Hey! The football-basketball season sweep! Something so rare... actually, NU has a chance to do it again Saturday. Huh. I guess we shouldn't get too worked up about it then. Point being, SCREW YOU IOWA.
But yeah! The NIT beckons, and victories like tonight's keep NU within grasp of its semi-sweet consolatory embrace.
Hit the jump for baloncesto.
- Juice Thompson means so much to this team that I feel they have a better chance making the tourney this year - when I've already said for weeks they have virtually no chance - than next year. When plays go wrong, he's the guy who ends up with the ball in his hands with the job of "create something in eight seconds to make this work". Sometimes he hits the contested three - last night it wasn't falling, only 1-4. Sometimes he takes his man off the dribble - a beautiful reverse and a nice move to the left with a kiss off the glass last night. Sometimes, he seems to be running nowhere, only to whip a pass crosscourt to an open shooter - he nailed Alex Marcotullio on a skip pass with two seconds on the shotclock while Juice himself was falling out of bounds being double-teamed. He also had a shake-right, pass left move in transition that was absolutely DIRTY for an open look. Team-high 16 points, nine assists, no turnovers. Cripes.
- Luka Mirkovic's shooting is much maligned, by which I mean people yell "NOOOOO" when he settles behind the arc with the ball. I, sirs, disagree. I've though the Serb has had a stroke since his freshman year, his only flaw being the terror in his eyes and inevitable hesitation whenever he gets the ball in 3-point range. (It's like Seth from Posting and Toasting used to say about Channing Frye: positive: deadly shooter, when he doesn't hesitate. Negative: usually hesitates.) I'm certainly much more confident with him behind the arc than I am with him trying moves against Jarryd Cole and Melsahn Basabe, when it's a crapshoot although he did draw an and-one last night. But the highlight was his 2-for-2 performance from downtown, doing the SERBIAN FINGER GUNS THAT WILL PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING SHOT IN INGLORIOUS BASTERDS on one, and the "point to the sky, turn around, blow kisses to the crowd" on the other. Dramatic.
- You can concuss John Shurna, but you can't stop him from shooting 4-for-8 from beyond the arc or dunking on your face. That dunk made me yell.
- Bryce Cartwright would be really good if he could hit a single jump shot. Luckily for NU, he can't. Luckily for me, I was sitting in the third or fourth row near the Iowa bench and let him know that it's unfortunate that he's a scholarship athlete but I'd give him a run for his money in a 3-point shooting contest.
- Great Moments in Student Section History: One group of kids tries to start a "STAAAATE SCHOOL" chant, guy in the front row turns around and says "NO SHUT UP THAT CHANT SUCKS". They stop. I applauded front row guy. Great work.
- Props to DM for bringing students to the game, and for being DM. If only I didn't go to a school where it didn't require the allure of a fundraising competition to bring students to games. (Also, my friend on DM told me the marching band has a dance team and that the entire marching band was at the game. That's cheating. Enjoy the $1000 for charity, though.)
- Is it just me, or is Jarryd Cole way, way, way too strong to be allowed to play against Northwestern? The man has tricep tattoos. Tricep tattoos.
- Fran McCaffrey's skin tone is bright red. He just turns pasty white when he's off the court. He was fiendin for a tech in the first half, yelling absurdly and punching a chair in plain view of the student section.
- By the way, uhhh, Iowa, you got screwed by the refs. The call Fran was mad about was clearly wrong - they gave Drew Crawford a timeout when he clearly didn't have possession - and I counted three opportunities where NU received the ball off an out of bounds play where it looked to me like NU blatantly did not deserve the ball. One of them was right under the NU basket, and one of the cheerleaders who was standing directly under the hoop about three feet from the play turned to the other cheerleaders to talk about how she was pretty sure the NU player touched it last, and I agreed. But I'll take the W.
- Remember when Mike Capocci played the game of his life against Ohio State? I can guarantee it was the game of his life because he never looked good at basketball and was plain awful last night - all I saw him do was give up an and-one on piss-poor perimeter defense and push off on a screen for an offensive foul.
- Davide Curletti shoots his uncontested layups like chest passes and his contested layups without looking at where the hoop is.
- JerShon Cobb still holds the title as the player most likely to make me go "WHOOOOOOO!" after a play. He had a nice headfake and step in the lane that left him with a wide-open layup, missed the chippie, though.
- NU gave out mini-basketballs at the game, which was exciting, until I realized that they smell really strongly of paint and that after holding them for a few minutes my hands started to smell like paint as well.
- Luka Mirkovic's passing skills are not good.
- I don't have a problem with people who don't know a lot about basketball. I do have a problem with people who don't know a lot about basketball, act like they do, sit right behind me and be loud about how little they know. I knew it a problem when they were explaining the unique Northwestern tradition of yelling "air-ball" at players who airball shots to their friend like we were the only school in the world that did it. At certain points I just wanted to take out a clipboard and explain that a zone is not a triple team, it's a zone, but they kept yelling "look, they're triple teaming him! That guy can't be that good!". My favorite was on one drive when an Iowa player took an NU player off the dribble and one of them yelled "WHERE'S THE WEAK-SIDE HELP" like that was a thing people yell at sporting events, and as soon as he yelled it John Shurna came from the weak-side and swatted it out of bounds. A better yell would have been "MAN, THIS PLAY IS LOOKING PRETTY GOOD FOR NU'S WEAK-SIDE HELP" or "I'VE BEEN IMPRESSED WITH THE PLAY OF NU'S WEAK-SIDE HELP AND THIS PLAY IS DEVELOPING TO BE A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THAT"
- I almost got killed by a bus on the way back from the game. Still standing, though.
- That about it. NU plays Indiana tomorrow on the road, be jealous.