WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The "e" in e-mail was supposed to stand for "emproved" and "enstant." It was designed to be better than regular mail, because it would arrive there the second you sent it and you can feel confident enough in the system that every e-mail will be properly received. Sure, you can't send eBay items or holiday packages or notes to grandma or those watercolor "Dear wife, I still believe in us" cards you can only find in truck stops... but e-mail is supposed to do what it's able to do.
Mine doesn't. For some reason, any e-mail from any recipient I'd never recieved something from was temporarily put on a "greylist" and delayed interminably late last week. So if I don't know you, and you sent me something anytime from Wednesday through Saturday (most probably, something for a contest to win a free Bally), I'm probably going to get it tomorrow, or maybe by 2008 if I'm lucky. So if it was something really important, you may want to send it again.
But for now, just Boub it. Butler.
We figured the Bulldogs would give the visiting Buckeyes a game, but a beatdown? Holy Hinkle! Butler didn't have anyone to contend with feta-soft Kosta Koufos, so they let him have his worthless 16 points. Otherwise, the perimeter lockdown was on, and the 65-46
win saw the breakthrough performance for prized Hoosier freshman big Matt Howard
, who shot 9-for-13 for a career high 23 points.
Forget the whole "looking too far ahead" thing, it's certainly time to start thinking about how Butler stacks up to the top schools, dreaming of possible March matchups. We here at The Mid-Majority would like to see this team up against a truly dominant big man before March, that could really be the only kind of team capable of ripping the Bulldogs up. Butler-Georgetown might be the best regular-season game we'll never see. The Crazy CAA.
If we've learned anything in our six years of following the CAA, it's that you can't read this conference in November. George Mason was on top of the CAA world on Friday, but thought they could sleep through a first half at yesterday's BB&T and win. They can't... East Carolina
beat the Patriots with three inches of baling wire, an AA battery and a paper clip. Two hours later on the same floor, VCU beat Maryland
just a few days removed from losing to Hampton from the MEAC.
Early-season CAA results are so random, it's almost as if they were spit out by a futuristic compu-tron device. One thing is certain, though: as soon as you start thinking about a team for a second bid, they are going to lose. In that spirit, here are some of my green-ribbon picks for CAA games in the immediate future, and you can take these to the bank. Or at least a bankrupt mortgage lender.
Georgia State 84, Georgia Tech 54
Northeastern 67, Connecticut 64
Coastal Carolina 65, UNCW 23
Winston-Salem State 89, Georgia State 43 The
and I were talking this weekend about how much of a misnomer "Summit League" is. These are schools from the heartland of America, the bread bowl, the corn belt... the only thing that's high elevation about any of this is the "Mountains of Busch" in the fridge. He suggested a different, more aggressive and realistic name: the Badlands Conference. Methinks that's going to stick.
And this weekend, the Badlands Conference was bad-ass. Behind George Hill's 30 points, the IUPUI Jaguars flattened Massachusetts 89-77
to go 5-2. Then there's this
: Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight, most successful coach ever in Our Game, finger-waggled a taunting fan (I've written previously
on the ungentlemanly behavior of the Gents faithful) and left the building with flu-like symptoms, leaving his son to drive the team into the ground and lose to the home team
, which is now 5-3 and featuring remarkably marksmanlike 3-point shooting (41.2 percent). Props to Knight for being "nice" and coming out on the road to play mids, though. Louisiana-Monroe.
A four-seed running the table to capture a championship isn't big news in March, but when it happens in a preseason tourney quad, it's pretty awesome. The home team, by virtue of its hosting duties, generally chooses the weakest team to virtually ensure it gets to play in the championship.
But this weekend at Iowa's Hawkeye Challenge, little No. 4 meant big fun. First, undersized ULM (the Warhawks top out at around 6-8) beat the host school Iowa 72-67, in overtime,
by overcoming a 14-rebound deficit with a 14-turnover advantage. Then, against the Conference USA's Rice, they did it a different way: coughing it up 11 more times than the opposition, but holding the perimeter down so the Owls only shot 31 percent. With a 80-67 win
, ULM got to take home a nice trophy as Hawkeye Challenge champs. Warhawks! Warhawks! Upsets in general.
Goodness me, there isn't a Boubacar big enough to fit all these upsets from this weekend. Michigan went to Harvard and got a 61-52
surprise in the Amaker Bowl
. Saint Mary's ended any irrational Seton Hall exuberance after its Virginia win by stomping the Pirates 85-70
; big Omar Samhan had a 19-and-16 dub-dub. Northern Colorado, which has only been playing D-I ball for four seasons, beat Colorado State 72-59
. Minor upsets happened as well: UALR over Tulsa
, Akron over Wyoming
Since we post the scoreboard every Monday, we now have 61
upsets by non-money conferences over money conferences, up from 57
a year ago by Dec. 2. (C-USA and the Mountain West aren't major conferences, but they're money conferences.) Adrian Banks, Arkansas State. Dude
, guns don't belong here. That's high-major stuff. Jarell Brown, Army.
Choosing a MMBOW this week was tough because of some general consistency issues around Hoops Nation in the past week, but we have to honorably mention the efforts of Army's senior leader. (And we're feeling a little sympathetic towards the Black Knights after the Navy beatdown in American-style football, the only result from that sport we even remotely care about anymore.)
On Saturday at VMI, the BK's held a team that had put up 156 in a Non-D1 game last week to 69 points
, and the Clevelander put up the line of the weekend: 34 points, 11-for-13 shooting, 8-of-9 from three-bee land, and 10 rebounds. That's a big-boy double-double for a 6-2 guy. Rock and Roll, Part World War III.
Longtime readers and "Gary Glitter" Googlers have voted with their mouses, and our post three years ago about college basketball's national anthem
is one of the more heavily-trafficked and mentioned in our short history here. Yesterday at the BB&T Classic in Washington, with the first-ever meeting between Maryland and VCU, it was an opportunity to see two groups of students who both have strong identity investments in that song.
Maryland was once infamous and controversial for chanting "you suck!" right after "Hey!", before the practice bled up the eastern seaboard into the major city schools (who found that yelling that really loud fit in well with their own identities). At the Virginia Commonwealth University, a nice college with nice Southern folks, they opt to chant "V!" "C!" and "U!" during the breaks, with accompanying arm movements that spell out the school's acronym. This was the ultimate battle of mean vs. clean.
Maryland's band doesn't play it -- apparently there's some sort of edict about inciting the student section there -- but the VCU band certainly does. And with the first runthrough coming halfway through the second half, and a red-and-white section full of Terrapin fans on the same side of the Verizon Center, it was a testy moment, but one imbued with a real sense of skillful call-and-response.Dun dun dun-dun-dun... V! (You suck!) Dun dun dun-dun-dun... C! (You suck!)
But at the final media timeout, with VCU pulling away and Maryland clanking off-balance long jumpers, the Ram Band pounded the drums again, signaling a high-energy reprise of that fallen pop star's timeless classic. But this time, there was no answer. The sight of a thousand Maryland fans, standing so stunned that they could not even point and chant during "Rock and Roll, Part 2", is now my favorite moment of the young season.
And as the Terrapin fans sadly began to file out of the vast arena with two minutes remaining, another chant rose up from the black-and-gold student section... C! A! A!... C! A! A!
I'll admit it, I'm a stand-up guy, there was a happy tear or two.
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