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Bold Muddy Bust of the Year Goes to the Duke Blue Devils

Column by David Berl
and Jeremy Cohen
Sports Columnists

With the NHL season still in its infancy (almost half way through), we in Mudville present you with our mid-season college hoops awards. Though the talent pool in many of the nations' powerhouse conferences is more shallow than Marla Maples' personality, the season has been exciting and characteristically unpredictable. So, without further ado, we open the envelope, which holds:

Bold Muddy Award No. 1, for the bust of the year, goes to the Duke Blue Devils. Last year's club, starring Grant Hill and Antonio Lang, was just five minutes of hell from the promised land. Now, the Cameron Crazies who could spell both Krzyzewski and Galakiewicz with their faces blue, are unable to spell any word beginning with the letter "W."

The usually infallible Dukies have been horrific, going an astounding 09 in the murderous ACC. Aside from Chief Cherokee Parks and Eric "the" Meek "shall inherit the earth," Duke has less inside talent than most high school teams, and its young guards are about as consistent as the President's political philosophy.

However, Coach K. is not to blame, either for the teams' performance or his illness. After all, watching this pathetic excuse for a Duke basketball team would land even the healthiest coach in the hospital.

Bold Muddy Award No. 2: Pleasant surprise of the year. Though Syracuse and Wake Forest have been impressive, Roy Williams' Kansas club has done the impossible - astonish your humble sports experts in Mudville.

Despite the fact that most normal Americans, a list which obviously does not include Dickey "V is for Vivarin" Vitale, could not pick Kansas "stars" Ray LeFrenz, Jacques Vaughn, and Darrin Hancock out of a police lineup, the Jayhawks have been en fuego.

Bold Muddy Award No. 3: The Hudini award, for disappearing after a strong start, goes to the Florida Gators. Anyone who thought the football team's fourth quarter asphyxiation was amazing must be astonished by the disappearance of college basketball's biggest star, Dmitri "I'm bigger than Bunker" Hill.

The same, lean, mean, 360 pound scoring machine who led the Gators to the Final Four last March has been invisible to everyone but the hamburger-flippers at the local Burger King. To make matters worse, the usually dependable Andrew "F.W." DeClerque has fallen apart like a bad robot in 26-100.

Finally, the Gators guards have been atrocious, as long range gunner Dan Cross couldn't hit water if he fell into a Floridian swamp. The Gators and coach Lon Kruger are in big trouble and need any talent they can find - apparently, MIT integration bee champion Eugene Shuster '96 has been called to help the hapless Gators with their mental toughness.

Bold Muddy Award No. 4: Conference of the year.

Even Jimmy Boeheim knows the sport well enough to know that the ACC coasts to this Muddy. The best team in the nation, North Carolina, should win the ACC, but the conference's true strength lies in its incredible depth.

Unbelievably, the ACC has no less than five teams who could make runs at the Final Four. Along with Carolina, Maryland has a chance to visit the big dance, with Exree "replacement" Hipp and Joe Smith leading the way. Wake Forest, with the inside/outside combination of Tim Duncan and Randolph Childress, has been ignored by the national press, but every basketball fan on Tobacco Road knows how dangerous the Deacons will be come March.

Lastly, James "Redwood" Forrest and Travis "no nickname needed" Best have led Bobby Cremins and his silver toupee to a tremendous campaign. Other impressive teams, including North Carolina State and Clemson, have shown the ability to turn the whole Atlantic Coast into upset City, and if Duke ever gets its Meek machine out of Park(s), the conference will become even better.

Bold Muddy Award No. 5: Diaper Dandy of the Year.

Though this year's freshman class is replete with talented players, the nod here goes to Georgetown guard Allen Iverson.

Despite John Thompson's proven inability to coach offensive talent, Iverson has lived up to his billing as a brash, tough, and athletic scorer. Almost single-handedly, Iverson has revived Georgetown's proud tradition.

Unfortunately for the former product of the criminal injustice system, teammates Othella "I love Desdemona" Harrington and Jean Jacques couldn't find the bucket with a road map, and the Hoyas' bench would put even Dicky V. to sleep. Otherwise, Georgetown would contend with UConn and Syracuse in the revitalized Big East.

Finally, we present Bold Muddy No. 6: Player of the Year.

This year, there is no clear winner, as Michigan State's Shawn Respert, Maryland Joe Smith, and Syracuse's Lawrence "poetry in" Moten are all having tremendous campaigns. However, one giant overshadows all of these stars, and we here in Mudville would like to give this PTPer (Prime Time Player) the award, despite the fact that his college days are over.

Yes, Tree Rollins never received the credit he deserved while in college, and now, since he is a shoe-in for the NBA MVP award, we feel that this man-child (or man-elder) should become the first man to win both awards in the same year. After all, how many other collegiates could even hope to drive Greg "go fly a" Kite out of Orlando?

Though America's pastime has reached an all time low and is now depending on a beleaguered President and Congress to solve its problem, another sport which was thriving just a few short years ago seems even more desperate for a lift.

The tennis world, which boasted personalities like McEnroe, Connors, Evert, and Navratilova, now has less colorful stars than a cloudy night. The world's best player, Pete Sampras, has neither appeal nor charisma. The popular Boris Becker has lost his drive, and Andre Agassi has chosen to create a more mundane image and pursue a malpractice suit against his barber.

This June, as Bud Collins, annoying voice and all, brings us strawberries and cream from Wimbledon, the emotion and vitality which tennis once possessed will be gone, and there is nothing that President Clinton, or even Prince Chuck, can do to help this wonderful sport.

Last week's question stumped all of our readers, except for Bart Williams G, who knew that when a baseball player purloins a hassock, he steals a base.

This week's question comes from the aformentioned world of tennis. When Boris Becker became the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon, at age 17, who were his semi-final and final opponents? Send answers to: bell@mit.edu.

Speaking of "trivia", and we use that word loosely, we in Mudville would like to provide our readers with a list of every commisioner in baseball's storied past.

They are: Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, Ford C. Frick, William "Spike" Eckert, Bowie Kuhn, Peter V. Ueberroth, A. Bartlett Giamatti, and of course, Fay Vincent.