Friday, February 23, 2007

Whatever This Is: Inside the Mind of Tommy Amaker

Geoff:  Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.  This week: Scheduling, hockey, and basketball.
Steve:  Scintilating stuff.
Craig:  Let's do this thing.
Geoff:  Steve, you were there when I found out about Appalachian State.  How would you characterize my response?
Steve:  Hmm, well, for the first time in your life you categorically refused to go to a Michigan sporting event
Geoff:  Yes.  That was overly hasty.
Steve:  Quite simply, you were pissed off.  You weren't yelling or throwing things, but you looked on the verge of boiling over.
Craig:  May I make a devil's advocate argument?
Geoff:  Sure.
Craig:  I don't think this is as bad as I thought it was on first blush.  I am still unhappy about it, but I think this is the NCAA's fault
Geoff:  Agreed.
Geoff:  From an AD's perspective, it's perfect.  We get $4M per home game, so Bill Martin would be a financial idiot if he didn't try to maximize that revenue.  And you know we'll still hit at least 107,501.
Steve:  Although we may have to count the tow-plane pilots
Craig:  Tickets sold.
Craig:  And it looks like App State may actually help our SoS? Which just seems weird, but whatever.
Geoff:  Yeah.  It's bizarre that it might help with the computers a little, but whatever.
Steve:  I don't pretend to even begin to understand the system.
Craig:  So the thing is, I'm not sure about what to think, but it will make the first game of the year a little less exciting, and that is a downer
Geoff:  Eh.  The first game is exciting enough just to be on campus again, soaking in the atmosphere.  And if it wasn't Appy Slappy, it was going to be Eastern.
Craig:  True, and let's be fair, it may be the price I have to pay to see OSU.  Which brings me to a second topic:  The conversation that the Big Ten may have about moving the end of the season to after Thanksgiving.
Geoff:  It's a good idea.  You can't have the 12-game schedule without a bye, and nobody's on campus until Labor Day weekend anyway.
Steve:  If they have to play in the snow to stay fresh in the minds of the voters, then so be it.
Craig:  I do think that not having that first game on Labor Day weekend is a good thing.  Pushing back is not the worst thing.
Craig:  Although, I still think that maybe a full Big Ten round-robin may be in the best interests of everyone.
Geoff:  It would be mathematically wonderful, but practically it could kill out-of-conference scheduling.
Craig:  Agreed, but it would avoid the "lucky" Big Ten scheduling issue...  But for now, it's just talk.  So let's move on
Geoff:  OK.  Hockey? Little bit of a hiccup in the Soo.
Craig:  Yes, but thankfully Sparty had an even bigger hiccup at home
Geoff:  Yeah.  Schizophrenic in the CCHA.
Craig:  Indeed.
Steve:  To use a cliche, that's why they play the games.
Craig:  But then I saw them play some excellent hockey on Sunday at the Joe.  They looked crisp and focused.
Craig:  I am beginning to wonder if the lack of a true February home game is hurting things.  Even though they are in a top four slot, they really want to hold on to #2.  Because you'll get the cold team...I believe ND/BGSU is locked in
Geoff:  I think so.  The ND/Miami series decided that one.
Geoff:  It's DEFINITELY locked in.  BGSU has 9 points, 10 below Fairbanks and Northern.  ND has 43 pts, 8 above Michigan.
Craig:  You gonna enjoy the Irish at Van Andel?
Geoff:  "Enjoy" may be too strong a word for it.
Craig:  I forgot the snark tag.  My bad.
Geoff:  They're a good team, but not that exciting to watch.
Craig:  So basically, Michigan needs two points this weekend, I think....[3 would guarantee it] because we hold the tiebreaker
Geoff:  OK.
Craig:  We have third for sure.  State cannot catch us
Geoff:  I just hope that we keep that 3rd seed at Van Andel in the NCAA tournament.
Craig:  The wins would be very helpful in that regard.
Geoff:  On to basketball?
Craig:  Sadly.  Let us not dwell.
Geoff:  Barring a miracle, we're headed for the NIT we all sorta knew we'd end up in all along.
Craig:  Yep, it's strange to end up with the fate that seemed pre-ordained.
Geoff:  Do you ever wonder what goes on in Tommy Amaker's head at halftime?
Geoff:  "I should buy some more turtlenecks."
Geoff:  "The floor out there is awfully shiny."
Geoff:  "Jerret Smith.  Now that's a point guard's name!"
Craig:  How does a former point guard not develop a current point guard?
Geoff:  "I went to Duke!"
Craig:  "I'm untouchable!"
Geoff:  Maybe he thinks they'll give him another year of eligibility if he asks nicely.
Steve:  Anyway.
Craig:  What's left in this misery?
Geoff:  Same thing as always: Next year.
Craig:  Ahh, yes.  That seems right, except next year, we don't have four seniors.
Geoff:  We didn't really have four seniors most of this year.
Craig:  This is true as well.
Geoff:  Sims and Abram regressed so badly (although Sims has come around somewhat).  Dion Harris has been shoehorned into an unfmaliar point guard role, etc.
Craig:  It's just a nightmare all over
Geoff:  I think next year will be Amaker's last, unless he makes the tournament.  They won't be able to ignore the attendance figures any longer.
Craig:  I hope you're right
Geoff:  Any final thoughts we want to share?
Geoff:  I will say this: I loved that Jack Johnson article in the LA Times.  Here's hoping he sticks around.
Craig:  That was exceptional.
Craig:  I'm good, if tired...until next time.
Steve:  Same here, till next week
Geoff:  OK, guys.  Thanks for hanging out again.
Craig:  Happy to do it.

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