Diary of an Oxford Scuzz

first_imgTerm off to a bad start, as whilst diving into the porter’s lodge, bod card in teeth and skirting parents clutching fresher offspring to their chests, Pert’n’Perky (my tute partner and nemesis) leapt out from behind the pidges to flash her gleaming mega-watt smile in my face.Still sensitive after an alcohol-fuelled party the previous night, I reeled a little.”Darling,” she cooed, her cavernous cleavage serving as a magnet to the eyes of all fresher boys in the vicinity, “How was your holiday? Oh, poor thing, you haven’t picked up a tan at all, have you! My holiday reading didn’t take too long. Zipped through the Faerie Queene in a couple of days to be honest…”Pricked with slight pangs of guilt about the pile of books that had lain stuffed in my wardrobe all summer, I looked for a distraction and immediately found it, in golden and muscled glory.Bounding through the entrance to the porter’s lodge, accompanied by neither luggage nor parents, a fresher male of such stunning good looks made even Pert’n’Perky lose the thread a bit.”Um, yes… Spenser… easy really…” she murmured, as we gazed open-mouthed at this demi-god who had unexpectedly been placed among us.”God bless gap years,” I breathed, as the bronzed apparition, who surely could only have attained such a hue in a country far, far away, turned to face us.”Hi,” he grinned a melting smile, “Do either of you know the way to staircase 8?”As I opened my mouth to answer, calamity struck.My parents careered round the corner, triumphantly brandishing a bottle of wine and calling my name. The porter yelled, “Who else needs keys?” and the parents rushed forward, cajoling their offspring with “Come on, you’re at Oxford now, show some bloody initiative…” In a sequence that seemed to unfold in tragic, unstoppable motion, one father, with a rather too enthusiastic shove to his daughter’s shoulder, sent her cannoning towards my mother, who drew the eyes of the quad upon her with a shriek of indignation and heavily tripped off one, stiletto-shod foot, staggering into my father. With a loud oath, he let go of the bottle of red wine, sending it tumbling onto Pert’n’Perky’s foot, where it shattered in a smash of shards and crimson.Amongst my injured tute partner’s screams, my father’s apologies, the porter’s swearing and the nudgings of the freshers, I turned to the boy who I had been certain of securing as my future spouse.”Second staircase on your left,” I said hoarsely, as the wails of Pert’n’Perky echoed round the quad.last_img read more

Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 74-70 loss to North Carolina State

first_imgMarkell Johnson’s 3-pointer froze Jim Boeheim. It gave North Carolina State a three-point lead with 33.4 seconds locked on the clock. The Wolfpack held on, handing Syracuse its seventh loss in conference and ending its two-game win streak.In a matchup of two NCAA Tournament bubble teams with nearly identical resumes, Syracuse (17-9, 6-7 Atlantic Coast) fell to North Carolina State (17-9, 7-6), 74-70. On Wednesday night inside the Carrier Dome, the Orange entered the game winners of two straight, while NCSU lost in its previous outing to No. 14 North Carolina. The Wolfpack has beaten North Carolina (road), Duke (home) and Clemson (home) this season, which would have given weight to an SU win.Freshman forward Oshae Brissett led Syracuse with 25 points in front of 21,125 fans. The Orange dropped a winnable home game with five games remaining on the schedule, three of which are against opponents ranked in the Top 25.Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game.Bubble implicationsWednesday night’s game featured a pair of middle-of-the-pack ACC teams fighting for NCAA Tournament eligibility. Both teams could go dancing. Both may not. Or, only one of them could. But one thing became slightly clearer: Syracuse has made it more difficult to play in the Tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange is predicted to lose each of its remaining five games, according to Kenpom.com. Some NCAA Tournament projection brackets include Syracuse, while others do not. The final five games will be telling, of course, but Wednesday’s loss is significant. Mainly, because it came at home.N.C. State has a top-five offense in the ACC, scoring 80.9 points per game entering Wednesday. Four players average double-digit scoring and nine players typically play every night. That depth aided in NCSU’s attack, which handed SU a tough loss.Next up for Syracuse is a trip to Miami this weekend, followed by UNC and Duke in a four-day span. Boston College and Clemson round out the Orange’s remaining games.Matthew Moyer’s moveBefore tipoff, Syracuse’s redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer jogged out to the hoop like the rest of his teammates. Except Moyer did not play Sunday because of lingering pain from the high-ankle sprain he sustained Jan. 24 against Boston College. Moyer wore a protective boot on his left ankle during SU’s victory over Wake Forest last weekend, and his status was unclear.The 6-foot-8 forward who started Syracuse’s first 20 games warmed up with no boot. It was clear that he did not have full strength in his ankle, but he logged productive minutes for SU. He finished with eight points and a handful of quality defensive plays. Over his previous three games off the bench, Moyer had played 34 minutes and scored just two points. Head coach Jim Boeheim made clear that he would not be back in the starting lineup anytime soon, given his lack of contribution to the SU offense. Wednesday he reversed that.With 8:30 left, he drove to what appeared to be an opening in the paint but threw the ball to NCSU, whose Allerik Freeman converted a three-point play at the other end. Junior center Paschal Chukwu entered for Moyer, who was given a round of applause. He re-entered at the four-minute mark, with SU trailing by five.His emergence Wednesday, however slight, offers an idea of what he could add to Syracuse’s depleted frontcourt. Freshman Bourama Sidibe is battling tendinitis, and he has struggled in conference play after a fairly promising first month and a half. Chukwu has been up and down. Freshman Marek Dolezaj has been the lone consistent player on both ends of the floor inside the paint.Achilles arcThe 3-point shot has been Syracuse’s Achilles heel the past two games. Sunday in a near-comeback, Wake Forest drilled six 3-pointers because of a late adjustment in response to one Syracuse had made. The Demon Deacons hit 10 of their 23 long balls to account for 30 of their 70 points.But WFU scored only 18 points inside. That’s why Boeheim has said it’s not an issue if teams hit 3s but don’t score well inside. When teams can beat the zone via the 3 and inside, that hurts, Boeheim said.Down the stretch, NCSU’s Sam Hunt hit back-to-back 3s in front of his own bench. The latter stretched the Wolfpack’s lead to seven with 2:20 remaining. Brissett answered with a 3 of his own, but then NCSU hit the dagger. Johnson drilled back-to-back corner 3s to give NCSU the victory. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 14, 2018 at 11:20 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

The Summer of the Free Agent: Four big NBA storylines to follow

first_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs PreviousMilwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton (22) drives between Los Angeles Clippers’ Jerome Robinson (10) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors speaks with Stephen Curry #30 at the end of the first half against the LA Clippers during Game Six of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsGolden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) brings the ball up as Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends during the first half of Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Friday, June 7, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets and Team Giannis reacts against Team Lebron in the second half during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley (21) is defended by Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton (22) drives between Los Angeles Clippers’ Jerome Robinson (10) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)NextShow Caption1 of 6Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)ExpandThe Raptors are champions, Anthony Davis is (almost officially) a Laker, and the Pelicans have drafted perhaps the most exciting rookie to enter the league in years.June has been a tumultuous, power-shifting month for the NBA. Next month is only likely to shake things up even more.This summer’s free agency, which has an earlier 3 p.m. start time on June 30, is expected to be perhaps the most consequential movement of talent the league has ever seen. An estimated 40 percent of all players are on the market, either as restricted or unrestricted free agents, or with options on their contracts. As Golden State’s long shadow over the NBA has diminished, teams are attempting to rise from the fray. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers might have made the big play of the offseason so far in trading for Davis, but a lot more moves could be happening. Here are some of the biggest storylines to follow around the NBA:SUNSET FOR THE WARRIORS?The most shocking development of the offseason might have been in the Finals themselves, when both Kevin Durant (Achilles rupture) and Klay Thompson (ACL tear) suffered injuries that are liable to keep them out for most or all of next season. Even if everything goes right for the Warriors this summer, and they keep their stars, they’ll be far over the salary cap and will have a Steph Curry and Draymond Green-led squad next season that should be far less dominant than they’ve been.This is driving up opportunism for other teams, especially in the Western Conference, to make big moves to supplement existing cores, or in the Lakers’ case, create an entirely new foundation that should compete in the playoffs.Thompson is widely believed to be a lock for re-signing in Golden State. Durant was expected to leave before the injury – it’s unclear how his forthcoming rehabilitation will affect his judgment, if at all. But there’s a very good chance that a run of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances and three titles during that window is over, or at least will be disrupted for next season.WHERE WILL LEONARD GO?No one’s stock might be higher than Kawhi Leonard’s right now, as the 27-year-old is coming off his second Finals MVP award, a championship in a new city, and is in the midst of his career prime. While he still missed a bunch of games last year due to load management with his mysterious quad injury, his tenure in Toronto proved he’s worth that risk. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions The Irving issue has also muddled Boston, which is now bracing to lose both Irving and Al Horford, both multiple All-Star players. While they still have a young group that they’ve built around, they could be taking a step back next season after last year’s roster was rife with chemistry flaws.Another leading Eastern contender, Philadelphia, has to make a crucial decision on how to pay Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris or both. Both are widely considered max or near-max players this summer.BIG MONEY FOR BIT PLAYERSOnce you get past the major players in this class of free agents, which also includes Kemba Walker, Nikola Vucevic and Khris Middleton, you start reaching a supporting cast of characters who will nonetheless command big money. The Milwaukee Bucks, two wins away from a Finals berth last month, will have to find money for Brook Lopez (unrestricted) and Malcolm Brogdon (restricted). Helpful players on other contenders, such as Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick, Toronto’s Danny Green and the Clippers’ Patrick Beverly might be subject to some bidding wars as many contenders look for shooting and backcourt help.Expect to hear someone from a more under-the-radar group, such as Indiana’s Thaddeus Young or Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu, land a nice payday. There are also going to be several players who will seek more money or new roles elsewhere, such as DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan and Ricky Rubio – though their value on the market is subject to interpretation.It will be an interesting year for restricted free agents: Players such as Russell and Brogdon could receive big offer sheets from other teams. Others such as Kelly Oubre (Phoenix) and Terry Rozier (Boston) will see what their value is.center_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers The Raptors would certainly like to have him back, and Toronto has made its case in the last week of celebration with parades, hosting Leonard at local events and showering him with gratitude. Many see the Raptors as having the pieces to keep contending around Leonard, who will draw a max contract this summer.The question no one truly knows the answer to is how great the draw of home could be for the Riverside nativee. The Clippers have made strong, yet understated, plays for him, and billboards are reportedly going up around town next week. The Lakers don’t currently project to have the cap space to pay Leonard, but they’d likely try to make a pitch if they can manipulate their roster and make the room. Leonard’s inscrutable signals make it a tough read on what he might do, but wherever he goes, he could create a title favorite.BIG QUESTIONS IN THE EASTThe New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have positioned themselves to cash in on big free agents this summer, but both are being haunted by uncertainty. For the Knicks, who missed out on Zion Williamson despite having the league’s worst record, signing Durant doesn’t make quite the immediate splash they once hoped for, and it’s unclear if they could land a second piece. The Nets are having a similar problem: Kyrie Irving is strongly rumored to favor Brooklyn, but the New York Post is among those reporting that the team is debating internally whether it would be more cost-efficient to retain All-Star D’Angelo Russell if Irving can’t also draw a second star.Related Articleslast_img read more