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The Rundown: November 18, 2010

San Diego State’s Big Win

After the San Diego State Men’s basketball team won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and punched their ticket to the Big Dance earlier this year, experts and fans alike began to take notice. Despite a first-round exit at the hands of Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers, the Aztecs showed potential to make more noise in the 2010-2011 season.

After only their second game of the regular season, Steve Fisher’s squad did just that.

SDSU F Billy White posted 30 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals in the Aztecs’ 79-76 win.

San Diego State defeated 12th-ranked Gonzaga in Spokane on Tuesday, 79-76, which the Aztecs led for most of the game. Gonzaga, an established basketball powerhouse in the West Coast Conference, lost only their fifth game since the opening of their new stadium. They also had not lost a game at home since December 5, 2009,  bringing a 14-game winning streak to Tuesday’s game.

San Diego State Senior F Billy White meant to change that. On the strength of his career-high 30 points, White and Sophomore F Kawhi Leonard (18 points, 12 rebounds) countered Gonzaga G Steven Gray’s career-high 35 points to come out with an impressive early-season victory. Despite an off-day by decorated F Malcolm Thomas (fouled out, 0 points), the Aztecs used Leonard and White to limit Gonzaga’s offensive possessions, and dominated the Bulldogs in rebounds, 39-29.

San Diego State is now 2-0, having showed the country they deserve to be in the AP Top 25 – a feat unprecedented in school history. The win will also pay huge dividends come March, as the Aztecs’ out-of-conference schedule almost doomed them on the bubble, before their MWC tournament championship. White wanted to make a statement out of the gate.

“We knew we had to come away with a win,” White said, “and let everybody in the world know that we can play with the best of them.”

With their win against Gonzaga, there is little doubt that they just proved it.


Greg Oden: Sam Bowie, revisited

So, Greg Oden is done for the season.

Yeah, and the sun came up this morning.

Hey, man. That’s not nice.

For the third time in four seasons, Portland Trail Blazers C, and former No. 1 pick, Greg Oden suffered a season-ending knee injury. This time it was a microfracture in his left knee, that required surgery. Since coming into the league in 2007, Oden has been able to play in 82 games. That would be all well and good … if it was 2008. He has managed only a season’s worth of games in 4 full seasons.

It’s a shame, really. After all, Oden was penciled in as the #1 pick ever since he led his Ohio State Buckeyes to the National Championship game in 2007, only to lose to a Florida team that featured current NBA starters Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford. It seemed that he wasn’t injury-prone. That is, until he joined the Blazers, then came injury after  unfortunate injury. Zach Harper of ESPN chronicled his injuries to date, as well as how freaking inexplicable they were.

Based on his recent history, Oden is now being compared to famous draft bust Sam Bowie, who, coincidentally, was also a lottery pick taken by the Trail Blazers. For those basketball aficionados out there, I’m sure you remember that draft, as well as who he was sandwiched between in 1984: with Bowie at #2, Houston took a storied big man by the name of Hakeem Olajuwon, from the University of Houston. At #3, I’m sure you might have heard of the UNC guard taken by the Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan.

Go back to the 2007 NBA Draft. Who was also there for the Blazers to draft? Oh, yeah – a University of Texas Forward by the name of Kevin Durant.

Oops.

And, like Bowie (at least, so far), Oden has had an injury-riddled career, never really living up to the spot he was chosen at, or his potential. Don’t get me wrong: I liked Oden coming out of the draft, and hindsight’s 20/20. I just hope this isn’t the end of him, and the injuries end up defining his career, rather than the immense talent he possesses. Fate, it seems, is a harsh mistress, and she seemed to have dealt Greg Oden one of the worst hands ever, coming out of college.

Sorry, Greg. Get well soon.


Browns Fans Rough Up 8-Year-Old: C’MON, MAN!!

And, in the category of “My hope for humanity is draining,” I saw this in ESPN headlines today.

After Sunday’s Jets-Browns game (that almost ended in a tie), won on WR Santonio Holmes’ breakaway 37-yard TD in the last minute of OT, an incident occurred outside Cleveland Browns Stadium. Apparently, an 8-year-old Jets fan was seemingly minding his own business, when disgruntled Browns fans heckled the small child, as one of them tackled him to the ground. I wish I was making this up.

Why would you do that?

Thankfully, the Jets organization is trying to make this right, giving the fan a VIP treatment at their next home game.

I mean, do I really have to say anything to this? It speaks to a lot of things, really – the issue of serving alcohol at football games (apparently, the child-tackler was inebriated at the time of the incident); the utter insanity that can overtake sports fans; and even the possibility of deeming professional sporting events as “adults only”, as it could be unsafe for children to go running around supporting their favorite teams and all.

Bottom line: under no circumstances should anyone lay a hand on a child that isn’t their own, let alone tackle them. I don’t even care if the child was throwing mud at them, yelling, “HA HA, WE BEAT YOU!!” It’s just not acceptable. All I can do with a story like this is put my head in my hands in shame. I would like to go further with this, but it’s just too depressing.

Oh, and one more thing to the perpetrator of this stupid and reprehensible act: Get ahold of your life, son.

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