Yeah, that’s right. My column this week isn’t as long-winded as usual. They can’t all be manifestos. Besides, things are a little slow in the GW sports world. Not to say that they’re boring. I’ve often thought that the two most interesting things for a sports writer to cover are the awesome teams and the God-awful ones. A 5-5 team doesn’t get me excited, but 10-0 does, and don’t even get me started about an 0-10 team! That’s when headlines really get fun.
With a quick glance at the weekly soccer results (pick a week, any week), you can figure out which one of the above we’re talking about here. (Come on, women’s soccer team. 0-19. We can do it!)
But there are some topics that need addressing, so in this week’s column, I’ll give you a little this, a little that – while we empty out the ole basketball notebook.
First of all, the full men’s basketball schedule is out. We’ll save it for The Hatchet’s Basketball Preview Nov. 8 (not so far away now). But as always, the schedules are at www.gwu.edu/~gwsports. So go print it out, and then we’ll talk about it. OK, good, you’re back.
Well, first, let’s talk about the opponents. I’m real sorry to see no Court Authority on the men’s exhibition schedule, but I’m sure the And One All-Stars will not disappoint (and we all know their uniforms will be pretty).
On to the real season, we open in Alaska at the Top of the World Classic. If Mark Lund and the Colonials lose to Indiana State, I’ll kill myself (unless it was because the Sycamores suited up Larry Bird). This is because A.) The Sycamores suck, and B.) If we win, we’ll almost certainly play Oklahoma. This is a state school near and dear to my heart, but more importantly, it’s a marquee matchup, as OU should be highly ranked coming off of their “Sweet 16” finish last year. By the way, a win that night will give Tom Penders his 500th victory, a huge milestone for any coach. A win might also mean a matchup with Texas Christian and Billy-Ball.
Unfortunately, it appears the student body will only hear the games on the radio (although I kind of enjoy that in my own grizzled old man way). Also, the games will of course be played on Alaska time (which means you can go out and party and then come home for a little basketball).
Now, one problem I have with the schedule (that could end up being really difficult, especially considering the obligations Penders has had to fill) is all the games played while students are on vacation. The home opener the Saturday after Thanksgiving is one example, as are games at the ACC’s Clemson Dec. 22 (hello, Broadcast.com), and at the Smithy vs. UNC-Charlotte (New Year’s Eve?) and American (Jan. 12). Of course, what’s really important are the A-10 games, but I wish more people could be here for games against local rivals such as American.
Then there’s the BB&T this year (Dec. 4 and 5). Surprisingly enough, Seton Hall and Illinois (not to mention Maryland) are expected to be solid this year, so although the games may not be on ABC this year, there’s some good competition, which is what the Colonials will need early. This is a young team. People ask me what I think of the team this year, and I always say they’ll be exciting to watch (the three recruits especially), but to reach their enormous potential, they need good experience, which they’ll find in abundance before 2000.
Now, a quick heads-up on the A-10 schedule. Only four road games will not be on TV. One quirk in our schedule is that four of the team’s last five opponents are from the A-10 East, while three of those last five games are on national television (at Xavier on ESPN2 and at home vs. Temple and URI on ESPN). That season-ending tilt on ESPN with Temple, who was picked by Athlon (see “Overheard” above) to go very, very far in the NCAA Tournament, should be a keeper. GW is 1-14 all-time vs. Temple at the Smith Center. So a win would be so huge I’m having delusions of Xavier last year. But that’s getting ahead of myself. For now, I eagerly await Friday, Oct. 15. Midnight Madness.
Charles Hayward died of leukemia last week. He was a basketball player at UNC-Charlotte who blocked six shots against GW in Charlotte last year. Strangely enough, I was there and covered the game. From what I’ve read, Hayward inspired a lot of people at the end of his 21-year life. He was also a big reason that UNCC handed Tom Penders his first loss at GW. Sometimes – even though it may take a year – you’re glad you lost.
OK. Let’s talk about that NBA charity game I should have been covering for today. The fact that only 37 tickets were sold says a lot about some very poor marketing on the promoters’ part, but also displays a bizarre apathy on the part of GW students to pro sports that is either unbelievable. or very healthy. I haven’t quite decided yet.
OK, kids, that’s all for this week. As my favorite employee at the Watergate Safeway says, “Be good to yourself.”