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Games That Matter - Thanksgiving Edition

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rankings:

ESPN / USA Today: N/A, but soon to be ranked.
AP: N/A, but soon to be ranked.
RPI: Whatever, the Big East is 39-3.

A Series of Random Thoughts - Thanksgiving Edition

  • Oh, hi.  Welcome to the first meaningful game of the season.  Did you enjoy that?  OMG, I THINK MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE.  Thank you, Georgetown, for avenging that heartbreaking 2000 loss to these same Gators.  We won this game, we should've won thatgame, and in both games, the guys in the black and white striped shirts made some pretty unforgivable calls.  But it's fine.  We won.  We're undefeated.  And now we're going for the jugular against the #2 team in the country.  College.
  • The elbows.  I get it.  It's the rule.  But give me a freaking break.  So what if Josh(ua) Smith unintentionally barreled elbow-first into two guys' chins?  IT'S BASKETBALL.  Deal with it and move on.  The Gators were intentionally putting smaller defenders under the basket to try to bait Smith into plowing into them.  The fact that a strong move to the basket results in two flagrant fouls, four free throws and changes of possession is kind of ridiculous.  The guy is the size of a monument-sized truck.  I'm sorry if feelings are hurt.  He can't control himself.  Please keep doing your thing, Joshington.  Teach them not to interfere with your girth.  And by the way, I want to apologize to Al Horford's little brother.  Dear Al Horford's little brother, I'm sorry you were elbowed in the face.  And I'm sorry you needed stitches and a Band-Aid to cover up the blood that was dripping down your chin.  But I won't feel bad for you if your Band-Aid was a little too itchy for your delicate features.  Just deal with it.  Poor Pinkus.  Poor little Pinkus.
  • DSR was an absolute man in this game.  He didn't even play particularly well, and yet, he finished with a team-high 17 points, including the game-winning dagger of a shot, to give the Hoyas a much deserved victory.  In a word, that's leadership.  He was in foul trouble, he couldn't hit anything from beyond the arc (missed all five attempts), but he still came through at the end when it mattered the most.  Love DSR.
  • Florida is a very good basketball team.  And so are we.  This was a very good basketballgame between two very good basketball teams.  The refs were not very good.  This felt like a Tournament game.
  • The basketball hipster thing.  For those who missed it, some silly Florida grad likened fans of the Big East to a bunch of basketball hipsters.  I'm sure it was intended as an insult, but whatever, I'm fine with it.  We are the foodies of the college basketball world.  We know a good thing when we see it.  We like back door cuts and skip passes, and ball fakes and back screens, and round robin play and a good motion offense.  When your teams lose, you don't really care.  You make fun of us for not having FBS football teams and multi-kajillion dollar TV contracts.  In a few years, when your product is so diluted and you finally wake up and realize that it makes no sense for a team in West Virginia to be in the same conference as a bunch of schools in Texas, maybe we'll let you back into our conference.  Just kidding, we won't.  You don't appreciate basketball as much as we do.
  • Paul White played 35 minutes.  Isaac Copeland played two minutes.
  • The Old Man and the Young Man.  Paul White, as others have said, is the old guy in your local temple's men's club game who just brings it every single time.  He's Mr. Fundamental.  He can hit the foul-line jumper, he rebounds well, and he loves taking those deep perimeter shots.  He may be a skinny 18 year-old, but he's the Old Man on the court, and I like when he's in the game.  He has a calming presence.  And his clutch three at the end of overtime was a beautiful thing.  Tre Campbell is the Young Man.  He only played 13 minutes against Florida, but they were an important 13 minutes because DSR was in foul trouble in the first half.  I just like how smooth Tre looks on the floor.  He rebounds well, he doesn't speed things up too quickly, and really, he's just smooth.  The Young Man will continue to get better, and if he can knock down open threes and free throws, he'll continue to be one of my favorite young men on the team.
  • What the hell was that crazy orange mascot thing on the court?  Why was Otto the Orange's cousin at the game?  Seriously, I wanted to stab that thing.
  • I checked our roster after the game.  L.J. Peak is still a freshman.  But he looks so damn good when he produces.  He only had three baskets, but they were each memorable, none more so than his ridiculous go-ahead three with 30 seconds left in overtime.  He totally peaked at the right time against Florida.  And his defense was impressive as hell.
  • The AXS channel is almost as evil as that guy Crisp from "Kindergarten Cop" (who, by the way, was also in the movie "There's Something About Mary").  Why was this game, between two really good basketball teams, on a channel that no one but a few lucky folks in Dallas and Boston are able to see?  This was probably the most exciting preseason non-conference game since Georgetown defeated Missouri in 2010 (that Chris Wright game-tying three at the end of regulation!), and yet, most people weren't even able to see it.  What the hell is AXS, anyway?  And who is Kenny Rice?  According to Wikipedia, Rice is an American sportscaster known for his horse racing reporting and MMA coverage for HDNet.  He began his career as a disc jockey, he called the Pro Bull Riders World Finals in 2005 and 2007, and he was a play-by-play announcer for the United Football League.  In other words, it makes perfect sense for him to announce a college basketball game between two heavyweights.  AXS (pronounced "access") was founded by Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest and is most famous for airing the movie "Shattered Glass" 9,567 times over the last five years.  After succeeding HDNet a few years ago, it has played a prominent role in airing very important events such as Tom Green's comedy hour, New Japan pro wrestling, and a documentary on America's mental health crisis.  So again, why was this relatively significant college basketball game on this channel that no one gets?  Maybe it's a hidden marketing ploy?  Tom Green jokes are as unfunny as the refereeing in last night's game; Josh(ua) Smith looks like a sumo wrestler; and this game, as usual, caused a mental health crisis among the Georgetown faithful.  Totally makes sense now.  I get it.  French class!
  • Twenty-one lead changes are not good for my heart.
  • Special thanks to The Tilted Kilt in East Brunswick, New Jersey.  Not only did you magically discover this ridiculous AXS channel, but you agreed to put on the sound for thegame.  Completely unnecessary, but I appreciated it.  I also appreciated your pastrami and cabbage spring rolls and spicy ketchup.  And thank you for displaying the all-important Michael Kay interview with Al Michaels on the biggest television in the bar.  It was a compelling and thoughtful discussion, even without sound.  Michael Kay's head is larger than the Bob's Big Boy mascot and I hate when he laughs.  But whatever, we won.
  • Say what you want about Mikael Hopkins.  He played 33 minutes.  Yeah, he made a few mistakes under the basket, but whatever.  He also had eight points, six rebounds and four blocks.  And unlike everyone else on this team, he made his damn free throws.  And oh yeah, he had a ridiculously out-of-character monster dunk that was called off because of an offensive foul.  Forget about the charge, Comrade.  It was a questionable call.  You looked good on that dunk.  You looked real good.  Love the aggressiveness.  Love the attitude.  You just didn't care what others thought.  You launched an air strike against targets in South Ossetia and you didn't care who was in your way.  You picked up that cheap Bahama Mama from the sands of Nassau, tossed it to the ground and said "Vodka.  Comrade drinks vodka."  And for the person or persons who referred to Hop's monster block against Florida as the "communist block", thank you for making me smile.
  • Happy Thanksgiving!  Major fantasy football implications in that Dallas-Philly game.  Too bad.  We play Wisconsin at 3pm.  At least the game is on ESPN.
  • Keep shooting, Eli Carter.  Hitting two of 14 shots isn't as terrible as it seems.  I'm just kidding.  It's pretty awful.  Thanks for playing, despite your supposed season-ending Lisfranc injury.  Special thanks to Dorian Finney-Smith as well.  Love how your fractured finger thing magically became a non-issue.  You didn't look injured.  The fact that both of you played means that our dramatic win will mean that much more to the selection committee in March.
  • The Big East conference is now 39-3.  I like it.  I like Villanova's wins over VCU and Michigan.  I like that St. John's win over Minnesota.  I like Creighton beating up on Oklahoma.  I like Prov-town upending Harangody's alma mater and Florida State.  I like Butler's earth-shattering upset of Carolina.  And yes, I like the Hoyas doing the damn thing against the Gators.  I love rooting for the Big East this season.  I mean, I've enjoyed the whole conference rivalry thing for years, but I'm enjoying it this year more than any year I can remember.  During the exciting slate of non-conference games in November and December, it's so much easier to root for Butler, Creighton and Providence than it is to root for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.  Who cares if we're not in a "power five" conference?  Who cares if we have less money than all of these other football schools?  We're the BASKETBALL CONFERENCE, and everyone else is just a bunch of money-hungry, football-obsessed jerkfaces, whose greed and love-fest with big cable companies will eventually cause their ruin.  Hyperbole aside, I am really beginning to embrace this Big East conference.  Because I like round-robin conference play, and I like Madison Square Garden, and I like beating the crap out of overrated ACC and SEC teams.  I like college basketball, without any of the other nonsense that comes along with football and ESPN and money.
  • There will be no Wisconsin preview.  The Badgers are the #2 team in the country and they have Frank the Tank.  It's all gravy from here.  Hooray Thanksgiving puns.  I'm going to sleep.
  • I will leave you with this.  At the conclusion of the game, JTIII said, "The team sitting in front of us tomorrow is a monster."  And then that dude who hit the game-winning shot against Florida added, "We're a monster too."

Let's go Hoyas.  Beat Wisconsin.