Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tulane Hoops: Mid-Term Report

Much like Lincoln needed Antietam, in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on the heels of something other than a defeat; I too am issuing a hopeful message- on the news of the upset of UAB.

Of the next five games, Tulane ought to have a chance in four of them. Yes, too bad three of the four affairs are on the road. But if the Wave could get two- it would go a long way to salvaging something out of this lame duck year.

Short of a meteorite landing on McAllister Avenue, and an alien climbing out to address the assembled undergraduates, imploring that Finney must be retained for galactic order or something, the coach is gone.

But if they can find five league wins, with a frosh class seemingly with a pulse, there is something to be gained from the C-USA season besides crushing beatings in front of sparse crowds.

I was never down too much on the hoops program- as while Tulane athletics always faces a myriad of problems- the basketball program seems sort of fixable.

To me, most of the problem is that the league grew up around Tulane real fast- and the Wave got caught sort of wrong-footed:

- again, the league got super good, elite-like, real quick.
- hiring the wrong guy- pretty clear at this point, right?
- being sort of behind in terms of arena, facilites, attendance, etc. as everyone else in C-USA exploded into this new level.

C-USA basketball has to be one of the great success stories in college sports over the past ten years, right? Tulane just kind of missed it. Not only did we not take a great leap forward- Tulane sort of fell back- and that made it look worse than it was.

Obviously, the league is coming back to them some- and the coach part has a good chance to be fixed- if just because they new guy cannot do much worse. That potentially fixes two of their big problems in one swoop.

Now, I must admit I look at these freshmen and don't get why they are so great- but I am hopeful a lot of my consternation is because it is hard to evaluate guys when everything is going so wrong. Just as you couldn't evaluate my pet Irvin off the Louisville game- because he never had a chance. And that might be true of some of these guys too. A guy might be a great jump shooter- but he might look horrible here- as we have no one to develop another type of complimentary game that would allow him to get ten open 18-foot looks a night. A guy who just "rebounds and dunks" might hurt us on offense might not providing consistent points- but put him on the floor with two other front-court players to provide scoring- who cares? Just rebound baby.

But of all our big problems, this one seems most solvable. You can get good quick in college basketball- get one or two players from this class, one or two more next year, and they could win fourteen, and eight in our dumbed-down league, as soon as next year.