Tag Archives: dook

CCSUssudio

Back when I was in law school Joe Biden was running for president – this was before it came out that he was a serial plagiarist who cribbed speeches from everyone from Robert Kennedy to Sally Fields, they like  me, they really like me – and one evening he attended an event on campus, which was in New Hampshire and where his college room mate taught Evidence. At the end Joe answered questions from students that had previously been submitted on 3 x 5 index cards, this being before the internet. Being even back then a bit of a wag I asked “whether Senator Biden thought the American people so shallow that they would elect as president a man who combs the last few remaining strands of hair over his pate in a forlorn attempt to hide his baldness.”  (I had not then yet imagined President Donald Trump.) Joe didn’t answer my question but the expression on his face when he read it was priceless, and I’m reminded of it each time I see him and his fashionable plugs – for which I credit myself – on television, which I did yesterday morning when he appeared with the repulsive Matt Lauer as part of his Darn-I-wish-I’d run-for-president tour.  Joe didn’t run last time – no doubt he didn’t want to end up like Seth Rich and Vince Foster – and so instead he spends his days rehearsing a bald version of Hamlet: to be president or not to be, that is the question; I didn’t run, I wish I did, I might, I could win, the sight of which is enough to make me throw myself in the river atop Ophelia. Hey Joe where you going with that gun in your hand : make up your mind and run or don’t and may the best moron win but for god sake shut up about it. I mention all this because the original paragraph I wrote here, since excised, was my own version of Hamlet. Because when I woke up yesterday morning my nearly very first thought was, shit, there’s a basketball game tonight and  I have to write 2000 words about it and another 2000 words about Nebraska on Thursday, and so on, and so on, and so on. And it occurred to me that I’ve taken two of the few things in life I enjoy, writing and college basketball, and turned them into one thing that’s a chore: writing about college basketball. It’s as if I combined cigars and horse racing and ended up setting the barn on fire. Which is why I started this essay the way I did. But you know what? That sort of hand wringing is just not very interesting – even when I’m writing about it – and so I’ve told myself exactly what I told Joe. Write your stupid little blog or don’t, but pull your head out of your ass and stop being such a little bitch … To wit

About the game it’s once again too early to tell anything much except that the guards are really quite good: Simon had a double double and Ponds almost had one; Lovett scored 15 points, all in the second half. Ahmed (13 points, 3 rebounds) looked a little better but still forced it a bit. Owens had six points, five rebounds and two blocks, which is almost exactly what he had last game (5/6/2); if you asked me whether I’d take that all season I might say yes. Clark was a non factor with four fouls and Yakwe was once again a non factor and  really has no excuse for his behavior, except maybe he doesn’t like playing basketball. Brian Trimble Jr. can shoot a bit and isn’t shy about it. Alibegowitz didn’t come in the game until there were about five minutes left and I didn’t miss him; still there were 187 posts on various fan boards about what a great  center he’d make if he only was a completely different player, by which I mean a talented one who played center. Which he isn’t, he a stretch stinks. As a group they look to be a bit more committed to playing defense than they were last year – it’d be hard not to.  Still 21 is a lot of turnovers  to force and it may be that there are not so many blocks this year because the guards are occasionally stopping people from getting in the lane. Probably we’ll know more after Thursday. Nebraska stinks but they stink in the Big 10, which currently comprises 14 teams.

Speaking of plagiarism, here’s the game recap courtesy of Reuters

St. John’s rolls over Central Connecticut

St. John’s produced three extended scoring runs to pave the way for an 80-55 non-conference victory over Central Connecticut on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena in New York City.

Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds led St. John’s (2-0) with 21 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Marcus LoVett delivered all 15 of his points in the second half while Arizona transfer Justin Simon posted a career-high 12 points with 11 rebounds.

Junior center Deion Bute paced Central Connecticut (0-3) with 19 points and nine rebounds while senior forward Mustafa Jones added 13 points. That duo combined to hit 14 of 21 shots from the field, but their teammates canned just 6 of 27 (22 percent).

Central Connecticut lost its first two games by a combined five points at Hartford and Rutgers, but couldn’t cling as closely to St. John‘s.

The Red Storm subdued the Blue Devils with 9-0 and 11-0 runs in the first half, but saved their 16-0 knockout blow for the second half once Central Connecticut pulled within 12. The final spree featured multiple behind-the-back passes on fast breaks as St. John’s regained control.

St. John’s canned 8 of 14 3-pointers until junk time reduced its final showing to 9 of 21 from long range. The Red Storm forced the Blue Devils into 21 turnovers and won the rebound battle by nine.

Good grief but that’s some shit writing. You know why? Because it violates the number one rule of good writing: don’t try to be interesting. (Rule two is don’t use adverbs, badly. ) I don’t mean don’t write about interesting things or don’t be interesting when you write, I mean don’t try to make mundane things interesting by describing them using grandiose hackneyed language. If e.g. someone says something, say “he said,” not he declaimed or interposed or speculated or good forbid ejaculated. If someone scored, say they scored; they didn’t deliver; they didn’t can anything. Dominos delivers and  Chicken of the Sea cans and I occasionally ejaculate. There was no rebound battle, no final spree, no knockout blow. Nobody rolled over anybody and no one didn’t cling as closely to anything else, which is anyways redundant, because cling means “to hold on tightly,” so if you’re clinging your you’re close by definition. It’s atrocious writing and these dopes get paid to do it and I write like this for free. There’s something wrong with this business model.

Notes: Central Connecticut State University is in – wait for it – Central Connecticut. Turns out there’s not a lot of their they’re there there – CCSU’s most famous alumni in nearly 200 years is pretty boy actor Richard Grieco, the least successful member of 21 Jump Street. (The most successful member belongs to Johnny Depp.) The basketball team is coached by Uconn’s Donyell Marshall – not to be confused with Donnie Marshall’s terrifying eyebrows – the fourth pick in the nineteen I can’t be arsed to look it up NBA draft. Marshall spent 15 years in the league, where he played along side amongst others Chris Mullin. Last night however CCSU was coached by someone called Witkoskie, as Marshall  is currently suspended for slapping around one of his assistant coaches after practice. Besides having a coach whose name is impossible to spell or pronounce CCSU shares with the finest Ivy league school in the ACC, that’d be Dewk for those of you scoring at home, a sports mascot, similarly being called the blue devils. Considering those coincidences I’ve decided to help the dopes at Reuters by putting together a brief guide to telling the schools apart. Probably the easiest was is to note which coach had his tail cut off after being chased up the clock by the farmer’s wife: that would be the dook blue devils of the ACC, coached by Mike Schrewshrensky. A second way is to compare horseflesh. This for example is an ACC coed who was featured as “Cheerleader of the Week” by Sports Illustrated magazine.

Chubba Chubba. Hubba hubba.

As you can see, Dook girls are not terribly attractive, although I have it on good authority that they’re easy.

(Speaking of bad writing Sports Illustrated once wrote an entire article about verse penned by America’s then poet laureate, JJ Reddick

My life story is read in poetic stages
I was once weak-minded, now I’m courageous
The cause and effect of a thousand actions
The mathematical breakdown of micro-fractions
It’s difficult to fathom the coming of the rapture
What if I awoke in an empty pasture?

The answer is that if you awoke in an empty pasture it wouldn’t be empty, would it stupid, and also you’d risk being confused with a cow patty.

https://deadspin.com/5591005/americas-dumbest-student-athlete-jj-redick-duke-university)

This on the other hand is a random CCSU coed, not even a cheerleader

This is another one

So to recap.

Dook University:

Central Cameltoe State

To finish up, how about some shitty music about bad writing.

Am I Blue

GAME: After watching the interminable end of Wednesday night’s Butler upset of Villanova complete with court-storming and post-game interviews I thought to myself, self, if Saint John’s upsets Creighton tonight at Carnesecca Arena they’ll be in sole possession of first place in the Big East since I can’t be arsed to look it up. Which not looking it up is just as well because Saint John’s did not upset Creighton at Carnesecca Arena, instead they lost 85-72. That they did was entirely predictable because this was let’s face it a bad matchup: Creighton starts three upperclassmen, one of them a point guard senior that’s as quick as either of our freshmen and three times as fast as any of our sophomores; they have a dominating big man – Patton looked like a lottery pick Wednesday night although some of that was undoubtedly the competition and some of it was that the referees allowed him to stand around in the lane long enough to grow roots; and head coach Doug McDermott’s father is smart enough to take advantage of those advantages, which he did by forcing the pace on offense and packing it in on defense. You couldn’t create a team in the laboratory that was better designed to kick our teeth in. And yet the good news is that Saint John’s – and I don’t want to sound like a Pollyanna here but – didn’t give up. There were a bunch of times they could have thrown in the towel like they did last year when they lost to Creighton by 40 on the road and instead they came back from an 18 point halftime deficit thanks to yet another amazing display of halftime adjustments by coaches Mullin and Saint Jean and cut it to ten a bunch of times where it seemed like they were just one big play or one lucky one away from making it a ballgame. But then one of Creighton’s upperclassmen would make a play or one of our cretin underclassmen wouldn’t and it’d be back to 14. Oh well … There’s no point in rehashing the game when a picture’s worth a thousand words, even a thousand of mine:

 

 

For those of you scoring at home Saint John’s is the red line. Similarly pointless is examination of the box score: CU shot 52 percent, SJU shot 40 percent; Saint John’s was 7-22 from three; rebounds were even at 40; turnovers were even at eight. The only vaguely interesting thing about the numbers is free throws: Saint John’s did not shoot a single free throw until 13:29 in the second half – by then Creighton had shot ten. In the next three minutes someone called Toby Hegner – who prior to that had played immaculate defense – committed three fouls in 2 minutes; in the next 10 minutes Justin Patton committed a foul every 2 minutes and fouled out. It was as if suddenly the heavens opened above the parted Red Sea and the whistles multiplied like loaves and fishes. What really happened is that SJU started attacking the basket a little more aggressively and the referees started calling things a little more aggressively because things were starting to get a little chippy. Of course probably things wouldn’t have started to get chippy if the refs had called things a little more squarely early on. Which is not to blame them for the loss because that would be a pussy move and Creighton is a much better team than we are but noticing it is something else altogether, especially when you have 2000 words to write.

PLAYERS: Lovett played 38 minutes and led Saint John’s with 23 points, including 4 of 5 from three … Tariq Owens had 12 points and five rebounds – four of his field goals came on face-up 15 foot jump shots which if that wasn’t an aberration that could be huge moving forward … Ponds had 17 points and five rebounds. Got T’ed up as part of a double technical late in the second half while the players were jostling for position on an inbounds play under the basket. Seems out of character … Ahmed had six points and seven rebounds. The refs did him no favors by ignoring contact on his drives to the basket – he shot three free throws in a game where he was the victim of six misdemeanors … Ellison had seven of Saint John’s 12 assists and also five rebounds but was 3 of 10 from the floor and one of six from three. Perhaps if he thought less about shooting he could spend more time concentrating on not passing the ball to the pep band … Darien Williams had four rebounds and no points but only played 12 minutes …. Yawke had one rebound in only ten minutes and bungled a bunch of chances under the basket. Seems to have reverted to November Yawke whereas I preferred December Yawke … Alibegowitz finally made a layup using that stupid eurostep he tries at least once a game and afterwards stood under the basket pounding his chest and howling at the crowd like he’d just scored the winning touchdown in the Super bowl in overtime. Whereas in fact he’d just drawn his .500 team – which has won three league games since March 2015 – within 13 points in what would prove to be a losing effort. Which is about like one of Napoleon’s infantryman pounding his chest over the corpse of a dead Russian peasant during the retreat from Moscow … A halfhearted cheer from the crowd greeted the long awaited return of Federico Missini from the mysterious infection that had sidelined him during Saint John’s three game winning streak. I note without postulating causation that his return coincided with that streak’s end. Missini made two threes, one to draw Saint John’s within 18 at the end of the first half and one to draw Saint John’s to within 19 at the beginning of the second half, so it’s good to know he hasn’t lost his ability to drain clutch shots. In my favorite sequence late in the second half he missed a three early in the shot clock that would have drawn SJU with seven, then turned the ball over on the break after a Creighton miss and then fouled the Creighton player who ended up with the ball, making him singlehandedly responsible for a seven-point turnaround. Those of you who continue to write accusing me of acting uncharitably towards Missini because he is slow, weak, and cannot cover or jump over a brick will be happy to hear that I ascribe that display of incompetence to rust.

NOTES: Once again not too much here. I went back and looked at what I wrote about Creighton over the past several years and the most interesting thing was a bit about Kelly Cuoco’s ass and that I only wrote so I could stick her picture at the top of the post in an attempt to tempt to my blog readers who cannot otherwise locate pictures of near naked broads on the internet. The rest of it was about how Nebraska is a big flat pile of nothing, behind which every word I stand – much like I’d like to stand behind Kelly Cuoco, or at least kneel – but there’s no need repeating it …. Breaking news from North Carolina: DooK Coach Mike Krswshrehy – who injured his back after falling from the top of a clock where he had taken refuge from the farmer’s wife – will undergo back surgery and miss up to a month of the season. Upon hearing the tragic news the NCAA immediately sprang into action and announced that Skrewshnski’s absence will be factored into Dewk’s seeding in the NCAA tournament because of course it will. Oddly I don’t remember any similar announcement when Jim Calhoun or Jim Boeheim missed parts of their seasons recuperating from cancer – and Calhoun is at this point more tumor than healthy tissue; and if missing time recuperating from surgery is a qualification for the NCAA grading on a curve our own Steve Lavin should be awarded a retroactive national championship. Meanwhile there’s been no action by the NCAA regarding allegations that no athlete at the University of North Carolina has attended a single class since Saint John’s own Frank McGuire headed the program. Don’t worry though the Thomas More College women’s basketball program is still on probation and facing the death penalty. And finally the repulsive Grayson Allen returned to action last night after an “indefinite suspension” which turned out to be one game because of course it did. Allen you may recall attempted to cripple a player from mighty Elon College in a meaningless preseason game a couple of weeks ago and was disciplined because there are more important things than winning. That this is happening in North Carolina a state the NCAA punished for passing a discriminatory law mandating that men should use bathrooms designed for humans with penises I find highly amusing, but not for the reasons you might think …

 

 

 

Inexcusable

That pitter patter you heard Wednesday night after Saint John’s improbable 93-60 demolition of New York’s team at the Carrier Dome was not the premature roof-top clatter of Santa and eight tiny reindeer bearing a sled containing toys for all the good girls and boys. No. What it was was the sound of a pack of rats clambering back up the gang plank of the vessel they’d spent the last seven days deserting in a lurid and embarrassing the-ship-be-sinking circle jerk the likes of which we had not seen since year five of the Norm Roberts regime. When they weren’t posting pictures of the Titanic and creating from whole cloth phantasmagorical scenarios wherein every Saint John’s player on the roster save Elijah Holifield got hardship transfers to Rutgers they were firing off angry emails to the new university president threatening to withhold their annual $ 50 donations until things were put right again, tax right offs be damned. And then last night happened and suddenly Chris Mullin knows something about basketball and maybe even Mitch Richmond too and let’s not forget the young phenom Greg Saint Jean who designed the system that for two years now has dismantled Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone and all is right with the world and god bless us everyone as we all go happily to the grave. Because to truly appreciate sports you must either be top of the world ma or clutching your pearls and taking to the divan with the vapors – there can be no middle ground. All kidding aside there are Frenchmen I’d rather have in a foxhole with me than some of the alleged fans who post in various SJU forums. Which lack of middle ground is why there is this morning giddiness on the one hand and why on the other there’s still a few diehard haters and Lavin toadies and Iona fans who were not impressed by this fluke; to the extent that they point out that this is not a vintage Boeheim effort I agree but on the third hand beating even a shitty Orange team is better than loosing [sic] to LIU, can we at least find some common ground there? The irony is that both camps are bound to be disappointed, because this is what happens with young teams: some nights they bring it and some nights they leave it home. When they turn the corner and bring it every night, that’s when things will begin to get interesting. Undoubtedly we’re not there yet but you have to start somewhere …. Rereading that it was probably a bit over the top but it felt good and I’m not changing a word. If anyone asks tell them it was meta commentary …. This was the first game in a long while against a real opponent where Saint John’s put their foot on the victim’s throat early and went on to tear out the windpipe. They went into halftime up ten aided by some pretty good three point shooting and some atrocious and sometimes comical play by Syracuse that included 10 turnovers, most of them unforced. Syracuse got two quick baskets to start the half and my notes read quite clearly “and then the roof caved in,” which I and every other fan who’s watched this team blow leads in their last couple of games expected except it didn’t – Saint John’s scored six straight points and eight of ten led by of all people Kassoum Yawke, who had two FGs and an assist before hall of fame coach Boeheim used his final TO of the game with 17 minutes left. There followed a remarkable sequence: Syracuse was fouled and made one of two free throws, then they got the rebound and got fouled and missed both free throws and then they got the rebound and made a two and then missed a free throw and got the rebound and missed a field goal. I mean look at this

 

16:52             Foul on Kassoum Yakwe. 47 – 35

16:52             John Gillon made Free Throw.   47 – 36

16:52             John Gillon missed Free Throw. 47 – 36

16:52             Tyler Lydon Offensive Rebound.           47 – 36

16:51             Foul on Kassoum Yakwe. 47 – 36

16:51             Tyler Lydon missed Free Throw.            47 – 36

16:51             Syracuse Deadball Team Rebound.      47 – 36

16:51             Tyler Lydon missed Free Throw.            47 – 36

16:51             DaJuan Coleman Offensive Rebound.  47 – 36

16:50             Andrew White III missed Jumper.         47 – 36

16:50             Andrew White III Offensive Rebound. 47 – 36

16:50             Andrew White III made Two Point Tip Shot.  47 – 38

16:50             Foul on Bashir Ahmed.     47 – 38

16:50             Andrew White III missed Free Throw. 47 – 38

16:50             Tyler Lydon Offensive Rebound.           47 – 38

16:48             Frank Howard missed Jumper.  47 – 38

16:48             Andrew White III Offensive Rebound. 47 – 38

16:48             John Gillon missed Three Point Jumper.

 

Syracuse took nine shots and got seven rebounds in FOUR SECONDS and the score went from Saint John’s plus 12 to Saint John’s plus nine. And that just broke their spirit. Saint John’s went on to outscore them 24 – 10 over the next five minutes and by 24 over the remainder of the game including a sequence of punks and dunks and alley oops the likes of which Saint John’s fans have not seen, well, maybe ever … Usually when I say there’s no point in looking at the box score it’s because Saint John’s was so awful but this time it’s because their opponent was: Syracuse shot 30 percent from the floor, 16 percent from three, 50 percent from the foul line and had 19 turnovers and 24 fouls. Saint John’s shot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three and had a mind boggling 27 assists (that’s 15 percent of their season total) versus only nine turnovers. The only shit lining on the silver cloud is that they were 13 for 25 from the free throw line, which isn’t very good even if you factor in the walk-ons, who missed all their tries …. This was the 4th time this season Saint John’s has gone over 90 points, which some years it used to take them two games to do. One wag recently complained that what Mullin was bringing to the table was “not redmen basketball” to which I say halle-fucking-lujah. I’ve watched redmen basketball for 40 years. I want to watch winning basketball for a change … So the preseason is over and now the real games begin and where are we heading into conference play? I don’t know. On the plus side we’d be hard pressed to lose any that we’re supposed to win –  mainly because we’re not supposed to win very many – and on the other hand we have the talent to steal a couple when the other guy isn’t looking. On the minus side there are going to be those days when they just don’t show up and those days where they do show up but they show up as freshmen making dumb freshmen mistakes. Hopefully they play hard and stay healthy and steal enough wins to get a CBI bid and then wait till next year bums except next year might really be next year this time.

PLAYERS: Usually I do these profiles in the order in which the players played from best to worst which is why it’s so surprising that the first player up is Malik Ellison, who scored 16 points and added 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes. Over his last two games Ellison is 8 for 11 from three, which if he shot even half that well you could overlook all the boneheaded things he does. He has the makings of a nice complimentary player although you get the impression by watching him that he thinks himself more than that. That will be a bridge to be crossed once and if his skills grow to match his opinion of his skills … Shamorie Ponds had 21 points – including a couple of threes he took from Rochester – six rebounds and seven assists … Batshit Ahmed, prior to last night a “bust” who “should be benched” had 20 points, 5 rebounds and three assists versus a single turnover. One astute observer (okay it was me) had observed earlier this week how much more effective he’d be posted up inside or on or about the foul line, where he wouldn’t have to dribble to get near the basket, dribbling not being his strong suit. You’re welcome  … Marcus Lovett, decried by some as a “shoot first” guard had nine assists and six rebounds versus only six shots. At one point came precariously close to letting a ball roll out of bounds in the back court while he was adjusting his shorts …. Yawke seems to be getting his sea legs under him after an atrocious start to the season: seven points and eight rebounds including a thunderous dunk where he took off just short of the free throw line … Freudeburgh made a couple of threes early and was pretty quiet after that but baby steps. Speaking of steps he nearly looked the fool when he grabbed a rebound and raced down court (for data sets where “raced” is defined generously) to euro step his way past the four SU players between him and the basket but fortunately he got fouled while fumbling the ball out of bounds and it was the other guy who was beclowned …. Four blocks and four rebounds for Tariq Owens, who managed not to foul out …Williams, Holifield and someone called J Cole got some run during garbage time …. Conspicuously absent and not missed one iota was Wally Pipp Federico Missini. If he is ill as has been rumored we wish him a speedy recovery. If he does recover speedily it will be the first thing he’s done speedily since he first donned a Saint John’s uniform.

NOTES: I’ve beaten Syracuse into the ground over the past several years and so would be left with no anecdotes with which to beguile my readers were it not for the serial malapropisms of color man Mike Gminski, a former college all American at DOoK University and subsequently an NBA first round draft pick. Those of you who are as old as dirt will remember that Gminski was the starting center on the number one DoOk Blue Devil team that lost twice to Saint John’s in the 78-79 season, first in the consolation game of the Holiday Festival and later in the Black Sunday defeat in the NCAA tournament, where Gminski got punked by chronic underachiever Wayne McCoy. Gminski went on to a respectable NBA career, as opposed to the conga line of buffoons first round draft picks Doook has sent the NBA subsequently: Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie, Alaa Abdulallahakbar, Antonio Lang, Grant “Golly I seem to have snapped another bone” Hill, Cherokee Parks, Chris Carrawell, Shelden “Forceps Head” Williams, Jay “Look out for that tree” Williams, Josh McRoberts, Daniel Ewing and however many Plumlee brothers mother Plumlee squirted out and that’s not even the full list. Anyway Gminski called Saint John’s a “high school coaching job” when he described asking Mullin whether he would have coached anywhere else than Saint John’s, claimed that Saint John’s was coming off a 46 point loss to Penn State (it was 16 although it might have seemed like more) and in what may be the single stupidest sports analogy ever uttered stated that “waiting to take over from [Jim Boeheim] is like waiting for Castro to die,” which it is if Boeheim has a prison complex beneath the Carrier Dome where he tortures and murders his political opponents in the name of a failed and discredited ideology that was responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century and also if Boeheim had to die rather than just retire to Florida with his hot wife and spend his days drinking Mai Tais and fishing off his deck … Speaking of DoOk Grayson Allen – the poster child for the sort of smug entitled white piece of shit scumbag fuck heads that are treasured by Mike Schrewshrenski – for the third time in recent memory attempted to cripple an opposing player by sweeping the leg. Let’s go to the video tape:

So to recap: Allen attempts to seriously injure an opponent, acts like he was fouled while doing so, talks shit to the opponent afterwards and whines like a little bitch when he’s T’ed up for his behavior. Coach Rat face – who you may recall last year lectured Oregon’s Dillon Brooks on good sportsmanship after Brooks made a three late in Duke’s NCAA tournament loss – called Allen’s behavior “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” but also has no plans to discipline him beyond the couple of minutes he sat him down afterwards, which doesn’t seem like the appropriate punishment for something that’s inexcuseable, an adjective meaning too awful to be tolerated. If Ratty won’t do anything I’d hope the ACC steps in and metes out the proper retribution, which would be that he be taken to the place from whence he came and there be kept in close confinement until next Thursday and upon that day that he be taken to the place of execution and there hanged by the neck until dead. And may God have mercy upon his soul.

 

 

 

The Big Easy

mardi-gras-flashing

GAME: What a difference a week makes. On Monday evening after SJU’s embarrassing loss to Delaware State Chris Mullin was a lazy bum who lacked all understanding of basketball and fan forum discussions centered on how much Archie Miller’s buy out is and failing that whether Tom Pecora could be enticed to sit on the bench and offer Mullin the sort of wise counsel that allowed him to win nearly 9 games a year at Fordham. Saturday morning, after Saint John’s dismantled Tulane 95-75, Chris Mullin is a hard working basketball prodigy who deserves all the credit in the world for developing a game plan that put his players in a position to win and whose bench savvy ensured that they did. Of course and in FACT none of that is true. Chris Mullin is exactly the same person he was a week ago, when he said “If you’re looking for panic you’re looking in the wrong place.” (Exactly Chris, if you’re looking for panic read the fever dreams of the hysterical old women who post at Johnny Jungle and Redmen dot calm com.) And the players are exactly the same ones who humiliated themselves on Monday. They’re just a game older. Because this is what’s meant by the up and down in up and down season. Today we are a peacock – Monday we were a feather duster. This is life: there are good days and bad days and days in between. The secret to it all is to remain serene in the face of such vicissitudes. Or at least drunk …. I saw little point in rehashing the box score after the Delaware game and see just as little point this morning. Saint John’s hit 10 of their first 11 threes en route to a 30-15 lead in the best first half they’ve played in the Mullin era and probably going back beyond that. They shot 65 percent from three for the game, 55 percent from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line. They had 22 assists to 14 turnovers. They were plus 8 rebounding. On the offensive end Tulane wasn’t awful – they shot 44 percent from three themselves – but their defense was shall we say porous. But it was also one of those night where everyone on Saint John’s was somewhere between on and unconscious. More than the numbers what was striking was the energy with which they came out, on the road, after being humiliated three days ago, when they could have rolled over, and the ball movement, the likes of which we have not seen in a very long time. And in fact on the first possession of the game they were so intent on moving the ball that they didn’t even bother shooting – if the shot clock hadn’t expired they might still be passing it around this morning. Anyway if this is the system, count me in. If the guards stay healthy and they get a couple of players who can finish in the paint this is going to be something to see … First game of the season where Mullin wore a suit and a tie. Looked off the rack but still it was nice to see him taking basketball seriously for a change.

PLAYERS: Nearly all the smalls played well. Ahmed had 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and zero offensive fouls. He airballed a couple of threes but with a line like that you can live with it. Lovett 18 points and five assists. Ponds had 15 points – all threes, he’s shooting 40 percent for the year – and four assists. Mussini had his best game in quite a while or perhaps ever – 17 points, three rebounds, and only a handful of embarrassments on the defensive end. Even Ellison (seven points, four assists) wasn’t is usual atrocious self …. The bigs were another matter. Other than Baruq Owens, who acquitted himself reasonable well (eight points, six blocks), the bigs were more or less invisible. Sima has only two rebounds … Fredenburger – for whom the game is just too fast at present – had no points or assists in 13 minutes but 6 rebounds … Even Alibegowitch got into the act, making his first three of the year, after which he raised his hand in triumph, or maybe relief. Christian who? … Which brings us to Kassoum Yawke, who once again looked lost out there. Kid showed a world of potential last year and obviously it’s way too early to throw him under the bus but he seems to have lost whatever instincts he displayed last year that made him so much fun to watch. He was one for six from the floor – the five he missed were lay ups and chippies and the one he made was a circus shot he banked falling away from the basket that he shouldn’t have taken in the first place – and had three rebounds and one block. You know if he wanted to he could manage a dozen rebounds a game. Threat advisory scale: yellow.

NOTES: Tulane is coached by Brooklyn native Mike Dunleavy, a longtime NBA player who won an NBA championship as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and was later named NBA coach of the year while a Portland Trailblazer. Unfortunately that NBA experience has not translated to the college ranks where Dunleavy now sports a .14 winning percentage. If the comments this morning on the Ye Olde Green Wave Forum (I shit you not) are any indication, Dunleavy better get Pete Gillen on the phone stat, because the fans are none too pleased. For example poster GSx writes than Dunleavy was “completely outcoached” by Chris Mullin – evidently GSx does not read the SJU fan forums, he’d know that “anyone who thinks mullin knows what he is doing is lying to himself.” Poster Waverider wonders “ how much is talent and how much is coaching.” Pete Rache thinks Dunleavy “ completely ignored teaching defense,” while poster RJC laments that Dunleavy’s “experience is only in the pros.” Not one to mince words poster Wavemania declares that “Dunleavy is a loser” and hopes that Tim Welch Floyd is available, although he is willing to give the former NBA coach of the year “two years to turn it around.” NJ Wave wishes Tulane would press more, believes the problem is not lack of talent, and is losing patience with Dunleavy; Baywave believes “ coaches need to do better”; and Rororooter “would have hired a guy who had a proven college system, a system that could win with inferior talent.” (Pete Carill to the white courtesy telephone.) This is after Dunleavy has coached seven games. And the moral is: only the half-clever names have been changed. What I can’t understand is that none of them complained about the most heinous act of Dunleavy’s career: he spawned the repulsive Mike Dunleavy Jr, formerly of DooK university.

Spartan Up

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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.

The L Word

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GAME: There’s a temptation after a game like Friday’s humiliating 73-51 home loss to recent Division I convert Incarnate Word to say well, Saint John’s played poorly, could happen to anyone, chalk up the el and get ready for the next one. Which is true, but it’s unfortunately the same thing Syracuse was saying about Saint John’s after their win last weekend. Because that’s what you say when you lose a game you expected to win. After the Syracuse game Mullin told his players that when they do things the right way they can beat anyone in the country. Hopefully after last night he told them that this is what happens when you don’t do things the right way: anyone in the country can beat you … On offense Saint John’s SJ didn’t look too bad, at least not by the numbers: they shot 40 percent from the floor and from three; rebounds were more or less even; they had 13 assists and 6 blocks. The bad news was they turned the ball over 15 times and were 7 of 13 from the FT line, many of those misses comprising the front end of one and ones while IW was pulling away. The defense was another story: IW shot only 40 percent from the floor but 45 percent from behind the three point line – from whence SJU allowed them to shoot without a care in the world – and 14 of 15 from the FT line … All in all a pretty humiliating loss for a team some thought might have turned the corner. Which if they did they did they just ran over a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The only good news so far this week is that the semester’s over and a decision on M Lovett is allegedly nigh. Because this team could use a point guard.

PLAYERS: Durand Johnson led the team in points (15) and rebounds (6) and Sima had 11 points and 5 rebounds. So much for the players who played marginally well … Take out the Syracuse game and Mussini (7 points) is shooting 4 for 21 from three this December … Albiveckowich had 6 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes but was 1-5 from the FT line … Chris Jones had 2 points in 26 minutes … Mvouika was similarly futile: no points in 16 minutes. Strange that an offensively challenged team can’t get him some looks: he’s shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor and is fourth in the BE in three point shooting. But he had less attempts than anyone and as many as Malik Ellison, who had four turnovers in 11 minutes in his first game since November 16. He turned the ball over 4 times in that game as well. It’s too early for that to be called a pattern, but it’s definitely a tendency.

NOTES: Speaking of bad losses, there was a fan board exchange this week wherein a poster noted that he was bringing his kid to his first Saint John’s game, to which I replied (presciently it turned out): “May I be the first to welcome your son to a lifetime of disappointment.” Which in turn set me to thinking about my own wretched youth and all the angst that Saint John’s has caused me through the years. I’ve been considering lately as I commence the slow slide into the grave how my life might have been different if e.g. I’d rooted for the Yankees and Cowboys and Celtics rather than Saint John’s and the Detroit Lions and the Republican Party. Consider the effect of these NCAA tournament results on the young psyche, and remember, these were Lou’s good teams.

March 14, 1982, at Nassau Coliseum: Alabama – who a year earlier beat SJU in the NIT at Carnesecca Arena Alumni Hall – beat SJU 69-68 in a game in which Alabama shot 37 free throws, scoring 40 percent of their points from the line. Saint John’s starting five had 21 fouls between them and Mullin fouled out, which how is that even possible, he never covered anybody. Kevin Williams scored five points in nine minutes compared to Bobby Kelly’s two in 37 and Jeff Allen scored 10 points on 5-5 from the floor, versus zero points from Wennington in 20 minutes.

In 1983 Lou lost to Vern Fleming’s Georgia in the first round, 70-67. Kevin Williams had 12 pts in 20 minutes vs zero for Bobby Kelly.

March 15, 1984: Saint John’s lost to Temple in the first round when Terrance Stanbury buried a 40 foot jump shot after Mullin missed the front end of a one and one. Team featured twin point guards (Moses and Jackson) and towers (Allen and Wennington).

1985, loss to Georgetown, understandable, although I would have pounded the ball into Berry.

1986, loss to Auburn, Saint John’s has no answer for Chuck Pearson.

March 15, 1987: Saint John’s lost to DePaul when Dallas Comegys committed a lane violation after trying to brick a FT off the back rim at the end of regulation, except the lane violation wasn’t called and NYC native Rod Strickland hit a buzzer beater off the rebound to send the game to OT, where in a stunning turn of events Saint John’s lost.

In 1988, a first round lost to the Vern Maxwell/Dwayne Schintzius version of Florida, 62-59. Florida shot 17 free throws to SJ’s 8. Mercifully I have no independent recollection of this game.

In 1989 Lou won the NIT, woo hoo, which NIT banner proudly adorns the walls of Carnesecca Arena Alumni Hall to this day. Although the team featured freshman Malik Sealy, this era commenced what knowledgeable fans such as myself refer to as the Muto years.

March 18, 1990. Lou lost to eventual national champion Duke 76-72. The game turned late in the second half when near-cripple Billy Singleton cleanly stole the ball at half court but was called for a foul and then a double technical when he bounced the ball in frustration. SJ was up six when the foul was called and the game was even when play resumed. SJU never recovered. The repulsive Christian Laettner – other than Bill Walton the greatest white college basketball player I ever saw, better even than Mullin – was 0 for 7 from the field and had six points. In a stunning turn Duke was awarded 32 free throws, to 15 for Saint John’s.

In 1991 Lou beat #1 Ohio State but lost again to DewK in the regionals. DooK shot 28 FTs to SJ’s 6.

In 1992 Sean Muto and Malik Sealy’s senior year, SJ lost to Tulane, in the game that convinced Lou to hang up his sweater.

Now, that might not rise to the heights of despair suffered by fans of say the Buffalo Bills or Minnesota Vikings, but only because Saint John’s never reached as many championship games as those guys. Our hopes were always dashed much earlier. So to that guy, whoever he was, consider buying your kid some cute Duke rompers this Christmas, and maybe some Patriots sheets to lay his head on at night. And to the kid, good luck, you’re going to need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Awful

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GAME: Well that was ugly. And by that I’m referring to the 91-55 spanking the Vanderbilt University Commodores inflicted on an overmatched Saint John’s Red Storm in the first round of the Maui Invitational Tournament Monday night in Hawaii. It was the worst Saint John’s loss since, well, last March, when Steve Lavin’s seniors lost to Villanova by 37 on their magic carpet ride to a first round NCAA tournament loss. (That was only six games ago, good grief.) I can’t be arsed to figure out if this was the worst loss in Saint John’s history, but it was pretty bad, although at least they kept them under 100. The game that it brings foremost to mind is the early season 92-60 loss to Maryland in the Jimmy V classic in 2006; that one too was over after about six minutes. If Chris Mullin is half the coach Norm was he’ll have his team ready to play tomorrow; knowledgeable fans will recall that the night after the Maryland debacle Norm’s team lost to number 19 Texas by only a point. If he doesn’t, how long will it be before the Fire Mullins! chants are echoing in Carnesecca Arena? … There’s basically nothing else to say about the game. Saint John’s shot 30 percent from the floor, 12 percent from three, and were outrebounded 49-26. Whereas Vanderbilt shot 53 percent from the floor and 48 percent from three, and had 21 assists. Give Vanderbilt credit, they looked pretty good. But it is after all only November.

NOTES: there’s little point to this section, they all stunk … Mussini (5-13) and Johnson (2-10) had 14 and 10 respectively. Mussini impressed with a couple of sneaky good moves at the rim … Jones led the team with 5 rebounds and didn’t appear particularly overmatched considering the enormous size and girth of Vanderbilt’s front line … Mvouika had 8. It’s a shame he can’t dribble, they could really use a point guard … Sima needs to hit the weight room … Balamou is evidently not the second coming of David Russell. He might not even be the second coming of Nipsy Russell … Ablavlitowich clanked three straight on threes with his feet set and no one near him, but looked infinitely better doing that than he did when he tried taking his man off the dribble … Holyfield did nothing in eight minutes, whereas Dial had four points in two. Did someone say 6th man of the year?

NOTES: The game was called by B-b-b-b-bill W-w-w-w-walton and some guy who had a hard time getting a word in edgewise. Walton is arguably the best white player in college basketball history and also a babbling idiot, whose stream of consciousness commentary Monday night ran the gamut from solar power and women’s professional surfing to bull mastiffs and the Grateful Dead. If there was something unrelated to basketball that he brought up I would be hard pressed to tell you what it was, and not just because I turned the sound off a few minutes into the second half … Two time NCAA player of the year Jay “Look out for that tree” Williams and former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenburg nearly came to blows at halftime discussing whether Indiana was better than Vanderbilt or vice versa. Whether the obvious animosity between them was the result of Williams’ antisemitism or Greenburg’s bigotry is anyone’s guess … Speaking of bigots, Vanderbilt University was founded via a grant by robber baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, a native of Staten Island who made an immense fortune operating steamboat and railroad monopolies in the 19th century; the details of his business dealings are unimportant, except to note that as Honore de Balzac said, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” To put Vanderbilt’s fortune in perspective, it was around 100 million dollars when he finally died in 1882 – at that time 100 million dollars comprised around 13 percent of total US currency; Bill Gates fortune, estimated at 150 billion dollars, comprises less than 1 percent of today’s US currency … Vanderbilt married twice, both times to a first cousin, producing a brood of 13 inbred children whose myriad decedents still plague us today. (Vanderbilt’s great-great-great-great grandson Timothy Olyphant gets a pass, because you can’t hate on Raylan Givens.) Shortly after the War Between the States Civil War and at the urging of his then second wife Frank (despite her name, a broad), a former slave owner and ardent supporter of the Confederate States of America, Cornelius decided to endow a university in the south as a means of encouraging racial healing. That he ended up endowing Vanderbilt seems an odd choice, considering that the school refused to admit blacks until 1953; proudly counts among its graduates a conga line of unrepentant racists including Hiram Wesley Ellis, Imperial Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan from 1922 to 1939; had in the 1920s a football coach who everybody called “Nig” because of his dark complexion; and still houses students on scholarship from the Daughters of the Confederacy at Confederate Memorial Hall. The best that can be said for Vanderbilt is that it does not have quite as shameful a racial history as does nearby Duke University, but then that would be impossible … Like their Duke contemporaries, Vanderbilt graduates refer to their alma mater as the Harvard of the South, which I would too if I paid nearly 50 thousand dollars a year to go to a school in the Southeastern Conference. Proof that it’s not even the Harvard of Tennessee are its graduates, the worst of whom include climate huckster Al Gore; rapid white supremacist and Democratic ward heeler Georgia Theodore Bilbo (despite his name a guy, who once denounced an anti-lynching bill because it would “open the floodgates of hell in the South”); Clinton crime family member Vince Foster, who “committed suicide” wink wink after he threatened to go public with details of Bill and Hillary’s long criminal career; Randy Brooks, author of the satanic Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer; the repulsive Skip Bayless; Jay Cutler, who despite being one of the worst QBs in NFL history has somehow managed to never play for my Detroit Lions; and Dinah Shore, whose wholesome image belied the fact that she banged everyone from Dean Martin and Burt Reynolds to General George Patton and former NY governor Hugh Carey – my late 101 year old seamstress grandmother had a pin cushion that’d been stuck fewer times. Less appalling graduates include the novelists James Dickey and Robert Penn Warren; pin up girl Betty Page; the venerable David Brinkley; the late Fred Thompson, DUN DUN; Rich Kyanka, founder of formerly funny website Something Awful; and sportswriter Grantland Rice, to whom your humble author is often compared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronic Fatigue

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Many of you have emailed asking for help in filling out your brackets and my prediction for Friday night’s game specifically. In the old days I’d have figured out a way that Saint John’s would be playing for the national championship and filled out my bracket accordingly. That system was abandoned in 1992, when Saint John’s lost to Tulane in the first round. I thereafter developed a second system, called System Number Two, which involved Saint John’s going out in the first weekend. Although there’s been only a small test sample, this second theory has shown an 80 percent success rate. Astute fans will take that to the bank.

Regarding this year’s first round game, I’m sort of at a loss, having not seen San Diego State play this year. Or perhaps ever. I have however over the years developed a system I use to evaluate tournament games which involves scientifically analyzing important parameters, statistics, and intangibles, viz:

Numbers

Statistically the teams are nearly identical.

SJU / SDSU

Rebound                    35.4 / 35.2
Assists                        12.6 / 10.6
FG %                             .44 / .42
3 point                         .35 / .32
Blocks                         6.5 / 5.0
Steals                          7.5 / 6.9
FT                                  .69 / .62

The only significant difference is in points scored and allowed.

Pts scored             71.2 / 61.8
Pts allowed          67.6 / 53.1

SJU +4
SDSU +8

Saint John’s is better offensively, SDSU defensively. On the one hand, defense wins championships. On the other, the best defense is a good offense.

ADVANTAGE: TIE

 Coaches

SDSU is coached by Steve Fisher, who won a national championship as an interim coach at Michigan and followed that up by recruiting the Fab Five. He was 109-79 at MU all told, made the NCAA championship game three times and won the whole thing once; he also won an NIT championship. (Caveat: many of those wins were vacated.) At SDSU he’s 338-183 total and has made the tournament 6 out of the last 7 years, including the Sweet 16 twice. Whereas Saint John’s is coached by Steve Lavin, who’s a chowderhead.

ADVANTAGE: SDSU

Mascots

SDSU’s mascot is the Aztec, so called after a group of fearsome Native American warriors whose empire dominated Mesoamerica until Cortez came along and infected them all with smallpox. Among their many eccentricities the Aztecs sacrificed humans to appease their god of war Huitzilopochtl (literally “left handed hummingbird”). This they did by cutting open the chest of their victim and removing the heart, which was burned; afterwards the body was eaten. Much like the Saint John’s late Redman the Aztec has been a figure of some controversy: as late as last fall a group of humorless numbskulls who call themselves the SDSU Queer People of Color Collective (SDSUQPCC) – something of a circumscribed fraternity for a group that argues for greater social inclusiveness – demanded that the Aztec be replaced by something less inappropriate. Probably a unicorn or a rainbow or something. On the other hand Saint John’s mascot is a horse named after a weather pattern. Which makes no sense at all. In any event, an Aztec could beat the shit out of a horse.

ADVANTAGE: SDSU

Site

The game is in Charlotte, which means SDSU is travelling across the country and three times zones. On the other hand the game’s at 10 PM, which is 7 PM in California. Saint John’s is playing in its own time zone, but at the ungodly hour of 10 pm, when most of them would normally be baked. Saint John’s was 4-6 on the road this year and SDSU 6-5.

 ADVANTAGE: TIE

Players

I haven’t seen SDSU play but I’ve suffered through a bunch of SJU games and Saint John’s has issues. They have no size, they have no depth, and the players they do have are dinged up. Plus, one of them is Jamal Branch. They don’t rebound. They play down to their opponents and have phoned it in in big spots in the past. They’re prone to droughts offensively. They have no tournament experience and might just be happy to be there. On the plus side they’re seniors, which is good, and the seniors are guards, even better, and in Harrison they have a player capable of carrying them. SDSU on the other hand is big across the front, they’re deep, they have tournament experience, and a bunch of upperclassmen.

ADVANTAGE: TIE

Tournament History

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ADVANTAGE: SDSU

Coolest alumni

SDSU: Gregory Peck. Played Captain Ahab and banged Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren.

SJU: Bill Casey. Worked for Wild Bill Donovan to defeat the Nazis, ran the CIA, and lent a hand in destroying the Soviet Union before dying a timely death of a mysterious brain tumor while under congressional subpoena for allegedly masterminding the funding of the Contras.

ADVANTAGE: SJU

Chemical Enhancements

SDSU: San Diego is right across the border from Tijuana. ‘Nuff said.

SJU: Saint John’s has one of the top pharmacy schools in the country. It stands to reason they have access to high grade pharmaceuticals.

ADVANTAGE: SJU

Dwayne Polee

In his last year at SJU, Polee averaged 4.4 points 2.5 rebounds .6 assists

In his last year at SDSU, Polee averaged 7.6 points 2.5 rebounds .9 assists

ADVANTAGE: SDSU

Chris Obekpa

Lavin described losing Obekpa as “less than ideal” but also said that playing small will be to Saint John’s advantage. Which of course he’d say, because he’s an imbecile.

ADVANTAGE: SDSU

Outcome: Expect a low scoring ugly basketball game. Based upon Saint John’s abysmal performance coming into the tournament over the past several weeks and their well-publicized off the court problems I would not be at all surprised to see them win. But because they’re Saint John’s, I would not be at all surprised to see them lose. My heart says Saint John’s but my system says SDSU, five advantages to two and three ties. I don’t particularly like the pick but you can’t argue with science. On the bright side this is the classic anti-woof pick and also a hedge: if they win I’m happy because We Are Saint John’s and if they lose I get the satisfaction of being having been right. Win win. Neither of these teams will get past DoOk – once again playing in their own backyard, surprise – so it’s a moot point anyway.

NOTES: This is only Saint John’s third appearance in the tournament this century. They are oh and two, having lost to Gonzaga and Wisconsin. Saint John’s last victory in the tournament was as a two seed: they defeated Northern Arizona (the game was in Tuscon, 2 hours from the UNA campus and 2400 miles from Jamaica) 61-56, led by Bootsy Thornton’s 20 points, before losing in the second round 82-76 to Gonzaga; first game hero Bootsy Thornton shot 3 for 13 from the floor and 1 for 8 from 3 … Going back to 1970, Saint John’s tournament record:

Lost first Round
Lost first Round
Lost Second Round
Lost Regional Final
Lost first Round
Lost Second Round
Lost first Round
Lost Regional Final
Lost Second Round
Lost first Round
Lost Second Round
Lost Second Round
Lost National Semi
Lost first Round
Lost Regional Final
Lost Second Round
Lost Second Round
Lost Regional Final
Lost first Round
Lost first Round
Lost first Round
Lost first Round
Lost first Round

That’s 11 first round defeats in 23 attempts, which is perhaps Louie’s most impressive accomplishment … As noted above, DeWk has once again been awarded a first round home game.  Because why shouldn’t they have every advantage: they are, after all, white. Here’s this year’s seeds, sitings, and travel distance:

(1) Kentucky – Louisville (78 miles)
(1) Duke – Charlotte (141 miles)
Kansas – Omaha (189 miles)
Virginia – Charlotte (270 miles)
Gonzaga – Seattle (281 miles)
(1) Villanova – Pittsburgh (305 miles)
(1) Wisconsin – Omaha (429 miles)
Arizona – Portland (1449 miles)

Kentucky, a number one seed is playing an hour away from their home court. Fair enough. But Wisconsin, also a one seed, is playing twice as far away from their home floor as is Kansas, a two. Arizona, a two, is playing as far away from their home floor as would be Virginia, also a two, if Virginia was playing in Montreal. This may seem a small thing but in 1970 Saint John’s own Al McGuire, then at Marquette, turned down an NCAA tournament bid after being sent to Texas rather than to the Midwest regional. He went to and won the NIT instead, beating in the final, wait for it, Saint John’s, despite 15 points and 17 rebounds from Billy Paultz … Speaking of Kentucky, there have been seven undefeated D-I basketball champions in NCAA history: San Francisco (1956), North Carolina (1957), UCLA (1964, 1967, 1972, 1973), and Indiana (1976)  … And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. My guesses:

Big East: You can’t go wrong drawing a line through Georgetown when filling out your NCAA bracket. This year they’re playing Eastern Washington University, in Portland. (This is in in the south regional incidentally. A team from DC playing a team from Washington State in Oregon. Because why not.) JT3 has done less with more than anyone since Jayne Mansfield … Xavier. Not impressed and would not be surprised to see them bounced by Ole Miss, if they can find a way to neutralize Stainbrook. I recommend Twinkies  … Butler. Ditto, they’re midgets. On the bright side they’re facing Rick Barnes, who sucks … Providence I could see playing in week two and maybe after that, because Kris Dunn is the best player in the country.

Sleeper pick: SMU. Larry Brown. NIT champions. A bunch of seniors and an aircraft carrier in the middle.

Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova and because I am congenitally unable to have DoOk advance too far, Utah.

Final final: Kentucky 82 – Villanova 73

Why even play the games.

 

Omalulz

Michelle

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.

PLAYERS: D’Angelo 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.

Duck Fuke

Reddicknose

 

I amn’t one for moral victories, especially for a team that has now dropped five  of their last seven since being ranked 15th in the country. But if you had to have one Saint John’s 77-68 loss to DooK on Sunday afternoon was as good a time as any. For DoOK this was a classic trap game – a road game after a weekend frolic in Manhattan on a national stage at the world’s most famous arena, going for the coach’s historic 1000th victory with three games against top 10 teams looming on the horizon; whereas Saint John’s was playing with house money: an OOC game they were not expected to win against the # 5 team in the nation and with their best player hobbled. That they did not fold like a cheap house of cards is shocking, because I thought this would be a blood bath. Instead it turned out to be an entertaining affair and an eminently winnable game. (Never again will I doubt the smart money, which had the line at about eight. I would have given 18.) DooK went out to an early 11 point lead and seemed to be on the verge of making it a laugher when after a judicious Steve Lavin time out – that in itself rarer than a can of dandelion – Saint John’s not only regained its composure but outplayed, outmanned and out toughed its way to the lead, behind the play of Rysheed Jordan, who played perhaps the best half of his career, and Dom Pointer, who threw up his usual array of wild and off balance prayers, most of which were for a change answered. The two combined for 29 of Saint John’s first 41 points, most of them in transition. And in fact despite their woeful start Saint John’s took a 4-point lead into the locker room when Harrison’s NBA three after the buzzer was allowed despite clearly leaving his hands too late, regarding which expect a rule change regarding reviewability of same in the off-season. Saint John’s extended its lead to 10 before the wheels fell off, which falling off coincided with the entry into the game of Mason Miles Marshall Plumlee, the sort of uncoordinated white doofus who Mike Shrewshrenski has over the years molded into a halfway competent basketball players. This is now the fifth or sixth time in a row that Saint John’s has blown a sizeable second half lead, which once again I am forced to credit to the opposing staff’s second half adjustments, although I’d be at a loss to tell you what they were. DeWk ended the game on a 26-7 run and when the Saint John’s players walked off the court with 15 seconds left to the roar of “Let’s Go Duke” they were at least left with the satisfaction of having left it all on the court. The question for Saint John’s fans is: did SJU play up to their competition or did DoOk play down to theirs … By the numbers it was as usual: Saint John’s shot a mediocre 40 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, and 60 percent from the free throw line; they were out rebounded by 10 and managed only 11 assists in 60 possessions. Dewk did not fare much better – 45 / 36 / 66 – but they made theirs when it counted, included a string of three point plays in the last 5 minutes which sealed the deal. Up next a road game against last place Creighton, which like more or less every game on the schedule is now a must win … Earlier in the week Lavin claimed that Ksyzsynsky was his “mentor and advisor” and today in the pregame that he was his “coaching idol.” To honor him – and perhaps not to distract from the festivities by dressing like Bozo – Lavin wore a shirt with a collar. I was chagrined to learn that as a tad Lavin had sent Krsyxzshinki fan mail of the sort that teenage girls send to Justin Bieber and even more so to learn that Lavin had kept the reply and was willing to share it with Fox Sports. If a narcissist like Lavin were capable of embarrassment he might have been, but that’s okay, I’m embarrassed enough for both of us. Regarding his coaching there is not much to say except that he kept out of his own way, playing only five guys most of the way and judiciously using his time outs in an attempt to staunch the second half bleeding. The conundrum with Lavin is that even if he calls his time outs at the proper juncture he doesn’t really have anything to say that’s worth listening to.

PLAYERS: I’m starting to get the whole Batman thing, because Pointer was once again a wrecking ball: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. It’s a shame he doesn’t have another year of eligibility because he’s playing like a first round pick. In 2016 … Rysheed Jordan continued the stellar play he has displayed since returning from Philadelphia. 18 point and 4 assists … Phil Greene had 13 points but it took him 12 shots to get there, including a less than stellar 1 for 5 from three. As usual he contributed little else: 1 rebound and no assists in about 40 minutes … Harrison had 12 but is clearly suffering the effects of whatever disability under which he’s laboring … Obekpa had 11 rebounds and played adequate defense against the future #1 NBA draft pick, but was clearly outmanned … Joey De La Rosa spelled CO in the first half and immediately after entering made his presence known by punching Amile Jefferson in the face and standing over his opponent like Ali over Sonny Liston. He left and did not return … Similarly Jamal Branch entered in the first half and after turning the ball over by tripping over his own feet leading to a dunk at the other end was barely seen again. It’s a shame he’s so awful, they could have used another body.

NOTES: Saint John’s fans with functional cerebral cortices long ago realized that Steve Lavin knows so little about x’s and o’s that he would be in danger of breaking a bone playing a game of tic tac toe. And yet he has defenders who say that his obvious incompetence is of no matter – that coaching and strategy can only go so far and that it is the player who makes the coach, not vice versa. To those dopes I present exhibit A in opposition, Mike Screwshrnecky, pictured below instructing his current team at a recent practice.

bilde

As much as it galls me to admit it Kryzwsyzski is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport. Every year he takes a group of slow, white, unathletic, pasty-faced ballerinas – nothings like Cherokee Parks, Shavlik Randolph, Steve Wojowojhowski, Josh McRoberts, Brain Zoubek, Kyle Singler – and turns them into contenders for the national championship. If you think that hyperbole, consider: more Deuk graduates have had their NBA careers end in drunk driving accidents than have had successful NBA careers. And yet year after year Kryzchrznski has them in the top 10. How does he do it? First, he’s evolved a diabolical system and recruits players to fit it. His offense relies on college hoops great equalizer, the three point shot, while his extended defense is intended to deny his opponents the same boon. Second, he uses the sycophancy of the college basketball hierarchy and his lickspittles in the media to foster an atmosphere in which he is given every advantage. On the court DeWk guards are expert at warding off defenders with one hand while simultaneously palming the ball with the other, yet are never called for either offense; DeWk big men spend enough time in the lane to grow roots and are never called for three seconds; and even the most cursory CBB fan is aware of the propensity of dEwK players to feign contact and flop to the ground tweet offensive foul high five dOok basketball.

duckie-flops-o

Off the court recruiting violations that would have other coaches banished from the game – like finding cushy high paying jobs for the unqualified parents of recruits like Chris Duhon and Carlos Boozer or the delivery of giant bags of cash to Corey Magette by convicted crack dealer Myron Piggie – are swept under the rug to preserve the halo of integrity that surrounds the Blue Devils. This regime is enforced by Coach K-hrist himself, who in game is a beady eyed whirling dervish, hurling at the officials a torrent of the most foul and pernicious abuse that can be heard outside of a prison shower, for which he is never, ever, given a technical. And yet despite all these advantages he is also a careful strategist, controlling tempo and judiciously managing the clock and his personnel. He is, in fact, a genius, and for those who say coaching doesn’t matter I say: explain all those rings on Shrewshreki’s paws … This year’s DooK team is an anomaly in at least one respect, viz.: usually it’s pretty apparent which smug Ivy league wannabe is most deserving of a swift punch in the face or a vicious boot to the groin. In the glory years – and dOoK actually had them, as opposed to this fraud of a program – the most hated player in college basketball was the appalling Christian Laettner, shown here receiving his just reward from Phil Sellers

B5LbsepCMAER8kk

Following Laettner there was universally reviled poet laureate Jonathon Clay “Gay Gay” Reddick, who penned these immortal lines, once the subject of an unctuous ESPN special

No bandage can cover my scars
It’s hard living a life behind invisible bars
Searching for the face of God
I’m only inspired by the poems of Nas

Facing the forecast of fears
that none of my peers
have ever been faced with
I wanna reach the top floor
but I’m stuck in the basement
With not enough juice
to burst through the chains
that have shackled my brain

As Oscar Wilde said of The Olde Curiosity Shop: “One must have a heart of stone to read of the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears of laughter.” A few years later no one would have batted an eye had you ground a fistful of glass into the face of the insufferable Jon Scheyer and had you broken several of Greg Paulus’s fingers with a garlic press spectators would likely have broken in a hearty round of spontaneous applause. This year though there’s really no one who inspires that sort of hate, although that just might be that I no longer watch much college BB besides SJU, and that barely qualifies. And don’t even get me started on their fans, the highlight of whose college life is drinking a six-pack of Zima and painting each other’s nipples blue while camping outside Cameron Indoor Stadium so as to get seats close enough to the DooK bench to be able to bask in the intoxicating aroma wafting from Tyus Jone’s sweaty balls. They are a hideous crew, the boys acned refugees from a Dungeons & Dragons convention and the girls cellulite ridden prematurely aged milk-fed hausfraus in waiting ….

craz

If all that wasn’t enough Duke was founded by Washington Duke, a slave owner who after serving the Confederacy in what dewK grads still refer to as the War Between the States made his fortune creating a monopoly in tobacco, thereby consigning millions of innocents to horrible and agonizing deaths from cancer. Not surprisingly Duke alumni comprise a conga line of the worst and most pompous and self-righteous douche bags in public life, the worst of whom include: Charlie Rose, Dan Abrams, Judy Woodruff, Henry Hyde, Ron Paul, Eleanor Smeal, Emmett Grogan, William Kennedy Smith, Tucker Max, Seth Davis, John Feinstein, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Seigenthaler and Richard Nixon … And just to show that it’s not just me, because let’s face it I hate everyone,  this, which never gets tired: