A couple of random thoughts to start, as I thaw out from attending last night's Bears' game:
The DePaul women's team can be very, very therapeutic. After watching the men's demolition on Saturday afternoon, walleye, Colleen (who we've confirmed is not the good luck charm, so she's allowed to go back to South Dakota) and I headed over to the women's game. The female Demons put their own demolition on Saint Francis (PA) 99-61. And that was a merciful score, given that the starters didn't play the last 14 minutes of the game. It's a shame they don't get more fan support – the crowd couldn't have been more than 700. Not sure what the excuse is there, since they're ranked in the Top 20 and the arena IS on campus.
What I like about the women's game is that since there aren't these hulking bodies clogging up the paint, spacing is often better, and the ball moves nicely around the perimeter and to cutters slashing down the lane. I have to admit - I'm hooked. I'll be leading a field trip to their next home game against Missouri State on the 28th for anyone who wants to come. Even if it ends up to be a field trip of just me, I'm sure I'll have a good time.
So we all need some cheering up after Saturday's debacle, and it got me thinking: to make me feel better, what is worse than watching your team lose by 40 points? I've compiled a list that keeps growing by the minute:
- Going "all in" on a poker tournament, then watching your heads-up opponent go "runner", "runner" to knock you out
- Being stuck at the airport for nine hours, then finding out your airport voucher is for the Wyndham O'Hare Hotel
- Watching Duke hit half-court shots to win games they should lose
- Delivery places that consistently put cheese on your hamburger, even after you specifically tell them "no cheese"
- John Shoop's offense
- My dating life
- Finding out the cute blonde down the hall has a boyfriend
- Finding out the cute brunette across the hall has a boyfriend AFTER helping her move in
Okay, maybe I'm getting off point here. Focus…focus.
So there – that list should make you feel better. And if it didn't, go have some ice cream or something.
I don't have a "Sunday Night Telecast Moment of the Week" because I was actually at the game last night, but I'm sure you all played along at home and were able to pick out your favorite moments of hyperbole and nonsensicalness. The "Commercial of the Week" is an oldie but a goodie, and anyone who watched any football on Sunday saw it. It's the Nextel commercial where three guys are hanging around in someone's office. One guy is playing Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It" on a boom box, while two other guys are dancing…well, like white guys dance to rap music. Someone else bursts in the room in a panic, demanding to know where a, b, and c are. The guys reluctantly shut off the music, find a, b and c in about five seconds, then go back to dancing.
The genius of the commercial is that each time I've seen it with someone, they always say the same thing: "I know someplace where this commercial is happening right now." Where is that study we saw over the summer about how much time people waste at work on average? Nicely played, Nextel.
This Week in the Big East
Cincinnati: We're getting closer and closer to RPI rank being relevant, and right now, the Bearcats (6-2) are the leaders in that department in the conference, with an RPI rank of 5 as of this morning. This week, they smashed Ohio 86-58, then did the same to Tennessee Tech (105-62). Cincinnati is going to Las Vegas for two neutral-site games this week against Dayton (a rematch from earlier this season) and LSU.
Connecticut: Not much to report here. One game this week; one huge victory over New Hampshire 86-44. The 8-0 Huskies only have one game upcoming this week, hosting Morehead State.
Georgetown: The Hoyas (5-2) easily dispensed of Stetson 70-50 at home on Saturday for their only action this past week. This upcoming week, they only have one game, hosting Savannah State, who is still looking for their first Division I win since the 2003-2004 season.
Louisville: Well, Louisville (6-1) finally went on the road…and finally lost. After beating Chicago State at home for their sixth straight home victory, Louisville was bested by Kentucky at Rupp Arena 73-61. Normally, I would be upset about this because it doesn't help the conference, but I was more upset at the Louisville fan who was sitting behind us at bw-3's and clapping for every Old Dominion play. He was either a) upset that we had commandeered the big screen in the main room to watch the game, b) naïve as to the machinations of the RPI such that it's actually good for Louisville for DePaul to be winning or c) a bad person who probably kicks puppies for fun. I'm voting for "c" – it makes my conscience feel better for not liking him.
Marquette: Light week for the Golden Gold (7-3), as they defeated San Francisco 61-48. Here's your odd quirk of the week: Marquette plays San Francisco and Oakland on Saturday and Monday, yet only one of the teams is from the Bay Area. Tonight's match-up is with the Oakland that stunned the Mid-Con Conference to qualify for the NCAA Tournament before getting smashed by North Carolina. Marquette also plays Delaware State before they call it a year against Division I teams.
Notre Dame: A collective sigh of relief from South Bend this morning, as the Irish (5-2), in their only game this week, squeaked by IPFW 65-63. This week, they host Niagara and Columbia.
Pitt: I struggle to say anything interesting about Pitt every week, because their non-conference schedule is so pedestrian. They moved to 8-0 with their seventh home win of the season on Saturday against Vermont, 63-52. The Panthers only have one home game this week, and it's to Coppin State. Sheesh.
Providence: Providence had the week off, which they spent investigating whether Billy Donovan, Delray Brooks or Ryan Gomes had any eligibility left. Alas, none do. This week, they have two home games against Northeastern and Yale.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are now 8-2 with home victories over Maine (91-56) and South Carolina State (63-45) this week. Nice record, not so strong wins – Rutgers has five wins over teams whose RPI ranks are 200 or worse as of this morning. Only one game for them this week, as they host the enigmatic Charlotte 49ers.
Seton Hall: What is it with schools in New Jersey and low scores? There was the Princeton game of note earlier in the week, and in the only game Seton Hall (6-3) played this week, they were beaten 46-44 by Northwestern. The Pirates are taking this week off.
St. John's: Cincinnati is leading the pack in RPI rank; St. John's (5-3) is bringing up the rear after an awful home loss on Saturday to Marist 56-53. From an RPI perspective, life gets better as Duke pays a visit on Wednesday. From a win-loss perspective, life isn't about to get better, though.
South Florida: The Bulls moved to 5-3 with a win over Florida Atlantic 62-44 at home (and I checked this twice, chas, to make sure it was a home game). The Bulls are now off to Hawaii in a neutral-site tournament, where their first opponent will be Iowa State.
Syracuse: The Orange move to 8-2 with a 90-80 victory over Davidson last night. UIC comes calling to the Carrier Dome on Wednesday in their only upcoming game.
Villanova: Nice win for the Wildcats, staving off Penn 62-55 to move to 7-0. They only have one game this week, hosting the LaSalle Explorers.
West Virginia: The Pittsnogles have been chillin' all week with no games scheduled. Thursday night, they play a big one in Oklahoma City against the Sooners.
Bradley: Bradley (5-2) had a productive week, posting victories over Western Kentucky (78-76) and Delaware State (68-46) in Peoria. The Braves travel to Southern Miss to play Larry Eustachy's impotent offense, then start MVC play the next week. What a free-for-all that conference is going to be.
Northwestern: Strange week for the Wildcats (5-4). They lose at home to UIC (71-62) on Wednesday, then go to Seton Hall and win as mentioned above. Northwestern doesn't play a Division I opponent now until 2006.
Northern Illinois: Northern (3-2) started the week by blitzing Wright State 62-42, then went to the Pavilion and lost to UIC by one, 55-54. UIC basically screwed up DePaul's week by beating Northwestern and Northern, so I hope you guys are happy down there. Northern hosts Kansas State on Tuesday for their only game.
Creighton: Seems as if Creighton (5-2) might be back on track with a nice home win over Xavier on Sunday 61-59. They get a nice (hopefully) easy game against Norfolk State before they start the battle royal in the MVC.
Bucknell: The Bison (6-1) only posted one result this week: Bucknell 83, Cornell 39. Quite the result to post, too. They have a very intriguing game coming up with St. Joe's on Wednesday at home.
UAB: Don't know how many people saw the end of the Blazers' game against Minnesota, but it seemed pretty strange. Marvett McDonald hit a three to tie the game at 68 with about ten seconds remaining. UAB (4-3) went into its press, and Demario Eddins fouled Minnesota's Maurice Hargrow in the backcourt. UAB was over the foul limit, Hargrow sank one of two from the line, and UAB missed its final shot. What was unusual about the play was that, on replay, it sure looked like Eddins fouled Hargrow on purpose. No written account of the story I could find mentioned it, but SportsCenter listed it as part of its "Not Top 10" for the week. Anyway, UAB hosts Centenary and Old Dominion this week.
Dayton: Slow week for the Flyers (6-3), as they beat Non-Division I Arkansas-Monticello 63-46, and that was it. Tonight, they host Florida A&M, then head to Las Vegas to play Cincinnati and Northern Iowa.
Wake Forest: After losing to DePaul, Wake (8-2) rebounded for a 61-42 victory over Princeton. The Demon Deacons have one game this week, traveling to Richmond.
Old Dominion: Well, I'd like to distract everyone by mentioning the other games ODU (7-2) had this week, but they didn't have any others, so I'll just move on to this upcoming week for them. And look at this – they travel to Richmond, then UAB.
California: So Cal (6-2) has been twiddling its thumbs, waiting for DePaul's arrival. They had no games this week, and in fact, when DePaul leaves, they have no games for another eight days until they start Pac-10 play. The schedule was not favorable to the Demons here.
Florida International: On the "MolsonBlue" watch, here's the ugly stepsister of DePaul's schedule, accounting for about 1/6th of the losses of DePaul's non-conference opponents. Florida International (2-5) lost another game this week, at Michigan State (85-58 ). This week, they play their fourth consecutive road game, at LaSalle.
Aggregate overall D-I record: 57-28 (.671)
Other Games of Note This Week
Ed Hochuli "Power Game of the Week"
Slim pickings this week, so I think I have to go with #22 Kentucky 73, #4 Louisville 61. And I don't really feel like talking about this game anymore, so let's talk about a more interesting topic: how about that game Ed Hochuli had officiating Pittsburgh and Minnesota, eh? It's a rare treat when "Big Guns" Hochuli is on the game you're getting from the comfort of your own home, and he was in rare form. Long announcements all over the place – it was heavenly. Rumor has it he wanted the Falcons-Bears game so he could show off what a man he was by wearing short sleeves while officiating the game, but the league office felt that would intimidate the other officials.
Other games this week…
Monmouth 41, Princeton 21. I suppose there are all sorts of negative stats that you can throw out from this game. The one that stands out, to me: Princeton shot two free throws the entire game.
Tennessee 95, Texas 78. Remember when everyone thought Texas was going to crush Duke? That was only a week and a half ago.
South Alabama 66, Houston 62. That "thud" you heard was everyone collectively jumping off the Cougar bandwagon.
UNLV 84, Texas Tech 73. How many more losses do the Red Raiders have to suffer before we're not surprised by them anymore?
Virginia Tech 59, Stanford 52. Am I missing something here, or wasn't Stanford ranked at the beginning of the season? For those of you scoring at home, the Cardinal have lost to UC-Irvine, Montana, UC-Davis and now Virginia Tech to fall to 2-4. Yikes.
LaSalle 107, Central Connecticut State 106 (4 OT). Any four-overtime game is worthy of inclusion in this section, even if it happened at the Lakeview YMCA. LaSalle's Darnell Harris was fouled attempting a three-pointer with no time on the clock and LaSalle down by one. He missed the first free throw, then hit the next two to win the game. The stud of the game has to go to LaSalle's Steven Smith, who poured in 41 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, had six assists and three steals. That's a pretty full box score.
Until next week, let's go, Demons.
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