NCAA Hoops: Double Headers, Technicals, Crab Cakes, and Championships

Paul McGuillicuddyAnalyst IMarch 16, 2008

So there I was in the Hampton Inn lobby Saturday morning when it hit me.

I had hoped to spend the day at nearby Hudson Valley Community College watching the youngest daughter and her Nazareth Academy teammates play for the New York State Class B Girls’ finals.

That didn’t happen. Hoosic Valley gave a little more credence to the front page jinx.

Another high school sports season came to an end Friday for the youngest daughter. These recent endings have not been devoid of emotional impact. It was so much easier when they were in middle school and the CYO season came to an end. We always knew we’d move on to the next season.

Now we’re making goodbyes a habit.

In the fall the daughters played their final inter-scholastic soccer game together.

Friday the youngest daughter played her last game with the graduating seniors—one of which she has been teammates with for the last six seasons of soccer and hoops. That includes AAU hoops and club soccer.

I’m not sure which cliché I latched on to—whether it was the silver lining in the cloud thing or with every ending comes a new beginning, but I suddenly remembered that it was my favorite day of the year to watch college hoops.

I have discussed the validity of such a notion with JD on a number of occasions. He gives me a look like—I’m gonna let him carry on about this for a while, but I am not taking any of this in.

Here’s my contention: when you weigh in quality, quantity, and choice, you can’t beat the Saturday before Selection Sunday for college hoops. In all I watched some or all of eleven games. Had I been home and not travelling the New York State thruway, I would have seen thirteen. When looking at quantity, you can’t beat it. On Thursday and Friday sixteen games will take place on each day, but—thanks to CBS—we’ll be lucky to get coverage for ten of those games.

On Saturday there were no dinner breaks. Starting at eleven in the morning with Conference USA until after midnight with Big West final, we had one continuous intravenous drip of hoops coverage. I watched games on five different channels. I got to decide which game I wanted to watch and for how long—what a novel idea.

Of course there was that little problem with the three-plus hour trip across New York.

We left Albany at eleven. As we (better half, two daughters, and two friends—yes I was the ONLY male in the car. Yeah, Wally I know this is a daily occurrence for you.) were packing the vehicle, I am wondering what the possibility is that I would get to listen to sports radio to keep up with the scores.

That idea was quickly extinguished when the youngest decided to play DJ with her I-Pod. Ya know the better half and I have often discussed the anti-social nature of I-Pods and headsets. Kids are in settings with other people, and they are off in their own world listening to music that others can’t.

Saturday was one of those rare occasions where I would not have protested had the four teenagers put on the earphones and listened to their own.

Didn’t happen. Not a big deal. The daughter’s music choices are above average. Have I mentioned on the Clipboard yet that for her sixteenth birthday she asked for tickets to the Goo Goo Dolls show? That was one of those moments of vindication.

1:55 We made a pit stop on the thruway. We’ll be home in an hour, but the morning coffee is screaming. Strange thing happened in the thruway stop: guys dressed in Chippendale’s gear. I first noticed one, and thought to myself: well I probably wouldn’t wear a black sweat suit with—CHIPPENDALE’S GALLERY OF MEN on the back. But to each his own.

A couple of minutes later when there were two guys together dressed the same way with cut off shirts saying: Chippendale’s, I wondered if there was going to be a strange scene from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ when I got outside. Ya know women around a tour bus being asked if they wanna help rub tanning oil on the gallery of men.

Thankfully, I was spared of any such occurrence.

3:10 We arrive home.

3:38 Roy Williams uses Tyler Hansbrough as a decoy. An absolute stroke of genius especially when you consider Psycho-T gets the rebound and scores the eventual game winner.

3:39 Seth Greenberg needs Grant Hill and Christian Laettner to appear on his bench. Doesn’t happen—Carolina wins.

3:40 Anyone who was thinking that top teams take the conference tournaments off because they already qualified for the dance need to look no further than UNC. Those kids want the ACC crown.

3:41 Texas 66 Oklahoma 44—Doesn’t look good for Jeff Capel and the Sooners. Wonder if Kelvin Sampson is watching this game. I mean he spent A LOT of time on the phone with these kids and all. He’s gotta care about them just a little right? Right?

3:43 Michigan St. 60 Wisconsin 57—Suton, Morgan, and Naymick are all on the Spartan bench with four fouls. Izzo has both hands on his head with his classic cry-baby expression working. Worst thing about this game—CBS is covering it with Billy Packer and his sycophant, Jim Nantz.

3:47 61 all MSU and Wisconsin. The Badgers have come back from twelve down. The Spartans have four guards on the floor trying to get Drew Neitzel the ball. Doesn’t work. Of course Packer gives all the credit to Michael Flowers, the Badger who steals the ball while completely overlooking that fellow Badger, Jason Bohannon, stopped the dribble and forced the pass that was stolen. Neitzel gets one last try. Ball rims out—Badgers win.

3:59 Texas wins.

We do not have a local coverage of the SEC, but there is something going on with Kentucky and Georgia that I don’t quite understand. Will have to wait and see on that one.

4:05 Georgia wins in overtime. Wasn’t that a charge? Did I see a blocked free throw? Basketball as I know it looks a little different right now.

Don’t know if it is duck season or fiddler crab season, but the retrievers from the University of Maryland Baltimore County punched a ticket to the dance earlier—I’m still catching up with what I missed. Oh yeah, Memphis won—no surprise there.

4:29 Tyler’s house is leaking. Break out the towels there is water dripping from the roof of the Bobcats arena.

4:30 Greg Zoubek scores inside. It almost looked like the Blue Devils intended to actually feed the post rather than drive and dish if the pass is available. Remember Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, and Shelden Williams? That’s when Duke had an inside game. The sweet sixteen might be the extent to which this team can survive.

4:32 Jon Scheyer gets another floor burn. Love that kid’s hustle.

4:34 Kansas and Texas A&M getting started. This is Bill Self’s fifth season at the Jayhawk helm. Kansas has won 80% of their games during Self’s tenure. Hmmmmm….wonder how much of that 20% has occurred in March?

4:51 Duke 31 Clemson 30—Greg Paulus is shooting guard. Don’t think so? Wait until the next time you see the Blue Devils get pressed at the end of a game. Take notice who plays hot potato with the ball.

Halftime in Charlotte and a storm is ripping through downtown. One of those buses on an electric line drives by. Is there any thunder and lightning accompanying the storm? Who in their right mind would ride in such a vehicle at this point?

6:08 Can Clemson overcome ‘almost’? Yes, they can.

6:10 I know what Reynell is doing—Temple and St. Joe’s from Atlantic City.

6:55 Despite shooting seven for twenty-five the Owls only trail by seven, 32-25.

7:17 Fran Dunphy must have had a great halftime speech. Temple leads 37-34.

7:18 Phil Martelli gets a timeout. I wanna call Reynell, but I don’t want to be responsible for messing with the karma.

7:24 UCLA 34 Stanford 32—The Bruins just need to keep it close. The zebras will take care of the rest.

7:41 Another great Temple defensive stand. Commentator: “Feeding the post has become a lost art.” Thank you. When are we gonna get it? I love basketball, but this generation of kids is more focused on creating the next ‘take the cupcake off the rim dunk’ than they are playing the actual game. I know I raised a few eyebrows when I suggested doing away with the dunk, but we have become far too taken in by flash over substance. Too many kids don’t want to work on feeding the post, closing out, boxing out, defensive rotation, etc. because those things don’t make it on to highlight reel.

Whew! I made it down from the soapbox without injury.

7:43 Temple 53-46. UCLA 45-43.

7:59 UCLA has eighteen offensive rebounds to Stanford’s four. Guess you can’t teach size, but you can teach rebounding. The seven foot Lopez twins on the Cardinal gotta learn to move in the lane a little better.

8:03 St. Joe’s has just used their last timeout. There is joy in the Reynell home.

8:11 Kent State 35 Akron 24—Kent State has nine guys who average double digit minutes per game. Two are seniors, four are juniors, three sophomores.

8:15 Bonus coverage—Arkansas leads Tennessee by one in the last minute. Considering that the Razorback coach is John Pelphrey, I hope Arkansas is prepared for a last second, full-court shot.

8:19 UCLA wins.

8:23 Coppin State 14 Morgan State 13.

8:44 Halftime at the MAC. Time for mascot basketball. “Mr. Peanut in the triple threat.” ‘Stitches’ is still the best.
Cheers to the people of Cleveland. There is not an empty seat for the MAC title game.

9:34 Coppin St. is up 50-47.

9:36 Boise St. 23 New Mexico St. 18

9:53 Pittsburgh 31 Georgetown 28. Hats off to Jaime Dixon and the Panthers. After beating Duke earlier this year they lost to Dayton by 35 and limped into the Big East tourney with nine losses. With Levance Fields and Mike Cook injured, I put a fork in the Panthers. Suddenly Pittsburgh looks like an elite eight team.

10:02 Coppin St. and Morgan St. tied at 60. Oh my Twjain McKee with the tear drop. “Crab cakes and Championships!” Coppin State is the first twenty loss team to qualify for the dance.

10:45 Georgia wins their second game of the day.

10:46 Hibbert, Summers, and Rivers each have four fouls. Does not look good for the Hoyas.

11:02 New Mex St. and Boise St. are going to overtime.

11:19 Pitt wins 74-65. Only the third time this year a team has scored seventy points on the Hoyas.

11:25 Finally I get to see the end of the Kentucky / Georgia game. Do you think Billy Gillespie has a black cloud hanging over him? First the perfect execution of the charge on the inbound doesn’t get called and the blocked free throw? Did he call Joe Gibbs for that play?

11:31 New Mex and Boise are in double OT.

11:36 “Nobody should be sitting.” Triple OT for New Mex and Boise.

11:46 Boise State punches a ticket for the first time in fourteen years.

11:50 Cal-State Fullerton and UC Irvine. Sorry guys—I’m turning into a pumpkin.


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