Monday, March 19, 2007


As you might expect this is a busted-bracket edition of Diamond Dust direct from Columbus, Ohio where the star the show was a Pearl not a prospector.

Indeed Prospector Pete was there, he came into a town that was festive with Welcome banners in all the hotels. CBS brought announcing stars Tim Brando, a fixture in big games, and Mike Gminski, who beat the Niners by a single point when Tex Winter took a really promising team to Duke in 1979. Big West ref Bill Vinovich worked the first Virginia Tech game where the sidelines were prowled by former LB coach Seth Greenberg. Seth won on Friday and lost on Sunday and in between went looking for former LB President Bob Maxson who was “Go Beach-ing” one and all. Seth of course has a following in this town because he regularly said how much he liked it and wished he could have stayed longer.

Of course in the Va Tech press handouts there is a long story on how much he loved Tampa when he was at South Florida, “I will genuinely say I enjoyed my seven years at South Florida…”

Celebs aside the event and the venue were what excited the LBSU players and fans. The arena was picture perfect, really big, and they have one of those giant LED ribbon boards (670 linear feet with 601,000 pixels) that sure enough had Long Beach State in the same bright lights of more regularly seen bright lights like Tennessee, Illinois and Virginia.

Before I get too mushy I should recall the day would open with Virginia’s collaring of the Great Danes of Albany by a large margin. During a timeout on the court a couple of fans from the New York school were overheard saying “we are only down by 12” yet when I looked at the scoreboard the difference was actually 24. I looked puzzled and the fellas punctured by Pollyanna with “Oh we are just 12 away from beating the spread reminding me that there is this March Gambling Madness that accompanies the innocent flinging of objects into peach baskets.

As to the Niner game it wouldn’t be nice to recount the path of Beach pain, suffice to say that Bruce Pearl of Tennessee knows how to coach, admitting post game that he pressed with his considerably larger players to “keep that Kevin Houston from getting it going.” The pressure led to turnovers and shortly after halftime even if the Beach scored, say 86 points, it wouldn’t be enough. You see the Vols clearly liked playing in the shooting gallery known as the Nationwide Center, not to be confused, as some did, with the Ohio State on campus facility.

If you need more numbers in one 25 second span Tennessee scored nine points.
The Greenberg subplot of course interested some of the So Cal travelers since his he was the skipper the last time any of this dancing had gone on for LB alums who still feel that the four straight tourney appearances in the Tarkanian years meant a birthright to battle Bruins, Trojans, or Blue Devils every year. The new administration with a young and basketball-minded president and athletic director will work hard to get there but just like the road to Columbus, it is not going to be a quick trip.

Back to the Future. Last week was pretty good for the LB baseballers who end a month of roaming this weekend when Fullerton comes in for three. The Beach boys, who one rating service said had the top RPI in the country, went two and two playing at UCLA and Wichita State while the Titans split the pair they played. The Shocker series were all one run affairs. On Friday Brandon Godfrey delivered a ninth inning RBI double for the 2-1 win, On Saturday the Dirtbags twice rallied from four-run deficits but lost 8-7 and on Sunday it took 13 innings to decide the series with WSU’s 3-2 win. The CSUF visit will not count in the Big West standings but will fill the cash box and empty the anti-acid bottles in both dugouts.–DR. DAN


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