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My Wish For Dixon . . . And Why David Letterman Imitated My Pal Chuck

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First and foremost, I obviously hope the Bearcats win their opening round NIT game tonight against Weber State.

 

But almost as much, I hope Dion Dixon has a good game.

 

As frustrated as we all were by Dion's costly mistake at the end of the West Virginia loss in the Big East Tournament, you have to have some sympathy for a 20-year-old kid whose anguished reaction has been replayed approximately one billion times on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and any other ESPN platform that I'm forgetting.

 

Dion Dixon anguish re.JPG 

"You feel terrible for him obviously," Mick Cronin told me.  "In sports, things like that happen - it's an unfortunate thing.  Whether it's a kicker that misses a field goal to win the Super Bowl . . . you don't forget, but things like that happen.  It's over, you have to deal with it and move on."

 

I understand why ESPN kept cutting to Dixon with his head buried in his hands at the end of the game - it was compelling video that summed up a heartbreaking loss better than anything the announcers could say. 

 

There's been abundant analysis of why Dixon got the ball in that situation.  To review, the game was tied at 51 with 6.4 seconds to go when Deonta Vaughn inbounded the ball to Dixon.  Dion was supposed to feed it right back to Vaughn to dribble up the court and try to make a game-winning play.  Instead, Dixon thought that his defender went too far to one side trying to steal the ball, giving him a wide-open path to dribble up the sideline.  The mental mistake of ignoring the intended play was compounded by a physical one when Dion dribbled the ball off of his leg and out-of-bounds with 3.1 seconds remaining. 

 

I asked Coach Cronin on Monday night's radio show to outline what he drew up in the huddle.

 

"Lance was the first option (to receive the inbounds pass) . . . Cashmere was the second option . . . and Dion was the third option.  If you get four guys up there, you're not going to have any space.  Lance was double-teamed and I thought we checked off of Cashmere a little early - because he did break wide-open after a second-and-a-half in reviewing the tape.  But I understand what Deonta was thinking.  When a guy (Dixon) is sprinting up from half-court, he usually has enough room to get open and Deonta thought he was going to be able to get it to him and get the ball right back."

 

Keep in mind that Cincinnati had just used its final time out to avoid a 5-second call, meaning Vaughn undoubtedly felt pressure to get the ball inbounds quickly.

 

"His clock was definitely clicking a little bit faster," Mick said, "and he looked at Cashmere for a second and thought, 'I see Dion running up here, he's going to be open so I'll just throw it to him and get it back.'  They had nobody guarding Deonta in that situation.  But your internal clock is running pretty fast if you're the guy inbounding the basketball, there's no doubt about it.  Things happen - it's a crazy world sometimes.  You feel bad for Dion . . . but the guy didn't have to bank a shot in."

 

TV viewers saw a bunch of replays of Da'Sean Butler's 24-foot game-winning bank deposit, followed by a similar number of replays of Dixon regretting the biggest gaffe of his athletic life.

 

Wouldn't it be great if we saw numerous replays of a great Dion Dixon highlight tonight?

 

* * * * *

 

So the e-mails and texts have been pouring in since last Friday night asking me why David Letterman did a series of Chuck Machock gags throughout his show followed by shots of yours truly laughing hysterically in the audience.

 

If you missed it, you can see the opening monologue at http://tiny.cc/QaRio

 

Here's the untold story.

 

Last year I attended a taping of the Late Show With David Letterman with Bill Koch from the Cincinnati Enquirer and learned that Dave comes out and takes a question or two from the audience before the show begins.

 

Well, I returned last week and was picked to ask a question before Friday's show, so I asked Dave if he would like to join me as a guest color commentator on 700-WLW radio during the Big East basketball tournament.  When Dave started laughing, I told him that I was serious because my broadcast partner Chuck Machock was kicked out of a game once for yelling at the refs and I might need Dave's help if it happened again in New York.

 

Here's a photo of Chuck being escorted off the court by a cop in the 2003 NCAA Tournament game between Cincinnati and Gonzaga.

 

Chuck Gets Tossed re.jpg 

And here's a photo of CBS using a telestrator to point out where my color analyst was supposed to be sitting.


Where's Chuck re.jpg

 

Letterman was amused to learn about Chuck's infamous moment and turned it into a running bit.

 

However, one key segment didn't make the broadcast.  Just before doing the Top 10 list, Dave read a card that explained what happened to Chuck and introduced me in the audience.  I was a little surprised that it got edited out because the whole gag (including numerous shots of a certain bald guy in the crowd) would have made more sense to somebody watching at home.

 

Still, I must admit that it was pretty cool.  And if the Bearcats make it back to New York for the NIT Final Four, Dave has a standing invitation to join us on the broadcast.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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