Office Hours: Going Snow Crazy

By David Scott - December 16, 2007

The Professor has gone snow crazy! The professor has gone snow crazy!

It's true. Because of the somewhat secluded location of our main campus, there are times in the winter when we don't encounter many souls beyond Percy the Teaching Assistant Dog (PTAD). The result is a grade book littered with a whole range of generous and not-so-generous assessments in the semester's final marking period - mostly brought on by the pain from too much shoveling and the agony of too much time in isolation:

A-Plus: Robert Vaden, UAB
The 6-5 junior was nothing short of spectacular in the second half against Kentucky on Saturday as he led the Blazers back from a 14-point deficit with ten minutes to go for the stirring win. Mike Davis's club (now 8-4, winners in 6 of their last 7), won 79-76 and sent the Billy Gillispie Wildcats into a three-game losing streak (4-4). Vaden finished with a career-best 33 points (all but five in the second half) and his mother, Cathy, was shown (prominently) in tears of joy following the big win for the resurgent Blazers.
(A-Plus also for this headline.)

F: Billy Gillispie, Kentucky
Some awful game management down the stretch of the UAB game resulted in a wild Joe Crawford 3-point shot with time expiring. Kentucky had time (21 seconds) to go for a sensible two and then put UAB on the line to, at the very least, stretch the game. The rookie campaign for the Kentucky head man - just 8 games old, we know - has been nothing but a headache to this point.

A: Big 12 Conference (Dean's List status bestowed upon Doc Sadler, Nebraska)
Through Saturday's games, the league that gives us two of the Top 5 teams in the nation (Kansas and Texas) also gives us the No. 1 Conference RPI (according to the Professor's RPI guru, Jerry Palm). (NOTE: The Big 12 fell back to No. 2 after the weekend's game, replaced by the ACC.) In the past decade, the Big 12 has never finished the season as the nation's top RPI league.

[The league's non-conference strength of schedule remains at No. 1. The ACC, Pac 10, Big East and Big Ten round out the weekend's Top 5 in RPI land (and the Atlantic Sun has the nation's worst RPI.)]

As for Sadler, his Huskers beat No. 16 Oregon in OT on Saturday in Omaha in what has to be his biggest win in Lincoln (better than last year's Creighton takedown):

"I think it's big," Sadler said after the game. "I don't think any of us really know until we see what we do in conference play. If you do what you'd like to do in conference play, then this win is huge. If you don't take care of your business and do what you need to do, then it's just another win. Time will tell, but it's big."

B-Minus: 1-3-1 Zone
The Professor has seen more 1-3-1 Zone defense this season than in the past ten seasons combined. It must be the in-vogue defense of the moment and we have seen it work effectively at times. It just always strikes us how these things become trendy.

F-Minus: JR Inman, Rutgers
Inman called out UNC's National Player of the Year of candidate, Tyler Hansbrough in a game day article that appeared in the Newark Star-Ledger and on-line at, saying, in part, ". . . I really don't think he can guard me."

Inman, a junior, really "backed up" those words with a weak 10 points on 3-14 from the field and a weaker 3 rebounds (a third of his average) in 34 minutes in the home loss to the country's No. 1 team on Sunday. Hansbrough - who left the game early after banging his head near the hoop support - scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his 31 minutes.

We'll call it a learning experience for Inman. A tough learning experience, but a useful one nonetheless and one that Fred Hill can use over and over again.

Inc. - Eric Devendorf, Syracuse
Hopefully Devendorf will get a medical redshirt and hopefully he will be able to return from the ACL injury that finished his season in Saturday's romp. The junior (averaging 17 points, four assists per game) was a key cog for the young Orange and his loss will be tough for the 'Cuse to overcome. It's the second ACL injury of the season to adversely affect the 7-3 and unpredictable Orange (Andy Rautins tore his over the summer).

A: Jerry Palm
The Palm Reader was live-blogging from snowy Indy over the weekend and in his game re-cap he included the following:

"I asked Painter about the decision to play (E'Twaun) Moore, and he gave kind of a long winded explanation that ended up with, 'Sometimes you just have to let guys play through stuff and learn. It was one of those things, where sometimes I just have to guess what's going to work, you know?'

"Painter then says to me, kind of surprisingly, 'You watched the game! Sweet!'

"I think he meant that as a compliment, although what was I supposed to be doing?"

I already knew Calm Palm was big in college football and basketball circles - especially after last year's Final Four, where just about everybody we ran into had praise for the guy and then a question of What If? regarding a certain team's RPI or BCS number.

But now he's got Big Ten coaches getting jazzed that he's courtside? Don't they understand it's strictly a numbers things with the Palmist. Just cuz he's at your game, it doesn't mean your RPI is going up. It's not like there's a home-factor, a road-factor, a neutral court-factor and the Palm-in-Da-House factor.

Or maybe there is.

All I know is that I tend to have more libations post game when Palm's nearby, so maybe that's what Painter was getting at. Now I probably have to treat the guy like royalty or something.

Rook Look - Alando Tucker

A weekly check-in with a professional player who was toiling on college campus last year at this time:

Tucker had himself a weekend for ex-Iona coach Jeff Ruland's 4-4 Albuquerque T-Birds with 72 total points in the 'Que's two wins. The ex-Wisconsin Badger is averaging 28 points per game in five outings for Ruland

Information and quotes from school releases, official websites and wire stories were used in this notes column.

Posted by David Scott at 02:25 PM on December 16, 2007

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