Scary, isn’t it? You so want to double-down Little Johnny’s college fund on this Fresno State men’s basketball team. You need Madness back in your March. You’re dying for cause to max out your credit line on body paint and foam fingers and coach airfare to Spokane, or Providence, or some other far-flung NCAA Regional hub.
But man, it’s a scary leap to make with this team, isn’t it? They played on ESPN2 last night, a sign of arrival if there ever is one, and half of you were half-scared to watch.
Last time this space declared these second-place Bulldogs the real thing, they got their bubble popped by New Mexico before the Sunday edition went to ink.
As you read this now, you already know whether or not Saturday’s do-over with the Lobos went up like a flaming dung rocket. The Bulldogs woke up in sole possession of second place with three games to play, unless they didn’t. There is just no telling, which says everything we could ever say about Rodney Terry’s fine collection of shirts and skins.
The season is now 29 games old, and we still aren’t sure if we can trust these five-on-fivers to do so much as put air in a bicycle tire that is already inflated, much less get Fresno State back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Tark’s kids were eating dollar rice bowls on the house.
Everyone wants to buy into this bunch, but you just can’t shake the sneaky suspicion this team lacks the necessary fire retardant to prevent you from getting third-degree burned.
You showed up 7,000 deep Wednesday to watch the Marvelle Harris Show beat Air Force in a friendly game of one-on-five. That had you so ready to lose your shirt and dignity in Vegas for the Mountain West Tournament, until you remembered we’re talking about a one-point home win against the Air Force Falcons, all 5-11 in conference play of them.
You can’t remember the last time the Bulldogs won three in a row in late February like this. But, it was against the Nos. 8-9-10 teams in an 11-team league – and how can we forget they actually lost to Team No. 11?
We feel you on this, we really do. But boy, it feels like trusting your pop’s green Nova to get you over the Grapevine without the assistance of a flatbed tow. You hope for the best, but how much is the co-pay on roadside assistance?
All that said … OK, we give. Go all in and book your double bed at the Comfort Inn off the Strip, and here’s why.
The Bulldogs are 5-0 in games decided by one score, which is to say this senior-laden team has finally learned how to win losable games.
They’re the only team to beat conference champ San Diego State, and they took them to overtime in the roadie by the border. No one else in these parts has beaten the Aztecs, so the Bulldogs have as fighting a chance as anybody else of cheating them out of the trophy.
Is it too much to ask the Bulldogs to figure out the zone defense, which has only been around since the invent of iron rims? Is it greedy to expect Karachi Edo to stay healthy and for Torren Jones to get healthy?
Can the Fresno State Bulldogs act more like the Fresno State Bulldogs and less like the Fresno State Bulldogs, all at the same time?
We hope so, because we don’t have the stomach for more vertigo pills.
- 1. Oh, you 49ers, you. Next time you trot out a general manager and head coach to say your quarterback loves being your quarterback, check with the quarterback first. Because, when his agents counter your “I love you” with “We think it’s time to start seeing other people,” it makes your asbestos-infected organization look every bit as bacterial as it did when you dumped Jimmy Harbaugh for The Fork Lift Operator.
- 2. Check out the Fresno State baseball and softball teams, giving us reason to pay attention again. Football and basketball pay the institutional bills, but it says here there is no joy like the joy of the ping of aluminum on a sun-kissed day at the yard.
- 3. Anyone heard from the Lakers lately? The Lakers. They play basketball in Los Angeles. Used to be in Minneapolis. Anyone?