"I told our guys that I have a lot of fight in me despite our record and I was hoping they would have that same fight."
- Wazzu head men's hoop coach Tony Bennett, after his Cougars upset UCLA in Pauley Pavilion.
"I thought I played defense well. He was just knocking down shots. He was firing and they were going in."
- UCLA freshman guard Jrue Holiday, commenting after Wazzu's victory over the Bruins on why head coach Ben Howland pulled him off Cougars' freshman guard Klay Thompson when Thompson scored 15 points in the first half.
"The play was correctly officiated and proper mechanics were used on the call."
- Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen defending the officials for the Arizona State-USC men's hoop game last week after they made a controversial call in the waning seconds of the game.
"Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight. I'll come to your house and chew gum."
- Late night talk show host David Letterman, mocking actor Joaquin Phoenix who was attempting to solidify his scruffy hip-hop artist hoax with a Crispin Glover-esque appearance on Letterman's show.
On your marks, get ready, watch! Oh wait, we were just kidding. That is what the federal government said earlier this month when they changed the date of the national analog-to-digital broadcast switchover from February 17 to June 12. Good thing too, because Cougar fans and well-wishers would have needed a winch to pull themselves off the floor if they had any difficulties watching Wazzu's upset victory over UCLA in men's hoop. But we will get to that in a minute. Right now, the Lounge is just happy that everybody can still get their Oprah at 4pm without too much fuss – except that Oprah won't be talking about Taylor Rochestie.
It also means that we can all watch the Academy Awards unimpeded tonight. Well, that is, if it is worth watching. With the nominations being bland [The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire] and/or predictable [industry emotion for Mickey Rourke and fan emotion, posthumously, for Heath Ledger] coupled with celebrity presenters being swaddled in secrecy [eerily similar to when film studios won't allow preview screenings of bad films in order to keep film critics in the dark and cut off criticism at the pass], we are not holding out too much hope for this year's award show. In fact, award shows in general, are a crock of baked beans. Name one award show that has any semblance of worthiness. The Grammys? Plop! [the sound of people falling off their chairs in boredom]. The Emmys? [Zzzzzzzz……] The Espys? [rumble….rumble…the sound of the hearse arriving]. In fact, the only reason to watch the Academy Awards recently was for one of three reasons – for red carpet arrivals and interviews, for the comedy routine of the host and for seeing who was going to mess up in some royal way in front of the world. The anticipation of the red carpet arrivals will remain intact but the host is not funny [Hugh Jackman] and without knowing who some of the presenters will be, it takes away motivation to care what they will say. Add on to that, the fact that Academy Award show producers dissed Peter Gabriel and would not allow him to perform a full-length version of his nominated song and it appears we are looking at the recipe for disaster. Hmmm…well that correlates with Jackman's X-Men performance, so…
Well, if it gets too bad, we can always move to Australia, Canada or Germany, where we know they will always love us no matter what kind of crappy award shows we produce. Once again, the Lounge asks that you give it up for the Canadians!
Australia, Canada or Germany – all fine places to go when one is trying, desperately, to forget the Top 10 worst acting performances by athletes - and there you were, not knowing Dennis Rodman was a thespian
"What a great game!" effuses Mr. Stinkster, who was all prepared to write off Wazzu until they upset UCLA.
This game was the 2008-09 season in microcosm. It had the portions showing the "good" Cougar team that could beat any team in the Pac-10 and then, minutes later, there was portions of the "bad" Cougar team that could lose to any team in the Pac-10. Fortunately for Cougar fans and well-wishers, Taylor Rochestie's brother brought out his bro's old high school warm-up and that did the trick. Rochestie would not allow Wazzu to lose and scored a career-high 33 points to emphasize that to the bevy of youngsters who populate the Cougars' roster. Whether he was nailing three-balls or springing up like a jackrabbit to tip in a missed shot, Rochestie was, simply put, in a parallel universe on Saturday. It would be unreasonable to expect a 33-point performance from Rochestie every time out of the gate, but it does show what the team is capable of when at least one athlete plays to potential. 82 points is what happens and as head coach Tony Bennett put it – "that is fun". Of course, the reverse is that the vaunted Cougar defense allowed UCLA to score 81 points including another inexplicable career day for the Bruins' Nikola Dragovic. But if it results in a win, the Cougars will gladly give up the nation's top defense title.
"What does that do for post-season possibilities?" asks an anxious Puford Busser.
Well, there is no change in their Big Dance chances, Puford. The Cougars will probably still need to run the Pac-10 conference tournament table in order to return to that dance floor, because even if they win out in conference play, a 17-13 record is not likely to put them in, even if it is inflated to 18 or 19 wins with a few conference tourney wins – although that is still within the realm of possibilities. More likely – or rather, possibly likely – is that their NIT chances were given a significant boost. With this win, the Cougars will likely be near the 90s again in this week's official NCAA RPI and with two more wins, the Cougars will likely be at a spot where the NIT likes to see them and with their good attendance numbers at home, could even get a home game. The good news is that at least three of their four guaranteed [three conference games plus at least the first conference tournament game] remaining games should not require efforts of Rochestian proportions but on the other hand, the "bad" Cougar team cannot show up for extended periods or else all post-season hopes go out the window again.
On this day when we will be subjected to superficial award presentations and ridiculous excess, the Lounge takes this opportunity to remind everybody what real talent looks like in the form of Tay Zonday's Chocolate Rain. Of course, he is not that hack, Peter Gabriel, but maybe they would let him perform his entire song on the Oscars.
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists have discovered what is wrong with the NCAA and why they refuse to go after the USC football program but continue to bayonet the likes of Eastern Washington and Abilene Christian – they are crazy from lack of sleep. Scientists have found that poor sleep habits could be a cause of psychiatric illness [and who can argue that some of the NCAA's decision-making processes are not psychotic?]. Various studies have shown correlations between poor sleeping habits and a variety of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and are now looking at the sleep habits as causal and not symptomatic.
"It was just so easy to say about a patient, well, he's depressed or schizophrenic, of course, he's not sleeping well – and never to ask whether there could be a causal relationship the other way," says Lounge Scientist #Zzzzzz, Robert Stickgold, a researcher at Harvard University, who reportedly slept like a baby last night.
The Lounge clientele is worried, the excitement of the win over UCLA meant they did not sleep well last night, but fortunately, the Academy Awards should fix that problem tonight.
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