The College Basketball Closer is written by the gang at Storming The Floor.
I was reading my colleague's words about the jaw-dropping NBA play of Chris Paul the other day, and it reminded me that once upon a time, when he was at Wake Forest, Paul committed the ultimate in "basket interference", by busting NC State's Julius Hodge in the biscuits. Hodge has, er, underperformed as a professional, mostly bouncing around the international scene after being shot in a Denver-area driveby in 2006.
It's too bad, because during his ACC days, Hodge was a quote machine. Tell me you wouldn't rather hear some of these gems instead of Dirk's post-game Germanglish:
Post cock-punch: "At first, I just wanted to find out if I could still have children. Once I figured out I could have children, it was all good."
After a rough game against FSU's Tim Pickett: "I was peeved. I had some turnovers like I was in the seventh grade. One time, Pickett took my cookies."
Comparing his hometown to Raleigh, NC: "New York is the place to be. I could wake up there at three in the morning and decide to go to the store for some chips and Snapple and there would be cars racing down the street and people walking around everywhere. If I do that here, I'd probably get attacked by a deer."
After beating out Duke's Chris Duhon for ACC POY: "Duhon's always saying that everyone's playing for second place, well I guess now he's that guy."
And, finally, words we can all live by, delivered to an inexperienced teammate about to start for the first time: "When you're hungry, you eat; when you're a frog, you leap; if you're scared, get a dog."
Read more Julius Hodge quotes here: [The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Julius Hodge]
Green and Gold Fantasy. George Mason 63 - Virginia Commonwealth 51. The score got a little out of hand in the final couple of minutes, but this game flowed well, with big runs at the outset, punch-counterpunch in the middle, and the knockout at the end. Final Four veteran Will Thomas dominated with 21 points and 15 boards. It's looking like a two-team race to the finish in the CAA, with the Patriots just one game back of the Rams after tonight.
The Smiths > Hendrix. Tennessee 93 - Alabama 86. It seems incredible, but this was the first time the Vols won a game in Tuscaloosa since 1998. JaJuan, Tyler, and Raymar combined for 45 points, and Lofton had 23. Enough to overshadow the heroic efforts of Tidesters Alonzo Gee (27/9) and Richard Hendrix (20/12).
Mid-Major Spotlight. Southeast Missouri State 121 - Austin Peay 116. Austin Peay was running away with the Ohio Valley before a three-game road swing cut them down to size. The Governors dribbled this one down their legs in the third overtime period, as Hank Harris sank four free throws and a big three-pointer en route to a big SEMO victory.
Tonight's Big Games
Kansas (20-0) at Kansas State (14-4). The Little Apple has been like a second home to the Jayhawks for the past couple of decades. However, my spidey sense is tingling today, because The Natural and Micturates With Towels are in town, even if only for this one season. The outcome will probably hinge on Kansas' ability to deny the pass inside. It should be a federal crime for a game this good to be on ESPN Plus.
Texas (16-3) at Texas A&M (16-4). The Longhorns have three players who can take over a game for stretches, and Connor Atchley ain't bad, either. A&M is a bit of a cipher, but the 5 OT home loss to Baylor seems like an aberration. If asked to wager on the contest, however, make mine burnt orange.
Vanderbilt (17-3) at Mississippi (15-3). Note to Vandy coach Kevin Stallings: Ask Oxford hotel clerk to block cable in player rooms. Ogilvy's late-night showings of "Strictly Ballroom" and "Gallipoli" are hurting the team on the SEC road, where all three losses occurred. Ole Miss is having similar problems, but they're probably watching old Eli Manning games on ESPNClassic.
Memphis (19-0) at Houston (15-3). Hey, look. The Tigers actually beat the Patriots to the perfect season. This may well be the last serious challenge Calipari's team faces before the NCAAs. Houston is a distant second in C-USA, but they're still 4-0 in the league, and the game is in their building.
Eric Angevine writes about college basketball at Storming the Floor, and contributes regularly to Chicago Sports Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.