Hi Kyle, I have been reading TMM religiously since I discovered in in 2007 (the ESPN years) and this is the best Season yet. I had a question about your use of the royal we. I was also a big fan of Deadspin in the old Carl Monday/YWML days, and remember how Will Leitch used it all the time when referring to himself. So okay, who's "we?" Is it you and Bally? You and someone else? Is there a secret team of people working behind the scenes that never get credit? Or this it just an overly literate sports blogger thing?
- Susan V.
CHICAGO -- Susan, you spoil us with your kindness. I rarely contradict myself, but I do contain multitudes. Too many multitudes for my own good. I'm just another product of the new century, somebody who did one thing and then another thing and now this. If there's any real difference between the new era and the old, Susan, it's that American lives won't be defined by a single sentence or a simple "what do you do?" My generation is awkwardly and slowly coming to grasp with this. Those in the audience who are college-aged are and will be thrown into a constantly shifting world. That existences will increasingly resemble roads instead of tracks is not all bad; for one, we're all going to get great obituaries.
For the purposes of The Mid-Majority, "we" means me. I'm hesitant to take all the credit for concepting, designing, programming, writing and #pixelvision scraping all of this. Sharing credit with a stuffed cartoon basketball makes everything easier. So does being able to subtly shift blame for the site's more-than-occasional failures. But when I/we get letters in The Form™ that inquire "how many people actually work on this site?" or when I/we get stern tweets about being a minute or two late on Twitter @RedLineUpsets alert notifications, it's personally gratifying. If the illusion persists that this is too big to be done by one person, the Robots are doing their job.
Someday, to be a "we" instead of an "I" will be widely understood and terribly commonplace. Today may appear uncertain and scary, but the linear specialists of yesterday will be replaced by the Expanding Man and Better Woman of tomorrow. In the future, we will all be interlocked collections of our experiential progressions, and will each combine accumulated talents in unique and world-changing ways. When that happens, the concept of the college "major" will seem outdated and irrelevant. That day is coming soon, my friends.
Red Line Upsets
After two RLU-free days, a healthy five over the weekend. And we're getting some repeat offenders, which is always a decent leading indicator of league performance. Florida Atlantic's 50-42 wire-to-wire job against South Florida was the Owls' second in a week. This is a team that's 5-4 on the year, with mid losses to Portland and George Mason, but the wins against Mississippi State and USF had featured FAU's lowest possession totals yet, 57 and 59. If they control tempo like that in league play, they might be real contenders in the Sun Belt.
Another team that pulled two RLU's last week was Northern Iowa. After taking out Iowa State on Wednesday, the Panthers participated in the MVC-MWC Challenge and took out TCU on the road, 64-60. UNI is used to salvaging Valley pride, what with the Sweet Sixteen thing and all, but this was the Elgin Collective's single and only win of the nine-game series. Seeing that presumptive favorite Wichita State got killed by San Diego State on Saturday and that senior-lander Missouri State (6-2) has the kind of weak SOS number (137) indicative of the Valley of the 2010's, you have to start looking at UNI as a viable three-peat contender. If, of course, you weren't already.
And after a full week of "What's Wrong With The Atlantic 14" talk, spurred by odd losses and a sinking non-conference winning percentage, all it takes is a couple of Red Liners to inspire a little joly of conference-wide confidence. Temple was getting some guff after a 31 percent shooting night against Texas A&M last week, but a 64-61 neutral-court hold-off win against Maryland at the BB&T Classic serves as a little Eternal Sunshine for that. And if you're not impressed by 7-2 Richmond, please get checked. Out in the dry heat of the Southwest, the Spiders took out Arizona State by six. Big 6-foot-10 senior Justin Harper turned in the best game of his college career, shooting 10-for-14 for 23 points.
But the feel-good RLU of the weekend was Montana's 66-57 takedown of reeling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. It was about as comprehensive an upset as any Big Sky team could hope for, especially against a program with the most National Championships in history. The defending BSC champs shot 52 percent, held the Bruins to .78 points per possession, and were up by 15 with six to go. Woes in Westwood! Ah, sports journalism.
MMBOW #3: Michael Glover, Iona
Iona College has done a good job pulling talent off Big East benches in recent years, and a transfer-rich team won 21 games last season. The Gaels were successful enough to place head coach Kevin Willard onto a Big East bench, that of Seton Hall. Before Willard left, he recruited a Hall player named Michael Glover, so this amounts to a pretty good trade for both sides.
Our third Mid-Majority Baller of the Week of Season 7 has had a stellar first year in New Rochelle, but his first weekend of Metro Atlantic play was beyond cute double-meaning adjectives. On Friday at home against Canisius, the 6-foot-7 Bronx native shot 15-for-23 for 39 points, hit nine of his 11 free throws, and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 94-85 Iona win. Two days later, he followed it up with another monster performance against a struggling Niagara squad. Thirty more points (14-for-17 on field goals), 11 more boards, and only three fouls all weekend -- nullifying a disqualification problem from earlier in the year, when he fouled out twice.
As if he needed more data to bolster his case, he went 6-for-12 for 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a nonconference roadie at Norfolk State of the MEAC. That's a week of three double-doubles and a combined efficiency score of 98. Did anybody in the Other 25 even come close? No. So congratulations to Mr. Glover, our latest MMBOW.
Game! Of! The! Night!
Delaware State at Maine Alfond Arena - Orono, ME 7:30 EST
Within the short slate of 12 games tonight, a matchup of two light blue-loving schools completing a little East Coast home-and-home series. One week ago, we saw Del-State (3-3, 1-0 MEAC) put up a strong 37-minute effort at La Salle, and the Hornets were on RLU watch against South Carolina two days later before falling late. It's an undersized team that can't rebound a lick (48 percent rebounding, 310th in the nation), tries to extend possessions (60 per 40 minutes) and doesn't send opponents to the line. No team in Division I has fouled less: just 11 per game. The downfall has been the three-minute lapse that results in a run the other way, and someday someone will have to capture that in a statistic.
Maine (2-4) is worth mentioning now, because if history is any indication, the Black Bears are going to pull their annual disappearance into the midsection of the America East. They've never attended the NCAA Tournament, but put together a very quiet 19 wins in 2009-10 for their best record in the six-year Ted Woodward era. But it was a peak year, and the team lost four of six top scorers over the summer. It's a decent ball control team (16.9 percent turn rate), but an offense averaging .923 points per possession is still getting used to the new blood in the rotation. Biggest problem, though, is 6-foot-3 guard Gerald McLemore, who led the Black Bears in scoring with 14.6 ppg and was named to the all-conference preseason team. He's been fighting a mystery injury and shooting just 32 percent. While we hope that Maine makes enough noise to warrant future Season 7 mentions, see you next year already?