I think the current lapse in blog posts can be attributed to the fact that I’m not entirely certain how to write something positive about our Billikens. I’m a bit ashamed by that, but you need to understand where I’m coming from – being a Billiken fan tests a man’s fortitude, brings him to his breaking point, and forces him to continuously question his larger purpose on this earth. I’m in this weird state of emotional purgatory where each feeling of jubilation is quickly suppressed by the impending set back I’ve been taught to believe is inevitable.
The Billikens’ are on a two game winning streak. And while that’s not something any normal fan would get excited about, we are not normal fans.
The heavily-scrutinized sophomore class just won their first ever A-10 road game and the Billikens seem to have found some much needed normalcy in their lineup. After throwing up point totals reminiscent of Kevin Lisch’s single game scoring clinics, I can’t help but become somewhat intrigued by the offensive surge. If nothing else, they’ve gotten me to place a priority on watching Billiken basketball again. It’s good to be back.
I’m really digging the new backcourt. Since Bishop and Hines have taken control, SLU has catapulted into the top 5 in assist, turnovers, and total points in the A10. I criticized Hines early on for being a waste of a scholarship, but he’s making me eat my words and I’m enjoying the feast.
The Bills play Dayton on Wednesday in wherever the hell that school is located (this is a joke). I think any reasonable person would tell you that our almost-record-setting win streak of two games is nearing an end. Dayton, unlike our most recent opponents, is one of the top defensive teams in the A10.
I’m not going to be unrealistic and expect, or even hope for, a win. I just want them to be competitive throughout the whole game. For once, let the opposing fans question their sanity for a change. Let’s admire others having to proclaim “Wtf did I just watch?” Let’s play traditional Billiken basketball and force the opponent to play down to our level. Beating Dayton at Dayton would require SLU to be great on both sides of the court. They’ve shown fantastic offensive capability lately, but can they maintain their scoring potential while ramping up their defense?
One has to wonder where Jim Crews factors into all of this. It’s probably not obvious, but I try to maintain some type of fairness when looking at Jimbo’s record. If you’re going to attribute the teams failures on Crews then you also have to credit him for the success.
I am abandoning that stance today.
I don’t think I can forgive him for holding onto a burning coal for so long. He had no problem parading talentless players and broken offensive schemes out there for weeks. It shows his hard-headedness that will eventually doom our players, team, and program. There are only a few select coaches that have earned the right to stubbornly force their philosophy down their players’ gullet. A coach whose record was 59-140 at Army has not earned that privilege.
I’m interested to see what he does with the offense (if he is even the one in charge of the new offense) once Milik returns. If the offense continues to roll, I don’t see any reason why Milik should see a single minute on the court. I’ll bite my tongue should it ever come to that, but right now it’s clear to me that he is a sunk cost.
If we are to enjoy this season at all, I think it’s time to change our outlook. At the beginning of the year I was looking forward to watch our sophomores develop while contending in a top-heavy A-10 conference. So far the exact opposite has happened. This used to piss me off. I felt as though Jim Crews had stolen my love for Billiken basketball on purpose. It made me sad. However a few weeks ago, I decided to abandon any hope for this season, and approach each game like a New York tourist. Each game is trip to the Statue of Liberty. You know on the way there you’re probably going to pass about 20 homeless people in the subway, and it’s definitely going to smell like a mix of body odor and piss the entire time. You start to question why you ever wanted to go there in the first place. But then you get to Staten Island and you immediately remember why you took the time to visit in the first place. This is just like your typical Bills game. 95% of the things you see will make you question your love for the program and make you wish you had stayed at home, watched the game on television, and shared a Jack’s pizza with the dog. However there’s always that one moment that makes it all better; reminds you why you put yourself through such hell each year. In previous years it could have been a Jordair block into the 15th row, or a Kevin Lisch fade away 3 at the buzzer. This season it usually involves large, tuba carrying men walking in a circle at half court. My point in that weird, nonsensical analogy is to say, just enjoy the little things this year. We could sit here and pontificate about what it means that Hines actually made meaningful contributions to games, or that Reggie had back to back games with double-digit rebounds. But if this season has taught us anything, it’s that things that take place in previous games have absolutely no bearing on future contests. So that will be my approach from now on. I’m going to try to enjoy the ride, and not worry so much about what each game means. Go Bills……..also if they win on Wednesday I’m totally back in.