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Scott Cordischi On Sports: Reality TV At Its Best

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Friday night at Brown University’s Pizzitola Sports Center was another great example of why sports is truly the best form of reality TV.

In a nationally televised game, the Brown men’s basketball team did something no one thought that they were capable of, they upset their intra city rivals – the Providence Friars.

When you play in the much lower profile Ivy League, you are not expected to compete with, much less beat a Big East program. But that’s what happened Friday night.

But this was more than simply a sports version of David beating Goliath, it was great theater.

Tucker Halpern

It was a “Hoosiers”-type setting as the 2,800 seat Pizzitola Sports Center was sold out and packed to the rafters. Brown came in extremely undermanned with only 8 players dressed for the game. It featured some unbelievable individual performances like those of LaDontae Henton and Tucker Halpern.

Henton scored a career-best 37 points including an unimaginable 24 consecutive points for the Friars in the second half.

Halpern, meanwhile, is back after missing the last year due to a severe bout with mononucleosis. He hit eight 3-pointers (1 shy of the Brown single game record) including the game-winner with :07 seconds to play capping a furious rally from 7 points down in the final minute of the game.

Television networks try to manufacture new and different forms of reality television every day. However, none can compare to the great theater of sports and a game like Friday night’s at Brown.

-A couple of weeks ago, Friar fans were talking about the possibility of their team competing in the upper half of the Big East this season and possibly for an NCAA Tournament spot this year. Now, after back-to-back losses to Boston College and Brown, those same fans are ready to jump off of the proverbial ledge. As my old friend Jersey Red used to say, “somewhere in the middle lies the truth.” Translation: PC may not be quite as good as we thought they were following their first semester performance. Conversely, they are not as bad as their two losses to the Eagles and Bears would indicate either. Once their top scorer Bryce Cotton returns, they will be very dangerous once again.

-I used to love snow as a kid and for many years when I used to ski. Now, not so much.

-Although I do enjoy watching and playing football in the snow!

-Is there any chance that 2013 will be a better year for the economy both locally and nationally? I certainly hope so!

-Am I the only one who is sick and tired of hearing the Phil Jackson rumors every time a coaching vacancy pops up in the NBA?

-Every January it’s great to see all of the new faces at the health club trying to get fit as part of their New Year’s resolutions. The problem is, once February, March and April roll around, it’s the same group of regulars working out on a daily basis.

-If PC is going to start winning games consistently again, they will have to get much better on the defensive end of the floor. That should be the Friars New Year’s resolution.

-The Boston Celtics could also resolve to play better defense in 2013.

-And NHL owners and players should resolve to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement so that we can have hockey again!

-Refresh my memory. Do we get a free Bloomin’ Onion or free coconut shrimp at Outback Steakhouse Wednesday now that South Carolina beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl?

-Speaking of bowl games, granted, it wasn’t a major bowl, but this Syracuse grad was proud of his Orange and the way they played in their 38-14 thrashing of West Virginia in the snow-covered Pinstripe Bowl.

-When the Houston Texans came to Foxboro four weeks ago, they were considered by many as the team to beat in the NFL. Today? Not so much.

Pinstripe Bowl

-Having said that, I would probably rather see the Colts at Gillette Stadium a week from Sunday as opposed to the Texans or the Baltimore Ravens.

-Tim O’Shea’s Bryant Bulldogs scored a terrific win at Lehigh this past week. For those who know college basketball, that’s a better win than their victory at Boston College last month.

-Talk about a Black Monday? Seven NFL coaches were fired on Monday, the day after the 2012 regular season ended. Multiple GM’s lost their jobs as well.

-As far as some of the “hot” candidates to get interviews for these vacancies, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid may very well be the next head coach in Arizona. There are also many college coaches whose names are being thrown around like Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Syracuse’s Doug Marone. I’d hate to see O’Brien leave Penn State given the commitment that school made to him to try to turn around a very difficult situation.

-And if Doug Marone does leave Syracuse, I’d love to see the Orange take a look at both Phil Estes and Mark Whipple.

-Is there any doubt that the folks at CBS are drooling over the possibility of a Brady-Manning match-up in the AFC Championship game?

Brady vs. Manning

-Welcome back Avery Bradley. Your outstanding defense was sorely missed.

-Mike Tannenbaum may have been canned but Rex Ryan is still around meaning the circus will remain with the Jets for at east another season.

-Were it not for the job that Bruce Arians did in the absence of Chuck Pagano, Seattle’s Pete Carroll and Minnesota’s Leslie Frasier would be outstanding candidates for Coach of the Year honors.

-And, as great as Peyton Manning was this season, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in your NFL MVP.

-Winning Wednesday night at #4 Louisville won’t be easy, but expect a much better effort out of the Friars than what we have seen the last two games.

-And, with 7th-ranked Syracuse coming to the Dunk next week, that game against DePaul on Saturday in Providence is looking like a “must-win” for PC.

-Speaking of PC, how did the Friars go from being an overachieving gritty, gutty undermanned bunch that went (7-2) in the first semester with only 6-7 players dressed on any given night in the first semester to a "soft" team in the matter of a couple of weeks?  Again, somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

-Who is Justin Francis and where in the keck did that 3-sack performance come from Sunday?

Craig Robinson

-Former Brown coach Craig Robinson's Oregon State Beavers are (10-3) heading into Pac-12 play.

-And former Rhody coach Jim Baron's Canisius Golden Griffins are (9-4) overall and (2-0) in the MAAC as they head back into conference play.

-While we're at it, former PC coach Keno Davis' Central Michigan Chippewas are (7-6) as they get set to begin MAC play.

-(7-6) is also the record for former Bryant coach Max Good's Loyola Marymount Lions as they enter West Coast Conference play.

-Syracuse sophomore and and former St. Andrew's star Michael Carter-Williams leads the nation in assists at 10.2 per game.

-I hope that Gronk will be able to block with that injured left arm of his next Sunday because he was clearly favoring it in the Pats regular season finale against the Dolphins.

-A look ahead to 2013 still has the Patriots with the best chance to win a championship of New England's 4 professional sports teams.  The hope is that the Celtics will be able to figure something out before the spring so that they can make another solid playoff run while the Red Sox appear unlikely to be a postseason team.  The Bruins?  Who knows when we'll have hockey again?

-Happy New Year everyone!




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