Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Things I think

I think the West Virginia University Basketball Team is going to fall short of the lofty expectations that so many had for them before the season began. On Saturday the Mountaineers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a 72-70 loss to fourth ranked Texas in Morgantown. West Virginia was clinging to a one-point lead, 70-69, when Miles McBride missed a jumper with the shot clock wound down and 13 seconds left in the game. Emmitt Matthews grabbed the rebound and put up a shot and was fouled with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Matthews, shooting nearly 90%, went to the line and clanked both free throws. Typical for a WVU fan to watch their best foul shooter go to the line in a critical situation and lay two bricks.  Anyway, Texas grabbed the rebound, sped down court and Andrew Jones buried a three pointer with a second left in the game for the win. Before I point the finger, it should be said that WVU shooting under 30% from the field in the second half was a big factor in the outcome of the game.
As for the closing seconds, the decision by Matthews to try to put back an offensive rebound instead of kicking it out to the guards and running time off the clock was the most critical decision of the game. West Virginia would likely have been fouled before the clock expired, but with good ball movement much of the 10 remaining seconds would have expired.
I think former Mountaineer basketball player Oscar Tshiebwe ending up at Kentucky is par for the course. Something about Tshiebwe’s demise at WVU seems less than on the up and up. Internet gossip indicates Oscar became disenchanted about a year ago, so whatever led him to his decision to quit the team has been known by some for a while.
The smart money is on a person, or persons, close to him are using their influence to get Oscar elsewhere. In this case elsewhere is Kentucky, coached by John Calipari, who committed violations at UMASS and Memphis, and had victories vacated at those schools. Calipari has only had a slap on the wrist at Kentucky, but that doesn’t keep the skeptics looking at him skeptically.
I think I’m going to be greatly annoyed in about an hour when the ESPN announcing team of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler call the College Football Playoff championship game between Ohio State and Alabama. First of all, Fowler’s style of screaming on every positive play is not the style I prefer. Herbstreit is not so bad for me, but he is a former Buckeye and sometimes that comes through during his broadcasts of Ohio State games.
I think back to the 2014 championship game when Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20. Fowler and Herbstreit were so obviously Buckeye homers in the booth that talk show hosts the next day, including one of ESPN’s own, were talking about it. For that reason, I hope Bama rolls to keep those two in the booth in check.