Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yes, You Do Need A Three. Here's why.

Ron Franklin and Fran Fraschilla were calling the Oklahoma State - Oklahoma game last night and OSU trailed by 3 with 18 seconds left. Fraschilla argued that OSU did not need to get a 3 in this scenario. Inevitably, commentators make this statement in similar situations, and, also inevitably, this drives Pun City nuts.

Pun City has no empirical evidence for this argument, and doesn't claim that it will get any in the near future (or ever, really). So that caveat's out of the way, but this blog will attempt to attack this with logic.

When you are down by 3, and you have less than 40 seconds remaining, it is ridiculous to go for anything other than a three. In doing so, you either are choosing to A) Put the game in your opponent's hands; or, at best, B) Limiting your own effectiveness toward the end of winning the game.

Let's cover A, putting the game in your opponent's hands. This is the worst-case scenario. The reason Pun City is saying you are putting the game in your opponent's hands is as follows: going for a 2-pointer means that you have to rely on your opponent to make a mistake in order to even have a chance.

Hoops fans might already know the only mistake that would solve your immediate need (tying the game) would be your opponent fouling you on the 2-pointer. While possible, there are enormous obstacles to overcome in order to reach the goal of a tie. You either need to make a 2-pointer when you are being fouled.

A rundown of the possible scenarios:

Making a 3:

Immediate Scenario - Game Tied, Opponent has possession and less time (or overtime begins).
Possible Outcomes - Stop for overtime or possible win, opponent scores for loss.
End Result - Overtime is possible win or loss, regulation loss or win.
Positives - Maximum amount of time to get a player open for a 3-pointer. Game is tied. Opponent now has less time (if any) and needs to score instead of running out clock and receiving a foul. Could possibly steal in regulation and win. Getting fouled on the 3 is possible, could have 4-point play or make 3 free throws in this scenario as well. Overtime win a 50-50 preposition otherwise. Rebound basket possible, which could lead to all 2-point scenarios with less time.
Negatives - Opponent has the ball and can hold for last shot. Longer shot. Opponents know you are looking for a 3. Can possibly be down more than 1 possession if this fails.

Making a 2, getting fouled, and made FT:
Immediate Scenario - Game Tied, Opponent has possession and less time (or overtime begins).
Possible Outcomes - Stop for overtime or possible win, opponent scores for loss.
End Result - Overtime is a possible win or loss, regulation loss or win.
Positives - Shorter distance on the shot. Game is tied. Opponent has less time (if any) and needs to score instead of running clock and receiving foul. Steal for win in regulation. Overtime a 50-50 chance. Penetration could create open 3.
Negatives - Could get an offensive foul when trying to create contact. Relying on the opponent to make a mistake, also requires 2 shots. Opponents know you are trying to get fouled. Scenario requires a made shot while being fouled. Could possibly be down more than one possession if this fails.

Making a 2, getting fouled, and missing FT:
Immediate Scenario - Down 1, need rebound or immediate foul.
Possible Outcomes - Rebound and make for win, rebound and miss for loss, no rebound for loss.
End Result - Overtime highly unlikely. This is the shortest scenario, all-or-nothing.
Positives - Higher chance of winning in regulation among theses scenarios. Will not be trailing by over 1 possession after opponent's free throws.
Negatives - Could get an offensive foul when trying to create contact. Relying on opponent to make a mistake, also requires 2 shots. Opponents know you are trying to get fouled. Scenario requires a made shot while being fouled. Less time after opponent's free throws, still down. Possibly down 3 with less time than you began with.

Making a 2, no foul:
Immediate Scenario - Down 1, need rebound or immediate foul.
Possible Outcomes - Foul, Steal, Time expires for loss.
End Result - Foul shots either put you down 1, 2, or 3. Less time to score again, though possibly a shorter shot required. Steal creates game-ending possession, make for win, miss for loss. If opponent passes successfully and avoids your defense, time expires.
Positives - Very likely shot will be uncontested. Shorter shot. Will not be down over 1 possession after opponent's free throws.
Negatives - Relying on an opponent to miss free throws. Less time after opponent's free throws, still down. Possibly down 3 with less time than you began with.

Missing a 3, no foul:
Immediate Scenario - Down 3, need immediate foul, 2 missed free throws, and a 3.
Possible Outcomes - Foul, steal
End Result - Foul shots put you down 3, 4, or 5. Less time to score again. Steal or 2 missed free throws only chance at tying. 1 made FT and you lose.
Positives - None.

Missing a 2, no foul:
Immediate Scenario - Down 3, need immediate foul, 2 missed free throws, and a 3.
Possible Outcomes - Foul, steal
End Result - Foul shots put you down 3, 4, or 5. Less time to score again. Steal or 2 missed free throws only chance at tying. 1 made FT and you lose.
Positives - None.

Pun City believes that having the chance to "control your own destiny" and having the maximum time possible to run a play for a 3-pointer gives you the best (by far) chance to win the game. Relying on an opponent to foul you, turn the ball over in under 35 seconds, or miss excessive amounts of free throws is taking too great of a chance as compared to running a play for a 3-pointer. Maybe the odds of getting the 3 to go are 1 in 6. That's gotta beat the chances of each domino falling of made 2 (maybe 40%), getting a foul (maybe 20%, meaning you have an 8% chance of the combo), and/or getting the missed free throws or a turnover. Even if one of these comes through, it's gotta be less than an 8% chance to add to the 8% you have, plus the made 3 option gives you extra opportunity with the overtime, this blog estimates half a chance there, giving the made 3 a 24% chance as opposed to 16% on the house of cards going for 2 gives you. In conclusion, no Fran, you need to go for a 3.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marquette's Ticket Office: Wait Some More!

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has his Bracketology out, and one fun activity Pun City always likes to do is see what apparel this blog has that would be relevant with each of the projected seeds. Here's this week's sample:

1 Seeds:
Memphis - Hat, conference shirt, tiger paw
Tennessee - Nothing
Kansas - NCAA tournament shirt
North Carolina - Shirt, hat, wristbands

Washington State - Shirt, hat, conference shirt
UCLA - 2 Hats, conference shirt
Georgetown - Hat, conference shirt
Duke - Hat, jersey, shooting shirt, wristbands

Indiana - Jersey, conference shirt, warmup pants
Michigan State - Hat, conference shirt
Texas - NCAA tournament shirt
Wisconsin - 20 shirts, 14 hats, jersey, warmup pants, wristbands, shorts, sportcoat, conference shirt, NCAA tournament shirt

Pittsburgh - NCAA tournament shirt, conference shirt
Marquette - 12 shirts, 8 hats, conference shirt
Stanford - Conference shirt
Drake - Conference shirt

Vanderbilt - Nothing
Butler - Conference shirt
Mississippi - Nothing
Dayton - Jersey, hat, conference shirt

Xavier - Hat, conference shirt
St. Mary's - Nothing
Gonzaga - Hat
Baylor - Nothing

Notre Dame - 2 shirts, 1 hat, conference shirt
Kansas State - Nothing
Clemson - Nothing
West Virginia - NCAA tournament shirt

Texas A&M - Nothing
Arizona - Hat, conference shirt
Villanova - Conference shirt
Arizona State - Conference shirt

Oregon - Conference shirt
Purdue - Shirt
Rhode Island - Conference shirt
Massachusetts - Conference shirt

Boston College - NCAA tournament shirt
Providence - Conference shirt
Illinois State - Conference shirt
Mississippi State - Nothing

Ohio State - Shirt, jersey, hat, shorts, conference shirt
Miami - Wristbands
Cleveland State - Conference shirt
South Alabama - Conference shirt

Akron - Nothing (Although, Pun City has tickets for their Bracket Buster game 2/23, so this may change)
San Diego State - Nothing
Connecticut - Conference shirt
Louisville - Hat, conference shirt

Davidson - Nothing
Virginia Commonwealth - Shirt, conference shirt
Oral Roberts - Conference shirt
Siena - Nothing

Stephen F. Austin - Nothing
Cal State Northridge - Hat, conference shirt
Utah State - Conference shirt
UNC Asheville - Nothing

Austin Peay - Hat, conference shirt
Northern Arizona - Nothing
Cornell - Nothing
Hampton - Conference shirt

Lafayette - Nothing
Quinnipiac - Nothing
Jacksonville - Conference shirt
Binghamton - Nothing
Southern - Nothing

So far, 44 of 65 teams covered. Assuming that the above listing is the exact field that ends up happening, there is still a chance Pun City's apparel options would be a better fit come tournament time. As noted above, there's a good chance Pun City would pick up some Akron swag in February. Additionally, Pun City's March road trip will either be to New York for the Big East tournament or out west for the West Coast Conference and Mountain West Conference tournaments.

If this blog heads west, there is a 99% chance it would pick up at least a conference shirt from each tournament. This would bring relevance to the San Diego State entry. Additionally, it would cover for any other bids the MWC or WCC picked up. (St. Mary's would be accounted for from the WCC as well).

Incidentally, Pun City actually has a shirt depicting all Big East teams already, so a New York trip would not help the cause of adding relevance to extra tournament teams. It would still be a sweet trip though.

On the trip note, this blog knows a few of you are out there wondering where Pun City will be going. It's still up in the air unfortunately, but could be resolved as early as tomorrow.

The Marquette ticket office just received the number of tickets they have been allotted from the Big East for the tournament, and tomorrow they hope to determine which applicants receive their tickets. Pun City would put its chances at around 50-50 right now. The unfortunate part of this situation is that this blog has repeatedly had its hopes driven upward only to find out another delay was going on.

The MU ticket office first stated that they would know in November who would be receiving tickets. This changed to December, then January. At the start of January, they said "a couple weeks, maybe 3." It has indeed become 3 weeks, and last week one representative told Pun City that it would be determined by Wednesday, and another said it would be determined on Monday. Well, obviously Monday was wrong. Today's rep said they were "hoping to get that figured out tomorrow," so that doesn't even guarantee a Wednesday answer. This blog is hoping that a response is delivered by Friday at the latest, this is beyond ridiculous as far as having to plan a trip on short notice. Luckily some of the tournament days coincided, but the disparate locales make for no other consolidation of trip resources (rental car, hotel, flight) being possible. It's a tough situation, there's a good chance Pun City won't order Big East tickets for a while now, so hopefully this blog wins this year and is able to check the Big East off of the list.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Running Diary: Saturday Hoops

Watching hoops all Saturday long. Here's the recap:

11:00 - Games for the first time block are Villanova at Syracuse on ESPN and Notre Dame at Georgetown on ESPN Plus (WMLW - Channel 41 in Milwaukee). For some reason the audio is extremely low on the Plus feed. Probably a good thing with Bob Wenzel doing the game.

11:03 - Just got Wenzeled. Probably the first of many today. Wenzel, doing the ESPN Plus game of Notre Dame at Georgetown, in the pregame analysis, that he had all week to prepare for, describes Roy Hibbert in the following manner: "He of the multi-skilled guy."

11:11 - Georgetown up 12-7 at the first break, Syracuse trails Villanova 10-3. Syracuse, for all their whining last year when they missed the NCAAs, still refuses to go on the road during the non-conference slate. This year was a huge revelation when they (gasp!) went to Virginia to play a game. This year the injury bug has hit (Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins out for the year), but they are playing pretty well, owning the 32nd-best RPI in the country.

11:14 - Syracuse now down 10-9 and on the line. Solid bounceback there. Getting back to the last post, Pun City's got pulled up for today, that site is the best place for RPI statistics. It's free and has a ton of analysis. Highly recommended.

11:17 - Syracuse-Villanova has remained compelling enough that this blog hasn't switched back to the Georgetown-Notre Dame game yet. It's weird how you can tell a game's in HD even when you don't have HD on your television. It's like they clean off the lenses for HD and they don't make the effort for non-HD cameras. Not sure if anyone else ever noticed this.

11:20 - Commercials on both channels. Thinking about lunch. Could either make a frozen pizza, head to Little Caesar's for a pizza and breadsticks, or make some macaroni and cheese. There's a good chance friend-of-blog Wells will show up, might want to run this past him before Pun City makes a decision.

11:23 - Vicious airball by Luke Zeller of Notre Dame. If you recall last year's post about the Butler cheerleaders, one of them went to high school with Zeller. Pun City recalls him getting major playing time last year, but when this blog saw Notre Dame at Marquette this year, Zeller didn't seem to get on the floor too much.

11:25 - Notre Dame now up 17-16. They're playing pretty respectably on the road here after their first road trip was a debacle at Marquette, after which ND coach Mike Brey said he had to do a double-take to make sure it didn't count for two losses.

11:27 - Roy Hibbert has 13 of the 22 points for GU, they're up 22-17 after a sweet hook. This blog recalls a game 2 years ago where Hibbert dominated Marquette in the first half, then disappeared in the 2nd half because Georgetown went away from him. Have to keep an eye on him to see if he stays involved today.

11:30 - Villanova has different colors for the trim on their shoulders and collar. Powder blue on the left shoulder and collar, white on the right. A unique and somewhat bizarre look.

11:32 - Another thing about Syracuse's propensity to stay home. For schools that don't have football, Pun City understands the reasoning for scheduling a ton of home games (to a point). But Syracuse does have football. They aren't funding an entire athletic department with basketball. Now granted, they do earn a lot more money from home basketball games than normal schools would (as they play in the 20,000+ seat Carrier Dome), but they are compromising their possible NCAA earnings by getting a lower seed. If they would have gone on the road another couple times this year, they'd be in the top 15 for RPI, which really gives them a good shot at a high seed and all of its advantages.

11:36 - Georgetown now up 29-17. So much for Notre Dame looking respectable on the road.

11:37 - Just noticed an advertisement under the scorer's table at Syracuse. Something to the effect of "Not Just Good - Heluva Good". No idea what the product is, but that sounds like a natural ad campaign for the product. Nice work there.

11:38 - On the subject of scorer's table ads, Marquette had one for "O'Reilly Auto Parts" last weekend. Granted, the game was on national TV, but where is the nearest O'Reilly?

11:40 - Rockford, Illinois. This blog doesn't imagine it will be driving to Rockford to purchase auto parts, but if it did, it might need a lot more.

11:41 - Heluva Good is apparently a purveyor of cheeses and dips that caters to the tailgating crowd. Sho nuff.

11:43 - Roy Hibbert and Luke Harangody start jawing with each other. That would be a cool fight. Notre Dame now trails 31-19.

12:47 - Lunch hour in there. Georgetown-ND got out of control (Georgetown running away 62-42 now), Syracuse and Villanova got compelling, and Wells came over and we grabbed some Little Caesar's.

12:49 - Wells rockin' the paddle ball right now. Travelling Mercies Pastor got Pun City the Spiderman-brand paddle ball as a gift, and it's provided a good deal of amusement. Wells repeatedly getting denied in his quest for 20 consecutive paddles. Compares to last year's "" diversion while the tournament games were being played.

12:51 - Nova leads 66-63 with 4:36 left. Big 3 for Corey Fisher puts them up 69-63 with 4:00 remaining.

12:52 - Scottie Reynolds goes to the line with 3:21 left, hoping to end the game by "the rule's" definition. Just needs 1 of 3 free throws to do so. Wells succeeds in his quest for 20 paddles, ending with 22.

12:56 - Game over, Reynolds puts the Wildcats up 72-63 with 3:21 left. Syracuse would need a miracle.

12:59 - Wells notched a 44-hit effort on the paddle ball, "like getting to level 3 in Tot Rejection" says the triumphant paddler.

1:00 - Next on the slate will be Illinois at Purdue on ESPN, plus UTEP at Houston on CSTV. Could do a lot worse with those. At 2:30 there will be Maryland at North Carolina on ABC and Ohio State at Tennessee on CBS.

1:08 - Villanova, with a fast break dunk opportunity with 10 seconds remaining, makes the move to dunk, presumably gets yelled at by head coach Jay Wright, thinks better of the dunk, and in the process double dribbles. A Jay Wright coached team does not dunk in a blowout. It double dribbles.

1:11 - Illinois at Purdue on now. Doris Burke is the color analyst. Pun City isn't the hugest fan of her in this role. She was a great sideline reporter but this blog isn't convinced she adds a lot of analysis/knowledge to the men's game. We'll see though. Illinois up 6-0 early.

1:17 - CSTV's announcer, sounding very A/V club (just from an audio standpoint), says "I don't know if he knows they aren't worth 4 from there". Hoo-hah! Comic gold.

1:19 - Going to break in Houston, they show a fan with a 10-gallon hat, red sportcoat, cowboy boots and an unlit cigar in the front row. No, this is not a student. It's a booster, and the look is not intended to be humorous. Wow. Looked like a real life Rich Texan.

1:21 - Doris Burke kinda growing on me, she does have some reasonable insight despite having never played men's basketball.

2:05 - "If you leave him open from 2 feet out, he'll probably make that shot 9 times out of 10." - CSTV announcer.

2:13 - UTEP has a guy named Watts from Compton. That guy belongs at Long Beach State or something.

2:37 - Turned on the North Carolina-Maryland game on the small TV. Houston just clinched the win by way of "the rule," up 7 with 6:50 left. It was discovered that this blog broke the volume and the UHF stations on the small TV when trying to remove a stuck VHS tape last week. Closed captioning on VHF it is!

4:05 - UNC gets big-screen billing as Maryland was up by 10 and the gap has been closed. Sun is setting and haven't really even noticed the time slip past. UNC now trails 63-59.

4:06 - Oh yeah, Ohio State at Tennessee and Texas A&M at Kansas State are the other two games in progress. Neither is terribly exciting. So, the ACC wins out even though the network-to-local-back-to-satellite feed does look extremely washed out on screen.

4:08 - UNC ties it up at 64, Maryland seems to be running out of gas in the Dean Dome. Brent Musberger just told everyone they were an 18-point underdog.

4:12 - While flipping back to ESPN, the bottom scroll indicates an "Upset Alert" that says Maryland is tied with UNC with 7:18 remaining. Is that the ultimate jinx or what? Plus, what are viewers supposed to do here? Pun City believes they were expecting the "WHOA, SWITCH OVER TO ABC!!!" reaction, but that's a little unrealistic seeing as Maryland wasn't even winning at the time. Very bizarre scroll.

4:25 - To Maryland's credit, they've stayed in this game even after the jinx. Down 78-76 now with 1:59 left. UNC is getting to most of these loose balls now though.

4:26 - Greivis Vasquez on the line to shoot 2 with 1:19 left. This could make things interesting if he ties it up.

4:27 - And he does.

4:28- On a rebound of a missed UNC shot, they foul Maryland with 1:06 left.

4:29 - Maryland up 2 until Tyler Hansbrough hits a layup. Gary Williams gets a timeout with 43.4 seconds remaining. 28 seconds on the shot clock. Could be huge if Maryland can get a bucket this possession.

4:30 - With 21.6 left, Maryland goes up 2 on an Osby layup. 82-80 with 10.7 seconds left after UNC misses their first attempt and gets the ball out of bounds under the hoop even though they hit it out.

4:33 - 1.7 seconds left, a jump ball goes to the Heels. They're getting a lot of breaks here. This is exciting though.

4:35 - Maryland wins! Upset Alert!

4:36 - Questionable play as Tyler Hansbrough had a 3-pointer to win that. Pun City supposes beggars can't be choosers with 1.7 seconds left though.

4:38 - Apparently UNC allows fans to walk on the court on their way out. About 7 consecutive fans take the opportunity to wave to the camera while the postgame interviews are going on. Pretty amusing.

4:41 - Whoa, ESPN scrolls another "Upset Alert," this time showing the final in Chapel Hill plus USC beating UCLA. The USC-UCLA outcome is unexpected. That could end up being the signature win USC needs to make it into the NCAAs.

4:43 - Watching the tail end of KSU-Texas A&M. Kansas State up 9 with 8:02 remaining, so this is over by the rule. If KSU coach Frank Martin ever had a movie written about him, John Tuturro would definitely star.

4:45 - Wells is out. Plan is to head out to Maxwell's later in the evening. That should provide a bunch of screens to view games on simultaneously. This was intended to be our "warmup" for March Madness, but this is a little more intense than March Madness. When the tournament is going on, there's usually a break right now until 6:00. During the regular season, there's no such break and a ton more games, not to mention more stations to keep track of.

4:51 - Speaking of which, Pun City just signed up for March Madness On Demand. Highly recommended for anyone that might want to watch one out-of-market game during the tournament. There's no sense in having a lag time on these games when they're showing. If you're interested, with a login allows you to reserve your spot. Don't say Pun City didn't remind you.

5:10 - Probably a good stopping point here, Pun City's going to watch Clemson at Duke. Pretty awexome scene they just showed: The UNC-Maryland game was being displayed on the scoreboard at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and when Hansbrough missed the last-second shot to lose the game for UNC, the entire gym erupted. Clemson fans were high-fiving Duke fans, everyone was happy. Pun City would have to imagine that Maryland is a lot of these fans' 2nd-favorite team. Enjoy the games! (Pun City knows it does).


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"The Rule"

Good evening. After posting on Sunday, this blog realized that it hadn't done a post on "the rule." Part of the reasoning is that most of this blog's 4 readers have heard Pun City talking about it on the street. But, in any case, for posterity, Pun City's going to post it here too.

This rule applies to men's college basketball games. There's a good chance that some variation of it could apply to other sports, but since Pun City knows college hoops best, and initially created it to be applied to the sport, this blog is sticking to just college hoops.

The rule states that if a team is leading by more points than there are minutes remaining on the game clock, and the lead in question is greater than 6 points (2 possessions), then the game is over and the team that is leading will win. A key part of this is that the minute column of the game clock is all that is considered, so if Cornell is leading Yale by 8 with 7:52 remaining, that game is over.

As you may note, this rule is not 100% effective. Matter of fact, scroll down to the previous post and you'll see an example where this rule was broken. But it's roughly 99.5% accurate, which is pretty cool. This certainly means seeing a "rule-breaking" game is truly extraordinary. This blog thinks it has only seen about 5 of such games in person, dating back to 1999. Pun City can't think of a single time a road team was able to break the rule, but definitely two occasions where the game was at a neutral site and the rule was broken. So, you heard it here, earth-shattering news, home teams with big leads win a ton.

In any case, tracking the rule can add another dimension to some blowout games, and tracking the rule being broken can help quantify how huge a comeback is. This blog isn't recommending it, but for those of you that like to bail on games early (where are you going that's more important than a college basketball game?), you could conceivably use the rule to determine a time to leave. Marquette leads Savannah State by 14 with 13:22 remaining? That game's over. Don't leave though, you could be missing some rule-breaking history.

This blog's cruising to the Marquette-Seton Hall game tonight, hopefully there's some rule breaking going on.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

UWM Panthers Show The Heart of a Champion

A sports story that was inexplicably buried on the 6th page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and nowhere to be found nationally, was that of the UWM Panthers' victory over the Detroit Titans on Saturday. This is a story that should not remain obscured.

Panther fans may know that this was the 4th game UWM was playing without the services of Torre Johnson, formerly their leading scorer and arguably their best player at the time. Johnson was unceremoniously booted from the team after being charged with "Substantial Battery - Intend Bodily Harm," as listed on Wisconsin Circuit Court access.

Coinciding with the removal of Torre Johnson was the demotion and suspension of freshmen Tim Flowers and Kevin Johnson, in addition to junior Roman Gentry leaving the team for personal reasons. Both freshmen had been key components in the UWM rotation earlier in the year, with Flowers actually starting 8 games. Gentry was also a contributor, starting 4 games for the Panthers this season.

Fortunately for head coach Rob Jeter, the Panthers still had 10 players plus redshirt Brad Garrett. And these remaining players have taken to playing a strong team game, eschewing personal goals for that of the team. Unexpectedly, the Panthers had beaten Wyoming, Central Michigan, and Wright State heading into Saturday night's game. Their RPI had soared from a season low of 216th to 174th. The Panthers were showing that a team concept can produce amazing results. Even if their overall talent level had fallen off, their attitude quotient had risen through the ceiling.

Then came Saturday night's game. Playing Horizon League rival Detroit, a team that had also kicked its best player to the curb (Brandon Cotton), Milwaukee found itself in an early hole. The Titans' 2-3 zone was causing the Panthers fits, and a cold shooting night (32.1 percent from the field) was not helping.

With 6:43 remaining, UWM trailed 48-34. After 3 resilient games, it seemed as though the Panthers' run would come to an end. Rob Jeter set up a full-court press in a last-ditch effort to raise the number of possessions for the remainder of the game. Something clicked. The Panthers immediately went on an 11-0 run, pulling within 3 with 4:52 remaining. The Titans were being stifled by the press, and leading scorer Jon Goode was obviously running out of steam. The run was temporarily sidetracked, as Detroit pulled ahead 53-49 with 1:45 left.

No one could have blamed the Panthers for running out of gas here, but the raucous crowd picked them up, and some untimely Detroit fouls allowed 3 UWM free throws to cut Detroit's lead to 53-52. 44 seconds were left, and Detroit owned possession of the ball. With 26 seconds left, Deonte Roberts deflected the ball loose, about 10 feet away from any player. The ball came to rest near half court on the floor. Ricky Franklin, playing in jersey number 34 after getting blood on his usual number 5, dove to the ground and slid for at least 7 feet on the floor, undoubtedly acquiring some floorburn but also reaching his goal, the loose ball. Detroit tied him up, forcing a jump ball. Possession went to Milwaukee with 22 seconds remaining. Milwaukee would have one last chance to complete the comeback.

Detroit's defense clamped down, forcing the Panthers to run the clock further down than they would have preferred. With 4 seconds left, Deion James handed off to Paige Paulsen well beyond the arc, about 32, 33 feet out. It was as good of a shot as the Panthers could muster, unguarded but too deep for a normal possession. Paulsen fired with 2 seconds remaining and willed in the bomb, setting off a wild celebration. A deflated Titan squad missed the obligatory full-court heave attempt, and the appreciative Panther squad high-fived and hugged the entire front row on their way to the locker room.

This had to be one of the most exhilarating games in college basketball this season, a frantic come-from-behind victory in front of a small (3,410) but supportive crowd.

Jeter summed it up best with his post-game comments, saying "The last part of that game really shows how far we have come as a team. That last little scramble for the ball ... it looked like Ricky (Franklin) dove about 15 feet to finally get to that ball. I'm just so proud of the way they won the game. They went after it and they won it."

The last four games should make any Panther fan proud. Here's hoping for many encores to come.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pun City In 2008: Feel Free To Call It A Comeback

The U62 Telethon is on the air!

Always wanted to say that. Paraphrasing Stanley Spadowski, Pun City is back on the air. Sorry for the delay. Lots to cover here, so let's get cracking.

From the pun front:

People from Texas can be a bit Austintatious.

From the Tecmo front:

This blog finished up its Tecmo Super Bowl season where Pun City was trying to get every team to wind up 8-8. Some unexpected results there. First off, this blog was indeed successful in getting each team to 8-8. From there, Pun City had noticed/been informed by Ronk Romens that point differential was the second tie-breaker. Once Pun City was in week 17, it tried for some point differential ties as well. There were some successes on this front, including some nail-biters.

The first game of week 17 was Kansas City versus the Los Angeles Raiders. The Chiefs were sitting at +183 on the point differential, and 8-7 in record. The Raiders were 7-8 in record, +85 in point differential. So....doing the math for you, if the Raiders beat the Chiefs by 34, the two teams would tie in both record and point differential. Fortunately Pun City was able to pull off the feat, and after all other games were played, the AFC West Division standings showed the following lines:
1. Rai 8-8
1. KC 8-8
2. SD 8-8
3. Den 8-8
4. Sea 8-8

Similar ties were able to be accomplished in the AFC East, where the Bills and Dolphins tied at 8-8 and +90, and this blog was also able to get the AFC Central champion Pittsburgh Steelers to +90 on differential also.

In the NFC East, the Giants and Eagles tied at +79, and though the NFC West race wasn't close with the 49ers winning by 163 points, the NFC Central was close going into the last game. The Green Bay Packers were taking on the Minnesota Vikings. If Green Bay was able to beat Minnesota by exactly 30, the Vikings would fall into a tie with the Chicago Bears at +121. Leading by 27, the Packers gained possession of the ball on the 50 yard line with 45 seconds remaining, and proceeded to run off 29 ineffectual seconds, advancing only to the 39. Pun City knew that 16 Tecmo seconds was not very much, but figured there was just enough time for one pass play. Don Majkowski found a streaking Ed West down the sideline, who caught the ball with 2 seconds remaining and ran out of bounds at the 11 yard line with 1 second remaining. From there, Chris Jacke hit a 28-yard Field Goal to clinch the Bears-Vikings tie. After checking the game statistics, Pun City let the fireworks ensue.

Tecmo aficionados know that the "division champion" graphics normally show up when a team clinches the division based on record. With all teams having the same record in this season, that wasn't going to happen. Another quirk of Tecmo is that it will wait until a week is completely over before declaring any tie-breaker division champions. Given this knowledge, Pun City knew that all six division champion graphics would be appearing in sequence, and this blog would find out a) If Tecmo could handle a 3rd tie-breaker, and b) Potentially what that was. There was also a good possibility of finding out c) How to put out a fire started by a smoking Nintendo.

As it turned out, the screen flashed across Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and San Francisco 49ers as division champions; with the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, and Detroit Lions as wild cards.

This meant that indeed Tecmo Super Bowl can handle a 3rd tie-breaker, and it turned out to be total points scored. Pun City enjoyed the project, but getting two teams to have the same number of wins, points scored, and points against is a tough nut to crack.

Lastly, from the college basketball front:

This blog was at the Marquette-Savannah State game in Milwaukee's Bradley Center last Saturday. This was fun, but just prior to the game this blog had some business to do. Pun City had been listening to the Wisconsin-Texas game on the radio on the way down, and was very much interested in tracking the result. The Bacardi Club in the concourse was a huge disappointment and was not showing the game on any of their 3 flatscreen TVs. Fortunately, just down the hall, a normal cathode ray TV was displaying the game. A crowd had gathered around the screen, probably about 15. The group swelled to about 20 before the end of the game. What followed was a pleasant surprise for Pun City. As you may be aware, Marquette and Wisconsin are arch-rivals, so Pun City was expecting at least a minority of the watchers to be rooting against the Badgers. This wasn't outwardly noticeable, however. And when Michael Flowers hit the game-winning shot to put Texas away with 2.7 seconds remaining, the entire group let out a genuine, giant cheer. Maybe they were just happy that Marquette's RPI was being raised, maybe they found Wisconsin to be the lesser of two evils, hopefully they were happy for the state of basketball in Wisconsin, but Pun City is happy to report that they cheered. Mad props Marquette fans.

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