Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 26th, 2013

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching, but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

Needless to say, it’s been a topsy-turvy week in college hoops. Louisville was crowned the top team in the country after all three remaining undefeated teams lost in the same weekend, only to be promptly unseated by Syracuse in a Big East thriller that propelled Michael Carter-Williams further into the national spotlight. Duke retook the crown, only to suffer an unprecedented 27-point beatdown at the hands of Miami. Heading into Saturday night, the next number one is anything but certain, with Michigan still in the mix and Kansas seemingly ready to take the throne for the first time this season.

E.J. Singler was all over the court in the Ducks comeback win over Washington State, including notching this block in the first half. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

E.J. Singler was all over the court in the Ducks comeback win over Washington State, including notching this block in the first half. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

The excitement has continued deep into the undercard throughout the last week. Michigan State’s upset of Ohio State makes the Big Ten race that much more interesting (not that it needed any help), and Wichita State’s win over Creighton turned the Missouri Valley from the Jays’ show to a horse race in one fell swoop. None of these, however, can top the show put on in Hinkle Fieldhouse last Saturday, a prime time game between barely-mid-major programs with the same mascot and the same aspirations come March.

When two of the best squads in the country meet in one of the most historic sports venues in any league of any sport, there are bound to be fireworks, but this contest was at “ESPN Classic” levels even before it ended. A Rotnei Clarke-less Bulldogs squad kept it tooth and nail with the kings of the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga, for 39 minutes and 57 seconds until a traveling call seemed to seal this battle of the Bulldogs. Then in came the Hinkle Magic and a kid named Roosevelt Jones grabbed the Zags’ inbounds pass, dribbled twice and launched a floater that no one heard hit the ground after swishing through the net, it’s bounce drowned out as a sea of navy and white rushed the old court to celebrate a tremendous win.

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Oregon Basketball and the Season of New: The Big Win

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 17th, 2013

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching, but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

There are games that every player remembers — their highest-scoring game, their last home contest, rivalry games, conference championships, and bad losses. But not every player gets the chance to be part of a big upset win in front of the home fans on national TV. These games are but a blip on the larger college basketball radar, sometimes netting headlines for a day or so, but for the players, the fans, the building and team staffs and everyone else who was there, it is often the memory of a lifetime.

Carlos Emory drinks in the atmosphere at Matthew Knight Arena in the closing moments of the Duck's win over Arizona. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll

Carlos Emory drinks in the atmosphere in the closing moments of the Ducks’ win over Arizona. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

By about halfway through the non-conference season, four power conference teams had gone unscathed through the early season: Arizona, Duke, Indiana, and Michigan. No team has gone undefeated through the regular season since 1976, when Indiana finished the season with a 32-0 record and a national championship, but there’s always hope that another team can do the job, that the stars will align just right. That squad was not Indiana again, as they lost to Butler in overtime near the trail end of the non-conference season. The win put the Bulldogs back into the national spotlight and shattered many predictions that Indiana was a juggernaut. It also elevated the other three unbeaten schools to elite status, the top of the college basketball heap (and polls).

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Oregon State Facing Another Lost Season After Arizona Loss

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 14th, 2013

Rockne Roll (@raroll) is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Saturday’s game between Arizonan and Oregon State in Corvallis.

Coming into this season, things were looking up for Oregon State. Its senior core was comprised of solid players; it had a contingent of younger players with high potential; and all signs pointed to the team as ready to turn things around in Corvallis. A significant remodel of Gill Coliseum and the reappearance of the Beaver Dam, OSU’s student section, seemed to be harbingers of the Beavers finally making some serious noise in the conference, or at least posting a winning conference record, something the school hasn’t done in 20 years.

Solomon Hill sidesteps Roberto Nelson on his way to the basket.

Solomon Hill sidesteps Roberto Nelson on his way to the basket. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

But after a promising start (including smoking Niagara by 19 in the opener), things have slowly been growing glum in Corvallis. First, senior center Angus Brandt tore his ACL in the Beavers’ win against Purdue. Brandt, a 6’10″ center with a solid three-point stroke, had been averaging double-figure scoring this year, and his injury was a massive blow to the team’s overall talent base. Things got worse when OSU announced that Brandt’s backup, Daniel Gomis, would lose the entire season to a leg injury. Their replacement in the starting lineup, 6’7″ senior Joe Burton, routinely has issues dealing with the size and athleticism of opposing centers.

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Oregon Pulls the Plug on the “Cardiac Cats”

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 11th, 2013

Rockne Roll is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Thursday night’s Oregon-Arizona game in Eugene.

The Arizona Wildcats have been comeback specialists all season. Against Florida, on Christmas Day, and the miracle in Colorado, the “Cardiac Cats” have earned their nickname. So when they went into the locker room of Matthew Knight Arena at halftime down 11 points to the Oregon Ducks, it probably wasn’t a particularly big cause for concern. Rather the concern was with Oregon, as they knew it was going to be an enormous challenge just to hold on. After all, Arizona had opened the game on an 11-0 run, forcing the Ducks to claw their way back. Even after besting their in-state rival earlier in the week, Oregon knew this was going to be an enormous challenge. “We knew from the start they were going to make a run at it,” said Ducks guard Jonathan Loyd. And make a run they did. The Cats cut the lead from 11 at the half to eight with about six minutes to go, until E.J. Singler, who had been a little spotty so far this season before the Oregon State game, drained a three and made two freebies on the next possession to bring the advantage back to 13.

E.J. Singler (center) celebrates with Jonathan Loyd (right) after the Ducks' 70-66 victory over the Arizona Wildcats. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

E.J. Singler (center) celebrates with Jonathan Loyd (right) after the Ducks’ 70-66 victory over the Arizona Wildcats. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

But Arizona wasn’t done, as the Wildcats came on again late to cut the lead to four with 1:20 to play off a Mark Lyons three. When Lyons fouled on the other end, though, it looked like the “Cardiac Cats” were on life support. And Singler was there to pull the plug, draining two foul shots to make it a six-point game. Even after Nick Johnson hit from deep to bring it back to a one-possession game, Loyd grabbed a steal and was promptly fouled. He hit one of two to make the lead four, and a rebound by Singler as time expired made it official. Arizona’s perfect season was dead, left on MKA’s oddly-painted floor to be trampled by a hoard of screaming Oregon students who rushed the court to celebrate one of the biggest wins in recent memory for Oregon.

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Anatomy of a Rivalry

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 10th, 2013

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

Not all conference games are created equal, particularly in a conference where there’s a wide separation between best and worst. And while the Oregon Ducks have been saying that they prepare for every game with the same degree of intensity and focus, one can’t help but think that there might have been a little something extra that went into the preparation for Sunday’s conference opener against a team the Ducks have played 337 times before this one. Because what better way for Oregon to start conference play than the longest running rivalry in college basketball; the Civil War against the Beavers of Oregon State.

Team leaders E.J. Singler (left) and Roberto Nelson tried to keep the Civil War "civil." (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

Team leaders E.J. Singler (left) and Roberto Nelson tried to keep the Civil War “civil.” (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

The Civil War has all the makings of a classic rivalry: two big schools with big athletic programs in the same conference separated by 40 or so miles of Interstate 5 and a million miles in terms of campus and community culture. Between Corvallis, the small, rural town with its agricultural college turned engineering and forestry nexus, and Eugene, the famed hippie and beatnick mecca with its liberal arts (emphasis on the liberal) focus that is sometimes referred to as UC Eugene, the whole state takes sides based on location, family history, and alumni status.

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: The End of the Beginning

Posted by Rockne Roll on January 6th, 2013

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” -Winston Churchill

At the beginning of college basketball every year, it’s a circus; 340-plus teams criss-crossing the country to play each other, as well as games by Division I squads against their less heralded colleagues from the lower levels of the hoops hierarchy. There are regular season tournaments, featured games like ESPN’s ACC/Big Ten challenge, and (as previously discussed in this column) mid-majors going on the road and getting shellacked by power conference schools to make a few bucks. Buried somewhere in this mix for the big schools are a couple of games that serve as a real test of a squad’s development and capabilities.

Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll

The Ducks Have Been a Pleasant Surprise This Season(Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

Oregon played such a game earlier this week, ending its non-conference slate against Nevada at home. The Wolf Pack were just such a team; they went 13-1 against last year’s WAC and made the NIT quarterfinals before losing to Stanford. They pressured the Ducks defensively and scored 20 points off Oregon’s 20 turnovers. But Oregon’s defense held Nevada to 13 percent shooting from downtown and just 14 first half points for a final score of 56-43. Singler went on the podium after the game and personally took credit for the turnover problem. “We had been really trying to limit out turnovers, and most of them, it was on me.” The box score agreed; Singler coughed it up seven times during the match. “I’ve got to clean it up a lot, be stronger with the ball. We’re going to need to pick it up once Pac-12 starts.” But even beyond just the turnovers, Oregon’s ball movement wasn’t working, and without good ball movement, Oregon’s offense grinds to a halt. “Offensively, the ball movement just wasn’t there. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I thought we’d gotten some things worked out with out ball movement,” explained head coach Dana Altman. But one of the differences in this year’s Oregon squad is its defense. The Ducks are currently sporting their lowest field goal percentage defense in six years, and regularly force their opponents deep into shot clocks. “We had a couple times we had some great possessions. Our rotations were really good, out adjustments were really good. For the most part, our defense was pretty good.”

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Seniors that Surprise

Posted by Rockne Roll on December 26th, 2012

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country. 

Christmas has come and probably gone by the time you read this, so instead of focusing on “the spirit of the season” and joy and all that, it’s time to discuss the real reason that Christmas is such a popular holiday: gifts. Everyone likes receiving gifts, and college basketball coaches are no exception. Quite a few coaches have been reveling in the gifts they received from Recruiting Claus way back in the offseason as their freshman prospects have blossomed into powerhouse college players. But gifts come in all shapes, sizes and amounts of remaining eligibility for coaches. As the season has unfolded, a number of seniors that were previously talented but not quite superstar players have emerged as unexpected studs that have propelled their teams to unexpected success.

Miles Plumlee Has Been a Gift to Duke Fans (AP Photo)

The most prominent example of this phenomenon nationally has been Mason Plumlee.  Notching just over 11 points and nine boards in last year’s campaign, the middle of the Plumlee brothers was expected to headline the Blue Devil’s frontcourt this year, but not to factor into the hunt for national honors nor was Duke seen as a serious national title contender. How times change: Plumlee now averages nearly 20 points per contest and is the leading scorer and rebounder for the best team in the country. “Mason Plumlee’s improvement in a year’s time is extraordinary,” Elon coach Matt Matheny told reporters after Plumlee scored 21 and notched 15 boards in Duke’s 76-54 win over the Phoenix at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “He has done a tremendously good job of developing into a really, really good college player.” “Really good” is an understatement here, as Plumlee has gone from potential All-American to the short list for the Naismith Award.

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Breaking The Winter Blahs

Posted by Rockne Roll on December 15th, 2012

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

December is a strange time of year in the world of college sports. There are no classes for student-athletes and, at least for the Oregon Ducks, only a few games in the space of a month leading up to the start of conference play. With the hustle and bustle of regular season tournaments ended, now is the time that teams have to solidify their rotations, offensive strategies and other nuances of the game leading up to conference season. Oregon will have some help in this regard. Between their Global Sports Classic finale (their only loss yet) and the beginning of the Pac-12 calendar, the Ducks play all but one of their games at home, and only two against teams that had a winning record last year. But even though the non-conference schedule for them and most high-major schools is now as tender as a fine Christmas roast, that doesn’t mean this time of year is without obstacles. Even in the course of winning games, there are gaping flaws to be unveiled and problems to encounter that make this time of year nerve-wracking.

E.J. Singler leaps in for a put-back off of Damyean Dotson's missed three-pointer. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

E.J. Singler leaps in for a put-back off of Damyean Dotson’s missed three-pointer. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

Just ask the Michigan State Spartans. They needed a 22-9 run early in the second half to put away Loyola (IL) 73-61 on December 8. “ Tough game,” explained Spartans coach Tom Izzo. “We didn’t play great, but we didn’t play bad. We had some poor stretches and a couple of really foolish turnovers.” This was only the most recent of their troubles, they came very close to dumping a home contest to a very underwhelming Idaho State squad, eventually squeaking out with a 74-70 win on November 20. Kentucky has had some worse problems. After losing to Notre Dame, the Wildcats went into national ranking freefall after a subsequent 64-55 loss to Baylor. “I don’t know what you can say,” head coach John Calipari said in the press conference afterward. “The greatest thing, we had a chance to win the game. But we are still trying to teach them how to finish games, and they don’t know.” Calipari took the opportunity to discuss some of his team’s other near-misses earlier in the season. “We also could have lost to Maryland, earlier this season. We also could have lost to Morehead. Morehead had us on the ropes. What I need our players to understand is, that we are not a very good team right now and we are not individually very good.” Their woes continued in their game against Portland, which they won by a 74-46 final score that belied the fact that the game was tied nine minutes in and the Pilots stayed within 10 for much of the second half until Kentucky finally put them away.

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Giving Thanks and Getting Transfers

Posted by Rockne Roll on November 27th, 2012

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

Thanksgiving is a time to take a step back from the grind and routine of life and appreciate that which we often take for granted. Family, friends, employment, even simple things like food and shelter are worth thinking of on days like this in times like these, not to mention the opportunity we get to experience and chronicle something as exciting and beautiful as college basketball. In wet and soggy Eugene, Oregon, the Ducks have someone and something to be thankful for, too, as they wind through their early non-conference schedule. Arsalan Kazemi, who transferred from Rice just before the start of the season, put on an Oregon uniform for the first time just a day after his waiver request was approved by the NCAA.

Arsalan Kazemi starts off his second game as a Duck with a dunk against Jacksonville State. (Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll)

Once a rarity, the upper-class transfer has become as big of a part of the college basketball landscape as the one-and-done. According to CBS Sports, more than 400 Division I basketball players have transferred schools this year, and ESPN cites an NCAA report saying that 40 percent of all college freshman basketball players will eventually change schools.  Some of these players are taking advantage of the graduate transfer rule, some are exiting Division I to one of the lower tiers of college hoops, and some are either planning to sit out a year or hoping to receive the gift of a hardship waiver from the NCAA, relieving them and their new teams from the burden of an academic year in residence.

The process by which the NCAA approves and denies these requests is a mystery even to those who follow college ball religiously. Earlier this month, the NCAA published new guidelines on its granting of waivers for players who are changing schools to move closer to ailing family members, clearing up some nagging issues but making some language even more confusing. Currently, ESPN reports that about half of the waiver requests made in the last five years have been approved, a figure that is expected to rise under the new regulations.

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Oregon Basketball and the Season of New: A Cold Start

Posted by Rockne Roll on November 16th, 2012

The weather in Oregon can do strange things. In the week leading up to the Ducks’ home opener against Northern Arizona, the weather shifted from cool and rainy to downright cold, and it was frequently the topic of conversation across the western half of the state. In the span of a day, high temperatures dropped from the mid-50s to the low 40s in what would turn out to be a bit of an omen for the Ducks as they faced Northern Arizona Saturday night.

Willie Moore loses control of his dribble as the Ducks take on Northern Arizona in their home opener.

The weather has been weird throughout the country, with two scheduled carrier games amounting to one half of actual basketball between them (Ohio State vs. Marquette was cancelled before its scheduled tip aboard USS Yorktown, while Florida vs. Georgetown was cancelled just before the start of the second half due to unmanageable condensation aboard USS Bataan), not to mention Hurricane Sandy. But many of the top teams in the country seemed to open up their seasons with some cold moments, even if it was not reflected in the thermometer.

It took a late first half rally and a close second half for No. 15 Missouri to beat Southern Illinois–Edwardsville by 14. Yale dominated the first half of their match against Sacred Heart, taking a 44-28 lead to the break, but went on to lose 85-82 after the Pioneers mounted a monumental comeback. And Arizona struggled to put away Charleston Southern until late, eventually winning 82-73. In early-season games like these, the scene is frequently set the same way: A team playing its home opener against a team it underestimates doesn’t play as hard as they might have against a big-name team. They’ll either come out soft, or build a lead and leave it to take care of itself, slacking off late and not just leaving the door open to a comeback, but propping it wide with a doorstop and hanging a welcome sign over it. On the other side of the coin, opponents come into the big-time arenas ready to go, eager to show their stuff and pushing every possible advantage.

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Craig Robinson Notches His Second Win of the Week

Posted by Rockne Roll on November 10th, 2012

Oregon State Head Coach Craig Robinson sat in front of the pressroom Friday night after with a smile on his face after his team’s home opener. It was his second win of the week, he said. The first was Tuesday night, when his brother-in-law won another term as President. And while Barack Obama’s final Electoral College score of 303-206 (pending Florida’s final count) over Mitt Romney was significantly higher than the 102-83 final score that the Beavers posted on the Niagara University Purple Eagles at Gill Coliseum Friday, Robinson sympathized with the stress his brother was under. “You think about me coaching 30-something games a year, they only have two games, your first election and your second election,” Robinson said. “The pressure is immense.”

It’s Been a Good Week For Both Gentlemen (credit: NYTimes.com)

To be fair, Robinson had a scoreboard to tell him that his Beavers led this one wire-to-wire by as many as 25 points. Beaver forward Eric Moreland scored 14 points on a perfect 7-7 mark from the field and pulled down 13 boards as the Beaver’s dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. “I just let the game come to me,” Moreland said afterwards. “They’re a smaller team, so we wanted to be able to take advantage of that.” OSU pulled 52 total rebounds and scored 48 points in the paint, while limiting Niagara to just 16 points inside. Six Beavers scored in double digits, with Roberto Nelson leading all scorers with 22.

But if the lane was the Beavers’ domain, a “blue state” to continue the political metaphor, the area beyond the three-point spent much of the game as a “red state,” firmly under the control of the Niagara backcourt. The Eagles scored their first 18 points from outside, going 6-7 on three-pointers during that stretch. A Malcolm Lemmons layup off a steal with 10 minutes left in the first half was their first two-pointer of the game. By the end of the first half, the Eagles had shot nine of 16 from beyond the arc. Many of those looks were wide open as Niagara took the ball down low and drew in the defense before kicking out to a shooter like Marvin Jordan, who led the Eagles with 17 total points. “You can’t help off of a guy who’s a terrific shooter,” Robinson said. “That’s something we’re going to learn from and have to get better at.”

On the other end, the Eagles rolled out a matchup zone defense that frustrated the Beaver’s shooters early. “You guys don’t know how hard it is to play your first game of the season against somebody who plays a matchup zone,” Robinson flatly told reporters. “We kind of had to figure that out on the fly.” When they did, the Beavers spaced the floor with their post play and set up their own shooters outside, turning the “red state” their way by  draining three-pointers on four consecutive possessions in a two minute stretch midway through the second half to open the lead to 25. They finished the game shooting 13 of 24 from downtown, with Ahmad Starks putting down six of them. After holding that 25-point lead for another five minutes, Robinson was able to go to his deep bench, a fact that Starks saw as a sign of a job well done for him and the other rotation players. “Everybody took care of business and we got to the century mark so [Robinson] was able to get people into the game, get some time and get the college experience.”

Robinson was pleased with his team’s performance as well. “I was really pleased with this game,” he said. “I thought our guys came out ready to play.” And with the election now over and decided, Robinson could enjoy his team’s success. “That makes this night even better.”

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Oregon Basketball and The Season of New: Exhibiting Some Flaws

Posted by Rockne Roll on November 8th, 2012

Welcome to Oregon Basketball and The Season of New, a weekly Pac-12 microsite column from Rockne Roll (@raroll). His column will focus on the various issues facing college basketball through the prism of the Oregon Ducks, a program ostensibly on the rise with top-notch facilities and coaching but still subject to many of the same problems suffered by many of the other high-major programs around the country.

College basketball is frequently a topsy-turvy world. Indeed, one of the great draws of the NCAA Tournament is its unpredictability. Just ask fans of Lehigh or Norfolk State, who saw their teams upset two-seeds in the first round last year, or supporters of Syracuse, a team that needed a late rally to avoid being the first #1 to be picked off by a #16 in the 64-team era. But at the outset of each year, before the “season” has even technically begun, there’s more of an order to things. For these exhibition games, teams from Divisions II and III and the NAIA hit the road to play in gyms that can hold their entire student body five times over. These schools receive a healthy payday in exchange for the chance to start their seasons getting trounced by a high-major Division I squad. There are big benefits to these games for their big-time hosts. Besides selling tickets (and concessions and merchandise and et cetera) a team can try out new lineups, new plays, and new people, in a fairly risk free environment. The beauty of the exhibition game is that it doesn’t count win or lose; if everything goes wrong, the only thing lost is pride.

Dominic Artis led the way with 15 points for the Ducks.

Or is it? For the past few years, at least one Division I team has dropped an exhibition match. Some take it in stride like the 2010-11 Xavier Musketeers, who bounced back from an exhibition loss to nearly run the table in the A-10 and take a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Others, like Tennessee the same year, go on to finish .500 in conference play and sneak into the Big Dance only to suffer a 30-point loss in the first round. It happens more than you might think. Over the past 15 years of regular season play (not counting exhibitions), Division I teams have dropped 232 games to non-Division I opponents.

Coming into last Friday night, the Miami Hurricanes were predicted to have one of their best seasons ever. There was little to no concern about their sole exhibition match against Division II Saint Leo University. That is, except from ‘Canes head coach Jim Larranaga. “You play like you practice, and if we play like this tomorrow night, you guys are going to be very disappointed in the results,” he said to his team after one practice. The Lions were kind enough to demonstrate the point for him. After jumping out to an early lead, Saint Leo held on through a Miami comeback, and eventually earned a 69-67 win.

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