The Big East Is Awesome
The Big East Tournament is freaking unbelievable. I didn’t get to see the morning games, as I am gainfully employed (a fact that I will have to somehow overcome next week at this time), but both sounded phenomenal. The replays of the end of the Syracuse-Cincinnati game were every bit as exciting as the espn.com scoreboard on my office computer had implied yesterday morning.
During the evening I eventually ended up watching Pitt-Louisville (hey, who even cares about Rutgers-Seton Hall?). How could I not watch? I mean, when I tuned in, Pitt was up 11-0 (it eventually got to 16-0). I had to see how bad this was going to get. And it got very bad. For a brief time, I wondered if Louisville was going to break double-digits by halftime, but as any team that’s having a rough first half usually does, they rattled off a number of buckets in the closing moments to break the 10-point barrier, closed the nearly 30-point deficit to 23 and took all the fun out of the ass-kicking. Now it just seemed that the Cardinals were going to lose, but the stats would be way less embarrassing. With the potential for a public shaming off the table, I turned my attention to other things in my apartment.
Of course, I didn’t turn my TV off, and with about six minutes left, I looked up from the book I was reading to find Louisville within 10 points of Pitt. I started watching, and I didn’t understand how Louisville had come back. The next 3-4 possessions I saw involved horrific offensive execution by Louisville, so I muted the TV again and got back to my book. Because you can’t totally block out basketball, I looked up again, and Louisville had cut even further into the Pitt lead. This pattern continued for the rest of the game. I would look up, Louisville would be playing horribly, I would start to read again, and the next time I would look up, the game would be closer. Finally, Louisville miraculously pulled to within three points. At this point, I had to watch the final 15 seconds or so. Of course, Louisville couldn’t do anything right the moment that I started watching, and the game ended in a five point win for Pitt. Not too shabby a comeback by the Cardinals, though. And if I was Rick Pitino, I’d think twice about declining that NIT invitation that’s sure to be coming.
Two other quick points before I end the update that I hadn’t planned on today:
1) Earlier in the evening I was on the phone with my friend Gus, who reminded me of a great quote from a high school player that I meant to call attention to the other day. In the Journal Sentinel article recapping the Milwaukee King vs. Milwaukee Pius game, King forward James Pruitt, referring to his team’s tough defensive play in the final minutes of the game leading to a King win, noted "Offense wins girlfriends and defense wins games." Not only is that an excellent quote (particularly from a high school senior), it pretty much sums up the hard-nosed game that Pruitt plays.
2) A couple of people left notes yesterday discussing all-Big Ten team members. My take on who should receive this honor? Well, first off, go see the Big Ten Wonk, because his All-Wonk 2.0 team yesterday is probably more legit than any media or coaches poll. Do you honestly think any media member or coach has seen as much, and as wide an array of Big Ten ball as the Wonk? Me neither, so I’m buying his analysis. As for my picks (assuming we didn’t have access to the aforementioned Wonk), I think it’s pretty obvious that you’d be a fool if you didn’t put Terrence Dials, Greg Brunner and Alando Tucker on the team. After that, it gets a little tougher to fill out the final two, since there are about 5-6 guys who could fill that spot. If I’m picking, though, I’m bumping both of the Illinois guys off of the coaches’ team (a tough task for me, since I still think that if all teams are playing their best games, Illinois wins the Big Ten tournament) and going with Daniel Horton and Paul Davis instead. I’m taking Horton because I think he’s the best guard in the league, and Davis because I just never seem to see the guy when he’s having one of his infamous bad nights. Plus, I think the universe would implode if a Michigan State player didn’t make the all-Big Ten team. So what if he always looks like he’s going to burst into tears?
So that’s about it for today. Back tomorrow with notes from the first of the three consecutive nights that I have slated for high school basketball watching, and perhaps a thought or two on the Marquette-Georgetown game if I have time to review it tonight.