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Inspirational Reads

You Might Not Want to Read This, Eric

January 18, 2008

I went ahead and slept before I wrote this. I was going to write it last night immediately after the game, but I was so disgusted that I had to rest a bit before fully committing my thoughts to electronic media. Even with a few hours of sleep and a steamin' cup o' joe coursing through my veins, I'm still disgusted.

I watched the Indiana/Minnesota game last night on ESPN. First of all, I don't know what game the announcers were watching, but I don't think it was the one they were broadcasting. Doris Burke, ugh, can someone find a tennis ball and shove in her mouth? I realize Erin Andrews is eye-candy and thus they shove her on the sidelines, but, seriously, she does a much better job than, well, pretty much all of ESPN's female announcers. At least Andrews seems to know what is happening on the court during the course of the game. Ugh, again.

Second, I know I made fun of Bruce Weber being a whiney little duck yesterday, but the referees for this game were awful. Both ways. There were calls that should have been made that weren't and there were calls that were made that I kind of scratched my head over. At some point, are the referees going to remember that for a charge, the defensive player needs to establish his position. It used to be, back in my day, that you didn't get a charge call if you were standing there moving backwards and turning to avoid the contact. You had to have your feet set and firmly establish a second before the collision that the spot was yours. And, if you're going to call over-the-back, don't call it on a tall player who has the ball yanked down by two other players so that the tall player's arms get pulled down onto the defensive rebounding player. Or if you do it, call it on both ends. And, on a long in-bounds pass, if the player catches it, puts his foot down on the ground in the front court and then dribbles over into the back court, that's a back court violation. Call it. Ugh, yet again.

But, really, my beef was with the game over all. Tubby Smith has led the Gophers back to almost national prominence, or so claimed the announcers. All he had to do was get that signature win. Never mind his 12-4 team has beaten up on nunneries and daycares while choking against any sort of talent. I was watching last night, and sure, there was plenty of motion and action on the offensive side for Minnesota, but they didn't do anything with it. Most of their offense went through Tollackson (more on him in a minute) and Coleman. And Coleman has, perhaps, one of the ugliest shots I've ever seen, and I watch a lot of basketball in the 5-7-year-old leagues. Half the time it looked like he was going to set the ball for a kill in volleyball rather than shoot an 8-foot jumper.

And Spencer Tollackson. What can you say about this mook? According to the announcers, the "big guy" was "doing it all tonight". Yeah, he was doing it all. Except hitting free throws (0-7). And playing defense on DJ White (17 points). And scoring on DJ White (14 points...all of them on back-door slips down the lane where another player had to rotate over, leaving Tollackson open for a reverse or matched up against Lance Stemler (ugh)). And every rebound that he had, he stole from another player, either over DJ White's back or Ellis'. And he had a verticle of about none.

In the end, the team that should have won ended up winning. This was a game that should have been done about ten minutes in, and Indiana should have been cruising in that 16-24 point lead range. The calls on Gordon early in the game were ridiculous (the hand check that wasn't, the charge where the kid was turning to back away) and allowing Tollackson to manhandle White in the post was disgusting (and yet, DJ White managed to make it look like he was being guarded by a seventh-grader, albeit a seventh grader who was about six inches taller). Fortunately, Jordan Crawford was flashing some moments of brilliance while Gordon languished on the bench. I don't know what the refs have against Gordon (but I bet it has to do with his orally committing to Illinois before switching to Indiana). If Eric Gordon played in the ACC, especially for Duke or Carolina, he would not have had any fouls (even the third foul, which definitely was a foul as he hip-checked the guy going past him...which wasn't called on the very next play when Crawford was being hip-checked all the way down the court in the backcourt) in that game.

It was a good win in that Gordon sat and White sat for a long period in the second half and the reserves were able to score nearly 30 points. Plus, overcoming all the turnovers (again, Gordon was criticized for making passes too early or doing too much, when most of them should have been handled by the recipients) and the foul disparity that existed for most of the game (I think they equaled out in the final minutes, except for the free-throw shooting). Overall, it was as ugly a win as you'll see, but it's still a win.

Now, for getting national recognition...why don't you focus your efforts into beating Wisconsin. Please? Thanks.


Chemgeek said...

Oops, I posted a comment regarding this game on your last post before I read this post.

I agree that it was an ugly game. I'd like to think the home court and a determined Gopher team forced the Hoosier errors. Of course, I need to give the refs a bit of the credit too.

I agree about some of the calls. Gordon's first three fouls were pretty lame, especially the third one. That was REALLY bad. Gordon needs to learn how to deal with getting the shaft. He really seemed tentative after that. I guess I can't blame him.

There were a number of times when I was waiting for the Gophers to be called for over the back.

The Gophers clearly missed a prime opportunity to steal one from a top tier team. The difference came down to free throws (11-21 and 0-7 by Tollackson). Seriously, if the refs are going to give you 21 (or more if you make the front end of the 1-1) chances for free points, going 0-7 is NOT taking advantage.

As for the announcing (really the whole production)... I wasn't really listening since I was trying to prep a Biochem lecture.. but.. OK WE GET IT. Tubby and Sampson are friends and The Barn is old. Let's get back to basketball.

Ugly game. Won by the better team. But seeing the Gophers compete (or at least appear to) is a special treat that is has this whole program shrouded in euphoria.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Of the three fouls on Gordon, I thought the third was the most obvious. Play defense with your feet, young man. He gave him a shot with the hip and was called for it. The phantom hand-check was the worst, by far.

I think when Tubby gets his players in there (which it sounds like he is doing next year, which would be his first full-recruiting cycle), Minnesota's going to be back to challenging for Big Ten (+1) titles and the Barn (should be the Pit, that place is where road teams go to die) will be just as strong a home-court as the Kohl Center or Spartan Arena. Hell, even Cameron. I can't think of many other places I hate to see Indiana go to play, and even with a down Minnesota team, it's still a tough place to play.

And Gordon needs to learn (which, he's apparently going to do very quickly) how to fight through the adversity of a tightly-called game.

As for Tollackson...I've always prided myself on being able to hit free throws at a fairly high clip. If it came down to it, I would have put someone like Ratliff in just to hack Tollackson on every offensive possession where he shot, just to put him on the line. If I were he, I'd be in the gym every day shooting free throws over and over and over again. Every one of his shots were short. He needs to bend his knees and get his legs under him for the shot.

One final note on the refs. I think they did as much to kill Minnesota as they did to kill Gordon early in the game. There was a traveling call that was suspect on Minnesota coming down the stretch that kind of killed one of their rallies and broke their momentum. If anything, I'd point to that as a game changer. That wasn't the only bad call against Minnesota, but it's the one that sticks out in my mind the most.

Anonymous said...

So, basically if a woman is hot she can be on the sidelines for men's broadcasts, but otherwise, not so much. Sexism.

This whole post is also terribly written. Ugh.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

You didn't read it correctly. Erin Andrews is on the sidelines because she's hot and has turned into a celebrity.

Andrews does a good job. That's why I said she should be a booth broadcaster, but ESPN wouldn't do it. Wendi Nix is another one who should be off the sidelines and in the booth announcing.

Your whole comment was poorly conceived. Ugh.

Chemgeek said...

Wow Anonymous. That is a big stretch. You may want to actually read the words.

And complaining about the quality of the post was a nice touch.

Jim said...

Sorry about the NFC game, dude. It's a shame someone had to lose.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

The Packers did everything they could to give that game away, and it worked. You can't play that lousy and expect to win. In the end, the better team won. So much for the Lambeau mystique and Eli being a shit quarterback.