Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Live Look-In: Potential Games on the Pun City Hoops Trip

As you may know, Pun City is heading on a college hoops vacation this March. This blog is taking in the Colonial Athletic Association's tournament, then moving on to see a round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, then on to the Atlantic 10's tournament.

Here's what games Pun City would see if the season ended today.

March 2 - Colonial

Noon: 8 Northeastern vs. 9 Georgia State - A former America East team takes on a former Atlantic Sun team in the first CAA game of the tournament.

2:30 PM - 5 George Mason vs. 12 Delaware - George Mason, currently occupying a higher conference standing than 2006 Final Four compadre LSU, will need to win this tournament to have a chance to return to the Final Four.

6:00 PM - 7 William & Mary vs. 10 James Madison - Lots of names here. Not many chances of NIT or NCAA appearances though.

8:30 PM - 6 Towson vs. 11 UNC-Wilmington - The conference's leading scorer (Towson's Gary Neal) faces the defending conference tournament champs, who have since fallen into 2nd-last place in the CAA. UNC-Wilmington does have the cool "Seahawks" nickname going for them.

March 3 - Colonial

Noon - 1 Virginia Commonwealth vs. 8/9 winner - VCU looking very good this year with former Florida assistant Anthony Grant at the helm.

2:30 - 4 Old Dominion vs. 5/12 winner - Last year, led by since-graduated Alex Loughton, ODU went to the Elite 8 of the NIT.

6:00 - 2 Hofstra vs. 7/10 winner - Hofstra was arguably the "last team out" of the 2006 NCAAs. They might need to at least make the CAA final to get an at-large bid this year.

8:30 - 3 Drexel vs. 6/11 winner - The Dragons currently have the 126th-best strength of schedule, which is highest among CAA teams that would have a first-day bye.

March 4 - CAA Semifinals

March 5 - CAA Final (7:00 PM)

March 6 - MEAC

6:30 PM - 8 Coppin State vs. 9 Howard - First of 2 games watching the worst teams from the 2nd-worst conference in the NCAA. Both of these schools have actually made the tournament in the last 10 years though.

9:00 PM - 7 Hampton vs. 10 Bethune Cookman - Hampton is famous for their 15 vs. 2 upset of Iowa State in 2001.

March 7 - 12: Atlantic 10

This blog has gotta get some sleep, but those games will be awesome as well. Hopefully a full-scale preview can be completed for the A10 before next week's regularly-scheduled post. For now, this blog would recommend reading this. Very cool report from Dank on ESPN's College GameDay in Columbus.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Bears In The Super Bowl? That's Crazy Like A Fox

Going with another eclectic post for this week:

On the Bears making the Super Bowl:

-This blog would love to see a new version of the Super Bowl Shuffle. Rex Grossman would make a great new "Punky QB" and everyone wants to see Tank Johnson saying "We aren't here to start no trouble...."

-Over/Under on Tank Johnson getting arrested in a Miami Club: 2 days before the Super Bowl.

-Player most likely to get stopped at the airport for trying to hide his narcotics in his gun: Tank Johnson

On College Basketball

-Something this blog has hypothesized for a while: Nevada's Mark Fox is not a good coach. This game is sort of an example of this. This blog grants that Fox is a tremendous recruiter, he was involved with getting Nick Fazekas, Ramon Sessions, and Marcellus Kemp to Nevada, which isn't the easiest sell for recruits. Even with Fazekas playing at less than 100%, the Wolfpack should have handled the Aggies. Note Fox's mature postgame reaction, refusing to give credit to NMSU's Justin Hawkins after Hawkins proved unstoppable.

Fox has helped build a great program in Reno, but this blog believes that the main reasons for this have been

A) Trent Johnson's leftovers. Johnson was a great coach from an X's and O's perspective. Strangely enough, this blog thinks he might be a little more "handcuffed" at Stanford with higher admissions standards than he was at Nevada with a lower profile. That said, Stanford does seem to be on the rise this year with wins over top-25 RPI teams Washington State and Texas Tech this year.

B) Fox is a great recruiter. This point cannot be denied. Bringing in the level of talent he has to a relatively isolated WAC school in Reno, you have to give him credit there.

This blog doesn't think he's the greatest sideline coach though, there seems to be some immaturity when he gets outcoached, which happens a lot. Witness last year's first-round exit against Montana in a 5-12 matchup. After arriving at the site of their first round game, coaches were introduced to the local media (and national media) at a press conference. Fox took the opportunity to complain about the Wolfpack's inability to get game tapes from Montana. Well Mark, not every school plays on national TV every game. Even Nevada probably only had about 4 or 5 games on national TV last season.

While Nevada might not have the resources of a major conference team, this is something that only Nevada can be blamed for. At the very least, other WAC teams would have probably have had some tape on hand, Boise State had played them earlier in the year. Maybe BSU was playing hardball, (but this blog doubts it) and Nevada might have soured relations with them to create the acrimony. Given Fox's propensity to deflect credit from opponents, this wouldn't surprise Pun City.

This blog would think that the best way for Nevada to improve would be to hire an assistant coach that is more of an on-court specialist, then actually cede control to this assistant during games. Fox's current assistants with on-court duties are also assigned recruiting and scouting responsibilities. A specialist, even an assistant in charge of just scouting on-court duties, would probably resolve a lot of issues that come up when Nevada is playing a strategically difficult opponent.

In any case, being a recruiting specialist isn't the worst thing for a head coach, especially in a conference like the WAC. What stuns this blog is that major programs have looked at Fox to potentially fill openings. This is crazy. Unless a program has had major recruiting deficiencies over the last few years, there is not a great reason to hire Fox at this stage. Major universities should look for a good combination of a recruiter and a strategic head coach.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pun City: A Prized Blog

Here's the update from Wednesday's contest. (Helps to read this first).

First off, this blog headed down to the US Cellular Arena with 4 friends (including this blog).

UWM's Head of Corporate Sponsorships (or something like that) greeted Pun City's group at the gate as this blog entered, this was cool, and he provided another quick rundown of the rules.

After getting some pretty solid seats, this blog watched UWM dominate the first half of the game over UIC, leading 48-25 at the half, which was their best half of the season.

This blog headed down to courtside right before the half, chatting with the aforementioned athletic department member about college hoops in general, UWM, Wisconsin, and Washington State in particular.

Pun City was first on the agenda for the halftime competitions, and got to walk out on the floor soon after the teams exited. The first thing this site noticed is that when you stand on the block and look up at the hoop, there are a bank of lights glaring back at you. The Cell has its lights configured to illuminate the court, which looks good for fans, but doesn't make for the easiest view of the goal.

This blog was more relaxed than earlier in the day, having done alright, but not great, in practice the night before. (This blog was able to get in an empty gym and simulate the contest). This blog's goal was to at least attempt the half-court shot (meaning a layup, free throw, and 3-pointer would need to be converted with time remaining). The keys to reaching this goal would be as follows:

1. Hit the layup. Pretty hard to screw this up. Ideally hit the first attempt, but given the proximity to where the rebound would end up, there wouldn't be too great of a penalty if one missed this shot. Mainly just embarrassing if you miss the layup.

2. Don't miss more than 2 free throws. There's still a reasonable shot that you can hit the 3 on the first attempt and have time for the half-courter if you hit your free throw in the first 3 tries.

3. Don't miss more than 1 three-pointer. Getting a rebound and returning behind the line would be a major time-consumer, so you don't want to be doing that.

4. Numbers 2 and 3 cannot be combined. You might be able to get away with missing a free throw and a 3-pointer, but 3 misses and you're screwed.

Getting back to the US Cellular Arena floor, let's find out how Pun City did.

Well obviously Pun City hit the layup on the first attempt, you knew this site wasn't going to stand for any missed layups.

Moving along quickly, this blog went back to the free throw line. Despite never having dribbled the ball in practice, for some reason this blog decided to take a dribble prior to shooting the free throw. Not sure what that was all about...Well it didn't matter anyway, the first free throw rimmed in.

Picked up the rebound, strode back to the three point line. Splash. First shot, nothing but net. That even surprised Pun City, this blog wasn't expecting such a quick ascension to the half-courter. This blog ended up having about 8 or 9 seconds left to shoot the half-courter. So, Pun City got back to the midcourt line, lined up the shot, took a couple steps in and....

Foot and a half short. The shot was right on line, perfect angle, never a doubt on the angle. Alas, just a little shy of the goal. Still good, this blog was happy.

After walking off the court, this blog was greeted by the guy from the athletic department. His comment was along the lines of "Wow, great shooting (Pun City), that was awesome. You scared the crap out of the car dealer!" That was about all this blog could have asked for, so after the prizes were procured from the trunk of the contest car, this blog headed back to the seats and watched the Panthers finish off the win. A pretty solid night.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lucky Number Ten

Pun City was at the UWM-Detroit game on Thursday night (January 4th), and it was a great one to watch.

UWM prevailed in Overtime, 65-64. Craziest of all was that Joe Thornton, resident benchwarmer and anti-hero during a lot of games earlier this year, was the hero for a change, hitting the game-tying 3-pointer as time expired in regulation. Mad props on that one, this blog didn't think he had it in him.

He still had only 2 passes and 2 shots in like 30 seconds of action, but he got the job done.

UWM continues their home slate tomorrow night vs. UIC, and Pun City has been selected to compete in the halftime contest. This blog has 25 seconds to shoot baskets.

First, a layup must be attempted (and made). This wins Pun City a gift card to Chipotle. (Not bad).

If this layup is converted, a free throw is the next challenge. This blog forgot what exactly it gets for this conversion, but it's something like a grill or a t-shirt or something.

Third on the docket is a 3-pointer. Converting this shot earns Pun City a cellular phone from US Cellular (it is the US Cellular Arena, after all).

If Pun City manages to make all three of these shots with time remaining, it gets one halfcourt shot. Making this basket would get Pun City a new car.

That would not suck.

This blog figured that it will be it's 10th on-court college basketball competition. Here's the first 9:

1. Shot free throws poorly, got a t-shirt. (Wisconsin Badger basketball game)
2. Played Memory for prizes, won a Bucky Book, $100 Aeropostale gift card, and Badger Basketball Media Guide (UW basketball)
3. Name that ringtone, won a cell phone (UW Basketball)
4. Pickle eating contest, lost, winner got thrown out, took the coupons he was going to split with this blog with him. (UW Basketball)
5. Sub run, completed within time limit, won subs for the whole row, a t-shirt, and a party sub. (UW Basketball)
6. Halfcourt shot at Midnight Madness to get a $10,000 scholarship, missed back iron. (UW Basketball)
7. Bungee cord shooting contest, won a Disneyland prize pack which included a blanket, garden ornament, basket, wine glasses, cheese, chocolate, crackers, Disneyland book, Big West pencil, ESPNZone gift certificate, and concert tickets. (Big West Conference tournament, Idaho vs. UC-Irvine)
8. Trivia contest, pep rally, answered question from Charlie Wills, won a t-shirt (UW Basketball)
9. Relay race, hit a layup, won a t-shirt (UWM basketball)

This blog has also caught numerous shirts in the stands, as well as winning the following drawings at college basketball games:

1. Random drawing, won tickets to future game (UW Basketball)
2. Essay contest, won front row seats to future game (UW Basketball)
3. Trivia contest, won front row seats to future game (UW Basketball)
4. Trivia contest II, won front row seats to future game (UW Basketball)

So this blog considers itself....the luckiest blog... on the faceoftheearth.

Hopefully some more luck to follow.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Badgers Nip Cats

This blog was on the road again yesterday, taking in the Wisconsin at Northwestern game in Evanston, IL. It was a surprisingly difficult game for the visiting Badgers, who eventually prevailed 56-50.

In the photo above, Alando Tucker is introduced. Note the "darkened" seating area above the wall on the far side of the court. This section went back about 30 rows, and was filled with 95% Badger fans. This blog sat in a comparable section on the near side of the court which had the same proportion of Badger fans. (Also note the large number of empty season-ticket-holder seats near game time, these mostly filled but it was not the best display on the NU faithful's part.)
Additional Badger introductions. This season the Badgers are undefeated wearing red. They're also undefeated at home, but wore white in a pair of neutral-site games, 1 of which they lost.
The Northwestern student section. There is another section on the other side, but it appeared as though it either wasn't filled by students or was filled very late. A proprieter at a local apparel store said that the university doesn't really have that much school spirit, as they have a hard time selling out games, especially when the opponent's fans aren't accounting for a large percentage of the attendance.
Willie the Wildcat cheers on NU. This blog had low expectations of Willie, given the lack of school spirit. He didn't do too badly though. He wasn't an acrobatic mascot, given the huge head, but this blog would prefer a giant mascot head to any acrobatics out of a mascot. Very good with kids as you might expect, and he seemed to get into the game at the right times. Strangely enough he seemed to be wearing shoulder pads, something you could probably ask him about here.

An under-reported part of the game was an ugly sequence where Wisconsin's Marcus Landry and Northwestern's Vince Scott got tangled up going for a rebound, then both hit the floor. Scott shoved Landry down to lift himself up, then stood over Landry to taunt him. No foul was called, though this blog thinks that one or both of the players should have gotten a Technical Foul. Officiating was a bit spotty and the game was too rough for most of the game, building up to that moment. After officials separated the pair without calling anything, Scott was setting fierce picks on the other end of the floor that should have earned him multiple foul calls. Wisconsin fans booed him every time he touched the ball, and he played especially poorly after Landry then blocked what would have been Scott's wide-open layup.

The stadium area around Northwestern is very bizarre. Only one "sports bar" (The Bluestone) is remotely near the Arena, and it's fairly weak as far as sports bars go. While the food is excellent, and prices pretty reasonable ($6.95 for a cheeseburger with fries), the decor is sort of an Italian movie motif, and though it had roughly 5 television screens, they were all tuned to the same game (West Virginia at Marquette). This worked out very well for this blog's purposes, as it had forgone its seat at the Marquette game in order to go to Northwestern, but a more traditional sports bar would have shown capability of more than just ESPN, and only one game at that. Plus it would have been open earlier than 11:30 on a day when a 1:30 game was planned, and would have started with more staff than 2 waitresses and a bus boy (during the course of this blog's lunch, they added a hostess and another waitress).

Beyond that, though there are 3 sports apparel stores within about a 10-block radius of the stadium, 2 of those are right around the 10-block area. The one that's right next to the Arena seems to have had a lot of the same shirts from around 1997 (supplemented with an occasional new one). This blog doesn't really blame the proprietor though, there just doesn't seem to be a huge market for Northwestern gear, and the proprietor was a pretty affable guy, keeping his well-mannered dog in the store as much for companionship as anything, since it didn't seem like he had too many visitors.

All in all, Northwestern seems pretty harmless. They don't seem to have quite figured out the whole athletics thing just yet, but theyare putting in the old college try. This blog thinks they'll have trouble reaching elite status athletically given the rigorous academic standards required for entry there, but there's a chance they could have a revival if they got lucky with a few recruits and had some major donations from alumni to improve some facilities.

This blog had initially thought Wisconsin would not lose another game until they meet Ohio State on February 25th, but that prediction is looking a little dicey given the tenseness of this game. This blog is going to stick with the projection, but hopefully the Badgers can shoot a lot better for the next few games.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brandy: Way Better Than Brand X

Recently, this blog was asked to be a friend of a MySpace member named Brandy.

She seemed friendly enough, so this blog figured it would get to know her better, and it struck up a conversation with her. The transcript is as follows:
Pun City: Hi, just got your myspace invite

rowdydone663: Hey whats up. Who is this by the way?

Pun City: Pun City

rowdydone663: Oh your the one i sent that ms friend request to. Thats weird cause im still looking at your profile to ;-)

Pun City: You've been looking at it for over 2 hours?
rowdydone663: Well baby i was just about to start my webcam up and do a little show and have some fun. You want to watch me on my cam while we chat?

Pun City: Perhaps

rowdydone663: well since you are special and tracked down my instant message info then ill let you be my special VIP guest. Feel special? lol promise not to tell anyone though k. Seriously

Pun City: Alright, seems like it's a matter of national security.

rowdydone663: well hey my webcam got flagged for nudity with the site i host it with. So now they make you do an age verification to logon to my webcam lol. This means you have to have a credit card to signup with just to prove your 18. It doesnt cost anything though cause once you get in ill make your account VIP like i do for all my friends. Just promise me when you get in the webcam chat room not to tell anyone i made you VIP. Thats if there is even anyone in there which i doubt. Anyway just go to and fill out the form on the bottom to signup.

Pun City: This seems very important. Would unimportant guests be offended that someone as humble as I am is considered a VIP?

rowdydone663: I know i sounds like a broken record but seriously dont tell anyone i upgraded you lol.

Pun City: Am I your first upgrade?

rowdydone663: Okay babe my cam is booted up now so im getting off aim and on it. When you login use your aim name so i know its you. See ya there babe.

Pun City: Don't leave me!!

rowdydone663: Auto Response: Hey just in a webcam show right now! Tonight we are giving one of our lucky members a handjob on the show! Click the link to come watch :-)

Pun City: Which member is it? I thought you said there wouldn't be anyone there!

rowdydone663: Auto Response: Just in my cam show now! Julie and I are gonna use a strap on tonight.. YAY.. Click the link to come watch... :-*

Pun City: The link didn't work.

rowdydone663: Auto Response: Hey just in a webcam show right now! Tonight we are giving one of our lucky members a handjob on the show! Click the link to come watch :-)

Pun City: Where's the link?

rowdydone663: Auto Response: Just in my cam show now! Julie and I are gonna use a strap on tonight.. YAY.. Click the link to come watch... :-*

Pun City: Is that like a strap on slingshot?
(No response)

A fascinating personality, this Brandy. Maybe not too web-savvy, but fascinating nonetheless.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Name 338 Teams and 31 Conferences: GO!

This blog undertook an unusual endeavor the other day, attempting to name as many Division I hoops teams as possible, placed in the right conference, during the course of the UWM-Detroit game, while tracking passes for both teams. This blog doesn't think it did too badly.

Here's the results:

Atlantic Coast: 11 of 12 correct, missed Clemson.
America East: 5 of 9 correct, missed Hartford, UMBC, Albany, Binghamton.
Atlantic 10: 10 of 14, missed Saint Joseph's, George Washington, Fordham, Richmond.
Atlantic Sun: 5 of 10, missed East Tennessee State, Lipscomb, Mercer, Stetson, North Florida.
Big East: 15 of 16, missed Seton Hall.
Big Sky: 6 of 8, missed Weber State, Sacramento State.
Big South: 2 of 8, incorrectly placed College of Charleston here, missed High Point, UNC-Asheville, Liberty, VMI, Radford, Charleston Southern.
Big Ten: 11 of 11.
Big West: 6 of 8, missed UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside. Placed UC-Davis here 1 year early.
Big XII: 11 of 12, missed Colorado.
Colonial Athletic: 8 of 12, incorrectly placed VMI here, missed Hofstra, James Madison, UNC-Wilmington, Delaware.
Conference USA: 10 of 12, missed UTEP, Tulane.
Horizon League: 9 of 9.
Independents: 5 of 12, missed Utah Valley State, UT-Pan American, Longwood, Savannah State, Northern Colorado, Winston-Salem State, UC-Davis.
Ivy League: 7 of 8, missed Dartmouth.
Metro Atlantic: 3 of 10, missed Marist, Loyola (MD), Rider, Niagara, Canisius, St. Peter's, Fairfield.
Mid Eastern Athletic: 3 of 11, incorrectly placed UMBC here, missed South Carolina State, Norfolk State, Hampton, North Carolina A & T, Howard, Morgan State, Coppin State, Bethune Cookman.
Mid Continent: 6 of 8, missed Oral Roberts, Southern Utah.
Mid-American: 10 of 12, missed Akron, Toledo.
Missouri Valley: 9 of 10, missed Evansville.
Mountain West: 8 of 9, missed BYU.
Northeast: 2 of 11, incorrectly placed Lehigh here, missed Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's, Fairleigh Dickinson, Robert Morris, Long Island, Wagner, St. Francis (PA), St. Francis (NY), Quinnipiac.
Ohio Valley: 4 of 11, missed Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT-Martin, Jacksonville State, Eastern Illinois.
Pac 10: 10 of 10.
Patriot League: 4 of 8, missed Colgate, Lehigh, Lafayette, American.
Southeastern: 12 of 12.
Southern: 3 of 11, incorrectly placed UNC-Asheville here, missed Appalachian State, Western Carolina, UNC-Greensboro, Elon, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, Wofford.
Southland: 5 of 12, incorrectly placed Texas Southern here, missed Lamar, McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana, Central Arkansas, Nicholls State, Texas State, Texas-Arlington.
Sun Belt: 8 of 13, incorrectly placed Jacksonville State here, missed South Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Orleans, Louisiana-Lafayette.
Southwestern Athletic: 4 of 10, missed Mississippi Valley State, Texas Southern, UA-Pine Bluff, Alcorn State, Prairie View A & M, Alabama A & M.
West Coast: 6 of 8, missed St. Mary's (CA), Pepperdine.
Western Athletic: 7 of 9, missed Fresno State, San Jose State.

It's a fun way to pass time if you get a chance. This blog has a long-term goal to get all teams named and placed correctly by the time it's sitting at halftime of the Atlantic 10 conference championship game on March 10th. Pun City will let you know how it goes. Hopefully this blog can avoid slacking and will add another post tomorrow, most likely on the pass tracking. Could be on anything though, you never know!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Butler Digs UWM's Graves

Some thoughts from the New Year's weekend.

This blog got a chance to take in the Savannah State-Marquette game Saturday at 1:00 CST, headed to Grand Avenue Mall and Major Goolsby's for the interim, then went to see Butler take on UW-Milwaukee.

1. Marquette played very poorly. Savannah State, now #273 in the country in RPI, came in and gave MU a game, losing 69-51. Walk-on Freshman Craig Kuphall, who didn't even have a name on his jersey earlier in the year, replaced Jerel McNeal in the lineup coming out of halftime. Very surprising and disappointing performance from Marquette fans' perspectives.

2. The Borders in Grand Avenue Mall is scarcely in Grand Avenue Mall at all. You have to navigate about 5 turns, 2 skywalks, decend a big staircase, then end up at street level on a very unusual street (for Grand Ave.). Maybe not entirely worth it unless it's raining, but notable.

3. This blog had the good fortune of having dinner with a couple Butler students, one of which is a cheerleader, up for the game. Both were pretty knowledgeable about college basketball, in particular Butler, so it made for an interesting conversation.

Some topics covered:

-Both of them are Bob Knight fans, but know much bigger Knight fans in their home state. They think he gets a raw deal when everything gets blown up like this year when he was getting a player's attention by popping his chin and ESPN had a 2-day feeding frenzy of coverage. (Pun City agrees)

-The cheerleader had been to every Butler game this year with the exception of the road game at Tulane. Pun City can see how that wouldn't be a prime destination, even if New Orleans was at 100%.

-She said that Madison Square Garden doesn't look very big from floor level. Furthermore, she was surprised the cheerleading squad was allowed to travel to MSG, and apparently it took a groundswell of Booster Club support to get them there.

-Butler apparently has (optimistically) 4,000 undergraduates. This makes them the smallest school in the Horizon League, a title they will continue to hold even after Valparaiso joins the conference next year.

-The pair have become Gonzaga fans this year after Butler played (and beat) them in New York. They are fans especially of Derek Raivio but did not seem to like Adam Morrison.

-The cheerleader had been served by Notre Dame's Luke Zeller when he used to work at the Washington, IN Subway.

-Pun City was at the Southern Illinois-Bradley game when this happened. (Note this blog standing and clapping in the white during the last 2 seconds of the video clip). A surprising perspective from the Butler cheerleader on the incident. (Pun City paraphrasing)-

"You know, I went to cheerleading camp and heard that she had alcohol in her system when she checked into the hospital. I mean, why would you want to move when you're on the top of a 2 1/2? (2 1/2 person-tall formation -PC). I mean, no one cares that you are still doing the motions to the fight song, either, everyone's just pissed because you ruined cheerleading for the rest of us, b****. We can't do anything now. I seriously feel like I'm still in High School. We can't do anything we couldn't do then. Oh wait, we can do tick tocks, big whoop."

Pun City, recoiling: "Uh, what's a tick tock?"

Cheerleader, back to sweet mode: "Oh, that's when you are held up by one foot and then switch to the other. In High School, any time you release from the base (cheerleader holding you up -PC), you have to cradle (as in get caught by the base with both arms near the ground instead of staying up in the air -PC)."

So Pun City thought that was very interesting. Further research revealed the excerpt in the "Consequences..." section here, which delineates the rule changes imposed after Kristi Yamaoka's fall. Pun City doubts there is a way to substantiate the alcohol rumor, so take that for what it's worth.

4. UWM pulled out all the stops that night, on and off the court. It was free foam Panther Paw giveaway night, so all fans got those. This blog was very entertained watching UWM's cheerleaders, who were handing out the paws. The cheerleaders performed routines while wearing the oversized paws, which was hilarious. There was also brief (and completely unserious) discussion of producing a calendar where the paws would be the only articles of clothing involved. A couple poses were tested out, this blog was liking the view.

A second, late-arriving promotion was Road Runner t-shirts. This blog can only assume this is because UWM has a lot of fast players. At halftime, this blog went in the concourse and discovered the shirts, which may have initially been intended for students only, but probably less than 20 students showed, so they were really trying to get rid of them at that point, this blog imagines.

Most importantly, the Panthers played pretty well on the court, stifling Butler's All-America candidate A.J. Graves for much of the contest. The Panthers were in the game for the duration, with Butler holding on 55-50. This combined with UWM's win over Wyoming last week offers a good bit of hope for their fans. In this blog's estimation, the last 2 games UWM has played were the 2 games they played most as a team this season, which is a very positive sign. Let's hope it keeps up.

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