The Vanderbilt Vendidad

Post-UT-victory, Pre-Kentucky-Game ruminations

Oh my. So did anybody see that UT-Vandy game? That thing was hideous! Easily the worst officiated game I’ve seen in years. But you know what was worse than the officiating?

ESPNU. How terrible was ESPNU? Worst broadcast I have ever seen, narrowly beating out the Florida/Michigan State basketball championship game in which Billy Packer declared Mateen Cleaves “The greatest basketball player the sport has ever seen.”

Daren Stoltzfus. If you had the misfortune of watching this game on TV, you saw more of this idiot than anyone on Earth should ever see (opinion shared by Vanderbilt and Tennessee fans alike). His original take on the game?

"Everyone loves an underdog story," repeated ad nauseam. He believed that because four of Tennessee’s players were arrested, two of whom were found innocentish enough for the game, Tennessee was suddenly a Cinderella team.

THE VOLS WERE NEVER UNDERDOGS. Not by rankings, not by betting lines (Vols favored by 6), not by popular opinion (an ESPN.com poll had 93% of the country picking the Vols at home). Fortunately, though, now that UT’s house of cards of a run has finally collapsed, they will be in Memorial.

I had developed some sympathy for the Vols, and this idiot took it all away. But blame ESPNU’s team of (I assume) unpaid interns for putting him on the air for so long. Once or twice might have been cute. Throwing to him after every third UT basket was simply terrible.

Now, on to Kentucky.

I have been inspired by a work of video art, the likes of which have never been seen. This team should use the snow to summon the arctic powers of the Alaska Nanooks:

Alaska Nanooks 2010 Hockey Intro from Szymon Weglarski on Vimeo.

Do I smell a new spirit animal?

But now for my thoughts on Kentucky:

Strangely, I feel the same way about this game that I felt about Tennessee. Nobody expects the Commodores to win, despite having what should be a thoroughly intimidating record and winning streak, and everybody expects Kentucky to come out with something to prove. But I’m holding out hopes for some major chemistry issues:

  • At this point, Patrick Patterson should be bitter and resentful about the way Calipari has pushed the team’s only bright spot to the margins of bigger, better freshmen.
  • DeMarcus Cousins punched a dude! Surprise! He’s not going to be punished for it!
  • We know how Kentucky responds to wins—they win again. But they’ve had some lucky breaks at Rupp this year (imagine that). I don’t think they’re invincible at home, and there’s no telling how this team will react to a loss.

It’s seemed like a year where losses come in groups of more than one, especially in the SEC (take Vanderbilt, for example).

So I’m cautiously optimistic.

And considering some of the issues in the Vanderbilt game—the fact that AJ and Taylor were 100% absent for the first half (AGAIN)—Stallings could have plugged some of the holes in time for a stronger, tougher team at Kentucky.

I have a hatred in my heart for this year’s Kentucky Wildcats like nothing I’ve ever known in basketball.

Let’s do this, Commodores.

29 January 2010

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