December 2, 2008 11:53 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The fact is that sometimes in this business, you just have to kick a little ass. I'm really sorry when my turn comes up, it isn't in my upbringing to upbraid people. But when I announced last week's contest, I thought I could count on folks to be creative on their own. It didn't work, the first batch of entries were either non-existent or weak. This is nothing against you, you've got to understand. You don't suck as a human being, but your ideas do.
So I called out Hoops Nation on it last Wednesday, and things improved. Vastly.
Your assignment was to come up with a Mid-Majority use for Drake U'u, the awesomely-named Hartford Hawk. This site has a history of matching players to contexts, and it was wonderful last year when complete strangers would call out "Boubacar!" to me at games last year. Boubacar Coly left Morgan State, so we needed another hero.
And let me tell you... OK, well, your idea was okay, but the ones the other people sent in last Tuesday had me scrambling for experimental methods to automatically filter internet traffic based on education level. Wednesday was better, and out of those we have a winner. Alex C., step forward, use the form, enter your mailing address and claim your new orange friend (allow 4-6 days for delivery). Use the same e-mail as you used last week, so I can separate you from the Clever Cletuses out there who want reward without the work.
My proposal for the Drake U'u contest: In "Good Morning Hoops Nation" you could include a daily segment called the "U'useless (or U'useful if we want to accentuate the positive) stat of the night. For example, last night's "U'useless stat of the night" could be: "The University of Maine lost at home to Quinnipiac last night, marking 8 straight home losses dating back to a 109-69 win over UMaine-Augusta last December 28. If you want to count only D-I opponents, it is a 9 game streak dating back to last December 1, which was a win over New Jersey Tech. If you want to include only wins against a division one basketball team that has won a game in the past two years, we go all the way back to November 17, 2007 in overtime against St. Francis (NY)." Or maybe I am just bitter. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Alex. Back when I had a daily blog at ESPN (the year I posted every third week over here), I had something called "K-Dub's Krazy Stat of the Day." This is a better name.
U'useful Stat of the Night
We all know that Davidson fans love that Stephen Curry fellow. And he always gives them reason to get excited, because he scores a lot of points. A lot. And even though Loyola (Md.) held him scoreless in that weird game last week, Curry still leads Division I in points scored (175) and accounts for 32.71 percent of the Wildcats' points.
As indicated by Davidson's 30-point win against Loyola, there are other players on the team that can make 3's and layups and even two-point dunk shots. But that percentage of team points is one of the very highest in the land. Only three players are as relied upon for offense -- two are guys from Arizona State (36.16 percent) and Kentucky (33.92) who we don't care about (sure hope they don't get injured, though). But there's one player in the Mid-Majority that is more .
That man is Troy Jackson, a senior guard for an 0-6 Alcorn State team who is averaging 20.7 ppg, but who scores a full 32.98 percent of the Braves' points. He's a transfer from Maryland-Eastern Shore, so he's used to all those losses. I met him briefly during his transfer year in Alcorn's remote gym, when then-head coach Sam West warned me, with all the eloquence of a big-city hype man, that this player would make a real impact. Coach, wherever you are, he's done it. I think.
Hello, Bally Tuesday
If your name isn't Alex C., you have another chance to win a Bally... we'll be giving one away every week this season. Here's your assignment for this week, deadline is Friday, winner announced next Tuesday.
Everybody loves Projects. You know, the 7-5 freshman from outer Mongolia who sits at the end of the bench, has a better backstory than any Kevin Bacon movie could come up with, is the only person on the team with a Facebook fan club. He comes into the game for two minutes, blocks five shots, and then spends the next three days recovering in bed. He could be forgotten, the next coming of Manute Bol, or become a tragic folk hero like Kenny George. No in-between with these guys.
I got this idea while watching UC Santa Barbara's 7-2 newcomer Greg Somogyi the other day, who I'm sure is a wonderful young man but he hasn't figured out how to move his limbs in a manner that will propel him faster than six miles per hour. Could he be the Ultimate Project? That's your call. Pick your favorite gangly big guy currently on the roster of a school below the Red Line, strap together a few words that would convince a public looking for a large man to protect them and make two-point dunk shots. More importantly, convince me. There's a Bally in it for you.
Remember, entries can be submitted with the form. Entries without real names (like SportzNutzzz69) are permitted, but may be conveniently lost upon receipt.
They Came Close
at Southern California 74, San Francisco 69 -- So miffed were we at the Eddie Sutton coaching stunt last season, we didn't even mention San Francisco for months. We used "name redacted" for the school when we had to. While we wish Jessie Evans well in his legal battle against USF and AD Debra Gore-Mann for unlawful termination, the school made the right hire. Rex Walters had been one of the most energetic and thoughtful new coaches we met while he was briefly in the employ of Florida Atlantic, and he's hitting all the right notes. (The Bill Russell-era uniforms are a nice touch.) The Dons are 5-2 early -- already halfway to their 2007-08 win total -- and could have been 6-1 if not for a late USC 21-15 surge. Dior Lowhorn had 23 for the Jesuit school that was winning national championships while Gonzaga was in diapers.
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