I feel really sick at the moment, I think I got the flu Monday at work. So I sat home and watched college hoops all night.
Texas 80, Texas Tech 73
Where to begin... The first half was horrible for Texas Tech. Texas ran a high percentage of zone and Texas Tech, predictably, shot 25%. Texas's twin toothpicks, Brad Buchman and Jason Klotz, were cleaning up on the boards. Daniel Gibson and Kenton Paulino got hot and stayed hot the whole game.
Second half was a little better. Tech got more aggressive on the glass and ended up out-rebounding Texas 37-33. Ronald Ross actually put the team on his back and finished with 29 points. Devonne Giles had a great game with 18 points and 13 boards. He actually found the high post holes in the zone in the second half, which I hope Knight and the coaching staff noticed. Darryl Dora continues to disappoint offensively. Martin Zeno disappeared, but still got 10 points. No contribution from the bench (1 point from the non-starters the whole game).
Overall, I think Texas deserves some credit for regrouping after the bad loss at OU. Daniel Gibson is starting to look like the second coming of T.J. Ford. Texas Tech needs to show some killer instinct when facing a team who is playing without their leading scorer and coming off a bad loss. If Giles continues to find holes in the zone and make shots it will help teams get out of the zone and let Tech run their motion offense. Although if Texas's two deathsticks got off to a good start down low, I shudder to think what OU'S Bookout and Gray are going to do in the paint.
Illinois 75, Wisconsin 65
Great job by Illinois going into a hostile environment and winning. Since I only saw the game at timeouts in the Texas-Texas Tech game, I'll just point you to people who actually saw the whole thing for their analysis.
- Blogger "Illini Wonk": "The most impressive thing about this win is the deficit they overcame late in the game. At about the mid-point of the second half, the Illini were staring at an eight point defecit and a crazed crowd. While holding that eight-point lead, the Badgers had two offensive trips that could have extended the lead to double digits.
But, as Dick Vitale said in the postgame on SportsCenter, 'all of a sudden you could see the look in their eye. They had the look of a champion and responded in a positive way.' The positive response by Illinois was a 13-2 run led by their bench to retake the lead. But, Wisconsin wasn't done. Two straight baskets from Mike Wilkinson and one by Alando Tucker gave the Badgers a 64-61 lead with four and a half minutes remaining in the game."
- Tom Oates, [Madison, WI] Wisconsin State Journal: "Alas, noise can only carry a team so far. No matter how much electricity is in the air or how loud the roar that cascades from the seats, the game is still decided by the players. ...
In a game that somehow managed to live up to the hype - no small feat given the immense national and regional buildup that preceded it - the Illini rallied to beat the Badgers 75-65. The crowd did its part, creating the most electric game-long atmosphere ever at the Kohl Center, but Illinois still put an end to UW's home streak."
- Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times (and occasionally ESPN) : "As anticipated and incessantly hyped, the Kohl Center was playing like a medieval dungeon Tuesday, treating the top-ranked team in college basketball like a slab of cheese in an attic of rats. In the Illinois huddle, the boys weren't reacting too well to a rare dilemma: an eight-point deficit, a 17-4 Wisconsin run, a ravenous crowd smelling blood, Dickie V at courtside ready to anoint Duke as the best team in America.
'Our guys started arguing a little,' coach Bruce Weber said. 'I looked at them and said, 'Look, what's with you guys? We've come all this way, and now you're going to start fighting?' We lost our poise. We weren't defending.'
In the Grateful Red section, filled with students, a party was about to break out. 'Overrated! Overrated!' the kids chanted, peppering every Illini fan in sight with a choice backside-related insult."
But in the end, it turned out only the building was overrated."
- Dick Vitale, ESPN.com: "In the end, it was the resiliency of Bruce Weber's team, coming back from an eight-point deficit in the second half, that got Illinois to the winner's circle. Those kids wouldn't go away after Wisconsin went on a 12-0 run to build a 56-48 lead.
Then Illinois had a look in its eyes, and like a true champion, the Illini fought back. There was unbelievable intensity and emotion all night, and the Orange Krush prevailed 75-65. The final score didn't indicate how close this really was. It truly was a great college basketball game."
The Continuing Saga of Colorado's Basketball Budget Woes
As previously reported by this blog and the Denver Post, Ricardo Patton's CU Buffaloes are missing more class because budget cuts in the athletic department are forcing the team to cancel charter flights. Well, It's gotten worse. CU women's coach Ceal Barry has reduced the senior banquet to a backyard barbecue in order to keep her charter flights. (not that there's anything wrong with a backyard barbecue, it's just that you should do something a little nicer for your team at year's end).
Now we know where the money is going, at least in part.
According to the Associated Press, The Rocky Mountain News has obtained financial information that states that the fooball team spent $35,000 in electronic tchotchkes as rewards for it's players making the EV1.net Houston Bowl. This despite the CU athletic program being $3 Million in the red because of the football scandals! So not only are they running a deficit, they are potentially running afoul of the NCAA once again, and the program in the most trouble still has a blank check to do what it wants. Just the sort of thing that would make a CU alum proud of his alma mater.
Why hasn't Bob Ley got wind of this? Or Sports Illustrated? This story deserves more attention than it is getting.
Places I'd like to see a game.
ESPN Writers Andy Katz, Pat Forde, and Fran Frachilla each compiled the list of their 5 best collegiate arenas. Naturally, this has spawned a spring of Top 5s on blogs across the country.
I've only been to 4 college hoops arenas in my lifetime (Tech's United Spirit Arena, the Erwin Center here in Austin, the old Miami Arena, and the Dean Dome. I also went to NC State's RBC Center, but that was for a Hurricanes-Avalanche game), so I really can't really come up with a top 5 list of basketball arenas I've been to. I think you need to go to at least 10 arenas so you can eliminate some truly bad ones. That said, there are some places I'd like to see a game. So here's my top 5 wish list in each sport:
Top 5 College Hoops arenas I'd like to see
- Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas) - I've been to Lawrence, but that was over Spring Break one year and by that time, the tournament was underway.
- Assembly Hall (Indiana) - Just to see where Bob Knight got his start
- Freedom Hall (Louisville) - Because if I have to pick one arena in Kentucky, I'm picking the one where Pitino is.
- The Palestra (in Philly)- I've heard Philly fan loves it's basketball. I want to see it for myself.
- The Pit (New Mexico) - Supposedly the best arena in the Mountain West.
Also recieving votes: Maples Pavilion, Gallagher-Iba Arena, Noble Center, Hofheinz Pavilion, Rupp Arena, U. of Miami's new arena, Pauley Pavilion.
Top 5 College football stadiums I'd like to see:
(I've been to Jones Stadium (Tech), and DKR-Memorial(UT) in case you are curious)
- The Big House (Michigan) - Just to see if it lives up to it's rep.
- Florida Field (Florida) - ditto
- Notre Dame - Because every college football fan should make a pilgrimage here once. Besides, the College Football Hall of Fame is here.
- The Rose Bowl on New Years' Day - Every fan should also make it out to a Rose Bowl also
- Tiger Stadium (LSU) - just for the crawfish at the tailgate. I love crawfish.
Also Recieving votes: Cotton Bowl (OU-Texas Game), Owen Field(OU), Neyland Stadium(Tennesee), "The Hedges" (Georgia).
Top 5 Pro Football Stadiums i'd like to see:
- Texas Stadium - Yes, believe it or not, I've never been to a Cowboys home game. As soon as I publish my novel, that will change
- Lambeau Field - This is another stadium I want to see if it lives up to the hype
- Reliant Field - Because anything has to be better than the Astrodome
- The artist formerly known as Pro Player Stadium - but only when Miami hosts the Super Bowl
- Network Associates Coliseum (a.k.a. "the Black Hole") - see #2
Top 5 Hockey Arenas I'd like to see:
- Pepsi Center - Would like to see an Avs home game for once, I've only seen the Avs in person twice, both on the road (although one time was Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals)
- Xcel Center (St. Paul, MN)- It hasn't been open that long, but I understand it's one of the best atmospheres
- Wachovia Center (Philly)- Supposedly another great atmosphere
- FleetCenter during the Beanpot (Boston) - Just so I can say I saw a Beanpot game.
- Any arena in Canada. Just to meet the people who understand hockey best.
Brief NBA Item
The Chicago Bulls are now 21-19 and 1 1/2 games behind defending champs Detroit (currently 4th) in the Eastern Conference with a lineup that features former collegiate All-Americans Chris Duhon, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. Think college experience doesn't matter anymore?
Super Bowl Item of the Day
ESPN's Sal Paolantionio reported on SportsCenter last night that Terrell Owens' orthopedic surgeon is not clearing him to practice or play at the moment. Looks like everything's falling right for the Patriots.
I'm going back to bed now.
Tomorrow: More hoops, More Super Bowl