Category Archives: College Basketball

Your (Quick) Weekly Roundup From The Sports World And Internet

Welcome to the 103rd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I have an abbreviated/condensed post this week for a variety of non-blog related reasons. (And happy birthday to my brother Andrew, who I think pretends to read this blog like once a month.) Let’s get into it…

Sam Dekker prepares to hug an invisible person after his unbelievable second-half shooting performance lifted Wisconsin over Arizona and into the Final Four. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

I’ll start with some quick thoughts on the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, because it was awesome.

Thursday evening through Sunday evening represented college basketball at its absolute peak. The weekend was loaded with legendary coaches and future-lottery picks and underdogs and back-and-fourth games and dramatic finishes.

Saturday, in particular, featured two of the best games a college basketball fan can ask for. It started with Arizona and Wisconsin, who I think are two of the best three teams in the country. They met in a classic that saw Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker combine for 56 points against a top-3 defense. Dekker hit five threes in the second half and was a blast to watch (even though I picked Arizona to win the title). Right when you thought one was a dagger, Arizona would come back, only to see Dekker bury another dagger with a hand in his face. It was just awesome basketball.

Here’s Dekker’s final nail in the coffin to seal Wisconsin’s second straight Final Four appearance. Look at the arc on this shot and Dekker’s swag strut after it drops.

And that game was just a precursor to the game of the year on Saturday night. Notre Dame and Kentucky went back and forth for 40 minutes with a Final Four berth and a historic, undefeated season on the line. (Those are some pretty high stakes.)

The Irish showed from the outset they could play with Kentucky and weren’t about to back down with plays like this one from Pat Connaughton (who also made one the best plays of the opening weekend):

And look at the scores and clock during these next couple Vines. Just an extremely high level of basketball with so much on the line. Aaron Harrison would show his ONIONS…

And Jerian Grant would answer…

Goodness what a great game. Kentucky won, by the way. Wish I had more time to break it down here.

So now only three games remain in the college basketball season and they should all be pretty damn good. Wisconsin – Kentucky should be another absolute treat to watch. As far as predictions, give me Wisconsin over Duke in the championship game Monday night.

I think Wisconsin can handle Kentucky’s defense by limiting possessions and draining deep threes. If Dekker plays against Kentucky like he did against a smaller, but almost-as-efficient Arizona defense, the Badgers can pull off the upset. They also have that Frank Kaminsky guy, who is the best player in the country. He should stretch out some of the Cats’ interior defenders and also be able finish inside and get to the line.

Should be an absolute treat. And that’s just the one of the three games!

A couple of the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

This video only has 400 views for some reason, but I find it amazing. That’s Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy just wandering around on an airplane that’s… you know, flying through the sky.

And we have a post-publish submission sent in by a loyal reader! Pretty sweet move here…

Douche of the week:

Guys, all of the Rockies’ pitchers are getting hurt before the season even starts this year. It’s astounding. (More on all this next week.)

Photo of the week:

TJ McConnell hugs Sean Miller and cries as he leaves his final college game. McConnell was one of my favorite players in the country.

(Getty Images)

Vine of the week:

Blake Griffin has gotten bored with his 360 dunks:

NBA Tank Watch 2015:

Not much movement in the Tankandings this week. The Nuggets were able to move one half game ahead of Detroit for the seventh-worst record, which is nice. However, I haven’t seen anything from the Melvin Hunt-coached Nuggets to suggest they’re capable of holding on to that spot.

  1. New York, .189, 14-60
  2. Minnesota, .216, 16-58
  3. Philadelphia, .240, 18-57
  4. L.A. Lakers, .274, 20-53
  5. Orlando, .297, 22-52
  6. Sacramento, .356, 26-47
  7. Denver, .378, 28-46
  8. Detroit, .384, 28-45

Read this beautiful, heartbreaking eulogy from a sportswriter who lost his son.

And finally, because of my time/motivation constraints this week, I asked my buddy Erick, who spends more time on YouTube than anyone should, for a video to use in this “And finally” section. He replied with a link to this video and emphatically noted that it is a top-5 video of all time.

Erick is a damn weirdo.

Happy Tuesday everybody. I should have more for you next week with some sort of Rockies/MLB Preview. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

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Your NCAA Tournament Opening Weekend Roundup

Welcome to the 102nd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we only play the piccolo and cry when there’s no one else around. Let’s get into it…

(USATSI)

The best four days in sports kicked off Thursday morning at 10 and wrapped up Sunday night at about 10. Those 84 hours saw 48 basketball games that ended 48 teams’ seasons before they were ready. Things started off with a bang when two 14-seeds upset a pair of teams that many predicted would make the Final Four. So for a while it looked like we were heading for four days of wild and crazy bonkers-ness. But the next three and a half days fizzled a little bit and produced a weekend that was, on the whole, actually pretty bland. Last year in my recap of the tournament’s opening weekend I wrote about a wild Thursday, saying:

…And this year’s NCAA Tourney Thursday might have been the best NCAA Tourney Thursday ever. Four of the 16 games went to overtime, which has never happened before. Four of the twelve regulation games were decided at the buzzer or in the final minute. So literally half of the games on Thursday came down to the final seconds. Three double-digit seeds won. Three more choked away a would-be victory. Colorado was embarrassed…

It was a glorious, unbelievable day.

This year failed to produce a day that came close to that. Those two crazy upsets that sent Iowa State and Baylor home on Thursday turned out to be a misnomer. Saturday, for example, had only two games decided by fewer than 8 points (though Butler-Notre Dame did go to overtime and NC State upset 1-seeded Villanova by three points). Sunday was even worse with zero games being decided by less than six points.

There were some upsets, sure. But in terms of wild, thrilling, did-you-see-that finishes, the weekend certainly underwhelmed.

Now, to be clear, an underwhelming opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is still better than most any other sporting event. I enjoyed plenty of fun and awesome and memorable and exciting moments of college basketball from Thursday morning through Sunday night.

Here are my favorites:

The best moment of the tournament’s opening weekend came on Thursday afternoon, just a few hours after it all started. Here’s a quick background: 14-seed Georgia State is down by two to 3-seed Baylor in the game’s final seconds. A few days prior, when Georgia State clinched their tourney invite, head coach Ron Hunter tore his Achilles during the team’s celebration, so he’s coaching this game on a little wheeley-stool-type-thing with big ol’ cast on his foot/leg. His son is Georgia State’s best player, R.J. Hunter, a future first-round NBA draft pick. With the game on the line, the younger Hunter buried an unreal three from about 25 feet out. His injured coach/dad was stoked and produced an all-time great Vine that I’ve watched approximately 500 times.

I like the wide angle better, but the close-up of Hunter is also pretty awesome:

So are these still shots:

@MattNorlander

Great stuff, folks.

So that was the tournament’s best moment to date. This next one from Saturday night was the most “viral”:

Obviously, the internet was going to have some fun with this one. Here’s my favorite edit:

And within 48 hours she was on the nation’s most popular late night talk show. What a world.

Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton might have made the play of the tournament with this sick block of a shot that would have won the game for Butler. Absolutely awesome video here.

This is a remarkably underrated Vine from Friday evening. Every time I come across it, I stop and watch it like twenty times.

Before the real tournament even started, we had this moment from Wednesday night’s play-in game. Getting pantsed is cool, but check out the cheerleaders’ reaction:

One of the coolest things about the tournament is fans getting the opportunity to watch players they haven’t seen much throughout the year. For me, this player was D’Angelo Russell. I’ve known for a while that Russell is going to be a top-5 pick, but for whatever reason, I just haven’t been able to watch him a whole lot this year. Ohio State didn’t make it out of the opening weekend, but Russell was a one-man highlight reel.

And check this no-look dime.

And of course, I spent last week ranting and raving about Colorado State’s snub and the ludicrous inclusion of UCLA. It was the most-read post I’ve had in a while. So what happens next? Naturally, Colorado State, the #1 overall seed in the NIT, loses at home to South Dakota State and UCLA makes the Sweet 16.

I would like to take a moment to emphasize one point:  A team’s performance, good or bad, in either the NIT or the NCAAs does nothing to merit the selection committee’s decision. Those decisions are made on what’s been done, not a team’s projected in performance in a separate tournament.

UCLA and Texas could both make the Final Four with CSU immediately losing in the NIT and that would still not justify the committee’s inclusion of those brands over a more deserving team.

And I can’t really blame CSU for coming out flat for what turned out to be their last game of the year. They were emotionally drained. They lacked focus and energy, especially early. And that’s all fair. Not overly surprising. Not something I’m going to fault them for.

An opportunity for some decent national exposure (had they gotten to play in Madison Square Garden) went down the drain, but if we’re honest we know that nobody gives a damn about the NIT. CSU’s season truly ended on Selection Sunday.

Off to the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

A few weeks ago I ranked Allie LaForce pretty high on my Swoon Index (#5, but that might have been too low). So naturally, I AM NOT DOWN WITH THIS.

Photo(s) of the week:

CBS Sports tweeted an awesome gallery of the best pictures from the opening weekend. These are my favorites (along with the one at the top of this page).

A cool shot from the play-in game in Dayton. (Getty)

Ron Hunter hugs his son as he comes out of his last game of the year. (USATSI)

I just put this in here because Fred VanVleet is probably my favorite player in the country. (Getty)

Tweet(s) of the week:

A couple Las Vegas hotels tweeted out some pretty funny videos of a meaningless layup in the final seconds of the VCU – Ohio State game. VCU is down by five, and throws in a layup at the buzzer so the Rams only lose by three. This made a bunch of people happy.

Stud of the week:

Finally seeing Garth Brooks live crossed an item off my bucket list. (John Lebya, Denver Post)

This post is a little shorter than a lot of other weeks because it took me about two full days to recover from a concert I attended late on Saturday night (and into Sunday morning)*.

*Not that I was, like, wasted. I’ve learned from experience that concerts are more fun when you remember them.

I’m told I started listening to Garth Brooks when I was about four years old and I do remember the cassette of his self-titled debut album always kicking around in my dad’s car. So saying I grew up with Garth Brooks is not at all an exaggeration. I have the hard copies of eight or nine of Garth’s albums with a few other downloads peppered in. I honestly think I know every word to every song on every one of those albums.

Garth was “retired” by the time I started going to concerts and prior to this week, he hadn’t played in Denver since I was eight years old. So by the time I truly learned to appreciate and enjoy his music, I had come to the realization that I would probably never be lucky enough to see him play live. So saying I’ve waited pretty much my whole life to see Garth Brooks, that too, is not at all an exaggeration.

I’ve known that much of Garth’s astounding success is due to his live shows and I’ve seen plenty of YouTube’d or DVR’d concerts. But at the risk of repeating what 25 people have already put in your Facebook feed, it was pretty damn awesome.

Singing along as Garth let the crowd take over on Unanswered Prayers (like I’ve done while listening to Double Live hundreds of times) was worth double the price of admission. But so was screaming the live-only third verses on The Thunder Rolls and Friends In Low Places (like I’ve done while listening to Double Live hundreds of times.)

And, damn, it was loud. I have definitely never been to a concert that was as loud as the Pepsi Center was between every song. It was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard that place, which is saying something.

Garth will do a little of the corny, you-guys-are-the-best-crowd-yet stuff that may make you might roll your eyes. But that’s just Garth being Garth. He plays to the crowd and does it well. Overall though, Garth sings the songs you want to hear and does it with the passion and energy that’s made him a zillion dollars over the past quarter-century, even if it’s his second show of the night and it’s well past 1 a.m. on Sunday morning.

And I know this is an original opinion, but it’s pretty damn awesome.

NBA Tank Watch 2015:

The Nuggets continue to choke this thing away. They’ve held steady in the 8-spot of the Tankandings, and it looks pretty clear that played themselves out of a high lottery pick, which is kind of astounding when you think about how bad they were and how little they cared under Brian Shaw..

  1. New York, .197, 14-57
  2. Minnesota, .229, 16-54
  3. Philadelphia, .243, 17-53
  4. L.A. Lakers, .265, 18-50
  5. Orlando, .306, 22-50
  6. Sacramento, .348, 24-45
  7. Detroit, .371, 26-44
  8. Denver, .380, 27-44

Some links I enjoyed and you should too:

And finally, CJ Anderson bought his grandma a car and that’s pretty damn awesome.

Grandparents are the best.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Colorado State Was Snubbed Because It’s Not A Big Enough Brand

Welcome to the 101st edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am NOT TAKING THINGS WELL. Let’s get into it… (I suppose I should warn you about a little uncharacteristically coarse language in this one.)

The selection committee snubbed CSU out of an at-large bid, leaving fans, and Larry Eustachy, perplexed. (Rich Abrahamson, Coloradoan)

Almost exactly two years ago, I published my first edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, titled “Did Colorado State Deserve A Better Seed And A Better Matchup?”. A couple days prior to that posting, the NCAA Tournament selection committee screwed Colorado State badly with an 8-seed that forced them to play the number one overall seed in the second round in what amounted to a true road game. It was pretty clear CSU deserved much better. Two years later, the committee completely, thoroughly outdid itself.

Over the course of this college basketball season the Colorado State Rams did more than enough to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. They didn’t get one on Selection Sunday because the selection committee is able to simply alter the criteria required for an at-large bid if the outcome favors a popular brand name at the expense of a team that’s lesser known nationally.

Make no mistake, that’s all this was. It’s extremely simple, really. The committee favored brand names. Sure, it’s about the conference affiliation. Sure, it’s about how well a team’s fan base will travel. Sure, it’s about the tradition of a program. But all of that contributes to a brand name. And this year, the selection committee based their “bubble” selections entirely– ENTIRELY– on brand names.

And that is fucking bullshit.

The NCAA Tournament is the center of the sports world when it comes Cinderella stories (THE SLIPPER STILL FITS!) and David taking down Goliath. The success of schools few casual basketball fans are familiar with is what provides much of the March Madness hype every year. But those romantic themes and story lines lose a lot of luster when the “little guy” can’t even get into the damn tournament. How is the scrawny nerd supposed to hook up with hot chick if the bouncers don’t let him into the bar?

The thing is, CSU basketball isn’t really that little of a guy. The Mountain West is an upper-level mid-major. This isn’t Murray State from the Ohio Valley pleading in vain for an at-large bid. CSU was in line to earn their third at-large bid in four years. They have a well-respected head coach who has been around forever. They are firmly on the college basketball map.

But Colorado State is not a BRAND. Indiana is a brand. Ole Miss is a brand. Georgia is a brand. Texas is a brand. UCLA– ohhh fucking UCLA— is a brand.

The NCAA makes a seed list that ranks every team in the tournament from 1-68. The bottom of the at-large field looks like this:

  • 37. Indiana
  • 38. Davidson
  • 39. Ohio State
  • 40. Georgia
  • 41. Texas (!)
  • 42. UCLA (!)
  • 43. Ole Miss
  • 44. BYU
  • 45. Boise State
  • 46. Dayton
  • Dayton was the last at-large team selected. The committee has made it clear the first team out was Temple, followed, presumably, by Colorado State. So had the list been extended before adding automatic qualifiers, it would have looked like this:
  • 47. Temple
  • 48. Colorado State

This is utterly absurd on so many levels. Dayton should have been comfortably in the field and far from the last team in. How in the hell is Indiana ahead of Ohio State?! You could make the argument that Georgia, a team with ZERO top-50 wins and two sub-100 losses, should have been on the outside looking in, yet there they are with SIX teams behind them in the seed list. How does Boise State get sent to a play-in game against Dayton, IN DAYTON?! Texas doesn’t deserve a spot at all, and they have FIVE teams behind them. And then, of course, you have UCLA who wasn’t even on ANYBODY’S radar, and they’re chilling at 42 without a care in the world.

The biggest retort to all of this discussion will be Whatever, man. CSU should have played a tougher nonconference schedule. Well, let’s take a look at this argument.

CSU’s nonconference strength of schedule is ranked 83rd in the country. Texas? 85. Georgia? 92. Indiana? 109. Ole Miss? 95.

But these teams are all in good conferences, so they don’t have to load up in the nonconference schedule right? Well, kinda. All of these schools’ overall strength of schedule was launched significantly ahead of CSU once everybody played a full slate of conference games. So they all definitely deserve credit for playing in a tougher conference, especially when the Mountain West was down a little bit this year. But how much credit does each team really deserve for their conference play? Texas finished 8-10 in the Big 12. Georgia and Ole Miss both finished 11-7 in the weak-ass SEC. Indiana finished 9-9 in the Big 10.

Indeed, the argument for the tournament’s inclusion of the Texas brand is they played a very tough schedule. They played 15 games vs. top-50 opponents. FIFTEEN! That’s a lot! But Texas went just 3-12 vs. the top-50. My math tells me that’s not a very good track record against good teams. Why are we so devoted to rewarding teams for losing to superior opponents? This is such a flawed logic. Put those 12 top-50 games that Texas lost on CSU’s schedule and I guarantee you– GUARANTEE!– that CSU can go at least 0-12 like the Longhorns did.

Then there’s UCLA. Again, this team brand wasn’t on anybody’s radar as a potential tournament team brand. They weren’t even on the bubble. Then they got in, somehow.

When comparing UCLA’s body of work with CSU’s, it’s clear that the two resumes are not even close. CSU has seven more wins, CSU’s RPI is 19 spots higher, UCLA has two more sub-100 losses. And as this tweet points out, Colorado State lost to one non-tournament team all year. UCLA lost to FIVE different teams that didn’t make the field. And again, UCLA didn’t just make the field, they made the field COMFORTABLY!

Take this moronic tweet from ESPN’s Jay Williams, one of the few national voices dumb enough to support Colorado State’s snub:

Okay, Jay. But CSU also went 10-4 vs. the top-150, while UCLA went 11-13. One of those records is better than the other, you dipshit.

Oh, and CSU’s 16 wins vs. sub-150 teams is really bad, right? Well nine of UCLA’s whopping 20 wins came against sub-150 teams.

By the time the conference tournaments come and go, every team on or near the bubble has plenty of warts and misgivings attached to their resume. The traditional line of thinking says that if you don’t get in, you only have yourself to blame. You can argue about seeding, but if you don’t even make the field, that’s on you. This is especially true in the 68-team era of today. With Colorado State, bracketology-expert-guy Patrick Stevens disagrees:

So yeah, we’re talking about an all-time snub here.

Of course, the committee has to come up with something to justify keeping the CSU brand (or lack thereof) out of the tournament. It sounds like it found the one weak spot associated with this year’s CSU team and keyed in on that. The Rams’ weak spot is… the Kenpom rankings. Kenpom is an advanced ranking system using, among other things, adjusted efficiency statistics. CSU’s Kenpom ranking this year didn’t line up with the rest of their resume. They ranked 68th.

Here’s the chairman of the committee, Scott Barnes, as quoted in the Coloradoan: “When you think about Colorado State, their RPI was fairly strong but the other metrics that we use weren’t nearly as high in terms of ranking.” He’s obviously referring to Kenpom, or Sagarin (CSU ranks 57th) or BPI (also 57th).

But this leaves Colorado State fans (and coaches and players) screaming something along the lines of: SINCE WHEN HAS THAT SHIT MATTERED?!

For years, coaches at mid-major programs have been told to get their RPI up. We’ve all been told the RPI is a crucial tool for the selection committee, even if we’ve known the formula is antiquated and not a solid way of ranking the best teams in the country. So what does the committee do when a mid-major like CSU combines clever scheduling and a lot of wins to produce an excellent RPI that essentially guarantees tournament entry?

It decides that, in this case, the RPI is no longer important.

Yeah, now– NOW– it’s time to move on from the RPI and use more complex ranking systems. That pretty fucking coincidental timing, if  you ask me.

Colorado State was projected by every single bracket-projector-person to be in the field for a reason. Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi and Patrick Stevens aren’t picking their favorite teams or the teams they think are deserving. They are projecting what the committee will do. The committee has a set of guidelines to use. They have historical tendencies from previous tournaments. And every single person that studies and projects brackets for a living deduced that said tendencies and guidelines meant CSU was in. What all the bracket experts and analysts failed to consider was that the committee can ignore their guidelines and tendencies whenever they want if it serves a bigger and better brand name.

And for the love of all that is holy, WOULD YOU ASSCLOWNS JUST ADMIT THAT CONFERENCE AFFILIATION DOES MATTER?  You were never going to take four teams from the Mountain West; it would be great if you could just acknowledge that.

I’m also tired of hearing people play the “what-if” game. CSU let one slip at Boise in January. CSU shouldn’t have lost at home to Wyoming. CSU should have played JJ Avila against San Diego State. If a school like CSU wants in, they need to win their conference tournament.

This is all bullshit. CSU didn’t need to do any of those things. They did enough. They were in.

That’s the bottom line for me:   CSU did enough to get into the tournament. They did more than enough. And the committee found a way to keep them out. Whether that was a sudden, newfound emphasis with very peculiar timing on advanced metrics like Kenpom or a focus on conference RPI and keeping the number of Mountian West teams to a minimum, they simply found a way to keep them out. And they did it because they wanted bigger, better brand names in the tournament.

If you believe for one damn second that if the roles were reversed and UCLA or Texas was considered by all the bracketology experts and analysts to be comfortably in the field the way CSU was, and if CSU was considered a longshot bubble team like UCLA or Texas were… If you believe for one damn second that the committee would have balls to shock everyone and put CSU ahead of those brands, you are absolutely insane.

And it’s pretty depressing to think about those details. When you consider that CSU isn’t in a fair fight and there is nothing that they or their fans can do about it except start cussing in blogs, it makes you question the the whole operation.

What’s the point? Why should I invest so much into such a rigged system?

The NCAA Tournament, The Big Dance, and March Madness are my three favorite sporting events of the year, every year. The only thing that comes close, for me, is the MLB Postseason. But even the best Octobers can’t hold a candle to the ceaseless fun, intensity, and overall craziness the first four days of March Madness brings.

But on Sunday we learned, in no uncertain terms, that March Madness is more fun, intense, and crazy if you have a brand name attached to that resume. Then you might actually get to participate.

Off to the weekly departments (which are admittedly a little rushed this week)…

NBA Tank Watch 2015!

The Nuggets continue to absolutely screw everything up in the worst way by winning games. They’ve fallen to the 8th spot in the Tankandings.

  1. New York, .197
  2. Minnesota, .212
  3. Philadelphia, ..224
  4. L.A. Lakers, .262
  5. Orlando, ..309
  6. Sacramento, ..338
  7. Detroit, .348
  8. Denver, .382

Idiots.

Douche(s) of the week:

Umm… See above.

Studs of the week:

Nice moment at a Nuggets game here. These do not get old.

Vine(s) of the week:

My favorite of the year! Glorious.

The only thing better is the super slow motion version here.

This one is also pretty glorius. Just a bit short, my man.

Photo of the week:

This isn’t exactly an amazing piece of sports photography, but it’s still my favorite photo of the week. The perils of having a live mascot.

A couple other things worth sharing:

The best game of the weekend might have been Albany’s win over Stony Brook. Here’s the game-winner and ensuing court storm.

More conference tournament fun! Oregon’s game-winner over Utah.

And this play here took some ONIONS!

(Hey look! Texas lost to a good team!)

And here’s something to distract the CSU basketball fans. Another episode of “The Grind.” Still really well done.

And finally, Deadspin brought this video to my attention. After the way my week went, it’s very necessary viewing.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

TUESDAYS WITH MITCH 100TH EDITION SPECTACULAR!

Welcome to the 100th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m providing my vast audience with free entertainment for the 100th consecutive Tuesday. Let’s get into it…

image

I tried to come up with something special or wild or crazy to do for my 100th post today. I think I pretty much failed in that regard. But thinking about reaching the most significant milestone in the history of the internet led to some reflecting on what I’m doing here each week and why I do it.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve published a Tuesdays With Mitch over the past two years…  I’d have five dollars. But I don’t. I don’t have any dollars. This blog has produced zero nickels.

But I suppose that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather get paid to do this kind of stuff than do it for zero nickels. And there are a lot of Monday nights that come after long, sometimes hungover Monday days when I sit down with my laptop and really don’t want to take the time and energy to produce another seemingly pointless post.

But overall these silly posts give me an outlet to write, which is something I still enjoy doing. They keep me entertained. They give me something to focus on and keep me sane, because my real-life job is about as uninteresting as it gets.

It’s been interesting to see what hits and what doesn’t. It’s been interesting to develop some little Twitter/blogoshpere niches, where certain groups of people respond in certain ways to certain posts. What do people like? What do people share? What do people gloss over?

With this theme in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity during the TUESDAYS WITH MITCH 100TH EDITION SPECTACULAR! to ask you, the person reading this sentence right now, what style or theme of these posts you like the most. Do you like when I write a whole bunch of insightful and intelligent words about Colorado State or the Rockies? Do you like when I just write a little bit and put a bunch of random funny crap from the internet in here (you know, people falling down and getting hit in the nuts and making a fool of themselves on the news and such)? Do you like when I write a bunch and try to be funny and probably fail most of the time? When I talk about baseball, should I talk about WAR and FIP and wRC+ or poetically describe the smell of the hops at the Sandlot Brewery and the voices of the street vendors selling me a $2 bag of salty peanuts? Do you read most of these on a computer or your phone? Should I stop doing this forever so you are no longer obligated to politely feign interest? Are you a professional in the sports media industry who would like to give me a job doing something I enjoy and am maybe actually kind of good at, so each one of my weekdays is not a dire clock of meaningless, bland, gray hours without an end in sight for the next 40 years, causing me to wake up one day at 65 and wonder where my life has gone and why I haven’t achieved anything?

Sorry, that last one was a bit off topic.

But anyway, let me know if you have any feedback on that stuff. You can comment at the bottom of this page or– like a lot of you already do– my Facebook or Twitter accounts.

In the spirit of reminiscing, I thought about some of my favorite posts that have come along over the past 100 weeks. So here is my list of Tuesdays With Mitch, Ranked:

  1. Why Todd Helton Will Forever Be My Favorite Athlete“. This is probably the best thing I’ve ever written. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed writing this more than any other post (or anything I’ve written in general). I believe it has generated the most views of any of these 100 posts.
  2. Did Colorado State Deserve a Better Seed and a Better Matchup?“. The first ever Tuesdays With Mitch was a pretty solid takedown of the selection committee and their screwjob of Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and the best CSU team ever. I’m still mad about this.
  3. How To Sneak Into Better Seats at Coors Field“. This was a blast to write and provides a lot of legitimately good, fun advice.
  4. In Defense of Dick Monfort“. Pretty funny satire from last year as the Rockies train came completely off the rails.
  5. Jim McElwain Leaves the Rams Behind“. Providing some perspective on a crazy few days and a great few years.
  6. The Annoying People At Your Super Bowl Party“. I found away to write about the Broncos’ Super Bowl loss without actually writing about the game. It’s pretty much a Jim Rome impression, which is a good place to start.
  7. Some Thoughts On Soccer And The World Cup“. I do not like soccer. Some people do not like that I do not like soccer.
  8. All Things, Ranked.” Pointless, but fun.
  9. Colorado State Football And Rocky Mountain Showdown Preview“. Always fun to set objectivity aside and make fun of CU.
  10. Colorado State Wins New Mexico Bowl In Truly Astonishing Fashion“. Firsthand account of one of the wildest sporting events I’ve ever seen. Another really fun one to write.

I’m not going to recap my favorite videos, Vines, GIFs, etc. of the previous 99 posts today because I did a bunch of that in my Two-Part Year In Review just a couple months ago. But overall, the last couple years have produced some fun stuff in my tiny, obscure corner of the internet. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some of my writing. Hopefully you’ve watched a game or seen a dumb video and wondered to yourself if that would make Mitch’s blog on Tuesday. Hopefully you’ve laughed a bit. Hopefully you’ve been entertained.

Thanks for reading these each week, or sporadically, or whenever you get the urge to click on a link that takes you here.

As I was putting this together on Monday night, I came across this tweet. It’s a quote from Sam Simon, one of the creators of the greatest television show in history. He died Monday. His quote seems fitting.

Moving on to the current sports scene, where there is plenty to get to…

March Madness has officially (kind of) arrived. The weekend was filled with bonkers basketball and this week will be no different with all the conference tournaments going down.

Colorado State won their last regular season game of the year on Saturday at Utah State. This game won’t get the Rams the national credit they deserve, but they were pumped anyway:

The Rams were down eight points with under nine minutes remaining. The arena was sold out and raucous. It was Stew Morrill’s last game at the Spectrum after 17 years. Things were bleak.

But CSU proverbially grabbed their proverbial nuts and fought back to win and finish the regular season 26-5, 13-5 in the Mountain West. That’s a really good record!

One could make the argument that this was CSU’s best win of the season. Better than San Diego State at home. Better than Colorado in Boulder. The Rams had to have this one and they found a way to pull it out. And they did it in spite of a poor performance from Daniel Bejerano. As I’ve said before, when Bejerano doesn’t score, the Rams usually lose. It helped that J.J Avila was unbelievable with 29 points, 13 rebounds, five steals, and four assists. The quality of opponent has been low, but Avila has been an absolute monster the past month or so.

Up next is the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas. The Rams are the 3-seed and play Fresno State at 9:30 on Thursday. Should they win that one, they’ll (probably) play San Diego State at 9:30 on Friday. The winner of that game plays in the championship (likely either Utah State, Wyoming or Boise State) at 4 on Saturday.

So CSU is playing well heading into a tournament that gives them a chance to pick up two more wins against top-40 RPI opponents (should they play both San Diego State and Boise State). A win in those games would give their NCAA seeding a huge boost. As of right now, the Rams are solidly in the tournament. A first-round loss to Fresno would quickly move them back to the bubble, though I’m not overly concerned about that. Selection Sunday is five days away!

March is upon us. And that’s awesome because February sucks. But it’s also awesome because The Madness has arrived.

Off to the weekly departments…

NBA TANK WATCH 2015:

Last week when I introduced TANK WATCH! on the same day the Nuggets fired Brian Shaw and named Melvin Hunt the interim head coach, I noted that the worst thing Hunt could do is get the Nuggets to start winning games. Apparently he didn’t read my 99th post. The Nuggets are 3-2 since Hunt took over. Two of those three foolish wins came over teams ahead of them in the Tankandings in New York and Minnesota. The updated TANK WATCH! looks like this:

  1. New York, 12-50, .194
  2. Philadelphia, 14-49, .222
  3. Minnesota, 14-47, .230
  4. L.A. Lakers, 16-46, .258
  5. Orlando, 21-43, .328
  6. Sacramento, 21-41, .339
  7. Denver, 23-41, .359
  8. Detroit, 23-39, .371

So after a very unproductive week, the Nuggets have fallen to the 7th spot in the Tankandings. Catching Orlando and the Lakers seems to be slipping out of reach. The best the Nuggets can probably hope for now is holding off Detroit and taking the 6th spot back from Sacramento. The Nugs have 18 games left this year.

Studs of the week:

Steph Curry is, without a doubt, the most entertaining show in the NBA right now. He had a highlight-filled week. We’ll start with this pass.

Pretty awesome, but that was just the appetizer for this ridiculous, silly, stupid, unreal, awesome play on Sunday afternoon, which I’m presenting in both GIF and Vine forms:

Deadspin

…and the Vine:

Vine(s) of the week:

This is the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a basketball game in years and years and years. I’ve watched this about 100 times and can’t stop laughing. Otto Porter kind of spaced out for a few seconds while covering Tony Snell…

The latest in hilarious bench antics, this one coming from Texas:

One of the great endings from Saturday was this Oklahoma game-winner:

That crazy Oklahoma finish was quickly outdone by this game-winning ONIONS shot from Belmont to upset Murray State and go dancing.

Photo of the week:

John Lollar of Murray State and his interesting leg kick. (It looks like this on video.)

And a great poster of Rysheed Jordan of St. Johns throwing down over Villanova. ‘Nova won by 37, but that picture is awesome.

(Matt Slocum / AP)

And because it’s 2015 and pictures aren’t good enough anymore, here’s the Vine of that one:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, okay I couldn’t resist putting a couple random favorites from the past couple years in here.

(NFSW, lots of F-bombs in this one)

I love the internet so damn much.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Enjoy all the basketball this week. Thanks for reading. Seriously, thank you. See ya next week. Here’s to 100 more. Or maybe now is a good time for me to stop doing these forever. Either way.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

March Is Coming; What You Need To Know About Colorado State Basketball

Welcome to the 98th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the dog days of winter are slowly dragging on. Does winter have dog days? Is that a thing? Whatever. Let’s get into it…

J.J. Avila has been Colorado State’s most consistent player all year long. (Erin Hull, Coloradoan)

It’s late February, which means not much is going on in the sports world. And while we may be stuck in one of the slower times on the sports calendar, it’s also the best time to jump in on the national college basketball scene. While there is nothing better than March Madness, college basketball at the end of February is pretty damn good too. We are in the middle of crunch time. The nation’s top teams are fighting for NCAA Tournament seeding and conference championships. Bubble teams are fighting just to be included in the Big Dance.

In Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, only one team has a shot to receive an at-large bid to the tourney. And that team is the Colorado State Rams, who should be going dancing for the third time in four years. So let’s break down what you need to know about CSU with Selection Sunday just 19 days away.

The Rams began their season with the best start in program history. After finishing their non conference slate undefeated, they won their first Mountain West game to make them 14-0. They’re currently 23-5 (10-5 in the Mountain West) with three games remaining on the regular season schedule. The last few games are all winnable. After hosting San Jose State (terrible) tomorrow night, the Rams travel to Nevada (bad) and Utah State (decent). The Utah State game will be tough (it’s Stew Morrill’s last game before retirement), but a 26-5 record is within reach. That would be the most wins in program history and make CSU all but a lock for the tournament. Indeed, Larry Eustachy is getting the most out of his talent… again.

Colorado State’s roster is full of transfers, led by two seniors in Daniel Bejerano and J.J. Avila. Bejerano is a 6’5″ guard who transferred from Arizona after his freshman year four years ago, making him the last connection the Rams have to the Tim Miles era. He’s about as athletic a shooting guard as you’ll see in the Mountain West and one of the better rebounding guards in recent memory. Bejerano is probably the most talented player on the Rams, but is too often an inconsistent shooter. Eustachy is cool with that and gives Bejerano an eternal green light from behind the arc. (Bejerano has the most three point attempts on the team and is shooting a decent 37.6 percent from deep.)

Daniel Bejerano’s sometimes streaky play is key as the Rams head to the postseason. Erin Hull, Coloradoan

The way I see it, Bejerano will be the key to success for the Rams in the Mountain West tournament and the Big Dance. When he is making his threes and controlling the offense, CSU becomes very difficult to beat and can look dominant. When he’s not– as has often been the case in conference road games– the Rams’ offense can completely stall and be painful to watch.

Avila is a burly 6’8″ 250 pound forward who looks a little bit like Mr. Incredible. Avila transferred from the Naval Academy after his sophomore year. Though Bejerano is more athletically gifted, Avila has been the Rams’ best player this year. When Avila gets the ball in the low block, it’s fun as hell to watch him go to work. He utilizes crafty footwork, angles, pump fakes, spins and a three-inch vertical leap to make weird-ass shots on a regular basis. Avila does it all. His averages on the year (rounded): 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, while shooting 55 percent from the floor. His consistent play all season is the biggest reason the Rams are 23-5.

The Rams lead the Mountain West in scoring at  73 points per game, which is a bunch in the current college basketball environment. Looking at KenPom’s* advanced statistics, the Rams have one of the nation’s better offenses (46th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency) paired with a below average defense (147th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency). They play at an above average pace (51st in Adjusted Tempo), which makes for more pleasant viewing than a lot of good team’s in today’s college basketball world.

*I think the top-heavy Mountain West and general awfulness of the lower-tier teams has jerked with kenpom’s numbers a bit this season. His formula has the Rams ranked 68th overall, quite a bit lower than several other metrics.

Most bracket predictions have CSU somewhere around a 10-seed right now. But of course, those predictions are fluent and change on a regular basis. So how will the rest of this season play out for Colorado State? Probably better than this worst case scenario, and worse than this best case scenario.

Worst Case (Realistic) Scenario: The Rams beat San Jose State comfortably tomorrow night because San Jose State is one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen, but stumble and lose in Reno to a bad Nevada team. They follow that up with a loss at Utah State and finish the year 24-7 and in fifth place in the Mountain West. They win one game in the Mountain West tournament but lose in the second round. Selection Sunday comes and goes without the Rams’ name being called. The excitement and promise from earlier in the year turns out to be completely for naught. The Rams are a fairly high seed in the N.I.T., but nobody cares.

Best Case (Realistic) Scenario:  The Rams win their final three regular season games to finish 26-5. With some help from Boise State and Wyoming they finish second in the Mountain West standings. Behind another impressive three-point shooting performance, they beat San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament championship, moving them to 29-5. On Selection Sunday they learn the committee has rewarded them with a 6-seed. In the Big Dance they beat an 11-seed (think Purdue or UCLA) and then upset a 3-seed (think North Carolina or Utah in Las Vegas Bowl revenge) to reach the Sweet 16 and move them to 31-5. The magic comes to an end during the tournament’s second weekend when the Rams finally go down to a more athletic and more talented 2-seed.

I don’t know what the future holds for the Rams, but I do know the college basketball bandwagon has plenty of room and it’s officially time for you to jump on. Around these parts, the team in Fort Collins is reason enough to hop on board.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

NBC

“Parks and Recreation”, one of the great comedies of all time, comes to an end tonight after seven seasons. “Parks and Rec” never really caught on for mainstream audiences like “The Office” did, but is probably a better show in its totality. Some people think the reason “Parks and Rec” never blew up is the first season wasn’t as good as the next six. I think the show was simply too different (smart) to appeal to broad (dumb) audiences like “Two and Half Men” or “The Big Bang Theory”, but not raunchy or obscure enough to find a niche like “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”

I’ve never seen another show that could be so sweet, genuine, warm, fuzzy, cute, and sincere at the same time as being uproariously funny, bizarre, quick, smart, absurd, and hilarious. Here’s my guy Alan Sepinwall:

In the end, it is one of the best comedies TV has ever seen, and one that stands out from so much of the great shows of this new Golden Age of Television because its default emotion was joy when so many of this era’s great shows are defined by darkness, and its default philosophy was one of optimism at a time when even the best comedies today tend towards ironic detachment.

He goes on…

So let me put it this way: there is a stretch of 42 episodes spanning seasons 2, 3 and 4 without a bad one among them. Every sitcom, even the best, churns out a misfire now and then; for two-odd years, every “Parks” episode was at a minimum very good, and at a maximum a classic of the form, mixing slapstick, social satire and simple character-based comedy.

The show’s cast was unbelievably deep for a broadcast network comedy. Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, and Aubrey Plaza are all much bigger stars than they were six years ago (with the exception of Lowe, probably). And all Offerman did was create one of the greatest TV characters of all-time in Ron Swanson:

Anyway I’ll stop talking about TV now, but I look forward to the finale tonight. I’ve never been so confident in a show to stick the landing.

(If you haven’t watched, the first six seasons are on Netflix.)

Douche(s) of the week:

Boyhood didn’t win Best Picture. What the hell, people? Smdh.

Vine(s) of the week:

There were some crazy dunks in the basketball world this week. We’ll start this section by continuing the CSU basketball theme. Here is former Ram Jon Octeus, who was with CSU for the last couple years before trying to transfer to UCLA, not getting in, and landing at Purdue.

I never saw that from J.O. in a Rams’ uniform. On a side note, CSU is without a reliable true point guard. They could have really used Octeus’ long, active defense this year.

The other college dunk of the week came from Jarell Martin of LSU, who went between the legs IN A GAME! IN COLLEGE!

I’ve seen some crazy-ass dunks from JR Smith from his time in Denver, but this one might have dropped my jaw more than any other.

This doesn’t have its own section, but here’s a video of a 92-year-old man driving around a Piggly Wiggly parking lot in Wisconsin. It’s pretty funny if you know that no one was hurt and you can avoid getting into a debate about the elderly’s right to drive and society’s role in accommodating the elderly and confronting your own fear of one day growing old.

The driver was not cited.

Here’s a disgustingly terrifying video of a land octopus, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t a real thing until a few days ago.

And finally, check out this ending to a middle school basketball game. (White team is up by one.)

A jump ball as time expires results in the end of the game. Just when you thought you’ve seen it  all…

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week (for the 99th Tuesday in a row).

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

2014 Year In Review, Part Two

Welcome to– and another Happy New Year from– the 91st edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m blogging for the first time in 2015. Let’s get into it…

It’s 2015 now, but I’m not ready to look ahead at the coming year or look back on the five days that have already passed. 2014 has come and gone and in doing so provided 52 weeks– and 52 posts– of sports and pop culture content. It’s time to reminisce on all that we took in last year so I went back and reviewed each of the last 52 posts and pulled out all of my favorite things.

So let’s look back at the year that was. Sports highlights, sports lowlights, news bloopers, funny videos, moving pictures… Here are some of my favorites. The best, the worst, the most memorable. We’re talking Vines, GIFs, videos, posts, pictures, tweets, moments and other stuff from 2014. (This post got so big, I split it up into two sections. Part One was posted last week.)

I present: Your Tuesdays With Mitch 2014 Year in Review (Part Two):

We pick this thing up in…

JULY:

The dog days of summer produced a lot of baseball and soccer talk across the country. And the early part of the month produced another all-time great Vine.

This one became so popular so fast, lots of people thought it was fake, causing the MLB to step in and confirm its validity. It was quite the controversy.

The World Cup finally came to end in mid-July when some country beat some other country. I couldn’t take it anymore and had to provide my thoughts on soccer, which evidently pissed some people off.

On an international scale, we suck at soccer. We always have and we always will. We suck because we don’t really give a damn. We never have and we never will.

People were excited about the World Cup not because they have a newfound love for soccer, but because of national pride (I am an advocate of U-S-A chants, after all), an excuse to weekday day drink, and the biggest factor, social media group think.

Social media was flooded with athletes and celebrities voicing their support on the job done by the #USMNT. For what? The team’s 1-2-1 performance? Or was it to help build their own brand, get a few ReTweets and Facebook likes and show that they’re in touch with pop culture and supportive of whatever you support?

This obviously goes far beyond famous athletes and other celebs. It became “the thing to do” for everybody. Countless Americans didn’t want to feel left out, so they posted a bunch of tweets, statuses, pictures and stupid memes about the #USMNT even though they literally couldn’t name one player on any team the day before the World Cup started.

Is soccer on the rise in the United States? I guess. Maybe. But if it is, it’s increasing from a tiny minority to a small minority. So congrats on that, soccer.

I regret nothing.

But hey, this Vine of goalie or keeper or whatever Tim Howard not giving out hugs is still stellar.

Even though the Rockies were really bad, watching their infield turn double plays was a treat all year. This was probably the best one, which I referred to at the time as “majestic artistry.”

By mid-July the wheels were completely falling off for the Rockies and owner Dick Monfort wasn’t handling things well. This led to what was probably the funniest thing I wrote all year, “In Defense of Dick Monfort.” That post received quite a bit of positive feedback, so thanks. Go read it again, you lazy bum.

The ESPY’S came and went at the end of the month. Stuart Scott’s speech was just the best.

(Note: I had most of this post completed prior to Scott’s passing on Sunday, so this video was already embedded. This speech is certainly more difficult to watch today than it was just a few days ago. But it’s also more moving and important to watch. He nailed it, man. I also encourage you to watch ESPN’s beautiful tribute and Rich Eisen’s perfect, live remembrance from Sunday.)

AUGUST:

Sad news came in the beginning of August when Pat Bowlen stepped down as owner of the Broncos to focus on his battle against Alzheimer’s. So, so damn sad.

I don’t read much Woody Paige anymore, but his column on Bowlen was a must-read.

August brought us the first sniffs of the college football season, starting most importantly, with THE RUNNING OF THE GUMPS. I enjoyed breaking down the Alabama hillbillies racing to worship Nick Saban. (Seriously I just cracked up over looking at the pictures/captions of those freaks one more time.)

And a trio of amazing news stories all came out around the same time, starting with my favorite news blooper of the year.

Followed by the best overall news story of the year, without a doubt.

Although this dude was not to be outdone.

The firing of Jack Graham came in early August and began a CSU-intensive few months for this blog. I kind of still can’t believe it happened. At the time, it seemed like this meant the on-campus stadium project had officially fallen through.

August 17th brought Todd Helton’s number retirement ceremony. It was perfect.

(Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post)

The Little League World Series came along and was as entertaining as always. We can’t forget this great speech from a coach who managed to keep everything in perspective.

A lot of you enjoyed my “Colorado State Football and Rocky Mountain Showdown Preview“. I spend a good amount of time just trash-talking CU, including discussing these numbers, which have only gotten dramatically worse after CU went winless in the Pac-12 in 2014.

Obviously, part of the reason for Colorado’s awful records and innumerable blowout losses is because they usually play a really tough schedule. This is all funny to me because one of the bragging points among Colorado fans is their conference. They’re in the Pac-12! That’s one of the best conferences in the nation! It’s prestigious! They play really good teams like Stanford and USC and Oregon! Good for them!

One interesting sidenote many CU fans seem to forget: Colorado is 4-23 against the Pac-12 in their three years in the conference. Wait guys, 4-23? That’s really bad. That’s a .148 winning percentage. But hey it’s a really prestigious conference! Who cares if they get blown out and embarrassed by all the good teams every week?

The pre-showdown CU hate is one of my favorite traditions every year!

SEPTEMBER:

September began with a recap of CSU’s fun victory over CU. The CSU student section was named Stud of the Week for their remarkable performance.

@NolanLees

Naturally, as the season wore on and CU was revealed to be a really bad team again, the win looked less and less important to Rams fans. Still fun though.

The first true “football weekend” started with a bang as the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! got underway. The Broncos beat the Colts in the first of many victories that would leave large portions of the fan base disappointed because it wasn’t dominant enough. The weekend also included what I still consider to be the greatest play in the history of the game:

Deadspin

This same week saw CSU lose to Boise State in a game that would greatly affect the remainder of their season regarding aspirations for a conference championship and a “New Year’s Bowl.”

The following week produced another Broncos’s win and, from the college world, this Vine, which has 23 million loops:

I love the pass defense here.

And this guy provided the best selfie-video of the year, from an LSU tailgate.

The Broncos lost to the Seahawks in their third week, which I said was “cool with me.” More importantly, that week provided us with a mascot wildcat intently listening to a postgame locker room speech. The speech is cool, but that mascot, on one knee, nodding in agreement is one of the funniest damn things from the entire year.

Colorado State Beats Boston College For A Huge, Wild Win” was one of the more fun write-ups I did this year. Here’s the lede:

Colorado State had no business beating Boston College as our Saturday mornings transitioned into Saturday afternoons. Not after CSU traveled farther east than the program had since 1959. Not after kicking off at 10:30 a.m. local time (an underrated factor in this game). Not after their senior quarterback threw two first-quarter interceptions. Not after falling behind 14-0 late in the second quarter. Not against an ACC team that beat the #9 team in the country on this field two weeks ago. Not with CSU’s senior quarterback beat up and grabbing his shoulder in pain after just about every play. Not when they were down three points facing a fourth-and-eleven with 1:05 left.

It also produced one of the better pictures of 2014.

Grayson to Lovett for the biggest play of Colorado State’s young season and a huge, dramatic win. (Stephan Savoia/AP

Indeed, the win over Boston College set the tone and made a statement in what would turn out to be a very special year for Colorado State.

On the last day of the MLB regular season, Jordan Zimmerman threw a no-hitter. Here’s the last play of the game from a unique vantage point.

OCTOBER:

October is always one of the best times of the year for sports. That was certainly the case this year with a great MLB Postseason, the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!, college football, the NHL and the NBA all in full swing (eventually).

The first week saw the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics in an incredible one-game playoff. They won it on this 12th-inning hit from Salvador Perez. This was probably the best game of 2014 in any sport.

The first Saturday in October saw four MLB postseason games and 11 of the top 19 college football teams lose. This might have been the best sports day of 2014.

Katy Perry was on ESPN College Gameday that morning, and after Ole Miss upset Alabama, she was out on the town celebrating:

One of those postseason games went 18 innings. It ended, at last, when Brandon Belt did this. (Notice the bat drop swag.)

By mid-October, the CSU Rams and the Denver Broncos were both rollin’. It seemed easy. Too f**kin’ easy. IT’S SO EASY! At least that’s what Julius Thomas thought.

And around this time, some huge news came off of a football field, when it was announced that Rockies co-GMs (or whatever they were) Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett both resigned. Jeff Bridich took over the role. My quick thoughts on the situation:

The Rockies organization is a mess. Change is good. At this point any front office change has to be considered a good thing. That said, the real problem is the guy who owns the team and he isn’t going anywhere. And because of Monfort’s stubborn loyalty towards O’Dowd, resigning is the only way O’Dowd was ever going to leave.

Naturally, Monfort immediately filled the position with an internal candidate. Very, very “Rockies” of him. Jeff Bridich seems like a bright young executive and for all we know, he could be the perfect replacement. But it would have been nice for Monfort to at least poke around the baseball world outside of his own organization.

So I think Rockies fans should proceed with some cautious optimism. I can’t get overly excited, but this is progress. And progress is good.

If you’ve been keeping up with these posts, you know how I feel about this truly amazing Vine.

Still laughing at that thing.

Not to be outdone, Lou Holtz had this to say in another Top-5 Vine.

After those nutty couple of weeks, we turned to watch CSU beat Utah State on homecoming weekend in front of their first sellout crowd in over a decade. The Rams were rollin’ at 6-1 and the games were a blast.

That same weekend Peyton Manning broke the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! record for career passing touchdowns. (Man, there was a lot going on.) Of course Peyton and friends had to have some kind of silly (stupid) scripted celebration queued up.

@_MarcusD_

And the MLB Postseason marched on, too, with amazing game after amazing game. The Giants and Royals secured spots in the World Series. Here’s Joe Buck with my favorite play call of the year.

WE’RE STILL IN OCTOBER HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! The Broncos moved to 6-1 with a convincing win over the Chargers. CSU moved to 7-1 with a dominating win over Wyoming to keep The Boot. And the Madison Bumgarner train charged into the World Series without slowing down. By the time he was done, he had put together one of the all-time great Postseason performances in MLB history and perhaps the best individual performance by any athlete in my lifetime.

The other great individual performance from the World Series came from CHEVY GUY, who became an instant sensation after producing all-time high levels of discomfort for everyone watching. “You know, technology and stuff.” (Also keep your eye on Bud Selig at the 33 second mark.)

The Nuggets and Avs also started their seasons in October. Those have both been, umm… disappointing. And boring. And uneventful.

NOVEMBER:

The first weekend of November saw the Broncos go into New England and get their asses kicked by the Patriots. This GIF is a pretty fitting description of how the day’s events went.

@cjzero

The loss to the Patriots forced the Broncos to reevaluate lots of things as their season moved along.

A week later a boring game against the Raiders produced yet another Top-5 Vine.

This guy was an easy selection for Douche of the Week:

So was this bird and the people delighted at his horrifying antics:

Mid-November is when the University of Florida fired their head coach, prompting some national speculation about who might replace Will Muschamp. Jim McElwain’s name was mentioned often. I wrote:

There are always a lot of moving parts in these situations and much of my outlook is based on speculation, but as of right now, there are plenty of reasons to be confident McElwain will be back with Colorado State next year.

Hmmm…

Odell Beckhamn Jr. made the best catch any of us have ever seen.

Deadspin

In the month’s final week, Colorado State went to Air Force for both teams’ final regular season game. The Rams were looking to finish an 11-1 season and still had hope for a Fiesta Bowl apearance. The Falcons capped off their own great regular season (9-3) when they beat the Rams with a field goal on the game’s last play. At the time, it was a devastating loss for Rams fans.

(Andy Cross, Denver Post)

The Broncos beat the Chiefs the next night and Travis Kelce did this.

And Tom Brady was taken for a walk by his handler:

CJ Zero/ Cauldren

DECEMBER:

The beginning of the year’s final month started with some big news when Jim McElwain did, indeed, accept the Florida head coaching position and leave the Rams behind. This was another of my better (and most read) posts of the year.

Those three strange days are over now, having put an odd stamp on the end of the Jim McElwain era at Colorado State. It was a short era that should be remembered fondly. It should be remembered as the three years that brought Colorado State out the dredges of 3-9 seasons and into respectability.

The Rams are no longer an embarrassment. The Rams are a force in the Mountain West. The Rams are back on the college football map.

Jim McElwain put them there.

The McElwain news was quickly followed by bigger, more important news when the CSU Board of Governors approved the much talked about new, on-campus stadium. Somebody, somewhere thinks it will look like this, sooooo… that’s pretty sweet.

It’s slated to open for the 2017 season if all goes well.

The end of the year wasn’t that long ago so you should really remember this stuff.

Colorado State played in the Las Vegas Bowl without a head coach and was blown out 45-10 by a good Utah team. Shortly thereafter, CSU announced the hiring of Georgia Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo, which appears– albeit before a single game– to be a very solid hire.

I thnk that’ll do it, folks. 2014 was a fun one around these parts. I really do appreciate the hundreds of thousands of devoted readers who check in here each week. Here’s to a successful 2015 with more of the same fun posts on Tuesday afternoons.

And again, if you missed it, here’s Part One from last week.

And finally, here’s the funniest year-end video I’ve seen to date. You should recognize some of these clips, as I’ve happily touched on a bunch of the stuff in here over the past 12 months (and in the past two posts. Careful, you might hear some bad words.

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

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Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

2014 Year In Review, Part One

Welcome to– and a Happy New Year from– the 90th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m blogging for the last time in 2014. Let’s get into it… .

Tomorrow is the last day of the year. 2014 has come and gone and in doing so provided 52 weeks– and 52 posts– of sports and pop culture content. It’s time to reminisce on all that we’ve taken in this year so I went back and reviewed each of the last 51 posts and pulled out all of my favorite things.

Let’s look back at the year that was. Sports highlights, sports lowlights, news bloopers, funny videos, moving pictures… Here are some of my favorites. The best, the worst, the most memorable. Vines, GIFs, videos, posts, pictures, tweets, moments and other stuff from 2014. (This post got so big, I split it up into two sections. Part Two will be out next week.)

I present:  Your Tuesdays With Mitch 2014 Year in Review (Part One):

 JANUARY:

The close of college football season is always an important staple of the year’s first month. The Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Oklahoma gave us one of the best videos of the year right off the bat.

Yeah… that’s gotta be the video of the year.

And the BCS National Championship wasn’t bad either.

The biggest thing from January ’round these parts was the AFC Championship game that saw the Broncos pound the Patriots.

Leading up to the game, I wrote this “Why We Should All Hate the Patriots” post that lots of you enjoyed. This could come in useful again in a couple weeks (although apparently some of the GIFs and pictures are no longer “active”).

The AFC Championship is when we learned that pretend horses ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DRUM!

SB Nation

This still cracks me up.

The Broncos won 26-16, but the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. It was 23-3 with under ten minutes left in the fourth quarter.

@corkgaines

The Broncos were heading to the Super Bowl. They were favored. Optimism was high. Things were good.

FEBRUARY:

And then…

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

…The Super Bowl happened. 43-8. The Broncos were completely overmatched in every aspect of the game against an impressive Seahawks team. Has to be considered one of the worst days in Colorado sports history. Probably the worst sports day for anyone in or around my generation.

What a nightmare. I did, however write this post that lots of you enjoyed on “The Annoying People At Your Football Party.”

Next we have the I-kind-of-like-the-Broncos-but-really-I-just-want-to-get-wasted guy. “Dude, we gotta do shots for every Broncos’ touchdown!” on Sunday quickly faded into “Alright dude, we gotta do shots every time the Seahawks score or the Broncos turn it over or they show Richard Sherman on the sidelines or a Bronco gets tackled or they go to commercial!” Again, these guys are pretty standard for most sporting events. Comes with the territory. No big deal.

After the Super Bowl came the Olympics, but before that, let’s check in on Jacoby Jones attending a Pelicans game. This might be the best interview of the year.

Okay, back to the Olympics. The biggest early story was obviously Bob Costas’ freaking eyes, which both looked like they might fall out of his head at any moment.

via @sbnationgif

Ashley Wagner’s reaction to a judges’ scoring was all the rage for about 24 hours:

via Deadspin

After the Olympics, one of my favorite pictures of the year made its rounds. The first 2014 Heisman candidate:

This fairly mysterious picture popped up on Reddit in Late February.

MARCH:

In March we transitioned to basketball and hockey. I wondered if the Nuggets would be better off tanking their season away and laughed at Jan Vesley jab-stepping even though nobody was covering him.

Via The Big Lead

Spring training also started up, which provided this awesome picture from an Indians’ exhibition game.

Via @mlb

In mid-March, the Broncos released Champ Bailey, which just depressed the hell out of me. I wrote about that situation here. Even though some of the outlooks have become outdated after nine months, it’s probably one of the better pieces of writing I produced this year.

…(W)hen I look back at Champ’s days as a Bronco, I think I’ll remember the week-in, week-out excellence more than anything. Without hyperbole, I can say that for several years, Champ was, hands-down, the best football player on the field every single week.

I’ve never seen a cornerback that defended the run like Champ. He was the best cover corner in the game, but he was also the best tackler on the Broncos.

I remember Champ used to track the number of balls his receivers caught on him for a whole season. After an All-Pro year, Champ would lament that that number wasn’t zero. That’s a serious indication of greatness.

So here’s to Champ Bailey, who was just a pleasure to watch and root for over the course of ten seasons in Denver.

For my generation of Broncos fans, there will never be another Champ Bailey.

In the college basketball world, the Buffs were trying to win just enough games to get off the bubble and secure an NCAA tournament bid, while the Rams, Falcons and Cowboys floundered. Even though the Border War didn’t mean much, this dunk from Josh Adams was sick.

March also saw the One-Year anniversary of this blog, which I celebrated by half-assing a post because I was down and out with strep throat.

But the basketball season rolled on, leading to this really insightful tweet from the always insightful Magic Johnson:

Then came March Madness, which produced possibly the best sports weekend of the year (and one of my better posts). The antics of March Madness will never get old.

(via Deadspin)

via @sbnationgif

CU did, indeed build up a good enough resume to hear their name called on selection Sunday. They received an 8-seed and played against Pittsburgh. Things went poorly.

I felt the need to clarify that last tweet.

“In the game referenced in that last tweet, Michigan won by 30 and was the 8-seed. This means Colorado just had the WORST PERFORMANCE EVER from an 8-seed. Historically awfu! They had a good year, but damn, it did not end well.”

APRIL:

April meant baseball, which meant a long winter officially coming to an end. It was time to make ill-fated Rockies predictions and head out to the ball yard. I predicted the Rockies would go 85-77. Optimism was high. I was wrong.

Opening Day also provided perhaps my favorite sports media piece all year (definitely my favorite from the local media). Benjamin Hochman’s colorful account of the Opening Day festivities at Coors Field.

Early April also brought us the national championship that saw Connecticut beat Kentucky. Kentucky lost, but I love this picture of James Young’s amazing dunk.

Getty Images

The national championship also meant the close of the college basketball season, which of course meant “One Shining Moment” was coming to give you goosebumps.

The best early-season baseball GIF still makes me laugh, eight months later.

via Deadspin

Bubba Watson won the masters. His kid was not impressed.

The Big Lead

The Avalanche completed an incredible regular season turnaround and strutted into the playoffs with swagger and confidence. Here was my “recap” of Game One:

“You know what happened. Roy pulls the goalie with three minutes to go (!). Erik Johnson saves an empty net goal by doing this (!) with less than two minutes left.

HockeyGrrls

Then Stastny scores with 13 seconds (!) left. Then he scores again in overtime (!). It was awesome.

 

You also have to listen to Marc Moser’s homer radio call of the two Stastny goals. They’re epic.

Regardless of what happens in the rest of this season and series, Game One will be one of the best sports moments of the year in Colorado. To welcome playoff hockey back to Denver in that manner was truly unbelievable.”

Indeed it was.

This time of year also introduced us to Bartolo Colon batting, which became a favorite around these parts.

Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports.

I could still watch that Vine all day.

As April rolled on, the Avs series went seven games and produced the quote of the year from Patrick Roy when he said “”Now it’s our turn to — sorry for the words — put our balls on the table.”

The series was unbeliveably dramatic and entertaining. Here is the Game Five overtime winner from Nathan McKinnon.

Of course, the Avs lost Game Seven in overtime. It happened on a Tuesday night, so I apparently chose not to cover it seven days after the fact.

MAY:

As we said goodbye to the Avalanche, April flowed into May and the Rockies were playing really good baseball. Troy Tulowitzki had one of the best months any of us had ever seen. He was the best player in the game.

The NBA Playoffs produced one of the great Vines of all-time, when Damian Lillard hit a walk-off three-pointer.

And I wrote one of my most-viewed and best-received post of the year: “How to Sneak In To Better Seats At Coors Field“.

  1. Don’t be too afraid to get caught and have a back up plan. If I get asked for a ticket when trying to enter a section, I generally say something along the lines of Oh yeah my buddy/mom/dad/whoever has mine they should be coming over soon. Then I stand there with a quizical look on my face scanning the fans for my pretend companion before slowly drifting back into the concourse crowd like Shoeless Joe in a cornfield. The usher leaves the park that night gazing at the moon and wondering if I even existed at all. Now, if I’m already seated and an usher comes to give me the boot I usuallly hand him or her my $4 Rockpile ticket with confidence and annoyance as if to say Yeah old man, I know what I’m doing. Here’s my ticket. I usually get quite a kick out of the usher shaking his head, turning and pointing across the stadium at the Rockpile. What? You mean this four dollar ticket doesn’t grant me access to this 2nd row aisle seat? Oh. I’m sorry. Honest mistake.

This real-life version of Andy from “Parks and Recreation” made an appearance.

Wes Welker passed out 100 dollar bills at the Kentucky Derby.

For The Win

With the benefit of hindsight, we are left to wonder if Wes had consumed anything that might have made handing out money a little more fun that it should be.

The progression of baseball season provided us with a new Bad British Commentary video, which was welcome news.

This kid was one of our Studs of the Week:

So was HERO CAT! REMEMBER HERO CAT?!

And I really enjoyed watching an old fat dude smell his armpit and share it with his companion.

JUNE:

By June, the Rockies were falling apart after a 2-7 East Coast road trip. I was still a little bit optimistic at the beginning of June, because I’m an idiot.

The NBA Playoffs were slowly creeping along, and Lance Stephenson provided us with their most memorable moment when he blew in LeBron’s ear.

via @cjzero

Mid-June also means the Spelling Bee freakshows come out to ESPN, which always makes me long for the days when I had summer vacations with nothing to do but laugh at home-schooled weirdos.

As June moved forward, I came to the sad realization that the Rockies, indeed, sucked. This quote from my June 10th post explains the state of affairs at the time…

At some point the injuries became too much to handle, specifically when Nolan Arenado went down. That dramatically changed the entire makeup of the Rockies, both offensively and defensively. And the horrible news just keeps coming. Yesterday three more injury related headlines were announced. Eddie Butler would hit the DL after just one start. Michael Cuddyer would hit the DL (again) and it sounds like he’ll be out for a long while. And Carlos Gonzalez would need surgery on that damn finger. So let’s take a look at the status of eight very important Rockies:

  • Tyler Chatwood 60-Day DL
  • Brett Anderson 60-Day DL
  • Jordan Lyles 15-Day DL
  • Eddie Butler 15-Day DL
  • Boone Logan15-Day DL
  • Nolan Arenado 15-Day DL
  • Michael Cuddyer 15-Day DL
  • Carlos Gonzalez 15-Day DL

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s hard to win without any players.

That pretty much summed it up for the Rox. By mid-June, half of their team was on the DL and their season was over.

The Spurs and Heat played in the NBA Finals. LeBron James set the internet ablaze with irrationality and hot takes when he was carried off the floor because of leg cramps.

@cjzero

Of course, the Spurs would go on to win the series in a relatively easy five games.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Yoenis Cespedes made the throw of the year.

The L.A. Kings won the Stanley Cup. Naturally, the most important part of the series for me was a lady falling on her face behind a news broadcast.

Deadspin

By late June, the Rockies awfulness reached a remarkable crescendo with this amazing play:

The World Cup came and that was big news for a lot of people. It included a cannibal guy!

That wraps up June, which wraps up the first half of 2014.

Keep an eye out next week for Part Two.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. And happy Tuesday.  Again, thanks for reading these each week. Here’s to a successful 2015 with more of the same fun posts. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.