@midmajority @RedLineUpsets is it really an upset if wake loses?
BECKLEY, W. Va. -- As many of you are aware, a good percentage of what happens on The Mid-Majority doesn't happen here. A lot of the action is in real time, on the Twitter. Back in the 1980s, when people had hair like that and wore clothes like that, there was no such thing as Twitter. I can only imagine that an electric chatterbox where everybody pretends they're little bluebirds would sound really bizarre to people back then. But here in The Future, it's become the next evolution of talking. Think about it. When you submit something to most social media services, you "post" things. On Twitter, you "say" this and you "said" that. It's a constant flow of conversation, and sometimes you even get to interact with a Robot. (#awesome) A lot about Twitter is out of step with the general style, presentation and je ne sais quoi of the site. Words evaporate immediately over there, just like real life, and TMM is all continuity and storylines and structure. Over six-plus years, we've taken to heart the basic 21st Century lessons of storytelling, as practiced by HBO and American Movie Classics: backtracking and exposition are bad. Keep moving. If audience members come in the middle of the story and don't know what that term means, or why things are like they are, or who the girl is, the other Seasons are readily available on DVD, or in the web archives. There's no time to waste; more unlooping and unwinding to do. Let's go.
But the realization that we occasionally have to revisit certain things is a very real realization. Twitter is that way; the site is another way. I want it to be one way... but it's the other way. The Red Line is what it is. There are other people who have their own interpretations on what a have is and what a have-not is, and want to chip away at is with endless "exceptions" (I always knew that introducing subjectivity to the equation was a bad idea), but these are our rules. We do not include Gonzaga, Xavier or Memphis in these calculations, primarily out of respect for their accomplishments. Everyone else, it's straight money.
I always hope that going to 700 games over seven years would give me some measure of authority on the subject, but I also realize that things don't work that way, especially on the Internet. People want to argue. I don't have time for it. I'm busy driving hundreds of miles a day, dry cleaning my suits, going to games, tweaking Robots and talking about various obscurities on the Twitter. If I were to engage in every discussion about "that's not a mid-major LOL #sux," there would be no time to do any of that, and I'd lose whatever authority I actually have.
As such, anybody who tweets some variant of "that's not an upset" at us is immediately blocked and publicly taunted. There are no Gonzaga exceptions to that rule, and there is no parole. The web is big, blogs are free to start, and there's plenty of opportunities for people to make their own score-tweeting Robots that spit out Mauve Line Alerts or whatever. Good luck with that.
When a non-Division I team (or, one that is not eligible for our National Championship) over a Division I team are not tracked or counted, but they're informally referred to here as Black Line Upsets. We've had three so far this year, and it looked for a few seconds like we'd have a Silversword Special last night with Chaminade and Michigan State. We don't really have a name for something that includes both lines, Black and Red, and it would take a few hours with the Basketball State database to find the last time that happened (in the regular season, of course, not an exhibition game).
But time, though it moves relentlessly forward in linear fashion, is a cumulative and evolutionary thing. We always need new rules to fill in the gaps. So if you have a clever name for an upset that hurdles both of the barriers, let us hear it. You can send it in with The Form™, or you can even say it on the Twitter.
Red Line Upsets
Winthrop 83, at Wake Forest 74 -- Yes, it is, but the Demon Deacons (athletic budget: $44m; MBB budget: $4m) losing a third game to a sub-Red Liner (Stetson, VCU) isn't quite as surprising as the Eagles scoring 83. That's nearly double their output from their last game, a 45-44 loss to Hampton. Winthrop hasn't scored that many points in a non-VMI game since Jan. 28, 2009 (UNC Asheville). One of the punchlines in the book is defense-first head coach Randy Peele being accosted by boosters with, "When are you guys going to hit a shot?" Going 32-for-62 from the floor and scoring 1.11 points per possession against an ACC team should shut those people up for a while.
And there were also three more, all at neutral sites. The Paradise Jam in St. Thomas became an exotic, tropical, naked kind of fantasy world for mid-majors. First, in the afternoon, Saint Peter's of the MAAC upended the Crimson Tide of Alabama in a grinding, nasty, low-possession 50-49 decision. Later on, Long Beach State took out Iowa by taking control in the second half in an up-and-down 78-72 track meet. And later still, UMass destroyed TCU 67-48 in an Atlantic 14-over-Mountain West beatdown. Of course, the neutral floor in this case was in Springfield, which is within walking distance from the Amherst campus for a fit individual.
We have now reached 13.5% (32 of 237) on the RLU counter, which is beginning to put us in line with past seasons. We are ahead of the paces set in both 2009-10 and 2008-09. C'mon, Other 25, let's keep it up!
Game! Of! The! Night!
Oakland at Wright State Ervin J. Nutter Center - Dayton, OH 7:00 EST
Another rule as a reminder: the G!O!T!N! is never the game we're at. Even though we passed through Dayton very early in the morning today on our way to Virginia, we're going to miss out on this fantastic Golden Grizzlies-Raiders matchup. Shame, too! We were very impressed with Oakland's performance at Ohio last week, but that 78-66 season-opener still stands as the team's only win of the young season. Sure, the other two opponents were Purdue and West Virginia, and money changed hands, and the games weren't close, but they're still the Badlands frontrunners as far as we're concerned. Four G'Griz average in double figures, and one is hyper-efficient scout magnet Keith Benson (16.0 ppg). He's the 11th-leading rebounder in America with 11 boards per game, and has seven #omgblox as well. The Ohio game showed that this is a team that can function well when he's in foul trouble, so watch out.
Wright State, one of the teams in the Horizon League which is Not Butler, is off to a 2-1 start; the Raiders were blown out at Indiana ($$$) and took out a non-D1 and Southern from the SWAC. It's still sort of a new world there, with Brad Brownell off in the ACC and Billy Donlon installed, but the team looks pretty good so far, fitting the profile of a ball control/slowdown squad. Vaughn Duggins, the 6-3 senior guard who's in his fifth year with the program, is the timeless offensive focus, averaging 14.7 ppg. Taking a lot of shots, though. The team's success will likely hinge on how well backcourt-mate and fellow 6-3 senior Troy Tabler gets involved in the offense, and there's a promising young midsize specimen in Matt Vest. Vest has hit two-thirds of his shots so far. Basketball State Preview/Box