Monday, February 23, 2004

UConn Out-Physicals ND Men

Husky Men also Out-"Not Take Stupid Shots" The Irish

How bad of a night was it for Chris Thomas? Well, he actually pulled a Kanka. That's right, his 6-23 shooting night was capped off by a three from the corner that hit the top of the backboard. Dah. Thomas wasn't shooting well all game, but he refused to try to find anyone else who was passing well. Maybe that's because there wasn't anyone else. The lack of Torin Francis hurt in this game, not really so much for the rebounding presence, but more because Thomas put too much weight on his own shoulders - he felt that he was the only scorer out there, and the team lived and died with his 17 misses.
UConn's rebounding in this game was ridiculous, and it wasn't just because of Emeka Okafor and freshman forward Josh Boone. Too many times, the ND guards just stood there watching a UConn shot go up. This let the Husky guards easily slip around their Irish defenders and float to the basket for a tip-in. Also, ND has to be leading the country in opponent's missed free throws rebounded by the shooter. A big reason for this? Chris Thomas, who's resposibility is the shooter, just stands there flatfooted staring at the shot in flight, allowing the shooter to get in perfect, uncontested position for the long rebound.
Ugh. On one of the few positive notes, Colin Falls is starting to show hints he belongs in college ball. Keep it up, kid.
Next up for the Irish are the pesky Providence Friars. Providence actually comes in as a ranked team this year. But, as long as there are no no-name guards putting up 38 points on us, this is a very winable game, a la Seton Hall recently.

What I Did this Weekend

Kanka Gets a Taste of Politics, Monster Pizza

So many times I have a boring weekend, but this Saturday night was actually quite amusing.
My buddy Matt invited me to go see presidential candidate John Edwards speak at Cleveland State University on Saturday. Cleveland is not a State, but it is the alma mater of my dad. Also, John Edwards is not to be confused with John Edward, "medium"/Biggest Douche in the Universe (I was hoping they'd open things up for questions, though, just so I could act like I didn't know the difference).
As soon as we get in the door, we're hit with flyers from two people. Sure enough, they read, "Vote for John Kerry." Ah, politics. Inside the meeting room where Edwards was scheduled to talk, they were passing out stickers and selling buttons. Most buttons had pictures of Edwards, but the big sellers were the "BUCK FUSH" buttons. After exclaiming, "BUCK FUTTER!", I thought of buying one for Dave, Bush's #1 fan, but then I realized that a) that would cost money and b) I'm insanely cheap.
We stood near the back, by the press area. ABC was early, complete with campaign trail bus - I was going to sneak us inside, but it wasn't empty at the time. CNN/NBC and CBS decided to wait for Edwards at the airport. I spotted two girls there by themselves. One had "band braids" - those double braids similar to Jess the Drum Major's baseball braids. Of course, being a bando, I've come to find that band braids are a rather good look. The other looked like a combination of Ellen and Rebecca Lobo, minus the tombstone-sized teeth. Despite this fact, she was also quite attractive. So, did I invite these girls, now standing right next to us, to join Matt and me for dinner afterwards? No, I'll just wait til this is over and ask them then. Of course, by the time it was over, they were long gone. Dah.
Edwards was running a little late; it was a marathon day for him, flying from New York to Minnesota to Cleveland. So, the minority/majority leader of the Ohio Senate (he's a Democrat obviously; I can't recall offhand which party has control of the Ohio Senate) put him self in charge of keeping the crowd in it, between the Dave Matthews and Elton John playing in the background. Finally, around 8:30 or so (Edwards was due to start talking at 8), the Senator goes, "OK, are you ready?" The crowd holds up their signs and starts chanting "Edwards! Edwards! Edwards!" I lean to Matt and, mimmicking the Senator, quip, "...and that's exactly what we'll do once he gets here!" Sadly, I was right. Edwards got there around 9 or so, CNN and CBS camera crews in tow. Once there, the place turned into a pep rally. There was a 40s-ish woman a few rows ahead of us in a business suit, and, well, you've seen those Microsoft Office commercials, where everyone's running around celebrating? Yeah, she was like that.
Knowing that Dave would be doing the same if he were there, I kept making wrestling references to Matt. I was waiting for Kerry or Dennis Kucinich to jump out of the crowd and hit Edwards with a steel chair, or for Edwards to rip off his suitcoat and shirt to reveal a LeBron James jersey. Alas, the most exciting news of the night (you heard it hear first!) was that Howard Dean will be dropping out of the race, and he and his followers will now be supporting Edwards. This supposedly will become official after Super Tuesday, March 2. After nearly 2 hours of the crowd waiting, Edwards talks for 20 minutes, and that's it. Time to go home.
I'm not much into politics, as you probably all know, and almost all of my readers are hard-core Republican, so it wouldn't matter what I said anyways. But, the speech itself was amusing. Politics is a game of telling people what they want to hear, and "forgetting" to tell the rest of the story. It's the same for both parties, there's no way around it. Still, it's a funny game, and this was definitely an amusing adventure.
After the talk, as planned, Matt and I (sans Ms. Band Braids and Ellen Lobo) headed for Alice Cooper'stown Cleveland. Alice Cooper'stown is a great idea. Alice Cooper is a huge sports fan, so he started opening up sports bar/restaurants around the country. This one is right across the street from Jacob's Field. The entrance walls were lined with signatures of celebrities who have visited, mostly Browns and Indians players, but also a group of DiamondBacks, and Chris Rose, Cleveland area "celebrity" turned Best Damn Sports Show Period host. Dah.
Parking was a fun adventure. To pay for the lot we picked, you were supposed to put the fee in an envelope, put down your license plate number, spot number, and the date and time, and drop it in a box near the front of the lot. If they're out of envelopes (there are no people attending this lot), you use your own. Being rather non-Klondikian, niether Matt nor I had an envelope. Matt did have a pen though, and I had a John Kerry flyer. So, I fashioned the flyer into a crude envelope, and we were set.
Inside Alice Cooper'stown, we were asked, "smoking or non?" They should have asked, "smoking or no fun?", as the non-smoking section is a small, dimly lit room in the back with two small TVs and no music, and only one waitress (I was able to rationalize my normal "I'll give her a big tip because she's hot" morale by reasoning that "I'll give her a big tip because she's waiting on 3 tables at the same time and bussing with no help). We ordered a "monster pizza" (the works, basically), and started to look around. The menu listed famous Clevelanders, including George Steinbrenner. Dah. It also had to rub in the fact that he tried to buy the Indians, his lifelong dream, and was turned down. Of course, he probably just would have moved them to Tampa, just like he did with the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain. While waiting (although it was a rather short wait), I started to look around at the sports pictures on the wall. Right next to our table was a team picture of the 1991 Clevland Browns. Very nice.
OK, that's my story the end (now wasn't that anticlimatic?).

Bubble Watch

ND Women

The women continue to win, but their last three games have been against teams with RPIs lower than 150. This drops their RPI to 25. They have two games coming up against decent teams: UMiami, who they beat on the road earlier this year, and Rutgers, who's always given them fits. After that, it's two more crappy teams and then the Big East Tournament.

ND Men

You win some, you lose some. The men gain five spots, up to number 55. Let's check out the adjusted bubble RPI.
Magic Number: 34 at-large bids.
ND Men's RPI: 55
Conference Leaders RPI < 55: 15
Adjusted Bubble RPI: 40
So, they're improving (last week the adjusted number was 44), but they're not there yet. puts them in their "next four out," basically meaning they need to move up 8 spots to make the tournament. Well, a win against Providence would be a good start.

That's it for today. Check back this week for the Transaction Wire, the NL East preview, and a book report on Notre Dame's Greatest Coaches.