Friday, February 26, 2010

Five Stories to Follow for Your Weekend

In between being bored and completing a list of chores that you already know is headed your way, here are five stories to watch that could possibly give you more than five minutes of entertainment.

The United States men's hockey team looking for another shot at the 800-pound monster with a chainsaw as its unit; otherwise known as Team Canada.
We play Finland today at 2 CST and if we win we'll most likely play Canada in the gold medal game as the Canadians face Slovakia, a team they are expected to treat like Brad Wesley treated the people in his town pre-Dalton, later tonight. If we get by Finland, and I assume we are the favorites, I cannot stress the importance of beating Canada in the gold medal game. Yes, it would be awesome to see the United States beat Canada in a sport that is so much more important to so many more people to our north. Plus, the thought of the thousands of shots of Wayne Gretzky and his wife (an American) cheering on the Canadians makes me want to vomit. But most importantly, if Canada wins, that means that in some way Nickelback wins too. And that is completely unacceptable. So I strongly encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon and support the US team this weekend. You may not like hockey, but I know you hate Nickelback and that's something for which we can all cheer.

The Canadian women's hockey team has a throw down on the ice.
After beating the US women's team in the gold medal game, members of the Canadian team came back out onto the ice for a picture after all the spectators were out of the building. In addition to themselves, they brought booze and cigars and had themselves a small party on the ice. Nothing wrong with that until pictures of the event made it to the Internet, which gave people a chance to jump on their high horse and condemn such behavior, most notably the IOC, which will "investigate" the matter (whatever that means. I think we're all pretty clear on what happened. Canada wins. Goes onto ice with beer and cigars to celebrate. End of events.). I'm not sure what sort of punishment the IOC can hand out, but I have a feeling it won't be directed at themselves for having the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where it's 50 degrees and doesn't snow this time of year.

The NFL combine starts its business tomorrow.
Players invited to the combine can expected to be poked with sticks, herded from room to room or station to station, stand semi-nude for long periods of time and take a test that allegedly determines if one is an idiot or not. Minus the test, it really is sort of like a cattle auction (although if cows had opposable thumbs, I'm sure they would have to take a test). And you can see it all on DirecTV! I'll be looking to see how fat Alabama's Terrance Cody is and if it's possible that Dexter McCluster can run the 40 in 3.85 seconds. I say marginally fat and yes he will.

The Olympics will end, but will the ceremony debacles continue for Vancouver?
The closing ceremonies will take place on Sunday and who isn't excited about the possibility that something else will go wrong? While I could not be more excited, I will not actually watch because those things are so painfully long and boring. Now, if great Canadians such as Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Will Arnett, Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette are involved, I'm potentially interested.

An assortment of college basketball games will take place.
I'm sure there's at least one you'll find worth watching. Enjoy your two days of freedom.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Announcer's Diary: Tom Hammond Edition

Normally this diary thing is reserved for the coaches of sports, but given the recent lack of material (or perhaps me not paying close enough attention) provided by America and, in the Olympic spirit, the World's coaches, I'm forced to go elsewhere.  And to be honest, I don't think I can be sarcastic or angry enough to nail the Andy Kennedy edition that should be here.  But one more Ole Miss game and I'll probably be in the right place.  Or another cab driver punching.  Either way and I'll be good.

8:10 PM

Dear Diary,

What a privilege it is to be here in breathtakingly beautiful Vancouver, Canada.  Just a gorgeous setting for these games of the Winter Olympics.  One of the great towns in all of North America.  You know, coming here makes you wonder why you don't live here.  The majesty and scenery of this place are best seen with the eyes and told with pictures, of which our NBC crew is doing an outstanding job of bringing the viewers.

Why, just two weeks ago, I found myself in Auburn, Alabama. Or was it Columbia, South Carolina? Or Lexington? It's hard to remember when you're neck deep in the fast-paced SEC basketball circuit. Even though I no longer broadcast SEC basketball games thanks to the red devil that is ESPN, I still find myself traveling around to all the great SEC towns. Larry Conley tells me I'm out of my damn mind, but I think Larry has forgotten what it's like to be in Baton Rouge on a Wednesday night in early February when the South Carolina Gamecocks are in town. That kind of energy is contagious! It lives in my blood! The microphone. The headset. Teasing up the perm so the headset doesn't keep it down. And the sports jacket. Oh, how I miss the Lincoln Financial 40 Long. What a great fit! I should get the name of their tailor.

But I can't complain about where I am now. NBC has not spared a dime in some of the duds we've been given. First class operation here at NBC, home of Notre Dame football AND the Olympics.  Of course...oh, man, look at the time. Need to go loosen up the pipes before the women's figure skating short program tonight. I like to go back to some of my Breeder's Cup calls and even a few of my favorite SEC games. Really helps get the emotions going and stretches the vocal chords. Puts me in a good place to be on top of my game. Plus, Scott Hamilton needs to go over what the hell all these jumps are again. You would think that after all these years of doing the Winter Olympics I'd have these down, but have you watched figure skating? It's all the same jump! Triple, double, whatever.  I just know when they fall.

Alright, I'm signing off for now. I think I just heard Hamilton crying already. He usually waits until an "amazing" performance before turning on the tears and the shrieking. He must have been watching a tape of the '02 Games. Sarah Hughes. It was one of those moments that made you proud to help bring it to the world.

So long, diary.  For Tom Hammond, this is Tom Hammond.

P.S. Grab extra tissues for Hamilton.

P.S.S. Need to learn the name of the lady in the booth with us. Hamilton hates her, which makes her the first person in his entire life that he's hated.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

February got even more interesting. Minus 2.8 billion people dissecting every syllable and blink made by Tiger Woods during his, well, whatever that was on Friday, the month returned to its hole and left people pretending they cared about the Olympics. In my limited viewing of the games of the Winter Olympiad, the sport (or bar game) of curling appears to be on television more than any other event. In fact, if you were to turn on one of the NBC channels right now, there's probably one of these matches (or games? Do they call them games? Tilts? Scrums?) going on right now. I'm not sure if there are 2,000 teams competing or if each team plays 250 matches/games/titls/scrums. Maybe both. BUT IT NEVER ENDS. It's entirely possible the 2010 gold medal for curling won't be awarded until three weeks before the 2014 games start. If the Olympics aren't canceled by then.

Tim Tebow began work on catching passes, route running and blocking technique for his inevitable move to a hybrid position in the NFL. After everyone got done screaming "I told you so" once Tebow's disappointing Senior Bowl showing was in the books, Tebow has gone to work on changing his throwing motion in hopes that he will get a shot at playing quarterback in the NFL. Most notably, he's looking to take out the giant loop in his throwing motion, which occurs when he brings the ball down to his hip as he begins his motion. I'd like to see him add a second loop just because he damn well can. Then crack Todd McShay's sternum with a 328 mph pass, which he could then throw because of the extra power generated by loop number two.

Ole Miss basketball team fights and claws its way to a win over Florida. In its second straight must-win game, the Ole Miss team came out with as much passion and interest as America will have in Hot Tub Time Machine. What started out as a promising season has quickly become a season that needed to end two weeks ago. This team clearly lacks a leader, has no emotion (save for a few Murphy Holloway and Terrance Henry moments) and does not play well with one another. It is a miserably painful team to watch. There's so much potential, but watching them go through the motions and continue to do the same stupid things over and over again (turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, fouls, fouls, fouls, fouls, fouls, fouls and defensive breakdowns) makes it not worth watching them. So to you, Rebel roundballers, I say good luck the rest of the way, but I have checked out for the season. Let me know when you care again, then I'll care. Until that day, I'm practicing for the eventual arrival of shuffleboard, darts and tic-tac-toe in the Summer Olympics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Well Played, February, Well Played

A cold and crafty adversary this month has become. I put things around here on autopilot for a few days assuming that this February (like every other February ever) would be filled with lots of nothing. Sure, there would be some Olympic banter and John Kruk's portly self would become more visible as baseball people attempted to drum up interest over pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training, but I had hundreds of years of Februaries that clearly showed nothing of importance would happen. It's the single worst month of the year. Football withdrawals are in full force, it's cold, college basketball has fallen into a rut (and has generally been not very fun to watch across the board this year), it's cold, the NBA has at least two more months before it gets interesting and it's cold. There's a a reason this bastard only has 28 days. Even those who set up the calendar knew better than to give it equal footing as the other months.

Then, after hundreds of years of sleep, February decided on Tuesday night it's time to burn everything down and give July a challenge for 11th place in the month pecking order. Since Tuesday, the following has happened:
  • Mississippi State fans began texting and calling Kentucky forward DeMarcus Cousins' cell phone, offering all sorts of pleasantries, like racial and gay slurs.
  • Mississippi State nearly beats Kentucky in a game plagued by what could generously be described as piss poor officiating (I know, hard to believe that would happen in the SEC).
  • Mississippi State fans declared war on their home floor at the end of the game, throwing water bottle and plastic cups on it. Not sure why they hated that floor so much, but something it did upset them.
  • The national media reigns down condemnations and finger wags in the direction of State fans for their Palestinian-like assault on said floor.
  • Men who prance around an ice skating rink in tight, sequined clothes started talking smack to one another, and did so without any slaps or wild gesturing. Yet.
  • Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett broke his foot when he firmly planted it on the ass of defensive coordinator Garrick McGee, hoping to drive home the point that if the Razorbacks get any defense they might win 10 games in 2010.
  • Oregon running back LaMichael James, carrying on an Oregon tradition of fighting, found himself in jail after a domestic violence incident.
  • Vanderbilt recruit Rajaan Bennett was murdered by a selfish asshole.
  • The Ole Miss basketball team put forth one last uninspired and emotionally dead effort, losing to Vanderbilt in Oxford and semi-officially ending any shot of making the NCAA Tournament. Can't wait to see what they bring to the table on Saturday against Florida in what will surely be a half-filled Tad Smith Coliseum.
  • Tiger Woods plans to give the always exciting and genuine prepared statement on Friday morning after a few months of silence. He will take no questions and might break the Internet as 400% of those working in offices across America will attempt to watch the online streaming video.
I'm not sure if it's safe to assume this raging inferno of activity has begun to die out (although we now know not to turn our backs on February for at least a few more years), but the good news is that The Belly of the Beast is resuming daily operations in order to continue to serve you the reader. The headquarters is still in the process of being moved, but it should not cause any further work stoppages. Unless the workers unionize, in which case work will stop but only to give me time to destroy the masses.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Late Valentine's Day Gift

The Belly of the Beast is in the process of relocating its headquarters right now, so posting has taken a backseat to coordinating DirecTV's arrival at the new headquarters, telling Comcast that I really really really really do want to discontinue my Internet service (and no, I do not want to know about any other upcoming specials) and cramming 50 pounds of junk into boxes made to hold only 30 pounds (YOU WILL NEVER DEFEAT ME, CARDBOARD. Although, the past two nights have seen my dreams haunted with visions of Aristocrat Gin and Woodford Reserve, so maybe they actually ARE winning.) So, bear with this bit of chaos thrown into your disciplined daily routine. I shall resume posting in the next day or two. Until then, accept this picture as a token of my gratitude to you the reader.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vancouver Made Less European and Snowy

In just two days, the day we've all eagerly been waiting for will finally arrive, and will arrive with a fury like no other. The sense of anticipation and nervous energy that you'll feel on that day is the direct result of the Games of the XXI Winter Olympiad roaring into your home Friday night. And who can't get excited about hordes of white people competing in events in which something like 3% of the world has any experience in either playing or just watching? For me, if I don't get to see any of the Giant Slalom, YOU DO NOT WANT KNOW ME THE NEXT DAY. PISSED WILL BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

But, for those of you who will make an effort to watch two weeks worth of events that could easily be completed in about six and a half hours, I'll attempt to help you get through the confusion of tights, spandex, sequins, snow covering 100% of everything and a plethora of names filled with consonants and very few vowels, by comparing some of the events (I can't believe there are actually more than like five events in this thing) with college football teams in the SEC. Hopefully, this will help you identify which events you would enjoy watching, hate watching or at the very least understand a little more. And then grow to hate.

In no particular order, starting with the East (so, I guess there is some order):

Downhill - Florida
Considered one of the premiere events in the Winter Olympics, the Downhill involves frightening speeds achieved by highly skilled people with the most recognizable names in the Olympics. This event is also the most highly promoted and takes on an air of superiority, despite being one of many events that takes place on skis.

Cross-Country Skiing - Vanderbilt
I've been skiing three or four times in my life and without a doubt the single worst part about skiing (other than getting all those ski clothes on, which is almost reason alone not to go skiing) is when you reach the bottom of a run and are faced with flat earth. There, gravity is no longer your friend and you have to pull yourself with your arms and legs a stupidly long distance to get over to the lift so you can go back up the mountain. IT IS INHUMANE. The burn running through your arms and legs from doing this should never happen on a vacation. Unless you like vacationing in a gym. And that's why I prefer the beach. On the beach, I can sit my fat ass in a chair and drink and eat things that make it fatter and lazier. No pain is involved.

Anyway, that crap you have to do to get to the lift, that's what cross-country skiing is. Except instead of doing it for 25 yards, you do it for miles at a time. It's the worst idea I've ever heard. I would almost rather burn alive than cross-country ski, which is essentially a slow death also. And that's what Vanderbilt is. A slow death that's boring to watch and miserably uninteresting. Do not watch this event.

Ski Jumping - South Carolina
The idea of watching someone fly like half a mile through the air is pretty cool on the surface until you actually watch ski jumping. It's essentially a parade of really short guys from Nordic countries and Austria landing in the same spot over and over again. No one really stands out. I have no evidence to back this up, but I'm pretty sure the difference between first place and last place is two feet. And so it is with South Carolina. So much promise, but it's the same team over and over and over and over again. But without really short people from Norway.

Biathlon - Kentucky
The Biathlon is one degree more exciting than cross-country skiing because the participants get to carry guns. The same boring cross-country stuff is taking place, but periodically the participants stop to shoot at a target. While not riveting, it certainly helps break the monotony of the woosh-woosh sound that no one finds compelling and rich.

Figure Skating - Georgia
Lots of finesse, gaudiness, emphasis on outfits and prancing. There's always a lot of hype surrounding the figure skating events. Ultimately though, it's miserable to watch because there's only a certain number of times a human being can watch tip-toeing and jumping around to Chicago songs.

Curling - Tennessee
With the arrival of Derrick Dooley, no one has a feel for what Tennessee will be like until next season. So, much like curling, we have no idea as to what's going on. People are moving around and engaging in some type of activity, but confusion rules the day.

Super-G - Alabama
One of the downhill specialties that involves both speed and agility. While not as fast as the pure downhill, the Super-G requires a great deal of movement and an ability to adapt to the course, as racers are not permitted practice runs before the actual competition (and yes, it sickens me that I had to look up and learn all this about the Winter Olympics). They may inspect the course before barreling down the mountain, but they don't get to experience it until the event starts, which makes it much more challenging. It doesn't receive all the glamor the Downhill gets, but those who live to tell the tale of this event are much more rounded skiers.

Skeleton - LSU
The Skeleton is like the bobsled except instead of your feet leading the way down, YOUR FACE DOES, which is exactly the way Les Miles would get down a mountain. Unconventional, yes. Crazy, indeed. But it can get the job done, assuming one's face doesn't meet the mountain and leave its contents there. I think most rational people would tell you that this is something you should never try unless you travel between our universe and the one only you inhabit.

Short Track Speed Skating - Auburn
Short, exciting bursts of movement that can be highly enjoyable to watch at times. Of course, the only problem with this variety of speed skating is that if one guy goes down, he wipes out everyone and then the race sort of sucks. Well, not quite. It's pretty awesome when it does happen. NOW NO ONE CAN GET A GOLD MEDAL. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So when one guy inevitably wipes out the pack in these games, just call him Chris Todd.

Snowboarding - Ole Miss
With the snowboarding events, there's a always a chance for something really cool to happen, total disaster to take place or more guys boringly completing jumps that no one has ever heard of (The Inverted-Double Helix-Banshee-Firefly-1080-Cross-Over is one of my favorites). And so it goes with Houston Nutt. There's always the possibility that he can do something that will blow your mind (a variety of 5+ overtime games and crazy upsets), create an unexpected disaster (2009 Egg Bowl) or leave everyone unfulfilled (9-4 in 2009). It's what he does, pure exhilarating terror. And who doesn't need that jolt of life every Saturday? MY PERSONAL HEALTH, THAT'S WHO.

Freestyle Skiing - Arkansas
At times, dazzling to the eye with all the explosive maneuvers that are somehow kept under control. And it's also exciting because if the participants make a mistake, they find themselves completely defenseless as gravity reclaims its subject.

Ice Hockey - Mississippi State
Everyone knows what they're getting with hockey. It's fairly boring to watch (and don't forget hard to watch), but has a few bursts of activity that are enjoyable. These bursts do not make you want to watch or become invested in it, but if condensed into a 20 second highlight package, you can handle that.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Alabama gives Ole Miss basketball the Bryant-Denny Stadium treatment in the opulent Tad Smith Coliseum.
For at least 22 minutes they did, although it certainly did not take place in a world-class arena. Ole Miss, after spending those 22 minutes in a catatonic state, awoke and won a game that had to be won if the Rebels want to spend a sliver of March in a tournament not called the NIT (or whatever the latest insignificant tournament is that I can't remember). I still don't understand the completely different teams that played in the first half and the second half, but then again I don't understand this team at all. They can roll through spurts where only five or six teams in the country can beat them, then they follow that up with whatever the hell happened for the first 20 minutes in Oxford on Saturday. I don't know if it's a chemistry issue or a faulty internal belief in how good they actually are, thus the periods of complete disinterest and lack of effort, but 23 games into the season it's time for them to get their asses in gear and play to their potential. Or go ahead and totally collapse so I can stop spending my time following this team, which will spare me the pain and suffering I know is coming.

Florida State receives NCAA honor for being a bastion of academic integrity.
Not so much. Instead, due to their inability to control academic fraud, the Seminoles will vacate 12 wins that were a part of the Bobby Bowden era, or, as most people know it, the only significant period of Florida State football. It's hard to believe that between Bowden and Joe Paterno, one of them finally went away (had this academic thing not happened or Bowden's losing of his mind, they might both still be waging a silent war on one another). I was quite certain that one would eventually coach the other into the grave. Instead, Paterno will just coach himself into the grave. JOE, PLEASE STOP COACHING. NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOU LITERALLY DIE ON THE SIDELINE. MY FRAGILE EMOTIONAL STATE WOULD BE OUT OF BALANCE FOR AT LEAST THREE OR FOUR DAYS.

Kevin Costner has a pleasant Super Bowl.
Did you see the trailer for the new version of Robin Hood (actually titled just boring Robin Hood, instead of a "Prince of Thieves" addition or a "We promise our leading actor will give a crap this time" tag)? Apparently, there were those in the Hollywood community unsatisfied with the last major installment of Robin Hood, which starred Costner and his Iowa accent rather than a British accent like everyone else in the movie (seriously, even Christian Slater made an effort to pull off the accent). The latest version stars Russell Crowe and is directed by Ridley Scott, who last teamed up with Crowe in Gladiator (or so I think; I'm not looking this one up). But more importantly, it appears as though the music of Brian Adams will not be a part of the 2010 version, which is a total disgrace. Ridley Scott, have you ever heard "Everything I Do"? It's a MUSICAL MASTERPIECE. HOW DARE YOU LEAVE OUT A PIANO SOLO ON SOME CLIFF IN THE ENGLISH WILDERNESS. I ALREADY HATE THIS MOVIE.

The New Orleans Saints wilt once again in the face of pressure.
Never in my lifetime did I think I would ever utter the sentence, "I can't believe the Saints just won the Super Bowl." And I did just that Sunday night, which, a few hours after the Super Bowl, is still hard to believe I did. A franchise with a foundation of failure and four cornerstones of even more failure (is it possible to have more than one cornerstone? I know nothing in terms of building things so forgive me if I'm off on that one.) is now the best team in professional football.

Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi (or, as those of us who lived their knew it, The Bold New City), I was subjected to the Saints appearing on our television every Sunday afternoon. And they sucked. Terribly. Despite this suckiness, we still got them every Sunday. No matter what important national game might be on, we did not see that game. Instead, we watched the Saints bumble around with a team that either kicked the crap out of them or a team that managed to win by not being as awful as the Saints. So, I hated the Saints for being awful and for keeping me from watching a game that actually mattered in the NFL. And it was made worse by those around me, who were Saints fans, despite already caring for teams that consistently failed them (Ole Miss and Mississippi State), and I was forced to listen to their constant belief that the Saints would eventually be relevant in professional football.

Even when the Saints experienced a taste of success with the hiring of Sean Peyton and signing of Drew Brees, I still carried the same dislike of them despite that success, after all they had ruined by childhood experience with the NFL. And I still carry that spite now, and had it throughout the Super Bowl. In fact, I was hoping they'd lose in the most painful way possible, just to make the loss even worse (maybe something like Eli Manning tripping against LSU in '03 on fourth down). But, even with my bias, it's hard to deny how awesome this win was for a group of people who have kept the faith all these years. I'm not talking about all these assholes (like so many Cubs' fans) who jumped on the bandwagon this season or in the past couple of years, but those people who put up with a steaming pile of crap for their lifetimes. To endure a seemingly endless display of failure with no indication things were getting better is an especially brutal task for a sports fan (to this day, I have no idea how someone who followed Ole Miss in the 70s and 80s can give a crap about the school), yet there is a large group of people who did just that. And to those people, I say congratulations, you've earned it. Even though it irritates the hell out of me. But as for the Saints fans who appeared around 2006, take off your Red Sox or Cubs hat, go find your Tom Brady jersey and get out of the way of the real Saints fans who need to let everyone know what this win means.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Coach's Diary: Houston Nutt Edition

It's a little known fact that most coaches in every sport in every level of competition keep a diary. Here, they have a place where they can turn and reveal their innermost thoughts and reactions to both the smart and incredibly stupid things they do during the course of their job (We know they don't turn to their wives because she doesn't understand the complexities of sport, but a blank piece of paper sure does.). And, thanks to my stealthy skills in the field of breaking and entering, you, the reader, now have access to these innermost thoughts penned by some of the finest and not-so-finest minds in the world of sport.

3:54 PM

Dear Diary,

What an outstanding day. Signing day. Just amazing. Got a little sunshine and got a great group of outstanding young men coming to Oxford. Can't wait for them to get here. Gonna have 'em out to the house in August. Show 'em around. Big fish fry. Maybe even let 'em ride my horses. Big, beautiful animals those horses. So gentle and obedient. And they loooove their food. Eat two times a day. More oats than I can count. Although sometimes I'll slip 'em a carrot or two. Wish I could eat like that. A beautiful thing.

But, oh boy, I'll tell you what else I like. The tremendously outstanding group of young men our fine staff was able to sign today. Lots of character in this group. Come from fine families. All of 'em. They're gonna look beautiful when they finally put on those red and blue jerseys in the fall. That blue says tradition, but those reds look so beautiful out on the field. Really nice. Beautiful like so many mamas and grandmamas I met over the last year. Great families. Lots of character. And good people. Just outstanding. I hope that's what our Ole Miss family is like. Home away from home.

And those mamas, families are outstanding like our coaches' recruiting efforts over the last year. It takes that kind of effort to succeed in this league. Southeastern Conference. Most competitive league in America. Each days is a challenge. A challenge to get better. As a team and individually. Gotta meet that challenge. That's what we need and demand of our young men. We'll teach it if they don't have it. Bring 'em into the Ole Miss family. No question about it.

Well, gotta go. Jerrell and Kentrell should be out here any minute now. See if we can't catch some fish in the pond out back. Funny creatures those fish. Always underwater. Gills. And slippery. But beautiful. Can't wait to see what we get.

P.S. Don't like to touch those bait worms. To slimy. Sneaky. Worried they might bite. See if Kentrell can't help me out.

P.S.S. Gotta watch Jerrell's catfish intake. Need him slim and trim for spring practice.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ole Miss at Kentucky: Live and Uncensored

We're a few minutes before tip-off and I just read that Jevan Snead has been invited to the NFL Combine. Is this a good or bad omen for tonight's game? I'll go with anything involving him is a bad omen. And I hope he doesn't fly into the wrong city later this month.

Perhaps John Wall will still be pouting over Calipari getting on his case in the last two weeks. And maybe DeMarcus Cousins got lost on his way to Rupp Arena or assaulted someone and is currently behind bars....dammit. Starting lineups indicate Cousins is not incarcerated or lost.

Our analyst tonight, Jimmy Dykes, is dressed like a funeral home director.

Outstanding start. 7-0 Kentucky two minutes in. Cousins is on pace for 60 rebounds (3 so far) and we look as confident as Jevan Snead staring at a rotating zone defense.

First TV timeout sees the fouling factory, DeAundre Cranston with two fouls and the recipient of one shot blocked. He's on pace to foul out in 10 minutes. Kentucky has also lost interest in playing defense, which is our only hope for victory right now, and the Rebs have snuck back in it, 12-9.


After a charge, DeAngelo Riley is no longer in the game.

And the rout is on. 20-9 and Ole Miss calls timeout with 12:29 to go in the first half. Whatever the exact opposite of intimidating defense is, that's what we're playing.

The Rebels are staggering into TV timeout number two. It's now 24-9. As Cousin Eddie once said, I haven't seen a beating this bad since something to do with a monkey and a banana in someone's pants.

Someone tell Terrico White the game has actually started. We're 11 minutes in and waiting for a pulse. 29-18.

Cranston is back in and I'm not sure even Vegas would give odds for him seeing the five minute mark with only two fouls.

Kennedy prevents Cranston from his automatic third foul by taking him out. And in better news, DeAngelo Riley is wondering around the floor. If Kentucky were to strategically place pieces of tin foil around the court, it would easily become a five on four game, given Riley's tendency to be distracted by shiny objects. And the game of basketball. 36-23, 5:30 to go, and Cousins should have a double-double by halftime. And Jimmy Dykes is trying to hit 100 in number of times he says "the box."

The under four timeout and the Rebels, including Terrico White, have revived themselves, only down seven. By me typing this, Kentucky will most assuredly go on a 10-0 run to close the half. That and whatever nonsense David Kellum is saying on the radio about a late push before halftime.

Patrick Patterson is yet another black man who can pull off the wispy mustache. Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Carl Weathers to name a few others. My wispy mustache would result in all of my neighbors getting a flyer from a government agency warning them of my presence.

I recant my disparagement of DeAngelo Riley. Two big rebounds, a low post move for a score and a blocked shot. But he also just got foul number three.

Halftime. Great job to get it to three before wilting and entering half down nine (46-37). At least for the first half, total disaster has been avoided. And enough of this John Wall got his feelings hurt talk. It's called someone finally telling him his shit stinks just like everyone else's on God's green Earth. Welcome to reality, coddled superstar.

The most uninteresting way to spend halftime? A lecture on Michigan State's ability to set great screens. That's just great, but for one small detail, NO ONE OUTSIDE OF MICHIGAN GIVES A CRAP.

Let the record show that DeAundre Cranston just blocked DeMarcus Cousins. In a related story, continents are starting to fall into the world's oceans.

The Rebels are now operating on three wheels and the power steering has gone out. Down 15 and in danger of losing another wheel. Also, John Wall looks like he's having fun out there, which is what we're all very concerned with. Someone check him for woman parts.

Kentucky's laziness on defense is the Rebels' best friend right now. It's back down to nine. And Calipari is one more Cousins' jog back on defense from physically attacking him.

Two shockers at the under 16 timeout: One, Cranston has yet to pick up his third foul, setting some sort of personal record. And two, he just hit a three to cut it to eight. Unfortunately, this will cause him to think he can actually shoot threes, which he cannot. Before that three, his last make was December 19th against Centenary. DON'T DO IT AGAIN, DEAUNDRE.

Ah, life with Cranston and Trevor Gaskins. Last two possessions: Missed three by Cranston (I told you he would shoot again) and a Gaskins turnover. Kentucky goes up by eight after the Rebels cut it to three.

Unless Kentucky starts missing threes, the Rebels have no chance. Too small inside and......HOLY BALLS. Cranston just took Cousins off the dribble, got fouled and made the shot, then naturally missed the free throw. And amazingly, the Rebels then create a turnover and Cranston plows over someone for a charge. Kentucky leads 71-61.

Back to staggering as we reach the under eight timeout. Kentucky is up 12, but can pretty much do what they want on offense now. Solid effort though by Ole Miss, especially Terrico White who finally woke up earlier and starting playing to his potential, 19 points and seven rebounds.

Kennedy needs to tell Eniel Polynice that if he shoots one more three, he's going to eat his soul for his next meal.

With 2:52 to go, Ole Miss down 14, but more importantly, the Official DeAundre Cranston Foul Out Watch begins as he just picked up number four. And he also allowed Cousins to score on his foul. To be fair, and I'll have to check the stats after the game, Cranston may have set a personal record for most minutes played in a conference game this year.

Brad Nessler, you know doesn't give a shit if John Wall is happy? AMERICA. Don't act as if we should feel sorry for a guy who will be making millions of dollars in a few months (up from the thousands he makes now) just because his coach is on his ass. Tell us something we can use, like what kind of panties he wears.

He's done it. Cranston is done. Five spectacular fouls.

And it's finally over. Kentucky wins 85-75. Not many complaints about this loss, other than the John Wall pity party. We took some bad shots, made our usual stupid decisions, but played pretty well considering the deficit we faced down low. I can only hope Terrico White realizes that this is the game we need from him the rest of the way. And finally, a tip of the hat to DeAundre Cranston, who managed to play an entire half (20 total minutes) of basketball before fouling out.

The Belly of the Beast Live

In a little less than five hours, Ole Miss collides with Kentucky in what could have been an interesting game had Ole Miss not lost Reginald Buckner and lost to Arkansas. Instead, we'll probably be treated to the DeMarcus Cousins Show and a thrashing the likes of which we haven't seen since the Rod Barnes era. So, in honor of the impending flashback, I'll be doing a live blog/post/whatever throughout the game. Make plans for an after-hours stop here and feel free to leave disparaging comments as you wait for the season premiere of Lost, which IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME FOR IT TO START. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS THAT NEED VAGUE ANSWERS.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Ole Miss protects home court; punishes mediocre Arkansas team.
At least it seemed fairly likely to happen. After winning back-to-back SEC road games for the first time since Rod Barnes was unknowingly and slowly laying the groundwork for four straight seasons of no more than four conference wins, the Rebels came tumbling down from the top of the gently rising hill that is the SEC West. Outsized, due to foul trouble and the loss of Reginald Bucker, and outshot due to, well, bad shots and an inability to score at the rim, the Rebels now find themselves in serious and most certain danger of being .500 at the halfway point of conference play. Currently at 4-3 in the SEC, Ole Miss plays at Kentucky on Tuesday night and faces the strong possibility of getting run out of the gym. Or as head coach Andy Kennedy put it after the game, letting "Kentucky name their score."

Without Buckner (out at least another week with a sprained ankle), the Rebels are hopeless in the post. And given that Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson are next up, things could turn ugly. Standing in their way of scoring a combined 60 points and grabbing 30 rebounds are DeAundre Crantston, a less athletic version of Dwayne Curtis (which is almost hard to imagine), Terrance Henry (while tall, not a true post player) and Murphy Holloway (very athletic and strong, but terribly undersized). And that's assuming these guys don't foul out (Cranston most certainly will; it took him all of 13 minutes to do so last night, which didn't even break his record of eight minutes to foul out against Mississippi State), which would lead the way to Zach Graham moving down low as he did against Arkansas, and we know how that turned out. So if you enjoy brutal, physical domination in the arena of sport, I invite you to watch Tuesday night as Cousins and Patterson pillage and burn the Ole Miss post.

No other SEC basketball games were played.
While they did not appear on my television, I'm sure they were marginally enjoyable games to watch. I can only assume that some teams won and others lost.

Rex Ryan of the New York Jets enjoys a healthy, quiet night at home.
Well, I'm sure that was the plan anyway. Ryan is taking heat for flipping off a Miami Dolphins fan at a mixed martial arts event on Saturday night as shown in pictorial form here. I'm sure this was just a knee-jerk reaction to Rex being lied to about the location of a buffet of bear claws and meatballs, as he tends to get a little surly when he falls short of his 7,000 calorie a day diet. After eventually sniffing out the location and then punishing the buffet, he later told the crowd that his Jets were going to wreck the Dolphins' shit next year. Or something close to that.

The Pro Bowl holds the sports world hostage for a few hours.
If the Pro Bowl were to actually try to hold someone hostage, I think they'd be about as successful as me. First, subduing the hostage would be an enormous challenge. I don't know any CTU or Seagal moves, so unless I had a gun, it probably wouldn't work. And second, tying the hostage up. I don't know any good knots other than a square knot, so I think it be pretty easy to wiggle free with a little determined effort. Plus, and more importantly, I don't own any rope, so that's sort of a problem right there. So in review, the Pro Bowl is not and will never be a good kidnapper.