Talk About “S**tting The Bed”

December 6, 2008

basketballkid

How best to describe the Fighting DeChellises’ inexplicable letdown against Temple? As Dr. Cosby himself would put it, it was a bunch of filth, flarn, flarn, filth.

I should’ve known better than to have faith in this team being able to turn the corner coming off of a big road win. This one falls on ED as well as the players for coming into this game unprepared and out of sync in front of a crowd expecting big things. If you think these type of craptastic performances are going to go away when the Big Ten slate hits us, then I’ve got Eskimo villages in New York City to sell to you…

There’s barely a semblance of an inside game, particularly on the defensive end, and the backcourt becomes a hell of a lot weaker without Stanley Pringle in there.  Danny Morrissey is a streaky shooter whose performance depends on how many wide open looks he get, and tonight he got zero because Temple’s strategy involved locking down on him and rendering him useless.

This brings me to my next question, why is ED so reluctant to go to his bench when the situation is dire?  Could Woodyard and Babb done any worse out there?  If he’s actually relying on a 7-man rotation to carry him through the season then we’re in deeper shit than initially thought.

Garbage like this has become an all-too-familiar sight under ED and today’s game was yet another painful, glaring, piece of evidence as to why he’s not the man to take PSU basketball to the next level.

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“Bill Cosby U” Invades the Jordan Center

December 6, 2008

Today’s Formidable Opponent: Temple University (3-3)

Location, Location, Location: The Bryce Jordan Center

Time: 6 PM ET

Television: The Big Ten Network.

Weather: Indoors

Brief Synopsis: Temple’s been off to a rough start, losing to two MAC teams (including a 16-point loss at home to Miami of Ohio) and certainly does not look like the team that ran the table in the Atlantic 10 tournament last year to clinch an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

Dionte Christmas leads the charge with his 21.8 ppg and 7.5 rpg.  He’s Temple’s “do-everything” type of player and perhaps part of Temple’s problem is they rely on him a little too much, despite the fact two other players Ryan Brooks and Sergio Olmos are currently averaging 12 ppg.  Olmos is 7 feet tall but somehow only pulls down 3.5 rebounds a game, sounds a lot like the many 7-footers that have graced the PSU starting lineup in the past, look for him to get abused by Cornley and DJ down low.

Looking at tempo-free stats provided by Crispin and Cream, We’re a better rebounding team, hang onto the ball much better, and are more efficient offensively and defensively given the average number of possessions each team has had in a game this season.  Did I also mention that Temple can’t shoot free throws either?  That’s right, they’re currently putting up a paltry 68% as a team. Combine all this with the fact that the game is at home in the BJC and PSU is coming off a critical, momentum-boosting win at Georgia Tech and you would have to consider a Temple victory to be an “upset.”

Oddsmakers seem to feel the same way, as PSU appears to be about a 6.5 point favorite. Crispin and Cream is predicting a thorough whooping by the Fighting DeChellises of the double-digit variety (16 points). Yours Truly also likes the good guys to cover the spread.  As for my buddy John, we’re still awaiting word from him but will have it up soon. John texted his prediction to me a while back and is following suit with C&C and I in picking PSU to cover the spread.

As far as “Contest” results go: Yours Truly is once again the sole possessor of first place, thanks to predicting PSU to beat the spread against Georgia Tech.  John has also vaulted into a tie with C&C due to following my lead.

HHV 4-1

C&C 3-2

John 3-2


HHV’s Big Ten Power Rankings (Season Finale)

December 6, 2008

Apologies for not getting these up sooner but hey, better late than never, right?

It’s hard to believe that another college football regular season is about to pass us by and that I’m about to close the books on my second annual power rankings.  It sure seems like yesterday that I debuted my very first set of rankings, not sure whether I would make it a recurring segment or if I would just let it rot like a lot of other “segments” this blog has had over the past year or so.  I’ve had a blast putting them together and even more so have enjoyed reading the comments (no matter inflammatory some may have been) that you, the readers posted every week in response to them.

I’d also like to take this moment to announce that come January, HHV will debut its power rankings for the Big Ten basketball season.  If it’s anything like the football rankings, then it too will be a recurring segment.  Time will tell, of course…

Anyway, here’s the final set of rankings for you until next year.  To the fans of the bowl-eligible teams:  Congratulations, I’ll be rooting for your respective teams to reverse the recent trend of Big Ten bowl struggles.  If your team didn’t make it, well, better luck next year…

1. Penn State (11-1, 7-1) – Guess how many media pundits projected the Nittany Lions to be sitting in this position at the end of the year?  Put your hand down, Phil Grosz

2. Ohio State (10-2, 7-1) – In light of recent events, I can promise you one thing: I don’t give a damn what the rules say, you will never, EVER, see me declare PSU “Big Ten Champs” if the team that we lost head-to-head against has the same conference record as us.

I will also go ape shit if I ever see the following displayed on the Beaver Stadium scoreboard if we end up in a situation like OSU’s.

tosu-throne-of-lies

(Image courtesy of There Is No Name On My Jersey)

3. Iowa (8-4, 5-3) – I know what you MSU fans have to say: But, but, we BEAT Iowa! Actually, you beat a Hawkeye team that had yet to discover its offense which would end up complimenting their already kickass defense.  If the two teams were to meet right now, I would put all my money down on the Hawkeyes knocking off Sparty.  Ricky Stanzi is a better QB than Brian Hoyer, Shonn Greene is a better tailback than Javon Ringer, and Mark Dantonio only wishes he had the same caliber of defense as Iowa’s.  Plus, remind me how Michigan State fared against undoubtedly the best two teams in the Big Ten…

Quick, whats the shortest path to the Downtown Athletic Club?

Quick, what's the shortest path to the Downtown Athletic Club?

4. Michigan State (9-3, 6-2) – As impressed as I am with how quickly Mark Dantonio has turned things around in East Lansing, I lost a ton of respect for him after those back-to-back timeouts that he called with 9 seconds left and the game long since in the bag while the freezing fans were anxiously awaiting the presentation of the Big Ten Championship trophy.  There was no need to put a damper effect on the celebration of a hard-earned and well-deserved title.

Even more disgusting was the stuff I read from MSU fans on message boards arguing that Dantonio was giving PSU a little payback for running up the score by throwing the ball in the 4th quarter.  What the hell did you expect PSU to do, take a knee on every play and put in the towel boys on defense so MSU could launch another comeback and make a semi-interesting game out of a thorough domination?

If you stuff 8 or 9 guys in the box to try to stop the run and continue to play as if the game is still within reach, then the other team will do whatever they can to counter it…It’s called taking your medicine like a man.

Need to clear out the massive amount of guests at your party?  Hire Mark Dantonio

Need to clear a massive amount of guests from your party in a hurry? Hire Mark Dantonio

5. Northwestern (9-3, 5-3) – Imagine, if NU hadn’t inexplicably choked at Indiana, they would be sitting pretty with a 10-2 record, raise your hands if you saw that coming…That’s what I thought.

6. Wisconsin (7-5, 3-5) – Dear Bret Bielema: You owe a Christmas card to Cal Poly’s kicker because without his multiple botched extra points, your team would be inexplicably staying home for the holidays, much like Ron Zook’s crew.

7. Minnesota (7-5, 3-5) – It’s amazing what one giant FAIL in the final seconds can do a team’s fortunes…The Gophers have reverted to their 2007 selves ever since their Miracle at the Meadowlands-style disaster against Northwestern, losing four straight games, including closing out the Metrodome (i.e. “Kinnick North”) with a bang by being on the losing end of a 55-0 pasting against Iowa.

The Caddyshack Gophers are now limping into their bowl game and desperately need a win in order to build some off-season momentum and straighten the tailspin they’re currently mired in.

8. Illinois (5-7, 3-5) – The advertisements for the season finale of Illinois Football: The Journey have all the makings of “A Very Special Episode” on a sitcom.  Expect plenty of tears to be jerked as the Illini lament on their lost season that was once full of hope.  And please, stay away from gangs, they’re bad news…

9. Purdue (4-8, 2-6) – Nothing like a 52-point pasting of your bitter rival to send out a coach who revolutionized Big Ten football over a decade ago.  It’s a shame that Joe Tiller won’t get to experience one final bowl game before he retires to Wyoming, particularly since bowl games for Purdue were about as frequent as Star Wars geeks getting laid before he arrived.  Nonetheless, Yours Truly wishes Coach Tiller a happy retirement and thanks him for being a class act and representative of the Big Ten.

Assistant coach (and Tiller look-alike) Danny Hope takes over, and the biggest question now is whether he can get Purdue back to the winning ways that fans had become accustomed to under Tiller.

Sporting the Tiller stache already gets you halfway there as a worthy successor.

Sporting the "Tiller 'stache" already gets you halfway there as a worthy successor at Purdue. Well done, young grasshopper!

10. Michigan (3-9, 2-6) – Year One of the Dick Rod era is in the books.  It was the worst season in the long, rich, history of Michigan Wolverine football.  However, it’s hard to believe how one can worry about something so meaningless with all the bloody starvation happening in the world…Get a life.

Dick Rod is to biting towels as Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" is to biting soap.

Dick Rod is to biting towels as Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" is to biting soap.

11. Indiana (3-9, 1-7) – Look, I realize it was Joe Tiller’s last game as head coach and that emotions were running high at West Lafayette, but that’s no excuse for your team to not even show up for its annual rivalry game.  The Hoosiers looked like a team that had long ago thrown in the towel and that falls on Bill Lynch and the coaching staff. It only makes one wonder where this program would be right now if Terry Hoeppner were still alive and well, because I can tell you for sure that you wouldn’t have seen this team put together as pathetic of a performance as they put on against their rivals if Hoeppner was still the coach, nor would you have seen such a collapse from the previous year occur.

Look for Lynch to be squarely on the hot seat going into 2009 and if IU doesn’t show significant improvement from this year’s fall back to the basement, then there will be a new sherriff in Bloomington for 2010.  Something tells me though that 2007’s success was “lightning in a bottle.”


Ramblin’ Wrecked!

December 4, 2008

Despite the Fighting DeChellises’ best effort to choke away yet another game due to craptastic free-throw shooting in the clutch, Georgia Tech was unable to capitalize and fell victim to a solid 38 minutes of basketball courtesy of Penn State…Don’t get me wrong here, I’m psyched that we once again held up our end of the Big Ten-ACC bargain (even though for the 10th straight year the Big Ten as a whole failed to do so) but can we for once close out an opponent in seamless fashion?

Some positives:

  • Talor Battle didn’t shoot particularly well most of the game, but still found other ways to contribute by distributing 7 assists to go along with his eventual 18 points.  That’s great thing about Talor, he always finds ways to make himself relevant to the cause no matter how much of an off-night he may be having
  • The real star of the game though has to be Stanley Pringle, with his 22 points along with his 4 steals, but most importantly he seemed to come up with a clutch basket whenever we needed it most.  It seemed like Tech underestimated his quickness, as several times he drove past everybody for an easy bucket.  Heck, it seemed like one of the plays Ed DeChellis drew up out of the timeout involved everyone else getting the hell out of Stanley’s way and letting him create something.  Additionally, Pringle hit our only made free throws in the final minute, which made all the difference in the end.
  • Danny Morrissey seemed to be a big momentum-killer for Tech as every time Tech would cut the defecit down to a couple points, Danny would knock down a trey to silence the crowd.  His 13 points on 3-for-5 shooting from downtown tell the story.

On the negative side:

  • The interior defense was absolutely nowhere to be found.  Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal pretty much did whatever he wanted to down low, garnering 34 points and 11 rebounds.  I lost count of how many easy dunks/layups Tech was able to get on us, particularly in the transition game.
  • Free throw shooting was actually pretty decent before the disastrous final couple of minutes.  I don’t know what it is that creeps into the players’ heads when they’re shooting critical free throws but they need to reach a mental state where free throws are just a routine thing.
  • What the HELL was DJ thinking not going for the easy layup late in the game and pulling the ball out instead?  Even if he hadn’t missed the front end of the one-in-one free throw that followed, I still would be harping on him for it.  If a basket is there for the taking, by all means TAKE IT!
  • The seven-man rotation worked this time, but I sure hope Ed is still not relying on it come Big Ten season.

Again, while the ending was way more nerve-racking than it should’ve been, this is nonetheless a huge win for the team.  A victory on Saturday against Temple at the BJC followed by beating the remaining cupcakes on the non-conference schedule will have us going into the Big Ten slate with a 12-1 record.  Seriously, when’s the last time that happened?  If we can go at least 9-9 in the Big Ten from there, it will lead to serious talk about a possible NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since the Crispin brothers were ripping the nets.

In the meantime however, plenty of work needs to be done defensively and at the charity stripe in order to make such a dream a reality…


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.


Thanksgiving Weekend Bullet-Points

November 29, 2008

So yeah, the blogging has been rather sporadic as of late.  You can blame it on the turkey, blame it on the fact that I was down in Maryland for the past few days with relatives and thus had no time for relevant blogging, blame it on terrorism being back in the front page of the news, whatever.  Bottom line: I need to make some of it up and what better way to do so than to revive an HHV favorite, the “bullet points?”  Here goes nothing…

  • I realize I have yet to put up my own post-game analysis on the football team’s beatdown of Michigan State, I’ll try my damndest to get it up either tomorrow or Monday.  Better late than never…
  • Being that I was in Maryland and couldn’t find a link to a PSU radio broadcast, I was forced to read in-game threads on message boards in order to follow the Rhode Island game.  I never realized one could feel as much anticipation clicking on the “refresh” button on the web browser, waiting to read whether Pringle or Battle hit a potential game-tying shot as one could by just listening to it on the radio.
  • I can’t say that I was shocked that we lost to URI, they’re a pretty solid team and we usually don’t fare favorably against such teams…particularly in neutral/road environments.  Don’t expect much against Georgia Tech this Wednesday.
  • What the hell was ED thinking playing only 7 guys against URI?  Woodyard and Babb need to be thrown into the fire in order t get some quality PT before the Big Ten season.  Unless of course, ED plans on playing a 7-man rotation for the Big Ten slate, in which case we’re royally EFF-YOU-SEE-KAYED.
  • On a positive note: I’m glad to see the Fighting DeChellises were able to get off the mat and bounce back with a 78-54 shellacking of Towson in the 3rd place game of the Philly Classic.  Just looking at the box score, it’s very encouraging to see AJ III with 13 rebounds (even if its against Towson) and Battle nearly racking up a triple-double (15 pts, 9 assists, 8 rebs).  If we can get that kind of performance on a few nights in the Big Ten, there could be a few upsets in store for us.
  • Speaking of the Towson game: John and I conversed by cell phone before tipoff today, and we both picked PSU to cover the 7-point spread in their favor, along with Crispin and Cream.  So, the standings in our contest after two straight days of hoops action currently stand as such:

HHV 3-1

C&C 3-1

John 2-2

  • My fingers are crossed that Oregon hangs on to its 20-point lead over Oregon State (currently in the 3rd quarter as I’m typing this entry) and helps secure an almost certain matchup in the Rose Bowl with USC.
  • Speaking of USC, they currently lead 24-0 at the half as I’m typing this entry.  If ND can spring a little bit of offense, Charlie Weis has a very legit shot at beating the spread, and thus saving his job for the time being.

Alright, that’s it…Enjoy whatever’s left of your holiday.


Oh Yeah, There’s A Basketball Game Tonight…

November 28, 2008

The Rhode Island Rams are next up for the Fighting DeChellises in the semi-finals of the Philly Hoops Classic. Once again, PSU should have the mini-home court advantage with all the Philadelphia-area PSU fans showing up in droves.

Tipoff’s at 6:30 PM and allegedly is being covered on CN8 though that seems to be another bald-faced lie according to everyone who gets CN8. Looks like you’ll have to find a radio feed that does PSU basketball broadcasts and listen to Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi whisper sweet nothings into your ears again.

Sadly enough, I had to wake myself out of my turkey-induced stupor in order to remember all this. Taking a quick skim through Crispin and Cream’s preview though, it sounds like Rhode Island plays a very similar up-tempo style like us and enjoys scoring points in droves. They also don’t play much defense either. Jimmy Baron will likely put on a shooting clinic as well, being that he is 3rd in the NCAA in 3-pointers made thus far and PSU has never been known for playing good perimeter defense.

Remember folks, this is a Rhode Island team that led Duke for practically the entire game until the final minute before Duke (with some referee’s help most likely) put together a furious rally to win the game. They are a 1-point favorite according to the oddsmakers for quite possibly that aforementioned reason.

Crispin and Cream has seen too much heartbreak in the past to pick PSU for the “upset” but my buddy John and I drank too much Kool-Aid to know any better and thus, we’re both picking PSU to win.

Here’s the current standings in our “Contest” once again:

HHV 2-0

C&C 1-1

John 1-1