Long Distance Jayhawk


Know Your Enemy: Texas Tech Red Raiders by longdistancejayhawk
January 10, 2015, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Preview

As you probably picked up from the previous post, Andrew ended up going to the Nets game with me. I’m glad he did, since he’s a Knicks fan, and I wanted him to see that the Nets aren’t much better than his woebegone Manhattanites. The Brooklyn Ballers did not disappoint.

From the very beginning it was going to be a special night at the Barclays. No one was there, which was kind of surprising to me as the tickets were in the ten dollar range for the true nosebleeds. I guess people had better things to do than watch the Sixers take on the hometown boys? Brooklyn, as is their general approach to life, managed to piss away yet another double digit lead1. I felt bad for the guys that sat next to us on our row. I was joking around with them during the shooting skills competition how the guy at the Mavs game managed to not even get the layup. That was the only Brooklyn highlight I could really remember2.

So, the Nets got up on the Philadelphia Tankitytankers and rather than continue to hold a lead, played up to their billing as the most expensively D-League team. It was a pretty rough watch, especially since Nerlens Noel was using the Barclay as his own private YouTube clip factory3. Yet, despite pissing away a lead like that, the Nets were still in it with about five seconds to go.

Then, they ran this. I won’t really break it down because it’s hideous and Devin Kharpetian at Brooklyn Game already did a good job tackling it. Just watch that video and imagine what it was like to sit in the stands and watch that shit. The fuck is going on? Is that really how the play was drawn up? Why does everything beautiful turn to total shit?

Why the fuck didn’t they just run Chop4?

Official Name: Texas Tech University
Nickname:
Red Raiders
Derisive Nickname:
Tubby Smith’s Impending Stroke

Signature Win: Treading water by not getting blown out in Big XII X XII play counts as a win when you’re such a miserable fucking team.

Key Players: I mean, I guess it has to be Devaugntah Williams, right? He’s the only TSIS averaging in double figures. I wanted to try and dig a little deeper, find someone that wasn’t the obvious choice but look at the season stats for this team. They’re atrocious. Rec league teams have better stats than these scrubs. As a whole the team doesn’t do shit well and it shows on an individual level. Yet, despite that, I fully anticipate we’ll let this team of nobodies stick around and make it a tight one. I mean, like 13 point victory tight which is a fucking travesty because these skidmarks should be getting pasted.

Keys to Victory: Playing basketball is a solid start. Look, there’s not much to say about this other than we can’t beat ourselves. I don’t trust this team to protect a bag of flour from thieving bakers if it were in a safe that could only be opened with a Toupee retina scan. Which is why this game won’t be a cakewalk. We have so much talent up and down the roster, we just can’t seem to get a flow, a rhythm together to save our lives. Obviously, out guys are good. They just don’t play as a team at this point and that’s scary. How long can you watch us eek out victories and play disjointed basketball and legitimately tell yourself “It’s okay, we’re young, we’ll gel as the season goes on?” At what point do you admit that maybe we’ve already gelled and this is it?

I don’t know the answer and I’ll probably keep excusing our various failings until we’re out of the tournament.

Delicious Local (to the enemy) Beer to Avoid: My kingdom for Billy Gillespie to still be the head coach so I could make a bunch of DUI jokes. At least, that’s what I would be saying if I hadn’t decided to turn a little gentler these last couple of seasons. No need to bash a man for his alcohol problem because who among us hasn’t done some stupid shit at the altar of the fermented bevie gods? Let those who are blameless pour the first Guinness.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)5: Texas Tech 68-81 Kansas

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FOOTNOTES

1 – The Nets are in the midst of a four game skid. Not that it makes Andrew feel any better since the Knicks are currently trying their hardest to obliterate the previous franchise record for futility. Anyway, during the four game losing streak, the Nets have managed to hold a double-digit lead in pretty much all of them, only to piss it away at the end. In Miami, they just couldn’t keep it up and had a rally fail to pull off the win. Dallas they were up something like 13 only to see Dirk pull of some great moments and ultimately outlast a completely exhausted looking Nets. Followed that one up with easily the most dispirited game against the Celts where a 25-19 first quarter gave way to a second that saw a measly 14 points and the Nets sinking into don’t give a shit. Then, they lost to the fucking Sixers, who you might have heard are actively trying to lose. Back

2 – Yeah, that’s a lie. That Joe Johnson bomb from 30 feet out right in front of me. That I remember. Back

3 – Hilariously, it went both ways. In the first half, Noel was attacking the home team hard. He got some sick baseline dunks, shot over a couple of people like it was nothing and all around looked like the guy he’s billed to be. Then, in the second half, it was more of the same, except that the dunks wouldn’t go in. I honestly don’t think there’s anything funnier than a dude missing a dunk, not for the missed dunk but for the reaction. Pretty much everyone looks up at the rim in disbelief, then shakes their head in a betrayed manner. But you know, the only person that really betrayed them is them. Back

4 – At least Andrew and I got to see Lionslayer on the bench. He was wearing the most incredible outfit ever. White coat, black pants, (I swear this is true) sequined grey Italian loafers. If Rihanna hasn’t slide into his DMs yet, she probably will after seeing that ensemble.

What's with that scrub-turned-bench player covering Lionslayer's face? Get the Furk Aledmir! It's Pun Gun Time, yeeeeaah!

What’s with that scrub-turned-bench player covering Lionslayer’s face? Get the Furk Aledmir! It’s Pun Gun Time, yeeeeaah!

You can’t see the shoes in this shot, but you get the idea. I almost don’t want Embiid to ever play just so we get more outfits like this one. Back

5 – How could I be right? Santa Ape was born before science existed. Back



Know Your Enemy: Baylor Bears by longdistancejayhawk
January 7, 2015, 10:15 am
Filed under: Preview
That's the view from my seat at the Mavs game. I was so close I could count Dirk Nowitzki's fucking teeth.

That’s the view from my seat at the Mavs game. I was so close I could count Dirk Nowitzki’s fucking teeth.

Real talk: as an amateur basketball writer-type person, I’m a little worn out from hammering out 7,000 words in the last two Big XII X XII Conference preview posts. That’s a lot of words for someone with a full time job and a somewhat robust social life. I might have dried up the well, so to speak. So, I’m apologizing in advance if this isn’t up to snuff for those of you who expect a certain level of writing to show up for you on game day. Anyway, without further ado, yadda yadda…let’s get to it.

Monday night saw the Mavericks come to the Barclays. This was my second night getting to witness the Dirkus Circus in person and for the second time, the big German’s performance underwhelmed. He looked good, sure, but he wasn’t the kind of player I’ve seen on TV countless times. Well, other than the 17-footer he made with 2 seconds left in the third that got a completely flummoxed Sergei Karasev to foul him for the and one that tied the game. I can’t describe how hilarious it was to watch him hit the shot, then turn around, arms outstretched like Cyrus from The Warriors. “Are you not entertained?” he seemed to say at the jeering crowd.

And the best part of it was that I was ten rows back behind the Mavs bench when he hit it. I got to see Dirk hit a huge shot and turn around to bath in the hate being rained down upon him1. He was larger than life and, despite the insignificance of the game in question, Dirk made it seem like the biggest shot of his career.

As the shot above can attest, I was close to the action Monday night. Thanks to my ticket rep at the Nets for hooking me up with the surprise seat upgrade. I love my seat in the upper deck because I love the baseline corner angle2, but there’s precious little that can compare to the thrill of watching a game from nearly point blank range3.

The only thing that could have made a basketball junkie’s life a little more thrilling would be a ridiculous trade…oh, wait4. Shit, the trade was such a thing that I didn’t even think about the fact that I witnessed Dirk move into 7th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list5. I mean, he did the three guns for like a solid minute when he hit it in OT.

Dirk might be the funniest guy in the NBA just because he celebrates everything like it's Game 7.

Dirk might be the funniest guy in the NBA just because he celebrates everything like it’s Game 7.

Official Name: Baylor University
Nickname:
Bears
Derisive Nickname: 
Scott Drew’s Impending Aneurysm

Signature Win: Didn’t we just go over this? I mean, losing to OU by 10 in their conference opener wasn’t going to change what I picked in the conference preview6. Mostly because it doesn’t meet the minimum criteria of being an actual win.

Key Players: Rico Gathers is probably the guy I’m most worried about in this one. No one on the Bears scores more than 12 PPG, which seems like a poor recipe for success7, yet they still manage to average 70 a game. That seems like a little cause for concern, since I don’t feel they have a focal point to key in on. While Rico, my nightmare fuel, isn’t scoring in double figures, he is tearing down 10.6 rebounds per game while chipping in 9.6 points. Sure, he isn’t the focal point of the offense or anything, but he is a two-way threat. I fully expect him to try and abuse our inside players early and possibly net 10+ on the night8. I feel like we’re going to see a lot of Big Cliff tonight, assuming he can stay out of foul trouble.

Keys to Victory: Guys! Everything’s going to be cool! I looked into it and the Scott Drew’s Impending Aneurysms aren’t that good at blocking! After suffering through a few recent block parties that saw pretty much anything inside of the three point line batted into the upper deck, it looks like Baylor might offer us many, many chances to actually get the rock to fall on those easy interior. I’m feeling a confidence booster for our boys on the inside!

This should be big news for S-SLiME who was scorching from beyond the arc Sunday, but managed just one inside shot. Selden’s offensive woes prior to Sunday aren’t entirely his fault. Sometimes, you think you’ve got a layup and next thing you know, the ball’s cratering in Topeka. I’m looking for him to hopefully get a few gimmes to fall. Same with Ellis, who has been forced into expanding beyond low post back downs thanks to teams sharing crib notes on baseline trapping him. Rico leads the team in blocks with 0.9 per game. I mean, I’m not over 6′ and I think I could probably block like one shot a game. Why you slacking, Rico? What’s your fucking problem? I think we’ll be getting some to fall.

Also, Baylor doens’t protect the rock well enough, at least not when going against the transition hungry Francis Mason, Renegade Cop. They’re averaging 12 per contest, but that’s against some pretty crap competition. Watch out, Baylor. Francis is here to make your life a living hell.

Delicious Local (to the enemy) Beer to Avoid: This is a Baptist university in Waco. Unless there’s still some Natty Ices stocked up in the charred remains of the Branch Davidian Compound, I don’t think there’s any beer within a 50 mile radius of the place.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)9: Kansas 68-63 Baylor

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FOOTNOTES

1 – Hate might be a strong word, since the Brooklyn crowd didn’t really get keyed up until the tail end of regulation when Joe Johnson hit a pretty ridiculous 30-footer (that’s the official distance, though I’m pretty sure he was on the center court logo when he pulled up). That tied the game and the crowd went absolutely apeshit. Probably the loudest crowd I’ve heard in the Mausoleum this year. Double that ape shit when Jack hit a jumper to tie…only to have Plumbles foul Monta Ellis Have It All on a fucking shooting foul and the Mavs forced OT. At which point, you just knew the Nets weren’t going to pull it out. As a ticket holder, I feel compelled to like this team, but it’s like rooting for a husky kid in a footrace. At a certain point, they’re going to get winded and just cede the victory. Back

2 – I’m well aware that half of the action is like a million miles away from you in this position, but personally, I like being able to perceive the width of the court. Spacing is something that I’m obsessed with in basketball and I feel like sidelines and the traditional TV angle don’t really do justice to the beautiful artistry of a team moving around and working the empty spaces in the half court. Back

3 – Which is another thing that occured to me as I was watching the game. From my regular seat and TV, basketball players only have each other, for the most part, as a frame of reference. You know that guards are shorter than centers, obviously, but they’re relative to each other. It doesn’t quite register that there people are massive. Like Nowitzki is indescribably strange looking thanks to height and how flat he looks. Plumlee is cartoonishly tall. Though, I think Charlie Villanueva is the weirdest person to see that close. Like, he’s half hunchbacked and impossibly lanky of arm while being stout of body. He looks, in real life, like an ork from Lord of the Ring. Which might partially be a result of the alopecia, but I digress. Back

4 – I had a pretty funny email exchange with my buddy Andrew about the Waiters for Smith and Shump trade starting that night and running through yesterday. Initially, I was just going to footnote my thoughts on it, but I think I might post a chunk of the conversation as a little bonus piece sometime this week. There’s some real gold in there that I feel like the world really needs to see. Back

5 – I was also in the building when Pierce scored his 25,000th point. Most people were pretty genteel in their applause, but I nearly cried. Watching Pierce, one of my favorite NBA players and my favorite Jayhawk, soak in the clapping, glance up at the jumbotron to see the tribute image, then get back into game mode was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Back

6 – Speaking of the Sooners, I might have made a terrible mistake putting them in sixth in the preview. Mike Silverman on Twitter was quick to point this out. Between beating Baylor by ten and delivering a complete depantsing of the Longhorns, we might be living in a world where Oklahoma is not only “for real” but “a real threat to actually win the fucking league.” Not that I’m backing down from my predictions…yet. Back

7 – Anyone want to point out that we don’t have anyone averaging more than 14 and just two averaging double figures? Because you know where the door is, fella. Or dame. I’m not discriminating. Back

8 – Me thinks this will be a long night for long suffering Magna. I had to defend myself earlier this week over my love of Jamari, which is fair. Look, I’ll be the first to admit that, a lot of times, I become irrationally attached to players based on things like “he’s really funny on Twitter” or “his afro is the coolest thing to wear a Jayhawk uniform in like 10 years, easy.” The heart wants what it wants and sometimes, that’s at odds with the ribbons and ribbons of tape evidence telling you to run away. After thinking about it, I really think I like Jamari because I want him to be the next Kevin Young (who would be the second example above). We just aren’t there yet. I’m still holding out hope that he can pull off a great run or just not scare me every time he touches the ball with anything less than twelve seconds outside of six feet. I mean, I’m an irrational Jamari backer and even I break out in mad hives whenever that happens. Back

9 – Suck on it, Trebek. Back



Know Your Enemy: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels by longdistancejayhawk
January 2, 2015, 10:15 am
Filed under: Preview
Now that...that's an outfit. Unless there's a Swift-Kim Kardashian beef I'm unaware of, I fully expect that blazer to be in the Kim game soon.

Now that…that’s an outfit. Unless there’s a Swift-Kim Kardashian beef I’m unaware of, I fully expect that blazer to be in the Kim game soon.

I was completely prepared for New Year’s Eve to come and go like any other night I spend out in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area. Some overly styled white people here, some ironic intentional dive bars there. Maybe, if I was lucky, a late night foray towards the L train at Bedford and a stop at either Crif Dogs or Anna Maria. You know, the usual night out in that neighborhood, I suppose.

Of course, being New Year’s and all1, that wasn’t the case. While I waited outside of Keg & Lantern for Jess, I was listening to Serial2. I’m staring into the distance, the world drowned out by my Beats3 when I notice this dude walking towards me. He makes some kind of move and, as usual when a total stranger shows some sign of familiarity in the city, I’m taken off guard. I kind of wave back, then reach for my headphones to try and see what he wants. By that time, he’s walked towards Keg & Lantern, talking somewhat aggressively at me. I have no idea what he said, but he was very agitated. I finally got my headphones off as he walked in, still yelling something.

“Dude, chill!” I yelled after him. “I had these on and had no fucking clue what you’re trying to say to me!4” I was pretty aggressive myself at this point, despite the fact that I was yelling at a total stranger’s back. Or more likely the already closed door of Keg & Lantern.

Of course this motherfucker went into the spot where I was planning on having dinner. Talk about awkward.

Evs. Jess showed up and we went in thereto have a couple of their delicious burgers. If you’re in the neighborhood and DuMont is too fancy for you (though it is the best burger in Williamsburg and most of Brooklyn), check it out. Once inside, I saw my new best enemy sitting at the bar, talking to the bartender. The bartender, doing his job, handed me a pair of menus. As I took them from him, he said “Rock Chalk5” and pointed at my KU hoodie. I gave him a “Jayhawk” and a “fuck yeah” in return. Now that I know there’s a KU bartender at Keg & Lantern, I might have to add it to the gameday rotation6.

After that, we went to Matchless7 to meet up with Schuyler and Patrick for a New Year’s Eve comedy show. If I thought dude getting worked up at Keg & Lantern was awkward, I clearly wasn’t prepared for the comedy on display Wednesday night. That shit was insanely awkward. The first red flag was the MC for the evening who claimed a few times that he’d eaten shrooms before the show. I’m inclined to believe him because his performance was a little…spaced…and rambling. Pretty sure he didn’t know where he was that night. The rest of the comedians were anywhere from tolerable to horrific. There was something off about the whole thing8.

Though awkward comedy is probably the best set up for what came next: Matchless karaoke. Patrick was decidedly not a fan of this second helping of entertainment. Like, loudly expressing his distaste for it the minute any of the poor bastards singing finished up. I like to think it was the participants’ decidedly retro song choices9 that spurred his hate. But honestly, I have no idea what his issue was.

Then, of course, there was the actual changing of the year itself. To the dulcet tones of Alice Coopers “No More Mister Nice Guy” we watched Taylor Swift pantomime her way through “Welcome to New York” and “Shake It Off” on the Ryan Seacrest Has an Infinitely Punchable Face Countdown Show Featuring Famous Total Fucking Moron Jenny McCarthy. And the ball dropped. And everyone had champagne.

So, you know, not a bad night really. Well, other than the awesome cab driver we had on the way home. Dude openly told us that he’d only been on the job for like two days. Which he told us in a break in the conversation he was having on the phone. Never change, dude.

New York’s the best.

So, if you’re still here, I guess you want to hear about UNLV and shit, huh10?

Official Name: University of Nevada Las Vegas
Nickname:
Runnin’ Rebels
Derisive Nickname:
Missin’ Gs Redux11!

Signature Win: I know what you’re all thinking: these yahoos knocked off Arizona? When the completely arbitrary ranking had them pegged as the third best team in the country? That’s a signature win, with a bullet. Or one of those flourishes you see on old timey documents like the Declaration of Independence. But nay…that isn’t their signature win, for it doesn’t predict future success for God’s Team. The Missin’ G Reduxes managed to beat Temple. Yes, Temple. The same Temple team that ripped out KU’s esophagus and shit down the blood spurting hole before the Christmas break. Sure, it wasn’t a rout, but I feel like we can get some kind of third hand redemption because of this. Make it so, fellas.

Key Players: The Missin’ G Reduxes are led by a pair of underclassmen in Rashad Vaughan and Christian Wood. Both of these guys are averaging in double figures on the year, which is good because UNLV looks like they struggle to score12. Which is what announcers keep saying about God’s Team and I believe because we barely outscore these guys on the season (70.8 PPG vs. UNLV’s 68.9…FML this is going to be a tough watch, me thinks). I feel like bottling up as least one of these guys will lead to good things for the side of the righteous. Though, if we start off letting both of them hit with impunity as we did for Hall in that Kent State game, we might not be able to corral two guys popping off.

Keys to Victory: The nice thing is that they don’t seem to have a starter who’s a three point bomber. I mean, Cody Doolin is hitting 38.1% to lead the starters. I’d like to think that S-SLiME won’t be losing his man like he did against Kent State, but let’s just assume if he does that Doolin is going to have a career night. While we’re not world beaters on offense, we do seem to be playing somewhat cohesive basketball right now. It’s the defensive end that I’m worried about here. Kent State, while a beatdown, wasn’t the most inspiring defensive performance. We could have won by 35 if we’d actually given a shit on defense. You know, instead of standing in a huddle during an inbound pass.

God, that was a fucking embarrassment.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)13UNLV 69-73 Kansas

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FOOTNOTES

1 – Which is kind of like a full moon thrown on top of St. Patrick’s Day with a healthy dose of bathsalts, in terms of weirdness. Back

2 – I know, I know…I’m late to the Serial party here. I get it. I’m behind. But you know what? I have a lot of other things to listen to and watch and, despite the fact that I spend like 1.5 hours per day on a train, the perfect spot to listen to something like Serial, I just didn’t get around to it, okay? Sue me. Anyway, that shit’s pretty good and engrossing, which will be important in about two sentences. Back

3 – Who says giving famous people shit doesn’t get normies like me to buy? I saw so many basketball players wearing Beats for like four straight years that I broke down and got a pair. They’re pretty good, but probably not that great really. Though, I’ll admit, listening to Sarah Koenig’s voice on them is kind of like using a steamroller to build a sandcastle, to paraphrase Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Back

4 – Three things: 1.) I wasn’t really angry at the guy, just don’t really appreciate getting angry strangers up on my jock when I’m minding my business and trying to figure out if Adnan is a sociopath; 2.) New York makes you more likely to just drop aggressive f-bombs on a stranger, it is a fact; 3.) I’m pretty sure that dude was fucked out of his mind at like 7:45pm last night, so he probably wasn’t totally sure what he was saying either. Back

5 – So, now that I’m writing it, I’m guessing the crazy guy was maybe saying something about the hoodie I was wearing? He and the bartender seemed pretty chummy, so maybe they’re both Kansas fans or something? I really should have been the bigger man and asked the dude what his deal was when we were outside. Back

6 – He was pretty cool, too. Didn’t ask his name, because I’m a dumb ass, but when he cleared the table, he asked what I thought of the house witbiersp. I told him it was really good with the appropriate amount of spicing (I’m a plain jane when it comes to my wheaty brews). His response? “Yeah, but it certainly isn’t Free State.” Truer words are rarely spoken, my new favorite bartender. Truer words. Back

7 – Matchless smelled interesting last night. There’s a very specific smell of this ointment that they use to sterilize tattoo parlors. Or it’s used in the tattoo process. Anyway, the bar smelled like that shit last night. Back

8 – It should be noted that the crowd was pretty dead at the outset, save for a guy named Ray who felt like he was part of the show. Imagine going to an extremely underground comedy show with a chatty and slammered Michael Rappaport and you’ve got an idea of what Ray was like. Most of the comedians took a little time to rip him apart. The best did it in stride of their sets (which weren’t good anyway, but at least they didn’t get completely derailed). The worst (the next to last guy in particular) spent a huge chunk awkwardly trying to belittle the guy. So, you know, there’s that. Back

9 – I mean, this was supposed to be like metal karaoke and these people were singing “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers and shit (aside: why are they signing that shit in miles and not kilometers? Aren’t they from Scotland?). Nobody sang a song written in the last decade and a half14. What I would have given to hear someone tackle Harvey Milk or something. Back

10 – This is a basketball blog after all, right? I mean, shit, I’m nearly at the usual word count for these things and I haven’t said a single thing about basketball. FML. Side note: the NFL’s been promoting the shit out of Saturday’s Cardinals-Panthers matchup with a Run the Jewels song. It bugs the shit out of me that I can’t figure out which song it is, though. Related: the Panthers are my NFL team, so it’s going to be fun to watch KU tomorrow, then switch over the Panthers game like late in the third15. Which they will probably be winning. Mostly because this is the worst possible outcome for my poor Panthers. Last week, we could have secured something like the 10th pick in the draft. Instead, we curb stomped the Falcons then defiled their corpses sexually. Which put us in the playoffs and ensured that we’d be picking in the draft with the playoff teams. Bummer town dot com. This was such a meh season that I was looking forward to psyching myself up about the inevitable left tackle we would have taken with the ten spot. Now, I’m going to watch as the Panthers probably obliterate Ryan Lindley (assuming he isn’t in the mass grave with the rest of Arizona’s QBs at this point) and ruin our draft pick, one weekend at a time. Remind me why I bother rooting for anything? Back

11 – I might be getting softer in my old age, but I find coming up with derisive nicknames somehow too much work and kind of bad sportsmanship. Until we get to Iowa State, in which case I’m totally going to promote the shit out of “Snoreclones.” Back

12 – Or maybe I’ve been spoiled by the NBA where cracking 90 is routine and struggling to score is averaging 88 PPG. Or as I like to call it the Brooklyn Nets. Rim shot! Thank you! I’ll be here all week! Tip your waitress! Back

13 – Yeah, bitch! which reminds me…the DJ last night looked like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. But like maybe a little slow. Or super, duper fucked out of his brain case on some schedule 1 narcotics. I couldn’t tell, but suffice it to say, he was not really good at his job (which was giving people walk up music, not, you know, a mid-set explosion of Schoolboy Q’s “Collared Greens”). Back

14 – Speaking of the last decade…er, last year, I’d like to take this moment to give you a list of albums and songs I particularly enjoyed this year. Songs:

  1. “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)” by Run the Jewels
  2. “Bout It Bout It (featuring Danny Brown)” by Dopehead
  3. “Fist of Fury” by Old Man Gloom
  4. “West Coast” by Lana Del Rey
  5. “Break the Rules” by Charli XCX
  6. “Lampshades on Fire” by Modest Mouse (honorable mention because it Modest Mouse)

Albums:

  1. Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey
  2. The Ape of God by Old Man Gloom
  3. Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels
  4. Longhenna by Gridlink
  5. To Be Kind by Swans

If you’ve never heard any of those songs/albums, check them out. They’re all on Spotify because, let’s be real, we’ve evolved past stealing music at this point to paying poor musicians a pittance on their hard work. Back

15 – I was 110% convinced that we were playing tomorrow, rather than Sunday, when I wrote this piece initially. Thanks to Patrick to pointing it out for a wholly unrelated reason. I thought about trying to edit the footnote to reflect this but decided it’s funnier to leave in there. That and I couldn’t come up with anything that made sense to replace it and keep the head of steam going into the Panthers tirade. You understand I’m sure. Back



Know Your Enemy: Utah Runnin’ Utes by longdistancejayhawk
December 12, 2014, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Preview

This morning on my train ride, I was making a transfer when a homeless person decided to step off the train. Not unusual since there are about as many homeless here as the population of Lawrence. What was unusual was the fact that this guy had tattered clothes covered in fringe. I’m talking Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz level of fringe. All his clothes and bags were shades of black, yet the fringe was kind of caramel colored. And the fringe was everywhere. I’m talking sleeves, shoulders, waist. Hell, even his trash bag seemed to have some fringe growing out of it. It was really fucking impressive1.

Poor guy.

There’s really no point to this intro other than to point out that it’s a tough world out there. There are people with real fucking problems. And here I’m complaining about a college basketball team. Really puts shit into perspective. Or something.

Official Name: The University of Utah
Nickname:
Runnin’ Utes2
Derisive Nickname: 
Missin’ Gs

Signature Win: Clearly, the one point OT win over the future home of former Jayhawk Conner Frankamp. A decisive win would have been better, but a win over a ranked opponent is a win over a ranked opponent. Since that’s the kind of thing that the selection committee really gives a shit about. Forgetting the rankings for a second, that’s a win over a team that made went undefeated through 35 games last year3 and made a Final Four the year before. They’re no slouches, so nicking one off Greg Marshall’s squad’s a feather in the ol’ cap.

Key Players: Delon Wright, who’s all over the court, racking up 15.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.9APG. He’s a 6’5″, 190 lbs. guard and focal point of the team. I’m worried a little bit about the match up implications here. If he’s that big and getting those numbers, or guards are going to be in for a long night, defensively. I imagine the size matchup puts Shape Shifting Lizard Man Eyes on him for most of the defensive assignments. Whether or not he can keep Wright from getting his numbers will go a long way to making this a cake walk…

Keys to Victory: …which I honestly don’t envision at all. Right now, I have little faith in our offensive production outside of the Gentleman Tailor. And the book on how to defend him is a bestseller everyone’s reading right now. Like the Gone Girl of 2014 college hoops. Pretty much every team’s strategy seems to be to double up on the poor guy. I sincerely believe he could be getting 20 points a night if we could just get some consistent production out of one or two guys. Right now, teams seem fine letting Brannen Greene score 19 points since they’re probably assuming he’s not going to be hot every night.

On the other side of the ball, I have one thing I’d like to see: no backdoor cuts. The last two games, we’ve been getting ripped the fuck apart on simple backdoor cuts. I don’t know what the answer is outside of being smarter on help and not hedging so fucking hard towards the ball. I’m guessing it’s really just a matter of focus, the kind that’s hard to expect out of young guys, but we need to do a better job not giving up points on such simple actions.

Also, there’s this:

I’m starting to think maybe we won’t win this onet4. Or it’s going to be ugly. I’m clinging desperately to the latter.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)5: Utah 71-72 Kansas OT

*

FOOTNOTES

1 – On a related note, when he was climbing off of the 2 or 3 train, his bag was sticking out like a foot and half off his left hip. Facing the door and too my left was a blonde woman, probably mid-20s. She was right in the way of the bag. A bag you don’t want any part of on your clothes. Instead of stepping out of the way of the bag, she kept her feet planted and bent sideways at the hip to avoid the bag. I wanted to ask her what her thought process was there, but I didn’t want to hurt the homeless guy’s feelings. Back

2 – Along with the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, Utah sports one of the funniest affectations in marketing: the dropped “r” replaced with an apostrophe. What is this, 1995? Is that sort of thing still popular? This is probably dumber than Rider being called Broncs. Anytime I see someone going totally tits and dropping a g, I think about the classic Seanbaby piece EGM’s Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Video Games of All Time. He describes missing gs thusly:

The print staff also took a strange artistic license and took most of the words that I wrote ending in “g” and replaced the “g” with an apostrophe, making a good portion of the article sound like I was yellin’ it from the back of a pickup truck.

I think that about sums it up. Also, worth noting that the Battle of the Missin’ Gs will go down in Utah’s next game, as they take on the Runnin’ Rebels at MSG on December 20. Back

3 – I know I discussed it before, but that’s damned impressive. Damn impressive. There quite a few of God’s Faithful that tried to argue that them running through a crappier league somehow invalidated the achievement. I don’t agree with that at all. WSU’s run is impressive and deserves to be celebrated. Crap league or not, it’s hard to get up for every game, especially as your streak goes on. Everyone’s gunning to be the team that knocks you off. We win a lot, but we should realize that winning all those games is pretty fucking hard. Look, if you’re going to dock the Shockers for their run last year, you’re going to have to do the same for Kentucky when they bulldoze their way to an undefeated season. The SEC’s kind of shitty in basketball and Kentucky’s going to go undefeated. Won’t make it any less impressive. Back

4 – Thanks to Josh for calling Sarah’s tweet out to me. I hadn’t even thought about that part of the equation. Shit fuck. Back

5 – Not even. Back



Know Your Enemy: Rhode Island Rams by longdistancejayhawk
November 27, 2014, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Preview

Obviously, today is Thanksgiving, so I’m genuinely questioning why you’re here. There’s family to hate, festive races to run and puke after (one, never puked after any race; two, my first race post-collarbone was the annual Turkey Trot and I did 28’31” which isn’t bad considering I’m gingerly reintroducing running to my life), turkey to eat, football to watch, and hoops to get overly into and alienate all those relatives you never liked anyway. Since that’s the case, I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.

Official Name: University of Rhode Island
Nickname:
Rams
Derisive Nickname: 
Hams

Signature Win: Well, you could do worse than besting a pretty solid Nebraska team in OT. I can’t believe I’m even typing the words “pretty solid Nebraska team” since when they were still in the conference, they were a pile of hot garbage on a hotter summer afternoon. But a win over a rank opponent’s a signature win in my book. The Hams (so named because…I don’t know…something about weirdos who eat ham instead of turkey on Thanksgiving, I suppose) were led by a monster night from their guard E.C. Matthews. Matthews set the pace with a double-double, 26 points and 10 boards, netting six of those points in the extra frame.

Key Players: Clearly, Matthews is a gamer who is liable to pop off. Same with Jared Terrell, who chipped in 12 in the Nebraska win, and Hasan Martin, who averages 15.7 PPG so far this season. Looking at the schedule, I assumed, as most of us probably did, that this would be one of those erasable penned in wins. Not so much, now. I’m worried a little bit that if these guys get hot (and really, they only need like two of the three to go bonkers), we could be in for a long night.

Keys to Victory: Luckily, the stats seem to imply that this is a team that executes a dribble-drive style offensive. Haven’t actually watched them this season (a recurring theme when it comes to the early going of the season for me), but the numbers seem to imply that they finish at the rim frequently. Three pointers seem to be average, in terms of attempts, but atrocious on finishes. I can’t imagine that they’ll want to test our guards defensively from distance. What we need to win this game is good, collapsing defense on any drives to the paint. If we can manage our switches and help isn’t a total catastrophe, we should be able to keep a team that averages 77.8 PPG to a lower total. At least, I think we can anyway. I’m not to worried about our interior in this one. I’m more worried with our guards keeping up.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science): Rhode Island 72-76 Kansas



Know Your Enemy: Rider Missing Os by longdistancejayhawk
November 24, 2014, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Preview
Yep, those are some baller ass shoes. You don't have to agree because you already know.

Yep, those are some baller ass shoes. You don’t have to agree because you already know.

I should have been a shoe model, am I right? Look at that subtle, coy pose I’m busting in my new Adidas1. I really missed my calling there.

That’s from the other night when a couple of friends and I went to the final night of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic2. It was a special night, the special kind where you don’t remember having a photo taken of your shoes. Or you decide that the best chaser for a double-dose of square slices is a Nathan’s all the way3.

Yeah, that kind of night.

But definitely fun. The weird thing about the night was that the game was sparesly attended. What happened, Dukies? Couldn’t handle the bridge and tunnel to support your Blue Devils? The vibe was kind of sad, given that this was a Saturday night and there’s like 90% of all Duke grads living one state over.

Travel better, you entitled pricks.

Official Name: Rider…what? College? University?
Nickname: Broncs
Derisive Nickname: Missing Os

Signature Win: Since I did all my research over the weekend, I realize now that I took zero notes on games they’ve actually played. Now that I’m wrapping this thing up on a plane heading to visit my parents, I don’t have the ability to look up their signature win. Not that it matters. They’re playing bullshit Ivy League schools like Princeton, so it isn’t like they’re challenging themselves or anything4.

Key Players: The London Strangler, Teddy Okerafor, a 6’4” Junior guard that’s averaging a respectable 15.7 PPG hailing from London, England. I mean, 15.7 PPG isn’t that impressive until you remember that this kid might be the most important British basketball player since Luol Deng and Luol Deng wasn’t actually born there5! Kidding. I’m sure there are plenty of solid basketball players from England. I just don’t know anything about them. Anyway, I expect our guards to have their hands full keeping this kid from popping off for a career night.

Keys to Victory: See above. The obvious answer is how our guards play on the defensive end. I can really only see one of two outcomes: The London Strangler takes any and all shots he wants, torching us for like 30 points while no one else on the Missing Os manages to crack ten; we shut this kid down, only to see one or more of the other Rider players have a career night6. I’m assuming that Renegade Cop will get the assignment to start across from Okerafor since he’s our most tenacious defender and won’t shy away from the pressure. Should that not work out the way Toupee envisions, I could see some of Devonte’ Graham on him too7.

The second scenario could also be in play. My candidate for a different Missing O to pop off for a career night is their true center, the 7’ Lopez. He’s listed at 245 lbs, which seems a little slight and might explain his lower average (7.3 PPG). However, nothing that I’ve seen in our first two match ups gives me much confidence that we’ll be able to contain him. Unless he’s slow as shit8, I could see him working us over and abusing our interior the way Williams did9.

Look, I don’t think we’re going to lose, but I don’t think this is a cakewalk like we need to get over that Kentucky curb stomping.

Delicious Local (to the enemy) Beer to Avoid: Didn’t research this topic either before hopping on this plane, so I don’t have much to contribute to the suds and buds conversation right now. Your best bet, as always, is to stick with Free State.

The Battle of the Haberdashers: Our uniforms are gorgeous this year10, marrying the multi-million dollar branding initiative and those ’52 throwbacks we rocked during the WITHEY! Block Party. How am I going to go against those beauts?

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (backed up by science)11: Rider 68-Kansas 82

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FOOTNOTES

1 – It’s really weird, but I tend to buy two pairs of shoes in like August or September of every year. One pair is a black pair of sneakers for every day wear. The other is a (most often) Kansas themed pair of Adidas. Last year, it was a pair of red and blue Sambas. This year, I’m rocking those bad boys. Not quite KU colors, but close enough. Plus, they have safety reflective panels that are totally bad ass. Back

2 – I swear at some point, someone told me that an invitational is a tournament, while a classic is a multiple game, one-night event without an overall winner. But I could be wrong about that…highly likely, since I really don’t see any rhyme or reason to the naming of these damned things. Back

3 – I have a half-season ticket to the Nets (you end up in section 204, hit me up, I’m probably there), so I spend a lot of time at Barclays. Once you’ve been there like 50 times, you stop doing things like buying food and beers. You’re just sort of there, you know? I was trying to explain it to people, but going to the arena isn’t like an event to me at this point. I still love watching hoops there, but you know, it’s just another way to consume a basketball game at this point. Like watching at home on YES, but without the dulcet tones of Ian Eagle and the Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello. Also, a Nathan’s footlong all the way involves chili and melted Velveeta. Between that and the pizza, I wasn’t doing my waistline any favors Saturday night. Back

4 – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I kind of remember seeing that they lost to Princeton, too. Way to go, guys! That’s the way to start the season right! Back

5 – Fun fact: back in 2012, like a week before the Olympics started, I’m about 90% sure I saw Deng at the beer garden at The Standard in SoHo. I wanted to go over and confirm, but I also find it tacky to talk to celebrities, so I just sat there and stared at him from across the open bar, like a total creeper. Back

6 – It’s really stupid, but based on the early returns, I feel like we’re primed to be a team that wins like 85% of our games while also letting a ton of guys on the opposition have career nights. I don’t think that’ll last forever, but I can totally see us letting dude’s score as many as they feel like on a nightly basis. Makes me long for the Morrii’s Junior year when we basically started the season in conference play form and went from there. Back

7 – Small sample size, yada yada, but I was really excited to see Graham’s defense in the UCSB game. Sure, the Kentucky massacre wasn’t a great showing (by anyone, really). In that first game, though, Graham looked really good. He played with an enthusiasm that bordered on recklessness at times. That kind of spark, that kind of energy is the kind of thing we need, either off the bench or in the starter’s role. I can totally see some sets and rotations that put Graham on Okerafor to try and force turnovers, especially if Renegade Cop is ineffective or in early foul trouble. Back

8 – Full disclosure: I haven’t watched a single minute of Rider basketball. Definitely not this year and most likely never. Back

9 – There’s still an outstanding warrant in Lawrence for Williams abusing our interior players, if I’m not mistaken. Back

10 – More on this topic coming Wednesday, so be prepared! It’s a call back/director’s cut/what have you of the first feature piece I ever wrote for this blog. And it’s about uniforms! Back

11 – The kind of “science” Kurt Schilling likes to throw around. Transitional fossil record? I’LL SHOW YOU TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS, YOU BLOODY SOCK NINCOMPOOP! Back



Know Your Enemy: Kentucky Wildcats by longdistancejayhawk
November 18, 2014, 11:45 am
Filed under: Preview
Yep, that was a tough game for me, what with being there and all. Nice to see Coach K notch his 903 win that night. Not so nice to watch the Hawks lose by 10. Good thing we got revenge in Mar...shit...

Yep, that was a tough game for me, what with being there and all. Nice to see Coach K notch his 903 win that night. Not so nice to watch the Hawks lose by 10. Good thing we got revenge in Mar…shit…

Yesterday, I was supposed to have my third follow up visit with my orthopedic surgeon regarding that whole shattered collar bone thing. Supposed to because, well, I forgot. Like most mornings, I woke up to my alarm playing the wonderful breakdown of Aphex Twin’s “Boy/Girl” but it was earlier than usual. Not thinking about the fact that I’d set it to be an hour earlier, I set it to snooze, went back to sleep, then ended up getting up at my usual time. I fixed my Aeropress coffee1 plus a travel mug and went to work on autopilot. You know, a Monday, so I’m not totally with it, in terms of remembering things like “third followup with orthopedic surgeon about that major surgery.”

When I got to work, I accidentally popped open my Contigo mug sideways2. The bottom of the mug clearly says “do not open sideways because this thing will keep your shit hot for four-plus hours and hot things develop pressure and that scalding hot liquid will spray everywhere, like your third iPhone in six months3.” I think you can guess what happened after that. I managed to get the coffee off of it quickly and it seems to be fine. Keep in mind, I’m still oblivious to the whole skipping a doctor’s appointment thing.

Until my boss walks by my desk.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Wo…rk…ing?” I responded, confused.

“Don’t you have a doctor’s appointment? In Brooklyn?”

Shit. I did.

Throw in the fact that the tupperware I put my yogurt in let all the yogurt water out all over the bag I brought to carry my food and an apple with moldy core rot and you could say it was a mixed bag of bad things this morning. Nothing life ending, but still enough to make you wonder why you bother getting out of bed at all.

But as a man who believes in some kind of cosmic balance, I’m going to take this as a sign that, maybe, things are going to be even more awesome today. Like beating Kentucky awesome.

To think I kicked this season off trying to pretend like there are no omens in basketball.

Official Name: University of Kentucky
Nickname:
Wildcats
Derisive Nickname: 
The Undeserving

Signature Win: Beating national powerhouse Buffalo by 20. Anytime an anomalously  experienced Kentucky team eeks out a win against a world beater like Buffalo after being down five at halftime, that’s a quality win. One that’s definitely going to tip the scales in Big Blue’s favor come Selection Sunday4.

Key Players: The Undeserving this year are shockingly experienced and running a pretty long bench. What’s wrong, Cal? That NBA Combine thing you ran didn’t attract enough one-and-doners5? Where’s your Anthony Davis now King Scumbag!?

Based on our interior D from Friday night, I see a lot of this in our future. A lot of this.

Based on our interior D from Friday night, I see a lot of this in our future. A lot of this.

Kidding! In looking at the stat lines for these guys, I was shocked that only one guy is averaging less than 10 MPG with fully ten players in double-digit minutes. While I’d like to say that Willie Caullie-Stein6 or Alex Pythress or the Harrison Twins or any of the touted frosh on this roster are truly worrisome, the guy that I’m looking at with teeth chattering is Dakari Johnson. This a man amongst boys. He’s 7′ and 255 lbs. averaging 9.5/12.5 boards. That’s frightening. Given that we don’t seem to have a big bruiser on the interior7, we’re going to approach the Johnson matchup with a don’t fuck up and pray we contain him. Unless Cliff makes a mid-season leap in five days, I see a long night in our immediate future.

Keys to Victory: Playing more like we did in the spurts of brilliance would be a great start. But that’s a lot to ask from a young team. Hopefully, we’re just smart and control the game, keeping it to our pace. If we can also pair some of the more potent offensive outbursts from guys like Graham and Gentleman Tailor with the swarming, turnover-to-transition defense we got going in the second half, I think there’s a chance to edge the Undeserving tonight. But that’s a big if.

Delicious Local (to the enemy) Beer to Avoid: Given that craft brewing seems to be new to LExington and none of the places Google spit out sell up here in the Northeast, I don’t have an opinion on Lexington beers. It probably doesn’t help that you couldn’t pay me enough money to set foot in that dumpster fire of a city…but if I were, I would be interested to check out this Lemongrass American Wheat from West Sixth Brewing. The description sounds right up my alley since I’m a sucker for any and all wheat beers. If you’re kidnapped and escape captivity in the woods near Lexington, check them out and give me a detailed description, because I’ll never know what it tastes like otherwise.

Lion Slayer vs. Wildcat: Embiid’s foot’s broken, so he’s not playing for the second worst team in the Association8 and besides, he doesn’t rock the Crimson and Blue anymore. Suggestions for an updated section here are welcome.

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)9: Kansas 69-75 Kentucky10.

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FOOTNOTES

1 – If you’ve never enjoyed the delicious coffee that the Aeropress delivers, you’re missing out. About a year and a half ago, I went back to Larry for my friend Jana’s wedding. I crashed with my college roommate who had, since I’d seen him last at his own wedding, become something of a coffee snob (sorry, Joe, not a bad thing, since I’m one, too!). He introduced me to the Aeropress which essentially makes espresso. But better. It’s a little strong coming out of the tube, so I highly recommend doubling the liquid and going Americano. Trust me, shit’s tight. Tastes like chocolate coffee all day, every day. Back

2 – It’s apparently product placement day around the Long Distance Jayhawk offices! If only I were popular enough to get these things for free. Back

3 – Yeah…more product placement, but in my litany of shit from the other day, I forgot to mention that I had an iPhone 5S with a shattered screen and I left it in a cab. I paid full price for a replacement about six weeks before the 6 got announced. Which seemed kind of okay since I could have reupped and gotten the discount on the 6 whenever I wanted. Which naturally meant that I left the second 5S in the back of yet another cab and had to burn that discount rate on a replacement 5S. Because I’m a fucking baby who can’t be without a smart phone for up to three weeks, apparently. Back

4 – I really, really hope some Kentucky fan stumbles on this blog and flips shit about that one. I know it’ll happen because their retrograde university confers degrees like University of Phoenix, so they’re probably not savvy enough to click the hyperlink to this footnote. Or they’re too busy fighting another Kentucky fan, since I’ve seen that happen. At Madison Square Garden, no less. Back

5 – I might lose my cred around these parts, but Anthony Davis is an incredible basketball player. Schuyler, feel free to let that barf out of your mouth. Saw the Brow with the Pellies last year and he was…like an alien. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He’s a freak of nature that deserves all the money, endorsement deals, eventual MVPs and Championships coming to him. Speaking the NBA mill in Lexington, Bill and Jalen broke down what an all-Kentucky NBA team would look like in the most recent Grantland Basketball Hour. It’s pretty sick to think about what that team would be able to do on the court. Jalen also points out the staggering amount of money these guys have made. Look, I get that Cal is bad for college ball, but if you’re a young kid with legit NBA prospects, why would you go anywhere else? Being a one-and-done at Rupp Arena is basically a one-way ticket to swimming in a Scrooge McDuck pool of money. Back

6 – I’m all for the three name thing, I think it’s great11 since it gives you the automatic three initial nickname. But man, Willie Caullie-Stein’s name is really hard to say since I always want it to end with another -e word. Like Willie Caullie-Steiny. Back

7 – I touched on it during the Gauchos recap but we were punished inside by Williams on the offensive end. I fear what happens when we don’t box out against a guy like Johnson. Back

8 – I mean, the Sixers are bad and trying to be that way. The Lakers have taken bad to a whole other level. Greater minds than mine have put (digital) ink to (digital) paper about this topic, but the Lakers complete ineptitude is a whole other level. Whereas the Sixers are impossible to watch without wanting to bleach the images from your eyeballs, the Lakers are basically the basketball equivalent of the ending of the Snakes and Barrels episode of Metalocalypse. What they’re accomplishing is breathtaking in it’s putridness. I’m looking forward to a shit ton of things with the Lakers this year, chief among them whether Kobe sticks to his assertion that he’ll stop jacking shots once he passes Jordan on the all-time scoring list. Something tells me he won’t and he’ll continue to take all the shots. All. The. Shots. And I want him to. The look on his face during Lakers games tells me that we might be witnessing someone actually playing until their heart stops, be it from exhaustion or sheer frustration. Every Lakers game is Must See TV. Back

9 – Did I mention I got a doctorate in science over the off season? Because that should be a pretty big clue that nope. Back

10 – I think we’re better than the year we took them on at MSG (again, where I saw some Kentucky fans fight each other) and later took them on in the 2012 Championship, but I didn’t see anything against Santa Barbara that screams we’ve got this one. We both have a nice mixture of young guns and experienced players, I just don’t think ours is as good as Kentucky’s. Without going back through the archives, I’m pretty sure this is the only time I’ve picked against us in one of these. Back

11 – And suffixes on jerseys, which I’m pretty sure God’s Team is leading the league in this season with Mason III, Selden Jr., and Oubre Jr. Why doesn’t everyone on the team come up with something to tack on? I just wish we had a graduate transfer player who could write something like “future PhD.” one the end of his name. Back