Friday, March 24, 2006

Cringing vs. Crying

There's that show on FOX which I never watch ... "24."
Then, there's that show that I WISH I hadn't watched last night ... "27."

TWENTY-SEVEN, as it so happens, was the field goal percentage for America's Duke Blue Devils last night in the Sweet Sixteen loss to LSU. TWENTY-SEVEN points in the nd, TWENTY-SEVEN, as it so happens, is how many field goals UCLA attempted in the first half against Gonzaga.
The Bruins made seven.
Here's the big cover-up, America: Because it's a close game at the end DOES NOT MAKE IT A GREAT GAME -- and that's regardless of whether you're influenced by the on-air orgasm that CBS' Gus Johnson had at the end of UCLA-Gonzaga.
It may be interesting ... the outcome may be up in the air ... but, that does not automatically qualify it as a well-played contest.
And, out-mediocre-ing each other is not interesting TV.

So, yeah ... Adam Morrison can go ahead and cry those crocodile tears because the first 10 minutes of his final game was garrrrrr-bidddggggge (and the final three minutes, for his team, was craptacular).
And, if J.J. Redick gets all weepy, I hope it's because he's realized what a lot of us have known for the past eight or nine years: Coach Shuh-Sheff-Skee as the pope of college coaching is pure mythology.
The litmus test for Coach K: What exactly do his teams accomplish in practice (I mean, aside from looking lost and being clumsy when it comes to making adjustments)? Does Mike need Trajan to take that big shot? Does he need Battier to take his 51st charge of the game? Does he want Cherokee to gobble up that rebound? Would he like Maggette to take it strong to the rack?
Anyone can "recruit" PTP'ers and Diaper Dandies. Mike has a bunch of GNG'ers ... and those genius assistant coaches which we hated as players (Wojo and Doug Collins' kid) can't make 'em any better.
(Note: GNG = "Got No Game")
Another tidbit: Mike had seven players in the rotation Thurs. -- and all seven attempted at least one 3-pointer (nifty, considering only one player on the team is consistent from 20 feet). Sean Dockery and DeMarcus Nelson were a combined 1 of 8 "from distance" and teamed to attempt ONE 2-point basket.

It's not worth cryin' about, America. A more-suitable reaction would be to cringe (before using profanity) and then to clicking the channel to Lifetime or Bravo or Spike or THC or OLN, which is pretty much what I did before cycling back to the final 20 seconds of Zags/Cal-L.A.
As the scenario played out and the clock clicked down, I thought of how I learned a week ago on Deadspin's "Three Tiny Tips" for the Zags how J.P. Batista once bench-pressed 225 lbs. 30 times.
Wouldn't ya know it, Bowflex Batista had a regulation basketball knocked out of his Kung Fu Grip by Jordan Farmar and before Gus Johnson could orgasmate the line "Havlichek stole the ball!" or "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!", Farmar was lobbing the stolen ball to Mbah a Moute for the lay-in.

And, that started the waterworks in motion for Morrison.
Maybe he should pull a Bettis and give it "one more year."

My personal preference would've been for Morrison and his 'stache to get pissed off, ticked off, cheesed off and have him filled with such uncontrollable range that he punted the ball into the seats.
Crying? Jeez, Ad-Man, save your tears for the families of Quadrevion Higgins and Purvis Virginia Parker, those two boys missing near Milwaukee. Save it for the U.S. soldiers or the Iraqi civilians (women, children) who are car-bombed.
You play roundball.
In the World According to Jay Mohr (as pointed out by my personal saviour, Deadspin), Adam Morrison collapsed to the floor in total anguish because he was coddled as a Little Leaguer and he didn't have a role model (like let's say, ohhh ... a Jay Mohr, for example) to teach him the value and the impact of winning and losing.
Or maybe he never had a coach who taught him how to hold his head high and to keep his chin up. That "this-is-how-passionate-this-kid-is" angle is tired.
When he was talking smack to Arron Afflalo in the early going (as the AP story reported ... "Let's go, Afflalo!"), couldn't he have tried harder to be more neighborly and Christian?
From the press conference I saw, Afflalo was sportsmanlike and consoled Morrison as the Zag sat on the floor ... deflated.
I'd've knelt next to him and whispered, "Tough break, little daffodil. Need a tissue?"

Hey! You're not off the hook, WVU Meltdowneers!
If you're gonna shoot the 3-ball ... shoot it!
WVU took 33 threes (sinking 15), but here's the catch: Why not try 50 threes? Or 55?
A coach like Beilein gets slathered with kudos -- and he's one of those types who reasons that shooting 33 percent from 3-point range is the same as shooting 50 percent from 2-point range.
Sure ... if you play games on paper.
Or in a vacuum.
Or in an empty gym.

Y'see, it's like this, Pythagorus: If you shoot a turnaround 3 (as Gansey did in the first half last night) and then Texas scores in transition, you're shooting percentage is unequateable because the 3 which YOU just attempted turned out to be a 2 for the other team.
Howzat fit into your 33% (50%) paradigm?

So, if you had a team of bombers which worked efficiently for a quality, spot-up three (not a half-assed, turnaround three) and then had them hustle back and D up, D up, D up, the chances for victory increase exponentially.
But, since most coaches are bent on "Let's run our so-called 'offense,' " the equation gets trashed to hell.

What I'm saying is this: Morrison had taken only 14 shots until the fateful final three minutes. Pittsnogle had taken only 14 shots until his three with six seconds to play.
Here's an idea: Get your shooters 20 shots. Better yet ... 25.
Well, it doesn't happen because coaches, in their wisdom, have to (repeat after me) "run the offense."
In Duke's case, Dockery and Nelson need their touches so that they can go 1 of 9 from the floor. Frank Young needs to go 1 of 4 beyond the arc (as he does every game) to "provide balance."
Screw that.
Shooters gotta shoot.
And don't gimme that "defenses are so complex nowadays" routine. We're talkin' about popping treys. It's so easy that autistic team managers are making national headlines by poppin' the 3-ball.
Kid drained six in four minutes.
Still, Coach K needs Paulus to dribble, dribble, palm the ball, dribble, change his pivot, dribble, penetrate, get his (stuff) tossed.
And that's your "Duke Offense Replay"!

Friday morning, I'm almost positive that I heard ESPN's Mike Greenberg say that the Thurs. nite action provided the types of outcomes that (let's say it all together) "they'll be talking about for years."
Exactly! At least until midway thru the '06-'07 season.
Here's your proof: 97.8 percent of America is still buzzing about that Final Four game from two years ago when that guy hit that game-tying three with 24 seconds to play and then the game-deciding bucket was provided on a layup with :02 to play.
Unless you won $100 on that game or lost $100 on that game, your memory long ago erased the fact that it was Oklahoma State's John Lucas who hit the trey with 24 seconds to play, tying the game at 65-65 before Georgia Tech's Will Bynum made the layup with two seconds to play.
(RIGHT! You knew that, you lying bastard ... just like you knew that G-Tech's Marvin Lewis -- not THAT "Marvin Lewis"! -- was 4 of 5 on 3-pointers in the first six minutes of that Final Four victory)

Tonight's a new night for more derailments.
GNG'ers providing light comedy ...

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