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Credibility Lost

January 26, 2014

It was giveaway day at the Covocation Center on Saturday.  Tim Horton’s provided breakfast to hungry EMU fans who braved the cold and treacherous conditions to see Eastern play Ohio.  Coffee and doughnuts.  Bagels and muffins.  And basketball games.  All given away.

Losing Wednesday night against Akron was difficult enough, but those things happen sometimes.  A team comes out flat, the other teams comes out shooting well, and a deficit is built up that cannot be overcome.  Losing in that way teaches a valuable lesson, and you can usually get over losing in that fashion pretty quickly.  Losing the way Eastern did to Ohio, however, is far more difficult to get over.  It stings.  A loss like that leaves scars on the entire season.

Come March, when MAC Tournament seedings are handed out, the wound from the giveaway loss to Ohio will be there, festering.  Later in the season, Eastern will find themselves up seven with three minutes to go and the giveaway to Ohio will be burning in the back of their minds, eroding confidence. 

It is up to Rob Murphy and his staff to make sure the 58-56 loss to Ohio on Saturday is not a mortal wound for this team.  Murphy has created a defensive identity for Eastern, but what happens when the defense melts down?  There are talented offensive players on this team, but if they can’t get the job done defensively, Murphy will bench them, leaving the team as it has been the last couple of years. 

For this team to achieve their goals, they will have to make these losses up on the road, not an easy proposition in the MAC.  This team has six seniors.  When their legacy is complete, what will they leave behind?  As much as I have enjoyed watching these guys play, how can it be argued that their legacy at this point is something other than disappointment and unfulfilled potential?

This season could now go one of three ways.  1) The team rallies around each other and goes on a winning streak in the conference, moving the Eagles back into the top tier of the MAC.  2) The team fails to recover from the two losses this week, falls to the middle to the pack, and quietly exits the MAC Tourney in an early round.  Or 3) The team plays roughly .500 ball the rest of the way, manages to win a couple of games in the MAC Tourney but still falls short in a duplicate of last season.

The frustration for EMU fans is palpable.  We’ve waited a long time to have a team that can potentially win the MAC title.  If Eastern can’t turn things around, and quickly, the wait will continue.

Notes 

  • I know it is considered prestigious to be on national TV, but how much prestige is gained from a national TV audience seeing a completely empty arena?  11AM is a very inconvenient start time, and that appears to be confirmed by the fact that (outside of the student section) there were about eight people in attendance.
  • Maybe I’m just bitter because the early start time meant I had to miss the game.  My daughter turned five on Saturday, and a lunch party was planned long ago.  I ended up watching the game last night, in the comfort of my living room with a couple of Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPAs as consolation.
  • Part of the reason the two losses last week hurt so much is that all eyes in the MAC were on EMU.  The Akron and Ohio games were going to let everyone know if EMU basketball was for real, or a pretender.  Welcome to pretender status, and it is going to take a lot of work to get back the lost credibility.
  • If the Athletic department is serious about breakfast, they should have asked beezy’s to cater.  Or for a night game, Blue Wolf Grill.  We should be supporting locally owned businesses, not the raging Canuck hordes, planning to take over America one Tim Horton’s at a time.
18 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    January 26, 2014 1:25 pm

    If it was donuts they wanted…they should have gone with Dom’s…

    Oh well…I pretty much said what I thought in my photo post.

  2. Brian Garrett permalink
    January 26, 2014 2:47 pm

    Horrible two game stretch, all the excitement I felt about this season is quickly fading.

  3. Richard permalink
    January 26, 2014 3:11 pm

    Saturday definitely hurt, but I brought five friends with me to the game so we still had a good time even with the loss. Talley, Combs, Lee, and Ross combined for 3/20 from the floor and 0/5 beyond the arc, any chance Prince Ali will start to see more minutes as a result?

  4. Kenneth Barna permalink
    January 26, 2014 4:12 pm

    Dear Jeremy,
    I am not any kind of expert when it comes to basketball. The following I wrote on the Eagle’s Nest, and got no reply from anyone. I was at the game, and what I think was key to the loss, was missed free throws in one and one situations with about two minutes to go. There were two, one was Talley, and not sure of the other. My point being, is that had Eastern made the front ends of those two shots, and everything played out as it did, the game goes into overtime. If, we make three of the possible four shots, we win the game by a point. Regardless of letting Ohio back in the game as many have said, it is imperative to make your foul shots late in the game. Those are gimmies.

    • Block E permalink
      January 27, 2014 11:11 am

      I agree – Talley missed the front end of two one-and-ones-with a ridiculous turnover in between. After that, the team had trouble trading buckets.

  5. January 26, 2014 4:27 pm

    Kenneth — I certainly agree about the free throws. For a team to blow a lead like that in three minutes, a lot has to go wrong, and missed free throws are the biggest killers.

    Richard — I asked Coach Murphy about Ali after the Akron game. He told me Ali is an energy guy, who can provide a defensive spark. To my eyes, he looks like a guy who knows how to score. With Lee slumping so badly, I’m ready to see more of Ali as well. My impression is that for now he is getting some of JR Sims’ minutes. I talked about this with Chad Bush/Eugene Evans on the Eastern Echo podcast last week.

    https://soundcloud.com/esquare05-1/eastern-echo-sports-podcast-23

    • Richard permalink
      January 27, 2014 8:49 am

      Thanks for the podcast link Jeremy, good stuff.

  6. Ken permalink
    January 26, 2014 7:33 pm

    It seems like EMU hasn’t really been able to put a team away if they are fairly evenly matched.

  7. Grady permalink
    January 26, 2014 10:57 pm

    Just about the worst loss I can remember in the last 15 years. The team was confused at the end, looking at the coach for answers. At the end, when we needed a score, twice they milked the clock (good) but chucked a three instead of executing a play. It’s like they were watching the game instead of playing the game. The team has no leaders in the clutch and watching Murphy he seemed confused as well. This was grand theft and it hurts. The student section was loud and rabid and left deflated. We all left deflated because of the talent on this team. Seriously, this was just terrible.

    I put this loss on the coach.

    I am not sure how much cache’ there is to being on ESPNU at 11 am on a Saturday but for those that turned in and watched they were deflated too. With the crappy weather that day I and the time change it was what I expected as far as attendance. For EMU standards, it was normal I would say.

  8. HuronWeR permalink
    January 27, 2014 9:24 pm

    fyi…attendance was over 1,300 and Tim Hortons is a corp. sponsor, so they are giving back to the university. you do seem quite bitter.

  9. January 28, 2014 1:14 pm

    1300 attendance means the building was 15% full. Which means (and math never was my strong suit) that on Saturday the Convo was 85% empty. Spin it however you like, but it looks really, really empty on TV.

    Also…1300? Really? Read this piece from the Echo where CMU coach Keno Davis is angry that only 2300 showed up for their game against EMU.

    http://www.easternecho.com/article/2014/01/52e45c0c276bb

    Finally, you said: “Tim Hortons is a corp. sponsor, so they are giving back to the university.” So, am I to understand that Tim Horton’s is giving money to EMU Athletics out of benevolence? Nothing to do with the new TH that just opened on Washtenaw/Hewitt? They are advertising because they think it will be profitable for them. Period.

    • HuronWeR permalink
      January 28, 2014 6:52 pm

      What the hell is your point about TH? New or not. They are giving money. So what I am telling you is be critical about things you deserve to be critical about. But seriousy get the stick out of your butt. It sounds like you want to complain just to complain. You think it makes sense for the athletic department to spend money with a non-sponsor vs work witha sponsor and get free/discount? And 1,300 + obviously is not good. But i thought the number should be cited when you impied there was but a few hundred in attendance.

  10. Ralph permalink
    January 28, 2014 3:39 pm

    Beezy’s – too many critical violations on their health sanitation report this week.

  11. Carl permalink
    January 29, 2014 11:08 am

    IMO EMU will work with any small or large business that wants to do business. To be critical of the Tim Horton’s sponsorship and suggest they should seek out local (Dom’s, Beezy’s etc.) is really nonsensical and somewhat immature as to how the real (business world) works. There are numerous (real world business) factors as to why Horton’s is better suited than a mom and pop to sponsor EMU for a breakfast. There are opportunities for small businesses to be a part of the party. There is a place for ANY business that wants to spend money at EMU, if it fits their needs and capabilities.

  12. January 29, 2014 1:48 pm

    OK…this is getting annoying, now people are just flat out making up shit that I never wrote. For the record, my comment was:

    “If the Athletic department is serious about breakfast, they should have asked beezy’s to cater. Or for a night game, Blue Wolf Grill. We should be supporting locally owned businesses, not the raging Canuck hordes, planning to take over America one Tim Horton’s at a time.”

    Setting aside the blindingly obvious fact that this was meant to be a pseudo-humorous statement, I was saying two things. First, that I think beezy’s serves a better breakfast than Tim Horton’s. Yelp agrees with me. Also, I was saying that I PREFER to see partnerships with locally owned businesses, much like the relationship EMU Athletics has/had with Red Rock Barbeque. I’m really struggling to find where the alleged assault on poor TH took place.

    No where was I “critical of Tim Horton’s”, and no where did I suggest that EMU Athletics should refuse Tim Horton’s sponsorship. Unless you really believe that I was serious about a Dothraki-style Canadian Invasion led by the strategic placement of Tim Horton’s all over the US. That was meant as a joke. I do not believe our Canadian neighbors are capable of such atrocities.

    I suppose what is “nonsensical” and “immature” is to completely misrepresent what someone else wrote. You want to disagree with content, or the substance of something I write, then please do. But don’t come back with a pompous, condescending response based on something I never wrote. That’s all.

    I for one am glad there is a game tonight. All these losses have people taking shit WAY too seriously…

  13. carl permalink
    January 29, 2014 2:48 pm

    You must be under 30 years old. That generation just cannot take any criticism. Must be all those trophies you got for participating.

  14. January 29, 2014 5:26 pm

    Now you’re just being a troll. I do take criticism pretty well, as long as it is honest, and based on something I actually wrote. That’s important to me. Like most people, I don’t enjoy being condescended to and criticized by internet trolls over things I never wrote.

    Lastly, if bitching about the younger generation makes you feel better about yourself, go ahead, but even though I am almost 40, the under 30 crowd is alright in my book. What they don’t need is a bunch of pompous asses making generalities about them.

    That is my last word on this nonsense. BG game starts in less than two hours. Time to go watch the under 30 year-olds known as the EMU basketball team (spoiled as they are from “all those trophies”) try to salvage their season.

  15. Ken permalink
    January 29, 2014 9:44 pm

    Pictures coming soon…

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