Thursday, February 08, 2007

Unimpressed, twice

The Monk is not only unimpressed with Duke, after watching last night's UNC-Duke game, but also ESPN.

First, the Dookies. Lack of quickness, lack of size, lack of post play, lack of playmaking skills. That team needs Gerald Henderson to shine, McRoberts to play with his back to the basket (which he seems to eschew) and less Greg Paulus. At no time did I think UNC was the lesser team, despite Duke leading for the first 35 minutes by as many as 10.

Next, ESPN. The all-sports network has a decent group of broadcasters available to it, but insists upon using the annoying, nasal, screechy and overhyping Mike Patrick. ESPN replaced Ron Franklin with Patrick for its Saturday night SEC football games -- a terrible move because Franklin's authoritative baritone with the hint of Southern inflection was perfect for those games. I even watched some of them just because I liked Franklin counting off big running plays "5, 10 and he's tackled after a 13-yard gain." Patrick is Brent Musberger but an octave higher -- overly enthusiastic about small things, over-hyping the play, failing to modulate voice tone, missing really significant developments for narrow things, deciding a game story early and reiterating it until the dead horse is turned to glue.

Patrick nearly came out of his skin early in the game -- shouting with excitement as Duke took an early 15-6 lead, nearly coming out of his skin whenever Duke pulled down an offensive rebound. As UNC established its superiority and the Duke crowd quieted, so did Patrick. He completely whiffed the call when, with UNC up 67-63, Ty Lawson drove on Paulus, hit a layup and got fouled. The resulting 3-point play sealed the game. Memo to Mike: just because the home team is losing, it does not mean that significant events are not occurring in the game.

ESPN needed Dan Schulman on this game. He's solid, has a better feel for the game than Patrick and actually works complementary with motormouth analyst DickVitale -- Schulman knows when to let Vitale fly off into schtick and can inject himself in Vitale's torrent-of-thought seamlessly, something almost no other play-by-play man can do.

And finally -- cut out the stupid WHOOSH sound-effects when presenting the in-game graphics. Is ESPN the new FOX?

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