Friday, April 24, 2009

Doug Shows' mother was a hamster and his father reeks of elderberries

One of the joys of discussing sports is the infamous “ hates us” argument. Mention Doyle Jackson’s name around Rebel fans and hairs bristle, fists clench, and teeth grit. As far as Rebel Nation is concerned, he’s cost us two games against the Tide, a series in which wins have been ridiculously hard to come by. Today, I’d like name a new “Rebel Hater” that SEC basketball fans will be familiar with: Doug Shows.

(A little background on this topic before we delve into the facts. Shows was my favorite official when I was in school back in the mid-late 90s. I didn’t have the exact numbers then, but it seemed like we won every time he was on the court with us. Now I hope I don’t see him run out of the portal. I didn’t know how right I was until I looked at it by the numbers.)

Let’s break it down by recent “eras” in Ole Miss basketball. I’ll call them our Ascension to Relevance (ATR) (96-97 to 01-02), Barnes After Dukes (BAD) Era (02-03 to 05-06), and the Andy Kennedy Era (06-07 to 08-09). Each era is defined by the success of the team, not a fixed number of years.

The numbers speak for themselves. You can toss out the Shows numbers in the BAD era as everyone kicked our ass in the “hold the ball for 30 seconds and jack up a 3” offense that we ran. It’s the dismal numbers now compared to the ATR era that strike me as interesting.

In the late Evans era and the early Barnes years, Shows was a beautiful sight on the court. We won 90% of the SEC games he officiated, including the 73-69 win over eventual National Champion Kentucky in January 1997, Pitino's final year in Lexington. Home or away, it didn't matter. If Shows was there, we won.

We're winning again, modestly sure, but with a program with as dismal a history as we have, you take it where you can get it. And while Andy Kennedy’s 23-25 SEC record is nothing spectacular, it’s certainly a major improvement from the aforementioned BAD era. What’s puzzling is that AK is winning only 20% of the SEC games Shows officiates, while Barnes won 30.8% in the BAD era, not to mention the 90% clip from earlier. Under AK, the Rebels have won 55.2% of SEC not officiated by Shows.

And it's not that we just lose when Shows shows up. We lose badly. In AK’s 3 years, his Rebels have lost 13 SEC games by 10+ points, and Shows has been on the floor for 7 of them. He also was the lead official in the 32-point drubbing we took in The Pit against New Mexico this year.

So what this all mean? While I can't really put my finger on anything in particular, I have a theory. He's certainly no Curtis Shaw who would call a foul over a shunning face. Nor is he Teddy Valentine who practices the "No Blood, No Foul" mantra on the court. That leaves one conclusion and one conclusion only: Doug Shows is pure, unadulterated evil that must be banished forever from any gym the Rebels are going to play in.

It is my belief that Doug Shows is directly responsible for the knee injuries to Trevor Gaskins, Eneil Polynice, and Chris Warren, the Cincy cabbie incident, Malcolm White transferring, David Huertas jumping ship to play pro ball next year, and possibly the daytime fireworks show.

Even with our departures, the Rebels have a chance to be very good next year. Next year's season ticket packages should offer the chance to donate funds to purchase garlic, holy water, crucifixes, and sharpened stakes to help fortify Tad Smith from any more Shows appearances. While I can't imagine the Rebels will face the same amount of adversity they did this past season, as long as Shows in on the prowl, nobody is safe.

As always, a big tip o' the hat to StatSheet for the ridiculous researchability.

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