Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun With Ace And Nicky

When the subject turns to great mob movies, the conversation almost always starts with "The Godfather," "The Godfather Part II" and "Goodfellas."

It rarely gets around to including "Casino," which is sort of "Goodfellas Part II."

To those who never saw it, "Casino" is set, obviously, in Las Vegas. Like "Goodfellas," "Casino" was a Martin Scorsese movie that starred Robert DeNiro as Ace Rothstein and Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro.

Also like "Goodfellas," it's based on a true story (though not as directly) and is told in the same extremely violent and gritty way. DeNiro and Pesci are awesome again in "Casino," as in Sharon Stone as DeNiro's wife (she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for the role).

The rest of the cast includes people who never let you down, like Frank Vincent (who played Phil Leotardo on "The Sopranos"), Alan King, James Woods and Kevin Pollack (TB always confuses him with Kevin Spacey). And that group doesn't even include the great Don Rickles in a rare dramatic role.

Yes, there is some over-the-top feel to the violence, and the movie does, according to Wikipedia, use a certain word 432 times, a record for movies to that point.

Still, it's a great movie, with great character development and storylines, and it's extraordinarily well-acted and well-filmed.

Had "Casino" been done before "Goodfellas," then TigerBlog is pretty sure that their reputations would be reversed.

When TB is flipping around and sees "Casino" is on, he is pretty much locked onto it, especially for his favorite scenes are coming up, which would basically be any of the scenes involving Pesci.

Last night, "Casino" went head-to-head with "The Godfather Part II," and TB spent equal time on both, and not as much time on Georgetown-Cincinnati basketball, which was also on at the time.

The basketball game didn't hold TB's attention because 1) it was against two of his favorite movies, 2) Georgetown was losing and 3) the game meant, essentially, nothing.

And that's the annual problem with college basketball at this time of year.

College basketball has been on TV basically every night since early November. By now, almost every game has essentially started to look the same, and it's impossible to get excited about any of them.

For a team like Georgetown, there is no chance at a No. 1 seed and no doubt about an NCAA berth and pretty good seed. It's way more important to a team like the Hoyas to have a good draw than a good seed anyway, so if that means being a fourth seed instead of a third seed but getting more favorable matchups, that's much better.

As for the one-bid leagues, none of those games matter much either, because the whole thing is going to come down to the conference tournaments that start in a few days. And of those leagues, some team's No. 1 team is going to get bounced in the tournament, which will be stolen by the third-place team or someone like that, who will then get thumped in the NCAA tournament in a game that the regular-season champ might have had a chance to win.

By virtue of its postseason structure, college basketball has completely devalued its regular season. There are a handful of teams out there on the bubble, but honestly, unless you have a direct connection to a Richmond or Northwestern, for instance, who could care about those teams?

It all comes back to TigerBlog's long-standing belief that the Ivy League's position as the only Division I league without a conference tournament should be emulated.

Consider what's going on on both the men's and women's side in the league.

On both sides, the race is essentially between Princeton and Harvard (Yale still has the tiniest chance on the women's side).

Of the 16 teams who compete in men's and women's basketball, in reality only five have earned the right to be competing for the two spots in the NCAA tournament during the games of the last two months.

So why would the league want to risk not sending its best teams to the tournament? TB said the same thing a year ago, when Cornell's men's team was clearly the best team in the league and then went out and reached the Sweet 16 (though nobody - or no statistical analysis - will ever convince TB that that team was better than the great Princeton or Penn teams of the 1990s).

In women's basketball, Princeton is at Cornell tomorrow and Columbia Saturday and then home next weekend with Dartmouth and Harvard before finishing the season at Penn on March 8. Harvard is home with Brown and Yale this weekend before the trip to Penn and Princeton and a season-finale on March 8 at Dartmouth.

For the men, the schedules are all reversed, except that Harvard has already completed its season series with Dartmouth.

Princeton is 8-1 in women's basketball, followed by Harvard at 7-2 and Yale at 7-3. No other team is over .500 in the league.

Harvard is 9-1 in men's basketball, followed by 8-1 Princeton. Penn is the only other team over .500 at 5-4.

By the end of this weekend, there could be all kinds of different directions to both races, but there can't help but be a strong sense at this point that a week from Saturday will be a huge one with the two Princeton-Harvard games. In fact, it's possible that by this Saturday night, every team on both sides will be mathematically eliminated except for Princeton and Harvard.

As for ECAC hockey, this is the final weekend of the men's regular-season. Princeton can finish no lower than sixth, which means that there will be a home playoff series at Baker Rink.

There is still a chance it could be in the quarterfinals in two weeks rather than in the first round next week, but it won't be easy for the Tigers. First, they have to take care of their own business at RPI (currently fifth, one point ahead of Princeton) and Union (currently first, playing for the championship) and get some help from the rest of the league to move up on some combination of Dartmouth, Cornell and RPI to get into the top four.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

Hands down, Goodfellas over Casino every time!

No go home and get your shine box.