Tuesday, March 10th, 2009...7:39 am

Rapping Littyhoops

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Besides the occasional and delusional St. John’s rant, I rarely write about college hoops anymore. For those YBIML newbies, yapping college baskeball was how I got my start as a digital scribe. Back in the winter of 2002, during my senior year at Michigan, I butchered together a very basic website that I dubbed Littyhoops.com. My buddy Wolk whipped up a header graphic and put me in touch with a dude who drew my Hatten inspired caricature logo. I messed around with Front Page just enough to create a workable web site. The easy part was the writing. Here is the first article I wrote about the “Littyhoops Ballers” that included Hatten, Tom Coverdale, AJ Moye and David “Buddy” Lee.

As my favorite stretch in sports begins tomorrow, it’s time to let you all know what I’m rooting for this March.

5 in 5
That’s the amount of games in consecutive days that the Johnnies must win to be crowned Big East tournament champions. This is the first year that all 16 Big East tournament teams qualify for the conference tournament. It all starts tomorrow in a rematch from last week’s victory over Georgetown. If the Redmen can pull off the upset they then get Marquette followed by Villanova and then potentially Louisville and Pittsburgh. It has the potential to be the greatest run in the history of basketball. I’ll leave it at that.

Michigan’s Almost Back
I would break down Michigan’s record, RPI rating and crucial victories to analyze their chances to make the tournament but there are a ton of bigger perverts than me who are already doing this. If Michigan beats Iowa on Thursday I’m confident that they are a lock to make the tournament for the first time in a decade. If they lose, they’re at the mercy of the bubble (and probably don’t deserve to make the dance). Assuming UM can knock off the Hawkeyes they will face Illinois in the second round (a team they split with this season). This could be an interesting game with a victory solidifying a #9 or #10 seed and even allow the Wolverines to make a run for a Big Ten title.

Michigan could be a dangerous team in the tournament. If Harris and Sims are on, and they make a decent percentage of their Dom Bombs, they can certainly win one game and potentially cause fits for a #2 seed (would be great to play Duke again). Belien has had success in the tournament at West Virginia where he uses his 1-3-1 trap to throw off opponents who aren’t used to the defensive scheme. Then again, Michigan could come out and shoot 3-21 from long range and get blown out in the first round by some crappy Big 12 team. Doesn’t that sound more the Michigan basketball program we know and hate.

Howie Hoops alma mater has not been to the dance since 1967. As the story goes, young Howard, a freshly minted member of the class of ’66 drove from New York to Kent, Ohio to watch the Falcons take on #1 ranked Marquette in the opening round of the tourney. Bowling Green was coached by Bill Fitch and led by Howie “Butch” Komives (who would go on to be one of the most hated Knicks of all time) and almost pulled off the shocker before losing by a single point to Marquette.

BGSU has had loads of bad luck and many more crappy teams. This year’s squad doesn’t stand out but they managed to go 11-5 in MAC play which was good enough for the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Pappa Litty has no hope or faith – but if the Falcons make it to the championship game on ESPN you better believe he’ll be going bonkers.

Littyhoops Ballers
Blake Griffin is an absolute beast and is the best player in college basketball. If college hoops had a steroid scandal, Griffin would be Mr. Boli. Without Griffen, the Sooners are mediocre; with him they are probably a #1 seed and a tournament favorite.

Patty Mills on St. Mary’s was quietly having one of the best seasons in college hoops when he broke his wrist against Gonzaga about six weeks ago. He returned to play in the Big West tournament but the Gaels were blown out by Gonzaga in the finals. St. Mary’s should still make the tournament and if Mills wrist is healthy watch for him to be this year’s Stephen Curry (Davidson and Curry were upset in their conference tournament and won’t be in the dance). Mills made a name for himself last summer at the Olympics when he was one of the top point guards in the entire tournament.

Hasheem “Chewbacca” Thabeet is positively freighting. Last year in Tampa, Howie Hoops ran into him in an elevator and was amazed for the rest of the weekend. Besides, Greg Paulus and Coach K, Thabeet is my favorite player to root against. When Dejuan Blair from Pittsburgh body slammed him – that was sweet.



If you’re interested in checking out future NBA lottery picks follow Griffin, Thabeet, Blair, James Harden (ASU), Wake Forest tandem of Jeff Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu and Earl Clark at Louisville.

Some of the bubble teams that need to win a few games this week to feel comfortable leading into selection Sunday include Miami, Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State, Arizona and Florida.

There is a possibility that the Mountain West Conference gets more bids than the SEC. That is just weird.

Dopey Hoops two favorite players might all by dancing in the NIT. Kentucky’s Jodi Meeks has one of the most budget websites since the original L-hoops joint. Maryland’s Grieves Vasquez plays like a young and ineffective Nate Robinson.



Interested in some potential Cinderellas? Siena (small Catholic school near Albany) is going back to the dance where they knocked off Vanderbilt last year. SUNY Binghamton is playing in their conference championship game on Saturday to go to the dance for the first time ever. VCU guard Eric Maynor is probably the top mid-major player in the game.

I’ll leave you all with my favorite ESPN college hoops promos from 1998 (my freshman year of college) called Happy Action Fun Time. Check out the Fat Albert induced spots.



Finally, around every March, we all ask “What the hell ever happened to Serge Zwikker?”