Sunday, November 22, 2009

Warming up for feast week

I hate to write about the obvious nationally televised stuff, but that’s all I’ve got this week. First, Arizona football fans jinxed their own team on Saturday night. ABC cameras caught them flooding onto the sideline with Arizona leading by 7 and 31 seconds left, preparing to storm the field. But Oregon had the ball and was in position to score! Logically Oregon completed the drive and got a TD with 6 seconds left to tie the game. A fan on the field was caught shouting, “You have got to be kidding me.” And the premature celebration was a full jinx as Oregon prevailed in overtime.

Second, I hope you didn’t miss Verne Lundquist’s signature call of the end of the LSU vs Ole Miss football game which Ole Miss led by two.

“The LSU Hail Mary is complete. Wow. One second left on the clock. They’ve got to get the field goal unit on the field. LSU has to get the field goal unit on the field. They are lined up with their offense. What are they doing? They have to go for it. They spiked the ball. The game is over. What were they thinking?

[Dramatic Pause]

Oh my goodness.”

OK, I didn’t have a DVR on the small TV near our washer/dryer. So this isn’t the exact quote, but it’s pretty close. Regardless, Lundquist’s shock at LSU’s bad strategy made the ending three times as good.

Feast Week Tournaments

I’m ecstatic about these early college basketball tournaments, but disappointed to see so few on TV. Why wasn’t the Georgia Tech vs Dayton game on ESPNU? People have DVRs. Is ESPN afraid it wouldn’t draw ratings on a Thursday at noon? ESPN wanted people to take Tuesday off to watch 24 hours of basketball, so shouldn’t some of those same people want to tune in to see Derrick Favors against legitimate competition? Dayton’s victory over Georgia Tech is going to be mentioned a thousand times in March as people talk about Dayton as an NCAA tournament team. And almost no one saw it.

Part of the fun is taking pity on the early tournament losers. Heading into Sunday, Penn St. and Indiana are playing in the last place games of the Charleston Classic and Puerto Rico Tip-off. Indiana’s fall-from-ahead loss to Boston U. had to be particularly disheartening to Hoosiers fans who expected the still young team to be an immediate NCAA tournament contender. On the plus side, I’ll enjoy the chance to see a Big Ten team in action at 10:30am ET on a Sunday. Indiana plays George Mason at that pre-NFL hour on ESPNU.

Already Completed:
2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer: Syracuse is the champ. In my Big East preview I wasn’t willing to anoint Wesley Johnson as the best player on Syracuse. But when he’s shooting 57% on twos, 47% on threes, and scoring 17 points per game against legitimate competition, I may soon change my mind.

Charleston Classic Title Game, Miami vs South Carolina, 6pm ESPN2. South Carolina won a pair of closer than expected games against La Salle and South Florida to reach the title game. Will the high octane Gamecocks have something left in the tank against Miami?

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Title Game, Villanova vs Ole Miss, 8pm ESPN2. Yeah, you’ve already heard it, but I’ll say it again. How would you like the first shot of your career to be a three pointer to win the game? That’s what Villanova’s Isaiah Armwood did in the first round against George Mason.

Also, the 5:30 ESPNU game between Dayton and Kansas St. is worth watching. I said most transfers don’t have a huge impact, but already Kansas St’s Curtis Kelly is proving me wrong.

Paradise Jam Title Game, CBE Semis, Maui Quarters

CBE Title Game, Maui Semis, Cancun Challenge Semis

Maui Title Game, Cancun Challenge Title Game, NIT Semis

Old Spice Quarters, 76 Classic Quarters

NIT Final, Old Spice Semis, 76 Semis, Legends Semis, Chicago Invitational Semis, Las Vegas Invitational Semis, South Padre Island Semis

Legends Title Game, Chicago Invitational Title Game, Las Vegas Invitational Title Game, South Padre Island Title Game

Old Spice Title Game, 76 Title Game

I’ve already posted the links to the printable brackets for each of these tournaments. I’ll be spending most of the week with family and not basketball, so consider the blog on hiatus.