Yes, they’re only college kids, but is this all Oregon State players can think of?
Washington and the Beavers nearly slugged it out the day before Saturday’s game in Corvallis while the Huskies were finishing their Friday practice.
The schools’ first meeting a month ago got heated, with technicals and verbal sparring throughout Washington’s victory.
Upset at some joking around the Huskies were doing at the end of their shootaround, Oregon State players, about to take their home floor for practice, got into a yelling match with a couple Washington players. This got increasingly heated as opposing players approached each other before UW coach Lorenzo Romar ran across the court to pull his players off the floor.
No punches were thrown, but it was headed in that direction.
Then came multiple reports of OSU players calling a UW player at the team hotel Friday night and leaving a message challenging the Huskies to continue the “discussions” out in the parking lot.
“Without getting into he-said, she-said, it was something I have never seen before,” Romar said. “It reminded me of when (Muhammad) Ali showed up at (Sonny) Liston’s training camp.”
OSU interim coach Kevin Mouton denied there were any threatening phone messages left by any OSU players, though a few within the UW program confirmed the incidents to both Seattle papers.
Mouton also called the incident, “overblown.”
“It was just jibber-jabber,” he said. “Nineteen-year-olds with big egos.”
It’s possible, except during Tuesday’s Pac-10 conference call, Mouton said suspensions for this weekend’s games are a possibility, with senior Marcel Jones and freshman Sean Carter as leading candidates.
It’s also hard to believe an inflated ego is possible at 0-13 in the Pac-10 and 15 consecutive losses overall, which is hopefully why a few OSU players spoke of being embarrassed by the situation.
For the other eager Beavers who used verbal and physical threats, a better way to “protect your house” might be not to lose by 38 points the next day.
SAMPSON SHOCKS NOBODY
Kelvin Sampson is in serious trouble for allegedly making illegal phone calls and other contacts by himself and his assistants to recruits. Then — and this is one means sayonara if found guilty — he allegedly lied to Indiana and the NCAA about his involvement.
No, this isn’t some flashback, it’s simply the third time Sampson has been in trouble. The rumors swirled like crazy when Sampson was at Washington State. Then he got sanctioned by the NCAA for making more than 500 impermissible calls during his days at Oklahoma.
Sampson hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet, and will have his day of explanations to the school and NCAA, possibly as early as Friday. Sampson already had an assistant resign (sounds like scapegoat move) and the university already took a scholarship away for next season after self-reporting these violations to the NCAA.
The school can fire Sampson now, or wait until after the NCAA tournament. It can suspend him, or let this investigation play itself out. Regardless, if any of the phone allegations or one morsel of evidence determines he deceived the NCAA, stick a fork in him.
Meanwhile, the team is competing for a Big Ten championship with D.J. White and freshman phenom Eric Gordon. It would be painful for Indiana to shut out this team of innocent bystanders of an NCAA tournament run to try and protect itself from big-time future flack it would receive from the NCAA.
Rules violations were the one thing Indiana never had to worry about with Bob Knight, but the once squeaky-clean program sold its soul for a successful, shady coach, and now it is getting exactly what it paid for.
Davidson is on a 15-game winning streak, and Stephen Curry has been equally unstoppable. Only a sophomore, the 6-foot guard, and son of longtime NBA player Dell Curry, averages nearly 26 points per game on 48 percent shooting. He’s topped 30 points six times this season, including a 41-point game against UNC-Greensboro last week, followed by 26 points in 28 minutes against Furman. He’s hitting 42 percent from behind the arc and has made 37 consecutive free throws. Don’t forget the nearly five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game, either.
Looks like basketball in the Hoosier State is back in full force. Indiana and surprising Purdue are atop the Big Ten, and tiny Butler is rolling in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs (23-2) have lost to second-place Wright State and Cleveland State, and beat Ohio State, Texas Tech, Southern Illinois and Virginia Tech. If No. 1 (Memphis) vs. No. 2 (Tennessee) doesn’t do it for you, check out the No. 8 Bulldogs against No. 9 Drake on Saturday. Since the Missouri Valley Conference is eighth in RPI and the Horizon League is 11th, the loser here will fall far.
Tennessee at Memphis, 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Normally a Pac-10 showdown fills this space, but in spite of all the hype being cranked out by the Mouse network, not to mention a boatload of other compelling matchups, this one still rules. Who cares if undefeated Memphis plays Tulane and the Vols host Auburn tonight? Memphis is No. 1 in the polls, No. 2 in the RPI with All-American lock Chris Douglas-Roberts. Tennessee is No. 1 in RPI and No. 2 in the polls with a deep lineup and a 1 1/2-game lead in the Southeastern Conference. The loser isn’t going to fall far in anyone’s ranking, but with 383 miles separating the intrastate schools, it’ll be a fun couple of hours.
The last word
“Students do that. What, do you expect the students to be happy? They were into it, and all I told our guys was just get off the floor. You don’t deal with it. You think they’re going to kiss you on the lips? You just beat them in a tough, hard game.”
Memphis coach after his players were showered with debris by Alabama-Birmingham fans following Memphis’ 79-78 win