GW Basketball discussion on sportscenter
free quebec
 10/13/2017 12:48:18 PM      Replies: 36

free quebec10/12/2017 12:59:44 AM

Believe it or not, GW basketball was just discussed by Scott Van Pelt and Taylor Twellman on sportscenter.  

They were talking about the US Men's soccer team's embarrassing failure to make the World Cup.  

Van Pelt says, I liken them the George Washington basketball - good enough to make the tournament, but not good enough to win it.  He said something like they are good enough to make it and their fans will be excited and maybe they can even win a couple of games to make the sweet 16, but they aren't a threat to win it.  

Taylor Twellman (soccer analyst who has rightly trashing the US Soccer Federation) countered with 'the real question is how do you turn GW into Kentucky or North Carolina?'  Neither had an answer to that.  

Then later Twellman questioned, "George Washington, huh? That's the one you went with?"

SVP responds with, "I just, yeah, I mean you're good enough to make it and the fans there in Foggy Bottom, I get it, you're excited, but you're not good enough to win   And if that's the case, then, you know."   Twellman said something like why not the steeps and SVP said "I just picked a team"  

The sneering at fans about rooting for teams that aren't going to win the title was a little obnoxious but he gets a mulligan for his hype during the Pops era. 


free quebec10/12/2017 1:02:54 AM

Forgot to add, the better analogy would be to someone like Xavier.  A team that makes it every year from a non BCS league, and is arrogant about it, even though they are below the top contenders - and failing off the bubble because they are too arrogant to play with energy vs teams they perceive as beneath them.  


We are more like Honduras or Jamaica or some team that doesn't make it (and advance) every year.  


the dude10/12/2017 1:28:54 AM

Props to SVP for the shoutout on Sportscenter.  Glad its about a better topic than our last mention.

Butler took back to back teams to the NCAA Finale from the Horizon League, had a bank shot at the buzzer to win it vs Duke.  I'd hesitate to put almost any high or mid major on the zero chance to win it list.  That's what make college hoops so great. Gonzaga made the NCAA Finale last year.

The USMNT, well that's a different story.  ESPN, to sell their US soccer package, and the World Cup, has been misleading the casual sports fan for 20 years that the US in an upward arc, when it reality its been a plateau, marked by some decline in recent years, sadly.  Major Props for Taylor T last night for finally cutting through the BS, its not about the Coaches or minor tweaks, we simply don't produce good enough players to compete well on the global stage, we're now struggling in our own CONCACAF.




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gw alum abroad10/12/2017 8:59:19 AM

Not sure how the spambots got to this thread before the liquor cabinet I emptied Tuesday night got replenished, but the comparison of GW and the mediocre bums in USA kits is bunk. We GW fans have no expectations of an NCAA bid, which is why it is nice when it happens and we get pumped. The USA should NEVER fail to qualify from such a weak region, so I would say van Pelt would have been better off using a "power" school in a minor conference ('Cuse, for example) as an example. 

Then again, any USA fan who thinks the existence of MLS makss the USA a global player needs help. 

the mv10/12/2017 9:27:57 AM

There appears to be two interpretations to this analogy.  USA failing to qualify is not at all analogous to GW failing to reach the tournament.  I didn't hear the conversation but I can't believe this is what SVP was driving at.  Instead, it appears his larger point had to do with USA's standing in the sport of soccer in general and not with this specific instance of not qualifying.  His point is that USA competes not with the expectation of winning the World Cup but with the goal of qualifying and performing admirably once they are there. Here, the comparison with GW works.  Where it breaks down a bit is that I don't believe USA soccer fans would be at all content with the USA qualifying and then not winning a single game, where as a GW team that makes the dance but loses its first game is still generally celebrated.

free quebec10/12/2017 9:47:14 AM

MV's interpretation is what I understood watching it live. There was a bit of a sneering "you aren't going to win anyway so it's cute you get excited about making it, but you irrellevant" tone to his comments, though.


To Dude's point, while we don't have the players to beat Germany and Brazil, I don't think our failure to qualify this year is becuase the players are much worse than in past years (though we clearly have some problem positions, like left back and defensive midfield). 

Rather, I think it's the arrogance of feeling like we are so much better than our league that all we have to do is show up and we win.  Think about how arrogant Xavier was late in their A-10 tenure when their fans thought of themselves as the league's flagship, yet they still lost sometimes to the Duquesne's of the world.  Xavier had more money, better players, and higher expectations, but if they didn't play focused, they lost.  And if they had a year like 2005 where they failed to make the tourney becuase they lost too many games in thier league, that's kind of a wakeup call.

The US men's soccer team played like they knew they were going to qualify and didn't have to play focused or hard all the time.  When the game had the most pressure - like after Klinsmann was fired and we won 6-0 or this weekend with our backs to the wall when we beat Panama 4-0 - we dominated.  But when we thought we were all good, including the T&T game we seemed to think would be easy to get a point, then we stunk.   

The US got to all those world cups by having a chip on its shoulder.  They felt they had something to prove to the world and needed to fight for everything all the time. But a few years ago, they got arrogant.  Klinsmann (who I like) was hired with the idea that the US needed to get to the next level by transforming to a more skilled, more attacking style of play. It never happened because our players weren't good enough - but in the process, we internalized that we had moved in the soccer world beyond being the scrappy upstarts and needed to play like the big boys. Ultimately, that change in mentality was what cost us this world cup. We thought we were too good to have to keep playing the way we got to all those World Cups.

To bring it back to GW basketball, if you want to make the analogy, we all know that the difference between us and a team ranked like 250 isn't as great as casual fans think. It's still 5 on 5 and the other team has guys that spend all their time playing basketball, too.  Players on our team still have to make shots, still have to box out and play defense, still have to preform.  And we've all seen that if GW (or Xavier, or Syracuse, or anyone) comes out flat and doesn't do the things that made them good, they can lose to literally anyone in college basketball.  That's what this was for the US soccer men's team.


bobo10/12/2017 10:03:20 AM

Imagine the angry push back from Xavier fans if SVP actually did use them for that example, FQ.  "What the hell you mean that THE X can't win it all? SVP you Eastern elistist piece of crap.  I hope somebody blows up your house! XU forever!!!"


ch10/12/2017 10:16:58 AM

Video of this exchange?

gw alum abroad10/12/2017 10:21:28 AM

I get FQ's point, but USA fans are right to expect getting a World Cup spot and van Pelt is right that USA fans have little right to expect the USA to do much at the World Cup (CONCACAF is world football's competitive equivalent of a one-bid conference). Maybe U$C football should be the comparison, its fans expect a bowl bid every year (heck, they are the best pro team in their time zone) but we all know they will NEVER win a national title that they can keep after an NCAA investigation, does not deter their fans nor excuse a losing record, though.

bo knows10/12/2017 10:58:34 AM

GWAA, I don't know the way better example might be to USC's north -Oregon. Sold their soul to the devil which resulted in NCAA violations and 3 years of probation. Their fans thought they had arrived and now expect CFP every year forgetting the fact that it was only the cheating which allowed them to be relevant in the first place. With the cheating rained in you now see what results. USC has a rich tradition spanning decades and numerous coaches. USC is the type of school that has demonstrated it can win national championships (11) spanning over 90 years that were not the result of any NCAA violations. Oregon has not yet demonstrated the ability to win even one over the same time period and their lone chance was the result of cheating for which they were sanctioned. Yet, Oregon fans will consistently sugest they are on a par with USC as a program and have thwe same chance to win a national championship. No they don't and it's not even close.

free quebec10/12/2017 12:00:08 PM

Yes. GWAA.   USA fans are right to expect World Cup and don't have any right to think we're going to win.  But so what?

Likewise, Xavier, when they were dominating the A-10 had every right to expect to make the tourney each year (since they rarely missed), but had little chance to win the whole thing (just as USA once made the quarters of the world cup, winning it was never realistic.

gw alum abroad10/12/2017 12:11:34 PM

Panama is not going to win Russia 2018, but that won't keep its fans from cheering and enjoying the experience. To dismiss Panamanian fans for cheering for a team that will not lift the trophy is to miss the whole point. Cheering for Germany is easy, and like a McDonald's "meal" is comprised of empty calories. Ditto for cheering for Not GW or the Yankees. If van Pelt was mocking fans who don't consume empty calories, then thumbs down to him. But if USA fans think theirs is an elite team, then thumbs down to them.

the mv10/12/2017 12:21:09 PM

It's more than OK to establish a set of expectations and goals that are below those with national championship aspirations.  Otherwise, why have or support a program at all if the only thing that will bring happiness is a national championship?

This is also what makes our season so much more fun to follow than a national power.  When GW is in a position to contend for an at large bid, every game matters because the margin for error is so small in comparison to a Duke or a Kentucky who are annually playing for seeding in the tournament as opposed to an invitation.  In most years, Duke and Kentucky's seasons start in March; ours runs from November through, hopefully, March.


bc10/12/2017 12:24:05 PM

and what about the women - they're USA too.

ziik the senile old man10/12/2017 12:28:38 PM

Not GW.

We all know those bastards. 


bobo10/12/2017 12:33:35 PM

And like the US national soccer team, XU fsns can chant U-S-A every a team with some foreigners come to town.

gw alum abroad10/12/2017 1:22:14 PM

Bobo- I thought those we're the Dayton fans, or is such high class cheering endemic to all of Ohio?

free quebec10/12/2017 1:52:14 PM

GWAA, your 12:11 post is exactly the point.

To belittle fans for cheering for a team that can't win it all is to miss the point of sports.  I guess that's a very stereotypically American way of looking at sports (or at least an ESPN way), which is that only winning the title matters and everything else is pointless. But that's not how most fans are.


I think that ESPN mentality has done their own coverage of college basketball a disservice.  I think the more they've emphasized the big money teams and winning it all, the more they've hurt interest in college basketball. I think, nationally, people paid more attention to college basektball back when they used to treat a game like GW vs. James Madison on President's Day as something fun and worth watching, or when they treated even a power conference team like Virginia Tech beating Duke as a great event to watch. Now they seem to cover from the attitude that nothing matters except winning it all.

I think it's the same problem tennis has.  Used to be a hugely popular sport in this country.  Some of the problem is we have no American men wrad players who spend alll year battling each other at the Challenger level fighitng like crazy to win a tournament that will get them into the big dance and get their chance at the big money opponents), people would love it.  There are great storylines, but they get ignored.  likewise, there are all these young American men coming up through the ranks for whom winning a round or two or three is the equivalent of a GW winning a game or two in the NCAA tourney, but instead of celebrating those achievements as fantsastic, ESPN only focuses on the top guys. 

The result is declining interest all around, which affects their own ratings and their own bottom line.  Basically, covering soccer, college basketball, tennis, or anything else like only the championship is important and the rest is just a joke to care about kind of kills interest in sports and kills thier own ratings.

Ok, I know I've gotten way off topic, but as fans of GW, we should all understand that there's more to sports than just winning a title.

free quebec10/12/2017 1:56:06 PM

Just re-read what I wrote.   I think a line got deleted.

I meant to say part of the problem with tennis' declining popularity (and ratings on ESPN) is that there are no American men at the top.  But if they covered the qualifying rounds of the US Open the way they cover champtionship week - which is that there are all these players who battle all year at a mid-major level who try to fight through the qualifying tourney to get into the big dance ) then people would love it.

I was trying to compare US Open tennis qualifying to championship week in the NCAAs - but since ESPN only tells their viewers to care about the winner of the whole thing, no one even realizes who cool the quaifying rounds are, let alone what an accomplishment it is for some guys to win a match or two in a grand slam (akin to GW winning a round or two in the NCAAs).


gw alum abroad10/12/2017 2:11:08 PM

I remember when a fan could be really happy if their baseball team won 92 games, even if that meant not winning their division (and thus missing the playoffs).  The Cal team that beat Stanford on all those laterals to run through the band finished 7-4 with no bowl bid, and Cal fans did not complain. The Hartford Whalers took pride in going to OT in game 7 vs eventual Stanley Cup winners Montreal before Liut got bumped and beat. And who will forget gold medal winner Alberto Tomba carrying the last-place finisher on his shoulders. Sadly, now it seems that unless you are mugging for a picture hugging a trophy (and promimently displaying a sponsor's logo) you get ignored...


the dude10/12/2017 2:24:29 PM

FQ, I think I agree with all of your points, I'm sold.  Well said.

With regard to the caliber of players in decline, I do think they have declined a good deal, counter to most media narratives prior to Tuesday night, where the USA is on this ever-upward arc storyline.  2 Examples:

1. We failed to qualify for the last 2 Olympics, a reflection of flaws in our feeder, young talent development.

2.  The age of the best players in the last cycle of 2014 World Cup.  The 4 key players, Howard, Landon, Dempsey and Bradley.   Here we are 4 years later, Howard, Dempsey and Bradley have clearly declined, Landon retired, and colllectively not replaced. The defenders, with 1 exception are all around or over 30 y/o. The goalies closer to 40.

The Bright side, we do have our first burgeoning in international star, the brilliant 19 year old Pulisic.

bo knows10/12/2017 2:34:19 PM

FQ, as to tennis, the reason there are no Americans in the US Open Men's Finals is for the same reason we don't have the USMNT in the World Cup - lack of talent. If you've followed tennis for any period of time the dominance of the Europeans and Australians is rising especially on the men's side. We currently have just 12 players ranked in the top 100 and not one higher than 16th. Just ten years ago we had 2 in top 10 and 20 years ago we had 3 in top 10. With the NCAA Tournament at least 3/4 of the teams (those seeded say 12 and below) believe they have a shot to get to the Sweet 16 and at least 50% believe it is a realistic shot in any given year. This accomplishment, which unless you are a blueblood, is considered one hell of a year. Tennis can't even say that amongst the American men's players. The odds of any one American making the quarterfinals now is less than 50-50.

gw alum abroad10/12/2017 2:35:34 PM

"First international star"? Methinks Eric Wynalda might have something to say about that. (See also: Meola, Tony; Lalas, Alexi; Rote Jr, Kyle). 

free quebec10/12/2017 2:56:22 PM

Clint "Clinthino" Dempsey as he was known when he was making highlights constantly for Tottenham was a good international star a decade ago.   But Pulisic could be on another level from him and all the rest.

Bo, I'm aware we have no American men winning it.  My point was that if ESPN covered the excitemement of the 70th rank player making it to the final 16 of Wimbledon the same way we cover the excitement of the MAC champion going on a run to the Sweet 16, then people would be more intersted in the sport regardless. 

In fact, there are more American men (12, as you said) in the top 100, than there have been in years because there is a generation of young players moving up through the ranks.  When some guy like Ryan Harrison cracks the top 50, that's like a mid-major cracking the top 25.  But when the American sports media treats any accomplishment short of winning a title with a collective shrug, then no one cares. 

Worse, when they mock the notion of being excited for any accomplishment short of winning it all (as SVP did about GW fans being excited for making the tourney), then we reduce sports to a winner-take-all mentality that makes 99.9% of sports competition meaningless and unfun.   I don't think belittling accomplishments short of winning a title (GW making the NCAA tourney, US MNT making the world cup, a 180th ranked tennis player qualifying for the US Open or winning a 1st round match) is good for sports.To the contrary, I think that attitude kills ratings and will eventually kill sports.



the mv10/12/2017 2:56:29 PM

FQ, some people might love it, but sadly, not enough would watch it.

As fans, most of us need some form of vested interest.  Hard to produce when watching two tennis players that most have never heard of.  Of all the John Feinstein books, the one where he writes about Q-school (golfers trying to qualify to play on the PGA tour) might be his most compelling.  A book arguably gives one an opportunity to build up that interest (I was pulling for Paul Goydos bigtime as I read it).  A televised event needs to have that relatable storyline.  Maybe one of the participants is from your homeown.  Or a friend of a friend.  The exception to this rule is the young phenom who has generated advance publicity.  (It was fun watching Frances Tiafoe battle Federer in the first round of the US Open because the 19 year old Tiafoe grew up in College Park, MD and has a tremendous back story that The Washington Post and Real Sports among others had already publicized.)

For as much joy as stories like George Mason, VCU and Butler generated from crashing the Final 4, the television ratings suggest that their presence accounts for some of the lowest rated Final 4 games.  Sports fans like us who can truly appreciate a stellar competion practically regardless of the sport or who the participants are are in the minority.  Most people want the comfort of rooting for an athlete or team who they know, and who they can talk about later on with their friends (who will also be familiar).

the dude10/12/2017 3:58:30 PM

Gents, International star, as in Global soccer star, the International world considers a star.  Those are just US players who played overseas, quite a difference. Dempsey for sure the best results to date.  I think you follow FQ. Frankly, we haven't even yet had someone close to a global star. 

As an example, the Guardian every year has a great in depth breakdown of the top 100 world players in the world.  The US has never had a single player on that list, not one, and hasn't yet deserved to.  Pulisic is absolutely our first burgeoning star on that level.

FQ, I agree with the flaws in the only the winner coverage focus flaws.  Major flaw.

Bo, concur, not enough talent, that's the issue.  There's been an enormous drop in US Men's tennis. I believe Sam Q. just snapped a streak of  8 years, 32 slams, where an American had not advanced out of the QTRs of any Slam event.  Tennis and US soccer have to severely re-evaluate, make changes, because what they've been doing is not working. 


free quebec10/12/2017 4:37:15 PM

In 2012, Dempsey was 4th in the Premier League in goals scored.  If he wasn't in the top 100 players that year, that's probably becuase he is American.

the dude10/12/2017 4:49:04 PM

Perhaps.  Dempsey had some really good results, best to date for an American. As you noted Pulisic seems headed for a different, higher level playing career from both him and the rest of the past Americans.


adclub10/12/2017 5:34:29 PM

We produce worldclass.....goalkeepers.  Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan. 

the dude10/12/2017 6:42:51 PM

We really do, the Keepers have been the by far the best position group for the US. Unfortunately those 3 guys are 35-46, and frankly I thought Howard's age was really showing Tuesday night.

On the flip side, as the sport globally has really embraced possession and the Cruyff philopsophy of Tiki-taka, crisp short passing, movement and ball possession, these are the  skills that the US struggles to produce.


the dude10/12/2017 7:36:51 PM

SI and ESPN had articles on went wrong. The former had not a word about player development, buried at the end of the latter's article, the crux of the problem:

7. There's a missing generation in the U.S. team. (When five players on a 23-man roster are aged between 23 and 27 -- and one of them, Jozy Altidore, made his national team debut a decade ago, meaning he was a precocious outlier -- it means something went wrong development-wise along the way.)

free quebec10/12/2017 10:15:33 PM

And that one, Altidore, seems to keep his starting spot despite frequently making zero impact on the game (like Tuesday).  He basically only scores now when another player sets him up for a tap in or a PK.  Part of the problem.

I am not totally convinced that player development is the issue.  We made changes a few years ago that have yet to pay off or are just starting to (Pulisic, and the young guys playing overseas like Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers, etc.).  If the team had played hard every game, like it did against Panama when it thought it was a must-win, we'd be fine and no one was complaining about the players.

Yes, we need more Pulisics and we need replacements for declining players like Bradley and Howard, but we need a change in attitude more than anythign else. We need to get back to playing like everything thinks we stink at soccer and we have to prove oursleves every time on the field - no matter if we are playing Germany or Ghana, or "just" Trinidad & Tobago. 

the dude10/13/2017 12:12:23 AM

FQ, Jozy, agreed. 

Unfortunately I do think it is a player development issue.  Typically the U23 team results point to our future outcomes. The 2000 Olympic team finished 4th. In 2002 we made the Quarters of the World Cup. 

We missed the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, then miss the World Cup in 2018. Those U23 guys have an awful lot to play for, for them I don't believe its not a matter of taking things for granted, just talent.

We had the great result beating Spain in 09 with this gen of guys when Howard, Clint, Bradley and Landon were all prime of prime, that gen did fine 10-14, but they haven't been replaced by the next gen of guys, and yet we're still relying on them in the alternative, to much worse results.

Well, I hope you're right because player development would be the hardest thing to fix, adjusting Coaches or attitudes, much easier, but it sure seems to be the issue IMO.



the dude10/13/2017 1:04:16 AM

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colonial7710/13/2017 12:48:18 PM

I think the downward trend will reverse. Maybe already has. 


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