Running Diary

Champions Classic Running Diary

The best night of college basketball we’re going to see all season is on a Tuesday in November. For NBA Draft nuts like me, the Champions Classic this year is just about basketball porn.

Kentucky. Michigan State. Duke. Kansas.

It just doesn’t get any better than this. We have 15 of the top 35 draft prospects, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, and four of the top-5 ranked teams.

I’m so excited about tonight that I’m going to keep a running diary of the games, which you can track throughout the night, with Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report:

Ben, 6:35 PM CT: I’m a little bit surprised Aaron Harrison is getting the start over Alex Poythress. Hey, if you’re upset about your lack of playing time, Alex, I know a school from your home state of Tennessee that would love to have you!

Ben, 6:46: Our first all-freshman lineup for Kentucky as Cauley-Stein is pulled for Dakari Johnson! It also just hit me that every single player on this court is younger (and way more talented) than me.

Jackson, 6:54: Michigan State looks like me playing NBA 2k14 where on defense I just keep hitting the X button. Sure, you get a ton of steals in a short period of time, but this is going to backfire eventually.

Jackson, 7:02: I don’t really buy into the thinking that you need experience to win the national championship, but early season games with an all-freshman team can get ugly. We’re seeing that on both ends with Kentucky right now.

Ben, 7:04: I’m just amazed how big Kentucky is. With the Harrison twins starting, every player is between 6-foot-6 and 7-foot. Forget offense, when this team matures by the end of the year, it’s going to be a defensive monster.

Ben, 7:07: I feel like every time I look up from my laptop, Michigan State’s on a fast break. Julius Randle’s been making some weird passes around the perimeter, so I wonder if Kentucky should just slow down the ball and let him bang in the paint.

Jackson, 7:14: Kentucky is forcing the dribble-drive offense right now and Michigan State is just bodying them up. The Wildcats look like the Harlem Globetrotters with all the rotating handoffs they’ve had at quarter-court.

Ben, 7:18: Kentucky’s already down nine points with six minutes left in the half, but they’re also in the bonus. They need to cut down their high volume of long shots and take advantage of their size and MSU’s foul situation. Their height (and talent) is going to help them rack up a lot of fouls this year.

Jackson, 7:22: Here’s why Julius Randle is my No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft: When I watch him play, he can either take the ball up the court or post up a PF on the block and not look out of place. He’s one of those rare guys who has the abilities to play 4 or 5 positions on the court.

Ben, 7:24: Sure he’s a senior, but Adreian Payne has a spot at the next level as a late first-round pick if he can consistently knock down a three. He’s got great hops, good defensive instincts, surprisingly good shooting, and most importantly, a great name.

Ben, 7:29: I’m starting to really like Gary Harris. I’m thinking he’s either a worse Bradley Beal or a better Willie Green. Probably somewhere in between.

Jackson, 7:30: Kentucky’s dribble-drive offense is creating wide-open outside shots. Young has started knocking them down, and if the Wildcats can hit those threes with any consistency this is going to be a game again real quick.

Ben, 7:37: The big difference I’m seeing so far between this Kentucky team and the championship team two years ago is defense. There’s no Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist right now (although some of the young guys could develop into similar players), but for now UK needs to get back on defense quicker. MSU is just running over them.

Ben, 7:52: Side note: I love Kanye, I love Yeezus, and I’m so happy Black Skinhead is taking over commercials and basketball arena soundtracks.

Ben, 7:55: I’m not nearly as high on Randle as Jackson is (and by that I mean I wouldn’t take him 1-1 right now), but MAN is he fun to watch. 6 straight points to open the second half capped off by a coast-to-coast drive. He’s got some serious power moves you rarely see from young guys.

Jackson, 8:13: This is what I mean. There’s going to be some time this second half where Kentucky dominates play for stretches of time. And watching those stretches shows you the true potential of this young team. They probably won’t win this game, but by the end of the year Kentucky will likely be the best team in the country.

Jackson, 8:14: Coast-to-coast for Michigan State with no dribbles. Man, that’s beautiful basketball.

Ben, 8:16: Places Kentucky needs to improve: free throw shooting (6-16), turnovers (16), assists (4 in 18 field goals), and making freshman mistakes.

Jackson, 8:19: Ben, did you just copy and paste that list from the last four years? These are the things Kentucky struggles with for half a season every year. I’ve got a feeling this is going to turn out okay for the Wildcats.

Ben, 8:21: You’re not going to beat Michigan State with iso or post-up plays. Kentucky needs a lot more ball movement and more rotations, which may not happen until the offense is more cohesive later in the year.

There aren't many true post scorers left, but Randle is one of them. And he's damn good.

There aren’t many true post scorers left, but Randle is one of them. And he’s damn good.

Jackson, 8:23: Julius Randle is a man playing college basketball. The turnovers are a problem, but it’s his first real game. Everything else he’s doing makes you see why he’s so highly touted. He will make some NBA fanbase really, really happy.

Jackson, 8:29: It’s now a three-point game with another strong finish from Randle. I will be amazed and terrified for everyone else if Kentucky can pull this game out.

Ben, 8:30: Kentucky is going to win this game. Look out.

Ben, 8:33: If Randle weren’t on this AAU Kentucky team, he’d put up numbers like another guy who wore #30, Michael Beasley. Don’t laugh, Beasley put up a 26.2-12.4-1.2-1.3-1.6 line on .543/.479/.774 shooting at K-State. R.I.P. good Michael Beasley.

Jackson, 8:47: I hate player comparisons as much as you do, Ben, but does Randle remind you of any NBA players? I’m trying to place it, but can’t quite come up with who.

Ben, 8:49: Well he just hit four straight clutch free throws towards the end of the game, so clearly not Dwight Howard!!! But in all seriousness, maybe he’s a much higher ceiling, thicker version of Chris Bosh, who, by the way, is actually a really good player. Maybe I’m thinking that because this is “The Best Draft Class Since ’03” and Bosh was the first big man off the board, but still.

Jackson, 8:57: Randle just scored over a triple-team. I have a new man crush. He is ridiculous.

Ben, 8:57: I’m going to wait until after Wiggins and Jabari go head-to-head before I decide on a man crush. And I love Dante Exum too. Dear Lord, I already love this draft class. Please tank, Horncats!

Ben, 9:02: Yes, Michigan State won and was the better team tonight. But man is Kentucky going to be scary (and so fun to watch) by the end of the year.

Ben, 9:05: The biggest problem I’m going to have all year with Kentucky is remembering which Harrison twin is which. Thank God for their different haircuts and uniform numbers.

Ben, 9:12: Wait the United Center is playing The Way I Are by Timbaland. I’m a fan.

Ben, 9:18: Congrats to Vanderbilt, earning their first win of the season in a 86-80 takedown of former Kentucky Wildcat Ryan Harrow’s Georgia State Panthers. Imagine if UK still had Harrow, too…

Ben, 9:25: I don’t like Tyler Thornton starting over Andre Dawkins and Rasheed Sulaiman for Duke. I’d like at least one ball-handler off the bench.

Ben, 9:33: Early prediction: Jabari Parker has a better college season than Andrew Wiggins. He’s a lot more polished, but when I saw Wiggins in high school, it was easy to see how talented he was. Wiggins will probably have a better pro career, but you can see the rough edges.

Ben, 9:38: “That’s (Wiggins’) first collegiate basket, and I can assure you it won’t be his last.” Thank you, Dickie V. Bring me back Jay Bilas.

Ben, 9:40: I was really wondering how you pronounce Joel Embiid’s name, and it turns out it’s what I expected: em-BEED. There are about fourteen other pronunciations you couldn’ve told me and I would’ve believe any of them.

Ben, 9:43: Ever since Wiggins reclassified into the Class of 2013, Jabari Parker has been thrown a lot of shade. But dude can play. Just in the last five minutes, he hit a pair of threes (one was an and-one), blocked a shot, and stole a pass.

Ben, 9:48: Good to see Wiggins come inside to grab an offensive rebound and put it back in. At Huntington, he would often drift along the perimeter waiting for the ball, since his team had really good guards and big men. He has even more talented teammates at KU, so he’ll really want to show his assertiveness here.

Ben, 9:54: Quinn Cook was Duke’s most improved player last year, and Amile Jefferson may be that guy this year. He’s beefed up a bit–enough that he’s playing a de facto center for Duke–and looks a lot more comfortable in the lane. He was pushed around a lot last year.

Ben, 10:04: Wiggins has been quiet (and on the bench) for most of the game. Still, Randle and Parker look just as good as advertised–if not better. As Meat Loaf will tell you, two out of three ain’t bad.

Ben, 10:13: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, and 1 block later for Jabari Parker in the first half, it seems like a good time to bring up this video.

Andrew Wiggins may be the better long-term prospect, but Jabari Parker is a better player right now.

Andrew Wiggins may be the better long-term prospect, but Jabari Parker is a better player right now.

Ben, 10:31: Look, I might be a naïve Duke fan, but Jabari Parker seems like a hard guy to dislike. He’s not crazy, he smiles all the time, and he’s Mormon. Who hates Mormons!

Ben, 10:37: I’ve seen Wiggins play in about two and a half games, and I’m not sure if I’ve seen him hit a single three-pointer. I can’t even recall him hitting a jumper, although I’m sure he has. That’s an issue if he’s going to be a shooting guard, but until he figures out his shot, he just needs to drive more, which he can do very well.

Ben, 10:56: Jabari Parker has had a lot of success jumping interior passes, leading to his three steals. This time, Wayne Selden caught him and snuck past Parker to Embiid for an easy deuce. Selden has been one of the most impressive Jayhawks, especially with his excellent passing.

Ben, 10:58: My television’s ESPN feed is having broadcast issues, and every play is shown at 90% speed before the screen glitches every five seconds. Wiggins went up for a fast break dunk and hovered for what seemed like forever, and I’m not quite sure if it was the faulty signal or his freakish athleticism.

Ben, 11:06: For some bizarre reason, Coach K played 6-foot-2 Tyler Thornton on 6-foot-8 Andrew Wiggins for two possessions. Wiggins posted him up the both times, scoring first and drawing a foul the second time. Thornton is a very good defender, but there’s only so much you can do against an athletic freak a half foot taller than you.

Ben, 11:11: Embiid just missed a free throw by hitting the backboard first. Yeah, that’s what only been playing basketball for three years looks like.

Ben, 11:17: Parker’s floater in the lane was about the twelth time tonight I’ve just yelled something not fit for print OH GOD HE JUST HIT A THREE.

Ben, 11:27: Rick Bonnell, a fantastic Bobcats beat writer for the Charlotte Observer I worked with this summer, just made a great point on Twitter I’ve always said. People are clamoring for players to stay in college basketball 2 years. Sure, that’s fine, but only if Randle, Wiggins, and Parker can go pro out of high school. These guys don’t belong in college, and the NBA has no reason to keep them in college for two years (or any time at all).

Ben, 11:32: Rodney Hood turns it over, Wiggins gets a fastbreak dunk, and Parker fouls out with Kansas up 6 and just over a minute left. That’ll just about do it for the game, but there’s no doubt both teams are great and both stars are just unbelievable.

Ben, 11:37: This is why I love college basketball. I love watching elite future NBA players, and I love a lot of scoring. Ain’t nobody got time for that 37-36 Georgetown-Tennessee nonsense.

Ben, 11:44: What a night of really good performances. We’ll look back on this night in about five years and be amazed by how many great players were on one court over five hours.

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ESPYs Running Diary

Tonight is the 14th annual ESPYs… a very underrated awards show if I do say so myself. Seth Meyers is back to host the show, and I hope you guys enjoy the show as well as my second-ever running diary.

This Guy.

This Guy.

8:11: Brian Wilson and his beard has already stolen the show. Not only is he rocking his now one-year-old beard and a mo-hawk, he’s also in a “seal skin tuxedo suit” (which more closely resembles a uni-tard) with an orange bow-tie. His built-in gloves are “a little dirty because (he got) a little awkward out on the carpet.” He’s also rocking a cougar cane, or his “plus one.” Brian Wilson is something else.

8:14: When asked if he would have done anything differently when he threw and swung at a Gatorade cooler, Wilson said “I would have asked for a metal bat so I could have launched the cooler a little further.” He needs to host SportsNation with the sliding closer Heath Bell some day.

8:16: He just keeps it coming. Wilson was asked if he would be shaving his beard soon and he said, “I probably should shave it soon because I’m probably scaring all the kids at home.” I home he never shaves.

8:17: Mike Greenberg announced Jimmie Johnson is in the running for Male Athlete of the Year. I have a problem with this. Shouldn’t his car be the one up for the award?

8:20: Our first Cam Newton sighting! Looking dapper if I may say so myself. I love how the sideline reporters are asking if they’re more nervous now or during championship games. Really?

8:24: They’re now interviewing the Wounded Warrior Project, who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’d love to think I could do that, but I can’t. The view from the top has to be incredible, but after reading Into Thin Air, there’s no way I’ll try that.

8:27: Erin Andrews is interviewing Kevin Love and Blake Griffin talking about….. FASHION! And Brian Wilson, of course. Dapper seems to be a popular word tonight because I’ve heard it at least three times in the last 15 minutes.

8:33: Does anyone who watches ESPN want to see an interview with Justin Bieber? Anyone? Nobody? That is, unless A.J. Burnett is coming from behind to pop him in the face with a shaving cream pie. Not that he needs shaving cream.

8:40: By the way, Justin Bieber had the most fraudulent MVP award ever. Worse that Kobe “6-24” Bryant. He scored 8 points on 30% shooting, including missing the game-winning 3-pointer. Not only that, but Scottie Pippen had a couple massive blocks (including one on Bieber), 17 points, and a victory. I hate 12-year-old girls.

8:43: How can Jon Barry be Dirk Nowitzki in Role Play without using a German accent. This is a disgrace…

8:50: No Miller, the best lemonade is not beer lemonade. It’s lemonade lemonade.

8:52: The US Women’s soccer team is going to win so many awards tonight. Thanks, prisoner of the moment fans. No, Abby Wambach is not an American superstar. You wouldn’t recognize her if you passed her in the street. Plus, can you name the player who shot the game winning goal at Lake Placid? Didn’t think so.

9:05: I wonder if Seth Myers will go for any Tiger Woods jokes. Or maybe they’re just too easy. Or Tiger’s just too sympathetic a character at this point for that.

9:07: How did ESPN show Auburn’s championship run without showing Cam Newton? I guess getting on the ESPYs wasn’t part of his $200k deal.

9:09: A lockout joke to open the show. How appropriate. Follow it up with a Brian Wilson joke? I think so.

9:11: “If you remember, last year’s show came days after LeBron James’ decision to go to the Miami Heat, so to make a joke about that would be too easy. So here I go. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have nicknamed themselves the Big Three because that’s how many quarters they play.” Seth Myers is the man.

9:17: Super happy to hear that the proceeds tonight go to the Los Angeles Dodgers of America. Seth is just rattling off Dodgers jokes… Mark Cuban is really getting a good laugh out of jokes about his future team.

9:21: Lady Gaga’s Born this Way does not belong with Cam Newton, Jose Bautista, Blake Griffin, and Arian Foster. I really want to punch somebody now. Too bad there aren’t any Heatles in the building.

9:25: Just kidding, I love the Heat. How can you ever blame a guy for leaving Cleveland for South Beach…. to play with his best friends. The only thing that made the whole deal better was how angry owner Dan Gilbert’s 13-year old son got when he wrote a letter in Comic Sans to LeBron. Wait, Dan wrote it?

9:31: Chris Boomer’s hairline is really going back, back, back, back…

9:35: I must be the only person who doesn’t like Tim Lincecum’s hair. It’s just really getting out of control. Maybe its the only thing that separates him from looking like a 15-year old.

9:45: Is it really an upset if no one knows what’s going on? Horses shouldn’t be in biggest upset.

9:51: As crazy as Ron Artest–I mean Metta World Peace–is, I think he needs to be a sideline reporter instead of Heather Cox. How much fun would that be? I know he has much more exciting questions that “So Phil, Dirk scored 26 in the first half, do you plan on slowing him down in the second half?” “Uh, yes?”

9:54: Andre from The League is here as the man from the Canadian Kissing Couple! Except he has hair….. but still as creepy!

9:58: In the Top Male College Athlete, they have a hockey player named Dan Niele. I still don’t know what school he played for. And Jimmer won? What did he do? Put up 28 points against Northwest South Dakota Tech?

10:00: The unintentional comedy of Jimmer Fredette’s girlfriend’s outfit is almost unbearable. A black, loose-fitting t-shirt that’s cut off around her neck.

10:01: Our first sideline reporter! Brian Wilson declares he’s a cyborg and “doesn’t need a computer to log on to vote for the Top Play because (he) can do it with (his) brain. It’s science.” I told you he and Ron Artest need to do television!

10:19: Not to sound racist, but it really messes up your motivational speech when you say “I aksed myself…”

10:26: That ESPN commercial about all the Jeff Gordon fans doesn’t make sense. It says “It’s not crazy. It’s sports.” Yet, they’re talking about NASCAR… am I the only one who’s confused?

10:29: Hey NASCAR announcer, is it really unbelievable that Jimmie Johnson won again? Because he’s been cleaning up for the past 5 years. That’s like Nick Faldo two years ago saying he was shocked that Tiger won a tournament. Or this year Nick Faldo saying Tiger is twelve strokes back. Is that really so surprising?

10:36: All respect lost for Lindsay Vonn. She just asked Justin Bieber for a picture for her Facebook page. What did she even do this year? Not win 90-some-straight games…

10:39: Random, but Charlotte has never had so much starpower. Cam Newton. Kemba Walker. Who knows, maybe this city could be the next Detroit. Wait. Nooooooo!

10:47: Dude I can’t wait to sign up for Dirk Nowitzki’s Awkward Basketball Camp. SNL strikes again!

10:49: Butler over Pitt should not be in the conversation for best game. It was the dumbest game. Pitt out-dumbed Butler. Dumb playcalling. Dumb foul calls. Not a Top Game.

10:52: Wait, why aren’t any Giants going up for the Eagles-Giants Top Game? Shouldn’t the Giants punter be up there?

11:03: You’ve got to wonder whether having one leg was ultimately an advantage for Anthony Robles. He can be so much bigger than his competition since he’s missing 15% of his total body weigh.

11:11: I wish that Eduardo Najera would go away!

How can play this not win?!

How can play this not win?!

11:13: If you haven’t seen this YouTube commentary about Marshawn Lynch’s run, you’re really missing out.

11:15: No America No! I shouldn’t be so surprised that you’re such Prisoners of the Moment, but Abby Wambach’s goal was not the best play of the year. It just wasn’t. Oklahoma State’s combo interception was much better, and Marshawn’s is just out of this world.

11:19: Paul Rudd needs to cut his hair. And I’m not going to watch My Idiot Brother.

11:20: Tweet of the Night: this gem from @dougabeles “Giants pitcher Brian Wilson looks like a polaroid negative of Frederick Douglass.”

11:23: Quick question: how was Nick Barnett hoisting a newspaper that said the Packers were champs during the celebration, just moments after the game?

11:25: People really do hate the Heat; Dallas wins another ESPY. You know, there’s really no need to LeBron. He’s not a sellout. He’s a businessman.

11:27: What did we learn tonight? Seth Meyers is hilarious, Brian Wilson is the man, and people still hate LeBron.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did tonight. Look for a post on how to tweak MLB’s All-Star Weekend in the next few days.

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Running Diary: A Carolina Basketball Bonanza

6:50 PM: Tonight is a big night for Carolina basketball; first on the plate will be the Charlotte Bobcats traveling to take on the Indiana Pacers. But that’s just the appetizer. We’ve got a treat tonight with the Tobacco Trail rivalry renewed. The Tar Heels are back in the Top 25 (at least the coaches poll) and we should be in for a great one.

6:52: Fun fact of the day….Sachel Paige was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 today. Happy Black History Month, everyone!

6:54: Dell Curry and Steve Martin are pouring praise on Eduardo Najera. He has just 4.5 point and 2.5 rebounds in 20 minutes over the last two games! That’s horrible! Please get this guy off the court…

6:56: Charlotte will be without Kwame Brown because of a death in his family. I never thought I’d say this, but boy Kwame will be missed tonight!

Keep your eyes on these BFF's tonight.

Keep your eyes on these BFF's tonight.

6:57: We’ve got 1 Tarheel (Tyler Hansbrough) along with 4 Dukies in the building tonight (Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavy, and Dahntay Jones). Also, Shaun Livingston committed to Duke before entering the draft straight out of high school.

7:05: The Bobcats are gonna be really short on big men tonight…. Tyrus Thomas, Kwame, and Gana Diop are all out, so be prepared for a lot of Boris Diaw, Naz, and Derrick Brown. Dear God, please no Najera!

7:07: Every time I see Brook Lopez or Roy Hibbert go up against the Cats I always cringe. Which draft day disaster was worse: taking DJ Augustin over Lopez or trading for the #20 pick to draft Alexis Ajinca or Hibbert and ending up with Hibbert?

7:09: Charlotte really needs a win tonight. They’re only a half game out of the eighth seed and another game out of the seventh seed. If you’re gonna make the playoffs, you absolutely have to beat the Pacers.

7:10: Another funny story…Matt Carroll almost missed the game because his chauffeur was pulled over for speeding to the airport. But that’s not all. He didn’t have a license and his windows were tinted to dark. Oh, the pain of a millionaire….

7:11 Bobcats win the tip-off, DJ misses a fadeaway, but Naz is able to tip it to Jack for a 2. Indy misses and Jack hits a three. Then DJ hits a three. 8-0 Cats.

7:13: How funny is it that the ACC all-time leading scorer, Tyler Hansbrough, is coming off the bench behind Josh McRoberts? McRoberts couldn’t get anything going at Duke and left for the pros after his sophomore season.

7:14: Who do you want for just this season: Gerald Wallace or Danny Granger? I’m giving the edge to Granger because of his age, scoring ability. It’s certainly close, especially given Crash’s defense, rebounding, and overall drive.

7:15: Indiana has to be the most awkward running team ever. Hibbert and McRoberts cannot run and dribble, and Dunleavy has to be the most immobile 2-guard in the league.

7:17: If you’ve ever wondered how people in Indiana get charged for basketball, its to the song “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Yup, you heard me right.

7:19: Pacers go on a 14-4 run and suddenly are up 16-14. Bobcats playing sloppy D, giving up the ball too much.

7:21: Oh, not the Pacers are blaring a trumpet rendition of “We’ve Got the Funk.” I’m so happy I live in Charlotte….

7:22: Granger hits two more shots to bring his first quarter total to 7. Cats down 23-18. Still no D, especially from the normally dependable Gerald Wallace.

7:24: Darren Collison is running an up-tempo offense and it is absolutely killing Charlotte. Cats still in striking distance, only down 22-25.

7:26: Pacers and Bobcats both fired tougher coaches this year (Larry Brown and Jim O’Brien) for free-er, looser coaches (Paul Silas and Frank Vogel. Their team’s responses? 6-2 and 4-1 streaks for their respective teams. Maybe if Orlando would just fire Stan Van….

7:29: Ahhh, our first Psycho T and OG sightings! Hansbrough still looks helpless on the rebounding end.

7:31: End of the 1st and the Pacers are up 29-28. Very little defense on either side.

7:34: Livingston and Najera come in to start the second quarter. Already bracing myself for multiple airballs.

7:35: Knee Man draws two quick fouls and short-but-sturdy Sherron Collins comes in to run the point. Boy he is small! (and fat…)

7:37: Jeff Foster looks so strange out there. Maybe its just I’m not used to seeing three white guys on the court not in Duke jerseys.

7:38: The OG gets on the board before Hansbrough with an uncontested layup. Cats trail 34-39, 8:52 left in the second quarter.

7:42: Just checked in on ESPN.com and guess who is last among all players in +/- tonight? Yup, Eduardo @#$%ing Najera…

7:43: I’m not sure if this is the least inspiring basketball music or the most inspiring organ music. Quite the culture shock.

7:46: Pacers continue their hot shooting, pestering D, grow the lead to 8. And Eduardo Najera is still on the floor. That’s the thing I hate most about him–he tries hard and doesn’t get tired. But that’s not a good thing. He tries so hard he ends up airballing threes and layups, blowing coverages, and missing rebounds. He even said “I think (defense is) about the only thing I’ve got left.”

7: 51: Naz isn’t especially effective on defense, but he is competent of offense (ahem, Kwame) and only has one foul.

7:52: DJ has done a great job of penetrating; he has 11 points with 4 minutes and change left in the half. I’d like to see him take more shots, especially with the likes of McGuire, Najera, and Collins getting so many minutes.

7:55: Roy Hibbert is absolutely gigantic. He’s the anti-Greg Monroe — great defender, questionable on offense.

7:57: Collison is absolutely shredding the Bobcats’ D. And some people wonder why Charlotte is down 9.

7:59: If you need an explanation as to why the Bobcats beat the Celtics on Monday and are falling farther and farther behind Indy, they’re 13-13 at home and 9-16 on the road.

8:03: I don’t care if you just made a layup, I never EVER want you to shoot again, Eddy Najera.

8:04: After disappointing first half, the Bobcats trail 58-48. Just unacceptable. Second half adjustments? Get Jack and Crash more involved on offense and maybe try playing tougher defense. Maybe.

8:17: Another key to the second half–score 11 more than the Pacers. But seriously, try to slow the game down and stop Indy from running so much.

8:21: Starters come back to start the second half, and Boris Diaw fouls Hibbert seven seconds in. How auspicious.

8:23: Naz tips back in two straight misses, but Charlotte still isn’t playing defense. 54-62.

8:25: The lower bowl can’t even be half filled. I guess not everyone is as anxious as I am to see Henderson and Hansbrough fight for rebounds.

8:28: Just got an interesting trade idea from my boy Josh … trading for Ron Artest. He’s becoming a cancer out in LA, and Denver already said they don’t want him in a trade for Melo. They might just be desperate to package Artest with a pick to get him out of Orange County.

8:32: Charlotte isn’t adjusting at all to Indy and they’re still down 10. We all know the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.

8:35: New defensive strategy: make Psycho T shoot jumpers. I think this just might work…

8:37: Random, but I’d love to have Ron Artest as a sideline reporter. I’m sure he’d have some interesting nuggets to add. (Yes, the game is this boring right now).

8:39: Henderson into the game for an energy transfusion. The OG has been incredibly clutch in the last handful of games, let’s see if Charlotte can cut the lead down from 10.

8:41: I have no idea why FOX continues to hype up the Daytona 500. If someone was going to watch it, they’d be at the game, or already know when it is going to happen. No one just says, “Hey, I have nothing to do on February 20th at 1 PM. Maybe I’ll try out NASCAR!”

8:44: Bobcats are really missing their big men, they’re being killed on the glass. Please, come back, Tyrus!

8:46: Not a great third quarter. Late basket by Henderson helped, but they two missed tip-ins in the last few seconds, and those would have been huge. 70-81, 12 minutes to go.

8:48: I’m officially for Duke’s next BEAT EM DOWWWWWWN!!! victim.

8:49: Playoffs or lottery pick… which one would be better. Unless they play Chicago or Atlanta, they have next to no chance of advancing. At the same time, players like John Henson and Jimmer Freddette aren’t nearly as inspiring as the players at the top of the draft board (Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving) are.

8:54: Henderson has been playing great, drawing fouls, hitting his shots, and playing stellar D. I’d love to see him, Jack, Crash, and Diaw on the floor together with either PG.

8:56: Cats slowly chipping away by attacking the rim and forcing turnovers. It’s about time, but will they be able to pull off the comeback? 76-85 with two DJ free throws coming, just under 9 to play.

9:01: Shots are finally falling… Jack and Hendo make it 83-89. Plenty of time left to pull this one off.

9:02: Roy Hibbert is wreaking havoc on Charlotte’s “big men.” Najera’s miraculous trey brings the deficit back down to 7.

9:04: Louisville and Notre Dame, what are you doing on ESPN? It’s overtime and the Irish are up by 10. Can we just call this one a night and switch back to Cameron Indoor? Thank you.

9:09: Who are you Eduardo Najera? Why do you keep making these random shots? Cats down just 3…. what a turnaround 5 minutes to go.

9:13: Yeah, not a great start for Duke.

9:15: Roy Williams must be a wizard. He turned the greatest high school basketball player since LeBron James into an average swingman. Boy, Harrison Barnes is getting quite the ovation.

9:16: Jack is left open for the three and nails it. Hint to teams playing the Bobcats: don’t give the man five seconds to put up a three. Cats pull within 2! Never saw this happening at the start of the fourth…

9:18: Big Shot Jack strikes again! Deep two ties the game up at 102. This ending is more entertaining than the start to Duke/Carolina (gasp!).

9:20: I have a feeling the JordanCats are going to lose this one. Eddy Najera is closing out the game again matched up against Hibbert at center.

9:21: Every time they pan to Kyrie, it’s like a shot through the heart. This team would have been all-time great if his toe was never injured. Funny story–I was running indoors yesterday (don’t do it) and tripped over a carpet. I may have broken my toe. I can feel the inner Kyrie in me.

9:23 Huge defensive stop leads to free throws for Gerald Wallace. Down 2, a pair of freebies to go, 29 seconds left. And he misses the first…

9:26: I don’t know if letting the clock running out is the best idea, there won’t be too much time left for a shot.

9:27: That is the single most outrageous ending to a game I’ve ever seen. Jack was blatantly fouled. Utter. Horse. $#%@. Jack was knocked in the chest on the final three. Charlotte would have won.

9:28: I’m sorry, but that’s completely unacceptable. The refs didn’t even check a replay. Jack went up for a shot. And he was nearly tackled. No nothing?

9:32: That’s just outrageous.

9:33: Duke is playing without a sense of urgency, Carolina looks like they want it more right now. They’ll need the bigs to really step up.

9:38: Big three for Singler. He needs to be on his game tonight. Duke loses when he and Nolan can’t shoot.

9:41: Cameron is out-of-this-world loud. You can never underestimate the power of this crowd.

9:42: I was reminded of a great point by Bomani Jones: Kendall Marshall has a name that’s so ugly it make you hate to lose to him. The same thing applies to Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald.

9:48: This is what happens when you shoot 33%…..

9:51: Duke’s rebounding is pitiful. And the shot selection is even worse. This team is totally different without Kyrie.

9:53: What I would do to be a fly on the wall in Duke’s lockerroom…

10:03: I don’t know whether it is the Bobcats ref, Duke’s performance, or the fact that I’ve been blogging for over three straight hours, but I’m in total confusion right now. Am I really watching Duke play?

10:09: Kyle Singler is a lot more effective at the 4 because of the mismatches he forces. When he’s a wing player, he’s just another scorer. Let’s see if Duke can change his role before it’s too late.

10:11: That’s the way to start the half! Nolan hits a couple of shots and the deficit is down to 10. The crowd is alive and another turnover is forced.

10:13: It’s pretty clear which team came out of the break better prepared. Carolina just doesn’t look ready to compete, Duke is ready to show who is the top-5 team.

10:15: Curry does what all Currys do. Hit. Their. Shots. This is taking all to long for Duke to hit stride…

10:16: This game would be the other way around if Kyrie was playing. He’s just that good, that much of a natural leader. Oh, what could have been…

10:22: Nolan Smith is playing huge. If Kyle Singler steps up, this game will flip flop very quickly.

10:25: People don’t realize how great of a shooter Seth Curry is. If he wasn’t buried behind Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, and Kyrie for part of the year, he’d be putting up 15-18 points per game. He led freshman in scoring two years ago with 20 per at Liberty.

10:30: Curry does remind me of J.J. Redick in one way: he’s not afraid to pull up for a three on a fast break. Now, he’s not nearly as accurate, but very few are.

10:35: Would there be a better shooting team in the nation next year better than Seth Curry, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and Andre Dawkins? Next year should be another fantastic season.

10:36: Curry is unstoppable! He’s hitting everything and anything and Carolina has nothing to respond with. Except another turnover.

10:37: When 6’11” Ryan Kelly is raining threes on you, you’re done. Curry and Kelly have sent this crowd into an absolute frenzy. The Cameron Crazies are going bonkers. Nuts. Psycho.

10:41: Duke just ripped the momentum away from Carolina. This one is all but done. Yes, I know there is over six minutes left, but the Devils are absolutely taking over.

10:43: This is turning out to be a better game than I could have possibly imagined. Let’s just hope it ends cleaner than the other game today….

10:45: I don’t know if it’s the crowd, the inexperience, or the fatigue, but Carolina is missing way too many put backs and short jumpers. The Crazies are intimidating, but this is just something else.

10:49: Just heard the line of the night by my main man Zachary (@zdp5000) “the refs co*kblocked stephen jackson from makin love to pressure.” That’s just amazing!

10:51: Duke is up 6….and Kyle Singler is shooting just 3-17! That’s 17.6 percent! Even Kobe Bryant shot 25% in Game 7 of the Finals!

10:53: I love how excited Carolina fans got tonight. And then how they’re playing it off like they expected it the whole time.

10:56: Gotta love the whirling dervish references. You just might be alienating half of your audience.

10:59: I can’t be the only one who wants to see a starting lineup of Plumlee-Plumlee-Plumlee-Kelly-(Insert White Guy Here)

11:01: If Barnes really is the next big thing, he woulda made that three. Then again, he could be a young LeBron from downtown. Good job, Wizard Williams!

11:06: If I didn’t like Duke, I’d hate Kyle Singler and Ryan Kelly. Tall, white, weird faces, combed hair, and likes to shoot threes. They’re just those players we should all hate.

11:07: Well, Sean May hasn’t sung yet, but this one is a wrap, folks! Great game.

11:10: More likely to stay…Harrison Barnes or Kyrie Irving? Probably Irving, but that could very well be my inner Dukie poking through. But when’s the last time a Blue Devil left after just one season? When Luol Deng transferred in?

11:11: Make a wish, er’body! Carolina needs some really good luck to win tonight and could use some help licking their wounds.

11:12: Great night of basketball. Bobcats got robbed, but the better team won in Durham.

11:13: Thanks to all who survived through any part of my first running diary; I’d love to hear some feedback. The next one probably won’t be until the NFL or NBA Draft, but I’m always open for suggestions.

Categories: College Basketball, NBA, Running Diary | 1 Comment

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