Shmampionship Game

April 17, 2008

I know this really isn’t going to pertain to the lot of you (internet users) but it will likely pertain to the few of you (people that actually see this blog).

Last night, my intramural basketball team was pitted against PBA, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.  The Blazers (my team) were seeded No. 4, and had already advanced to the semifinal round after beating the No. 5 seed, Dunder Mifflin, in the opening round.  Now, an immense volume of discussion about the intramural basketball season has been going on since long before the season started, and it continues to be an intensely debated topic at the middle table in the cafeteria.  More smack has been talked than is sold in a month over on University Ave. in downtown Riverside.  I can think of at least four teams that would swear that they are the best in the league, regardless of what has happened to their records en route to the playoffs, and given that all their team members show up (hint: ours is one, PBA is another).  After my team started 5-0, we were all anxiously waiting for our only shot at playing PBA, as we didn’t have a regular season game scheduled with them.  We were hoping it would be to decide the championship.  Unfortunately we got away from our game plan, got into a bit of a psychological funk, and dropped our last two games headed into the post season.  That is the long and/or short version of how we ended up in the semifinal last night.

At the end of the first half, we led by four points, and we had been playing great defense.  We were inside their main big man’s head, limiting their best guard, who is also their most athletic and experienced player, to just a couple of buckets, and playing great defense.  Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, a foul was attributed to me that I didn’t actually commit, and henceforth, I had to sit as the game clock read somewhere near 5:00 left to play in the first half.  I sat until about 5:00 into the second, and came in as we were now trailing by two points, thanks to a couple of easy buckets by the aforementioned athletic guard.

Once I came back in, I started to play the experienced point guard role and started working the ball to my teammates in spots that they like to score from, and dribble penetrating to create looks for Cory, our main threat from inside.  Suddenly, within a couple of minutes, we had gained the lead and stretched it to six points.  I was feeling so stoked, thinking, “we just turned this game around, we are in control, and we are going to win, as long as we keep moving the ball and getting good looks…”  On the very next defensive stand, that very same athletic guard drove through three guys on his way to the hole, so I slid to the side and went straight for the ball.  The ref blew the whisle and called a reach which may or may not have been legit.  I immediately apologized to my teammates for the stupidity of that manuever and proceeded to head back to the bench.  I was hoping beyond all hope that we had gathered enough momentum to stay in the lead until I could get back on the floor.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t.  We started to stand and watch the ball, forgot to pass nd move, and stopped communicating on defense.  Once those three things had happened, a swing was inevitable, and I sat there writhing on the bench in between spurts of standing and screaming about defense and rebounding.  I came back in with about four minutes to go, but at this point we were down too far.  PBA started holding the ball and burning clock and we were done.

There has been some talk of a third place game tonight at six o’clock but no one is sure if those sissies from Fired Up are actually down to play or not (just kidding ladies).  That’s about it, I’ve already re-hashed this game close to ten times, and I’m really not mad about it anymore.  There were a few minutes when I wanted to elbow their big man in the back of the dome, but fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

MOST LIKELY TO:
win the ’08 LSU intramural championship – PBA
win the ’09 LSU intramural championship – The Blazers Vol. II
not show up to play tonight – Fired Up
finally meet the end of their Davidson-like playoff run – Ryan Hahn’s team
drop 25+ on Ryan’s team – Shawn
not have any idea what this is about – most people


Crossing It Out With Chalk

April 10, 2008

Well I’ll be.  I knew Super Mario could run, jump, eat mushrooms, and he knows his way through the sewer, but I didn’t know he was so clutch.  Seems like whenever I played that game he’d fall off the edge a lot of the time.  But apparently he’s been practicing his jumper.

Ever since he hit the tying bucket to send Kansas into OT against Memphis on Monday, Super Mario Chalmers hasn’t been looked at the same.  I for one haven’t stopped referring to him as such since.  I’m not even a Jayhawks fan, but after I read Pat Forde’s article from Tuesday on ESPN’s website, I wanted to be.  This kid’s championship story is the type of thing movies are made out of.  I got that spine-tingly, near-eyes-watering feeling when I read the first page and remembered when my high school team won our big tournament championship.  There’s nothing like silencing the home crowd and stealing the title, but I bet Mario will take the NCAA Championship over the small high school tournament we won.

So yes, I am left with again admitting that I was wrong, as I picked Memphis to win the game by three points.  And if Mario wasn’t so damn clutch, I would have gloated about the accuracy of my prediction skills, but we wouldv’e missed out on a much more emotional and probably meaningful story than the headline “Memphis Wins Title, Big Surprise.”

As for the Battle of the Candi(a)ces, I was sad to learn that Stanford completely disappeared after playing two tremendous games to get to the final versus Tennessee, but at the same time, how can you not like the Lady Vol’s and what Pat Summitt has been able to do there over the years.  And if you can somehow find a reason not to like Candace Parker, you must be trying way to hard, because this girl is ridiculous.  Kind of makes you wonder if the WNBA might actually become interesting enough to watch within the next five or six years.  Anyway on the same token as the “what makes a better headline” thing, despite my affection for the Lady Vol’s, “Cardinal Knocks Off Perennial Powerhouse” would have read pretty smoothly.

MOST LIKELY TO

forsee the future – Mario Chalmers
fall off the edge – Super Mario
spark a new era of women’s basketball – Candace Parker
need some hypnotherapy – Memphis Tigers
need a bottle of scotch, some Tylenol, and some hypnotherapy – John Calipari


Only Half Wrong

April 7, 2008

Well for those of you who were paying keen attention, or who are now looking back and reading my earlier blog, I will go ahead and take this opportunity to admit that I was wrong.  I rarely do that, so mark this date in your calendar.  I predicted that the North Carolina Tar Heels would beat the Kansas Jayhawks by a score of 78-71 and that they would do so on the backs of Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson as they had been doing throughout the season and thus far in the tournament.  Well, clearly, I am less clairvoyant than I thought I was.  The Jayhawks ripped the Tar Heels 84-66, the type of blowout win that you don’t expect to see this deep into the tournament, and certainly not the type you expect a team like Kansas to have against a team like North Carolina.  I’m sure a lot of people picked Kansas to win, but I doubt anyone predicted that kind of point spread.  Brandon Rush showed up in a big way for the Jayhawks, scoring 25 points and pulling 7 rebounds, in the first game after disappearing entirely for most of the game against Davidson.  Tyler Hansbrough managed to put up decent numbers with 17 points and 9 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to keep his team’s championship hopes alive.

I was right about Memphis beating UCLA, although I didn’t get the point spread right.  But with that win, Memphis has won more games during a season than any other team in major college basketball history, yet another record which has been broken during this year’s tournament.  What this sets up is a matchup Monday night that pits two of the nation’s quickest teams against each other in a fast-break battle for the NCAA National Title.  You better believe the Bill Self and John Calipari are going to have their troops ready to go for this one.  I’m taking Memphis in a close one, 75-72.

Also, I gotta give some major props to the ladies from Stanford, who just knocked off the No. 1 seeded UConn Huskies, the team picked by many to win the championship.  At least someone is holding it down for the Pac-10.  Does anyone not know how good Candice Wiggins is yet?  Candace Parker is super-legit too, and I’m hoping that she and the rest of Pat Summitt’s Lady Vol’s can knock off LSU to set up what would actually be a women’s championship game that would be interesting to watch even for those fans that can’t quite stomach women’s basketball.  The battle of the Candi(a)ces for basketball supremacy!  Let’s see what the Tigers have to say about that.


Busted Bracket

April 5, 2008

Well, if anyone’s bracket still looks good, I bet its for one of two reasons.  (A) It got totally destroyed early, most of the damage done in the first weekend of play, followed by some more interesting bends and breaks in the Sweet Sixteen, and now your bracket looks good if you disregard the first couple weeks because you are either boring, uneducated about the history of the tournament, or are just one of those “geniuses” that picks the number one seeds all the way through and somehow got it right this year or (B) you are a computer program.  Either way, all number one seeds?  Come ahhhn…

Being a Pac-10 guy, I’m kind of glad the Bruins are there.  As much as I have a difficult time rooting for a team that I love to hate during the regular season, I would like the Pac-10 to go ahead and keep establishing itself.  We certainly have won a lot of titles over the years in a broad range of sports, but I would really like to see our basketball and football prowess keep reaching higher and higher.  That said, I think that UCLA is going to have a tough time with Memphis.  K-Love is super-legit, but Joey Dorsey is more athletic and more experienced, and he has a whole crew of guards to help him that are more dominant than UCLA’s backcourt.  Collison and Shipp are quality guards, but they are going to have their hands full tonight.  I’ll say Memphis over UCLA 83-74.

As for the other side, its Roy Williams’ current team versus Roy Williams’ former team, and in this one, I’m going to have to give the nod to Roy in the present tense.  But I’m not sure it’s because he’s coaching, but I certainly do believe that it obviously has a lot to do with the continued outstanding performances given by my clear cut Player of the Year, Tyler Hansbrough.  Of course, having a guy as smooth as Ty Lawson to feed you the ball helps, but Hansbrough’s will to win and his knowledge of the game surpass most other players in the college game right now.   Kansas is usually a speedy team, one which only narrowly escaped the upstart Davidson Wildcats and their sophomore phenom Stephen Curry, but should be able to put up a better fight against the Tar Heels.  But I have to give the edge to the boys in baby blue, and I’ll have to apologize to my buddy Scott for not picking his Jayhawks, but UNC is just a little too solid.  UNC over KU, 78-71.

I can’t imagine asking for a better Final Four, nor can I wait to see just what goes down.  UCLA-Memphis starts at 3:07 PM PST on CBS and UNC-KU is immediately after.


The Beginning of the End

April 4, 2008

Well, it has begun.  I, Denby Rasmussen, have just established an online home for all my sports- and athletics-oriented rantings.  At least at this point, for the sake of what I am doing with this blog, I am limiting it to sports.  After three months or so, it is quite likely that you will be able to find all sorts of other posts that will fill you in on my opinions, beliefs, pet peeves and proclivities regarding virtually any other aspect of life.  These will all likely vary in importance to my life and to yours, but I will try not to bore you completely, however fun that may be.

If you haven’t read the About page, you should hit that up and get a background on who I am and what it is that I’m doing here.  By the way, I’d also like to take this opportunity to really plug the idea that I will be posting some podcasts that I have already begun recording, and I am not yet sure if they will be hosted here or on another site, but if they are not I will link them to this site so that you can listen to them.  They won’t all necessarily be sports-oriented but certainly some will.

Overall I want to leave you with something that might at least be opinionated enough to be interesting, mild enough not to do anything worse than slightly offending you, and potentially educate or inform you about something.  Not to be high and mighty, but I certainly believe we can all learn from each other and I look forward to receiving feedback as I’m sure many first-time bloggers would be.  Give me a few weeks to get used to it and I promise I’ll make it worth the read.

Let’s get a dialogue going, shall we?