Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Wait, Bob Knight's Still Alive?

Last night’s viewing was a tad delayed, as I had the first opportunity in awhile to cook a decent dinner. So, I missed Syracuse’s big loss, which shocked me a bit when I heard about it on Sportscenter this morning. Anyway, I did end up catching most of the second half of the Kansas-Texas Tech game last night. Wow, am I glad I turned that one on. It’s not every night that the #2 team in the country loses in double overtime. My thoughts:

1) I hadn’t watched much of Kansas with Wayne Simien, since he was injured in a good number of the games that interested me. In any event, I can certainly see what Simien brings to the table, because even though Kansas lost last night, they looked better to me.

2) This weekend I was out with some friends and someone noted their shock at the fact that Texas Tech was ranked. I matter-of-factly noted that this was true, not letting on that just two days earlier I had also been oblivious to this fact. The Red Raiders really seem to be flying under the radar this year. I can’t really name anyone on their team, and one of my friends even noted that he had forgotten that Bob Knight was there. Well, when you knock off Kansas, I think you finally show up on the radar. I look to hear a bit more about Texas Tech in the coming weeks.

3) The shots by Kansas to send the game into the first and second overtimes as the clock was running down each time were a lesson in contrast. At the end of regulation, Keith Langford essentially went coast-to-coast, and it almost looked like no one was trying to stop him. At the end of the first overtime, someone actually stopped Langford, and Kansas managed in only 10 seconds to pass the ball around enough times to make Norman Dale proud before getting a layup. Of course, this passing was largely due to their desperation and inability to drive this time around. Kind of interesting to see how many ways the Jayhawks could score.

4) Credit to Darryl Dora for a gutsy shot to win for Texas Tech. After teammate Jarrius Jackson jacked up a bad three-pointer that missed terribly while the Red Raiders were down two and on their final possession, it would have made sense to work the ball inside and try to tie it up and send the game to another overtime. Instead, when Dora got the ball, he put up another three-point bomb, and won the game. I, of course, was thinking how stupid he was while the ball was in the air. That, you see, is why I’m not a coach.

5) After Dora’s three, there was just over 3 seconds for Kansas to get a shot off. Coming off a time-out they lined up to inbound. Texas Tech did not guard the inbounding player. In general, I think I agree with this strategy, but I’d hate to be the coach to have it backfire, and then have to answer questions for the next week about the decision. Duke effectively tainted this game-situation forever back in 1992.

And since I only saw half of the game, here are some bonus thoughts from my weekend, which I forgot to cover yesterday:

1) Saturday night found me rushing away from dinner to get to a friend's surprise birthday party (yes, it seems everyone had a birthday this weekend). In the car ride back, my friend Kosta and I remembered that the Marquette-East Carolina game was on, and would be nearing the end. So we flipped the game on. As we arrived at the location of the surprise party, there were 20 seconds left in the game. Kosta's as much of a basketball junkie as I am (he's one of the few people I know willing to go to high school games with me), so normally, we would have just sat in the car and waited for the game to end. On Saturday night, however, it would have hurt the surprise factor a bit to have two yahoos out in front of the hall where the party was listening to basketball in a car. The game seemed pretty close to a lock for ECU, anyway, since Marquette was, I believe, down 2 with 20 seconds left and ECU had the ball. So, I wrote off the game and went into the party. Imagine my shock a couple hours later when my friend Dave checked the score on his cell phone and said that Marquette had won in overtime. I'm still not too excited about Marquette's unlikely chances at making the NCAA tournament, but at least they finally gutted out a tough win, rather than failing to get a shot off at key moments, as has been the case recently.

2) At 1:30am Sunday morning, as the birthday evening was starting to wind down, I actually got into an argument with my friend Brian's mother after she said that she didn't think Greg Stiemsma was going to be all that great at Wisconsin. I'm actually kind of proud that I got into a basketball argument about a legitimate topic when basketball should have been just about the last thing on my mind. I'm also embarrassed that as part of my argument that Stiemsma would be a phenomenal success someday soon, I broke out the line "I have tape of Stiemsma from when he was in high school that would blow your mind!" I might as well have exclaimed to anyone within an 8 foot radius "I am a nerd!" That said, last night I began transferring my VHS basketball library to DVD. So yeah, I am a nerd.

And there are your two bonus thoughts. Tonight, my plans still take me to Waukesha South for the heated North-South rivalry. In preparation, I spent a bit of time last night checking out the South-Catholic Memorial game that’s currently on the Wisconsin On-Demand that my cable system provides (finally, a great use of new technology—the ability for me to cue up random high school basketball games at any time). I partly wanted to see South’s star guard, but I also wanted to see what my seating options would be in what’s sure to be a crowded gym tonight. I think I’ll be okay. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow, though.


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