THE JON ROTHSTEIN ALMANAC: 2016-2017

THE JON ROTHSTEIN ALMANAC: 2016-2017

Jon Rothstein is my favorite person.

No one cares as much about anything as Jon Rothstein cares about college basketball. He has watched more basketball this week than I have watched in my life. He knows more about the NEC than anyone with a national byline should ever know, and it’s very cool. Some of his takes are bad (THE GRADUATE TRANSFER APOCALYPSE) but some of them are, actually, very good. I respect the hell out of him.

Also, he’s bad at Twitter.

For the uninitiated, Jon Rothstein will tweet the same metaphor about a team/coach/program/player roughly a billion times. I’ve gone over in my head why exactly this is true. I hope that at this point he is self parodying. More likely, he’s just so sold on these metaphors being good that he thinks that tweeting them for the 800th time is actually good. I can relate because my online brand consists of roughly two jokes just repurposed for different scenarios and it’s fun.

Rodger Sherman wrote about ROTHSTEINISMS™ last year, focusing on basically 5 tropes: “So much ___ in ___,” “Death, taxes, ___,” “This is March,” “Where the unexpected becomes the ordinary,” and a Shakespeare quote.

These are but the tip of the iceberg.

Odds are, if Jon Rothstein has tweeted something, he’s tweeted it many times before. Consider this piece to be edition one of the almanac of Rothstein. 2016 saw the birth of many wonderful Rothsteinisms and the reemergence of many more. I won’t be including every instance of every ROTHSTEINISM™ because the internet does not have the storage space to hold that much data.

Lord help us all.

“Stay hungry, stay humble.”

Jon Rothstein begins every day Online by tweeting this quote. It is the OG ROTHSTEINISM™ and should be respected as such.

This is the first time Rothstein ever tweeted the now famous phrase. However, it wouldn’t become a daily phrase until June of that year.

For the better part of 4 years now, Jon Rothstein has tweeted out the same quote virtually every day. The dedication is remarkable.

FIRST USED: January, 2012
TIMES USED: Incalculable, at least 1,000
STATUS: Active

“The door is open for Elijah”

I do not know who Elijah is. I found this trope by accident. It’s true that Rothstein uses the phrase “the door is open” really frequently but so does everyone else. For some reason though, in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the door was specifically open for “Elijah.” Apparently, this is a reference to Kansas point guard Elijah Johnson while combining it with a Cup of Elijah reference. A deep cut, and a good one.

FIRST USED: March, 2012
TIMES USED: 3
CURRENT STATUS: Retired

“Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits”

After his daily “stay hungry, stay humble,” Rothstein tweets an inspirational quote. One of his favorites, is this one from Thomas Edison.

FIRST USED: November, 2010
TIMES USED: 65.
CURRENT STATUS: Active

“This is only _____”

This is one that has only made the lexicon once the more familiar “This is March” was popularized and spread across the internet. College basketball is a wild sport, not just in March, and thus, Jon Rothstein has changed his go-to phrase to fit with the times.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 8
STATUS: Active

“College basketball NEVER disappoints”

It might be a hair early to call this a ROTHSTEINISM™, but I’m willing to pull the trigger on it. Two uses, including the all caps “NEVER,” within the last few weeks including a high engagement tweet makes me think we’re going to see this a lot more. It’s in beta testing for now.

FIRST USED: December, 2016
TIMES USED: 2
STATUS: In development

“Omaha. Somewhere in Middle America.”

Another 2016 ROTHSTEINISM™. Creighton is in Omaha. Which, in case you were unaware, is somewhere in Middle America.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 6
STATUS: Active

“Virginia Basketball. A Thing of Beauty.”

This is the biggest lie ever propagated. Virginia basketball is ugly as sin and scoring 50 points and winning should not ever be normalized. But, hey, if watching paint dry is your thing…

FIRST USED: February, 2015
TIMES USED: 31
STATUS: Active

“Palpable Buzz”

There’s a case to be made for including “Palpable buzz” on the Rothstein Mt. Rushmore, right next to “This is March” and “Death, Taxes.” It’s been used for five years with alarming frequency. This is also one of the phrases that is probably being self-parodied at this point.

FIRST USED: December, 2011
TIMES USED: 189
STATUS: Active

“Chris Mack: Stone Cold”

Stone Cold Steven Austin apparently has nothing on Chris Mack, who is stone cold.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 8
STATUS: Active

“This is college basketball folks.”

A variant off the “This is March” theme, but different enough to deserve its own spot. Folks,,.

FIRST USED: November, 2015
TIMES USED: 20
STATUS: Active

“Villanova is like a Fortune 500 Company. It runs itself.”

I’m not sure how true this is, but I’m pretty sure that Elizabeth Holmes could run IBM into the ground in, like, 7 months.

FIRST USED: November, 2015
TIMES USED: 13
STATUS: Active

“Change is the law of life.”

Another “Quote of the Day” special, with one exception.

FIRST USED: December, 2014
TIMES USED: 18
STATUS: Active

“There are many ways of going forward…”

QOTD addition.

FIRST USED: August, 2016
TIMES USED: 4
STATUS: Active

“The epitome of brutality”

Lose a game where you paid a team to come and take you on? Buddy.

FIRST USED: October, 2015
TIMES USED: 34
STATUS: Active

“Greg Gard: Silent Assassin”

My favorite assassins are the ones who scream into their phone and wear a suit of metal armor.

FIRST USED: February, 2016
TIMES USED: 16
STATUS: Active

“More life altering than a 10-day trip to Europe.”

Jon really likes VCU home games.

FIRST USED: February, 2016
TIMES USED: 9
STATUS: Active

“Fills mortar between bricks”

In development this season. Stay tuned.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 2
STATUS: In development

“Blame nobody. Expect nothing. Do something.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: November, 2014
TIMES USED: 15
STATUS: Active

Angel Delgado is actually Jerry Seinfeld

Double-doubles are like residual checks.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 4
STATUS: Active

“No other words are needed”

See above.

FIRST USED: December, 2014
TIMES USED: 9
STATUS: Active

“Victory is in the struggle.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: September, 2011
TIMES USED: 94
STATUS: Active

Gary Clark is a problem

It’s a compliment.

FIRST USED: January, 2015
TIMES USED: 13
STATUS: Active

“Never miss the opportunity to say nothing.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: February, 2013
TIMES USED: 59
STATUS: Active

“West Virginia basketball. Tougher than a long weekend at your in-laws.”

#PRESSVIRGINIA

FIRST USED: January, 2016
TIMES USED: 20
STATUS: Active

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: April, 2016
TIMES USED: 8
STATUS: Active

Deveptively old.

I really don’t get this one.

FIRST USED: January, 2016
TIMES USED: 3
STATUS: Active

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.”

Jon is a big Frank Ocean Guy.

FIRST USED: September, 2015
TIMES USED: 11
STATUS: Active

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: April, 2015
TIMES USED: 11
STATUS: Active

The Butler Way.

Looking at the new pithy Butler-ism.

FIRST USED: December, 2016
TIMES USED: 2
STATUS: In development

“Lonzo Ball is like the The Godfather Epic.”

You forget a third of it ever happened?

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 4
STATUS: Active

“Good health is the most important thing. More than success, more than money, more than power.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: August, 2014
TIMES USED: 21
STATUS: Active

“And here we go.”

[Very Heath Ledger Joker voice]

FIRST USED: February, 2010
TIMES USED: 75
STATUS: Active

“The brighter the lights, the darker the shadows.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: January, 2016
TIMES USED: 14
STATUS: Active

Appointment Television

Lots of teams have earned the distinction.

FIRST USED: February, 2015
TIMES USED: 18
STATUS: Active

“If people are going out of their way to tell you what you’re doing wrong then you’re doing a lot of things right.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: January, 2016
TIMES USED: 12
STATUS: Active

“I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.”

QOTD and probably the most ironic thing ever tweeted.

FIRST USED: August, 2016
TIMES USED: 5
STATUS: Active

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: January, 2015
TIMES USED: 22
STATUS: Active

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: July, 2016
TIMES USED: 7
STATUS: Active

“The epitome of efficiency”

Much like the epitome of brutality, but good.

FIRST USED: January, 2014
TIMES USED: 14
STATUS: Active

“The will to win is useless without the will to prepare to win.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: April, 2012
TIMES USED: 13
STATUS: Active

“Leopards don’t change their spots.”

This one might be unfair, but I’m not really sure Rothstein ever uses the phrase quite right.

FIRST USED: February, 2011
TIMES USED: 4
STATUS: Active

“Work ethic eliminates fear.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: October, 2015
TIMES USED: 20
STATUS: Active

“Without struggle, there is no progress.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: May, 2013
TIMES USED: 33
STATUS: Active

“TSA Precheck. Life altering.”

Can confirm.

FIRST USED: July, 2014
TIMES USED: 33
STATUS: Active

Bryant McIntosh = Aaron Craft

Two pass first, white point guards. First time I’ve heard that comparison.

FIRST USED: December, 2015
TIMES USED: 3
STATUS: Active

Emptying the chamber in to Georgia Tech

I’m not sure what it is, but Jon Rothstein is not nice to Georgia Tech. All preseason he was singing the praises of all the teams he saw and then did this to Georgia Tech.

It wasn’t the end of it. Even the nice things he says have more than a tinge of backhanded-ness to them.

Keep an eye on it.

FIRST USED: October, 2016
TIMES USED: 2? 3? Hard to say.
STATUS: Dormant?

“Arduous” tasks/slates

The default “this team has a tough schedule” descriptor.

FIRST USED: October, 2012
TIMES USED: 20
STATUS: Active

Brent Stover is not on Twitter.

FYI.

FIRST USED: December, 2015
TIMES USED: 15
STATUS: Active

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: May, 2015
TIMES USED: 8
STATUS: Active

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: September, 2015
TIMES USED: 13
STATUS: Active

“No words.”

Pretty much.

FIRST USED: June, 2014
TIMES USED: 15
STATUS: Active

Noted Stock Broker Jon Rothstein

In all seriousness, his hit rate is really good.

FIRST USED: December, 2012
TIMES USED: 31
STATUS: Active

Mr. Intangibles

A new man has taken the crown.

FIRST USED: June, 2013
TIMES USED: 3
STATUS: Active

Flat out studs.

Featuring some guys.

FIRST USED: February, 2011
TIMES USED: 6
STATUS: Active

“Whatever “it” is, he has.”

Still feel like this is missing a word.

FIRST USED: December, 2015
TIMES USED: 5
STATUS: Active

“More focused than Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive.”

Rothstein was ready to go all in on this one but then Rhode Island went and got hurt/bad.

FIRST USED: November, 2016
TIMES USED: 2
STATUS: Retired

Don’t bet against Mike Brey.

Otherwise you’ll get your head kicked in.

FIRST USED: July, 2016
TIMES USED: 3
STATUS: Active

Summon Colonel Jessup

IT’S A CODE RED

FIRST USED: January, 2011
TIMES USED: 9
STATUS: Active

“The dogs bark, but the caravan marches on.”

QOTD.

FIRST USED: January, 2014
TIMES USED: 68
STATUS: Active

Your favorite team/coach is a Rubik’s Cube

The reasons why change.

FIRST USED: August, 2013
TIMES USED: 10
STATUS: Active

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”

QOTD.

FIST USED: March, 2015
TIMES USED: 7
STATUS: Active

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All Quiet on the Maryland Shore

All Quiet on the Maryland Shore

Across the world, there are spots of earth that have witnessed incredible, mechanic levels of death and destruction. In valleys long since gone quiet, if you listen closely enough, you can still hear the gunshots. If you pay close enough attention, you can still smell the smoke.

On a field in a otherwise unremarkable Pennsylvania town, thousands of men in gray stretched a mile wide to advance three-quarters of a mile towards an impregnable line of artillery and muskets. Across Italy and Northern Africa, Romans and Carthaginians cut each other to shreds. And in the Crimea, a band of some 600 cavalrymen were sent on a frontal assault against heavy artillery, all because someone misinterpreted an order.

There is a tendency to ascribe meaning to these encounters, to speak of the heroism and the unflinching bravery of the men sent into hopeless situations. But there’s a reason this refrain from “The Charge of the Light Brigade” stands out from the rest of the poem:

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.

Because there is no nobility in throwing human death and suffering at a lost cause. Ascribing meaning to being torn asunder by a hailstorm of lead obscurers the utter banality. Those walking beneath the stars and bars on that July morning, those Romans who first realized they had been encircled at Cannae, those 600 cavalrymen riding through that valley in Balaclava all had one thing in common: they were about to die for the crime of following ill informed orders.

Some defeats are achieved through poor planning. Some poor strategy. Some bad luck. But the hardest to accept are those where the gulf in strength is too vast for any amount of strategy or skill to overcome. Someone high up on the chain of command looked at the overwhelming force standing across from their beleaguered group and thought “Aye, forward it is then.”


Bluefield State women’s basketball went 2-23 last season in Division II. Five times they lost by fifty or more points. They were doubled-up more times than they won. They averaged 27 turnovers a game. They averaged just 19 made field goals a game. Bluefield State is a phenomenally interesting school. A Historically Black College that is now 90% white, there is a great deal about the school other than it’s basketball program that warrants discussion. But unfortunately, this is not the time nor the place, because Bluefield State was placed directly underneath the treads of a behemoth.

Maryland women’s basketball went 31-4 last season. They return from that team the best player in the Big Ten Conference, the best center in the conference, and the best three-point specialist in the conference. They also added five top-100 recruits, the best class in the entire nation. With such a glut of talent and few mouths to feed, every Terrapin outside of the major stars will be fighting for playing time throughout the season. They are a hungry and fiendishly talented group. And they are coached by a monster.

Brenda Freese probably does not care if you live or die. Brenda Freese probably does not care about much of anything that isn’t the 28.5-inch sphere and the 4700 square feet of hardwood on which that sphere bounces. Brenda Freese wins basketball games three times more often than she loses them, and she usually wins by a lot of points. To her, opponents are nothing more than folding chairs with jerseys draped on them. No matter what, Maryland will run its sets, run its press, and keep scoring until the final buzzer sounds. They will break you. And then they will get ready to do it again.

Bluefield State accepted Maryland’s invitation to play an exhibition game, probably for the paycheck it promised. Then it sent its players into the Somme armed with a butter knife and hide armor doused in gasoline.

Bluefield State has two non-freshmen on its roster.

Maryland has two All-Americans.

Bluefield State has ten players on its roster.

Maryland has more than ten top-100 recruits on its roster.

There was never any hope. Hope got hit by a cannonball before the charge even started.

The box score reads like a description of eternal punishment in a circle of Dante’s Inferno. Maryland closed the game on a 78-0 run. Bluefield State didn’t score for the entire second half of the game. Bluefield State had more turnovers (51) than field goal attempts and foul shots combined (39). It was a beatdown of biblical proportions. Three different Terrapins outscored the entire Bluefield State roster. Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 20 points. In 13 minutes.

Brenda Freese looked across the hellish landscape she had created on that floor in College Park. And it was good.  The bodies were laid waste in front of her affirmed her. She picked a virginal target to test the power of the doomsday weapon she wields. She received a haunting answer. And it was good.


Somewhere in the maelstrom of Under Armour insignias and crimson, there was Bluefield State’s Maggie Tien. Her teammates were a cataclysm of failure scattered around her. Her running mate Rosalie Pozo turned the ball over 10 times en route to a plus/minus of -159. Knee deep in the carcasses of her comrades, Maggie Tien, just a freshman on a Division II team from West Virginia, was elevated to the role of a superstar. She scored 11 points on an entirely respectable 4/11 shooting performance. She turned it over just three times. She stayed out of foul trouble. She belonged amongst the team of immortals across from her. She ascended.

Yet on the whole of the Bluefield State website, there is no evidence she even saw the court. It was a Herculean effort that will be soon buried by the sands of time. Because there is no nobility in being torn apart in pursuit of a hopeless cause.