Posts Tagged ‘ron franklin’

Got a Secret? About Monday Night’s “Pretty Little Liars”

I tell you: Five months has never felt so long. You’re telling me I experienced every undulation of that Giants’ season since the last episode of Pretty Little Liars? That the Republican wave hadn’t happened yet? That Vanessa Hudgens, Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johanson and Mila Kunis were all still together (with boyfriends/husbands, not each other) then?*

*I’ve got plenty of shoulders if you need ’em, ladies.

The distance between August 10 and January 4 (I saw it a day late…deal) melted away in those as-promised-by-Ashley-Benson thrilling first two minutes, which recapped the first ten episodes of the show—the finest non-divinely inspired Decalogue ever produced. Instantly, I remembered all about Camp Mona, glamping, and the Blowout Bar. The Twin Peaks connections made in the finale. That fantastic studying-for-the-SATs scene. Every scene that took place in the dark. And, of course, that another television character got hit by a car.

Most of all, those two minutes reminded me of summer, of laidback days watching Pretty Little Liars and tense nights debating its cultural merits and significance to the American zeitgeist. I know, it seems so long ago and so difficult to capture in these brutal winter months, but it is my job, nay, duty to try.

Let’s cite the deliciousness of “Moments Later”:

Continue reading

Joie de Vivre: Bill Raftery

Tonight is the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden; tonight is one of the worst nights of the year.

Now, in strictly basketball terms, the NIT Championship game is rarely worth watching. The game usually pits a team that just missed the NCAA Tournament with one that didn’t really have a chance for much of the conference season, and that mold pretty much holds true this year, with Dayton playing North Carolina. Even as a Duke fan, I have very little invested in the Tar Heels’ tilt with the Flyers. If UNC wins, it will have to hang the ignominious “NIT Champion” banner; if it loses, it couldn’t even win the NIT. I don’t really care.

But I will watch the game, for the only reason there ever really exists to watch the NIT Championship: It is the last college basketball game Bill Raftery announces every year.

Continue reading

The Double Bonus: Is the Big East’s Size Detrimental to Its Teams?

The Double Bonus brings together two of our great traditions here at NPI: The intrepid sports analysis of Tim’s Unabated to the Quarterback joins forces with the weekly Thursday slot of John’s Real World/Road Rules Ruins Rankings posts. Luckily for you, both writers are on board. Tim’s comments are in black while John’s are in a condemnatory red.

On Monday, DePaul fired head coach Jerry Wainwright, a likable basketball lifer who generally seems to have been in over his head in Chicago and in the Big East. As of Wainwright’s firing, DePaul had lost 22 consecutive Big East regular-season games (the Blue Demons did snag one as the 16-seed in the conference Tourney last season) and remained mired at the bottom of the bloated conference. In the wake of the coaching move, the Chicago Tribune asked whether or not the University was truly committed to the basketball program, and whether long-term success in the Big East were really a sustainable goal:

Finances and resources “are not a deterrent to DePaul’s success” according to Ponsetto — and yet swaths of seats go unfilled at Allstate Arena while data shows that men’s basketball expenditures lag behind even fellow urban Catholic schools.

Then there’s the matter of competing in a Big East that’s deeper than an ocean trench and bewilderingly competitive, with six teams ranked in the top 16 in the latest Associated Press poll. Resuscitating the program is not necessarily mission impossible, but that also depends on the definition of the mission.

The decline of DePaul Basketball—a decades-proud institution under Ray Meyer that twice seemed on the verge of rejuvenation in the last decade as a member of Conference-USA—isn’t an isolated phenomenon, even among big-city schools in the Big East. In the New York area, St. John’s and Seton Hall—one a perennial power in the ‘80s, the other a one-time Finalist and many-time contender—have been dormant for much of the decade. They’ve combined for three Tournament berths and one win since 2000—the year the second-seeded Johnnies were upset by Gonzaga and Tommy Amaker and No. 7 Seton Hall rode reserve Ty Shine to the Sweet Sixteen.

Continue reading