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March 1, 2009

The Cougar Lounge - Just Asking For Trouble


"As soon as it left his hands, it looked good to me, so I started walking back."

- Wazzu senior center Aron Baynes, giving his perspective - and immediate reaction - to Rochestie's game-winning shot.




"I'm flattered at that comparison, but I think Tony would take that as being dissed."

- Rochestie balking at being compared to the former playing days of his head coach Tony Bennett in his playing style.




"Have you guys ever seen the movie, The Terminator? That's what that kid is like. That kid has no facial expressions. He just plays, and it's like every kid out there on him is like Sarah Connor, and he's just going to take his time and kill him. That kid is good."

- Texas Tech head men's hoop coach Pat Knight describing Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, who scored a career-high 40 points and brought down a career-high 23 rebounds in a recent win over the Red Raiders.




"Each year I do one DreamWorks project, then take all the money to the Oscars and put it on Pixar."

- Comedian Jack Black, describing his profit-making strategy from his voice-over work in animated films.








Wazzu is looking for trouble. Specifically, the men's hoop team wants to cause trouble for the NCAA selection committee. A wizened old senior guard named Taylor Rochestie is frightening all the little children and NCAA selection committee officials in the village by continually willing his Cougars to victories. One would have to live in a cave in rural Missouri to not know about Rochestie's exploits in the last two weeks. First, there was last week's monster game when Rochestie unleashed a 33-point barrage on the UCLA Bruins and Wazzu needed every single one of those points in holding off the Bruins, 82-81, for only their second victory ever at Pauley Pavilion. Then, as if that was not enough, Rochestie came back this week and, despite having a poor shooting night, launched the game-winning three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in overtime to beat Arizona State and significantly enhance the Cougars' post-season chances. Third, the Lounge feels it is our duty to point out that the shirt is 3-0. With wins over UCLA, Arizona and now, Arizona State, Wazzu is undefeated while Taylor's brother has worn his old high school warm-up to games.


Rochestie's game-winning performance against Arizona State was the stuff of Hollywood movies and judging from last week's Academy Award telecast, it looks like Hollywood is in desperate need of new ideas. First off, if one decides to make an action or a comedy film, one is pretty much writing off any kind of Academy Award recognition - no matter how devastatingly good it turns out to be. There were no such films released last year but look at the Academy Award Hall of Shame of classic films which never won best picture and some that were never even nominated - Apocalypse Now!, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Star Wars, North By Northwest, Some Like It Hot, It's A Wonderful Life, This Is Spinal Tap and, of course, Monty Python and the Holy Grail ["Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!"]. If one needs more convincing, then consider this - Alfred Hitchcock never - as in nada, zero, zilch - won an Academy Award for Best Director and neither Walter Matthau nor Jack Lemmon were even nominated for best actor in The Odd Couple and Matthau's character was named Oscar, for cryin' in the mud! As expected, last week's telecast was bland and with no comedian host to make us forget the ill-conceived dance numbers, there were only two things to remember about the 2009 Academy Awards. Thing Number One - Spicoli wins! Okay, it is Sean Penn to everybody else but he is always Spicoli, from Fast Times At Ridgmont High to us - [To Mr. Hand -"What Jefferson was saying was, 'Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus, so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto! - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?"]. Sorry Sean, that is just the way it is. Thing Number Two - Ben Stiller's spoof of Joaquin Phoenix. It is an inside-outside joke - one had to know about Phoenix's recent attempts at being this decade's Crispin Glover, but it worked to perfection and essentially, saved the Oscars.

The Academy Awards is immersed in the Hollywood film industry and the Hollywood film industry is flooded with shallow people, a perfect place - as it turns out - for a new technology such as Twitter, the newest social media fad which has given the world the ability to take high school-style thoughts and commentary to a whole new level. Not surprisingly, those not afflicted with short attention spans find it to be a load of Twitter.

But if people want to twitter about March Madness - now only 18 short days away [not counting the play-in game] - the NCAA would love that, especially if they are talking about, no matter how briefly, their new and better picture quality for their March Madness On Demand video-streaming service this year. People may recall, perhaps not pleasantly, from last year, that while it was great to get on-demand video streaming of the Big Dance games, the picture quality was sometimes the equivalent viewing through beer goggles - and that can be taken any way one wants it to be taken. But this year, Microsoft has promised - cross their hearts and hope to die - that the quality of their video streaming will be better. They promise.

"Rochestie rocks! What a great shot!" blubbers Unrecognizable Johnson, who can only manage to blurt out a few recognizable words after Rochestie saved Senior Day for Wazzu with his game-winning shot against ASU.

At first, the Lounge clientele was in a snit, then they were in a tizzy and finally, they were just in a good old-fashioned dither as Rochestie sealed the Devils' fate with his short heard 'round the world. It was a poignant moment last year when seniors Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill played their final regular season home game and it was, perhaps, fitting that Rochestie, Aron Baynes, Daven Harmeling and Caleb Forrest - along with walk-on Ryan Bailey - could have their own moment too. And what a moment it was! Rochestie's shot - in the consensus of the clientele - sealed up an NIT berth should the Cougars be unable to get to the Big Dance. But that Big Dance door remains open to Wazzu for the time being. To be sure, it is just barely ajar, but it is open nonetheless. The Cougars will likely have two opportunities to getting their foot inside the Big Dance's door - and both will require good performances at next week's Pac-10 tournament. They can either get in the "easy way" - by running the table and snagging the automatic berth that goes to the Pac-10 conference tournament champion - or they can do it the hard way and beat rival Washington and win two or three games in the conference tourney and proceed to bite their fingernails while waiting for the NCAA selection committee to determine if they are good enough for an 11 or 12 seed. Either way, a win over Washington is not required - but it would certainly help, and may even be the clincher if they are then able to win at least a couple more in the conference tourney. With an RPI that will likely jump into the 80s - and possibly the high 70s - after this week's wins, and with their impressive resume of wins and mostly "good" losses, Wazzu should only be playing for NIT home or away game status for that tournament, with one more win possibly giving them a chance for a home game or two. But that is secondary for now, the eye is on the prize - the Big Dance - right now and even if they do not make it, at the very least, they have given themselves a shot. Much like the one Rochestie made.


"Give it up for the swim team!" yells Ms. Dee Ceased above the waves.

Lost in all the hoopla over the men's basketball team was the fact that the Wazzu swim team - going into the final day where the Invitational is contested - broke 25 school records at the Pac-10 championships last week. In some cases, obliterating them. The Cougars did not fare well as a team, finishing ninth overall, but that is partially due to the fact that it is called the Pac-10 Swimming & Diving Championships and the Cougars do not have a diving team and therefore concede points to those teams which do. But in swimming events, the Cougars were like the proverbial broken record - every day produced another set of multiple school records and the Cougars swimmers will now await their notifications of whether or not their various times will be good enough to swim in the NCAA Championships. But regardless, leaving their massive amount of broken school records in their wake, the Cougars have performed the best they have ever performed at the conference championships.

If you are the head of your household or even if you are just pretending to be, you cannot allow one day to slip past without knowing every single way to beat The Man! Well, you can probably live a decent life without knowing all the ways to beat The Man, but if you want to know at least a few ways to beat him then Household Hacker is for you. They have drank the Twitter Kool-Aid but you can still respect them in the morning and learn how to spy on people in a non-James Bond manner with a cell phone and what to do to unblock the persistent calls of those jerkface marketers.

Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists spilled their coffee - as usual - and the resulting coffee ring stains left behind have given them a new idea in how to make coatings for LCD and plasma screen televisions. In a recent experiment, the scientists noticed that evaporating liquid drives coffee particles to the edge of the spill around a cup, creating the ubiquitous ring stain. Observing the assemblage of the coffee granules, the scientists used gold nanoparticles - which could be better conductors than the commonly used indium tin oxide - and immediately noticed the reaction of the nanoparticles.

"Our gold network is finer than spider's silk and also conductive," says Lounge Scientist #64, Ivan Vakarelski, a researcher at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Sciences in Singapore, who reputedly has seen Goldfinger many times and thought it deserved an Academy Award.

Do you expect the NCAA selection committee to talk? Nooooo, Mr. Bond, we expect them to die! [if they do not select Wazzu in two weeks].





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