It's All Downhill From Here...
Wow. For an evening in last night, things couldn’t have gotten much better. Upon arriving home, I fired up the Michigan State-Gonzaga game, which I had assessed as the most interesting match-up up the night. It was also the only game on in the early time slot, so aside from watching my recording of Wisconsin-Old Dominion (which I still need to get to), it was the only option available.
But what an option! Each team has an All-American candidate (Adam Morrison for Gonzaga and Paul Davis for Michigan State), both are top-10 caliber teams (though MSU sits outside of the top-10 currently), and both seemed to be in mid-season form. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a well-played game at the start of a season. This felt more like a regional final than the semi-finals of the Maui Invite. If you saw the game, I can’t tell you anything that you don’t know, because you already know how fabulous it was. You don’t get two teams that are this good driving each other to triple overtime every day. For that matter, you don’t get two teams like this going to triple overtime every season.
The players were phenomenal. Adam Morrison was everywhere for Gonzaga, and set a new Maui Invite scoring record with 43 points. I, for one, had been questioning his pre-season all-American status coming into the year, but he’s worthy of every accolade he receives. Maurice Ager, while a nice player in the past, was absolutely clutch for Michigan State last night. Every time a big three-pointer was needed, he was there. And the supporting casts were equally good, particularly the big men. You won’t find many guys out there better than Paul Davis, and he showed it last night. And while I liked Gonzaga’s J.P. Batista last season, he was always obscured by Rony Turiaf, who was Gonzaga’s top post option prior to graduation. Batista showed last night that he’s ready to pick up right where Turiaf left off as the go-to guy underneath the hoop. It was nearly non-stop excellence last night.
And yes, I know that this ranks as one of my least intelligent posts ever. I think my excitement reverted me into a child-like state last night. In a game this beautiful, I don’t even think I can take time out to make fun of Adam Morrison’s long hair and bad teenage mustache—there will always be time for that later.
You never expect that when you sit down for a game that it will be the best game that you’ll see all year, but that’s what I saw last night. I can’t fathom seeing a better game. It’s all downhill from here, but that’s okay, since we usually don’t get to a peak that’s this high quite this early.
Post-game I tried to tune in to the Texas-Iowa game, and was disappointed to find the Akron-Bowling Green football game going into double-overtime and preempting most of the first half. I tried to hang in there to get a look at the #2 team in the country and the most intriguing team in the Big Ten, but I’ve had a couple of long days, and I dozed off and missed it. That’s okay, since I’ll see both of them soon enough.
Oh, and for those of you who heard me on the radio yesterday with Steve “The Homer” True (an exciting experience, as I’ve always been a fan of the Homer), you’ll be upset to know that I was unable to complete my laundry as I had planned on doing. My downstairs neighbor got to the machine before me, so it looks like tomorrow morning is when I’ll have to get things cleaned up.
Finally, a happy Thanksgiving weekend to all. I’ll likely be taking a bit of a break from writing this weekend, but I know that I’ll be attending at least two games in person, and it’s still pre-season tourney time, so the TV will be a great friend. So enjoy the long weekend with family (and basketball)—I know I will.