Tag:Destination Scouting Report
Posted on: February 22, 2010 1:03 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 8:43 pm

Destination Scouting Report: Lawrence, Kansas

By Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds, grab a couple of bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination. Their dossier and agenda are to remain top secret. However, I went to high school with one of the writers from Viva Laughlin and CBS forgot to take back his keys. Here is what he found…

The sixth-largest city in Kansas, Lawrence proudly declares itself a college town. And, like any college town, it lends itself to being easily abbreviated and tagged with “Vegas”. Unfortunately for Lawrence, Kansas, Larry Vegas has been claimed about 250 times already, according to Google. And I’m pretty sure someone named Larry Vegas sent my wife a Facebook message asking if she wanted to pose for photos. On second thought, Lawrence is just fine.

Traveling Distance:
The trip from East Lansing to Lawrence is a daunting one, but not one that our weary road warriors will back down from. Now nearly halfway through their trip, they’ll pack up the Kia Rondo, watch Kid Rock wave farewell in the rearview mirror and travel 750 miles to where our fair game came was birthed from the athletic Canadian loins of Dr. James Naismith. In the process, they’ll bid farewell to C.M. Tomlin, who will return home to make room for Matt’s ego, which has grown considerably since having two columns on the CBS Sports college basketball page yesterday.

Song Birds:
College basketball is rich with tradition and each school has their calling card. However, there is, perhaps, no more famous signature chant than KU’s “Rock….Chalk….Jayhawk….KU” ditty. The chant is usually recited after singing the alma mater and is followed by the fight song. According to the Kansas site, it was originally “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU” when created in 1886 and later took on “Rock Chalk” as a tribute to Lawrence’s limestone. It also says Kansas fans eagerly await Lady Gaga’s “Rock chalk, rock chalk chalk, rock chalk, rock chalk chalk” remix.

Acronym Confusion:
The University of Oklahoma is referred to as OU. The University of Kansas is referred to as KU. As the kids say, I’m HMS (for the rest of you old guys, that’s “shaking my head”).

Toto, I don’t think we’re on probation anymore:
Over the past two seasons, Kansas went 64-11 and won a national title. During that time, Kansas was also on (minor) probation. Does that mean that Kansas was the first school to win a national title while on probation? I don’t know. CBS wouldn’t fund an intern for the trip. It should be noted, though, that the probation had nothing to do with the academic records of Darrell Arthur, who was found to have not technically graduated high school after beating a guy who supposedly didn’t take his SAT in the NCAA title game. You do know neither of the A’s in NCAA stand for academics, right?

Serious Statistical Breakdown:
Mark Mangino ate this part. But only after he subjected it to unfair mental torture.

Carry on my Wayward Son:
Since this past summer, Tyshawn Taylor has been the leading scorer on Team USA, broken his finger fighting the football team, inspired a hot new video game, had his Facebook taken away for posting transfer threats and earned a starting spot. That’s more ups and downs than Danny Bonaduce on a pogo stick. But, if his 17 points against Colorado is any indication, Taylor is gassed up, aight? Point plankn.

Celebrity Fan Power:
Kentucky has Ashley Judd, Southern Cal has Snoop Dogg, Texas has Matthew McConaughey and Temple has Bill Cosby. Kansas? They have former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie, who has been popping up at Jayhawk games lately to root for his buddy Bill Self. Should he be in attendance tonight, it’s a win-win for the road trip crew as Drew can finally get the name of the rehab program that encourages traveling from college town to college town and Tomlin’s replacement in the back seat could end up being a former Big 12 and SEC Coach of the Year. You in, Clyde? Pit stop in Lexington tomorrow…

On a personal note: As a Kentucky alum, I found this part of Bill Self’s Wikipedia bio unnecessarily harsh: “Self joined Larry Brown's coaching staff at the University of Kansas, replacing the position vacated by John Calipari”. Vacated? Low blow.

Just like a night at the Playboy Mansion in the 70’s, the guys will look to get inside and get their senses wrapped around what Wilt Chamberlain left behind. There will be rocking, there will be chalking and there will be Jayhawking, whatever that may mean. But, most importantly, they will pay heed and they will beware of the Phog….or at least all the Phog puns, of which there are thousands.

KU, the expectations are high for this trip. You’re 26-1, you’re #1 in the nation, your program is dripping in history and your center is missing one of his front teeth. Anything thing short of an epic 24 hours will be a major letdown.

Lawrence, Kansas, let’s do this.
Posted on: February 21, 2010 12:53 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 8:44 pm

Destination Scouting Report: East Lansing, Mich.

Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds at the crack of noon, grab a couple of NCAA approved bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination.  Though their dossier and agenda are to supposed to remain top secret, I went to high school with one of the writers from "Viva Laughlin" and CBS forgot to take back his keys.  Here is what he found…

By:  Thomas Beisner

12:30 AM

The story of how East Lansing came to be has the sexiness of Susan Boyle and the entertainment value of Riding the Bus with My Sister. So, for the purposes of this, let’s just pretend that many believe that East Lansing just appeared one day, while others argue the city evolved from monkeys. Both sides, however, agree that it’s in Michigan.  (I hope my vague reference to the Big Bang Theory makes up for the Viva Laughlin jokes...have I mentioned how much I love CBS?).

Traveling Distance: Unshaken by the Iowa blizzard and the audible that landed them at DePaul, our road warriors have just over 200 miles between themselves and the center of Big 10 basketball. In real time, that’s about three hours. In “this is the fourth destination of this road trip” time, that’s miserable. On the positive side, they’ll at least have time to discuss if Louisville fans tucked Black and Milds in their ears for fashion or for function.

Historical Relevance: Michigan State students pack an area of the Breslin Center called the Izzone and the Spartan program can boast of Magic Johnson and The Flintstones. Ohio State, meanwhile, gave the world 1960 National Champion Bobby Knight and the “O-H, I-O” chant, a duo more hateable than Spencer and RoboHeidi.

Boarding School: The Spartans have never been afraid to unleash a football player on your power forward or throw an awkwardly physical white guy on the floor in an effort to grab a rebound (Duke point guard and Michigan State center have to be the whitest position of the last decade, right?). This team is no different - and it could spell doom for the Buckeyes, especially on the offensive end. Michigan State has over 100 more offensive rebounds this season than the Buckeyes and will look to beat them up inside. Can we tag those last seven words under “Rick Pitino jokes”?

Grudge Factor: I’m sure these teams hate each other, but not as much as I hate them. It all stems from the 1999 Final Four. I was there and my beloved Kentucky Wildcats were not, thanks to Michigan State. Ohio State was apparently not there at all thanks to Jim O’Brien. What we were left with was Khalid El-Amin’s beer gut winning a national title and Jake Voskuhl’s hair permanently placed in the record books. These schools must accept at least a little blame for this.

Famous Alumni: For Ohio State, Greg Oden’s genitalia probably has the highest Google ranking, but I don’t think it graduated. But, as far as true alumni go, Ohio State can be proud of Tomlin and Drew’s favorite writers (Bruce Vilanch and R.L. Stine) and Matt’s favorite basket-weaver (Tami Longaberger). Michigan State, meanwhile, earns bragging rights over James Caan, professional junkie Tom Sizemore and lover of the Charles Manson joke, Jemele Hill.

Agenda: While the goal is likely to see how good Evan Turner is and if he has anything up his sleeve the day after John Wall improved his National Player of the Year stock, that’s probably not what will happen. I foresee trouble in reigning in Matt while in the same building as his man crush, Tom Izzo, and Drew disappearing once he finds out Michigan State has the largest “study abroad” program in the United States (abroad is one word, Drew).

East Lansing, let‘s do this.
Posted on: February 19, 2010 1:04 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 8:46 pm

Destination Scouting Report: Cedar Falls, Iowa

By: Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds at the crack of noon, grab a couple of NCAA approved bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination.  Though their dossier and agenda are to supposed to remain top secret, I went to high school with one of the writers from "Viva Laughlin" and CBS forgot to take back his keys.  Here is what he found…


Location:  According to Wikipedia, Cedar Falls, the home of Northern Iowa University, was originally named Sturgis Falls after William Sturgis, a sea-faring American hero from the 18th century.  It was renamed Cedar Falls later due to its close proximity to the Cedar River.  If these standards applied today, tonight’s game would be in Cracker Barrel Falls, Iowa.  (Confession:  Research shows there is not a Cracker Barrel within 100 miles of UNI…how is that possible?)

Traveling Distance:  Today our road warriors embark on a leg of the trip that is so short, Lorenzo Romar might recruit it to play point guard.  Traveling an estimated 271 miles in about 4 and half hours, the fiercest foe will not be the road, but the lingering Milwaukee hangover and Matt’s Jason Mraz playlist.

Mascot:  The Panther.  When I originally typed this, I accidentally wrote “Panter”, which of course is not the mascot.  That’s a contact in Rick Pitino’s black book.

School Colors:  Mostly white.  For this game, however, they'll be really white.

Forecast:  Despite the local weatherman's best efforts to heat things up with a little innuendo, it’s going to be cold.  Like sleeping with your best friend’s girl on the day his dog died and his parents split cold.  The temperature calls for a high of 29 degrees and, with two of the nation’s top-3 scoring defenses battling inside, the shooting might be just as icy. Both teams allow only 55 points per game (UNI: 55.1, ODU:  55.8) and aren’t too shy about shooting the three (UNI: 18 per game, ODU: 15).  However, rain is not expected in the forecast.  At least not from Old Dominion, who shoots 30% from downtown.  (That paragraph is dripping in more cheese than Milwaukee was, sorry.)

Notable Alumni:  Northern Iowa’s alumni list is littered with former football players including former NFL MVPs Kurt Warner and Bryce Paup, making them one of only two schools to have both a defensive and offensive MVP as an alum.  On the Old Dominion side, things are a little more eclectic as the Monarchs boast headband pioneer Chris Gatling, a Watergate burglar and the host of Cash Cab.  If we were awarding points for flat tops, UNI would be the runaway winner.  This is purely based on cultural impact, though, and the non-conference bragging rights go to Old Dominion.

Agenda:  Besides not freezing to death, the agenda is simple.  Soak up everything that is Northern Iowa University and get a first-hand look at two of the best mid-major (is that a dirty word in Cedar Falls?) teams in the country.  If seeing these teams up close helps us earn a couple extra bucks in the office pool in March, then so be it.  And if Drew tracks down this fellow CBSer and former UNI student, we'll apologize later.  Just don't blame it on the Viva Laughlin guy.  He's been through enough.

Cedar Falls, Iowa, let’s do this.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com