Invited to the dance but not a part of the party

(Note: the following piece is the opinion of Kyle Bauer and not of Neal Ruhl or any other member of the website)

By Kyle Bauer

I guess I should’nt talk anymore about Oakland University. They are relevent to me and my co-host, but other than location are they relevent to you? No, especially because that is a simple matter of coincidence.

But I have found a reason to bring them up one last time to the public and that is because what every other team has done in this tournament. For the first time, there are going to be more double-digit seeds in the sweet 16. Even teams that failed to advance, such as Robert Morris, a 15 seed, almost bumped off a soft Villanova team in overtime. Parody has captured the imagination of the people and pundits as many have proclaimed this “the best opening weekend ever”.

It appeared that if it were going to be any tournament a school like Oakland would ascend, it would be this one. Instead they sealed their national annonimity for another year. I’m sure there’s a few people who figured OU couldn’t handle the travel of going all the way from California to Milwaukee. That’s what they deserve though.

OU apologists around town, and trust me, going to this school I am surrounded by them, need to decide what this team is. For the duration of the year, despite a blowout against Michigan St. and losing at home to Eastern Michigan, travel was to blame for how poor they played against the big programs. I concurred with that and understandably so, especially against Syracuse, Kansas and Oregon which were all a part of whirl-wind road trips that didn’t aid them in games they probably would have lost anyway.

Suppressed thoughts were, why is Oakland getting blown-out so soundly by these teams? In the past Oakland seemed to have Oregon’s number, beating them two years in a row, including in 2007, when the Ducks were ranked. Yet Oregon beat them by double-digits.  Another alarming loss was against Memphis. A small team that OU should have matched up well against, that missed the tournament in a rebuilding year. They were never in the game losing 77 to 46.

But I bought in because of Oakland’s impressive 20-1 in-conference record. Unfortunately I’m starting to wonder if the Summit league has any validity at all. If it should even be in the same class as say the Big Sky or Ohio Valley conference. For example, Murray St. was only a couple points away from going to the sweet 16. That is part of my point but I digress. Oakland’s Summit league performance was outstanding and generated excitement all the way around. Even though Oakland did exactly what they were supposed to do, going off pre-season expectations.

When Oakland went into the game against Pitt, it seemed as though the stage had been set for them to get on the train of mid-major upsets. Especially considering the Big East was at the end of three and almost four of them, that first day. The Grizzlies got off to a rousing start. Then Derek Nelson, who might be the most physically gifted Grizzly, went down and missed most of the first half. An amazing shot by Ledrick Eackles was reversed after the referees decided during the inbound that he charged. Those were factors in the game going in the opposite direction, they were not determining factors though.

Oakland came out working the ball inside and creating space for open shots. They forced turnovers and fouls on Pitt. After those occurences they lost their composure and began to rush shots and run out of position defensively. That is no excuse, you never saw Murray St., or Ohio lose their composure. Oakland was supposed to be better than both teams. I’m left thinking that both would have easily disposed of the Grizzlies off of heart alone.

Yet, I’m hearing more excuse making and suddenly “oh well this is only Oakland second appearance, you can’t expect them to beat a program like Pitt!” Well Wofford was making their first appearance and they almost knocked off Wisconsin. It was not an excuse for them and I’m sure their student body and local media would not apologize to the team for a decisive loss.

Oakland could have been a part of the party. They could have been one of the mid-major teams that have destroyed brackets everywhere. Instead they put up one of the worst performances of the tournament. They played like a 16 seed, which I sincerely believe Lehigh put up a tougher game than them.

Because of this, I do not see any true progress made in the program because this was a truly forgettable performance. OU didn’t even have to win, they just had to make it close. By not doing that, only a score was posted on Sportscenter, no highlights. The game-stories were buried in the back, even on a local scale. And the team whose Summit League Championship celebration wasnt carried live, who had to stay in the suburbs of Milwaukee instead of downtown, the school CBS gave no coverage to on selection Sunday, played like they deserved the obscurity.

For at least another year the Golden Grizzlies will come from California.

Advertisements

Will the RDOS be ‘LACING UP THEIR DANCING SHOES’?

By Kyle Bauer

The site will return to full activity later today with the reemergence of “Real Deal on Headlines” to catch up on all the sports news that I have failed to cover in the past few days.

I also plan on introducing a new feature that I am hoping you guys will enjoy later this week, likely on Friday.

Until then, it is a big day for the RDOS intermediate family. As most of you know, we reside out of Oakland University and they will be playing for a chance to ‘PUNCH THEIR TICKET’ to ‘THE BIG DANCE’ against IUPUI (Indiana University of Pennsylvania Unified Intelligence?) tonight.

You can tune in to 88.3fm Auburn Hills if you are if you are north of M-59 from Chesterfield Township to Metamora, which includes Romeo, Lake Orion, Rochester, Utica, Auburn Hills and Pontiac. Or if you are by a computer, take the sure route and go to www.wxou.org where you can stream the coverage live. I will be hosting a pre-game show from 8 to 9pm, featuring an interview with Neal to open up at 8:05.

You can also go back to 88.3fm/wxou.org for your half-time and post-game coverage, where I will also be anchoring.

Neal will be on 1130am WDFN Detroit Sports Talk giving color commentary with Mario Impemba on the call. So listen to him on WDFN and listen to good ol’ Avocado on WXOU for your pre, half and post-game coverage of the Summit League tournament final and see if Oakland will be ‘DANCING’.

As far as Mikey P. goes, I believe he will be working and chowing down at Sign of the Beef Carver.

Read Kyle’s Column on the Pistons from last weeks Oakland Post

By Kyle Bauer, Edited by Dan Fenner

The Detroit Pistons should be wearing teal jerseys again.

It’s funny what a color can represent to a franchise. There is a lot of pride in a team’s colors. In 2001, the Pistons turned back the clock, returning to the colors of their glory days. With the return of red, white and blue came perennial playoff runs and renewed excitement to Detroit.

These days, I suppose it would be appropriate for the Pistons to turn back the clock again to the late-1990s. They look a lot like the teams donning teal jerseys that ran out Eric Montross at center. Maybe it goes in 10-year increments.

While they look pathetic now, I’ll cut them some slack. A team that goes on a seven game losing streak normally wouldn’t be spared the criticism, but the Pistons are a team making a sound transition, and are not in a long rebuilding phase.

Unfortunately, the Pistons’ plan of attack for the 2009-10 campaign has been marred by injuries. At one point Detroit suffered from four starters being injured. The impact of losing Tayshaun Prince, and especially Richard Hamilton, has buried this team.

The capabilities of Hamilton were best displayed in the Larry Brown era. Hamilton was often used off of screens and curls, wearing out his opponents, in their vain attempts to contain his speed.

Hamilton has shown what he is capable of offensively and that if the offense is run through him, he can average 20-plus points a night.

With new head coach John Kuester, Hamilton was looking at a more substantiated role. Flanking Ben Gordon, the two natural shooters were expected to feed off each other. Hamilton went down only a game into the season with a severely sprained ankle. We have yet to see what the Pistons are capable of offensively with Hamilton in the lineup.

On the other side of the ball, Tayshaun Prince is the team’s best defender. While I think his defensive play is overrated at times league-wide, it still can’t be discounted. Prince’s ability was to defend the best opposing guard or small forward on the court. It isn’t a recipe for success having his replacements, rookies Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko, tasked with guarding the likes of Lebron James.

However, it’s not an entirely bad thing that the Pistons have to rely on these two youngsters. Jerebko and Daye were expected to be project players when they were drafted.

Daye was expected to serve as Prince’s understudy and take time to develop physically to be able to play in the NBA. In the long run, the Pistons will be better off having thrown Daye into the fire this season.

Jerebko has shown that as both a small or power forward, he can get to the basket and draw fouls. His strength will eventually be his ability to get in the post and step out and hit the 15-footer, similar to Antonio McDyess. Just don’t expect 10 rebounds a game.

The contributions of these rookies are especially notable given the fact that you can almost count the Pistons’ number of quality draft picks in the last decade on one hand.

There isn’t a player in the game who has the ability to heat up like Gordon, but he too is suffering from an injury. When he is on, he can hit half-court shots blindfolded. Well, maybe not, but you get my point. An ankle injury is a tough one for a guard. The ability to cut, pivot and set for shoots are vital and very hard to do with a sore ankle. Once Gordon gets healthy and is combined with Hamilton, they will make for a very formidable backcourt.

Charlie Villanueva, Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey have each had their own bright spots throughout the season as well. The Pistons will actually have pretty strong depth once everyone gets healthy.

Overall, fans can expect the Pistons to shed the teal gloss that they have been coated with and have a very strong second half of the season. I see Detroit sneaking into the playoffs, despite their low standing in the Eastern Conference right now. There are far more reasons for optimism now than there were a year ago. There is a core of youth that is getting valuable experience while the veterans deal with their various injuries.

The Pistons can only go up from this point and in time they will. Unlike last year’s roster, consisting of several misfit toys, this season’s team actually has a young nucleus of players to build around for the future.

Real Deal on Sports in the Oakland Post

op_logo

Alexis Tomrell gave us a nice little write up in the Oakland Post.

“….Kyle Bauer and Neal Ruhl want to buy the Pontiac Silverdome. To them, this massive business venture is merely a hobby; a side project to their first love: hosting WXOU’s ‘Real Deal on Sports.’

The live show, which airs Thursdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., had its official start in April 2008.

The two hosts had been working together since 2007, appearing on each other’s sport shows and working on various projects, until they decided to combine forces and co-host ‘Real Deal on Sports.’………..”

Read the rest by clicking the link http://www.oaklandpostonline.com/readStory.php?a_id=1660