Hello Celtics! What looked like a great East versus West match up on paper turned into a lopsided victory for Boston Wednesday night when they completely obliterated Denver in front of a sellout crowd at the Garden. The Celtics led by 39 at the half and as many as 41 in the third quarter before calling off the dogs. The PGA Tour combined for 46 of the teams 119 points, which is a statement as to how well the All-Star trio is elevating the games of their teammates on Boston's roster.
College basketball finally tipped this week with games being played at Memphis and Kentucky as part of the 2K College Hoops Classic. Memphis looked good, but not great while Richmond looked like a team primed to make a run at a conference title in the Atlantic 10. Kentucky also looked good, for a day that is, until they ran into a buzz saw Wednesday night. That buzz saw came in the form of a Gardner-Webb team that made the Wildcats look silly on their home court. The Runnin' Bulldogs ran out to a 14-0 lead in Lexington and never looked back. In fact, Kentucky never got closer than within seven points the entire game. I don't know if Ashley Judd was in the arena, but there were at least 19,844 boo-birds who did witness the horror show.
March Madness already? It appears that way as Kentucky was not the only major-conference school to struggle this week. UConn narrowly defeated Morgan State 69-65 on Wednesday as well, which should raise enough eyebrows to remind the bigger schools that there really shouldn't be a "mid-major" label attached to any college basketball team anymore.
For Arizona, their basketball season officially kicks off next Tuesday when they face Northern Arizona. The game will ignite an exciting week for Wildcat fans as the school plays host in basketball to the Lumberjacks on Nov. 13 and the Virginia Cavaliers on Nov. 17. Wedged in between is one of the most anticipated football games in Tucson in a long, long time. Next Thursday night's pigskin match up against the BCS No. 3 Oregon Ducks presents the Wildcats with a tremendous opportunity to knock off a true national power while sustaining the momentum they've gained from two straight conference victories. Tucson will be rocking for sure and the great news for everyone attending the game is I and my Games I Attend Curse won't be there to screw this one up. I instead will be in Seattle for the wedding of a lifelong friend. Fortunately, for me and every other faithful Wildcat living outside the Center of the Universe, all three games are being televised with the football game getting the coverage spotlight from the crew at ESPN.
Does anyone remember playing electronic football as a kid? If you're like me, do you remember playing electronic football last week? Well, guess what. The creators at Miggle Toys, Inc. have brainstormed to come up with plastic figures of not only NFL teams, but now college teams. The best part about it is Arizona is one of the teams featured in their new line of products. For those interested, and I shutter to think the words each of you are whispering under your breath about me right now, you can order a set of 11 players from your favorite school for only $9 bucks a pop by visiting their online store at www.miggle.com. My apologies in advance if you place an order only to find out that Arizona is on back order as I intend to order a full 85-man roster.
Somebody at Notre Dame better wise up and tell Charlie Weiss that he's never allowed to break out any version of their famed "Green Jerseys" ever again. How many times do the Irish have to lose in these special jerseys before we as a society have to rewrite the rules on the color green being "lucky." Can you imagine the Celtics having to go to a white four-leaf clover? It can't happen.
Speaking of Notre Dame, I heard the funniest thing on ESPNU this week. The analyst was saying how the next three games against Air Force, Duke and Stanford were all statement games. My, oh my, that cliff the Irish are standing on is getting steeper and steeper by the second.
The Minnesota Vikings are something else. After all their past indiscretions (the Love Boat cruise comes to mind), instead of using this week to tout the record-breaking game tailback Adrian Peterson produced for them last Sunday, they instead decide to levy a $25,588 fine against wide receiver Troy Williamson for missing practice to attend his grandmother's funeral. And you wonder why teams like the New York Yankees are media darlings while others like the Vikings are back-page newspaper material. Does this team even have a Public Relations Department and if so, are there actual people with brains working there? Perhaps they're so used to spinning negative press that they just out of habit opened the doors to more after this pathetic decision. Giving permission to attend a funeral is like giving permission to a player wanting a sip of water in summer two-a-days. You just say yes!
Bob Kuechenberg, former Notre Dame/Miami Dolphins lineman, railed Charlie Weiss on ESPN radio today, basically saying that Weiss is a victim of his own Karma. According to Kuechenberg, he says that Weiss has alienated his team from the media, past Golden Domers, and the administration. Sound familiar Arizona fans? John Mackovic did the same thing and look where our school wound up. Just now, after three years and 10 games, the Wildcats are beginning to turn things around. As ESPN's Mark May added, Notre Dame's schedule next season looks even more difficult than this year's. Add to that the fact that Notre Dame has had as many players transfer out of their football program in the past year as they did during the entire 11-year Lou Holtz Era and look out because the losing may not end soon. On the positive side, at least they can brag about having the highest paid coach in the country. That's got to mean something to recruits.
I've read a lot of posts on message boards this week congratulating Arizona for having a bye week. The joke, of course, being that Arizona won't have the opportunity to lose. I'd counter that it's actually a week where Arizona doesn't have the opportunity to win, but whatever. The bye week should serve the team well and the same goes for Oregon. Even when teams are healthy, you still need the rest and especially at the end of the season. Next Thursday's game should be an incredible sight to see for Wildcat fans. Full game day festivities are now back on and I would hope that all afternoon classes would be suspended (although I don't expect them to).
Next Tuesday marks the opening of Arizona's basketball season. It also kick starts a 31-game stretch of nationally and locally televised games which is a ridiculously positive statement in regards to the health of the program. Not even UCLA, the preseason No. 2 team in the country, will receive that much exposure. It'll be interesting to see what Arizona's starting lineup will look like against Northern Arizona. Last night in an exhibition game against Team Georgia (Wildcats won 96-73), freshman Jamelle Horne got the start. He turned in 16 points and 9 rebounds along with a heckuvah lot of effort that doesn't read on the stat line. Everyone knows that the ‘Cats will have an improved focus on the defensive side of the ball this season and guys like Horne are expected to contribute on that end of the floor. If he can score on top of that well then, can you say extended playing time!
Despite a renewed interest on defense, I do expect the Wildcats to have some setbacks this season. The question is: will any of the losses really be considered setbacks? Assuming they don't drop a game to Arizona State, even though the Sun Devils too should be an improved team, their entire schedule is filled with quality teams who will contend in their respective conferences or will contend for the Pac-10 title. They play three teams ranked No. 4 or better in the preseason polls (UCLA, @ Kansas, and @ Memphis). They also play some quality opponents on neutral courts (Illinois) and host of teams at McKale who play a variety of styles. All in all, Arizona has a top-five strength of schedule that makes last season's extremely tough schedule look like a cakewalk in retrospect.
Who would've thought that the USC/Cal game this weekend would lack the hype that it currently does? Heading into the season, this was billed as the game of the year in the Pac-10. After the Bears pounded Tennessee it looked like it might be the game of the year, overall. Now it's just two teams playing for a bowl bid. I would be completely shocked but I knew better thanks to preseason prognosticator Phil Steele, the most accurate of his kind eight years running, who had Cal slated to finish fifth in the Pac-10, which is pretty much where they're heading.
Losers of three of their last four games, it's difficult to even remember that Kentucky started the football season 5-0.
After Saturday's football game between Miami and Virginia, it'll be bye bye Orange Bowl with Miami officials considering demolishing the famed site.
I just read that Major League Soccer granted Seattle an expansion team. So, let me get this straight. The NBA Supersonics are looking to bolt from Seattle in favor of a move to Oklahoma City and they're going to be replaced by a soccer team. What is the world coming to?
Speaking of Seattle, I'll be there next week as previously mentioned. The first thing I'm going to do Friday morning is walk into a Starbucks and order a venti vanilla latte. That should turn some heads.
Sorry for the late Fizz this week, but yesterday was my fourth wedding anniversary and I've been spending the entire week doing things that remind my wife why she married me. I bought her roses that matched the color of her dress the first time we met (pink if you're wondering), I cooked dinner, and even cleaned the house. On the big day I brought home a cashmere sweater because that's what all the 4th Anniversary Internet sites told me to do. My wife, on the other hand, did something I've been quietly dreaming of for the past two years, which is cut her hair extremely short. The significance is when we first met her hair was shorter than mine. Anyway, don't mean to bore you but my wife is always asking how a writer can fail to write her a love letter so honey, this paragraph's for you.
Just kidding, love. Check under your pillow.
The other reason the Fizz is late this week is I went to see Ben Harper live at the Orpheum Theater tonight. The dude rocked the house. Reminded me of me in the shower. Sang with some serious attitude and if you don't know what I mean by that, then let me try to explain in simpler terms. Jordan's 63-point playoff performance against the Celtics. Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins trading baskets for three quarters. Adrian Peterson rushing for 296 yards. Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs in the World Series. You know, stuff like that.
Anyway, I gotta' run. Many more stories to write. Enjoy the weekend off Wildcat fans and conserve some energy for next week's sporting events because you and the teams are going to need it.
Bear Down, Arizona!