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Dick Vitale is an idiot. [Mar. 11th, 2005|08:23 am]
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Go look at his field of 65... really, go look. See something peculiar? Like the fact that we would need to beat Indiana to get, DESPITE the fact that Maryland and Notre Dame are currently in? I tell ya, we get no respect....

Nevertheless (and it's not like Dickie V has any authority on these things... he's basically just a senile old fart who gets a hard-on while thinking about the ACC), the Gophers play today in the Big Ten Tourney, against the Indiana Hoosiers, for a chance to get killed by Illinois tomorrow (unless you actually think Northwestern might have a chance) and for a less stressful Selection Sunday.

At this moment though (and believe me... I've flip flopped on this issue more times than I can count), I don't think we need a win to get in. With the way some of the games have been turning out for us (Maryland and Notre Dame both losing extremely winnable games, and a few others), we might only need a good, competitive game against the Hoosiers to snag a bid. Of course, it wouldn't hurt any if we win...

But will we win? That's another story. Cause let's face it: Indiana is SCARY. Posting a huge win over Mich St. and arguably deserving a win in Wisconsin, it's no secret that Indiana is playing a lot better down the stretch. And as much as we need this game, the Hoosiers need it a LOT more. If they lose, sayonara NCAAs, hello NIT. So they have a lot more to play for.

Of course, that could prove to be their downfall. It wouldn't surprise me if the Hoosiers played a *little* tight today. And while we're no certain lock for the tourney, either, Dan Monson's been preaching all week that our 10-6 record should get in. So it also wouldn't surprise me if the Gophers came out looser, and kicked off the game on a torrid run, effectively ending the Hoosier's season. (Of course, you also have to consider that I'm an idiot, and am never right on these things, so it's probably just as likely that the exact opposite could happen.)

Well, at least my nerves will be alleviated by about 3:30 today... or just kicked up thirteen notches. Either way... Dickie V is an idiot.
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How much do I suck at MVP 2005? [Mar. 8th, 2005|04:10 pm]
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Let me count the ways....

After Pro became too easy and I was hitting every other pitch out of the park, I decided to make the jump to All Star. This was only after a few days with the game. And now, after two or so weeks, I'm contemplating going back down to Pro. Yeah, the transition was less than smooth.

I've totaled around 50 or so games played on All Star. How many games have I won? About 5. No kidding. And that was after adjusting the sliders in my favor. Before that, hoo boy, I was losing games 13-1, 11-0, and a lot worse.

So what's the problem? Well, to put it bluntly, I just suck. I don't think anyone else is having this problem I'm having. And it's not like I'm playing stellar competition, either. I usually play as some top-tier team and face some scrubs like the Royals. And I still manage to lose. Heck, I even found a way to lose (as the Twins) to the Fort Myers Miracle. And in case you don't know who they are (I wouldn't know, either), they're a Single A team. And they beat me, a Major League Baseball team.

I think maybe I'm just having some bad luck. In some games, I pitch pretty effectively, hitting most of my spots and only give up 2-3 runs. In others, I miss... and I miss badly, giving up homers left and right and allowing as much as 15 runs a game. On the flip side, in the games I'm pitching pretty well, I can't hit for the life of me. Swinging wildly, chasing pitches off the plate, swinging way too early on breaking balls, I even cringe sometimes how ugly my swings look. But when I'm not pitching well at all, I make pretty good contact, collecting a multitude of hits. The problem is, I can't convert those hits into runs, and I leave opportunities squandered.

I don't know, maybe it's just a learning curve, and I just need a little more practice timing my hitting and pitches and whatnot. Or maybe I was just doomed to completely suck at this for all of eternity. All I know for sure, is that if I don't see at least some improvement in the next few days (even if it's hardly noticeable), I think I'll be heading back to NBA Live.

And yes, this *is* the most interesting thing going on in my life.
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BIG upset. [Mar. 6th, 2005|01:43 pm]
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And it benefits the Gophers! Nice, eh?

Well, the #1 undefeated Illinois Fighting Illini are no longer undefeated. They lost 65-64 to the Ohio St. Buckeyes in one of the better games of the year. Illinois actually held a sizable lead for most of the game, keeping Ohio St. at a safe 10-12 point distance for a long while. But the Buckeyes kept fighting and fighting, and with 10 seconds left the Buckeyes found themselves only down by 2. On the ensuing play, Matt Sylvester (who had something like 25 points) jacked up a three.... and it went in. Illinois couldn't score on the following play, Ohio St. pulls off the huge upset, the crowd gushes onto the court, and the whole college hoops world is flipped upside down.

I thought that Ohio St. had a minuscule chance of pulling off the upset, only if they played their game of the year, and Illinois played a little flat. And guessed what happened? Ohio St. really is a good team, and it's kinda unfortunate that they won't we able to participate in any postseason this year (they imposed a postseason ban on themselves). Then again, if they were able to take part in tournament play, they might not have pulled off the upset. If they were thinking about their tourney standing, they probably would have played a lot more tight. But instead, they knew they had nothing to lose, and everything to gain (it was essentially their championship), and as a result beat Illinois.

As for Illinois, I don't think this loss hurts them THAT much. Maybe now they'll realize that if they're not playing at the top of their game, they could very well lose just like they did today. They might drop to #2 (depending on the result of the UNC/Duke game), but won't suffer a drop in tournament seeding because of today's result. They could possibly drop to a #2 seed if they were to drop one of the first two games in the Big Ten Tourney, but even then I still believe they deserve a #1 seed. Sure, the Big Ten isn't exactly top competition this year, but what do call 15+ point victories over Gonzaga, Cincinnati & Wake Forest? Flukes? No, they deserve a #1 seed.

So how does this benefit the Gophers? Well, if you can recall, the Gophers have beaten the Buckeyes twice this year. And with Ohio St. upsetting the #1 team in the country, those two wins look a LOT more impressive... which will only help the cause for snagging a NCAA Tourney bid. I was kind of rooting for the Illini to continue their undefeated streak, but after I realized how great an Ohio St win would be for Minnesota, I took a neutral stance and watched the whole thing happen. So I would have been content with either team winning, but I'm definitely ecstatic with how much this will help my beloved Gophers.
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Bubble Watching... [Mar. 5th, 2005|01:50 pm]
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Even with no Gopher game on, I'm still glued to the TV watching all the pivotal matchups on the docket today. Why? Because despite our 10-6 record, we're still firmly planted in the bubble category. And with a few games going our way, we'll move just a little closer to that lock category.

First off, it's an extremely unlikely scenario, but if Purdue would somehow pull off the major upset over Wisconsin, we would move into a #3 seed in the Big Ten Tourney, which would mean we would most likely avoid playing Indiana and either play Ohio St or Iowa, both of which would be more winnable than if we played Indiana.

A few games have already gone our way today. DePaul almost pulled off an upset over Louisville, but lost. This loss won't hurt them all that significantly, but it keeps them on the bubble. The second game which went our way was considerably more important. West Virginia, another bubble team, suffered a bad loss against a 12-15 Seton Hall team. WVU was one of the borderline tourney teams, and this loss will knock them out of it for the time being and free up yet another spot.

Other things I hope will happen: Southern Illinois to win their tourney... they are a lock in a conference with plenty of bubble teams. So to have them win the tourney and perhaps keep those bubble teams out is pretty much essential. Also, Clemson over Ga Tech (they're within two as we speak), Northwestern over Indiana (although they did score the upset over us a few weeks ago, this is pretty unlikely), Pitt over Notre Dame, Rhode Island over GW.... I could go on and on and on.

Of course, none of this will matter to me if the Gophers take care of business on Friday, but just in case...
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10-6, baby! [Mar. 2nd, 2005|09:15 pm]
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(God, my father's listening to the Osmonds next to me. Someone shoot me.)

Anyway, the Gophers did it. It wasn't exactly the prettiest victory of the year, or the most impressive one (not even close), but we accomplished what we needed to accomplish: getting that W. We beat Penn State by the score of 73-69, moving all the more closer to that NCAA bid.

Things got kinda tense there near the end, with the Nittany Lions pulling within 3 with 5 minutes left, and I began preparing my "Gophers Blow It" entry for this little journal, but it seemed like Grier (I didn't watch the game... listened to it on the way home) took over and willed us to victory. Again, not the prettiest victory, but a victory nonetheless.

And the win puts us at that 10-6 record that we needed to achieve to put us in position for an NCAA bid. Since the Big Ten went to a 16 game schedule, only one team with a 10-6 record didn't make the NCAA Tournament, and they were on probation. I wouldn't say I'm ready to celebrate a invitation just yet, as stranger things have happened and they could possibly be left out, but it's looking REAL good right now.

We still have one (maybe two) game(s) left, and that's the Big Ten Tournament. I wouldn't say a victory over Indiana is critical, since I believe we're in regardless, but it sure wouldn't hurt.

On another note: man, the Gophers radio announcers are absolutely TERRIBLE. Thank goodness the Gophers are on TV from here on out (I believe). I mean, at one point, the play-by-play guy mentioned the time remaining as around 14:30 left. The next time he mentioned the time? WITH 7:00 LEFT IN THE GAME. And I'm left hanging while Penn St. makes a run not having any idea how much time is left. Absolutely horrible...
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Alex's First Annual Oscar Wrap Up® [Feb. 28th, 2005|04:21 pm]
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Ah, screw the Oscars.... no one cares about that crap anyway.

Anyway, a more important matter occurred yesterday. No, I didn't find a job... I wish I did, but no luck. Nope, yesterday I got MVP Baseball 2005!! Woohoo... well, *I* didn't exactly get it, my little brother bought it with some of his birthday money he received yesterday. But I did effectively persuade him to buy it, by mentioning the game just at the right time, just as we finished discussing his soon-to-be arriving cash. Fortunately, he likes baseball and he was easily persuaded. You see, when you have no money for yourself, you have to convince your younger siblings to buy stuff for you.

Anyway, I've given the game a few go-rounds, and my first impressions would have to be positive. Not *glowingly* positive, but I like it just enough. It's taken me a bit to get the hang of the batting system, and recognizing pitches and what-not. So things haven't exactly gotten off to a smooth start. I lost the first few games I played, including (hangs head in shame) one against my brother. Stupid 8th inning homer. But thankfully I've won the last few games...

One of the odd things I've noticed over the course of my 5 games is that every game seems to be won on a home run. Game against my brother, two run shot in the 8th to win 4-3. Games against the computer: 6th inning homer by Morneau to beat the Yanks 2-1, 8th inning jack by Beltran to beat the Rockies 3-2, and an 8th inning two run shot that beat me 3-1. Plus, an extra inning two run homer by the Brewers put them up 8-4 and sealed the game. I'm pretty sure that it's nothing major and just a weird coincidence, but still kinda peculiar...
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YES!!! [Feb. 26th, 2005|03:48 pm]
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[Current Mood |AWESOME BABY!!!!]

Did I say that the Gophers were done?? JUST KIDDING!!! What I really meant is that we're going to the big dance, baby!!!

Yep, they pulled off the comeback. It was a complete reversal of the second half... we actually seemed inspired, and coupled with some huge three pointers from Aaron Robinson, we won a nailbiting 59-57. Purdue had two chances to tie the game up or take the lead, but fortunately they missed both.

Seriously, this is the greatest feeling in the world. I was absolutely convinced it was over (as was probably the rest of the Gopher faithful), but they somehow snatched a victory away from the fired-up Boilermakers. I don't know how they pulled it off, but they did. AND WE'RE ONE VICTORY AWAY FROM SECURING A TOURNEY BID!!! That seemingly unattainable fantasy is only one win away from becoming a reality. All we need to do... beat the cellar-dwelling Penn State Nittany Lions.

Go Gophers.
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Well, this is just FANTASTIC [Feb. 26th, 2005|02:32 pm]
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18 points in the 1st half, seemingly twice as many turnovers, and the Gophers are in big trouble. Down 31-18, and 20 minutes until we wave bye-bye to our tourney hopes.

I'm not sure if we even deserve a bid, judging by our pathetic performance so far. We had only 6 points with 5 minutes left, so even 18 points isn't indicative of how poorly we're playing. Just... man, how can you turn it over THAT many times in only 20 minutes?

I guess there's still a tiny bit of hope left, but let's not kid ourselves. We're done. Have fun in the NIT, guys.
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A few interesting developments... [Feb. 23rd, 2005|09:13 pm]
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-Well, the speculation is officially over. Moss has been traded to the Oakland Raiders for some dude named Napoleon Harris and the 7th pick in the upcoming draft. This isn't really a move I' happy with. First off, I'm in the minority that actually likes Randy Moss. Yes, he's had his share of incidents, but most of them have been blown out of proportion. Plus, since he doesn't really have a good relationship with the media, he sure didn't get any good pub. So I wasn't really sure if he was as cancerous as some people made him out to be.

Second, how the heck did we end up with this deal? I can understand if the organization felt that both Moss and the team needed a fresh start, but to give him up for one lousy draft pick and an obscure linebacker? It wasn't that bad of a situation, was it? Wasn't it just a few years ago that the Jets got 3-4 1st round picks for Keyshawn? How come we couldn't find a deal like that, dangit??

-So needless to say, I'm not happy with that development. But there has been one positive piece of news today: the Gophers won! They beat Iowa in a much needed win, improving their record to 8-6. Didn't watch the game (at church... caught second half on radio), but it seemed like the seniors delivered on senior night. So, two down, two to go. Purdue's up next...
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Untitled (although by writing "untitled", I guess it's no longer untitled, now is it?) [Feb. 20th, 2005|12:34 pm]
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Man, how about Amare Stoudemire's off-the-backboard, off Nash's head dunk?? S. I. C. K. That would've been an 11 out of 10 on the Spinal Tap scale. I wouldn't call it the best dunk of the night... the most awesome and most creative, sure, but Steve Nash seemed to play a larger role in the dunk than Stoudemire did. So I would give the distinction of best dunk to the over-Kenyon Martin alley-oop by Josh Smith, who wound up winning the contest (man, I picked the wrong Smith...). Deservedly so, too... he didn't flub one single dunk, and each dunk was an impressive one. Plus, he had the tribute to Dominique, which definitely garnered him some extra points.

As for tonight, it's the actual game, the NBA All Star game. And I usually always enjoy the contest. Sure, it's like the Pro Bowl, they're most concerned about staying healthy. But they do try to show off as much as they can, which makes for some entertaining viewing. Plus, the All Star contests as of recent history have been pretty close down the wire, which adds a little more intrigue despite being a meaningless event.

As for predictions, it's not like it matters. It is only an All-Star game, after all. But I would expect the West to win, with Nash taking home MVP honors. I think Nash will have a great game, dishing out something like 15 assists, most coming on spectacular alley-oops. And as for Garnett... well frankly, I hope he sits on the bench most of the time. Need to rest that knee for the stretch run. Or was it his ankle that needs healing? Well, it doesn't matter... he needs the rest.
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