24 March 2011

MSG hopes go up in smoke

The Wazzus decided that their starting center, Casto, would not be suspended for tonight's game. It seems they took the Ohio State take on collegiate athletics and copped out that they would wait to see how his pot possession case played out before passing judgment. Whatever. Game on.

Turns out they needed Casto as NU forced the cougs to OT even with him in the starting lineup. In our view NU played a brilliant game. They master planned against future NBA 1st rounder Klay Thompson and largely marginalized his impact on the game. The Wazzus effectively game planned to double Juice and get us out of a rhythm offensively which helped them build a 14 point first half lead. To Coach Carmody's credit, NU adjusted on the fly and closed the gap to seven by halftime.

NU stormed out of the second half gates to quickly close the gap and even manage a small lead. NU would quickly relinquish the lead and stay within a possession or two until ultimately closing the gap by the end of regulation. Oh there was some drama at the end of regulation, but we are sure that will be highlights by others so google it.

To us, and we hate to lay the blame on any one player because it is grossly unfair, Shurna's poor shooting from distance cost us this game. 2-10 with most of the looks open is well below what we'd expect from any shooter let alone Shurna. We are not sure if it was the ankle or just an off night. Regardless with his struggles NU did not have the punch to take out the Wazzus.

It was a fun season even though it fell short of expectations due to Shurna's ankle. Our admiration and respect for Juice Thompson grew even more this season which is saying something because he was our MVP last year. Thanks for the memories fellas.

23 March 2011

Class participation time

Raise your hand if you know...

the town where Washington State University is located?
approximately where Pullman WA is on a map (without cheating)?
the name of Washington State's men's basketball coach?
the Washington State nickname?
the name of the Washington State mascot?

If you raised your hand...

zero times then consider yourself typical.
1x-2x then you are a knowledgeable fan of collegiate athletics.
3x-4x then you are a knowledgeable fan and have spent too much time studying US maps.
5x then either you're a liar or you need to get out more.

The point of this exercise is to demean the "wazzu's"/"cougs". Petty? Yes. Easy to do? Absolutely. Funny? Our Seattle beat reporter found a 4 to 1 like/dislike ratio which just so happens to be ratio of U "Dub" alums to non-alums in the Emerald City.

Did ya know that Tony Bennett, son of former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett, used to coach the Wazzus? Did ya know that Tony, after leading the Wazzus to a Sweet 16 game a few years ago, hightailed it out of town ASAP for the ACC also-ran Wahoos of Virginia? And of course anyone who has stepped on Northwestern's campus knows all about WAMU.

Wazzu. Wahoo. WAMU. Look at that cosmic connection! Freaky! Maybe life is predestined after all. Time to smoke some dope and philosophize about it. Too bad we can't make it out to east bum fock Washington for the game as we understand that the Wazzu basketball team has a good dope dealer.

As an aside what the fock is that dumb Carmody poll still doing up on LTP? And fire Carmody or give him one more year are the only options given? What a douche.

Game time tonight is 10PM E-town time on the deuce. Deuce/douche. See what we did there? We're poets and didn't even know its.

21 March 2011

Second round NCAAs summary

Expected. Actual
BE 4-3. 2-5**
B10 3-2. 2-3
B12 2-1. 1-2
SEC 2-0. 2-0
PAC 0-3. 1-2
ACC 2-1. 3-0
MWC 2-0. 2-0
A10 1-1. 1-1
COL 0-2. 1-1
HOR 0-1 1-0

** 0-3 against non-big LEAST teams.

Any conference that matched up with the big LEAST. Colonial.

big LEAST, Big Ten (unfortunate to not have any games against big LEAST)

Favorite teams so far:
VCU. Richmond.

Most impressive teams so far:

Favorite moment:
Sir Charles railing on big LEAST in front of Pitino. No halftime coverage in R32 from Crean. Butler/the Pitts ending. FSU blowing out ND.

Least favorite moment:
Morris missing open 6 footer in the lane to send Michigan-Duke game into OT. Make up 5 second call at end of Texas-zona game that allowed the miracle and one shot for zona's win.

Key takeaway (other than big LEAST was uberoverrated):
10 conferences still alive in S16. Wow!

20 March 2011

Big Feast

Eleven big LEAST teams entered the first weekend of the NCAAs. Two teams remain. It was a bloodbath for the big LEAST teams as sharks from other conferences FEASTED on them one at a time. Things were so bad for the big LEAST that the only way UConn and Marquette survived was by cannibalizing Cincy and Syrexcuse. San Diego St and UNC must be licking their chops for their sweet 16 match ups against these overrated chumps.

Simply put this was the biggest conference flop in the history of the NCAAs. TOO F!CKING FUNNY!!!!!

19 March 2011

First round NCAAs summary

Expected Actual

BE 9-2. 7-4
B10 4-3. 5-2
B12 4-1 3-2
SEC 3-2. 2-3
PAC 3-1. 3-1
ACC 2-2. 3-1
MWC 3-0. 2-1
A10 2-1. 2-1
COL 1-2. 2-1
HOR 1-0. 1-0

Really only one conference has egg on its face through round 1 -- the overrated big least. We'll know more about the other conferences by the time the sweet 16 is set.

NU dominates BoCo on the road, enters uncharted territory

BC was a bubble team? They look poorly coached especially on defense. Hellz- NU looked to be a much better defensive team.

Pretty much everyone played well in this game for NU. Marcotullio picked it up where he's left off the past couple games with a missed wide open layup and bricking open treys, but he righted the ship and played a solid game overall. Shurna and Juice were who they are which is to say they were difference makers. Crawford had a good game with his shot falling early on. Mirkovic had his best road game ever.

We wonder if LTP is now having second thoughts about calling for Carmody's head? If not then he should. Either way one thing is clear--he should stick to covering NU football.

18 March 2011

Will talking heads get it right this year?

Every year the talking heads point to conference W-L records in the NCAAs to determine which conferences are under-performing or over-performing. Gross win totals for a conference are all well and good, but if you're talking relative to expectations, which is inferred by under- or over-performance then most of these folks fail to take into account expectations in said analysis.

Under the fair assumption that seeds were appropriate here is how conferences which have at least one projected first round winner are expected to perform during the first round (sorted by number of bids, then by number of wins):

BE 9-2
B10 4-3
B12 4-1
SEC 3-2
PAC 3-1
ACC 2-2
MWC 3-0
A10 2-1
COL 1-2
HOR 1-0

So there you have it. On Thursday there were 3 upsets out of 16 games. BE has already been dinged twice so Marquette (11) and Villanova (9) will have to pull off the mild upsets to rescue the BE's reputation. The other upset was Richmond over Vandy so Georgia (10) will have to pull off the mild upset over Washington to restore the SEC's honor.

We'll give a recap after the first round results to discuss which conferences are over- and under-performing.

17 March 2011

Please tells us that this CBS crew is temporary

Seth Davis? Tom Crean and his annoying scratchy voice? Boring Steve Smith? Ugh!!!!!!! Kill. Us. Now.

That bar is sooooooo low we would gladly watch Sir Charles and Kenny Smith who normally cover the NBA but have been roped into truTV's studio.

Wisky cruises, quiets naysayers

There was mucho chattero by los talking heados about how Wisconsin was ripe for an upset against a gamely Belmont squad. Say what?

Jordan Taylor proved why he was a first team All Big Ten guard in a guard dominant league. Bo Ryan proved once again he is a darn good coach as his team controlled this game from start to finish. Josh Gasser showed freshman nerves on the big stage. Gasser along with Nankavil really stunk up the joint. If it weren't for these two the margin at half would have been 15+.

16 March 2011

Waaaay OT: MSU team photo 1990

So we're watching TruTV and they flash this photo up of MSU's 1990 team photo because Tom Crean and Steve Smith, who are both on the broadcast, are both in the photo. My lord does Crean look like a pompous young punk. And Izzo! The dude had a full head of hair back then!!!!

NU 70 UWM 61

The Fighting Ed McCants couldn't handle the 1-3-1. How a team led by a coach who won league honors couldn't solve the riddle is beyond us. Those must be some bad coaches up there in the Ho-ri-zon, except Brad Stevens who needed to blitz the league yet again to garner coach of the year honors.

Anywho. The UWMers couldn't buy an open trey until it was too little, too late. NU probably would've handled the green budgies had they solved he 1-3-1, but the Wildcats kept their powder dry.

John Shurna and Juice Thompson led the charge in the scoring department, and Luka Mirkovic had a nice game on defense and distributing the ball. NU continues to miss JerShon Cobb. We really don't understand the love that folks shower on Alex Marcotullio. The guy shot 3-12 / 3-9 from the field as we pulled our hair out on repeated missed bunnies and repeated missed WIDE OPEN looks from distance. Craig Moore he is not. Yes he had three assists but he also had three aggravating turnovers on ill advised passes. Why is Luka raked over the coals even when he plays ok but folks sing Alex's praises when he plays poorly? Life ain't fair.

Next up is Boston College. These losers lost to Yale. At home. Fock them and their Big East pedigree. Huh? Oh yeah, ACC. Even worse. NU should be a couple of points the dog in this because somehow they are seeded higher. All the better when NU hands their arse to them.

With the win at BoCo NU will make the 20 game plateau. Better late than never? Meh.

Good news, bad news

No preview forthcoming. We are putting the student back in stud ent (oy, awful Tolkien geek humor) and have focused on finals. That is the bad news for you anxiously awaiting our pearls of wisdom.

The good news is that the usual suspects (sip, ccb, media outlets) have it covered. Check 'em out and give them some additional clicks so they can earn some more pennies from advertisers and inch their way closer to the super groovy ipad2.

13 March 2011

Near miss against OSU, NIT home game reward

So NU gave OSU its stiffest competition in Indy, pushing the Buckeyes to OT before succumbing to Jared Sullinger and his indomitable will. Credit John Shurna for showing us what we have been missing most of the Big Ten season. Credit also goes to Luka Mirkovic and Davide Curletti. Yes, their box score was nothing to write home about, but the box score doesn't reflect, at least directly, the stellar work they did in bodying up Sullinger. The cumulative tally of their unsung efforts can be seen in Sullinger's woeful shooting from the field.

NU really missed JerShon Cobb in this game. Alex Marcotullio, thrust into a starting role in Cobb's absence, really struggled on both ends of the court. On offense, for someone billed as a bomber, Alex misses more than his fair share of open looks from downtown. On defense, he had too many breakdowns which gave OSU wide open looks. Diebler also successfully drove to the hole a couple of times against Marcotullio. Not good.

But onward and upward as they say. NU is the lone Big Ten rep in the NIT as seven brethren are bound for the NCAAs and Minnesota was wisely left out in the cold by the NIT. NU actually gets to host a game against UW-Milwaukee, a team we know very little about despite their proximity to Etown. We have a few days to bone up on the UWMers so fret not Carmody Courters. We will have your back with the definitive pre game rundown.

For now it's a hearty congrats to Juice, Mike, Ivan, and Jeff. One more game at the Welsh and a third straight NIT. Not what you dreamt of this offseason, but not all that bad given how the season played out.

06 March 2011

On Carmody and winningest senior class

FACT: Juice Thompson will leave Northwestern as the winningest player in history.

QUESTION: Has a coach ever been fired when the above is true?

We don't know the answer, but we suspect that, outside some kind of scandal, few if any coaches have been fired under such circumstances since it is a clear indication that the coach has a program on the rise. This suggests that firing Carmody would go against a precedent that inherently adjusts in some way the differences across programs.

Furthermore it is more than likely that John Shurna et al will break this winningest mark next year. Is this a sign of a program that has maxed out under a coach or even is pointed downward as NU blogger LTP has suggested? No!

As an aside we've seen arguments for firing Carmody on the basis of his recruiting. We agree that recruiting is paramount to a program's success, but we wonder how grounded in reality the criticism of Carmody's recruiting is. From our vantage point, NU's roster is as stacked with talent as it has been in DECADES. That says to us that Carmody is recruiting as well as can be reasonably expected at NU. Until something fundamental changes with the program, only coaches who can squeeze water out of a rock could do measurably better than what we're seeing on the recruiting front these days.

In short we feel that Carmody has the program on the rise and is doing a fine job within the context of NU's specific history. There is no reason to lock him up to a long term deal, but to fire him at this point would be placing a blind eye to the context in which he has been toiling over the past decade or so.

04 March 2011

NU takes care of business, matches 09-10 conference record

NU did what they should have done up at the barn. Namely defeat a mediocre Minnesota squad. It was a new cast of heroes on senior day--the Italian Stallions from greater Detroit. Juice Thompson came up big in the second half which--shock--is when NU made its run.

At 17-12 NU's magic number for the NCAAs stands at three. That translates into NU smashing through its B10 tourney glass ceiling to make not just Saturday's semis but the final game. If NU defies the odds and makes it to Sunday you have to know the folks in Indianapolis will be watching the results with much intent.

To get there NU must first defeat the goofers again. Doable? Check.

Next up is rested OSU. We do think Carmody has shown that he can coach up his guys to compete against the athletically superior bugeyes. Doable? As odd it sounds, we like NU's chances better against OSU than PSU. Which admittedly is not saying a whole heck of a lot. But it would not shock us nearly as much as pretty much all but the biggest purple koolade drinkers.

The Saturday game with NCAAs hopes on the line would be against the winner of the #4/5 game. It looks like that will be either Illinois or Michigan State. Neither of those teams are unbeatable and their motivation would be less than NU's with an NCAAs bid already sewn up. Doable? If NU makes it this far, a resounding YES!!!!!!

The clincher on Sunday would be against either Wisconsin or Purdue in all likelihood. Wisconsin is all but unbeatable for NU so we would hope Painter gets his squad to Sunday somehow. Doable? We have a hard seeing the magic carpet ride leading to an automatic berth, though there is a slim chance against the boilers.