It's not Tom Petty but I was in a Notorious B.I.G. Mood... When I woke up this morning I wiped the coal out my eyes in Typical Notorious B.I.G. fashion. All I could think about was Season 3, November 18th, 2006! Wichita State vs George Mason: the final chapter in the Trilogy between these two teams and the Final Four Banner Raising for the Patriots, prior to their fourth home game of the season, televised on ESPN2.
Later that week a story ran by the man on sabbatical about a pair of yellow shoes, an Afro, and two brothers joined at the foot. Coincidentally on the following day November 19th 2006 I was told by my then 6 months pregnant wife that we could not go to see ODU play on campus on the road against #8 Georgetown (Upset Stomach Edition circa 2006.) The rest as they say is history as ODU shocked the world by beating Georgetown in a gym they hadn't lost in since the Ronald Reagan Era.
It was a rather warm day today in Eastern Connecticut as the 12pm matchup between ODU and Kentucky was an hour away. I took a stroll around the Mohegan Sun Casino thinking about today's game and how in Season 3, on a day like today, ODU shocked Georgetown on it's way to earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. ODU has given me the opportunity to write my first entry for Season 8 by holding on for an overtime win yesterday against South Florida.
The Basketball Hall of Fame should leave the lights off and play with just a spotlight on the court, due to an uninspiring and abysmal attendance figures for the end of the two-day Basketball Hall of Fame Tournament. I couldn't help but think maybe one ticket should have gained you admittance to all four games? Should the games have been played in Springfield? Better teams? Whatever the case, maybe let's hope the field or format changes for 2012.
It really says something about the Naismith Hall of Fame and how they really don't like their surroundings in Springfield... unfortunately they had to bring the tournament down to a casino! Some Kentucky faithful made the trek to Uncasville,CT.
There was a sparse ODU contingent and some star power sat court side for the games at Mohegan Sun Casino!
Kentucky alums Dan Issel and current Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo sat courtside along with World Wide Wes. ESPN Jay Harris was also chatting it up with Old Dominion legend Nancy Lieberman.
Old Dominion's game plan was to pound the ball inside and work their offense from the inside out. One thing the Wildcats lack is toughness outside of Terrence Jones. Their Super Frosh Anthony Davis is a great shot blocker but he's a Marcus Camby type who can also handle the basketball. Kent Bazemore fueled an early run as ODU went up 18-11 and the restless crowd witnessed another uninspiring performance by Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague. Old Dominion's seasoned guards attacked him at will and it was the reason for the early lead as ODU played a nice match up zone and dared the Wildcats to shoot the 3 pointer.
Kentucky ended the half up 32-27, and the Monarchs never gave up as they cut the lead to one with under 7 minutes left in the game as Illiads hit back to back 3 pointers and the Number 2 team in the land Kentucky Wildcats were in jeopardy of going down to a team below the red line. The officiating was a bit suspect as Kentucky came down on 3 consecutive possessions and made 3 straight baskets with a foul being called. The Cats missed all 3 free throws which was rare but in the end the Monarchs fell and a possible court storming by 200 fans was called off when the buzzard sounded.
The Number 2 team in the land went on to win the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic, 62-52. Five minutes later a crowd of 200 fans stayed to witness South Florida vs. Penn State.
KENTUCKY 62, OLD DOMINION 52 11/20/2011
OLD DOMINION 3-2 (0-0) -- C. Brown 8-14 6-6 23; N. Wright 4-10 1-2 9; K. Bazemore 2-11 5-6 10; C. Cooper 7-17 3-6 17; M. De Lancey 0-6 0-0 0; T. Iliadis 4-9 0-0 11; D. Batten 0-0 2-3 2; B. Key 1-2 0-0 3; J. Pimentel 0-0 0-0 0; A. Larsen 0-1 0-0 0; S. Rogers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 11-17 52. KENTUCKY 4-0 (0-0) -- T. Jones 3-9 0-0 6; M. Kidd-Gilchrist 6-13 0-2 13; D. Lamb 2-7 2-3 8; M. Teague 3-5 0-1 6; D. Miller 4-8 5-5 13; A. Davis 4-6 3-5 11; K. Wiltjer 1-4 0-1 3; E. Vargas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-53 10-17 62.
Three-point goals: ODU 5-15 (K. Bazemore 1-6; M. De Lancey 0-1; T. Iliadis 3-5; A. Larsen 0-1; B. Key 1-2), UK 4-13 (D. Miller 0-3; D. Lamb 2-5; M. Kidd-Gilchrist 1-2; M. Teague 0-1; K. Wiltjer 1-2); Rebounds: ODU 31 (C. Cooper 12), UK 41 (A. Davis 9); Assists: ODU 8 (K. Bazemore 2), UK 10 (D. Miller 5); Total Fouls -- ODU 19, UK 17; Fouled Out: ODU-None; UK-A. Davis.