Tag Archives: North Dakota Fighting Sioux

…And Now For a Bracket Completely Different…College Hockey!

john cleese completely different bracket

Many people don’t realize it, but the NCAA College Hockey Tournament is timed exactly to give you, the bracket loving public, another shot to fill out a bracket, albeit a completely different one.  What you know about college hockey matters little; most of you who fill out brackets for basketball don’t know shit about that either.  What you do need to know is that college hockey is chock full of awesome rivalries. For example, the opening round game in the West region features North Dakota and Wisconsin, two schools who have a hatred of each other all the way back to the old days of the WCHA.  Now that the WCHA saw most of its big school depart for the NCHC or the newly-formed Big Ten (which balances out the football conference which will open next season with 14 teams by only having six) version, this tournament gives us first-round match-up that would have never been seen in previous year. That means you don’t have to wait for the Frozen Four to see a scene like this:

Thankfully, it is a later-day group of Sioux supporters that give us the best college hockey bracket out there. To enter, you need to sign up, but that’s free.  So you really don’t have a reason to do it, unless you are some sort of wussy Wisconsin Badger fan.

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The Dubscast, Volume 5: “Offensive” Mascots Prove The Hypocrisy of the NCAA

jdub offensive mascots dubscast

Back in 2005, the NCAA declared that Native American mascots were “hostile and abusive” and outlawed them. Eight years later, the fact they are still around may be the perfect example of why the NCAA is the standard by which one measures ineffective and hypocritical organizations. The fact the debate spread beyond that is even more of a damning statement.

In today’s installment of the Dubscast, J-Dub takes a critical look at how the NCAA really isn’t interested in “hostile and abusive” because it clearly makes decision based on other criteria it won’t tell anybody.  It is important to understand this IS NOT a discussion as to whether these mascots are “offensive,” you will need to get past that debate in order to see the bigger picture in play in this issue.

In other words, after checking out this episode of the Dubscast, you will need to decide for yourself why the NCAA either cannot or will not enforce its own rules.

Thanks to the UPS Guy, the University of North Dakota Has Another Football Championship Banner

The University of North Dakota won its only NCAA Football Championship in 2001. But now it has two championship banners, thanks to a shipping mistake (from the Grand Forks Herald).

The UND athletic department received a package Wednesday that drew a few chuckles — at the expense of the NCAA.

The package included the 2011 NCAA Division I football championship banner intended for North Dakota State, which claimed the title in January with a win against Sam Houston State in Frisco, Texas.

The NCAA shipped the championship banner with good intentions but sent it to UND — North Dakota State’s biggest rival.

It’s an honest enough mistake even for the dilcues at the NCAA.

The package was addressed to Mr. Brian Faison, Athletics Director, North Dakota State University, Hyslop Sports Center, Grand Forks, N.D.

For those of who who don’t know, North Dakota State University is in Fargo, where the University of North Dakota is in Grand Forks. Trust me, I’ve lived in North Dakota, and trying to tell the difference between Fargo and Grand Forks is like trying to feel the difference between a lemon and a lime while wearing boxing gloves.

But the NCAA is still a bunch of dipshits…

Teams That Grind My Gears: Boston College Hockey

First of all, I have to offer congratulations to the Boston College Eagles for winning their 5th national championship. Honestly, this team has been the best in the college game for the better part of the last decade; this latest triumph represents B.C.’s 4th title since 2001 and their third in the last six years. So, before I get into my rant, let’s cover the basic facts of this win for Boston College.

The game itself drew a crowd of 18,818 to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, a record for a first-time Frozen Four venue, and the total attendance for the semifinals and championship game was 37,423. The fact that they drew this much of a crowd in a sports-challenged hole like Tampa has to be encouraging for the devotees of college hockey who are hoping this sport continues to grow in popularity.

As for the game, Boston College (33-10-1) was playing in its seventh championship game since 2000 and by beating “Cinderella” Ferris State the Eagles became the first school to win three titles in a six-year span since the Denver Pioneers won three in 1958, 1960, and 1961 respectively.

Despite the “David v. Goliath” feel going into this game, the Ferris State Bulldogs played B.C. to a virtual standstill for 57 minutes.  B.C. took a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on a Steven Whitney backhander from the left side of the crease.  But Ferris State came back less than two minutes later when Garrett Thompson pulled the Bulldogs even.

Can anybody beat B.C.? Bueller? Anyone?

The Eagles took back a 2-1 advantage in the first period on Paul Carey’s power play deflection with nine seconds remaining on a Ferris State penalty.  While the final score ended up being 4-1, the last two Eagles’ scores were irrelevant because of the stellar play of Eagles’ goalie Parker Milner.  Milner was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Frozen Four on the strength of his 27 saves against the Bulldogs and the fact that during the entire tournament he notched 110 stops while only allowing two goals in 240 minutes.

In other words, the Boston College Eagles have become in this most recent decade what my North Dakota Fighting Sioux were in the 80′s.  And this is why I hate them…call it whatever you will, but these east coast pukewads are enjoying the success which should be reserved for the Sioux.

You really don’t to tell me this makes me the college hockey version of everything I hate about Yankess and/or Red Sox fans; the fact that B.C. brings this bile-spewing invective out of me is the big reason they grind my gears. But it certainly isn’t the only one; let’s walk through some of the major ones…

1) They Killed Ferris Bueller State

If you are a fan of the underdog, you had to love Ferris Bueller State, whose 26-12-5 record got them into the tournament as a #3 seed.  Ferris Bueller State reached the championship game by beating Denver, Cornell, and #1 seed Union.  The Bulldogs were attempting to become the first school to win the title in its first appearance in the championship game since Maine in 1993, and the first to triumph in its first trip to the Frozen Four since Lake Superior State in 1988. But B.C. felt the need to play “killjoy.”

2) They Exemplify Dave Hakstol’s Impotence As A Head Coach

As the Red/Green show above tells you, I gagged on three of the Frozen Four and have no shot at hitting the winner. The damn WCHA screwed me once again as out of the four teams the conference placed in the tournament, only the Minnesota Golden Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four. At least this is the last year that I need to worry about the WCHA as a factor in this tournament with the tectonic re-alignment that is coming to the college hockey world.

Let me begin by saying that Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol is an enigma to me. Under his tutelage, his teams historically have had have some of the best talent in the country, but his teams play with a lack of discipline and interest for the front half of the season; during the back half they become the best team in the country, then lose in the playoffs because they revert to the style of the front half.  He is like the Dudley Do-Right of college hockey coaches.

The Sioux performance in the NCAA West Regional Final was just another example.  The Sioux spent large periods of that game playing some very stupid hockey.  They gave away four power plays, at least two of two of which were just dumb penalties.  They kept committing sloppy line changes, at times allowing the Gophers to roll through the Sioux zone like Von Runstedt’s panzers did through France.  At times, the Sioux played very inattentive defense, letting the open man literally skate through the slot right up to the crease, and allowing them to enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting in front of the net for the puck. This helps explain how Minnesota had a 3-goal outburst in the second period that effectively ended all hope for the Sioux.

The bottom line is this. Once again, Sioux fans got a team that underperformed early in the season. Once again, Sioux fans had their hopes for that elusive national title dashed by a team that keeps shooting itself in the skate. Since Dean Blais led the Sioux to their last national championship in 2000, this most recent season under Dave Hakstol is a microcosm of the entirely of his career behind the Sioux bench; play well enough to get home ice in the conference tournament, win the conference tournament which gets either a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, then blow it.

And more often than not in recent history, they’ve blown it against Boston College.

3) Their Star Goalie Has a Stupid Name

Parker Milner. What the hell sort of name is that? Either one would be acceptable on its own, but together they suggest a love child created by former Dan Patrick Show Cougar of the Week Parker Posey and 60′s television icon Martin Milner.

4) They Are In Boston

What happened to the B.C. Hockey team the last time they won a championship really says it all.

Usually, one expects hockey players to be able to handle collisions. Or course, usually one also expects them not to collide with a light-rail vehicle, which by the way, aren’t really that light. But when you win a championship, sometimes the parties get out of hand, and next thing you know, a Jeep becomes just a wad of metal stuck on a knuckle coupler.

It seems last week three lads from Boston College’s NCAA hockey championship squad thought it might be a good idea to play chicken with a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Green Line train. Obviously, the three lads, Parker Milner, 19, Patrick Wey, 19, and Philip Samuelsson, 18, and the Jeep lost. Luckily, none of three or the four other people in the Jeep were seriously hurt, and nobody on the train was hurt.

Too bad you likely won’t be able to say the same for their wallets, as all seven passengers face charges of being minors in possession of alcohol after it was determined Ol’ John Barleycorn was a factor in the crash.  According to the operator of the MBTA train, three of the passengers allegedly tossed what looked like alcohol containers out the window.  It doesn’t help that an MBTA spokesman also said a bottle of vodka was found in the Jeep. It also doesn’t help that three of the seven people in the Jeep fled the scene.  And it certainly doesn’t help that MBTA has announced they will be seeking restitution for the damage to the Green Line vehicle, as well as the cost of running buses while the line was out of service.

While the three hockey players are likely to be suspended to start next season, all face some stiff legal and possibly financial issues stemming from the criminal charges and the possible restitution for the damage to the train. the more pressing matters are the impending legal ones. All seven teens have been charged with being minors in possession of alcohol, and could pay a hefty sum if it’s decided that they have to pay restitution to the MBTA.

All this begs a simple question: How the hell does the WCHA keep losing to a team that gets the only hockey players in the world who can’t handle their liquor?

And that last question begs an even bigger question: How the hell do you get hockey players who can’t handle booze in Boston, one of the drunkest cities on the planet?

Thanks to Dave Hakstol, I’m Never Filling Out Another Bracket Ever Again…At Least Until Next Year

That headline is the classic exasperated utterance as the sheet on which any of my brackets were printed gets wadded into a ball and serves as yet another miss as it doinks off the rim of the wastebasket.  Every year, I think the NCAA Hockey tournament can save my enjoyment of filling out brackets. Every year, I am FUCKING WRONG! Every year I sear I’m never filling out another bracket ever again, and every year I’m the moth the the college tournament bracket flame…because I’m an idiot.

As the Red/Green show above tells you, I gagged on three of the Frozen Four and have no shot at hitting the winner. The damn WCHA screwed me once again as out of the four teams the conference placed in the tournament, only the Minnesota Golden Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four. At least this is the last year that I need to worry about the WCHA as a factor in this tournament with the tectonic re-alignment that is coming to the college hockey world.

A while back,  we here at Dubsism penned a primer comparing the members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) to characters from The Simpsons to give you an insight into the best sports league you’ve never heard of. We even added the two newest members when the conference expanded. But now, with this league headed for obscurity, it may be time for the team that gave me a reason to watch this league to make a change.

As an alum of the University of North Dakota, I am required by law to be a college hockey fan. North Dakota prides itself on two things; that it is a leading research university, and that it is akin to the “New York Yankees” of college hockey. With seven national championships and 15 WCHA titles, the Fighting Sioux are amongst the old-school,  traditional powers in the sport.  With such a tradition of excellence, Sioux fans have become like Yankee fans; we expect championships on an annual basis, and when we don’t get them, we start screaming for heads to roll.

But there is another similarity the Sioux share with the boys from the Bronx; more often than not lately both sides don’t play to the level of their talent, and find themselves often living on reputation.  You all can debate this point as far as the Yanks are concerned; I’m here to breakdown the Sioux.

Let me begin by saying that Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol is an enigma to me. Under his tutelage, his teams historically have had have some of the best talent in the country, but his teams play with a lack of discipline and interest for the front half of the season; during the back half they become the best team in the country, then lose in the playoffs because they revert to the style of the front half.

Last night’s NCAA West Regional Final was just another example.  The Sioux spent large periods of that game playing some very stupid hockey.  They gave away four power plays, at least two of two of which were just dumb penalties.  They kept committing sloppy line changes, at times allowing the Gophers to roll through the Sioux zone like Von Runstedt’s panzers did through France.  At times, the Sioux played very inattentive defense, letting the open man literally skate through the slot right up to the crease, and allowing them to enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting in front of the net for the puck. This helps explain how Minnesota had a 3-goal outburst in the second period that effectively ended all hope for the Sioux.

Nine days after erasing a 3-goal deficit against Minnesota in the WCHA Final Five title game to capture its 15th Broadmoor Cup, North Dakota found itself again needing to make a comeback.  Behind 2-0 in the second period,  North Dakota seemed to regain some momentum  1:43 in on Danny Kristo’s 19th goal of the season. That lasted about seven minutes, until the Gophers scored twice within five minutes. The first of those goals by Taylor Matson at 9:08 was the back-breaker.  Matson scooped up a rebound on a Nate Schmidt breakaway, and went untouched through the center of the Sioux defense to make the game 3-1, a deficit from which Sioux would never recover.

As bad as the Matson goal was, it was worse that there was never a single coaching adjustment.  The Sioux kept letting the Gophers camp in front of the crease. They spent two periods playing “dump-and-chase” on offense.

The bottom line is this. Once again, Sioux fans got a team that underperformed early in the season. Once again, Sioux fans had their hopes for that elusive national title dashed by a team that keeps shooting itself in the skate. Since Dean Blais led the Sioux to their last national championship in 2000, this most recent season under Dave Hakstol is a microcosm of the entirely of his career behind the Sioux bench; play well enough to get home ice in the conference tournament, win the conference tournament which gets either a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, then blow it.

And of course, like a Yankee fan, all will be forgiven when the Sioux come home with their 8th national championship. But, the mercurial nature of Hakstol’s teams are begging the question how long will Sioux Nation wait.?

Here’s Another Bracket You Can Watch Go Up In Smoke

I should have known better. Every year, by the end of the first weekend of the basketball tournament, my brackets are just so much smoldering wreckage. Every year, I think the NCAA Hockey tournament can save my enjoyment of filling out brackets.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that statistically speaking, my chances of picking a perfect bracket in a 64-team field are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 (that’s 9.2 quintillion, sports fans – which means you are 24 billion times more likely to win the lottery). I mention this only because I discovered the flaw in my belief that a sixteen-team bracket would be far easier to predict. While technically it is, to do it perfectly is still leaves the odds at 380 billion to 1.

My Own Greatest Year In Sports

Let’s be honest, 2011 was a lousy year in sports. Just look at all the stories which happened in that twelve-month span which completely  took away the usual uplifting nature of sports. So, as part of moving forward, I thought it was time to take a look back to a year which for me was the opposite of this one most recently and thankfully past.

That year was 1987.

Ironically, as 2011 brought the low point in the history of Penn State football, 1987 brought one of the highs.  The Nittany Lions came into the Fiesta Bowl in 1987 as a prohibitive underdog against the brash, trash-talking Miami Hurricanes. Joe Paterno’s traditional style of football served as the classic antithesis to the wide-open style of Jiimmy Johnson, but the Hurricanes flat-out got beat.  If you were watching college football in 1987, there is no way you can forget Pete Giftopoulous’ game-sealing interception in the 4th quarter; the one that cemented Penn State’s second National Championship.

Later that year came the culmination of the 1986–87 season in NCAA men’s ice hockey.  To most people, that isn’t such a big deal, but when your alma mater prints its diplomas on hockey pucks, North Dakota’s defeat of Michigan State  to capture it’s 6th National Championship was a big deal on that campus.

The end of March means spring is most places, but Grand Forks, North Dakota is not one of them. The average temperature in Grand Forks in March is about 20 degrees Fahrenheit; average of course meaning a great deal of the time it is significantly colder than that. In short, living in Grand Forks in March means nearing the end of a winter where you’ve been trapped indoors, left to three main forms of entertainment: eating, drinking, and fornicating.  Naturally, after a while, you become a fat, drunken hump-meister that needs no reason to party.

The Fighting Sioux were such fun to watch that winter; their dominance of the indoor ice was an antidote to the ever-present outdoor variety; in January in Grand Forks, even the air freezes.  But thanks to a complement of talent such as Ed BelfourTony HrkacBob Joyce, and Ian Kidd, the atmosphere around North Dakota Fighting Sioux games on Friday and Saturday nights warmed to a simply sub-arctic Bacchanalian orgy filled with the aforementioned three surrounding activities.  That is why to this day, there is a hockey puck on my desk to remind me of the the hockey season in which I drank more beer, ate more pizza and after-bar food (for those of you who know…who else misses The Red Pepper?), and had more sex than in any other six-month period in my life.

As long as we are on the subject of things that forever combined the concepts of ice rinks and sex, when is there a better time to mention East German figure skating gold medalist Katarina Witt?

After all, when’s the last time you remembered a figure skater for her serious upper-body pride rather than her triple axle?

If a figure skater who doesn’t look like a hockey stick wearing toe-pick blades is rare, then the phenomenon known as Mike Tyson must have been the sporting world’s version of Haley’s Comet.

The boxing world hadn’t seen anything quite like Mike Tyson before, and it certainly hasn’t seen anything quite like him since. The year before, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion at just 19 years old. In  March 1987, Tyson nearly (and ironically) crushes several James “Bonecrusher” Smith’s internal organs; a victory which unified the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles. Already the the year before, Tyson became the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion in boxing history.

Over the course of the next year, Tyson left a trail of corpses formerly known as challengers (four in all) to retain his title. Early in 1988, he added the last of the great “old-school” heavyweight champs to his body-count when he separated Larry Holmes from his consciousness; the only time Holmes ended up looking up during a ten-count in 76 career bouts.

1987 marks the apogee in the meteoric orbit of  Tyson’s career; this the last year before the tumult takes over.  The following years will bring his divorce from  actress Robin Givens, after being accused of domestic violence, the firing and subsequent suing of his manager, breaking his hand in an early morning street brawl, two car accidents  (one of which was reportedly a suicide attempt), a rape conviction and related prison sentence, a drug conviction with another stint behind bars, and the Evander Holyfield “ear biting” incident.”  Somewhere in that freight train of fouls, Tyson lost the title to a club fighter named Buster Douglas, never to regain it.

At least Tyson always has being a hip-hop and video-game icon.

Now, let’s go from the rare to the unbelievable.  Those of you under 30 may never swallow this, but there was a time in this country when people were all jacked up over yachting, specifically the America’s Cup.  Remember that in the 1980′s, thanks to the “Miracle On Ice” and two Olympic boycotts in that same decade, international competitions became more of an issue of national pride than they had ever been previously. This was magnified when it came to the America’s Cup, which not only is the pinnacle of the yachting world, but had never been outside the possession of the Americans in it’s entire history, which dates back to just after the Civil War.

That all changed in 1983 when Kookaburra III, a tub from the Royal Perth Yacht Club wrested the Cup from the Newport Yacht Club. Seriously, people went crazy over this loss. Stories came out about how there was talk replacing the Cup’s place in the club’s trophy case with the head of the skipper who lost it.  ESPN got the rights to broadcast the races when the American challenger went to Australia. People stopped in their tracks to watch two hours of boats. Water cooler sports-talk included terms like “jibs” and “tacking.” It was like the Olympics with flat-soled shoes, life jackets, and that white sun-block stuff on your nose.

When skipper Dennis Conner led challenger Stars & Stripes ’87 of the San Diego Yacht Club to a four races to none Cup win over the Australian defender, he literally became a national hero.

Believe it or not, for two weeks in 1987, America went boat-shit crazy.

As far as more conventional sports are concerned, 1987 offered two of the great championship series in sports.

First, there was the NBA Finals. It would be easy to simply say the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers which I grew up on (my dad had season tickets) beat the hated Boston Celtics 4 games to 2.  While I loved the outcome, just focusing on that would ignore so many great points of this series.

For example, this series was such a perfect contrast in styles. There is no better word to describe the Lakers than “dominant.” They were a beautiful blend of speed and power, of flash and fundamentals that when they were firing on all cylinders it mattered little who they faced.

Despite that, the Celtics offered the effective foil; not only were they the defending champs, they did it in a way that was a complete opposite of Los Angeles.  The Celtics played high-school half-court basketball, but they played it better than anybody ever did.

Even though they were already a championship caliber club, The Lakers were a team on the way up. Michael Cooper emerged as a guard who offered match-up problems of anybody else in the league,  A.C. Green, James Worthy, Mychal Thompson, and Kurt Rambis offered a mix-and-match option for a front-court that could beat you ant any game you wanted to play. This was augmented guy named Magic Johnson who was a point guard in a power forward’s body, and was better than anybody at either position. Even the grand old man, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still brought his unstoppable “Skyhook” to the mix.

Meanwhile, even though they were the defending champions, the Celtics were a ship taking on water. The fact they made it to the finals was a major accomplishment, considering the death of Len Bias, the ongoing infirmity of an aging Bill Walton,  and nagging injuries to Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Boiled down to basics, this meant the Celtics did not the horses to run with the Lakers.

This is why the Lakers were such a prohibitive favorite. It’s also why just zipping ahead to a Laker 4-2 win is a mistake.  Had this series gone seven games, it would be regarded as one of the great NBA Finals of all time.

The Celtics were, for all practical purposes, playing with five players. The Celtics had to play perfectly to win; they did it twice and nearly pulled it off a third time, which is really the only reason this series only went six.  It all started in Game 1, when at one point Larry Bird hit 11 shots in a row.  This showed the younger, faster Lakers that the Celtics were so resilient that if they lapsed even the smallest bit, Boston could capitalize on that slip.

Secondly amongst the “big” sports came the “boys of summer.” In a year packed with basketball, boxing, and bimbos, baseball belted the prize-winning punch.

For openers, there were so many guys who had great “pre-steroid” seasons.  A look at the league leaders in the “Triple Crown Categories” will lead you to that conclusion.

Batting Average:

  • American League: Wade Boggs, Boston, .363
  • National League: Tony Gwynn, San Diego, .370

RBIs:

  • American League: George Bell, 134
  • National League: Andre Dawson, 137

Home Runs:

  • American League:  Mark McGwire, Oakland, 47
  • National League: Andre Dawson, Chicago, 49.

1987 also had a story one might think impossible; a player being traded for himself. Granted, it wasn’t the first time it happened. Thanks to he provision in baseball trades known as the “Player to be named later” (PTBNL),  there have been two times when a player has been named on both sides of a trade.

In April 1962, the expansion New York Mets traded catcher Harry Chiti to the Cleveland Indians for the aforementioned PTBNL.  By June, the Indians discovered why Chiti was on the trading block to begin with; the Indians gave Chiti back to the Mets as the PTBNL.

The same situation arose in 1987 with career bullpen jockey Dickie Noles.  Noles had been ping-ponging around the league as a “have fastball, will travel” type, but in 1987 the last place Cubs offered Noles to the first-place Tigers as one of those trade deadline “bolster the playoff run” moves to which we’ve become so accustomed.  The trouble is that Noles sucked so bad the Tigers didn’t want him either, so he was shipped back to the Windy City as…you guessed it…the dreaded PTBNL was also traded for himself in 1987, in a deal between the Cubs and Tigers.

But the real story of baseball in 1987 is the Minnesota Twins. The magic started in June, when the Twins went 18-9 to capture first place in the American League West. They would never be worse than tied for the lead again that season.  But it was August when the stars really seem to align for the nine of the North Star state

August 3 – In a moment that brings this  team to national attention, Twins pitcher Joe Niekro is suspended for 10 days for possessing a nail file on the pitcher’s mound against the defending division champion California Angels. Niekro claimed he had been filing his nails in the dugout and put the file in his back pocket when the inning started.  He later makes an appearance on the David Letterman show in which he makes light of the incident by showing Letterman exactly how to “doctor” a ball.

August 6 – Later in the same West Coast road trip comes the moment where the Twins never look back.  The Twins are opening a four-game set with another contender, the Oakland A’s. In Bottom of the 4th inning, the Twins have a 3-1 lead and a one-out, bases-loaded chance to blow the game open thanks to an error by A’s shortstop Alfredo Griffin.  The Twins do just that when Kirby Puckett ropes a bases-clearing double off 20-game winner Dave Stewart to put Minnesota ahead for good. The Twins win the game 9-4 to capture sole possession of first place, a lead they would retain until Friday, August 28th…or as I will always call it “The Weekend in Milwaukee.”

August 20 – Even though they’ve just been swept by the Tigers, it dawns on me that the Twins can’t win on the road, but can’t lose at home.  This becomes CRUCIAL as this is in the days when the home-field advantage for playoff series were scheduled in advance; in 1987 the American League West Champion would have home field in the championship series, and the American League would enjoy that same advantage in the World Series. This is when I become a firm believer that all the Twins needed to do in win the AL West, and a World Series title would be coming to Minnesota for the first time.

August 29 – The Saturday of “The Weekend in Milwaukee. ” The Twins had lost to the Brewers the night before to find themselves again tied for the AL West lead. The Twins have Bert Blyleven pitching, and the feel in the air is this game is a “must-win” for the Twins playoff hopes.

In the top of the first, Gary Gaetti belts a two-run shot to put the Twins ahead early.  Puckett adds a solo shot in the top of the third. By the top of the fifth, the Brewers crept back to 3-2, until Puckett added his second home run of the day. Puckett’s bomb opened the flood gates to a Twin 7-2 lead as it was followed by an RBI single by Tom Brunansky and a 2-RBI single my Steve Lombardozzi. Later, Kent Hrbek blasted a three-run dinger to seal the deal. The Twins capture sole possession of first place and never relinquish it.

"The Weekend in Milwaukee:" The first step in getting a street named after you.

August 30 – The Sunday of “The Weekend in Milwaukee,” otherwise known as the day I accepted Kirby Puckett as my Lord and personal Savior.  Puckett leads the Twins to a 10-6 victory by going 6-for-6, including two more homers, two doubles, and 6 RBIs. This made for a two-day total in a critical series of 10 hits in 11 at-bats, 4 home runs, 8 runs batted in, 7 runs scored, and  24 total bases.  Oh, and somewhere amongst that offense-gasm, Puckett also robbed future Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount of a home run.

There were so many more moments along the way to the Twins World Series Title…the game against the Royals when the Twins rode three first-inning home runs to clinch the division title, or Game 4 of the ALCS where the Tigers’ Darrell Evans became the goat to end all goat, or hometown hero Kent Hrbek’s game-sealing grand slam in Game 6 of the World Series.

There were also many firsts. The Twins were the first team with only 85 regular-season wins. Game 1 of the 1987 World Series was the first World Series game played indoors. It was also the first World Series in which the home team won every game. Most importantly, it was the Twins first Championship since the franchise moved to Minnesota.

Fourteen Curious All-Time Basketball Teams For Your Consideration

Everybody loves to put together lists of useless stuff, and certainly we here at Dubsism are no exception. This collection sprung from some holiday conversation revolving around which schools could really put together the best all-time team.  See, the catalyst for all of this is there are Kansas fans in this group, and we all know the Dubsism position on Jayhawk basketball.

For comparative purposes, this led to a listing of possible “All-Time” teams from the schools which have won 3 or more NCAA championships. This gave us an odd number, so we added the team with the most wins which was not on that list (Syracuse). Then to make it really interesting, we added teams comprised of some miscellaneous categories.

Peruse the list and let us know what you think.  Just remember, this is a true “All-Time” list, not the kind that ESPN does which only means the last 25 years or so.  Many of you born after 1985 may very well have never heard of some of these players. If you find yourself in that position, do yourself a favor and do some research. After all, somebody has to teach the children about George Mikan.

George Mikan - The Blake Griffin of the 1950's

1) UCLA

Starters

  • C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • F – Kiki Vandeweghe
  • F – Jamaal Wilkes
  • G – Reggie Miller
  • G –  Gail Goodrich

Bench

  • Bill Walton
  • Baron Davis
  • Marques Johnson

Coach

  • John Wooden

2) Kentucky

Starters

  • C – Sam Bowie
  • C/F - Dan Issel
  • F - Antoine Walker
  • F/G – Cliff Hagan
  • G – Rex Chapman

Bench

  • Jamal Mashburn
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Tayshaun Prince

Coach

  • Adolph Rupp

3) Indiana

Starters

  • C – Walt Bellamy
  • F – George McGinnis
  • F – Calbert Cheaney
  • G – Isaiah Thomas
  • G – Dick Van Arsdale

Bench

  • Tom Van Arsdale
  • Mike Woodson
  • Kent Benson

Coach

  • Bobby Knight

4) North Carolina

Starters

  • C/F – Bob McAdoo
  • F- James Worthy
  • F/G – Vince Carter
  • G – Michael Jordan
  • G – Walter Davis

Bench

  • Jerry Stackhouse
  • Billy Cunningham
  • Rasheed Wallace

Coach

  • Dean Smith

5) Duke

Starters

  • C – Mike Gminski
  • F – Christian Laettner
  • F – Elton Brand
  • G – Grant Hill
  • G – Jeff Mullins

Bench

  • Corey Maggette
  • Jack Marin
  • Carlos Boozer

Coach

  • Mike Kryzewzki
6) Connecticut

Starters

  • C/F – Emeka Okafor
  • F – Clifford Robinson
  • F – Caron Butler
  • F/G - Richard Hamilton
  • G - Ray Allen

Bench

  • Donyell Marshall
  • Caron Butler
  • Rudy Gay

Coach

  • Jim Calhoun

7) Kansas

Starters

  • C- Wilt Chamberlain
  • F- Clyde Lovelette
  • F- Danny Manning
  • F/G – Paul Pierce
  • G – Jo Jo White

Bench

  • Dave Robisch
  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Bill Bridges

Coach

  • Phog Allen

8 ) Syracuse

Starters

  • C- Rony Seikaly
  • F- Carmelo Anthony
  • F – Derrick Coleman
  • G - Dave Bing
  • G – Sherman Douglas

Bench

  • Danny Schayes
  • Billy Owens
  • Hakim Warrick

Coach

  • Jim Boeheim

9) The “All Never Went To College” Team

Starters

  • C – Moses Malone
  • F – Kevin Garnett
  • F – LeBron James
  • G – Kobe Bryant
  • G – Monta Ellis

Bench

  • Darryl Dawkins
  • Tyson Chandler
  • A’mare Stoudamire

Coach

  • Lawrence Frank (who never played high school, college, or pro basketball)

10) The “All Small School” Team

Starters

  • C – Bill Russell (San Francisco)
  • F – Karl Malone (Louisiana Tech)
  • F – Larry Bird (Indiana State)
  • G – John Stockton (Gonzaga)
  • G – Bob Cousy (Holy Cross)

Bench

  • David Robinson (Navy)
  • George Mikan (DePaul)
  • Walt Frazier (Southern Illinois)

Player/Coach

From North Dakota to New York...Pure Zen.

  • Phil Jackson (University of North Dakota)

11) The “All Europe” Team 

Starters

  • C – Arvydas Sabonis
  • C/F – Vlade Divac
  • F - Dirk Nowitzki
  • G – Peja Stojakavic
  • G – Drazen Petrovic

Bench

  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Pau Gasol
  • Toni Kukoc

Coach

  • Borislav Stankovic

12) The All “Non-North America or Europe” Team

Starters

  • C - Yao Ming
  • C/F - Hakeem Alajuwon
  • F - Andrew Bogut
  • F – Serge Ibaka
  • G – Manu Ginobili

Bench

  • Dikembe Mutombo
  • Manute Bol
  • Anderson Varejao

Coach

  • Togo Renan Soares

 13) The “All Didn’t Make Any Other Lists” Team

Starters

  • C – Patrick Ewing
  • F- Julius Erving
  • F – Charles Barkley
  • G – Pete Maravich
  • G – Reggie Miller

Bench

  • George Gervin
  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Nate Thurmond

Coach

  • Lenny Wilkens

14) The “Overall #1 Draft Picks” Team

Starters

  • C  -  Shaquille O’Neal
  • C/F  - Tim Duncan
  • F  -  Chris Webber
  • G –  Oscar Robertson
  • G – Magic Johnson

Bench

  • Elgin Baylor
  • Bob Lanier
  • Allen Iverson

Coach

  • Doug Collins

We only included three bench players so that we would have plenty of room to add guys which you are sure to point out that we overlooked. Hell, if you feel so inclined, add a team all your own.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference – A Super League Is Born

Editor’s Note: For purposes of full disclosure, J-Dub is an alum of the University of North Dakota and is a fervent Fighting Sioux hockey fan. In fact, that’ s his real fat ass all Sioux-ed up. For Christ’s sake, the man has a Fighting Sioux shower curtain.  We mention this only for purposes of stating up front this article may be written with a bit of a bias. If you disagree, feel free to comment, or start your own blog. Either way, you’ve been warned.

College football isn’t the only sport in the NCAA experiencing a tectonic shift in it’s conference alignments.  Two of its oldest and most storied leagues are breaking up and re-forming a college hockey world that will look very different from the way it does today.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) will celebrate its 60th anniversary this fall. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) turns 41. However, it is these two leagues which will be the most effected by the announcement yesterday that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will begin play in 2013-14 with some of the game’s most powerful programs as charter members.

Perennial power North Dakota, defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, along with Denver, Colorado College,and Nebraska-Omaha are leaving the WCHA for the new league.  These five schools have combined for a total won 17 national championships.  Miami (Ohio) is departing the  CCHA for the NCHC.

For those of you unfamiliar with college hockey, if such a shift were to happen in college football, it would be the equivalent of  (current sanctions notwithstanding) USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State all announcing they are leaving their current conferences and forming their own.

“The WCHA has changed pretty dramatically over the years,” Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph said. “As we look at the institutions that are most like us from a hockey perspective, the institutions our fans like seeing and the institutions that are providing national media for us, it became a pretty defined group.

Such a shift was inevitable once the Big Ten sponsored men’s hockey as a league sport.  Once Penn State added hockey, the Big Ten had the needed six teams to form a conference once it gained Minnesota and Wisconsin from the WCHA and Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State from the CCHA.

This re-alignment will leave the WCHA with only five members: Alaska-Anchorage, Minnesota State, Bemidji State, and charter member Michigan Tech.

“Obviously, it’s a tough day for the WCHA and a sad one for me personally, and it’s not one that is easy to put into perspective,” WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said. “We wish everyone well, but make no mistake, the WCHA is not going away. . . The WCHA has a short-term plan that we will implement immediately. In the long-term, we will formulate a strategic approach that will ensure the well-being of this Association and its members for the long run.”

The CCHA fares a bit better…for now. As it stands now, the league will have seven remaining schools, the most notable being Notre Dame. However, their is a strong possibility the Fighting Irish will join the Fighting Sioux in the new conference.

The league, which intentionally didn’t define itself with one region of the country, may expand by the time it starts. The National, as it was called by coaches and athletic directors at Wednesday’s introductory press conference, covets adding Notre Dame as a seventh team. If the Irish come aboard, an eighth team is possible as well.

The thing that all college hockey fans must remember that such big shifts are not new.  Set the Wayback Machine for 1982 when Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Northern Michigan all bid farewell to the WCHA for the CCHA. Two years later,  Boston College, Boston University, Maine, and New Hampshire were the vanguard of what became a seven-team defection from Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) to form Hockey East.

I know you are all wondering…what does does J-Dub, North Dakota alum and fervent Fighting Sioux fan think of this?

First of all, everybody thought 1982 was some sort of apocalypse; everybody thought all those teams leaving the WCHA (more importantly, the split of the North Dakota/Michigan rivalry) was the death knell of the WCHA. In fact, the opposite was true. North Dakota and Michigan continued to be the pre-eminent programs in the game, and both the WCHA and CCHA flourished as conferences.

We weren't kidding...the man has a Fighting Sioux shower curtain.

The same held true for Hockey East. People thought it was bad for college hockey when Hockey East was formed and it strengthened the game in the East. Look at how many times Boston Fucking College has beaten the Sioux in the Frozen Four lately. That didn’t happen 20 years ago.

Not to mention, this will be good for the development of new programs. At the outset, we get a new Penn State program (fun for me, as I did some post-grad work there, and the Beaver Stadium experience is what hooked me on college football).  Since I literally now live spitting distance from the Purdue campus, you know I’m going to be doing whatever I can to get them to move hockey from a club sport up to the level of competing with the big boys; I sure as hell don’t want to have to keep get my college hockey fix in South Bend or via satellite.

But beyond my myopic needs, this could bring the college game into a growth period. The calculus works like this: a period of more conferences smaller in size instead of the double-digit alignments of today means six-team conferences like the  Big Ten and the new NCHC have slots for new programs. If I can get Purdue to pick up hockey, they are a no-brainer for the Big Ten. The non-regional nature of the new NCHC means it is rife with possibilities, ranging from adding members from existing, yet struggling conferences to welcoming newcomers.

Either way, the future of college hockey is at the same time different and bright.  I for one look forward to it.

What Do My Brackets Have in Common With a Push-Up Bra?

I should have known better. Every year, by the end of the first weekend of the basketball tournament, my brackets are just so much smoldering wreckage. Every year, I think the Hockey tournament can save my enjoyment of filling out brackets.  And every year, I am as wrong as a push-up bra for eight-year-olds.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that statistically speaking, my chances of picking a perfect bracket in a 64-team field are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 (that’s 9.2 quintillion, sports fans – which means you are 24 billion times more likely to win the lottery). I mention this only because I discovered the flaw in my belief that a sixteen-team bracket would be far easier to predict. While technically it is, to do it perfectly is still leaves the odds at 380 billion to 1.

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