Tuesday, March 31, 2009


TWO strikes back!

Give it a read. We'll wait.

Welcome back. Now, once your done with the snarky and condescending prose, the links to unrelated material, and the complicated web of deflection, it boils down to this:

TWO prefers upsets by teams that are not normally in the spotlight.

Nothing wrong with this. It's just that it means you cannot win an argument.

Here lies our response which we smacked TWO with across the cheek:

You could have condensed that to: 'I prefer upsets. And because I assume that my opinion speaks for everyone, 'everyone prefers upsets'. Not so much a logical progression as a 'this is what I like'. You prefer little schools to have chances because they are unkown, we prefer the best 64 teams judged on a yearly basis. You prefer a circus sideshow of teams that no one has heard of, we calmly analyze the situation on a yearly basis. You have a kneejerk reaction to include a small school no matter what, we LOVE facts and judging cases based on facts.

Just for your review:

-The top of college hoops is as good or better than it has been in years

-The effects of this includes teams like Maryland competing against the top teams (they played 3 teams that were at one point ranked #1 in the country and beat 2 final four teams) regularly. There is a trickle down when the Big Conferences are dominant.

-Your point against us of 'if the big schools get more chances, of course they'll have more teams' is the same point we made about Boppers. They typically perform in a similar way to big schools (read unpredictable) so automatically giving them bids in some kind of bizarre affirmative bid action cannot be defended beyond your personal preference.

-This year was a special case with upsets in conference tournaments stealing bids and the dominance at the top of the college game.

Thanks! GJW

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Mid Majors? No Problem.

There have been
many who were so upset at this year's selection committee for not including a healthy dose of mid-majors. Writers like Michael Wilbon (he won't ever admit he was wrong about this or anything btw) wrote pieces like this one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/17/AR2009031703221.html

They slammed the selection committee for not giving more at large bids to 'mid-majors' instead of the usual fare from power conferences. They argued that the selection committee tried to turn the magic of march madness into the shabingus of the BCS. These arguments, in other years, might hold water but not this year. This year, college hoops is deep and heavy at the top. Let's get closer and learn about each other:

-The term 'mid-major' is misleading. There are major conferences: The Big East, ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and the Pac 10. Then there are a couple conferences with a a few good teams at the top and garbage everywhere else: Conference USA, Atlantic 10 (Teams like Memphis and Xavier compete with anyone). After that, it's piss ant conferences. There is nothing 'mid' about them at all. They are the bottom. Nothing wrong with that, it's just what it is. Take a school like Davidson, they typically go undefeated in their conference (this year was the exception because their 1 player was hurt) because they are solid and their conference is awful. If they don't win their conference tournament, they don't get in (right or wrong), this means they are a member of a small, non-power, non-major, non middle-tier, bottom-dwelling conference.

-Let's call them what they are. We'll make up a term right here... 'Bottom Toppers... Boppers.' These teams are Boppers. Ok, so Boppers have had success in recent tournaments: Davidson, George Mason, and to a lesser degree: Butler, Utah State, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and so on. Boppers can jump up and compete with the 'big boys' in years when the big boys are down. Lots of things have lead to years like this: Players leaving early for the pros or going directly from high school, a broader talent pool that is evenly spread thanks to AAU and players getting more chances to play, and a lack of elite talent at the top schools. So, in years where the overall level of college basketball is down below a certain level, a school like George Mason can make some 3s, their opponents can get tight and they can win some games and fire dookies right into Billy Packer's face.

-That's not what we had this year. This year in college hoops, the big boys were really, really good. The power conferences deserved every bid they got. Let's learn some more:

Sweet 16: 5 Big East teams, 2 Big 10, 3 Big XII, 2 ACC, and then Memphis, Gonzaga, Arizona, and Xavier. 0 Boppers.

Final 8: 4 Big East teams, 2 Big XII, 1 Big 10, 1 ACC. 0 Boppers

You get the point.

-The response here is something like: 'the Boppers didn't get a chance, so we don't know how they would have done.' There is some truth to that, they didn't get a chance, but we have a pretty good idea of what would have happened.

-Concurrently, this was also a strange year in several conference tournaments. Temple, USC, Mississippi State and some other schools, quite literally, stole spots away from at-large teams. Teams like this, would not have gotten in and when they won their conference tourney's, jumped the que. This forced out some deserving teams.

-Bopper supporters would point to examples of some of the bubble teams that did get in. They will say: '_______ didn't make a run in the tournament. This is proof that their spot should have gone to a Bopper.' This is a poor argument. The implication is that if a Bopper had occupied this spot, they would have performed better. We tend to remember the incredible runs of Davidson and George Mason as the rule, rather than the exceptions they really are.

2008 Sweet 16: 3 Pac 10, 3 Big East, 2 Big 10, 2 Big XII, then Tennessee and UNC. 12 Power Conference teams. Then, Memphis and Xavier, 2 middle conference teams. Lastly, Davidson and Wester Kentucky, both Boppers. Here were some of the other Boppers in the tourney: Drake, Oral Roberts, St. Mary's, Sienna, and Kent St. Of that 2nd group, only Sienna won a game. Let it be noted that the targets of this years 'Big Conference Bias' Maryland, Wisconsin, and Arizona all won at least 1 game. Not an apples to apples comparison, just worth noting is all.

2007 Sweet 16: 3 Pac 10, 3 SEC, 2 Big XII, 2 Big East, UNC, Ohio State so again, 12 teams from Power conferences. Then Memphis from the mids. 3 teams here in the round of 16 were Boppers: Butler, UNLV, and Southern Illinois. All 3 lost for the record.
Other boppers: Creighton, Long Beach State, New Mexico St., Oral Roberts, Davidson, Winthrop and VCU. Winthrop and VCU won their first round games which were the only 2 wins for the whole 2nd crew of Boppers.

2007 showed us that when there are lots more Boppers in the tournament, their results are as inconclusive as any one else's. To assume that a Bopper would perform better in the place of another team absurd. 2006 shows us similar data. Besides George Mason's amazing run, the other Boppers in the tourney performed in the same way .

Now, the purpose of this post is not to endorse the idiotic Billy Packer who famously said that George Mason didn't belong in the tournament.

Far from it. This is to educate the casual fan, or even the passionate fan, who has knee jerk reactions and is frothing at the mouth over the lack of 'mid majors' in this year's tournament. It's to bring some calm to a tenuous situation. The vitriolic frustration over the selection committee's perceived slight of 'the little guy' should instead be seen for what it really is, the acknowledgment of the return to prominence of the 'big guy'. This was not a year for Boppers. These things are cyclical though, their time will come again.


Friday, March 27, 2009

The Ultimate Paradox

This is weird you guys.  Gus Johnson, THE Gus Johnson, knows about our blog.  He may have even seen the blog.  Our hero, the inspiration for our entrance into the blogosphere, the best play by play guy alive, he knows about the blog.

The quick back story.  Our boy, The World's Ombudsman, had some great Knicks tickets the other night.  Our other buddy is employed by the team (it is not James Dolan and/or Isaiih Thomas), so TWO got to hang out in the tunnel during halftime.  It happened to be the game where the team honored Knicks legends (including our favorite childhood player Bernard King).  TWO is gazing upon all these legends before they are announced and is quickly introduced to someone... that someone happens to be Gus Johnson.

TWO informs him of our blog.  At first, Gus is a bit perplexed by the title.  TWO explains that it's in deference to his incredible calls and the energy he brings, reversing the trend of smug sportscasters who are too cool for the huge moments in sports (Joe Buck).  They talk for a few minutes, then part ways.  Our Knicks buddy may have even shown Gus our blog.

Are we happy about this?  What if he didn't like it?  What the hell do we do if he doesn't like it?  Can you just walk up to your hero and show him the diorama you made for school?  What if he's like, 'that doesn't look like me'?

There's no one better than him.  We've said it all along.  He's the reason we started this blog.  Keep doing what you're doing Gus.  From all of us at the Gus Johnson's Whisper blog team, thank you for doing what you do.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Running Diary Part II

Here is the second part of the running diary.  All the way through the afternoon games.  Gus Johnson's Whisper and The World's Ombudsman.  Giddyup:

3:07-Back to Lundquist (VL)and Raftery.  We get the Pitt East Tennesee State matchup.  Raftery does his ‘mantoman’ thing to start the game.  It’s a kind of ‘welcome to the game.  I’ll be here’ kind of thing.

3:12-We realize the game we are watching is being played at Dayton.  We’re wondering what the reaction is when guys find out they have to go to Dayton to play?  It’s probably the same reaction guys have when they find out they’re going to the dentist.

3:13-TWO wonders if anyone from Dayton left something in their home locker room?  Whoopie cushion?  Turd sandwich?  The possibilities are endless.

3:19-ETSU alley oop dunk.  Tie game.  It looks like Pitt doesn’t like to be pressed.  Wonder if anyone else will notice this?

3:28-Raftery tells us that Isaiih Brown of ETSU has lots of ‘bounce to the ounce’.  Is that like the formula for slope in geometry?

3:33-Shot of VL and Raftery.  VL looks like a white version of ‘Grimace’.  He also looks like the end boss at the end of Super Mario Brothers 2 on NES.

3:36-Dayton is up 8 on West Virginia.  Looks like we were REALLY wrong about WVU.  Unless they win, then we were right.

3:37-ETSU has entered the 5 guys stand around and 1 guy goes 1 on 1 mode.  This does not bode well for the first 16 over a 1 upset.

3:43-The discussion of the term ‘mid-major’ leads to believe that said term is overused.  It’s being used for any team that makes the tournament.  Stephen F Austin is not a mid major.  We coin the term ‘Minor’ and move on.

3:46-Pitt continues to struggle with the pressure.  They are up 2.  How are you feeling about your brackets right now Pitt fans?

3:55-Some more facebook analysis.  Female pictures examined.  GJW just kind of nods and agrees a lot.

3:57-Pitt has 13 turnovers in the half.  ATTENTION!  ATTENTION! We don’t handle the press well!  Halftime up 1 over East Tennessee State.  Make it 3.  Basket was no good.  Whatever.  Ov-er-Ra-ted, duh duh duh duh duh, Ov-er-Ra-ted…

4:01-Spanarkal joke # 19 comes up as CBS switches back to ASU Temple.  This joke involves spackle and a swing set.  Temple is in the game because of Christmas.  Harden continues to be ‘just a guy’.  Enjoy him whoever picks him.

4:06-The short white guy on ASU pulls up with a back.  We believe this is a flash-forward to his life 25 years later at the local Y.

4:09-Christmas steals the ball from Harden and then outruns him down the other end to draw a foul on a 1 on 2.  We feel this is a microcosm.  We looked up micrcosm to be sure we were right.

4:12-All things considered, CBS is doing a pretty good job of tossing us to the games that are competitive.  We feel this is because Billy Packer is no longer associated with the tournament.

4:17-ETSU 3 to start the half.  Tie game.  This is way too late for a national champ contender to be tied with a 16 seed.

4:18-TWO goes: ‘Wanna see a video of a leopard attacking someone?’  Yes.  Yes we do.

4:20-ETSU misses their 100th free throw.  In the ‘Anatomy of an Upset’, nowhere is it written: ‘The lower seeded team should miss all of its free throws.’  So annoying.  This 16 over a 1 thing could be had.  It’s right there.

4:28-THE ETSU dude screams ‘GET IT OUT!’ on a block.  We rewind this a dozen times.  Incredible.

4:30-The Kiss!  Another Pitt turnover.  ETSU is down 2.  They are teasing us. 

4:32-TWO breaks down the Wild Wings commercial where the flash photographer sends the game into overtime.  Here are the issues he has:

-NYC and Boston fans are acting harmoniously.

-People don’t root for an outcome, rather, for the game to go on indefinitely.  This is not how fans watch games. 

-All the fans in attendance celebrate when the Boston player crashes into the base of the basket.  If this were a real game, people would be rioting.

He is incensed.  Let’s move on.

4:39-We’re now 6 minutes behind live TV because of the above paragraph.  ETSU continues to miss free throws.  They rebound well though.

4:43- VL claims to have had a ‘sports hernia for most of his life.’  No idea how to react to this.

4:48-Previews for ‘Fast & Furious’ air.  Baffling.  Hollywood really sucks sometimes.  This is one of those times.

4:50-Dear everyone, press us and you can win.  Signed, Pitt.

4:52-GJW makes the statement: ‘Levance Fields is the new Kalid El-Amin.’  Everyone agrees to this.

4:58-More ETSU missed free throws.  Dejaun Blair tips in a miss.  Pitt up 5.  Blair is unstoppable.  Pitt will lose when he gets in foul trouble.  They’re just not that good unless he’s on the floor.

5:05-Another TO for Pitt..  2 pt game.  Blair gets an And 1.  If ETSU shoots 70% from the foul line, they’re up 7 at this point.  As it stands, they don’t have enough.

5:14-Ball game.  Stick a fork in ETSU.  The shot 50% from the line, and like 29% from the field and they were STILL in the game until the end.  The Pitt Panthers everyone!

5:18-Back to Gus Johnson.  We were wondering all along how he’s been doing.  He didn’t like that West Virginia turned it over.  GJ doesn’t like turnovers when you need buckets.  Conversely, he loves the Chevrolet Players of the Game.

End of the afternoon games.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Running Diary of Round 1

On Friday March 20th, Gus Johnson’s Whisper got together with The World’s Ombudsman to watch the tournament.  The following is a running diary.


Running Diary:

1PM-GJW arrives at the TWO’s apt.  We eat dumplings.  The full meal cost $4.  Recession b*tches.

1:10-1:30-We look at facebook pictures.

1:30-CBS gives us Gus Johnson then takes him away.  This is a cruel act.

1:31-GJW makes the first joke about Jim Spanarkal (who is partnered with I-an Eagle).  One of the jokes involves the word ‘merkel’.

1:33-The OK St./Tenn game comes on because it’s close.  Vern Lundquist.  Really?  This feels like figure skating.  This game is a reminder that the Big XII and SEC were really terrible this year.

1:38-We realize that when you watch games online on NCAA.com, you can’t switch games during commercials.  We both realize this is smart because that’s exactly what you want to do but it’s also annoying because that’s exactly you want to do.

1:45-Gus Johnson is back.  Len Elmore tells us that turnovers are bad for a team with a lead.  There was some confusion over this.  Settled!

1:46-TWO informs us that he picked North Dakota State to beat Kansas.  This is not a good pick, even if they win, it’s still not good.  This is like someone bragging about how early they wake up in the morning.  You know what?  I’m more rested than you because sleep is awesome.

1:48- Gus Johnson is building his excitement.  3 point game with 14 to play.  Kansas is nervous.  GJ is excited.  He can sense that upset.  He’s like a lion stalking a herd of gazelle on the African plains.

1:52-NDST makes a bucket.  We discuss the white wash and how awkward it is for the one black guy on the bench.  What music gets played in the locker room?

1:55-TWO explains the definition of a ‘Cheap 6’.  We can’t link to it here but it’s fascinating.

1:56- Gus Johnson compares a SDST player to Steve Nash and accuses him of being ‘A BALLER!’  We love Gus Johnson.

1:58-Applebees Commercial.  Who goes to Applebees?  Like who says: ‘I need to hit up the Bees right now or I’ll be so angry I could spit’?

2:00-GJ is just carrying Len Elmore right now.  LE is reading off stats with the excitement of a librarian on lithium.  Why can’t they just pair GJ with Raftery?  I guess that makes too much sense.

2:03-GJ makes a joke about Archie Bell.  Who in hell is Archie Bell?  It’s as awkward as it sounds. 

2:04-A BS charge is called against NDST.  The charge is ruining basketball.  We blame Duke.

2:06-NDST has no answer for Collins or Aldrich.  The 3s aren’t falling.  Yet, they are only down 5.  Ben Woodside.  Remember that name.  Remember it because you’ll never see him again unless you take a tour of a national park.  He’ll be giving the tour.

2:07-GJ has to read a promo for the Mentalist.  We’re going to have to watch the show now.  That’s how good GJ is, he makes terrible crime dramas on CBS sound serviceable.

2:15-Kansas goes up 10.  GJ says they are beginning to ‘stiffen up’ the D.  See you later Gus.  We’re changing games now.

2:18-Shot of Travis Ford, Oklahoma State’s coach.  TWO and GJW discuss how he could pull a great Billy Hoyle routine on an all black court in LA.  ‘I may be a chump.  Just saying that ain’t my name.  I played for Pitino.’

2:20-Verne Lundquist says ‘double bonus’.  It sounds like he’s talking about a real estate deal.  He fits college hoops like a bear fits into a book club.

2:23-GJW and TWO eat a Clementine.  How good are clementines?  Why are they not called ‘lil’ oranges’.  Or ‘Lornges’?

2:27-OSU calls a timeout.  Tie game with 1:30 left.  What are they discussing?  ‘Hey, listen up!  Neither of these teams should be in the tourney.  One of us should be St. Mary’s.  So get out there and be futile.’

2:29-Raftery uses ‘physicallity’ and ‘whirling derivsh’ in a sentence.  Awesome.

2:31-OSU ball down 1, 10 seconds…. AND 1!  Wow!  Raftery… ‘THE KISS!’  ‘Loungerie on the DECK!’  He’s incredible.

2:33-Quick cut to Marquette icing it against Utah St.  If Utah is a state university, why do you need Utah State?  Sell the naming rights.

2:34-The color guy on the Marquette game said this: ‘The best case for Utah State here is for Marquette to miss both free throws. The second best case is for him to miss 1.’  We are unsure as to the 3rd best scenario.

2:36-Tennessee loses.  Sad.  No more Bruce Pearl.  Quick cut to Marquette.  Utah State banks in a 3 to go down 2 with 23 left.  It’s interesting again.  We feel bad for Marquette because they lost a great player on a freak injury.  They would have been a much better team.  Now, they’re Utah State good.

2:38-We check our email.  We get an email from Williams Sonoma.  We’re on a mailing list b/c of a wedding registry.  The couple is now divorced.  Where are we in the settlement?  We sunk $ and energy into that thing and we get nothing back.  We’re still deleting emails every other day from Pottery Barn too.  See what we’re saying?

2:41-Marquette wins.  Exciting game.  Think about what we said Utah State… think about it.

2:45-Temple/Arizona State is just starting.  This will be our definitive ‘Evaluation of James Harden and wether he should be a top 10 pick like everyone is saying.’  We’re trying to be unbiased but we’re leaning towards ‘not’.

2:57-Deonte Christmas drills another 3.  Temple sucks but this dude is nasty.  Someone could do a lot worse than drafting this guy… a lot worse like James Harden?  It’s not like they’re matched up against each other so you can get a good comparison.. what's that?  They're covering each other... Ah... Let's move on.

2:59-Gene Hackman does Loes voiceovers.  He’s done it for years.  Gary Sinice is doing Army ads.  Neither of these guys needs the $.  You can’t book another voiceover guy for these things?

3:00-Why is it ‘I-an Eagle?’  It’s ‘ee-an’ for everyone else.  If we knew him, we’d never stop pointing this out.

3:03-bad pass comes to Harden.  He could have gone down 1 on 1 in transition.  Instead, he pulls back and runs the offense.  Wouldn’t lottery picks just go score there?  The answer is yes.  We don’t get it.