Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kentucky and Iowa Pull Shocking Upsets

Saturday, Kentucky upset Vanderbilt, who was previously undefeated and ranked #13 by the AP, 79-73 in double Over Time. It was UK's first big win of the Billy Gillispie era.

Vanderbilt is an interesting team. Last year's team made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and would have been in the Elite Eight, if not for a missed traveling call on Georgetown's Jeff Green that produced Georgetown's game winning basket. And although they lost some key players from last year's team, they've managed to be one of this season's runaway successes. But despite this season's impressive record, they've turned in some very underwhelming performances. And they've escaped with squeaker wins over some less-than-stellar opponents (see: Bradley, DePaul).

Vanderbilt didn't look terribly athletic or strong against Kentucky. And even though the Wildcats are ecstatic that they pulled off their first big win, Vanderbilt just never quite looked like a legitimate top tier team in that game.

Michigan State Falls to Iowa

Although it didn't get the attention that Kentucky's nationally televised win over Vanderbilt did, #6 Michigan State's 43-36 loss at Iowa was the biggest upset of the day. Iowa may be the worst team in the Big Ten (Drive and Dish has previously noted the Hawkeyes' profound Godawfulness). Yet they managed to slow the game down and "ugly" the whole thing up, which got Michigan State to play down to their level.

I'm glad that I didn't see that game. It would have been brutal to watch, as most of Iowa's games are. But I feel bad for Michigan State. They're a legitimate top 10 team, and there's no way that they should have lost to Iowa -- let alone only score 36 points in the entire game.

Tom Izzo is probably running his team into the ground right now. Each one of his players will probably drop five to seven pounds of water weight before their next game (thanks to all the running they will have done).

Look, Iowa is a tough place for visiting teams to play. With the exception of the Iowa Presidential Caucuses (which only come along once every four years), there really isn't much going on in Iowa. That's why Iowa Hawkeyes' football, wrestling and basketball are so important to the locals. As such, far too many Iowans derive their sense of self worth from the success of Hawkeye athletics. So, for Iowans, it's win at all costs -- which is why visiting teams often find that their hotel rooms have no warm running water, have no functioning air conditioning or heat, have mysterious power outages, have an unusually high number of fire alarms in the middle of the night, etc.

What's worse, when the visiting teams arrive in the visitor's locker room, they often find that -- in addition to being painted pink, from ceiling to floor (including lockers, benches, toilets, urinals, sinks, fire extinguishers . . . literally everything in the room) -- the visitor's locker room lacks running water. Which really sucks because, since their hotel rooms frequently lack warm water, teams often bypass using the showers and the toilets in their hotels, and wait until they get to the locker room to take care of those necessities.

But that stuff is par for the course in Iowa City. Ask the 2005 Illinois Fighting Illini. They went to Iowa City undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation. But, after they found it difficult to get restful sleep in their hotel rooms, and couldn't find warm water in either their hotel rooms or in the locker room, the Illini played their ugliest game of the season. Illinois was lucky to sneak out of that place with a win that year. They almost didn't.

By the way, I wouldn't necessarily trust the food in Iowa City either. I think that if I were coaching a team that had to play at Iowa, I'd pack enough sack lunches to take care of each of my team's meals.

Iowa is just that way.

In fact, many Iowans actually pride themselves on that kind of stuff. I know some of those kinds of Iowa fans.

But that's still no excuse for Michigan State's horrible loss in Iowa City.

15 comments:

cedar falls hawk said...

way to rip the best state in the country. you f.i.b.s need to shut the hell up about iowa. at least are state aint a toxic waste dump like illanoying is. sometimes i can smell the stink that blows over from your side of the river. youre state sucks. iowa frickin kicks your ass. deal with it.

p.s. its frickin awsome that we get in everybodys head when thay come to iowa. we got the toughest home field and homme coart advantage in the big 10!! adn prolly in the contry!!

storminspank said...

You're glad you didn't see that game? There's a reason the Big Ten Network replayed it over the weekend. Iowa's D was smoldering. MSU didn't suddenly forget how to play basketball.

Maybe you SHOULD watch the tape on the game, instead of ripping on a team, program, and state of which you are so ill-informed about.

gohawks said...

You're just mad Illinois lost to Indiana, and you're staring up at Iowa from the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Got Gordon?

SpinLikeSed said...

What does your motto "basketball is life" say about your "self worth"?

I guess 0-4 in the Big Ten has you feeling pretty "worthless".

FtWorthHawkeye said...

It's nice to know that 3rd graders have internet access in Illinois. Fact checking has yet to make an appearance but the kiddos are just pounding away in cyberspace. They're soooo cute at this age.

Have Jumpshot Will Travel (a.k.a. Trashtalk Superstar) said...

GoHawks and Spinlikesed,

As I said, I know Iowa fans (from Iowa and from Chicagoland) who take pride in the pink locker room and the pranks done to visiting teams' hotel rooms. Some of these people are friends of mine (which is why I ripped Iowa fans in the blog post). I've always thought that stuff was B.S. But a lot of Iowa fans seem to love it (by the way, the University of Iowa was traditionally THE destination of choice for Division I athletes and cool kids at my high school [those who didn't get into Iowa went to Eastern Illinois] -- so, over the years, I've had many friends and acquaintances who went to, and graduated from, Iowa).

I've been to the University of Iowa several times: twice as an athlete, and a few times to visit friends who were Iowa students. I know the campus, I know what the students are like (or, at least used to be like -- granted, I haven't been there since the 90's).

And while I wasn't a Division I athlete in college, I've known a lot of guys who did play for other Big Ten schools, and I've heard some crazy stories about being a visiting team in Iowa City.

I'm not ripping Iowa fans because I don't like people from Iowa. I'm ripping Iowa fans because a lot of them are NUTS. And because, in my opinion, pulling pranks on visiting teams is total horse shit. (By the way, I DO know plenty of Iowa alums and fans who are smart, rational, fair and good natured people . . . so I don't mean to impugn ALL Iowa fans by associating them with the faction of Iowa fans who are total assclowns).

One more thing: I am from Chicagoland, but I don't really identify with Illini sports . . . which is typical of people from the Chicago area. Being from Illinois does not = allegiance to the University of Illinois' athletic teams, let alone derivation of one's self worth from the Illini's athletic fortunes. You're right about Illinois being 0-4 in the Big Ten and not having Eric Gordon, but you're not right to assume that those things have a negative impact on my quality of life (or the quality of life of the average Illinois resident). The fact is: the Illini blow, but I don't really care. I didn't play sports for Illinois and I didn't attend the Univeristy of Illinos, so their misfortunes don't really have any bearing on my life (and I'm the offspring of an Illinois alumnus).

FtWorthHawkeye said...

I guess the picture of you in the Tar Heels hat should've tipped us off to your lack of Illini allegiance.

Anonymous said...

Great article, homer!

We'll claim all of the pranks you've mentioned as long as you and your Orange Crush brethren remind everyone some of the classy things said directly to Chris Street's family at Assembly Hall a few weeks after he was killed.

Real classy, as usual...and wouldn't expect anything less.

Have Jumpshot Will Travel (a.k.a. Trashtalk Superstar) said...

Ft. Worth Hawkeye,

The Tard Heel picture is up (for the time being) because this site started out as a joint venture, of sorts, between yours truly and a friend who happens to be a HARD CORE Dukie. At first, Drive and Dish had a heavy Duke flavor. So it probably would've been accurate to call this a pro Duke site (the Scheyerface picture near the Heels fan was an attempt to balance our mocking/trashtalking in order to ameliorate some of our UNC readers).

Since I'm from a family that has several UNC alums/hard core Heels fans, I'm fairly keyed in to the pulse of Carolina fandom. So I used to post a fair amount of pro Carolina material to keep this place from becoming a total Duke circle jerk.

But my Dukie partner (Mark Buckets) has moved on to other endeavors, and -- as such -- Drive and Dish has been far less Duke oriented as of late (although a quick search using the "search blog" function reveals that Drive and Dish still has more posts about Duke than about any other program). We used to regularly have Duke fans and UNC fans talking trash on here, and it was actually kind of fun while it lasted. But I've been meaning to take the Heels fan and Scheyerface pictures down, since the site no longer gets heavy traffic from UNC and Duke fans (due to the absence of Mark Buckets' Duke-centric posts). I'll probably do so in the next week or two.



Anonymous,

How are the Orange Krush my brethren? Maybe you missed the part where I said that I never attended the University of Illinois, and don't identify with Illini athletics.

As a kid, I did go to some Illinois games because I'm the son of an Illinois alumnus. And since I had a friend who played basketball for the Illini, in addition to a few friends who were regular U of I students (although I had more friends who were Iowa students), I went to three or four Illinois games when I was in high school and college.

But that's about as deep as my Illini allegiance runs.

So I don't follow your logic. I don't see why I'm automatically some kind of rabid, Iowa hating Illini fan because I happen to be from the Chicago area.

And I'm not even sure that Illinois fans hate Iowa by default. Most of the Illini fans that I know don't really care about Iowa basketball. Indiana is the team that they hate.

Along those lines, last night I had a conversation about the Illinois/Indiana rivalry (in the wake of Sunday's Illinois/Indiana game) with a guy who played for one of Indiana's Final Four teams (when Bob Knight was still the coach). He said that Illinois was the toughest place for them to play because the Illini crowd hated the Hoosiers so much. He said that the Indiana/Illinois rivalry was the most intense rivalry that Indiana had.

Illini fans hate Indiana. I'm not so sure about their hatred for Iowa.

But most of my friends who are Iowa fans absolutely seethe with hatred for Illinois. In fact, several of them seem to be almost obsessed with hating all things Illinois (or the Illannoying Cheatin' Crybabies, as they call them).



By the way:

I remember Chris Street well. I admired him quite a bit when I was in high school. His death was terrible.

I would hope that Illinois fans didn't say bad things about him to his family after his death. That would reflect terribly on those fans. That's awful if it's true.

But even if it's true, the fans who said those thing were idiots. But it doesn't mean that ALL Illinois fans are idiots.

And those comments certainly have nothing to do with me, or with this site. I didn't say those things to Chris Street's family. And this isn't the Illini Board. I don't see why you deem Drive and Dish to be typical of the "usual," "real classy" behavior of Illinois fans.

As an aside, Drive and Dish has received a ton of hate from Illini fans too. One Illini fan said that I was a "douchebag on the level of Rat Face and Eric Gordon." He must have thought that this was a pro Duke site. But it's pretty funny to get hate from Illini fans who accuse me of being an anti-Illinois Duke fan or Ohio State fan, and from Iowa fans who accuse me of being an Iowa hating Illini fan.

storminspank said...

Yet you call the Iowa win over MSU ugly without even seeing it? How does that work?

Normally if I comment on players, teams, coaches, etc... I like to actually know what I am talking about.

HERE'S A RECAP (albeit from a Hawkeye BB show)

(By the way, sorry to associate you with the Illini. I would never do that to an unsuspecting victim.)

Have Jumpshot Will Travel (a.k.a. Trashtalk Superstar) said...

Storminspank,

You're correct to point to the fact that I called Iowa's win over MSU ugly, despite the fact that I didn't actually see the game. And there are reasons why I did that, so take the Iowa dissing in context:

1.) Earlier in the season, I posted a recap of the Wake Forest/Iowa opening game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. (I linked to in this post -- it's linked under the sentence "Drive and Dish has previously noted the Hawkeyes' profound Godawfulness" [driveanddish.blogspot.com/2007/11/acc-vs-big-ten-challenge-kicks-off-with.html])
In that post, I said that the game had been so ugly that I wouldn't even bother to post a final score or a game recap. The only insight that I offered was that Iowa was bad and brutal to watch, and Wake Forest was equally as bad and brutal to watch. I said that it was, quite possibly, the worst high major college basketball game that I'd ever seen.

After posting the Iowa/Wake piece, I discussed both teams with my co- blogger -- the now retired from Drive and Dish Mark Buckets. He and I decided that Iowa and Northwestern would be, far and away, the worst teams in the Big Ten this year. Following that logic, we decided that Iowa was so ugly to watch that we wouldn't bother discussing them this year -- other than to occasionally point out their ineptitude.

So that's my first rationale for making the post without having seen the game. Iowa fans may not like that, but keep in mind the context under which we (or, in this case I) rip Iowa: it's meant to be irreverent and sardonic (and, worse yet, it's kind of an inside joke).

Look, Iowa went into this season with what appeared to be the weakest roster in the Big Ten (Northwestern doesn't count -- Drive and Dish doesn't recognize their Big Ten membership). And after sitting through the drek that was the Iowa/Wake game, we decided to be dismissive of the Hawkeyes this year. That's what I was doing in that post. But if the Hawkeyes string together some more wins, and knock off more good teams, we'll start talking about how surprising Iowa is, and what a great turn around story they are.

And remember, the fact that some of my friends (and relatives) are fervent Iowa fans played a significant factor in the decision to poke fun at Iowa. It's called "busting one's balls."

2.) As I alluded to above, I have several friends and family who are Iowa fans and/or alumni. Many of them read this site. But almost all of them could be described as Iowa Hawkeye Zealots . . . even the chicks. And they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to talk trash about other Big Ten teams/schools/fan bases/states (especially Illinois -- even though plenty of them are Iowa alums who are FROM the state of Illinois).

This is the primary reason why we poke fun at Iowa. I said that I wouldn't waste my time watching another Iowa game this year, and I've kept with that as kind of a running joke (although, Drive and Dish has only poked fun at Iowa on two or three occasions, so although I've intended to do it as a running joke, it's hardly become a Drive and Dish staple). I'm busting several pairs of balls (including the "balls" of some female Iowa fans who don't actually have balls [I hope]).

That's also the reason for the strong tone of my criticism of the locker rooms/hotel shenanigans. Some of my Iowa fan friends absolutely love the pink locker rooms and the other stuff. For a couple of them, it's even a source of pride (i.e., "Iowa City is the toughest place to play in the Big10", etc.). But I think that stuff is bush league and horse crap. And although my Iowa friends already had a pretty good idea of my opinion on that kind of stuff, my blog post just takes it up a notch.

Remember, I take the occasional shot at Iowa because I know that I'm going to get some reaction from friends who are Iowa fans. Since you, obviously, had no way of knowing this, the context is lost on you.

3.) This may be my strangest rationale yet, but here goes: a lot of what I write at Drive and Dish is intended to be subtle (possibly too subtle), tongue in cheek commentary on things other than basketball. Most people don't catch on to this, but I don't really expect them to. The tone of my sarcasm is often so subtle that only a few people (primarily those who have some pre-existing knowledge of my style) get it.

One thing I like to do is mock the mockers, so to speak. For example, I often repeat the tired narratives of the national media, even though I disagree with them. I do so sarcastically, although the sarcasm is subtle, to be sure.

Since that national sports media has a strong East coast bias, they often overlook Big Ten teams. The Big Ten may be down this year, but I've heard that the "Big Ten is down" for the last 10 years (at least). The national media seems to reflexively spout the same "Big Ten is down" tome year after year, even in years in which the Big Ten is good.

Like clockwork, when a team from the "down" Big Ten reaches the Final Four, they're described as anomalous (i.e., "MSU" is good, but the rest of the league is garbage). When two teams from the Big Ten reach the Final Four in the same season (it's happened several times), the same logic is applied: media geniuses rationalize it by saying that "team X and team Y may be great teams, but the rest of the league is bad." Furthermore, Big Ten teams who ride #1 seeds to the Final Four are often described as having been "handed a trip to the Final Four on a silver platter" because those teams supposedly get their #1 seeds thanks to "inflated" records, which are the alleged byproducts of fattening up on "cream puff" Big 10 schedules.

So if I refer to the Big Ten as being "terrible," or if I say that MSU or OSU is only ranked highly because they don't have to play any good teams in their conference schedule, it's quite possible that I'm being sarcastic (although, since the Big Ten is actually down this year, I probably won't be joking). And when I do this, I'll be regurgitating media cliches in order to highlight their absurdity.

Look, I don't want to be guilty of painting with too broad of a brush, but a lot of people in the media are lazy fools who really haven't mastered the subject matter that they get paid to talk/write about. Sports Center is all about shtick and pop culture references. But it's often light on actual sports acumen. And columnists and radio talk show hosts are flame throwers whose prime objective is to stir controversy. To that end, it doesn't really matter whether or not they know what they're talking about.

On that note, I'll share a story with you. A couple years ago, I had a conversation with a Chicago TV sportscaster in a health club. As we talked, he looked up to check a TV that was showing a Bulls game. He did this twice (one time was to get the final score).
But he didn't watch the game at all. This was despite the fact that he was the studio host for Bulls TV broadcasts (he just happened to have that particular night's game off because of a previous commitment). In fact, this guy actually asked me if I'd seen any of the game, and asked for my take on what I'd seen (he wanted me to help him, so that he'd know what had happened in the game).

And that night, Kentucky had been upset by South Carolina. When I asked him what he thought about the big upset, he told me that he hadn't heard about it. So I jokingly asked: "aren't you supposed to keep track of these things?" He replied that members of the media are only supposed to "have a general awareness of the teams that they talk about."

Seriously.

The next night, the guy was back on TV, doing the Bulls' in studio pre game and talking "knowledgeably" (actually, he was just reading the teleprompter) about the previous night's Bulls game (which he hadn't seen).

If you watch tons of sports, keep abreast of sports oriented websites/boards, and blog about the sports that you've watched, you're probably more knowledgeable and plugged in than your mainstream media counterparts. So when some asshat in the national sports media says something that indicates his/her mental laziness and lack of knowledge of his/her subject matter, I just might spout the same idiocy on Drive and Dish -- in order to highlight the inanity the national media.

Iowans should understand this more than anyone. Didn't you guys just love the national media's quaint depiction of the "rustic" locals at the Iowa Caucuses?

Back in 2004 I actually witnessed a cute, blonde female NBC reporter say that Dick Gephardt was the favorite to win Iowa because he was "from St. Louis, so Iowa is his home state."

These people get paid big bucks to do their jobs, yet they often don't have any clue what they're talking about. And, rather than become more knowledgeable about their subject matter, they often just rely on old stereotypes and tired cliches. So, to the Manhattan/Beltway national media, all Iowans are a bunch of goofy small town hicks. But so are ALL Midwesterners . . . because the Midwest is monolithic and all Midwesterners are the same. Keokuk is the same as Akron. SE Minnesota is the same as the Ozarks. Chicago = Omaha = Fargo = Cleveland = St. Louis = Minneapolis = Louisville = Madison = Tulsa = Ft. Wayne = Kansas City = Gary, IN = Cedar Rapids = Detroit.

And the national sports media is every bit as clueless about non NY/Boston sports as the national news media is about anything West of the Hudson.

Which is why I mock them, albeit subtly.

So, ultimately, reason why I called Iowa ugly -- despite the fact that I didn't watch the game -- is because we dissed Iowa earlier on and are being consistently dismissive of them, because I like to poke fun at friends who are rabid Iowa fans and because I'm intentionally doing what mainstream, or "old" media sports guys do: articulate strong opinions about sporting events that they haven't actually seen (or even read about).

Hope that helps.

Mark.Buckets said...

Well done, Trashtalk Superstar. Before I continue, I'd like to dispell the rumors - another sports cliche - that I am retired and/or taking a leave of abscence. We've been experience some serious technical difficulties here at the Mark Buckets' "Dale" Layer. Take that, T.S.! All joking aside, you'd be a fool to write off T.S. as a media fool/talking head. The dude knows his shit. My hope is that I can earn all of your trust back and contribute to Drive & Dish again.

Pooh McGee said...

Dog Poop Leads to Man's Arrest:

Dog isn't this man's best friend. Josue Herrios-Coronilla, 18, drove his black Camaro on the wrong side of the road Wednesday and crashed into the yard of man who owns four dogs, police said.

Police found crushed bushes, a damaged fence, an inoperable car -- and a fresh shoe print in a pile of dog feces.

Following an odoriferous trail down the street, Sgt. Dale Gunter noticed a white van driving toward him. When he asked the passenger to step out, he noticed the smell of alcohol on the man's breath and evidence all over his shoes.

Herrios-Coronilla was charged with driving while impaired and drinking underage and released on $1,500 bail. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

triumph the insult dog said...

Since we are on the subject of dog poop, let me jus say that Iowa fans are, without question, the BEST FANS in the Big 10 ...... for me to POOP ON!

relentless said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.