As I get ready to go to the men’s basketball game against the most hated rivals this weekend, I am faced with an interesting realization. I care more now about basketball than i have since high school. Back in 1990, my freshman year in High School, I remember being worried that the Gary Payton-less Beavers were going to be a mess. I loved players like Teo Alibegovitch, Scott Haskins and Chad Scott, but the loss of Payton and Earl Martin were going to be too much. When Haskins wasn’t able to play, I thought it was all over. But the Beavers found a way to break even (14-14) and with Haskins coming back for the following season, I thought that 1990-1991 was a blip on the radar of the Orange Express.
So I didn’t care because I knew it would just be one down year.
As we know the story ended much differently. Even through the Craig Robinson era, when the string of losing seasons ended, I found my interest waning mostly because of the circus that followed Craig around. As I have said before, i was a fan of Robinson and respect the steps he took here to bring OSU back to being interesting. All the off the court stuff (and the degradation of the product on the court) got old though.
So now we are in the Wayne Tinkle era, and so far it is a very good one. The team has talent, they play well together and they seem to be on the verge of something special. At this point in the season the past 20 years, the NCAA tournament was either mathematically impossible or required so many outside scenarios and dominos to fall that there was little hope the Beavers could make it. This year, they make their own destiny. If they can win their final games, they will be in. They can even maybe lose tomorrow and still get in.
So I will be there, in my orange and black, cheering on the Beavers and hoping that they can find a way to beat the ducks again. If so, this Beaver team will do something that I have not seen since my days as a Cheldelin Cougar. Go to the NCAA tournament.
Go Beavs! (PRO)