Now that Iowa and Indiana have bowed out of the B-Ball Bonanza, America can now immerse itself in the "Alford Returning To Indiana?" Sweepstakes.
That is, if American can pull itself away from the "Dickie V. Into The Hall of Fame" Countdown (T-minus 14 days 'til that no-talent egghead upchucks on the Stars N' Stripes).
When you toss Illinois in with UI and IU, it's clear that the "I" stands for "implosion" in the conference known 'round this household as "the Big Tank."
(Don't worry, America ... THE Ohio State University is pretending to look busy in order to delay the removal of the '99 Final Four banner from the gymnasium)
"We who are about to die, salute you!"
Iowa ... forever a football school, which is fine by me, considering that Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick is one of the finest Americans that America has ever produced.
Iowa ... so dignified and courageous in accepting its ouster from the '06 playoffs. The stages of "The Hawkeyes' Demise" were distinct and profound.
Bang! A 17-4 lead in the game's first six minutes, furnished by 7 of 9 shooting.
Then ... no baskets in the next 12:21.
With the early lead frittered away, the Hawkeyes' Demise took a breather early in the second half when Greg Brunner scored 11 points within a span of 3:31 ... and when Adam Haluska drained a 3 with 9:14 to play in the game, UI was up, 52-37.
The Hawkeyes' Demise, though, raised its level of play -- and Iowa had one basket in the game's final 9:14 ... which they almost got away with, except that guy for Northwestern State tossed one outta his ass from the left corner with one second to play.
From what I've read/seen/heard, scoring droughts of 12:21 and 9:14 are extremely counter-productive.
The good thing is, bygones will be bygones next season when Coach Alford is coaching at ... Iowa. Look, people ... he's trying to create a legacy which will match that of his predecessors, Lute, Raveling and Dr. Tom.
That cannot be accomplished by bailing on UI in favor of IU.
Another thing: Basketball coaches trying to succeed at football schools ... it rarely works.
There never will be a "Hayden of the Hardwood" in Iowa City.
Simple as that.
As per Alford's alma mater getting rubbed out by Gonzaga, well ... Mike Davis' final game was replete with the characteristics which were emblematic of his 6 years in the Land of You'reNotCoachKnight.
So he let his lads upchuck 36 treys to break up the monotony of the Zags lining up to shoot 41 free throws.
My fave 3-pt. chucker at my wife's alma mater has to be 6-foot-11 freshman Aussie, Ben Allen.
After knocking down two treys against Illinois in mid.-Jan. to give him 13 in 18 attempts, Big Ben went ballistic in the final 17 games, sinking 5 of 27 (18.5 percent).
It's difficult for America to find fault with Coach Davis' handling of Allen. After all, if he tries to coax the 6-11 kid into working on his drop step or catching the ball and finishing in the low post, that does NOTHING to move Allen closer to Pittsnogle-dom of being a 6-11 kid who can drain the three.
In March '09 ... long after Allen's transfer freed up a scholarship for Coach Damon Bailey to win his back-to-back Big Tank titles before back-to-back, first-round NIT defeats, we'll all have a good chuckle about what an idiot Mike Davis was for allowing hi 6-11 kid to shoot 45 treys and attempt only 41 two-pointers.
That is, unless the Hooters job is given to Jamal Meeks.
Think about it, America.
But, don't think for too long because that might take your brain away from a game like Washington-Illinois, which can only be explained as "forever legendary." Luckily, I watched only two, maybe three, minutes of such a tussle (which would've been an intriguing matchup in the early '80s if you'd had these football programs square off at a neutral site ... like, say, the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, CA).
Rather than watch the game and lose some of the "flow" to announcers attempting to scramble my brain, I spent five minutes with the boxscore.
I mean, that is where I live ... inside the numbers, away from the clutter of unathleticism and so-so court smarts.
And, the new math was funner than the old math:
U-Dub made seven baskets in the second half, including two in the first 10:55 following halftime and none in the final 3:26. I'm told that the kids use a shot clock nowadays, but ...
While The Other UI Which Isn't IU did score 17 points in the final 3:39 of the first half, it's hard to overlook the five baskets that the Illini scored in the game's first 16:31 or the four baskets in the game's final 12:31.
And, raise your hand, America, if you DIDN'T see Dee Brown clanking the game's final shot as The Other UI took that timeout with 6.5 seconds to play to diagram the final shot that Dee Brown would clank which, in fact, Dee Brown DID clank with :01 to play.
Bruce Weber was so adorable with the way that his team's meltdown mirrored the meltdowns of Iowa and Indiana. In the final three games of Jan., freshman Jamar Smith provided perimeter hope for UI when he hit 10 of 16 treys. But, in the next eight games, Smith went 7 of 24 from beyond the arc -- so, even after he hit 6 of 9 against Air Force in the first-rounder, there wasn't any proof that a hot hand against a weak opponent was a slump buster.
Clank! Clang! Poing! Glif! Bwok!
That smells like 0 of 5 "from distance."
(Hint for Coach B-Web: If a person flips a coin 100 times and that coin comes up tails 100 times, the odds of it coming up heads on the 101th flip are STILL 50/50 ... NOT 100,000 to 1 that five more crap-like threes are going to "change someone's luck." Y'see all those pretty, flashing lights in Vegas? Your attitude keeps 'em flashin' and pretty)
B-Web needs to start countin' cards.
That's because the Big Tank is a house of cards ...