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February 16, 2011Overreaction is a funny thing. Has anyone else seen the clip from America's Funniest Home Videos when the little kid gets an N64? That's hilarious. It's a seven year old freaking out over a 64-bit gaming system. People overreacting to Justin Bieber getting "screwed" out of a Grammy that went to Portland jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is also hilarious because, you know, he's really terrible.
But it's not so funny when, after every Cougar basketball loss, people blow their collective lids. It was especially terrible after last Thursday's loss to Stanford when I saw multiple friends' Facebook statuses saying the Cougars now can never make it to the tournament or this team is horrible beyond belief. I even saw one idiot professing to wanting Wazzu head men's hoop coach Ken Bone fired.
Here's one thing everyone needs to do from now on: take a night to think everything over. I've found that since I started doing that, I've been at least somewhat more rational. Reacting immediately after a game is over usually means you don't have all the facts and you're bumbling sounding rather incoherent (as I usually do).
Now, to the main point. Losing to Stanford, combined with losses to Oregon and California earlier in the year certainly didn't help things. I'll never try to dispute the fact that those losses certainly hurt the Cougars chances for getting into the Big Dance. We also expected a little bit more consistent offensive performance from this team in their second season under Bone.
The problem with the way a lot of people react immediately after a game is that the logic is incredibly flawed. No single loss ever effectively eliminates a team from possibly grabbing an at-large bid to the tournament because the proverbial bubble is always in flux. Teams are constantly losing a game they shouldn't have lost which keeps the bubble moving. It's not as if the bubble is some fixed target with set in stone criterion for getting into the postseason. The reason it moves and constantly changes because what it takes to get into the tournament constantly changes.
The Cougars could obviously fix this problem by winning the conference tournament and earning themselves an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. But that will likely be a pretty tremendous chore. So, in all likelihood, the Cougars are going to have to count on an at-large bid to get them into the postseason. This is obviously problematic because we don't always know what needs to be done to get to the NCAA's.
And that's just it. No one can make a blanket statement saying the Cougars have to win the rest of their games to make it to the tournament. We just don't know if that is true or not. Would it be helpful and make their chances better? Absolutely. But their final five games are at Arizona, at Arizona State, at Washington and at home versus UCLA and USC. The unfortunate thing is there is only one sure win in there at the Sun Devils. The rest of them are all up in the air and, in theory, the Cougars won't be favored in any of them. It'll be a hell of a task for this team to get to the postseason.
But winning a couple of them and a good run in the conference tournament could do it too. The sad thing is we won't truly know what it takes to make it to the tournament until the tournament field is announced on the evening of March 13th. Helping matters this year though for the Cougars is the fact that an extra four teams will find their way into the tournament as the field has been expanded to 68. Every loss makes a tournament berth less and less likely, but I want people to stop making stupid statements after a loss that there is no way the team can make the tournament. There's no way you can make those statements so just stop doing it and we'll all be better for it.
Meanwhile the Cougar football team hasn't exactly had the best week in the eyes of Pullman law enforcement. Safety Tracy Clark who redshirted last season was arrested on two felony counts related to stealing a laptop in Streit Hall. Meanwhile, this past weekend running back James Montgomery was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. One charge is obviously a touch more severe than the other and, in fact, the only reason Montgomery's marijuana arrest is noteworthy is because he's supposed to be petitioning the NCAA for another year of eligibility. I doubt this citation will do anything to affect his case but technically he's not on the team anymore unless the NCAA says he can be.
But Clark's crime is very worrisome. I don't know how much he was expected to contribute in the future but any crime as severe as this by a member of the football team creates bad press - and the last thing Wazzu head football coach Paul Wulff needs with his proverbial hot seat already warmer than the sun is more bad press.
Last Week: 5-4
This one should be easy but hey, you never know.
UCLA 78, Stanford 67
I don't know about this one but I'll go with the home team.
Cal 79, USC 73
If UW doesn't destroy them I get to laugh.
Washington 105, Arizona State 60
With DeAngelo Casto sitting on a bum ankle, this could get bad.
Arizona 81, Washington State 67
Oh good, more terrible rivalry basketball.
Oregon 67, Oregon State 61
This should actually be a heck of a treat on ESPN.
Arizona 87, Washington 83
A shootout in Berkeley!
UCLA 85, Cal 75
Oh what a woefully boring game in Palo Alto
Stanford 57, USC 50
Cougars need to recover after an expected loss in Tucson
Washington State 78, Arizona State 61
Obscure Pick of the Week: A directional school plus a hair brushing utensil and your mouth! I know, terribly analogy!
East Tennessee State 71, Lipscomb 61
Dunderhead of the Week: The tree that fell across I-5 near the exit onto the 520 bridge, delaying my drive time home by nearly 30 minutes. Damn Evergreen tree with your branches and your lane blocking.
And, of course, John Buccigross
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The 2010-11 athletic season continues to be here and you know what that means It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Men's hoop, women's hoop and baseball, just to name a few, are preparing for their 2010 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.