Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Gonzaga-LMU Game and a Myriad of Shameless Plugs

Well, I’m going to keep the basketball notes portion of this short, since I was dealing with a handful of bizarre issues in my apartment last evening, and my attention to the Gonzaga-Loyola Marymount game was intermittent until the final 10 minutes or so, when I threw all of my attention at the game, and stopped trying to unclog my kitchen sink. So here are those game notes:

1) In what was undoubtedly the first time all year that this happened, Adam Morrison was not the filthiest looking player on the floor. Thank you, Matthew Knight, for actually looking like you’ve bathed less than Adam Morrison. It’s a tough thing to do, but you really came through and gave Morrison a much needed break.

2) Gonzaga had better be happy that they have a week and a half off until the tournament starts, because a healthy J.P. Batista means a lot to them. Although a hobbled Batista put up a double-double last night, I much prefer his game when he isn’t staying loose on an exercise bike every time he goes to the bench. He’s been one of my favorite big guys to watch this year, and not just because I had him pegged for a breakout year after playing third banana to Morrison and Rony Turiaf last year.

3) There’s no nice way to say it–Loyola Marymount would have won the game if not for Chris Ayer’s blown layup at the buzzer. Brandon Worthy’s pass out of a triple team to Ayer, who was standing on one of the blocks, was phenomenal. Ayer’s layup should have been incredibly easy, but he just tossed the ball way too high off the glass. It was eerily similar to Dylan Page’s missed layup against Notre Dame in the 2003 NCAA tournament, which gave the Irish a victory over UWM and ended the Panthers’ season. The good news for Page, though, was that he had another season of excellence to go. Ayer’s career ended with that shot, and it’s about the roughest way that I can imagine for a player to go out.

4) I don’t know how Gonzaga keeps pulling these games out. Loyola Marymount had a double digit lead in the second half before the Bulldogs charged back to win the nail-biter. I’m getting off the fence now, though, and saying that Gonzaga will get to the Sweet 16 this year. Are they over-rated at #4 in the country? Undoubtedly. But they know how to win close games (since all of their games seem to be close), and after they get over a slow start in the NCAA tournament against whatever 15 seed that they’ll be playing, everyone should have their head in the game. After the week the Bulldogs have had, lots of people are writing them off. Don’t count me in that group, though.

Now that the actual basketball is out of the way, I’ve got a few shameless plugs to send your way. I can relate them all, at least tangentially, to basketball in some way. So please forgive me for abusing my platform in the name of plugging ventures of friends of mine.

1) You may remember awhile back that I did an interview with my buddy Ryan, an avid supporter and frequent scorekeeper at Lawrence University, currently home to the #1 ranked division three basketball team in nation, and only remaining undefeated college team in the country. Well, he’s started his own blog. I don’t know his exact intent for content in the future, but for now I can tell you that you should visit for two reasons. First, Lawrence basketball is a currently hot topic, and you’re not going to find any better expert than Ryan. Second, Ryan’s writing skill is phenomenal, and he’s sure to generally entertain, even if division three hoops isn’t your thing. So check him out.

2) Ryan, in addition to being an outstanding scribe, is also a bit of an artist, and designed a commemorative t-shirt celebrating Lawrence’s accomplishments over the past three years. He’s currently got an autographed version up for sale on eBay. It’s a nifty t-shirt, if I do say so myself, and a perfect item for a die-hard Viking fan.

3) Looking for a way to build up some credit with your wife or girlfriend (hey let’s face it, most of you reading this are guys) so that you can immerse yourself totally into March Madness with a clear conscience? Why not take her out to see some live theater? Believe it or not, I’m not really the creative one in my family. My older brother runs a Milwaukee-based theatre company by the name of Bialystock & Bloom. The company’s newest show, entitled "Matt & Ben" opens this Friday and runs through April 2. My understanding is that it’s a wacky comedy about an imagined pre-fame Matt Damon and Ben Affleck . As with most of my bro’s shows, this won’t in any way resemble the stuffy, pretentious picture that many people have of live theatre. You don’t need to get dressed up, the tickets are reasonably priced, and you can have a beer while you watch the show. And the shows are always uniquely entertaining (take it from me, a guy who’s not exactly the poster boy for high society). So drop by the Bialystock & Bloom website, order some tickets, and heck, take your lady out for dinner at one of the many fine eateries in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward District beforehand. Then enjoy the good karma that you’ve built up as you watch 20-30 hours of basketball during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

4) I meant to mention this awhile back, but I’ll again reference my brother, who at Christmas, won our annual contest to see who can get the other the tackiest gift. Long story short, he created a line of merchandise for the Chris West Basketball Yearbook, and distributed t-shirts to all of my relatives. The embarrassing merchandise line features my worst school picture ever, a kindergarten shot in which for some reason I was incapable of smiling. I’m man enough to admit that the matching red molded plastic hand chairs that I got for him and his 3-year-old daughter were not enough to overtake his brilliance this year. And since he still has the darn things for sale, I figured I’d direct you to his Cafepress store. All proceeds go to his aforementioned company. It’s a good cause, so I can handle any embarrassment that comes with my sullen 4-year-old face being distributed to the masses. Just don’t buy the thong, because while having any 4-year-old’s picture on a thong is really disturbing, it’s even more disturbing when it’s my picture.

Back tomorrow with notes on the UWM-Butler game.


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Gus said...

Maybe the Franchise can purchase the Chris West "the face behind the hype" panties for his lady. Classic West! Thank you Mr. Jon West for beating me to the punch and allowing us to purchase the face behind the hype shirts!!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Jack Fu said...

They know how to win close games against pretty bad teams. Let's not forget that their marquee win this year was a triple-OT score-a-thon with a Michigan State team that finished sixth in the Big Ten. Also, Gonzaga has a cringe-worthy eight (EIGHT!) wins of 4 points or fewer this year against teams that have a 0.00% chance of making the tournament.

The Bulldogs' undoing will be that they don't play defense. Not a lick. I think their offense won't be able to bail them out when they play a halfway decent team and get upset on the first weekend ... for the fourth year in a row...

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Bill said...

Should Paul Davis had made First Team Big Ten over Augustine or am I crazy?

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous JoshD said...

To respond to bill's comment, you're crazy. Paul Davis has better numbers, but I'll take Augustine. I think Augustine does more to help his team win than Davis and his inflated numbers. Paul Davis has been over-hyped since Day 1 and tends to disappear in big situations. Plus, he always has that look like he's about to burst into tears...that alone keeps him off the 1st team.

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