Make Your Case: William & Mary TribePosted by jstevrtc on March 13th, 2010
As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Lambert, associate sports editor of the W&M newspaper The Flat Hat, now makes the case for the William & Mary Tribe:
We’re not going to make it. We know we’re not going to make the Tournament.
We’re William & Mary. We don’t do major sports.
Studying on a Friday, that we do. Drunken late night runs to Wawa where we chat with colonial reenactors, that we do. Waking up at 8:30 on a Sunday morning to study in the room adjacent to the library so that we get a good space in the library when it finally does open up at 1 PM; that, sadly, we do as well.
But major college sports? The NCAA Tournament? I don’t think we’ve won anything significant around here since Thomas Jefferson was in office.
Oh, you haven’t heard that Thomas Jefferson went here? That’s funny because it’s been in every single media story about the Tribe this season.
Why not mention Glenn Close, class of ’74? Or Robert Gates, class of ’65 and the current Secretary of Defense? Hell, even though its become clichéd lately as well, you could even mention John Stewart, class of ’84 (by the way, it’s a not so subtle secret here on campus that Stewart hated his time in Williamsburg).
Point is, we do famous people all right, but we suck at sports.
Our football team made the semifinals of the FCS tournament this season and beat Virginia in Charlottesville, but that’s not Division 1A football, so it doesn’t really count. Our track team is pretty good and, um, we have a women’s lacrosse team ranked in the top 25. But yeah, on the whole, we really don’t do sports well, especially basketball.
I know Northwestern has gotten a lot of pub for not making the Tournament ever in their history, but hey we haven’t either and we’ve been playing basketball since 1905. Plus, Northwestern plays in the Big Ten. They get home games versus Indiana and Michigan State every year. Being from the Midwest, their gym is packed more often than not.
Our big “rival” is Old Dominion. We have an 8,000 seat arena which looks like somebody told an architect “Build me a basketball center which looks like a cardboard box.” Until this year, we averaged about 1,500 fans a game, giving kids plenty of room to play tag in the ugly yellow seats which surround the stadium.
We wish we were Northwestern. We play like them: five guys all playing around the perimeter, launching three pointers at will. We even recruit against Northwestern, as our main recruiting hotbed has become the Chicago suburbs over the last couple of years.
Anyone rooting for Northwestern to make the Tournament out of pity needs to get off their high horse and root for the Tribe. You want a team with only a little basketball history? We have no basketball history. We have one guy who got 53 rebounds in a game 60 years ago and the great John Lowenhaupt. Who is John Lowenhaupt you ask? Exactly.
But somehow this season, the Tribe has come out of nowhere to put up a respectable record. We were picked to finish 10th in the CAA, 10th, yet we have road wins at Maryland and Wake Forest, and we beat Richmond at home. We finished second in our conference tournament and have 22 wins, third most in school history.
That stuff is boring though. By this time of year, you’ve heard so many numbers your head hurts. Right now, you want concrete reasons as to why a team should make the tournament.
Luckily for you, I have four:
1) Head Coach Tony Shaver’s mustache
Two years ago, Shaver grew the mustache and the Tribe made a run to the finals of the CAA Tournament. Last year, he saved the mustache and we only won 10 games. This year, the mustache is back and the Tribe are on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.
Some call it a porn ‘stache. I prefer to think Shaver is going for the half-Taft or even the full-on Ditka. Like the Tribe’s offense though, Shaver’s stache is trimmed to perfect, each side as perfectly balanced as the Tribe’s floor spacing in their half court sets.
Really, Shaver’s ‘stache is something to behold as it makes him look like a Confederate general or a game show contestant from the 70s. The American public deserves to see Tony Shaver’s mustache in the Tournament.
2) David Schneider and JohnMark Ludwick’s jump shots
JohnMark’s (yes, that is his real name) shot is easier to describe. It’s almost a pure set shot, a throwback to the fifties or the era before dunks. The best part is Ludwick is 6 feet 8 inches and built like a house; however, he has no offensive game except to launch his slow developing set shot from beyond the three point line. It looks ugly, like a chest pass to the rim, yet it goes in.
Schneider’s shot is even more remarkable considering he’s our leading scorer at 15.3 PPG He starts by jumping straight in the air, his knees coming so close to each other they almost touch. He looks as if he is jumping over a puddle.
Then, as he kicks his right leg out in front of him, he brings his left hand all the way over to the ball on his right hand, his shooting hand. His left arm makes almost a right angle during his shot as his left hand ends up over his right shoulder and not his head, as is the classic shooters pose. Schneider then proceeds to launch the ball on a line towards the rim, as though he is hoping to get points for speed as well as accuracy on his shot.
I feel comfortable in calling these the two worst shooting forms in America. The American public deserves to see them in the Tournament, either to marvel at how often they go in or as a tutorial to young children on how not to shoot.
3) Doug Howard
Howard is a 5 foot 9 inch freshman who unofficially serves as the team mascot on the bench, which is good because our school currently doesn’t even have a mascot (the current leader: a pug. No, I’m not joking). Howard is a walk on who had Division III offers but chose to come to William and Mary to play DI ball.
Howard is the consummate 12th man, always going crazy on the bench after big shots or emphatic dunks. My favorite Howard move: after a big dunk he will leap off the bench and extend his arms outward as if he is trying to hold his teammates back from rushing the court. Then he pantomimes shooting dice with his right hand before he starts jumping up and down like a little kid on a sugar rush.
Needless to say, if the Tribe pulled off an upset in the Tournament, Howard would be America’s next viral superstar. I would be shocked if there wasn’t at least one shot of a teammate — oh, let’s say Marcus Kitts — lifting him in the air after a big win which earns Howard an invite to the Good Morning America couch.
Screw it, I’m just gonna beg. Please, oh please, let us into the tournament. Yes, we lost to both Towson and UNCW (that’s the University of North Carolina Wilmington for those of you not familiar with CAA basketball) at home. And yes, we lost to James Madison on the road.
But we have good wins. We are the only team to beat Maryland at home this year. We spanked Wake Forest in Winston-Salem which, granted, looks less impressive by the day. We beat Richmond, who probably has a tournament bid sewn up. We only lost to UConn by nine.
Plus, and I didn’t want to do this but I feel like I should bring out the big guns here as I wrap up, our fan base may be the oldest fan base on earth. Williamsburg is the Palm Beach of Virginia, except instead of golf and sunshine, we have history tours and sidewalks made of brick which flood when it rains.
Realize these people might not have much time left to see their team in the tournament. So give us an at-large bid even if you think we might not deserve it. After all, you wouldn’t want to be responsible for killing grandma would you?