The College Basketball Closer is written by the gang at Storming The Floor.
This photo came to us from an anonymous STF reader. Losing big to Creighton in the Missouri Valley on Sunday, Southern Illinois head coach Chris Lowery allegedly expressed his digital displeasure with the officiating, no doubt leading to the "What?!? My nose itches!!!" defense. Game records do indicate that a technical foul was called on the Saluki bench at just this point in the game. No word yet on whether coach Lowery compounded his reckless behavior by fake-sneezing "AH-bullshit" into his cupped hands, which would no doubt have led to an ejection.
Lowery's Salukis were universally acclaimed as the mid-major to beat at the beginning of the 2007-2008 season, but reality has failed to match the hype, as the Drake Bulldogs ran away with the Valley and left So. Ill broken down by the side of the road. With his team hovering around .500 on a good day, this might be Lowery's One Shining Moment for the season.
Swallow That Whistle. Georgetown 65-Villanova 63. With fractions of a second to go in a tie game, Hoya Jonathan Wallace took off toward the opposite end of the court. Nova's Corey Stokes wisely tried to crowd Wallace against the sideline, interposing his body but keeping his hands well away from the action. Nonetheless, his distended belly somehow committed a ticky-tack foul that allowed Gtown to escape with a two-point margin. If tummies can foul people, that explains why Tractor Traylor spent so much time on the bench.
Sometimes You're the Windshield, Sometimes You're the Bug. Texas 72-Kansas 69. This has become the preeminent rivalry in the Big 12, but it is conducted on a strangely hate-free level. The lead changes hands, fans scream and jump from buzzer to buzzer, and bodies hit the floor with great regularity, but the handshake line at the end of the game seems genuine. This year, the Longhorns were able to milk the clock late, get the ball inside, and force Kansas into a late desperation heave that bounced off the back iron. The smart money says these two meet again at the Sprint Center on Selection Sunday.
Tonight's Big Games
Michigan State (20-3) at Purdue (19-5). Purdue's silly early losses to the likes of Wofford and Iowa State have kept them in the "Also Receiving Votes" ghetto for a long time, but the win over Wisconsin is undeniably great. Michigan State is ranked in the top ten, but nobody really has much to say about them. Including me.
Kentucky (12-9) at Vanderbilt (20-4). This game is like a harmonic convergence. It's the classic tale of two seasons. Kentucky stumbled around and peed their pants in the early going, but have recently built up a sprightly 6-2 conference tally. Vanderbilt strode with purpose and remained continent until the second season, and now look like they've been hustling us, at 5-4 in the SEC. I'm interested to see who really has the goods.