Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Often Is There A Sports-Related Event Worthy Of Saying "Low And Behold"?

I got to watch my alma mater play hoops tonight for the first time since their second round NCAA tourney game last March. They were hosting St. Mary's, a conference opponent who is currently ranked #27 (AP). Typically teams will get up for a rival who is highly ranked, especially at home, so I was pretty excited about the game.

The game was set to come on a 6 Pacific time, and when I tuned in around quarter to six, the Purdue at Minnesota game still had about 10 minutes to go, so I knew I'd miss the start of the USD game. This was a little frustrating at first, but I did get a nice piece of information that I will store away for this upcoming March, and I will pass it along to you fine folks now (both of you):

Purdue is ranked 18, and Minnesota is ranked 21, and they play in the Big 10, so their chances of both making the NCAA tournament are very good, and they'll likely get good seeds. If you have any inkling that their first round opponents are potential Cinderellas, or if they happen to get a crappy seed and play a good team in the first round, do not hesitate to pick Purdue and Minnesota to both lose in the first round. The only way I will pick these teams to win a game is if I learn that their opponents have three or four guys get hurt. Or if they play Gonzaga, because I have a long-standing personal rule that I do not pick Gonzaga to win any games in the Tournament, and generally speaking, it serves me well.

(I think I need to formulate the Rules of Picking the Tourney.)

Anyway, as that painfully slow game withered to a merciful end, they starting running the USD-SMC score in the upper corner.

"Hey, USD is up 2-0...oh, make that 2-2...down 4-2...6-2...13-2. Ouch."

By the time ESPN2 switched over from Brent Musberger's miserable ass-kissing call of the Purdue-Minnesota game, the USD was already over. But then I remembered that St. Mary's had led USD by 17 in the second half of their conference semifinal game last year and USD came back to win in double-OT. Not tonight. But at least USD had the courtesy to play quickly, lose quickly, and allow ESPN2 to get to their next scheduled program a little early!

By the way, if you are looking for a small team to make some noise in the Tourney, St. Mary's is a very good option. They have a spectacular point guard (guard play+NCAA tourney=win), good shooters, some decent big men, 5 Australians (I don't know if it helps, but that is kinda cool) and they play serious defense. They won't be under the radar since they're already creeping into the rankings and have the nation's longest winning streak going, but everyone east of California will not trust this little band of Aussies.

They are impossible to root for however. Last week they beat a conference opponent by 50. No problem there; you should beat conference foes when they're down. The problem I have with it is that they fired up 31 3-pointers in the game. Classy coach.

One final thought on the Purdue-Minnesota game before moving on: we are all clear that the Big 10 Conference has eleven teams in it and that as creatively as they may hide that fact in their logo, that still doesn't make sense, right? OK. Moving on...

Speaking of Aussies and ESPN2's evening program, the next thing on the agenda was the Djokovic-Delic match. It ended up being a very nicely played, evenly matched four-setter between the #3 ranked returning champ and the little known American. The announcers made the point several times how these two were friends and how good the sportsmanship was throughout. When the match ended, they greeted each other genuinely and both thanked the boisterous crowd warmly.

The reason that all those warm feelings are worth remarking about (besides that they are just rare in sports) is that Djokovic is Serbian and Delic is a Bosnian-born American. I'm not sure how much you've been paying attention to the news for the past...oh...500 years, but the Bosnians and Serbs don't generally hug and and get warm reactions from crowds of people from the other place. I wasn't going to write about this because I couldn't really figure out a point I wanted to make that didn't get all socio-political and/or cheesy.

So I started writing about the USD hoops game when what on my TV should appear but a good old fashioned, Geraldo-style chair throwing brawl in a courtyard at the Australian Open. Apparently the warm fuzzies between the Serbian Dojokovic fans and Bosnian Delic fans only lasted until they got outside the stadium. Then a Serb threw a chair at a Bosnian woman who had just finished being interviewed by ESPN2 and the kangaroo shit hit the fan. I still wasn't sure what to write about because now I couldn't figure out a point I wanted to make that still didn't get all socio-political and/or judgemental.

So I went back to writing and ESPN2 came to my rescue again providing me with a nice, neat ending to this story. They went back out to the courtyard and showed some cops hauling the thugs away who had been throwing metal chairs in a crowd including women and children and low and behold: Australian cops wear Crocodile-freaking-Dundee hats! They're like Canadian Mounties but not gay. I am 100% sure that if they had widened the shot, we would have seen that they also wore just board shorts and sandals and carry boomerangs and machetes instead of guns and mace like our sissy cops here.

Add this to the growing list of reasons why Australia is awesome (#1 of course being how much hotter the accent makes the women).

No comments: