PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Not to get all Good N' Plenty on you
, but I am at home for the first day in 17, the last day I'll be home for 56. I've severely cut down on a lot of the deeply personal oversharing from previous years, which has resulted in a sharp and welcome decline in the number of creepy letters from complete strangers who feel a simpatico twinge when reading the site and want to, umm, "spend time with [me]."
But I have a furniture delivery to organize, a heating system to tweak, and a few hometown comforts to catch up on, like Honey Dew donuts and that great Chinese place six blocks down. I'm really looking forward to spending an evening out at a movie, perhaps "Slumdog Millionaire"
upon Jimmy Patsos' suggestion. It'll be, at the very least, a few hours not thinking about basketball.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that I don't have much for you this morning.Red Line UpsetsMorgan State 79, at DePaul 75
-- While my GPS was screwing up getting me out of Baltimore last night (again), I was directed past Morgan's campus. I noticed a few guys on the sidewalk whooping and high-fiving. I just took it as another random example of students celebrating the fact that MSU is the nicest campus in the MEAC, but I later found out that the Bears had come back in the final minutes against the Big East's Blue Demons. Morgan outrebounded its hosts in Chicago (who needs Boubacar?) and held DePaul to 38 percent shooting. This is the second straight year that DePaul has lost at home to a MEAC squad, having fallen in a shootout with North Carolina A&T
last season.Charlotte 70, at Mississippi State 64
-- The 49ers made the A-14 semis last season on the narrow back of 5-11 senior Leemire Goldwire, but have been pretty atrocious offensively in his absence. A bright spot has been the defense, which often doesn't allow opponents past the timeline. On the road in Starkville, one of the SEC Bulldog bunches was held to 31 percent from the floor while Charlotte broke out to a 20-point lead early in the second half. The margin narrowed, but this game wasn't really as close as all that.U'useful Stat of the Day
I don't read website traffic stats, and I strongly encourage any blogger to do the same. If the traffic is too low, there's no incentive to post something that nobody will read. If it's too high, it becomes a game of giving increasingly pleasurable pander-jobs to your audience in an attempt to boost your PageRank. Either way, you lose your soul.
But with a decade of web-tech experience, I'm very sensitive to site load, and its effect on site uptime and performance. In the past week and a half, the number of bytes transferred in and out of this domain have spiked considerably. Having ruled out hacker attacks and Digg, there can only be one reason for this. The traffic upswing coincides with the launch of this very feature.
Now, as I'll tell anyone who asks, the Mid-Majority was started in 2004 as an information site. The first incarnation of TMM was a grid of start times and scores, and its reason for being was that the big-time sports websites didn't bother to tell you when Drexel or Southeast Missouri or UC Irvine was playing, or whom, and a lot of mid-major schools were just getting their stuff together on the web. The blog was started as a side-dish, the 100 Games Project
as a gimmick, but that's what visitors gravitated towards. I had captured the small-school struggle in a way that hadn't been done yet, and I used literary references and song lyrics when I needed to.
I remember one post that I wrote, which is somewhere in the archives... but it was a defense of the SWAC, showing that despite its horrid RPI, the conference led Division I in close games that year. Readers, who had been sending in literary references and song lyrics of their own all season, were outraged. Numbers?
Who do you think you are, Ken Pomeroy? I was advised, quote as the soothsayer warned Caesar, to beware the statistical asides of March.
We have kept certain factions away from this site, and have done so by simply not giving them what they want. For frat boys and those who wish they were, a demographic Deadspin locked up years ago, there's nothing to see here. The gamblers all left for Basketball State when that was spun off last year. Coaches and "insiders" are better served elsewhere. What TMM is left with is two groups that have been waging cold war on college campuses for centuries: poets
. Forget jocks v. nerds, that's high school stuff. Poets and geeks battle in the ivory towers all the time, facing off over funding scraps for their fighting robots and Shakespeare festivals.
I had the poets on my side for a while, the college basketball versions of the "thrill of the grass" crowd that revel in the romance of the ol' ball game and the boys of summer. Poets love stories of the open road, the uphill struggle against The Man, and 1000-word essays.
But policy shifts (like cutting down on oversharing) has chased most of them away. I knew this when my "conceptual" Bally contest about Drake U'u only brought in 12 entries, and this week's research question about conference winners yielded (and I am not kidding here) 163
. And now, this with the traffic surge after the new daily stat feature.
There are many more geeks than poets (and not enough who are both to fill a room). And the geeks will always, always win. I wish this wasn't the case, but it is.
But for all these tangents, you came for a stat and I have to give you what you want. In our game last night, Loyola won by three
despite an early 20-point deficit and a 0-for-10 performance by the usually straight-shooting Marquis Sullivan
. Coach Patsos was using a five-in, five-out sub system, so Sullivan was only out on the floor for 15 minutes -- just think how many misses he could have jacked up with more time.
Something like this always sends me scrambling for the record book. Four players, including Sullivan, have gone 0-for-10 this season, but only two have channeled Nigel Tufnel and gone to 11. Stetson's Eric Diaz
did the trick on Nov. 29, going scoreless against Miami (Fla.) in a guarantee-game loss
. But a special commendation to Eugene Myatt
of Howard, who went 0-for-11... and scored 5 points! He was five for seven from the line, so his shooting touch wasn't completely broken.
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