BALTIMORE -- OK, OK, OK, OK. I've read your e-mails, I've received your calls and media inquiries. The big question of the weekend is not what happened in the huge mid-major games these past few days, but what are we to do about this
? And this
? Let's get the easy punchline out of the way first: There's no way The Unnamed Major Program From The Northwest
(UMPFN) can ever be a mid-major again, what with a drug bust on the books and everything.
But you want to know my take on it, that's why you're here. I'm here to tell you, point blank, that psychedelic mushrooms and basketball don't mix
. I have a modicum of experience with most of the variables in this story: I lived in the Northwest for seven years, I make my living in the basketball industry. I did taste some "magic mushrooms" during my days at Oregon, but I plan to run for public office someday and I swear I didn't inhale.
What I do know is this: the psychedelic mushroom is not -- is not
-- a performance-enhancing drug. It is, however, an experience
-enhancing drug. People who ingest this substance have been known to "trip out," "freak," and generally have things escape from their subconscious out onto their mindscreens and appear real. It becomes impossible to trust your eyes -- since basketball is a game that requires intense focus and concentration, it's a real bad idea. To wit:
|Basketball||Basketball on mushrooms|
Because of the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms, it can get very confusing trying to separate fantasy and reality when reacting to on-court plays.
|Basketball||Basketball on mushrooms|
And everyone knows about the "bad trip." If you get a bad batch, things can get downright scary.
|Basketball||Basketball on mushrooms|
I wish the best to the UMPFN players involved in the incident as they defend this -- Josh "Instant Karma Gonna Get You For Hitting Me In The Face With A Basketball
" Heytvelt and Theo Davis. Just a word of advice: if you're going to keep drugs in your car, make sure your taillights work.Conference Shootaround!at Wright State 77, Butler 65 (Horizon)
) -- Butler controleld the first half, Wright controlled the second. But the key numbers are these: Butler star A.J. Graves
' 3-for-16 shooting; 30 points for WSU's Daushaun Wood
; and a seven-game streak for the Raiders, who now lead the Horizon by a half-game at 12-2. Since the coaches' poll is all about finding excuses to drop mid-majors, don't look too high up for the Bulldogs (23-3, 11-2) from now on.at Toledo 68, Akron 65 (Mid-American)
) -- Did I say I'd be shocked if Toledo (12-10, 8-2) pulled this one out? OK, I'm shocked. East leaders Akron (18-5, 9-2) beat West leaders Toledo in every internal statistical category except one -- turnovers (13 to 9), and were not able to step on the Rockets' collective throats after building a 12-point lead. So basically, this was a lot like that seven-over-two MAC semi upset last year. Thanks to this result, which featured three Toledo players with at least 16 points, Akron may lose a seeding spot in March if it comes down to tiebreakers.at Southern Illinois 72, Creighton 68 (Missouri Valley)
) -- Another huge tiebreaker scenario solved with a Saluki season sweep of Creighton (17-8, 11-4). SIU (21-5, 12-3, seven straight wins), the "all-defense, no offense" team in the MVC, shot a whopping 65% from the floor (including 85% in the second half -- only two missed shots) and got 25 from Matt Shaw
. The Salukis are also now ninth in the RPI, and will face Missouri State on the road Tuesday. Mo-State is your third team in at this point; the Bears have won five straight to sit in third at 10-5. Will SIU have any offense left over?Austin Peay 52, at Samford 50 (Ohio Valley)
) -- All hail Peay, on nobody's radar two months ago and now the runaway leaders in the OVC. In a super-slow game in which the Govs only had 49 possessions, the road team beat the preseason favorites at their own game and swept the season series. Fernandez Lockett
, usually the rebounding leader, led Peay scorers with 16 -- it's the first time this season the junior has topped the team's scoring chart against a D1 team. Austin Peay (17-7, 14-2) are now a full three games clear in the conference race.Vermont 67, at Albany 63 (America East)
) -- I hinted that this may come down to free throws, but I had no idea it would be like this. UVM shot a characteristically low 68%... but hosts Albany only received three freebies, making only a single one. The Catamounts broke a tied game late, and a big reason why was that they only fouled 14 times all game, keeping one-and-ones a very small part of the equation. Vermont now leads the league at 11-1, and holds a very important season-sweep tiebreaker should Albany close the gap and tie for first. The America East championship game will be held at the higher seed.at Bucknell 48, Holy Cross 45 (Patriot)
) -- Just as in the past two years, it's all about 'Ray Bucknell and 'Sader Nation in the 'atriot. In a defensive slugfest, Bucknell won its eight in a row to snap an HC 12-gamer and tie the league at 10-1. And I just want to take a second to provide mad propz to junior John Griffin
, who although he shot only 3-for-10, he hit the winning shot and has emerged as the heart and soul of this Bison team. He was the star in the upset of Xavier
in December, and was the only one on the court who appeared to care in the Central Arkansas debacle
. If he's the team leader next year, Bucknell is in good shape.
Other juicy morsels: It always seems to shake down this way in the Colonial
-- a pack of teams that beat each other up and don't lose to the second division. Old Dominion defended homecourt against bitter rivals Virginia Commonwealth (13-2) 79-63
to jump to second place, tied with 12-3 Hofstra. Drexel is 11-4 after a Saturday slapdown of a six-man Delaware squad, 77-62
... In the Atlantic Sun's
second go-round in the Battle of the Boulevard, Lipscomb (9-5) beat their Nashville neighbors Belmont (10-4) 70-60
with three double-figure scorers to pull within a game of the two-seed position. East Tennessee State still leads at 13-2.. League champion Montana is overcoming a slow start to make a play for another Big Sky
title; the Grizzlies are 8-4 and have won three straight. Weber State is 10-4 and leads the conference... Long Beach State is beginning to assert control over the Big West
. The 49ers are now 8-2 in the league after nipping California-Santa Barbara at the last second, 68-67
on Saturday. They'll play at 8-4 Cal State Fullerton on V-Day in the third game of a crucial road trip...Princeton is 1-5 after splitting their home Harvard-Dartmouth weekend in the Ivy; any rebound will have to start at league-leading Pennsylvania (5-1) on Tuesday. Former leader Yale was nipped by Cornell on Saturday, 60-59; both teams are fractions back at 6-2 as the 14 Game Tournament hovers around the midpoint... The two teams we had duking it out for the MAAC, Siena and Marist, lead the league at 11-4 and 10-5, respectively. Both are on four-game win streaks... Oral Roberts (18-8, 10-1) leads the Mid-Con by two games... Central Connecticut State ran its win streak to 10 with a 94-71 nutmegging of second-place Quinnipiac; the Blue Devils are now three and a half games up... Davidson leads the SoCon South at 12-1, Appalachian State the North at 11-3. Both teams have been on a title-game collision course for about a month now...
New Mexico State's defensive lapses are beginning to catch up with them; on Saturday, the Aggies (18-6, 8-3) lost at Fresno State 75-69 to lose its second straight, and now they have to make their Hawaii trip. Nevada controls at 10-1... The Southland one-seed race is controlled by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; the West leaders are 9-1 after dropping East second-place Southeastern Louisiana 80-74 over the weekend... With Holy Cross' loss, South Alabama of the Sun Belt owns the longest win streak in mid-majordom. The Jaguars have won 12 in a row after dropping Arkansas State 85-67 at home, and are 13-2 in the East division, three games up on Western Kentucky... UMPFN beat Saint Mary's 60-49 on Saturday in the wake of the Heytvelt and Davis arrests; fellow 8-2 Santa Clara should be a stiffer test tonight.
K-Dub's Krazy Fact of the Day!
Somewhat lost in Butler's up-and-down week was that the Bulldogs had the highest points-per-possession rate of any D1 team so far this season last Thursday. Against Cleveland State, Butler scored a total 1.70 points per possession, a full .18 points higher than the next closest performance (Appalachian State against The Citadel on Jan. 27, 1.52). Since anything over 1.00 is good, that's just darn great.
So what happened on Saturday against Wright State? The Raider defense, that's what. Ever since Butler torched the Wright D for 1.35 PPP on Jan. 6, they've really turned things around. WSU has held its last seven opponents to less than a point per possession, and Butler's .975 rate was just the latest in a great string of defensive stands. So you can talk about Dashaun Wood's 20 ppg offensive output all you want, but the real reason for the Raiders' success is what he and his teammates are doing on the other end.
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