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