Monday, February 15, 2010

We're Moving (Again): The Start Of A New Era

This is the end of our blogger days.  However, the days of us blogging are not over.

We've moved, again.  This time it's probably for good.  We've joined the network of blogs and we're glad to be their newest addition.

What we will do there is exactly what we did here.  But this time with more advertising and without the ending.

As the blogs co-founder, editor and primary contributor, I would like to thank you for the time you've spent here at this blog and encourage you to join us at our new home.  Waiting there for you will be some new blogs and all of your old favorites.

The staff will join us and so will new features.

Can't wait to see you there.  Thanks for the support once again.

The Big Dead Sidebar - Final Edition

(Note: Yes we noticed the misspelling in our header.  Not a good start but surely that will get fixed.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Weekender: State Of Saluki Hoops Edition

The SIU men's basketball team has gone through several stages since Chris Lowery took over at his alma mater following the groundwork laid by Bruce Weber and Matt Painter.

To represent the phases of Saluki hoops, I dug deep into my archive of women that I wish I could be with but cannot because, in truth, I'm just a lonely blogger looking for someone special to spend my Valentine's Day weekend with.

Unfortunately, we will not be spending it with any of the ladies that will be featured in this blog.  If I'm lucky, the calendar will fast forward me to April to reconnect with my true love, baseball.

2004-05 27-8 :: Absolute Eye-Candy
Chris Lowery's first year at the helm was quite surprise as he rode Darren Brooks' second consecutive MVC Player of the Year award to glory.  SIU won the Valley's regular season title but lost to SMS in the Valley tournament after the team blew a 20-point lead.  Shortly after the loss, Saluki fans started the first known Fire Chris Lowery group on Facebook.

2005-06: 22-11 :: Overcoming the odds.

Mariah Carey has overcome her fair share of adversity, and so did this edition of the Saluki basketball team.  Without Darren Brooks and Stetson Hairston, SIU won the MVC Tournament for the first time since the Clinton Administration.

Southern did it by knocking off Bradley in the title game and unseating Patrick O'Bryant, who would would go on to be an O'Bust in the NBA.

2006-07:  29-7:  The pinnacle of the Chris Lowery Era.

Scarlett J is everything we want in a woman.  The Sweet 16 Salukis were everything we could ask for in a basketball team.  Nothing more needs to be written here.

2007-08:  18-15 :: A Disappointment

Like Britney Spears during her experimental phase, we wouldn't want to bring home an 18-15 record and a bid to the NIT home to mother, but it was better than the alternative.

2008-09:  13-18 :: The First Step Of Rehab 

We wouldn't kick Lindsay Lohan out of bed for eating crackers, nor would we say no to to a bump in the road if it meant bringing in the greatest recruiting coup in school history.  Too bad the Salukis didn't develop and after harsh beatings vs. Duke and UCLA at Madison Square Garden, and another season-ending Mullins boo-boo, SIU suffered its first losing season since the end of the Rich Herrin Era.

2009-10:  13-11:  The tease. 

This team has the characteristics of an ex-girlfriend of mine.  Attractive, yes.  Strong start, yes.  The crumbling finish is in the process as the SIU team that was once 9-2 and holding a lead against Illinois State in the second half is on the way to finishing below .500 in Valley play for the second straight year.

Unfortunately, that girlfriend looked nothing like Jessica Simpson.  We'd probably still be together if she did.

That's all I've got and that's all you'll get.  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saluki Basketball Is Now Akin To Sexual Frustration

You've got to love the way Southern Illinois SID Tom Weber kicks off today's blog post about Saluki basketball.

"This year's Saluki basketball team reminds me a lot of a girl I used to know in high school. She was pretty and liked to flirt, but in the end, she always left me hanging."

Oh, Tom, we know the feeling all too well. 

Granted, I'm used to penning those kinds of ledes in regards to my beloved Chicago Cubs, who year after year build me up before breaking my heart and taking a bunch of my hard-earned money in the process.  For example, check out this blog after the 2008 disaster.

I've always compared being a Cubs fan to having a difficult relationship.

She's cute. She has moments where she makes your day and then there are days where it gets a little rough, but it's OK because you still love her.

She promises she'll take you places you've never been before, and you believe her.

In the end, she's just a tease.

We don't stop there. 

we compare Kevin Gregg to the girl we were forced to go on a blind date with. We felt like a jilted lover after the Bears decided to show up for a one-night stand against the Vikings on Monday Night Football.  Lindsey Willhite played us almost like every other girl named Lindsey/Lindsay that we've known.  Heck, even the Bulls had us trippin' over something we thought was special.

If anything, I have finally come to the conclusion that I either need better taste in women or better taste in sports teams. 

As for my alma mater, I feel as if what the SIU men's basketball team is doing to Saluki Nation has reached another level of ridiculous.

It once looked like this.

But now looks like this.

Is that the correct portrayal of Saluki basketball?  I think so.

In fact, this might be the most apt analogy anyone has been able to come up with for Southern Illinois basketball this year.  I mean, it is not as if the cupboard is bare in Carbondale. 

The Salukis feature a former All-Big 10 performer in Tony Freeman, who is looking to make good in what will be his last season as a collegiate athlete.  Then there's a manchild in the middle with the 6-foot-9-inch Eugene Teague, who scored 11 points in 11 minutes even though he was saddled with foul trouble.  Kevin Dillard is the kind of combo guard that gives opponents nightmares when he has the ball, but his defense in recent games has been equally nightmarish at times. 

That triumvirate of talent, along with the likes of Justin Bocot, Anthony Booker, Carlton Fay and a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year at the helm should be in a lot better shape than 13-11 overall and 5-9 in conference action.

And despite this heap of talent, SIU just can't close ball games.

Lots of talent.  Limitless potential.  Failure to close the deal.

Or as Tom Weber so eloquently put it, "The talent is there — the confidence is not."

And suddenly, the Southern Illinois men's basketball team just made me have a flashback to every Valentine's Day fiasco I've ever had.

Pretty girls and lack of confidence included.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teague, Brown-Surles Should Lead Salukis Down The Stretch

In a conference where senior leadership is the ultimate "X-factor" when it comes to winning championships, a pair of freshman could hold the fate of the Southern Illinois men's basketball team.

And even though the Salukis are playing to avoid a Thursday game in St. Louis, which would be nothing more than a moral victory to boost morale throughout Saluki Nation, we at TBDS are thinking outside the box.

We're entrusting Kendal Brown-Surles and Eugene Teague to lead Southern out of the cellar.

Prior to this year, we were convinced KBS could have a Bryan Mullins-esque impact on this team. 

With solid ball-handling skills, a steady hand for distribution and stout defense, we were sure the freshman point guard would be a lynch-pin for years to come, but right now, could be the kind of role player SIU head coach Chris Lowery could depend on.

The freshman from Evansville, Ind., committed only one turnover and had two steals in 22 minutes for the Salukis in the loss against Northern Iowa.  Meanwhile, sophomore Kevin Dillard was held scoreless for only the second time in his young career.  Dillard also committed five turnovers, compounding matters.

Let the record show that Brown-Surles was subbed out for Kevin Dillard at the 1:36 mark with the Salukis and Panthers deadlocked at 49-49.  Dillard had been struggling after getting smacked in the face on a foul call only a few minutes before that.  The final minute-and-a-half for KD wasn't pretty as turnover at the 1:19 mark and a missed 3-pointer with 26 seconds left capped Dillard's performance.

If Dillard was at all shaken up by the after-effects of getting smacked across the face, and you combine that with his general ineffectiveness, KBS should have been running the show.  Everyone knows we love Dillard, but you can't have a guy who is struggling down the stretch be the primary ball-handler in the guts of a game.

SIU should take advantage of what Brown-Surles brings to the table and run an offense that features a three-guard set with Brown-Surles running the show being flanked by Dillard and Freeman. 

And it is not as if Brown-Surles, who is Harrison High School's all-time leading scorer is a slouch on the offensive end.  Before you dismiss the accomplishment, note that the school has former NBAers Calbert Chaney, who was absolutely unstoppable from beyond the arc in NBA Jam and Walter McCarty, who was a pretty good player at the University of Kentucky.

No news on what kind of NBA Jam player he was.

Freshman center Eugene Teague went 6-for-9 from the field the last time Missouri State and Southern Illinois met, and I wouldn't mind if he even got more touches.  Mo. St. has no answer down low for the big fella and I think Teague could be in store for another monster performance.

UNI's Jordan Eglseder averages 11.61 shot attempts per game in contests he logs at least 20 minutes in.  If Southern can get at least 20 minutes out of Teague, he should be getting the same number of looks.  The more opportunities Gene gets on the block, the better the Salukis look on offense.

I'm looking for the man in the middle to stumble upon an 18-point, 10-rebound game one of these days.  And I think Wednesday would be a really good time to have one.

Teague is averaging 11.6 points and 8.4 rebounds over his last five games and has really taken strides since his 14-point, 8-rebound performance against Creighton where he filled in more than admirably for (the recently departed) Nick Evans, who was ejected from the game in the first half.

SIU hasn't had a post presence like this since Randal Falker left, and before him, since Roland Roberts roamed the paint wearing maroon and white.  Southern needs to take advantage of a position where it holds a clear edge.  They need to do it early and they need to do it often.

And to think, coming into this year, SIU fans thought the strength would be in backcourt depth.  Here were are in the heart of the season and two of our biggest contributors down the stretch could be a freshman back-up point guard and a trimmed down freshman center.

My, how some things change.

Evans' Departure Fitting By Southern Standards

[Ed. Note: As promised in our tagline, The Big Dead Sidebar presents a different side of the story. Here is a different look at Nick Evans' departure from the Southern Illinois men's basketball team]

If you look at Nick Evans leaving Southern Illinois University Carbondale's men's basketball team on an individual level, it makes sense considering the state of the SIU system.

Put it out of your mind that nine SIU players have severed ties with the program since Chris Lowery took over at his alma mater in 2004.  Get there yet?  Good.  It's almost scary to think that Evans' departure falls in line with the collegiate careers of many college students, including those at SIUC.

While it looks like freshman fall enrollment could increase by 26.9 percent, retaining these students has been an issue.

Even though Evans was listed as a sophomore, he redshirted his first year, making this season his third on the Carbondale campus.  By all accounts, Evans was an above average student, but by minimalist standards he should be on pace to reach senior status if he completes all the necessary course work by the time May rolls around.  No matter how it happens, I hope Nick didn't waste his time at SIU and hopefully will complete his degree in whatever field he is expected to pursue.

Evans, like many Southern Illinois students, will not get a chance to pursue that as a Saluki.

For one reason or another, the rate of retainment at SIU drops each and every year. After a nice group of freshmen come in, the number of sophomores, juniors and seniors dwindles as time goes along.  With that being said, Evans might as well be considered as just another statistic.

If anything, Evans' time at SIU is representative of the time any normal student would spend on a college campus.  In fact, I'll share the story of a friend of mine whose college career paralleled that of the former Saluki center.

Like Evans, my buddy enjoyed his time at Southern by living the good life.  The kind of life portrayed in full-length motion pictures about what college life is.  I'm talking about socializing with pretty girls, parties and just enough school work to get by.  However, with more responsibility came less of the stuff that good stuff and more of that responsibility stuff your parents warned you about before you left for the college campus of your choice shortly after graduating high school.

Like Evans, he found himself taking on a bigger role as a college student and needed to be more focused.  And even though he will never be confused with a 6-foot-11-inch ginger, my buddy dropped out of school before he could complete his degree at Southern.

Unlike the blogosphere, where I (claim to) have the answer to what ails my favorite sports teams, I have no idea how to fix the enrollment issues at my alma mater.  Nor do I have a clue how to fix the lack of class balance for my beloved Salukis.

On the educational side, newly appointed chancellor Rita Cheng can handle that, while Chris Lowery has the unenviable task of doing that on the men's basketball side of things.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

UPDATE: Confirmed: Nick Evans Leaves SIU

Confirmation via WSIL-TV:

"News 3 Sports has confirmed that SIU men's basketball player Nick Evans has left the team. Sources tell sports reporter Kelly Burke that Evans left the team this week."

Our original blog:
As we began to wrote a Saluki blog post that had to do with the future of the Southern Illinois men's basketball team, we were dropped this nugget in our e-mail box. 

(Which you could reach via

Via what we assume is his Facebook account, Evans announced he was leaving the Saluki basketball team.

Evans, a 6-foot-11-inch redshirt sophomore, was averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in about 15 minutes per game for the Salukis, who are 13-10 overall and 5-8 in Missouri Valley Conference play. 

He averaged 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game through the team's first 10 games, but has only scored  19 points since the calendar turned to 2010.

Evans was suspended from Saturday's loss against UNI because of a violation of team rules, which sources tell TBDS the infraction was missing a study hours segment during the week.

We're working on confirmation from other sources, because kids can say the darndest things when they get their grubby little fingers on social media networks.

If Evans does leave SIU, he will become the eighth Saluki to ship out of Carbondale in the Chris Lowery era, joining Mike Dale, Brandon Wood, Joshua Bone, Jordan Armstrong, Torres Roundtree, Christian Cornelius and Ryan Hare.  (And if you want to count Jamaal Foster, who left, but still got his degree from SIU, that's nine.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hurricane WhoDat Rips Through Indy, Baseball Season Is Coming

Like a good mistress, football left us something to remember her by. But, now it's time for my true love.


If you're looking for a traditional Super Bowl post-game blog, then you good friend are in for a treat.

As a Bears fan, this Super Bowl was a reminder of how things have fallen apart in Chicago.  The team the Bears beat to get to the Super Bowl three years ago beat the team the Bears lost to in said Super Bowl.

I'll give you a few minutes to let that sink in.

I'm sure having a real quarterback helped, but the keen Bears fan remembers when Chicago passed on Drew Brees in free agency as it banked on the future of Rex Grossman.  Now, the Bears have Jay Cutler, but I fear that they have no idea what to do with him.

Maybe Mike Martz fixes things.  Maybe he makes things more complicated.  Only time will tell.

Watching Pierre Thomas run wild against the Colts defense reminds me that Thomas is a Chicagoland native who was an elite high school running back at Thornton Fractional South before going on to play for the Fighting Illini during his college years.

Thomas was recruited by former Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, which proves to Bears fans that Turner's failures were not limited to playcalling.

And if you think that the Bears are going in the right direction, think again.  Buried by the coverage of Hurricane WhoDat is the news of Rod Marinelli getting promoted to defensive coordinator

For some reason, the Bears think that the tandem that led the Detroit Lions down the path of mass failure will lead Chicago to the promised land.

Reality hits hard, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, we're nine days from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and 56 days from Opening Day.  I can hear the crack off the lumber, the smack of the leather and the giggles of the oiled bodies of bleacher babes off in the distance.

Even though our beloved Salukis are already out of contention, March Madness will hold us over until baseball season gets into full swing.

And with Valentine's Day coming Sunday, there is no better time for love to be in the air.  Better that than a pitch launched into the stratosphere by Kevin Gregg.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Official TBDS Super Bowl Pre-Game Blog

We're about five hours away from Super Bowl smackdown and I've got some stupid questions to ask.

Did you know that Peyton Manning, this year's NFL MVP, finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to this year's Defensive MVP, Charles Woodson?  Of course not.  Because no one cares about what happened back when dinosaurs roamed earth.

How about this one.

Did you know that the New Orleans Saints have the second best quarterback in the NFC behind @NotJayCutler, whose precise tweets are exactly what you need to make you forget that actual Jay Cutler failed to live up to high expectations thanks in part to Ron Turner's middle school playbook?

Super Bowl predictions are like herpes assholes, everyone's got one.

So here's ours.

Colts 28, Saints 21.

But what everyone else won't give you is how they got there.

This is where TBDS > your average blog.


Right before Carrie Underwood sings the national anthem, Reggie Bush "mistakenly" forgets his helmet in the locker room and dashes to get it.  However, Bush does not return until midway through the first quarter.

Shortly after Bush emerges from the locker room, a hot-and-bothered Kim Kardashian is spotted entering the stadium claiming to be late after being "caught in traffic" prior to kickoff.

(25 minutes later)

"Reggie Bush-Kim Kardashian Super Bowl Sex Tape" becomes a trending topic on Twitter.

Joseph Addai puts the Colts on the scoreboard and gives Indy a 7-0 lead after a 13-yard touchdown run.  Somewhere in Mississippi, Brett Favre picks up his phone and texts Adrian Peterson, "c what happens when u hold on to da football?"

Colts 7, Saints 0

Bush fumbles away the Saints' first possession as it appears his hands are covered with Vaseline or baby oil.  Kardashian quips, "Reggie always has a firm grip on me."  Awkward silence ensues.

Indianapolis turns the turnover into points as Peyton Manning fires a 35-yard strike to Austin Collie to give the Colts a two score lead.  Somewhere in Minnesota, Peterson replies to Favre's text, "c what happens when u throw it to the team wearing the same color jersey as u?"

Colts 14, Saints 0


Bush redeems himself with an 84-yard punt return touchdown to put the Saints back into the game.

The touchdown marks the first time ever in the history of the world anyone has even considered putting "Bush redeems himself" in a sentence that isn't concluded with "by apologizing to the people of New Orleans."

Colts 14, Saints 7

Another Peyton Manning touchdown toss extends the Colts' lead to 21-7.  This time to Reggie Wayne on a blown coverage.

Somewhere in Chicago, Lovie Smith receives a text from 3,864,792 Bears fans, "hey Lovie, that look familiar?"

Smith wonders how so many Bears fans got his number.

Colts 21, Saints 7


Millions of gamblers call their bookies.  Thousands of fans head to the restroom.  Hundreds of wives ask if the game is over yet.  Dozens of children go outside to recreate a play from the first half.  A wild, horny couple attempts to recreate the scene between Bush-and-Kardashian in an unoccupied bedroom at the party they are currently attending.


Saints make a run.  Pierre Thomas takes a swing pass for a touchdown to cut the Colts' lead to 21-14.  Bears fans across the nation lament the fact that Thomas was Chicago-born and Chicago-raised, yet Jerry Angelo couldn't bring him to town.

Somewhere in a time machine headed back to the mid-1990s, Ron Turner wonders why he never ran that play while Thomas was at Illinois.

Looks at playbook.

Sees "Copyright 1987" scribbled across the bottom.

Colts 21, Saints 14
Peyton Manning throws an interception and Darren Sharper returns it for a touchdown.  TV camera finds Archie Manning in a suite shaking his head, but counting the money he made off interviews and endorsement deals this week.  Second camera finds Eli Manning taking shots of bourbon with a hot chick.

Somewhere in Nashville, Tenn., Jay Cutler tries to pass the time, but is intercepted and blames Devin Hester for running the wrong route.

Colts 21, Saints 21


Manning orchestrates a long touchdown drive that ends with a Pierre Garcon touchdown grab.  Somewhere in Pennsylvania, someone loads Marvin Harrison's gun.  That someone receives a text from Plaxico Burress warning about gun safety.

Colts 28, Saints 21
Brees tries to mount a rally, but after scoring what appeared to be a game-tying touchdown, the play is thrown to the booth for a review.  The play is overturned because Manning, who is simultaneously directing a MasterCard commercial, scolds Brees for not following the script.

Touchdown overruled.

Colts win 28-21.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Weekender Returns (Hopefully For Good)

The Weekender is back for the first time in two weeks and I'd like to show my appreciation for everyone's support by including this picture of Scarlett Johansson to kick off the festivities.

We've had a long week and plan to have a longer weekend.  We'll knock out some posts about Ryan Theriot, Kevin Gregg, Saluki basketball (and maybe football) along with a Super Bowl drinking game.

Because you can't really consider yourself a good sports blog until you have a Super Bowl drinking game that will get you drunk by halftime.

Alright, we're done.  Enjoy your day, the upcoming weekend and this blog.

OK, fine, here's a Colts cheerleader.

And for the hell of it ... random soccer cheerleader.

Oh.  We almost forgot about random screen grabs!

Facebook fun!

 Headline of the year?

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we found Crazy Uncle Milton's long lost son...


Then there's this week's video, where my even Hitler is pissed off at Chris Lowery. (Via @StileSmith)

We'll tweet the Super Bowl happenings in Miami.  Until then, say a little prayer for those who might be effected by Hurricane WhoDat.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

College Football Signing Day: Where Everyone Is A National Champion

Is there anyone that was not 100 percent satisfied with their recruiting class after National Letter of Intent signing day?

Probably not.

It might be the only day in sports where every team can consider themselves victorious.  Referees, weather factors, field conditions and jet lag take a back seat, if only for one day, as team's gush over bringing a slew of 18-year-old young men on to campus. 

Heck, the only person happier to see young a bunch of young high schoolers all at the same time was taken down by police on a Dateline NBC special with Chris Hansen.

It's good to see Florida head coach Urban Meyer in good health after securing the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.  I guess that means you can pencil in Florida in one half of the championship bracket for the next four years.  Until, of course, the day comes when Meyer leaves Gainesville to retire coach the Dallas Cowboys.

College coaches will gossip like school children if it means bringing down their opposition.  But if you say one thing that disparages my program, so help you God...

...I digress.

I mean, why would Meyer want to leave Gainsville for Dallas?  There is a distinct difference between stress accumulated when on campus and stress accumulated when you go into the land of grown-ups.  Trust me. 

The difference is that on campus, you can relieve stress by taking Jello shots off the exposed chest of your lab partner at a basement house party.  That kind of stress reliever no longer exists once you put your days on campus behind you.

The only two people feeling like crap after NLOI day are probably newly minted Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and Illinois boss Ron Zook.

Kelly and the Fighting Irish are already looking to the Class of 2011 after a lackluster 2010 class that saw its top recruit bolt shortly after Charlie Weis was ushered out of South Bend and lured to Kansas City by the sweet, sweet smells of barbecue a job as an offensive coordinator in the NFL.

Notre Dame is to college football what that one guy with a brand new headband and fresh-out-of-the-box Jordan's is to your rec league.  Both think they're hot shit and are the only ones who think so highly of themselves.  And yes, both should probably get nut-punched for the heck of it.

Then there's Zook, who should probably be refreshing his resume after one of his top recruits put the Heisman on the Zooker and his staff, switched gears and is now heading to Nebraska of the instability in the coaching staff in Champaign-Urbana.

If you're Illinois and you lose a kid to Southern Cal or Florida, it's understandable.

It's hard for a 18-year-old kid to say no to Song Girls and southern belles of the SEC for a frozen midwestern treat. But when you lose a kid to Nebraska, then you know there's something wrong with your situation.

Meanwhile, my alma mater brought in 21 kids including a steal from conference rival Missouri State and a steal from a MAC school. 


Is it too early to start looking for betting line's for next year's Illini-Saluki game?

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