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The Lighter Side of the MVC Tournament

by Andrew Force | March 11th, 2008

Slumpbuster

Evansville went 7:53 without making a field goal in the first half. The Aces then began the second half with a 7:30 scoring drought. To give an idea of how long eight minutes is, two Northern Iowa fans almost figured out how to pay for their parking when no attendant was on duty. Almost.

Friendly Banter

Drake forward, Klayton Korver knows Creighton basketball well. His older brother starred for Creighton, winning three MVC Tournaments and playing in four NCAA tournaments.

“It seems like they won it ever year,” recalls the middle Korver.

His high school teammate, Pierce Hibma poured his heart out for the Creighton program, only to lose to Drake in the semi-finals of Hibma’s senior tournament. Klayton’s youngest brother is a freshman, currently playing for the Bluejays.

“I know almost all the guys on the team. They are all great guys and they play hard.”

So when KK plays against the Bluejays he is amongst friends.

Midgame Klayton had a short conversation going with Creighton’s Chad Millard out on the floor. After Korver ran around two screens and buried a triple, Millard quipped, “If you make more of those I will probably go to the bench.”

All About Height

Kavon Lacey pump-faked two players off the floor and out of position. Lacey is no post threat. The top of his head is exactly four feet below the rim.

Incidentally, Kavon hails from Alton, Illinois, the birthplace of the world’s tallest man, Robert Pershing Wadlow.

Who Me?

The arena took no time at all to reach a fever pitch Opening Night. The long-term relationship typically crescendos over the course of the weekend, beginning slowly before a mildly interested, half-filled building.

Three first-year Valley coaches coached their first MVC Tournament game on Day One. Just one hour after the tourney tipped off, Wichita State headman Gregg Marshall earned his second technical foul of the year. The former Winthrop Head Coach began his Valley Tenure just this past fall.

A few minutes later, and in his eyes following despicable calls, Marshall barked up the wrong tree. In this case the tree was an official and his bark paled in comparison to his post ejection reaction.

With a venomous, impressively invested WSU fan base jeering, Marshall actually body-bumped the official. Without the assistant coaches restraining him he really might have attempted a body slam.

“I’m the new guy,” he told several reporters. “I’m the new guy. I have to take it. Right? That’s (bleep). That’s just crap.”

His face divulged an assortment of emotions. Astonishment, pain, and embittered rage coalesced on Marshall’s mug.

He waited for reason or pity to reinstate him in the game. Neither showed up so he was shown out with 12:22 to play in the game.

All For One, One For All

More than the power conferences, the camaraderie of the Valley is palpable. The teams need each other to maintain the national respect.

Bradley fans, Creighton players, Southern Illinois fans, Bradley players, and Northern Iowa players all watched the opening night action in person.

All Together Now

The Drake fans, fun loving and pleasant to the core, do need to work on their chant timing. Starting and finishing at different times was commonplace. But hey, there was not a vociferous call for chanting practice back in October. Even the most ardent fans were unprepared for this level of success.

Add Injury to Insult

Example 1: Bradley point guard Daniel Ruffin heard the final horn of the game (and college career) seconds before the stray basketball bounded off his down turned dome.

Example 2: UNI center Jordan Eglseder flew into a table, undercutting SIU forward Matt Shaw. Shaw spiked the ball off Eglseder’s back as Jordan crumpled under a desk.

Smooch

The “Kiss Cam” has done more for relationships than Valentine’s Day ever did.

Setting the Trend

Thank god the Mohawk has returned. Two Drake players Leonard Houston and Nick Grant brought the trend into Valley consciousness last March. This season sophomore Osiris Eldridge shaved a huge “O” into the side of his head. The design accompanied a Mohawk, but is affectionally dubbed the O-hawk. Look for the Valley to revive the beehive next year.

The Endearing Authority

Example 1: Ted Hillary’s charming personality. When his team of officials nearly overlooked a 1-and-1 instance, Keno Davis yelled 70 feet downcourt to alert them. The Bulldogs should have been shooting free throws, but the officials did not realize it.

As the 1-and-1 was rightfully granted Hillary smiled and commented, “I am glad you are here.” Keno wryly smiled in response.

Example 2: Several Drake bench players stood in support of their teammates. As Keno told them to sit (benches are being increasingly demanded to sit by officials), Hillary calmly offered “they don’t mean anything by it.”

Sycamores Sick No More?

Indiana State once again displayed the best band. With former Creighton assistant Kevin McKenna at the helm, will the Sycamores show as much talent anytime soon?

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

Why do we as Americans love losers who become winners until they win a lot? Then we want them to become losers again…

Honesty is the Best Policy

When asked by a reporter what the hypothetical opponent of the NCAA-bound Drake Bulldogs does not know about Drake basketball, a DU student replied, “We are smarter than you.”

SOME of the signs held up by the Drake student section

“Smart Kids Got Hoops”

Champion
Building
Station

“Houston, We Have Liftoff”—guard Leonard Houston has tremendous hops.

“Birds of a Feather Go Down Together” The thought being that the Creighton Bluejays and Illinois State Redbirds would both die at the hands of Drake.

“We swept Creighton, Guess Who’s Next?” (Implying Illinois State in the finals)

“Keno for President ‘08”

#1 in Iowa
#1 in MVC
Let’s Dance

“We Believe in a Thing Called Drake”

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