Thursday, November 16, 2006

900 Foot Tall Jesus

The buzz around many a water cooler this morning centers on Oral Roberts' shocking win in Lawrence, Kansas, over the highly touted Jayhawks. Now, in most cases, an upset like this is chalked up (pun intended) to an anomaly of some sort. Like, say, a sophomore named Marchello Vealy going Bonkers fruit candy from Threeland. The giant fruit just kept dropping on the Jayhawks as he drained his first SEVEN treys and finished 7-8 for the game. This from a guy who was only 1-13 from downtown all of last season. This makes one wonder if something more than statistical anomaly was at play here. Maybe something supernatural was at work for ORU; maybe it was 900 Foot Tall Jesus redux.

The namesake of Oral Roberts U. was a popular television evangelist in the 1980s. Oral Roberts founded the university in 1963, but it was not until 1977 that he met 900 Foot Tall Jesus. It was then that Roberts claimed that he had a vision of Jesus, all 900 feet of him, that told him to build a "City of Faith." Roberts opened his City of Faith medical center in 1981. Then, in 1986, Roberts said that God had told him:

"I want you to use the ORU medical school to put My medical presence in the earth. I want you to get this going in one year or I will call you home [meaning, he would die]. It will cost $8 million and I want you to believe you can raise it."
By April of 1987, Roberts supporters has sent in $9.1 million to simultaneously build this medical school and save Oral's life. But, in November, Roberts shut down the medical center and the medical school at ORU, leading to massive criticism of Roberts and accusations of financial chicanery.

So, did Marchello Vealy see a 900 Foot Tall Jesus before the game in Lawrence? We may never know. But more likely, this is ORU making good on a stockpile of talent. Ken Tutt and Caleb Green are tough, seasoned seniors with talent. Vealy had a great night, but ORU has been a good team for several years. This is merely one of those November games to savor when a lesser known, veteran club took down a powerhouse program built on youthful future pro's.

But, we are watching you, Mr. Vealy.

Last Night's GOI
--Georgetown 86, at Vanderbilt 70. Hoyas somewhat validate their lofty status with a win in a tough venue.
--at UCLA 82, BYU 69. The Cougars led by three at half before UCLA turned it on in half #2.
--Nevada 75, at Oregon State 47. No sweat for the 'Pack. They look strong again this season.
--Air Force 79, at Stanford 45. A surgical offensive performance by AFA.
--Kansas State 55, at Rutgers 41. Two middling Big Six schools looking to establish early momentum.
--at North Carolina 73, Winthrop 66. Once again, Winthrop looks poised to send some 3/4 seed into a clammy sweat on Selection Sunday.

Tonight's GOI
--St. John's vs Maryland. Let's see if the Terps are as good as they looked in College Park.
--Texas vs Michigan State. Both of these teams lost a lot from last season. A win here helps them get their footing.