The Dagger continues its season-in-review series this week with a look back at the funniest moments of the 2012-13 college basketball season. Let us know which ones we missed via Twitter or in the comments below.
1. The appearance of Bradley Center bat: One of the most memorable moments of Marquette’s season wasn’t a clutch shot or a key defensive stop. It was an appearance from a rogue bat that disrupted play during the second half of a Big East game against Providence. The bat divebombed the Bradley Center floor several times, sending players, coaches and referees scrambling for cover. Marquette officials tried to catch the bat for two days without any luck, finally forcing him out of hiding by blasting AC/DC’s Thunderstruck via the PA system.
2. Kim and Geno’s awkward photo: Everything about this racy pregame photo is awkward, from Baylor coach Kim Mulkey’s pose, to UConn coach Geno Auriemma’s laser focus, to the cadre of giggling assistants in the background. Auriemma’s explanation? Harmless fun between friends, he said. “She was staring at my butt and she was commenting on it and I said, ‘Really? How about yours?’" Auriemma told the Connecticut Post. "She went, `Yeah, look at it,’ and I went (slap), 'I’ll teach you a lesson.' And then she started talking about how she only dated Italians her whole life and that she wanted me to set her up with some Italians and I said `The Italians I send to see you aren’t going to date you.’”
3. Rick Pitino answers a reporter’s phone: Louisville coach Rick Pitino was in the midst of a postgame news conference after a December victory when a local radio host's phone went off on the podium. To the amusement of everyone in the room, Pitino answered it. The woman on the other end of the line clearly had no idea she was talking to Pitino, so she inadvertently invited the coach to meet for a drink once he got done. It was only then that Pitino politely told her he had to go out recruiting and gave the phone to WNDA radio host Bob Domine, the man to whom it belonged." Some people want to have a drink with you, Bob," Pitino said, finally unable to keep a straight face any longer.
4. Worst free throw attempt ever: Airball free throws are common enough not to be too embarrassing, but rarely does a player miss by as wide a margin as Appalachian State center Brian Okam did against Western Carolina. His second-half foul shot sailed high in the air and fell in the arms of a teammate about 10 feet shy of the rim, prompting the Catamounts TV analyst tell his play-by-play man, “I’m not sure what that was. Good lord.” Okam later explained the ball slipped out of his hands, but not before he gained nationwide fame when video of the foul shot went viral.
5. Worst free throw attempt ever, part II: Okam wasn’t the only player to miss a free throw by 10 feet this season. Shanteona Keys, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard on Georgia College's women's basketball team, was so off target on a free-throw attempt Saturday against Columbus State that the ball landed in the middle of the paint after she released it. Since Keys is shooting 81.5 percent from the foul line and leads her team in made free throws this season, it's only natural to wonder what the heck happened that caused her to miss so badly. Keys told Deadspin she shoots the ball so close to her face when attempting a free throw that her index finger occasionally will strike her nose, messing up her follow through.
6. UConn attacks wrong hoop: When Marquette forced overtime against UConn in a January Big East game, it paved the way for a comical officiating gaffe. Referees aligned the Huskies and Golden Eagles the wrong way to start the overtime, leading Shabazz Napier to attempt a layup on the incorrect goal and Jamil Wilson to commit goaltending trying to block it. Upon realizing their mistake, the referees conferred on what to do next, but they messed that up as well. Instead awarding the two points to UConn and resuming play with each team going the proper direction, they incorrectly wiped out Napier’s basket.
7. Tubby Smith’s victory dance: The best part of Minnesota’s locker room celebration after beating rival Wisconsin wasn’t even that the Gophers’ danced to the Badgers’ victory song. It was that head coach Tubby Smith joined in the revelry. Who knew that the 61-year-old Smith had moves like that left in him? Of course, the sad irony to this video a couple months later is Smith has since been fired as coach of the Gophers. Perhaps we’ll see a version of this dance after his first big win at Texas Tech next season.
8. That’s not how he drew it up: For the first time in his career, LIU Brooklyn coach Jack Perri wasn’t happy one of his inbound plays resulted in a basket. With LIU Brooklyn leading Saint Francis (Pa.) by 23 points late in the second half, E.J. Reed inbounded the ball under the opposing basket. Reed’s inbound pass deflected off the outstretched hand of defender Earl Brown, glanced off the backboard and spun through the rim for the most unlikely Saint Francis basket imaginable. “That was wacky,” Perri said afterward. “I didn’t even realize it went in and then all of a sudden, I looked up and they had two more points.”
9. Marshall Henderson’s abrupt press conference: If we’ve learned anything about Marshall Henderson this season, it’s that nothing is going to prevent the Ole Miss star from having fun on a Saturday night. Henderson proved as much with a memorable 10-word press conference after an overtime win against visiting Georgia in February. Said Henderson, "If it’s all the same, it’s Saturday night. I’m out." Us reporters normally aren’t happy when a player or coach ducks out without doing an interview, but you can't help but chuckle at a college kid unwilling to let anything stand in the way of enjoying his Saturday night.
10. Spike Albrecht flirts with Kate Upton: In the first half of Monday’s national title game, little-known backup guard Spike Albrecht was unstoppable, scoring 17 points to help Michigan build a lead. The next day, the 5-foot-11 freshman tried the ultimate heat check. Aware that model Kate Upton was at the Georgia Dome rooting for Michigan, Albrecht tried to parlay his big night into an even bigger date. Wrote Albrecht to Upton, “Hey saw you at the game last night, thanks for coming out! Hope to see you again.” So far Albrecht’s advances haven’t earned a response from Upton, but, hey, it was worth a shot.