Miscellany

I can’t in good conscience say that Savannah State played the role of giant-killer last weekend when they upset Oregon State in overtime. After all, the Oregon State Beavers staggered into the game dragging a record of 3-6 with losses to such luminaries as Lamar, Tulsa, and Fresno State. So maybe the Tigers were “moderately-tall-troll” killers? “Heavier-than -average- ogre” killers?  

Either way, they made 15 of 34 three-point shots en route to a 93-90 overtime win. According to a report in Oregon Live, the Beavers were so stunned by the loss that the coaches held a two-and-a-half hour film session on Monday, followed by the traditional team meeting where players yell at each other.

It’s hard to know Coach Broadnax’ tone from a printed quote (he’s still not returning my calls), but it sounds like he’s moved off his early season stance that he was just experimenting with the high shot volume approach. Quoted in Associated Press, Broadnax said “We want to play fast. If people want to play fast with us, that’s great.”

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I spent some time signing copies of Thirty-Two Minutes in March at the Southport Shootout last weekend. The main attraction at the event was the 2 PM game between Indianapolis North Central and New Albany. Two of the best players in the state were on the floor in North Central senior Kris Wilkes (headed to UCLA) and New Albany junior Romeo Langford.

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Almost all of the 7,000 seats in Southport Fieldhouse were filled, with a significant number of people standing in the open concourse that encircles the seating area. Fortunately, Southport set up a table for me in a corner of the concourse, so I could watch some of the game action.

After that, the crowd thinned out considerably for the next four games on the schedule. Still, the fact that over seven thousand people showed up for an afternoon high school game in December just confirms what I’ve thought all along. High school basketball is still really important to Hoosiers, and there are still many fans who follow teams other than the ones they root for. One couple I talked to drove all the way from Madison, Indiana just to watch a day of high school hoops. Wearing Shawe High School sweatshirts, they said they make the trip every year, even though their school isn’t invited.

Somebody should write a book about this stuff.

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Fantasy football is over for another year. At least for me and the other teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Several of us started a weekly NFL pool picking five games each week against the spread for fun and prizes, so I’m down to one reason left to follow pro football.

We’ve also started a weekly NCAA basketball contest, again picking five games against the spread. My initial performance has been unimpressive. Despite my obvious gambling expertise, basketball knowledge, and subscriptions to kenpom and College Basketball Blue Book, I’ve stumbled to an 0-3 start. The worst part is that I’m currently trailing Charlie, who hasn’t paid much attention to college hoops for years.

Since I always want to be transparent (if not invisible), I have to admit that I did in fact bet against Savannah State in the Oregon State game. In my defense, the Tigers were returning from the east coast to the west coast a week after getting destroyed by Oregon 128-59.

There’s an old gambler’s axiom: The race is not always to the swift, and the battle not always to the strong. But that’s the way to bet. Unfortunately, that old saw doesn’t take karma into account. I may not always bet the Tigers to cover, but I’m not betting against them anymore. At least not this week.    

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