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Monday, March 10, 2008

No pressure Cleveland State Vikings, but the fate of Cleveland is in your hands against Butler

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 1:53 PM

For success, the Vikes need only to tap into their inner-Hoosier.
The Cleveland State men's hoops team disposed of Valparaiso on Saturday, earning them a spot in Horizon League Championship game against the 14th-ranked Bulldogs of Butler . Tip-off is at 9 p.m. on ESPN. (Editor’s note: We called the CSU athletic department and Becky’s, a bar near CSU, to find out where Vikings-bandwagon-jumpers might be able to get regrettably hammered while watching the game with fellow CSU fans, but we were greeted with verbal shrugs of indifference, reinforcing our theory that the CSU will never be more than a mediocre hoops program.) Anyway, a win gives the Vikings an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, which is approximately equal to Kevin from the Wonder Years bagging Winnie when they were still in grade school. (What? We said "approximate!") ... But getting past the Bulldogs will be tough. So C-Notes, after spending many laborious hours watching tape of Butler on our trusty wood-paneled Zenith color-vision set, have discovered five things that, if used correctly, will help the Vikings vanquish the Bulldogs. Pay attention, Vikes. The future of Cleveland rests on the retention of this advice. 1. Bulldogs, in general, are docile creatures. But they are fiercely loyal. Since you are playing them at their home, in Hinkle Fieldhouse, this could be a disadvantage. They will fight to the end to protect their turf. But bulldogs are also prone to allergies. They've been bred over the years to have a short snout, which hinders their ability to breathe. So sprinkle a hint of garam masala into the talcum powder at the scorers' table. The Indian spice will set off a chain of uncontrollable sneezes, similar to the whooping cough epidemic in West Darfur. It won't be pretty, but as they’re grasping for their albuterol inhalers, you'll be scoring at will. 2. Hinkle Fieldhouse is the place ESPN calls "Indiana's Basketball Cathedral." It's the site where they filmed the movie Hoosiers. Underdogs do well here. And let's be honest, your odds of beating Butler are about as good as Anderson Varejao giving himself a flat-top. So channel your inner Gene Hackman, hustle for loose balls, and Hinkle will do the rest. 3. The final episode of The Wire, the greatest freaking television show ever created in the history of freaking television, is over. You have no excuse to be distracted. Omar Little is dead. McNulty is off the force. Like when the OC surfed off into the sunset, there are very few reasons to live. Since the NBA playoffs have yet to begin, you, by default, are all Cleveland has right now. Give us something to believe in, dammit. 4. Kurt Vonnegut earned an honorary degree from Butler. He also sat in a meat locker in Dresden, Germany, as the allied forces dropped 3,900 tons of explosives above his head. ("So it goes.”) It screwed with his head for the rest of his life, though he channeled the terror to become one of the greatest literary minds of his generation. But he was the eternal pessimist, eg., “nothing good will come from America,” “human beings screwed up life on earth,” etc. The Butler Bulldogs no doubt feel the same things. Why else would they attend a liberal arts college? So just drop a few treys and yell "Suck American supremacy!" in their faces. It will imbue them with a large case of cognitive dissonance, causing them to cede the game early in the third quarter so they can rush home to their Apple laptops and post the strange experience on their blog. 5. Vikings are the Norse version of pirates (think captain Jack Sparrow with a golden-blond mane). And the Vikings’ best player, J'Nathan Bullock, looks like a pirate. He has long hair and a calm presence, as if he’s about to steal your booty and give you scurvy. He also battles like the end of the world is at stake in every game. Meanwhile, Butler's best guy, Mike Green, won conference Player of the Year honors despite looking like a captain in training for the Royal Navy. Now, as any summer-blockbuster movie fan knows, Pirates are cooler than British Naval officers. And they wear dramatically less spandex. And since we already determined that Bullock is a pirate, all his teammates need to do is goad him a little. Bullock will then sting the Bulldogs, and Green, worse than a Portuguese man-of-war, the Vikings will win, and the fate of Cleveland will be saved, at least until the first round of the tourney. How the hell do you scout Tar Heels? – Bradley Campbell

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