going to mention his stupid get up. If his dress is a cry for attention I’m not giving him any more …So Saint John’s remains in 8th place, having dropped 6 of their last 8 – and this is against the palookas on their schedule. On the one hand it’s still early: there are 12 conference games left and anything can happen. Ten and two puts them at the top of the conference and at 20 wins, three of those against top 20 teams. But on the other hand when anything happens to Saint John’s usually it’s bad and anyone who thinks this team is going to rip off 10 or 12 wins in a row is out of their gourd. Thank goodness February is upon us or I might be worried.
Russell Harrison had a quiet first half but singlehandedly kept them in it at the end, including several off balance and acrobatic threes, one of which clanked off the back rim at the buzzer. Obviously four for 18 is not ideal, but nothing about this BB team is … Here’s something I’ve never said before and will likely never say again: Jamal Branch displayed skill at playing basketball. It was his play at the beginning of the second half- he started for Jordan, who allegedly “sprained” his “knee” – that fueled SJ’s comeback from a 10-point deficit. Colormoron Bob Wenzel twice described Branch as a “cerebral” player – unless he doesn’t know that the world “cerebral” means or meant that Branch plays like someone suffering from a brain injury I’m at a loss as to what he was talking about. To prove my point Branch committed 5 personals and fouled out in 28 minutes, nearly all of those by grabbing at a player that had run past him 40 feet from the basket … Pointer double doubled and added 6 assists. Made the play of the game when he saved an errant rebound by throwing the ball off a Creighton player’s face … Obekpa has 7 points and 8 rebounds and displayed nice form on his jump shot. You have to figure that the more he plays the more his draft stock drops. Last night he got pushed around by a bunch of hayseed lummoxes. Imagine what’ll be like in the D League. Managed to get a three second call 47 seconds into the game, which seems almost like a mathematical impossibility … Jessica Albivecovich played nearly 20 minutes off the bench and once again was not completely inept. Made a huge 2 pointer jump shot on a long rebound with three seconds left in regulation, which would have been amazing has Creighton not been up three … With Saint John’s down 4 and only 25 seconds remaining in the game, Phil Greene spent 13 seconds dribbling around outside the three point line looking for a shot to take. Lol at Phil Greene. He’s stinks
NOTES: Don’t have any. Nebraska is a big flat pile of nothing. Other than South Dakota it might be the stupidest state in the union. I don’t know what a cornhusker is and can’t be arsed to look it up. Other than Benoit Benjamin I think they probably haven’t had a college player I’ve heard of: what the hell is a Kyle Korver and who cares. Bob Gibson went to Creighton: he was HOF pitcher and played for the Harlem Globetrotters; that would be fodder for a paragraph if I were in the mood to write a paragraph. I’m not. I like birds but blue jays suck. I already did a bit about what a dope Bob Wenzel is and how he drinks too much. More would be thin gruel from which I’ll spare you. During the pregame there was a Saturday morning cartoon version of Lavin talking about how much he likes going to the movies and eating popcorn. Tempting. Can you imagine sitting for three hours behind that bulbous head listening to him cackle at Adam Sandler? Because you know he loves Adam Sandler. Anyone doubt he owns Happy Gilmore on Blue Ray? I don’t. But fuck all that, I’m not in the mood … Okay, one note: on Saint John’s fan boards this morning even Lavin’s lickspittles and toadies are deserting the sunken ship, i.e., posters saying oh well I was a Lavin supporter up to now but after this loss it’s clear that this isn’t working and even I can’t support him. The translation of that is: Until I got hit between the eyes by that Omaha 2 x 4 I didn’t realize what a buffoon Lavin is, but now even someone as stupid as I am has seen the light. The answer should be: if it took you this long to see something so plainly obvious, why should anyone care what you think now. Shut up and eat your shit sandwiches and choke them down with the dregs of your Kool-aid. I could not care less.