Gary area writer tries desperately to recreate "Hoosiers"

>> Tuesday

Was Valparaiso's performance last night against #8 Marquette impressive? You bet. But Mark Lazarus of the (Gary) Post-Tribune tries way too hard to turn it into the feel-good story of the year.

As the Crusaders moped off the floor for the first timeout of the game, down 10 points and already hopelessly out of contention against bigger, stronger, faster Marquette,

Minor point #1
Total height of Marquette starting lineup: 384 inches
Total height of Valparaiso starting lineup: 386 inches

Also, since when is 10 points in the first half "hopelessly out of contention"?

But let's not let facts get in the way of a good story.

you wanted to grab Homer Drew by the shoulders, "Good Will Hunting" style, and in a soft, comforting voice, tell him the following:
"It's not your fault."

Ah, movie/pop culture references. The bottomless well for sportswriters.

Over and over and over again.

Yeesh, we get it. You want to caress Homer Drew's shoulders and whisper sweet nothings to him. Moving on.

The ever-ebullient Drew has been steadfast in his optimism heading into the most daunting week in Valparaiso basketball history -- NCAA Tournament appearances included. Three nationally ranked teams in six nights, including two Top 10 squads and a visit to the No. 1 team in the country, Ohio State. Drew wanted his Crusaders to be tested early and often this season. He wanted his staggeringly inexperienced team to get thrown into the fire. He wanted them to play elite teams, so the Mid-Continent Conference wouldn't seem so overwhelming come January.

OK, so the scheduling IS his fault. By the way, Butler is #19. Therefore, this would be two top 10 squads...including a visit to the #1 team in the country (in the coaches poll, #3 in the AP). The word "And" implies that Butler is a top 10 team; which they are not any poll, except perhaps among the Butler players' mothers.

But this couldn't possibly have been what he had in mind. An excellent team (Marquette), a pretty good team (Butler) and an awesome team (Ohio State) turned into three awesome teams just a few weeks into the season.

Did they improve via key free agent signings? Or were they the teams that Drew knew would be coming if he had any idea of the squads' respective talents? Also, in just a few sentences Butler has dropped from the top 10 to being "pretty good."

Drew didn't want this.

Yes he did. He helped schedule the games.

You could hear it in his voice. In the preseason, when he spoke of these games, he was exuberant, ecstatic, excited. The past week, he had been cautious, calculated, and just a tinge concerned. Tough games benefit young athletes. Massacres don't.

This crush on Homer Drew is starting to cloud his judgment. I would imagine this concern is due to his actual game preparation instead of offseason exuberance where every team thinks they're going to have a banner year the next winter.

And despite the enormous potential this team possesses, the Crusaders simply were not ready yet. Or so we all thought.

(cue lights, theme from "Chariots of Fire")

This gauntlet was supposed to be more about surviving the week than shocking the world. But here were the Crusaders on Monday night, shaking off that bone-chilling start and coming oh-so-close to doing just that in a three-point loss to Marquette that came down to the final millisecond.

Actually, the final 3.4 seconds. That's when King James II drilled an NBA-range three with a much-taller guy in his face.

For nearly 30 minutes, Valparaiso -- young, inexperienced

Minor Point #2
Valpo Starting lineup, by year: 1 senior, 1 junior, three sophomores
Marquette starting lineup, by year: 1 senior, 1 junior, three sophomores
Again. Facts. They make storytelling so much less fun.

inconsistent, sloppy and maddening Valparaiso --

80% from three-point land in the second half? Most teams don't shoot that well from that range in pre-game warmups.

was better than the eighth-best team in the land.

Actually, hate to burst your bubble, but with 10 minutes to go in the game, Marquette was winning.

Nobody likes moral victories,

except apparently you; the poor man's Angelo Pizzo.

and despite the most thrilling game at the Athletics-Recreation Center in, well, maybe forever to hear some of the older stalwarts tell it, the Crusaders fell short of history.

Through their craggly old beards and crooked prospector's smiles no doubt.

But they certainly achieved their primary goal of Hell Week.


"All of this is to help our guys prepare themselves for our conference and get back into the NCAA Tournament," Drew said afterward. "Games like this help our team grow. I saw a lot of character, strength, togetherness and overcoming adversity out there."

Also seen were grit, determination, hustle, team spirit, and moxie.

Yes, while Valparaiso was at its most dominant, Marquette was in foul trouble and Dominic James was on the bench. But so was Valparaiso, and so was its most productive player, Urule Igbavboa.

Yes, comparisons between an All-America candidate, pre-season Wooden Award candidate, possible lottery pick Dominic James and a player who shot 2-for-6 from the field and turned the ball over three times are completely warranted and unquestioningly valid.

In the end, Valparaiso didn't win.

Ha ha. Suckers.

But that wasn't really the goal.

Unlike in basketball where the goal IS to win.

The goal was to get tougher. Get sharper. Get more confident for the brutal road ahead.

Yea, the brutal road in conference play against teams like Southern Utah, Missouri-Kansas City, and Centenary College.

And it was clear from the change of expressions on the bench -- from Drew on down on the line -- from the horrible start to the heart-pounding end -- that those goals were met. And then some.

In addition, all the players learned something about themselves, and that as long as they follow their dreams, everything is possible. Also, the center finally worked up the nerve to ask the girl-next-door cheerleader out, the point guard studied hard and got a passing grade on his Calc midterm, and cutesy violin music played in the background as Homer Drew was carried off the floor with one fist in the air. Freeze frame. Fade to black.

The game was lost. But hope wasn't.

Oh brother.

And considering how bleak things looked early on, that's an immeasurably important upset in and of itself.

But unfortunately for Valpo, games go for 40 minutes.


Vinnie 12:35 PM  

It almost seems unfair to pick on this guy, seeing as his material has to come from Indiana. Having said that, he totally deserves it. What a ridiculous article. Good find.

Post a Comment

NSAwins is a popular site for daily vegas sports odds including updated Vegas Super Bowl Odds and weekly NFL totals and odds during football season. Check out NSAwins during March Madness for FREE March Madness Brackets to Print and Expert Picks on the NCAA Tournament. NSAwins also offers HUGE 100% BetUs Bonus Code and BoDog Bonus Code sportsbook promos.
Online Casino Reports - Online Gambling Guide and Directory for casinos, poker and sports betting.

Get out of your yellow chairs and onto some treadmills to train like a pro.

Check out Casino Guide Canada for free NFL online betting picks and the best online casinos for Canadian and US players today!
USA Online Casino guides you not only to casino bonus, but odds of sportsbook for online sports betting. Try your luckiness today to enjoy gaming games on the internet.

Blog Archive

Try GP sports for luscious sports betting games in a stylish setting. Play to your heart's content and be in with the chance of winning big!

  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP