by John Walters
1. The Ultimate 1%’ers
Since the start of Breanna Stewart’s sophomore season in Storrs, she and Geno Auriemma have lost fewer than one percent of their games. Connecticut, with last night’s 12-point win at No. 2 South Carolina, is now 101-1 in the past two-plus years. The Huskies’ lone loss during the streak came at Stanford, by 2 points, in overtime, in mid-November of 2014.
They’ve now won 60 in a row, all by at least 10 points, and are gunning for their fourth consecutive NCAA championship. In all of sports, no one is more devastatingly dominant than U Conn. The question becomes, Why can’t women’s basketball ever seem to catch up?
2. Four on Four
So I was watching Texas at Oklahoma last night (nice shot, Buddy Hield) and it occurred to me once again that the entire game of basketball in the half-court set is about spacing. Part of the problem/reason is that players are so tall, so long and so fast these days and that the court was designed 125 years ago, when anyone over 6’3″ was considered tall.
Okay, so I doubt an entire league or association is going to vote next week to turn the game into a four-on-four deal, although I believe the game would be more entertaining. But then I thought, Why wouldn’t a coach just occasionally keep one of his defenders back under his own basket? This would force the offense to consider keeping a player at least back at mid court—unless they want to surrender a cherry-pick basket, especially if they miss their shot—and that would essentially turn the game into a four on four.
Now, you say, well this would give the offense a 5 on 4 advantage. True. And even if it didn’t, why would the defense want to create a 4 on 4 situation? Answer: It wouldn’t, but if both teams employed this method, we’d get the game we deserve.
Meanwhile, I wonder why a coach wouldn’t just try this once a game, the way a team tries a flea flicker or halfback option pass once a game? You wouldn’t do it just once? Turns out, I’m told, the owner of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadive, pitched this to coach George Karl last season. To no avail. It looks as if Karl will be fired this week. So, you know….why not give it a shot now?
3. Come at me Bro (And Emily Did)
For some reason unbeknownst to me, the producers of The Bachelor chose to hold last night’s episode in the midst of a hurricane in the Bahamas. I mean, nobody looked as if they were having any fun.
And then they announced that there’d be a 2 on 1 date (as opposed to 4 on 4), a win-or-go-home scenario, and then placed the show’s two most compelling characters, Emily and Olivia, on the date. This is the equivalent of having Duke and Kentucky meet (in a year, unlike this year, when Duke and Ky. are good) in the Sweet 16.
Anyway, Olivia was all “Come at me, bro” but then when Ben saw Emily in her skimpy outfit, well, I didn’t even have the volume on, but between Emily’s figure and Olivia’s control-freak craziness, it was only a matter of time before our Peter Brady doppelgänger figured it out.
Now the show’s problem becomes, Where do you go from here? You’ve knocked out the Joker halfway through the movie. Gotham City is saved. Now what?
Meanwhile, final note on Emily: Ben really couldn’t tell her apart from her twin sister, Haley, so he goes on a date with the two of them and takes them to their mom’s house (it turns out that mom is Paula Dean! Who knew?). Anyway, Ben sits down with Mom and basically asks, “So give me the scouting report on your daughters.” Mom does and Ben picks Emily. Assuming that anyone even cares about winning this silly contest, isn’t Haley giving Mom the side eye for the next three months? Thanks a lot, Mom. I guess we know who you’d pick.
4. Run, Michael, Run (See Michael Run?)
As the New Hampshire primary is held today, word comes down that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is nearly as old as Bernie Sanders and who is wealthier than Donald Trump, is seriously weighing joining the race. “I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters,” Bloomberg, who turns 74 on Valentine’s Day, told the Financial Times. As soon as most of the candidates locate a dictionary, they’re going to decipher Bloomberg’s quote and return fire.
C’mon, Michael, run! You’re never going to be this young again, and we need you’re cold, pragmatic approach, should we say, your “New York values,” in these troubling times.
5. Shouldn’t They Be Using Retrievers?
This was SO obvious: Anyone who has ever taken both a dog and a tennis ball to a local park for a game of fetch understands that using doggies for ball boys, as they are doing at the Argentina Open, is a fabulous idea. I don’t know what they’re doing about the slobber on the balls, but we can worry about that later.
So Far Away
In 1971 Carole King released Tapestry and became the first female songwriter mega-star. The album spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and spawned five legitimate all-time hits (“I Feel The Earth Move,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “It’s Too Late,” “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” and this one. King, who turns 74 today, is of course most revered for writing and singing the theme song for Gilmore Girls.
The People Vs. O.J. Simpson
10 p.m. FX
A few other things you may want to watch: No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, who beat Providence in Chicago last week (FS1, 8:30 p.m.) or Houston at Golden State (TNT, 10:30 p.m.) for obvious reasons. This series started hot last week—everyone is perfectly cast except, ironically, the Juice—and I wonder if it can maintain its momentum once it gets bogged down in court. When we left our anti-hero last week, he was getting into a white Bronco with A.C. Cowlings.