Notes from my experience at my first official men’s college soccer game

So the last and the only men’s college soccer game I ever attended was UNO’s exhibition at Omaha South high school against Penn State.  It was a decent time even though the Mavs could not pick up the win.  I was incredibly taken away that the close to brand new program could get 2,800 fans at an exhibition event like this.  Maybe it was the fact that they were playing Penn State, or maybe it was just that the game was in South Omaha, or that a free t-shirt was given just for showing up, but it was still a great time.  I have not gotten to a game since because life has just gotten in the way…stupid life.  Oh by the way, walking from wherever I parked in South O to the stadium, I learned that you can rent a room for an hour in a shady establishment nearby…no I did not get a room for an hour.  My wife and I badly wanted to go when the Mavs played Belmont last season, but we had a softball game to play that interfered.

Anyway, I did not have to work this Sunday, and it was an early afternoon game so it seemed like a great opportunity to get to Caniglia.

12:00- I debate of texting my friend who goes to more sporting events than anyone I know if he wanted to go to the game.  Nah, I don’t want to be the guy that invites at the last minute.

12:15- I stop to pregame with myself at Wing Stop.  I order some boneless Garlic Parmesan and some boneless BBQ wings.  Seriously, I think they have the best BBQ flavor in town.  Buffalo Wings & Rings, they have a really good GarliQ (sp?) flavor that I think about once a week.  They are my mistress.  While at Wing Stop, I check the updates of the Women’s game on Twitter.  I know the men’s game is supposed to start at 1, but realistically I know that is not a quick enough turn around time between games.  I am more than positive that the men’s game will start at 1:15 or 1:30.

12:55- I stop at an ATM.  Why is it so necessary that I carry cash for this event?  I will tell you why.  I have a Creighton Bluejays first national card…if they made a UNO card, I would have the UNO card.  But you get deals and stuff with the Bluejays card, and I like saving money.  Come out with a UNO card already, First National!  I cannot in my good mind go up to a UNO ticket window and pay with something that says Creighton Bluejays on it.

1:00- I stop for some coffee at Starbucks and order my drink, and I pull up to the window so I can pay and receive my drink.  I am pretty lucky because there is absolutely no one else in line.

1:01- I am checking the tweets for updates on the women’s game.

1:03- What the hell is taking so long to make my coffee and give me this thing?  This is Starbucks!  You are supposed to be quick.

1:05- The lady apologizes for the wait.  I guess I can accept your apology.

1:08- After worrying about what the parking situation was going to be, I find a pretty decent parking space in the library parking lot.  After seeing how many fans UNO was drawing into games, I was worried I was going to have to park up by the science building and walk.

1:09- Walking by the Sapp Fieldhouse, I see what I think is the women’s soccer team.  I congratulate them on a good game.  I really hope that was actually the women’s soccer team and not a group of random girls wearing UNO gear.

1:10- I arrive at the ticket window.  I ask for a ticket, and the dude is like “are you a student?”  I wish.

1:11- I slowly walk in with my Starbucks drink wondering if this is cool that I bring in an outside beverage.  Also no one ever checked my ticket other than the guy in the ticket booth.  I could have easily walked in without paying.  Just saying.

1:13- I find a good seat in an actual chair.  Naturally, I picked the side of the stadium closest to the men’s room.  This is basic strategy.

1:14- I take a look around the stadium and I reflect on the last time I was here for an athletic event.  I was sitting in stands that have been since torn down, and I was watching Zach Miller throwing touchdown passes against Missouri Western.

1:20- Some Spanish speaking folks sit two rows behind me.  I bet they are talking about how cool and handsome I am.

1:30- We rise for the National Anthem.  The girl who is singing is doing a great job, but I actually cannot spot the flag for the first minute of the song.  I thought we were just standing there and facing a random direction.  Lay off, there was hardly any wind and the flag was not beautifully flowing from that wind.

1:31- The game begins.  Mims is sitting casually on the sidelines.  This seems completely different.  Mims was standing up and pacing the sidelines the entire time it seemed like the last time I was at a soccer game.  Maybe this is a good sign, like he trusts his players more now.  Granted, I was at an exhibition game so there was a lot more of him trying to figure out line ups and rotations and all the fun simple things.

1:32- I really want to think of a nick name for Mims.

1:33- I hear the ref say something in Spanish.  Is it a requirement to be bilingual in order to be a soccer referee?

1:34- Pacific had what I thought was going to be a shot on goal, but the ref blew the whistle and UNO got the ball back, the dudes next to me yelled “good call, he was off.”  That probably means a player was off sides, right?  I just smiled and nodded.

1:35- How about Mimsy?  Probably too easy.

Shut up Mimsy.
Shut up Mimsy.

1:38- After hearing how much the Mavericks are communicating on defense, I take the time to take in a appreciate how much communication is essential to the sport of soccer.  Our defense is looking pretty good right now, and better than Pacific’s offense for sure.

1.39- I had no idea that the bench players did foot work drills and did whatever they could to stay loose on the sidelines this much.  It makes sense though.  Clearly, I will never coach a soccer team my future kids would be on.

1:45- Mark Moulton’s shot off the goal post breaks my heart.  I like Moulton’s control of the ball though, he seems to play very patient and seems to make great decisions.  This is coming from a guy who only played two years of competitive soccer though, and I remember nothing of what my coaches taught me, except for “you cannot use your hands like that, ever.”

1:46- I think Kevin Correa just sat down for the first time, he’s been stretching, riding the stationary bike, and getting taped up the entire time so far.

1:47- Okay, Kevin Correa is running up and down the sideline.

1:48- Hey, Kevin Correa is going in for Logan Mendez.  I just remembered the first time I read an Omaha World Herald article on the signing of Logan Mendez, it seemed like a pretty big deal at the time.

1:52- Kevin Correa hits the ball too hard and it goes over the goal post.  Were his legs TOO warm and loose?

1:53- I constantly feel like there is an extra defender on the team because of Pacific’s color scheme being similar to the ref’s colors.

1:54- How about Coach GQ Magazine?  That’s dumb, but at least I am spit balling.

1:55- I am thirsty, the worst thing about soccer is the no stoppage.  I mean it is cool and all, but as a fan you risk missing a goal or something cool happen if you get up and go to the bathroom or get a bottle of water.

1:58- I think Mark Moulton kicked the ball into the defender’s privates.  The defender appears to be in immense pain.

1:59- Kevin Correa hits the ball over the net again.

1:59- Mass substitution for Pacific, yay.

2:02- Damn it, I am thirsty.

2:04- This no stoppage thing has me thinking.  There is far less interaction with the organization and fans during the game as compared to football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.  It would be nice in pregames and/or halftime if UNO had a UNO video or something…or someone interviewing Mims going into the locker room into the half.  Or something like a Jason Mims show talking about the team’s last game and/or their week of practice, and maybe some analyzing of this game’s opponent.  With no stoppage you cant just have the cheerleaders come out and throw out t-shirts when a player is hurt, that would be pretty awkward.

2:05- How about The Executive?  Sounds like he is the team president of operations instead of a head coach.  I will table this one.

2:09- The athletic training staff has A LOT of fruit punch Gatorade.  I thought we were getting rid of red?

2:10- Two corner kicks in 30 seconds from UNO turn out to be no good.

2:11- I think the Pacific coach got up and talked to an imaginary friend.  He stood up and talked in the team’s direction, but there was no one person in the direction where he was looking and talking to.

2:12- I see a kid, who apparently is not amused by this game that has no general feel to it, walking up and down the stands.  He has a really awesome Mavericks black shirt with the bull logo on it though, I want that shirt.  Is the book store open on Sundays?  Does Caniglia have a gift shop?  Damn it.

2:15- Scoreless at half time.  I need a freaking water.

2:16- The Mavericks are heading to the locker room, fans are cheering them on and giving them high fives to help give them some energy.  The players seem genuinely thankful for this.

2:17- My friend texts me, who is an Arizona State fan, that she got us tickets for the UNO-Arizona State hockey game on December 19th.  I tell her that if there are no fights in that game that we are going to have to buy hockey jerseys, and then go to a kids’ open skate and start a brawl on the ice.

2:19- I am standing in line at the concession stand to get a bottle of water, the line is long enough to where I have to stand up against the wall, but there is an awkward gap where I am letting people walking by pass through the line and some kid cuts in front of me in line.  I want to say something, but he is a kid and an I am adult, I am in no rush.  I am not the President of Concession Stand Line Etiquette.

2:20- A girl walks by with her dog.  Dogs are allowed here?  And the dog is wearing a black, red, and white hula skirt.  Seriously, Starbucks and dogs are allowed here?

2:23- I get back to my seat.  I notice the two girls sitting in front of me, I realize that they have not said one word to each other the entire game.  They have not even looked at each other, nor have they even clapped when anything good has happened.  Are they two strangers that just sat in two seats next to each other?  Are they two stoned out of their mind strangers?  This would never work if I just sat down next to a random girl in general seating and did not say a word to her the entire time.

2:30- Start of the second half, and I am hydrated!

2:33- A Pacific player falls to the ground in pain.  A UNO guy and a Pacific player are jawing back and forth, so the ref unprofessionally yells at them loud enough for the entire stadium to hear.  He tells them to shut up and to read the rule book.  I like to think a UNO player told Pacific to stop flopping.  This is like watching the San Antonio Spurs play soccer.

2:35- Hey the sun is starting to make an appearance, and I am mad at myself for leaving my sunglasses in the car.

2:42- Joseph Ghitis saves what appears to be Pacific’s first shot on goal.  UNO’s defense has been so good that Pacific has not gotten even close to the goal.

2:42- As I am typing that note into my phone, I hear the crowd give a collective moan and Pacific is scoring a goal.  This is why I need technology that will transfer data from my brain into a database.

2:43- This seems like the opportune time to use the restroom.

2:44- The bathroom has no doors for any of the toilets, and it is discouraging that none of our male fans appear to know how to flush a toilet.  I am not the President of How to Flush the Toilets in a Public Setting, but I still feel like flushing a public toilet is necessary.

2:45- The blow dryer in the bathroom has close to no power, it is incredibly weak, and now I have to go back out there with wet hands.  This could be one of my worst public restroom experiences ever.

2:49- GOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL!!!  Or is GGGGGGOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!  Real glad the blow dryer in the bathroom mishap did not prevent me from seeing this.

2:50- There is a yellow card on a Pacific player.  A UNO player was in the air going after the ball and this jerk thought it would be a great idea to undercut him while in the air.  Who does he think he is?  Didn’t Bruce Bowen play at Pacific?  That would actually make sense.  (No he played at Cal State Fullerton, but still.)

2:55- Is the Annexer of Canigilia Field too dumb?  Too much?

2:59- Logan Mendez gives the ball up to Pacific while trying to get the ball to a teammate who was closer to the goal, but had 2 defenders close to him.  It looked like Mendez had an open path to the net though, and he appears pretty upset with himself and his decision making.  I highly doubt that Mendez is going to give the ball up again if he gets a path like that.

3:00- Logan Mendez misses with a close shot.  A kid near me yells “that was close.”  I am pretty sure the kid was shouting about the shot, but I cannot say with absolute certainty.

3:08- Logan Mendez misses another close shot.  You can tell Mendez is ready for something big.

3:10- Logan Mendez gets a yellow card.  The fans are not arguing it.  Our fans do not seem like a bunch of “soccer moms” and the people here seem generally pretty knowledgeable about the sport.  Me, I am the “soccer mom” fan.  I am just here to give support, and I have close to no idea what is going on in terms of rules and strategy.

3:12- The Executive, or Jason Mims, it’s a working title, yells at the referee after a Pacific player was kicking at the ball out of bounds and making contact with a Mav repeatedly.  The ref even looks like he knows he missed something or should have made a call.  Mims told the ref that the kid has done that 9 times because the ref continues to not make that call and the kid is going to do it a 10th time because he is not calling it.  Mims is right, if you let players get away with something once or twice, they find it acceptable and they start breaking the rules because the official is not making it official.

3:13- How about The Producer?  Please note that the Executive and the Producer are a bit because of Mims’ pants.  The dude has nice pants, and The Photographer wont work here as a nickname.  I bet he shops at Express.  I buy my pants at Express.  They have nice pants.  Terrible jeans though.

3:14- Okay, our fans are yelling at the refs now.

3:15- Where can I buy a rule book?  Would it look bad to be reading it at a game?  I would look like a Creighton fan if I wrapped the book in a 50 Shades of Gray paperback on the book.  Stupid Creighton fans and their reading of books during games.

3:17- Logan Mendez is on the ground after being knocked down on the ground.  The ref pointed at the player, I did not see a yellow card, but maybe I am wrong.  The Pacific player bitched about it, because you know it is legal in every sport to push your opponent from behind.

3:19- Logan Mendez gets the ball around mid field and he takes the ball all the way to the net and scores the winning goal!  With all that had been happening, I knew the second he got the ball that he was going to take the ball all the way, especially after that missed opportunity earlier (see 2:59).  My wife taught me that.  The leader of the team does not make the same mistake twice, and they don’t stay down on themselves for making a mistake.  They know they are always one moment away from winning the game.

3:22- Joseph Ghitis with a game winning save, boom!

3:24- The Mavs win!  Now where do I find that damn shit?

3:27- The book store is not open, it is Sunday after all.  UNO really needs a small stand to sell merchandise before and/or after games.

In the post game on my ride home, I am genuinely impressed on how far the men’s soccer program has come since its inception.  The team’s win total has increased each season since the start, and I think they could get more than 10 wins this year, especially since they should get one to three extra games with the Summit League tournament and possibly NCAA tournament.

Jason Mims has done an amazing job building a program from scratch, and if you have ever heard him talk outside of soccer, you know he is a genuinely great dude.  Even getting one win in the first year of the program was a big deal considering how short of a time Mims’ and UNO had to put everything together.  I know the schedule is not as difficult as compared to some other teams, but I feel like this team could get some receiving votes for the top 25 soon.  The Mavs have # 20 UC Irvine next at home, who will also play Creighton on Sunday.  I am just imagining the possibilities if UNO started the year at 4-0.

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2015-2016 opponent preview, Game 2: Kansas City

This is where I could have done a preview of the Mavericks’ second opponent, St. Mary’s from Minnesota, but they play in Division 3 and on top of that St. Mary’s lists the game as an exhibition.  What fun would that be?  It does feel good to actually have 100% confidence in these games though, it is not like in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 when you just were not really sure what UNO would do against these teams.

So we move on looking at the UMKC Kangaroos.

Last year I heavily debated of going to Kansas City to watch this game.  I do not recall why I did not go, but it was more than likely because I had no one that wanted to brave the exhausting three hour drive with me.  Seriously, you have to drive through Iowa for part of it.  I listened to the game on the radio, but found myself screaming like I was Krusty the Klown screaming at the Washington Generals for just watching the Harlem Globetrotters spin the ball on their fingers.

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The Mavs were getting Jake White back into the lineup after being injured in their home opener against Central Arkansas.  UMKC was playing without probably their best post player, former Bradley Brave, Shayok Shayok.  I was not feeling like it would be an easy win, but I was still expecting a win that day.  The Mavs ended up losing to the ‘Roos with a 20 point performance from CJ Carter and a 19 point and 8 rebound performance from Tre’Shawn Thurman.  You can pretty much completely attribute the loss to a season high 26 turnovers.  26!  That is scary!  That is sick, and not the good kind of sick that all the kids are throwing around now a days.  The kind of sick you feel when you find out that person you hate at work is getting their cubicle moved right next to you.  That Mavs even outrebounded UMKC by 14 on the day.  This is still the one game of the 2014-2015 season that I look back most and say, if they replayed that game, UNO wins the game.

This loss, in my opinion, was more embarrassing than any other Mav loss on the year.  More embarrassing than Chicago State.  Even though the Kangaroos beat Missouri earlier in the season, the Mavs were a superior team but could not handle the ball.  The game was right there.  UMKC took their decent back court and attacked UNO’s poor perimeter defense.  Martez Harrison, who became the first D-1 All American (Honorable Mention) that UMKC has ever had, dropped 25 on the Mavericks.  Frank Williams Jr, doubled his season average with 16, these 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players always seemed to have out of body experiences against the Mavs last season.

Martez Harrison was also the 2015-2016 WAC player of the year.
Martez Harrison was also the 2014-2015 WAC player of the year.

The obvious hope this upcoming season is that this will not be a glaring issue anymore.  Tra-Deon Hollins is expected to help with this perimeter defensive issues, and in my opinion, Randy Reed should hopefully get a little more playing time to guard against those 6’4″ to 6’6″ wing players that gave the Mavs fits last season.

In that wing position, the ‘Roos have sophomore Darius Austin, who averaged 4.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 20 minutes per game.  He did have 9 points and 8 rebounds against the Mavs last season.  There is also junior Broderick Newbill, who averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.1 rebounds per game in about 12 minutes a game last season.  He had 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals against the Mavericks last season.  UMKC will also be adding a 6’3″ junior college transfer, Deshawn King, who averaged about 12 points per game, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  King was not a tremendous threat from long range being that he made 33% of his threes in in his sophomore season, but he only attempted about one three point shot a game.  He also only shot 60% from the field.

My perception (actually this blog is pretty much 100% about my perceptions) is that one of the Mavs top two strengths this upcoming season will be their post game.  The Mavs lost crazy inside force Mike Rostampour, and that will hurt, but how good can the post look with a hopefully healthy Jake White and a stronger and more experienced Tre’Shawn Thurman?  Not to mention, Daniel Meyer is sounding as if he has improved his game a tremendous amount, based on the Mavs Euroblog.  The Mavs have a good three headed monster down low, and maybe even a 4 headed monster if freshman Zach Pirog is ready to play.  But if the Mavs have 26 turnovers again, or hell, even 25 turnovers, it is not like they are going to have enough opportunities to get the ball down low to the triple dragon.

With that in mind, the Kangaroos do not have much of a post game.  Can Shayok play this year?  He is basically their entire post game, but only played in 8 games last season.  UMKC will also be adding former Youngstown State forward, 6’7″ Kyle Steward, to their post game.  Steward spent his sophomore season at Butler Community College, who is pretty much good all the time (they went 29-4 last season), where he averaged about 13 points per game and 5 rebounds per game.  Steward can also step out and hit the three, so he can really help open things up for UMKC.

UMKC is a team the Mavs are kind of used to.  The proximity and somewhat equal size which has made this a little bit of a rivalry, it seemed like UNO-UMKC was going to create a nice little rivalry as Summit League members.  It would make sense for UMKC to come back to the Summit League and make it an even 10 teams, especially since UMKC does not have one conference opponent in the WAC that they do not have to fly to play.  Until they man up and face the reality that they have to come back to the Summit League, it will probably be a regular thing to play UMKC once a year.

The Kangaroos were the first team that UNO got a Summit League regular season win over, and the first team that the Mavericks swept in the regular season.  Okay, maybe that is why they do not want to come back.

It is definitely a good thing that this game will be played in Omaha.  Last season, for their conference schedule, the Kangaroos were 6-1 at home and only 2-5 on the road, so they are not that great away from the state of Missouri…but they did pick up a win in double overtime at Indiana State in their non conference schedule.  The Mavericks will have two games under their shorts at the Baxter Arena, and things are starting to look pretty good in Mavtown as it is, so hopefully a good crowd can make it out to this Tuesday game.

One difference with the Mavs as compared to last season is that when the Mavericks traveled to Kansas City, they were really still trying to figure things out.  The team was already trying to figure out where the additions of Tre’Shawn Thurman, Randy Reed, Tim Smallwood, Rylan Murry, Daniel Meyer, Kyler Erickson, and Devin Newsome were going to fit into a rotation.  That is even with trying to figure out what to do with Jake White, who was coming back with an injury at that point.  This season, there is not going to be a lot of process trying to figure those things out, and the Mavs will be trying to figure out how to add just three or four players into the mix (Gibson, Hollins, Pirog, and Jackson).  The team has had a trip to Italy and more practice to figure out rotations, so it will not take as long for the Mavericks to figure out who everyone is.  The team is going to be slightly deeper this season, which makes since now that they are a full fledged member of division one now.

So how are the Mavs’ chances against the Kangaroos this November?  The Mavs can hopefully take better care of the ball and be able to edge out UMKC this season.  Really, how could they not take better care of the ball this time around?  This is not the same Kangaroos team that Omaha swept in their first year in the Summit, really either are the Mavericks…the only player they still have from that team is Marcus Tyus.  This game can still be as close as last season, but with better defense the Mavericks will look to better contain Martez Harrison.

 

2015-2016 Opponent Preview, Game 1: UC Santa Barbara

So there are 13 weeks until the Mavs basketball season starts, so what is a better time to start previewing their 2015 fourteen non-conference opponents?  Probably last week actually if I wanted to take it one team at a time.  Crap.  Oh well.  Here we go.

The Mavs will open their season at the brand new Baxter Arena in Mavtown with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.   Don’t you love it how nicknames of California teams (pro and college) make no sense?  This will be after Mav hockey will already be 10 games into the season, but there will not be any hockey this weekend, so really it is a great weekend to open up the season for the Baxter Arena for basketball.  UNO Men’s soccer should be in Denver this weekend for the Summit League tournament and championship, and hopefully the women’s soccer team will have made some noise at this point and maybe have already made the Summit League tournament.  This will also be the final weekend of the regular season for the volleyball team.

I know some Mav fans were expecting a bit time opponent to open up the arena.  Some were thinking the likes of Nebraska or Creighton, but the Gauchos are not a small opponent by any means.  In fact, they actually finished the 2015-2016 season with an RPI of 98.  If case you forgot: Creighton finished at 157; and Nebraska finished at 155, but I know it is more about the name and prestige for most.  The Gauchos also finished the year with a winning record, tied for 2nd with UC Irvine in the Big West, and a trip to the CBI where they lost to Summit League team Oral Roberts.

In addition to all of this, Santa Barbara had one win over a power conference team, Washington State.  I know Washington State is someone to not take incredibly seriously right now as far as power conference teams ago, but the Gauchos beat them 71-43.

Side note:  My Northwest friends are mostly Washington State fans.  Last year, when I heard UNO was going to Seattle and looking to play Washington or Washington State while in the Northwest, I told my Northwest friends that they might have a Mavericks versus Cougars match up.  They laughed and said “there is an easy win for UNO.”

Speaking of Seattle, remember when UNO lost to them and we were incredibly shocked by it?  The Gauchos beat Seattle 87-46.  Looking at the rest of their 2014-2015 schedule, they had some close losses to some good teams.  As mentioned, they lost to Oral Roberts by 4 in the CBI.  The Gauchos also traveled to Lawrence early in the year to lose to Kansas by 10, the Jayhawks had a final RPI of 5.  The team did also split games with Florida Gulf Coast, losing to Dunk City by 6 in overtime before beating them by 13 later in the non-conference schedule.

I really wish UNO and Colorado State could meet every year, the Rams are a fun team to watch, and they are “sort of local” with a large number of UNO alumni (and former Omahans) in the state of Colorado.  Santa Barbara lost to the Rams by 2.  Colorado State had a final RPI of 37.

Speaking of other teams I would like to see UNO play, but this is because of my wife’s fan hood, Santa Barbara lost to Oregon by 4 points in overtime in Eugene.  Also, a team I hate discussing, SMU, beat Santa Barbara by 7.  Larry Brown’s final experiment finished with an RPI of 27.

The Gauchos are coached by Bob Williams, who has been with Santa Barbara since 1998 after winning a Division 2 championship with (then D-2) UC Davis.  Williams has made the NCAA tournament with the Gauchos 3 times, his last time was in 2010-2011.


Who did they lose?

The Gauchos lost a huge piece of their team.  6’8″ and 265lbs Alan Williams averaged a double double in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons for Santa Barbara.  He was an All Big West player for all three of those seasons as well.  He is actually probably solely responsible for what kept Santa Barbara in the game against Kansas, as he showed to be too much for Perry Ellis, in which Williams had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Williams averaged 17.3 ppg and 11.8 rpg his senior season, he also was not a terrible free throw shooter at 77%.  He had a 20 rebound performance in a 65-60 overtime win over Mercer.  Oh Williams also led the NCAA in rebounding in 2014 and in 2015.

Willaims did miss 6 games in 2014-2015 with the Gauchos going 4-2 in his absence, and those two losses were against UC Irvine and UC Davis, the two top teams in the Big West.

After finishing his career as a Gaucho, Williams played for the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Summer League, where he was named All Summer League 2nd team after a 22 points and 21 rebound performance against the 76ers.  He has signed professionally with a Chinese team.

I feel like Mike Rostampour would have loved competing against this guy.


Who do they have coming back?

Williams is obviously a huge loss, but he was not the only Big West 1st Team player that the Gauchos had.  6’4″ senior Michael Bryson also made the all conference team after averaging 14 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game.  Bryson loves taking threes, he made about 2 threes per game in 2014-2015 with a total of 68 on the year.  In comparison, CJ Carter, who led the Mavericks, made 48 on the season.  Bryson also shot 85% from the free throw line.

The Gauchos return two more wing players that averaged over 10 per game last season.  6’5″ senior John Green averaged 11 points and 4 rebounds per game, though Green was mostly used at the 4 position last season since, other than Williams, the Gauchos did not have much of a post game.  The team also return 6’3″ sophomore Gabe Vincent who averaged 10 per game, but did face inconsistencies throughout the year, as most freshman do.  Vincent shot 41% on threes on the year, and had a total of 57.


So you’re telling me there is a chance?

Probably the Mavericks biggest weakness last season was their perimeter defense, so you get a little scared when you hear they are facing a team with their strength being their group of returning wing players.  The Gauchos will be trying to adjust to life without a walking double double, and after Williams, the Gauchos did not have a reliable post game.

So the keys to the game could be how much the Mavs can work the ball into Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman, as well as how good of a perimeter defender new Mavericks Tra-Deon Hollins can be in the game…who sounds to be a pretty stellar defender.

This is not going to be as easy of a game as playing Central Arkansas to open up the year, but to get better the Mavs have to play the best, this is great competition.  As of right now, it does sound as if Santa Barbara has the edge, but hopefully opening up the new arena (to basketball) can create a great atmosphere to give the Mavs a great home court advantage in this game.

 

 

 

Summit League Men’s Soccer Blind Resume Game

So even though the men’s basketball team is heading to Italy, we are still still a few months away from the regular season; but hey UNO has other sports to keep me from debating a chemically induced coma to ride out the wait until mid-November.

My wife and I recently took a much needed 10 day vacation, half of it was in Portland and the other half was in Vegas.  While we were in Portland, our friends were talking a lot of Portland Timbers talk and I just stood there and did the smile and nod to pretend to know that I knew what they were talking about.  A majority of our friends in the Northwest are Washington State alumni and fans, so they absolutely hate the University of Washington and I have jumped in that circle of hate (for the conformity).  Since the Cougars do not have a men’s soccer team, I have allowed them to join in on the Mavericks soccer bandwagon.  They were actually pretty satisfied to join the Mavericks bandwagon since UNO plays an exhibition against their bitter rival Washington Huskies.  We have a few more fans!

I know very little about soccer.  I sit there and watch it, and I am generally pretty entertained, but I am a lot like a woman trying to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron as her first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Offense?  I do not understand how to formulate an offense in soccer.  Whenever I have played open soccer, my strategy is to just kick it the ball in that one direction that gets less people getting mad at me.

So instead of being that guy that opens the hood of his car and pretends to know what he is doing until breaking his pride realizing that his man card is about to expire, I am just going to throw out some blind resumes and hope for the best here.

In the 2014 season: Denver, Omaha, Oral Roberts, and Western Illinois all tied for the regular season championship.  Denver won the conference championship, but how about we take a look to see if anyone can overthrow them as Summit League champions by looking at the blind resumes of those four teams based on some 2014 statistics. Aside from these four teams, IUPUI looks like they can actually be pretty good this season.  I based that on very little.

If you were a die hard fan, you probably already know who all of these teams are, so yeah, I am dumb.


Team 1-

RPI: 91

Overall Record:  11-8-1

In 2014, they had 6 All Conference players, one of which was on the 1st Team.  Of those six players, they are losing 2 of those players.  If you are keeping track, they are returning four 2nd Team players.

Best RPI win was against # 55, and they also had a win against # 57.

Worst RPI loss was against # 146, also lost to # 142.

Goals on the year: 32 (1.6/game)

Opponents Goals:  25 (1.25/game)

Steaks:  3 separate two game winning streaks


Team 2-

RPI: 99

Overall Record: 10-5-2

In 2014, they had 5 All Conference players, three of which were on the 1st Team.  Of those five player, they are losing three of those players.  They will be returning one 1st Team player and one 2nd Team player.

Best RPI win was against # 91, also had a tie with # 55.

Worst RPI loss was to # 166.

Goals on the year: 25 (1.47/game)

Opponents Goals: 18 (1.05/game)

Steaks:  3 separate three game winning steaks


Team 3-

RPI: 117

Overall Record: 9-7-3

In 2014, they had 5 All Conference players, four of which were on the 1st team.  Three of those players have graduated.  They will be returning one 1st Team player and one 2nd Team player.

Best RPI win against # 99

Worst RPI loss to # 189

Goals on the year: 22 (1.15/game)

Opponents Goals: 18 (0.95/game)

Streaks: 6 game winning streak (all shutouts), 2 separate two game losing streaks


 

Team 4-

RPI: 143

Overall Record:  8-8-2

In 2014, they had 2 All First Team Conference players, both of which have graduated.

Best RPI win was against # 76.

Worst RPI loss was to # 183

Goals on the year: 24 (1.33/game)

Opponents goals on the year: 25 (1.38/game)

Streaks:  4 games in a row without scoring a goal (3 losses, 1 tie).  3 shut out wins in a row


Based on this very little amount of information, I would have to say Team 1 is the favorite, but there is also very little information because I know very little…