Wild weekend. A lot to get to.
Let’s hit it!
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Just brutal stretch management. St. Joe’s was a good team that could’ve, and even should’ve, made the Sweet 16. I said that last week. They had two tough matchups and, improbably, held a lead with under two minutes remaining against Oregon.
And then they choked.
Phil Martelli used to like to analyze Andy Reid and the Eagles. This weekend, he channeled the fat man.
As I wrote the other day, St. Joe’s had four turnovers or blocked shots in their final five possessions on Friday. Last night, they had a shot clock violation and a turnover-foul combo on two of their three possessions in the final minute, while burning two timeouts, including their final one, pre- and post-basket on the other possession. Look at how horrific this is:
That’s how you lose a basketball game, plain and simple. Phil’s curious clock decisions and his team’s lack of execution should’ve cost them the Cincinnatti game, and it did cost them the Oregon game. St. Joe’s fans should feel bad this morning.
Now, to the winners.
I thought the win most closely resembled Villanova’s destruction of UCLA in the second round of 2009. They were a 3 seed that year, with probably lower expectations than this season, and just beat UCLA up and down the court. They scored seemingly at will, but it was their defensive effort that stood out, punctuated by this late Dwayne Anderson dive on a hideous decal-laden floor that couldn’t even bother itself to remove the NBA three-point line fully (yuck!):
It was more of the same yesterday. Just effortless scoring and a dominant defense.
Reader Matt (@Rudeboy737) noted the one difference between the two games: that UCLA was decent and Iowa sucks. Couldn’t agree more there. Nova’s effort was good enough to beat anyone in the country, but Iowa was truly awful. What a lame team. From Fran McCaffery’s big, dumb hair to their big, dumb white guys, that team played with little pride, and it’s no wonder they lost so many games down the stretch. They have the toughness of a stale grape– you could just put your finger through them. At one point, JIM SPANARKEL – DID YOU KNOW HE WENT TO DUKE? – said: “I know Iowa’s not gonna go away from an aggressive standpoint.” They proceeded to let Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart gain the paint for easy layups on the ensuing two possessions.
CBS had a brief segment on the seemingly soft rims in Brooklyn. I agree about said softness. Kenny Brock (@KbrockJR) noted that it seemed that way throughout the tournament. But for sure in Brooklyn. Had I known that going in, Villanova would’ve been easy money. From my experience, the Pavilion has notoriously soft rims. I don’t know if it’s still the case (I’m assuming it is), but when I used to play pickup games on the main floor in college I typically turned into some sort of Steve Kerr redux, hitting threes with a regularity I could never replicate in a normal gym. The rims were so soft – or maybe gym rims are just so hard – that they almost felt illegal. And it’s no surprise that when Nova does struggle, it’s usually in an arena with hard rims, or when the game is played in a cavernous stadium. This is anecdotal, for sure, but give Villanova a favorable matchup and you’ll feed them for a day… give them soft rims and you’ll feed them for a tournament.
And just like that I don’t hate Doug Gottlieb anymore:
Of course, I’ve always liked Villanova graduate and second lady Dr. Jill Biden, who may or may not have the most ridiculous nightstand of all-time:
And I’ve always loved CB mentor Jim Cramer:
Jay is such a diplomat:
“That’s the way we’re going to look at it, Adam, but I would love being at home in Philly for a week right now,” Wright said. “I’ve just got to be honest about that. But Louisville is a good spot. I’m not mad about it.
“And that is the advantage, you know, that you don’t have as many distractions….So that helps. It really does. There is a positive not being in Philly. I’d still rather be in Philly.”
I would be, too. But after seeing what Wisconsin did to Villanova conference copy Xavier… maybe the committee did Villanova a favor. UNC Asheville and Iowa were the best matchups Nova could’ve asked for.
“I really don’t talk to him that much,’’ Wright said. “It’s amazing — he is me. He takes care of everything. I really do worry about not having him here next year because I’m going to have to work harder because he just — everything he does is what I do. Everything he thinks about is what I think about. So I really — I never meet with him. We know exactly how we think. It’s just we’re the same person.
“It has just been a thrill to have him — I really do want to cherish every second we have him.’’
Speaking of, KATIE HOLMES WAS AT THE GAME:
Photo credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
So was Chris Christie, who was there for the Notre Dame game after it. Christie may be the worst person on the planet:
Chris Christie is in the Notre Dame locker room. pic.twitter.com/j78Pahuf4y
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 20, 2016
If you don’t have a calendar in front of you, “three weeks” from today would be Sunday, April 10. That would mark the last day of the regular season (the Flyers play in Brooklyn that day). Given the fact that at that point, the Flyers will either be heading into a playoff run on the back of Steve Mason or playing their last game of the season, it’s fairly possible that Neuvirth has started his last game of the season.
It’s unclear what exactly is wrong with Neuvirth, and given the fact that the team apparently expected him to play at about 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, something had to have happened fairly recently that flared up. It’s a very unfortunate break for the Flyers and for Neuvirth, who’s been having the best season of his NHL career and has given the Flyers outstanding goaltending as Steve Mason’s platoon-mate.
An update to our local sports owners political donations story. John POWERS Middleton – and Spencer Ha-aw-es (Matt Cord voice) – hosted a fundraiser for Jeb Bush last year at Middleton’s ridiculous Malibu mansion. It’s good to have the POWERS… unless you’re nepotistic and useless presidential candidate Jeb!
Name candidate for giant boat: Boaty McBoatface. I dig it. Literally everything single thing in my house has taken on a “Mc” prefix since we’ve had the baby, and name-checks are usually performed in a sing-song voice. Little Guy votes for McBoatface.
Jim getting spotted in the airport while wearing a throwback Phillies shirt and shades – INSIDE – might go to his head:
— Paul Getz (@getzy89) March 20, 2016
— Paul Getz (@getzy89) March 21, 2016
He came to work (signed online) with a rider today.
I joke about Fran Dunphy living in Villanova to tweak Temple fans, but Dunph is a nice guy. I remember once while interning at Comcast SportsNet in 2004 him sticking around at Princeton for like 20-30 minutes to do a live shot for SportsNite. My supervisor called him a saint. After the loss on Friday, he went out of his way to be kind to an 11-year-old reporter.
Could Amazon’s drones take on UPS and FedEX? I don’t know, but I plan to buy an Echo– that thing looks increasingly awesome.
Bryce Harper hit the ball real hard:
— MLB (@MLB) March 21, 2016
The Phillies scored two Spring Training runs off of former closer Ken Giles, so they officially win the hell out of that trade.
Many of you may have watched the greatest comeback in College Basketball history last night. I was on my way back from the airport and heard Tom McCarthy’s radio call, so you win.
Xavier lost at the buzzer:
Stunned Bill Murray is stunned pic.twitter.com/pEe01SuJjo
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 21, 2016
Dwight Howard plays every game like he just jacked off an elephant.
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