Friday, March 28, 2008

Not Everything's Bigger in Texas

Texas "big man" Connor Atchley, who averaged nearly 10 points per game for the guard-centric Longhorns, recently checked in from Houston with the latest installment of the Tournament Diary on Connor says the elevated court at Reliant Stadium, where Texas should have a decided advantage in the stands, is amazing, while practicing at the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets, was awesome. Amazing and awesome don't even begin to describe the double smackdown that the Lopez twins are prepared to dish out tonight. But you don't have to take my word for it...

Tournament diary: Brook Lopez

Holla Cardinal fans,

It's been a crazy couple of days here in Houston. Yesterday we went to Six Flags -- Disneyland is way better -- and then checked out the Johnson Space Center. It was tight. It would be awesome to be an astronaut. Maybe if the NBA thing doesn't work out I'll give that a shot. Speaking of astronauts, coach Johnson broke out the Moon Walk last night after dinner at a steakhouse downtown. The waitresses ate it up. Robin suggested coach use it again during the game tonight if he feels the need to argue another call with the refs. You think they're going to throw him out of the game if he's doing the Moon Walk? No way.

Robin and I performed our choreographed "Thriller" dance and that brought the house down. We were ridin' dirty around town after that and then came back to the hotel in time for me to e-mail a paper (I remembered this time!). We watched some film this morning, had a good shootaround, and have been chilling ever since. As for tonight, I expect it to be a good game, but their big guys couldn't really match up with us if we were standing on the ground and they were on the elevated court. I'm just sayin'. Hook that.

Fear the Tree,


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get Your CBI Gear!

Sean Singletary's impressive career ended along with Virginia's crappy season last night in Charlottesville, where bracket-busting Bradley overcame a double-digit deficit to stun the Hoos in the Final Four of the CBI. What better way to remember the Cavaliers' magical, if largely meaningless, run than with the official CBI Final 109 locker room t-shirt? Only $44, while supplies -- and this ridiculous tournament -- last.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Let's Go Bel-mont!

You know it's March when an entire bar in Northern Virginia anywhere except Nashville breaks into a chorus of cheers for Belmont University. As the 15th-seeded Bruins hung tough with Duke throughout the second half of yesterday's opening round game at Verizon Center, one enterprising Duke-hater at the bar started looking for the words to Belmont's fight song on his Blackberry. Sadly, neither the song nor Belmont's "Grr Cheer" will be heard for some time. I have Duke advancing to the Sweet 16, but Coach K's boys will have their hands full with West Virginia tomorrow. After all, they're playing in a venue that flashes the Duke logo and images of Greg Paulus and J.J. Redick on the video screen to get fans to boo during NBA games.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Final Four Picks: Fear the Tree

I will live and die by the Tree in my NCAA tournament pools this year. Call it a hunch, call it blatant homerism -- thank goodness Maryland isn't in the tournament, too --, call it what you will. If the Lopezes carry Stanford on their backs to San Antonio, where the Cardinal last made a Final Four appearance in 1998, I'll be sitting pretty. If not, well, Stanford fans will always have Mark Madsen.

North Carolina over Louisville
South: Stanford over Pitt
West: UCLA over Xavier
Midwest: Kansas over Georgetown

Final Four: Kansas over North Carolina; Stanford over UCLA

National Championship: Kansas over Stanford

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BREAKING: Pryor chooses Maryland!

Four days after declaring Penn State "too country" for him, prized quarterback recruit Terrelle Pryor announced today that he will attend Maryland. The announcement came as a shock, as sources previously said Pryor had narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Michigan. Pryor ultimately decided that Columbus was "too hot" and Ann Arbor was "too cold." College Park, according to Pryor, was "just right."

Seriously, though, I'm sick of this story. Make up your mind already.

My NIT bracket is SO busted!

Thanks, Maryland. I bank on an opening round flameout at The Barn and you proceed to deliver a remarkably easy 68-58 win over Minnesota. Seriously, guys, did you not see the video of your last game? Where did that come from?

With the Terps trailing early in the first half, my girlfriend asked me, "What would you do if Maryland lost?" Her tone implied that she expected an answer along the lines of "Eat tortoise shell shards," "Jump off the Key Bridge," or, naturally, "Burn your precious Ikea couch." But the truth was that I whole-heartedly expected Maryland to lose last night, so getting worked up about the inevitable seemed silly.

And then something strange happened. Maryland made baskets, defended, and took care of the ball. Gary was his usual fiery self, but the Terps looked relaxed, and, more importantly (I guess), like a team that actually wanted to advance to play Syracuse in the second round. As the double-digit lead dwindled to five, I had visions of Blake Hoffarber adding to his legend and making some even more ridiculous shot to shock the Terps, but Maryland managed to hold on in what felt very much like an NCAA tournament game. And by that, I mean not at all.

After Maryland crapped out of the ACC tournament with a loss to Boston College, I told a friend from UVA that I'd like to see them win an NIT championship like I want herpes. In hindsight, maybe that was a bit harsh. I should've said, I'd like to see Maryland win a CBI title like I want herpes. At least they're playing in a tournament that (definitely, kind of, hardly) matters, right?

Go Terps! And go Cardinal!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ben Howland Is a Religious Man

Please stop wasting your breath crying foul about the officiating in last night's Stanford-UCLA overtime thriller. If you can't help yourself, well, feel free to chime in here, but there's really no sense in whining about the phantom call on Lawrence "All Ball" Hill that may or may not have cost Stanford the game and a share of the Pac-10 title.

Yes, it was a bad call. Yes, it sucked. Just ask Darren Collison. The Bruins' point guard, who took over the game in the second half and sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws following the controversial call on Hill, cleared up any confusion about whether or not he was bailed out on his drive to the basket with 2.5 seconds left.

“That was a block,” Collison said in the postgame press conference. “That was a complete block. We were fortunate to get a foul on that call. I heard it was a makeup.”

A makeup, huh? Well I heard it may have been an act of God. He is, after all, a UCLA fan, judging by what transpired shortly before that "makeup." With Stanford leading 61-59, Russell Westbrook stepped to the line for a pair of free throws. The first was a physics-defying shot, which bounced off the back iron, somehow settled on the front of the rim and ultimately fell through. Westbrook also made the second to tie the game. How ever to explain such a thing?

“The free throw by Russell was actually God answering one of my prayers from the bench,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “Trust me. And I mean that; I was there praying right on the bench, and he knocked it down. I just got the tail end of it when it bounced in.”

No wonder Stanford got hosed on the final play of regulation! I don't care if God's on Eastern Standard Time, there's no way he stopped watching after answering the first of Howland's prayers, and not even Lopez quintuplets can stop God. Perhaps Trent Johnson should do a little less cursing and a little more praying from here on out.

Despite the loss, I was very impressed with the Cardinal's showing last night. I honestly don't think it'll take a miracle for Stanford to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Maybe a rematch with UCLA in the Holy Land that is San Antonio awaits. Pray for it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peep This

Here's my entry for the Washington Post's 2008 Peeps Diorama Contest. The scene depicts Santana Moss' 42-yard touchdown catch in the final game of the 2007 regular season. Moss beat his would-be defenders deep -- or peep, as it were -- in the fourth quarter to ice the game and the Skins' improbable playoff berth.

Other scenes/ideas I considered:

Portis Peeps -- A montage of Peeps in various CP-inspired costumes. Southeast Peep. Kid Bro Peeps. Peep Gonna Popya. The possibilities are endless.

The Racing Peeps -- Knockoff of the the Nationals' Racing Presidents.

Beep Peep -- Traffic on M St. It's enough to make you want to melt away like a marshmallow on some mornings.