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Messages - jaybird44

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Not only did players and teams have to bring their A game when facing Augustana...I felt the need to add a couple more layers of broadcast prep when Augie came to WashU.  Augustana and Illinois Wesleyan are the two yearly non-conference opponents in men's basketball that demand my keenest attention and preparation well beyond what is expected.  Climbing Kilimanjaro and Everest, as opposed to Pike's Peak.

That's a tribute to the head coaches of those programs, and the caliber of players they bring in every year.  Those games in December have the feel of being in the NCAA Sweet 16 or Elite 8.  And they're a hell of a lot of fun to call.

Congrats Grey on a wonderful head coaching career!  You have created a legacy that will last as long as they play the game of basketball.

Y-Jack, let's you and I lobby for an exhibition game to be played between Greenville and NWU during NCAA Championship Week in Atlanta.  The System vs. The Terminators.

Generally, I agree Y-Jack...but keep in mind as far as the SLIAC defensive stats go, they are significantly inflated when you are forced to give up well over 100 points per game with Greenville skewing the metrics with its version of The System.

How does Webster's defense fare in points per game, when you toss out the Greenville games?  I'd like to take a look at that, to see if the Gorloks are better matchups to NWU than what first meets the eyes on the stat sheets.

As an aside, I like watching Greenville play.  Variety is the spice of life, and the Panthers bring a lot of spice to the game of basketball.

Yesterday, WashU had a successful first defense of its first-ever #1 national ranking, by posting a 10-0 victory over visiting MacMurray College.  The Bears are now 7-0, heading into a sensational series rematch with Coe this weekend at WashU.

The biggest takeaway from yesterday's game was the spotlight on the quality of depth WashU has with its pitching staff.  It was a bullpen day on the mound.  Matt Lopes, Jared Fong, Daniel Broadie, Austin Sachen, and Dominic DiCosimo combined to toss a one-hit shutout.

Lopes gave up the lone hit in his 5-inning stint (clean line-drive single to left, BTW).  Primarily a back-end-of-a-game closer, Lopes showed that he could start a game and provide meaningful innings if needed.  Much like Tim Tague does for the Bears right now (who was named to the Team of the Week for his 4-inning, 6-K long relief stint for a win vs. Illinois Tech last weekend).

Fong, Broadie, and DiCosimo were impressive as well, in their one-inning stints.  But the highlight of the day was the inning provided by little-known Austin Sachen.  Sachen only pitched 1/3 of an inning last season as a freshman, so when he entered the game for his first appearance of the season, I didn't know what to expect.  The lefty wowed the crowd by striking out the side with utterly filthy stuff.  All but one of his pitches were fastballs at 89-90 MPH (two WashU pitchers had a radar gun on Sachen)...and the last pitch was a wicked curve that broke off at 76.

Players and fans were both jazzed by Sachen's work, and WashU may have discovered that it has a diamond-in-the-rough on its pitching staff.  Fun to watch.

Now, the Bears host Coe this weekend, in a rematch series of last season's NCAA Regional at WashU.  The Bears and Coe had 3 epic meetings, with Cornell and Aurora weaved in for good measure.  In the 3rd meeting, Coe was down to its final out in the top of the 9th against WashU's John Howard; the National Pitcher of the Year trying to get one more inning out of his gas tank to nail down a save and a trip to the Super Regional.  Riley LeGrand foiled that attempt with his only HR of the season, a no-doubt 2-run blast to straightaway center field to put Coe up 4-3.  WashU countered by putting runners at first and second base with one out in the bottom of the 9th, but could only muster two fly-ball outs in the loss to Coe.

So, I suspect that this series rematch will be one of the more widely-viewed series across D3 baseball...especially early in the season.  Game 1 of the series begins at 2:00 Central Saturday afternoon, and a doubleheader is scheduled for 11 a.m./2:30 p.m. Sunday.  Sunny weather with temps ranging from 60-65 degrees is forecast.  Come to St. Louis to watch in person or check out the proceedings on the WashU Sports Network (  Click on "Live Broadcasts" to access the games.

I believe Webster can and will pull off an upset.

Just a feeling that I have...

Any team that can repel and defeat the craziness that Greenville brings to a game, and do it more than once in a season, can put together an effort and performance to upset a host team in the NCAA Tournament.

If Webster can avoid early foul trouble that results in a starter or two sitting for long periods of time, I think it has a shot at beating NWU.

The time is right...this is Webster's time to get the first NCAA Tourney win for the SLIAC.

Ha ha!  Very pleased, to say the least!  The players and the coaching staff have worked hard to elevate the status of the program.  Now we'll see how long they can hold on to the top spot!

WashU finished off a 3-game weekend sweep of Illinois Tech with lopsided victories in Sunday's doubleheader at WashU.

The #4 Bears won 14-1 and 10-0 to run their record to 6-0.  Best start for the Bears since an 8-0 start for the 2006 team.

The WashU offense was relentless from the start of the series to the finish...double-digits in runs and hits in each of the three games.  The Bears had 45 hits in 108 at-bats, a .417 BA.  59 total bases in the series, for a .546 slugging %. 

The Bears' pitching was very good as well in the series:  4 ER in 26 IP, a 1.38 ERA...34 Ks (11.77 per 9 IP), 12 H, 11 BB, 0.88 WHIP.  Fielding?  3 errors in 106 chances = .972 fielding%.

It's one thing to mash the ball at the plate, but it's quite another to not get lax with your pitching and fielding.  WashU was as disciplined on the mound and in the field, as they were relentless at the plate.  If the Bears can continue to do so on a consistent basis, they can go a long, long way in the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, I'm taking some early sips of the Kool-Aid.  Anxious to see how WashU fares at home this weekend vs. Coe...the team than knocked WashU out of the NCAA Regional in three instant D3 baseball classics.  That series may be among the most-anticipated by D3 baseball fans, this early in the season.

Multi-region conferences / Re: BB: UAA: University Athletic Association
« on: February 29, 2020, 09:15:07 pm »
WashU won its home opener this afternoon, 13-3 over Illinois Tech.  The #4 Bears are 4-0 early in the season...first time for such a start since the 2006 season (in which WashU reached the NCAA Tournament and finished 34-7).

John Brinkman was 2-for-5 with a HR and 6 RBI.  Caleb Durbin was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored.  Sean Robinson was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 2 SBs.  Matt Ashbaugh had a rough first 3 innings, but he tossed 3 scoreless innings after that and struck out 8.

WashU held a 5-3 lead after 3 innings, but Ashbaugh settled into a groove that Illinois Tech couldn't recover from.  Meanwhile, the Bears scored 8 runs in their final 5 innings...3 of which came on Brinkman's walk-off HR that put the 10-run rule in effect in the bottom of the 8th. 

Illinois Tech had its season opener today; and it was led by Michael Courtney's 1-for-2 day with a run scored and 2 SBs, and single RBIs from Zachary Dickey, Connor Blake, and Orlando Cardenas-Juan.  Ryan Cantlin was the starter on the mound and took the loss, giving up 7 runs in 5 IPs.

Both teams play in a doubleheader tomorrow (Sunday), at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: February 03, 2020, 01:18:33 am »
Not much to write about today's game...other than to say that Emory's defensive display was the best I have seen from the Eagles.  Granted, I don't get to see them much, so there may be other such performances that I am missing.  Emory contested nearly every shot and made every pass extremely difficult to complete.  Kudos to Coach Zimmerman, his staff, and his players for an exceptional performance!

WUPHF, feel free to write whatever you want to write.  My commentary is not meant to parrot yours, or to nudge yours out of the way.  I have always thought that two perspectives are better than one, especially since you get to see more basketball than I do.  I have never, ever intended to be the de facto WashU spokesperson on this message board. 

You be you.  You write here.

In the next two weeks and beyond, I am going to be ramping up my efforts to get a Rett syndrome fundraising project off the ground for later in 2020.  I will probably not be able to watch the Bears much, as they hit the road.  I certainly won't have the time to write here...for the project also involves an increase in my running regimen to train for an ultra marathon event in October.  My planner also tells me that I have an unrelated writing assignment elsewhere to start and finish in the upcoming week.

So, I'l be gone from the board for a while, out of necessity. 

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: February 01, 2020, 12:18:40 pm »
Sometimes I get it right.  Or, I'm really extremely lucky.

As I watched Patrick Benka light up the Bears to the tune of 21 points, I thought that he could be a one-man wrecking crew that could wreck their chances of remaining in sole possession of the UAA lead.

A timeout was taken by Rochester after Benka reached 21.  A good number to stick on if you're playing blackjack, but Benka certainly was looking for much more.  During the timeout, I said on the air that Benka's career high was 22 points...and if WashU couldn't hold him under that, then there would be a 3-way tie for the lead in the UAA at the end of the night (Brandeis had already won and Emory was leading at last report).

This was with 5:33 left in the 2nd half.  At that spot in the game, Benka was 8 for 11 overall and 5 for 7 from 3-point range. The odds were long for WashU holding Benka scoreless the rest of the way.

Benka did not score a single point for the rest of the game.  He was 0 for 2, after his airspace was taken away by Justin Hardy and DeVaughn Rucker; who took turns making Benka uncomfortable for the final 5:33.  Benka wasn't the only one who faced a lockdown; his Rochester teammates were 1 for 8 for the rest of the 2nd half.  As a result, the Bears' defense transformed a two-point deficit into a 10-point margin of victory.

Since the injuries began in late December at Fontbonne, the Bears had beaten long odds on their way to the top of the UAA standings.  In my opinion, the primary reason has been their defensive performances--especially in the last five minutes of the 2nd half of those games.  Some of my research for Sunday's WashU-Emory broadcast will be spent crunching those late-game numbers during WashU's six-game winning streak, to see if the numbers support the opinion.

As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Jack Nolan join the 1,000-point club, and Rucker becoming an absolute tour de force on the court, I am having more fun watching WashU's defense pull the plug on opponents' brewing victory celebrations, in the final five minutes of games.  Can they do the same against visiting Emory on Sunday?  It will be a lot of fun to watch that high-noon (CST) duel...I heartily endorse putting that on your pre-Super Bowl watch list.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: January 28, 2020, 05:51:21 pm »
I think the honor is well deserved, especially as the all-hands-on-deck Bears continue to paddle through dangerous waters for victories.

NYU Head Coach Dagan Nelson had a great game plan of taking away any and all airspace available to WashU's Jack Nolan and Payden Webb from beyond the arc.  Nolan, despite working feverishly for good shots, was 1-5 and had 2 points in the first half, and Webb was 0-2.  And, the Violets' defense was very tenacious...forcing 8 Bears turnovers and allowing only 2 assists on 10 WashU baskets.  When Charlie Jacob had your only 3-point basket out of 8 attempts in the first half, you know that the offense had major difficulties getting things done.  DeVaughn Rucker thankfully had the strength to carry the water for WashU in the first half, scoring 12 points.

The Sunday Sleepy Slumbers plagued WashU too.  NYU outrebounded WashU (a +10.5 rebound margin team) 23-13, and 10-1 on the offensive glass in the first half.  WashU was down 17 with after the first 12 minutes of play, and in some real trouble with three starters out of action.  Fortunately, the Bears whittled the deficit down to 10 by halftime, and they held NYU to 41% shooting.  If the defense hadn't played well, the Bears would have been down too far for a comeback.

The second half was much better.  Nolan was 6 for 8 for 15 points in that half.  Jacob continued to make timely shots, and ended up with a career-high 14 points.  Kameron Mack tallied 12 points total (8 in the 2nd half).  WashU shot 60% in the 2nd half, including 6-11 from 3-point it finally caught and passed NYU with about 8 minutes to go in regulation.  Still, NYU hung tough and came from 7 down to have a chance to tie with a 3 in the final seconds, and the tying shot struck the rim and fell away for a 73-70 WashU win.  The Violets also may have grabbed some St. Louis-based Tums on the way out of town, after shooting 13-24 from the free throw line (54%). 

Everyone that played for the Bears had to contribute, and they did.  Kevin Davet had 3 points (including a thunderous two-hand slam) and 3 blocks.  Spencer Boehm was held in check throughout the game until the final minutes, when he made 3-4 free throws.  Webb had 5 points, Jonathan Arenas 5 boards, and Louis Reinmiller had a rebound in 3 minutes of play in the first he was inserted to try and light a spark for the sputtering Bears.

WashU has risen to #11 in the poll, and we'll see if the reserves-as-starters continue to produce victories.  They have played 6 games, and posted a 5-game win streak to start UAA play.  The Bears will be buoyed by a big Friday crowd on Eliot Night as they host Rochester (receiving votes), then they will host #8 Emory Sunday.  Another tricky yet highly entertaining weekend ahead for the Bears...

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: University Athletic Association
« on: January 25, 2020, 03:36:52 pm »

Yes it is, 'deis!  Congrats to the Judges for the victory at WashU last night.

The young Bears need to be more disciplined and not get caught exceeding the quarterly foul limit.  They sent Brandeis to the free throw line 31 times; not a good idea when Brandeis shoots 78.4% from the free throw line--#2 in Division III.  The Judges were an uncharacteristic 12-17 from the FT line (70%) through 3 quarters...but they were 11 of 14 in the 4th quarter.  Brandeis outscored WashU 23-12 from the charity stripe.

In one quarter last night, WashU had only 1 team foul to Brandeis' 4...but minutes later WashU had committed its 5th team foul to send Brandeis to double-bonus free throws...while Brandeis remained at 4 fouls.  An early rash of fouls in the quarter usually leads to a few opponent points early, and a lot of opponent points near the end of a quarter.  Just too much needless difficulty to generate for oneself.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: January 25, 2020, 03:08:31 pm »
To further illuminate the impact that Jonathan Arenas had on last night's WashU 70-60 win over Brandeis...

Through an assist, steal, and/or rebound...Arenas had a hand in 12 scoring possessions for WashU, generating 26 points.  Six possessions and 13 points in each half.

Arenas was involved in each of the first 3 baskets of the game, as WashU raced to a 6-0 lead...then, in the second half, he had a hand in 7 straight WashU points; fronm 43-37 to 50-39.

A great example that you don't have to score points, to generate points and affect the outcome of a game.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: January 25, 2020, 01:47:06 pm »
Thank you 'deis for the compliment!  It was a fun game to broadcast, and if Chandler Jones hadn't found himself in early foul trouble and a subsequent long stint on the bench, the outcome might have been different.

As of late, it has been enjoyable to see the Bears adhere to the Dirty Harry Callahan credo, "A man's got to know his limitations."  Especially so with two and three starters who have been out for each of the last six games.  Push your envelope, yes.  But don't try to be something you're not.  Head Coach Pat Juckem and his staff also deserve lots of credit for getting some players redirected toward their strengths.  As a result, there has been a noted reduction in ill-advised 3-point shots and an improvement in shot selection and playing under control.

Jonathan Arenas continues to amaze.  A guard grabbing 15 rebounds, to add to his average of 6.8 rpg.  That's not even his career best...Jonathan's career high is 17 rebounds.  He's second on the TEAM in rebounds per game.  His five offensive rebounds helped extend possessions, so he's not a poacher of easy defensive rebounds.  I firmly believe Arenas is among the best rebounding guards in the country...I would need to do some exhaustive research on that to bolster my claim, but I'm willing to bet a root beer float that he is in that exclusive company.

Meanwhile...the Bears have to take care of business in a Sleepy Sunday contest vs. NYU.  The win over nationally-ranked Brandeis helps alleviate (a little bit) the lingering heartburn from the loss to Millikin.  But, a loss to the Violets will prompt WashU fans to grab a big handful of Tums to close their weekend...

WashU has 10 freshmen on its squad this season.  Sammi Matoush is averaging 11.4 ppg, Molly Gannon 9.2, Naomi Jackson 7.7, Maya Arnott 5.1, Rachel Mahler 4.7, Karisa Grandison 2.7, and Raevyn Ferguson 2.3 ppg.  Those are the freshman that have scored points for the Bears so far this season.

43.1 ppg out of a total of 72.6 ppg.  59% of the team scoring coming from freshmen. Take away the 12 ppg total from the departed Isabelle Hren and Mary Bryggman, and the freshmen have accounted for 71% of the team's scoring.

A large and talented group...

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