It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VII

Posted by jbaumgartner on January 18th, 2011

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC contributor.  In this piece he’ll spend each week reviewing the five things he loved and hated about the previous week of college basketball. This week, Jesse gives props to the Hopson coiffure and reveals his man crush on Jay Wright — then alienates the entire city of Pittsburgh. We’re sorry…ya Yinzers.

The Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…..listening to a Pac-10 nail-biter – that’s right, listening – on a radio this week since the game wasn’t televised. Everything in today’s media market is so visual and video-based, and you can get almost any game on the tube with the right cable package. But there was something very appealing about trying to picture exactly what was happening on the court with 2.5 seconds left using just a single voice and the crowd noise during the Washington vs Stanford game. I’d argue it even upped the drama.

I LOVED…..how I found myself wondering just how in the world Villanova coach Jay Wright always has short, athletic guards every year who can do it all. Every. Freaking. Year. Corey Fisher, Scottie Reynolds, Randy Foye, Allan Ray, and so on. While I always have to pick against ‘Nova in the tourney because I think they’ll run into someone too big, you have to appreciate the fearless perimeter play that Wright gets from his small guys.

Fisher Is Yet Another Product of the Jay Wright Short Athletic Guard Factory

I LOVED…..Scotty Hopson’s Scottie Pippen haircut. So classic. When you have by far the best name ever for a basketball player, it’s important that you back it up with the best basketball haircut of all time – the unbeatable fade. Props to you Scotty, you’re doing Pippen and Will Smith proud with the ‘do.

I LOVED…..Glen Rice, Jr. representin’ for the fam in Georgia Tech’s rout of North Carolina on Sunday. First, there was the Lebron-esque up-and-under reverse, and then he went straight-up vintage dad with some nasty-looking jumpers from long range. It might not be enough to save Paul Hewitt’s job, but there’s something special about seeing a little of the old man in a young player.

I LOVED…..seeing Khris Middleton continue his transition into a stud for Texas A&M. 28 points in the Missouri win – 11 of them in overtime – will get you noticed. I was lucky enough to be in Spokane last year to cover the first round of the NCAA tourney, and I was struck by this gangly freshman who exhibited an awfully smooth-looking J from outside for a long wing player. With at least 16 points in six of his last nine games, he’s coming to play when it counts.

The Five Things I Hated This Week

I HATED…..monster blocks that go sailing into the seats. I’ll admit it – despite being 24 years old, this is one of my few old-timer sentiments. I’m all John Wooden when it comes to the block party. Why in the name of smart basketball would you spike a ball out of bounds so that the other team gets another chance? And those highlight-reel, 20th row swats are the worst, because they can only happen when a defender has anticipated the shot so completely that he could literally do anything he wants with it. Make it a turnover rather than a meaningless statistic.

I HATED…..that Michigan State had 18 points at the half against Northwestern, and 20 against Wisconsin. I’ve been vouching for the Spartans all season long, telling my buddies that they’ll still be there at the end. But good heavens, can you put the ball in the basket? I know Tom Izzo’s teams are built for the tournament, but it sure seems like they’re struggling a lot for a team that lost virtually nothing from last season. I guess I’ll stay on the bandwagon. For now.

I HATED…..Kyrie Irving’s droopy, disappointed eyes on the bench against Virginia on Saturday. The kid was deaaaadddd. And this isn’t a criticism. I mean, it’s obviously just eating away at his basketball soul to be in street clothes sitting next to Coach K. Sure, I bet he’s excited about going to The League soon. But you’re a big-time player who has already come to play in big-time games, and now you have to sit and watch basketball at Cameron Indoor – the most exciting place play in the whole country. That’s rough.

I HATED…..West Virginia fans rushing the court after beating Purdue. Oops. That might be blasphemy, given the name of this blog. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good court rush just like the next giddy idiot. But Mountaineer Nation, for the love of trampled hardwood, YOU WERE IN THE FINAL FOUR LAST SEASON. I know it might be hard to remember that with four losses already this year, but it happened. Seriously. On an unrelated note, isn’t WV guard Joe Mazzulla like a tenth-year senior or something? The guy could be a prof.

I HATED…..the glimpses I got of Pitt this week. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m just not a fan of the Panther style. I never have been. It’s just choppy. There are other words that might suffice – workmanlike, unaesthetic, disjointed, overly-physical, I don’t know – it’s just always bugged me. I like Jamie Dixon, I like how hard his teams play, I just don’t like watching them. It’s like sitting in front of the TV for a Steelers game (maybe its just a gritty Pittsburgh thing?). You feel like you’re putting forth a physical effort just to get through the telecast. Nothing comes smooth, even when they’re on a roll. That doesn’t make sense. I know.

jbaumgartner (48 Posts)


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