Friday, November 25, 2005

A Big Friday Night

Are you watching the Tigers take on Duke in the NIT Tip-Off Classic (or, as America still likes to call it, the Preseason NIT), or are you heading down to the Forum to watch the Grizzlies against Houston?

I'll be at the Forum, but one eye will certainly be on events in NYC. I couldn't be more impressed by the way the Memphis basketball team has begun its season. So many young players, but are those young players ever filled with energy and can be frightening to watch when they are in full flight. Obviously, there are stretches of time when they are taking bad shots and going altogether too fast, but those have been far fewer in number than any reasonable person could expect.

Merely by making it this far in this tournament, the Tigers have done their NCAA Tournament seeding a world of good. Wins over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (not a bad team at all), and two ranked opponents away from home (at Alabama, and UCLA on a neutral court) instantly bump up the team's RPI and national exposure. Merely playing Duke will cause the RPI to shoot up, as well. Games against Texas and Gonzaga await this team later this year, so strength of schedule should not be an issue come March (despite the embarrasing futility of C-USA as a basketball conference).

There is no doubt that this is as talented a team as Memphis has ever had. The question remains: will this be the best team Memphis has ever had? Tonight, we'll see how they handle the biggest test they can face right now: the evil, odious Duke, led by rat-faced tyrant Mike Krzyzewski.

As an aside, I don't know if I say it enough, but I really do hate Duke and Krzyzyzyzyzyzweswski. It is compounded by the fact that nut-hugging shill Dickie V is on the call tonight. Goodness. You will need a fire hose tonight to keep Vitale from actually kissing Krzyzewski on the mouth. The screaming about Duke's tradition and coaching and atmosphere and diaper dandies and Cameron crazies and pounding the floor and Christian Laettner and whatever else Vitale will spew tonight is going to make at least one person destroy their television.

The worst part about Duke is the facade Krzyzewski keeps up -- supposedly all class, but he's every bit the bully Bobby Knight (his mentor) is. Krzyzewski just does it behind closed doors. Duke is a fine school with a beautiful campus and a successful basketball team...we don't need to give them any more hype/publicity, etc. than they already get. So, essentially, shut up, Vitale and ESPN.

And lest you think the feeling isn't mutual, look at the picture on Coach K's "friend" portion of his website:

Speaking of his website, Coach K's quotes page sucks, as well. It's full of garbage quotes. Let's take a look at some:

“When you first assemble a group, it’s not a team right off the bat. It’s only a collection of individuals.”

(Wow. Startling insight, Mike.)

"Confrontation is good. It simply means meeting the truth head on."

“Confrontation simply means meeting the truth head-on.”

(Yes, those are two separate quotes. Apparently, repetition is also important. You'll see this theme again later.)

“Visualize a wagon wheel as a complete team. A leader might be the hub of the wheel at the center. Now suppose the spokes are the connecting relationships the leader is building with people on the outer rim of the wheel. If the hub is removed, then the entire wheel collapses. In a situation like that, if a team loses the leader, the entire team collapses.”

(What the hell? Not exactly a wordsmith there.)

“In leadership, there are no words more important than trust. In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”

(Trust is only one word, Mike.)

“Throughout the season, I look into my players’ eyes to gauge feelings, confidence levels, and to establish instant trust.”

(Instant trust? I thought you just said it had to be developed, Mike.)

“Believe that the loose ball that you are chasing has your name on it.”

(This works great for the Spalding family, less so for everyone else.)

“Your heart has to be in whatever you lead. It became apparent that this decision was somewhat easier to make because you have to follow your heart and lead with it and Duke has always taken up my whole heart… The allure of coaching in college has no price. It’s one of those priceless things. I’ve never made a decision based on what will get me the most money. It was what was going to give me the most happiness and I’ve been really happy and fulfilled at Duke.”

“I have never made a decision based on what will get me the most money. To me, it’s about what was going to give me the most happiness. I have been really happy at Duke and fulfilled at Duke.”

(Those two are literally back to back on the page. Again. That's just lazy, Mike. At least give us some original crap quotes.)

"The key to successful coaching is to NEVER, EVER play a non-conference road game against a team that's worth a crap. And I recommend you scream at your players a lot, but do it away from cameras, so you can keep your facade intact. A 'back injury' during a bad season can erase a few tough losses, too."

(All right, so I made this one up. But I bet he's thought that before.)

So, as we can see, he's an overrated coach, a terrible quote, and he's got a loudmouth honk singing his praises constantly. Why would anyone cheer for Duke? That's like cheering for pure hate.

Tigers win tonight, 90-85.


Aaron P. said...

I think, without question, that after last night we can think of Memphis as a legitimate Final Four threat. This year. To take Duke to the limit like that, after knocking off Alabama and UCLA (not to mention Wisc-Milwaukee) stamps this team as big time.

Going to be a lot of fun watching this play out. In a weird way, I am glad for Calipari, who I thought would have cut and run by now. That he has stuck it out is oddly admirable.

BF Hoodrich said...

Given your anti-Duke mindset (which I wholeheartedly share), I strongly suggest visiting the website - check this choice quote from DeMarcus Nelson:
"Coach smiled at me," Nelson recalled last week. "I was aglow. I thought, 'He likes me. He can tell I'm a good person.' Then he said I had angelic eyes."
Phenomenal place, that site. (And your stuff's real nice as well.)

Peter said...

Hood, that comment is priceless. Love the site.

Aaron, despite a few problems, this team is definitely a Final Four contender, or should be.