Monday, March 30, 2009

Look who's got some free time in Dallas

If it isn't the man with a soft sport for waterboarding and deception: George W. Bush - and he's throwing out the first pitch for your Texas Rangers. Another point for Dallas!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

RIP Alysheba

Several decades before there was Barbaro, there was Alysheba, the '87 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who made this dude a fan of horse racing. Alysheba died at age 25 yesterday, apparently having lived his adult life on the oil fields of Saudi Arabia before returning to Kentucky this fall. His battles with Bet Twice brought me into the sport, and then he was off to a life as a stud, while other champions like Sunday Silence came and went. Much like Larry Parrish in baseball and Brad Davis in basketball, you can never replace your first favorite player.

Friday, March 27, 2009

AJ Retires

We all have good memories of AJ, who is retiring from the N&O -- my favorite was our fist bump right before the title game against UConn.

One bit of good news to emerge

Singer is coming back. Amazing how some guys like McRoberts and Randolph come in thinking they'll stay a year and turn pro, end up not being good enough, but show minimal commitment or dedication to the program and never end up being stars. Singler's a guy who wasn't good enough to go pro after a year, but took huge steps in improving his game this year, has a great attitude, and maybe by the end of next year will have himself in position to be a first-round lock. Very dude.
I still think Henderson could use another year to learn how to go left on offense, but I have my doubts he'll do that.

And another year bites the dust...

Well, it was a tough one to take, not even because it was a game that was seemingly sitting there waiting for us to take it in the first half, but because it's just another reminder that we're still one of the better programs, but certainly not one of the best right now. I just wish Scheyer, Henderson, and Singler had knocked down more of their open looks in the first half so we could've held the lead and put a little more game pressure on Villanova. The maddening part is it's not like Villanova made their spurt to start the second half because they got hot from outside -- they simply drove to the basket and locked down our offense. Perhaps it was summed up by Paulus' sequence in the second half where he dribbled the ball away and then hacked the Nova player, and when Scheyer at the end of the first half when stood and dribbled 30 feet from the basket, and then with 3 seconds left decided to pass to Zoubek, who fumbled it away. Scheyer's not a point guard, so he does the best he can, but all we could seem to do is pass around the perimeter. And still lose the ball. I watched the press conference after the game, and usually when we lose, K is at his snippy best about how he's proud of his guys, not disappointed, great season, etc. Last night he sounded more disappointed, admitted we didn't play well and that for some reason we were putting too much pressure on ourselves on offense. You would think a coach could draw up some plays to help with that. We had the talent to compete last night, and Villanova didn't have any inside presence, so it's a little hard to take.

The way I see it, the problem now looking ahead to next year is we get a few big men (Kelly and the other Plumlee), so maybe that'll help, but there's still no point guard unless Nolan grows into the role. Scheyer's a great scorer, and does his best, but you can tell it's not his spot. I read somewhere that we were trying hard to recruit one late in the process. That doesn't usually lead to a blue-chipper, but as we've learned, being highly recruited is no guarantee of success. Henderson said after the game he hadn't thought about next year or what he's going to do. Since he's projected in the top 10, I still suspect he's gone, but last night certainly didn't help the cause. I'm guessing Singler may be back. For a supposedly one-and-done guy, it's a bonus and I've really grown to like the guy -- he plays hard, plays smart, and really wants to win.

I guess if at least Singler comes back, we'll still be top 10 next year, and maybe top 5 since some of the powers like UNC, UConn, etc. lose a ton of talent. But unless the incoming freshmen fill holes, we'll still have the same deficiencies come tournament time, and after we lose, we'll still hear the Vitales of the world say like they did last night that we overachieved.

Shameful Dallas, Shameful

1) Failing to protect the President of the US? Check
2) Failing to safely escort presumed assailant to trial so that mafia conspiracy can be uncovered? Check?
3) Being inhumanly cruel? Check

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Journey Reunion - On the Outside Looking In

Perhaps the Journeyers did not want to make their former coach feel too bad about bowing out in the 1st round a few days ago, so they became one of the rare 1 seeds in the women's tourney to lose in the 2nd round tonight. Of course, the first question is, since when did a 1 seed play on the 8 seed's home floor? But, as longtime Journey fans, we're kind of used to let downs in the tournament. Who can forget Arkansas in 1998? or Minnesota in 2004?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Road Ahead

The big question today, having already started to move beyond last night, is what our chances are moving ahead to Villanova. Naturally, the pundits are ignoring our first-round blowout and Nova's first-round scare, and focusing on our second-round scare and their second-round blowout. Moreover, after yesterday's game, Villanova players talked about how tough they are and how they look to send a message early that they're going to push the opponent around. My first reaction was certainly that was the case with UCLA. My second reaction was try telling that to American University.

You look beyond the hype though, and Villanova's rotation has no one taller than 6-8. Which means they may be tough, but so are Lance Thomas and David McClure, and neither will be at a height disadvantage. And for anyone wondering about Singler's toughness and whether he was completely focused on winning, or moving into the Josh McRoberts category of thinking more about his pro career, I think last night was an emphatic answer. You can see it in the picture above, and you saw it with his tip-in that brought back memories of Battier's tip-in down the stretch in the '01 title game. That was all desire and a refusal to let his team lose. My fellow member of the Old Testament Club also showed his fight by spending 40 minutes pushing through multiple screens to stay on A.J. Abrams like matzah balls on soup.

We'll see how Pitt comes out today -- maybe they too will erase memories of a first-round scare with a strong performance. But merely because we gutted it out against an erratic Texas team that saved its best for less doesn't mean losing to Villanova is a foregone conclusion. Thoughts?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Super Saturday?

What shaped up as a glorious Saturday with 10 hours of basketball is, at the halfway turn, a big bust. I cheer for Maryland for the first time in 32 years ... only to recognize that cheering for Maryland means you're often faced with a blowout. So after a nap that began midway through the first half, the second half of today's quadruple-header is now underway. And UNC is tied early, with the big showdown against hated Texas to come.
Join us with your thoughts...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Special Olympics?

Eh, something tells me the President won't be going back on the late-night circuit too soon. The Duke game nicely ended just before Obama came on stage, and while I frankly missed the Special Olympics crack at the end while flipping back to see Eric Maynor miss a last-second shot two years too late, I get the feeling Republicans and others will be lining up to criticize today. And, let's face it, the guy was otherwise great for 40 minutes but it was an assinine remark.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama Picks Carolina

Like many of us, Barack Obama filled out a bracket earlier this week. Amazingly, despite all that he has to do, he knows more about the tournament than I do. Sadly, he did not go with his top personal aide and picked a lighter and crappier shade of blue to win it all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DudeSpin Returns!

Sorry for the prolonged absence - which is solely attributable to us, and none other. Given that we've left our readers feeling quite deserted over the last month, I am going to provide a smattering of thoughts on various Dude topics in the past month.

- Congrats to the Cooler Sports Gal, who is expecting twins sometimes this year;
- Jon Stewart - Jim Cramer, the most extraordinary 20 minutes of television in recent memory;
- Journey v. Texas in the regional final would be the most deliciously anticipated women's basketball game in Duke history, too bad it will not happen;
- Pudge to Houston? I'm just hoping that he brought his roids with him!
- Bob Knight is an idiot - CBS should have publicly reprimanded him after that assinine women shouldn't be on the men's tournament selection comment;
- I stayed in the Journey team hotel in Greensboro two weeks ago for a wedding, and the Journeyers were generally frolicking in the lobby seemingly at all times of day! Brought back some old memories of covering the Journey;
- Undertaker will keep his perfect streak at Wrestlemania going against HBK;
- Barack is doing well, and if he keeps this up, the economy should slowly revive;
- The ball is tipped, and there you are; you're running for your life, you're a shooting star...