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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: A Friday Like No Other

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The first mention of it I heard came at the final buzzer from a cousin of the species, Ian Eagle (accipitridae announceris). His partner chimed in.

Then Mr. Bunny answered my call with “Happy National Peacocks Day!”

The muckety mucks at NBC, which once upon a time had the rights to the Dance, are wondering either how they can use this disambiguation to their advantage, or whether a law suit should be filed for trademark infringement?

Choose your favorite social media feed. It is festooned with images of afripavo congesnis. Which, to be somewhat more accurate, is but a subspecies of the genus pavo. And there shall be an explanation why it is particularly used here, when I finally wend my way to talking actual college hoops.

Which is coming right now. Almost.

Why this discussion of peacocks, a group of which is called an “ostentation” — which seems sort of appropriate in some way, but I’m not going to riff down that rabbit hole?

Have you been sleeping?

If you are reading here, I suppose not.

From Jersey City, Jersey, the #15 seed St. Peter’s Peacocks are the first seed #13 or lower to make it to the Elite Eight.

They beat #3 seed Purdue, “fair and square” according to the vanquished.

The Peacocks were down 52-56 with five minutes to play.

A display of full plumage ensued. Just as it did last weekend when the upstarts upended a couple pretenders from the Dark and Bloody Ground. Shaheen Holloway — soon to be named coach at Seton Hall??? — put his troops in a match up zone.

The Boilers cracked.

Who are des Joisey guyz?

There are three homies from the Garden State, including the one with a stache who now gets all the free wings he wants. There is a trio from across the river in New York. One from Massachusetts, one from Philly who was inside Wells Fargo for the first time, a guy from Puerto Rico, and some outlier from Cali.

But the reason I used that particular scientific designation above is that there are also Peacocks from Mali, Central African Republic and Senegal.

If only the United Nations could get it together like these ballers.

This is a team that lost to Siena twice, Iona twice, Rider, along with various others. Plus survived a month long hiatus — you guess the reason — from mid December to mid January.

The Peacocks finished the season on a seven game winning streak. Now standing 3-0 in the tourney, after the school had never won a game in it before.

They have a Sunday evening date with the Tar Heels for a trip to New Orleans.

It is the talk of every Hoopaholic’s Anonymous meeting across the land.

It. Is. Very. Cool.

* * * * *

You heard it from Seth.

And from the other Seth.

And Jay.

And Tony and Michael, though they don’t really know much about college hoops anymore.

And that fella that these days has to opine with a Sharpie® on a white board.

The gist: “The ACC sucks this season.”

“The Big Ten is easily far and away the best league in the land.”

“If it isn’t, it’s surely the Big 12.”

“And the surging SEC isn’t far behind.”

Long the gold standard of college hoops, wags couldn’t line up quick enough to denigrate and dismiss the ACC.

So, with eight teams still standing, a quick gander at the bracket reveals this curiosity.

One competitor is from the Big 12, Kansas. Arkansas is the lone rep from the SEC. Those Peacocks from the, uh, let me look it up again, MAAC (Not to be confused with the MAC or MEAC), Villanova from the Big East, Houston from the AAC.

And, tell me Naismithius, how can it be? Nobody from the Big Ten. Wha? How?

The other three? C’mon, you know. They’re from that Big Conference That Could. The Atlantic Coast Conference.

Duke. North Carolina. Miami.

Asked about that trio still around and the state of the league after his Hurricanes advanced over Iowa State, Jim Larranaga deadpanned, “Probably that we had a down year,” “Normally we have four or five.”

* * * * *

Mature Miami simply had Iowa State measured most all of the way.

Hubert Davis’s surging Tar Heels were steely down the stretch against the Bruins.

NC was down to UCLA, 61-64 with 2:08.

Caleb Love missed on a trey. But Armando Bacot, whose name is mud in my town, because of that neck bar to Syd Curry, saved the possession. Love then knotted it with the fifth of his six triples.

After a stop, Love netted another bomb. 67-64. Then the Carolina guard, who had 30 on the night, sealed the advancement with a couple FTs.

The Bruins high-scoring J Boys (Jacquez and Juzang) went 10/31 on the night.

Carolina’s starters played 185 of the 200 minutes.

* * * * *

There is not enough storage, nor enough bandwidth, nor enough verbiage for all that shall be written and said and opined about, should the Tar Heels and Blue Devils advance.

I don’t even want to think about it now.

What we have here is an Elite Eight weekend.

Houston vs. Villanova.

Arkansas vs. Duke.

Miami vs. Kansas.

North Carolina vs. St. Friggin’ Peters.

— c d kaplan