DELAND, Fla. -- Last night on press row at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, my inbox full of nasty notes from Penn fans (more about that later on), I was reminded once again about the key differences between Ivy League and MEAC basketball. And there are differences, even though both conferences would likely split the theoretical Ivy-MEAC Challenge I'd give up a year's salary to see.
You're a bandleader, it's a second-half media timeout, and your student section needs to be fired up for the final stretch. What do you play? The Penn band will play Hoops Nation's national anthem
, "Rock 'n Roll, Part 2"
by Gary Glitter. Fans of the soon-to-be-deposed Ivy champions will get so geeked, so excited, that they will carry the tune through after the time out is over, the haunting strains echoing through the Palestra as play resumed, punctuated occasionally by a rousing "You Suck!".
Fans at FAMU do the same sort of thing. Last night as the soon-to-be-deposed MEAC champions fought tooth-and-nail with Coppin State (a battle they'd eventually lose, 89-88
), a tune rose up during a media timeout from the band, passed to the students as the game continued. Just as in the Palestra, the Gaither Center rafters echoed with an a capella version of the song that had been begun by a subset of the Marching 100. But the song was very different -- no Seventies glam rock here.
It was "Da Butt."
You can have your "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" -- nothing is as bone-chilling and soul-stirring as hearing a student section in full voice sing Hey yeah-ee yeah. Yeah-ee, Yeah-ee, Yeah-ee Yeah.
It's something I'll always carry with me... the sight of hundreds of FAMU students doin' da butt. All. Night. Long. La Salle.
The Palestra is hoops heaven, a place where the unexpected is so enthusiastically expected that it's "expect-ated." But the Explorers beating Saint Joe's there? That's, well, unexpected
. La Salle (11-13, 5-5) hadn't overcome the Hawks since a 91-90 thriller in the 2001 league tourney, and it took a 90-89
nailbiter to knock them off last night. Saint Joe's shot 63 percent (!) but was done in by La Salle's superior glasswork (29-20 in rebounds) and yes-can-do-uh-huh spirit down the stretch.
The result further crowded the 14th Floor, with 11 teams with four, five or six losses in conference play. Saint Joe's is still in second at 7-4, a half-game up on Richmond and Temple (6-4), two teams you didn't hear a peep about during The Great A-10 Lovefest Of December 2007. Xavier is still way ahead, now 10-1 after surviving a trip to URI, 81-77
. And congratulations to X A.D. Mike Bobinski, who was named to the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee
yesterday. Hopefully, he'll convince the others to refrain from treating anybody like "mid-majors." New Jersey Tech.
"History, you've got neighbors." OK, that's what I came up with as my buzzer-beating radio call if I were lucky enough to be courtside at last night's 96-78
Longwood romp of our adopted Highlanders. NJIT has now joined the 2004-05 Savannah State Tigers
in Hoops Valhalla, the only two teams that have ever gone 0-28. Nesho Milosevic, tragic hero of the team, did all he could, with a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double, but it was not enough. Nothing has been enough, and now it is on the brink of everything.
Because, my friends, the Highlanders have one more game remaining, and could become the only team ever to complete a season 0-29. Saturday afternoon, at Utah Valley State. If you're in the Orem area, you'll want to cherish this one for yourselves. If you're not, I'd suggest purchasing your own commemorative ticket
for seven dollars. Me!
Hello, Penn fans. We've been great friends, y'all and I, and I'm sure we'll be great friends forever. But when I reversed a Yale-Penn score that I heard correctly over the Jadwin Gym P.A. system and even wrote down in my notebook, then misremembered it 36 hours later when I wrote my Monday Boubacar, I became much more basement blogger than Real Actual Journalist. It'll probably be the last time I pre-prepare material, no matter how LOL-arious it is.
But I know how the world works. To wit:
If you write a column with 134 true facts and one bad one, you are an moron and an idiot and everybody who's ever read a newspaper can do a better job at journalism than you.
If you refrain from taking HGH for 12,500 days, then you take HGH for four days, your career will be defined by those four days. Forever.
If you spend 1,000,000 minutes of your adult life not robbing banks or fellating babies or shooting your mom, then for whatever reason, you end that personal embargo, well... that's it for you. Your cubbyhole in hell has a nametag.
We're defined by our mistakes. It's a Larry David world, and anybody who takes themselves too seriously has that beaten out of them eventually. I'm just proud to made an example of, once again.
Elsewhere last night, as the sackcloth snippets and ashes clog up my keyboard...How 'Bout™
Loyola (Md.)? After the Greyhounds dispatched Siena on the road (as discussed yesterday), they kept striking deep into the top tier of the MAAC. Last night, Jimmy Patsos' crew won their third in a row by extending Rider's misery, 73-68
. The Broncs' NBA prospect Jason Thompson
had a 24-and-10 dub-dub, but Loyola held down nearly everybody else, making Rider look like a three-man team. Along with Siena's semi-shock drop at Manhattan
(the Saints didn't get killed on the boards, either), there's now a four-way 11-5 tie at the top of the conference.
And here's the thing: Loyola isn't even the league's top team. Don't look now, but here comes Fairfield! The Stags won their fifth straight last night on MAAC Monday by nipping Marist by two
, and they're just a game back of first place at 10-6. Also in MAAC news, if you think all the great nicknames are taken, meet 6-7 Marist senior Spongy Benjamin
. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds last night in a losing cause.How 'Bout™
Norfolk State? We didn't mention them yesterday in our MEAC rundown, but the Spartans are hanging around with Morgan at the top of the league. Last night, they kept pace at 11-2 with a seven-point win over UMES
to claim their fifth straight and eighth victory in nine games. NSU has a very MEAC-like resume, a gigantic league record and double-digit losses from all those guarantee games -- but its slashing guards have been making hay in conference play. Three double-figure scorers 6-4 or smaller, and the team is shooting 52 percent from in
side the arc.
Lastly, How 'Bout™
San Jose State? Those spoiler Spartans kept the WAC race in flux, dropping Utah State (8-4) to its third straight loss last night, 70-67
. Now it's Boise State at 10-3 atop the Wickity. The now-fourth place U-Aggies do not like the road one bit, as all three drops came away from the cozy confines of the D.G.S. Spectrum (where they're 13-0), and the team is now 3-8 in front of hostile crowds. Note to USU: bring a caravan of buses down to New Mexico State for the tourney next month, buy as many tickets as you can.
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