Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hoops Fix

The only person who can still be laughing at what's become of "Two and A Half Men" has to be Charlie Sheen, who must be cracking up over how bad the show has become.

It's really unwatchable. TigerBlog, who has seen every episode in the series, has finally bailed.

It just shows how hard it is to sustain creativity. Shows start to falter when they turn their characters into caricatures, something TigerBlog sees happening with Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory," though not nearly to the extent that has happened on "2.5 Men."

Alan used to be believable, if a bit pathetic. At least he made the effort in life, even if he wasn't very successful at it. Now? He's beyond pathetic. And yes, everyone gets it. He's sponging off Walden.

The real problem with the show is that it was really based on the dynamic between Sheen's character - really just playing himself - and Alan's son Jake. So much of the humor of the show came from those two and how they played off Alan.

The first season or so with Ashton Kutcher in Sheen's place was funny, even if fitting the pieces back into place was awkward, what with the need to keep Alan and Jake in the beach house with Walden, who was a total stranger. Okay, it worked for awhile.

Then there is this season. Without Sheen or the kid who played Jake, the show added Charlie's illegitimate daughter - not a terrible idea - and then made her completely one-dimensional - a terrible idea. The result is a bunch of bad, crude jokes that aren't funny and, worse than that, completely predictable.

Because of how crude the humor is, TB supposes, CBS had to move the show to 9:30. It is now preceded by "The Crazy Ones," featuring the single most overrated actor in American history - Robin Williams.

Actually, that's not quite true. Let's clarify that. The single most overrated comedic actor.

Other than Mork from Ork, what role did Williams ever play that was remotely funny? All he does is overact and try way too hard to be funny, something he almost never accomplishes.

You know when Williams was great? In "Good Will Hunting." And why? Because he wasn't trying to be funny.

So add "The Crazy Ones" to the list of shows TB won't watch.

College basketball, on TV at least, is starting to get to that point as well. It's really, really hard to watch it.

In some ways, it's really, really easy to watch college basketball, since there are so many games on every night. And this is a huge part of the problem. Oversaturation.

The same teams are on over and over and over again. After awhile, unless there's a real rooting interest in a team (like, say, Georgetown), every single game starts to look the same - with the same announcers gushing over the same coaches and players.

That's one of college basketball's huge problems. Another is that, as TB has said often, almost nothing that happens in the regular season matters. It's all about March, either the conference tournament or the NCAA tournament.

Except for the Ivy League, of course.

Then there are two other torturous parts of the sport.

First, there's instant replay. Like all instant replay rules, its intention is probably good. Technology has evolved to the point where it's easy to enact, and who wouldn't want to correct calls that are wrong?

Well, TB for one. Not every call needs to be 100% correct for the game to have integrity. Not at the cost of multiple stoppages per game, which the refs will do because 1) the mechanism is there and 2) because it makes them the center of attention. There is no way to convince TB that the second isn't part of why there are so many pointless reviews.

Who cares if the shot clock wasn't reset exactly or if someone's foot was or wasn't on the three-point line for most of a game? Is it worth two or three minute stoppages to review microscopic

No, it isn't, not when the flow of the game is being destroyed.

Maybe limit replay reviews to the last five minutes of a game?

The Ivy League has gone to instant replay for all men's and women's basketball games this year. TB isn't a fan, obviously. And maybe he'll be wrong. Maybe the league championship will be affected by instant replay that overturned an awful call, and the team that deserved the title will win it.

If that happens, then TB will say it might have been worth it. But let's see if that happens.

Then there is the timeout situation. TigerBlog was recently having a conversation with a huge college basketball fan who suggested taking all timeouts away from the coaches and just relying on the nine media timeouts that already exist. Or limiting the number of timeouts that can be called in the final two minutes.

Next time you're watching a close college basketball game, see how long it takes to play the last two minutes, or even the last 45 seconds.

Hint - it takes an eternity.

Possession. Timeout. Possession. Timeout. Throw in an instant replay check of the clock, to see if it should be 42.5 seconds or 42.1 seconds and the end game drags on and on.

TB's response to the college hoop fan was that if you asked every Division I coach if the preference would be for no timeouts or twice as many timeouts, they'd go with twice as many overwhelmingly. In fact, TB surmises, there are probably coaches out there who would want each possession to start with a timeout so that they could control every single thing that happens second-by-second.

Okay, so with that out of the way, Princeton has two home games remaining in men's basketball this calendar year. The first is Saturday at 7 against FDU. The second is New Year's Eve afternoon against Kent.

There is also a game next Wednesday at Rutgers, which is fairly close to a home game. And a driveable trip to Penn State a week from Saturday in a game that will be played in the old Rec Hall, as opposed to the beautiful Bryce Jordan Center.

College basketball is a great sport.

It just needs to be careful and not let its flaws drag it down.

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