Somebody tell this guy that North Carolina is a swing state. Wait, what's that? Nobody who attends Duke is actually from North Carolina? Fair enough.
Anyway, I might lose some street cred when I make the following admission. I fully intended to watch Duke, and then catch the SoTU on the net afterward. That was the plan. Then 9pm rolled around, and the Nova-Notre Dame game, which was the lead-in to Duke-FSU, was taking longer than expected. So I said 'what the hell, I'll just catch the first few minutes of Obama.' You all know how this story goes. Suddenly two crazy southern dudes are standing shoulder-to-shoulder shouting, Obama's shaking hands and kissing women, Pelosi is giving the introduction, people are standing, applauding, screaming, cackling, sitting on their hands, mouthing dissent, and so on and so forth. Next thing I know, it's 10:30, an NBC talking head is telling me he doesn't know what to think until he sees a poll, and I'm like 'holy damn, Duke is on.'
So yeah. I only caught part of the second half. The basic gist is that we didn't play great, but did enough to win. FSU has a pretty stolid defense, and they managed to come close with about 9 minutes left before we finished the job in a late flurry. The defense was up to standard, though the Noles had a pretty pitiful shooting night, especially at the line (6-14), and missed a lot of chances. Scheyer had 22 on a great shooting night, though he turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 4 times. Singler was in bombs-away mode, and shot well from inside the arc despite an interesting 3-10 stat line from 3. Nolan was 4-15 in a rough night. Outside of Earth, Wind, and Scheyer, only 17 points were scored. Plumdog Billionaire, aka Mason, seems to be fading in Coach K's estimation. He only had 8 minutes of PT, while Lance Thomas had 35.
FSU, though, is a very large team, so this win is a nice omen of what we can do against ridiculous size. They start 3 guys over 6'9", and ended up outrebounding Duke by 9. To win against a team like that even through sloppy play is a positive. Some other thoughts:
*Is it wrong to say that I don't like Mason Plumlee as a human? Something about his face, and his expression, and his bearing make me sort of cringe. He seems like a person I wouldn't like in real life. Like he's real entitled, or cocky, or something, but also kind of babyish. I honestly can't remember the last Dukie I had trouble rooting for. I even enjoyed JJ; I felt there was something relatable about him, despite his sometimes-arrogant demeanor. Mason Plumlee, though...I don't know. I just can't get behind him yet. Do any other Duke fans feel this way? Is this sacrilege?
*On the Earth, Wind, and Scheyer nickname topic: the originator of the fantastic moniker posted in the comments section yesterday. His name is Amogh, and he made the sign for the BC game. Here's a (hilarious) picture:
In particular, I love the color scheme, the off-kilter letters, and the uneven cut of the silhouettes. Oh wait, that's everything. Just an awesome production, everywhere you look. The whole thing looks like the pet project of a really enthusiastic second grader, which I think (and hope) was the point. Excellent work, sir. You definitely need to take a close-up photo for the sake of the internet.
*I've also come up with a name for my favorite basketball move in the universe. I described it in yesterday's post, and you can see the most famous example in the Jordan YouTube video at the 2:35 mark. The gist is this: a player drives to the basket, finds his way obstructed, pulls away as though he's given up the idea, and proceeds outside for one or two steps, just enough so that the defender gets complacent, before spinning back to his driving lane and continuing to the hoop. The new name for this move is:
The Peel and Wheel.
Because you peel away, then wheel back. Simple, memorable, rhyming. I have my first league game tonight, and I will definitely be trying the Peel and Wheel. Here's a video of Scheyer doing the world's slowest, choppiest Peel and Wheel from the Clemson game, courtesy of another commenter for yesterday. 10-second mark:
Honestly, that barely qualifies. The Jordan one was much better. But check out how Nolan Smith gives Erin Andrews an extra little look at the end of their interview, starting at the 3:00 mark. If Erin Andrews isn't turned on, she should be.
HEY FOLKS, IT'S TIME TO GO....
That's my new awesome Australian Open segment opener. The kids love it.
*Andy Murray is in the final, where he'll probably play Federer. This is kinda nuts, but no British man has won a major tennis tournament since 1934. That's a ton of pressure. How is that even possible? It's not true of any other big European nations, right? Here's a list of European nations who have fielded winners in that time: France, Germany, Sweden, Hungary (!), Czechoslovakia, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Romania (!), Russia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Croatia, and Serbia (!). That's 14 nations with champions, but no Great Britain. Here's the company you're keeping, Britannia:
Portugal: Considers the tennis racket useless because it's too flat to catch a fish.
Norway: Considers the tennis racket a really crappy snowshoe.
Poland: Doesn't understand why tennis matches have a lifeguard when there's no water around.
And that's (roughly) it. You need to start taking things seriously, guys. It's getting embarrassing.
*The big news: Serena vs. Henin in the final. That's just so awesome. Literally, that is the only match-up that I would have watched in the women's Championship. Pure power, with a little mental instability (but not as much as Venus), vs. the gritty comeback kid. Personally, I don't think there's any way Serena keeps it together for three sets. As great as they are, the Williams' are just so vulnerable to melt-downs in big moments. If it doesn't come easy, it doesn't come at all, or so it seems. And it won't come easy against Justine, that much is guaranteed. Henin wins in three, but the last set will be something like 6-1, with a lot of whining and exasperation from the American.
And that is about enough from me. G'day mate!