Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do Not Storm the Court Against Your Rival

In the last 86 matchups on Tobacco Road between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke University Blue Devils, UNC holds a 44-42 advantage. This makes for one of the most balanced rivalries in all of college basketball. So here's a question: why would either program storm the court after beating the other?

Now for those of you who believe that court-storming is a fun part of the game for college fans, you are mistaken. It occurs to signify a monumental victory against a powerhouse team that visited your home-court only to lose the game. The nature and idea of storming the court is a nice one; however, it is dangerous for the players and the amount of times has dramatically increased within the past few years. This is why the NCAA may disallow taking to the field in such a frenzied matter and why students should restrain themselves more.

So let me present the question again: why would UNC storm the court after beating Duke? They're one of the most successful programs in all of college basketball history and this win is not monumental at all. Vegas had a line of only three points in Duke's favor and many people chose UNC to come out on top. So was it that much of a surprise that Duke lost AT Chapel Hill? I know I wasn't surprised.

In my opinion, storming the court is almost like saying, "Hey, you're better than us, but we beat you on our turf." You can ask any fan of any team if their team is worse than their rival. You'll be hard-pressed to find many fans who can admit to that and I am certain you won't find any UNC or Duke fan saying that the other team is historically better. For all of the top programs in the country, I don't think you can find one instance in recent memory that they stormed the court. When a team is as good as UNC or Duke, they expect to win every home game.

This is why it is absurd that Tar Heel fans stormed the court after beating arch-rival Duke. The culture of these programs is that you expect to win every game that you play. I know Roy Williams expected to win this game. In conclusion, it is a shame that North Carolina stormed the court against their rival Duke, because they admitted to their rivals who play 8 miles away down Tobacco Road that they are the better team and program.

Have You Ever Wondered about the Wonderlic?

The Wonderlic test has become the standard "quick" logic test used by the NFL during the combine to measure the intelligence of prospect players. It is timed for 12 minutes and has 50 muliple choice questions. The highest score by an NFL player was from Ryan Fitpatrick, a Harvard graduate who got a score of 48 out of 50. John Elway, the former Broncos and Stanford QB, scored 30 on the test. More prominent players, such as Tim Tebow (pictured), have scored alarmingly low. Tebow only got a 22 and NFL RB Marshawn Lynch, who went to UC Berkeley, only scored a 14. Isn't this a little bit alarming?

The Wonderlic test was developed by E. F. Wonderlic in 1936 as a cognitive and personnel test for soldiers in the United States Army. To put into perspective as to how much importance the army places on cognition, a person cannot enlist if they have had a certain amount of concussions. Essentially, their thinking ability is of utmost importance as their decisions can effect the outcome of other people's lives. Doesn't the same apply to football?

The immediate effect of head injuries may not terribly noticeable, but the long term effects have been thoroughly researched and discussed. In this case, I'd be more than concerned if the men lined up on the field score fewer than half of the points of an average janitor (22). 

I'm only in high school and I got a perfect score (50). Marshawn Lynch went to UC Berkeley and got a 14. He's lucky he's in the NFL, because I doubt he'd be qualified to flip hamburgers. I think the NFL needs to place more emphasis on the intelligence of their players instead of putting this test on the back burner. These men are going to war on the gridiron and they can't even think straight.  

The State of Washington Basketball

Take a look at this picture. Just a brief glimpse. You may notice several things: the heads in front of me, the upside down Cougar logo, the players on the court, the "State" on the bottom of the jumbotron, etc. The one thing I do want you to take away from this picture is the student section and attendance, or lack thereof. I took this picture only a few minutes prior to tip-off, and only a few hundred people were sitting in the stands, waiting for the game to begin. 

I don't blame the students for not showing up since it was a weekend afternoon, there was a heavy drizzle outside, and they were probably burying their nose in a book studying... Wait a second, that's exactly why students come to the game. People like to entertain themselves with sports because they are a means of escaping their everyday, ordinary lives. I personally can't think of many places that could benefit from the drug that is sports than Pullman, WA. And it's a possibility too. This season has been a forgetful one, but it also hasn't been the best of seasons for other teams in this area. Now is the time to capitalize on the weakened state of Northwest collegiate basketball. 

Let's take a look at the other schools that WSU has to compete with both on the court and in recruiting. The University of Washington is their main rival, which also has the greatest recruiting capabilities while based in an urban setting. It seems almost impossible to compete with a school that has those tools, yet the Cougs have been able to do so as they regularly snatch a victory from the Huskies. The reality is that the Washington Huskies basketball program is extremely underachieving given the amount of quality players that pass through that program year Ina md year out. They have a number of players that would go on to become stars in the NBA that are from the Metro-Seattle area. However, the last time they made the Final Four was 1953. In fact, the last time they advanced to the Elite Eight was also 1953. So what is wrong with UDub basketball? Like the Cougs, they have issues in coaching. To put it into perspective, both of the State schools of Washington could dismiss their coaches by the end of this season. Lorenzo Romar has put together a number of fine regular seasons, but a of late, they have become a dissapointment to Huskie fans. The advantage they have over WSU is that they can recruit enough talent to save some face. It's time to hire a new coach who can recruit some of those players away from UW.

What other schools do the Cougs have to compete with for the Northwest recruiting pipeline. The two Oregon schools aren't doing particularly well. The Oregon Ducks started off the season on an absolute scoring tear; however, when conference play began, they realized they couldn't win games without defense. On the positive side, Oregon will have no trouble recruiting since they have the Nike headquarters closeby. As a result, they have become one of the recruiting capitals in college basketball, the other being Iowa State. On the other hand, the Oregon State Beavers seem like one of the more stagnant teams in the PAC-12 over the past few seasons. I don't think either team is in the current position to be a serious threat in recruiting if they play the way that they have been playing recently.

The closest recruiting threat that is closet to the Cougs is the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga has been riding their wave of some tournament succes in the late 90s for about a decade now. Given the amount of national coverage that they recieve year in and year out, I actually think that they are a highly underachieving program at this point. Last year, they had a No. 1 seed, but they couldn't even make it past the Round of 32. I think that it is only a matter of time that Gonzaga loses their charm as a successful team from a poor conference. If the Cougs can get a coach who puts together a solid first season, he can expand his recruiting search into British Columbia, just like Mark Few for the Bulldogs. Canada has vastly improved in basketball as of late, and I think that they could prove to be a serious recruiting pipeline for the Cougs.

All in all, the Cougars need to make a push in hiring a coach with a plan and a good recruiting résumé. While other coaches are seeing the end of their tenures approach quickly on the horizon, Washington State needs to be the first to make a move. If they can get the jump on the others, they'll have the best team in the Northwest in only a few years. The time is now. It's time to get the Northwest hooked on WSU basketball. Make a move.