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March 28, 2010

The Cougar Lounge - A Nasty Affair



"Jeshua Anderson's intermediate hurdles race was a real easy race for him. He was under control and not even breathing hard after the race."

- Wazzu head track & field coach Rick Sloan, after Anderson won his first 400 hurdles race of the season at Stanford in a slow [for him] 49.64.




"It's not like I had a team meeting and said, 'Hey, I'm a lesbian', but if the kids ask, 'Coach, do you have a family?' [then] I tell them. I made a conscious decision this was how it was going to be."

- Former Wazzu and current Portland State women's hoop head coach Sherri Murrell, who led the Vikings to the Big Dance this year for the first time in school history and remains the only Division I head coach - male or female - to have the confidence to step out of the closet.




"Whoever doesn't think the Big East is a great league really shouldn't write sports. They ought to do something else. Do cooking or something…."

- West Virginia head men's hoop coach Bob Huggins after people [who the Lounge presumes to be preliminarily identified as sportswriters] were dissing the Big East's overall performance and showing a complete and utter disdain for cooking writers.




"She's amazing and beautiful, but I would never go for that type of girl. I've always liked, you know, kind of…blondes with big boobs."

- So-called television star Jesse James, explaining to Howard Stern in a 2009 radio interview what type of woman interests him and, indirectly, why Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock made an extremely large mistake in marrying him.








The Lounge clientele grew restless as the Big Dance continued last week, they did not want any wordy explanations - they just wanted to know how it could be that not a single top seed has advanced to the Final Four yet [Duke has the chance to be the only team to do that today] and why the college basketball gods have obviously decided to smite them. Not only have the top seeds taken a holiday but the #2 seeds have nearly all gone bye-bye as well, with only West Virginia surviving to make it into the Final Four. Baylor plays Duke today and if Baylor does not win, there will be no #3 seeds remaining either. Needless to say, the official CougZone bracket has taken several large hits to the groin area over the last week and amazingly, last year's defending champion, Vandelay Industries, has been able to survive the carnage better than most of the top seeds in the tournament.


The one redeeming bit of news that can make Cougar fans and well-wishers happy about the Big Dance upsets was the fact that Northern Iowa guard Ali Farokhmanesh had a big hand in taking down Kansas - the first of the top seeds to fall. Farokhmanesh, for those unaware due to the despair caused by their bracket implosion, is the son of former Wazzu volleyball head coach Cindy Fredrick and it could have been a sweeter 16 to see Farokhmanesh helping to propel UNI to the upset victory over the Jayhawks which undoubtedly angered much of the state of Kansas and created massive bracket angst across the country.

We know this must be the case because the numbers have been rolling in for March Madness and they say that, in addition to dominating the television ratings as usual, the Big Dance is piling up big numerals in their online platform - growing 20% over last year, attracting three million viewers. The advertising moolah is rolling in for the NCAA too as the tournament continues to threaten the NFL [including the Super Bowl] as the top national advertising sporting event in the nation. Last year, the NFL brought in $753 million to $598 million for the NCAA's men's Big Dance and the gap is closing.

Lost in all the hoopla was the fact that Ernie Kent was fired at Oregon and the Lounge has the perfect replacement for the Nikes - who would be a better fit for representing the type of athletic department they have become than Tiger Woods? He is already adept at not talking to the media and Nike already supports him so it is a slam dunk!

Wisconsin was knocked out of the Big Dance by that pesky Cornell, so up at Wisconsin-Green Bay, they were so stunned by the upset that they decided to take drastic measures by reducing their fonts in hopes that they would avoid a similar fate should they ever find themselves in the Big Dance again.

The Big Dance has far-reaching international influence, with all the upsets apparently causing a fellow in The Netherlands to think he was The Joker - the notorious villain from Batman - and demanding that the country issue him an official ID as such.

That did not fly well with the Lounge because we were in a deep, double mourning state this month after the death of actor Peter Graves. Graves was best known for two roles - the group leader Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible and Captain Oveur in Airplane! ["Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"]. Graves had other famous roles in his long career but for the Lounge, these will always be the shining examples of his career.

The crack Lounge research department was back at work this week after the weeklong hiatus and their first order of business was to determine which were the Top 10 cities inflicted by March Madness [as measured by the number of residents most likely to be watching the tourney]. The list was led by Washington D.C. but the nation's capital had no teams left in the Big Dance but with Butler making the Final Four, we suspect, Indianapolis might be putting up some good numerals this week.

"I am surprised about the decision but not the method of exposure," says Lounge newcomer Mr. Bossy Boots, about the social media revelation from Wazzu men's hoop point guard Reggie Moore that some of his teammates are transferring out of WSU.

Yes, regrettably, it is a sign of the times, Mr. Boots, that social media has brought down upon us like a cumbersome yoke of scuttlebutt. Social media websites can have their positive elements but more often than not they are used for displaying the unsavory elements of society - in this case, the release by Moore of general information that some team members will be transferring off the Cougar team [thought to be Xavier Thames and Anthony Brown…for the moment]. It is unfortunate that Moore chose to expose the information in that format but it is even more unfortunate that, evidently, Thames does not see himself contributing to the future success of the Wazzu men's hoop program. Thames had to be talked into honoring his commitment after former head coach Tony Bennett bolted for Virginia and after receiving a moderate amount of playing time this year, could have been a an important cog in a potential Cougar run at the Pac-10 title. Now the Cougars lose a piece of the puzzle and will have to rely on getting a new person up to Pac-10 speed to offset the potential loss of experience with Thames.

"The team looks like they can do it but they will need no injuries," says Dr. Bombay about the Cougars' baseball team.

Wazzu is 14-6 with a 26 RPI after the first month and a half of play and the Lounge clientele cannot complain too much about those numbers. Aside from one ugly loss to Dallas Baptist, the rest of the five losses were all winnable games and Wazzu could easily be 17-3 or even 18-2 at this point if they had a completely healthy pitching staff coming into the season. But after dealing with injuries to the staff and still coming out with 14 wins, the Lounge would have to think that head coach Donnie Marbut is not too terribly disappointed in the win-loss record at this point in the season. Of course, the Pac-10 is right around the corner and now it gets serious. There will be no margin for errors in the conference race - four teams are currently sitting above the Cougars in the RPI and that could be NCAA bubble territory for Wazzu if they finish out the conference in that order. The Cougars finished second in the conference last year and that easily secured their invitation to the tournament but even though the Pac-10 appears to be strong this year, there are no guarantees when it comes to NCAA selection committees. The general thought at this early part of the season is that the Pac-10 could send at least four teams to the tourney and possibly even as many as seven, depending on how things play out with Stanford and USC. But if Wazzu can stay in the 20s or higher in the RPI, they will be in good shape come May.


Since nearly none of the favorites have succeeded in the men's Big Dance this year, it has been a constant parade of "other guys" advancing through the bracket and it seems fitting that they should have their own movie coming out this summer.

Meanwhile, not too surprisingly, the Lounge Scientists are not impressed with social networks such as those used by Moore, and have recently released a study indicating that lack of sleep increases as teenagers are glued to social media and that lack of sleep results in a correlation to drug usage. With the most recent advent of social media tools more advanced than simple phone calls or texting, the scientists believe the situation will only get worse in an exponential fashion.

"Your sleep is going to influence my sleep and that will make me more likely to do drugs," says Lounge Scientist #20, Sara Mednick, a scientist at UC-San Diego, who, reputedly has no loss of sleep because UCSD is a Division II school and therefore, not in the Big Dance.

But if they were, there is at least a good chance that they would have upset an top seed this year.




+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++

Spring is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Baseball, track & field, rowing and tennis, just to name a few, are coming up right around the corner. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.


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