Sunday, February 20, 2005

Dirty Wins Ain’t No Sins – Belated, plus Steve Nash Making Everyone Better All The Time and Some Oscar Stuff

I tried to get an update up after we barely edged Providence yesterday, but a mix of NBA Street V3, quality hoops on TV and balling over at The Rock – followed by some mad Euchre – I didn’t have time. I’m just going to get boring and go with the pros and cons of yesterday’s one-point victory over the better-than-their-Big-East-record-states Friars.

Pro: The fact that we started a game shooting 3-for-25, ended up only shooting a shade under 34% on the afternoon – all of this on the road- and we still won. How’d we do this? We crashed the boards and outrebounded Providence 42-28. Omari Israel had a put back, Rick Cornett had fourteen boards and Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas combined for eleven. It’s nice to see the Irish roll up their sleeves and head inside when they need it.

Biggest Con: Let me just copy Torin Francis’s line for you, and let you draw your own conclusions before I tell you mine:

8 minutes, 0 for 6 shooting, 0 points, 0 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers

If you watched it, it was actually more painful than those ugly stats show. Torin could do nothing around the rim, flailing around like he’d never been around men his own size before. That edge he had against UConn and Syracuse has declined to such a state he didn’t play the entire second half – and nobody missed him. Kudos to Brey for realizing that in a game where our guards were able to create their own shots we didn’t need that dominating of a post presence as long as we had people in their to defend Gomes and hit the boards.

Brey benched Latimore for the second half on Wednesday night and he put forth a much better, if limited, effort yesterday. Hopefully this and the fact he’s going against a team he had his best game of the season against – UConn – will motivate our favorite granite-handed forward to play back at the level we were starting to expect.

Pro: How about Rick Cornett? After more or less costing us the Pitt game due to some bad luck and bad decisions, he comes through with a monster Grit Guy game, pulling down fourteen boards when we needed them, getting fourteen points on only nine shots and bringing in a toughness that Torin lacked. I really don’t want him in there as the focal point of our interior offense, but he needs to be getting minutes every game just for the fact he’s the only guy out there who looks like he’d hit you right in the mouth if need be

Con: Colin Falls continues to force shots, this time going 3 for 12 and throwing up more of his turn around, flailing leg shots. If Falls plays within himself and just takes the open shots he’s bound to get with Thomas and Quinn slashing and drawing attention, he’s fantastic, like against Boston College, but when he starts forcing stuff against taller, more athletic defenders for long stretches, things turn ugly and numbers get low. He still needs to shoot a lot, because he’s very good as soon as he finds his groove, just not early in the shot clock or from crazy body positions.

Pro: Chris Quinn continues to prepare for his inheritance of the team next year, putting up seventeen points and going five-for-eight from three. If the point guard they’re bringing in next year allows Quinn to play off the ball and slash the gaps and create for himself, we’re going to be in absolutely fantastic shape. He had some trouble with the press late in the game, but there’s still fewer guards who aren’t wearing orange and headbands that I’d rather have late in the game than Quinn and Thomas in the last half-dozen games or so (and I’m obviously giving them a mulligan on the game at Syracuse when they fall apart).

Eh?: Rod Kurdz, who played two of the most meaningless first half minutes you’ll ever see. I’m pretty sure he never ended up matched up with anyone who had the ball and I don’t think he ever touched it on offense. He didn’t foul, he didn’t rebound, he didn’t turn the ball over, he just didn’t do much of anything. Some game experience to help him down the stretch, or Brey trying to prove a point to come of his other bench guys that they need to step up?

Pro: Omari Israel playing over Russell Carter. Carter’s had his chance, and he’s managed to turn them over and make stupid plays. There may not be a more energized player on the team, but unless he can channel that for positive results, it’s not helping us any. Why not throw in Israel, who has shown some flashes of being the cutter we need? He plays within himself, other than his flying tomahawk fouls, despite being a little rough around the edges. Why not throw him on Marcus Williams or Rudy Gay for a possession or two Monday night and see if he can stop either of them?

Pro: Chris Thomas turns in a bad shooting night (4 for 15), but makes considerable contributions everywhere else, dishing out eight assists, grabbing six boards and being the definition of a ballhawk on defense. Thomas hasn’t played a bad game in two weeks, since that bomb he dropped against Syracuse when he nearly singlehandedly cost us that game. Didn’t play bad in the loss against Pitt, played great against BC and handled things well in the last two ugly wins against the Hoyas and Friar.

Does anyone not enjoy Ray Charles – “What I’d Say”? I’m tore up inside I didn’t realize how awesome he was until after he’d died and they’d make a biopic about it. You can listen to “Hit The Road Jack”, “What I’d Say”, “Rainy Night in Georgia” and “Here We Go Again” on repeat and never get tired of it.


It’s going to be interesting to see how things go down the stretch, but right now I’m giving the edge to Steve Nash over LeBron for the NBA MVP. I know that Nash has a plethora of weapons around him and he’s just doing what any capable point guard would do, but when you take him away from that team, they’re absolutely abysmal. This is the age-old argument of “Most Valuable Player” vs “Player of the Year”, and I’m tending to think that Nash deserves the former while LeBron deserves the latter.

I really just want Nash to win this for Jason Kidd, who was shafted out of the award in 2002 when somehow him resuscitating the entire Nets franchise wasn’t as great as Duncan carrying a team that still had a good deal of players from the 1999 World Champion team, including Hall of Famer David Robinson. I also feel that since LeBron will probably win another half dozen MVP’s in his career, it won’t hurt him to concede this one to the wavy-haired Canadian, especially after the cerebral assist he gave Stoudemire in the Slam Dunk Contest last night. I think Quentin Richardson would have won the three-point shoot out by more if Nash was delivering the ball to him as opposed to the rack, but that’ll never be proven.


Speaking of the Dunk Contest last night, I'm glad the sometimes completely wrong NBA Fastbreak crew are annointing Josh Smith as some kind of star. Here's a rookie who plays in the black hole of the NBA - Atlanta - who proved that he's really good at the one apparent talent he had: being an athletic freak.

I'm not saying Josh Smith will not be a star at some point in time, but let's just say winning an event nobody cares about for an All-Star weekend of a sport maybe 30% of sports fan enjoy does not make you a star in any sense of the word. Some people just like to talk on and on even though they have nothing really good to say...

...and for those less attractive and loud than Stephen A. Smith, they just type on and on.


It’s one week to Oscars, and I have to start cracking down on the finalists. I fell off after seeing Ray and Maria Full of Grace on the same night, as I still have to digest Finding Neverland and Hotel Rwanda by the time Chris Rock attempts to offend the uppity-ups of Hollywood next Sunday night. The safest money of the evening is on Jamie Foxx to win Best Actor, as if anyone else takes it I’ll be very shocked. Sean also found a non-pornographic version of Sideways to download, so if anyone wants to take in my Best Picture pick before it (hopefully) wins the award, drop by 114 and let him know.


No Arrested Development time. I don’t know what I’m going to do if they cancel it, probably just curl up in the fetal position and weep. The Simpsons isn’t even a relevant show anymore, why do they have to put it on instead of AD!?!? Grrrr…


By the reaction Charlie Weis gets around here (he was at the game Wednesday night), it’s hard to remember that he was something like our fourth choice, after Urban Meyer, Bobby Petrino, Jeff Tedford, Mooch and a whole host of others we may not have even heard about. Best of luck to Charlie, although I hope the alumni give him some breathing room the first couple seasons.


I lost the “Enter” key on my keyboard about a month ago, and I was doing fine just pressing the little blue nubbin that was underneath it, but now that’s falling off, too, so I’ll have to reluctantly trek over to OIT and order a replacement keyboard, deal with the lack of the key for another week and return from spring break with a laptop that has all the keys. Huzzah!


The college hoops blowout is coming at some point in time, I swear. I’ve already got it started up in another Word window, I just keep getting derailed from completing it. Let’s just say BC’s win over Syracuse and the results of the OK State and Kansas games yesterday make things even more interesting. A lot will lay on how Wake Forest does at Duke this evening, because if the Demon Deacons can’t push their foot down on the throat of a Blue Devil team that is absolutely reeling at this point in time, they don’t deserve the kind of national respect they’re getting.

Everyone have a suitably lazy Sunday afternoon and evening, despite this godforsaken snow that just rolled in. Less than two weeks until Break, Boston, Be Cool and the Big East Championship tournament...everyone just hold out.

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