A win is a win

John Mania Volume Two didn’t have quite the dominant performance many of us were looking for (and expecting) in the season opener last night. Nonetheless, JMV2 pulled out an ugly victory over the “Dirty Birds” by a (somewhat deceiving) final of 46-44.
It was truly a tale of two halves, but the Mania never trailed after taking a 5-3 lead early. After dropping 30 with the aid of hitting seven or eight three-pointers in the first half, JMV2 came out quickly in the second half, getting the ball to the basket for strong lay-ups against a tough 2-3 zone. Once the lead reached 19 for the second time in the half, the team seemed to flip into cruise control – a mistake against a streaky shooting Dirty Birds squad.
JMV2 fell in love with the trey-ball and went cold while getting lazy defensively as the Dirty Birds made three after three to cut the lead down to only three points near the two-minute mark. That was the closest they got until the buzzer-beating lay-up brought them within two in the end. An ugly win, but a win nonetheless.
A few observations:
-Little Guy hadn’t touched a ball in a few months. I’m pretty sure he hit two three balls. Rain.
-The Homeless Man is a machine. Somewhere around 10 points. I guess his scraggly hair and beard give opponents the impression he’s a scrub. Wrong answer.
-Some good additions to the squad this year. We’ve got more height, more quickness and a little more offensive firepower.
-I played well. I just hope the team isn’t counting on that every week. I’m not that good all the time.
-We shoot free throws like the Cincinnati Bearcats. It almost cost us down the stretch.
-We’re 1-0. I realize no one’s done it since IU back in the 70s, but this team’s got the potential for perfection.
-And, because I am so (un)original, I’ve decided to start a one-armed embrace count, a la Mark Titus. The count after our first game: a whopping one. Granted, the Dirty Birds only had six players. I trust there will be more to come.

Now on to things of legitimate concern.

– I don’t generally do this, but I’ll begin with the Winter X Games in a little place called Aspen. “A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.” Lloyd’s got room for one more if you still wanna go…

But seriously. Hats off to Shaun White. I would never even imagine doing half of the tricks he does. Or half of the tricks any of those guys do. Especially when there’s the possibility of what happens here at the :30 mark.

So what does he do after that? He could walk away and get ready for the Olympics in Vancouver. But he doesn’t do that. Instead, he goes out and wins gold. And he doesn’t just go out and do a solid run with some good tricks. No. He decides to go right back to the trick almost ended him earlier that day. I think it’s called a “Double McTwist 1260.” What a stud. A tip of the Tennent’s to Mr. White’s moxy.

– Big win for the Bearcats this weekend. For a team that has little to no offensive firepower in the halfcourt, dropping 92 in a conference win is large. I realize Providence doesn’t exactly play tough defense, but it’s something for this team to explode offensively like that. Especially considering the lack of contribution by Yancy.
Cashmere Wright was HUGE. 9-11 from the field, including 3-4 from three-point range to finish with 24 big points. The prospect of he and Jaquon Parker in the backcourt is one that I like. A lot.

If Cashmere (1) and Jaquon (44) can play like they have as of late, the Cincy backcourt can be dangerous. (photo, cincinnati.com)

– But Cash also served as a microcosm of this Cincy team – he did a lot of stuff well but was a pitiful 3-7 from the line. The team was an abysmal 20-41. That’s good for 48.8%. They shot 57.7% from the field. Logically, can someone please explain to me why the wide open shot 15 feet from the hoop is tougher than contested shots anywhere else on the court? The free throw shooting is going to catch up with them. It already cost them a potential statement win over a Xavier team that’s in the RPI top 25.

– This Cincinnati team still has a good chance to make the tournament, though. I just got finished reading ESPN’s first Bubble Watch. The Bearcats are on there, 41st in the RPI with their SOS at 40. Not too shabby. But they’ve lost to three other bubble teams (L’Ville, Seton Hall, St. John’s). Two of those three they have no excuse for losing. But the great play of Vanderbilt and Maryland are making those two non-conference wins in Maui look a lot better. Throw in the fact that they’ve lost very close games to three probable tourney teams: Gonzaga (by two in OT), Xavier (by four in double OT) and Pitt (by three). They still get chances to knock of “lock” teams in Syracuse, West Virginia and Georgetown. They could pad that resume in those games, and it’d go a long way to get a second win over ND this week in South Bend.

– Speaking of the NCAAs, there’s a legitimate possibility that three of last year’s Final Four teams could be left out of the tournament. Louisville, UConn and North Carolina all are in jeopardy of making an appearance in the NIT instead of the Big Dance.
UConn and Louisville are playing right now and the Cardinals look good with a 48-34 lead at the half. But they’ve made a habit of losing big leads this season (see: loss to WVU this weekend, loss to ‘Nova earlier this season). We’ll see if the Huskies can continue that trend. A win tonight would go a long way for both squads. **The Ville is now up 63-45 – they make a lot of 3’s.**
UNC looks terrible. They got spanked at home by Virginia last night and have a 2-4 conference record. I think they’re going to be just like the ’07 Florida squad – lose all your big names after the national title and miss the tourney the next season.

– Of course, all this bubble talk would be meaningless if the NCAA expands to a 96-team tournament. That would make the college basketball season about as exciting as the majority of the football bowl season. But at least every team would have a chance…unlike football. But I still don’t want to see it. A 96-team is a terrible idea.

– Rhode Island has a higher RPI than Xavier? I don’t exactly follow the Rams all that closely, but I find that hard to justify. Especially since the Muskies have a SOS of 12.

– Big bounce back win for Mizzou this weekend against OK State. They handled the Cowboys after they went in to the “Octagon of Doom” in Manhattan and knocked off K-State earlier in the week. Mizzou was in control for basically the entire game, forced a ton of turnovers, capitalized on those turnovers and established the pace they wanted from the tip to the final buzzer.

This guy thinks the Reds are going to finish second in the Central Division this year. I just have a hard time taking predictions that have teams winning 85.5 games seriously. I always kept track of wins and losses with whole numbers.

– Do people think Tiger’s a sex addict just because he did all that sleeping around while he was married? Apparently Derek Jeter would be a sex addict, too. If her were married.

– I wish I had the cahones to answer exam questions like these guys…especially the very first one. But, here’s one of my favorites (without being sexist, of course):

It's such a simple solution.

– This guy does an outstanding Morgan Freeman impression.

– I’ve got some schoolwork to do, so I will finish with this. CBS shot down a commercial for a gay male dating site. I’m sure it’ll raise a big stink. But, as Mo Egger said, “How many guys (raising my hand) are gonna screw with their buddies and sign them up for this?”

Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on February 1, 2010.

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