Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NCAA Hoops Round Up: Little Girl, Let ET Go Home Already

This is the photo that accompanied the Gary Parrish apologia for Joachim Noah. You know the kind. After the cameras are off, and the game is over, he's a really nice guy. He poses for photos with Vanderbilt fans after a heartbreaking loss that appears destined to keep Florida out of the Top 1 spot for all of a week or two (we'll get to that). I'm not saying Noah ain't a nice guy, nor am I willing to assert that he is a nice guy. I don't know Noah. Thing is, neither does Parrish.

There are plenty of people who fit the mode that Parrish describes though, who were not nice guys. Respectful in loss to the athletes who bested him, poses with fans of either team, and answers questions with modesty? That's fine. In the middle of a game, when his emotions are running, he's been quite comfy swiping at a cheerleader, or acting like a spoiled baby when the opposing coach won't give him the ball quick enough. So we'll see.

But Parrish's main thrust of the article is the kind of cloying journalism that makes readers discount what most sportswriters write. "You don't know him like I know him!" We couldn't possibly be "haters" because of Noah's antics on the court; we must have other reasons! I'm not paraphrasing--here's Parrish in his own words:

You see a Miss Sweden for a mom, and you hate it.
You see a French Open champion for a dad, and you hate it.
You see the bouncing ponytail for a hairdo, and you hate it, too.
But if you could ever get past that stuff -- and it is admittedly a lot
of stuff -- what you'd see is that when the games are over and the TV cameras turned off Noah transforms from the jabbering face of the reigning national champions and into perhaps the most gracious, polite and approachable superstar imaginable.

I see a lickspittle journalist, and I hate it.

First of all, someone help me--that's a lot of "stuff" to get by? A haircut and parents? I didn't know his mom was Miss Sweden until the moment I read the sentence. I don't hate based on bouncing ponytails, or buzzcuts, or even the nouveau Vanilla Ice dos I'm seeing on Pittsburgh's squad. The argument is, If Only You Knew Him Like I Knew Him.

Which is a lame argument. It's not our fault, the viewer's fault, that someone comes across like an ass when they are in the middle of their job. That's the person's fault, no matter who it is--Joachim Noah, Geraldo Rivera, or GW Bush. They do their job on cameras. It isn't the job of the print media to talk about how great these folks are when they aren't doing their job. It certainly isn't their job to talk about how great they are when the rest of us can't see them.

And really, a couple of anecdotes about how Noah responds to positive attention (like being asked for autographs) doesn't seem to me to be a very powerful response when these are details that occur after the game in which Noah stamped his feet about the Vanderbilt Coach not giving him the ball when he grabbed for it. What do I know, though? I'm just a blogger who hates on Noah for reasons that have nothing to do with his Whiny Ass Titty Baby style of game, but because of his hot Nordic mom and his somewhat successful tennis playing dad? Buh? Snuh.

Careful, Gary, you're one step away from Alicia Silverstone in The Crush: "I Love Joachim, and He Loves Me!" No he don't Gary, not even if you take all the leftover Corey Brewer Florida trim he's getting and subject them to swarms of angry bees (yeah, I've actually watched The Crush. Eat it, Sports Guy).

Ugh. Enough. Let's move on to actual games.

So Wisconsin was #1, and they ate it to a bunch of Spartans, perhaps inspired by the upcoming release of 300, a movie about Spartans produced by Robert Rodriguez, based on a Graphic Novel by Frank Miller, just like Sin City was. Sin City is where they held the NBA All-Star Game, you know. (Homage to the Sports Guy, again. Your job is crazy easy. Enjoy it, son.)

So #1 was wide open tonight, at least until Wisconsin and Ohio State play against each other later on this week.

#2 Ohio State took care of business after a fashion, beating Penn State by 8, 68-60. Ohio State has played two curiously close games with the bottom feeding Nittany Lions. Maybe they just can't solve Geary Claxton, I don't know. But this game was ugly from start to finish, and Ohio State didn't look like a real #2 in the country in this game. Much as they didn't when they got their doors blown off by Florida earlier in the year, or when they got beat by Wisconsin in Big 10 play. Am I saying that no matter what happens the rest of year that this is the #1 seed to discard before the Final Four? No I am not. But I'll be discarding them.

Ohio State was helped, I guess, by the rather unimpressive win from #3 Florida. Not that they didn't blow out South Carolina, they did, 63-49. There's just no way beating South Carolina is going to be impressive. The last time the Gamecocks were good, they were the first #2 seed to lose to a #15. Sooner or later, (hopefully before the tournament starts) the NCAA is going to wake up to the fact that the SEC is weak. I think the Big-12 has more scary teams than the SEC. And yet, we keep seeing Kentucky, or Alabama, or Vanderbilt in the Top 25.

Hey, speaking of the SEC:

Vanderbilt got rewarded for beating Florida--they went from "Others receiving votes " to #17. They parlayed that into a massive drubbing at the hands of Mississippi State. Who I think were good once back when I was in college. And I'm not exaggerating. Drubbing. 83-70, with Jamont Gordon (who?) recording the second triple double in Mississippi State history. So Vanderbilt got to be in the Top 25 for a week. It probably matters not to Vandy. They've punched their ticket to NCAA March Madness, just like Michigan State probably did for beating Wisconsin. Do either of these teams actually deserve it, based on who they've lost to? Probably not. Suck it, mid-majors.

Tennesseein' is Tennebelievin: #25 Alabama keeps getting ranked, and I'm not sure why. They keep losing the games that would really make them a factor, a team to be noticed. Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl's Tennessee team seems to win those important games, and this instance is no different. Tennessee probably has the best player not wearing a Florida uniform in the SEC in Chris Lofton. I'd like to see them take the place of Alabama in any postseason talk, because I think their chances of winning a game or two are much better then Bama's. This is a long way of saying that Tennessee beat Alabama 69-66 in OT. Tennessee now has a better record on the year and in the conference than the #25 team in the country. That suggests, somewhat worryingly, that the SEC may send at least 6 teams to the tourney. Reflected glory shall be our watchword there.

I should admit that the rest of the conferences aren't any prettier. In the ACC, North Carolina, hated bastards that they are, took care of business against an outmatched NC State. But Boston College, perhaps still reeling from losses to Duke and UNC last week, lost huge to VA Tech.

And then you've got even more unranked, but probable at-large ACC teams. UVA (#24) actually was ranked, but got beat by the bottom of the ACC, Miami. On again, off again ranked Maryland beat Florida State.

And with Georgia Tech's win over Wake Forest, that young and talented team finds themselves 7th in a conference that very well may get 7 teams in (I'm against that, but it is possible).

And it is official--we should not speak of Clemson again this year.

The ACC and The Big 10 and the SEC aren't the only conferences that are weird top-heavy dogpiles. What to make of the Big 12? The PAC-10? Hell, we might as well count the Missouri Valley in this group now. The conference tournaments that start in a week are going to be huge for sorting out who goes to the Dance, and where they are seeded. A sorting hat, if you will. UNC, The House of Slytherin is paging you.

And I say this with all due respect to Baby Jesus: Fuck Christmas, this is the best time of the year.


Jess said...

I didn't know that Joakim Noah's mom was a former Miss Sweden. Therefore I will assume (at the risk of making an ass out of u and me) she's pretty hot. Or at the very least, she was back in the day. And I don't remember Yannick Noah being exceptionally unattractive.

So, how in the name of all that is good and pure in this world did Joakim Noah end up so butt-ass ugly?

Big Blue Monkey said...

Jess, if you knew Joachim like Gary Parrish knows him, you would see that he is quite beautiful in his own way. An inber beauty that shines outward, bathing everyone in its glow.

(the over/under on someone chiming in with a bukkake joke is 30 minutes)

Badcock said...

Joachim Noah is big in Japan, where they use him to produce their screaming rape porno.

He doesn't even use his distended, beetle-hooded phallus. One look at that mug and they're screaming for mercy.

Seriously, a harelip would actually improve his looks.