ATB: Dickie V Court Debuted at DetroitPosted by rtmsf on December 6th, 2011
Tonight’s Lede. After nearly a month of non-stop action, the schedule begins to lighten during the weeknights of the next two weeks as teams go easy while preparing for and taking final exams. There were only 17 games tonight, none involving ranked teams, and the rest of the week until Saturday is only marginally better. Still, that gives us all an opportunity to take a breath and begin reviewing exactly what we’ve seen in the first four weeks of play. That will come later this week, but as for tonight, there was really only one major storyline.
Your Watercooler Moment. Dick Vitale Court Unveiled at Detroit.
It’s probably hard for college basketball fans under a certain age to believe this, but in the 1980s and part of the 1990s, Dick Vitale was almost as big a part of a broadcast as the teams playing that night. Whether Georgetown-Syracuse or Duke-Carolina or Michigan-Indiana, the game didn’t feel truly big time unless Vitale was in attendance. Long before he became the somewhat cliched caricature of himself known as “Dookie V,” the man was as instrumental as anyone alive in bringing college basketball to the masses and making it fun for fans. His coaching career at the University of Detroit Mercy was better than most think (78-30 overall, with a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen in 1977), but he’ll not be remembered for that — rather, it will be his unbelievable passion and intensity in elevating a game from merely exciting to out-of-your-seat enthralling. Let’s put it this way — with his innovative sayings, his obvious love for the sport, and the way he could bring himself to an apoplectic state at a basketball game, he was Gus before Gus. And for that, we’ll always love the guy, no matter how many times he mentions Duke in a broadcast.
Tonight’s Quick Hits…
- Horizon League Rising? Between Detroit’s win over St. John’s and Milwaukee’s victory over DePaul in Chicago, the Horizon League got over on the Big East to the tune of 2-0 tonight. How often can we say that, especially with Butler uninvolved? It’d be ambitious to argue that the HL is on a notable rise as a result of Butler’s postseason successes, but Milwaukee and Cleveland State both appear good enough to play in March this season. The Panthers in particular were methodical in their destruction of DePaul — they were up 20 at the half and never looked back.
- Austin Peay’s First Win. The OVC favorite as chosen by the league’s coaches and SIDs in the preseason finally notched its first win of the season in nine tries tonight. It took overtime to do it, but the Govs got past Arkansas State, 86-82 behind Josh Terry’s 22/5 and Melvin Baker’s 21/10, so maybe Austin Peay will start to turn things around this season. To be fair, they’ve had a very tough schedule (roughly top-30), but games at Bowling Green and Lipscomb probably should have been wins.
… and Misses.
- Detroit’s Uniforms. Of course we realize that the Detroit uniforms tonight were throwbacks from the 70s and that they will be sold at auction after this one game, but man, they were ugly. We felt like we were looking at some hybrid descendant of a Globetrotter uniform, what with the Gothic script, the giant number on the front of the jersey, the player name just above the derriere, and the black and red stars running down the sides. Let’s hope that whoever buys these things puts them in a locked vault never to see the light of day again.
- St. John’s Confidence. It’s only a month into the season, but already it appears that the confidence and live legs that we saw out of the Johnnies on opening night are wearing down. Notwithstanding the emotional effect of Steve Lavin attempting to come back to the sideline too early from prostate surgery, St. John’s just doesn’t appear to have the same swagger that it carried prior to the streak of losses that are now piling up (three in a row, and five of six). Confidence is a funny thing in basketball — when it’s gone, it’s awfully hard to recover — but SJU will have 12 days off for exams, and maybe Lavin’s return will infuse the team with some of what it had at the start of the year. They’re reeling right now.
Dunkdafied. Detroit’s Doug Anderson grabbed a rebound and threw it down over St. John’s all in one motion Fantastic…
- NPOY – Vincent Council, Providence. Council got one assist away from a trip-dub against crosstown rival Brown, going for 21/9/11 assts/2 stls tonight.
- Okaro White, Florida State. The FSU big man went for a career-high 20/7/3 assts on 8-12 shooting against Charleston Southern at home tonight.
- Ray McCallum, Jr. Detroit’s best player stepped up with 21/4 to give Dickie V. a reason to cheer for his old school tonight.
- Reggie Willhite, Yale. Break up the Ivies, as Willhite’s 23/7/5 assts/3 stls/2 blks helped Yale move to 6-2 with a road win over Sacred Heart.
- Leon Powell, Southeastern Missouri State. The SEMO big man had a ridiculous 26/19, including 10 offensive boards, in a win over Central Arkansas.
Tweet of the Night. Preach on, brother…