That’s a healthy-looking line of thunderstorms that’s headed our way.
While watching a SportsCenter commercial last night featuring the Tennessee Lady Vols’ head basketball coach, I came to a horrifying realization:
I think I’m starting to like Pat Summitt.
This is simply not acceptable. Pat Summitt is the enemy! She is UConn’s nemesis! She is the anti-Geno! She is the devil-woman! It is the solemn duty of every good Connecticutian to resist the Evil Pat and all Her Works! I’m allowed to grudgingly respect her, but under no circumstances am I supposed to like her! Must… resist…
"We are the Big Orange Army… you will be assimilated… resistance is futile…"
On this NCAA Tournament Eve, here’s a question I’ve been meaning to pose to my blog audience — or, more specifically, to the sports fans within that audience. What’s the most devastating loss you’ve ever suffered as a sports fan?
After the jump, my answer to this question. But I’m really curious about your answers.
Over the weekend, the VoCals won the ICCA semifinal — basically the Western regional championship — at Marin Center for the Performing Arts in San Rafael, California, beating out the University of Oregon Divisi, the UCLA ScatterTones (ha ha! take that, Mike Tran!), defending national champion BYU Noteworthy, BYU Vocal Point, the Cal-Berkeley Golden Overtones, Mt. San Antonio College Fermata Nowhere, and These Guys from Fullerton and Citrus colleges. (Full results here; scroll down to "ICCA West Region.")
The VoCals’ previous best finish at the ICCA semis was second place in 2001, and they’ve finished third four times: in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2006. Long-time readers might recall that I trailed the VoCals for a photojournalism project — producing, among others, this photo — during their 2002 third-place ICCA appearance, and later wrote about it in a Daily Trojan opinion article analogizing the competition to March Madness, with which it always roughly coincides.
Anyway, on April 19, this year’s crop of SoCal VoCals will compete for the international championship of collegiate a capella (that’s what ICCA stands for, natch) against the Northwestern University Purple Haze (Midwest Region champs), Oxford University Out of the Blue (Western Europe champs), and as-yet undetermined champions from the South, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Fight on, SoCal VoCals!! Beat those other schools!! Wooo!!
The good news is, the Notre Dame-George Mason game will be the primary ~9:30 game on the Knoxville CBS affiliate Thursday night. Sweet!
The bad news is, contrary to what I guessed last night, USC-Kansas State won’t be the primary ~7:00 game. I guess they think Belmont, a Nashville university with 4,700 students, has a large enough following in East Tennessee that it makes sense to prioritize #2 Duke vs. #15 Belmont over the super-frosh showdown of Mayo vs. Beasley. Ugh.
I just hope our Comcast connection can handle MMOD. (Speaking of which, if you want a "VIP pass," you’d better sign up now — they’re 86% full!)
Knoxville's Krutch Park in bloom. … Meanwhile, I just got a text message from Kristin in South Bend -- where I'm guessing it's decidedly less springlike -- reporting that Notre Dame Law School has been evacuated due to a fire alarm. Hmm.
UPDATE: Our intrepid NDLS correspondent reports: “All ok, incident involved a microwave, a sandwich wrapped in tin foil, & a styrofoam plate.” Heh.
The 13th annual Living Room Times men’s basketball pool, presented by the UCLA Bruins.
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
They’re underway in L.A.
FIGHT ON, TROJANS!!!!! BEAT THE BRUINS!!!!! WIN ME THE BET!!!!!
(I think I’m going to use that bear for every anti-UCLA post from now on. Hahaha.)
UPDATE: USC leads at halftime, 34-29. I’m not too happy, though. Frankly, the margin should be bigger. The Trojans’ defense was great, and the Bruins’ shooting was cold until the last couple of minutes, yet USC’s offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders. From the 16-minute mark to the 9-minute mark of the half, UCLA only scored 4 points (increasing their total from 7 to 11), which would have presented a great opportunity for USC to build a big lead, but they only managed to get up 17-11 during that stretch. I feel like the Bruins have a good run in them sometime in the second half, and I’d like to see the Trojans build up enough of a lead beforehand that they can withstand it.
Also of concern: Hackett and Jefferson each have 2 fouls. Hopefully neither of them picks up a quick third in the second half. You don’t want to put your fate in the hands of Pac-10 refs!!
Meanwhile, UCLA’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute went down with an ugly-looking injury. Hopefully he’s OK and will at least be back for the NCAA Tournament.
UPDATE 2: Aaaaand, while I was in the other room helping Becky with the baby, UCLA opens the second half on a 17-4 run. They’re up 46-38 with 14:43 minutes left. Yikes. Oh, and Hackett just got his third foul. And Gibson has 3, too. Crap, crap, crap.
UPDATE 3: Trojans within 5 points with 3:43 to go. Gibson and Jefferson both have 4 fouls. I’m so nervous. I feel like I have such a huge personal stake in the outcome of this game… stupid bets with Mike Tran…
I just really, really hope the Pac-10 refs don’t decide this one.
UPDATE 4: UCLA by 3, USC ball, 39 seconds left. My heart is pounding. I swear I’d be less nervous if I had a couple hundred dollars on this game, rather than having my pool’s honor riding on it.
UPDATE 5: DAMMIT.
That was a weird strategy at the end there…
You know what this means: my season-series bet with Mike Tran will be decided in a dramatic Pac-10 semifinal rubber match, an intra-city battle royale at the Staples Center tomorrow night at 9:00 PM EDT.
As specified by the terms of the bet, if UCLA wins, I have to change the name of my men’s basketball pool to “The 13th annual Living Room Times men’s basketball pool, presented by the UCLA Bruins.” I have to include the “presented by the UCLA Bruins” in every full-fledged pool update that I post on the blog, and UCLA also has to appear somewhere in the pool’s official logo.
If USC wins, Mike has to go to Tommy Trojan and get his picture taken in front of Tommy, doing the victory sign and wearing a USC shirt of some kind (with “USC” in big letters, clearly visible). He has to get me this picture by next Wednesday, and I get to post it on my blog as often as I want during March (and early April, i.e. Final Four weekend).
FIGHT ON, TROJANS!!! BEAT THE BRUINS!!!
But what about Arizona State’s bubble? Fight on Trojans!
Pop Beat the Sun Devils! (Actually, I hope ASU loses, then makes the Big Dance anyway.)
UPDATE: Uh-oh… another controversial ending to a Pac-10 game?
I don’t know what the rules are on over-the-back fouls, and the FSN announcers are doing an absolutely horrible job of explaining what’s going on. Can someone fill me in? I really hope the Trojans aren’t winning this one illegitimately.
UPDATE 2: USC won 59-55. Here’s the ending:
What do y’all think?
In the latest escalation of the Pat Summitt-Geno Auriemma War, Tennessee recently reported UConn for an alleged recruiting violation — arranging a tour of ESPN’s studios in Bristol for star freshman Maya Moore back when she was a recruit who was heavily prized by both schools.
ESPN, obviously keen to avoid "becoming the story" again in the future, says that "to avoid future incidents, our tour policy will now prohibit high school
athletes from receiving tours at the request of a college or university
But the bigger story here, in my mind, is the Summitt-Auriemma angle. It has become increasingly clear that these two really don’t like each other. In fact, here is some exclusive footage of Pat and Geno going at it before a recent ballgame:
Correction: I’m told those are the Oral Roberts and IUPUI mascots. My bad. But if Connecticut and Tennessee meet in the Final Four, that’s pretty much what it’ll be like.
Cal will get a rematch tomorrow of its controversial season regular-finale against UCLA.
That’ll be at 5:30 PM on FSN, right after the 3:00 game between USC and Arizona State. I’m hoping to get to work early tomorrow, and to work through lunch, so I can come home for at least the second half of that one. :)
Also tomorrow, at 9:30 PM on ESPN: Notre Dame vs. Marquette
or Seton Hall. All in all, it’s going to be a big day in Irish Trojan land…
The University at Buffalo football team will play a home game on ESPN2 on Election Night against Miami of Ohio. It’ll be Buffalo’s first nationally televised game since moving to Division I-A, and the first-ever nationally televised game out of UB Stadium. And according to UB grad Weston (pictured below with yours truly on the night of the Buffalo-Rutgers game last fall), they’re calling it the "Blue vs. Red Game," in reference to its Election Night timing. Heh.
Speaking of Buffalo, the Bulls are currently trying to extend their men’s basketball season in unlikely fashion. At 3-13 in conference play and 10-19 overall, UB is the lowest seed in the conference, #12, but they’re leading aforementioned Miami, the #5-seed, by a score of 51-42 with 11:39 to go. Can Buffalo get four wins in four days to win the MAC Tournament? Um, probably not. But hey, you never know. Crazier things have happened — like the UB football team winning five games in a season. :) Winner gets #4-seed Ohio tomorrow.
UPDATE: Buffalo loses, 69-68. :(
Moments ago on ESPN2, #4-seed Mount St. Mary’s defeated #3-seed Sacred Heart, 68-55, on SHU’s home floor in Fairfield, Connecticut, to earn the Northeast Conference title. So that leaves just Hartford and UConn still alive from the Nutmeg State. (Hartford plays for the America East title on Saturday morning. UConn plays West Virginia in the Big East quarters tomorrow, but is, of course, going dancing regardless.)
The NCAA bid for the Mountaineers is their first since 1999. Between Mount St. Mary’s from the NEC, St. Mary’s from the WCC, and Notre Dame from the Big East, the Blessed Virgin will be very well-represented in this year’s NCAA Tournament. :)