I am a casual basketball fan, but part of me loves this team that Craig Robinson has. Not because they are dominating, because they have lost few games they should have won and have had some games where they didn’t show up at all. I don’t love them because I think they are going to go to a big tournament, because they have to win this weekend and then pull a few more games out down the stretch to do it.
I love this team because they play hard and they never quit.
They have had some outings where they did more than poorly, obviously, but they don’t quit. Unfortunately, the fans are not the same way. I understand all the losing has gotten to many. I also understand the reasons people don’t like the current regime is for a myriad of reasons, some beyond the coaches and players. The reality is that since 1999, OSU has had 5 seasons of 15 wins or more and Craig Robinson has been responsible for four of them in his five years. The talent level is better and the facilities are better. To many outside of the fan base, OSU is in a much better place than they have been since Ralph Miller left.
I understand that a fan base that can still remember a number one ranking in Gill, can still remember week night games getting 10K fans and Conference Championship banners being an annual occurrence, are not super excited about teams winning half their games.
I understand that and understand their vocal disapproving posts online or emails and calls to the Athletic Department. And that makes the effort on the court that much more impressive. Because it is coming from them and their competitive natures, and not from accolades.
There is room for improvement, but the area that doesn’t need improvement is effort. Fans and writers throw around that term like making shots is as simple as just trying harder. Effort is coming back when you are down or staying up and weathering the storm of a team coming back. While many see last nights game against USC as OSU letting the last place team come back on them, I see an OSU team that lost one of its leaders and fought hard to close the door on the surging home team. Just like I saw from great seats behind the team (thanks CBT Nuggets!) come out flat against the ducks yet come back and give everything they had to try and win that game.
Both games were not ideal, but quitters lose last night and quitters get blown out a few weeks ago. OSU is not filled with quitters and they have shown that time and again. I can back that, I can support that, and I hope they take at least two of the last three, get a tournament win and go to the NIT at worst. GO BEAVERS!