I received Bally #20 after creating the awesome superhero, but I regret to inform you that his whereabouts as of now are unknown. After he came into my life, it was clear that my girlfriend's two cats didn't really care for #20's constant boinging. A couple months later, #20 lost his voice and I feared that maybe the cats were plotting his demise since he could no longer defend himself (he had scrawny little arms). Concerned about his wellbeing, I took him to live with my mom in the sleepy little town of Tiffin, OH. Unfortunately, I never explained to her why she had a new roommate, I just set him up proudly on a bookshelf in our living room. I make it back home every couple of months, so I was able to check up on him.
When I went back last weekend for Thanksgiving, I noticed that he was no longer there. I asked if she had moved him somewhere and she informed me that it was likely that he'd been shipped off to the Army... the Salvation Army. She told me that she was getting rid of a lot of "crap" and figured that since he'd been sitting there for 10 years (less than two) no one wanted him. The weird thing is, he was on the same shelf with a statue of Ganesh (we are not Buddhists, nor do we have any Indian heritage), but for some reason #20 was the one that got the boot. I'm going to explore area thrift stores to see if he turns up, but if he's gone, I know that he'll be spreading basketball cheer somewhere this winter.
- Anthony S.
YOUNGSTOWN, Oh. -- This tragic story serves as a cogent reminder that we have to remember the plight of the homeless this holiday season. It's also a clear indication that if you live in Ohio, you should probably spend some time visiting your local thrift stores. The way fate usually works around here, one of us among EOUAOU is probably going to end up finding Bally #20
this December. If you do find him, The Form™
is here, and joint custody is always negotiable.
Also, if you do give to charity, please keep in mind that a portion of your gift goes directly to the less fortunate; unfortunately, quite a bit goes to overhead costs. (In other words, do something yourself instead of paying someone to.)
Red Line Upsets
Small outburst late last night, we always like that. Recent RLU activity has epicentered in the state of Florida, starting with Florida Atlantic's 61-59 comeback takedown of Mississippi State
on Tuesday night, a game in which the Sun Belt's Owls only turned the ball over four times. That was all just prelude for last night's Conference USA victory over that very same SEC: a thrilling win in Orlando
for the former multiple A-Sun champion Central Florida over some school with a crocodile logo. The contest featured this incredible move from famous sonuva Marcus Jordan
, which carries this WARNING: repeat viewings may f___ up your mind.
If the Mountain West were to choose one team to represent it at a basketball deathmatch where losing would result in subsumption by the Ma Bell that is the WAC, Wyoming would not be it. Last night, the Cowboys took to the road and got DakotaDomed by the South Dakota Coyotes
, the champions of the Great West, by 10 points. It's worth noting that this is the first Red Line Upset in that quasi-conference's short history. USD didn't get much time to enjoy that designation, because Utah Valley slid by Oregon State 70-68
about an hour later. The Wolverines did so despite shooting 40 percent, but a team that tops out at 6-foot-9 was able to earn a 10-board advantage, on the road, against the Pac-10, not bad at all. Great West, league of slayers, we salute you!
And finally, a blast from the recent past. Northern Iowa, a Missouri Valley team you may remember from, I dunno, last year's Sweet Sixteen
, took out Iowa State
in their annual Hawkeye State showdown-throwdown. It's been a RLU-rich matchup in recent years, with the Panthers winning four of the last five meetings, but it was ISU's first loss of the season and UNI (3-2) won despite itself -- 33 percent shooting and a 1-for-11 night from senior guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe. Lucas O'Rear, he of the distinctively carpeted cheeks and vaguely Austrian tattoos
, shot slightly better but managed 10 points and 11 rebounds.
That Just Happened
There were also some very interesting games in the mid-on-mid world, the kind of thing we'll be monitoring more as we careen towards conference play. For some, that's already started. In a slowdown scrap, Butler tripped Loyola
, holding off a late charge by the previously undefeated Ramblers to win 65-63. Same script as last year's Horizon League tilt
at the Gentile Center, so that means that the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0) are pretty much on course for the Final Four again. Analysis!
Off to the south and west, in the magic Miami Valley, Miami pulled a wire-to-wire job on Xavier
, winning 75-64 for the RedHawks' first win in the series since 2007. Kinda wish we were at the Charlie Coles presser
for that one. Nearby, the University of Dayton laid a second straight oblong object (34 points on 20 percent shooting at Cincinnati qualifies as an omelet), losing 73-68 at home to A-Sun champs East Tennessee State
. It ended the Flyers' 40-game non-conference home winning streak, which stretched back to 2005.
In the Old Dominion, Virginia's nicknamesake institution went 5-1 by out-muscling A-14 NCAA prospect Richmond (and MMBOW Kevin Anderson's 23 points), 77-70
. The CAA two-bid talk (VCU) intensifies, slightly and subtly. Also, at the game we were at, Bucknell beat Columbia by five
because they coughed the ball up just four times in 69 possessions. No turns in the second half. Among the 1,455 team performances in the Other 25 this season so far, that 5.8 percent turnover rate stands as second best (Wofford vs. George Mason on Nov. 21, 5.5 percent
). So there was that.
Game! Of! The! Night! Tennessee-Martin at Morehead State (Ohio Valley)
E.T. Johnson Arena - Morehead, KY
Playing conference games at this time of year is a mixed bag of pluses and minuses. We're playing games that are very important in determining tourney seeding three months and detatched before the fact, but at least it's one less guarantee game in December. There are 29 such parentheticals tonight -- in such collectives as the Badlands, Horizon, A-Sun, SoCon and NEC -- but we'll focus on the OVC. Morehead State is 3-3, and is coached by one of the stars of the book, Donnie Tyndall. His team has been out paying bills at places like Ohio State and Florida, but it hasn't really mattered who Kenneth Faried has played against. This season is the Rastabeast's true NBA audition, and he's only the nation's second-leading rebounder at 14 per game with 18.5 points per contest. He's coming off 25 and 20 at SIU Edwardsville, so he's kinda sorta "one to watch" tonight.
Martin is still in rebuilding mode after losing Lester "Done Ruthless" Hudson to graduation and their coach to an odd financial scandal involving summer camp funds. A 4-24 record last season was probably a quick bottom (2-4 this season so far), but Jason James' Skyhawks enter this one on a four-game losing streak. It's a young (six freshmen) and fast (78-possession) team, one that hasn't discovered the sexy pleasures of playing defense yet (80 ppg allowed). But keep an eye on froshy newcomers like 6-foot-6 Mike Liabo and 6-foot-3 Terence Smith, who are both averaging in double figures early on. That's probably the future. Basketball State Preview/Box
Call for Entries
There'll be a Friday Stardate tomorrow (with some double-line upset news), but we mentioned earlier that we'd be transitioning to user-generated content on Chat Block Day (remember, 4 pm ET). This will be your chance to grab the mic and talk to Hoops Nation about the way you see it.
So let's get this started. Think of a college basketball moment that, in retrospect, subtly altered the course of your life and put you on a course that you would not have been on if that moment had not occurred. Most of these happen in March, and nearly all happen because of the odd travel the NCAA Tournament imposes. But they do happen. And if one happened to you, you should really write about it and have it published on this site.
Take as many words as you need, but not too many. You have until next Thursday (December 9). Upload attached document files through The Form™
. We'll present the best several essays (writers of which will get free books), and put them to a vote. Winner of that poll gets a Team Ballz
of their choice. Go.