27.Feb.2010 OSU @ Galen and Tennesse @ Goss
First of all, the basketball team…Jack, a key point you missed is the importance of this game in the overall progress of the program. I think a realistic goal for this season is the NIT. Technically a team doesn’t need a .500 record to qualify, but no sub .500 team has ever qualified since the rule change, so for all intents and purposes the Beavers need to win out.
That means tonight’s game is enormous. In the national picture it’s a blip on the radar, but for this program and the progress they are trying to make, it’s a stepping stone for both next season and respectability. Huge.
We know how poorly the football team performs in these “take the next step” type of games. How will the basketball team fair? I’m not sure. We’re two years into his “presidency”, and I still don’t know enough about Craig Robinson to say if he’ll have the team focused for this type of game. From what I’ve seen, I think he will, but the fact that the game is at the Galen Center makes me nervous. The Trojans, despite having nothing to play for (i.e. for those unaware, the Trojans inflicted self-imposed sanctions and will be barred from post-season play), will not be pushovers. What fascinates me about USC, and makes me respect them greatly, is how hard they have played when they could have packed it in months ago. It’s remarkable, really. They have a better conference record than the Beavers, a 16-11 overall record, and have knocked off some tough teams (e.g. Cal, UCLA) in the past few weeks while annihilating Washington by 25 just over a month ago. Like most teams, the Trojans perform better at home, and the Beavs have been poor on the road. This bodes poorly for the Beavs. And don’t assume the Trojans are just showing up because the game is on their schedule–they want to play tonight, they want to win, and this particular writer thinks they will.
As far as the baseball team, I just want to say that that was an impressive dismantling of Tennessee yesterday. 17-1. Wow. I’ve been watching baseball (mostly MLB) for over 20 years, and one thing I’ve concluded, mostly through empirical observation, is that it’s a sport of averages. It seems like every time I see team x dismantle team y, team x scores no runs the next day. Look for the Beavers to drop this game and score little in the process. Something like 5-1, Vols.
And speaking of the baseball team, what is the deal with Kevin Rhoderick? This is yet another 20 year old machismo knucklehead who thinks he can overpower hitters with his straight as the Marlboro Man fastball. How many guys have to fail with this approach before they have an epiphany, or before coaches teach them the art of movement, location, and change of speeds? Does anyone feel confident with “KRhod” closing games? This guy is the Armando Benitez of college closers.