Too Much TV: Haxton

This was the scene on Saturday evening in Tulsa at the end of the Summit League baseball tournament. Was there really any other way it could end?

Oral Roberts capped its remarkable run in the conference by winning its 15th baseball title in as many tries. This one was memorable because it was one of the few times the Golden Eagles lost so much as a single game in the double-elimination tournament.

That’s our topic this week on the Too Much TV podcast, ORU radio voice Geoff Haxton stopping by to recap the tourney and the Golden Eagles’ tenure, while also previewing their upcoming NCAA Division I tournament appearance.

Here’s the link.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Game changer?

Some leftover items from South Dakota State’s 75-60 victory over Oral Roberts on Thursday night in Brookings, a decision that snapped the Golden Eagles’ 19-game regular-season conference win streak and tightened up the Summit League race:

SDSU has won 12 games in a row at home dating back to last season. What’s more, nine of those contests have been decided by at least 15 points.
Meanwhile, the 60 points represents the fewest that SDSU has ever allowed against Oral Roberts.
Jacks coach Scott Nagy was plenty OK with winning in that fashion versus prevailing in a shootout.
"Once you get into tournament time, the scores almost always drop," he explained," and they tend to be more halfcourt, and you have to win it in the halfcourt."

There were three unusual foul situations in the contest. In reverse order: a flagrant-1, a double foul and a blarge. Yes, a blarge.
To be honest, I’d never heard of it, either. Basically, one ref called a charge at the same time that another called a blocking foul. They talked it over. Couldn’t make a decision and wound up enforcing BOTH calls. The ball then stayed with the offense, in this case ORU. Turns out it really is a rule, although SDSU coach Scott Nagy had never seen it called before.
As for the flagrant foul, called on SDSU’s Griffan Callahan while trying to contest a transition dunk in the closing seconds, Golden Eagles coach Scott Sutton said it wasn’t a dirty play.
"The kid was just going to try to block the shot," he said. "A lot of times when a guy leaves his feet and gets hit up top, that’s going to happen. Hopefully, (guard Roderick Pearson) will be OK. We lose him and we’re in a world of hurt."

The play of sub forward Marcus Heemstra was one of the surprises of the night. The sophomore scored six points with two assists, one steal and one rebound in eight meaningful minutes.
"We’re trying to be more defensive-minded," Nagy said. "Marcus is the best communicator on our team. What he lacks physically, he makes up for in just his brainpower. He sees everything.

SDSU came into the game ranked first in the Summit and 24th in D-I in assist-turnover ratio at 1.26. That number improved Thursday by dishing out 16 assists to just seven turnovers. ORU wound up with 10 assists to 15 turnovers.

The Golden Eagles saw several impressive streaks snapped. They had been the only team in D-I to be 12-0 in conference play. They also had the third-longest active win streak in the nation at 13.

Thursday’s contest featured seven of the 11 players named to the preseason all-conference team. Five of them scored at least 12 points, while the other two – ORU posts Michael Craion and Damon Bell-Holter – totaled six points and four rebounds.
On a related note, SDSU has faced three 20-point scorers in the last three games and held all of them relatively in check. ORU’s Dominique Morrison put up 12, IPFW’s Frank Gaines scored 10 and Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton had 16. The Jacks won’t see another player from that group until hosting IUPUI and Alex Young on Feb. 25.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

It’s on like Donkey Kong

Yes, I’m bringing back that old phrase in advance of Super Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. OK, maybe I’m reaching again, but it really is set up to be an interesting day at the Mabee Center (above) as Oral Roberts hosts South Dakota State in a Summit League hoops doubleheader.

The 2 p.m. women’s game pits the two-time defending regular-season conference champs ORU against the three-time defending conference tournament champion Jacks. SDSU is the lone unbeaten in the league at 4-0, while the Golden Eagles are the preseason favorites.

In the 7 p.m. men’s game, both ORU and SDSU are unbeaten in Summit play at 5-0. Everyone else has at least two losses. The Golden Eagles have been picked to win the league and boast wins over Xavier and Texas Tech, while the Jacks hammered Washington and have a budding national star in point guard Nate Wolters.

But there’s more.

These are the top two women’s teams in the Summit League in terms of the current Sagarin Ratings, SDSU at No. 106 and ORU at No. 109. That system has the homestanding Golden Eagles a four-point favorite.

It’s the same on the men’s side as ORU is 62nd in the Sagarin, while SDSU is 69th. The pregame spread, not that we condone gambling, is ORU by five.

Plus, this could be the last trip to Tulsa for the Jacks with the Golden Eagles set to join the Southland Conference next year. I’m sure SDSU is OK with that in one regard because it has struggled in that futuristic-looking venue. The women are 1-3 there, while the men are 0-4.

Of course, ORU has been a high hurdle for SDSU no matter the location. The Jacks are 5-5 in the women’s series since joining the Summit, dropping the last four regular-season meetings. The SDSU men are just 2-7 against ORU, losing the last three.

The way things have shaped up early in the Summit season, this might be the best test the rest of the regular season for SDSU. That’s not to disrespect Oakland, NDSU or anybody else. But factoring in the Jacks’ struggles in Tulsa and the current standing of the Golden Eagles’ programs, these are the ultimate “prove it” games.

That’s not to say SDSU should be counted out of the conference race if it drops one or both of these contests - after all, the Summit League tournament is more like a home game than a road game for the Jacks. It’s just that a road win would do more in terms of becoming established as a contender (and as a post-season candidate), especially for the SDSU men given that they’ve never done that before.

I’ll be there with live coverage … and I’ll be all hopped up on BBQ. Bam sauce.   

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Too Much TV: Mike Brown

This week on the Too Much TV podcast, we skew toward analysis as Mike Brown - the Oral Roberts beat writer for the Tulsa World - talks about the Golden Eagles’ decision to move from the Summit League to the Southland Conference starting in 2012-13.

Brown has been covering ORU and the Summit for eight years, and offers insight into the school’s decision and the future of the league it leaves behind.

Here’s the link.

Also, come back Thursday for the weekly live chat. We can talk football - it is Hobo Day week - and basketball now that I’ve had a chance to see the SDSU women play.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.


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