Jordan Farmar

The Neverending Story: Close NCAA Games

As a kid, the commercials didn’t bother me. I’d watch every NCAA Tournament game I could get my eyes on, and even without the luxury of a DVR or more than 30 channels I’d sit through every commercial as if each break were filled by the most amazing movie trailers ever created. Meanwhile, if my parents happened to be in the same room I’d always hear the familiar complaint of, “The last two minutes of a basketball game can last a half hour!”

It might not have been quite that long, but yesterday’s last two games came close. There were four timeouts during the last two minutes of both the UCLA/VCU and Illinois/Western Kentucky games. At least in the latter contest each of those four timeouts only lasted 30 seconds, but in UCLA’s 65-64 win last night there were eight full minutes of timout during the last two minutes or the game. And in the two games combined there were fifteen “Official TV” timeouts.

Can you imagine Phil Jackson trying to coach college ball? Forget that most college coaches do jumping-jacks all game as if someone put Icy Hot in their shorts while Phil moves only slightly more during games than a callcenter employee does during an 8-hour shift. Last night as the Lakers tried in vain to give away a home victory to the Warriors, during a 12-0 Warriors run that brought the Lakers’ lead to four or five points in the fourth quarter, Jackson acted as if calling timeout would be rewarding his team, who before the game he had said was “disgruntled” and going through a “malaise.”

(Which is totally true, by the way. Kobe, Odom, Sasha, Farmar, Fisher and Walton are all playing with the enthusiasm of someone signing a rent check, while Gasol, Mbenga, Powell and Ariza are the only guys playing with any energy whatsoever…while we’re at it, great pickup getting Adam Morrison. He has no decent NBA skills, but he is good at looking like a liquor store cashier who sells to all the local high schoolers because he hopes they’ll hang out with him.)

Maybe I’m just bitter about all these TO’s (baby!) because my picks of UCLA and Western Kentucky were trying their best to choke away double-digit second half leads, and each timeout left me no choice but to sit around and twiddle my thumbs nervously like a hooker awaiting the results of an STD test while hearing about Papa John’s pizza and how Saturn “sells cars Americans want to buy” (Uh, sure shiny-green-shirt-wearing Saturn guy).

Or maybe I’m just getting old.

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