Spooked

January 7, 2008

(at UA 76, OSU 63)
(UO 84, at UA 74)


Are ya scer’d?

The first half of the Oregon State game was much better than the Memphis game. We scored 26 points instead of 24.

Although, since we didn’t have a single lead the entire half I was thinking, “Great, Montana State is better than us.”

I never thought I’d be so happy to get a walk-on back from injury. With Jordan Hill able to vanish at any time Bret Brielmaier is suddenly a very valuable player. I wish I wasn’t serious.

We made a nice adjustment to get Chase Budinger more shots after halftime. Instead of running him off a series a screens and hoping the Beavers would forget he’s our best player, it was decided to just gave him the ball and say, “Go put it in the hole.”

We brought that mindset into the Oregon game and Chase responded with 19 first-half points. The problem is we didn’t bring any defense into the game and it wasn’t nearly enough.

The score was 19-17 when Jordan Hill committed his second foul. Oregon promptly went on a 27-10 run. You do the math. Oh wait, I just did.

It was so bad we turned to David Bagga to try and stem the tide at the end of the first half. The strange part is, it worked. Bagga got a steal to end Oregon’s final possession and lead to a Nic Wise buzzer-beating layup on the other end. Don’t sack the Bag!

You figured the Cats would make a run at it in the second half and they did, but there was a two and a half minute scoring void that cost us another comeback. The score was 76-68 with six minutes left. After a rare discovery of a defense-like substance we held the Ducks scoreless on three consecutive possessions. The problem is all we got out of it were missed shots by Dillon, Hill, Wise, Budinger, and a Chase offensive foul. Porter then stuck a 15-foot jumper with 3:40 remaining and the UA never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Now things start to get a little scary. We’re obviously not that good without Jerryd Bayless. The temptation has to be to rush him back, especially with the next four games coming on the road and Nic Wise playing 39.67 minutes a game. But you really gotta be sure when it comes to knees. We want to be able to look back and say, “Things got a lot better once Jerryd came back,” as opposed to, “This stinks. You think Fendi could handle the point?” Get well, Jerryd, but we’re not going to complain if you make it soon.

(By the way, our point guard for that 0.33 minutes against OSU? Daniel Dillon. B’day, mate.)

Elsewhere in the Pac-10: There’s dictating pace in a game, there’s imposing your will on an opponent, and then there’s Washington State holding the Washington Huskies to 20 first-half points. In Seattle! The best part is the Cougars were still trailing at the break. They came back and won of course, which is why Wazzu is going to make another serious run at the conference crown this year.

Speaking of the Wazzu style, if you take out our olé-fest against Oregon, the average winning score in the Pac-10 on Saturday was 63 points. I must have missed the announcement that the Big Ten was expanding to 21 teams.

This wasn’t a good start to our fan goal of defending our home court, especially since Oregon is a bad road team. St. Mary’s, Nebraska, Oakland of Michigan, Arizona State, Arizona. One of these things is not like the others, because all the others beat the Ducks. So now if the Cats want to make it up they have to beat a good home team on the road and, unfortunately, the first opportunity to do so may just be our next game.

Here it is. This is the day for which Sun Devil basketball fans have been waiting for, oh, about 25 years. Lute Olson is not coaching the Wildcats. Their freshman All-American is playing well and ours isn’t playing at all. Could it be true? Is “two more years” finally here?

One thing’s for sure, the Devils are due. Yes, we’ve beaten them 12 straight times. But did you know we’ve never beaten them 13 straight in the Pac-10 era? A dozen twice, and 11 in a row one other time, but never 13. So we’re in big trouble. It’s hard to overcome that kind of history.

In case things don’t go well on Wednesday, and if this just happens to be the start of an actual rivalry within the rivalry, let the record show that Coach Olson’s current tallies are 12-0, 24 out of 25, and 43-6 overall.

Beat ASU again.

--

Ye olde footballe thoughts: It was nice to able to root against Oklahoma again. Even last year during that tremendous Fiesta Bowl game I was still torn. I didn't want the Stoops family name tarnished in the off chance it would help our program. But after four full seasons Mike's record stands on its own. So as a fan of a non-traditional power (or a traditional non-power) I can go back to rooting against the giants of the game. Bitterness is fun.

Thank you, California Golden Bears, for finally proving that someone can in fact defeat a team from the Mountain West Conference in a bowl game. We’ll have to try that some time.

But did you know that Cal’s victory barely salvaged the season series for the Pac-10? The MWC had split ten games with the bigger league heading into the Helicopter Bowl. What is this football world coming to? Next you’ll be telling me Kansas is winning BCS bowl games.

What?!

I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks….



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