Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:32 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2008 9:26 pm

WVU vs. Xavier

I'm watching this game and it's the 2nd half (just started) and Joe Alexander has 5 points for the Mountaineers.  He's averaging 18 ppg for the tournament (well, OK: in 2 games).

He just made a layup off an offensive rebound and got fouled, to boot.  The ball came right to him--in the replay, he barely moved, it practically landed in his hands, and he put it in the hoop.  What choice did he have?

Now, here's the thing.  Alexander was flat-footed when he caught the ball.  He moved very slowly before that to get into position.  He showed no emotion whatsoever after the "and one!" call--you would expect a young man whose team is making a big comeback to be a bit more...what shall we say...enthused.  But no.  Plus, he's looking down at his feet as he lopes to the freethrow line.

I had a terrible thought: is Joe Alexander trying to shave points?

And, he missed the free throw.  He is an 82% FT shooter this season, and he basically just heaved it up there, way too strong, and bricked it.  Now, in his two previous seasons at WVU, he shot in the 60's from the stripe.  But 82% FT shooters, even in only one season, don't just chuck the ball at the cylinder.

I hope I'm just making this up.  But something looks off about Alexander.


**Update/Edit: Alexander ties the game with a beauty of a turnaround jumper...and he's fouled!  And then he misses the free throw.  WTF??  Either he's choking, or he really isn't a good FT shooter.  Whatever.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 25, 2008 10:15 am

CNNSI Employs Morons

Seth Davis and Stewart Mandel, two of the college basketball blabbers over at, have columns out that basically say, "yeah, UNC blew out both its opponents by 30-40 points in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but we think the Heels are going to lose."  This sentiment is fair; after all, you never know what'll happen after the first weekend of the tournament.  Washington State could pull off the upset.  Louisville certainly looked just like Carolina in demolishing Oklahoma on Sunday.  That would be a good game.

But, then the dummies, Davis and Mandel, have to go further and do what all dumb fans do: they start to make predictions.  And then, naturally, they have to find some reasons to back up their predictions, and then they just sound stupid.

Mandel: the Tar Heels will lose to Louisville (Me: possible.  Possibly not.  What's your point?  Why don't you wait and see?).  Reasoning: the ACC, based on the 3 other ACC teams in the tournament, was weak this year.  Me: what does that have to do with whether or not UNC can beat Louisville??!  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  Not only that, but this line of "reasoning" fails to acknowledge that the selection committee jobbed a few ACC teams and gave a bad Duke team a ridiculously high seed--in other words, the ACC was set up to fail.  Aren't we all just delighted that the committee, rather than taking Va. Tech, instead gave us 3 WCC teams (two of which, Gonzaga and St. Mary's, lost in the first round)?

This critique of a team based on its conference is bogus--notice that Mandel is not making this argument about Memphis, or Tennessee out of the SEC, or Louisville, whose Big East brethren have fallen prey to one upset after another so far.

Then add in that Mandel is premising his PREDICTION (future!) that Carolina will lose on the supposition that, in his HINDSIGHT (past!), the ACC must have been down this year based.  on.  three.  teams.  in.  the.  tournament.  This is utter crap!!  Oh yeah: and he still thinks UCLA is looking good and playing great.  Does he even watch the games?!?!  

Verdict: stick to the here and now, Stewart.  Carolina vs. whomever will be a good game.  But guess what?  They're ALL good games beyond this point!

Seth Davis, on the other hand, has a subtle, nuanced read on the next round: everyone is great, except UNC, which didn't even break a sweat in 2 games.  He seems to be saying that, sure Carolina destroyed two teams, even hammering Arkansas, contrary to everyone's predictions, but he's still not going to say the Heels are that good. 

Maybe--hear me out, guys--just maybe, Carolina "didn't break a sweat," and was the only team to play so well, because--and I know this is crazy--they are actually a very, very good basketball team.  Huh?  What do you think?

No, they came out of the "mediocre" ACC.  That's right.  That means that they just played two really terrible, overrated teams that were completely misread by the selection committee and put into bad matchups.  UCLA, on the other hand, in the easiest bracket in living memory and holding every possible advantage, struggles and all any of these doofs can talk about is how much tougher and better UCLA's competition is.

Verdict: Both these guys are morons.

Category: NCAAB
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