Sunday, February 24, 2008

X Factors

There are two aspects of team sports that are really out of the control of coaches: chemistry and injuries.

While a coach can influence chemistry by who he does and doesn't recruit, injuries are a crap shoot. It also seems like you go relatively unhurt, or you lose someone every time you lace up the sneakers. Ask BF.

I think the difference between the WBB seasons in Ames and IC is injuries. SUI has, for the first time in forever, avoided the "Season ending torn ACL" bug, while ISU has it in spades. Throw in the lack of monsterously good teams in the 1011 (Really, could anyone in the 1011 beat Baylor?) and SUI has a shot at a conference title and a solid NCAA run.

It will be interesting if SUI fan will buy more than 50 tickets to the NCAA regiionals at Wells Fargo after SUI gets placed there. I'm betting it will be 25% of what ISU fans would have bought.

Perhaps next year BF will have better luck with the injury bug.



Watching Zeno tear up ISU and Memphis and TN wreak havoc on each other yesterday with ferocious drives to the hoop vividly illustrated what ISU lacks: Guys who can create their own shot and distort the opponents D with drives.

If ISU needed two points quick with the game on the line, who would you give the ball to? I'm scratching my head.

With a win over Tech, I thought ISU had a shot at the NIT and hopefully some maturation. Now that looks very unlikely.

Work on your shot over the summer, fellas.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Odd Description

In the post game wrapup, the OSU student paper describes the WBB offense as "kept the pace at a crawl".

That's hardly how most of us describe Fennely's style, but what the heck. Working for the open shot must strike some people as odd.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


Perhaps I had given up both basketball squads for dead too soon.

After their home collapse against Texas and a just-not-enough-of-anything loss in Norman, I wasn't surprised by the ineptitude displayed in the first half against Nebraska. More of the same, I thought. Hopefully Lucca and the other new faces next fall will make a difference and Mac won't feel his seat getting warm.

Then came the unexplainable, impossible, thrilling second half. Wow.

The men could easily lose all five of their remaining games and make us look stupid for having hope. But with what we'll call Second Half Effort, they could win 2 and with breaks 3 of their last 5, finish 7-9, and avoid having to play in that 8/9 game that leads to a crushing by KU the next day. Climbing all the way up to 6 or 7 might be too much to ask for this bunch, but it would give a shot at 2 wins in KC instead of one/none. Since they probably can't catch OU for sixth, and lose the tiebreaker anyway, seventh is the goal. Seventh will require at least two wins and some help, like Tech and Mizzou losing early and often. But its good to have a goal.

When Fennely's squad lost their two best inside players I thought NIT. After their upset in Stillwater today, they have a solid shot at finishing 8-8, which should lock them for the NCAAs if nothing else. With a seven seed, they have a puncher's chance of scrambling through the bracket in KC. Wouldn't that be fun to see, againi.

There might still be some fun left in our winter.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Last year, it was Minnesota.

This year, it's Oregon State.

ISU has a new knack of winning NonCon road games against teams that eventually fire their coach during the season. To some degree the loss to ISU had to factor in to the firing, as ISU was probably scheduled as a planned home win.

Whoever does the basketball scheduling might not get their calls returned come summer.


Lost In A Fog

For about 35 minutes, ISU was worth of beating a Top-20 team.

The other 10 minutes cost them the game.

A tremendous overall effort was wasted against Texas: Offensive rythym, heady play on both ends of the court, a brilliant gameplan, and general hustle and moxie. UT is the classic example of a team where none of your starters would start for them, yet they let you hang around (or even look good) until the end, where they flex their supperior athleticicsm and walk off with the win, acting like they were in control the whole time. Down 10 with 10 to play is exactly where they want to be, which would be maddening to watch every night.

At some point the offensive hiccups will be relived when someone not names Juri or Wesley discovers their shot, and ISU will win the one they shouldn't.

Hurry up.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008


ISU loses another game due to offensive impotence. Granted a$m is ranked, and plays the tough defense that causes ISU fits. But when you are defending your home court, you shouldn't lose by 18 to anyone not named Kansas.

The good news is that while ISU loses their best defender and post player, who combine for 22 a game, everyone else is young, young, young, and can only improve.

I just wish they were providing fewer "teachable moments" for the video room.


"Brilliant coach. Sick man."

Keeler nails it.

Genius on the court. Idiot off. If he hadn't won so many games, he never would have made it past West Point.

Perhaps Lubbock, his own personal Elba, finally got to him.


Sunday, February 03, 2008


The strangest part of Saturday's meltdown in Lincoln was that ISU could have won the thing with some shots down the stretch.

While 20 turnovers killed them, allowing the B12's worst shooting team to shoot 42% did them in. It wasn't as if Maric killed them with a bunch of lay-ins; it was the long jumpers that the Huskers don't normally make that was the difference.

Until Wes returns, I expect more offensive lulls where things go stagnent, passes go off of feet, and players are either scared to take the shot, or players try to do too much.

When Freshmen are asked to carry as much of the load as they are now, we'll have days like Saturday.

I was happy to see that Cyclone Alley out-noised the Husker Red Zone. You would think after the horrible (by their standards) run in Husker football, anything that even smells of success would pack the students in. I guess not.