Elite Expectations

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Since we’re still a few months out from the season tipping off, I’ll spend the next few weeks trying to figure out what we can expect from the team during the 09/10 season, and what (and who) will make the difference between another title and a return to the middle of the Pac. /

We can be good. Maybe even, very good. But, I’m super-dubious about what I’m seeing in the traditional media regarding expectations for the team next season. After such a successful 08/09 campaign*, there’s bound to be some hype. Seeing the team picked as the 12th, 14th,  or (gulp) 7th best team in the country, though? I just don’t like it.

Such high expectations are no good for a team that’s going to need to get a lot out of a relatively young backcourt. Wouldn’t you rather see guys like Isaiah, Gaddy, Gloverton, and E-trey Turner come out with something to prove, instead of an elite national status based on last year’s success?

And, wouldn’t you rather have our guys looking at what they need to do to wind up atop the Pac-10 again, instead of living up to this arbitrary system of ranking teams based at this point on perception? Coach will do all he can to keep the focus where it needs to be, but it’s human nature to buy into the hype. Just look at Notre Dame or Davidson last year.

I also don’t think these rankings are taking into account how much we’re losing in Dentmon and Brockman, who accounted for roughly a third of our scoring and rebounding last year. Gaddy should be very good, but he’s not expected to be a huge scorer, and as a point guard, probably won’t rebound much. And, I’ll lay out soon why I believe we’ve already seen about 90% of what we can expect from Q-Pon. I’d love to see Gant or MBA make the leap to give us 75% of what Brockman did, but I just don’t see it. Not yet.

Anyhow, let me know what you think. And, hey, thanks for coming…

*Let’s settle one thing right now. Yeah, I’ve heard some of you carping about our “disappointing” showing in the NCAA Tournament against Purdue. Last season, every piece of it, including the disappointing losses that bookended the season, was a total and complete success. A tour de force. A Bruin-stomping, Cougar-punking, Duck-plucking, sweet, sweet symphony. So, we didn’t do something we’ve only done five times ever (reach the Sweet 16). The NCAA tournament is a crapshoot. I’m fired up.