March 30, 2008

Office Hours: Final Four Look-Ahead Edition

HOUSTON -- The Memphis Tigers locker room had been cleared out of pesky media types and there remained four of the key elements to the team's Final Four run: The beefy Joey Dorsey; The elastic Chris Douglas-Roberts; The phenom frosh Derrick Rose; and The inimitable John Calipari.

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March 23, 2008

Office Hours: Sweet 16 Edition

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Professor is re-opening the Grade Book once again with an eye towards the first weekend of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Our trip to the land of Clinton (and, as it turned out for one day, Jack McClinton), afforded us an up-close look at the Top 2 seeds in the South region, Memphis and Texas. Our TV viewing of CBS's unparalleled coverage allowed us to assess the other three regions from afar.

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March 16, 2008

Office Hours: NCAA Tournament Edition

MEMPHIS -- The Professor once again finds himself in the Bluff City for a Sunday night edition of the Grade Book and once again we've commandeered the player's lounge in the Tigers' basketball offices in order to hold our Office Hours. While the Tigers' coaching staff busily prepares for its first round opponent (Texas-Arlington) and potential Round of 32 opponents Mississipi State and Oregon, we busily get all smart-alecky. We never took any bracketology classes and would never work at an institute that offered such a shamockery of a course, but we do like the actual release of the bracket so that certain folks (and definitely not our own dead-on Jerry Palm) can go back into moth balls on Hawk Hill for another 11 months.

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March 09, 2008

Office Hours: Calm Before The Storm Edition

It was, until Sunday afternoon's William & Mary takedown of VCU, a pretty ho-hum start to the NCAA's post-season and The Professor was getting a little antsy for some nail-biting. The Professor was also in deep anticipation for the series finale of "The Wire."

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March 03, 2008

Office Hours: Mad, Mad, World Edition

Why doesn't In-N-Out burger sponsor this entire two-week run up to CBS's Selection Show?

There's so damn much bubble talk that I get indigestion at the mere sight of Digger or Davis (Seth). The Professor himself gets drawn into the bracketry on occasion, but we also try to remember that the best part of this time of year comes once the "ball is tipped" on that first Thursday of competition. All this politicking and posturing that happens at full-throttle between now and the 16th is nothing but hot air and wasted breaths.

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February 25, 2008

Office Hours: Undefeated No More Edition

MEMPHIS -- As has become The Professor's custom during our frequent trips to Elvistown this season, we are lingering for a few Sunday hours on Beale Street.

There's a noticeable sense of deflation around the city after the homestanding Tigers 66-62 loss to Tennessee on Saturday night. It's probably a combination of the literal and figurative hangover that comes after the state's biggest sporting event ever finally winds down after what seemed like a season-full of anticipation and hype. (Some of the residual results of the loss are being played out, as you'd expect, through anonymous commenters.)

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February 18, 2008

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

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.

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February 11, 2008

Office Hours: Big Men Edition

Welcome to the final month of the regular season or, as you're likely to hear it called, "Bubble Time." It's really laughable at how large the imaginary "bubble" becomes at this time of year. The Professor firmly believes that between now and Selection Sunday, the so-called experts will, at one time or another, have no fewer than 100 teams as "locks" for the Field of 65.

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February 04, 2008

Office Hours: Super Bowl Edition

Let us count the ways that we are overjoyed with the culmination of the Super Bowl: No more Spygate talk; No more perfection talk; No more gratuitous shots of Gisele. Okay, scrap that last one. The Professor will take as many Gisele glimpses as we can get.

But most of all, the end of the NFL season signifies the earnest start of the stretch run for college hoops and a time when the nation-at-large begins to focus attention on RPIs, SOSs and S-Curve numbers. Or, if you prefer, Beasleys, Roses and Hansbroughs.

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January 27, 2008

Office Hours: Professor on Beale Street Edition

MEMPHIS -- You can still call us a "Visiting Professor" as we remain on Beale Street for a couple of days following the No. 1 Memphis Tigers 19th win of the season on Saturday against Gonzaga. We continue to digest some of the numbers from that one, chiefly the lines of each team's point guards.

Check this out:

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January 20, 2008

Office Hours: Upset Saturday Edition

In the course of a five Saturday afternoon minutes and one deft utilization of the "Previous Channel" button on The Professor's remote control, we witnessed college basketball's Top 5 experience its biggest shake-up of the season.

Just moments after Tyler Hansbrough's (!!!) 3-pointer went off-iron in Chapel Hill to give Maryland its biggest win of the season over No. 1 UNC, USC put the finishing touches on its upset at Pauley Pavilion of No. 5 UCLA and The Professor braced for the debate between Memphis and Kansas as the nation's new No. 1 team.

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January 13, 2008

Office Hours: Undefeateds Dwindle Edition

The Professor has to apologize for our tardiness with this edition of the Report Card. We got knocked on our suede elbow patches by a nasty flu bug following the Patriots game on Saturday (maybe it's the same thing that made Peyton Manning look so feeble on Sunday).

We've been hepped up on NyQuil, TheraFlu and hot tea for 36 hours, so you'll understand if our writing and grading are a bit sloppy this week.

We're doubling up on the Vitamin C and will be back at full strength for next week.

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January 06, 2008

Office Hours: Second Semester Begins

Welcome back to The Professor's classroom. I trust all of you had a nice respite. You're gonna need it.

We're into the conference schedule, with just a smattering of non-conference affairs remaining between now and Tourney time. So that means we're into the nitty-gritty. Time to separate the pretenders from the contenders and better yet, time to start thinking about seedings, brackets and March road trips that will lead us to San Antonio.

Without further ado, The Professor's first official report card of the second semester. As for those of you still whining about your first semester grades, please keep the complaining to a minimum. We don't suffer whiners well...

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December 31, 2007

Office Hours: New Year's Eve Day Edition

Before we can ring in the new, The Professor has some ringing out of the old to tend to after another wild weekend in the classroom that is college hoops.

We wish you a very happy New Year and remind you that New Year's Eve is amateur night out there, so stay clear of the rookies and stay safe.

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December 22, 2007

Office Hours: Holiday Edition

Before the professor can properly re-charge the batteries during our own mini-break, we need to close out the Grade Book on 2007 and in particular this past week of fantastic basketball.

Before we get into the nitty gritty (with a heavy Memphis-GTown bent), let us wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday break and the most prosperous of New Years in 2008. You’'ve all been fantastic students thus far this season and we expect that to continue through the remainder of the year and beyond. Now sit up straight, stop doodling and pay attention. . .

A: Memphis Tigers
Every time we get around the Calipari Crew - as we were for the latter part of last week - we are reminded of just how different this program is from virtually every other college franchise. The inside joke around the team is that it’'s like a circus at any given moment complete with three rings, jugglers and clowns.

If there’'s not a Chinese contingent being followed by a documentary crew, there'’s a mega-hyped game like the Georgetown contest from Saturday at the FedEx Forum that came complete with reported sightings of Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Joe Thiesmann. If there's not a motivational guru taking one-on-one meetings with players, there's an NBA player (Sam Cassell) giving group advice.

And if there'’s not true motivational material, Calipari - in a very Bill Belichikian manner - will generate some out of thin air.

For the Hoya game, Calipari convinced his team that they were home underdogs when in fact they were six point favorites. And you know what? It worked as it usually does. Calipari has an uncanny knack for pushing the right buttons and invigorating his charges when they need it most. Chris Douglas-Roberts’'s bounce back game was only the latest in a string of Calipari creations that has led to big wins.

"This was big," said Calipari, "it's on the shelf now for (the committee to look at) and we have to get ready for Arizona."

The Tigers host the Wildcats on Saturday in a game that, as of Sunday morning, will pit the two highest RPI teams in the country ('Zona is No. 1) against each other.

A: Antonio Anderson, Memphis
Anderson, who does the dirty work for Memphis, was The Professor'’s wing man on our flight back to Boston (he'’s from Lynn, Mass. the city The Prof was born in). After a typical stat-sheet filling contest where Anderson contributed seven points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 33 minutes, the junior was understandably fatigued for the flight home. Still, so experienced and so well-traveled is the 6-6 guard that he was able to sleep through almost the entire three hour flight. The Prof still can'’t get a sniff of in-air sleep without medicinal aids.

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December 16, 2007

Office Hours: Going Snow Crazy

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:

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December 10, 2007

Office Hours: Finals Week Takes Over

Most everyone heads into finals this week bringing a bit of a lull in the college hoops schedule. The Professor, however, takes no breaks, knows no limits and will give homework during finals AND after exams as well. So wipe that Holiday-Break-is-coming smile off your face and pay attention as we once again open the grade book.

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December 01, 2007

Office Hours: Semester #1 Winds Down

With the semester winding down, The Professor is often reminded of just how hectic things get in these days leading up to the first snow on our Northeast campus. We spent Saturday in The Vault (aka TD BankNorth Garden) and by the time we emerged after two entertaining and compelling college basketball games, the world of college athletics had once again gone kerfluey.

It sure was a lot quieter sitting mere feet away from the UConn and Providence pep bands than it was listening to the BCS BS late Saturday and early Sunday. There was more cacophonous spin on BCS Sunday -- and from fewer coaches -- than in an entire decade of Selection Sunday snubs. ESPN's "SportsCenter" became a call-in show as a parade of desperate coaches tried to argue for why their team was deserving of "title" game inclusion.

Thankfully we were too busy grading the 'hoops' to get overly entwined in the 'whoops' that is college football.

Remember, Finals start next week and classroom participation is 35 percent of your grade. Speak up, be heard and comment (below) like you mean it...

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November 26, 2007

Office Hours: Back At The Podium

Settle down, students. Thanksgiving break is over and The Professor is back at the podium. Lots to get to today so put away the newspapers, turn off the cell phones and pay attention.

The grade book is once again open:

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November 18, 2007

Office Hours: Back To The Bell Curve

The Professor is back with Week 2 of our report card feature and we must say, we're getting pretty good at this Bell Curve stuff.

Without further ado, our grade book is once again open:

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November 11, 2007

Office Hours: Getting Started

Since we are always talking so much about the "student-athletes" (as mandated by the small chip the NCAA implanted in our scalp during last year's Final Four which we're not supposed to know about), it probably makes sense to keep with the whole schooly theme for a new feature here in Hang Timeville.

Creative we're not, so we'll settle for calling it the "Monday Report Card," unless you have something more compelling. Without further ado, peek into the grade book after Week One of College Hoops 2007-08.

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