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The Revue: The evil empire strikes back in Columbia

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” I say as KJ Adams, Jr. compromises the structural integrity of another backboard.

I remember the first time we ever published a Revue on here. Boy, that was a doozy. You can’t see the comments now (stupid new system), but they were a barrel of laughs.

It’s hard to believe — or sort of easy if you’re a new reader — that The Revue has never had to tackle a Border War game. This is a decidedly low stakes column, which wouldn’t seem to mesh well with the highest stakes a Mizzou game could possibly have. I remember telling my wife last week that if Mizzou won, I’d be utterly insufferable. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what that looks like in this space.

But to be honest, this is good practice, both for me and for this year’s team. I need to find new and exciting ways of talking about games that suck so much ass. The team needs to find ways of not making me have to find new and exciting ways of talking about games that suck so much ass. Together, we may just get through this year.

And who knows? Maybe one day soon we’ll put a hurting on kansas. Then we’ll all get to be insufferable together.

The Revue

Two straight weeks with Star Wars at the helm. How about that?

Look, I could’ve lined this review up like usual. I could’ve picked some scrap-heap movie to write about after Saturday’s abysmal loss, something like Joe Dirt, Caddyshack 2 or anything James Cameron has made in the past 25 years. But why wallow in the misery? Losing to kansas is bad enough. Why compound the misery by writing about some piece of refuse that no one has any affection for? [Editor’s note: I like Joe Dirt]

Fortunately, the first movie that came to my mind — though it’s quite on-the-nose, I have to admit — was The Empire Strikes Back, still the greatest Star Wars media to ever hit the lexicon. Sorry, I won’t hear your Andor comments, I refuse to watch it.

You can see why it’s on the nose, right? If you can’t, I don’t really feel like explaining it to you. When the scrappy rebellion starts to gain real momentum in A New Hope — or The Force Awakens if you want to mix trilogies and work chronologically with The Revue — the evil empire steps in to piss on everyone’s parade and generally make the whole situation a little darker. That doesn’t mean the trilogy is over, no, not while there are still Ewoks in the galaxy. (author’s note: Do any of y’all think it would be fun to dunk an Ewok? There’s something about the prospect that seems kind of fun.) But the end of Empire feels a little more grim than you’d like a sequel to feel.

Still, there’s hope on the horizon. Han may be frozen, but there’s always the chance he could come back at some point. Luke knows who his dad is now, and now he gets to work through that in therapy. Maybe he’ll still get to kill him at some point! There will still be plenty of movies in the future for these things to work themselves out. Does it feel good now? Of course, not. But in order to get to (weirdly appropriative, maybe?) tribal dance parties, you need to have a dozen, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” moments. Hopefully there aren’t too many to suffer through in the near future.

★☆☆☆☆ for that Border War game, ★★★★☆ for The Empire Strikes Back, which remains the peak of Star Wars’ storytelling

Watchability Meter

I don’t think we’ve been secretive about our disdain for the NCAA here. They’re a laughable organization clinging desperately to an outdated model of sports business that long capitalized on the disenfranchisement of athletes from their social and monetary capital. Then, when that model of business threatened to cave in on itself, the NCAA caved in a spectacularly hilarious way, opening the floodgates for athletes to run amok while they continuously scramble to get a lid on the operation.

They’ll never be more than a necessary evil, that is until schools can band together and find the easiest possible way to not need them anymore.

One of the ways you know the NCAA is colossally bad at their job — to uphold some sort of sporting integrity in college athletics blah blah, I don’t know, I don’t respect them enough to look up their mission statement — is the way they’ve handled the “scandal” that’s unfolded over the past several years in Lawrence. You know, the whole “five Level One violations” thing, the one that Jayhawk fans conveniently never address when confronted about it. Why should they, after Bill Self got some extra administrative rest and relaxation suspended to start the season? Time served!

The truth is, they’re right to not be worried, and even borderline-to-outright sardonic, about the whole situation. The NCAA, knowing that kansas basketball is integral to their financial well-being in college basketball, won’t ever do a damn thing about any of those five infractions. In fact, they may even punish Missouri for talking about them!

But that can’t stop me from reminding everyone that those violations exist. You can laugh at me all you want, I don’t care. I don’t even know you’re reading this. The fact that those violations are currently taking up real estate in your head gives me joy.

Anyway, the Border War game sucked to watch. Watching Mizzou lose is bad, watching them get doused is worse, watching them get doused by kansas is worst of all. One out of five NCAA Violations, which coincidentally one more than Mizzou has and four fewer than Bill Self.

I’d add a TW if there were any real reason to be concerned with an NCAA violation

Disrespectful Dunk Index

I made it very clear during football season that I wasn’t going to be Mizzou-centric with this exercise.

I’m a man who lives in the real world. I understand my lot in life as a True Son, and it’s not exactly sunshine and roses. Our rivals are kansas and Illinois, schools too scared to play us in football and good enough on the hardwood that large swaths of dominance are rarely ever achievable... that is, unless you’re Cuonzo Martin. I can be objective about when my own team gets dunked on, literally and figuratively. I’m not immune to self-schadenfreude.

But, y’all, I can’t do it. I can’t spend 500+ words talking about one of the many times Jalen Wilson or KJ Adams, Jr. obliterated the rims at Mizzou Arena. To debase myself to this level, to praising a jayhawk for their humiliating my Tigers... I just can’t. I’ve often found that pride is a silly thing to have in sports — humility will give you the out in 9 situations out of 10. But I’m hanging onto my pride here. You wouldn’t catch me dead praising a jayhawk, even if he did just drop a thermal grenade right in front of the Zou Crew.

So instead, I’m defaulting to yet another impressive — if not nuclear — alley oop from our resident Kansan, Aidan Shaw. He’s very cool and fun to watch, and I’m excited to see how his dunks progress from “oh wow” to “oh, damn!” to “PLEASE, AIDAN, HE HAS A FAMILY” in the coming years.

As a reminder, here’s the scoring curricula:

Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the dunk? (0-20)

Category 2: What did the dunker do immediately afterward? (0-20)

Category 3: How hard did the defender try to stop it? (0-20)

Category 4: Is there a backstory between the dunker and the dunkee? (0-15)

Category 5: Did the ball go straight through the rim or did it rattle around a little? (0-5)

Category 6: How did everyone not immediately involved react? (0-20)

And here’s the dunk in question:

  • Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the dunk?
Nick Honor, you beautiful bastard

I fear these scores may not get as high as we want because the Mizzou team’s passing ability has been pretty sterling thus far. If they’re going to oop it to Aidan Shaw at the rate they have thus far, we may see a lot of difficult dunks that are made to look easy.

All of that being said, the screenshot above illustrates the somewhat high degree of difficulty. Honor twists his abdomen about 45 degrees in mid-stride to place the ball, which is perfectly in Shaw’s flight path but not so much to where Gradey Dick can do much about it. Shaw times it up beautifully, though I wonder if leaving himself some extra space could’ve led to a more vicious slam. It’s going to be hard to give these two-on-one alley oops high scores, but credit where credit is due. Not a lot of basketball players can execute an oop like this.

14/20, which is about as high as an odd-man rush oop can get unless you absolutely dunk someone’s face in

  • Category 2: What did the dunker do immediately afterward?
You can feel the LOUD coming off this image

Aidan Shaw: Big proponent of hanging on the rim. I hope he decides to branch out a little bit, though NCAA referees’ penchant for not-letting-people-have-fun is enormously high so I can understand if he’s trying to play it safe as a frosh. He does do a bounce step all the way back to half court before sprinting back to his position in the press. Hurray for hard-nosed hoops! But maybe we can practice some more flash in our free time?

12/20 with a few extra points for getting back on D

  • Category 3: How hard did the defender try to stop it?
The pun potential for a poster on Gradey Dick is tremendous, and it pisses me off that we didn’t get to explore it

Look, Gradey Dick is damn good at basketball. I can’t make a convincing case otherwise. But I can make a case, based on this play, that he’s a coward. You mean to tell me that you waltz into a rival’s gym, shoot the lights out and still don’t have the gumption to stand in the way of a charging dunker? Have some respect for yourself, and get dunked on, nerd.

9/20, try harder next time, Dick, you silky smooth terror

  • Category 4: Is there a backstory between the dunker and the dunkee?

It is the Border War, so there’s automatically a level of animosity built into every bit of play. But consider some of the similarities between both Dick and Shaw, which sounds like it’d be a great TNT detective show if you ask me. According to On3, the two were the first and third ranked high school recruits out of Kansas in the 2022 class. Both come from elite AAU programs — Shaw from Mokan Elite, Dick from KC Run GMC — out of Kansas City. Being from the same area and playing the same sport, Shaw likely matched up with Dick on many occasion growing up. While there’s nothing to suggest these two share a specific history, it’s likely not the first time they’ve been on the same hardwood.

11/15, 7 for the Border War and 4 for the regional similarities

  • Category 5: Did the ball go straight through the rim or did it rattle around a little?
Aidan Shaw’s capacity for violent slams is awe-inspiring

Like last week, not exactly the cleanest swoosh, but Shaw violently throws it downward, perpendicular to the ground. It’s hard to get much better than that, especially when you rock with two hands as much as he does.

4/5, with one point missing for the lack of satisfying clink when the net hits the iron

  • Category 6: How did everyone not immediately involved react?
D’Moi Hodge understands

First things first, I love the passion at Mizzou Arena. I wasn’t necessarily worried that there would be a lack of energy for kU’s first trip to Columbia in a decade, but I’m happy to see the level of hatred was high. We will always carry a torch for despising the Jayhawks, it seems, no matter how much they duck us for 10 years and then suddenly decide it’s actually us who are ducking them because they finally fumbled their way to mediocrity. But that’s beside the point.

Still, the creativity of hatred was a bit lacking. And I get it, it’s been a while since we had to show our feelings in person. But the fact that the camera-man couldn’t get anything jaw-dropping or distasteful? Just a little disappointing. Thankfully, D’Moi Hodge was following up the play and had a delightful reaction to Shaw’s dunk, as you can see above. Hell, even Kobe Brown’s face adds some delightful texture. I can’t go super high here, but give it time. I’ll bet we get some elite crowd shots in 2023.

10/20, with Hodge’s passion making up for a lack of serviceable crowd shots

Aidan Shaw’s alley oop was 60 percent disrespectful to Gradey Dick and kansas.

Superlatives and Awards

Most Likely to Get Thrown out of a Border War Game For Nefarious Reasons: Christian Braun, by his own admission weirdly enough. Didn’t realize his family needed more promotion for how obnoxious they are.

Best Sign: Look, I get that Eli Drinkwitz rubs some people the wrong way, but I love him leaning into the last two weeks’ worth of headlines.

All the man went on to do was to land a highly-coveted receiver out of the portal. Good weekend for Drinkwitz!

Most Mysterious: So, uh, when are we going to get some clarity on the Isiaih Mosley situation? Are we ever? At the very least, some closure would be nice.

Best Clapback: Not to toot our own horn, buuuuuuuuuuuut...

And that’s on the J-School.