Monday, January 27, 2014


       This blog dedicated to the trending hashtag #ThingBetterThanKay and the late Tom Gola(RIP). UNLV survived a voracious Fresno State squad in overtime at Thomas and Mack saturday night. Fresno had two shots to win at the end of regulation but the Rebels dodged the home loss. Clearly Vegas is not as stealthy this year when compared to last. In other Mountain West action Utah State looked to extend their home game winning streak against the Aztecs up in Logan. Oddsmakers had only favored the 7th ranked Aztecs by two points. I wondered aloud. But the oddsmakers were near perfect because San Diego State needed overtime to defeat the Aggies 74-69. Playing up in Logan is crazy as Steve Fisher said, "My 1st trip in here: incredible atmosphere. This is an atmosphere that everyone in America should witness. I was immensely impressed how they stayed engaged and involved and without question it helps their team. It's a big reason why they win about 90 percent of their games here." Yes Steve, welcome to the Spectrum. 
       Running down the Wasatch front, Weber State extended their home court winning streak to 23 straight games defeating Montana. BYU looked to defeat Gonzaga but came up short at the Kennel. Gonzaga now leads the nation with 24 straight wins at home. Utah kept it close most of the game at Arizona yesterday but the number one team prevailed 65-56. Surprising Utah Valley State remains unbeaten in the WAC. Southern Utah stinks.
       Marshall Henderson back to his ways with cussin out Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray the other night. God forbid I find it funny. But we're not robots yet. Stony Brook protected home floor against Vermont. This has to be the year for Stony Brook. Texas took care of the Baylor safety patrol and the horns looking better game to game. USC looking like they can actually compete this weekend defeating Cal but losing in overtime to Stanford. Oh well. Getting back to Utah State, right now it looks like the Aggies are in danger of not winning 21 games for the first time in 14 seasons. Who knew that Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, Syracuse and Utah State were the only teams to win 21 games each year the past 14 seasons.
       Kudos to Cincinatti, Stony Brook, Syracuse, St. Louis, Michigan, Kansas, Delaware, Green Bay, Wichita State, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Arizona, American, Florida, Chatanooga, S.F. Austin, Georgia State, and the Wolverines of Utah Valley State. They remain undefeated thus far in conference play. I purposely left out the Ivy because they have only played 4 games thus far. 
Some Buzzer Beaters

       Gee Whiz! Nice shot from the Mocs' Gee McGhee: 
       Crazy shots courtesy of the Big West's Hawaii-UC Irvine game: Hawaii wound up losing in overtime. 
       While perusing the Bob's Blitz website I came across the Zoran Planinic buzzer beater: Too bad it had to come off of Keith Langford's missed free throw, sorry Jamaal.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Arid-Zona?, Khem-Kong!!!

       Arizona is the real deal. As noted before, their backcourt is the best in the country. Although I do think Wichita State is quite comparable. Arizona's bigs are legit and by legit they are college legit. The comparison to players in the league are not only boring but nauseating. The NBA surely does not get the respect it deserves. NBA legit? Ask Greg Oden or Joel Embiid but still, Arizona did take care of business last night at home against the Buffs.  The problem for Arizona as with most talent rich teams is when the night comes that the ball doesn't drop, how will they react? It's sick but I am waiting for that game. For fans of Tucson, obviously you dread the night. Memphis and Syracuse have as much raw talent one through five as Arizona. I've seen Memphis react poorly when the shots don't fall. For Syracuse and Arizona, I'm anxious to see how they will respond. It's inevitable, isn't it? At least Dave Pasch and Bill Walton were calling the game last night. Here is a clip that had me laugh out loud when watching it live and thanks to youtube: Bill Walton is sarcastic, get over it.
       The Aggies of Logan Utah arrived at Tarkanian court with a gaudy 42% 3pt percentage and Stew Morrill. I know some things about Stew. He wins. He is intense. Sidetrack, I had the unfortunate privilege to listen in on a post game tirade after Brad Barton hit a (bank) three at the buzzer for Weber State to beat the Aggies a few years ago. I compare that tirade to Majerus one in which Utah beat Weber by 11. Advantage, push. So the Aggies came into Thomas and Mack and got blown out by 20. Vegas loves to push and Stew's crew is half court obsessed. Needless to say Utah State couldn't throw it in, 2 for 17 from beyond. Stew always wins. The Aggies are in trouble Saturday when the Aztecs show up at the spectrum. Perhaps this will be the worst year for Stew in a LONG time. I was unaware of freshman Jalen Moore's afro. It is incredible. But not as incredible as Khem Kong!!!  Wait for it.......... Khem Kong should stay in Vegas AAAAAOOOOO
       How about Texas? Good for Rick. Solid wins and hopefully a good run come March. The Baylor crossing guards have dropped to 1-4 and their fashionable counterpart, the "fighting" ducks of Oregon  are at 1-5.  Perhaps if they toned down the contrast in the uniforms it would benefit. South Carolina continues to struggle but hey, Brenton Williams is leading the nation at 98% from the charity stripe. One wonders how the Golden Bears threw up an absolutely terrible performance at Galen. USC is not that good but Cal made them look decent. Gonzaga sneaked away a win last night to San Diego. You can throw Wisconsin into the mix of 3 game losers. Minnesota, still not buying. Guilty. Weber State protecting home floor once again drilling the Bobs of Bozeman, 86-57. A week ago I read some articles and listened to a podcast going on about how Montana State shouldn't surprise anyone in the Big Sky. Neither should Weber State. How about VCU? Personally I don't like their style  of play and their games bore me however the Rams are tough. They dominate and are so physical I wish they would play Cincinatti.
       LIU Brooklyn! Where you at? Brickman? Get it together blackbirds. That's what's best about this sport. It ain't march yet.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stainbrook, Wragge, and Polls

       As a college basketball fan there are players that I tune in just to watch. Chris Webber, Hakim Warrick, Kevin Freeman, Mike Miller, Dan Dickau, Tim Winn, Marvin O'Connor to name a few. No disrespect to Keith Van Horn and Gerry McNamara but I could go on forever. College basketball fascinates me all the time and with the ability to watch an incredible amount of games I really do get lost in the shuffle. So I tuned in to watch Xavier play at DePaul yesterday and off the opening tip I see this clumsy #40 for Xavier hustle. It was really funny. He hustled down the floor for a bucket fell over and while hustling to get back on d after the make, fall back on the floor. Who is this guy? He's the 6-10 junior center for the Xavier Musketeers. A transfer from Western Michigan who plays basketball the way I like to see. I can't put my finger on why but Stainbrook is so much fun to watch. Sort of like "coach on the floor" mixed with Andrew DeClercq. In any case his presence really compliments Xavier's perimeter. (this clip courtesy of the always classy Utah State fans at the spectrum). If hustle were a requirement to play, Stainbrook is fun to watch.
       Unfortunately I was unable to catch last nights Creighton Villanova matchup. I guess Villanova missed the game too or at least the scouting report. Easy for me to say but when you make shots, you win and Creighton was the prime example in philly. This is what scares me about Creighton along with St. Louis for that matter. With Creighton, McDermott commands so much attention that it allows others to get involved. When those second and third options get hot for Creighton they look unbeatable as was the case last night. And not a knock on Villanova. Perhaps a knock on their #4 ranking and not defending home. Wragge just went absurd from beyond. Creighton as a team hit 21 treys in the huge win for the Bluejays.
       Which brings me to the polls. Gary Parrish does a tremendous job explaining polls and I read most of his stuff.
(I recommend reading his latest article about Pitt.)As was the case last night, was Nova really #4? Look at Ohio State. Look at Iowa State. Look at Oregon, who is now cellar dwelling with the Trojans and Cougs in the Pac12 after being ranked as high as #10. I like polls just as much as the next guy but to me it's a bit overrated, especially when conference play starts. As for Seton Hall's win at Georgetown good for them but I can't be too surprised with the underwhelming Hoyas. Guilty.
       Vermont wins again but isn't this Stony Brook's year in the America East? Same can be said about Weber State. The wildcats back to where they should be, above .500. Very interesting to watch Gamecocks basketball. They lost a tough one at home to Ole Miss(Hendo back!) but in typical Frank Martin fashion saw him yell at Chatkevicius after a non-hustle play. Martin in the 6-11's grill goes "you're a f---ing bum!", to which the play by play guy goes, "well, Coach isn't bashful and the players know where he stands." Yuck, yuck, yuck. I'd be impressed if the cocks win 4 games in the SEC. After waxing poetic about Herenda's FDU knights they go ahead with the huge hangover loss at home to Bryant 95-68. Florida Gulf Coast looking good. Looking real good.

Here's a promo for Lumberjack night at Creighton:

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014

       This past Saturday I watched the St. Louis Billikens play at Dayton, a tough place to play. What I didn't realize was that they started 5 seniors. That is rarefied air in todays age of college basketball.  Aside from my affinity for Majerus, I could watch Jordair Jett play all day, there's such a confidence when he plays. That translates well for the Billikens. They wound up beating Dayton and won their A10 home opener last night. UMass is the other A10 top 25 ranked squad and am hopeful that they will meet in the A10 title game. Oklahoma defended home in their matchup with the Cyclones saturday. In my opinion Iowa State has far more talent than the Sooners but they were dreadful from 3pt territory. Similar to Memphis. See, Memphis and Iowa State have incredible talent yet when their 3pt. shooting goes south so do the victories. I'm sure other teams have this problem but when the 3 drops for the Tigers and Cyclones, it stretches the defense, which then allows them to operate at their maximum capabilities. By the way UConn defeating Memphis on the road maybe an upset to the polls but I have to disagree. This past saturday also marked the first time in years where UNC, Duke, Wake and NCState all lost on the same day. I figured UNC would give Syracuse a better fight up at the Carrier dome but didn't. Duke has no legit inside threat and their perimeter D is not good. However one would think that Roy and Coach K will have their squads good to go come tournament time. What a finish to the Kentucky Arkansas game at Bud Walton. If you haven't seen it, here is the link:  That is awesome. That is why, in my opinion, Division1 men's college basketball is the best team sport in America. Another buzzer beater courtesy of the Rockets from Toledo:
Somebody told me and I'm not mentioning names that Florida is having a down year in college basketball. OK. Xavier went down 17 to Georgetown and came back with a 40-14 run to beat the Hoyas at Cintas. Later on UNLV played at New Mexico. Quite similarly New Mexico came back but vegas came out with the victory. In either case San Diego State is the team to beat in the Mountain West.
       I guess Minnesota is to be reckoned with. I'm still not buying. Wisconsin got their loss out of the way. Dinwiddie's injury hurts Colorado so much and for obvious reasons. McConnell and Johnson have to be the best backcourt this side of Wichita State. Props to FDU Teaneck. Going on the road and absolutely handling the blackbirds of Brooklyn on the road. Greg Herenda has done well in state beating Rutgers and Seton Hall but if there was a signature win for the year, this has to be the one.  USC can't catch a cold and Long Beach State had another loss on the road in Santa Barbara. Charlotte needed overtime to beat Tulsa at home. Another win for Vermont. That's all they seem to do. Murray State won on the road but Belmont couldn't. Western Kentucky lost at home to UALR. BYU looks like the only team that will give Gonzaga a run at the WCC title. St. John's needs a win bad. Real bad. For most teams that are struggling right now if there is any positive to take from losing now, it's not march. Obviously you want to win now for better seedings come conference tournament time but you'd rather get hot late than pan out mid season.
Here's a tremendous  dunk courtesy of Glenn Bryant and Eastern Michigan: 

I'm looking forward to the Pitt Syracuse game saturday. Pitt, I feel is a bit overlooked. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Preaching to the Obvious by Captain Choir

       Sometimes writers block happens. For me it's frequent yet today I was woken up by a large burst of thunder. Sure did charge me up! AAA OOOOOO. Last weekend single digit temps to thunderstorms and 70 degrees today. Awesome.
       Arizona is number one for a reason, obviously.  Thursday night in Pauley was the first time I sat down and really watched them.  Top to bottom endless talent no question. What stood out to me was their ability to recover. Up 13 with 5 minutes left UCLA made a run to take a one point lead. Pauley going nuts(but do they), missed front ends of one and ones from the line, and some disorganization had me questioning the Wildcats resolve. Would they finish after playing poorly for a stretch? Arizona didn't waver when it came down to the final minute and were able to prevail.  The difference in this years Arizona squad, I think is having a "true" point guard. Look Nick Johnson probably could run the point again but having the luxury with McConnell at point is an advantage that most squads don't have. A major difference in fact. Something to savor for UofA fans because previous Miller teams didm't have that "true" point guard.
       Southern Cal lost at home to Arizona State thursday night, play host to Arizona. By the looks of it Trojans should lose by 30. Miami beats UNC in Chapel Hill playing zone. UNC  going up to Syracuse but Hyde may show up. But nobody plays better zone than the Orange. Right? Hopefully a good game to watch. Great bounce back game for Memphis. The yum center isn't tasty for most visitors and kudos to Pastner for getting the Tigers focused after getting handled at home by Cinicinatti the previous game.  Rumors abound in Ames about how long the mayor will remain at the helm before bolting to the NBA. I have no idea why you'd want to leave but just ask Brad Stevens. Regardless the Cyclones having a solid season crushing Baylor by 15 the other night. Very interesting test today for the Cyclones on the road in Norman. Decent reclamation project performed by Kruger so far with the Sooners. Perhaps an overlooked Oklahoma basketball team? Florida Gulf Coast off to a 4-0 start in Atlantic Sun play and judging by their play should remain the favorite coming out of their league. Plus Comer is just as solid as any point guard in the country. Weber State fumbled at Northern Colorado to lose their first Big Sky contest.  Win for the 49ers of Charlotte on the road in El Paso. UTEP will be referred to as UTIP on modblog for the remainder of the season.
Impressive showing for the Crimson against UConn. Didnt't come up with the win but if there was a definition of "good loss" leave it to Harvard to provide a good example. Tough loss for the 49ers of Long Beach State at home by 2 points to the Anteaters of Irvine. Tricky when you think the Beach plays in my opinion, the toughest non conference schedule in America. Just hope for Monson that this year they break into the NCAA tournament. Same said for Weber State. For Monson and Rahe they can't quite get over that hurdle. I can't trust Georgia State right now. Western Kentucky still my Sun Belt favorite. Same came be said about the Southland. Despite 2 conference losses, Northwestern State still my Southland favorite. To show the craziness of the polls I thought this was a good read from Parrish:
       Sidebar: Intresting to note that Under Armour has inked with Notre Dame next year, their biggest program signing no question. Speaking of Under Armour, Northwestern has gotta do whatever they can. The ugly uniforms they will be wearing is a brand new line but will it help the longest NCAA drought?
       Looking forward to a solid day of College Basketball. I finish the entry by reminding myself of what Coach Cravens always said (aside from getting the ball to a 3rd side) "the team that makes more shots probably will win. Take all the stats and analysis somewhere else We ain't reinventing the wheel!" Enjoy your day.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Basketball Today

       Before I talk about the UCLA whipping of the trojans I watched some other games. Murray State still looks good. Wichita State still looks very good. Villanova looks good. North Carolina looks like they are experiencing some issues, nothing that Roy can't handle despite a loss in Winston-Salem tonight. I don't trust Minnesota. Wisconsin always looks good being ugly and their ugly wins. In fact I really like Wisconsin. But I'd love to watch a San Diego State Wisconsin matchup. You can throw Cincinatti in that troika. The Bearcats along with said Aztecs and Badgers are tough. I despise everything "fighting ducks" and was pleased to see Tad's kids protect home in Boulder. Look Oregon has insane ability but was happy with the play by the Buffs. Also threw on Wazzou to see if they could eclipse their 26 point performance in Tucson the other night. They did and threw up a balmy 47 in a 19 point loss to the Sun Devils.
       So I flipped on the Trojans at Pauley and aside from the block by Jacobs that led to an Oraby dunk giving the Trojans a 2-0 lead, UCLA never looked back. That was the only time the Bruins fell behind and took USC to the proverbial woodshed. As a Trojans fan it wasn't much fun watching the 107-73 blowout. As a basketball fan it was fun to watch the Bruins because of their unlimited talent and proficient smarts. I won't get into the numbers but SC got outnumbered. According to Sean Elliott, color man on the telecast, it was "a statement game to the trojans." Ok, I get that and I also get that the Bruins' brothers' Wear vowed "to not lose another home game to USC" but this idea that UCLA head coach Steve Alford had made this a "statement" game I could not disagree with more. The rivalry speaks for itself and in the basketball chapter of this lipstick city rivalry clearly UCLA has the edge. In fact UCLA leads the series 136-105. New USC Coach Andy Enfield made comments that were supposed to be off the record at a booster club dinner but were printed in the November issue of Men's Journal.
"I don't worry about UCLA," the magazine quoted Enfield as saying. "I've made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years and he's made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years." USC sports information officer Tim Tessalone said the writer, Stephen Rodrick, was not supposed to use any quotes from a booster meeting a common practice. Another off-the-record Enfield quote overheard at practice by a San Jose reporter suggested that if you wanted to walk the ball up the court, you'd go to UCLA.

This is a great article and all the more reason for USC basketball fans not look too much into the lopsided loss.
       Point being that if Coach Alford really did go out of his way to make this a "statement" game, I find it rather pathetic.

In closing, I went to the Y this morning. I played full court basketball for the first time in 4 years. One game and I was a complete dog. I choose not to go on and on about my performance but afterwards I realized that I was THAT GUY. That guy who told the younger kids to keep working hard, never get old(and I'm not that old) and not to smoke cigarettes. Holy shit.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Super Bowl Prediction Intact for another week

       Somehow my Super Bowl prediction remains intact. Last I heard, Colts were down 31-10. When I found out they won, I was incredibly excited. That meant I needed the Saints to win and they beat the Eagles on the last play of the game. Sweet. Somehow I think that the game in Green Bay later today will be cancelled due to the extreme cold. I'd be surprised if it's not. As a fleeting NFL fan I would find it hard pressed to think that the No Fun League would actually play in weather that is dangerous but I'd like to see them play. Still find it funny that San Fran plays that game away despite having the better record but I digress.
       Bobcats get a win at Sleep Train. Nets win again and as Chris "Maddog" Russo said fridee "if that win in OKC doesn't springboard Brooklyn to get going, nothing will". Good for them. St. John's looked horrible today. Maybe they need a bad loss? As bad a 1st half you could have and the Hoyas jumped all over them. Perhaps UConn needed a bad loss too. SMU on the road wouldn't strike me as tough for UConn but apparently it was. Memphis played a gritty Cincy team but Memphis couldn't hit a three pointer, 2 for 16 last time I looked. Xavier looked good, Marquette looked good and so did Creighton. McDermott really is fun to watch. Nice to see Weber State open up Big Sky play undefeated and the 49ers of Charlotte got a win. Always fun to watch Oklahoma State lose but it's more fun to watch them lose in football.
       Mike Gundy is my favorite coach to watch when he loses. I couldn't decide if the Oklahoma loss at home or the Cotton Bowl loss was better. I know this is sick. What makes me more sick is when I read the SI investigation of his program. Look I know Oklahoma State isn't the only program to mistreat their players however Gundy's actions on the sideline make it  more enjoyable. Perhaps it dates back to his playing days as pokes quarterback.  Perhaps Pickens will dig deeper to compete with Oklahoma but I have to say that the Sooners look better than the Cowboys. Time will tell. Another Coach I love to hate is Urb. In an absolutely sloppy Orange Bowl Clemson managed to dodge a bullet at the end to come away with the win. Urb losing two straight games, gasp, Urb take it easy! I say ditch the black stripes and black facemasks. But a visibly unhealthy Braxton Miller should be feared next season. The guy when healthy is pretty damn good. Kudos to the Bison of North Dakota State winning their 3rd straight FCS title earlier today. To think their coach left mid-playoffs to take over Wyoming and still win is pretty remarkable. Obviously North Dakota State won't be grabbing headlines but a tremendous job by the program. USC at Pauley tomorrow and hopefully Enfield and the Trojans play a good game. Looking forward to that one.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hello Carolina

        First I'd like to point out to those that follow my blog I am making some changes. Although my passion for Men's College Basketball will not waver I decided to "Let it rip, Skip" as my one friend says here in South Carolina and will cover various topics in the world of sports. I don't think, yet, that I should limit my commentary to Men's College Basketball.
        Going forward I will also add that I have now moved to Clover, South Carolina. I'm right on the border of North and South Carolina about a twenty minute drive west of Charlotte, North Carolina. Needless to say some culture shock being from New Jersey however living in such places as Ogden, Utah and Denver, Colorado has seasoned me for success south of the mason-dixon line.  Excited.
        People like the Panthers and they are amped up especially since Carolina will be hosting a playoff game in 2 weeks. People like the Hornets maybe not so much the Bobcats, point being the unveiling of the new Charlotte Hornets logo has restored a sense of validation in this basketball state after the Hornets left Charlotte a decade ago. Billboards around the city and a positive marketing campaign I have noticed since the unveiling, not to mention the logo isn't that bad. The bobcats should be called the AAU's. Perhaps I am dating myself but when I look at the roster I think this looks like a solid AAU squad.
       Onto South Carolina Football and I'm not talking Clemson. The Gamecocks finished up their 3rd consecutive 11 win season by defeating the Badgers in the Capital One Bowl. Connor Shaw had a video game like performance throwing 22 of 25(Phil Simms anyone) for 325/3 TD's, 47 yards rushing 1TD and the only catch of his career for a TD. Pretty insane and the ol' ball coach couldn't seem happier. Love the Visor but I love this cancelled Steve Spurrier Show clip more.
       Seamless segway as you noticed during the start of the previous clip Carolina playing the University of Central Florida, formally Florida Technical Institute as a former student in fact told me today. Under Construction Forever is what I also heard but it didn't seem to matter what you called them last night against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Bortles, Storm and Coach Res took it straight to the elusive Baylor defense. I couldn't have been happier. I don't know what it is about Baylor and Oregon but I especially like it when they lose. It's almost as if I enjoy watching them lose than the other team winning but I digress. UCF straight punched the Bears in the mouth and I think that Bortles kid is going to be good on Sundays.
       Big game Bob showed up in Nawlins tonight in the Sugar Bowl. The empty Nets won at the buzzer tonight in OKC and the bobs have lost a season high 5th game in a row losing to Damian Lillard(Weber State) and the Blazers 134-104. Throttled is more like it. Throttled is a great word to describe this one as the Blazers hit 21 trisectors in rip city.
       Utah, terrible job protecting home floor losing to Oregon and the laughable "fighting" ducks in overtime. Weber State opened with a win in Big Sky play beating EWU 74-67 at the Dee. I'm sorry but Washington State, you guys hanging in Denver lately? Did you know there was a game tonight? I know Arizona is Arizona but ya gotta be kidding me tonight. I am upset with how the Utes lost but 25 points in 40 minutes of D1 basketball. Wow.