Monday, March 13, 2006


The journey to the tourney is over. The basketballs at Long Beach State go into the cage, the coaches go back to the drawing boards, and the fans will have to find other topics in those computer chat rooms. The Beach was better but in the end not good enough to go on. No NCAA, no NIT, nada post-season.

So now Niner-ville can turn back to the outside fun and games of baseball (just a notch above .500 at (12-9), softball (at .500, 12-12) plus tennis and golf doing quite well but playing to tens of fans. Oh yes, there is the LBSU version of “Guess who’s going to be athletic director” but this time President Alexander has the process on double super secret probation—any leaks and you go off campus.

We can talk about last weekend and next. The bright spot for baseball came on Saturday in Austin, Texas. The numbers were fascinating. Andrew Carpenter worked 115 pitches to the defending national champion Longhorns, (in 87 degree weather, 5700 in the house) and the Dirtbags beat UT 5-3. On Friday they had a lead and lost and on Sunday they had a lead and lost.

Another famous diamond name comes up this weekend when red hot Wichita State (17-2) is at Blair for the Friday to Sunday series. So far the Shockers have been feasting on the Sisters of the Poor and the Niners have been tough at home so both sides will learn a lot about each other.

In men’s volleyball the brain trust has tweaked the lineup to feature the hitting of both Duncan Budinger (26 kills beating USC) and Robert Tarr (21 kills). They Niners have now three of their last four and have the volleyball elite coming to visit this weekend in the Active Ankle Tournament on Friday and Saturday Nights. The visitors are from BYU, Ohio State and Rutgers with matches at 5:30 and 7:30 each night. Rutgers vs. Long Beach in the late match Friday and Ohio State vs. LBSU same schedule on Saturday.

CATCH-UP DUSTING— Back on campus with the wet set, ladies water polo beat UC San Diego to snap a three-game slide and returns Saturday hosting UC Irvine for a contest at noon at the campus pool.

Back off campus, NFL referee Charles Stewart braved a tougher crowd than any pro linebacker last week when he guest speakered at the LB Century Club. A sampling of his insights--Coach with the worst sideline language today, Tampa Bay’s Jon Gruden. Old timer’s division, former Ram Coach Chuck Knox. “One time he kept hollering at me, “Are you blind, are you blind, are you blind?” Stewart finally turned to the coach and said, “Did I hear you say something to me?” at which time Knox didn’t miss a beat and replied, “Not only are you blind, I guess you are deaf too.”

More official comment. It seemed to me that the refs swallowed their whistles in the Big West tourney, very few fouls, lots of held balls, and frustrated coaches. The players didn’t mind and for the Niner men it meant an almost unconscious session of three-point shooting in wins over Fullerton and Irvine. Nice to whip the local rivals but alas that effort, and winning the NCAA scoring title, wasn’t enough to interest the NIT.—DR. DAN


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