Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.21.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2009

dynamite1

It’s BracketBuster Saturday, and we’re back with another compelling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite.  We don’t know how it is where you live today, but it’s rainy and chilly here at the RTC Western Compound, which means it’s a great day for huddling up on the couch, firing up the three tvs, ordering up some pie and watching hoops all day.   There are some pretty strong games on the slate today, starting with Butler v. Davidson early and finishing with BYU v. UNLV late.  Settle in and feel free to make your own observations in the comments section.

12:08pm. Oh no, Steph Curry’s mom is NOT at the Davidson game today!!!!  Who will the cameras show in the crowd?!?!!?  Oh yeah, Dell’s there.  Ok.  Whew.

12:10pm. Wonder how ESPN decides who gets to host these games?  Seems like a pretty big decision considering Butler and Davidson are so tough at home, and the loser could drop a seed line or two based on this game.  Curry doesn’t like quite as quick as normal so far – the ankle is probably a little tender.

12:17pm. Our new uber-intern sent over some interesting news today – looks like Patrick Patterson might go for Kentucky today against Tennesee (coming up at 1pm), and surprise of all surprises, the NCAA is investigating USC with respect to recruiting Daniel Hackett.   His dad is the strength and conditioning coach at USC (which is legal, btw).

12:30pm. There are a couple of other BB games that started at 11am, and the most interesting one is Northeastern at Wright St., which is on ESPN2.  NE is leading by six right now, while CAA sibling ODU is crushing Liberty and Seth Curry.

12:46pm. How many games this year have we watched Davidson only to hear some announcer talking about Steph Curry having an “off” game.  It would be nice if he’d just come out and blow up one of these nationally-televised games.   As it now stands, he’s 1-10 and 0-6 from three.

12:50pm. Interesting stat from Brad Nessler there – that if Curry continued his 30 ppg pace for another season-plus at Davidson, he could conceivably catch Pete Maravich’s all-time scoring total record.  Of course, Pistol Pete did it in three years, but that would be a phenomenal record to approach.  We’ll see if we can figure the math and get back on that.

12:52pm. Early afternoon bubble watch.  Miami is smoking BC in S. Florida at halftime (up 12) and ND is also up 12 at halftime on Providence.  These are both pretty much must-wins, although Notre Dame needs it a little more than Miami.

12:57pm. Somehow three of the top four CAA teams drew road games in the BracketBusters event.  So far, the CAA looks good.  VCU only lost by one at Nevada last night, and Northeastern is finishing off Wright St.  ODU already won, and it’ll be very interesting to see what George Mason can do at Creighton later this evening.

1:02pm. Wow, Doug Gottlieb just eviscerated Jay Williams as to why Georgetown was going to make the tournament.  He must have thought he was back on that motorcycle there.  No inside presence?  Except the best freshman big in the country, Greg Monroe.  We get his point about frontcourt depth, but we’re with Gottlieb here – we think Georgetown makes a run to get to 9-9 in the Big East.

1:06pm. We’ve got some 1pm games starting here, incl. Bruce Pearl’s orange blazer at Kentucky (speaking of bubbles), Buffalo at Vermont on the deuce, and the second half of ND-Providence on ESPN FC.  Oh, and did we mention Gus Johnson is in Lexington today.  Oh yes.

1:11pm. Thanks CBS for showing me a graphic telling me that UK is on a 5-0 run in the last 3:20…  or, to start the game.  Brilliant.

1:18pm. Ok, here’s the deal on Curry catching Maravich.  Curry had 2414 coming into today.  Maravich ended with 3667 pts.  If we assume eight more games this year (three regular season; three SoCon Tourney; two NCAA Tourney), and 35 games next year, that’s 42 games.  He’d have to average 29.84 over that stretch to pass him.  Since he’s averaging 29.0 already this season, this is eminently possible should he stick around another season.  That would be fairly cool to track next season – let’s hope he returns.

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Getting Off Dickie V’s Back (For Now)

Posted by jstevrtc on January 20th, 2009

John Stevens is a featured columnist for RTC.  His columns will appear on Tuesdays throughout the season.

This past Saturday I was watching the North Carolina vs Miami (FL) matchup and simultaneously checking out nvr1983′s live press-row blog of the event.  Just before the second half started, ESPN’s Dick Vitale started talking about his favorite subject, the Duke Blue Devils.  No surprise there, right?  Well, this time he prefaced it by saying, “I know people don’t like it when I talk about Duke, but I’m gonna talk about them!” or something close to that (I don’t have video of this, but if you do, put a link in the comments section and I’ll add it to the post and credit you). 

daylife.com and Getty Images)
Why is that man smiling? Forget it. We know why. (photo credit: daylife.com and Getty Images)

This tells us that it’s obvious that Vitale is very much aware and maybe even a little sensitive about how the college basketball-loving public perceives him as favoring the Blue Devils.  Heck, I admit, in the past I’ve been quick to jump on the guy with both feet about this.  I’ve rolled my eyes and shaken my head like so many others when he, in a non-Duke basketball game, starts prattling on about Duke like a lovesick 6th-grade girl who has a crush on a boy and wants to talk about it endlessly.

So Vitale said a few things about Duke and that was that.  Big deal.  Big surprise.  But right as the second half began, I began thinking — this wasn’t his usual Thom Brennaman-Tim Tebow hyperbole about the Dukies.  It was — gasp! — actually relevant.  You see, it was the “I know people don’t like it” part that caught my attention, specifically.  That borders on an apology, or at least an acknowledgment of his Blue Devil affinity.  Now, like a lot of college basketball fans, I think, I don’t have a problem with the Duke program (I’m still deciding whether Coach K’s satellite radio show is fair or not) as much as I have a problem with Vitale (and certainly Mike Patrick) bringing it up when it has no relevance to what’s going on in front of him.  That’s the only time it ticks me off.

You know what it reminds me of?  When you’re talking to some girl and she does that “boyfriend” thing, meaning she inserts a random reference of the fact that she has a boyfriend into a conversation the FIRST chance she gets because 1) she really has one, or 2) she’s not interested and this is her way of telling you.  I think you know the conversation I’m talking about.  Who among us hasn’t been here:

Me:  I had a flat tire today.
Girl:  You know what?  My boyfriend’s car has tires.

Or:

Me:  That’s a heavy oxygen tank, there.
Girl:  My boyfriend breathes oxygen!

Or maybe:

Me:  Hi, I…
Girl:  Boyfriend.

I recall that great bit on Seinfeld where George was out on a date with a woman who does that little trick by telling George he has a nice watch, then says, “My boyfriend loves watches, he’s a real watch freak.”  When discussing it with Jerry, Jerry notes, “They just SLIP it right in there, like it’s all part of the conversation.”  Well, I think that’s kind of what Vitale does.  And I think it’s combined with a little bit of that schoolgirl thing I mentioned above.  Or perhaps in Mr. Vitale there’s a little bit of that guy who was affected so much by Star Wars as a kid that he’s never been the same.  You know the guy, the one who makes a Star Wars reference any time he can; the guy who filters his whole existence through that movie, seemingly asking himself at every moment of the day, “What does this have to do with Star Wars?  What possible link can I make between that movie and the things that happen in my life on a moment-to-moment basis?”  I think all of these are at the root of Vitale’s Duke-o-philia.

BUT, my dear readers, I caught myself on this occasion, before I started texting my friends and ripping Vitale.  There’s a difference, this year.  This season, Duke is relevant.  Because Duke is good.  True, Duke is usually good.  But this season is different. 

I see a different sort of energy around this particular Duke squad that I haven’t seen in recent years.  This is a team that has bought into the fact — one that coaches across the country at all levels try SO HARD to get into the collective consciousnesses of their teams — that defense creates offense, that the toughness of your defense will determine your success.  In addition to being 4th in the nation in scoring, themselves, Duke keeps their opponents at 39.6% shooting per game, and they are second in the nation in a statistic I consider very important and telling, that of Turnovers Forced Per Game (17.0!!).  So maybe Vitale, in his Duke love, is to be given a little leeway this year?

I admit, that’s going to be tough.  How many of you recall this incident from last year, where Vitale was calling a Duke game and this was shown:

misterirrelevant.com
The Vitale Grandkids (Photo credit: misterirrelevant.com)

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