The Cougar Lounge - The Indifferent Drummer

"Overall, I'm disappointed with my performance today. I feel I am capable of much better jumping than I did today."
- Wazzu freshman women's high jumper Holly Parent, who jumped 1.81 meters [5-11.25], and despite the disappointment, finished a respectable 12th at her first NCAA Indoor Championships last week.
"They made us cry and I told [our teammates], this is our last chance to get them back."
- Morgan State men's hoop player Reggie Holmes after his Bears repaid South Carolina State for a defeat earlier in the season which kept Morgan State from going undefeated in their conference, with an NCAA automatic berth-clinching win in the MEAC conference tourney.
"Internal numbers - as you can imagine - can be wildly inflated."
- A nameless Yahoo! spokesperson responding to NBC's claim of an estimated 46 million online audience at their official Olympics site - more than doubling a report from independent media service, comScore.
"Our contention is that, though Lindsay is a popular girl's name, when you say it on television for advertising purposes, it's identifiable as Lindsay Lohan."
- Lohan's personal attorney Stephanie Ovadia, explaining why Lohan is suing E-Trade for their Super Bowl ad featuring a "milkaholic" baby named "Lindsay" - a name which won out in the ad agency script over such pearls as Gutter Hound, Jailbait, Flank Steak, Skanky Cake, Rug Burn and Hangnail.
March Madness is officially descending upon the United States of America today and the dense growth of college basketball pools across the country shows how prolific and to what depths the madness afflicts the populace. In fact, the country was so excited that they even scheduled time to jump ahead one hour this weekend just so they could be one hour closer to filling out brackets. If that is not proof of the madness, then the Lounge's name is the popular girl's name of Skanky Cake - er, Lindsay - well, one of those two. According to recent surveys, an estimated average of 62% of the nation is expected to be following the Big Dance in some way, shape or form either online or on television - figures which, presumably, include Rick Neuheisel.
Neither the Wazzu men's team nor the women's team will be going to their respective Big Dances this year, but there was recognition of the future for both squads. For the women, the future is especially bright because their future was represented by two true freshmen in the Pac-10 awards this year - specifically point guard KiKi Moore and center Carly Noyes. Moore led the league in steals and Noyes led the conference in blocked shots, which fully explains why they are both are on the league's All-Defensive team [with Moore getting an extra nod on the All-Freshman team]. On the men's side, there was little surprise and mild drama as sophomore guard Klay Thompson and sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto made first and second team, respectively while true freshman point guard Reggie Moore made the All-Freshman squad. The mild drama came from Casto's inclusion on the second team, which may have been one team lower than he deserved, especially given his production later in the season. But either way, the Cougars were well-represented in both sports - they just do not have the post-season berths to support the selections.
The Winter Olympics are over and that is both good and bad news. The bad news is that we will likely have to go another four years before we can see what kind of curling attire the Norwegians will pull out of their closet and the good news is that, with another Olympics in the books, we are one more Olympics closer to potentially ridding ourselves of NBC's tyrannical, lopsided and mind-numbingly idiotic coverage of the international sporting spectacle and one step closer to - hopefully - ABC and ESPN taking over coverage duties. If Yahoo! had a cable channel and money to televise it, the future games might be there because Yahoo! Sports attracted 32 million unique users to their Olympic site during the Games - even more than NBC and ESPN, both of whom had 19 million. According to Yahoo!, American skier Lindsey Vonn - wait, is she suing E-Trade too? - was the most searched-for athlete while curling and short track speed skating were among the most popular sports.
The most popular sport in the world though, is soccer or, if you prefer - futbol - and the 2010 World Cup begins on June 11 in South Africa. ESPN released some preliminary coverage scheduling and - unlike how NBC handles a worldwide sporting event - plans to actually air games live - you know, as they actually are occurring. In fact, all 64 matches from South Africa will be shown live - 44 on ESPN itself, 10 on ESPN2 and 10 more on ABC. South Africa, as many of the more astute Lounge clientele will note - is in a far different and much more difficult time zone to broadcast live from to the USA than Vancouver - yet somehow, miraculously, ESPN and ABC will be able to show live coverage. Not only that, since the true soccer aficionado may not be able to watch every match that he or she wants - ESPN has got your back and is re-running all 64 matches on ESPN Classic. In addition, the 54 matches shown on ESPN and ESPN2 will also be simulcast on [which changes to ESPN3 in the near future]. Needless to say, in June, the IOC can and will watch the World Cup to see how a television sports broadcasting entity genuinely interested in the mental well-being of the population, covers an internationally important sporting event.
Stunning news has just reached the Lounge headquarters - Bill Gates has fallen off the top branch of the world's money tree. Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu is the new richest man in the world - worth $53.5 billion to Gates' $53 billion - but what is $500 million among billionaires? Slim Helu made his fortune by investing in the Mexican telecommunications industry 20 years ago and specifically, the mobile phone segment of the industry. Now, every time a call is placed in Latin America, money goes into Slim's pockets just like the money going into Gates' pocket every time a computer is booted up in the morning. Hello - is that you again, money?
"I cannot believe they are doing so well!" exclaims Tuff Dittle, about Wazzu's baseball team.
Do not sell them short, Tuffy, because not only are the Wazzu Nine doing well after their latest win over Texas A&M but they are also currently holding an unofficial RPI 0f 12 going into today's rubber game with the Aggies. The Cougars are already ranked in one poll and receiving votes in several others, but if they are able to come away from their massive eight-game road trip with at least five wins, then it will be guaranteed that they will be either ranked or receiving votes in all national polls worth their cans of corn. So far, it has been a team effort in both hitting and pitching for Wazzu. With expected contributing pitchers David Stilley and Travis Cook battling early season injuries, the team's batters have stepped up their production in support of the starting and relief pitchers while the Cougars' pitching staff has generally performed admirably in the first 12 games of the season to date. If Wazzu can continue this tight team play through the month of March, then that will be a promising signal for the impending brutality of Pac-10 conference play and a potential return trip to the NCAA tournament.
"What is wrong with hoops?" pleads Fester G. Willikers in dismay after both the Cougars' men's and women's teams were eliminated in their respective conference tournaments last week.
Two point defeats for both teams - the men to Oregon and the women to Arizona - in games they could have won. For the men, provided there are no crucial off-season personnel losses - it is just a matter of time before they return to post-season play. They finished the season with a winning record [16-15] for the fourth consecutive year and are expected to have the core group of sophomores and juniors along with an incoming shooting guard next year that will likely make them a contender for the conference title or - at the very least - making a strong case for post-season playing opportunities. The most troubling aspect of this year's team - its defense - is expected to get better as the athletes mature and head coach Ken Bone settles in to familiarity with his squad. Next year should be a good year for Wazzu men's hoop. On the women's side, slightly more difficult to process. As mentioned earlier in references to Moore and Noyes, Wazzu has the talent Provided they can get the offensive side of the equation - where they were the poorest shooting team in the Pac-10 - to match up with the defensive side of the equation, then the Cougars can be legitimate post-season contenders and yes, next year. Do not expect the Cougars - nor anybody else, for that matter - to challenge Stanford for the title for the next decade, but with returning athletes like Moore, Noyes, guards April Cook and Jazmine Perkins and incoming talent to bolster the return of injured athletes from this year and it appears - on paper - that Wazzu could have somewhere in the neighborhood of an 18 or 19-win team next year with at least a .500 record in the conference. But, of course, that is theoretical. In theory, this year should have been at least 50% better in terms of both overall and conference victories. Next year will be a crucial year for head coach June Daugherty and her staff.
Since we will - like everybody else on the continent over the next few hours - be awaiting the final announcement of the teams for the 2010 version of March Madness, a musical interlude may be necessary as a diversionary tactic. The Lounge offers this as our recommendation to get you through the next tough hours.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans will be beset by a barrage of choices they will have to make in filling out their brackets this week - but that is no different than any other week - except for the fact that it is a chance to win money in an office pool and perhaps brag about one's uncanny psychic abilities in picking a 14-seed upset. The Lounge Scientists have commissioned extensive studies on the subject of choosing and they have come to the ultimate conclusion that the burden of choice is both a blessing and a curse [usually a curse, according to the Lounge consensus] - but it is all unavoidable.
"[Humans] have a biological need for choice and control," says Lounge Scientist #17, Sheena Iyengar, a scientist at Columbia University, who, reportedly is miffed that the Lions were unable to make the Big Dance in either the men's or women's tourney.
Who does Carlos Slim Helu and Bill Gates have picked in their brackets? That is all the Lounge wants to know.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The new year is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Men's & women's basketball, baseball, track & field 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.