The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

Beating the team, that beat the team

 

February 15, 2018



Last week I told you about some big upsets that took place over that weekend. Funny thing is there have been a lot of big upsets from nonconference opponents this season.

If you take those into account then you might be able to say, “Well our team beat this team so that makes us worthy of being able to play with anyone in their conference.”

Maybe, if you can prove it against the best teams from the conference on a weekly basis.

I remember when Eastern Washington University defeated Stanford on Nov. 14 in Stanford. That was a huge upset which came a few days after the Eagles lost to the UW Huskies.

Two months after the EWU loss, Stanford beat the Huskies in Seattle. That shouldn’t have happened if you take into consideration who won where and when.

Teams beat other teams for a lot of different reasons. Maybe a couple of really good players are sick, hurt or sitting out because of a suspension.

Teams also improve over the course of a season. Players go into shooting slumps and then one night some name you haven’t heard of all season comes off the bench to drop in 30 and it leaves you scratching your head.

WSU won the John Wooden tournament by beating a really good St. Mary’s team and everyone thought the Cougs could have a great season and now they have trouble scoring and their best shooter is sidelined with an injury.

I’m sure many Coug fans thought that the WCC was a bush league and when Gonzaga dropped a close one last month they thought see! Well last weekend Gonzaga defeated the Gaels on their home court with a defensive effort that had the Gael fans wondering where their team went.

With the exception of the Villanova game and a lackluster effort against San Diego State the Zags are playing well together and making things difficult with double figure scoring coming from five or six people each night.

That makes this team hard to defend.

In December, the UW Huskies defeated the Kansas Jayhawks on a neutral floor in Kansas City, Missouri. The Huskies looked like world beaters and the highly touted Jayhawks looked like mere mortals.

Four days later the Gonzaga Bulldogs pummeled the Huskies by 27 on UW’s home court in Seattle.

Would the outcome have been different if Kansas would have won or would the Huskies have lost more confidence with a beat down in the Midwest?

When you are dealing with 18-22 year old kids it’s hard to say.

Basketball is a highly entertaining sport. You can teach kids offenses and defenses and motivate them but how they react to an opponent is where the challenge lies.

There have been a lot of upsets over the weekend and one of those teams that was upset earned enough votes to become the No. 1 team in the college ranks.

The Virginia Cavaliers, coached by former WSU head man Tony Bennett, overcame a one-point loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies to claim the number one spot this week.

Favorites fall this time of year. Teams that need to impress NCAA committee people to get at large berths need signature wins and this time of year they are limited by the games left on the schedule.

These teams are also rallying to play their best basketball come tournament time and maybe win a conference tournament because an at large bid may be out of the question.

For those borderline teams they will look to run deep into the conference tournament and fall back on a signature win a month or two ago.

Things like quality wins and quality losses. Quality losses are close games against highly ranked opponents. Blowout losses are not quality losses.

Winning games against highly ranked opponents especially on their home court is huge. Every team’s goal is to go to the NCAA tournament and each game is a make or break outcome for those young people vying for those spots.

If who you play is limited then you need to do the next best thing. You need to beat the team that beat the team. That is the only way to get noticed. Put together a winning streak and play into the conference tournament for several days.

Lose out in the first round and you will be looking at a couple of lesser tournaments to practice for if you get invited at all.

 

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