Disappointing doesn’t quite cover it, does it?
Losing the home opener is bad. Losing to Eastern Michigan, although a MAC team, isn’t very encouraging, either. While I tend to take a rather measured approach to single game results, especially in November, I’m rather cranky about this one.
Nonetheless, let’s see if I can stay optimistic for at least another paragraph. After all, as poor a loss as this is, and it’s stinkin’ bad, this isn’t the last game to be played. The season is not lost. There are plenty of opportunities to make all of us forget this dreadful opener.
Perhaps, the dismal perimeter shooting performance was just that — one bad shooting night. It happens to everyone. No use in getting all tied up in knots because it happened in the first game, right?
Then there’s the obvious. The team read all the hype, believed they were headed for the NCAA tournament and played an exhibition tune-up where they could have mailed-in their “C” game and posted a win. They decided this year was going to be easy. They thought something less than their best would be good enough. It wasn’t. However, lesson learned. They will not take a “W” for granted again.
What do you know? I managed to say reasonably positive things for three paragraphs. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll make it four. Forgive me, but I’m going to be an irrational fan for a moment. Or two.
This loss makes me question the commitment to defense. It’s not the first time I’ve suggested this over the years, either. Nor am I alone in this thought. Is part of the problem that OU is simply just too comfortable to play against?
Should we wonder if Oakland wasn’t emotionally ready for Saturday’s game? If not, why not? And who is to blame if they weren’t? They might believe they are the team to beat, but, alas, Oakland’s developing a reputation as a team that can’t close the deal. Losses to inferior teams won’t end those whispers anytime soon.
Now, comes the bad news. It’s about to get worse. With only a few exceptions every other game will be more difficult than the EMU affair. OU will take on an assortment of big-time programs, with far more talent and depth than the Eagles, and fellow Summit League teams that will be sky-high to take on the prohibitive favorites for the conference title. And most of these games won’t be anywhere near Rochester.
I apologize for the rant. It’s late and I’m disappointed. In spite of my mood, I still believe that the Golden Grizzlies can be good. Very good, in fact. But, OU can never take their foot off the gas. Not for one game. Not for one half. Not for one play. Oakland has great potential, but they are not North Carolina. Or Kansas. Or Michigan State. Hopefully, this loss will serve as a reminder of that.
Anyone else ready for the next game? Go Grizzlies!