PSU v. Ga Tech = Big 10-ACC Challenge/Rudolph Extravaganza

December 3, 2008

This is the time of year where I wish my TV had Picture-In-Picture capability.  You see, PSU’s hoops squad will tip off against Georgia Tech tonight @ 7:30 PM ET on ESPN2, which will be shortly followed by CBS’s annual airing of Rudolph at 8 PM ET…At least there’s a guarantee that one of those viewings will be a pleasant one.  And in case any of you were about to ask: No, there will not be another running diary on Rudolph.  Trust me, doing it once was good enough.

As you all know, the Fighting DeChellises are taking part in the 10th annual “ACC/Big Ten Challenge” which has been anything but a challenge for the ACC, being that they’ve won this fake Land Grant Trophy-quality contest every year since its inception.  Even though this year’s series is tied at 3 games apiece, Indiana and Michigan State have to go up against Wake Forest and UNC respectively so yeah, go ahead and mark those in the “loss” column for the Big Ten.  This means that barring any shockers by IU or MSU, it’s up to PSU, Northwestern (home against Florida State), and Michigan (@ Maryland) to pick up the slack and carry the Big Ten out on top for the first time ever…Seriously, this thing should be banished to the “Island of Misfit Tournaments.”

Action shot from a previous Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Action shot from a previous Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Taking a quick look at Georgia Tech, it appears as if they do the bulk of their scoring in the frontcourt as three of their four double-digit scorers are forwards.  Gani Lawal leads the way for the aforementioned frontcourt, averaging a double-double thus far (19.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg).  The backcourt, while depleted by the losses of D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) and Lewis Clinch (academic struggles) still features quality players such as Iman Shumpert (the other double-digit scorer) and Maurice Miller (team leader in assists, 6.7 apg).     For once in my life though, I have the dubious distinction of favoring PSU’s backcourt over an ACC team’s backcourt…strange indeed.

As far as the other major concern with any PSU opponent, perimeter shooting: Georgia Tech surprisingly struggles in this category, shooting a combined 14/43 from behind the arc for a whopping 32.9 percent.  Lance Storrs is the team’s most dangerous shooter, going 5/10 from downtown.  Being that Tech’s already played four games, this seems to indicate that Storrs is simply one of those bench players that you bring in for a few minutes if you need to launch a few 3-point torpedos in order to get an offensive spark going.  Then again, how many times have we seen a supposedly lousy 3-point shooting team suddenly catch fire against us?  Let’s just move on…

Georgia Tech also loves to play up-tempo, as evidenced by their being ranked 4th in tempo/pace according to Ken Pomeroy. Being that Ed DeChellis allegedly favors an up-tempo style as well, this should make for an entertaining game that could end up resembling a track meet of sorts.  PSU should be able to hold pace throughout the game and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

The line is currently -8.5 in favor of Georgia Tech, which sounds about right.  Tech’s playing at home and most importantly, have a far superior frontcourt which could offset their weaker backcourt, not to mention the fact that PSU also has issues playing in big road games.  If the Fighting DeChellises are going to have any hope of pulling the upset, then Talor Battle needs to put up another near-triple double performance, Pringle and Morrissey need to shoot lights-out and play solid defense, and somebody other than Cornley and DJ has to step up in the frontcourt. Andrew Jones putting on a repeat performance of his 13-rebound game against Towson would certainly be a place to start, Jeff Brooks making a cameo apperance would also be nice.

Crispin and Cream doesn’t see tonight being such a “Holly Jolly” evening, as he’s picking Georgia Tech to cover the spread with a 9-point win.  My advice to him is to just switch over to Rudolph after 8 PM, because while PSU will likely hang around in this one and tickle our fancies by being a couple shots away from taking the lead, I just don’t see them getting over the hump (i.e. making that key defensive stop).  I will however, take PSU to beat the spread and say Tech wins by 7.  John will reluctantly do the same.


Billy Packer “Fags Out” On CBS; Millions Rejoice In The Streets

July 14, 2008

Without a doubt, this is the greatest news I’ve woken up to in a long time. From this day forward, millions of basketball fans across this great nation can watch the Final Four sans the “Mute” button now that this old curmudgeon is gone.

Whether it was his relentless criticism of mid-majors like Bradley and George Mason being the NCAA tournament, his constant bias towards Big East/ACC teams, his unwillingness to lighten up and stop taking things so seriously, or his tendency to call a game’s outcome with seven and a half minutes still remaining in the first half, Packer was arguably the most despised person in the announcing universe..and that’s saying something with folks like Craig James lurking out there.

Goodbye and good riddance, Billy.

All Aboard The “Stephen Curry Express”

March 25, 2008

Well, my brackets overall are not doing so hot (damn you: Villanova, Western KY Jelly, Xavier, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Stanford) but at least I got one of my “sleeper” picks right. I’m talking of course about Davidson getting into the Sweet 16. That alone made me a happy camper, particularly since practically everybody else had Georgetown at least making it to the Elite 8, if not further.

This is first time I can recall a practical “one-man show” carrying a team past the tourney’s first weekend since Wally Szczerbiak at Miami(OH) back in 1999, no doubt we’re about to see Stephen Curry’s draft stock rise exponentially after putting up 40 and 30 point games respectively. Keep in mind too, that Georgetown knew about this kid and likely had a game plan in place specifically for shutting him down, which makes his scoring feat that much more impressive.

HHV fondly recalls a time when the NCAA Tournament was part of “Wally’s World”

There’s arguably no sweeter feeling on the planet than bragging to your friends about your Nostradamus-like ability to pick sleepers when they in fact do come true as their reactions usually range from congratulatory to cursing you out while cursing themselves at the same time for not having the insight/balls to make such a pick themselves.

Not even Paul Mooney saw Davidson getting beyond the first weekend of the tournament…

Now, if only Butler didn’t choke on tuna fish…

Let’s Light The Candle On This Baby

March 20, 2008

Alright, less than half an hour ’til the 2008 edition of the “Big Dance” tips off:

  • If you’re looking for some entertaining live-blogging, you might want to check out Awful Announcing, as they should be able to fulfill your experience.
  • Also, it looks like Barack Obama, an avid basketball fan, is already thinking ahead to the May 6 primaries in North Carolina, as he favors the Tar Heels to knock off UCLA in the finals.
  • Oh yeah, and look out for Butler, they’re marching all the way to the Elite Eight (at least in my own bracket pool which I set up amongst my fellow law school classmates)

These Three Things I KNOW Are True (Selection Sunday Edition)

March 16, 2008
  1. J.A. Adande has been smoking too much peyote: NBA regular season games over March Madness? “Blasphemy!” I say. Not even Bill Simmons would dare to write such a column, even though he likely feels that way deep down inside, these are thoughts that you’re better off keeping to yourself…Much like being 30 and coveting high school-aged girls.
  2. While all of you hoop-heads are endlessly analyzing and agonizing over your picks for the next four days like Ace Ventura trying to link “Finkle and Einhorn”, wondering whether you don’t have enough directional schools in your Sweet 16 or whether your Final Four has too many #1 seeds, just remember one thing: You have a better chance of bringing a stripper home than you do winning your office pool Probably just as effective as statistical analysis
  3. This year’s tournament cannot possibly be as boring as last year’s. Aside from the lack of Cinderellas and the plethora of anti-climactic finishes, the tournament was missing it’s “voice of the first four rounds” as the geniuses at CBS decided to cut Gus Johnson’s announcing duties in half last March, having him do only the first two rounds. But I have good news for you: The geniuses at CBS have a soul.
  4. Okay, I’m cheating here but for those of you who don’t know who Gus Johnson is (gasp!). Here’s a little “Gus-tage” for you:

You’re welcome…And a Merry Selection Sunday to you too.

The Rant To End All Rants?

March 3, 2008

You’re damn right it is…Especially once you realize the guy doing the rant, Kevin Borseth, is the Michigan women’s basketball coach fuming over a women’s basketball game.

You also have to love how unlike all the other classic post-game rants, he makes a grand entrance by throwing his fist full of papers down on the podium and immediately starts fumbling his words ’cause he’s too pissed off to form complete sentences. No building to a crescendo here folks: This dude makes it clear from the get-go that he’s ready to judo-chop the first official he crosses paths with.

Oh, and speaking of Michigan: PSU finally beat them in the more exciting version of basketball after a 7-year drought. You can thank the Battle-Walker Television Special for delivering the goods.

I Just Busted A Bracket…

February 23, 2008

We’re only a few weeks away from “Selection Sunday” which means it’s that time of the year again for the ESPN family of networks to pimp out the mid-major teams most likely to bust your bracket next month by pairing a bunch of them together for its “BracketBusters Saturday” showcase. You can view the entire schedule of games here

Personally, I’m all about the Drake-Butler and Kent State-St. Mary’s matchups as those feature the teams most likely to make some noise in March. Speaking of St. Mary’s…Keep an eye out for them because by the time they’ve bowed out of the Sweet 16 or later, the name “Patty Mills” will be of household status.

“Who is Patty Mills” you might ask? Well, for one thing, he’s not Black: He’s an Aborigine from Australia. He’s also team’s leading scorer, averaging 15.2 ppg (including a 37-point performance against Oregon earlier this season in what was then dubbed an “upset win”). Did I neglect to mention he’s one of several Aussie, Aussie, Aussies on St. Mary’s? Talk about milking the overseas pipelines…

Make no mistake about it though: The Tennessee-Memphis matchup later tonight is THE game to watch…And I’m not saying this because both teams play an up-tempo style, score shitloads of points, and feature several future NBA players. No, it’s more or less about the opposing coaches who love to ham it up for the cameras:

Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl likes to show people that 47, he can still pimp those blonde, southern belle bombshells

Whereas, John Calipari displays the incredible talent of randomly bursting into a “chicken dance” without warning.