04.Dec.2011 Montana @ Oregon State

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JackBeav

Montana has had a weird season thus far. But I looked a little closer, and I think I understand what’s happening with this team.

I watched their game against North Dakota, and I was surprised at how poorly the Griz protected the ball against pressure. Wayne Tinkle’s teams aren’t usually that sloppy, and they just couldn’t hold on to the ball whenever they were challenged.

Their defense last year was based on junior G Will Cherry’s (6’1″) aggressive perimeter skills backed by Brian Qvale and fellow big Derek Selvig (7’0″) in the paint. But Qvale was the meat in that dish, and he’s gone. Selvig looks to do much of what he did last year by stepping out to try to block or alter shots, and that leaves him in poor position for defensive boards. Cleaning the glass was Qvale’s job, and now it’s left to senior SF Art Steward (6’4″) and soph PF Eric Hutchison (6’9″). And it seems that Stewart is the more proficient rebounder. Soph G/F Kareem Jamar (6’5″) provides some spark to the offense, but his defensive skills are a little shaky in man.

Tinkle will throw the bench on the floor if only because he’s looking for something or someone to make the team click. Senior G Shawn Stockton (6’1″) and junior wing Mathias Ward (6’7″) seem to be the more frequent bench contributors. But frosh big Billy Reader (6’9″, and yes… from Lake O) contributes some nice interior defense, though his offense needs more work to even be called serviceable. And two other frosh contribute to the rotation in G Keron DeShields (6’1″) and F Mike Weisner (6’7″), with Deshields showing up more consistently. Senior G Jordan Wood (6’3″) will also make an appearance, but I have yet to figure out why.

Of course, now that I say that, he will be all-world at Gill. Right?

The formula for Montana’s success thus far has been size advantage coupled with Cherry shutting down an opponent reliant on a perimeter star. San Diego rolled into Missoula with two bigs and a frosh scoring guard named Johnny Dee. Long Beach state came with the same two bigs and Casper Ware. As in all of Montana’s games this year, any bigs with any appreciable skills had career games. But Will Cherry was able to marginalize any damage done by the smaller opponents Dee and Ware.

The effect was a de facto box and one type defense… whether the Griz were in man D or a zone. That’s how weird this team has been this year. Their execution makes them look like they’re doing something different than waht they’re actually doing. If it was intentional, then it would be more effective, like Rick Pitino’s ability to teach his team to switch from man to zone and back to man in the same defensive possession. But it’s not. It’s so helter skelter that I could feel Coach Tinkle reaching through my screen to pull my hair out during the USF loss on Thursday that saw a six point UM lead with three minutes left at home turn into a three point loss.

So now a roller coaster rolls into Gill to face the Beavs, and they’re looking to steal one. But I don’t see this as a good match-up for the Griz. The Beavs are bigger and faster, and they will pressure the ball all afternoon. Cherry will likely draw Cunningham as his assignment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jamar take Jared and leave Cherry on Ahmad to try to disrupt the offense on the set-up. Angus should be keyed up for a big game since Selvig will always answer a call to try to block any shot by taking himself away from the rim. And if he doesn’t use shot fakes to move Selvig off him, he can join Joe by racking up the assists to Devon or Eric at the rim or any of the guards on the kick-out.

The Beavs returned home last weekend, and they’ve had time to find their legs. Little birdies have told me that they have looked very good in practices this week, and they will likely look even better in today’s game. With a week’s rest and some good home cookin’ I expect our boys to come out of the gates on fire. I don’t think Montana will have the will to play up to the same tempo and intensity the Beavs will force from the outset.

Montana does have a habit of making runs in the second half after Tinkle has a chance to make some adjustments. But he won’t have the pieces necessary to fix what will look broken today. I figure the game will end fairly close to season averages for both teams… something like 83-67 for the home team… if the Beavs take their foot off late.

Angry

When I think of Montana, Will Cherry comes to mind. Reading JackBeav's writeup, it sounds like they have a legit 7 footer. I'm curious to see how the Beavs handle that guy if Montana feeds him inside–Beavs haven't had to face that challenge yet.

Again I'll be watching for the Beavs to sure up free throws and defensive rebounds/boxing out. I don't watch much Montana basketball, so I can't really add more than that. Gut feeling is this will be a close game, I'll take the home team by 2.

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    5pm on Root sports #34 on Comcast in the Portland area.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Almost done with the write-up. I think it will be less interesting than all the platitudes we’ve been hearing for the last week. No Brian Qvale means no inside presence.

    I’ll be back in a bit.

  • CraigBeav says:
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    For once, I’m particularly excited for a basketball game. Both OSU and UM are my alma maters 😀

    • helmsley says:
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      Then you should be pleased with yesterday’s football results – they might make the Jonathan Smith advocates more demanding as though they (the advocates) had any chance or choice with the “no changes planned” OSU administration.

      I digress – when I read about other D1 programs, it seems as though the ADs are addressing matters that pertain to their realms. Perhaps I don’t know where to go to see/hear BDC but I assume he’s speaking out somewhere, sometime – I just don’t seem to know where or when.

  • osu2008 says:
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    I think the game is actually on at 4:30 on Root. This is a game that could go either way. I’m most concerned about Cherry and Jabbar because both of those guys are scorers, and Cherry is a very good outside shooter, but I feel that without Qvale and the fact that it’s at Gill, I give the advantage to the Beavs. Robinson needs to sit Starks down if he starts casting off because it will become a liability.

  • Beaver Byte says:
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    I see this as a game that should be a fairly comfortable win for OSU. Think we win by just over 10 points. Want to see Cunningham get atleast 20 and Moreland to become more of a key emotional leader with scrappy play. This team has the right components and a physical presence with Collier and Burton. 6-1 after tonight and Montana is about as tough as it gets until Pac-12 play.

    OSU 82, Montana 70

    Montana @ OSU Hoops Preview:
    http://beaverbyte.com

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    What are the odds:

    We’ll see any indication that CR has been working on the team’s fundamentals (such as boxing out)?

    How about setting down a player who consistently takes bad (low percentage) shots?

    Free throw shooting?

    Standing around outside the key and then taking a desperation shot as time runs out?

    • JackBeav says:
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      We haven’t seen too many low percentage shots… except for the reality that shots that have been high percentage in the past are just not falling, making them low percentage in the box score. Those same shots you decry need to be taken for a variety of reasons, from keeping the defense honest to just gaining confidence and coming out of a slump. When they start to fall, they will again be high percentage shots. But it’s been nice to see that those same shots are downed in the clutch. If a player doesn’t have the green light all game, then he hesitates in the clutch.

      The rebounding “problem” is because our guards and wings are doing fly-bys on perimeter shots. the bigs in position for boards need to concern themselves with more than one body too often when shooters follow their shots. The bonus is that a defensive board can turn into transition points with a guy already running off the fly-by. It also contests the trey for the lowly follow-up two. So it’s a calculated risk which has worked in our favor because of execution.

      FT’s just are what they are. A coach can’t really harp on it, or he runs the risk of getting too far into a kid’s head. The kid has to unscramble his own issues on foul shots. They all know this. It’s as old as the game itself. So practicing FT’s isn’t necessarily the best tactic. Practicing complete focus is.

  • helmsley says:
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    Further quote in the Missoulian from Griz coach Wayne Tinkle, “Just to hammer home the point, Tinkle had the Griz watch film of the game before Friday’s practice.

    “We had a few individual meetings with some of our leaders, watched film – it wasn’t pretty – and we got after them pretty good in film,” Tinkle said. “Defensively, they understood that we were as poor as we’ve been in a while. That kind of fueled their fire when we took to the court. We had a very competitive practice. They understand that if we play like we’re capable of, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

    IMO – the Beavs had better come out on fire; not sure they would be able to catch up to a smooth running Griz team that’s trying to compensate for a loss in the previous game. And, as I’ve previously noted, I think Tinkle is a better coach.

  • OrangeExpress says:
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    beavers 10 point favorites tonight. looks like people are beginning to notice…..

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Game is streamed on First Row. http://www.firstrowsports.tv/watch/96300/1/watch-montana-vs-oregon-state.html

    So far no indication it will be on JustIn.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    SLOPPY

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    1. The help-defense has been excellent.
    2. Brandt has been a beast so far, especially regarding #1.

    Looking good.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    McShane wasted about 4 possessions, and added 2 fouls to our count. Brutal.

  • angry angry says:
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    Beavs appear to be overwhelming Montana…right now at least.

    Collier stinks at FTs

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    Starks, his typical high-risk, high-reward self. That time, lost the handle, then fouled trying to get it back.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    Roberto throws the ball away, and is instantly subbed out. Craig’s style, not sure if it’s good or bad.

    We aren’t attacking their zone enough. Hard to blame the players when the Princeton offense just wants you to pass around for 30 seconds.

    • helmsley says:
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      CR does that more with Nelson – I don’t get it nor do I get the passing around the perimeter – it’s like a thumb-sucking kid who can’t quite give it up.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    Funny how the football threads get 200 comments, and the basketball threads are barren. Should be the other way around.

    • beavers4life says:
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      I would have posted, but I was actually AT the game. It was fun to watch live.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    With the football team getting worse and the basketball team getting better that could be changing soon.

  • slamadam says:
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    good half. without a couple lay ups in the last 2 or 3 minutes montana would be at around 15 points at halftime. cunninghams block and three should make sportscenter. i am becoming a believer.

  • mckalk says:
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    The beavs are so damn athletic now that they can be up 13 on a team like Montana with very sluggish execution in the half court.

  • angry angry says:
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    Does the feed say “play again” in the middle for you guys? It just started..

    • hellobeavers says:
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      It does on mine. Just left the site and went back to see if it was just an issue with my computer. Annoying they haven’t put any of our games on national television yet this year.

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      Same here.

      Good to see them winning a physical game.

  • angry angry says:
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    Beavs are a force. The depth is pretty amazing.

  • HopefulBeav says:
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    Wow we are dominating them.

  • osbeavs says:
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    Haven’t caught much of the game on TV (except on my lunch) but I am following the stat tracker. Only complaint I have is that we have taken 17 treys at this point (but we made 8!). I like the % but I always get fearful that playing by the trey is a scary proposition as they can go dry at any moment.

    Otherwise, I like that our team does well even when execution is imperfect. Winning ugly is an important part of a championship team. But today it appears we are dominating, keep it up.

    • angry angry says:
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      Agree, they shoot too many 3s for a team with good but not great shooters. On off nights that will kill them. Hopefully on off nights they can recognize and adjust. I’d like to see more elements of the Princeton offense. Only see it a few plays per game.

      • osbeavs says:
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        It looks like Starks is 4-7 from behind the arc tonight. That is a good percentage but he regularly takes 7+ treys a game. He was off against Vandy and we came up short. Now the game isn’t all his fault but you are absolutely right that the team needs to recognize and adjust. I hope that loss was a learning experience that the trey is a double edged sword.

        • ean says:
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          Vandy was packing it in the lane and daring us to shoot. We had so many open looks. We had to take those shots. That is why I said when we lost that you just have to make shots. I thought the strategy was fine. Teams are going to do that to the Beavs all season.

  • HopefulBeav says:
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    I’m to the point where there’s no doubt in my mind that this is an NCAA tournament team this year.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    That was a beautiful slash-and-kick by Starks.

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    I’m not ready to say the tourney is automatic at this point, not until we get several games into pac12 play. So far so good though!

    • angry angry says:
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      Agree, definitely an NIT team, but not sure about NCAA…I thought Montana was a better team. They’re just okay.

      Wonder if the Beavs will crack the top 25. Probably 30ish

      • Warren says:
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        Well they beat LBS who beat Pitt.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Yeah… well… the Beavs beat Hofstra… who beat Cleveland State… who beat Vandy… who beat the Beavs.

          So the Beavs should be ranked higher than themselves.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    Moreland=Tayshaun Prince. Just work on those free throws. No more airballs!

    • OneEyedKing says:
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      He has every physical tool, just needs to develop. I always forget he’s still a freshman.

    • angry angry says:
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      Moreland is such a weird player. I feel like I’ve seen him miss at least three dunks and a dozen free throws…but, he’s a nice defender. He’s just all over the place, literally and figuratively.

      • ean says:
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        seems to me like Moreland is a fairly smart player he just needs to get used to his body.

  • osbeavs says:
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    FTs collectively were solid tonight (just over .750). We won nearly every statistical battle as we had better shooting %, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and less turnovers. I always like to see teams that win the rebound/block/steal game while committing less turnovers. Those are the teams that have a great chance to win a lot of games, especially if they get points in the paint. Hope they can keep it up when we begin to play real competition as we have only played a couple pac-12 caliber teams as of yet.

  • Quatre Quatre says:
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    Friend of mine who is an Arizona alum told me Sidiki Johnson is transferring, no clue who that is but I imagine that might mean something to some of you.

    • FrustratedBeav says:
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      Not surprised. He and the coaching staff have been at odds for awhile. After they suspended him I figured he would transfer. He had potential to be pretty good, but he’s wasted it so far. Heard he was suspended because he hosted a party on their trip to New York. Hopefully he can mature and finally put it together somewhere.

    • JackBeav says:
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      He was gone a week ago.

    • JackBeav says:
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      He was gone a week ago. The only surprise was that his grades were so bad that he had to physically come back to Tucson to make them good enough to transfer.

  • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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    Wow….this will to play hard defense all game has to have come from the coach, so he gets props from me just for that. Teams that can play the tough D can win games, even if the offense isnt clicking. Great start of the season — keep it up, guys!

    • mckalk says:
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      To shoot 39% and beat a decent Big Sky team by 25pts means the team is doing a lot of the other things very well. I just wish they had one killer three point shooter, it’s still a mystery when they let a three fly.

  • OrangeExpress says:
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    moreland needs to get way more minutes – really like his potential. angus seems to disappear more than i like – he needs to get more agressive – either way moreland should be starting over angus. really difficult to judge this team right now. the pre-conference schedule is powder puff soft – though i do like how we can look mediocre at times and still blow out teams – a good sign.

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    I’ll take that win. Obviously this team believes in itself, which is nice to see after Riley and his staff stunk up the athletic department. I think that’s why there is an initial apathy. However, we apparently had our biggest non-con audience so that shows that OSU’s fanbase is starting to get into this team.

    I will become a frickin fanatic if the winning keeps up AND if that winning occurs because we play with sound fundamentals. At this point I feel that teamd

    • Beavocalypse says:
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      Teams with comparable talent but know how to box out, have good shot selection, and can make fts will beat us…and a team like Duke would kill us. I kind of wish we could play a team like that, so I could get a real feeling for where we really stand.

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      I think Starks said in the post game interview that its finals week(?) and ifso the crowd was very impressive.

      I recall that place really rockin, way back in the day. One benefit of a small arena!

      The thing different about this year from last year, already, is this year I get the feeling we will win games we are supposed to win, and probably impressively. Yeah, the disciplined, sound fundamentals or maybe a superstar will beat us, but we will make it tough. That will build as the players get better fundamentally, I think.

  • ean says:
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    you guys see this yet?

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      I saw that too. Shows how fucking ridiculous the NFL’s rule on helmet to helmet is. Quizz is such a tough little guy, hope he gets more reps. Showing toughness and not afraid of contact will only impress his coaches and other teams.

  • JackBeav says:
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    No love from the coaches, but the AP gets us 2 votes… to tie at 40 with Murray State and my friend Jake’s team. Funny.

    RPI is starting to settle down, and we look like we’ll be somewhere around 35-40 once all the posers drop out (we’re 56 now). It’s going to take another three weeks to get any real appreciation for where we are.

    The funny thing about rankings is that either you’re number one with a whole bunch of bullets with your name on them, or you’re carrying a bullet. One thing I do like about this season is that we will likely be playing in a post-season tourney beginning with an N instead of a C.

  • osu2008 says:
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    I really thought Montana would be tougher than what I saw last night. The loss of Qvale had much more of an impact than I thought. Great to see a solid effort from the team last night. Also thanks to JackBeav for his great insight on each opponent. It’s refreshing to have a knowledgable person doing detailed analysis. I’ve seen your blog and I really enjoy it!!

  • JackBeav says:
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    Oh, there was one other thing that was really cool in yesterday’s game. I was watching on TV, and for the first time in a long time the crowd was VERY audible and engaged in the action. There were loud OOH’s and AH’s during some minor moments, as well as a couple pretty loud OH’s when shots went up and rimmed out. And you could hear the place roar in the couple series to end the first half.

    Gill is starting to sound like Gill once again. I suggest bringing earplugs to any games you attend if we keep winning. And I’m not kidding. Sound readings in the 80’s put Gill well over 140 decibels quite often during games while only dropping to lower levels of 115-120 decibels. I remember my ears ringing for a couple days after several games.

    • osu2008 says:
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      Wish they still had that noise reader that used to hang in Gill. That thing would have been lighted to the top last night!

      • JackBeav says:
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        I remember when they first put that in… the Reser Noise Reader. We would sit there and watch it bounce up and down like an equalizer, and at times it would just be solid bars for a good thirty seconds.

        • JackBeav says:
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          There were also times I was listening to the radio for some games, and the broadcast would just go to what sounded like solid static for a couple seconds, only to hear Aune slowly cutting through the din while completing some lost sentence. I’m sure I missed quite a few “Holy jumpin’ up and down Martha” calls in those days.

        • JackBeav says:
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          It’s too bad that sound board wasn’t up during Ralph’s tenure. I’m sure it would have been fun to watch during that Loyola game.

          • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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            HEY! …Jack! Where’s the analysis of the Montana game, over on your Express blog??? Comeon, man, my inquiring mind needs to know what to think….

    • beavers4life says:
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      I was at the game last night and it was about half full of fans and where I was sitting(the upper level behind the visitors bench) the fans were talking around me and nearly NO ONE were yelling. It was mostly the students right behind the announcers. I imagine that once the team keeps winning and in the Pac-12 play, Gill will get even louder. I tried yelling when we were on defense a few times, but gave up because I was the only one yelling. Unlike football games, I think a lot of the fans at basketball games forgot that there’s a difference between being AT a game, and watching a game on tv….you’re engaged more LIVE than when at home. Other than that, I LOVED the video intro to the game. It was really clever.

      They had players dribbling, passing the ball to off camera and then the camera would pick up another player catching the ball from the same direction and he would do some trick then pass it, and then another player was dribbling on a chair and then passed the ball and then that player dribbled then shot it, and then you see a clip of the basketball going into the hoop from a live game shot. It was really well done. Now if only football can pick up on this!!!

  • beavers4life says:
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    I also noticed that the sound system above center court…hasn’t been cleaned/replaced in about 10+ years. There is such a thick layer of dust on the top of it AND there’s a volleyball and basketball stuck in and on top of the sound system. I say the next thing to be updated in Gill is the sound system and the lights. The lights can include spot lights, flashing lights, and a few upgrades in that regard, but for the most part, Gill is great structurally because there are a ton of entrances into the stands/court.

  • OrangeExpress says:
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    it is great to see the fans slowly coming back. gill holds 10,400 and there wasn’t an empty seat to be found there in the 80’s. lets hope we’ll get to capacity by the end of next year – its been WAY too long. on a side note, wish they could get the student section on the other side for TV – would bring more atmosphere for the TV audience and therefore potential recruits.

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