Well, I suppose it's time to get back in the saddle and start with this season's inaugural "Prelude to a Bubble Report". As always, hope springs eternal at this part of the season…or, at least, it did until Saturday night for some folks.
For those of you who have read before from past seasons, welcome back. Peanut gallery commentary is always welcome. For those of you who are new readers (and I've noticed we've picked up a few new members over the summer), welcome, and thanks for clicking. Basically, what I do here is start by wasting Internet space by posting some random thoughts. Then I track the scores of relevance to DePaul, generally of past or future opponents. If DePaul falls off the chase for an NCAA Tournament bid, this morphs (unwillingly) into a general college basketball discussion. Then I get tired and stop writing. That about sums it up.
So, without further ado, onto this week's random thoughts…
Hey, at least the Bears won. And Ed Hochuli was in his full glory last night.
Odd Commercial, Television Version: Has anyone noticed the "NBA Cares" commercial which shows a montage of photos of current and former NBA players working with kids? All of the current players are identified with their current teams. So, for example, the photo of Luol Deng flashes the words, "Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls". Yet for the former NBA players, I swear that they are all listed as, "[Player], NBA Legend". (I only saw the commercial once. Can anyone else corroborate whether I'm making this up or not?) Well, two of the former NBA players in the montage are Jim Jackson and Jerome Williams, which makes me wonder just how liberally we're using the word "legend". Perhaps "legend" translates into "back-up role player" in certain languages? I can't wait for the follow-up commercials which show "Bill Wennington, NBA Legend" teaching young Canadians how to spot up for the jump shot or "Frederic Weis, NBA Legend" showing young French children how to miss point blank lay-ups.
Odd Commercial, Radio Version: I don't know what to make of this, but have you heard that the Central Intelligence Agency is advertising on the radio? It would seem to me that if you wanted to get the best and the brightest to apply, you would hide the advertisements, and only those who could find them would get the job, no? Personally, I think they should just be monitoring kids who regularly frequent some sort of online game site and recruit from there. "Little Brother Extraordinaire" Shondell has found more hidden levels in the last three video games he's played than the U.S. has found spies since the turn of the 20th century.
I am still in mourning at the break-up of the ESPN Sunday night football crew of Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul Maguire. Their screwed-up analysis provided me enough material to fill up this section on a weekly basis. On the bright side, even though Theismann has moved to Monday night, he's still arguing with himself 3-4 times a game.
Okay, who didn't have the Blackhawks losing eight games in a row before Veteran's Day? Put your hand down, Dale Tallon. Pat Foley has to be laughing his head off right now.
Speaking of the ‘Hawks, I understand that owner Bill Wirtz was supposed to have a scene in "Saw III" that didn't make the final movie. Apparently, Wirtz was trapped in one of the torture devices, and the only way to get out was to take a nickel from his own pocket and insert it into a slot that would have freed him from the trap. However, the key to the trap was that the nickel was non-refundable. Wirtz was unable to bring himself to spend that much, so he did not escape.
I think one of the best genres of websites that has popped up is the group of sites that provide song lyrics. It was a very enlightening experience for me to read the words for such classics as "Rico Suave" by Gerardo and "Informer" by Snow (and I cringe to think there's a younger generation of fans who read that sentence and have no idea what I'm talking about). I always wondered what they did with instrumentals, and now I have my answer. I think you would all recognize this song if you heard it, but probably don't know the artist or title. The song is called "Sandstorm" by Darude, and it's probably on a "Jock Jams" CD somewhere. They might occasionally play it at a DePaul game – I don't recall. Anyway, here is the link to the "lyrics":
Bear in mind, someone took the time to type all of that. And I'm guessing he/she probably didn't get all the "words" on the first try, so it probably took multiple attempts. My favorite part is the line that says "(unintelligible)"…as if the rest of it makes complete sense.
And now, on to basketball…
This Week for Non-Conference Opponents
Bradley: I heard they had a game over the weekend and won, moving to 1-0. This week, the Braves have a game with SIU-Edwardsville (completely irrelevant for RPI purposes), then host UIC on Sunday.
Northwestern: The Wildcats picked up this season where they leave off most seasons: losing. The Cornell Big Red went into Evanston and stung the Wildcats 64-61, dropping Northwestern to 0-1. They host DePaul, then go to Stanford on Friday. How about that –the four best academic institutions in the nation in one paragraph.
Eastern Illinois: It's clear that the Panthers were brought is as fodder for the "Cyclone Challenge", as Eastern lost to Louisiana Monroe, UC-Riverside and Iowa State on successive days to fall to 0-3. This week, they host Indiana-South Bend, then travel to the Allstate Arena on Friday night to play the Demons.
Kentucky: The Wildcats have yet to start, chillin' in Lexington until Wednesday when they host Miami (OH), followed by Mississippi Valley State on Friday. And since I have nothing else to say about them right now, I thought I'd help us get acquainted with Lexington, since most of us have probably not spent much time there. Here, you can learn about the local sports teams, which are, according to the site, "Wildcats, Wildcats, Wildcats"
(scroll down near the bottom). Also, here, you can download random songs by Lexington artists:
And I'm not being facetious – the section is called "random songs". Not "good songs", not "songs of which we're proud"…"random songs". I'm not sure what to think when two of my choices are songs called, "Stupid People" and "It's Easy to be Stupid".
Kansas: "Rock, Chalk" started off the season with a 91-57 home lambasting of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. Do you know the only other Division I school with the nickname of the "Lumberjacks"? Answer: Sam Houston State. I only know that because of when I tried out for "Stump the Schwab" last year. But I digress. The Jayhawks host Oral Roberts on Wednesday, then Towson on Sunday. The local nightlife is on notice for Pat Kennedy's impending arrival.
Chicago State: All things considered, not bad for the Cougars considering they did not leave the first week of the season without a victory. Chicago State defeated St. Bonaventure 98-95 before getting thrashed by Texas the next night 92-66. This week promises to be a challenging week, as CSU plays at Wichita State, then Indiana.
UAB: The Mike Davis era is at an over-.500 start after its first week at 2-1. Victories over Radford and Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the John Thompson Foundation Classic help somewhat erase an opening-night loss to Washington State. This week, UAB plays Wyoming.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons start the season with a win, although not a particularly impressive one. They defeated Colonial doormat James Madison 91-82 at home. They have an intriguing game at Bucknell on Tuesday, then a non-intriguing game on Friday, hosting Elon.
Rhode Island: The Rams began their season with a win over Division II Stonehill. The most fascinating part of that game is that Stonehill's leading scorer in that game was a guy named "Soap" Taun (short for Sopheeng). Rhode Island starts its Division I slate on Monday against Houston, then heads to Alaska for a game on Friday against Troy in the "Top of the World" Classic.
UC-Irvine: The Anteaters played three games in the Fresno State Tournament, losing to the two Division I teams they played. First, South Alabama disposed of them, then the host Bulldogs crushed them. This week, UC Irvine hosts South Carolina, then travels to Oregon.
California: Basketball has likely taken a back seat at Berkeley this week after the football team's catastrophic loss at Arizona knocked them out of the national title hunt. But the hoops team didn't play this past week, anyway. This upcoming week, the Bears host Utah Valley State, followed by a road game at San Diego State.
Northwestern State: Last season's biggest NCAA Tournament upset winner started the season with a nice home victory over Utah State 88-71. Aligned with their "play anyone, anywhere" philosophy, the Demons head to Oklahoma State and Louisville this week.
This Week in the Big East
Cincinnati: The Bearcats are off to a 3-0 start, defeating Howard, Tennessee Martin and High Point in succession. It's clear Cincinnati has gotten comfortable with the Big East, as they have adopted the Syracuse methodology of scheduling. While the Bearcats have three neutral-site games in the pre-conference season, they don't have a true road game until January 4, at Memphis.
Connecticut: The Huskies started their season with a very ugly win over Quinnipiac 53-46 at home for a 1-0 record. At the end of the upcoming week, Connecticut hosts the Hispanic College Fund Classic, taking on Central Arkansas (trying to channel the ghost of Scottie Pippen), Fairfield and Mississippi.
Georgetown: The Hoyas are off to a 1-0 start with a nondescript home victory over Hartford 69-59. This week should be one of the most challenging for any Big East team, as they travel to Vanderbilt, then host Old Dominion.
Louisville: Very little to talk about yet with the Cardinals, as they don't tip the ball off for the first time for real until the end of the week against Northwestern State. But, hey, don't forget to check out the Lexington city links for fun things to do in Kentucky!
Marquette: Blah, blah, blah, Hillsdale, blah, blah, blah. The Golden Gold have two home games this week against Idaho State and Eastern Michigan. No need to reiterate the Krispy Kreme schedule – we've covered it ad nauseum for three seasons.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish scored a large victory over the oddest abbreviation in college basketball, IPFW (Indiana Univiersty-Purdue University at Fort Wayne), 92-49. This week's opponents include a trip to Butler and a home game against the Citadel.
Pitt: The Wannstedts start their first season since 1994 without Carl Krauser with a victory over Western Michigan 86-67. This week, they host Western Michigan and Delaware State.
Providence: As Officer Barbrady from South Park would say, "Move along, nothing to see here!" As you can see, I'm running out of ways to say, "This team didn't play a game this week". Providence starts their season at home on Tuesday against Fairleigh Dickinson, then hosts Brown at the end of the week.
Rutgers: I wonder if they even care if they play the basketball season, given the success of the football season. Anyone want to set an over/under on the number of James Gandolfini sideline shots between now and the BCS? The Scarlet Knights have one home game this week to start the season against a traveling team from the Kansas Penal System…er, Kansas State.
Seton Hall: I stared at the screen for five minutes to come up with something here, and I got nothing. Screw it. Seton Hall plays Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday. Let's move on.
South Florida: The S. S. Minnow of the Big East Conference didn't have a game this week - much to the delight of the fan base, who is still trying to figure out how to lure Bob Huggins down there to coach the team. This week, the Bulls have home games against Buffalo and South Carolina State.
St. John's: The Red Storm started their season 2-0, beating traditional powerhouses North Florida and Navy. As a reward for that hard work, they don't play again until November 25.
Syracuse: The Orange is gradually upgrading its non-conference schedule in terms of quality of opponents. Wins over St. Francis (PA), Penn and UTEP this week reflect that, as do future visitors Holy Cross and Wichita State. While the quality might be slightly better, the philosophy is still the same. With just one road game and one neutral-site game, Syracuse doesn't leave the state of New York to play a game until January 7.
Villanova: The Wildcats are off to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the end of the week, playing in the Paradise Jam Tournament. Their first opponent is the College of Charleston, then face either Xavier or Virginia Commonwealth. They also play a third game down there, but I'm too lazy to look up who it might be. I'll let you know next week.
West Virginia: After losing their entire lineup from last season's Sweet Sixteen team, the Pittsnogles (I can't stop calling them that) struggled to an opening home victory over Mount Saint Mary's 50-42. This week, they host Canisius.
Thanks for reading. Let's go, Demons.
Mike Adam's Bubble Blog will appear on the WeAreDePaul.com message boards throughout the college basketball season.
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