Okay, my fellow hoopaholics, let’s start with a quick public service announcement, for the many of you who are interested in the U of L vs. Western Ky game, but feel the need to join the Black Friday chaos at Walmart with your cousins visiting from Steubenville, instead of heading down to NashVegas for a hoops/ Opry at the Ryman double header.
Friday’s game will only be available for watching online at this link:
Yes, on Facebook. It’s true. Why, you might ask? I surely did and here’s the response I received from Zach Greenwell, the Topper B-ball SID:
Conference USA owns the rights to the game, which means it’s restricted to broadcast by one of the league’s TV partners. CBS Sports Network has first priority but was unable to air the game Friday or Saturday because of college football. CBS also gets the next priority, which is their Facebook exclusives. The game will be a full CBS production, just on Facebook instead of cable.
One would think WKU and the league would have released this top shelf game to another network, if only for the exposure. And, to be fair, they may have tried. But it ain’t gonna happen.
So, anyway, that’s the deal for you inveterate denizens here in Hoopsylvania.
* * * * * *
And where or what is that, you might ask? Hoopsylvania, that is.
Well, the folks along Tobacco Road consider their region to be the “Center of College Basketball.”
We around my neck of the woods, Hoopsylvania, know better, because we are citizens of the Real & True Epicenter of College Hoops.
And the parameters of this sacred land run from Lexington to the east, to Indy on the north, home of the beleaguered NC2A, then to the west and southwardly including Bloomington, until it veers to Bowling Green.
The capital is Louisville, of course, the city with the highest college hoops viewership year after year after year.
So, should I make mention of this affectation, you’ll know to what I refer.
* * * * *
At the direction of my obsessed Glorious Editor, my contract with Vox Media requires a periodic check in on DePaul.
I like my monthly direct deposits, so here goes.
Dave Leito’s Blue Demons are, ahem, undefeated. As in the perennial Big East bottom feeders, who haven’t enjoyed any success frankly, since that spate of fame during the final years of Ray Meyer’s career, have not lost a tilt in the six they’ve contested. And each victory has been by at least 11 points. (That is not a typo.)
That includes Ws at Iowa, and at Boston College, among the usual early season schleppers.
I tuned into their game against BC, on a football Saturday at the never easy to find ACCNx, with about 10:00 to play -- I could hear Glorious Editor yelling at me if I didn’t. DePaul was up 54-43.
After about 75 missed shots and gaffes by both contestants, the Blue Demons, looking not quite Final Four ready, still prevailed by 15. I’d say, Jim Christian, whose record in Chestnut Hill was a not so glossy 62-100 coming into the season, is going to be an assistant somewhere else next campaign.
But the most interesting aspect of the game, for me anyway, sorry Boss, was the short Blue Demon at the end of the bench who was the ultimate pine timer rah rah. He was up and down and dancin’ and high fivin’.
And he wears these humongous sports glasses. His name is Pantelis Xidas, and he prepped at La Lumiere. Coming into the BC “tussle,” he’d gathered four minutes of PT on the hardwood, with zeros across his stat line.
Love his team spirit though.
* * * * *
I’d heard about Dayton’s 6-9 soph sensation from Brooklyn, Obi Toppin. So I tuned in the Flyer’s game in Maui with Georgia, which I also wanted to assess.
I mean Toppin is averaging 24 ppg, playing 29 minutes/ game, while hitting 72% from the field, 50% from the burbs, and 77% at the line.
Anthony Grant’s Flyers rolled the Bulldogs by 19. Georgia was slaughtered like pigs for a luau.
Toppin is The Deal. In but 27 minutes on the court, he tallied 25, while deadeyeing 9/11 FGs, 3/5 beyond the arc, and 5/5 at the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s heralded ***** Top o’ the Draft Lists Anthony Edwards scored 6 on 2/10 shooting.
Which beatdown raises the question yet again, the answer to which is self evident.
Is there a consistently mediocre coach these days in college hoops who has fashioned such a long career arc on the coattails of one player -- Dwyane Wade -- and one victory -- over UK in the NCAA -- than Tom Crean?
Monday’s loss was only the young Bulldogs’ first of the season, but, geez, they looked horrible. They had 23 turnovers, and only 8 assists.
* * * * *
Didn’t see but a few minutes of it, but Sparty lost again. To the Hokies in Maui.
But, remember all of you inclined to jump off the bandwagon, this is what happens early in the season, because Tom Izzo adheres to the Denny Crum philosophy.
He plays a tough schedule early on, and his teams are most always significantly mo’ betta’ in March.
* * * * *
I’m calling for an investigation into Tony Bennett.
The guy obviously has some sort of magic elixir, some sort of voodoo powers of prestidigitation, all of which have to be in violation of some NCAA rule or another.
He lost the entire core of his national championship squad. Yet, with a couple of role players from last season, and a bunch of no names, UVa is 6-0, has surrendered over 50 points but once, and two foes only scored 34, including Syracuse in the Dome.
Mamadi Diakite is hitting 54% . . . of his Threes.
Against Arizona State, the Cavaliers were up 26-16, then gave up a 0-19 run that spanned halftime to fall behind 35-16. The Sun Devils strategy was obvious. They just scurried down court with the ball and jacked up a shot before UVa could set their D.
But, it only worked for awhile. Bennett’s band o’ ballers tightened the vise, outscored Bobby Hurley’s, 30-10 the rest of the way, for a 48-45 W.
Gimme a friggin’ break.
And the guy Bennett turned down a raise!!!!!
Is the guy catholic? Make him a Saint already, and get him off that bench to even the playing court.
* * * * *
OK, enough. Happy Turkey and Dressing, ye hoopaholic citizens of Hoopsylvania.
-- Seedy K