Saturday, February 16, 2008

There is funny, there is absolutely hilarious....

And there is "so batshit insane that it made me laugh for days."

Then, there is this:

IMO, the NCAA is fishing. They have an ax to grind ever since Coach Sampson got around his recruiting restrictions by text messaging. The NCAA is trying to "find" evidence against him so that the university will overreact and terminate him.

Just look at the evidence that the NCAA has, 2 Purdue recruits, 1 Illinois recruit, and a high school teammate of that Illinois recruit. In a court of law I don't even know if these witnesses would even hold up in court. Purdue and Illinois are obiviously Indiana's biggest rivals, I have a feeling both teams wouldn't mind seeing Coach Sampson fired and IU hurt. Doesn't anyone find it interesting that Matt Painter was the one that called out the bag, shirt, and shorts for Eltson? Painter has wanted Derek Eltson from the get go, and I am sure he wasn't happy when Eltson committed to IU.

The bottom line is, I think these allegations of lying are TOTALLY FALSE. The NCAA is just digging for stuff to get Coach Sampson fired. It isn't about justice or truth, but it is about making an example. I would be willing to bet that if Indiana stood behind their coach, did their own invesitgation, and took the NCAA to court, they would have a good chance of winning this case. The NCAA's allegations and evidence are weak, and it is obivious they have a grudge against Kelvin Sampson.

That, folks, is grade A hilarity. Delusional, but hilarious.

Indiana is going down, and they're going down hard. But who could have imagined that a guy who had made 500,000 illegal phone calls would commit additional violations and lie about them?

The sad thing is, Indiana didn't have to do this. They have multiple national championships. The state is hoops crazy. They were the last school to go undefeated. They should have had their pick of top coaching prospects. Yet they settled for a guy who is a) dirty, and b) a mediocre coach to begin with. Well done, Hoosiers. Way to hire a crappy, dirty coach.

Hope Eric Gordon was worth it. One season, in which they won't get to the final four (probably won't get to the elite eight) in exchange for multiple sanctions. Damn I love Schadenfreude.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NHL Network

Imagine if you will a sports highlights program where the emphasis in on the highlights. Yes, there's a studio crew, but their job is to introduce the highlights, and when they kick it over to the action, the action is the show. Imagine a show that shows highlights narrated by the actual people calling the game! Feel the excitement of the broadcasters who call the action as if they were calling while it happens (even though it's a replay)! Imagine a show where the action speaks for itself!

I know what you're thinking. Where's the "Boo-Yah!" to tell me when something interesting happens? I am a sheep who requires prompting!

Well, if you're not thinking that, and you long for the highlight program that SportsCenter could be, that Sportscenter USED to be before they decided personalities were more important than actual highlights, then NHL network is where you belong. One small caveat is that you have to like hockey, but I kinda figured that was a given.

Seriously, though, the nightly highlight show on the NHL network is sports highlights as they were meant to be seen. It's actually quite similar to what you used to get at halftime of English League games. Pure highlights, no distractions, and not just all goals. Good scoring chances, great saves, and big hits make the cut as well. All the action that's actually worth seeing.

If only certain unwatchable sports networks could take the hint.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

UCLA 61; Washington 71

Two things are clear. First, this is not the same team without Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. Second, the Bruins will not be traipsing through the West on their way to a third straight final four.

Outplayed, outhustled, and yes, outcoached. Whatever Lorenzo Romar schemed for this game, Washington had players wide open under the basket all afternoon. And time after time they outnumbered the Bruins around the basket, which led to offensive rebound after offensive rebound and second chance point after second chance point. Ultimately, that was the difference in the game. As poorly as the Bruins executed, had they not been outhustled, they still could won this game.

It didn't help matters that the Bruins couldn't shoot. O for everything from beyond the arc. Darren Collison was clanking floaters as if he were new to the game. I'm not sure any of the three pointers that UCLA took actually got to the basket until the game was no longer in doubt. Literally, I think every three pointer they took was missed short. And every time they'd close the gap, they'd let up and the Huskies would separate again. Three point deficits became nine point deficits, and when they'd pull to three again, the Huskies would lengthen to eight.

This was not the Bruins team that most of us are used to seeing. They didn't do any of the things we're used to seeing them do. They were dominated on the glass, they rarely, if ever, ran their offense effectively, and they failed to play strong interior defense. That's a recipe for failure on the road in the Pac 10. And make no mistake, this loss is all on UCLA. Washington is not a good basketball team. They have one good player, and they've been torched at home recently. When you're number two and losing to a mediocre team, it's a loss. It's not a tough game that the other team pulled out. It's not a game where the opponent played a great game. It's a game where you failed to show up and do your job. That's why UCLA lost tonight.

Finally, when the ball was successfully inbounded with about 35 seconds to go, Alfred Aboya should have just hauled off and decked the piece of shit who through the ball off his face.

The Whigs w/ the Rikters and Tulsa @ Schuba's - 2/9/08

Saw about half of the Rikters set, and I thought they were pretty good. Local Chicago act, so there will probably be more chances to see them. Tulsa followed with two really good songs, and then sort of went to a grungy alt-country thing that was good, but not great.

The Whigs took the stage a little after midnight and opened the set with the opening tracks off their two albums to get the crowd going. They switched back and forth between albums for a few songs before settling into the newer stuff, and threw out a few covers toward the end. Setlist below, which is actually complete this time, and in order for the first few songs:

  • Nothing is Easy
  • Like a Vibration
  • Technology
  • Production City
  • OK, Alright
  • Violet Furs
  • Half the World Away
  • I Never Want to Go Home
  • Right Hand on My Heart
  • Sleep Sunshine
  • Hot Bed
  • Already Young
  • God's Biographer
  • Hey, You, Get Off of My Cloud
  • Need You, Need You
The first highlight was Already Young, which just feels like a great live track the first time you listen to it. They didn't disappoint, as the song drew arguably the loudest applause of the night until they played Right Hand On My Heart, which was also terrific.

Whenever I see a band like this, it always feels like there's one song on which I was lukewarm after listening to the album. Then I hear the live version and it blows me away. Hale Sunrise from the Broken West was like that. Last night that song was Half the World Away. It's a slower track, and the keyboards are prevalant. It's easy to tune out when you're just listening to it in the background while working. But about 2:45 into the song, there's a terrific bridge, which almost sounds like a studio jam. It actually really rocks, and in a loud, live setting, it was phenomenal. It's a perfect little digression that doesn't overstay it's welcome. From now on, that song will never sound the same to me.

They closed the set with a cover of the song God's Biographer by the Dutch band Bingo Trappers. Then, jackets off and sweaty from the performance, they braved the cold (about 15-20 degrees). Schuba's has no backstage. Bands head outside before playing their encore. Needless to say, it can be a bit of a shock to a band from Athens, GA. So before too long, they were back, and closed it out with Hey You, Get Off Of My Cloud, and finally Need You, Need You.

All in all it was a great hour of music, and I'm kicking myself for leaving early when they played with the Broken West a few months ago. I'll try not to make that mistake again. They didn't play Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, which was a bit of a disappointment, but really, no complaints.