Last night was a testament to the calming power that basketball has over me. After fighting crowds for holiday shopping and bringing that pesky consumer problem that has been bothering me for some time to conclusion, I returned home to watch basketball. There was only one problem, though–there was too much basketball to take in. After two nights of virtually nothing, I come home to power teams galore being featured on television.
Thus, rather than doing any sort of game recap, I turned my brain off for two hours, plunked down in my recliner, tossed some new batteries in my remote, and flipped around between games. I saw snippets of each, but not enough to tell an accurate story about any of them. My less-than-intelligent thoughts on each below:
Duke vs. St. Johns: I actually DVR’d part of this one, since I was out shopping, and it looked closer than expected at the half. My most lasting memories of this one are Josh McRoberts repeatedly tossing down alley-oop dunks, Sheldon Williams continually blocking shots, and Lee Melchionni bleeding from the nose. No, I have no idea who plays for St. Johns.
UWM vs. Oakland: This one wasn’t on TV, but since I couldn’t get down to the Mecca for the game, I thought I’d listen in to bits of it on the radio. I can’t say much about the game, other than that UWM seems to be continuing to build steam, and that the more freedom Boo Davis gets to shoot, the better. I can say, however, that I’ve been too hard on UWM play-by-play man Bill Johnson over the years. For a guy who has to call games without a color commentator by his side, he does an admirable job. You try calling a game by yourself sometime and see how it goes.
Illinois vs. Missouri: I flipped the game on after the half when Illinois had already pulled away with a big lead. The game was pretty much over, even though there was lots of time left, so I watched Shawn Pruitt shoot a foul shot, and flipped back to another game. It was all of 20 seconds. The score was enough to confirm to me what I already knew, though: Illinois is going to be just fine this year, and Missouri is constantly going to be underwhelming.
Michigan State vs. UW-Green Bay: If I was a more organized man, I would have called up one of my friends in Green Bay and planned on going to this one, since the Spartans were inexplicably playing at the Resch Center last night. I didn’t see one second of this game, and it certainly wasn’t on the radio here. However, I’m pleased to say that UWGB actually put up a fight this year, after losing to the Spartans by roughly 50 points last season. This year it was only a 29 differential, but word has it that the Phoenix kept it close until the half. That works for me.
Arizona vs. Western Kentucky: Before the season, excellent blogger Cortney Basham who is, among other things, a Western Kentucky expert, told me to keep an eye on the Hilltoppers this year. Since it’s rare that I actually get to see a Western Kentucky game on TV, and they were keeping it close with perennial power Arizona, I actually kept a lot of this game on. It was punctuated by solid outside shooting by the Hilltoppers, gritty play by WKU’s Anthony Winchester (yet another basketball player with ugly tattoos), and a bevy of absolutely ridiculous athletic dunks and other moves by Hassan Adams. That guy seems to get more and more athletic every year.
In any event, the Hilltoppers hung on to take the game to overtime, making up a decent deficit in the final two minutes, but Arizona’s talent was too much to overcome in the overtime period. And I have to say, I’m typically a lot lower on Arizona than everyone else in the world, but I’m still perplexed at how a team with the talent that they have is not sitting somewhere in the top-25.
USC vs. North Carolina: The late game on Fox Sports was fun to check in on. My first thought was that I loved USC’s uniforms, which were very simple, and given the color scheme, are even somewhat reminiscent of Hickory High’s uniforms in Hoosiers. Big thumbs up there. The other thing that stuck out to me is that this is only the second time I’ve watched much of a UNC game this year, and I love that their line-up has completely turned over. I feel like I’ve seen this type of thing at North Carolina before, though. Watching this team reminds me of about a decade ago when I flipped on my first UNC game and Serge Zwikker was inexplicably starting. Sure, he was a Street and Smith All-American, but I didn’t know who he was yet. I guess this makes Tyler Hansbrough the new Zwikker. Should be fun to watch...
My body caught up with me during the late game, though, and I drifted off. A calm that had not existed earlier fell over me, though. Maybe part of it was knowing that I had solved some holiday problems earlier that night, but I like to think that most of it was due to the healing power of basketball.