12.18.2009 / The Bluejays Take on 19 Ranked New Mexico! Posting by Michael Lindeman, Former CU Player.
Hi Bluejay fans! Michael Lindeman checking in before a huge game at New Mexico this weekend.
"The Lobos will come into Saturday's game ranked #19 in the country and will present another challenge for us away from the Qwest Center."
The Lobos will come into Saturday’s game ranked #19 in the country and will present another challenge for us away from the Qwest Center. Ramon Martinez and Darington Hobson are both very talented wings and combine to average nearly 35 points per game, so we will definitely have our work cut out for us on the defensive end. Given our struggles away from Omaha thus far, a win on Saturday at The Pit would be a huge boost for our team and give us some much needed momentum as we enter conference play.
I try to read the Omaha World Herald and Bluejay Café online whenever I can, and I know that our early season struggles have caused a lot of unrest amongst Bluejay fans. I personally think there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this team and this season, though. We have plenty of talent, plenty of guys who can carry us offensively on any given night and we are finally getting everyone healthy.
I went to the game at Dayton and also caught the games in Orlando on ESPN and barring injuries I truly believe that this team will go on to do some very good things this year despite the early losses. Our non-conference schedule has been very challenging thus far but in the long run I am convinced that we are a better team and will win at least two more games in the MVC because of it. We easily could have scheduled early season games against teams like Mississippi Valley State, Northern Colorado, and Arkansas Pine-Bluff (rather than playing in the Old Spice Classic) and we’d likely be sitting here with only two losses if that were the case. In the long run, however, I don’t think that gets us where we want to go. Last year’s team had one of the most successful seasons in school history, but 26 wins wasn’t enough for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament because of our non-conference schedule. We certainly beefed up the schedule this year by playing in Orlando, and despite going 0-3 we easily could have gone 2-1 (the loss coming to a very talented Xavier team). Had we gone 2-1 in Orlando and won at George Mason (easily could have happened) we would currently be sitting at 6-2 (Savannah State not included) with a very good at-large resume for this point in the season. Obviously we didn’t win those games but my point is that I don’t think we are as far off from being a very good team as many people think we are. I’m glad that we played in the Old Spice Classic and ultimately I think we will be a better team because of it.
One thing that our losses have shown is that this team still trying to figure out how to win close games. In at least three of the losses that I listened to or watched (Dayton, Michigan, George Mason) the game came down to a few key possessions in the last few minutes in which we failed to get a stop on defense or we turned the ball over and/or missed free throws on offense. This is where our inexperience shows but also where I feel we will improve the most in the next few games. Two of our seniors from last season, Josh Dotzler and Booker Woodfox, frequently came up big for us in these critical situations last year. Josh rarely turned it over late in games and always seemed to have everyone organized and Booker hit a ton of huge shots for us throughout the season. I think that a few of our early season losses have shown how much we miss these two players. However, I also think that we have plenty of guys who are capable of stepping up in these situations and I really believe that it will only take one big road win to get this thing headed back in the right direction.
Might as well be this Saturday, right?
How do you think the Jays are doing so far? Do you have any early predications for the winner of the Missouri Valley? Join in.