Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Three Beautiful Things 03/30/2021: Baking Cups, Tree House Concert, Zags Streak Past USC

1.  Well. Well. Ha! I enjoy making muffins from time to time and I prefer aluminum foil baking cups. I bought aluminum cups once at Yoke's a couple or so years ago, but Yoke's seems to have quit carrying them. So, I ordered 100 of them online. They arrived today. I discovered I accidentally ordered jumbo cups (3.5 inches), not the regular cups (2.5 inches) I thought I'd purchased. 

I decided to accept my error and take advantage of it rather than beweep my outcast state. I'm going to go out and find some jumbo muffin pans -- and wanting to do this might just give me good reason to rocket over the hill and do a little shopping and maybe a little eating in CdA.

2. Tonight's Tree House Concert was a gem. I enjoy these concerts no matter what Bill Davie plays, but, I confess, I get a little extra pleasure when Bill reaches deep into the past and plays songs from his early recordings -- songs like "Mornings" and "Learn to Say Goodbye" and "King of the Art" -- and that's what he did tonight. Bill also announced that even if, as more and more people are vaccinated, he returns to coffeehouse and other in person performances, the Tree House Concerts will continue. That's great news -- I think for many of us who tune in regularly to Bill's concerts, they have gone way beyond being a source of pandemic relief. They are a great joy, an uplift to our spirits, a chance to virtually congregate with other people far and wide who love Bill and his generosity, his music, poetry, and poetry readings -- and we all love The Hand.  I know that I, for one, long ago stopped connecting these concerts to the pandemic and that however the pandemic surges and recedes, Bill will continue to perform Tree House Concerts online. 

3. So, Sunday night I watched USC's men's basketball team dismantle Oregon. USC's zone defense pushed Oregon away from the basket, forced Oregon into late in the shot clock shots, many of those shots poor ones, and, in general, stymied the Ducks.

Now, here's what I am incapable of: I could not imagine how the USC defense would fare against Gonzaga. For starters, I didn't know how the presence of Gonzaga would impact the Trojans psychologically and, in addition, Gonzaga has a very different team of starters than Oregon does. 

I was, however, eager this evening to find out.

Well, right from the get go, Gonzaga established a huge psychological edge over USC. The Trojans started the game jittery, turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, and the Zags streaked out to an early lead. On the other end of the court, when Gonzaga had to play their half court offense, it became clear that Gonzaga is a much more versatile team than Oregon, has many more ways to attack USC than Oregon did, and the Zags scored in multiple ways. The Zags went right at the powerful Mobley brothers inside and established Drew Timme as the player their offensive attack would orbit around. I heard several people say before this game that Timme would have a lot of problems in this game because he'd never faced a defensive player like Evan Mobley or like his brother, Isaiah. To myself, I thought that might be true, but I'm not sure the Mobley brothers have faced a player inside as deft and versatile as Drew Timmey.

Timme established himself as a force inside. But, he wasn't alone. The Zags attacked the Trojans' defense with crisp passes, great cuts, vision, and selflessness. The Zags shredded USC, storming to a 49-30 half time lead and cruising to an 85-66 win. 

I really didn't learn a thing about how the Trojans would fare against the Zags by having watched them play other opponents, especially Oregon.  

And, I have to say that I don't know what to expect when the Zags play UCLA. UCLA plays vigorous defense. They gave Michigan State, BYU, Abeline Christian, Alabama, and Michigan all kinds of problems. 

But not one of those teams is Gonzaga. I saw Creighton do things out of character against Gonzaga, leading me to believe they were mentally rattled by the Zags. I saw the same thing happen against USC.

Will UCLA be jittery? Can UCLA stop the multi-dimensional and versatile offense of Gonzaga? How will UCLA fare on offense against Gonzaga? Will UCLA's Johnny Juzang continue to score a lot of points? The Zags' defense looked very good against USC, whether for physical or psychological reasons. Will the Zags disrupt the Bruins as well?

I can't say. 

Until I see these two teams actually on the maple playing one another, I don't know what to expect. 

It's the same for Baylor and Houston. 

I just don't know.

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