You know what I find fascinating? Self-applied Nicknames.

Even when they work really well, as is the case with The Dude, one has to constantly remind people, especially ones they just met, not to call them by their given name but rather by the name they have given themselves.

See also: T-Bone Castanza. George ordered a steak at lunch, in the hopes of having others give him the nickname, but the after him ordered one too, and they called him T-Bone.

Sean Combs has given himself roughly 30 nicknames to date. They even let him on The Today Show to announce we was changing his name from P. Diddy to Diddy. You can actually watch that announcement here. It was at this point that I just gave up in his nicknames altogether and began calling him Sean. His momma call him Sean, I’ma call him Sean.

It’s with this in mind that I bring up Gonzaga. America’s Team. First, I’d like to focus your attention on my previous statements about self-applied nicknames. Second, that one’s already taken. I can’t just start calling my self DJ Jazzy Jeff. It’s not taste infringement, but if there was a law, it would be against it. Third, who says you’re America’s team? Now, I’ll allow that most people, given neutral circumstances will probably root for the Zags, but lack of widespread animus does not make you America’s Team.

In short, who are the ad wizards that came up with this one?

Now onto the game. Submitted for your approval, a very quick look at our previous three losses this season.
1.) No. 10 Notre Dame, 38 point loss and we were never in that game.
2.) Unranked St. Joe’s, 26 point loss and we were out of it at the beginning of the 2nd half.
3.) No. 17 Wake Forest, 25 point loss, got behind, but played them even for a lot of the game.

Which brings us to Saturday’s game against Gonzaga. This game was a HUGE improvement in most areas of the game. They are the best team we have played thus far and it was a nine point game with 3:36 to go in the second half. We lost by 16, but we were in this game.

Our defense was pretty solid, more so in the first half, but overall it was decent. Our rebounding was also solid. We got outrebounded by four, but we had 11 offensive boards.

Our hustle, as usual, was exemplary.

We made big strides on the free throw line, getting to the line more than Gonzaga, and making 79.2%. That was one of the three areas we really needed to improve on. We did and we wee competitive because of it.

We are still having trouble shooting, as we only hit 30.4% for the game, but our three-point shooting came alive in the second half and we shot 36.8% from three point range, which means we shot better from three than we did from two. Interesting.

And we turned the ball over A LOT, 24 times.

If we can play with the 5th best team in the country by improving on only one area of play, who out there thinks we wouldn’t be able to play with everyone on our schedule if we can bring our shooting percentage up into the 40’s and cut our turnovers in half?

We still have our problems, but this game was a good sign.

That three-pointer that Matt Roth hit from about 35′ out. I mean wow, man. War, man, wow.

I loved seeing how animated Coach Crean was toward the end of the game. This team needs to see him like that. I am, every day, happy with that hire. He gives us all the things we need.

I knew Kyle Taber was a stud, but 2-2 from three-point range is awesome. And the one in this game came at a crucial time.

I don’t need to hear the Kipp Schutz Three-Point-Contest-Brought-Him-To-The-Coach’s-Attention story again.

Two final thoughts, neither of which are directly about the game.

Once again The Big Ten Network is being run by chimps in bow ties, with those little reporter hats, and maybe Angus Young shorts. They ran a commercial for tickets to the game they were currently showing. They ran it before the game, at half time, and in the second half. I trust you enough to realize why that is an act of purest ass-basketry without my having to delve any deeper into it.

And lastly, Walt Bellamy was kind enough to stop by and talk to the announcers at the beginning of the second half. They asked him about the game and he said, (and I’m paraphrasing here, but nothing I changed was for comedic effect, it’s because I didn’t write it down, but trust me, I’ve got the gist of it) I think it’s great the Indiana is a part of the opening of this facility and I’m really excited about the game, but the I’m more excited about the amenities of this place. Have you seen it? This place is great!

He was like Forrest Gump, in line to meet the President and he’s more impressed with the amount of Dr. Pepper available. And for FREE!!

For today’s theme song, I have to say two things. 1.) This is neither safe for work, or for children, (language only) so please watch at your own risk. and 2.) I will call Gonzaga America’s Team if they start playing this as they enter the arena.

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