And exhale. We're done talking football. Well, until the Super Bowl, spring drills and the draft. For now, let's take a little time to play catch up on the hardwood.
It's amazing. The local teams are gearing up for conference play. The stretch run if you will. Is it just me, or has this been one of the least talked about college basketball seasons in recent memory? Let's do this!
"I'm not happy about this environment at all." Kudos to TU coach Doug Wojcik. He had the chutzpa to challenge the atmosphere at the Reynolds Center including the fans and administration after a 71-46 victory in late December. He is in his third year as head man of the Golden Hurricane.
This is not what he expected when he signed up to become the 28th basketball coach at TU. During the "heyday" of the program, the city continually packed the Convention Center.
Today? Not so much. Sparse crowds and a general apathy toward the men's basketball program deserved mentioning. Who better to deliver the message than the man in charge of restoring the mystique?
Tulsa sports fans have been called finicky. Give us a PGA Championship and we'll turn out in droves. Toss some dirt on a track and call it a Chili Bowl and BAM! We're there. Earn trips to the NCAA tournament and watch the Old Gold and Royal Blue flags fly across town.
No Foe, No Fun
Back in the day, (I can't believe I just used that phrase. Am I turning into my grandpa?) Tulsa forged rivalries we cared about. The WAC tenure provided us with Fresno St. We hated them. They hated us. It was good versus evil. We even shared similar moments with Hawaii and others.
Today, the Memphis Tigers rule C-USA and no true adversary has emerged. Rivalries cannot be fabricated. No one can make Tulsa and Houston bring the best out of each other and the fans. It's too transparent. Can you think of a C-USA foe you have an unusual disdain for? Me neither.
This isn't to give a free pass to Hurricane supporters. And much like coach Wojcik, this isn't just about the fans; this is about the University as well.
The coverage by media outlets in town is putrid. I've seen more excitement for root canals. But the University shoulders much of the blame.
Where is the publicity? Where is the excitement? Marketing? Clever fan nights? I don't see or hear much emanating from 11th and Harvard.
This squad has the ability to challenge for second place in C-USA. Not too shabby. The Reynolds Center is a cozy venue. No bad seats in the house. The athleticism and competition is high-level. What am I missing?
After a minor setback to in-state rival OU, the Hurricane reeled six straight wins heading into conference play. I, much like coach Wojcik, think we need to recognize the product and show a little support.
The Memphis Tigers come to town January 23. A Wednesday night tip-off at 7pm. I think we owe it to the players to show the kind of support they deserve. Don't go alone--take a friend.
Now if the clearly out-of-touch-with-reality public address system is playing Beach Boys during pre-game warm-ups, I say we leave the arena in unison-as a show of support for our team and coach.
Everything Looks Golden
Speaking of guys who deserve better, ORU coach Scott Sutton is the man. He turned down overtures from Wichita St. in the off-season. You think he's having any regrets these past few months?
Watching his team play, you wouldn't notice any looming clouds hovering over The Hands.
The Golden Eagles are not who we thought they were. Not a single person outside of the Mabee Center thought this squad would recover this quickly from the loss of the Dynamic Duo. You know their names.
They've distributed the ball, played phenomenal defense and scored clutch baskets. Seven different players have reached double digits in at least one game.
The youngest of the Sutton clan is arguably the best coach these days. Oklahoma State fans wouldn't/couldn't argue this point. A 74-59 domination in Oklahoma City left little doubt. Scott's father has also rejoined the coaching ranks. My money would be on ORU against the University of San Francisco Dons.
Center Shawn King patrols the inside like many envisioned. He is also chipping in with solid point production.
Swingman Moses Ehambe began the season at a blistering scoring pace. He has slowed a tad since. Look for him to thrive in conference play.
Lights-Out Liberty, or Adam as he was named at birth, has been a stat sheet stuffer to date. His silky-smooth shot is often replicated but never duplicated. Well maybe duplicated, but not often.
Big Shot Bob is a moniker given to Robert Horry of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. If 5'10'' Robert Jarvis keeps averaging 16 points a game, we'll have to find a comparable nickname. He's hit double digit scoring in 13 of 15 games.
At the State Level
Oklahoma has been better than advertised. Coach Jeff Capel is squeezing every drop of talent out of this roster. Longar Longar, America's favorite name and OU's most consistent player, complements the Griffin brothers superbly.
Blake Griffin, number 23, is the one to watch. The super competitive Griffin is one rebound shy from averaging a double-double. While the Sooners are better than expected, the Big 12 is also talent laden. It will be tough for this group to make waves, but a solid foundation is in place.
Oklahoma State basketball has seen better times. Instead of kicking a man's groin while he is already down, let's talk about the positives within OSU basketball.
The Cowgirls are a top-25 team. The ranking is sure to ascend after the domination of OU. OSU's record is impeccable with only one loss to date.
Just as I've lauded Courtney Paris in the past, I'll give you Cowgirl extraordinaire, Andrea Riley. Riley is unequivocally OSU's best player. She is shooting 50 percent from the field. Her 46-point outburst against OU puts her on the collegiate map.
You see, it's not always negative. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. Which is why I again implore you to...
Support coach Wojcik and his valiant team.
Share this article: