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Ben Smith

Associated Press
You could watch Purdue play football a couple times, if you have a strong stomach.

Things you can do if NBA has to cancel some games

So the word has come down from David Stern, and it’s not a good word, especially if you’re the tens of fans – or at least that one guy living in his mom’s basement in Keokuk, Iowa – who regard November pro buckets as the absolute Van Gogh of sporting experiences.

If the NBA’s owners and players don’t reach an agreement by Monday, Stern says, Guy In Keokuk will lose the first two weeks of the NBA regular season. Sad but true.

Sadder still is you can probably make book on that already, considering the two sides are currently so far apart they make Barack Obama and Michele Bachmann look like drinking buddies. The owners are still offering the players a 47 percent cut of all basketball-related revenue, up (marginally) from 46 percent. The players, who currently rake in 56 percent of the take, have come down to 53 percent. The Grand Canyon’s a pothole compared with that gulf.

So where does that leave you, Mr. It’s-November-And-I-Want-My-D-Wade?

Well, I’ve got a few ideas, having looked at what’s happening between Nov. 1 (when the NBA season is scheduled to start) and two weeks later:

1. You could watch Purdue play football a couple times, if you have a strong stomach.

That’s because the Boilers are at Wisconsin on Nov. 5 and home to Ohio State on Nov. 12. Children under 12 are advised to stay home.

2. You could, as a bonus, squeeze in an Indiana game, too.

The Hoosiers journey to Columbus on Nov. 5. See above.

3. Oh, and Notre Dame is at Wake Forest and Maryland.

Get an early start on wondering, “Why the (bleep) is Notre Dame playing Wake Forest? At Wake Forest?”

4. And, of course, there’s always the NFL.

Or the Colts. Take your pick.

5. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be down to the last three races.

No NBA will free up plenty of extra time to mail Jimmie Johnson: A) a black cat; B) a broken mirror; C) a ladder; or D) all of the above.

Not that you’d want anything to get in the way of him winning his 37th straight title or anything.

6. Get an early start on planning that big Thanksgiving feast.

Pumpkin pie. Cornbread dressing. A turkey the size of the Hindenburg. And a Lions team that – Finally! At long last! – won’t double as the aforementioned.

7. Get an even earlier start on your Christmas shopping.

A sweater for Dad. A poinsettia for Mom. An autographed photo of Ronnie (Sunshine) Bass from “Remember the Titans” for his doppelganger, Curtis Painter. A new magazine cover for Mr. GQ, Mark Sanchez.

I hear “Mad” might be interested.

And last but not least …

8. BCS polls No. 4 and 5 will be released.

Now that you’re freed from calculating LeBron’s points-to-minutes ratio in that all-important Week 1 of the NBA season, you’ll have oodles of time to figure out how to get Army ranked No. 1 – thereby blowing the entire rotten BCS to kingdom come and earning the undying gratitude of every true fan of college football.

Get on it, Keokuk.

Ben Smith has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1986. His columns appear four times a week. He can be reached by email at; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648 or at the "Ben Smith" topic of "The Board" at