“And now, ladies and gents, last but not the least, come on down to a standing O, this week’s absolutely, positively, on the rise, numero uno #1 team in the land . . . the Buckeyes of Ohi . . . uh, nevermind”
Another one bites the dust/ Another one bites the dust/ And another one gone/ And another one gone/ Another one bites the dust
At least Ohio State had the common decency to lose before rising to the “heralded” top spot in the polls. And it was to L’il Ricky’s Golden Gophers, who had a losing record coming in. Geesh.
Are we destined for hot potato 63 games in the NCAA? You take it. No, I don’t want it, you take it. A title game to supplant UConn 53, Butler 41 as the Worst Meaningful Game Ever Contested?
Despite their Sunday night defeat in Minneapolis, the Buckeyes are atop Ken Pomeroy’s computerized hierarchy, with the 8th rated offense, and fourth rated defense. Followed by the Blue Devils, the Cardinals, the Jayhawks and Sparty.
Strap in, fellow hoopaholics, before a champ’s crowned this campaign is gonna make a ride on King’s Island’s Orion feel like the Merry Go Round at KiddieLand.
* * * * *
So, even though there were a couple of tilts of interest on Saturday afternoon, it was if not de jure a de facto Hobson’s Choice.
The game of consequence was Memphis State’s visit to Rocky Top. But it only took the first bray from Dickie V to realize, “This ain’t gonna work.”
So, I flipped over to a lesser battle between a couple of strugglers, Notre Dame and UCLA. Where the first heard commentary was Bill Walton waxing ecstatic about riding his bike to the peak of Mt. Everest, or something like that.
But, when I clicked back to the Knoxville game, it was in commercial break. Click.
At which point, I realized it was not only Walton but perhaps my least favorite “expert” ever, Digger Phelps alongside. If you recall, a couple of years ago, during a telecast Walton’s play by play guy mentioned Phelps’ name, to which the former UCLA star, inquired, “Is Digger Phelps still alive?”
But, and maybe it was just that Army vs. Navy was already a done deal, or my tolerance for Vitale has reached its tipping point, I stuck with the Bruins and Irish more than the game deserved.
Only to realize that the former adversaries, who were involved in what Digger advised was, “the fourth biggest upset in the history of sports” when the Irish broke the Bruins long winning streak back in the day, were actually kind of funny giving each grief. And were somewhat restrained.
Walton was chatting about his recruitment, when still in high school.
BW: “Johnny Dee (ND coach at the time) wouldn’t leave me alone. So, I called Coach Wooden, and never heard from Dee again.”
DP: “What happened?
BW: “I don’t know. Ask Jimmy Hoffa.”
Or, this interchange about where they were from?
BW: “I’m from Planet Earth. But I’m not sure about about Digger? How about Jupiter, Digger, you been there?”
DP: “Yeah, last week.”
While singing the praises of John Wooden:
DP: “He turned you into a man.”
BW: “I’m his biggest failure.”
As for the actual basketball, Notre Dame rolled, despite their issues. Mick Cronen’s got his work cut out for him in Westwood, and they won’t improve until the new coach can get his type of guys there.
Watching the other game — with the sound muted — I was impressed by Memphis State’s W in that hostile environment.
* * * * *
There are basketball lifers. Then there are Basketball Lifers.
Like, locally, Jerry Jones who has his own seat at the end of the court in Knight’s Hall.
Or, the reappearance of former Charlotte mentor Bobby Lutz, who just keeps hangin’ on. He is now Special Assistant to the Head Coach (Hizzoner Fred Hoiberg) at Nebraska. Which Cornhusker squad has a lot of foregners, including guys with names like Yvan Ouedraogo and Thorir Thorbjarnarson, the latter being a homie in Iceland.
* * * * *
Penn State actually seems a might relevant this season on the hardwood, under steady Pat Chambers. The Nittany Lions recently tuned Maryland into And another one bites the dust.
Baylor and Butler are both better than expected. And the former knocked the latter out of the unbeaten ranks in Waco.
* * * * *
What other old timers thought of Bevo Francis and Frank Selvy last week, when Wayland Baptist’s JJ Culver tallied 100 against something called Southwest Adventist?
Both of those guys did it in ’54. Rio Grande (Ohio)’s Francis rand up 113 against Hillsdale. Selvy’s 100 came for Furman over Newberry.
A guy for Grinnell, Jack Taylor, actually accomplished the feat twice. He scored 138 in a game in ’12 against Faith Baptist Bible College, and 109 the following year against Crossroads College
* * * * *
Is it my imagination or our there a lot of legitimate national contenders with key players out with injuries? Way more so than I can recall.
Gonzaga. Syracuse. Texas Tech. North Carolina, who looked absolutely horrid while losing to Wofford on Sunday. Oregon. Memphis State.
What’s going on?
* * * * *
Though there are copycats aplenty, Arizona State’s Curtain of Destraction remains the Gold Standard of student section shenanigans to disturb opponent FT shooters.
— Seedy K