Posts Tagged ‘west virginia’

Monday Medley

What we read while finding all these free eggs…

Monday Medley

What we read while getting used to writing “2013”…

Unabated to the QB, Week 3: This Side of Michael Vick

“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.”

“Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don’t. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn’t want her girlhood—she wants to repeat the honeymoon. I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

I’m pretty sure, now that I think about it, that it was the first time I had ever seen Michael Vick play, in that comeback in Morgantown. Up until 1999, Virginia Tech had been, at least to me, a banal Top 25 team, in that class with Clemson and Auburn and Georgia Tech — teams that were always ranked, that always played some good games, always played January bowl games, but never mattered in the title race. Vick, of course, changed that at Virginia Tech, and by the time I laid eyes on him, the Hokies were already No. 3 in the polls.

It was that run down the sidelines during the final drive that arrested my attention. It was so sudden and so graceful — so easy for Vick to transform the dynamic of that final minute from “Virginia Tech still needs a bunch of yards in a short amount of time” to “Oh, they’re in field-goal range now. They’re going to win.”

It was Will Hunting easy for Michael Vick to turn upfield on that play, and what seems so innocuous to us now wasn’t then. Quarterbacks didn’t do that. They weren’t that fast and elusive and graceful.*

*And if they were, they were doing it at a lower level of college football. This is my Steve McNair acknowledgment.

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The Double Bonus: The Final Countdown

TIM: Four more days of lousy basketball, am I right, John? We lose all our Cinderellas by Friday, and then the refs giftwrap a Duke win on Sunday. I can’t wait for the Tournament to be ruined next year with 96 teams.

JOHN S: I hope you’re kidding. Duke’s in the Final Four! At least be excited about that. And we did get some great games last week. Michigan State and Tennessee was decided by one point, Butler upset Syracuse, West Virginia upset Kentucky in a game that can only be described as very weird, and the Duke/Baylor game was exciting throughout. But we should probably discuss the best game of the Tournament at least little, despite so much already being said about K-State vs. Xavier. I’ll ask you this: Does that game lose any of its cache because K-State lost its next game? I mean, I think if the Wildcats had managed to beat Butler and then steal the championship, that game would be put in the Pantheon with the Laettner shot. As is, it probably won’t even be as remembered as Farokhmanesh’s shot by this time next year.

TIM: You saw right through me. I totally wanted to start with K-State and Xavier, and not just because I got into a brief commenting war with a fellow named “Mikey” on Joe Posnanski’s blog about it. I, for one, thought this was the best Tournament game since 2005; if I were one of those weird people who thought the decade ended in 2010 and not 2009 and my list of the Top 10 College Basketball Games of the Decade were pushed back a year, Kansas State and Xavier likely would have fit in nicely at No. 4. Even before the game went to overtime, I remember thinking that it had been particularly well-played and was shaping into one of the Tournament’s most memorable games. Continue reading

Talkin’ Basketball: Kentucky vs. West Virginia

Once again, Tim was right and John was wrong in picking the early game. Well, they’re back for tonight’s game–John S to see if he can finally get one right, and Tim to tell you who will win. They are both trying to get over the fact that Dick Enberg is likely calling the last game of a great career tonight.

JOHN S: Alright, it’s time to move on to tonight’s game, the marquee matchup between Kentucky and West Virginia. The only Elite Eight game between the 1- and 2-seeds, this is probably the most anticipated game of this round; whoever wins this one will likely be the favorite going into the Final Four. It will also be by far the toughest contest either team has faced. Kentucky is coming off a 17-point win over everyone’s favorite Cinderella, and even though the score doesn’t really tell how close this one was (Cornell was within six with under six minutes left), it never really felt like the Wildcats were in danger, even when the Big Red were up 10-2. Throughout this Tournament, Kentucky has shown how much margin for error they have, and how much better they are than most other teams when they do everything well. Meanwhile, West Virginia hasn’t played a single-digit seed yet, but they are coming off a pretty dominant second half against Washington in the Sweet 16. So do you think the Mountaineers can give hang with the Wildcats? Continue reading

John S Picks The Thursday Games

1. Syracuse vs. 5. Butler

Original Pick: Syracuse over Vanderbilt

What I’ve Learned: Syracuse continues to be the best team in country when it plays well, making me continue to regret my decision to pick Kansas to win it all. With that said, this team has been thin all year, and they are even thinner without Arinze Onuaku.

I’ve been dead wrong, though, on Butler—the only 5-seed I picked to lose in the first round. Ever since a somewhat slow start, people who were high on the Bulldogs before the season—like Tim!—have let them fly under the radar, ignoring the fact that the last time this team lost was before Christmas. Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward are a dynamic pairing, and I can see them giving the Orange a serious run. In the end, though, I’ll go with favorite.

The Pick: Syracuse

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Get to Know the Sweet 16

I understand your issues. You loved watching the exciting first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but you’ve used up all your little tidbits of info, like “Murray State has won a lot of games this season.” So, to prep you for Thursday and beyond, here’s all you need to know about the Sweet 16.

9. Northern Iowa Panthers

Conference: Missouri Valley

Location: Cedar Falls, IA

How they got here: def. UNLV 69-66; def. Kansas 69-67

Biggest reason they got here: Ali Farokhmenesh took and made the ballsiest shot in the Tournament since T.J. Sorrentine buried Syracuse in 2005. Oh, and Xavier Henry missed that big free throw.

Last trip to Sweet 16: Never.

A great and recent Tournament game: Umm…did you watch on Saturday?

Tim’s favorite player in UNI history is: Current reserve Lucas O’Rear. You rarely see the combination of a great name, a shamrock tattoo, and mutton chops.

In Tim’s original bracket, the Panthers lasted until: Selection Sunday! I had them going out to UNLV.

You should root for Northern Iowa because: It’s Northern Iowa. QED.

Did you know? Northern Iowa has played eight games in the NCAA Tournament in its history. All eight have been decided by five or fewer points.

Were you aware? If you lined up the rosters of all 16 teams remaining in the Tournament and were told to pick which one comes from Iowa, 96% of people would correctly select the Panthers.

Fun Fact! Ben Jacobson is the best-looking coach in the Sweet 16. Continue reading