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March 22, 2009
The Cougar Lounge - A Stolen Disgruntlement
"You can't get HD on the internet and it's still tough to circle 12 to 15 guys around a computer screen."
- DirecTV executive vice president Eric Shanks telling us what we already know about watching March Madness games on the internet - but sometimes you can't even get 12 to 15 guys around a television unless they are running a back door play.
"Who knows, maybe some of them will root for us because we're in the same state as Gonzaga and the same league as Oregon."
- Washington head men's hoop coach Lorenzo Romar apparently suffering from intense delusions prior to the Huskies' first round Big Dance game against Mississippi State, after being asked if he thought Northwest fans in Portland's Rose Garden would suddenly be inclined to root for the Huskies to win.
"At the end of the year, you always say I want a game back; that's the game we said we wanted back."
- Former Wazzu head women's hoop coach and current Portland State head women's hoop coach Sherri Murrell before the Vikings' WNIT game against Oregon State - a rematch of the 58-24 Beaver win from earlier in the year. OSU won again, 59-47, and Murrell ended her season with back-to-back 20-win seasons and the school's first-ever post-season appearance as a Division I school.
"I did the Triple Double once, many years ago."
- Co-founder of National Corndog Day Brady Sahnow recalling his culinary feat of eating 10 corn dogs, 10 beers/soda pops and 100 tater tots in one sitting.
The Madness is officially upon us this week and to substantiate that fact, these days, one most prove something is a real event by having it sponsored. The Lounge must not step on the line while trying to inbound the ball with 5.5 seconds left like the Marquette dude did, so we had already arranged, well in advance, to have March Madness sponsored by Sailor Jerry. So you probably have an idea of how we watched our hoop this weekend and a general idea of the decibel levels involved. What nobody - including virtually everyone in the Lounge clientele [and that includes Father Lotto] has any idea of - is how Arizona is the only Pac-10 team remaining in the Sweet 16. For that matter, there are also serious questions as to how, exactly, Michigan won and Butler lost. But the real perplexer is the Wildcats. Close to if not the last team in and one which everybody - everybody on the planet - chided as being undeserving of a spot in the Big Dance, Arizona is now the only remaining survivor representing the Pac-10 conference, which impressively won five first round games out of six and then promptly dropped four of them in the second round [though props do go out to USC, who battled valiantly, unlike California, which stunk up the joint].
Overall, the Pac-10 did not do too badly in the post-season - Wazzu gave a good effort in Saint Mary's high school crackerbox gym and Oregon State and Stanford even won in their 99-cent store tournament games - but to have Arizona as the lone representative left in the Big Dance speaks to how the league was this year. There was no superpower lording over the rest of the peasants, it was truly a league in which any team - except Oregon - could win on any given night. Washington won the regular season title but could not win the conference tournament title and only lasted one round in the Big Dance [no doubt due to all those fans rooting for Purdue - big meanies]. USC won the conference tourney title and performed well - there can be no shame in Trojanville about the team's effort - now we are all free to talk about O.J. Mayo, Reggie Bush and the NCAA again, right? Former superpower UCLA was a shell of its former self but still managed to get a win - barely - in the first round. Arizona State was not playing well but somehow got a win over Temple with Pac-10 Player of the Year James Harden disappearing. So the only real disappointment was Cal, but even they were making an unexpected - at the beginning of the year - appearance in the Big Dance, so there is no real shame there either. But, still, to have Arizona - a 100-1 shot to win it all - as the last remaining conference team, especially given their circumstances this year, is well, madness which just happens to be in March.
Meanwhile, the money keeps rolling in to the NCAA and CBS for this year's Big Dance which, the most savvy collegiate sports fan will recognize as a playoff and not whatever it is that the BCS Taliban does with football. This year's college men's basketball playoff, according to preliminary numbers is slated to clear somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million - and that is in a bad economy - for a tournament an estimated 40% of the country watches and follows. CBS has the television rights for this cash bovine through 2013 and with the good job they generally do with it, it is likely they will have it for many more years to come. Because it is a playoff, there is inherent excitement and drama that anybody can see - except for the stubborn, greedy donkeys who run the BCS Taliban - and so we have stellar first-round drama every year. We have mentioned Arizona but who thought Cleveland State was going to obliterate Wake Forest? Who thought Dayton was going to easily handle West Virginia? Who thought CSUN was going to scare the bejeebers out of Memphis and East Tennessee State was going to do the same to Pitt? Who thought Portland State was not going to give Xavier a game? Answers - nobody, nobody, a few people and nobody.
Meanwhile, Wazzu had a small post-season celebration of their own last week. It lasted all of two days and ended with their loss to Saint Mary's in a first-round NIT game, a game which was closely contested for much of the way before the Gaels pulled away late for the victory. It was the Cougars' third consecutive post-season appearance and while it was short-lived, it is expected to be invaluable experience for a young team who will be returning a nucleus of players next year for another run at post-season play.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper suspended its print publication last week and will now transition to an online-only news site. The Lounge prides ourselves on being good neighbors and so we baked some nice chocolate chip cookies [we know they are nice because Father Lotto was not involved in the process and we tested several of them to make sure they were just right] and would like to extend them as a gift as we welcome the P-I to our online media neighborhood.
"Why are the Cougs playing LSU in Seattle?" implores Union Jack, of the recent announcement, hidden amid all the hoopla, of next season's men's hoop return game with the Tigers in Seattle's Key Arena on December 22.
Well, Jack, everybody in the clientele was whispering about this possibility last month with the longer it was taking to get a firm date being seen as the less likely it would be in Pullman. The Lounge clientele consensus is that the game should be in Pullman - but if it is on December 22 - then it should be in Seattle. If former Stanford head men's hoop coach and current LSU head coach Trent Johnson is smart - and we think he is - then he knows exactly what WSU's quandary is in this situation - he wants to avoid playing the game in Pullman just as much as any other non-conference head coach and even more since he knows the territory first-hand. Perhaps the Tigers just did not have a space on their schedule for the Cougars any other week than the third week of December - that would be a savvy negotiating ploy. No matter, the game will likely be sold out or close to it, and that will likely result in a better financial situation for Wazzu than if it had been held in Pullman in front of a smaller crowd. But for the future, the Lounge clientele consensus is that non-conference games against SEC schools - especially SEC schools - should be held in Pullman.
"Spring football starts this week and I am trying to contain my trepidation," says a visibly trembling Billy Hill, The Headless Hoarse Man.
Try to control yourself, Billy - it is only a few weeks and then you will be forced to return to normality. The spring football practice schedule begins on Thursday and culminates on April 25 with a final scrimmage that is a game but is not the Crimson & Grey Game. It is just a scrimmage like any other scrimmage, it just happens to be the last one of the spring. Beyond that, not many questions are typically answered in spring practice other than who is taking a few weeks off to hit the books, who is injured and recuperating from surgery and experimental position changes. For Cougar fans and well-wishers, however, it will be a chance to get a first good look at running back James Montgomery, how his offensive line will look and who on the team has stayed away from the potato chips and ice cream over the last few months.
March Madness and corn dogs go hand in hand. At least they do on National Corn Dog Day which happened this weekend. The Lounge found the corndog recipes to be particularly intriguing, especially when comparing the Corndog Casserole and Deviled Dogs with the "Super Fancy Gourmet" recipe of the Food Network's Alton Brown who uses big fancy words like "ingredients", "scatter" and "tongs" instead of "hot dog part" - but it all goes to the same place in the end.
Meanwhile, as the Lounge Scientists, inspired and full of corn dogs, went to Spain where famous Spanish chef Ferran Adria uses science to influence and create new recipes, although we are unsure if there are any corn dog recipes up Adria's sleeve. But there is a method to his madness.
"There are many different paths to creation. There is a way we call consecutive, which is the silliest one. You're working on making a new beer and you end up doing an ice cream. One thing takes you to the other," says Adria, who reputedly has never served corn dogs in his restaurant, elBulli, nor did he understand how Michigan could defeat Clemson.
But Arizona in the Sweet 16? Who saw that coming? Nobody.
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Spring is here and you have the hunger. How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for nine consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot chocolate.
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