Ralph Bowman


Difference Between Basketball & Tennis Shoes

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Don’t consider this question of the difference between basketball and tennis shoes silly. This confusion has often made people land up making errors in their purchase of sports products. Wearing either of these just like that will not improve your sports style and play. Both the shoes have many similar features but, there are certain things that you need to be aware of. For easy to undertand the shape and style of tennis shoes must check tennisinformation.net which give you detailed information about tennis and tennis accessoires.

5 Major Tips to Find Out the Difference between Basketball & Tennis Shoes

1. Check the upper design: Usually, the upper designs of the Tennis shoes have a lower top so that they are light in weight and don’t hurt your ankle much. On the other side, Basketball shoes come in various designs like low-top, mid-top, and high-top. Most basketball players go for high-top designs as they give comfort near the ankles.
2. Check the sole design: The design of basketball shoes come with a herringbone pattern to give the comfort of traction between sudden starts and stops. The sole of Basketball shoes have heavier soles and most designs are meant for indoor play.On the other side, Tennis shoes vary as per the demand and play. Indoor court plays have smooth sole. This is one of the reasons that Tennis shoes are not much durable than Basketball shoes.
3. Check the support: Both the sport need to give you comfort and support. Basketball shoes give are rough and tough, whereas Tennis shoes give you ankle support. If you go for branded tennis shoes, they assure you good sole quality and durability.
4. Check the weight of shoes: Basketball shoes are heavier than Tennis shoes. Tennis shoes are breathable and the toe is built of rubber. Some people prefer to wear the same shoes for Basketball Tennis, but it won’t really be a good idea. Every sport comes with a different requirement and is played different, thus the outfits are different and so are the shoes.It would be wise to check the weight of these shoes before you buy these.
5. Check the brand: Some brands do not give you different features in these two sports shoes; they are almost the same. Check the brand of the shoes, the more branded the more features you get. Go for brands like Nike, Reebok, etc. Try to walk and run when you try those shoes on. It should be comfortable enough from all the positions that you will play for sport. The heels of your shoe must have a firm grip and shouldn’t slip as you play the sport. This applies to both the sports.
You can easliy identityfy tennis shoes on http://www.tennisinformation.net/best-tennis-shoes-reviews-for-men-women Wich more comfortable then basketball shoes.Now you know what to check and how to buy these sports shoes. Share it with others too.


Why Is Picking The Right Shoes For Basketball So Important?

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Basketball is apparently one of the most adventurous games that people may come around with. This game provides people with the ultimate zest they want from a sport. This is absolutely why there are so many kids who want to play this game of course.
They must remember though, that no matter, whatever happens, the main part of the body that helps people play this game with ease, is, of course, the legs. This is absolutely why having a perfect basketball show is completely necessary.
Why are the shoes so essential?
The basketball shoes are so important because of various reasons of course. It is because of these shoes that the players can run properly and also these are only responsible for their proper jump. A bad quality of shoe can strain the muscles of the leg. This, in fact, can be so very bad that people can hardly walk again.
This is absolutely why when it comes to the selection of these shoes people must be very careful. They must thoroughly look for few points that will help them select the best possible shoes for themselves of course. Also, the most concern should be provided for the kid’s basketball shoes. These are important.basketball shoes

What are the various points?

Following are the various points that people must take care of no matter what:
The size: The size of the shoes matter a lot. This is one thing that should be completely necessary for the people of course. One should make sure that they are selecting the best-sized shoes for themselves under any possible condition of course, with the help of these shoes one might be able to get through with the best results.
The fittings: The fitting of the shoes is again completely necessary. People must understand that a best-fitted shoe is exactly what they need for themselves. This helps them keep the feet stable and in position. The shoes do not cause any disturbance during the entire game as well. This is absolutely why people must make sure that they are opting for the shoes that must fit them the best as well.
The multitasking quality: This is another thing that matters the most. People must be able to jump in these shoes. They must also be able to run with these shoes as well. This is something that matters the most of course. People must realize that these things are very important for them in more than just one possible way of course.

The anti-sliding quality: These shoes must have great grip. They should be able to avoid the slipping and the sliding. This is also very necessary for the people in more than just one possible way of course.
The comfort: This is the most necessary thing to check of course. The comfort of these shoes matters the most. This is something that will help them achieve the best results while playing the game.
All these points will help people select the best possible basketball shoes for their kids of course.


Why Online Reviews are Important For Sports Work Boots

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Why Online Reviews are Important For Sports Work Boots

Reasons Why Online Reviews Are Important for Sports Work Boots

Let’s admit – the online business has gradually increased to a great extent but, the business is facing a tough competition with more reputed companies and brands joining the web.  Some companies entice the customers with colorful ads, rosy pictures, and several promises. The more their sale, the higher they rank in online business. Sportswear and sports work boots are on great demand online.online work boots reviews

Online companies are focusing more on positive reviews to increase their leads and customers. Unless these reviews are great to hear, the sales won’t have a great impact. According to the survey conducted on online sport companies, 88% of customers rely on online reviews for buying products such as sportswear, accessories, sports shoes, etc. There are many reasons why reviews make an important role in online sport world.

Reasons Why Online Reviews Are Important for Sports Boots:

  1. Improve social rankings:

Customer reviews are important for any online company to get good organic search rankings in top search engines like Google, Bing, etc. Moreover, these reviews also add to the credibility of the firm. A product that is described well in an appealing presentation is likely to have more sales and comments than otherwise.

  1. Build trust factor:

From the customer’s point of view, any customer wishes to know that the product that is investing their money is worth or not. Before buying any sport product, the customers have a habit of reading the reviews and the ratings given to the online seller. From the seller’s point of view, more number of positive reviews helps them to build a trust factor in their customers.

  1. To make the site ranking better:

Many external websites place your ads and reviews about your products, it’s a boon! These external blogs and websites add to the credibility of the company. Reviews are an unbiased thing and these are directly placed by the users, visitors, and customers on the seller’s shopping site. Due to increasing competition, most online sports work boots companies are now working hard towards receiving positive reviews by customers. They offer branded work boots at an attractive price.kids work boots

  1. To understand customers better:

A sport is a field where customers have ever changing demands based on the craze of the game. It becomes difficult to connect with the customer personally in an online business. Reviews help the online business sellers to understand the customers better. As a businessman, you get to know the good and bad side of your customer. These reviews will help you to focus on the areas of improvement, especially on products like sports boots.

  1. To increase marketing opportunities:

Online reviews crack a deal for the seller and the customer. As a customer, enjoy a plethora of benefits on your purchase of sports quality work boots or any other sports related item. A section that is dedicated to the customer to raise their opinion helps the seller to establish a long term relation with them.



Check Reviews Before Buying the best shoes for basketball or boxing

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People involved in sports, especially boxers or basketball player require good quality shoes. Footwork is an important part of boxing, be it a fight or training. No matter how good you are at punching, your steps make the final difference to your fight. It’s your speed that has the capability to compensate in a match when you give a weak punch. It’s not any technique; one need good and comfortable shoes to give the best moves and speedy fight.

To know about the top brands of basketball or boxing shoes, go through the below reviews. The best boxing shoes reviews will give a broad idea on the features of each so that you can make up your mind before buying.

The Top Brands of 2017 and their shoes to suit different Levels:

1.    Adidas for Beginners– the Box Hog: A beginner needs very comfortable shoes to start off with. No need to say it has to be good value for money. Considering these basic needs, the hog can turn out to be the nest solution. These are comparatively cheap, comfortable and light weighted. These are meant to give better stabilitadidas sports shoesy and make movement easy for beginners. If you want an injury free practice session then this the one you need to look at.

2.    The sturdy Box-Star by Title: This is a very funky designed but sturdy model by this brand. This made of leather with synthetic upper and interweaved of nylon to give it light weight. It’s about 6” tall and stiff in nature. Being stiff these are usually very durable. The support at ankle, heel, and forefoot is well-taken care off by the midsole which is double-lasted.

3.    The Boxing Boots by Rival: Meant for beginners, Rival has produced the best low-cut model of boots one can think for boxing. The boot has an upper of Swede, and the base is of ripstop quality textile. The best thing about this one is the grip, price, and durability. One can’t get any cheaper shoe with such durability as this one.

4.    Tygun by Adidas for Intermediate: People with intermediate experience in boxing or basketball can think of the Adidas gun as their best choice. These are stylish and come with gum finish that doesn’t leave any marking. The internal mesh, light weight, and resistance provided the by those shapes make it more in demand.nike hyperdunk basketball shoes

5.    The leather boots by Cleto Reyes: Boxing calls for light weight shoes and The Cleto boots provides with that support. The rubber made sole reduces the impact happening in the shoe, and the rounded tip makes sure get the comfort while your fight.

6.    The limited editions of Otomix: If you are looking for a comfortable, unique designed shoe then Otomix is your choice. They are highly comfortable, long lasting, good ventilation and great support for your ankles.

7.    Machomai by Nike: Presently Nike has become well known for its shoes meant for advanced basketball player. Advanced basketball plyer requires fast movement, and hence the shoe needs to the lightest of all.


Best Basketball Hoop For You kids

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Different sports and games are exactly what that keeps the humans going of course. This is sure why people often find the various types of sports around them. One of the top exciting games, of course, is the game of basketball. This game brings out the best in the people.
This is a non-violent game, of course. But the excitement in it is just too much for the people of course. This is an absolute reason why there are so many people who are just fond of this game.
This game is especially famous among the kids. It is just too exciting for them. This is absolutely why people must get the best basketball hoops for their kids to practice. There are of course various types hoops available, and people must check the features at http://www.probasketballtroops.com/kids-basketball-hoop before buying the best one.

Following are the various types available:

•    Portable system: There are various basketball hoops that are portable. These are of course great for the kids. They can take these wherever they like without much problem at all. This is absolutely why people must try these hoops for their kids. They can take these with them and play with their friends of course. Also moving these become easy for them.
•    Easy adjustable: This is, of course, another type that people can easily come across with. These hoops are of course adjustable according to the height of the kids. They can also easily adjust these without much problem at all. This will help them play and keep them engrossed in the match itself.
Various factors are depending on which, though a person must select the best basketball hoop for their kids.
The best points:
Following are the best points that people must keep up with while selecting the best basketball hoop:
•    Reviews: One should make sure that they have gone through a good amount of reviews before choosing one particular hoop of course. These reviews are extremely helpful for the people, and this is absolutely why one must get through with the very best of these.
•    Check the features: Checking with the features is very necessary. This is absolutely why parents must check with the features of these basketball hoops. Apart from the reviews, these features also play a good role in the selection of the best available hoop of course. This is absolutely why these must be checked under any condition.
•    The budget: The budget, of course, is one of the most important things that people must be aware of. They must set a budget and must hold on to it. This will give them a narrower view of these hoops. This way people can, of course, choose the best for themselves.
•    Brand: The brand also matters a lot. This is absolutely what cam guarantee the quality of the hoops. This will thus make sure that the people can get the best of these hoops no matter what.
All these points are of course important when it comes to getting through with the best of these hoops of course.


Hilltopper Fever

Posted by Ralph Bowman on

sign 4

Bowling Green has been painted Big Red ever since the home team clinched its first Sweet 16 berth in 15 years last weekend. After the jump, more pictures of the scene in B.G. as Western Kentucky University prepares for Thursday’s No. 12 vs. No. 1 matchup against UCLA.

In front of the arena that bears his name, Edgar Allen Diddle forever waves his signature red towel (dyed so that missing ones could be easily identified as stolen elsewhere) that has become the school’s logo. Diddle coached at Western for 42 years. Hey, there’s Bally!

bally and diddle statue

If you need a history lesson on the importance of that red towel, there’s a full explanation nearby.

red towel

Across the way in the student union, the university bookstore window was all painted up for the occasion.


The initial order of 500 commemorative Sweet 16 T-shirts were snapped up in less than an hour, and the shipment promised here (of 750) disappeared just as quickly on Wednesday morning, leaving an empty blanket-draped table in the front of the university bookstore.

“Remember in the Eighties, all the craziness over the Cabbage Patch dolls?” said a bookstore worker on Wednesday, recalling the madness. “It was like that. I came out of the back room with a handful of shirts, and I thought someone was going to punch me in the face. ‘Large.’ Okay, here… ‘I need four.’ Okay, don’t hurt me…”

sold out

If you can’t get your hands on a Sweet 16 T, however, there’s plenty of Big Red dolls available.

big reds

Like the bookstore, a downtown bank got into the window-painting act too.


As you travel around town, you’ll find Hilltopper spirit everywhere.

sign 3 sign 2

And like anything else in life, Western in the Sweet 16 is a great opportunity to sell cars. (What are they going to do with all those basketballs?)


Finally, orange blob meets red blob. This is Bally, the mascot of this site, with Big Red, much more well-known symbol of Western Kentucky University. This was taken at the home of longtime friend of the site Cortney Basham, a WKU professor and proprietor of the long-running and excellent Bracket Board and WNKY’s in-depth Hilltopper Blog.

bally & big red


Detroit Shock

Posted by Ralph Bowman on

sadwiscfan.jpgDETROIT — The alarm clock went off this morning, like it normally does… but we’re still trying to figure out when, exactly, we fell asleep. Around 6 p.m. yesterday? That timeframe makes more sense than what we were hallucinating about. Davidson? A No. 10 seed? Slaughtering the Big Ten champs in Big Ten country? By 17 points? Sweet dreams are made of this!

There was that sophomore in red who outscored the entire Wisconsin team in the second half (22-20), but he wasn’t the only player out on the court last night. Some of the supporting numbers were really astounding — take, for example, point guard Jason Richards’ perfect 13:0 assist-to-turnover ratio (a figure Bob McKillop made sure to repeat at least six times on postgame interviews). Or the perfect 5-for-5 shooting by Nigerian junior Andrew Lovedale, who’s gone from third on the forward depth chart at the beginning of the season to unsung hero (let’s fix that: Andrew Lovedale is 6-8/His two-point dunk-shots are rea-lly great).

And there were the efforts that didn’t get on the stat sheet, but were important nonetheless. Lovedale, Thomas Sander and Boris Meno sacrificed their bodies for the cause, making the lane a gauntlet for the Wisconsin offense. They were so effective that Bo Ryan spent much of the first half whining on the sideline about all the fouls the officials weren’t calling. Davidson, double-champions of a league the ACC and SEC fans down south call the “So-What” Conference, beating up the big boys down low. Imagine that!

While we get ready for the in-between day interviews, let’s empty out the rest of the notebook from last night.

As you’ve heard by now, or saw on TV, LeBron James was seated behind the Davidson bench. He was placed in a seating corridor between the press and the general public. Everybody else in that row had the dark blue “AA” all-access tag supplied by the NCAA and distributed by the colleges to their guests… but he didn’t need one of those. He was wearing several gigantic gold chains around his neck, which were just about all the ID LeBron James needs.

He was a guest of the school — as the story goes, he wanted to come see Stephen Curry play, and Davidson was happy to oblige. Several boxes of red t-shirts that echoed Nike’s “Witness” campaign were sent to the Davidson hotel and distributed (Nike furnishes the team’s uniforms, so this wasn’t a 1992 Dream Team brand clash), and LeBron and his posse got their choice seats.

So there was LeBron in Pistons territory (wearing a T-shirt that may or may not have contained a marijuana reference), oohing and aahing when Curry made spectacular plays. The best moment was at 9:07 of the second half, when Davidson head coach Bob McKillop spelled No. 30 after a turnover and foul, putting Bryant Barr backc in the game.

“Put him back in, coach!” LeBron bellowed.

Two minutes later, McKillop relented and let LeBron see some more pure basketball joy. LeBron didn’t stay long, though.

At around the six minute mark, with Davidson up by 19, the NBA star and the LeBrontorauge got up to leave. As he rose, so did the entire endline section, holding their cell phones aloft. There were literally thousands of people standing up, either giving LeBron a standing O or taking his picture. Curry didn’t score another basket, and five minutes later he got his own standing ovation, taking a seat as the Davidson deep-bench got to experience the feeling of being on the floor at the end of a Sweet 16 win.

A lot of people have compared (and are going to be comparing for months on end) the 2006 George Mason run with Davidson 2008. A fair enough topic for sports-talk radio, I’d suppose, and “the next George Mason/Davidson” is the shorthand we’ll be dealing in for the next few years, whether we like it or not. And there are plenty of similarities, sure. Both of these schools have fielded teams that have no business being on the court with teams with seven, eight, nine times the financial resources.

Both GMU and Davidson have silver-haired and tongued head coaches that any basketball-loving college kid would love to have as a pair of grandfathers. And there are basketball family trees in common, as Jim Larranaga got his collegiate start as an assistant at DC. The two schools they coach at are tucked away in the suburbs and exurbs of major American NBA cities (Washington and Charlotte, respectively) — close enough to major media markets, but far away enough to conduct day-to-day business in a hype-free bubble.

Personally, I’ve had the honor and privilege to witness both runs up close, and the two experiences have been radically different. George Mason 2006 was adrenaline, motivational tools, excitement, Kryptonite. Davidson 2008 is, well, a bunch of guys who show up to the gym every day and just so happen to play basketball really well. When the players left the floor on Friday night, there was no wild dancing that would show up on a

The only way any school this size can excel in the land of giants is unselfishness, something both the two squads in question had in amazing amounts. The general public never really figured out George Mason, and I’m willing to wager that most casual fans couldn’t name a single player from that team two years later. It was a club with five double-figure scorers who each shot for a solid percentage, and they shared the ball as well as any team in the nation. On any given night, nobody knew who the step-up guy with the big-time performance was going to be.

That, obviously, is not an issue with Davidson 2008. Every single person in the country knows who Steph Curry is now. He’s a clear focal point, and fits perfectly with the way most Americans consume sports. “Which team won?” is often less of a important question than “Who was the star? Which jersey should I buy?” The red one, with the 30 on the back.

But when you talk to Curry after a game and ask him to describe what a stat-stuffing performance felt like in the first person, he’ll generally deflect a lot of the praise to the teammates who got him the ball and got him open. And he’ll respond clinically and technically about the art of shooting a basketball. Sometimes over the past two years, I’ve felt as if I’ve been interviewing an architect or an accountant — “what makes you so good at filing 1065 extensions?” The man is an expert at what he does, and he’d still be an expert if nobody was watching him practice his craft on national television.

It’s been noted in the past few days that on his shoes are written the words, “I can do all things.” But it’s on the bottom of his shoes, a reminder to himself of his abilities. It’s the difference between braggadocio and ultimate confidence. In stark contrast to a Michael Flowers, he won’t tell you what he’s going to do beforehand like a pro wrestling star, he just goes out and does it. Afterwards, he’ll pay proper respect to the fallen opposition, and move on to the next challenge.

We haven’t had a breakout basketball star like Curry in a generation, and he’s helping undo the damage that the past 20 years have done to the idea of basketball stardom. There are kids out there who are now 10, 11 years old, spending this afternoon in driveways copying the fallaway 3-pointer that gave Davidson that early lead at 13 minutes of the first half. Here’s hoping that they’ll keep emulating him, carrying themselves with perfect humility.


More Than “Just Balls”: The Legend of the Ralph Marlin Tie

Posted by Ralph Bowman on

DSC01242_thumb.jpgWhen ESPN.com brought me on in the summer of 2005, my good friend Sarah bought me a Ralph Marlin “Just Balls” tie. It was one of those nice timely things that good friends do — they buy you things having to do with what you’re celebrating just as you’re celebrating them. Little did I know that it would be a key instrument in bringing down arrogant, overbloated power conference teams in the NCAA Tournament.

I adopted the practice of wearing a shirt and tie to every game that year (inspired by my new colleague Andy Katz), and wore the gift tie to my first game as a representative of the Worldwide Leader, a game on November 19 between Vermont and Harvard. It is certainly a little awkward wearing a tie with basketballs all over it to a basketball game, in all honesty. It’s something that you’d expect some eccentric alumnus to do, someone who hasn’t been to a basketball game at his school in five years. Or maybe Dickie V, if he was more like Don Cherry. Wearing a “Just Balls” tie is not something you do if you’re trying to be anything resembling cool. After all, they make a clip-on version as well.

I don’t remember wearing the “Just Balls” at all that 2005-06 regular season, not until March. I broke out the tie out again at the NCAA tournament in Dayton, and it hung around my neck for four games during the first round on Saint Patrick’s Day 2006. One of those games was No. 11 George Mason’s stunning 75-65 upset of Michigan State, a six-seed that had gone to the Final Four a year earlier. As I was standing in the Patriots locker room collecting quotes for a story, the winning coach interrupted my question.

“That’s some tie you got there, Kyle,” said Jim Larranaga, inspecting the thing.

“Thanks, coach,” I replied.

Two days later, I wore the tie to the second round. George Mason clinched a spot in the Sweet 16, with a 65-60 win over North Carolina, the previous year’s National Champions. It was the first inkling that the tie was some sort of talisman, so I strapped it on when I moved on along with Mason to the Washington, D.C. regional. That game was the “Mid-Major Super Bowl” between GMU and Wichita State for a shot at the Elite Eight. After Mason won, I was sent home and ESPN’s sole credential was passed along to Mr. Katz. Nobody expected Mason to beat mighty Connecticut, and I watched the game from my couch in Rhode Island. The tie was rolled up in my pocket.

We all know what happened next, and I was reactivated. On the day of the Final Four games, I walked around Indianapolis, wearing the “Just Balls” tie with a crisp white shirt. With time to kill, I walked over to the NCAA museum, which at the time was still coming together and not quite worth the $7 entry fee. As an added attraction, however, they had a member of basketball’s royal family — the grandson of the inventor of the game.

Ian Naismith was at a table out front, signing his recently-released book. There weren’t very many people stopping by — the Naismith surname doesn’t have the same Q rating as Jordan or James these days — so I walked up, introduced myself with a handshake, and asked him to sign my media credential.

tiecloseup.jpg“Forget that,” he said. “I want to sign that tie.”

And he did — with indelible black Sharpie. The “Just Balls” tie had transcended its cheesiness and had become one with the very history of the game. Walking back to the giant RCA Dome, I felt its warm orange glow.

I had “MUP” status for the Final Four, which is short for “media, upstairs.” Folks with MUP credentials have no access to the floor area an hour before the game, but have to retreat up the elevators to the high skyboxes to watch the game unfold like ants on a matchbox. This was too great a distance for the magic to work… and Mason fell by 15. My season was over.

Sure, I had doubts about the tie after that. And it’s not like I’m superstitious or anything, even though I carry a 1987 Minnesota Twins Homer Hanky in my pocket when I watch the team play, and freeze a little plate of water and put my New York Rangers action figure on it before playoff games. I tried to recharge it with mid-major mojo in the early 2006-07 season, wearing it to the season-opener between Bucknell and Albany and the Sweet 16 rematch between Mason and Wichita. I also wore it to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Southern Illinois-Butler BracketBuster (longtime friend of the site Brandon Loy has photographic proof). By March, there was plenty of power in the tie, and it helped propel Southern Illinois through the Columbus pod, as the Salukis destroyed Virginia Tech by 15 to make the Sweet 16.

I was very careful with the tie this season, not using it for any regular-season mid-on-major matchups. I only wore it on high-profile mid-versus-mid occasions, like the SIU-Butler rematch and the Davidson-Winthrop Buster game. I stormed three floors with it on, as the excitement of UMBC, Siena and Temple fans rubbed off on the tie.

But last weekend in Birmingham, for whatever reason, I decided not to wear the tie. Or maybe I simply forgot to. As Butler fell away in overtime of the Round of 32 to the streetball All-Stars of Tennessee, just four feet from the edge of the court, I looked down at my standard red and silver noose and cursed myself for what I didn’t do. In such a close loss, the “Just Balls” tie could have given the Bulldogs the little bit extra they needed to get over the top. It was the one time that I messed up, and I apologize to every Butler fan everywhere.

On Friday night, the tie was ready. Seated directly behind the Davidson bench (10 feet in front of LeBron’s chair), the tie was present and prominent, and made several nationally televised appearances over the course of the evening. And after a rough and tumble first half that ended in a 36-all stalemate between Davidson and Wisconsin, I knew what I had to do. During halftime, I did something that was daring, powerful, and unprecedented.

I walked up to the Davidson bench, bent down, and touched the tie to it.

The effects were, in a word, explosive. OK, two words: “Just Balls.” The Wildcats outscored the Badgers 37-20 in the second half, held Wisconsin to 24 percent shooting from there on out. LeBron James, standing directly in the Tie Zone, screamed out oh shit as Stephen Curry hit a running baseline layup. A 10 had beaten a three, and my chest was melting from the sheer force of my Ralph Marlin tie. Because the force, it’s got a lot of power. And it makes me feel like… It makes me feel like… Oooh!

But now I am in a full-on quandary, and need your help. Do I keep on with the force? Do I stop until I get enough? More to the point, do I wear the tie on Sunday? Will its immense power backfire (perhaps…), or is its strength simply sapped for the season (more likely)? I’m fully aware that the Naismith connection could give aid to Kansas, since The Inventor was also one of the founding fathers of Jayhawk basketball. There’s also the key consideration that my wearing a goofy orange basketball tie might cause further embarrassment.

This decision is completely out of my hands; I’m leaving it up to you, dear readers. Write in with the form, remember to include a valid e-mail address so it’ll get through. Give me the pros or cons of wearing the “Just Balls” to the game tomorrow. I will ponder and consider your opinions with the utmost respect, each letter will carry the relative weight of 15 message board posts


There’s a Basketball Game Today at 5 PM ET

Posted by Ralph Bowman on

We received a lot of messages in response to the query as to whether or not I should wear the “Just Balls” tie to the game today. With a 2-to-1 split in favor of donning autographed neckgear, the votes against stuck out and haunted my sleep. Several people brought up the possibility of a double-reverse tie jinx, and a few brought up the Naismith-Kansas association.

But I’m wearing the tie. Repeat, I am wearing the tie.

The letter that really sold me was T. Jensen, a self-described Jayhawk fan who commented on the nervousness this morning in Rock-Chalk land. They know that they’re up against something special today.

Wear it, please. Wear that piece of nylon with the basketballs on it. And I am even a Jayhawk fan, but in respectful support of mid-major b-ball, please wear it. I have never heard Jayhawk fans talk more adamantly than now… we need to “dispose of the 10 seed Cinderella.” But still have spent moments reflecting on the pace master, the guy who has the most unique feeling for the college game, Steph Curry… who we have to have patience with, and lock-down mentality, to beat… But yes, wear the darn tie. I know it’ll be right.

I know, I know. This is a dangerous line I’m walking with the tie, but the postseason is all about danger, looming heartbreak, sudden death. It’s win or go home for not only the Davidson players, coaches and staff, but for their fans too. It’s win or go home for all the Charlotte media who sit here in the vast media room at Ford Field, biting their nails and whispering about individual matchups. It’s win or go home for everybody in America who loves Cinderella — if Davidson loses tonight to create a who-cares Final Four made up entirely of one-seeds, it’s on to baseball season.

And, of course, it’s win or go home for Bally and I. At this moment, we don’t know which highway we’re taking on our way out of Detroit tonight: I-75 south or the Canadian 401 east.

“Just Balls” could very well have been drained all of its magic on Friday night, I realize that. But in order to bolster its power, I will be wearing it with a dark green pinpoint oxford shirt to commemorate Kryptonite, the verdant hue that George Mason wore all the way to the Tournament’s last weekend two years ago. The past and present will converge to create what we hope is a continued future. Bright orange on green… it’s going to be the worst clothing combination since the University of Miami decided to dress up like fruit, but I don’t care.

Because sometimes forward progress just can’t be pretty. As longtime friend of the site Michael Litos wrote in today:

Don’t mess with karma. Wear the damn tie.

There’s no way to search for this that I know of, but Bob McKillop might have been the first head coach in the history of the NCAA Tournament to invoke soccer.

“I’m in the quest for the perfect game, the perfect performance, the perfect season,” said McKillop in Saturday’s press conference. “And we certainly haven’t reached that point yet. I think the Brazilian soccer team, they called it ‘The Beautiful Game.’ That’s what our system is about, the quest for that.”

Which logically led to this thought… what if the Davidson players were Brazilians? Thanks to BrazilName, we can find out what each of the Wildcats would be if they were green and yellow (the national team, not George Mason) and not red and black.

stephundo.jpgJason Richards: Jasa
Stephen Curry: Stephundo
Max Paulhus Gosselin: Felix Mardo
Andrew Lovedale: Andrimo
Thomas Sander: Thomao
Brendan McKillop: McKillcos
Aaron Bond: Beca
Boris Meno: Meneca Pau
Can Civi: Civinhosa
Mike Schmitt: Schminhosa
Will Archambault: Archambainho
Stephen Rossiter: Rossiteiro
Bryant Barr: Bryildo
Dan Nelms: Neta Santos
Ben Allison: Bildo

Curry’s story is legendary now, being passed over by everybody and given a demeaning walk-on offer by Virginia Tech, where his NBA sharpshooter dad built his legend.

But these past few days have been a fantastic opportunity to find out how the rest of this magical team was built — my esteemed colleague Pat Forde was able to get in a lot of great details in his story yesterday. With the much looser constraints of a notebook entry on a mid-major weblog, let’s hear some of the stories of the other Wildcats’ roads to campus.

Starting PG Jason Richards: “[McKillop] came to an open gym at my high school [in Illinois]. We were playing a pick-up game, and he didn’t say anything to me, he just sat in the corner taking notes for an hour and a half. After practice he came up to me, shook my hand and smiled and said a few sentences to me, then he left. I didn’t know what to think. After I committed, he sent me a three-page e-mail of the notes he took that day. The positives of my game, the things that needed to be worked on, and from that point on I knew he was a great coach and that he’d definitely help me out in my career.”

McKillop on sophomore big Andrew Lovedale: “The first time I saw Andrew Lovedale, he was sweeping the court at the Amaechi Basketball Centre in Manchester, England. That was part of my evaluation, to see the way he handled things other than basketball.” [Press question: How could you see it sweeping the floor, though?] “You could just see the genuine care that he had, that he took his job seriously. In order to earn money, he was sweeping the floor in the center and coaching young kids.”

Lovedale: “I grew up in Nigeria and went to school in England… my skills were raw… I wanted to play and learn basketball and I was in London but wasn’t comfortable there. So I told my brother I did not want to learn in London and wanted to go somewhere else. I happened to go to school in Manchester, and I wanted to take some of the load off my family with expenses so I talked to the guy at the academy about letting me work.”

McKillop: “Look here, you’ve got a guy from Nigeria, a guy from the rich suburbs of Barrington, Illinois, you got the son of a cheesemaker from Montreal, Canada [Max Paulhus Gosselin]. We have some diversity and we get along and work as a team. There must be something there. I think it’s balance.”

I would pay to watch this movie: a philosopher-coach wandering the world, assembling a rag-tag basketball team that goes on to strike deep into the NCAA Tournament. Part Ocean’s Eleven (the original), part Blues Brothers, and part Major League.

With some awesome slow-motion cheesemaking scenes.

There’s been considerable and interesting chatter about Curry and ego these past few days, in the press room and on the interwebs. A lot of it focused on his shoe quote (“I can do all things”), and I made my best effort to seek clarification yesterday in my interview with the man yesterday for the Worldwide Leader. Since then, it’s been a considerable and interesting discussion of Curry and God.

We don’t talk much about religion or politics on this site, or my own personal faith and beliefs, because there’s no real need to engage in anything that distracts from the three things that The Mid-Majority has been about since 2004 — truth, justice and college basketball. We’ve learned the hard way (repeatedly) that any sort of moral stand on anything brings in a wave of angry blah-blah-blah and a whole lot of negative energy. So we generally stick to our day topics, for our own safety.

But the way Curry handles himself and his convictions is too fascinating to pass up. One of the primary factors that has made 21st Century American sports so divisive has been the injection of in-your-face Christianity. (That’s the subject of the most engaging chapter of Will Leitch’s book, by the way.) God this, Lord and savior that. I just want to thank God for letting us beat Chicago. It was funny enough for The Onion eight years ago, and just plain tiresome now. God, God, God.

I was having breakfast this week in Bowling Green with Mr. Bracket Board, Western Kentucky professor Cortney Basham. I was telling him all about the scene last Sunday in Birmingham on Easter Sunday afternoon, an overtime game between Tennessee and Butler in the Round of 32. On one side of the impossibly loud BJCC Center, the bright orange of UT, the blue (and Dawg Pound tie-dyes) or Butler on the other. In both sections, many people could be seen with folded hands, gazing up to the high ceiling and presumably beyond.

“I wonder how God decides in situations like that,” I said. “Is it like ESPN SportsNation, where the majority team’s percentage scrolls by on the screen?”

“If only it was that simple,” he answered.

Getting God on your side in matters of human vs. human competition is complicated, and quite simply impossible. It’s also selfish.

Stephen Curry is the polar opposite of all this. He won’t talk about God unless you specifically ask him, and sometimes you have to knock a few times before he’ll answer. His shoe quote, Phillipians 4:13, in its full form, is one of the most simple, brilliant and beautiful statements of faith ever written, and it can be easily retrofit to fit any belief system there is.

Why is Curry so calm in the face of all this pressure, all these tens of thousands? Because he sees himself as a conduit, not a battery. He doesn’t store up God Credits for explosive performances later, like I collect fake metaphysical hit points in my silly tie. He stays grounded because he believes that the divine flows through him, not into him. He’s the kind of human being any religion would be proud to have as a representative.


The Boubacar 2/5/2008 (St. Edition)

Posted by Ralph Bowman on

VALPARAISO, Ind. — We’re in Day Two of the annual Super Bowl info-moratorium, the first time in seven years we’ve made it through until Tuesday without knowing any details of the “big game” or who won. It’s a combination of old-fashioned obliviousness and modern technology that’s making this happen. My temp-spam filter has already zapped 37 rogue incoming messages containing the words “Super,” “Patriots” or “Giants.”

There were a few close calls, though. After I posted my dare to the public to try harder in getting the news to me yesterday (we’re all about degree of difficulty here at TMM), there were eight voicemails from people I haven’t heard from in ages — still marked as “new.” And since it was one of my rare motel stays, by 4 p.m. I was getting kinda hungry in the bunker. In order to stay away from the ESPN that was surely on the TV’s at the Applebee’s next door, I called Pizza Hut and had them bring a pie over. Twenty minutes later, the driver arrived.

“So, what’d you think of the game last night?” asked the small man, a dead ringer for Curtis Armstrong, while I was scribbling my signature on the receipt.

“One more word, and you’re not getting a tip,” I replied. He had no idea what I was talking about.

I don’t know if I’m going to make it through until Wednesday and break my personal record. I have a game tonight, and that’s a sporting event, and I’m sure there will be an offhanded remark about the Super Bowl in there somewhere, like an oblique reference to the Manning family (this being Indiana). Or somebody in the stands will be carrying a big sign with the score on it, I don’t know.

But I was really good at tuning out the presidential race until two weeks ago, and still don’t know what happened in the Lost season premiere (don’t ruin it, it’s on the TiVo when I get home)… I just have no idea why ignoring the Super Bowl takes so much effort.

SMC Saint Mary’s. Phew. You’re not going to find a better G!O!T!N! than last night’s superthriller on the tube, the Gaels’ 89-85 overtime win over the longtime lords of the WCC, Gonzaga. Patty Mills, who is good at playing basketball despite being a freshman, scored 23 points and made a key steal with half-a-minute left that forced the Zags’ hand and made them play for the tie. Then, he made free throws in overtime and ended up grabbing the winning rebound off Micah Downs’ failed 3 attempt.

You can’t say enough about Saint Mary’s ability to draw fouls on Gonzaga’s bigs — I’m sure the Zag fans are crying about it this morning, but the refs weren’t the ones trying to bully the Gaels in the lane all night. No fewer than four Gonzaga players fouled out, and the overtime session was pretty much Jeremy Pargo (pictured, left), Matt Bouldin and a whole lotta who.

Saint Joseph’s. We know Villanova isn’t having the best year, which always cheers us up, but in the Philadelphia Big 5 every single result is big, and in the Holy War everything is universe-sized. Like last night’s powerthrash at the Palestra, a 22-point win for the Joes over their ancient suburban rivals.

The Hawks haven’t beat Villanova since 2004 — you know, that year when SJU went all the way to the Elite Eight — and the Jameer Nelson teams never dominated the Wildcats like this. The score hides the fact that Nova put on a little run at the end to make it semi-respectable… The spread was up near 30 in the second half, and there were some moments when doubling-up was a very real possibility. It was a real frontcourt party, as Pat Calathes and Rob Ferguson combined for 40 points and 14 rebounds in the team’s sixth straight win.

Saint Diego. If wasn’t the Big Monday game, or even the ESPNU game (that was Santa Clara-Portland), but we don’t want to forget that other team that’s 6-1 in the West Coast Conference. The Kentucky fans sure don’t.

The Toreros, who beat Saint Mary’s just last week by grinding them, won their fifth straight last night at Pepperdine to pull into a three-way tie at the top. De’Jon Jackson, a 6-2 sophomore guard who usually is the fourth or fifth offensive option, decided to have the game of his flippin’ career, shooting 8-for-13 (with four 3’s) for 20 points. All in all, another successful slowdown slog for San Diego.

cliffofhistory.jpgSaint New Jersey Tech. A lot of folks in Newark should be qualifying for sainthood here, as the Highlanders approach the inverse perfection that is the 2004-05 Savannah State team. After last night’s 10-point home loss to Longwood, NJIT is 0-24 with five games remaining.

And it doesn’t look good for the school’s chances to jump into the win column. Four of those final five are out on the road: at Texas-Pan American, La Salle and Longwood, then the grand finale at Utah Valley State, which will almost assuredly get 10 times the media it normally would. The lone home game is versus Chicago State, a team that already beat the Highlanders by 17 out at their place, holding them to 34 percent shooting. Which happens to be NJIT’s team average for the season.

However, there were bright spots last night. Consider Kyle Edwards, a 6-6 junior who had been languishing on the bench for much of a season (for an 0-24 team) and finally decided that enough was enough. Against Longwood, in a season-high 25 minutes, he lashed out offensively for 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting, more than double his D-I career high. He grabbed eight rebounds too. Think he’ll start next time?

OK, so there’s that. But…

How ‘Bout™ Alabama State? They beat MU on Nov. 11, before everybody started doing it, and didn’t win another D-I game until SWAC play. But the Hornets have won eight of their nine league games — including seven in a row — and are the conference’s last hope to stay out of the play-in game (which looks like SWAC versus America East at the mo’). Last night’s victim was Prairie View, and they nearly hit the century mark. Senior forward Joel Bosh, he of the good-at-playing-basketball Boshes, scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his third straight excellent game.

Also, How ‘Bout™ those BracketBusters announcements? Wasn’t a problem ignoring the whole Bobby Knight thing, but can’t believe we got through the whole Boubacar without mentioning that. We’ll have about 1,000 words of breakdown over at the Worldwide Leader later today.

And How ‘Bout™ Siena of the MAAC? The day of the BracketBusters announcements, Siena took out its frustration for being mailed out to Boise State by clipping Marist (which gets to bus to Cleveland State) by four in Albany. With 8-3 Loyola making up its weather-delayed game at Niagara today, 9-3 Siena gets a day of second place to itself. Everybody in the conference is looking up at 10-2 Rider, winners of nine straight.

Do you have a nomination for tomorrow’s Bubacar?