Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Abbreviated Update

Last night I participated in a little tradition that I like to call "Take Your Mother to a High School Basketball Game Night." It's not a creative name, so you can guess what transpired. As I was walking to the doors of the gym with my mother, we had the following exchange:

Mom: You're sure you're not embarrassed to be going to a game with your mother?

Me: I'm a 27 year old guy who likes to attend high school basketball games for fun. Do you really think that the fact that I'm going to a game with my mother is going to make me look any more pathetic? I'm already pretty close to topping out.

Okay, really it wasn't quite as pathetic as it sounds, since my mother is a teacher at the feeder middle school for the local high school, and simply wanted to get a chance to see how her former students are doing. I just sort of facilitated that happening, since I probably would have been checking out a different high school game, anyway. And as I noted, mother in tow or no mother in tow, I'm pretty much not looking cool either way when I wander in to a high school gym to watch basketball.

So there, that's my defense. Unfortunately, the fact that I was attending the Sussex Hamilton-Wauwatosa East game, and Duke-North Carolina was on TV meant that I was going to need to watch both in their entirity. Since I needed time to catch up on the recording of Duke-Carolina, I was up pretty late, and didn't get a chance to do a real update. Thus, I'm going to just gloss over last night's games, and leave you with one thought on each game:

1) Last night was, I think, the first game this year where I saw Jerry Smith play, but not dunk the ball even once. He tried once, but in a rare and courageous move, Sussex Hamilton's Jim Liermann attempted to block Smith's dunk, and in my estimation (and likely in the estimation of both of the head coaches, based on the jovial conversation that they had in the aftermath) succeeded. The refs thought otherwise, and sent Smith to the line for two fouls shots. But either way, Liermann's effort on the play was phenomenal.

2) Okay, I'm a bit ticked off at ESPN. How do you plan to televise the North Carolina vs. Duke game, and not end up broadcasting it in high definition? It's the biggest rivalry in college basketball, and ranks right up there as one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. I would have been only slightly less shocked than I was when I turned on Carolina-Duke in standard definition last night if I had flipped on the Super Bowl this past Sunday and found out that it wasn't being broadcast in HD. I mean come on--how many people out there were more excited to see Kentucky-Tennessee in HD than North Carolina-Duke? (Just to be clear, on any other night, Kentucky-Tennesse deserves HD treatment over just about any other game, but not when the best rivalry in the game is on.) And the worst part about this is that ESPN revealed during the game that they know how badly this game deserves special treatment, as they unveiled their plans for the next North Carolina-Duke meeting. These plans involved showing the game on all of their channels, each with a different angle, and using their website to pass along even more content during the game. I'm pretty certain that you won't even be able to think of the name ESPN without them somehow delivering coverage of the game to you. So, one of the games gets ESPN to sell out the entire network, but last night they can't even get the HD equipment down to Chapel Hill. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

Back tomorrow with my thoughts on Wisconsin vs. Indiana, which will be on ESPN tonight, but not in HD. Sure, I'm personally bitter about that one, but I still commend ESPN for making the right call and getting their HD equipment out to the UConn-Syracuse game where it rightfully belongs, instead of covering two teams living deathly in fear of another loss. And for the record, since this year's college basketball happenings around the country defy all logic, and Wisconsin should have no answer for Marco Killingsworth inside, I'm officially predicting Wisconsin by 8 points. Let's hope that works out.


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