Thursday, February 02, 2006

Work, Yet Again, Cuts Into My Plans

Last evening presented some challenges to my basketball watching, as work constraints kept me from really doing what I wanted. I was hoping to get to the Marquette-St. John’s game, since it seems like I haven’t been to the Bradley Center since 1993, but that was not to be. Luckily, even though I pretty much missed the early ESPN games (sans the last 4 minutes of West Virginia figuratively punching Mike Brey and Notre Dame in the stomach), I made it home for the late games, and for most of the Marquette radio broadcast. Notes from the evening (mostly from the Marquette-St. John’s radio broadcast, and the Duke-Boston College game on ESPN, but with a few other tidbits mixed in):

1) Last night was my first opportunity to see Kevin Pittsnogle in high definition. Let me just say that his re-enforcement of West Virginia stereotypes is even more forceful in HD.

2) As I listened to the first half of the Marquette game in my car, it sounded like Dominic James’ arm was going to fall off as he was playing, judging by the reactions of the announcers. One thing that I love about Marquette players is that you can never say that they’re not physically or mentally tough. Even the relatively contact-shy Steve Novak is playing through a high ankle sprain right now. Sometimes, in fact, I think these guys may be too tough for their own good. But in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a horrible problem to have.

3) Every game on either of the ESPN channels last night had something worth watching, but in deciding which late game to focus most of my attention on, I didn’t need much thought. Basically, I just looked at the names Texas and Missouri on ESPN2, and thought to myself "This is going to be an ass-kicking. Why is Quin Snyder still at Missouri? I’m watching Duke-BC."

4) I’m not all that into drooling over sideline reporters like most guys I know. But I do have to say after seeing them both for several games this year, I’d take Doris Burke over Erin Andrews any day. Don’t worry, it doesn’t totally make sense to me either.

5) Anyone else out there think that BC’s John Oates (which is a great celebrity name already) looks a heck of a lot like Ryan Reynolds of (and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve seen this movie) National Lampoon’s Van Wilder fame? I’m sure this is probably pointed out from time to time to BC fans, so I won’t belabor the point, lest this should become like the comparison’s of Wisconsin’s Kammron Taylor to Chris Rock, and get really annoying.

6) I had no idea that Wesley Matthews was making his return from his foot injury tonight for Marquette, but that’s what the announcing team noted. At that point I was even more ticked off that I couldn’t make it to the game, since it would have been nice to see how he looked following the layoff.

7) Kudos to Steve "The Homer" True for noting at one point on the Marquette broadcast that Robert Jackson was every bit as important as Dwyane Wade to Marquette’s Final Four run a couple years back. I’ve been making this point for years. Not only was Jackson a really good center, we all saw how Scott Merrit regressed when Jackson wasn’t around to take pressure off of him. So really, losing Jackson was like losing one-and-a-half players in the front court the next season.

8) At the end of the first half of the Duke-Boston College game, Duke had 44 points. I think about 40 of those came on dunks. I’m not even sure if Josh McRoberts even can shoot a basketball, since it seems that someone always delivers him the ball perfectly for an easy dunk.

9) I don’t normally watch the news crawl on ESPN, but something caught my eye last night. I’d like to thank ESPN Classic for deciding to air its documentary on Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse just two days before I go there for the first time. That should help give the trip some perspective.

10) I can’t put my finger on it, but Doug Flutie just looked goofy at the BC-Duke game. And man, have you ever seen anyone leave an arena faster than Flutie once the buzzer had sounded?

11) Late in the game at one point, Duke’s J.J. Redick helped one of Boston College’s players up from the floor and was praised by play-by-play man Mike Patrick. Look, I’m a closet Duke fan, but I was sort of disgusted by the praise for Redick. I see guys help up opponents almost every game, and seldom are they specifically praised for their sportsmanship. I think the Joe Sportsfan website probably put it best a few months ago when Josh Bacott noted "It’s to the point now, where JJ Redick could pull down his pants and crap on the opposing team’s logo at center court and he’d be praised for his ‘competitiveness.’"

12) How many things were completely unbelievable at the end of the BD-Duke game? By my count, I’ve got three:

a) BC decided, down by three with about 10 seconds to go, that trying to get a layup and fouling to get the ball back would be a good idea. Not a bad idea when there were a few more seconds on the clock on the preceding play, but at some point, you’ve got to shoot the three. You can’t foul forever.

b) How does Sheldon Williams hammer a guy that hard and not get called for it. For that matter, why is Sheldon Williams even trying to block a two-point shot that, once it drops through, will leave BC with about 4 seconds to foul, get the ball back, and score.

c) Dick Vitale actually criticized the no-call on Williams. How egregious is your reffing error if Dick Vitale is calling you out on missing a call against Duke?

So at the end of the day, I didn’t get to see what I wanted, but as you can see, it was still a great night of hoops.

Tomorrow, that elusive road-trip itinerary, since I’m taking a break from watching hoops tonight.


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