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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Thursdays With Raider: Good Job Good Effort

Raider Thoughts

Fighting the worst strain of flu known to man for the better part of a week left me with whatever analysis the combination of Tamiflu, chicken soup, heavy duty ibuprofen, a few other antibiotics and a whole bottle of coedine cough syrup could  muster.  With every intention on Wednesday of watching the ASU game of the first conference roadie of the year (along with the Warriors epic showdown against the Clippers), I took my fistful of prescribed modern medicine, fell asleep abouthalf an hour before tipoff…and then woke back up sometime about 3:30 am wondering if I should write my will.  Seeing the tweets and score updates for both games, but in particular the Ute game, would have had me tweeting for a while, but I effectively said to myself “whatever.  I’m sure it was a game that felt like a victory, but absolutely nothing about me right now screams ‘winning'”.

By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I loathe coedine, but I’m about to now.  The stuff tastes awful, you always feel like you were punched in the jaw by Ken Shamrock, and I have the strangest dreams when I take it.  But sadly, it works on most flu symptoms when nothing else does.  Such is life.

So of course, a team with the talent and depth that Arizona has and ought to put to their advantage should be simple to analyze.  Except for the parts where the Wildcats could have blown the game wide open on at least two occasions, holding them to exactly 60 points, and then there’s the wholeUte possession where we’re down by one and take a three, but since you have covered most of them since the game, I’ll add a few more points for emphasis:

–I’m not one to coach the game after the fact or suffer the delusion that I can strategize a Division I basketball game better than anyone else can.  That’s not my job.  But is it too rudimentary tobelieve that driving to the basket and either making a layup or drawing a foul would have been more effective, regardless of Arizona’s foul situation?  Surely, this is where you can put some trust in, say, Washburn or Loveridge.  After the game, I did read some tweets about how DuBois taking that three was the right move.  It doesn’t change my mind about the result of the game.

–One of my Twitter followers, a UCLA fan, asked me if that close defeat meant that Arizona was overrated.  I’m certain this is probably the correct thing to say after a game like that, even if it is the most conventional and obvious thing to say.  Outside of the most optimistic of Ute fans, who else is saying “boy, Utah looks like the Utah of the 90s”?  If Andy Katz or someone else that makes their living watching college basketball made that comment in the past 48 hours, feel free to send me the link to it.  Thanks.

–Keeping in mind that humans nowadays are distracted by something shiny, I’m not supposed to bring back old internet memes, but do you remember the “good job, good effort” kid from last year’s NBA playoffs?:

Something about that reminded me of the way so many Ute fans are enamored of the improvement of this team–such as it is–and how horrible we all are for not going to the Nth degree in being a Pollyanna.  Our buddy Pat (@100ThingsUtah) got excoriated for this tweet among others after the game:

#utes has chance for memorable win and build huge buzz. And we blew it. No consolation. We won’t play top 5 team on road again this year

But some of you who are more optimistic than I have to understand that a) we’re old enough tohave known and seen better from Utah basketball, and b) winning games and only winning games is the true benchmark of improvement for grouchy people like me.  As I admonished Ute fans viaTwitter on Saturday, I really hope we aren’t saying “good job, good effort” after a dozen close defeats in this conference this year.

At this point, I’m glad that the Warriors are competitive and we actually have an NHL season to enjoy this year.

MAC Thoughts

Ok so I decided to wait till after the BCS title game to respond to you.  And my thought is this.  Hasn’t this title game just really screwed up what was a great day of football on New Years.  I mean if we had the old system, we’d be arguing today over whether Oregon or Alabama or even Stnaford is the national title, instead of this crap system that is rigged to just give titles to the SEC.  I hate it, I hate it.  And now the D-bags at the BCS and ESPN want to keep the playoff at four until 2027.  WHAAAAAA

As for Utah basketball, I’ve come to come realizations at this point.  People call me a Larry hater and while that may have been true at one time, it isn’t true now.  Larry could sell me on this program if we just did a few things we were close to doing, well maybe not close, but not out of the realm.  What I hate are the people who are over the top about Larry, claiming Utah basketball is back after a weekend in which we lost both games.

If you’ve stayed current with Hoyo’s Revenge, and I know you have, you’ll note I said I think we’re playing a system meant for us not to get blown out. I really think we could open things up and get some more wins, but we’d have some ugly losses as well.  Trying not to win feels like a PR move for me and I find it irritating.

Because honestly couldn’t we play this way, go 0-18 in Pac-12 play and lose every game by 5 points or less?  Would that be all that shocking?

Now to say a few things about Arizona.  That team has all the parts but something is missing in the mix.  I think they’ll be a 2nd round exit in the tourney unless something changes.  The way they’re playing now, well it’s going to bite them.

As for the NBA, I think I’m going to follow the Nuggets for the rest of the year.  Why?  WHY NOT!  Besides I once saw the Nuggets with David Thompson, Kiki Vandeweghe, Dan Issel and Alex English play the Lakers with Kareem, Magic, Worthy, and Michael Cooper.  So how cool is that.

Finally the NHL.  I am bummed that there will be no games between the east and west meaning I won’t be seeing Washington this year in Phoenix.  But at least there will be Hockey.  Between that and Angel spring training opening just up the road, well I’m in, in like Flynn to the spring.

Raider’s Thoughts

Bama and the other groupies of their conference winning another title is really Stanford’s fault, for a couple of reasons:

1. Their loss to Notre Dame, officiating notwithstanding, was likely what propelled the Irish to a title game they probably didn’t have any business being in.  I know, they went undefeated, but I couldthink of at least 4 or 5 teams not necessarily in the SEC that could have exposed Notre Dame.  I also know that’s not exactly a profound statement given what America saw on Monday, but this all could have been prevented if Stanford takes care of business against the Irish.

2. Oregon also would have had a better chance against Alabama, but Stanford had to ruin that idea, too.  Sometime when the Pac-12 Network re-airs that game and I’m not quite so steamed up about it, I’ll re-watch it, but I said it on this very blog after that game, that was the moment where nothing was going to prevent another SEC BCS champion.  Sure enough, I was right.  Give me asecond while I pat myself on the back.

I never thought I would say this, but a Bama/Georgia re-match in the title game would have been a better game and would have offended me less than whatever that was with Bama and Notre Dame.  Think about it.

If you don’t mind, I’m going to quote my own tweet from after the Arizona game:

I’ll be very curious to see how Ute fans react a week from now if we lose to the LA schools at home in a close game or two

So let’s say for the sake of argument we lose to both of the LA schools this weekend.  Will we still feel all warm and fuzzy if USC and UCLA both beat us by the hairs on our chinny chin chin?  I got a few replies from that tweet and a few others after that game begging me to “be patient” and that things will all work out just fine.  But that’s going to ring very hollow to me.  And maybe it shouldn’t?  Perhaps I am expecting way too much?  Maybe fans like you and I who followed the Runnin’ Utes when things were going well should start considering the Majerus era and the glorydays of years gone by as an aberration or something that we can’t ever achieve again?  This whole “playing not to lose theory” you expounded upon and being exuberant over close losses still gets to me and until Larry or somebody else turns this thing around, it still may get to me.

The day after Christmas, the Warriors played the Jazz for the first time this season and that gaveeveryone around here the opportunity to discuss how our purported losing games on purpose to keep the #7 pick in last year’s draft was somewhere on the level of kidnapping the Lindbergh Baby.  A lot of Jazz fans are still bent out of shape about it, which got me to thinking.  If I got a Harrison Barnes Warriors jersey for the next W’s/Jazz game, what do you think would be the over/under on how many fistfights I’d get into?  1.5?  2.5?

Now that hockey has returned, it’s now time to discuss a recently snakebitten franchise, in the Edmonton Oilers.  This sounds like something that would happen to the Cubs to be quite honest.

MAC Thoughts

The Utes football schedule just got posted but since you won’t have a chance to react, we’ll push that to next weeks topic.

Now for some thought about Stanford and the BCS.  Honestly, I think the big problem is, that the SEC is allowed to play 8 conference games.  So while Stanford has to play a real team, Bama gets a week off against Charleston Southern.  Every year the Pac-12 is kept out of the title game because of that extra loss that the SEC has no chance in getting EVER.  I think we need a 9 conference game rule so that Bama at least has to play Tennessee or someone instead of whatever Sun Belt team they’re running out there for a million bucks.

As for our upcoming battle with UCLA.  It’s simple we need to win a damn game.  You can’t with a straight face claim that we’re 0-3 and making progress.  And that makes Saturday against USC a must win game.  And if we don’t get the road win the next weekend up in Pullman or Seattle, it ain’t coming this season.  People think I hate Larry.  I don’t.  I hate irrational Ute fans who are pretending like we’re AWESOME now.  Because they’re all the same idiots who will turn with venom when it doesn’t work.

Finally I’ll conclude with your Edmonton thoughts.  They got to watch Wayne Gretzky play hokey for a really long time.  When you’re  a place like Edmonton, maybe you used up all your karma for that.  Like the Utah Jazz, how often to a redneck black guy and a guy from Spokane who doesn’t want fame or to talk to media find each other.  Once in a life time stuff.

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Tags: Basketball BCS Football Pac 12 Utah Utes

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