I did not see last night’s blowout at Haas. From what I’ve heard, it’s much better that way. I didn’t exactly expect the Bears to win, but I certainly didn’t expect them to lose by 21.
Anyway, I’m not here to attempt to give you an analysis of last night’s game. Honestly, I got home last night, looked at the score on my computer, and didn’t even bother reading the recap. I’m just not interested in that kind of masochistic activity. However, CBKWit actually sat through the entire debacle. Here’s what he had to say:
The game last night was awful. It was almost identical to the Oregon game, except Oregon plays at a more breakneck pace and shoots more 3s. Thus, they were able to score more points in the second half than WSU did. Still, it was basically the same story – almost zero defensive stops in the second half. There was a sarcastic cheer when we tied them up for a jump ball, ending what must have been 10 straight possessions without a stop. With about 6 minutes left, Haas was half empty (or full, if you’re an optimist!).
Honestly, who amongst Bear fans is still an optimist at this point? Oh, and if you’re scoring at home, that’s two 20+ point losses at home this year, and neither were to the two leading teams in the conference (though Cal lost at home to both UCLA and Stanford as well). It used to be that the formula for success in the Pac-10 was to hold serve at home, and try and steal a few on the road. Well, the Bears have played well in the road (4-3 in Pac-10 road games) but have been mostly abysmal at home. They’re now 2-6 in home conference games, and they need a win Saturday against Washington to avoid their worst conference home mark since 1995.
Back in 1995, Todd Bozeman was in his
first second full season of coaching the Golden Bears, Jason Kidd had just left for the NBA, Cal still played in old Harmon Gymnasium, and Cal managed a terrible 1-8 mark at home against Pac-10 competition (and that 1 win, over USC, was later forfeited because of an ineligible player). Since then, the Bears have been very good at home, and since Haas Pavilion was finished in 1999, it has been regarded as being a significant home-court advantage.
Not this season, though. For whatever reason, it seems the Bears have been playing worse at home. Is it the empty seats? Are the players having trouble with schoolwork or girlfriends that they can forget on the road? It’s probably a multitude of things, including not being very consistent or disciplined as a team.
Perhaps Under Armour will help our Bears play well at home. Hey, at this point, I’m willing to
grasp at straws think outside the box.
As our women’s basketball team has demonstrated, people will show up at Haas to support a winner, and I think that kind of crowd imparts a significant advantage to the home team. Can Haas Pavilion get back to being an intimidating place to play for visiting teams? Yes, of course it can. But fans have to show up, and they have to have a reason to show up. I’m not assigning blame here. I’m just saying, it’s pretty puzzling (and a little embarrassing) when the basketball team has a better record on the road than at home.