Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

GW falls 71-66, but a good game and a great season


All good seasons must come to an end. It was a close game, but in the end, shooting, fouls and bench play gave Memphis the edge. That said, the entire time was a lot of fun and it was great to see the Colonials in the tournament after a few years and hanging with their opponent. The team definitely deserved to be there, and I'm proud of the team, the university, and the fans.

Memphis led the entire game, but it was back and forth with an average difference of about 5. The Tigers were never able to pull away and the Colonials have a few opportunities to tie or take the lead late in the second half.

With 2:40 to go, GW brought the game to within two. Memphis kept answering with clutch shots, but the Colonials kept coming back. Nemanja Mikic had a chance to tie up with an open three with 58 seconds to go, but he missed. Then with 15 seconds to go, Joe McDonald made an acrobatic layup to bring the game within one. After a couple of fouls and then two Memphis free throws, Maurice Creek had an opportunity to tie it with 5 seconds left, but he airballed. After that, Memphis made free throws and that was game.

For the game, the good guys shot 44.6%, while struggling at the line (14/24) and from three (2/13). If GW makes a few of those, it's a different game. Memphis were hot from outside, hitting 5 threes in the first half, and then shot 66% in the second half from the floor. Creek had some good driving moves but didn't shoot well from outside, going 2/8 from three. That said, he also proved his toughness: he was hit in the face on the first possession. The team took him to the locker room, he got 10 stitches, then returned to the game.

GW played well inside though, with Kevin Larsen and Isaiah Armwood scoring seemingly at will, with 37 points between them. However, this is where the refereeing really took effect -- the stripes called GW very closely while allowing Memphis to get away with a lot more. Colonials on offense kept getting hit under the basket when going up for putbacks, with no call, but then on the other end the good guys were called a lot. Memphis actually had more fouls, but it seemed like the more important ones went against GW -- or at least the ones that hurt their style of play the most. (CSN's Chick Hernandez and Baby Lonergan didn't like it either.)

Bench play hampered the good guys too, with GW getting outscored 25-3 off the bench. John Kopriva had the 3 points, playing well in 10 minutes.

That said, with all the negatives, it was a fun, exciting game. The team hang close and played hard.

The fans were also amazing. GW fans outnumbered the Memphis fans and were exponentially louder. The lower student section stood the whole time, as usual, and kept the volume up and the crowd engaged the whole time.

Athletic Director Patrick Nero deserves special praise too -- the stadium ushers kept hassling the GW fans (mostly students) close to the court, and Nero constantly defended them. At first, an usher came down and was questioning the girl who leads the Colonial Army cheers. They actually kicked her out, but she returned shortly thereafter. The ushers came back 4 or 5 times, asking students for their tickets, kicking a few out (who returned shortly thereafter,) and most bizarrely of all, trying to get them to sit down. Nero defended the students to the ushers and in the end prevailed, the ushers left, nobody was kicked out and everybody kept standing. A very strange scene, and lucky that Nero and other staff were sitting next to the students. (Also in the section was women's coach Jonathan Tsipis and the Lonergan family, and I got on the jumbotron going nuts for like a minute straight during a break.)

The pregame events and fun were also well-done by GW. The first event, a send-off for the team at the Hilton, had a huge crowd. The team got a great reception as they boarded the bus, with the band, cheer team and tons of excited fans. The second event was an alumni event in the box overlooking NC State's football stadium, with free drinks and food. Nicely organized all around.

It was also great to see some of the GWHoops.com crowd in Raleigh. On Thursday I hung out with Igor... not Yegor, Totti and Bigfan, and at the Friday events I ran into GWHoops.com founder Herve, plus BCD and a few other guys. I also saw a lot of my friends from school and fellow season ticket holders. Great to see that kind of turnout and camaraderie.

So while the Colonials didn't win in the end, the game was fun and the experience was great. I look forward to next year and I'm proud of everybody -- the players, the team, the staff and the fans.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Putting the College in College Basketball: Your Drinking Guide to GW's Second-Round Game

Not making the trip out to Raleigh to see the Colonials play the Memphis Tigers? Need some pre-game ideas for your Friday night? Throughout GW’s March Madness run, Colonial Hoops will provide some info on each upcoming match-up, presented, of course, in the form of some, uh, recreational activities. We remind you to drink responsibly/don’t sue us.

Level 1, Freshman



Yeah you've had a few months of liver damage under your belt by now, but tolerance, like most things, is relative. Let’s pace ourselves a bit.

Drink if:
Patricio Garino records a steal. Garino has averaged 1.6 of them per game this season, and his length at the top of GW’s 1-3-1 zone disrupts the opposing offense and forces turnovers. Memphis really plays through their guards, and Garino’s effort at the top of the zone or in man will help dictate the flow of the game on that end.

Joe McDonald pulls down a rebound. Possibly the A-10’s toughest player, McDonald has played through a hip injury for most of conference play. At 6’1”, McDonald also records 4.6 boards per game, third on the team behind the Larsen-Armwood front line. McDonald is going to find himself matched up with Jackson or Dixon, Memphis’ leading scorers, for much of the night. Neither is especially stout defensively, but will be difficult to contain on the other end. With Savage’s health up in the air, McDonald will draw a tough assignment Friday night.

Chug if:
Memphis does something ridiculous on a fast break. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Memphis is a good defensive team, and GW does have a bad turnover habit. Add some creative passers and athletic forwards, and baby, you've got a stew going. Don’t let that dishearten you if it happens, Colonial faithful. Just drink and forget.

Level 2, Second-Semester Senior


Alright I get it. You have three classes this semester, and you couldn't care less. You've been at this whole drinking thing for a while.

Drink if:
Either team misses a free throw. I’m not sure if anyone else caught that NC State-St. Louis game, but it was a clinic on missing shots that are completely unguarded. The teams were a combined 32-63 from the charity stripe, an abysmal 50.8%. For comparison, the much-maligned Dwight Howard is a career 57.5% foul shooter. That means two teams of Dwight Howards would have probably shot a higher percentage. Things may be even worse in Raleigh. GW and Memphis shoot a cumulative 65.1%, but a perfect storm of ineptitude could create an even worse display Friday night. Approach this with caution.

Mo Creek hits a three. Besides the maturation of last season’s freshman class, the most important aspect of GW’s turnaround this season lies in its much improved three-point shooting, which has increased to 36.9%. Nemanja Mikic has returned to form, and McDonald has nearly shot 40% from beyond the arc in limited attempts. But the story of the season has been the play of Indiana transfer Maurice Creek. Creek attempts over six threes per game and hits them at a rate of over 40%. This improved floor spacing has allowed Larsen and Armwood more room to work on the block, and also helps create space for McDonald and Garino to attack the basket. The Colonials are 17-1 when they hit over 35% of their threes. They’re only 7-7 when contained below that mark. Outside shooting has become a huge part of this team’s identity, and the ability to make the three will play a huge role in GW’s prospects on Friday and, hopefully, the rest of March.

Chug if:
Armwood pulls down a contested rebound. Watching Zeek around the basket has been a treat. The guy sort of devours rebounds. He has these long legs that fly in two different directions when he jumps. He uses the full length of his wingspan to grab the ball and corrals it in his chest. He’s an agile, long force at the rim that perfectly characterizes the team’s defensive identity.

I am become Zeek, destroyer of boards

Deciding if a rebound is in fact contested is difficult, as it has a specific definition. However, it’s hard to tell from your couch if an opponent is within 3.5 feet of Zeek when he grabs a board. Instead, let’s go with the Potter Stewart approach: “I know it when I see it.”

Level 3, Grad Student

Am I boring you? I’m sorry if I’m boring you. The only thing higher than your debt is your tolerance. You look down on the neophytes drinking Natties around you. You’ve been playing this game so far with what appears to be pure ethanol. You make Jim Irsay look like a child. How are you even alive?

Chug if:
The announcers mention any mid-major vs. major drama. This includes Coach K’s comments on the A-10, Shaka Smart’s response, and anything related to the A-10 over-performing. After Thursday, the A-10 is 2-1 in the tournament, with only St. Joe’s losing in overtime to a dark-horse UConn team. VCU should avoid everyone’s favorite 12-5 upset, though UMass has a tougher assignment against Tennessee. Regardless, the A-10 deserved to have six teams in the tournament, and the media will milk Coach K’s comments for all they’re worth.

The camera cuts to Coach Lonergan wearing his patented “bemused-but-also-disappointed-dad” look. Coach Lonergan has been known to don this visage in the event of a botched call, a correct call, or an unforced turnover. Players and referees alike cannot escape his half-smirking face and biting remarks. 

More angry than bemused, but this is also an acceptable time to drink. Other acceptable times to drink: any and all

In all seriousness, Coach deserves a ton of credit for turning this program around, though he would be the last to accept it. He built a core for sustained success the past few years and has engaged in creative lineup tweaks to keep the team competitive through injuries this season.

GW wins. This is for everybody actually. Everyone should drink if GW wins.

How cool and appropriate is this picture? Credit to this man


Friday will see two equally matched teams go against each other. Both teams are poor from the free-throw line. Both teams turn the ball over too much. Both teams are aggressive defensively. This is going to be an ugly match-up. This is going to be close. Fortunately, GW has grown accustomed to playing ugly, close games. Should be fun. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Obama picks Memphis over GW!

Boo. How about some hometown (sort of) loyalty. I am definitely not voting for him for another term!

POTUS has a Final Four of Florida, Arizona, Michigan state and Louisville. Here's his full bracket. He does have Harvard over Cincy and North Dakota State over Oklahoma.

Maybe we should ask FLOTUS instead.


source

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two great videos about GW: NCAA tourney and being an awesome guy

GW put out a video for the NCAA tourney, which is great. However, it's hard to beat this classic video by Brad Neely about our first president being 100% awesome.



Here's George Washington dunking over Kim Jong Un

Because why not? And note that Abe Lincoln is boxing out Stalin. Thought it was a nice inspirational piece before the game.


Click it for a bigger version. Print it out and put it on your wall, or your car, or your dog. The amazing painting comes from Reddit user I_may_be_dead, who apparently is awesome. I would buy any item with this on it. I want to commission him (or her) to paint other awesome stuff.

You could argue that for us, Memphis in Kim Jong Un -- an evil dictator we must vanquish.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raleigh Bound! Info on travel, tickets, lodging, and GW events in NC and elsewhere

So, Raleigh is upon us. GW faces the Memphis Tigers at 6:55 PM on Friday and a fair number of folks from GWHoops.com and people I know are headed down (me included.) Here's a start at looking into ticket, lodging, and GW events in Raleigh and elsewhere. Next I plan to look into fun things to do in Raleigh. Will post about that soon.

Travel
Airfare looks to be pretty pricey headed down, but Amtrak seems to be a good option. It's about 5 hours from DC to Raleigh and the morning train, leaving at 10:55am and getting into Raleigh at 4:42 pm, is only $89. Otherwise, renting a car might be a good option, or finding somebody on GWhoops who is already drining.

Tickets (updated)
The first tranche of GW tickets have gone out, as myself and my friends who requested them all got theirs. However, you might be able to get more from GW -- I'd suggest calling the box office at 202-99-GWTIX (more info on the tickets website.)

In addition, GWHoops.com has some folks who have extra tix or are looking for them. The tickets get you into the "session" which is two games in a row, so you can watch another game before or after GW, which I'm guessing is the 9:25 game between 1-seed Virginia and 16-seed Coastal Carolina.

There's also stubhub.com, a good secondary marketplace for tickets.

The tickets will be distributed at the Hilton Midtown at 3415 Wake Forest Rd in Raleigh from 12-4 pm. That's also the same place hosting GW's pre-game team send-off party. More on that below.

Events (updated)
GW is hosting a number of events, in Raleigh, in DC, and elsewhere. So there are two parties in Raleigh -- the team send-off at the Hilton Midtown, which is also where you get your tickets, and the Alumni Association party. The sendoff party starts at 3 pm, while the Alumni Association party starts at 4:30, info is below. I say go to both!

Here's the link for all the other official GW watch parties all over the country. In DC, it's at Stoney's at 21st and L Street, with the time TBD, while other cities already have all the details.

To register for the Raleigh Alumni event, click here.
4:30pm: Pre-Game Reception
Dail Club in Vaughn Towers
Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State University

4600 Trinity Road, Raleigh, NC

(5-10 minute walk from PNC Arena) 


6:55pm: GW vs. Memphis
PNC Arena1400 Edwards Mill Road,
Raleigh, NC 
#RaiseHigh
Lodging 
Hopefully it's not too late to find a place to stay. Downtown Raleigh is pretty close to the arena, as is Cary, NC. I'm staying in downtown, as are a few other folks. I've heard the Glenwood South area is pretty good for hotels and for nightlife.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We're going! GW faces Memphis in Raleigh on Friday



Woo! It's been since 2007, but GW is going dancing, with a 9-seed against Memphis in Raleigh. A 9 is basically what most people predicted, but at the same time, UMass got a 6 and SLU got a 5, so you might think GW would be a little higher.

But hey, we're going! I am 100% in. It also sets up a matchup with David Pellom, the forward to transferred to Memphis from GW, and potentially a matchup with Virignia in the second round.

Here's GWSports' article about the tourney, and here's ticket information.

So what are the best bars and BBQ places in Raleigh?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A10 Quarterfinals: A Team Plays in Brooklyn

Much has been made of GW's "monumental" home-court advantage this season, and the Colonials' success at home trumped their inconsistent play on the road. Moreover, a 67-61 loss to U. Mass stood as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season in D.C. Friday night, GW had the opportunity for revenge against the Minutemen. In an A-10 tournament that has already seen its #1 seed St. Louis fall, the #3 Colonials rallied behind a team effort to defeat #6 U. Mass, 85-77. 

Six players scored in double digits as senior Nemanja Mikic added some early outside shooting off the bench. As has been the case all season, GW's defensive presence won the game. The Minutemen made 43.1% of their shots, even with a late rally, and turned the ball over 17 times. It was certainly refreshing to see GW's 1-3-1 zone, which had been exploited in the few games coming into this game, look so effective again. I can't imagine why U. Mass kept passing to the corners, unless they really enjoyed getting trapped there. 


(Brb, adding "PhotoShop skills" to my résumé)

GW had jumped out to an early lead that was cut to 35-31 late in the first half. A three-pointer by Nick Griffin , a quick steal by Creek (who showed deft hands all night with four steals), and a lay-up by Armwood swung that all-important momentum back in GW's favor. 

Tomorrow the Colonials take on #2 VCU in the Semifinals. Despite the victory today, GW turned the ball over nineteen times and only hit 64% of their free throws. VCU's Havoc defense has been discussed ad nauseam, and such an aggressive defense has a proclivity to foul.  With guard Kethan Savage seemingly delayed until the NCAA tournament and Joe McDonald (bothered by a hip injury for most of conference play) on the second day of a back-to-back, the Rams will prove a difficult test at the Barclay's Center. 

The game is being aired tomorrow at 4:00 on NBCSN. I'm not a gambling man, as I'm in college and can't wager negative money, but I'd wager that whoever wins the contest between GW and VCU will end up winning the A10 title. Raise High. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kangy the Kangaroo is back, and he has A-10 tourney Brooklyn bar recommendations

Kangy the Kangaroo has surfaced at last.

If you remember, Kangy the inflatable Kangaroo was a mascot used by some fans during the magical 2006-2007 NCAA tournament run. he came to home games, then to Atlantic City when GW won the tourney, and Greensboro for the NCAA tournament games against UNC-Wilmington (the awesome comeback from an 18-point second half deficit, started when Mike Hall fired up everybody else on the team) to the loss to Duke.

After that, Kangy disappeared. He left a note in 2009 that he was safe and sound, and then posted on GWHoops that he was waiting for the right time to come back to the world -- kind of like Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl. (Of course, the Aztecs may have thought Cortes was Quetzalcoatl, and that didn't end very well.)

But anyway, Kangy is back. He just posted a hilarious screed about his whereabouts -- he was in Tijuana then Atlantic City in a mistaken quest to find the A-10 tourney -- and then provided a list of 15 bars to check out near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, complete with a Google Map he made himself (supposedly along with Ukraine Train Alex Kireev, who I hope is safe these days in that country.)

The bars are all rated on a scale of 0 to 5 Technical Fouls for Pregame Dunking, which happened a few times during the Karl Hobbs/Pops Mensah-Bonus/Mike Hall/JR Pinnock/Omar Williams/Carl Elliott era.

Here's a small sample of the great note from Kangy. Please do yourself a favor and read the rest.
Have you ever stood at the end of an Atlantic City pier and contemplated your own death? Rocked your feet back and forth on a bed of broken Miller Lite bottles and imagined your lungs filling up with the brackish water? Have you stared out at the horizon and tried to see across to the other side of existence itself?

If not, I highly recommend it.
....
As I mentioned to you all a few weeks ago, I recently returned to the East Coast after seven years of self-imposed exile in Tijuana. Sure, fighting bulls during the day and slinging drinks in a Russian roulette lounge at night was fun, but God damn did I miss my GW basketball. Rest assured, not a day went by where I didn’t think about my boys in buff in blue—I even began a daily meditation routine in which I imagined I was the rim in the west end of the Smith Center, methodically bobbing up and down, up and down, as Pops and JR thundered through the lay-up line. I always knew the day would dawn that would see me return home.
We're glad you're back, Kangy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GW's Sopranos takeoff A-10 tourney video is great

Watch it.



The good guys' first game is Friday at 9 pm against the winner of Thursday's UMass-Rhode Island game. Are you going?

Here's the full bracket.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Check out GW incoming freshman Paul Jorgensen hit a Maurice Creek-esque buzzer beater

This is awesome. Jesse Hooker spotted this on Twitter: GW signee Paul Jorgensen knocking down a buzzer beater.

Jorgensen is a point guard from Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey and has been having a great season, averaging about 16 points, 6 assists and 4 boards a game, and his team is in the state semifinals. He also eats two slices of pizza before every game, buffalo chicken and cheese. And you can't help but like plays like this.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This year's senior videos are awesome

I have been remiss in not including these earlier, but they are great. A nice reminder of what good guys and good players Armwood, Mikic and Creek have been. I'll miss them all.

Nemanja played all four years here, and I remember that game, maybe his first as a freshman, when he just started knocking down shots. The fans went bonkers. The Ser-bi-a chant started soon after, and while he was slowed a bit by injury, he was a big part of the team.

Isaiah Armwood has to be argued as one of the best transfers ever to come to GW. He was a fantastic big man and a real spark, both offensively and defensively. And he was a lot of fun to watch.

Also in that best transfer conversation (and we might as well say it's a two-way tie for first place) is Maurice Creek. He started hot and stayed hot this year, and I'll probably never forget the buzzer beater to beat the Terps. So glad he came here. It's been a great season and a great story.

Let's hope these guys all get a bunch more games this year!





Tuesday, March 4, 2014

So, is GW going to make the tournament? The current bracketology

UGA vs GWU 1/3/14

The end of the season is nigh, and the Colonials have been doing a good job of helping their tournament chances by winning the should-win games lately. Of course, another win over VCU or beating St. Louis or UMass would have been huge, but still, this team is 21-7 with no bad losses and good wins over Creighton, Maryland, Miami, VCU and Georgia.

So, is GW in? The odds look good, with most prognosticators thinking an 8 or 9 seed is in the offing.

USA Today has the good guys as a 9 seed against Arizona State in St. Louis, meaning the next game would be against the 1 seed, in this case undefeated Wichita State --  yikes. NBC has the same, a 9 in St. Louis, but against Iowa, while the 1 seed is Kansas.

Over at ESPN, Joe Lunardi says a 9 seed in Orlando, again versus Arizona State. The 1-seed there is Florida. Lunardi also said the team dropped since his last bracket, which is important to note -- this is just the current seedings, so the good guys still need to make sure they finish out the season against Fordham, the current conference cellar-dwellers.

CBS Sports varies from the script a little, putting the Colonials at an 8-seed against Stanford in Buffalo, with the 1-seed being Syracuse. Sounds chilly and tough.

Fingers crossed, of course, as I'm a GW fan and used to seeing the worst, but maybe there are some glimmers of optimism here. It's also nice to even be talking about this, and to seeing GW's name in all sorts of different places.

Something else cool is that most brackets have 5 or 6 Atlantic 10 teams in the dance, which is always good.

Photo by Michael Smith-MLS Photography

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Maurice Creek gets the New York Times treatment!

UGA vs GWU 1/3/14 If you're like me, you can't get enough media coverage of GW -- especially this year. And the good guys are blessed with some great stories, like that of Maurice Creek.

As you probably know, Creek was one of the most electrifying freshman in the country with Indiana in 2009, scoring 31 points against Kentucky. But then the injury bug got him -- three injuries in three years cut short his seasons, and when he returned, he was down the depth chart. He transferred to GW, and awesome stuff has happened since.

And now the New York Times has an article about Creek, talking about his earlier connection with GW coach Mike Lonergan, who saw him as a high school player but figured he wouldn't have a chance to coach him because Creek was too highly-rated.

Funny how things work out, and I'm thrilled to have had Maurice this season. He's playing great and it's a great story (and that's not even counting the buzzer-beater to defeat Maryland.)

This is the latest in a series of big articles about Creek, who's also been featured in the Post, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the Indianapolis Star and a lot more.

Photo by Michael Smith - MLS Photography
You can get college basketball tickets here.