Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:28 am
I have an eternal undying appreciation of the hoop player that goes for the fro. That's UC Irvine's Michael Wilder in Baton Rouge.
By Matt Norlander
First and foremost, rest in peace, Christopher Hitchens. The world has been robbed 20 years too early of a terrific thinker and writer. // Oh I cannot stop scrolling up and down, back and forth -- awkward family photos for the holidays! // It's the Word of the Year. I use it with frequency. Is that a bad thing? // Another list of the 20 best songs of 2011. I don't agree with 15 of the picks, which means they're doing it right. // So great, even unbelievable: capturing the speed of light on camera. // Breathtaking views (they look like paintings) atop One World Trade Center ...
★ When had our dream teams, and Jameson Fleming took the concept upon himself and put a twist on it.
★ Reeves Nelson is off to Lithuania to play basketball.
★ Former Boston College stud Troy Bell is now an R&B artist ... and it's actually not all that bad -- and I'm not even a guy with a whole lot of R. Kelly, Joe and Luther Vandross in his iTunes library. (Plenty of Boyz II Men, of course.)
★ Damian Lillard is not only the nation's leading scorer, he's also the most efficient offensive player.
★ Scary, but looks like everything's going to be OK for the Utah redshirt sophomore who needed brain surgery.
★ Things get thinner for suffering Siena.
★ It's not all love here in the Wakeup Call. In an effort to be fair to readers, it's right to point out pieces I disagree with here and there. This -- and I'm not alone here -- is among the most confounding things written about hoops I've seen so far this season.
★ I feel the need to state this often, because his voice on TV can be so polarizing, but Dick Vitale is one of the most generous, kind, grateful people in all of sports.
★ Sebastian Pruiti is the godfather of screengrab/coachspeak/basketball teaching; everyone else is just tracking his footsteps in the snow. Here he is examining Missouri and making the case the Tigers are the most complete team in the nation.
★ Fran Fraschilla's son, a walk-on at Oklahoma, is creating trick-shot videos for the best reason possible: to raise awareness for charity.
★ Butler's under .500, in case you missed it. A closer look why this was destined to happened.
★ Remember when Billy Gillispie wanted that eighth-grader to come to Kentucky? Check who the kid committed to yesterday.
★ An under-the-radar but noteworthy "huh?" story so far: Why's LIU playing this poorly? That team has 13 seed potential.
★ Just in case you were wondering, ESPN owns most of the NCAA programming until you become a grandparent/are dead.
★ FIU doesn't exactly bring in the peeps.
★ One of the best big men in the country you haven't heard about.
► This guy does these things for all sports. It's got potential. Needs more Cougars.
♬ One of the oldest Christmas classics out there. Also, among my five favorite King tunes. We all have our own impressions of this song, question is: Are you brave enough to unleash it in public, at a party, or do you save it for the shower/your car?
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 15, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 9:19 am
By Jeff Borzello and Matt Norlander
Tag team effort here this morning, since Norlander was out late last night at a My Morning Jacket show, or how it's known by most witnesses -- a life-changing experience. Don't ask us to explain that photo, please.
Some terrific sports photos you gotta see. // Some of the best sportswriting of 2011 that you may have missed. // This worst-album-covers-of-2011 feature is astounding ...
★ Jared Sullinger returned for Ohio State last night after missing the previous two games. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds. "I felt great. No worries. Back to full health," Sullinger said.
★ UCLA forward Travis Wear was hospitalized Tuesday night with a skin infection in his left foot. He was held overnight and missed the team's win over Eastern Washington.
★ We've wondered where the Cincinnati - Xavier brawl fell in the sport's history. One site thinks it ranks No. 2 in the top 10 fights in college hoops.
★ The biggest problem with Iowa State this season has been its point guard play. Is Michigan State transfer Chris Allen the answer?
★ Northwestern freshman Tre Demps is done for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
★ Len Elmore thinks the NCAA should be exempted from anti-trust laws in order to truly regulate college sports.
★ Ken Pomeroy studied substitution patterns from 828 games last year and found out starting lineups are on the floor only 10 percent of the time at any given time after a game's first media timeout.
★ Live on air: "Congratulations on your big hooters ... uh ... Hoosiers win."
★ So apparently USC guard Maurice Jones sometimes doesn't practice the day before a game in order to play almost 40 minutes every contest. Pretty lucky.
★ Kansas freshman Ben McLemore, who is sitting out this season after being ruled a partial qualifier, was arrested Tuesday morning for failing to appear in court.
★ Here's a very, very in-depth look at how North Carolina's defense is stacking up this season, player-by-player.
★ John Gasaway thinks the NCAA should be in charge of levying penalties in fights, not the schools or coaches.
► Look how Princeton won last night.
♬ For use of the phrase "giddy up" alone, Sleigh Ride is a classic. If you've got a problem with this song around Dec. 15, it's time to check yourself.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:45 am
By Matt Norlander
Lunar eclipse photos should be the most beautiful thing you see all day. // Few lead paragraphs on news I've read this are as frank and blunt as this one. // The D.B. Cooper case has always fascinated me, and now it appears to have to a bit of a whimpering end. // You impress me, Unimpressed Astronaut. // The 90 best Twitter feeds to follow this year (that's a good list) ...
★ I'm just not sure what to say about this tremendous piece by Ian O'Connor, who reveals to us a side of Iona coach Tim Cluess most never knew. It's heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.
★ Former Eye on CBB blogger Eric Angevine wrote this fantastic feature for C-Ville magazine. Very nice, Eric. I love stories like those.
★ That congregating on the floor right there is because Middle Tennessee State beat Belmont.
★ This was quite flattering to see. Thank you, and we're just trying our best to keep you informed and entertained, distracted long enough from heading off somewhere else at this giant Internet party.
★ Again, not sure what we're doing, but thank you for the inclusion on this list as well. Above you see the 90 best Twitter feeds; that link right there is the 80 best college hoops feeds. Borzello getting a milquetoast description made my day.
★ This story from the Xavier-Cincy brawl is bizarre.
★ Your Wakeup Call links curator was asked to write the foreword for this spectacular new book on UConn's dream title season. I think it makes for a great holiday gift, personally.
★ I praised him up and down last year, and I won't hide from Jordan Taylor strugg-uh-leeng through this season so far.
★ I loved this story.
★ Got no problem with this thinking, just want everyone else to come around to the fact the Tigers are not Final Four-caliber.
★ Yeah, I mean Stanford's looked nice so far and I think it can be a tournament team eventually.
★ Does Ashley Judd tweet you sweet nothings of confidence and support? She does if your name is Terrence Jones. Or Terrance Jones.
★ Click on the Matt Painer interview and give it a listen.
★ Bill Self would have to pay me to get his voice as my voicemail greeting.
★ The allure of Terrence Ross continues.
► Absolutely spectacular. We're at Wednesday and still going with Kentucky-Indiana content.
♬ All this week and next, instead of the usual band/artist recommendation, I'm doling out some of my favorite Christmas songs. White Christmas, The Drifters. You hear it, you know what pops to mind: Home Alone. Get your day off to the best start possible by listening to this.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 9:45 am
By Matt Norlander
I considered SU to be too good for this insta-merchandise thing. You won't see those shirts at Duke, UConn, UNC, Kentucky or Kansas. (UPDATE: Goodness, I was wrong. C'mon, UK, you're better than a cheap buck.)
Men in Black 3 trailer is out. I'm not on board at all, I'm afraid. // You never knew there was such a thing, but Cute Sloth Alert. // Yes! The best band names of 2011. It's one of my favorite year-end lists. // This is an outrage. // "BLOGGERS! RUN AND HIDE! THEY COULD BE NAKED!" ...
★ Rick Pitino says atheists will have their beliefs changed if they watch Tebow.
★ This is a terrific essay by Oscar Robertson you should take the time to read.
★ I tweeted out that the buzzer-beater you see in the post below this was the most unlikely so far this season. Though this wasn't a true buzzer-beater, the way it came to be is incredible. Down four, two fouls shots, miss the second, hit the 3.
★ The conundrum of social media rules with colleges and universities.
★ You won't find any sleeping on Wisconsin's D around these parts, but it seems plenty are again already forgetting how good Bo Ryan is at getting his team to buy in.
★ If you missed the Cincy presser yesterday and the tears shed ...
★ And here's a good, good column on Gates, the person.
★ My man and good friend Kevin Duffy wrote a thought-provoking piece about majoring in college basketball.
★ I may get an undefeated spotlight post of my own today up on the site.
★ Sean Miller clarified his comments late Monday, but his initial statement was so odd.
★ Postponing the Shootout is not the answer. Was wondering who and when that take would get brought to the table. If we get another bad fight in the next five years, then we can talk about a hiatus.
★ Latest evidence the Big Ten is the best league. Gonna keep beating that drum.
★ They don't have the evidence to do so, but I do wonder if SDSU can become the Gonzaga of the Big West.
★ Who'd have ever thought such a thing could possibly happen? (It gets particularly classy in the comments.)
★ Why strength of schedule matters at the point in the season. Good read from John Templon.
► Adorable overload coming right up.
♬ The Vince Guaraldi Trio/Charlie Brown Christmas album is perhaps my favorite all-time seasonal assembly of tracks on one album. This is my favorite song off it. Christmas is coming, my friends.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 8:36 am
By Matt Norlander
It seems a 17-year-old has come up with a big breakthrough in curing cancer. She's 17. You did what over the weekend? // Old Loves Tumblr is inspiring, bittersweet. // I've not run into an autocorrect issue yet, but are the funniest Damn You Autocorrects from 2011. // People who spend thousands on decorating their houses for Christmas ...
★ Great buzzer-beater from Saturday that you missed, the one that wasn't Indiana over Kentucky.
★ The story behind that photo.
★ There have been a few really good pieces written about the Xavier-Cincinnati brawl. This is one of them.
★ This is another.
★ And so's this.
★ One more. Props to Brennan for getting tough, something he should do more often.
★ Hey, this is great reporting that we wish would never have been done. After it fell off the newswires, Kevin Armstrong went to Arkansas to report on the plane crash that killed the Oklahoma State women's coach and assistant last month.
★ Georgetown player out indefinitely because of heart problems. Scary, but thankful it was caught now.
★ How/why Kansas State almost lost to North Florida Sunday night.
★ That's a depressing scene.
★ This remains true.
★ We've all pretty much moved on from UCLA at this point, but these stats about Ben Howland's commitments are worth seeing.
★ Yes, yes, yes. Loved this from Ryan Greene. Michigan State got one of its patented great, tough, under-the-radar wins Saturday. Going into Spokane? Respect that.
★ The best dunk I saw from the weekend.
★ You can see below this blog post that Parrish wrote about Murray State going undefeated. Here's another take on it and the chances of that happening.
► This KILLED me. How do you make this mistake? It's been more than two years! Such bombast, such unawareness.
♬ I'm deviating from my normal band/artist recommendation of the day and spending the next two weeks counting down (in no real order, I guess) my favorite Christmas tunes. I debated also posting a MISERABLE Christmas song to counter it, but why be a downer? We start with Andy Williams. If you can't get with this, you can't show up to my part in your best December sweater.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 8:55 am
By Matt Norlander
This is stupid. I thought the original really came into its own -- commercially and artistically. // The best music of 2011. Yes, I've got issues with some selections, but a lot of that is up my alley. // Investment banker writes condescending email to girl who realized immediately what she got herself into; writes how you’d imagine an entitled investment banker would. // Impressive. Don't let anyone tell you how you can't do something. // The best books of 2011. I've actually read two! // If it's at all possible to be let down by a Kate Upton photo gallery ...
★ Yeah, minor detail and all, but as expected: NBA draft rule remains as is.
★ We debuted our Player of the Year feature yesterday. We'll be coming back to this throughout the season.
★ Mountain Goats looped over Frank Martin's anger? MY HEART IS YOURS.
★ Got some UConn-over-Harvard reaction for you. That game played out pretty much like I thought it would. Crimson still capable of stealing one in March.
★ More thoughts on Harvard, via College Hoops Journal, a site you should totally follow on Twitter.
★ Good catch by Eamonn Brennan, who saw the report that the NBA will play on championship Monday this year due to the 66-game schedule.
★ What college basketball doesn't need: another team in Division I.
★ Small story out in Hawaii, but whoa.
★ This was a great sportswriter's re-telling of what it's like to be a writer and amid the NBA lockout.
★ Looks like Sullinger's playing against Kansas, which is great.
★ Still wonder what BYU becomes in conference play this year, but Davies is so important to that team regardless.
★ I'll try not to link Winn's Power Rankings every Friday morning, the morning after they get published, but I can't make any promises.
★ Deregulation at the college level? How that's possible.
► Don't know, don't care. Have watched 30 times.
♬ Yeah, I've got that soft emo side to me, OK? Jeez, lay off or I just might cry about it. Let's listen to some Death Cab for Cutie, a perfect way to head into the weekend. This is one of the "harder" DCfC songs Ben Gibbard's written. It's off Transatlanticism, the band's best album.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:15 am
By Matt Norlander
Is there something fundamentally wrong with how we assemble standardized tests in this country? // This worst-Christmas-songs bracket is fine, but at least six of those songs do not suck. If you can't bop to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," then you can't wear that sweater to my party. Also, McCartney penned the worst still-widely-played Christmas song ever. // Suicide by piranha? // Is Guns N' Roses the Gale Sayers of HOF rock and roll bands? Rush continues to be victimized. // That's one heck of a cake to thank your surgeon with. //
★ Palm's second edition of Bracketology is up. Go look and see if where/if your team would be in the tournament, should it start today.
★ I haven't been incessant about this on the blog at all, so here it goes: We're on Facebook. A Like would be appreciated, absolutely. We do things a little different over on that side of the Internet.
★ We've also now got a newsletter which, again, is enough of a change-up from what you see on the blog that it's worth subscribing to. We're trying to give you as much access, information and variance in coverage/tone that you're satisfied no matter what.
★ The Syracuse DA has his doubts about the third accuser in the Bernie Fine case.
★ Non-Fine news related to Syracuse: The AD says it won't leave the Big East early. Hmmmmm. It's expected Zach Tomaselli will file a civil suit against Fine today.
★ Missed this. Love it.
★ You think San Diego State going to the Big West won't hurt recruiting?
★ The once-sour relationship with Tim Hardaway, Jr. and his famous father.
★ The Legends Classic had a bad showing in Atlantic City in 2010. This year, further north at the Izod Center, it wasn't much better. But in 2012, it's off to Brooklyn.
★ Another problem surfaces at UCLA, but this has nothing to do with character issues or suspensions.
★ I enjoy Mrs. O'Neil when she finds that soapbox and pulls it out of the storage bin.
★ This really does look like a Butler team that could not make the tournament this season. We best get used to that.
♬ Beasties got voted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame yesterday, as linked above. Of all their singles, this is my favorite. Also the first one I memorized. The Boys still have it after three decades; I really liked a lot of Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Well I'm as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce ...
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:20 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 9:32 am
By Matt Norlander
Music today is horrible, etc. // My God I'm horrified and yet can't look away. // I love eight of the top 10 worst cereals for you. // This was a terrific read ...
★ Very tragic news out of Ohio State.
★ They turn around that SI Sportsman of the Year dinner pretty quick, huh? When do you think Summitt and K got the news? I'm saying about 10 days ago.
★ Josiah Turner will not play tonight against Florida. Gators should win by 10 or 14.
★ Did you catch it? Jay Bilas infused his Twitter persona on the air last night.
★ Been awhile since I've agreed this much with a Mike DeCourcy column.
★ Goodman could just as easily blog all this great information, but it's much prettier in one big column.
★ Why the sophomore-year improvement for one point guard hasn't translated to similar results for his team.
★ One program, a program with one of the greatest nicknames in the history of sports, played its 2,000 game last night.
★ John Gasaway, I know you read the Wakeup Call, and so I want to thank you directly for a very convincing argument against those who believe players receiving endorsements will create chaos for competing schools.
★ We're big proponents of non-D-I dunks here in the Wakeup Call. The latest. The play-by-play is just as good. Feel free to send yours if you're from an NAIA, D-II or D-III school.
★ Talking Twitter and hoops, Borzello and I are.
★ I wrote about Florida yesterday, but that's not what I'm hear to talk about. I'm hear to link you to a better piece, written by Andy Glockner.
★ Howland does deserve criticism for having the guts to suspend Reeves Nelson twice, but not kick him off the team. One explusion comes before two suspensions in three weeks, IMO.
★ On that Missouri win, that unbeaten start and my man, Marcus Denmon, playing even better than his biggest proponents thought he cold.
► This was relayed to me on Twitter yesterday after I bashed the Big East for taking SMU. I'm now ready to fully retract that claim.
♬ I normally use this space to plug a band I think is worth your time/worth discovering. Today, I'm passing along an artist I'm not familiar with. It's a pretty disgusting blues track -- from a blind guy. This is so great. His name is Jeff Healey, and I don't know much of his music but that should change soon. Sad as hell: Healey's already left the coil, having died from cancer in 2008. We've been cheated again.
Photo: Getty Images