Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Ya Heard? Probably Not.
The ranking of post-season college basketball tournaments for Division I schools goes something like this:
1. NCAA Tournament
3. Women's NCAA Tournament
4. College Basketball Invitational
6. CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament
Luckily for me, Oakland just happens to have teams in the latter two. Today there was a home game where the Grizzlies took on Kent State in a tournament I've never heard of for a website I didn't know existed. I figure I should give a quick recap.
Oakland came out of the gate completely flat. Aside from Keith Benson dunking on someone something vicious, they looked like they didn't want to be out there. Maybe it was hangover from letting an NCAA tournament berth slip through their fingers, but none of the players really looked like they cared what was going on. Players were just starring at loose balls and making dumb decisions. Kent State's half-court trap was rather effective, but the 2nd half proved it could be broken.
Their lack of effort was really evident for about the last 3 minutes of the 1st half, where they just let a 4 point game balloon into a 27-40 half time deficit with very little resistance.
The reality of the situation must have set in for the players at halftime, because they came out focused. After giving up 2 free throws, the Grizzlies went on a 20-4 run. Much of that was due to more effective ball movement, and Eric Kangas hitting 3 triples. In fact, Kent State's 4 points in that came off of a beautiful 4-point play by guard Tyree Evans, or "Agent Zero" as someone sitting near me in the stands affectionately called him. It fits pretty well given his number and his propensity to launch a shot just about as soon as he catches it.
Right after that run, Kent State hit a three pointer to take their last lead of the game. Oakland quickly responded and it was pretty much a wrap from then on. The energy in the building was crazy, I've never seen it that hype. Senior, and often team firecracker, Dan Waterstradt wrapped up a rebound getting the Grizzlies possession on a jump ball then randomly let out an emotional yell. If there was one moment that symbolized Oakland's mentality in the 2nd half, it was that. Mind you I laughed because it was completely random, but his team rallied around him. The crowd also rallied around the team for the entire half. The O'Rena was far from packed, but I have never seen it that emotionally invested in a game. The severity of the moment was not lost upon them. For the maybe 1000 people in attendance, the place was rocking! I wish all Oakland games were like that.
Now the Grizzlies go on to play a team to be determined later in a location to be determined later on Monday. This is normally where I'd put up a bracket, but none exists. Just as the gimmick for the CBI is the 3 game series to determine it's champion (Terrible Idea), the CIPT (?) reseeds after every round. That's a better idea than the CBI, and works for a small tournament since it rewards the better teams with home court, but let's hope they'd never consider that in the NCAA's. It'd ruin it completely.
Tomorrow, we tackle the "real" tournament.