Saturday, February 9, 2008

Men's Basketball vs Oregon State 2/9/2008

Stanford 71 Oregon State 56 After our decimation of Oregon, it was no surprise (to me at least), that there would be some sort of letdown against the Pac-10 cellar dweller. It was pretty apparent from the fan's viewpoint. No one camped out for Oregon State and the 6th Man line before doors opened was pretty paltry considering that it was a Saturday afternoon game. Some people made a huge Pac-9 sign with a red 9 drawn over the Pac-10 logo and strategically placed it behind the FSN announcers during half-time for a good 30 seconds. I was surprised that they weren't asked to remove it. Even though it was Oregon State, my games left at Maples this year are numbered and so I made it a point to get there early. I put the time to good use - spending the gorgeous afternoon grading homework and witnessing a red-coat chase a couple of guys who were playing frisbee off the practice football fields.

In an effort to increase 6th Man support (I would think that being ranked #9 in the nation would be a good incentive for people who have 6th Man to go to games but I guess that doesn't necessarily hold true at Stanford), the 6th Man committee is selling tickets to students for the remaining home games for $10 a piece. If they want to be in the 6th Man Section, they can buy a shirt for another $10. That is a ridiculously good deal. It also seems to me that if you have tickets for the game but want to stand in the 6th Man section for the remainder of the home games and make a lot of noise, you could just buy a 6th Man Shirt (since they didn't ask for my student ID when I bought 2 for friends)...

As people have commented, we could more fervent support. Even though the 6th Man Section did fill up decently well due to many people taking advantage of the $10 tickets (I think) and Oregon State turned into a game instead of the expected blowout thanks to good early outside shooting from OSU (Oregon, in my opinion, had better looks from the outside on Thursday but just missed), a full court trapping kind of defense similar to what Northwestern played against us, and Brook being double teamed whenever he touched the ball and turning it over too often which led to easy OSU baskets, the 6th Man section didn't really get into the game noise-wise. Rather, they complained about the refs incessantly. While I admit that the refs blew a few calls, I've definitely seen worse and I expect our team to play through them rather than get frazzled and frustrated, especially when playing at home against a winless OSU.

On a positive note, despite the turnovers, we still won by 15 thanks to our excellent rebounding and stellar free throw shooting. Lawrence had another solid outing although I felt that he could have been more aggressive in pulling the trigger during the second half when we seemed to stagnate on offense. Taj also won over many first time fans with his hustle and energy. He will be sorely missed next year. The optimistic side of me also thinks that it's a good thing that Brook got side-tracked/frustrated in a game that we didn't need him to dominate in order to win. I saw signs of it against WSU but he definitely lost his composure today. He should expect to be doubled and played physically every time he touches the ball from here out. WSU was the first team to do it for a whole game and I would do it too if I were the opposing coach. Hopefully he'll learn from this game and we'll continue to work on passing out of doubles and making the extra pass in practice.

I also think OSU is due some credit for the way they played. Sure they were physical and some might even say cheap, but so is UCLA. If they can continue to play this way, they will get a win somewhere. In other news around the conference, the middle of the Pac-10 is wide open. You can spin it as either a testament to the depth of the Pac-10 or the inconsistency of the teams. Regardless of which theory you subscribe to (I lean towards the latter), I'm definitely not complaining about this 3 game cushion we have. It's on to Arizona now - one of the trips I've been looking forward to because of the weather. Earlier on in the season, I would have been happy with a split but now, I can't help but look for a sweep. That's what expectations will do to you. Maybe I should focus on how road teams get fewer calls. That might help temper my expectations.
~ Zhihao

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