Dispatches From Blogfrica: Sippin' On Purple Talks Iowa-Northwestern Hoops (Again!)

They would be much less happy 7.3 seconds later. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

If I was a good blogger, I would have started this feature a few months back. But I'm a half-assed blogger, so you'll just have to live with getting it now (and for the duration of the season). What is it? Pretty simple: I ask questions of an opposing team's blogger, they answer. A truly revolutionary idea, no? Next up: Friend of the Pants Rodger Sherman from SBN's excellent Nebraska Northwestern blog, Sippin' On Purple.

1) Screw John Cena vs. The Rock in a month -- this game on Saturday is the real main event. How nervous are you about Northwestern's Biggest Game Ever Of The Next 48 Hours? Does the fact that it's against Iowa make you extra-excited or even more apprehensive?

Nervous beyond belief. I've noticed even Iowa fans taking pity on how nerve-wracking and heartbreaking this NCAA Tournament run has been. I hate the word "must-win" - according to most commentators, Northwestern has lost six must-win games thus far - but, yeah, this is a must-win. The fact that it's against Iowa doesn't mean much - hoops isn't really a rivalry at all between us, and also, no matter who this game was against I would hate them so much that blood would shoot from my orifices. The fact that blood is shooting from my orifices because y'all are Iowa is nothing special.

2) Saturday is the final regular season game for two seniors who have meant a hell of a lot to their respective teams, Matt Gatens and John Shurna. Does it feel like they've been around forever? Or does it seem like the time has flown by? (Personally, I can't believe Gatens' time is all but up, but that's mainly because his first two years register in my brain as a horrific nightmare, so it feels like he should still have more eligibility.) Barring some crazy March shenanigans, we're now to the point where we can likely count the number of games remaining in each guy's career on one hand. How much is Northwestern going to miss Shurna when he's gone?

Yes, yes, yes, but mainly because I, like Gatens and Shurna, am a senior in college. It seems like forever, because to be honest, I didn't pay attention to Big Ten basketball until their freshman seasons, because I'm from New York and basically only paid attention to the Knicks and NCAA Tournament. It feels like it's flown by because I ONLY HAVE THREE MORE MONTHS OF SKIPPING CLASSES AND DRINKING HEAVILY REGARDLESS OF THE DAY OF THE WEEK WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE NOT BEING ABLE TO DO THIS FOREVER WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY. Anyway, what am I talking about? Oh, yeah. Northwestern is going to miss Shurna infinitely. We're running with a six-man rotation right now, and even in that six-man rotation, only two players are really contributing regularly: Shurna and Crawford. And even then, with those two putting up monumental numbers nightly, this is barely a tourney team. I fear what happens next year.

3) Which legendary rap feud do you think the Iowa-Northwestern relationship most resembles? Biggie and 2Pac? Jay-Z and Nas? 50 Cent and Game? Eminem vs. ICP? Something else entirely? Do I need to worry about being the victim of a drive-by anytime soon? Does Northwestern have a pipeline into former Soviet bloc nations to obtain potential hitmen?

For decades, the feud this most closely resembled was Eminem vs. Benzino. For those of you unfamiliar, Benzino, the owner of the magazine The Source - Northwestern - called out Eminem - Iowa - for taking radio play away from black artists and claiming that he was bad at rapping. In response, Eminem released two or three murderously angry and unbelievably hurtful dis tracks calling out Benzino for being an awful rapper who pretended to be from the hood even though he went to Harvard and for unnecessarily bringing race in negatively despite being half-white himself. I'm not sure what happened afterwards, but I wouldn't be surprised if Benzino died seconds afterwards. As of now, I'd say it resembles the Common-Drake beef, because Common is a really intellectual rapper from Chicago and Drake is really corny and when they battle, everybody loses. As for Soviet bloc hitmen, I've never seen Luka Mirkovic in class - I think he might be majoring in murder-for-hire.

4) One of my favorite things about watching Iowa games this year has been watching the guys on the bench who go apeshit whenever someone has a rim-rattling dunk, a jaw-dropping three-pointer, an authoritative block, etc. The leader of the bench cheerleaders seems to be Branden "B-Stubbs" Stubbs, who appears to have a sixth sense (or possibly a genetic trait, aka the Scalabrine gene) for knowing when a big play is about to happen. Does Northwestern have a guy like this? If so, who? On a scale of 1-10 Scalabrines (the official measurement for sideline cheerleading), how good are his reactions?

No. We don't have a bench. Zero Scalabrine's awarded. (Sorry to disappoint.)



5) WORD ASSOCIATION TIME! Which hip-hop album comes to mind first when you see the following names:

* Bill Carmody: Pain is Love, Ja Rule

* John Shurna: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Black Sheep

* Davide Curletti: Cole World: The Sideline Story, J. Cole

* Matt Gatens: I'm Gay (I'm Happy), Lil' B

* Fran McCaffery: It's Dark and Hell is Hot, DMX

* Bo Ryan: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West

* Jared Sullinger: Blow the Whistle, Too $hort

* Draymond Green: The Chronic, Dr. Dre (not because he smokes, but because "Dray" = Dre and weed is green.)

* Mike Bruesewitz: The R.E.D. Album, Game

* Robbie Hummel: Life After Death, Notorious B.I.G.

6) Okay, prediction time -- who ya got?

I've got Northwestern. It should be close, but it means so much to the Cats in comparison to y'all. I also refuse to imagine any scenario in which Northwestern loses until it inevitably happens.


Thanks for being a good sport, Rodger. Be sure to check out Rodger and the rest of the SoP gang over at Sippin' on Purple. You can also follow Rodger on the Twitters here. The Iowa-Northwestern game is in Iowa City, IA on Saturday, March 3rd at 1:30pm CT, with television coverage from BTN.

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