POSTED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2010:
Hoop Dreams or Bust
University of Tulsa basketball needs a boost for a true bid in Conference USA tournament
As Master Yoda would say, "There is no try." It's do or die time. University of Tulsa basketball, you are on the clock.
Losses to UAB and UTEP on the road are not the end of the world. Both Conference USA foes are in the upper echelon of the league. However, this was supposed to be the year.
This was hailed as the season Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh were going to break through. The ceiling was to be shattered. Atop the standings, the Hurricane would sit.
In order to state your case as big dogs, you must defend home court.
This past Saturday marked another head-scratching loss. Memphis entered the game with a 0-4 record against top-25 competition. This was not a Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans version of the Tigers. Calipari has left the building.
Still, Memphis managed to defeat TU and end the Hurricane's 15-game home winning streak.
This loss stings a team looking to make noise in the postseason. A postseason charge seemed unlikely as the clock reached zeros.
Another sluggish start forced Tulsa to play from behind again. Coach Doug Wojcik preaches fast starts, but his message falls on deaf ears.
Perhaps he can borrow the New Orleans Saints black baseball bat as a motivational tool. "Bring the wood."
Coach Wojcik will rally the troops. Earlier this season, I belittled the merits of regular season basketball. Saturday (Feb. 20) proves me wrong.
The season is on the line when the UTEP Miners roll into town for a 3pm tip off. Not literally but figuratively.
The University of Tulsa expects an adrenaline boost in the C-USA tournament. The partisan crowd at the BOK Center should sway momentum for the home team. Right?
However, if the squad cannot beat Memphis or UTEP in the friendly confines of the Reynolds Center, what makes us believe jumping across town can cure what ails?
And a trip to play Duke the following Thursday? Batten down the hatches, we're about to hit turbulence.
See you at the game.
In Bad Taste
Boo NBC. The National Broadcasting Company should be ashamed. As you've read and unfortunately seen, Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian luge competitor, fatally crashed during a practice run.
Accidents happen. We get this. What doesn't sit right with me is the overzealous nature in which the death video was replayed.
Television is the medium of choice (except for enlightened UTW readers of course). People like pretty colors and fast movement. Thanks to TV, Americans do not have to sit still for longer than three-minute intervals during newscasts.
But why was it necessary to replay the luger's death slide three times in a row on NBC Nightly News. Thanks for the "graphic video" warning, but one airing was plenty.
Then, just in case you missed the video during the newscast, they replayed it a few more times before the opening ceremony. Showing once, maybe twice during a news show would be palpable. Replaying ad nauseam prior to the unsuccessful opening ceremony was overkill.
The slow-mo replay and still picture of Kumaritashvili receiving life saving treatment were gratuitous and unnecessary.
However, the most egregious aspect of the coverage? The network and Olympic officials blaming the competitor. It sickens me to think what his family is going through.
They lost their son. The video is being shown like the latest YouTube sensation. Now, the International Olympic Committee is blaming him.
"He's inexperienced," they said. "He's only the 44th ranked luger in the world," they said. "He was just 21 years old," they said.
Then, in the darkness of the night, a safety wall is erected to protect lugers. The track is shortened as a safety measure. Why were these basic steps not taken when 12 world-class lugers crashed prior to Kumaritashvili paying the ultimate price? Why continue to blame him post mortem? Bob Costas and Brian Williams are better than this. Well, at one point they were.
RIP Mr. Georgian luger.
In case you were wondering, or just a lazy procrastinator, the Tulsa Drillers have a limited number of seats available for opening night.
"We sold out pretty much all of the seats that were available," Drillers GM Mike Melega said. "We just freed up some that we were holding for season tickets and groups."
In fact, tickets to all six-games of the first home stand are available at tulsadrillers.com right now. The remainder of the season's individual tickets will be available mid-March. Think baseball.
In Football Action
Looking for two more signs the Tulsa Talons move into the newly created Arena Football 1 league is big time? How about the updated tulsatalons.com Web site for starters?
Also, not to be overlooked is the upgraded cheer squad. Please do not take this as a cheap shot at the previous cheer squads. No, this is accolades for the updated cheer professionalism.
"I am absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to choreograph for the Tulsa Talons Cheerleaders," said newly appointed Talons cheer choreographer, Caitlin Hoagland. This will be her third year as a Talons cheerleader.
Want to join her on the sidelines? Cheerleader tryouts are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1:30-6pm and Sunday, Feb. 28th from 2-5pm at Gold's Gym, 6612 S. Memorial Drive.
Visit the aforementioned Talon's Web site or call 294-1000 for more information.
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