Sunday, January 10, 2010

Secrets To UT's Upset of #1 KU

It doesn't matter what today's date is (unless your birthday happens to fall on this day, Jan. 10 ... and most of us forgot to buy you a present, anyway, so get over yourself already, okay?) because Tennessee didn't actually win this game today vs. Kansas -- the Vols won it on November 17th.

Likewise, Kansas didn't lose this game today -- they lost it on December 2nd.

Keys to the Vols' victory: In that 75-pt. victory over UNC-Asheville (124-49), people tend to forget that it was a threeeeee by Skylar McBeeeee which put the Vols up by 68 with 11:52 to play and that it was a 3-ball by Bobby Maze which put UT up by 70 (101-31) with 8:27 remaining.

And, although Renaldo Woolridge's 3-ball put the Vols up 80 (112-32) with 5:51 to play, he did miss a three 1:24 later which would've put the Vols up by 83 and, a little less than three minutes later, he missed another 3-ball when the Vols were up by 80.

It's official: Renaldo Woolridge is NOT the guy you want takin' the 3 when you're up by 80.

Nevertheless, those who truly love b/ball applaud the manner in which UT summoned up the courage to bust some treys when they were up anywhere from 68 to 80 points vs. UNC-Asheville two months ago.

That confidence paid off today -- and it just might be what "vaults the Vols!" to the top of the heap when they're cuttin' down the nets and CBS is cueing up "One Shining Moment."

Woolridge was 4 of 6 from downtown today, only, that's not what killed KU.

What worked against the Jaywalks was that 98-31 win over Alcorn State (0-9 at the time) five weeks ago.

Alcorn had that 4-0 lead before KU overreacted and went on a 36-0 run during an 11:58 span.

Sherron Collins demonstrated incredible heroism that day ... bustin' a trey seven seconds into a fresh shot clock to put KU up 77-28 -- and, then, a little more than a minute later, "blammo!" ... the kid was at it again, poppin' another 3-ball eight seconds into a fresh shot clock to put the Jays up by 54.

Sadly, Sherron Collins was only 2 of 10 on 3-balls today, meaning that either he's a very cocksure young man when he's bustin' treys against a winless opponent which commits 30 turnovers in a 67-point loss or, well, ummm ... maybe it just wasn't his day.

What's important is that coaches such as Bill Self and Bruce Pearl are such excellent teachers and molders of talent that, even when their teams are up by 49 or 54 or 68 or 80 points, their teams never quit competing and giving it their all.

Then again, some might argue that ballgames which explode into massacres of 49, 54, 68, 80, et cetera is the same as watching footage from WWII when German bulldozers pushed piles of naked-and-dead bodies into trenches after the gas chambers have been emptied.

Yup ... it's a holocaust -- and Pearl, more than anybody else, should acknowledge b/ball genocide.

Pro-Pearlists are likely to reason that the UT coach -- the Jewish guy who allows his no-talent Jewish son to wear the #22 which was worn by one of the ballin'est Hebrews of all-time (Ernie Grunfeld) -- perhaps remembers that footage from WWII ... and now he's going to make everybody pay ... a lot like that scene from "Unforgiven" when Clint iced that guy and Hackman barked, "You just shot an unarmed man!"

Clint (snarling, of course): "Well, he should've armed himself."

By triggering the compassionless slaughter of UNC-Asheville, Pearl was attempting to establish a "master race" (of no-talent hoopsters who'll make you puke when you watch 'em in ballgames wherein the final margin is not 49, 54, 68 or 80 pts).

Pitino tried this "master race" strategy last year when his Lousyville death squadron mercilessly launched 3's when the game was already outta hand against DePaul (which was 0-13 in Big East play at the time).

Lousyville was 18 of 36 "from distance" (most of those attempts were well after the game was in hand), alas ... Pitino (surprise!) did not use that momentum to capture his fourth consecutive NCAA championship.

Those slouches on the Disneyland B/Ball Channel (Knight, Vitale, Digger) won't admonish coaches who are gutless and produce gutless teams, so, let's hear it for blowouts where the kids "never stop competing."

Then again, if UT-Knoxville wished to sodomize UNC-Asheville with a rusty pipe, then shouldn't the Vols have spent the second half shootin' nuthin' but halfcourt shots?

In case it matters, America, Bruce Pearl is a shitty coach, but, moreover, he's unimaginatively lousy.

But, wait! There's more!

Little Stevie Pearl missed both FTs today ... the first time he's missed from the foul line this season.

On the other hand, those were his first attempts of the season and he's now 3 of 10 in his career.

Kid's gotta polish his game before March Madness so as to avoid rocky times 'round Rocky Top ...

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"310 From Contention"

THAT WAS ALWAYS THE SOURCE OF CONFLICT any time the conversation turned to the movie (or, if you prefer, "motion picture") "3:10 To Yuma."

The title.

As we all remember, it was in Contention, Arizona where Daniel Evans fought impossible odds to get Ben Wade on that train ... a train scheduled to depart the station at 10-past-3 p.m., w/ the destination: Yuma.

But, then Ben Wade's chief lieutenant, Charlie Prince, gunned down poor Daniel ... before Ben Wade gunned down Charlie and the rest of his own gang.

After all, Ben Wade had twice busted outta that Yuma jail.

It's these thoughts of "3:10 From Contention" -- be it the original 1957 version with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin -- or the remake 50 yrs. later (with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale -- and a damn quality sinister element from Ben Foster as Charlie Prince ... although Richard Jaeckel in that role in the originial, never mind) ... these are the thoughts which can swirl inside a man's head as he's brushinwyou're brushin' your teeth and you look in the mirror and then you do a double-take because suddenly it hits you:

"When the hell did I turn into Rosie O'Donnell?"

Although it used to be that you weren't all that offended when somebody remarked that my taste in women and Rosie's was approximately the same, it doesn't ease the fright which has gripped my heart once I realized that ugly and obese and less softball talent than she is a lonely way to die.

It hit home a few days ago ... when I stepped on the allegedly-accurately-calibrated scale at Dr. Gibbons office.

What a grim milestone it was: "3-bills."
Actually, 3-bills-plus.

311, to be exact.

It used to be the goal of thousands of slo-pitch softball fatsos everywhere ... for those who believed that America remains strongest when the softball fields are occupied (with a runner at second at one out) -- "to have three numbers sync up nicely: playing weight, batting average, ERA."

The accepted-yet-unofficial Magic Number was once 425 ... as in 425 lbs. ... .425 BA ... 4.25 ERA., alas ... that "golden plateau" loses its luster with the convergence of three factors: multi-grains, zero grams of trans fat and my own retirement a few seasons ago.

Such a trifecta was a little like the phenomenon which occures in nature wherein Jamie Moyer wears his age and the speed-in-MPH of his fastball on the back of his Phillies shirt.


Once a Steelers fan eclipses 3-bills, he begins to wonder what's next on the horizon.

Willie Colon's 315?
Trai Essex's 324?
Chris Kemoeatu's 344?

Technically, none of those guys is morbidly obese ... mostly because a Super Bowl ring negates obesity.

Yet, when you're 300 and blobby and O'Donnellish, it's difficult to remember the days when you were 250 and legging out a triple during the softball wars of yore.
Or when you were 275 and legging out a triple ... and wishin' that somebody knocks ya in from third right quick so that you can grab a Pall Mall before it's time to take the field for the top of the 5th.

"3oo" was a lot more fun when it was Homer who was striving to achieve that milestone so that he could work at home and disdaining the exercise program led by Mr. Burns ("push out the jive ... bring in the love ...").

HOMER (reading the computer screen): "Do you want to vent the core?" (answering out loud before typing) "N ... O ..." (reading the computer screen) "Are you sure? Venting helps to prevent ex-ploh-zhee-yunn?"

That's a frickn', all-time classic -- highlighted by his msg. to Marge upon discovering that he needed to type only "Y" rather than "y-e-s" to the computer:

"Hey, Miss Doesn'tFindMeSexuallyAttractiveAnymore ... I just tripled my productivity!"

Looks as though I've gotta do the same.

Or I'll never be able to delight the fans with another triple ...

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