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Splitting Adams at the Oscars

March 2, 2004 Columns No Comments


Splitting Adams

by Adam Shandler

Adam’s meandering mind weighs on in the college hoops home stretch…and beyond.

The Undefeateds

Stanford and St. Joe’s have rolled into March with unblemished marks. But the glass-is-half empty crowd is poo-pooing the efforts. Sure, the Pac 10 and A-10 aren’t as stacked this year, but c’mon, weren’t you expecting a letdown by now? The Pac and A-10 are showing their softer sides this year, I’ll give the grim reapers that. Last year, if you recall, Oregon, ‘Zona, Cal and Stanford were season-long fixtures in the Top 25, with Arizona State posting big numbers as well. The Atlantic 10 gave us a quality St. Joseph’s team, but Xavier and Dayton, and even Temple and Rhode Island fattened up this league in ’02-’03. Still, undefeated is undefeated. 26-0 and 25-0 are feats that should be marveled at no matter how strong or weak the schedule. Even the best teams, when rolling, get cocky, put it on automatic pilot and serve themselves up for that unexpected loss. That just hasn’t happened with the Cardinal and Hawks. And to be treated to two teams, not just one, with zeros in the loss column, is something to be celebrated in college basketball.

Clark Kent State

Western Michigan is tops in the MAC and the pre-tournament favorite to take the conference title. But should the Broncos bring it home, does rival Kent State, currently 20-5 and champ of the MAC East, deserve an at-large bid? The McLaughlin Group would have a field day with the Golden Flash’s eligibility. On one hand they have the 20 wins. Yet not one of them was against any kind of premier competition – except for a W against Western and a Bracket Buster against Creighton. Kent did nothing but win for a month, when the Flash won 10 straight between January 21 and February 21. And yet they finished the month of February with ughs against Buffalo and Akron.

The MAC is the mid-major of mid-majors, the biggest of the little guys. So Kent State falls into quite a gray area. The Flash will need to win out the regular season (second-place Miami, OH and Ohio U.) and get to the conference tournament final to make a more convincing argument.

Okafor’s Okay With Me

I watched UConn blast my beloved Seton Hall Pirates on national TV (okay, basic cable) on Monday night. But I was okay with it. Especially that Okafor. He’s not only a complete player, but a kid committed to the piece of paper. I’m talking diploma, not Nike contract. He’s the exception these days, not the rule. Overtalented, with an oversized mind. I wonder how many hooping youths will follow his lead, as opposed to the one set by Hummer driving, shiny-shoed, teen posse-jockeys.

Now, I know the old adage. No one gets excited about seeing a kid take a math test, but Okafor’s different. I mean, on his accounting final you should have seen him rock that Excel sheet! And he got game when it comes to variance analysis. He can do my returns any day.

The Hoopville Other Receiving Votes Poll (Or We’re Number 26!)

How bout some recognition for those squads that we’ll probably see in a bracket in March but either couldn’t hang on or squeeze into the Top 25:

1. Michigan State
2. Florida
3. Western Michigan
4. Seton Hall
5. South Carolina
6. Air Force
7. Creighton
8. Dayton
9. Vanderbilt
10. Maryland
11. (Audience participation…please feel free to finish.)

Defending The Donald (Simon, too!)

Donald Trump and Simon Cowell are getting bad rap. The Apprentice star and American Idol icon are not mean, just misunderstood. And you know what? We need more guys like them. Since birth, untalented, cocky misanthropes are coddled and mislead by parents, teachers and friends. If we had more Donalds and Simons in our offices, athletic fields and school play auditions, we’d have more reality checks and a lot less embarrassment. If only we could get the Donald to analyze players who college early for the NBA. Instead of “You’re fired!”, the Donald will jab that downturned set of fingers at an ill-agented baller and say “You’re Yakima Sun Kings.”

Lord of the Geeks

11-for-11, that’s a better night than Julius Hodge. Congrats to Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which took home 11 Oscars including Best Picture of the year. The 3 hour, 20 minute Hobbithon had 30-year old guys in prosthetic hairy feet who live with their mothers cry like babies.

What are you looking at me for? I’m not 30 yet.

     

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