Tuesday evening saw me do something that I didn’t expect to do all year—I turned down tickets to a game. Marquette was playing Nebraska at home, but I decided to forego the game and stay home to take care of some things, and of course, take in some basketball. I was doing some chores around the apartment, so I didn’t get to see a full game, but I did catch significant portions of Iowa-Texas Tech, Michigan State-UCLA, and Gonzaga-Eastern Washington on TV. And I listened to all but the last 10 minutes of the Marquette game as I cleaned my kitchen, and let me tell you, my refrigerator has never smelled more fresh. On to my points:
1) Paul Davis is one of the most absolutely bizarre players that I’ve ever seen. It seems like every time that I tune into a Michigan State game, he’s putting up 20 points and 12 rebounds, and generally looking awesome. If I’m not watching, though, it’s not unlikely that the next day I’ll hear that he only shot the ball twice and finished the game with 4 rebounds. It sort of reminds me of when I would watch Sesame Street as a kid, and Mr. Snufalufagus always seemed to leave when anyone would come around Big Bird, so everyone thought he was imaginary. I think the bad Paul Davis is imaginary, since I’ve never seen him. Although, much like the people of Sesame Street eventually got to see Mr. Snufalufagus, I suspect that someday I will see bad Paul Davis.
2) I recognize that I’m paying an extra $5 for the Time Warner digital sports package, but even with 4 special channels devoted largely to college basketball this time of year, it still boggles my mind that I live in Milwaukee and I’ve seen Gonzaga play on television almost the same number of times as Wisconsin. And if not for public television replys, the Bulldogs would be in the lead. I guess they’re really trying to shake that mid-major label.
3) Travis Diener scored the first 12 points for Marquette last night-all on 3-pointers. This guy will never stop amazing me. I must admit, however, that I was somewhat pleased when Dameon Mason tossed in a layup, since Steve “The Homer” True’s “The score is Diener 12, Nebraska 10” bit was wearing thin very quickly. That was clever when I was 14 years old, but wasn’t so great last night, which surprised me, since I normally like Homer’s personality (if not his ability to call a solid game).
4) While watching Iowa easily pick apart Texas Tech last night, I couldn’t help but wonder how Bobby Knight was reacting to that one. Of course, in the first half when the referees called the 13th traveling violation on Tech, Knight was bent over with his head in his hands looking frustrated. Actually, he sort of looked like that for most of the first half. But what I really wondered about was two things. First, in post game, assuming he shook hands with former protégé, and current Iowa coach Steve Alford, did he calmly say something like “You little bastard—I won’t forget this, and some day I’m going to bury your ass by far more than 30 points.” Because that seems like something that Knight would do. Second, when he went to the locker room with his team, did he pull out one of those “You will not put me in that situation again!” speeches that we’ve all heard on bad audio tape, or is this team just too poor for him to put out the effort? I hope he wasn’t too hard on the guys, because as poorly as they played, Iowa continues to look very impressive.
5) I think I’m softening my stance on Rony Turiaf. Last night, shaggy beard, bad teeth and all, he actually threw out a couple of really nice post moves while I was watching him play. He’s a far cry from the high-energy, lanky freshman that I remember watching. I hate high-energy guys—they make the rest of us look bad.
6) I briefly flipped on Time Warner’s Wisconsin On Demand channel before I went to bed to see if there were any high school games available to watch. Then I pulled up last week’s Milwaukee Pius-Waukesha South girls’ game. Then, about 30 seconds into the game I realized what I was watching and turned off the game. I may have to turn it on again, though, because those old man, second-rate announcers for the games can be interesting. I loved it last year while watching a Marquette High game where one of the announcers started talking about how Marquette was playing a triangle and one defense. That can’t be one of the more effective defenses out there.
7) Last night marked the debut of Marquette freshman Niv Berkowitz, who's slated to back up Travis Diener at the point. I missed it, but he only played 2 minutes last night, so I'm not too distraught. He should provide some much-needed depth at the point, although Diener probably will never step off the floor for more than 4 minutes in any hotly contested game. Still, Berkowitz is a nice luxury to have.
8) Did the ESPN crawl last night deceive me? Did division 2 UW-Parkside really knock off reigning Horizon League champ Illinois-Chicago? The same UW-Parkside that looked mediocre at best against Wisconsin a month ago? Wow, that's just incredible. I guess UWM should waltz its way to a Horizon championship this year.
So that’s it for last night. Tonight should be fun, as I’m positive I’ll watch the Kansas-UWM game, which will not be pretty if the Panthers play as they did against Wisconsin last week. There’s about a 10% chance that I’ll get out to a high school game tonight, but I don’t want to talk about it, or it will surely turn into a 0% chance. Either way, it should be fun to relax for a bit before the holidays totally hit.