A Few Random Thoughts on the Oregon Game

Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N

Before both of our games, Marques Johnson said that the team that wins the Pac 10 title will have 4 or 5 losses.

If he's right, the winning team will have to win at home and break even on the road.

Sweeping the Oregon teams, on the road was a huge first step toward the title -- especially when you consider that we start 3 players who either had no or very little playing time last year.

One thing I think we saw tonight was our freshmen playing a little tighter. This was a hard place to play and the game remained uncomfortably close -- not the easiest way to break in to the Pac 10 for a kid. (Making KL's performance last year even more amazing.)

We also saw our incredible senior leaders pick up the team and carry it to victory. I could not be happier for JS. He is where he should be -- and he did it by letting the game come to him and then taking it over. DC? What can you say. After our last game of last season, there was a lot of negative talk about DC -- some people even saying that they hoped that he wouldn't come back and that it would be better for the team if he did not. What do you think now? Is there a more complete player in college ball? And, you have to love the fact that he is money at the line -- thereby allowing CBH to huddle with the other 4 players as DC shoots. AA2 is clearly playing at another level. He, more than anyone had to play against 8 people -- 5 from Oregon and 3 ref's.

I coined the phrase SPTR's in a moment of frustration during a game in which I got tired of typing Shitty Pac Ten Ref's.

They were absolutely terrible, today, making bad calls against both sides but particularly bad calls against us. Replays showed consistently that here were no fouls on plays during which they called them. And, there were two critical no calls at a very tight point near the end of the game; AA2 was the victim of both. First, he was mauled as he went to shoot and no foul was called. Then, later, he pulled down a critical rebound, only to get pushed out of bounds by an Oregon player -- no call and we lose possession.

I think the ref's had a major impact on our aggressive D. It's hard to play hard when you can't figure out what will be called and what won't. I think they took DG a bit out of his aggressive game.

I'm not saying that we were in a tight game because of the ref's. But, I am saying that it is in tight games that you want great ref's. You don't want a close game decided by people in striped shirts; you want them decided by the players. 

The Pac 10 simply must do better -- in all sports. It's not fair to any team in the conference.

We have got to find a way to put teams away. I've been using my cat and mouse analogy. When I lived on the farm, I had a house cat and barn cats. When the house cat caught a mouse, he'd play with it; some times, even though it was outmanned, it got away. The barn cats didn't screw around. They were hungry. When they caught a mouse they did away with it.

We have been playing like house cats. We catch teams in the first half, and they toy with them instead of putting them away. We will not win championships unless we learn to play hard for the full 40 minutes. 

We totally dominated all aspects of the game in the first half. We outshot, out rebounded and out assisted Oregon by a healthy margin. By the end of the game, they had the rebound advantage. 

To some extent, that was the sptr's doing: Shipp, Aboya, Keefe, and Gordon were all in foul trouble for much of the game.

I think I under appreciate JK and ND. At the end of the game their numbers look good, but while watching them I don't see the intensity, especially on D that I'd like to see. I think it may be more a matter of my perspective than their playing ability. More than once I shouted "No" as ND shot and he made the 3's. Maybe, he's dialed in.

I never thought I'd ever say this but: We play better against the zone than we do against  man D. Maybe that's because we've had so much practice against the zone this year and teams have not manned us. But, in the zone we've had some very easy  looks for 3 and we had a lot harder time getting those shots, today.

When they slash, DC, JH, JA, and JS look great -- and should do it more. I think it was DC who slashed and then passed back out for a critical 3. Good things happen when we go inside.

We really need JM. I'm hoping he gets where he has to be to play more, soon. With AA2 out, we get beat on the boards. JM has been a board warrior in the moments he's been in the game. And, he has great footwork and good moves when he gets the ball. I know there are problems with hedging, but I still think the big issues is that he cannot run up and down the court in a fast paced game. Truth is that KL had problems with that at the beginning of last season, too.

I really liked seeing JA at the point with DC in the game. JA looks so natural and calm at the position. It's an interesting use of talent.

Which brings me to coaching. There simply is no one better than CBH. He manages the game and talent so well. There were quips about his micromanaging during the broadcast. I see it differently. He is teaching, every moment.

I love Marques' Bruin roots and will always be proud of him -- but I'm getting tired of hearing him on the broadcasts. Why don't I turn off the sound? Because I just love hearing CBH yelling instructions, all game long. Can there be any greater contrast than CHP (Coach Howland's Predecessor) the lizard of westwood -- who sat with a puzzled look having no idea if we were being zoned or faced a man D.

One last thing for the newer members of BN. We are a fairly superstitious lot here. One of the things we don't do is claim victory before the game is over. We don't get "comfortable" or "relax" until the horn blows. We actually take this very seriously and people have been banned for putting the hex on our team. If you don't know this tradition, and you say something like "Whew, that should lock it up" before the game is over, please don't be offended when you get jumped on. We've seen "won" games lost in the last seconds and we think fan overconfidence played a role in those losses. (Nonsense you say? Probably. But it is nonsense we live by. So, please play along with us.)

This was a huge weekend of wins. Oregon State proved that they are better than they looked against us by beating an sc team that is good, if not deep. 

Marques may be right -- the winner of the Pac 10 may lose 5 games in conference. If that's right, we've taken a huge step by winning in a tough venue and sweeping the weekend.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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