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January 21, 2007
The Cougar Lounge - Dirty Dancing
"I definitely think that by beating these schools we'll get more notoriety in the state. It hurts us to come to school and see people wearing Gonzaga stuff."
- Senior forward Ivory Clark, after Wazzu formally completed their coronation as the new top team in the state of Washington in men's hoop with their annihilation of Washington after previously torching Gonzaga.
"Any way you slice it, you are 1-6."
- Washington head men's hoop coach Lorenzo Romar coming to grips with reality in the Pac-10. The Lounge suggests using a Cougar Gold cheese slicer.
"It's political correctness gone mad, isn't it? You're not even allowed to slap a monkey these days."
- Comic actor Ricky Gervais, in mock disgust, referring to a scene in A Night at the Museum where fellow comic actor Ben Stiller slaps a monkey but really wasn't allowed to do that.
What was all this palaver the Lounge clientele was trying to wade through a few months ago? Didn't it have something to do with a Seattle sports promoter trying to get some industrial strength duct tape and slap together an annual hoop tournament in the state of Washington and setting up hoop tourney shop in Seattle and Spokane - you know, home of the state's two best men's hoop programs? Do we have that right? We must have it wrong since the state's best men's hoop program resides in Pullman and after the results of the last two months' worth of games, anybody - even sly Seattle promoters - can surely see that. So, of course, any future men's hoop tournament that purports to be a showcase of the state's best programs must be coming through Pullman. We will now pull out a few chairs, get out a few sticks of chewing gum, distribute them to the clientele and we will all sit around and watch to see how quickly that hoop tourney location rotation includes Pullman. Meanwhile, on to a few other things temporarily distracting us from collegiate men's basketball.
There is still a brief fluttering of football wafting around the country, something called a "Super Bowl" still has yet to be played - sounds more like a really impressive bowl of guacamole to us but evidently, the advertisers get all excited about it because they are willing to shell out $2.6 million per 30 seconds of air time to advertise their product during the game. Only this year, it seems, they are not so excited to announce that they are excited - as of last week, only 13 major advertisers admitted to having booked air time during the Super Bowl. Maybe the quiet ones in the back think they are being smart by not promoting their massive advertising expenditures and then when their ad stinks, they can say "Yeah, but we got a discount and only spent $2.1 million!"
The network running the ad gulag, CBS, says they have sold only 75% of their ad "inventory" so far but that means 35 minutes of commercials if we are to go by last year's numerals which stated that commercials took up a total of 47 minutes and 20 seconds of last year's valuable Super Bowl time. That's 47 minutes we could have spent watching collegiate basketball and now we will never get it back. That means we are taking it out of the Super Bowl's hide this year and cutting our Lounge Super Bowl ad viewership down to 40 minutes. We have RPI's that are more important to track down than waiting to see what the lame Cadillac commercial is going to be this year.
"I really liked that gunslinger gesture Apple Turnover made in the first half - because then his team ran out of ammunition after that." says Fester G. Willikers of the gesture made by Washington guard Ryan Appleby after making his final three-pointer of the first half.
With their big gun, Spencer Hawes, on the bench, the Lounge is not sure how much ammunition they had to begin with, Fester, but one thing's for sure - it wasn't enough for the Huskies or, to quote the classic line in Jaws - "you're gonna need a bigger boat." Because not only did they not have enough ammunition to fight off the Cougars, but it got ugly early as Kyle Weaver and Ivory Clark took turns abusing Husky players Phil Nelson and Jon Brockman with offense [dunks] and defense [swats] while Derrick Low was torching the Dawgs from the perimeter. By the time it was all over at 75-47, there wasn't much of an identifiable blob left that one could call the Washington basketball team and the Cougars had their largest margin of victory since Jack Friel was the head coach and his 1932 team knocked around the Huskies to the tune of 49-22. The win clinched the Cougars' first winning season in 11 years but there was no rushing of the court this time. That is just one goal ticked off in the Big Four, the other three remaining are getting eligible for post-season play, winning the Pac-10 and making the Big Dance. Two more wins should accomplish the post-season eligibility goal as 18 wins will likely secure no worse than an NIT bid, but the Cougars' sights are set much higher. With an unblemished 9-0 record in Pullman and six home games remaining on the schedule - it seems likely that Wazzu will eclipse the 20-win mark for the season and that's Big Dance territory. Get past 22 wins and not only are they dancing in Big Dance elite circles but they will also have a chance at their first-ever Pac-10 championship - the real regular season championship, not the tournament championship where USC and UCLA have the built-in advantage of having it eternally hosted in Los Angeles until conference presidents can force Fox to change that ludicrous setup and rotate the tourney or abolish it. Meanwhile, with the win, the 16-3 Cougars' RPI is sure to remain in the low 20s or perhaps even move into the high teens - with Oregon State [5-1 against the Cougars while Dick Bennett was head coach and Tony Bennett was his top assistant the prior three years] and Oregon [7-0 against the Bennetts] coming to Pullman this week.
"Why are they messing with the football schedules?" asks Teddy the Wonder Lizard, about the recent announcement of the 2007 Pac-10 football schedules that have moved many of the traditional rivalry games out of their traditional spots.
One word, Teddy - money. Or, if you wish, two words - money and greed. Maybe three words - money, power and greed. No matter how you look at it, it doesn't look good from the academic side of the matter to have a 12-game schedule then move games later in the year. With the glut of bowl games boiling over like a bowl of overcooked oatmeal into early December, that leaves the prospect of putting extreme academic pressure on the athletes - who already have precious little time for academics and have to cram it into those windows when they aren't practicing, traveling or playing - to perform academically when, if your team makes one of the 987 bowl games, it leaves open the possibility that football season can stretch for five to six months. Counting a month of spring practice, that is seven months out of a nine-month academic calendar. The Lounge predicts one of either four things will happen with this scenario - athletes will become academically ineligible at a rising rate [and many excuses will be made], individuals at schools will try to cheat to avoid that by creating illicit methods to make it easier for athletes to succeed academically [see Auburn], athletes will focus on academics first, which may cause athletic performance to suffer, thereby, incurring the wrath of an angry fan base for not producing desired results or schools will schedule easier games, like Arizona State did for 2007 [eight home games - including a monster non-conference lineup of San Jose State, Colorado and San Diego State].
So now, undoubtedly, you are sitting there thinking to yourself - what can a person do to help out these poor, soon-to-be academically-challenged people? Well, you could trot on over to PubesAid, and ponder purchasing celebrity pubic hairs - but that wouldn't really help the cause much. Actually it wouldn't help any cause since the site is really a ruse created by a Swedish ad agency to direct people to more worthy and charitable causes. But a mounted pube from a celebrity has all the glamour and panache you will need for your next party - although there will always be that tricky authentication process.
Finally, the Lounge Scientists, had already determined that the Cougar men's hoop team was a proverbial diamond in the rough last year but this year they are proving to be the equivalent of the rare black diamond. Black diamonds - also called carbonado - are only found in Brazil and the Central African Republic and are thought to have formed from space asteroids that fell on Earth sometime between 2.6 and 3.8 billion years ago when South America and Africa were one gigantic land mass. The clincher has been the diamonds' porous texture, giving away the clue to its interstellar origins as hitchhiking clumps on random asteroids that routinely pummeled the Earth at that time.
"It [would have] coalesced into larger clumps that became embedded in asteroids like plums in pudding," says Lounge Scientist #53, Stephen Haggerty, a geologist at Florida International University who is reputed to be extremely fond of plum pudding.
Diamonds are also reportedly a girl's best friend but now that the Cougars have established themselves as the state of Washington's new best team in men's collegiate hoops - there might be a new best friend in town.
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