BIRMINGHAM -- Normally in this space, I'll meander on about some philosophical thing or some other non-basketball topic, and then field a pile of back-channel comments about what a horrible job I'm doing and how I should just give up. This is exciting for me, because I get to play out this daily script in a different place five times a week. But not today.
Over the holidays, we issued Hoops Nation the greatest challenge we've ever issued. During our Stephen Curry triple-superhero contest, which resulted in an unprecedented three Bally-winning entries, Alan Hyder's tri-themed drawing included Flash Gordon and the artist referenced Queen's movie theme "Flash." We offered a lifetime Basketball State subscription to the first person who put together a YouTube tribute to No. 30 with this amazing, awesome song.
Now that everybody's back from break, we have a respondent. Tim Burke, who is a supergenius (and already has his own Bally), sent in an HD masterpiece that may be the most awesome three minutes ever committed to digital video. Before you click any further, make sure your bowels are empty. This is going to blow a lot more than your mind.
As mid-major teams get their last licks in until March, Wednesday was a fine and upstanding kind of day.
Harvard 82, at Boston College 70 -- It's something that seemingly happens every year now -- fueled by an insane performance by junior guard Jeremy Lin, the Crimson joined a special club that includes Robert Morris and Vermont. For longtime mid-sympathizers, it's payback for years of mid-majors missing by a point or two thanks to an extra Eagle free throw or 10. Perhaps the Eagles' greatest mistake, however, was not getting referees from the local YMCA for last night's game. The nationally-oriented crew, headed up by Bernard Clinton, called fewer fouls on the Crimson and were likely not interested in preserving the Eagles' home advantage. And coming after BC's stunning win over North Carolina, it's time for a little advanced mathematics. According to brilliant logician Chris from Dayton, Division II Southwest Baptist is easily the best team in the nation.
Morgan State 66, at Maryland 65 -- Who needs Boubacar? (And why doesn't he have any fans?) The MEAC's classiest team beat an ACC team at Terrapin Station last night, thanks in large part to the 10-for-15, 25 point performance (including 18 in the second half) by Reggie Holmes, a junior guard just getting back into the Bears' starting lineup after some wobbly early play. Maryland led throughout, but Morgan came back from a 14-point hole to catch the Terps with a minute to go. It's a team extremely ready for league play, with three RLU's in non-conference play. The Bears had previously beaten Marshall and DePaul.
Colonial: If you thought the end of the holiday season meant no more dealing with the lurid red-green combination, the top of the CAA is keeping the color wheel inverted. Northeastern and George Mason are both 4-0 after Wednesday's nearly-full slate, both handling their lower-division business in convincing fashion. In our game, NU dropped an early run on Georgia State and cruised to a 14-point win, behind Matt Janning's first career double-double (11 and 14). The Patriots, who we now consider as the best team in the league, raised their record to 11-3 after going wire-to-wire against Towson in a 71-59 victory.
U'useless Stat of the Day
Jeremy Lin's heroic 27-point performance against Boston College last night was cut short after 34 minutes, as he inconveniently ran into the NCAA's rule about disqualification on fouls. It didn't matter, though, as Harvard had already built enough of a lead to win.
But so far this season, there have been other foul-outs that negatively impacted game outcomes. Take VCU, for instance, on the edge of a minor RLU against Conference USA squad East Carolina, before star Eric Maynor fouled out in overtime after compiling 35 points (key rebounder Larry Sanders did too). In that nationally televised 4 am ET game in Honolulu on Nov. 18, Idaho State's Ammorow Morgan left in the extra period after 26 points -- his Bengals lost 67-64. In yet another OT thriller, America East preseason POY fouled out on Nov. 15 against George Mason -- he'd already scored 24, and Vermont could have used him at the end. The Patriots won that game 80-79.