Sunday, November 06, 2005

Predict this!

TU and ORU both won their exhibition games yesterday but I argue that all you can really take away from them is that I am really bad at predictions. No wonder I'm not a professional odds-maker. I thought TU would dominate SOSU while ORU would struggle with UCO. The complete opposite happened. I didn't attend either game but I checked in intermittenly with the TU game. when I saw that they trailed by 5 at half, I started feeling so cold. I find it hard to believe they trailed by 17 with roughly 17 minutes left. An OT against SOSU in an exhibition game really shouldn't happen.
ORU didn't really suprise me. They are a good team. They should crush UCO no matter how good they are.
More later.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Know your opponent: Central Oklahoma

What: ORU vs. Central Oklahoma (exhibition)
When: 11/5/05
What time: 7PM
Where: ORU
Nickname: Bronchos
About UCO: The Bronchos went 22-8 last year in the Lone Star Conference and are picked to finish 2nd in the LSC North division just ahead of SOSU. Their top returning player was one of former TU Coach Phillips's BA boys. Belt was a walk-on with TU during the 03-04 season but never played because Kyle Blankenship was obviously a better option. Belt averaged 14.6 PPG and 6.4 rebounds a game.
Implications: It's only an exhibition game. ORU might have a little trouble with them. UCO is just looking for a good matchup.
Prediction: ORU by 9.

Know your opponent: Southeastern Oklahoma St.

What: TU vs. Southeastern Oklahoma St. (exhibition game)
When: 11/5
What time: Noon
Where: TU
Nickname: Savages
About SOSU: A Division II team from Durant, Oklahoma. They went 17-11 last year but lost 7 of their 11. Went 6-6 in the Lone Star Conference. Predicted to place third in the Lone Star Conference's 7-team North Division. They return their leading scorer Eric Babers, a 6-8 Jr. PF from Coushatta, La, who averaged 16.4 PPG and 9.0 RPG.
Implications: I don't think this game matters a whole lot for TU. Even when they've been bad, they've won their exhibition games and I think that they will win this one. If they win, nothing will change and I don't think anything will change if they lose. It's only an exhibition game. The regular season opener against Stephen F. Austin will be much more important.
A win over TU could mean great things for SOSU but I doubt it will happen.
Prediction: TU by 27.
Links: A nifty preseason preview of SOSU.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bemidji-juice

While this blog primarily focuses on Tulsa basketball teams, I am a St. Louisian and therefore am somewhat sympathetic to the plights of SLU and Mizzou basketball. Well, maybe not the latter. It is extremely difficult to root for a major basketball program, especially one as corrupt and mean-spirited as the Missouri Tigers. Whether it's allowing players out of jail to ride an ATV at the university's president's house or naming its basketball arena after a Paris Hilton-esque heiress or chastising beat reporters for having the audacity to call its egomanical coahc by his first name, there is a lot not to like about Mizzou. And don't get me started on their football program. But despite all the negative aspects surrounding the chronically underachieving Tigers, I still follow them as they are my Dad's favorite team. He deserves better as do the tens of thousands of fans and students who pay an arm and a leg just to be disappointed again and again.
Well, tonight Mizzou kicks off its exhibition season by playing that perennial favorite Bemidji St. When the NCAA announced that D1 teams would have to play other NCAA teams from lower divisions instead AAU teams just so happen to be coached by fathers or coaches of hearlded recruits, I thought it was a great idea mainly because I thought it would be neat to see the big boys play the D2 teams that often wind up in their shadows. SLU is living up to this by playing fellow locals UMSL and Maryville while ORU and TU both filled up their 2 exhibition slots with fellow Okie schools. While Mizzou is playing Missouri Southern next week, they are starting off with Bemidji St., who are obviously from Bemidji St. Why Mizzou couldn't schedule Central Missouri St., Truman St., Northwest Missouri St., Missouri-Rolla, or a host of other state schools, I'll never know. Could it be that Mizzou could perhaps lose to one or more of the preceding schools? Of course not. Not a Mizzou team that has lost recent home contests to such powerhouses as Belmont and Davidson.
Why Quin Snyder still is the coach of Mizzou, I'll never know. While 2 straight NIT appearances would guarantee the job of Bemidji State's coach, I don't see how a program which used to have such high expectations now has settled for incredible mediocrity.
I'll whine more about this later

-I picked up my free student ticket to TU's exhibition game Saturday against Southeast Oklahoma State. I wasn't shocked when I was told by a guy in the TU ticket office that I was the first student to pick up a ticket. Even during my Freshman year when we were a top 25 team, exhibition games were never well attended. Now that Tu's fanbase is at its worse in a decade, there's no reason for TU students to pick up their tickets ahead of time. I picked mine up early (even though I probably won't be able to go) because I'm weird.
You'll probably be able to count the number of students who attend the game Saturday which is sad. I remember 3 years ago, when there were flyers that stated that TU basketball tickets were only guaranteed to students a week before tip-off and TU students could pick them up as early as 3 weeks ahead of time. Now a student requesting a ticket to the opener against Stephen F. Austin in 17 days would likely be given a quizzical look by the gentleman working the ticket office.
There was a letter to the editor by 2 students who announced that they are in the process of reviving the Reynolds Rowdies. They seem to be somewhat well-organized and will probably have a lot of students wearing matching tie-dyed shirts against OU but until the same group of people shows up to cheer at a meaningless late Feb. matchup against SMU, I'll remain unconvinced. Until TU is consistently successful and its atheltic department starts giving a damn about its fans, TU's fair-weather students won't show up on a consistent basis. But I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Frightening Tidbits

Having not posted in a while, I have a lot of information to discuss. Tomorrow brings November and hopefully a more regular posting schedule.
-TU has apparently moved back the time of their regular season opener against Stephen F. Austin back an hour to 3PM CST instead of 2PM CST. The reason why the game needed to be moved in the first place is that TU football's game against Tulane was recently rescheduled for 1PM CST. Moving back an hour won't have much of an impact unless the football game winds up being a blowout at the first half and TU die-hards decide to turn off the TV and come to the Reynolds Center. It was likely never an option for TU to move the game to the evening for 2 reasons. First of all, Stephen F. Austin is probably driving home and would probably like to get home at a decent hour. The second reason is that a 7PM start would conflcit with the ORU-Utah St. game at the Mabee Center. There are plenty of fans like myself who plan on attending both games but if had to choose would likely choose ORU not only because they are the better team but are also playing a better opponent. Being outdrawn by ORU on opening night would be embarrasing for TU. At least staggering the starts gives TU a fighting chance.
-Speaking of ORU, their new TV commercials are really good. Check them out here. ORU is definitely winning the public relations battle against TU.
-I'll give a bunch of links tomorrow to previews of both teams on the web.
-ORU is holding a free blue-white scrimmage on Wednesday.
-On second thought, I didn't have as much to say as I thought I did.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

In Crow we trust

After watching our football team edge SMU 20-13 in football, I attended the TU basketball fanfest, an event which replaced the annual Blue-Gold game which was held at least the last 3 years.
The event started out with both men's and women's squads shooting around for 15 minutes. Then the new women's coach introduced herself and her team. They looked decent I guess. Never been a big fan of women's hoops. The new coach seemes energetic but I was sitting at halfcourt about 3 rows up and it was hard to make out anything she was saying. The same went for coach Wojick later. I've never sat that close to the floor before so I don't know if that's a frequent occurrence.
After the women were finished, the men took the court. They did a layup/dunk line for about 5-10 minutes. New JUCO recruit Darold Crow was by far the most impressive. All his dunks were impressive. McDade probably was 2nd best while James struggled.
TU had 16 players suit up. 5 returnees, 8 new scholarship players, and 3 walk-ons.
The blue-gold game this year was basically a blue-gold scrimmage (actually, blue and white). It was just 10 minutes but several players broke a sweat. The teams were very lopsided perhaps intentionally. The white team was made up of the 5 upperclassmen plus McDade while the blue team was made out of the freshmen plus James. The white team easily won 24-8. Earls was impressive. Mitchell played like early Ramsdell. Price played uninspired while all of the freshmen looked tentative. I've never seen so many pump fakes in my life. Ashton Hall is probably the most heralded freshman in the class but he didn't stand out.
I received the TU basketball autograph sheet. Hopefully, it isn't the poster. The poster features every player except the brand new walk-on Dawkins and Crow for some strange reason. Perhaps he's not photo-genic.
I shook hands with coach wojcik after the game. I've never been more politely ignored.
A few notes:
-Dave Wojcik (the head coach's brother) appears to be crazy. He was really energetic which was sorely lacking from TU's coaching staff the last few years. He might be overdoing it however.
-I was able to catch a little bit of the Conference USA media slam on Tuesday afternoon. Each coach was given 5 minutes to force SI's Seth Davis to look at his notes. Wojcik was the only coach I saw to bring a player (Anthony Price) to his interview with Davis. Price will likely be the face of the team this year so it was decent practice. He needs work on his interview skills as does Wojcik. Davis needs a lot of help.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tell me - Whatever happened to the radio?

It's easy to be a Duke fan. No matter where you live within these United States, chances are, if you have a decent basic cable package, you'll be able to watch nearly every Duke regular season game due to the fact they are seemingly always on TV. The same can not be said for TU or ORU fans. 3 years ago, 4 TU games were nationally televised. 2 years ago, 2 nationally televised games. Last year, only 1 nationally televised game. Unless they reach the CUSA championship, TU won't be on national TV at all this year. It's even worse for ORU fans. They appeared on ESPN last year only because they reached the Mid-Con finals. However, for the first time since I've been following them, (and I'm willing to bet for the first time ever) ORU will actually have a nationally televised regular season game. that would be their opening round game against USC (Southern California) in the Great Alaska Shootout. If they reach the finals of that tourney and the Mid-Con and play well leading up to the bracket buster, they could have as many as four nationally televised games.
While fans in Tulsa can get cheap tickets to watch both teams and can watch many of both team's games via satellite or on-line packages, the only option for many fans when their teams are on the road is to listen to the radio. Luckily, both TU and ORU have solid announcing teams.
TU's play-by-play man Bruce Howard is very talented and very professional. He calls it as he sees it. He's complemented well on TU football broadcasts by Rick Couri. If only Rick was there for basketball. Howard's "analyst" is JV Haney, a well-meaning elderly gentleman whose response to every TU drubbing over the last 2 seasons was that TU fans should be patient and that Phillips was doing a heck of a job. The team just needs more confidence so back off!!!! While he adds nothing of substance to the broadcasts, he is admittedly fun to listen and is part of a dying breed of color men who are actually colorful.
ORU's broadcasts are much more simpler and that's definitely a good thing. Mark Neely usually handles the broadcasts by himself if i'm not mistaken. He also handles the broadcast duties for the Tulsa Drillers and I love listening to him on a lazy summer night. For the Mid-Con, he was joined by a man who I think was a preacher. The man added nothing to the broadcasts except to state that each of the ORU players were outstanding young men with great hearts.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday night volleyball

It has been 7 months since I have been in the Reynolds Center, the arena where TU plays their home games. I really love that place. I was going into serious withdrawl so I decided to go a TU women's volleyball match against UTEP. I was trying not to think about basketball, but as soon as I entered the Reynolds Center, I ran into sophmore guard Brett McDade who seemed to be heading to practice in one of the Reynolds Center's auxillary gyms.
Going to volleyball or women's basketball games at the Reynolds Center is always nice in the sense that I am able to sit in seats that I never could afford for a men's basketball game. I sat half-court about 8 rows up but I could have easily sat courtside. I loved walking alone around the arena reminding myself of all the memories I've generated in my 3 years here. I really love this place. I really hope TU has a good year. I'm not asking for a trip to the Big Dance at least not yet. I'll settle for a winning record.