Luke Treat


In College Basketball on February 20, 2011 at 1:50 am


The Bears defense was non-existent against the Crusaders

The Valparaiso Crusaders opened the game with an 8-2 run. The Bears would only get within 9 points for about 30 seconds as Valpo nationally embarrassed the MSU Bears, with a final score of 80-67.

This isn’t the same Bears team we’ve seen all season. This was a team of look-a-likes playing dress-up.

More after the jump…


Here’s what happened:

The Bears lost this game in almost every aspect. They were out-rebound 39-27. They were out shot 40% to 58%. They were out muscled — 34-48 points in the paint. They were were out hustled — 17-4 fast break points. And maybe most of all, they were out coached.

Now, I have two theories on why the Bears played so flat.

1). The National Spotlight — Could the ESPN2 Brackbusters hoopla have been too much for the Bears? Maybe. The Bears might have been putting too much on this game in terms of coverage, exposure, and the chance to showcase their talents. What if they were banking their lackluster non-conference schedule on this game in terms of aspirations for an at-large bid? It’s more than possible, but Dick Vitale’s “My voice is still ringing in your ear, baby” voice and national coverage isn’t likely the cause for the implosion Saturday evening in Indiana.

2). Overconfidence — The Bears meditate on this all week: galloping on Valpo’s court, “Dickie V” showering nothing but compliments and love for Kyle Weems and company, Will Creekmore backing down any opposition for a baby hook shot (his favorite low post move), Adam Leonard and Jermaine Mallett knocking down 3-pointers from all directions, and most of all — the trip back to Springfield, heads held high, chest puffed out; the mid-major darlings for all college basketball analysts. What if the Bears thought this was going to be easy? They are the first place team in the Valley, destined to be dancing in March, right? What if the Bears thought they couldn’t lose? It’s possible. And that’s what I think happened Saturday night. On ESPN2. In front of the entire country.

Regardless of what I think, or what anyone thinks for that matter, the Bears were crushed: literally, figurative, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Whatever they have to do to get passed this tough loss — they have to do it. Whatever it takes. They cannot let this defeat define their final stretch of games this week (at Southern Illinois and Wichita State at home). Everyone is talking about/has been talking about “The Valley Showdown” against the WSU Shockers that could very well determine the regular season Valley champion. I’m more concerned with the game against SIU and here’s why: the Bears are already thinking about the WSU game. How could they not? This is the game that will most likely determine the seeding for the Valley tournament and yes, the aforementioned regular season Valley champion. SIU is in the cellar of the Valley; it would be easy to look past them. But if the Bears want to finish the season strong, finish the season with the dream of an NCAA tournament bid, they had better show up and play. Or else “The Valley Showdown” may already have been decided.

  1. Where’s George W? What we need is some “shock & awe”

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