Archive for College Basketball

Weekend Quickies

Posted in College Basketball, College Football, Comic Books, Entertainment, Movies, News/Current Events, Personal, Sports, The Wrapups with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by thelasthonestman

It’s a hit-and-run update this weekend (but thankfully not like the hit-and-run my wife suffered earlier in the week), as my personal schedule gets a little tighter — though I’m not going to complain about the reason.  I’m one of the lucky ones out there, as I’ve just picked up some supplemental income in the form of a new job.  That makes me one of the fortunate ones in a country where unemployment is now sitting at just under 10% and where unemployment is at a seven-month high — even as we’re smack dab in the middle of what’s supposed to be the biggest retail time of the year.

The Economy will be fine! We're going to recover any day now! Nothing to see here! Nothing to see!

It’s not just retailers shedding jobs, however — industry, financial institutions, and the government are all cutting their workforce — which makes some of the people making claims that we’re entering a recovery look about as clueless as the late Leslie Nielsen telling us there’s “nothing to see here.”  We’re a long way from getting to where we want to economically, and so long as our Congress continues to work in their own self-interests (and the self-interests of the people supporting their re-election bids) and we continue to ignore the problems that aren’t going away — the deficit, a loss of our manufacturing base, and the lack of creating new technologies to spur new industries, just for starters — then we’re going to continue heading in the wrong direction.

— Speaking of the deficit, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that while people being polled these days are in favor or cutting the deficit, viewing it (correctly) as a major problem our country is facing — they largely want the deficit to be slashed while not touching the programs that are important to them.  Well, of course.  It’s that kind of narrow thinking — and a belief of entitlement that our parents and grandparents never had, but that current generations have come to embrace — that’s led us into the quagmire we’re in now.  And unless everyone is prepared to ante up in the form of sacrificing something, then the problem won’t ever get fixed — until as a nation we find ourselves truly looking into the abyss (cue ominous music).

— I saw a large uptick in the traffic here over the last week, and a large part of it were people being drawn to the site searching for Jimmy Valvano-related items.  Jimmy V Week just ended, and for those of you who somehow aren’t familiar with the story, The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and the late coach Jimmy Valvano.  Over it’s over 18 years, the foundation has raised over $100 million for cancer research.  I wrote a piece about it last year around this time that included Valvano’s inspirational speech from the 1993 ESPY awards — yow owe it to yourself to listen to it if you’ve never heard it (and even if you already have).  Click here for the piece.

"Someday, the Heisman Trophy Club will just pretend I never got this."

— As we head into the weekend and the announcement of the Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday, my friend Steven pointed me over to direction of the Heisman Trophy Winners list at the official Heisman Trophy website — for a good chuckle (and once you’ve finished marveling at the days when players from Army, Yale, and Princeton could actually win he award) scan to end of the list and to the winners of this past decade.  See anyone missing?

While we’re at it, maybe we can take bets on whether or not Cam Newton will be conspicuously absent from the list as well in another five or six years.  If I had to guess, Vegas has that result off the board.

— And finally, the trailer for the new movie from Marvel Studios — Thor (based on the comic book hero of the same name) debuts today (at 6:00 PT).  All I can say is that, if the footage I saw that was leaked a few months ago is any indication, Marvel is hitting it out of the park again so far as their adaptations go.  With the Captain America and Avengers movies forthcoming, it’s a great time to be a comic book fan!

As soon as the trailer is available, I’ll try to get it up here — so check back later tonight!

— With that, I hope everyone has a great weekend — and I’ll see you back here next week.


Remembering Jimmy Valvano

Posted in College Basketball, News/Current Events, Sports with tags , , on December 3, 2009 by thelasthonestman

Has it really been almost twenty-seven years since that Monday night in March when Lorenzo Charles pulled Dereck Whittenberg’s jump shot out of the air and slammed it home, ending the 1983 NCAA Championship game and vanquishing the mighty Phi Slama Jama?  I still remember the moment today — Whittenberg’s shot hanging in the air, almost as if by magic — and Charles putting the finishing touches on the most unlikely championship team of all.  And magical it was, with the sorcerer himself, head coach Jim Valvano, running wildly around the court, looking desperately for someone to hug and share the exhilaration of an impossible victory.  It’s a sporting moment I’ll never forget.

But it’s not Valvano’s coaching career that I remember him for;  for me, Valvano’s defining moment was his speech at the inagural ESPY’s in 1993, less than a year after he’d been diagnosed with bone cancer that had spread uncontrollably throughout his body.  When Valvano took the stage that evening to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award, he could barely walk, requiring the assistance of close friends Dick Vitale and Mike Krzyzewski to even move from the podium when he’d finished.  He was a man living on borrowed time and he knew i — and less than two months after that night, he was gone.

The speech he gave that night moved me like few others I’ve heard have before or since.  Its message to always keep fighting and to understand the importance of the simple, yet important things in life is one that all of us can take a lesson from.

It’s Jimmy V Week at ESPN.  During this holiday time, I hope to not forget how fortunate myself and my family have been.  Everyone can check out the V Foundation for Cancer Research for more information about the organization that Valvano helped to found.  Below is the speech that Valvano gave that night in its entirety.  If you haven’t heard it before — or you haven’t heard it in a while — I strongly encourage you to listen to it now.  If you’re anything like me, it’s hard not to be moved.

Transcript of the speech found here.

Madden Retires — While Isiah Is Hired — And Other Weekend Notes

Posted in College Basketball, News/Current Events, Sports, The Wrapups with tags , on April 17, 2009 by thelasthonestman

Just jumping in quick today;  another passing in the immediate family (this time, my wife’s grandmother) has meant that this has been a pretty busy — and sad — day.  It’s not too busy or sad, however, to comment briefly on the following:

John Madden has retired after 30 years in the broadcasting booth.  For almost my entire life, Madden has been one of the primary voices of the NFL for me, and I’m sorry to see him leave.  While he definitely had lost something over time — it’s got to be hard to remain fresh and cutting-edge after so many years doing the same thing — his impact on the world of announcing professional football was undeniable, and I’m going to miss him.  It’s hard for people today to remember how great of a coach he was as well, but I can’t imagine that Madden won’t still remain a larger-than-life figure in the football world for many years to come.

Besides, what would football be without the Madden curse to talk about?

Yep.  That explains it.

Yep. That explains it.

How Isiah Thomas managed to get hired again is downright amazing.   I mean, the man has left behind a trail of carnage reminiscent of one of Godzilla’s strolls through Tokyo.   He destroyed the CBA.  He ruined the Knicks.  What did Florida International do to deserve this?  Oh, yeah — they hired Thomas anyway.

I have no idea if Thomas can possibly be successful at the collegiate level, but his experience dealing with all of the things that makes the college game different from the pros is just about nil, so I won’t be holding my breath waiting for him to succeed.  He brings plenty of attention to the FIU program — but I’m thinking that it won’t really be the type of attention that the university is really going to want to have.  It’s been a circus that has seemed to follow Isiah for quite a while now, and the ringmaster is back in the spotlight he’s always craved.  I put the over/under on the number of seasons it takes for the program to find itself in some form of trouble at 2 1/2.

— Again, apologies for the brevity — but I’ll be back in full force for my second week of What I Learned, Fantasy Edition on Sunday.  Hope you’ll be back for then.

March Madness Part VI

Posted in Sports with tags on March 19, 2009 by thelasthonestman

Thursday, 2:33 CT — So much for the huge upset.  Memphis apparently realized at some point that they were the #2 seed and should start playing like one, and the gutsy bunch for Cal-State Northridge finally ran out of steam.  Memphis goes on a 20-6 run to end the game, winning by a much-closer-than-the-score-indicates final of 81-70.  So my bracket is safe for now — though I wouldn’t count on seeing Memphis go much further if they play anything like this the rest of the way (I have them making the Final Eight, and I’m lacking confidence in that pick at this point).

After the end of the first batch of games, I’m switched over to the Purdue-Northern Iowa tilt and my first question is:  Where the hell is everybody?  The stands in the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon look empty from what they’re showing on TV.  I swear I’ve had more people in my living room at the same time before.  Actually, that’s probably an exaggeration, as it looks like the seats behind the Northern Iowa bench are empty, while the Purdue side looks pretty filled up.  I’m guessing that the Iowa faithful didn’t travel as well for this game as Purdue’s fans?  The people who are there in Northern Iowa’s corner aren’t going to be too happy as Purdue has gone on a 12-0 run to take the lead — and what do you know?  I actually picked them!  I’m unstoppable, I tell you!

Speaking of which, here’s the remainder of my “Hope this isn’t what you went with” bracket (the other portion can be found here):


Pittsburgh (1) over East Tennessee State (16)

Oklahoma State (8) over Tennessee (8)

Florida State (5) over Wisconsin (12)

Xavier (4) over Portland State (13)

UCLA (6) over VCU (11)

Villanova (3) over American (14)

Texas (7) over Minnesota (10)

Duke (2) over Binghamton (15)


North Carolina (1) over Radford (16)

LSU (8) over Butler (9)

Illinois (5) over Western Kentucky (12)

Gonzaga (4) over Akron (13)

Arizona State (6) over Temple (11)

Syracuse (3) over S.F. Austin (14)

Clemson (7) over Michigan (10)

Oklahoma (2) over Morgan State (15)

Not a lot of surprises here in the 2nd slate of games — Chattanoga is keeping it surprisingly close against UConn, but the other games are going pretty much the way I thought they would.  This is turning into a anticlimatic day so far — no signs of an upset yet, my stove was delivered without incident, and I’ve resisted all urges to fall back asleep — what’s going to liven this day up?  We’ll see if we have an answer later this evening.

A Long Night At The Garden, There’s Always An Excuse For A Picture Of Scarlett, And Why You Should Be Watching Chad Vader

Posted in College Basketball, Comic Books, Movies, Sports, The Wrapups with tags , , , on March 13, 2009 by thelasthonestman

Updating anything today is going to be a huge hassle – my internet connection is spotty today, as according to the recorded message I got this evening when I called tech support, there’s a “network issue” that won’t be resolved until sometime later this afternoon.  In the meantime, if I’m lucky, I get a few moments of brief connectivity – and then, nothing.   On the bright side, it’s not like I don’t have enough other things to do right now; not being able to surf online will probably help me be more productive.  However, if you’re reading this, then I did manage to get access long enough to weigh in with some thoughts going into the weekend:

— You can forgive any fans of Connecticut or Syracuse if they’re still sleeping in right now, following their epic contest last night at the Garden.   The six-overtime thriller is the longest game in Big East history, and I believe the 2nd-longest game in NCAA history.  The remaining Garden crowd gave both teams a standing ovation when the game was finally over – and they deserved every bit of it.  I only caught the ending of the game – but it’ll air again on ESPNU from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET (and hopefully, again on ESPN Classic ), so check it out if you can.

— It’s official – Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson have both joined the cast of Iron Man 2, now scheduled for a May 10 release. Rourke will play the villain Whiplash, while Johansson will play the Black Widow.  Rourke has been a question mark for the role, after a dispute had arisen over his proposed pay, while Johansson replaces the first choice for the Widow, Emily Blunt.

Obligiatory Scarlett picture

Obligatory Scarlett picture

— Looking for something completely different? Check out Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager by creators Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan and available online both on YouTube and at their website, Blame Society Prodcutions. The story revolves around Darth Vader’s younger brother, who works as a day shift manager for a local store called Empire Market. It’s hilarious, especially if you’re a huge Star Wars fan — but even if you’re not but just know a little about the Vader name, it’s well worth your checking out if you’re looking for a laugh.

There’s a whole first season available for viewing, and the show’s second season has begun as well.  It’s finding gems like these that make the internet worth every penny (at least, when I can get on it).

—  And speaking of that, my Internet connection permitting, I’ll be back over the weekend with a look at a cartoon that’s caught my eye of late. Until then, I hope your access to web is better than mine.

Nope -- I'm not frustrated at all.