My mother and I usually talk every two to three days and at some point towards the beginning of the conversation, she will ask me with all sincerity, “so what exciting things have you done today?” I dont really have the heart to tell her that there is not a great deal exciting happening during my daily life. However due, in large part, to my good fortune with the website and with a great group of friends, I occasionally have fun or interesting stories (example: I saw Wimp Sanderson at the Kentucky game and he asked me if I knew where he could get a Coca Cola). Thus some nights I have lots to say. This would not be one of those nights.
I spent the greater part of my evening tonight (thanks to the good folks at ESPN Full Court) watching three basketball games: Davidson v. Missouri, Louisiana Tech v. Texas Tech and TCU v Tulane. This may not seem like an exciting set of games (it isnt), but they were good for at least stretching my mind around college basketball as it currently stands.
On Channel 405 (dont you think our great-grandparents, people who must have been shocked at the sight of any images of on television, would be completely baffled by the fact that I have a channel 405 and can find little to watch?), was the always exciting contest between Missouri and Davidson. Missouri is coached of course by the man with the pretty hair, Quinn Snyder, who has never found a Division I team that he could not help underachieve. Watching Missouri early in the season has become one of my pasttimes, as I can always count on them playing some bizarre opponent (just three weeks ago it was Sam Houston St) and getting beaten, at times relatively handily, all the while finding myself staring at Quinn Snyder and wondering why it looks like he spends more time on hair highlights than defensive sets. This game was no different as the home team Davidson (how in the world did they get Missouri to come to Davidson), dominated the game from beginning to end and sent the Tigers home 2-3. Duke assistants, like Duke NBA players, truly do disappoint, although Snyder is a law grad from my alma mater so I will limit my harassment to hair and basketball only (no mention of his growing wondering eye).
Another team that finds itself with bizarre early season losses is Texas “when you combine the General and the cover boy of New York Times Magazine Mike Leach, we have more publicity for our mediocre programs than any school in the country” Tech. Robert Montgomery Knight is the last of a dying breed, a coach that is actually more than just a figurehead for his school, but has lasting appeal across the sports spectrum. There are really only two coaches that are known by people outside of the college basketball world, Coach K and Knight. Coach K of course induces projectile vomiting by virtually everyone in the sport, so that leaves us with Knight as the figure we must follow. In watching the game tonight, I was struck as I always am by a Knight team at how efficiently they run their offense, what great free throw shooters they are and how they inexplicably will find themselves down to a team like Louisiana Tech by fifteen. Games like his NCAA Tournament win last season against Gonzaga show that the General can still get it done. However games like tonight also show that he is a fragment of his old self…..still that does make him more interesting than Bill Self, Bruce Weber and Roy Williams combined.
Finally, I finished off with a healthy dose of the worst game I have ever seen, TCU v Tulane. Now as we all know, all Americans have a great deal of sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina (and if you have not seen the Congressional testimony from a couple of days ago where New Orleans residents were screaming at Representatives explaining that the levees in New Orleans were bombed, you must find the video) and we root for those cities and teams affected by the tragedy. One of those is of course Tulane, a place where students who signed up to attend a party school in a party town, soon found themselves escaping the area, watching their belongings float away and wondering whether Florida St is still accepting applications. Tulane’s basketball team cannot play in New Orleans and thus are forced to play their home games at the campus of Texas A&M. This of course leads to situations like tonight, where the Green Wave have a “home” game in the middle of Texas in front of a crowd of literally, dozens. It appeared that both teams were playing in a cavernous YMCA and you could actually hear with detail, the squeaking of the players’ shoes. The game was on CSTV (a network best known for hosting my Hoopville column) and considering the score was in the 40s, the national television audience had to be me, Ladanian Tomlinson and Duncan the KSR Guru…..only the true believers.
Watching the game, I actually felt sad….although I wasnt clear if it was for the players, the game or my evening’s activities. Feeling a bit pathetic, I quickly turned on my DVR and watched an old episode of “Breaking Bonaduce”…..see all the world is ok again.