Backdoor Cuts: Vol. XIPosted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2010
Backdoor Cuts is a weekly college basketball discussion between RTC correspondents Dave Zeitlin, Steve Moore and Mike Walsh that occasionally touches on relevant subjects. This week the guys jump the shark with a discussion about college hoops with an Olympic flavor.
MIKE WALSH: I don’t know about you guys, but the Olympics have monopolized the TV in my house since the opening ceremonies. And don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics – the grandeur, the goosebumps, the medals – but they’ve seriously cut into my college basketball viewing these days. Take tonight, for example. I’m sitting here watching Olympic ice dancing with my wife, and I suddenly became inspired … to not watch ice dancing anymore.
I’ve got to get some hoops back in my life. With Selection Sunday just out of reach it still seems a little early to argue about who’s in and who’s out of the Big Dance (don’t tell ESPN … Doug Gottleib’s kids gotta eat). St. Joe’s is struggling to find 10 wins, Penn is struggling to find the basket, and Boston U. is struggling to pretend that anyone cares about college hoops when there’s hockey on. So what if we combine the two? What if we add a little Olympic flair to college hoops and hand out pre-March Madness medals?
I even borrowed an outfit from Johnny Weir just to get into the spirit. So wedgies be damned, we’re off to the first ever college basketball medal ceremony!
Men’s downhill: And the gold medal goes to … UNC! Get it? It’s because they won the national championship just last year and now they stink. They’re not even going to make the it to the Dance. Roy Williams has publicly questioned his team’s effort. It’s ridiculous. It’s like Canadians not being able to make ice. Oh wait … that happened too? Well, that’s unfortunate. But fear not Tar Heel Nation, it’s only a matter of time (and a few more blue chippers) until your boys are once again soaring above everyone else like Shaun White.
Curling: I’m not really sure why, but screaming like a maniac seems to be an integral part of curling. That being said, who better to win the gold than Kansas State’s own Frank Martin? If this guy was screaming, “HARD!” at the top of his lungs at me, well, I’d probably pee my pants, but you better believe I’d be sweeping that ice like a bastard too. The silver medal would be awarded to Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint, mostly because the man’s mouth goes like an outboard motor. Arizona’s Sean Miller rounds out this ear piercing podium.
Skating on thin ice: This isn’t exactly one you want to be on the podium for. For their poor sportsmanship the students at West Virginia barely edged out the student section at Mississippi State for the gold, if only because someone actually hit an assistant coach with their flying projectiles at WVU. The Mountaineers’ fans thought maybe they should get extra rowdy for the big game against rival Pittsburgh, but guess what kids, there’s a big difference between rowdy and reckless. Maybe they’ll cover that in class next semester? As for Mississippi State, they thought they were getting hosed by the refs and the bottles started flying. News flash: bad refs are as much a part of college basketball as jump shots and lay-up lines. Those kids are as big a sore loser as Evgeni Plushenko, and they probably have the matching mullets, too.
What do you guys think? Who would you don with a Rush the Court gold medal? I’ll give you a push like a speed skating relay team, but I’ve got to get back to rooting against the Canadians.
DAVE ZEITLIN: I’ll be honest. Aside from the joy that is afternoon curling, I haven’t gotten too into the Olympics. Perhaps it’s because I can’t relate to any of the sports. I tried skiing for the first time last weekend, and other than the fact I couldn’t stop, let alone carry my skis and boots at the same time, it went really well. And if you want to understand how graceful an ice skater I am, picture a drunk moose walking on a balance beam.
And I love it!
I’m not only loving the winter games so far, I’m about to be part of them (again), as the “snow-a-cane” bears down on us again. I swear, we’re gonna have more snow here than Shaun White has seen in his lifetime.
Anyway, onto the events:
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING: I swear, I don’t understand this event. It’s the only one where you can finish outside the top two and not qualify for the next round, but then complain to an official and have them just let you in. It’s almost like the NCAA’s 96-team idea. We don’t want to make anyone cry, right? Trophies for everyone!
SPEED SKATING: The highlight of the games so far — at least when it comes to strange-ness — was Tuesday’s men’s 10,000 meters, when The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer was on his way to an easy gold medal, only to have his coach tell him to get into the wrong lane, causing him to be disqualified. Wait, a coach costing his team a championship? Where have I heard that before? Oh, that’s right. At UMass, and at Memphis. And probably at Kentucky at some point. Let’s just call him Jon van der Calipari!
ICE HOCKEY: This event has the biggest subplot of the games, mostly because Canada is expecting a gold medal to be easier than making jokes about Canadians. (Rim shot!). The U.S. proved that gold is not a given for the Maple Leafers, but the pressure inside that arena is palpable, even on TV. In Canada’s first game, a period of scoreless hockey was met with so much nervous energy inside the arena, you could see the players getting antsy and uptight. It’s something you can feel this year at North Carolina. I know they hung a banner, and weren’t expected to repeat, but Roy Williams had better hope they get it together next year, or his post-title honeymoon is over.
CURLING: I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without talking about my new obsession. This sport is mesmerizing and sleep-inducing, all at the same time. Kind of like watching a Big Ten game that doesn’t include Purdue or Michigan State. Curling is the one Olympic sport you could do while drinking (I mean, you could drink before the Ski-Cross — which would make it entertaining), which makes it easier for us couch-dwelling, beer-swilling college hoops junkies to relate. The best comparison to college hoops right now would be to use the U.S. men’s team, which produced an EPIC failure and a 2-7 record. Not showing up when it matters most? Failing to live up to expectations on the biggest stage? It’s just like the U.S. women’s curling team! (What? You thought I was gonna say Duke?)
CROSS COUNTRY: I caught a few minutes of this last week, but then went back to gouging my eyes out and praying for even more snow. Apparently, the Norwegians are incredibly dominant, but the rest of the world doesn’t really notice or care. Kind of like the UConn women’s team…
(Wait, what? Apparently my wife is yelling now. Women are great. Women’s basketball is great.) Moving on…
ICE DANCING: I end with the greatest winter Olympic event of all. I kid, I kid. This is the biggest joke on the program. It’s a bunch of people dressing up in fancy uniforms and pretending to be prominent athletes while so-called “expert” observers try to pretend they all know what they’re doing…Kind of like the entire Pac-10.
I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.
But, just in case, I think we need to get on board with some obscure sport now so that we can compete in 2014 for an Olympic medal. I’m thinking we could take the three-man skeleton circuit by storm. What do you think?
I call shotgun on bottom!