Office Hours: President's Day/NBA All-Star Edition

By David Scott - February 18, 2008

Admittedly, The Professor is liking NBA ball a lot better these days because our Beantown Five's sudden surge. Still, the Sunday night All-Star offering, combined with Wake Forest's upset of No. 2 Duke and the UCLA-USC tussle (won by UCLA, 56-46) made for our best Seventh Day evening since Tony Soprano went out of business over at HBO.

But it was, as my most astute students comprehend, a weekend that belonged to the college game, no matter what went down in New Orleans. Dwight Howard plus Ray Allen plus LeBron James doesn't quite equal the sum total of Chris Douglas Roberts/Antonio Anderson, Paul Harris, David Godbold and any number of the post-season implicating or simply invigorating results. Open the grade book and release the hounds!

F: The Few Classless UAB Fans
Depending on what kind of video emerges and what kind of actions become necessary, the post-game shenanigans after Memphis's pulsating win at UAB are not to be taken lightly. Conference USA was reasonably assertive in issuing its statement and the situation could have been far worse, as Tiger beat writer Dan Wolken opines. Still, arena safety has to be a high priority and there appears to be the need, at the very least, for an apology from the Univeristy (ala Oregon's move following some ugliness against UCLA). It was a generally bad situation and one that can not be repeated by any of those involved.

A: John Robic, Memphis assistant coach and Shawn Taggart, Memphis sophomore
In drawing up Memphis's eventual game-winning play during a timeout, head coach John Calipari was inclined to ride his freshman point guard, Derrick Rose for one final shot, despite a 2 of 13 shooting night for the explosive Rose. The thinking possibly being, that Rose would drive and get fouled. But the former Youngstown State head coach, Robic - as Calipari gladly revealed after the game - urged his boss to run "Pistol," a middle-of-the-lane pick-and-roll play, for CDR (who was 12 of 20 with 25 points at the time). Calipari agreed, diagrammed the play and. . .

. . . son of a gun, Robic's call worked, UAB's last second bid fell short at the other end and Memphis escaped from Birmingham with its unblemished record in tact.

Taggart, meanwhile, fractured his nose on the very first play of the game, according to Memphis spokesman Lamar Chance. There had been some confusion throughout Sunday as to whether the injury occurred during the game or in its aftermath, but Chance confirmed it was an in-game injury. Taggart played almost his entire 17 minutes with the fracture, which deserves more than the "A" given here and borders on a player deserving improper benefits. He managed four points, three rebounds, two blocks and four fouls with the broken beak and is not expected to miss any game time. It is unknown whether he will be forced to wear a mask or protective nosewear for the Wednesday game at Tulane.

A: Skip Prosser, Wherever You Are
Wake Forest gave their deceased coach a guaranteed, perfectly poured, Pint in Heaven on Sunday night with its win over No. 2 Duke.

A: Fordham and head coach Dereck Whittenburg
It was a two-win week for Whittenburg and the Rams with impressive wins over UMass and Charlotte to move to 4-6 in the A-10. And all those seniors that earned Fordham pre-season acclaim are just about now starting to realize the immediacy of it all.

"We're capable," said Whittenburg after the UMass win on Thursday in Amherst. "And we know that. Twenty-five years ago, we made a pretty good run to win it all."

Not that Whittenburg is predicting such grandiose results for the Rams, but he has seen encouraging signs in recent weeks. "We've been right there a few times and now maybe we're showing the toughness. We made a lot of hustle plays (on Thursday)."

It continued on Sunday and if it continues the next couple of weeks, it may set the Rams up as A-10 Tournament spoilers. "Everything is still up for grabs," said Whittenburg.

C-minus: Syracuse Floor Storm
A-minus: Wake Forest Floor Storm

This is becoming a weekly grade and the assessing gets tougher and tougher. Let's first say that we didn't have a huge problem with either storming, because both were over Top 10 opponents. That said, the Orange fans would have said more by doing nothing but cheering wildly in their seats and saluting their team from afar. In a rivalry game such as SU-GTown, it's probably more important to never give your opponent the satisfaction of knowing that a particular win is worthy of a parquet prance.

We're also down on the Dome Dash a bit because we know that Dome Eddie wasn't involved and that the Dome Knitter is probably dead and, probably most importantly, that we weren't there drinking down Dome Foams and jumping the scorer's table ourself (not that a refined professor of our stature would ever do such a thing!).

Wake's floor-taking was well-earned and our only true complaint with the Tidal Wake was the perceived lack of tie-dyes that populated the crowd. Wake's kids always have some great dyes kickin and we didn't see as many as we'd like.

B: The Crazy Colonial
Go ahead and try and explain the Colonial Athletic Association to someone. The top two teams lost on Saturday (VCU and George Mason) and the bottom two teams won (Georgia State and Drexel). More than half of the league's 12 teams have in-league records of .500 or better, there will likely be three 20-win teams by the start of the conference tournament and even the bottom quintet of the league each have between four and six wins. Drexel and Hofstra have both won two of their last three; Northeastern's won five of six; UNC Wilmington is surging and Mason may be sagging.

Richmond would not be a bad trip come three weeks time and at 60 bucks for 11 games, it's practically a freebie!

F: Oregon State
The Beavers program is in shambles and this bizarre re-cap of the team's Friday and Saturday escapades (on and off the court) only brings more fear that something bad could happen with this team if they are not reeled in.

Beyond all that, the game started off 1-0 in favor of Washington before a second had gone off the clock because of a technical assessed to Oregon State for not submitting their line-up on time in the pre-game (a very rare technical, especially for the home squad).

Replacing the RookLook this week is a simple and heartfelt hope that the victims and all those affected by the NIU tragedy can find some peace soon and begin the healing process. Specifically, we wish first-year head coach (and former Colorado boss) Ricardo Patton, his family, his staff and his team all the best as they move forward and carry the NIU banner for a few weeks.

Posted by David Scott at 02:37 AM on February 18, 2008
Comments (1)


What is with the national polls. Do the voters need an extra day or so to review the last week to see who has actually won or lost. One example, Purdue has beaten Wisconsin twice in the last month, yet Wisconsin has been rated ahead of Purdue. From the teams that I have followed, Purdue is playing as well if not better than anyone else right now. If this was baseball there would be a congressional investigation into the polling.

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