Polls---It was just not a headline to attract attention, "Illionois Stuns Indiana", it was more of case of what has taken place in the last five weeks, the number one team in college basketball was defeated once again. While I would say it was little hype to say stuns, I guess anytime a team defeats number one in any sports it can be a little stunning.
With the number one team in college basketball getting defeated again for the fifth straight week, it gets me to thinking, do polls mean anthing except the final poll? Do you as a sports fan look at polls? Do you like polls or do you despise, or like me, really are neutral and don't watch them or read them that much?
I would love to know your opinion in the comment section or send me an email and next Friday, I will respond and share some of your emails, as to how you feel about college basketball polls. And once again, if they kept them I am not bothered, it they went away, I would not miss them. Now shorts polls like Craw's Nine, on both teams and coaches I love, because the genius I am, did them. End of story.
Tyler Geving---A question came in this past Wednesday from a Crawford's Court reader, which is fair, not to mention, I hope you were able to see the fine story today on CSNNW.com by Dwight Jaynes about Portland State's new arena. The story and question get ot the same issue.
"Greg, I see you are at every Portland State game and think you woud be able to answer this question better than most. Should Tyler Geving be let go at the end of the season, considering this year and the team is going backwards?" Jon----SE Portland
Jon, my answer would be NO. I think Geving is a good basketball coach, he is dealt a poor hand at times. He inherited a mess on the academic side, he has cleaned that up greatly, but here are some points I feel strongly about and if I hurt some feelings along the way, I am sorry, but just stating how I feel.
1. I am really not sure how much in the past Portland State has cared about basketball. Obviously as alluded too in Dwight's story, building a new arena is a major commitment and should be a welcome sight for all basketball fans and beyond.
2. I have changed on this drastically. In this day of tight money, if I were runing Portland State, i would drop football, get out of D-1 and join the GNAC conference, thus becoming D-2 and you would instantly have a basketball power in the GNAC, both for men and women.
3. I also would figure out a way to fill Stott Center every game from now on out. The proper way to start out a new building would be with some momentum going in, especially when it comes to attendance. Not wait and see what happens, do anything you can to get people into the Stott Center.
4. I would overhaul the complete marketing program, which has been suggested by more than one person, including many prominent PSU boosters. Get some buzz in the arena, change the promotions, change ticketing, change the entire feel of Stott Center. If asked, I can give even more detail.
And how does this all pertain to Tyler Geving? He needs all of the above to have a successful program. Not only the above, but who are you going to get into Portland State to coach, with limited resources and at present an arena that no non-league teams wish to play in. Egos take hold, but dump football, make a major commitment to basketball and you could have a wonderful basketball program. Keep, Geving, he is having a horrible year, but in the past he has proved he is a winner and he deserves a chance to play with a full deck.
Wolf's World---The oustanding answer to an important question from a reader of Crawford's Court, from U of Portland assistant coach Mike Wolf.
"Mike, would like your mid-season review and report card ont he Pilots?" Thanks, Billy---Beaverton, Oregon.
"Billy thanks for the question. At just past the halfway point of the WCC schedule, the Pilots are obviously where we had hoped they would not be at 2-8 in league play. We thought the pre-season poll was off base picking us 8th and we still have four weeks left to prove our case. Looking back over the schedule there are some games we can point to that we let "slip away" starting with the buzzer beating loss to USF and two road games we dropped at USD and Pepperdine, where we had sizable leads in the second half.
Our focus as has always been to try and get better each and every day and the wins and losses would take care of themselves. Sometimes things just don't work out that way, it certainly worked well with the most successful run in Pilot basketball history, 2008-2011.
As for this year's group, I think the adversity we have dealt with on an individual level has tested our collective toughness and presented challenges that will only help make us better. Losing David Carr to a torn ACL during the 2nd game of league play has been a huge blow, but Derrick Rogers has filled in nicely. It is tough to go from playing 12 minutes a game to 30 plus. as he has done. Kevin Bailey is working his tail off to get comfortable with the mask he has to wear for his reconstructed nose break. I think he will have a huge second half of league play. Ryan Nicholas continues to be a huge steadying force, giving us a double-double nearly every night and we have challenged him to continue to improve as a passer and defender. The last two weeks have seen improvement from Thomas van der Mars, as he has become more agressive physically and a light has gone on to just get better.
We have been very pleased with with the rapid development of freshment guards Oskars Reinfelds and Bryce Pressley. We expect big things from them down the stretch in facilitating offense. Riley Barker has become an elite WCC shot blocker and if he continues the pace, he will become the school's all time leader upon graduation. We need Riley to give us that same energy scoring and rebounding as the season moves on. Tanner Riley and Korey Thieleke have both shown flashes of brillance in their respective areas of expertise (defense for Korey, offense for Tanner). Jake Ehlers has emerged as a viable sklled post after making the adjustment from high school. John Bailey and David Ahern are critical to our team in their daily contributions and being game ready when called upon, which could be at any moment.
As a team, our focus down the stretch is to get back to the top 3 WCC defensive teams, where we were at the start of the season. Offensively, there is no secret that our struggles have had a major impact on our results. We have focused on taking care of the ball better as turnovers effect our opponent's fast break. It is hard to imagine a team that led the nation in shooting from 2008-11, is not making shots at a similar clip. Learning the nuances of the offense and where those shots are coimg from is the responsilbity of the coaches and we are focused on that. Making the shots is out of our hands, but we are preparing and practicing so those shots will come again and 3s will be raining all across Chiles Center and beyond. I am confident we will get back there and i would not want to play us when the fire starts burning again." Thanks, Coach Wolf
Craw's Nine---It is time once again each Friday, to give you the best nine coaches in the six western leagues that play D-1 basketball. This like Craw's Nine teams is in the moment and is fluid. To say the least and will change rapidly each Friday.
9. Bob Cantu, USC---Remove the interim, already beat UCLA on the road and is a great recruiter, Trojans are playing nicely.
8. Marving Menzies, New Mexico State---Always good and does so much with limited talent.
7. Dan Monson, Long Beach State---What is new, "The Beach" is leading the Big West.
6. Joe Scott, Denver---Never hear much about him, but he can coach. The Pioneers are winning lots of game in the WAC.
5. Sean Miller, Arizona---Wonderful coach, that just keeps winning for the Wildcats.
4. Steve Alford, New Mexico---Most underrated coach in college basketball, winner.
3. Mark Few, Gonzaga---This is the year fans, Zags make the Final Four.
2. Wayne Tinkle, Montana---Pay attention, at some point he will take his winning ways out of Missoula. 24 consecutive Big Sky Conference wins.
1. Michael White, LA Tech---99 out 100 fans could not tell you who he is. The Bulldogs after Saturday will be 12-0 in WAC and 21-3 for the year. Pretty good and actually his real name is Michael White. Pay attention, this guy can flat out coach, with only one senior on the team.
Craw's Commentary---This will become a regular feature of Crawford's Court every Friday, related to basketball, but more about life.
On January 26th there was a pretty good skirmish at the BYU/U of Portland game at Chiles Center. Quite frankly not sure what started it, but Tanner Riley of the Pilots was out of control and wound up being kicked out of the game for fighting, given an automatic suspension of one game and the school tacked on aother.
At the end of the skirmish, being escorted away by Coach Eric Reveno, Riley gave his coach a pretty good shove with one hand and appeared to have some choice words for him.
It might have even been easy for Reveno to say to Riley, that is it, we are done. Some coaches might have. But to Reveno's credit, he worked it out, Riley is back and to Riley's credit he has come back now in what appears to be a very positive frame of mind, playing a great game on Thursday night against Loyola, actually garnering the Craw's MVP for the game.
Yes, U of Portland is having a down season, but sometimes the future of a young man is at stake more than wins and losses. If you follow Eric Reveno on Twitter, it is obvious he wants to win, but also wants to mold young men for the future, way beyond basketball. In this case he took the high road, having brought Tanner Riley back. To the credit of Tanner Riley, he accepted his harsh punishment, he not only accepted it, he seems to have learned from it , which is what life is all about.
Wins are important in sports, no doubt about it, but life is much more important and these two Portland Pilots regarding this issue, handled life pretty darn good .
College Basketball Insider