Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BOEHEIM: Ruining NIT Brackets Everywhere

Question: What's better than watchin' Sorrycuse totally gak a 22-point lead?

On its face, that would appear to be a rhetorical question with only one answer: "Nuthin'!"

But, it's far more complex than that, thanks to one of the most-cerebral individuals of the 20th and 21st centuries.

You know who you are, Jim Boeheim.

So, yeah ... the "more fully-developed" answer to that initial question ranges from "Answer: There are few things better than watching Syracuse gak a 22-point lead, particularly when it happens in an NIT game in which the viewing audience is represented by two distinct factions of viewers -- the stridently anti-Boeheim and the degenerates who have $100 ridin' on the outcome."

Funny thing is, it's surprising how many people fit nicely into both categories.

Some of us, though, maintain our anti-Boeheimism while keeping his ballgames at an arm's length while we tend to more-important matters in our lives.

Hence, BoeheimBall becomes nuthin' more than non-threatening background noise, serving merely as a conduit from early evening to that time later in the night when it's 10:30 and TBS' re-run of "The Office" is this classic: The corporate-guys-upstairs vs. the warehouse-guys-downstairs in that loading-dock, b-ball, free-for-all.

True ... we've seen that Office episode 5 or 6 times, but, like rummaging through the collateral damage of a Boeheim defeat, this never gets old.

Seriously ... how can they make us side against the pudgy, balding Kevin Malone wearing his sportcoat, dress shirt, necktie and slacks as he drains those J's in the loading dock at Dunder-Mifflin with greater aplomb and grace than most Sorrycuse shooters inside the Carrier Dome ever since streaky Gerry McNamara graduated, errrrr ... "used up his eligibility" (or since DevenDORK's injury relegated him to spastic cheerleader w/ the freaky-lookin', pencil-thin beard and plaid shirts on the 'Cuse bench)?

Sometimes, though, America gets to have its cake and eat it, too -- and that's because we laughed at that Office b-ball episode AFTER we'd already laughed our asses off watching another edition of a Boeheim team melting down.

We call this occurence "win-win" (especially when we play "Compare & Contrast" and conclude that Stanley's extremely unorthodox technique for dribbling a ball was certainly no worse than Jonny Flynn attempting to ballhandle during Sorrycuse's final possession).

Indeed, it was only an NIT game, but any time that Boeheim gets bitched at home, yeah ... America triumphs.

The only downside is that anyone who spends more than 5.3 minutes watching a Boeheim-coached team, he/she feels as uncomfortable as he/she did the first time that he/she saw the Sheraton commercial wherein Orange Fan reached over and dabbed at that ranch (or bleu cheese) dressing blob on that Hoya Fan's moustache.

Ex-lovers who were once domestic partners ... yes, Sheraton hotels and Sorrycuse b-ball are filled with ambivalence and ambiguity (sorry ... we discussed Georgeclown's problems yesterday).

Sorrycuse put on a show tonight, though, in attempting to avenge that 107-100 loss to the UMess Midgetmen in Nov.

It was quite the appetizer for the other NIT ballgame (we didn't bother with that one at all), which featured Rihards Kuksiks of Riga, Latvia and his Arizona State teammates trying to work through their grief and despair at being snubbed for the NCAA playoffs despite that impressive 7-11 record during the second half of the season (which included the two times that the Stunned Devils were violated by UCLA, 84-51 and 70-49).

Frickin' awesome ...

How ASU did NOT receive a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NCAA playoffs borders on criminally-negligent (blank: "something").

Naturally, ASU was pummeled by the Florida Gators in Tempe, so, it seems obvious that Rihards Kuksiks wasn't feeling up to the task tonight.

(Shhhhh ... he might've been pissed that he was missing "The Office" ...)

Tough night for Jimmy B., though: His Orange threw down six dunks, flyswatted 11 UMess shots and probably flubbed 507 putbacks and tip-ins.

Still, The 'Cuse led by 22 (54-32) with 14:39 to play and by 14 (70-56) with 7:45 remaining against an opponent which spent the first half missing 28 of its 36 shots, including 13 of its 15 three-balls.

In Boeheim's case, a lesser coach would analyze how the Midgetmen morphed into a Transformers killing machine in the second half and that lesser coach would probably pop four or five Metronidazole tablets and five or six Cephalexin capsules ... until that lesser coach realized three or four hours later that the meds he took were actually pills intended for dogs.

Again ... that's how the lesser coach would've handled matters.

He's Jim Boeheim ... and he's wolfing down either a Burger King BBQ Bacon Tendercrisp or a Wendy's Spicy Baconator right now as he listens to all of old Everly Brothers and Patsy Cline albums.

Here in the initial aftermath, it's difficult to say if it was Dante Milligan "willing" his team to victory ... or if the 'Cuse's Triple-O package (the Orange's Onuaku & Ongenaet) was simply not enough to offset the aformentioned Midgetmen metamorphosis into a Transformers killing machine.

What we in the La-Z-Boy Sanctuary know is that it's a big, sloppy "L" for Boeheim ... which means that America wins.

Still, ya gotta wonder how many times during timeouts in the second half that UMess head coach Travis Ford reminded his team of the Valentine's Day Massacre from Feb. 14, 1994 when he and his Kentucky teammates were losing, 68-37, at LSU with 15 1/2 minutes to play -- only UK came back to win, 99-95.

And, then Travis Ford had to call another timeout to inform his UMess Midgetmen that, in that game 14 years ago, UK rallied from that 31-point deficit despite sinking only 10 of 21 free throws -- but, alas, Ford (10 points), Walter McCarty (23 points, 4-7 on 3-balls) and Jeff Brassow (14 points, 4-6 on 3-balls) prevailed against the Tigers' formidable 1-2 punch of Ronnie Henderson (36 points, 8-13 on 3-balls) and Clarence Ceasar (32 points, 10 rebounds, 4-7 on 3-balls).

What we DON'T know is if during any of UMess' timeouts, Dante Milligan interrupted Coach Ford by asking, "Coach, what's a Jeff Brassow, anyway? And who the flock is Clarence Ceasar?"

Ronnie Henderson ... that kid could play.

Those 118 knee surgeries didn't help his career, though.

Boeheim has his own problems.

In fact, by this time tomorrow, Bernie Fine might very well be sittin' in a pancake house in Belgium, attempting to "recruit" the next Kris Ongenaet by slipping some extra Deutschmarks into the recruit's third helping of Belgian waffles.

Or maybe Bernie will be traveling to a far-off land known as "Lanham, Maryland" so that he can pluck one of the local natives, such as Arinze Okauku, for Program Orange.

Sometimes, though, all Jimmy B.'s gonna get for his trouble is a fingertip of ranch (or bleu cheese) dressing when he caresses the upper lip of "a friend."

Don't lick Jim's finger, Bernie.

You don't know where that moustache has been ...

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