Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Plushenko is a Huge Crybaby

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

I'm in a rush this afternoon, so here's a brief recap of Evgeni Plushenko is the biggest belly-aching biatch in the Olympics.

-Lost the gold medal to Even Lysacek because he looked like he was being hit by severe wind gusts on every jump. Also, he's amazingly creepy, but I'm not sure if the judging system is sophisticated enough to deduct for that yet.

-Was shocked- shocked!- that he lost. He thought the fact that he did a quadruple jump meant he would win hands down over every competitor. But as Lsyacek put it, if figure skating were just about one jump, they'd give them 10 seconds and no music.
But according to Plushenko, men's figure skating without a quadruple jump is "women's figure skating."

-Told anyone who would listen that he thought for sure he'd won the gold.

-During the medal ceremony, he actually had the balls to step up onto the gold medal platform for a brief, "significant" moment, before stepping down to silver.

-Afterward, in the press conference, he repeated that he thought he won the gold, condescendingly said he'd share it with Lysacek, and then got up and walked out. Predictably, members of the state-run Russian media (wearing Team Russia jackets to show their objectivity) walked out with him.

-Designed a website where he claimed to have won the "Platinum Medal" in Vancouver.

You can read here for more fun details.

You're a whiner, Evgeni. And an arrogant, smarmy-looking Ivan to boot:

Putin got in on the act, sending him a telegram* saying he thought he put out a gold-medal worthy performance.

*My friend Spike's comment: "Telegram? I knew the Russian economy was bad, but wow."

As a side note, doesn't it suck that we only had like ten years not to be afraid of Russia? Nobody seemed to know their economy was tanking in the 80s, so the Red Scare was alive and well right up until their collapse. Then they were poor again for a while, but now they have a few mega-businesses, Putin, and some military clout. I'm terrified of Russia again, and I don't feel I had enough time to enjoy the brief halcyon days.

PS to Prime Minister Putin - if you take over America within the next few years, please understand that this post was designed to flush out anti-Russian sentiment in your future colony. Thank you.

Have a nice week and weekend, comrades.

Morning: The Jinx is Back!

Well, we didn't win gold. Ain't no gold in them mountains. The gold rush is off. But the nordic combined team won silver, and that's not too shabby. Well done, Bill Demong.

After proclaiming an imminent win yesterday, a friggin' snowstorm cost the US their shot. Apparently our guys chose their skis an hour before the cross country portion began, when it wasn't snowing. Then the white stuff began to fall, and the Austrians picked later, and had better wax, or something. Anyway, their advantage propelled them to a 5-second win. Bill Demong was trailing by 14 seconds at the start of his anchor turn in the relay, and he erased it completely. He held the lead for most of the last 5 kilometers. But he stumbled coming down the final hill, and the Austrian's better skis propelled him to the line.

After looking at the results, I see that Demong had the best anchor time of any competitor, which is awesome. He left it all out on the trails. Brett Camerota's opening 5km was unfortunately slow, and the seems to have set us back beyond repair. Oh well. Bill has one more shot for an individual medal Thursday in the long hill/10k event.


USA vs. Switzerland today at 3. I might even get to watch some of this at the airport before heading down to Carolina. The Swiss were in our group, and we beat them 3-1 last Tuesday. We should handle this game pretty easily. Then, at 7:30, the Canadians and Russians face off. Oooh baby! I'm still torn as to who I should root for. My friend Spike made the good point that we already beat Canada, and a USA-Russia gold medal game would be epic in the old school way. But it's hard to root for, so hard. I'm just going to let this one play out.

Here's a Warren Zevon song that sounds like most other Warren Zevon songs, except it's about hockey. (Note: I kinda love Warren Zevon.)

As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be gone from blog-land until next Tuesday. I hope to make at least one other post today, covering what a huge friggin' baby the Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko is being about his silver medal. And maybe a little something about Duke, since I won't be around for their two games against Tulsa and UVA. And I'm going to miss the whole hockey extravaganza, too.

I just had the instinct to type the word 'sigh.' And I wasn't even being cute, I meant it legitimately. This is an 'uh-oh' moment.


That guy's name is 'manchin.' Sounds like a hick saying 'mansion,' looks like man-chin. I bet West Virginia folk get a lot of laughs about that. There could be a hilarious 'who's on first' type routine about him.

West Virginia yokel 1: Hello, you, sir! Where's the governor's mansion?

West Virginia yokel 2: The governor's Manchin in West Virginia.

West Virginia yokel 1: I know that, you idiot. I'm asking where in West Virginia!

West Virginia yokel 2: All over.

West Virginia yokel 1: No, no, no! What is the exact location of the mansion?

West Virginia yokel 2: Manchin's location?

West Virginia yokel 1: Yes!

West Virginia yokel 2: The mansion.

Look, it needs work. I never promised you a miracle. More later, my droogs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Saranac Lake Gold Rush

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. After the ski jumping portion of the Nordic Combined team event, the Americans are in second place. Finland is in first, but our skiiers are vastly better than theirs, and they'll only have a two-second head start in the skiing portion.

Japan and Germany, also medal favorites, will each be about forty seconds behind. For perspective, the Americans finished 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 36th in the small hill individual event, and were 3rd, 6th, 11th, and 38th in the race itself. That was a 10km race, and today each competitor will be doing 5km in the relay style, but it gives an idea of our chances.

And they are good. 20km from gold...unbelievable. Bill Demong will bring it home for the town "where art, health and history meet in the wilderness of the Adirondack Mountains." Boom!

How Could You, Johnny Damon??

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.

I promise I will stop posting this message at some point. Probably this week.)

Get ready to be sick to your stomachs, Yankee fans.


Oh, wait...the Yankees are a commercial organization who deemed it unwise to pay you for more than year, and let you go without a single hesitating thought about loyalty? Fair enough.

Article is here.

Morning: Tuesday NoNewsDay

Before I begin with my collection of jokes and opinions, a quick heads-up that I'll be out of town Thursday through Monday on "business." First, I'll be in Chapel Hill, and then I'm heading to New Orleans for the weekend. In both places, I'll be holding blog signings. How this works is I set up a table at a bookstore, you print out and bring me your favorite blog entry, and I write a witty note with your name misspelled, like this:

Yo Michel,

I'm glad you like my post from August about the Yankees. But I guess they don't like Yankees too much down here in North Carolina, do they, LOLOLOLOLOL. I think you're cool. Best wishes,


If that appeals to you, stop by. Actually, though, I really will be in Chapel Hill on Thursday and Friday (anybody got a sweet hook-up for Duke-Tulsa tickets?), and New Orleans til Monday, so after tomorrow, no posts until Tuesday. I'm going to be missing so much shit. It's half tragic. But I'll try to cover my bases tomorow.

So. Nothing really happened last night. A couple northern Europeans won at ski jumping and cross country, Canadians won ice dancing, which is my least favorite of the figure skating events, and UConn surprised West Virginia at home. And that's about it.

It occurred to me that if not for the Olympics, last night would have happened on repeat all throughout February. It's one of those 'the darkest hour is just before dawn' situations. A few good college b-ball games is all we usually get between the end of football and March Madness/Opening Day, and it makes the shortest month feel like the longest. The Olympics came at the perfect time. Can we do this every year, please? Or every two, at least?

Today is better than yesterday. Syracuse plays, Bode goes for a fourth medal, and my hometown homie Bill Demong gets his second shot at gold in the Nordic Combined. If you're new to the blog, check out #s 3 and 9 in this post. In his first event, Bill had a rough ski jump, then skiied his ass off in the cross country portion, getting to within five seconds of the leaders before losing steam and finishing sixth. But he's won a slew of World Cup events lately, and has a real shot to medal if he can throw out a decent jump. I'll update this later today; he jumps at 1:30. The race doesn't go off until 5, but we'll have a good idea of his chances by 2pm or so.

Oh, here's something I missed: the US and Canadian women both won their semifinal hockey matches yesterday. No surprise there; unlike the men's game, nobody outside the top two really had a chance to even make the final. But it sets up an exciting gold medal match at 6:30 on Thursday.

Last, the first round of the men's hockey tournament starts today. The US doesn't play, but Canada and the Czech Republic each have what should be an easy test. And the quarterfinals happen tomorrow. The US has a sweet draw; we'll either play Belarus or Switzerland, which shouldn't be much trouble, and then either Finland or the Czech Republic in the semis. Russia, Canada, and Sweden, easily three of the top four teams, are all on the other side of the draw. You can see the bracket here.

Okay, more later on. I'm gonna link a damn video in this space when YouTube stops gettin' all Lindsey Jacobellis on me.

Edit: embedding disabled by request. Screw you, Dirty Vegas.

Monday, February 22, 2010

US - Canada: The Final Tally

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.

I promise I will stop posting this message at some point. Probably this week.)

If you haven't yet read about my disastrous anti-Canada facebook campaign, you can read more here. The gist is that I used my gf's account (she went to school in Canada, has friends from there) to post inciteful status updates. Among the main points I hit were:

-Crosby is a coward, just like Gretzky
-Martin Brodeur is a bad goalie (or 'Bro-Poor')
-Switzerland will beat Canada (didn't happen)
-US will beat Canada (5-3!)
-The maple leaf is not up to snuff as a symbol


Here's what I've learned in the aftermath:

-The girlfriend's best friend is furious at her, and me by proxy.

-The girlfriend's other main college friend de-friended her.

-The girlfriend is back in touch with ex-boyfriends and will probably marry them all.

-The girlfriend's brother was 100% on board, and actually seems to really hate Canada.

-A lot of people posted semi-angry messages.

-Some took solace in the fact that the Canadians were ahead in ice dancing.

-Canadians have trouble writing 'medals.' (Happened twice, first had an unnecessary apostrophe, second was 'metals,' which actually seems kinda appropriate.)

-Canadians are convinced that Americans care more about them losing than America winning...and after my conduct, and reading the status updates of a bunch of other Americans (average message: "HOLY SHIT, FUCK YOU CANADA, WE DID IT!), this seems to be true.

-I am an asshole.

There you have it. The whole thing is a big mess. Nah, not a mess...more like a clusterfuck. Wait, that's not exactly right either...traffic accident? No, no...what am I trying to think of?

Oh yeah, I remember:

The Ugly Journey to Perfection

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.

I promise I will stop posting this message at some point. Probably this week.)

After a rough and testy challenge at Cameron last night, the good guys escaped with a 67-55 win. It certainly wasn't pretty. I don't think I really underestimated Virginia Tech in Friday's post; I think Duke just played a poor offensive game. 25% shooting in the first half, and with 8 minutes left it was tied at 47. Then Nolan and Singler took over, and Tech stopped being able to score.

The Perfection Proclamation is intact. Two more home wins, against Tulsa and UNC, and we'll have an unblemished mark in the friendly confines of Durham city proper. Which is awesome. Here are five positives and five negatives from last night.


1) Brian Zoubek continues to astound. Since being made a starter, he's been better than ever seemed possible. He only had 3 points last night, but he pulled down 16 boards, and anyone who watched knew how valuable he was throughout.

2) Singler's last season revival lives on. He scored 25 last night, shooting almost 50% from the field and converting all seven chances from the line. He also pulled down 10 boards to notch a double-double. We needed him so badly this season, and he's finally in the groove. Good timing. Hopefully he keeps the black eye.

3) As a team, we continue to thrive under pressure. When times get tough, we excel. This was something you couldn't say about Duke teams in the past few years.

4) Nolan Smith keeps looking better and better. He's playing with confidence, and penetrating more than ever. He needs to keep driving, since he's the only on the team with that lightning first step. It'll continue to open his pull-up jumper, and to create threes for the others when opponents are forced to play help-side D.

5) We own the boards. If nothing else, we won't lose a tournament game because the other team killed us on the offensive glass. Should be a nice change.


1) The Plumlees. What a wash. Miles in particular is just useless out there. He can't even haul in a routine rebound without making it look like the ball was covered in petroleum jelly. It's a mess, and Mason isn't much better. Last night, neither one inspired enough confidence from Coach K to get even 10 minutes of playing time.

2) The disappearance of Andre Dawkins. We really could have used a sharpshooter with a bit of driving ability this year. It didn't pan out. He's very young, and it was probably expecting too much. He also had to deal with the horrible tragedy of his half-sister dying on the way to see him play. I feel bad for Baby Dawk, and still think he'll have a nice career at Duke. But he looks lost now, and his mojo is missing. It might be too late to get it back this season.

3) Stagnant offense. When we're not shooting, we're incredibly vulnerable. Virginia Tech is almost the kind of team who Duke always struggles against in the tournament. The Hokies didn't hit their 3s, and couldn't score enough in the end to give us a run at the end, but a slightly better version of their squad will be waiting in round 2 and the Sweet 16. The stifling, rangy, explosive type team made in the mold of everyone who's taken us down in the past six years. Another loss due to our inferior athleticism would sting. A possible antidote is taking advantage of our rebounding ability and running a fast break once in a while, but it never seems to happen. It's always dribble down, pause at halfcourt, make an entry to the wing, and then run a multitude of picks. Which can be pretty effective, but is also predictable.

4) Scheyer's streaky shooting. It's hard to pick on him, since he's had such a great year, but a creeping, under-reported wrinkle is that he goes cold for stretches. Sometimes it's just a game, sometimes it's a string of games. Take a look.

Last four games: 20 for 66, 30.3%
Previous five: 28 for 59, 47.4%
Previous three: 12 for 39, 30.7%
Previous seven: 52 for 103, 50.5% (!)
Previous three: 12 for 39, 30.7%
Previous five: 24 for 50, 48.0%

And that's his whole season. So basically, he's had three hot streaks, totalling 17 games, and three cold streaks, totalling 10. Which isn't a terrible percentage, but, you know, let's just hope we're on the right side of that bipolar performance come tourney time. Because in our four losses, his numbers look a lot like the bad times: 20 for 55, 36.3%.

5) Questionable one-on-one defense. This is nitpicking, because the team defense as a whole looks great. But individually, we're still susceptible to being smoked by a great player. Nolan did an admirable job on Delaney for most of the game, but in the second half he really got rolling. He penetrated with ease, got to the line, created his own shot, and created a lot of open shots for his team. Granted, most of them didn't go down, but that was more Tech's fault. And even with all the misses, there was a point late when Delaney had an open 3 that would have been an absolute dagger. But we had some margin for error last night. In March, we won't.

Slow week for the Dukies coming up, with only home game against Tulsa before our next big battle, Sunday at UVA. It's hard to know what to expect from this team, but at this precise moment, we're in the cat-bird seat for the ACC title. Even in a down year, that's something to be proud of.

Morning: I Am So Patriotic About Hockey

Holy shit, that hockey game! America RULES!

There's no other way to start this post. That game was like taking liquid adrenaline. 60 minutes of speed flurries, kamikaze charges, and hellbent American youth. Canada had the better roster, but we had the better keeper, and the better energy. And maybe better luck, too. We'll take it all.

*Ryan Miller: wow. He faced over 40 shots, and stopped all but 3. And they weren't easy shots, either. It felt like Canada had an open look on an odd-man rush at least once per minute, especially in the first and second periods. Miller was a brick wall. As they say in hockey television studios, he was standing on his head. Apparently, he's the Sabres goalie. Thank you, Buffalo. We know you've fallen on hard times. You haven't been contributing much these days, but this is much appreciated. Also, his helmet is awesome: it features an angry Uncle Sam bearing his muscles (he has a USA tattoo) and holding a flaming torch, and the slogan "Don't Tread on Me!" on the other side.

Everyone knows you need an awesome goalie to win the Olympics. Hasek pretty much won the gold by himself for the Czechs in '98 (oh shit, he was a Sabres goalie too...parallels!). And Miller is quite clearly the man, so I'm predicting gold for US. It's in the bag.

*Is this the Miracle On Ice, Part 2? Granted, all our players are NHL professionals, not scrappy amateurs, but it's still a mostly-unknown collection of young guys mixed with a few savvy vets. I looked at the roster last week, and while I admit I'm not the world's best hockey fan, I definitely thought I'd recognize more than three names. But no. Langenbrunner, Drury, and Rafalski were it. The rest are apparently 17 years old, young and hungry, taking on the biggest powerhouses in the universe. Just like 1980. Or at least that's the story I'll go with.

*In continuation of my immature antics with my girlfriend's facebook wall (she went to college in Canada, and many of her friends are Canadian), I kept up a steady barrage throughout the weekend. Among other things, I wrote that Greenland and Mexico were both better North American countries, that Crosby was better at scoring goals for the US, that Martin Brodeur should be called 'Martin Bro-Poor,' and that "the maple leaf is make believe." Really low-end, hack stuff. The reactions varied. A few people liked them and agreed, some had borderline angry reactions, and at least one person threatened to delete her as a friend.

Then something awful happened. I realized at one point that a couple of the people responding to the status messages were her ex-boyfriends. One of them even texted her after the game to say "we'll see who wins the medals." They were everywhere; it was horrifying. Here I was, making an immature little joke, rubbing my hands together in glee while I needlessly antagonized Canadians through a neutral third party, and I inadvertently re-opened communications between my girlfriend and all her former lovers.

Great. And next weekend she goes to Toronto to see a friend. I'm done. It's over. There's going to be a huge reunion, countless seductions, and all manner of emasculating horror. She'll stay in Canada for life, and in a week I'll be half naked on my living room floor, shivering in the fetal position, mumbling apologies to Sid Crosby.

Or what if she can't decide, and somehow it comes down to a hockey game between me and the other guys? You know that's how this will play out. I can't even skate, guys. The team of all her ex-boyfriends will be doing fancy tricks, and I'll be holding on to the side wall trying not to fall over. My girlfriend will feel bad for me at first, but then someone in the stands will hand her a Canadian flag, and she'll get in the spirit and start waving it while that anthem plays, and then her old boyfriends will carry her on the ice and it'll be this huge triumph.

Does anybody know how to program a phone to call someone every five minutes when they're out of town? How much do flowers cost these days? Do they sell them in New York City still? What other things could make a girl feel good slash guilty?

*Other than that, great game! Also, it sets up an exciting quarterfinal; because Canada finished 6th overall in the standings, they have to play a qualification with Germany. Once they get by them (and they will, easily), they'll have to take on the Russians. Crosby vs. Ovechkin in the quarterfinals! That's fun.

*What should we root for, as Americans? It's tempting to want Canada to lose somewhere along the line so they don't have a chance for revenge, and we can just be dicks for four years. It would suck if they beat us in the gold medal game. On the other hand, can I really root for the Russians? Yuck. Also, it'd be awesome to beat the Canadians twice to win the gold. If that happened, we should just refuse to field a national team ever again. "We made our point." But it'd also be awesome to beat the Russians for gold. I don't know, gang. I just don't know.

It's post time. Look for another around noon on the Duke-Virginia Tech game. See you then.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend Look-Out: BEAT CANADA

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

(I promise I will stop posting this message at some point. Probably late next week.)

About to sign off for the weekend, but not before drawing your attention to:


Or, in pictures:



(this had to be starting within five minutes of the Duke - V. Tech game, didn't it? F*@#!)

My girlfriend went to college in Canada, so a large amount of her facebook friends are Canadians. My latest immature caper is to get on her facebook and post negative messages about Team Canada. I try to make them as lame as possible in a sort of aggressive way. Yesterday I guaranteed a Swiss victory (Canada beat them 3-2) and the day before that I said that Sid Crosby was the greatest hockey coward since Wayne Gretzky.

Does screwing with strangers just for my private amusement make me sort of pathetic? Hard to say.*

*Resounding yes.

The responses have been fun, though. And I love the absurdity of people responding either with vitriol or agreement to my girlfriend, who knows the bare minimum about sports. So look for that to continue, especially with Canada-USA on the horizon. I'll try to post some of the more amusing responses next week. Have a nice couple days.

The Final Test of the Perfection Proclamation

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

Sunday night, 7:45: Duke vs. Virginia Tech, Cameron Indoor Stadium

This is it. On January 19th, I gathered my coterie of well-wishers, summoned the media, and proclaimed that Duke would not lose at home this year. Now, a month later, it's nearly come to pass.

We have three games remaining in Durham, but Sunday evening is the last real test. Virginia Tech, nobodies when the season began, have quietly started kicking ass and taking names. They've run up a 21-4 record, and would have their own perfection proclamation in good order had it not been for an early home loss to Temple. They've now won 5 in a row, taking down Clemson, UVA, and Wake, among others.

Don't get me wrong- this is not a great team. They've taken advantage of a down year for the ACC to shock a few opponents and vie for the conference title. They'll certainly earn an NCAA berth. But we're not dealing with worldbeaters. Still, confidence alone can make teams overachieve, and this game makes me nervous.

After Tech, our last two home games are against Tulsa and UNC. Tulsa will be a wipe-out, and there's not enough fight in UNC to come close to beating Duke at home. But the Hokies are a threat. Make no mistake. Malcolm Delaney will be first team all-ACC, and is averaging 20.2 per game, tops in the conference. He's the only star, but everyone contributes.

Unfortunately for them, their biggest productive man is 6'7". They're 9th in the conference in rebounding. Their team defense is second best in the league, but they're at the bottom of the pack in scoring. They shouldn't- repeat, shouldn't- have enough to hang with us.

I'm calling 82-64. Delaney gets 17, none of it easy. Nolan gets 24. And the perfection proclamation rolls on. Woo-ha.

Morning: Lysacek-Mate

(Honest reaction to that outfit? That snake scares me. I'm feeling uncomfortable.)

Sometime early this week, I realized that my basketball league would eat up the hours between 7-11:30 on Thursday night, depriving me of the chance to watch the men's figure skating long program. I cannot say that this made me happy. I cannot say that I'm comfortable, overall, with the fact that this did not make me happy. But I can say this; I love olympic figure skating. If you combine sport, comedy, grace, high drama, wipe-outs, and nationalism into a single event, I'm sold. There's no keeping me away.

But by the time I got home, I only got to watch Johnny Weir and the Russian Plushenko skate. I was still thrilled that Lysacek won, but seriously, this is like the only event that NBC doesn't fuck up in its coverage, and I had to miss it. Not cool at all. Brief thoughts on the matter:

*One of the female announcers, either Sandra Bezic or Tracy Wilson (I think the latter) was almost getting hysterical after Plushenko's performance. "Lysacek was just better!" she kept repeating, in louder and more urgent tones. I think she would have had a nervous breakdown if he'd lost. Even the normally-excitable Scott Hamilton was trying to calm her down, and to give Plushenko credit for his routine.

*Look, I dig Johnny Weir. I think he's hilarious, and interesting, and he skated his ass off in both routines. But to the people saying he got screwed- did you even watch it? He doesn't do anything. His jumps are all easy, and his dance moves aren't anything to get excited about. And he screwed up on a spin, too, which you almost never see at this level. He did an admirable job under pressure, but let's not get carried away and say he deserved a medal. I could have done that routine. (Not really, just felt like being an asshole for a second.)

*I'm no expert, but aside from doing a quad jump, didn't Plushenko's routine kinda suck? It seemed like he was always on the verge of falling, and his dance stuff seemed like a parody of figure skating moves done by Chris Lilley. I wasn't quite at Tracy Wilson levels, but I would've been pissed if he'd won. I'm still kinda pissed that he knocked my boy Lambiel out of the bronze medal spot. (Reminder: be careful using the colloquial term "my boy" when referring to figure skaters.)

Other Olympic stuff...

*It's just not happening for my hometown cohort Tim Burke in biathlon. The Norwegian scourge took the gold and silver in the men's 20km. He's got one more chance in the 15km mass start, but it seems kinda like momentum and confidence are working against him. The medal prospects aren't looking good. Let's face it: Americans can't ski and shoot. We can shoot and run. I think we lead the world in that. But add skis to the equation, and we're totally out of our league.

*Lindsey Vonn took a spill in the slalom part of the super-combined, ending her chance to win 5 gold medals. But Julie Mancuso, another American, took the silver. I also felt good for the German gold medalist, Marie Reisch, who made up for a scaredy-cat run in yesterday's downhill with some ballsy skiing. Fearless Germans: sixty years later, it's probably okay to admire them.




Thanks for letting me get that out of my system, gang. I get so furious about lazy curling.

Last thing, non-Olympic: Syracuse beats Georgetown in DC. Very, very impressive. G-Town wiped their home floor with Duke and Villanova earlier this year, and have basically looked unbeatable in the District (except they lost to Old Dominion, somehow). Granted, they're on a bit of a downslide, but it's still a great win for Syracuse. Which leads me to...

Controversial Statement Time:

Syracuse is the best team in the country.

I'm calling it. Hands-down. Not just because of this win, but because of their overall resume. Kentucky is a paper tiger. Duke has all kinds of lingering questions about how they deal with very athletic teams. Nova and Purdue are better, but not great. And Kansas, with their plethora of narrow road wins, is not up to the Cuse's caliber.

The Orange Crush have dropped only two games, against Pitt and Nova in uninspired home performances. They have not yet lost on the road, which is an extremely good sign for their tourney chances. Plus, that zone just confounds the shit out of teams when the pressure's on. We'll learn a lot about them in the next couple weeks, when they face Nova at home and have a chance for revenge at Lousville. But for now, this is the team to beat.

More entries to come later today about hockey, weekend basketball, and other olympic stuff.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zombie Singler

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The first ever, in fact. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

Conversation I just heard on the street between two older men, talking about a younger woman.

Man 1: Can we agree that she didn't compromise on looks? If anything, he's too good looking!

Man 2: He's not bad...

(long, meaningful pause)

Man 2: Okay! She didn't compromise on looks.

Another dude who doesn't compromise on looks? Kyle Singler:

How could I have forgotten to mention how badass he looked last night with that black eye? I told my girlfriend he looked tough, but she maintains that a pale white kid can't really look tough. "He looks like he had the crap beaten out of him," she said.

Thanks to reader Nick for the picture, and for his theory on Zombie Singler, which I run below in full:

"Kyle Singler died earlier this season, possibly at the hands of a K irate over too many ill advised three point attempts. The person on the floor you saw last night recently emerged from under the Earth (thus creating his nickname), and is known as Zombie Kyle Singler. You may not notice on regular tv, but the picture from this article clearly shows a member of the Undead."

Morning: God Shed His Grace On Thee

Thought that post title was appropriate for two reasons.

1) It's a line from the song that should be our national anthem, "America the Beautiful," following a night when the good guys tore up the Olympics with three gold medals.

2) Yesterday, an army of besooted Catholics descended on NYC, scaring the bejeezus (smirk) out of everyone who kept forgetting it was Ash Wednesday.

Good day to be an American Catholic. And let's face it, they had a good day coming. History ain't been overly kind to the pope's American faction. Pretty much anything in the textbooks that begins with the letter K brings bad memories. Know-Nothing. Kennedy. Ku Klux Klan. I'm sure there are others. So today's post is dedicated to the papists. Blessings upon you!

Before I get into the Olympics and D-U-K-E, a quick note about this very blog:

As you know, it's been a daily venture, with one post going up every morning. That shall not change! The longer morning post, which usually runs by 10am, will remain the blog's heart and soul. However, due to the full recovery of the economy, we at Seth Curry Saves Duke! are now able to expand coverage. Throughout the day, on a highly inconsistent basis, I'll be posting smaller entries about this, that, and the other. Some days I may make no posts, other days I may make over 300 (no). It's just a little bonus for those who find themselves having outrun and even lapped the internet in the afternoons, and who might benefit from a little extra reading.

For the time being, posts will still be encumbered by the working hours, so don't expect anything after 5pm. But if you check back in the afternoons...who knows????

Time to get cracking!

I have to start with the Dukies. Quality effin' win on the road yesterday. Miami is not a great team; they don't even usually masquerade as a great team. However, before last night they were 11-1 at home, with wins over Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. They're miserable on the road, mind you- this is a Jekyll and Hyde team all the way- but I knew this would be tough.

You know the horrible feeling you get when you turn on a game, and things immediately go south? As if, against all logic, you're a messenger of failure, a harbinger of bad luck, a purveyor of misfortune? The minute your eyes fall on the game, it curses your team? I've had this a million times, but last night was one of the joyous occasions when the exact opposite was true. I had a function that made me miss the whole first half, and unbeknownst to me, Duke went down 37-25. I came back with like 16 minutes left in the second, and within ten seconds of turning on the television, Singler hit the 3 that put us in the lead for good.

It was a gritty, hard battle the rest of the way, but Duke was always the better team. So, in lieu of my usual negativity, here's some great things about this year's team.

*We're clutchy clutchy clutch. Scheyer was ice cold the whole game, but when push came to the shove, his threes were falling. I'm being completely honest when I say that there's no player in Division 1 basketball who I'd rather have taking a game-winning shot. That being said, Nolan Smith is tougher than he's ever been. I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands at the hand. And what about that third guy...

*Kyle Friggin' Singler. The Silent Dagger. "Earth." After a nightmare start to the season, I think we can officially declare him 'back.' Thank God. 22 points, 11 boards last night. Hey, Singler's probably Catholic, right? This is getting weird.

*Brian Zoubek?? At one point last night, he left the game, and Hubert Davis said something like "Duke might have a problem being as productive with Zoubek on the bench." My jaw dropped. Not only because I was hearing a sentence that I used to believe would hearken the end of days, but because he was right! Zoubek is an honest-to-goodness boon to our offense. Yikes. When did this happen?

*Road Warriors. Remember when I called us road patsies? Not anymore. Our road chops are now verifiable on the open market. Buy stock while you can.

I could kvetch and moan about the poor start, and agree again with Hubie that if we pull that first half act in the tourney, a better team will have us drawn and quartered. But we won, and that's a quality that matters. The dream of the #1 seed is alive and well.

On to Los Olympicos!!! Vaya!

*Shaun White.

You are a wonderful, ridiculous human. With luscious red hair (after yesterday's 'theatrics,' I've vowed to fog up the sexuality issue at least once per post). For those who missed it, he qualified for the finals in first, which meant he got to do his runs last. After his first run, he posted a score so high that nobody could catch him. So his second run was a victory lap, a gold medal celebration. And instead of taking it easy, he broke out some crazy new trick called a Double McTwist 1260, and nailed it to improve his score. Because why not?

There were a few great moments at the top of the hill before his final run. He and his coaches were celebrating, and because it was live, NBC didn't have time to bleep out the various curse words. His coach (who, hilariously for snowboarding, looked and talked like a stereotypical square-jawed football coach) dropped a few f-bombs, and at one point told him to "really stomp the shit out of it."

Another great exchange came when White asked his team if he should just go down the middle. All three, including the coach, had immediate 'helllll no' reactions. And I loved this:

White: I can't believe this.
Coach: I can't believe it either.
Long pause
White: I'm starting to believe it, though.

NBC had to apologize for the swearing, which was also great. Anyway, kudos to White. He's just so far ahead of the curve in that sport that anyone else winning was unthinkable. How are you supposed to beat a guy who can jump ten feet higher than anyone else competing? Here's how: hope he falls. And he didn't. Game over.

*Lindsey Vonn.

Since it's apparently impossible to enjoy any event untainted at these games, ESPN had to spoil Vonn's gold medal during the Duke game. I guess that's a smart tactic by the network. Why do NBC any favors? Still pissed me off, though. The result was under the heading "Olympics," but it should have been "Reasons Not to Turn to NBC Ever Tonight."

Anyway, Vonn overcame the shin injury and won the gold. My conclusion: you have to be fucking insane to be a successful downhill skiier. You either go balls out, or you're careful and sacrifice crucial seconds. But if you go balls out, you risk horrific, disgusting crashes. Did you see those wipe-outs last night? Three different women were catapulted down the mountain, tearing out gates, breaking skis, and looking for all the world like dead matter. And they all walked away.

It took its toll. One skiier, obviously afraid, fell down within like fifteen feet of leaving the start. Then the last woman to race, a German who is apparently pretty good, lost by two seconds because she didn't ski with any courage. "She's really not taking these turns as hard as she should be," the announcer said at one point. Gee, really? After watching what happened before, I would have been vomiting at the sight of snow. No way in hell I'd go down that mountain in anything but a giant slow-moving bubble.

But Vonn didn't care. Injuries be damned, she was going for gold. It was moving to watch her cry afterward. "Cry" is actually an understatement; she had something of a mini-breakdown. On one hand, I kinda hate when tv cameras are thrust in someone's face at such a personal moment. On the other, it's nice to witness the realization of a dream that someone wanted really, really badly. And not the scripted, bs kind like Kevin Garnett after winning a mercenary title with the Celtics. Vonn's reaction was pure emotion and totally real.

*Shani Davis.

He won the 1,000m speed skating event. It's easy to be annoyed at Davis, because he's definitely a me-first kind of athlete. In Torino, in 2006, he refused to participate in a relay event because he was concentrating on the 1000, where he eventually won gold. This pissed off his teammates, especially Chad Hedrick, and his coaches, especially Dan Jansen. This year, he didn't race the second 500m heat because he was annoyed at the zamboni delay problems. (Irony: of the relay in '06, his excuse was that he didn't want to deprive another skater of a chance to participate in the Olympics, but that's exactly what he did in the 500 this year...he admitted he only wanted to race to test out the oval for his specialty, the 1000.) Also, his mom manages his career, and she's apparently really overbearing and not well liked. And he had a feud with Stephen Colbert because he didn't understand his humor.

(PS - did you know Colbert raised 300k for US speed skating and basically saved their Olympic hopes? His only condition was that he be named "Assistant Sports Psychologist." Read this's also very funny.)

Other stuff...after the gold medal in Torino, he was so standoffish in his interview that Andrea Stark said "are you angry, Shani?" Later, he said he was angry that Stark had spent too much time with Hedrick after he won an earlier gold medal. And here's how he treated the New York Times, from this fascinating ESPN profile:

The New York Times Sunday Magazine recently sent writer Michael Sokolove to Amsterdam and Salt Lake City for an in-depth piece on Davis. After being made to wait for his subject several hours past their agreed interview time in Utah, Sokolove received a call from Cherie.

"Why are you bothering my son?" she demanded. Sokolove told her he was simply waiting for their interview.

"He doesn't want to talk to you," she said.

An hour later, Davis appeared and talked about the solitary dedication he gives to a sport in which he largely coaches himself.

So yeah, he seems like a humorless, selfish dick with a chip on his shoulder about nothing. But hey, he won the gold medal. Twice. And apparently he's well-loved in the Netherlands. So criticize away...I will. But at least he's doing something right. Still, I won't be rooting for him in the 1500m on Saturday. And it takes a lot for me to root against an American.

Today: Men's figure skating! Canada and USA in hockey (not against each other, though)! Tim Burke gets a second chance in the biathlon! Women's half-pipe! See you soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Emotions! Get Your Emotions Here!

Hell of a night at the Olympics. Hell of a night.

*removes his gray poorboy cap, takes a long drag from a hand-rolled cigarette, blows the smoke out in a long stream, and shakes his head like he's never seen nothin' like it.*

Seriously, yesterday showed why the Olympics are so great. It's an overload of pressure, triumph, and horrible heartbreak. Let's start with the latter.

Lindsay Fucking Jacobellis

Somehow I didn't remember, or never knew, what happened with her in Torino. It was 2006, in the championship heat of the snowboard cross, and she had gold wrapped up. Two more jumps, and immortality was hers. And then she blew it, which you can see in this grainy, dark video:

It's hard to see there, but on the second-to-last jump, she tried an unnecessary trick in mid-air. For those that don't know the sport, snowcross is a straight race. First person to cross the line wins; there are no tricks, no style points. Nothing matters but speed. So Jacobellis tried that fancy move, and it set her off balance, and she crashed. This video shows the half-twist itself in better quality.

On one hand, she was just a kid, probably feeling a ridiculous amount of elation that after all the pressure, she was about to win gold. I can understand why she'd do it. On the other hand, it's indisputably one of the greatest Olympic fuck-ups of all time. In the sporting realm, it belongs up there with Van de Velde's '99 collapse at the British Open.

So this was supposed to be redemption. Vancouver would bring her the gold, and erase the demons. At least that's how NBC set it up, and repeated shots of her hopeful family in the stands hammered the point home. If you didn't see it, you can probably guess what happened; in the semifinal heat, she brushed boards with another competitor, careened to the bottom of the track, and went around the wrong side of a flag. Out of bounds, race over. And man, she was barely out of bounds. In snowcross, you can veer outside the course boundaries as long as you don't go on the wrong side of a flag. Jacobellis just slipped below, and it happened to be right at a flag spot (they're roughly 20 feet apart). Anywhere else, and she would have had plenty of time to correct and try to make the final two.

I've been watching The Wire with my girlfriend lately (her first time, my third), and there's a part where Bubbles and Johnny are lighting up in an abandoned row house, and Johnny goes out to buy more. He's only been out of the hospital, where he was recovering from getting beaten up for trying to pass off fake money, for a couple days, but right when he steps outside, the police pick him up and arrest him. Bubbles hears the altercation, and looks out the window in time to see Johnny get cuffed. "Man," he says, "that boy ain't got no luck."

Same with Lindsay. Hard, hard, hard to watch. To her credit, she put on a happy face for the post-race interview, but it couldn't have been easy. You can watch video of her race and interview here.

Jeremy Abbott

Yikes. Unlike Jacobellis, Abbott, a figure skater and the defending US Nationals champion, outright choked. He's only 24 years old, and this was his Olympic debut, but he does have pressure experience. Regardless, this couldn't have gone any worse. His triple axel became a single, his quad toe loop became a double, and he screwed up a lot of the dancing moves too. I knew this because it became the kind of routine where Scott Hamilton, former gold medalist and NBC commentator, just kept saying "oh no...ugh!"

There was a great sequence, after the two failed jumps, where Tom Hammond wondered whether Abbott was failing, and his two cohorts responded in full catty mode. I'm reproducing this from memory, but it's not far off:

Hammond: Is it fair to say Abbott's on the road to disaster?
Sandra Bezic: Oh, he's already there.
Hamilton: It's over.

Mix the pressure of the Olympics with the inherent drama of figure skating, and you will have these moments. It's fascinating viewing, but you can't help feeling sorry for the goats. Abbott's routine is here.

Okay, let's get on to the good stuff.

Evan Lysacek

Another American figure skater, and the defending World Champion. He was considered America's best gold medal chance, and he knocked it out of the park. Just an inspiring performance all around; every jump nailed, the dance elements smooth and graceful, especially for such a big dude, and a performance brimming with intensity and confidence.

(For the record, I understand that some of this content is bringing my sexuality into question; so be it!)

He finished second at the end of the night, and is in position to challenge the Russian Plushenko for the gold in Thursday's long program. Lysacek's routine is here.

Stephane Lambiel

Okay, I'm not one to generally gush about the beauty of a figure skating routine. I'm always awed by the jumps, and the dance parts usually seem equal parts impressive and comical. You can usually describe the moves with terms like 'over-the-top' and 'flamboyant.' But holy shit, Lambiel's program was fucking beautiful. AND I'M NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT, MASCULINE AMERICA!

He only finished in fifth place because he screwed up a couple jumps, but the footwork and choreography of his routine was pure artistry. And completely awesome. Lambiel won the silver in Torino, and could contend for a bronze on Thursday if any of the top three make huge errors. You can watch his short program here. I'm also going to post a YouTube of the same routine from a January performance, in case your work blocks NBC video like mine. The whole thing is good, but the really good stuff starts at 1:45 when the William Tell Overture begins.

The Biathlon

Yes, the entire event gets a vote of triumph. A lot of you probably missed it since NBC showed it at like 4:15, but holy shit, there is nothing more fun than this event. Exaggeration? Possibly. But when all the competitors ski into the shooting range, and their entire placement depends on if they can hit five targets in a row, it's a complete thrill. My fellow townsman Tim Burke was too far back to compete for a medal in the pursuit, but going into the last shooting range, roughly ten people could still have won. This particular event, the 12.5km pursuit, is the sport's most popular event, and it's easy to see why. Check out the replay here if you get a's awesome.

Other stuff...

*Johnny Weir had a very nice routine to finish sixth after the short program. As usual, he was very effeminate and had a very 'loud' costume. In the end, though, he was overshadowed, and I don't think his jumping game is strong enough to compete for a medal.

*The Vancouver curse continues with screwed up start times in the biathlon. Also, as a commenter yesterday pointed out, a ton of people are falling in figure skating, way more than seems usual. Could there be a subtle ice problem? Perhaps caused by the 'green' zambonis? Wouldn't put it past them.

*The US and Canadian hockey teams got off to a fast start, each winning their first game. I watched a bit of the Canada-Norway game, and man, they had some pretty goals.

*I had a lengthy Olympic conversation with my friend Carrie yesterday, and she pointed out that snowboarding is the beach volleyball of the winter games. I thought this was an excellent analogy. Yesterday, I said it was like basketball, in the sense that I consider it an American sport in which we should win every gold medal. But beach volleyball works way better; both are sort of alternative variants to traditional sports, both started (presumably) in America, and both are seen as out of the mainstream and relatively cool.

We also came to the conclusion that they're sort of sneaky games; America developed them first, and kids here were getting awesome while the rest of the world slumbered in ignorance. Snowboarding? Beach volleyball? What the fuck? Then, when the awesome kids grew to competitive age, we snuck those events into the Olympics. That gave us like a ten year window where nobody could possibly compete with us, and even now we have a distinct advantage.

Carrie decided the Japanese were probably the most pissed at this, and I concluded that the Chinese care the least; their strategy of picking current sports that nobody else spends any money on, like pistol shooting, and training people to be awesome at them, is working fine.

*Tonight: Shaun White, who is impossible not to love, goes for gold in the snowboard halfpipe. The cross-country individual sprints happen too, which is always fun. Supposedly there will be skiing events, but who the hell knows. Shani Davis goes for gold in the 1000m. My mom and I have decided we don't like him. And there's short track gold at stake for the women. Believe me, I won't miss that.

Briefly, non-Olympic stuff:

*Duke plays in a huge trap game tonight at Miami. Just win, fellas, doesn't matter how.

*As I predicted, Mississippi State took Kentucky to the wire, finally succumbing in OT. Tonight, Purdue-Ohio St. in an interesting Big 10 clash.

Shine on, you crazy diamonds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vancouver is Cursed

At some point last night, after the men's 500m speed skating competition was canceled because Vancouver's 'green' zambonis couldn't properly clean the ice, I took to the walls of Facebook to register my protest. Yes, this is sad as it sounds; I literally got angry at what I was watching, decided I had to do something, and marched over to my computer to complain with a status update. Here's what I wrote:

Vancouver gets an emphatic F- for these Olympics. Seriously, did they prepare at all? They can't even get indoor ice right.

For the record, two people 'liked' it. Anyway, I sprawled back out on the couch, content in the knowledge that I'd done my part, and got to musing. When my thoughts on the subject were exhausted, I decided I'd been unfair. More than anything, Vancouver has been unlucky. Let's take a look at the mishaps and errors so far.

*The Georgian Luger's Death

This tragedy, hours before the opening ceremony, has cast its melancholy shadow over the whole fortnight. And in the days following, it's come out that the athlete himself was scared of the track, that the track was ridiculously fast, and that even a two-time gold medalist suffered a bad crash in a training run. But even with all these details, it's also become apparent that the death was more a result of driver error than anything flawed in the track. The extra speed didn't help, but Kumaritashvili failed to compensate after a turn, and that error was what sent him flying over the barrier. According to the IOC, at least, it's not a mistake top lugers are expected to make. And yes, this particular track was faster and more dangerous than a typical run, but without this horrific incident, it may have been viewed as an exciting and challenging twist. In some ways, you can call it bad luck.

*The Missing Pillar

When the fourth support for the Olympic cauldron failed to rise, the torch-bearers stood around awkwardly, unsure how to proceed. They eventually improvised, using only three, but it was an embarrassing moment for the organizers, and maybe for Canada in general. But the ceremonies to that point had gone off without a hitch. On a budget that was about $300 million less than Beijing's, David Atkins did a nice job incorporatin various bits of Canadian history and culture. It was even moving at times. If not for the final episode, it would have been seen as an unqualified success. You can't accuse him, or his people, of poor preparation or lackadaisical effort. Again, it's a case of bad luck.

*The Downhill Postponement

Aggravating, because everyone wanted to see this marquee event on the weekend. Those of us who work had to miss it yesterday afternoon, and it's a shame because Bode Miller earned a measure of redemption with his bronze medal. But this one is down to mother nature. It's worth noting that Vancouver lost its status as a World Cup skiing stop due to this exact same issue (several events had to be canceled completely in the mid-90s), but if we want to get angry about that, our ire should be directed at the IOC selection committee, not Vancouver. Should they have recused themselves based on a fear of warm weather and fog? Of course not. They made their bid, and had to hope things worked out. If anything, they probably thought they could manufacture enough snow to bring it off in case of unseasonable temperatures More bad luck.

*The 500m Speed Skating Postponement

On its face, this is probably the most egregious violation. Speed skating takes place indoors, in a controlled environment. There should be no excuse for botching the ice situation here. But Vancouver wanted to go green, which is admirable, so they used untested electric zambonis instead of the usual propane-powered machines, and it screwed up the ice. Three times. Still, the intentions were good, and you have to think the zambonis worked up until this point, right? The first speed skating event went off without a hitch, and nothing was reported during the extensive training sessions leading up to the games. I'm chalking this up to bad luck too.

That makes four screw-ups, of various degrees, that aren't necessarily Vancouver's fault. The obvious conclusion is that the 21st Winter Olympiad is cursed. I'll be following this story as it develops.

Other stuff...

*Bode Miller's bronze was pretty awesome. Nice to see the Turino monkey off his back. Also, how awesome is downhill? I forgot how exciting it is for a spectator sport. Between that and biathlon and cross country, I'm starting to think I wouldn't mind living in a Scandinavian country where they don't have real sports.

*US wins the first snowboarding gold on a great finish by Seth Wescott. He won in Turino too, and nobody expected him to repeat since he's 33 and apparently not in great form. But his event, snowboard cross, pits four racers against each other on a winding course, and it takes both skill and clever racing to win. The experience counted this time, as he came from behind and just edged the Canadian boarder at the line. It was a big relief, because I have this prejudiced idea that the US should win every snowboarding gold. I realize there's no logic behind this idea, but somehow it seems like our sport. We're the coolest! It's the basketball of the winter olympics.

*The Chinese went one-two in pairs figure skating. I'll take a break from my usual anti-China stance to point to the great story of Yin Bao, their coach. Bao was part of the first ever Chinese pairs team. He proposed the idea, and because China was such a closed society, he and his partner had to learn their moves from photographs. They did well enough to compete in the 1980 World Championships in Germany, but their skating was so bad, and so awkward, that the audience laughed at them. So did Irina Rodnina, a Soviet champion.

Last night, NBC did a small profile on Bao, and he described it as "embarrassing." He put his head in his hands, and you could tell the memory still stung. They finished dead last. They competed in the '84 winter games, and the result was the same. That was the end of Bao's career, but he vowed to devote his life to building China's program. That included not being around his family and son, which still brings him to tears to discuss. But his intensity and work ethic paid off last night, when his teams won gold and silver. Just an incredible story.

*UConn beats Nova at home? Really? It's looking increasingly unlikely that anybody but Kansas or Kentucky will hold the #1 spot again this year. Nova and Syracuse both slipped this week, and the next in line, Purdue and Duke, already have 3 and 4 losses, respectively. Kansas and Kentucky each have one, and I don't see both teams losing a pair as the season winds down. Particularly not the Jayhawks.

However, this does open things up for Duke to get a #1 seed. Win out (which is a good possibility), and it's ours.

*The Big 10 has quietly become a very good conference. They have 4 teams in the top 15, 3 of which look really good, and one of which, Michigan State, are having a tough midseason spell but will surely be in top form by the tournament. Illinois, meanwhile, are red hot and just out of the top 25. I can easily see this being a March Madness where hard-nosed Big 10 teams surprise everyone and put 3 teams in the elite 8. You heard it here first.

US Hockey starts its quest for gold at 3pm, the men's short program airs tonight (Go Johnny Weir!), and Saranac Lake's own Tim Burke goes for gold in the pursuit, though it'll be tough since his start position is determined by his poor showing in the 10k event on Sunday. Meanwhile, Kentucky will get tested on the road at Miss. St. Book that.

Last: if you can manage to jump through NBC's hoops, watch Alexandre Bilodeau's gold medal ceremony. Goose-bumpy moment as the entire audience belts out the world's best national anthem (sorry, it's true).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Awesomeness Scale, 2/15 Edition

1 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Hungry Tiger

The start to the Vancouver games in general. The bad news began with the death of the Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Friday afternoon. After huge tragedies like the Haiti earthquake, it may seem a bit strange to get upset about a single athlete dying, especially one most of us have never heard of, but this one seemed particularly awful. It's part of human nature that the individual story will affect us in ways the epic disasters can't, and for the Georgian to die on the eve of participating in the Olympics got me in the gut.

Then, after a decent opening ceremony, the fourth pillar of the flame cauldron didn't rise from the ground. Normally, this would have been kinda funny. It reminded me a little of the scene in Spinal Tap where the tiny stonehenge statues descend from the ceiling. But in the wake of the luging death, it seemed important that things go right. There was also the Canadian aspect at play...I felt sort of like an older brother hoping his younger brother didn't screw up. Also, I wanted them to show that that it didn't take a year of forced labor, multiple deaths, and 350 billion dollars to stage a good performance, like in Beijing. So when the last pillar failed to rise, it was more than just a comic situation. It was aggravating and kinda sad.

Last, the weather. Rain screwed up the biathlon, warmth delayed the men's downhill, and fog almost canceled the moguls. Low scores for Vancouver all around.

2 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with an Angry Tamil Tiger

This one goes to Tim Burke's rough showing in the 10km Biathlon event on Sunday. If you've read the blog lately, you know Tim is from my home town, and that we played basketball together for a year in middle school. Anyway, he missed 3 of 10 targets on the range, and then a rainstorm started, made the snow slushy, and screwed everyone who didn't start within the first 10 competitors anyway (it's a staggered start in biathlon).

This was doubly shitty because of NBC's coverage. Up until that point, I'd been reasonably happy with the network's performance. Covering the winter games is much easier than summer, since there are fewer events. But when the biathlon started, they talked and talked about Tim, and how America has never won a medal in the event, and on and on. But then they didn't show him start. We barely got back for his first turn at the range, and then they didn't show his second turn. Come on guys, really? That's only the most important part of the race. Instead, I shit you not, they showed some Slovakian guy who was not in the running for a medal, and went to commercial. When they came back, Tim was finishing in 30th place or something.

3 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Drunk Detroit Tiger (Miguel Cabrera)

To Bill Demong's ski jumping effort on Sunday morning. Again, this is an athlete from my hometown. You can read his story in this post, but basically he's been at the Olympics since Nagano, suffered a horrible skull injury by diving into a shallow pool, lost his long and short term memory, and now he's back with a medal shot.

His event is the nordic combined, which is half ski jumping and half cross country race. Each competitor's jump determines when he starts in the race, so it's pretty important. Unfortunately, Bill only jumped 96.5 meters, which put him at a huge disadvantage. He had to start 80 seconds behind the leader, which the NBC expert said put him out of the running. More on this later.

4 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Horny Tiger Woods

Syracuse going down to Louisville at home. After Duke, the Cuse is my favorite team, and I was hoping they'd run the table in the big east and get a 1 seed in the regional. In that case, they'd be playing the sweet 16 and elite 8 games at home in the Carrier Dome. This is still very possible if they win out, but the home loss to Pitino's Convicts throws a kink into the plans.

5 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with an Average Tiger Lily.

Stephen Curry finishing second in the NBA 3-point shooting contest. Not as great as him winning, but not bad either. He only came a few short of Pierce in the finals. Hey, did I mention that Curry averaged like 28 points in the month of January? Or that he averages 35 a game when Monta Ellis is out? Or that he had a triple double with 36 points last week, and the only other rookies to do that were Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Jason Kidd?

And did I mention that the Knicks were one draft pick away from landing him? And that we got someone named Jordan Hill instead? And that Hill never plays?

Am I mentioning enough things?

6 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Fucking Gorgeous Tiger Lily

Alexandre Bilodeau winning Canada's first gold medal on home soil. Wow. I couldn't believe it when I heard that the country didn't win a single gold in Montreal or Calgary. Big shocker. But Bilodeau's win was a nice moment, especially coming over some internet spam mogul (oops) who was born in Vancouver but defected to Australia and won a gold in the same event in '06. Seriously. Good work, northern neighbors.

Potentially awkward question for Canadians: does it make any less cool that the guy who won the gold was French-Canadian, and from the province that almost voted to secede a few years ago? Would you have preferred it was someone from BC or Nova Scotia or something? Is this question making you blush?

7 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Real Tiger, but You Beat Him in a Wrestling Contest and Become a Hotshot in the Prison

Hannah Kearney winning America's first gold. Clutch run gets the job done.

Was anyone else really annoyed at the other American, Shannon Bahrke, who ended up winning the bronze? First off, she made a big show of being real bubbly and perky and everything, which I guess is fine. But after her run, the next American crashed on her jump, and Bahrke came way out to hug her in a real melodramatic way, and held on forever. Then Heil, the Canadian, who seems really nice and cool, took Bahrke's gold medal position away with a great run, and Bahrke was incredibly cold to her. Finally, when Kearney won, Bahrke basically mobbed her and made the amount about her as much as possible.

I just got the feeling I would not like this person. (And look, she made this entry mostly about her...selfish!)

8 - As Awesome as Being in a Jail Cell with a Drunk Detroit Tiger (Dontrelle Willis)

He'd have to be fun, right? This goes to Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski for winning silver and bronze on an unbelievable wipe-out by the South Koreans. In the finals of the 1500, three South Koreans ran a really nice race. In the last lap, they made a bunch of moves and ended up in the top 3 positions. I was rooting hard for Ohno, and the sight of the three blue suits made me want to puke. And then Lee Ho-Suk from South Korea tried to make a final move, and ended up taking out himself and his countrymen. A surprised Ohno skated in for the silver, with Celksi on his heels.

Short track is a wild, weird sport. It might be my favorite part of the winter games. Top 5, for sure.

9 - As Awesome as Being in a Jail Cell with Tiger Woods, but he's not Horny and he Wants to have a Putting Contest

Billy Demong's cross country race. After starting a minute and half behind, he was blazing the trail, and eventually caught up to the leaders. It was incredible. I was on the phone with my mom, and we were screaming as he kept erasing time from the lead. The whole thing seemed impossible, but all the sudden he was in fifth place. We really thought he'd medal. Unfortunately, as he admitted in a post-race interview, the effort to catch up gassed him. "I was toast on the last lap," were his exact words.

Still, the effort was heroic. Inspiring, even. I'm expecting huge things in the long hill event. Saranac Lake will get a medal yet!

10 - As Awesome as Disguising Myself as a Tamil Tiger in a Foreign Jail, Earning Their Trust, and Uncovering a Plot to Kidnap America's Top Pop Culture Icons

What else, baby???? DUKKKKEEEE! Coach K's 1000th game in Durham! And how about a career game for Ole Snowshoes himself, Brian Zoubek??

77-56. Eat it, T(w)erps.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Love You, Olympics

Opening night of the Olympics should be a national holiday, and no, I'm not being hyperbolic. Here are five awesome reasons to love the Olympics:

1) National pride

It is fun to root for your country, gang. And actually, sports fans already know this. They'll go apeshit during the World Cup, but for some reason the Olympics have diminished in America's collective esteem. Why? Because there's no huge enemy to root against anymore? Glad you brought it up. I will gladly provide you with enemies.

Summer Olympics: China. No-brainer. They ruin the environment, pay their workers nothing, and will probably dominate the world in 5-15 years. Also, they're cheaters; the government forged birth certificates so gymnasts could compete underage. When the actual government is the main perpetrator of illegal tactics, you know you're dealing with a seriously flawed mentality. Also, they purposefully train all their athletes for the stupid sports like pistol shooting and badminton and diving. Is there anything more aggravating than watching two slender Chinese women do perfect synchronized dives, and realizing they've been training for this since they were like 3? Gross. Yes, they win the medal count, but let's see them ever win a swimming or sprinting event. Man, it's fun to hate the Chinese National Team. Or at least the concept behind it; I actually feel sorry for the individual athletes. But if they ever become decent in basketball, or something important, watch out: that distinction will be instantly erased in my mind.

Winter Olympics: Germany and Russia. What, we're going to let the fact that geopolitical landscape has changed since the 1940s and the Cold War, respectively, deter us from holding a grudge? I have not forgotten. "Nazi" and "Commie" are still two of my chief insults.

2) The Ridiculous Stakes

This is especially true for the athletes in individual sports. They have one chance every 4 years. 4 fucking years! Do you realize the amount of pressure that entails? They basically have to succeed now. Who knows what will happen over the next four years? They could lose their passion, lose their skill, get hurt, etc. You cannot count on a second chance. No other sports work like this. Most have yearly championships, so the margin for error is greater. Even though soccer's World Cup comes around every 4 years, all the players get to compete in other competitions and leagues that are hugely important on the sports spectrum. But a ski jumper? He has World Cup every year, and approximately 7 humans give a shit about the ski jumping World Cup. Nobody will remember how he fares. They'll only remember that time in Nagano when an ice patch made him wobble a bit on the landing and he finished 4th instead of 1st and lost his chance at a medal.

Seriously, think about some of our sports icons. Look at A-Rod. He carried this huge reputation as a choker on his back for a long time, and it took years for him to get over it. If he was an Olympian, he'd have had maybe two shots to prove himself, and he'd be a bum forever. There's such a slim shot at redemption when your chance only comes once every four years. I can't think of anything more pressure-packed.

3) The Human Element

Granted, NBC can milk these to a disgusting degree sometimes, but tell me you don't get a little weepy when you hear some of these hard luck tales set to inspirational music, and I will call you a liar to your face. How about Bill Demong? He's labored his whole career as a Nordic Combined competitor, had no success in the Olympics, and then he cracked his head on a pool earlier this decade and lost his short term memory for a while. He had to sit out for a year, get his life together, maintain his mental stability, and then work for years just to get to a level, now, where he's got a shot in what will probably be his final Olympic games. And Vancouver will be full of these stories.

4) The Drama of Figure Skating

For whatever reason, figure skaters (male and female) are about 3,000 times more emotional than your average athlete. They're prone to frustration, tears, and various other kinds of melodrama, both on the ice and off. That, plus the dancing element, guarantees that women absolutely love figure skating. This is the one time I'm ever on the phone with my mom talking about sports. And the drama component will be multipled this year by the presence of Johnny Weir, who is just a hysterical human being, and who I badly want to win gold.

5) Curling

Watch curling. Just watch it once, and tell me you don't want to learn this sport and play it on Saturday afternoons with your friends while drinking. They call it "chess on ice." CURRRY! CURRRRY HARRR! (I'm not sure what they actually shout.) (edit: my girlfriend, who has had several uncomfortably close encounters with people from Canada, tells me it's "Hurry Hard.") The Canadians always seem to win this event. This is what they do instead of bowling. (Hey, why isn't bowling in the Olympics???)

There are actually a billion more, but I don't have to time to list them at the moment. Suffice it to say that I'm very, very psyched for the Vancouver games. Please watch Sunday as Bill Demong goes for a gold in Nordic combined at 1pm and Tim Burke does the same in the 10km biathlon sprint at 2:15. They're from my home town! Woooo!

Oh, also, a nice young gal named Liza Pfeiffer e-mailed me and asked me to post this:

Tomorrow, February 12, the world will gather to watch top athletes from around the globe compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Athletes from Team USA, who have been training their entire lives will take the stage to represent our country. I'm writing with the hope that you could share the news about Team USA with the readers of Seth Curry Saves Duke!.

Anyone who registers on will have access to the latest info and will receive exclusive updates throughout the games. I've put all that information including some very cool Team USA widgets and banners into this social media news release here:

Team USA News

Do with that what you will. Looks cool.

Duke-Maryland on Saturday at 1pm. This is actually a huge test of the Perfection Proclamation. More words on this Monday. Have a great weekend, and Happy Valentine's Day to the lonely and unlonely alike.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tape Delay Blog: Duke vs. UNC

(Hey friends, this is a tape-delay blog of last night's game. What that means is that I typed these thoughts as they happened, and, aside from minor style edits, left them intact for this morning's post. Enjoy!)

8:48: 12 minutes to game time, and I’m set up here in my living room, typing on a cardboard box. Just like they used to do in the old days, before they had tables.

8:48: Since there’s apparently an unwritten law that any ESPN game leading into a 9pm Duke start must go into overtime, UConn just pulled within one against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

8:49: Dinner is done, dessert is done, and I’ve got nothing to focus on except the game. This is a good night. This is a revenge night.

8:50: It’s snowing like a mother outside. My girlfriend is next to me, and she’s wearing a ‘face mask.’ Which is, of course, some kind of skin beautifying product. Do women still do that? This strikes me as something my grandmother might have done the night before some nice eligible gentleman came a'courtin.

8:51: Jesus, tie game in Syracuse. Please don’t let this happen, basketball Gods.

8:53: Wow, they just showed a promo for Duke-UNC, and it included a lot of blood and fights. Capped off by Hansbrough, when he took the elbow shot from Henderson. But my favorite clip was a black and white one from God knows when, where it seemed like the entire stands were rushing the floor, throwing punches. Oh yes, I’m pumped.

8:54: My girlfriend just picked up on the fact that the game before is going into OT. “Oh God,” she sighs, sounding exasperated. She’s learning! She follows this up with “it’s drying, can you see?” This, evidently, is about the face mask.

8:56: Man, dumb decision by Scoop Jardine. Could’ve held for last shot, but he rushed it and now UConn has the advantage. Or, should I say, the possibility of OT has the advantage.

8:59: Wesley Johnson, one of the most fun players in America, nails two at the line. Please hold them, Syracuse. Time out.

9:00: For anyone who’s interested, just before starting this tape delay blog I lost 24-21 to Joe Montana and the 49ers on tecmo super bowl. I just discovered, which hosts a bunch of old games, and is not necessarily a good thing for me. I’m not a video game guy, but I love tecmo bowl. Oh, and I was playing as the Giants. Dave Megget fumbled in a crucial situation. Also, I got into a mode in the third quarter where I was determined to have Phil Simms run in for a touchdown out of the shotgun. It didn’t work out.

9:01: Missed three by Kemba, and Joseph knocks down two to give Syracuse a 4-point lead. By all rights, this one should be over.

9:02: Except Syracuse doesn’t challenge Walker, who goes coast to coast in 4 seconds, literally. The big man underneath actually moved aside so his finish would be easier. I hate that move. Up 4, commit the hard foul. Or at least provide some semblance of defense. That was too easy.

9:05: Okay, that should do it. Intentional foul, Cuse up 4 with the ball and 5 seconds left.


9:07: The Chapel Hill fans are jumping around to the song “Jump Around” by Cypress Hill. Hey Carolina, the 1990s called. They want their lame middle school dance rituals back. (Hey blogger, David Spade called...he wants his lame joke format back.) The bad guys win the tip.


9:08: Smith gets whacked on the base line, no call.

9:08: Miles Plumblefuck makes his first plumblegoof. Putting ‘plumble’ in front of everything makes me slightly less angry.

9:09: Ed Davis gets everyone pumped up with a huge slam. Plumblefuck responds with a resounding weak jumper from about 10 feet that barely hits the front rim.

9:10: SINGLER BURIES IT! SCHEYER TO WIND TO EARTH, FOR 3!!!! Great sign early on.


9:11: Oh man this is so sweet, we’re about to beat UNC because they won’t guard us beyond 3 and also they’re trying to shoot with us. Welcome to hell, Heels.

9:12: Sweet, sweet spin move by Nolan Smith, but he can’t finish. Dickie V points out that Earth, Wind, and Scheyer are the highest scoring trio in America.

9:12: SING SING! ANOTHER TREY! Wow, we’re having so many open looks right away. Please keep leaving us unguarded, Carolina.

9:13: Dumb foul by Zou-Wreck takes us into our first tv timeout. I should maybe start giving the Zou some props for his workmanlike performance this year. It hasn't been all bad. We’ll see.

9:14: My girlfriend is using some kind of computer mirror to remove the last of her face mask, which I have to admit is fun to pull off. I asked her why she didn’t just use the giant mirror hanging behind her. No response, slow smile, shrug. That's a win for me.

9:16: Some type of in-game promo. My first reaction: stop speaking in that awful insinuating voice, Coach K. It's getting really really old. Girlfriend’s reaction (about Scheyer): oh, he’s so cute! My reaction (to Singler): man, that wide-eyed dude basically always looks crazy.

9:17: Scheyer cutting, gets a great pass from Zou for two.

9:17: Wow, what an awesome and unexpected interior pass by Mason Plumlee. Of course, Zoubek misses the lay-up. Two Duke big men both functioning like Division 1 athletes within a single play is asking too much.

9:18: The typical 'greatest rivalry' question is raised by Shulman in an online poll. Red Sox–Yankees. There’s your answer. Thanks for asking. Comically, Lakers-Spurs is one of the choices. Vitale rightly points out the absurdity of this.

13:43: Turnover UNC. If you didn’t notice, I’m now time-stamping by game time remaining. Oops! Forgot!

13:15: Scheyer’s forcing it a little bit. Miles Plumlee’s horrible game continues as he fumbles a good pass out of bounds.

12:43: Shulman quotes Roy Williams as saying that in moments of adversity, his team is losing confidence instead of rallying around each other. True enough.


12:18: Duke’s offense looks like crap. Luckily, our D is more than doing the job. So far. 13-7 Duke with UNC on the line.

12:03: Baby Dawk (Andre Dawkins) draws a foul going baseline. Good to see him in the ballgame. I just came up with Baby Dawk. I kinda like it, but it would be way more effective if Johnny Dawkins was still an assistant coach, and we could call him "Papa Dawk." Then the reference to Haitian dictators (Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier) would be complete. Meanwhile, Henson for UNC gets two fantastic blocks in a row. On the second, Lance Thomas failed to convert from point blank. The inability of our big men to score is going to absolutely kill us come tournament time.

11:38: I don’t like the Verizon Fios guy. I think he’s a comedian, and he wears a baseball hat all the time. I know I’m supposed to, since he's sorta like an average Joe, and I can’t really pinpoint why I don’t. It’s very subtle. Although I do like that one commercial where the guy says the sunglasses are imported from New Jersey.

11:38: There are two cheers that haunt me. The current one in Chapel Hill, the drawn-out “Tarrrr….Heeeeeellllsss” thrown back and forth between parts of the arena, is one. The other is similar: West Virginia’s “Let’s go! (pause pause) Mountaineers!”

10:40: Scheyer and Graves exchange 3s. Duke is 4-7 from downtown right now.

10:14: LANCE THOMAS, HOW THE HELL DO YOU MISS THAT LAYUP!!! Unreal. He got fouled, but barely. You have to actively try to miss a shot from that close when you’re so tall. So fucking frustrating. Makes both free throws, though.

9:55: And a nice steal, too.

9:40: But then he takes a 16-footer, which is a shot we just don’t need. 3-point game, 18-15. Crowd going apeshit. Lance Thomas drives and gets rejected.

9:20: Dear Coach K: please make an offensive adjustment wherein our offense doesn't run through Lance Thomas. My humble suggestion is a subsitution for Lance Thomas.

9:00: Yeah, Mason! He follows Nolan’s drive with an emphatic slam.

8:52: Coach K has two looks: angry, diminutive tyrant, and scared child. It all depends on whether he’s standing or sitting.

8:24: Graves is hot. Tie game. 20-20. So loud in the Dean Dome. So loud.

7:33: I should probably expect this, but we’re getting absolutely no calls. Graves gets away with a push on the offensive side, then a 50/50 charging call goes against Nolan on the other end.

7:33: God, Bud Light and Miller Lite just make the worst commercials. I’m watching the one with the couple, and it’s set up like they’re doing a things, but it turns out all the adoring things he’s saying are about a beer. Pre-dict-a-ble! (said in a sing-sing effeminate voice)

7:33: Here's my script for the next Bud Lite/Miller Lite commercial: guy and a girl are in a place together. There's a discussion where the girl wants the guy to say something sweet about her, or compliment her clothing, or else she's nagging him. These are the only types of interactions guys and girls ever have. I'm not sure what happens next, but the guy does something and for a second the girl is happy. Then she realizes that whatever the guy did was actually more a reflection of his love for beer. So she rushes off angry or looks disgusted. The guy is simple, an idea he communicates to the camera by not understanding what he did wrong. It ends with him looking confused, then shrugging it off because he's simple. He sips a beer. Please send me a money order for ten thousand dollars if you like this idea.

6:43: Un-fucking-believable. Lance Thomas literally cannot make a lay-up. Duke is now 2-20 from 2-point range. 2-point range!! 2 for friggin’ 20! Earth, Wind, and Scheyer just have no help.

6:22: Singler is so cold. And I’m not just talking about this game. It’s the whole season, and it’s really disheartening. Aside from his one hot game last week, it’s been all disappointment.

6:01: Sensing my souring mood, the girlfriend just went to bed. Time to become a lonely, sad, angry man. If I were holding a beer, this could be like the Raymond Carver version of a Miller Lite commercial.

5:30: Scheyer for 3. Thank God. Dickie V. says there will be a spot for Scheyer somewhere in the NBA. Vitale is basically the patron saint of white college players who probably will never be good in the NBA. He's their main advocate. God bless him.

5:00: A clear offensive goaltending goes uncalled at our end. The refereeing has been almost farcical so far. I can see this game having a horrible ending. The Dean Dome crowd has already intimidated the refs.

4:30: “Neither team shooting well, but the effort has been outstanding,” says Shulman. A very kind way to say this game has been ugly as hell.

4:00: There’s just no identity to this Duke team. What are we about? How are we going to score? What’s the plan here, guys?

3:37: Carolina takes their first lead at the under-4 timeout. 24-23. I’m not feeling good.

3:37: The World Cup commercials are just so awesome. I need to know where that music comes from. And Geoff, resident music expert, just informs me on g-chat that it’s from “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Impossible not to get pumped up.

3:37: Hansbrough sighting! Love it. Looking goofy and loveable as ever.

3:18: Big one for Singler from 3. “Duke can’t throw one in the ocean from 2-point range, but they can’t miss from 3!” gushes Shulman. If Lance Thomas tried to find the ocean at this point, he'd end up buying lake trout at a roadside stand in Wyoming. (Huh?)

2:44: The one upside to our tentative performance is that UNC has no semblance of an offense. If they win, they’re going to have to win very, very ugly.

2:31: DRIVE, NOLAN! You’re so quick! Take it to the hole!

2:10: Excellent putback by Mason Plumlee. We’re killing on the offensive boards. Of course, that hasn’t mattered since we’ve made so few easy shots.

1:27: Ugly move by Mason. No flow to him yet. No grace. Drew Henson is a force underneath.

1:01: I honestly think Scheyer just got blocked on drives two times in a row because he was afraid that if he dished to anyone, they’d miss a layup. He had a better chance of making an off-balance leaner among the tall trees.

42.2: Singler just looks so slow when he tries to drive. His spin moves are the kind of shit you see from a second-string guard on a so-so high school team.

42.2: “There’s no Yankees!” says Dickie V., talking about the lack of a dominant team in the ACC. This works better than a quip I once made about how there are no weak teams in the conference: “There’s no Orioles!” Of course, I was at a funeral when I said it.

2.8: Worst case scenario as Drew picks up a loose ball, hits the lay-up, and gets fouled. He hits the free throw, and at halftime it’s 28-27 Duke.

HALFTIME: Without a commercial break, Roy Williams takes the mic to honor Hansbrough. God, is it horrible to admit that his speech just made me a little weepy? "Not only did he make this team better...he made me a better coach, and a better man." I don’t even like Roy. But everything Hansbrough touches turns to gold.

HALFTIME: My fellow fan Meredith points out that Nolan Smith “needs a red bull.” Too true. And apparently we’re shooting 25% from the field. Nolan is 0-7. Lance Thomas is 0-6, and those are all layup or dunk attempts. But Scheyer and Singler both have 3 treys. Rebounds are at 24 apiece, which I would not have predicted. I thought we had the edge.

HALFTIME: There needs to be a classic mouth-punch by Duke to start the second half.

HALFTIME: Some kid outside started crying like crazy just now. I went to the window, and a lady came by with her dog. The kid was on the ground with two older kids above him, one guy, one girl. “Is he really crying?” said the lady. “No,” said the two. “Yes!” screamed the kid. “They knocked me over and kicked snow on me!” The older kids ran away, and the lady took him inside her apartment across the street briefly. This might be weird somehow. I'll try to keep you updated.

19:30: Mouth punch! Singler hits his first three. He’s now 4-4 from deep, which unfortunately contrasts with me calling him “cold” a bit earlier. But Ginyard responds with a 3 of his own. By the way, Zoubek starts for Miles Plumlee. Little statement by Coach K there.

17:54: Oh boy. Mouth punch not possible. Ginyard gets an off-balance layup and a foul. Shit. Carolina up 32-31.

17:30: Thomas blatantly elbows the UNC defender. I hate when someone’s being pressured and goes high with the elbows. All you have to do is the low arm swing. It gives you space and prevents anyone from getting popped in the face.

17:20: Ugly knee bump. Lance Thomas is down. He’s having a horrible game, but the sad part is we can’t afford to lose him. Hope he’s okay.

17:00: The crying kid is back for more! I go to the window, and his face is being rubbed in the snow by the older kids. Someone comes by to intervene again, but this time everyone says "he's fine" and nothing happens.

16:55: It’s just a huge block fest underneath. 10 blocks for Carolina. Zoubek commits his third. Duke losing. This is not going well.

16:30: Hansbrough looking confident.

15:58: Singler with a huge putback after an ugly shot by Plumlee the Miles. Timeout, Duke down one.

15:27: YEAH NOLAN! LET’S FUCKING GO! (this is one of those entries where I type what I actually said.)

15:27: Hansbrough interviewed. Apparently he’s had bad ear infections this year. “I’d give anything to be out there right now,” says Psycho T. I believe that.

14:44: NOLAN TIME! Two long Js in a row, and we’re back up, baby! Give it right back to him, please.

14:00: He gets it, but misses a floater. Davis gets the go-ahead bucket in transition.

13:40: Paging Duke offense. Paging Duke offense. (The “paging _____” joke format was considered very lame in 1995. Now, it’s forgotten enough to be used again, and I'm right at the head of that wave.)

13:20: Singler gets murdered on a cut to the basket. No call.

12:07: NOLAN, GO! Oops, bad idea. Just like I wanted, he forced the drive, and missed a bad turnaround. Transition basket for Carolina, and we’re down 4.

11:46: “Get a T-O, get a T-O, get a T-O,” shouts Dick Vitale. Each “get a T-O” typed represents four actual “get a T-Os.” God, I hate him sometimes. More Yankees references, please.

11:46: Man, that “Dante’s Inferno” video game commercial with “Ain’t No Sunshine” in the background is really scary. I’m disturbed. Here I am, caring about a Duke-UNC game, and there are knights diving down into hell to save a blond ghost woman, and getting swamped by flying bird demons. Really gives you perspective.

11:38: Red Sox – Yankees wins the best rivalry poll in resounding fashion. Duh.

11:07: Wow, we got a break there. Just hammered Davis underneath, no call. Then Miles Plumlee does some weird half dunk attempt that (GASP!) doesn’t work. If a foreigner who had never heard of basketball watched this game, they would assume the main basketball strategy was to miss every shot when you’re inside the paint.

10:19: What a scoop! Nolan Smith, baby! Keep it hot!

10:10: Lance Thomas not returning. And Baby Dawk is in the game. In other news, Erin Andrews doesn’t look quite as good in glasses. But still pretty good.

9:26: Great take by Schey-guy, foul drawn. And he misses the first. Shit. Wow! He missed both. Unheard of. That, to say the least, is not a good omen.

9:12: Davis returns the favor by missing two.

9:00: A Carolina goaltending gets ignored, as does a blatant foul against Mason Plumlee. Singler finally draws a foul on the third try. And proceeds to miss the first foul shot. But the second goes down, Duke by 1.

8:51: 16-60, says Shulman. That’s Duke’s offensive effort. And oh God, Carolina is already in the bonus.

8:30: Dawkins takes a really bold three. Bold as in, he’ll probably get pulled from the game. Great offensive board by Mason, and a pump fake draws a foul. Hits one of two.

8:20: Deon Thompson with a tip. Tie game. Oh man, this is getting exciting. I did not want exciting.

7:50: As we go into the tv timeout, I need to point out that even though this game is close and dramatic, both teams look like absolute shit. It has been a really pitiful effort on both sides. Carolina just isn’t good, and Duke can’t play on the road.

7:50: If I had to guess right now, I would pick Duke to win this game, and that’s only because I don’t think Carolina has anyone who can hit a big shot. And we’ll probably hit 3-4 more three-pointers.

7:29: Horrible foul by Plumblefuck the Younger. Lazy reach-around on a post pass. And oh my, what a brick by Davis.

7:00: HOLY SHIT! REVERSE JAM BY YOUNG MASON!!!! I love hearing a crowd go quiet.

6:42: Drew airmails a wide open 3. A three-pointer here would be absolutely exquisite. Let’s do it, Duke.

6:20: But I will take a Scheyer runner instead. Dukies up 4.

6:00: Graves hits a fucking prayer from deep. That’s annoying. Dickie V correctly calls it the biggest basket of the game so far. Really going out on a limb there.

5:30: I LOVE YOU SCHEYER. I LOVE YOU. Huge clutch 3. Biggest shot of the game so far, say I!

4:45: Singler misses a bomb. This game just got really chaotic. Fast break lay-in for Nolan! Duke by 6.

4:34: Gotta say, I still have faith in our guys. I think Carolina’s offense is basically Graves bombing from really deep. Not sustainable.

3:59: Last tv timeout. Man, don’t even know what to think right now. A potential win is a potential win, but I was hoping for a much better performance tonight. It just isn’t happening for us on the road this year, and I guess that’s that. I’d love to be the kind of team that could find a nice flow even in a hostile environment, but it’s not to be. I can’t help but try to look into the future after these sorts of games, and none of this can bode well for the tourney. I’m already nervous for the first time we face real stress against a tough, athletic team, with a neutral crowd suddenly aligned squarely with the bad guys.

3:59: 19 offensive boards by Duke. I’d love to see numbers on how many of those were converted into actual points. 12 turnovers for UNC, 7 for Duke.

3:30: Beautiful pass by Zoubek in the interior. Singler lays it in. Give-and-go done to perfection. Duke by 6 again.

2:58: “Sometimes it just helps to be the biggest guy on the court,” says Shulman, as Ole Snowshoes rips down a vicious board. This one’s over, I’m calling it.


2:00: Carolina just taking ugly shot after ugly shot. Celebration time!!! They just showed the replay, and Scheyer gave the classic MJ head shake after that 3. Awesome.

1:34: After letting him kill 20 seconds, Carolina fouls Scheyer for no reason with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. They’ve done just about everything wrong in the last 7 minutes. Scheyer missed two before, and now he misses one of two. 10-point lead.

1:17: We’re about to beat Carolina.

1:08: What’s the rule on backcourt? Shulman clarifies: if you have at least one foot still in the backcourt, it’s not a violation if you go back, even if one foot has crossed. Good no-call by the refs. Nolan hits one of two to ice the deal.

1:05: “People better have their fun now,” says Vitale, before listing all the great recruits UNC is getting next year and predicting that they'll probably be awesome and beat us for the next four years at least. Okay, fair enough. *Ahem* HAHAHA, UNC SUCKS, HAHA, OH MAN IT’S SO MUCH FUN BEING FROM DUKE, WOOOOOOO. UNC IS TERRIBLE, WEEEEEEE!!!!!


46.1: Scheyer fouled. Nice to see a little toughness, even if the overall play was sloppy.

45.0: Shot of sad Tyler.

28.2: Nolan fouled one last time for good luck.

15.2: Just checked the box score. A total of 11 points from people not named Earth, Wind, or Scheyer. Yikes.

GAME OVER: Nice work, Dukies. Scheyer is player of the game, and the highlight is Mason Plumlee’s reverse dunk. See you guys tomorrow.