Thursday Throwdown: Swop, Smackdown, St. X & More

Got to start out with my man Swop.

Forced to walk the plank off the Cruiser Cardinal by Cap’n Rick, Jared Swopshire swam to shore off Lake Michigan, landing in Evanston at Northwestern. Where he’s been toiling this season for the ever underperforming Wildcats under the mediocre tutelage of Bill Carmody.

As I’ve mentioned probably too many times, I think the kid got a dirty deal here. Which he handled like a mensch. He wouldn’t have played much this season for the Cards. And his spot has been filled with the serious potential of Silent L. But, you know, U of L had a commitment to the kid, but The Rick wrapped his arm around his shoulder, praised his efforts as Cardinal, all the while hipchecking him out the door. Okay, enough.

Anyhow, last night the former Cardinal led NW to its best W of the season, a 7 point smashing of reeling Minnesota. (Tubby’s Golden Gophers have dropped 3 in a row, the L last night and two to Top 5 squads.) Swopshire tallied 16 with 8 boards and a couple steals.

The Mildcats still stand 12-8 on the year. They’ve never played in the NCAA. Ever. The only big conference school that hasn’t. And they shan’t again this post-season, unless they happen to stun the world with a Big Ten tourney title.

If Vandy and Duke can be legit, so can Northwestern, another of them academic schools. It’s time to can Carmody.

* * * * *

It’s the time of year when Ls by Top 25 teams are less noteworthy than which schools continue winning. (With the exception of that dumbfounding performance by the Blue Devils in Coral Gables.)

Just last night, in addition to Duke and Minnesota going down, so did Butler to LaSalle and Creighton to Drake.

Florida continues to pummel conference mates, smashing Georgia by 17 in Athens, after trailing by 3 at the break. New Mexico hung tough, holding on against feisty Colorado State.

* * * * *

The only descriptor for Miami’s smackdown last night is “stunning.” Okay, that’s the one I’m going to use.

The Canes are good. They now lead the ACC by two games. Winning at home was not an upset. Beating the top-rated team in the land by 27 is, well, you choose your own words. I watched with my mouth agape.

The Blue Devils would miss a shot, Miami would get the rebound and move the ball with dispatch down court unimpeded for a hardly contested bunny. Duke played like a bunch of guys in sweatpants at a Wednesday night beer league at St. Polycarp.

It was the sixth worst beating in the Coach K era. They got trapped a couple of years ago at Clemson. The other losses on that list are from the 80s. Including a 38 point lesson from Denny Crum’s Louisville Cardinals in January of ’82.

The Hurricanes were en fuego. They hit 57% from the field, 9/19 long balls.

Duke didn’t turn it over much. Only 10 times. They simply couldn’t score the ball. And donned their Jarlsberg costume on defense. As my nemesis David always says, “You look good when you’re making your shots.” And vice versa. Playing defense also helps.

* * * * *

I don’t talk much about high school sports around here. Don’t follow it that closely. Even the Trinity/ St. X football rivalry that is in this burg’s thrall.

But I must note that the Tiger Community seems to have said to itself, “Enough is enough.” Trinity has become a national power. St. X also ran.

So the Poplar Level Road gang hired former NFLer Will Wolford, who has brought on board Browning Nagle and Mike Flores. They’re in addition to 13 other assistant coaches retained from Mike Glaser’s staff.

* * * * *

I’ve been watching a bit of the Aussie Open each night. If only so the warmth of Melbourne summer helps heat up my abode. The ladies semi-finals were contested in 97 degree heat.

Saw the beginning of last night’s Sharapova loss to Li Na. I was taken by what a funny gal the player from China is. They played a clip of her explaining her husband’s reaction to the new training regime she undertook. Very cute. The gal’s got personality.

* * * * *

Here’s how Drexel (Milt Wagner’s Original “One of them Academic Schools.”) beat Hofstra last night.

* * * * *

Looks like another botched investigation by the NCAA may free many involved at Miami — including U of L’s Clint Hurtt and Missouri b-ball coach Frank Haith — from future sanctions.

I’m always bemused at those who throttle the NCAA in these situations, when it is simply an organization made up of the nation’s universities it monitors in athletics.

Which is why I’m reminded of the famous Walt Kelly quote in the comic strip “Pogo”: We have met the enemy and he is us.”

– Seedy K

5 Comments

  1. cbcard
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’ve always wondered why the University of Miami is in Coral Gables. The University of Louisville isn’t in Shelbyville.

  2. doug
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Got a chuckle out of your reference to my grade school alma mater, St. Polycarp. I quarteredbacked and captained the first football team in St. P history to a sterling 2-4-1 record back in ’66.
    Fly high you mighty Falcons!

  3. david
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    There’s a reason Luke Hancock went to George Mason. He’s a nice mid-major player. He is not even close to being a nice major conference player. I have no idea why Ricky P has been singing his praises for two years now.

  4. cbcard
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    To David:
    Because Luke is the new Mike Marra.

  5. KEN
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Swop actually could be a “3″ were he here. Watching him at that school from the Northside, he plays out on the perimeter and makes “3′s” as well as going to the boards and running back door’s in their Princeton style “O”. He also defends in their press and can run the floor. Having his length and ability to have a perimeter game would’ve complemented both undersized under-jumpng Chane and underexperienced “L” nicely and given the team more athleticism than Luke.

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