Any time a dream basketball matchup such as this – Sorrycuse (19-10) at RuPaul (12-14) – appears on the radar, there’s no other choice but to grab the notepad and a pen and jot down the lessons to be learned from March Mildness.
Time to get mild, everybody!
It’s all about bubble teams on the bubble – and if the ‘Cuse can channel into its inner bubble and perform in bubble-rific fashion tonight, Coach Bubbleheim can prove to many of us Americans that he’s more than the Barry Switzer of the hardwood.
Uh-oh … 13 seconds in and somebody named Sammy Mejia hit a three for RuPaul. All we know about Sammy Mejia is that he’s a dandy player from Brooklyn.
18:32 to play in the half – My boy, Gerry McNamara (whose finely-detailed sideburns seem to suggest, “Call me ‘ G-Mac, bee-yotch" made a layup and it’s a 3-2 donnybrook.
In the time it takes the scoreboard digits to tick down from 17:57 to 15:55, somebody named Karron Clarke scored eight points on what we used to call a “stuff shot” and a pair of 3-point set shots. It’s 15-9, RuPaul … and all that America knows about Karron Clarke is that he’s from the Bronx and Karen is usually a girl’s name.
15:17 – Mejia clanks a 3-ball …
15:09 – Mejia doinks another 3-ball …
15:06 – This memo just came across my desk: It is Mejia who is from the Bronx and Karen who is from Brooklyn, not vice versa.
13:37 – Eric Devendorf scores … and reminds me that “Devendorf” is only my second-favorite white-boy Sorrycuse name (after “Reafsnyder”).
13:15 – Devendorf (who the Carrier Dumb rabble probably refers to as “E-Dev”) tallies another deuce and he’s got nine of the Orange’s 15 points in this 16-15 tussle. I did the math and performed the triangulations: Nine points scored in 6:45 of elapsed time means that DevenDORK is on pace to score 53.3333 points tonight …
10:01 – G-Mac scores on a layup six seconds after an official TV timeout to cut The Big O’s deficit to 27-21. Ten minutes in and G-Mac has attempted only three shots. With his four points in the first 10 minutes, he’s on pace to finish with only 16, which is far behind DevenDORK’s insane pace of finishing with 53.33333
5:30 – Slipperycuse scores on a dunk … but that’s the first basket for Bubbleheim’s team since the G-Mac basket at 10:01. Without any deuces or treys in a 4½-minute span, the game COULD have slipped away from Slipperycuse. Luckily, it’s only 38-23, so the deficit is manageable provided G-Mac starts hitting 3-balls and DevenDORK maintains his torrid 53.33333 pace.
4:05 – See? Whaddid I tell ya? Little bingo for G-Mac … he drains what Vitale calls “a trifecTER,” and it’s 40-30. G-Mac is getting’ ready to do some major damage
3:38 – G-Mac misses a shot …
3:14 – G-Mac is off the mark again (something’s wrong with my G-Dawg tonight. Coach Bubbleheim’s gotta tell the kid to step back five or six feet and jack ‘em up from 24 feet. This pissy 2-point shootin’ … where’ll that get ya?)
0:38 – DevenDORK breaks his silence by sinking two foul shots. That 12½-minute stretch in which he had zero points and refused to burn down RuPaul’s house … that’s inexcusable. Kid’s gotta want the rock, guys gotta get him the rock.
0:00 – There’s the halftime horn. It’s 48-34 in favor of RuPaul, but Bubbleheim made it to a national title game with Reafsnyder, so he’s capable of anything. G-Mac was 2 of 7 on two-pointers in that first half and he was 1 of 2 on trifecters.
He’s on pace to score 14 points, which would be barely below his 16 PPG avg.
The numbers are conclusive: G-Mac is pulling his weight.
AND THE SECOND HALF BEGINS … and as the clock ticks down to 16:12, G-Mac misses a three, DevenDORK misses two shots and somebody named Wilson Chandler scores a bucket and sinks all four foul shots during this pivotal 12-3 run to open the second half.
It’s 60-37 and the Blue Devil, errrrr … the Demon Deacon, ummmmm … the Blue Demon fans are sensing an upset.
15:17 – DevenDORK buries a trey and he’s got Sorrycuse back to within 20 at 62-42.
14:28 – G-Mac answers a Marcus Heard dunk with a basket of his own
12:16 – DevenDORK responds to another Marcus Heard dunk with an emphatic free throw to make it 73-49.
Somebody’s getting’ ready to make a run.
11:14 – Andy Rautins gets into the scoring column for the team with orange tank tops … and, because of his name, I think that he just might be the chosen one to lead the Children of the ‘Cuse’s comeback (I suspect that he’s somehow related to the legendary Leo Rautins of the ‘Cuse and brother George Rautins of Niagara University lore … but it’s a 26-point game and there’s still more than 11 minutes remaining to go through the motions … )
10:44 – Andy Rautins misses a three which woulda cut it to 23 … and I’m sensing that we can now use Andy’s street-cred name (“A-Raut”) to depict the action.
It’s “A Rout.”
10:37 – I’m guessing that maybe Andy Rautins likes to be called “A-Tinz” … or just “Tinz.” Either way … that ain’t helping DevenDORK ‘cuz he just missed a trey …
9:39 – G-Mac clanks a 3 …
9:34 – Tinz bricks a 3 which woulda pulled The ‘Cuse to within 25. If Bitchheim is the miracle worker I think he is, he should seek the passage of legislation which would enact a 20-point shot to get his boys to within 5 points of tying the score (on second thought, G-Mac would take that 20-point shot and miss it, anyway) …
9:17-6:44 – RuPaul hits 4 of 4 on 3-balls and the lead has expanded to 93-54. If The ‘Cuse has any plans of staging a comeback, they mustn’t dawdle. The clock is not their friend at this point …
5:24 – Tinz found his stroke! That’s a 3. However, the only Orange points in the 5:50-minute window between Tinz buckets was a 3 by G-Mac.
4:12 – G-Mac drains a 3 (it’s 97-62 – and, if Boeheim can get that student manager from Greece Athena High’s b-ball team in nearby Rochester active and on a flight to Chicago, well … if that kid can go 6 of 10 on 3-balls in the final 4:00 as he did one week ago, hey … it could be a 105-80 game just like that!)
3:46 – G-Mac bangs home another 3 to make it 99-65 (this would be a good time for a graphic to appear on the the screen: “Sorrycuse is on an 11-6 run”)
3:17 – Karen Clarke is not amused by G-Mac so he hits a 3 (he’s 5 for 5 from beyond 19-9 tonight and I’ll bet that more than once Karen and G-Mac exchanged pleasantries such as, “For real, bitch” after making a basket)
3:05 – G-Mac comes unglued and misses a 3 …
2:32 – Somebody named Cliff Clinkscales went 3-ball (it’s 105-66) …
1:32 – Somebody named Rashad Woods buries one from downtown (it’s 108-66 and about the only person in America who hasn’t hit a 3 for RuPaul tonight is the team manager for Greece Athena High … if I only knew who the coach for RuPaul was, I’d ask why he’s so anti-autism and not suiting up his own student managers for the final 1:32 of this game)
1:11 – Tinz misses another 3 (he’s 1 of 4 “from distance” tonight and he’s a real disappointment to all of us who had high hopes for him … then again, if ya emptied out the arena and let him shoot all by himself for 30 minutes after the game, he’s still not gonna convert better than 28 percent … 19-feet, 9-inches is well beyond his range, but how’s he gonna become a 30 percent shooter if we don’t let him keep jacking off from 19-9?)
0:22 – Let G-Mac show ya how it’s done … bang! G-Mac drills it from 23 and makes a 108-69 loss a lot easier to swallow than a 108-66 defeat. 40-point losses are so humiliating.
WAIT! Don’t start calling him “Gerry NonFactormara” just because he was 4 of 5 on 3-balls after the score ballooned to 87-51. Kid with the wicked sideburns (which he got detailed on “Pimp My ‘Burns”) did everything he could. Fuh real.
And, on Saturday, it’s G-Mac’s final home game (which Digger has referred to on at least three occasions), so I smell something real special cooking.
And why not. G-Mac has averaged right around 15 per game for his career.
We could spend the next 11 paragraphs exploring that upstart RuPaul team ... a team which believed in itself ... which believed in each other when all "you guys" said that a 12-14 team couldn't beat a bubble team ... but, instead, our energy might be better spent dialing back to when Ray Meyer was coaching the Blue Demons ... and when he got them to the Final Four in 1979, his team lost, 76-74, to Larry Bird and Indiana State.
Ray Meyer did not play a substitute in that game. That's right ... the five starters (Mark Aguirre, Curtis Watkins, James Mitchem, Clyde Bradshaw and Gary Garland) did not "come out for a blow" nor did Ray Meyer "substitute offense for defense and defense for offense" during every free-throw attempt.
Maybe he wasn't that kooky (although emperical evidence suggests he was), but the Blue Demons shot 64 percent that day.
Bird, though, he was 16 of 19 (35 points, 16 rebounds) and, my god ... if there'd've been a 3-point line.
Yup ... 53.33333 points
At least ...
Oh, and in the other '79 Final Four Game, Earvin Johnson had 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and Greg Kelser had 28 points and 9 boards (the dynamic duo was 21 of 29 from the floor) in Michigan State's 101-67 win over the Penn Quakers.
(Note: I love basketball, which is why I obsess with rewinding to the previous seasons in much the same manner that modern-day guards obsess with the 3-ball as they camp along that stripe ... and why I flash back to a time when basketball actually existed in this nation and March Madness was a tournament with some quality teams and a few hidden superstars and not a field with maybe eight solid teams swerving to avoid a 56-team pileup of players just itchin' to bust loose with 13 or 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, are you listening, Calipari?)
Nevertheless, let's not to take away from G-Mac and his big day (which'll be the basketball equivalent of "A Salute To Chili Davis!" in a baseball paradigm).
Jeez, Senior Day ceremonies followed by the ‘Cuse hosting ‘Nova and 3-balls flying all over the place.
Some of them may actually fly through the netted hoop.
Most of 'em won't, though.
Which is why I'll be breakin’ out the pad n’ pen again.
You go, Tinz!
It’s March Mildness.
Time to get mild, evv-reee-budd-dee!