Last night I was again busy lowering my bowling average (I think I may be down to 122 by now), but there was still time for basketball on TV. Some of my best basketball memories have come at bowling alleys, which is somewhat shocking, since until this ridiculous league, I never actually bowled much. That still didn’t stop my from taking in the 1992 miracle Duke win over Kentucky at the now demolished Sport Bowl near my parents’ home. Yeah, I should have been home watching the game, but I was 14, and bowling with my friends seemed more social. I wasn’t always the shut-in that I am now.
Anyway, I wasn’t the most attentive viewer, but here are my thoughts:
1) Illinois-Iowa had me running back and forth between my lane and the bar so that I could finish my game, and watch the big game on TV. I did a pretty poor job of both, actually, but it was still fun to see the Hawkeyes take Illinois to overtime. My only observation was that whenever the Illini entered the ball to James Augustine, you knew he wasn’t going to shoot. I guess that’s no major surprise, but at the end of that game, I didn’t even think there was a 10% chance he’d put a move on a guy.
2) My buddy Curl, who was sitting at the bar, took a moment out to make fun of Nick Smith with me while we saw him in the huddle during a timeout. Nice to see that I’m not the only guy who likes to make fun of the skinny Illinois big man. Sadly, his game doesn’t seem that different from that of Brian Butch of the Badgers, so I may be defending a much maligned player for 3 more years.
3) Marquette vs. DePaul. What to say? I guess I’m a bit scared for Marquette now. They again brought the team that I saw play in the early season, and I’d like to again see the team that played against Arizona and Wisconsin. Where’s the hard-nosed defense? Where are the timely shots? Where’s Marcus Jackson’s rebounding? They’d better get better by Saturday—I don’t want their mid-afternoon game to be the weak spot in the trifecta of games I’m watching that day.
4) Like I said yesterday, at least Marquette got beat by a team comprised of lots of native Wisconsin players. I can at least feel a small connection with any team containing Quemont Greer.
5) Now here’s where I complain about Marquette, a bit. I’ve never been a fan of Marquette’s offensive schemes (those of you who know me well know that this is a criticism of mine going back at least as far of the Final Four year). If you’ve ever been in a bar with me (let’s face it, there’s a good possibility that’s happened), I’ve probably at some point broken out the salt & pepper shakers and a ketchup bottle to mimic the three-man weave offense. And don’t even get me started on how the 250+ set plays that the team has ruins any semblance of flow to a game.
6) And my final, biggest pet peeve of all. Last night I was driving home listen to the always entertaining Marquette radio crew. The game had ended, and they were promoting the post-game show, where they always announce that they will be joined by “Tom Crean or a member of his staff.” As I noted back in my November 15th entry, Crean’s the first coach I can remember to use the “or a member of his staff” provision, and he generally only breaks out a staff member after bad losses. Upon hearing last night’s promo for the first time, I actually said aloud to myself in the car “It’s going to be a member of his staff tonight.” Well, I was wrong—no one came out at all. Frankly, I’m fine if Crean doesn’t want to do the show at all, but if he says that he’s going to do it, he should make sure that someone always shows up. And though I still think it’s weak for him to throw a member of his staff out on bad days, if he says someone should be there, they should show up. The radio guys, Homer and George, are pretty loyal guys, and aren’t going to run anyone through the ringer. Here’s looking forward to hearing Crean thank the crowd after a win against Charlotte on Saturday. He’s good at facing up to the positive.
Didn’t mean to end on such a downer. Hell, UWM won last night, so not all was lost. Let’s look forward to a big slate of games on Saturday, including the aforementioned Marquette game, the Wisconsin-Michigan game, UWM trying to avenge its loss to Detroit, UWGB taking on Horizon power UIC, and an undisclosed high school gem that I’m hoping to check out. Happy viewing!