You can’t always get what you want. Isn’t that how the song goes? That’s become the theme for the long-suffering IUPUI Jaguars men’s basketball team this season. Yesterday’s game against Omaha was one of the worst I’ve seen at home in a long time. Up by 22 points with about four minutes to play in the first half, only to lose by seven, 85-78. That’s a 29-point swing. What’s even more maddening: the Mavericks staged their comeback in about 15 minutes of game time. By the midpoint of the second half, it was up for grabs. With about eight minutes left on the clock, Omaha had the lead for good.
Maddening. Frustrating. Bewildering.
The last time we suffered such a bad loss in a game I felt we should’ve won was two years ago against Southern Utah University. I wrote about it here. The same recipe for disaster as two years ago occurred last night: large, early lead only gets squandered.
Maddening. Frustrating. Bewildering.
About Yesterday’s Game.
It was one of the more enjoyable days in The Jungle, I must say. Thanks to Homecoming festivities, we had an actual student section at the game yesterday. That always makes it more fun. Omaha’s SID, Bonnie, was very nice. But that’s to be expected. In all my years of working with opposing teams—about 15, total, between IU South Bend Titans and the Jags—I’ve only encountered one or two challenging people. The SIDs throughout our conference are always pretty good people.
Omaha’s head coach Derrin Hansen gave the table crew a laugh, too. Early in the second half, after a called timeout, Hansen forgot we’d already taken the under-16:00 media timeout. He kept asking Mike, the clock operator and Joe, official scorekeeper, why we haven’t taken the media timeout yet. We finally clarified with him what time it was taken. About a minute or two later, he leaned over and said, “you’ve got to forgive me, we’re a little slower in Omaha.”
My Day Behind the Mic.
We had one of our best crowds of the season yesterday. It’s always more fun to work in a full house. I had a good voice for most of the first half, although the timeout reads are starting to wear me out. And the eight-minute halftime Homecoming read was a rather tall order. The challenge there is to get through it without sounding like your droning on and on. Though it sounds counterintuitive, the more you try to punch up the announcements, the worse they sound.
A friend of mine who’s had a career in broadcasting and PA announcing gave me a good note yesterday, after the game: slow down. He’s right. He’s dead right. There’s a tendency to want to rush through the reads—especially during the media timeouts—but it’s the best way to screw up.
Heading toward the NCAA regionals next month, I need to focus on slowing down my reads. The in-game stuff doesn’t concern me as much. I feel pretty good about my ability to manage the scorers, fouls and substitutions. I just need to focus on getting a little better with scripted copy.
No, I’m never satisfied with my performance. Ever.
But I did get a rather nice compliment from one of the player’s dads. After introducing the JagBand (where I always include a different title or nickname for the band director, David Copeland), Sean Esposito’s dad introduced himself to me so he could tell me he always gets a laugh out of those intros and looks forward to it every game. It’s always nice to hear folks appreciate when you’re trying to keep it fun. Although it’s getting tougher and tougher to come up with new nicknames for Dave. Yesterday, he was the “pet psychic to the stars.” Because of the long halftime reads, I was unable to get to the second read.