"To win the game is great. To play the game is greater. But to love the game is the greatest of all." - an inscription on the concourse wall of the Palestra - Jonathan Tannenwald
Players come and go. Rules change. Coaches retire. But Our game remains the constant. Its blemishes never diminish its beguiling, beautiful moments, which is why it can be glorious and heart-wrenching from one instant to the next. Perfect? No. But that?s why I love it so. - Mike Miller
The destination is important, but the journey is what you'll remember - and why we always come back. - Andrew Bolte
Hi Kyle, I'm a graphic communications major at a school above the Red Line (Clemson) but I love the Mid-Majority and I read it every day during the season. One of my favorite aspects of the site is all the symbolism and how it changes from year to year. You answered a question about the Robots, so I thought I'd give this a try.
The new season logo, with the circle and the arrow. I come to the site every day, and I follow on Twitter, so it's really burned in now. I kind of see it everywhere now. I noticed that it's very similar to the "refresh" button on Safari, the button that's required to see all the star maps! Is that it? (lol) Keep up the great work. P.S. I love how the m is lowercase, but it's bold. (I get it.)
- Chase S.
HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Thanks for the kind words. Back in March, I'd already planned to start an aggregation service for story links, photos, videos and stats. I didn't have a name for it until ESPN announced it was trimming two digits off the name of its online video service. It seemed like a good enough joke at the time, so I opened a Twitter account and slapped together a quick composite logo in Photoshop, all from press row at the MAC tourney in Cleveland. But sometimes, in very rare cases, a design decision happens before the reason why. Given your line of study, Chase, you might understand how that might happen.
At a certain size, at a screen resolution of 72 dots per inch and approximately 220 pixels square, the distance between the tip of the arrow and the start of the circle is eight pixels. In April, scientists determined that had Gordon Hayward's wrist been angled just half a degree to the left, the shot would have gone in and the Butler Bulldogs would be the reigning National Champions right now. When I learned this, and for some time afterward, I considered that half a degree a stain and an imperfection, an ugly gap that couldn't close the other 359.5 degrees of the circle. I don't think that anymore.
Ask a graduate of Butler University what was going through their head during those last 3.6 seconds.
Ask somebody who went to Davidson what they were thinking during those 16.8 seconds, two years ago.
I know, because I asked. The more and more you ask that question, the less and less the answers have to do with basketball.
That gap is where we live. In the big picture, we know where things are going. The arrow only points in one direction. The circle will close, and the story will be over. We don't know when midnight is coming, and we have to assume it will be sooner than we want it to come. Inside that sliver of an incomplete circle is everything that is now. There is every attempt to make an uncertain world certain, each false prediction of what is to come. There is the fear of the end, because it always, always, always ends in a loss. There is the hope that maybe the game won't hurt you, that the pieces of your broken heart will fit together somehow, that love will find you and save you this time.
We are so lucky, so very lucky, so lucky that it isn't even luck anymore -- nothing this common could ever be labelled as such. We all have time on the clock left, all of us and each of us. We have family and friends around us. We can travel from one place to another, meet new people, and celebrate Our Game, which keep us warm in the wintertime. And during this, of all weeks of the year, we should be grateful and thankful for every opportunity.
Anyway, Chase, I hope that answers your question.
Red Line Upsets
La Salle 84, Providence 73 - In the mid-afternoon game at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, the A-14 Explorers jumped out on Providence early with a 9-3 open, put the hammer down with a strong run late in the first half to take a 16-point lead at the half, and breezed the rest of the way. La Salle is a team with a lot of size this year, and won't be pushed over when conference play starts. They outrebounded the Big East's Friars by 16. Add a fast pace and 50 percent shooting, and this game was never in doubt.
I'm reminded of a day in 2008, when the temperatures were just starting to rise in the Northeast, another Rhode Island summer upon us. In a sudden move, national coach of the year Keno Davis had left Drake University in the Missouri Valley and taken a multi-year contract at Providence. He had won 28 games and led the school to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1971, and the iron was hot. My mailing address is five miles away from that of the college, so I went to the introductory press conference.
There was excitement in the air in Friartown, a feeling unlike anything since the Pitino era. They packed the old on-campus gym with students, brought the cheerleaders and the band, and a parade of speakers spoke breathlessly about a new era. This new man, this Outsider, would lead Providence back to glory, just as he had done at Drake.
I approached Coach Davis afterwards. He seemed surprised to see me there. I asked him if he had any kind of goodbye for the people back at Drake; since it all happened so fast, and because the Des Moines Register couldn't make it, I thought I'd get a quote that I could pass along through the national sports website I worked for. He began to stumble through an awkward answer, and then was interrupted. The local NBC station wanted an interview. After about a minute of time negotiation, he turned back to me, his train of thought broken. "Were we done here?" he asked.
We're not done, I thought to myself as I made my way back to the car. Someday, you'll be on this side of the Line again. I don't know where or when, but you'll come back.
Game! Of! The! Night!
Drexel at Rhode Island Ryan Center - Kingston, RI 7:00 EST On this holiday eve, a matchup of two schools with which I have some kind of selfish financial connection to. I attended one, and my state taxes go to fund another. Both of their basketball teams are off to decent starts. Drexel is undefeated so far and hasn't played a game in their own building, taking out Loyola in Maryland and Penn across the street. The win over the Quakers (their fourth straight in the series) was quite impressive indeed, a 21-point mauling that featured a 20-rebound advantage. Neither of those two margins will reoccur too many more times this season, because this team's primary strength is the three-point distance shot, a/k/a the #superhoop. Six-foot sophomore Chris Fouch is currently the 11th leading scorer in the land at 24.5 ppg, mostly because he's shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
Rhode Island is 3-2, coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Coaches vs. Cancer subregional at Toledo. They took care of the home team and Charleston easily, but had third-act trouble against UIC in a six-point loss. In the one game we saw there, 6-8 senior Delroy James looked quite impressive; he's the kind of dynamic guy who can score both inside and outside, who's capable of both the omgdunx and the #superhoop. The Rams' perimeter D has been solid, holding five opponents to 25 percent from three, which could neutralize the Drexel attack tonight. But this is a somewhat undersized team that can be beat on the boards, which puts them a little behind the muscular and athletic teams at the top of the A-14. UIC outglassed them by 10 on Sunday.
Just a quick programming note: we'll be tweeting at the final CBE doubleheader today from James Madison, starting at 4:30 pm ET. Aside from catching up on game reports, posting will be light for the next couple of days. There will be a small and humble chat on Friday at four, for anybody who's around. Happy Thanksgiving, Hoops Nation.