LSU players with the Golden Boot, I believe after last year’s game.
I updated the records in my LSU/Arkansas blog and added a brief game summary for the game yesterday (this was originally published on 11/30).
I didn’t realize it until after the game was played (although I knew changes were coming), but this was sort of a bittersweet ending for the LSU-Arkansas “black Friday” tradition. Granted, it’s not much of a tradition as compared to Ohio St.-Michigan and so forth, but with LSU playing Arkansas at the end of the year (the day after Thanksgiving the vast majority of the time) the last 2/3 of my life is meaningful to me. I remember LSU playing Tulane annually, but I don’t remember that game being one to get excited about. (I was a toddler the last time Tulane beat LSU and barely a teenager when the annual series was canceled.)
Of course, I’m glad LSU won this last game, but I’m also glad Arkansas represented themselves well. It wasn’t good for my nerves, but it just wouldn’t have felt proper for this to be an easy win. I mention in my blog how often in the last 13 years it’s been a close game, so this was fitting. I wouldn’t mind if Arkansas got a good team again, but sometimes there are too many good teams in the SEC, especially as long as LSU has to play Florida every year along with the SEC West slate. The Gators will be back too.
I also liked that LSU usually played Arkansas in Little Rock since the campus was less lively with it being Thanksgiving weekend. I imagine LSU people who traveled to the games liked them being closer as well. The late great George Carlin did a bit about football vocabulary versus baseball. Baseball is played at a park. Football is played on the gridiron in places like Soldier Field and War Memorial Stadium (which is what they call the one in Little Rock). I went to my first game at the L.A. Colliseum last year. There is just something special about stadiums like that. “War”, as I understand the locals call it, was built around 20 years later, but it’s a similar type of severe concrete architecture. I think the Arkansas fans treated it as something special as well.
If I had my druthers, the last four SEC opponents would be Ole Miss (on or around Halloween), Alabama, Mississippi St., and Arkansas, but no such luck. Whether I like it or not (it has its good points, to be honest), Texas A&M and Missouri have joined the SEC, so now there is that to contend with. Before last year, when LSU played Texas A&M (back in the mid-1990s and before), it was in early September; but that doesn’t work now, especially now that we’ve often been playing one of the neutral-site kickoff games. (Next year, LSU will start the season against Wisconsin in Houston.)
I can understand it, and it will probably work out though. We’ve played Auburn (often in September, but Mississippi St. and the non-conference slate will bump them to the first week of October next season) and Florida (usually in the second week of October) early on in recent years, and we don’t need another big game so early in the year. Also, Texas A&M lost their traditional Thanksgiving game with Texas, so they have to play somebody. Missouri should be a good game today; but it’s not a bordering state, and there isn’t a meaningful history between the two schools.
As for Missouri, they’re really out of place being forced into the same division with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in particular, so giving them and Arkansas a close geographic annual rival makes a good bit of sense. Arkansas isn’t the most natural fit in the SEC West either. Their closest divisional opponent is Ole Miss, a six-hour drive away from the Arkansas campus. (Not that LSU is situated that much better in reference to other schools.) Also, interestingly enough, Tom Dienhart, who wrote to argue for Arkansas to join the Big XII seven years ago (he wanted them to kick out Baylor), got one of the match-ups he wanted after all.
Sometimes when I talk about realignment, I’m an advocate for disturbing certain traditions; but I don’t deny that it doesn’t always feel right immediately afterward even if the changes eventually work and the new reality can become an improvement. I mentioned Auburn, for instance. They didn’t have a rivalry with LSU to speak of before 1992 either, but it’s been a fun series too, and it will continue as far as I can tell. (Although to be honest, they might make more sense in the East.)
Arkansas was sort of a replacement for Tulane (even though they overlapped a few years) anyway, and LSU wouldn’t have been playing the Razorbacks every year if it weren’t for the previous SEC expansion. It became a fun, back-and-forth, competitive series like many of the more long-term and consistent rivalries seem to be. I’ll miss that, along with the other quirks I mentioned.
Maybe something similar will develop from the Texas A&M series. The one this year was better as an LSU fan, but maybe there will be some more like last year to entertain the more neutral fans. I hope they make it at night after all the NFL games end. One thing I didn’t like about the Arkansas series was when it was played at home for LSU, it was often one fewer night game. I also wasn’t thrilled that this season’s game against Texas A&M was during the day, not that I wasn’t satisfied with how that one went.
Also, it’s not like LSU will stop playing Arkansas. That game is set for November 15 next year, apparently in Fayetteville. It could still be an important part of the schedule for either team. Not really relevant to LSU, but I also thought it was interesting that the Hogs will play the Aggies in Jerry World in late September.
So I guess this will be the new Thanksgiving week alignment for the SEC teams; I hope it will stick:
LSU-Texas A&M (Thanksgiving Day)
Mississippi St.-Ole Miss
(* = non-conference game)
Many of you probably know where to find my other blogs (such as more detailed rankings discussion) by now, but if you need specific directions, let me know. Everything is published there first.
While anticipating the potential body count in one of my favorite TV shows tonight...
Have you been paying attention to the Celtics recently? The Saturday night game was too late to be included in the column this week, but there were three games over the past week and Boston picked up two wins. They are an unremarkable 7-11 as I write this but one thing that seems to be trending is the sudden scoring consistency of Jeff Green.
The week started with a 96-86 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The team was led by Jordan Crawford's 21 points. Gerald Wallace had a big game with 17 points and Brandon Bass added 16 points. Jeff Green had 13 points and Courtney Lee finished with 11 points. Rookie Phil Pressey had a career high 8 assists.
Against the Grizzlies, the Celtics were completely out of sync in the first quarter and trailed 27-13 after one period. They actually managed to outscore Memphis in the second half, but the first half deficit was too much to overcome.
Green had 26 points and 7 boards to top the scoring column for the Celtics. Jared Sullinger had a huge game with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Avery Bradley scored 16 points. Bass was the top rebounder for Boston with 13.
Last night, the shoe was on the other foot for the Cleveland Cavaliers as it was the Celtics using the first quarter to blow out their opponents 28-10. The final socre was 103-86 and it was Green scoring a season high 31 points that led the way to victory. Bradley had 21 points. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger added 12 points apiece while Jordan Crawford had a triple double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
In looking over Green's recent production, you would see that since the November 20th game against San Antonio Green has averaged more than 22 points in the last 6 games. He's had a string of double figure scoring totals over the course of the season thus far, but he had back to back games of 2 and then 4 points and questions about his consistency arose as they have when he doesn't "step up". I've said much the same thing when I bring his name up.
But he seems to have recently found a new level. For me, being a consistent scorer doesn't necessarily mean you have to lead the team in scoring each game. But you do have to be in double figures and do it game after game. You have to be one of the players that can be "the man" in a game at any given time.
Questions about Green's consistency will likely still remain, but over the last 6 games, Green has seemed more comfortable with the expectations on him to be one of the main producers of offense for the Celtics.
And if that streak continues, it can only be a good thing for the fortunes of the Celtics season.
I had another crappy week in fantasy football. I went 0-2 for the week. One of the losses was the biggest blowout of the week in that particular league. I had a chance to win the second matchup but the failure of the players I had in the Monday night game to do anything statistically sent me to the second loss.
Oh well, try try and try again this week.
Mass Maritime - While the season is over for the Division 3 Buccaneers, postseason accolades are being announced. My ex-player E.J. was named an all-MASCAC first team selection.
In a game that featured just how the fortunes of a team can change drastically within a season, Texas beat Texas Tech 41-16.
If you haven't paid attention, Texas started the season off so badly that the defensive coordinator was fired and it looked like head coach Mack Brown was going to be following him out the door and not necessarily at the END of the season. But the Longhorns are now 8-3 and looking pretty good overall. Perhaps they aren't on par with their glory days but from the way they started to 8-3, it is a decent improvement.
As for Texas Tech, rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury started out 7-0 and was the toast of college football. One has to wonder what is being said about him now after 5 straight losses. The Red Raiders are still bowl eligible. But when they were 7-0, they looked like a team headed for a major bowl. Now, they are looking at something equivalent to the Poulan Weedeater Bowl.
It is not exactly a bold statement to say that college football coaches can be the living embodiment of the phrase "huge jackass". But Nebraska coach Bo Pelini seems to be redefining the qualifications. The Cornhuskers started out okay, but a blowout loss to UCLA didn't have many people happy. A loss to Minnesota in Week 9 wasn't good either. But after two big wins over Northwestern and Michigan, it looked like Pelini's hot seat was cooling off.
A loss to Michigan State wasn't too bad because the Spartans are one of the better teams in the country. But losing to Iowa (38-17) in the regular season finale was pretty bad. 8-4 is an unacceptable season for the Cornhuskers, and there has been a number of seasons under Pelini that have ended with 4 losses.
If the losses weren't bad enough, Pelini basically dared Nebraska to fire him at the post game press conference. They guy has failed at his job of bringing the Cornhuskers back to national title contender status and he's calling what he thinks is a bluff by the Nebraska administration?
The AD is publicly standing by the coach, but I am really unconvinced that will be the case after the school's bowl game, win or lose. I've always thought when a coach makes that kind of "if they don't like the job I'm doing, fire me" statement, that's exactly what a team should do.
I know the constant speculation on job security can be wearing on anyone, but if you blow up in public it makes you and the school look bad and a parting of the ways looks better than suffering through another season of will they or won't they.
San Jose State knocking off #16 and previously undefeated Fresno State 62-52 has to be one of the bigger upsets of the week. The win was huge for the team not just because of the upset over a ranked team, but it was also their 6th of the season making them bowl eligible.
SJSU quarterback David Fales (pictured below) had what had to be the game of his life with 547 passing yards and 6 TDs.
Of course Penn State beating #14 Wisconsin 31-24 was a big win in the otherwise kind of disappointing Nittany Lions season. I know they have 7 wins, but for some reason I think fans and observers alike were expecting a bit more from them this season.
Duke beat North Carolina 27-25 to finish the regular season 10-2. Coach David Cutcliffe (pictured below hugging player David Helton) was carried off the field by his players as they celebrated making the ACC championship game where they will face Florida State.
Other rivalry games - Ohio State beat Michigan 42-41 after the Buckeye defense intercepted the pass for a two point conversion with 32 seconds left in the game. It does raise the question of why you would try to score the go-ahead points instead of taking the tie in a big game such as this.
The Kansas State-Kansas game saw the Jayhawks lose 31-10. The only reason I brought up this game was at 3-9, what's the over-under on Charlie Weis coaching at Kansas next season?
When two teams are ranked inside the top ten, the lower ranked team winning still counts as an upset right? Well, no matter how you look at it, #10 South Carolina beating #6 Clemson 31-17 had to have the Gamecocks strutting like peacocks last night.
It's been a long long season for Hawaii. But they remain winless no longer after their 49-42 defeat of Army to finish 1-11. Quarterback Sean Schroeder (pictured below with coach Norm Chow) passed for 3 TDs and ran for another to run Hawaii's record against Army to 3-0.
Alabama - And the earth trembled. With a game for the ages in terms of competitiveness if not excellence of execution, the Crimson Tide blew chance after chance to put away the Auburn Tigers in the latest Iron Bowl.
A.J. McCarron passed for 3 TDs, T.J. Yeldon ran for 140 yards and a score and yet it was a horrible performance from the defense and special teams that doomed in stunning fashion the chances for a 3rd straight national title.
You'd think a McCarron 99 yard TD pass would be the play of the game but with a 109 yard return by Chris Davis after a missed Bama field goal with 1 second left, Auburn totally shook up the BCS field and won 34-28.
The Crimson Tide defense gave up 296 rushing yards (393 total). Auburn's QB Nick Marshall threw for 2 TDS and had 99 rushing yards and rushing TD.
The special teams were a disaster as kicker Cade Foster missed 3 field goals before being pulled for the second string kicker for that last 56 yard FG attempt. The sub kicker had taken just two kicks in his CAREER before the attempt.
Alabama had nothing in the way of fast guys on the field and when Davis ran the missed kick back, no one could catch him.
I've said all year that Alabama was the best team in the country because they started at #1 and never lost. But the Tigers got two miracles in the last two weeks and enlivened that "War Damn Eagle" cry.
There's just nothing to say. Bama blew their multiple chances and Auburn took advantage to mark the biggest upset of the weekend.
Congratulations to the Tigers.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The holiday tournaments were underway this Thanksgiving weekend as teams head all over the country and even out of the country for their next round of games.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears weren't headed to any holiday tournaments. They dropped to 1-4 after losing on their home floor to Quinnipiac 75-65. Kenzie Williams led the team with 15 points while Hannah Wilkerson had 12 points.
While the start has been less than auspicious for coach Kellie Harper, she did have some fantastically joyous news to share on November 27th. She gave birth to her first child, Jackson Kenneth Harper. Congratulations to Kellie and her husband/assistant coach Jon Harper.
Hartford - Another team that has seen their season get off to a rather disastrous start, the Hawks got blown out twice this week and lost a total of three times and stand at 1-6 on the year.
The first loss was to Central Connecticut State, where they lost 82-50. Alyssa Reaves and Alyssa Englert scored 11 points apiece to lead Hartford.
A brief "highlight" and post game comments video can be seen below.
Hartford then went on the road to play in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament where they faced Missouri in the first round. The Hawks got 11 points from Cherelle Moore but shot just 32.7% from the floor in their 68-45 loss.
In the consolation tourney game on Saturday, it was a closer game, but St. Francis (NY.) captured the 56-49 win. Freshman Morgan Lumb (pictured below) had a career high 16 points to lead Hartford while Amber Bepko finished with 12 points.
I'd like to weigh in with an opinion on what exactly is going on with the Hawks, but for a change, I simply can't. I don't understand why they are playing so badly. They seem to have players who can make something happen, but nothing seems to be coming together for them as a whole. I might be able to say something more once I see them play next Sunday (December 8th) when they visit Boston College.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols ran off three wins this past week and remained undefeated at 7-0. They blew out Oakland 84-50 behind 15 points and 11 boards from Bashaara Graves. Meighan Simmons had 14 points and Ariel Massengale scored 13 points while dishing out 6 assists.
The team then jetted off to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam tournament. In the first game, they held off Virginia 76-67. Meighan Simmons (pictured below) exploded for 32 points (including 8 three pointers) and 5 assists.
Massengale had 10 points and a career high 13 assists. Cierra Burdick added 10 points and 6 boards.
In the tournament final, the Lady Vols just demolished SMU as they captured the tourney title 87-47. Ariel Massengale had 16 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds and Jasmine Jones (pictured below) had 13 points. Bashaara Graves had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Speaking of buzzer beaters, there was a rather huge one in a New York high school playoff game between New Rochelle and Mount Vernon back in March 2013. I remember seeing the shot when it happened. Sports Illustrated had a really good article about the game, the shot and the principals involved that appeared in the most recent issue. You can check out the story (and video) via this link (you have to watch a quick video to unlock the story on the SI.com website): http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20131127/new-rochelle-the-shot/index.html
BOSTON COLLEGE NOTEBOOK
Women's Soccer - The BC women's soccer team beat Illinois last Sunday 4-1 to advance to this past Friday's Elite Eight game against #3 Florida State. Unfortunately for the Eagles, their season came to an end with a 4-0 loss to the Seminoles. They finish with a 13-10-1 record.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles found themselves on the wrong end of two losses this week. They dropped at 5-1 game to Maine and then fell short of a huge comeback and lost to Holy Cross 5-4 after spotting them a 4-1 lead. It was the first loss ever to a team from the Atlantic Hockey conference. They are 8-4-2 on the season now.
Women's Hockey - In the first of back to back games against #3 Cornell, the Eagles lost 2-0 but rebounded last night to win 4-1 and raise their record to 12-4-1.
Women's Volleyball - With consecutive 3-1 losses to Syracuse and Notre Dame, the Eagles season came to a close with a 9-23 record.
Men's Basketball - Ryan Anderson (pictured below 1st) scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to power the Eagles to a 75-67 overtime win against Sacred Heart. With a 3-4 record, the Eagles are in the midst of a weeklong break for Thanksgiving.
Joe Rahon (pictured below 2nd) finished with 19 points, including 9 in the overtime period. Olivier Hanlan had 15 points.
Women's Basketball - The women's team was off to Mexico for three games in the Cancun Challenge over the holiday weekend.
According to a tweet from coach Erik Johnson, he made the mistake of drinking the water and ended up having to visit TWO hospitals for reasons you can probably suss out for yourself.
Also, with the school running their annual Thanksgiving weekend ticket sale, I was able to pick up tickets to a couple more games. And I paid just $1 a ticket and I'll be seeing games against North Carolina and Syracuse to go along with that December 8th game against Hartford I mentioned above.
As for the games in Cancun, the Eagles blew out UNC-Wilmington 75-54 with Kristen Doherty scoring 13 points to top the scoring chart for BC. Kat Cooper had 12 points and Kelly Hughes added 11 points and 8 boards.
Game two of the tourney was against Iowa. The Hawkeyes came away with a 78-68 victory despite 18 points (including a career high 5 threes) and 5 rebounds from Kelly Hughes. Kristen Doherty (pictured below leading the pack) had 16 points and Lauren Engeln added 11 points.
The odd thing about the Eagles losing this game was that they shot better from the 3 point range and won the battle of the boards. The overall shooting percentages for both teams were pretty close as well.
The final game of the three game set was against USC and the Trojans just trounced the Eagles in the first half. It was 45-18 at the break as BC couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. It was UGLY as they fell to 3-4.
The terrible thing about playing so bad in the first half is that it makes the fact they played USC even (34 points eas) in the second half. 79-52 was the final score and shows just how far the Eagles have to go.
Kristen Doherty and Katie Zenevitch each scored 12 points to pace the Eagles.
Football - The regular season came to a stunning and disappointing end last night for the Eagles. They were ahead 31-27 late in the game but Syracuse marched down the field and scored the go ahead TD with just 6 seconds left in the game and won 34-31. The loss drops BC to 7-5 while Syracuse becomes bowl eligible with their 6th win of the season.
With their most potent offensive weapon out of the game, it was up to QB Chase Rettig to be more than a game manager. His numbers weren't outstanding but he had the results that had the Eagles in the lead late. He was just 11-19 for 168 yards with an INT. But he also threw for 2 TDS. Going above and beyond normal level of expectations, he had 85 yards rushing (including a 54 yard run) and scored on a 1 yard run.
The biggest failure on the day was the Eagles defense. Despite getting a sack and an INT, they gave up 480 yards in total offense (270 rushing yards). The failure to get stops when they needed it is what will be seen as the main sticking point for the loss.
Thanksgiving - I had a pretty good meal on Thursday. All the traditional foods (except stuffing which no one in my family likes) were on the menu with two kinds of pie for dessert. We all helped out in the preparation of the food before devouring the finished product!
I actually didn't go to the neighbor's for dessert like we usually do.
Xmas - With the Black Friday kickoff to holiday shopping season, I am happy to say that other than regular weekly spending, the only extra spending I did was for those BC women's basketball tickets I mentioned above. I only went out once on Black Friday and it was horrible so I've never done it again.
Speaking of horrible...do you remember last week's Sunday Musings when I talked about my plan to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Tuesday? I've been watching the show for decades and on Tuesday I actually realized something I'd never caught before.
Did you know that there is a murder at the end of the show? I'm not kidding, there really is a murder in the 49 year old holiday special.
At the very end, when the elf is dumping the toys out of the sleigh. He gives them an umbrella. But then he gets to one of the misfit toys. It's the bird...but he can't give him an umbrella, so he just lets the bird go. Except the bird is the one that can't fly, he swims! J'ACCUSE! Murder most ahem "fowl"!
Other than watching the holiday movies on the various channels (Hallmark, Hallmark Movie, Lifetime, etc.), I don't usually do anything Christmas related (shopping doesn't count either, I do that all year long) until December 1st. So today will be the first day I pull out my Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas CDS and play them a number of times over the next month.
You can check out the band's big instrumental hit "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12-24" below. Though I always make it a point to acknowledge that the song was originally recorded by the heavy metal band Savatage from which TSO became a side project of before becoming the monster holiday hit that it is. The song was on the Savatage concept album Dead Winter Dead but when they sent the song to radio stations, no one would play it. And now it is a big holiday rotation hit.
TV - Tonight is the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. It looks like it is going to be a bloodbath too with some scenes appearing to be lifted straight from the comics.
Music - I got the new Chastain CD Surrender To No One this week via a download link from the record company releasing the disc. I'll be reviewing it at a later date. But you can check out the title track here:
Out of rankings: (8) Washington, (23) Florida, (25) N’western
Many of you probably know where to find my other blogs (such as more detailed rankings discussion) by now, but if you need specific directions, let me know. The above is my first purely mathematical ranking.
While eagerly anticipating tomorrow night like a 5 year old at Xmas...
Pittsburgh Pirates - While the current Pirates team continues to ride along in first place in the NL Central Division, a member of their glorious past, Dave Parker, announced last week that he is dealing with Parkinson's Disease.
I had a lot of individual baseball heroes growing up and they came from a lot of different teams. And one such hero was Dave Parker. I remember buying baseball cards and hoping to get a Pirates card for Willie Stargell or Bill Madlock, but most especially hoping for a Dave Parker card.
To me, he was the National League version of Jim Rice. Just a badass baseball player who could mash the ball over the fences.
So here's hoping that Parker's battle with Parkinson's can be won someday with the medical research they are doing in search of a cure.
St. Louis Cardinals - The Cardinals were in the news late in the week and sadly it wasn't for anyting that occurred on the field. In fact it was all due to Cardinal alumni that St. Louis was the epicenter of the latest PED brouhaha.
And of course, it was a firestorm started by another of my childhood baseball heroes. It seems Jack Clark (Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox) started a new gig as a sports talk radio host. And he got off to a running and highly controversial start.
He kicked off his new career at WGNU 920 AM by claiming that former Cardinal Albert Pujols and Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander had used PEDs in the past.
And while this would be incredibly shocking even in this day and age where it seems everyone is on PEDS, Clark picked two targets who aren't afraid to fight back. And then he offered scant proof or "testimony" to coincide with his accusations. What little he did offer was instantly denied by his supposed sources.
Justin Verlander hasn't said anything about suing Clark, but as part of a response to the story he said, “It’s moronic, look at the source. It’s moronic to talk about something you know nothing about and clearly … he’s not watching.”
While he deserves what he has gotten for the utter lack of proof provided to back his allegations and for going about things in a manner befitting a candidacy for Jackass of the Year, I'm still bummed out about one of "my guys" from childhood blowing that rose colored image that in a way I still try to maintain about them. But reaping what you sow is now kicking Jack Clark's ass.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Tennessee Lady Vols - Head coach Holly Warlick had a good week this week as the school announced she'd been given a one year contract extension to run her deal through 2017 and given her a $65,000 dollar raise as well.
Chicago Sky - The Sky had another split week for their game results. They lost to the Indiana Fever 64-58. Sylvia Fowles led the team with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
But they blew out the Connecticut Sun 77-61 with Epiphanny Prince scoring 23 points. Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 9 boards and Fowles had 14 points and 10 boards.
The team is now 14-7 and they continue on a course that seems likely to result in their first playoff berth in team history.
New York Liberty - The Liberty also had an up and down week. Things started off great with a 93-88 win over the Washington Mystics. Cappie Pondexter had 21 points and 8 assists while Alex Montgomery had a big game with 21 points and 5 boards. She's been struggling this year and this was a breakout performance that everyone is hoping carries over.
Kara Braxton had 16 points and 5 boards against the Mystics. Plenette Pierson had 8 points and 10 assists. Katie Smith (pictured below) had 11 points and 4 assists in 30:28 of action.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of this season, New York couldn't capitalize on getting one win to build momentum going into their next game. They got blown out by the Sparks losing 85-67. Pondexter had 22 points as the Liberty dropped to 9-13. Pierson had 12 points. Katie Smith saw 23:20 in game time, scoring 7 points.
ORR - My ex-player Jillian had sent me a message via Facebook that the team had a playoff game this past Monday night. The kind of cool thing about the note was that it wasn't in response to an inquiry I initiated asking about her game. This note came unbidden, so I'm guessing that she wanted me to come to the game of her own accord.
Which of course I did. Unfortunately, I saw that their opponent was Apponequet. I'd seen an earlier game between the two teams and Apponequet's ball movement was superb on their way to a 45-34 win.
This time around, the score started off quite low. It was just 17-12 at halftime in favor of Apponequet. This despite the fact that the offense of ORR was atrocious. I don't know who the coach is but he kept calling for the ball to be put into the hands of his daughter. She's an incoming freshman and while she does have talent, she is very raw and it shows in shot selection. She also has a slight frame and can be easily overmatched physically. And she's supposed to be the point guard in the winter?
Anyway, the game turned early in the fourth quarter. ORR had cut the lead to 17-14 and had the ball. They blew a chance to make it 17-16 and then didn't get back on defense to stop a fast break. So instead, the score was 19-14 and the blowout went on from there.
ORR lost two of its better players (a relative term based on what I've seen of their play) during the game and the team just fell apart throughout the second half. They lost 40-21 to end their summer season.
One of my former boys players is Cody. He's been at a lot of the games as he is dating one of the recently graduated girls basketball players. On the way out I asked him if the team on the floor was what the team was likely to be during the winter. He said yes which caused me to reply, "They are going to get hammered."
Why do I say that? Well because they don't share the ball well. Basically three girls control the ball and everyone else is like junkyard dogs fighting over the scraps. And the three that control the ball aren't all that great. They have huge weaknesses in terms of taking care of the ball and shot selection. I know that the varsity coach will likely straighten that stuff out in the preseason, but given that the best returning player to the team has apparently shuffled off to a private school instead, they are going to be in for a long season.
There were a couple of players (not including Jillian) that I did like. The girl most likely to be the center is named Morgan and she can board with the best of them. She seems very fundamentally sound around the basket. There was another girl whose name I wasn't able to learn but during her limited time on the floor she attacked the basket with authority. It didn't always work but she went in unafraid and that is never a bad thing.
As for Jillian, she has tools but she gets ignored on the court. This is especially vexing when she is so wide open that she could set up a campsite and still not be near anyone. I know that she loves basketball but in order for her to develop more she needs to become more assertive in her game.
During the loss, she shot 1-6 from floor for two points. She had 4 rebounds and a steal to go with two fouls and two turnovers.
After the game, I told her I'd see her in the winter. She should be able to easily make the varsity team this season given the graduation of most of the top line players.
Wareham - The Lady Vikings had a decent but unsatisfactory season. They lost in the semifinals. And they did it despite having just 6 players for the playoffs. They blew out Bishop Stang in the quarters but lost to New Bedford in the semis.
Five of the 6 players on the team are ex-players of mine and were heavily featured in the photo gallery for the local paper. (All photos by Adam Ellis)
Books - I finished reading the C.J. Box mystery Savage Run this week. The second book in the Joe Pickett series was another entertaining read.
I picked up three books this week as well. The fourth and fifth books from C.J. Box are Trophy Hunt and Out of Range. I also got the second book in the Lorna Barrett Booktown series called Bookmarked for Death.
MOVIES - I had been thinking of going to see that new movie Elysium this weekend but between hearing not so good reviews of the film and figuring that I was going to buy it on DVD anyway because Jodie Foster is in it, I ended up passing.
TV - I know most people will be excited about the final 8 episodes of the AMC series Breaking Bad starting tonight at 10 pm, but it was a show that never interested me so I won't be tuning in.
However, AMC did get my eyeballs last night during the two hour third season premiere of their admittedly lesser series Hell on Wheels. It won't ever be as popular as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Mad Men, but it was a good reset after the first two seasons and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.
You can check out the teaser trailer for the season below:
Music - I had hoped to have a new CD review to link to, but I just didn't have the time to get it written. It would've tied into the big concert event I'm going to be attending tomorrow night.
I'll be heading to the Great Woods (it goes by a suckass corporate name that I refuse to use) in Mansfield MA to see Black Sabbath live in concert! Ozzy, Tony and Geezer (with substitute drummer) are back together and touring in support of a well received new studio album called 13. The album went to #1 on the charts, the band's first album to accomplish that feat.
Given that Ozzy could go on a drug bender at any time and Tony Iommi is battling cancer, the chance to see them live after 35 years apart had to be taken. You can check out the video from their lead track off of 13 below. It's called "God Is Dead?"
A NEW SPORTS FAN COMETH
This week brought about a new sports fan. My buddy J.D. and his wife Colleen are now the proud parents of a baby boy named Rocco. Since they are Philadelphians, I can just see Rocco decked out in little baby sports clothes for the Eagles and Phillies. Congrats to the new mom and dad and welcome to the party Rocco!