My all time favorite player, Jamar Howard, cries into his shirt after losing again to Creighton, which is pretty girly. Or maybe he's just blowing his nose into his shirt, which is pretty gross. Either way, Jamar, you lose.
I am incapable of writing anything close to rational about tonights Missouri Valley Championship -- I hate SMS that much. So in the interest of sanity, and of staying out of prison, here are some emails exchanged over the weekend with my old college roommate, discussing not only Creighton in the MVC Tourney, but some other sports topics as well. I'm sure he won't mind!
John: "So Polyfro thinks Creighton is in the tournament? I think they might have a shot but I think at least getting to the Valley Tourny final is essential. SIU is decent and will be a tough game. But Altman has definitely proved he knows how to win in St. Louis. Nobody will ever say he can't win the big one. He wins it every year! And this has to be the weakest team in years. Maybe since our first year at CU?"
Me: "In December, you would not have gotten an argument from me that this is Creighton's worst team since 1997-98, the last team to miss the postseason. But the improvement in the last three weeks is stunning. It is Altman's best coaching job. The players are really playing hard and trying to get better -- a welcome change after the lazyness of last year's Brody Deren-led team. You ought to hear Altman after games, you would not recognize him. You
can tell he's thrilled to death, happier than he was in the 29-4 season. The way this team is playing right now, I honestly believe they will run the table this weekend."
John: "What's your opinion on the Vikes trading Moss? I think Culpepper is going to thrive without that jackass in the locker room. Culpepper needs to be the leader and the offense needs to revolve around him. I also kinda like Mike Tice. I think he gets crapped on way too much. McCombs is the real problem. And this new owner sounds fishy. I wish Taylor would have been able to buy the team. Back to Moss... The Vikings desperately need a big-time linebacker - Napoleon Harris and the #7 pick should produce a starter. Combime that with their own mid first rounder, the Vikes could be much better. Defensive line help, a wide receiver, and overall defensive depth will totally change the team. I think the hype around the Raiders is going to be huge. I've got 2 words: Kerry Collins. If I bet on football, I'd watch Raider lines early in the season, might be some crazy odds."
Me: "Moss kills me. You see his press conference today? Oakland fans are smarter than that. I mean, if he was really the gregarious team player he portrayed himself as today, he would still be in Minnesota. You don't trade guys like that. You trade troublemakers. And Moss is the latter. With the signing of Pat Thomas for the D-Line, they'll be better."
John: "You going down to spring training this year? I see no reason your Twins won't march to another Central Division title. My ChiSox have not helped their cause and the rest of the division is still crappy. I think Peter Gammons is madly in love with Joe Mauer! Everytime the guy is on TV its a lovefest about Joe Mauer. I respect Gammons and usually agree with him, so I hope Mauer is healthy and can show his stuff. The Twins rotation is going to be rough if Santana can keep it going."
Me: "Mark my words: this is the best Twins team since 1991. And we both know what happened that year. Seriously, the top-ranked pitching staff in baseball from last year is back INTACT. Santana will not be as dominant as he was, that's impossible, but you have to figure on 20+ wins and 275 Ks. Radke will be Radke, 15 wins and keep the team in every game. Lohse cannot possibly be any worse. Carlos Silva is only 23 and will improve on his 13 wins. And
all indications say that Criminal Joe Mays will finally earn his check after being hurt for 2/3 of his $25 million contract. The bullpen is still loaded with guys throwing 95+ from both sides. Lethal. And the offense? During this little run we've had, the offense has had its holes. But with a true leadoff man (Stewart) followed by high-average guys like Mauer and Lew Ford, and then power guys like Hunter, Morneau and Jones? I'll take that lineup against ANYONE, because you will not score much on the pitching. Just don't leave Nathan out there for a third inning ever again. I want to see my next birthday."
John: "In the finals!!! SIU is out. Looking good for CU. I think they are in win or lose. Many projections had Witchita St and/or UNI in before the MVC tourney. I think CU has to be in now. But I sure hope they just win the damn thing so there is no question. Altman is the man. He has to be getting some pretty interesting offers. Iowa?"
Me: "But remember this: SMS has beat the Jays five straight times. Blink. Blink. Yep. Good day in the sense that Ohio State and Mizzouri both pulled the upsets of the year -- and Creighton owns wins over both of them -- but bad in that SIU lost. If SIU had won, Creighton would be almost a lock. If SMS somehow wins Monday and steals that auto bid, all bets are off. They need to win and take it out of the committees hands. But the bubble teams -- UNI and Wichita -- Creighton was 5-0 against them. You CANNOT take either team over Creighton. Just can't. So they have to be in. Right?
'Iowa'? Don't say that or you get the shoe."
John: "The shoe! Wow, I thought that comment might touch a nerve, but I did not expect the shoe. Excellent. Seriously, Iowa is a mess. He'd be nuts to go there when he plays in a state of the art arena, has a solid fan base, and a great school. Altman is quietly building a real powerhouse. Creighton does not get the recognition it deserves and it is ALL because of Altman. It is hard, almost impossible to beat a team 3 times in a season. The odds favor the Jays. Most experts think the MVC gets 3 teams. There is no way Wichita or UNI can get in when they were swept by the Jays 5-0. My prediction...IF CU wins - SIU and CU...UNI and Wichita St are out - how can they pick one over the other?
IF CU loses - SMU, SIU, CU
I think the selection committee will also look at Creighton's pass record in the tournament. It is not supposed to be a factor, but they have to realize Creighton will be extremely competitive in the Big Dance. They know how to get it done in the big games. But let's hope there is celebrating in Omaha tomorrow night."
Me: "You bet."