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NEWS ALERT ... Kentucky still perfect

Wildcats takes 36-0 record into Sweet 16.

Who let UCLA in tourney? Tired of the Texas talk and Colorado State’s coach messed up

03/16/2015

Studying the NCAA tournament bracket so I can fill it out before Thursday and I can’t believe who I see as an 11 seed.

Is that UCLA? The underachieving Bruins? … hold on a second while I LOL about 1,000 times.

Wait, selection committee chairman Scott Barnes says UCLA passed the eye test?

Most people’s retinas want nothing to do with seeing these Bruins and chronically cranky coach Steve Alford.

Let me guess, Barnes had his eyes closed when Kentucky held UCLA to just seven first-half points in an 83-44 trouncing.

Perhaps that tape didn’t get to Barnes. Or maybe he watched it to see if the Bruins passed the smell test.

Who knows if Barnes truly has much knowledge about basketball. His day job is athletic director at Utah State, which tells me he better had been doing a lot of networking with the other committee members in hopes of landing a much better job.

The Bruins aren’t even Dayton bound and that means they didn’t sneak in. Sorry, this UCLA team shouldn’t be leaving Los Angeles.

 

Sooooooooo, there is Texas sitting there as an 11 seed as well. The Longhorns definitely pass the eye test with some of the physical specimens on the squad so that makes you wonder about a few things.

Texas went just 3-12 against Top 50 teams. Tells me the Longhorns are not a Top 50 team if they could only win 20 percent of their games against good teams. I think the correct term is underachievers.

Think about this, give snubbed Colorado State 15 games against Top 50 teams and maybe they go 5-10 against them. Heck, let’s give UC Santa Barbara 15 such games and maybe the Gauchos go 4-11.

So when the ESPN clowns kept pointing out the record against the Top 50, the more sense it made that Texas belonged in the NIT. Then it led Iowa State by double digits in the type of win that could seal a bid and the Longhorns watched the Cyclones score the final 12 points and win on a game-winning shot.

Texas never trailed in the game until it ended … and that choke job didn’t hurt. The Longhorns were easily in.

The other thing I wonder is this – if Texas has so much talent and all it can do is beat equal or lesser teams, what does that say about coach Rick Barnes? He obviously isn’t connecting with this year’s Longhorns for them to be such underachievers.

Hey, maybe Scott Barnes and Rick Barnes are related! Now things finally add up.

 

Ummmmmmmm, the second Wyoming won the Mountain West tournament title, I knew either Boise State or Colorado State was in big trouble.

No way the Mountain West was getting four teams in when the conference had an average season. Remember some of those seasons the Mountain West was stacked and only got three teams in? So four this year made no sense.

Turns out Boise State had a lot of sweating to do as a 12 seed sent to Dayton. Heard some complaining about Boise State having to play on Dayton’s homecourt in the play-in round and I have a few thoughts.

–Don’t exit the Mountain West postseason tournament in the semifinals when you are the No. 1 seed. Get to the title game or win the tourney and you get a higher seed and you go to a real NCAA tournament site.

–Play a better schedule. Having Adams State, Northwest Nazarene, Southern Utah and Abilene Christian on the home slate does nothing for you. There are five Pac-12 teams in close proximity. Figure out how to play at least one of them each season.

–And don’t lose to Loyola-Chicago. Ever.

Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy was apparently too confident that his team was getting in and didn’t play star forward J.J. Avila (ankle) in the Mountain West semifinals against San Diego State.

Holding out your best player when he actually can play is silly in the month of March. Guys tough it up in December against the Akrons and UNC-Wilmingtons of the world when there is little at stake so Eustachy’s decision was pretty poor.

And making it because you think your team is in is doubly silly.

Sooooo, Colorado State, enjoy the NIT. And thank your coach for that.

I really couldn’t tell you who will win the game between San Diego State and St. John’s. Either team can win the game and either team can lose it.

The Red Storm lost shot-blocker supreme Chris Obekpa to a suspension so perhaps the Aztecs will find success driving to the hoop instead of having the ball slapped into the third row.

On the other hand, San Diego State can’t score. And that surely includes practice.

The winner of the game probably gets to play Duke. You need to have the potential to score 75 points to upset Duke.

It is terrific that San Diego State can play great defense. But this is March and the NCAA tournament.

If you can’t score, you will go home.

Control-freak Boeheim the latest coach to get caught and become a national disgrace

03/10/2015

One of the things about college athletics is that it never fails to remind us that there are some real jerks involved.

Not talking about the players – you’re off the hook on this one, Jameis Winston – but the adults.

And sometimes the arrogant buffoon involved has won a national championship – supposedly won by the rules but who really knows.

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim is the latest to remind us that a powerful control-freak coach will do whatever he wants. Nobody on campus wants to challenge the guy with a ton of victories who also happens to be the most famous person in the city.

Who wants to mix it up with the guy who won the national championship if it means their own job might be lost?

But the NCAA brought the hammer down on Syracuse’s program last week and the allegations included academic fraud and failure to follow the drug-testing policy among other things. Those two claims alone show there was a lack of control in the program.

Academic fraud always comes across as extra scummy. Especially in this case since Boeheim is such a powerful figure and has been the head coach since 1976.

Nothing goes on in that program without him saying so. Nobody he hired is just going to start writing papers for players for the fun of it. It happens because Boeheim tells them to write them.

Nobody decides to skirt the regulations of the drug-testing procedures on their own. It happens because Boeheim directs them to do so.

Syracuse’s penalties include a nine-game suspension for Boeheim – to be enforced next season during ACC play – the loss of 12 scholarships and 108 vacated victories.

The latter sets Boeheim back on his quest to become the second coach to ever reach 1,000 wins. Let’s hope he retires before he gets there.

But worse than reaching the milestone for Boeheim is this:

He will never restore his reputation. His integrity is gone forever.

Chargers’ threats to move are high-stakes leverage attempts by a greedy franchise

02/20/2015

The San Diego Chargers aren’t getting their way and are threatening to take their footballs – hope they are inflated properly – and their team to Carson, a city in the Los Angeles area.

The Chargers are frustrated in their attempts to get a new stadium in San Diego and have now switched tactics. Instead of finding a solution, it has become we will go elsewhere because we can’t get our way.

Pro sports owners do not care about their fans – only how much money they can fleece out of their pockets – and it is now Dean Spanos’ turn to show how greedy he is … and has always been.

Remember, any NFL team could build a new stadium at ANY time. But they always want the city and the taxpayers to pay for their expensive digs.

Word got out earlier this week that the Chargers will begin pursuing the new stadium in Carson – jointly sharing it with the Oakland Raiders, of all teams – while they try to work out a deal in San Diego by the end of 2015.

Kind of odd timing, don’t you think? If the franchise is so committed to working out a deal in San Diego, then there is no reason to be dealing with other brokers 100 miles away. There should be a one-sided focus to get the deal done.

It is like the Chargers started to panic once the owner of the St. Louis Rams started talking about building a football stadium in Los Angeles.

So this negotiating through 2015 stuff might really be just a case of making sure season ticket sales don’t plummet and make it sound like San Diego is still in play and just get the calendar to Jan. 1, 2016.

Remember, the Chargers are horrible at public relations. When they were collapsing during the 2012 season and blowing big leads, the team’s public relations director told all the fans to take “chill pills.”

First of all, you have to be pretty inept at your job to think that is conduct worthy of a public relations director. Secondly, it is a reminder of what I have been telling people for years – the Chargers do not care about their fans.

Never have, never will.

So think how much fun the 2015 season will be with it being known the Chargers are attempting to fly the coup. Then factor in the team has a public relations director who shouldn’t be handling anything above mopping the locker room showering area.

Spanos can take the Chargers to Los Angeles and become known as this century’s Donald Sterling if he wants. Go ahead and share a facility with the Raiders – who called home Los Angeles once before – and you immediately become the No. 2 team in the market.

Oh yeah, the Chargers would be No. 3. USC will always be more popular than any NFL team that moves into the area.

We will see how this plays out in coming months but the Chargers are playing a high-stakes leverage game and their latest move shows that the almighty dollar is what matters and not a single one of their fans.

Perhaps the city of San Diego should pull out this doozy in July – you can’t play here this season.

Now that would be the all-time, fun leverage deal.

One the Chargers should recognize by their feeble tactics.

Shields is no “Big Game James,” but “Regular Season Game James” fits well

02/11/2015

James Shields is a member of the San Diego Padres and the first thing we need to all agree on is this:

Never, ever refer to the durable starting pitcher as “Big Games James.” Don’t do it.

If you pay attention to baseball even a tiny bit, you know that is one of the worst nicknames ever placed on an athlete. Doesn’t come close to being accurate either and you just know I will detail those ugly postseason numbers at some point in this article.

Call him “Little Game James” or “Regular Season Game James” or else just get ready to “Blame James” for not coming through under pressure. But “Big Games James” went down hard last October when the Kansas City Royals went to the World Series and played in Game 7 of the World Series despite getting nothing but dreadful outings from Shields all October.

That’s the hard thing about this signing. The Padres put a totally putrid product on the field last season and becoming respectable has to happen before you can start printing World Series tickets.

New general manager A.J. Preller has been busier than the beaver with the highest work ethic in trying to re-do the mess he inherited. He went hard on the offensive end and acquired outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Meadowbrooks.

But all offseason, Shields has been lurking just up the freeway in Rancho Santa Fe. After the Kansas City Royals chose not to make a run at keeping him, the market never really developed for the 33-year-old Shields.

Preller had been considering making a run at Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels but the former Rancho Bernardo High never seemed like a good fit for what the Padres had to offer. And suddenly Preller turned to Shields because his starting rotation of Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross plus two question marks becomes much better with Shields occupying the top spot.

No sense getting hung up on the $75 million over four years that the Padres are spending on Shields. The organization is showing commitment for the first time in several years so no need to worry about whether or not Shields is worth the money in the later years of the contract.

Oh yeah, about those postseason stats – that was one ugly October, wasn’t it?

Shields had one respectable outing in five postseason starts last October. His one ALCS start was horrible and his two World Series starts were atrocious as he gave up seven runs and 15 hits in nine innings while losing twice to the San Francisco Giants.

His career postseason ERA of 5.46 is one of the worst in baseball history. So there’s definitely a weird feeling about giving a guy a ton of money and making him your ace and then getting ready to hide your eyes when line drives are being drilled all over the ballpark and deep drives carom off the wall if you happen to make the postseason.

I know what you’re thinking – the Padres never make the postseason … in that case “Regular Season James” fits in well and he can spend October at home like all the other San Diego players do.

But it’s time to expect a little more from Shields. He gets it done in the regular season but it is time that there’s no more “Lame James” when the postseason arrives.

Just don’t call him that other name. Not even in a joke.

Seahawks’ thinking goes from “BeastMode” to Least Mode and Patriots take advantage

02/02/2015

It will certainly go down in football history as one of the worst decisions of all time.

The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles. They also feature bulldozing running back Marshawn Lynch, who is nearly as hard to tackle as he is to talk with.

Repeat, just one measly yard away from defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were discussing which play to run and the only word needed to be uttered was “BeastMode.” But for whatever reason, this was the time that Carroll and Bevell decided to get tricky.

A three-receiver set in the shotgun formation with the footwork of the offensive linemen indicating pass. Lynch was in the backfield but his positioning to the side of quarterback Russell Wilson also suggested he was going to swing into the left flat.

The Seahawks suddenly appeared to be off-kilter and things only got worse when the ball was snapped. Wilson’s throw was a bit off-target, receiver Ricardo Lockette wasn’t aggressive enough in getting in position to grab it and New England rookie defensive back Malcolm Butler read the play and sped to the ball and intercepted Wilson’s pass with 20 seconds remaining to seal the Patriots’ 28-24 victory.

The play call was routinely grilled around the globe after it didn’t work – rightfully so – but it was faulty logic even if it had. And Seattle wideout Doug Baldwin feels no differently than any of you – it was one super duper weird call, particularly when a team is trying to win the Super Bowl.

“I think we all were surprised,” Baldwin told reporters. “We still had a timeout and felt we should take a shot. I don’t know, man. I’m just trying to make up an explanation. Everybody is going to want to blame something or somebody.”

Bevell certainly is a good person to blame. So is Carroll.

And I keep laughing and chortling while picturing either of those two men explaining to Lynch why he didn’t get to carry the ball.

You just don’t see football decisions this bad – especially when you’re playing in the biggest game of the year.

 

Couple other thoughts

–Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 328 yards and four touchdown passes while winning his third Super Bowl MVP, tying former San Francisco 49ers great Joe Montana for most ever.

Apparently there was enough pressure in the football for Brady to enjoy a successful contest. We will continue to leave it up to Patriots coach Bill Belichick to discuss “the texture of the balls.” That is his specialty, not mine.

–Butler was a player few of us had even heard of prior to his heroic accomplishment. Turns out he was an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama.

He didn’t have an interception in the regular season so the strong safety picked a fine moment for his first. I’m guessing Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski learned his name on Sunday.

–Another unlikely standout was Seattle receiver Chris Matthews, who had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. You see, Matthews had never caught an NFL pass prior to the Super Bowl.

But he made history with his touchdown reception in the second quarter as he became the second player ever to catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl without recording any NFL catches. The other was Percy Howard of the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X and his NFL career consisted of eight total NFL regular-season games.

Belichick and Brady are on their way to my home when they see my deflated NFL ball

01/28/2015

nfl.ball

 

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is going to badly want to drop by my place when he reads this.

Heck, Tom Brady might come along too — because I have something nice and deflated for him to throw.

All this talk about the Deflate Gate scandal and I finally reached over to the bookcase that contains some of my awards and other mementos.

The second I grabbed the NFL football given to me by a former employee of the San Diego Chargers, I gasped.

As in, what happened to the air?

Just grabbing it caused my hand to go deeply into the ball – picture Belichick’s voice every time I say “ball” but I do not plan to talk about the texture of the ball. And as you can see from the photo, my thumb easily presses into it.

Have there been weather conditions in my living room that caused the air to deflate? There was a two-day snow-fest in mid-November followed by a few days of Polar Bear coldness – could that have caused the air to deflate? I guess it is possible someone snuck into my place and took it behind some bushes and put it back inside after deflating it.

Wait, Belichick may have already been by my place. Perhaps my ball was used in the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.

Squeezing it tells me it is the type of ball that Brady likes.

So the mystery of how footballs deflate now leads directly into my living room. I do not recall there being a shortage of air when I put the ball on the shelf four-plus years ago.

I also have no knowledge of anyone handling the ball. Haven’t seen any Patriots equipment men in the area. Also have never seen a pump nearby.

So it’s pretty clear that footballs just deflate at their own free will. Because it happened to me and we know it happened to 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots.

Oh yeah, forgot about this small fact, how come none of the 12 footballs used by the Colts lost air?

The Colts obviously haven’t been by my place to check out my ball, we know that.

But if they want to purchase my ball so they have an under inflated one the next time they play the Patriots, we can work something out.

As long as they get here before Belichick returns. He wants this ball. Badly.

Green Bay’s McCarthy coaches scared and is responsible for Seattle’s Super Bowl trip

01/18/2015

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Super Bowl but the head coach most responsible for a team making it to the big game isn’t New England’s Bill Belichick or Seattle’s Pete Carroll.

We’re talking about you, Mike McCarthy. You big boy did a great job of making sure the Seahawks could hang around and rally from 16 points down and eventually beat your Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime.

The Packers dominated the first two-thirds of the game but it is the first one-third – 20 minutes for those not good at division – where McCarthy flubbed. Green Bay was in Seattle’s territory repeatedly during that time and scored just one touchdown and kicked three field goals – including Mason Crosby boots of 18 and 19 yards.

You’ve got to go for it on one of the fourth-down opportunities coach. Maybe better play calling on first, second or third down would’ve helped too. You do recall that Aaron Rodgers – you know “The Discount Doublecheck” – is your quarterback.

By not taking say a 24-0 during that 20 minutes of dominance hurt the Packers. Remember, Seattle didn’t even record its initial first down until past the midway point of the second quarter so McCarthy’s reluctance to be even mildly aggressive was a killer, especially when you factor in a Super Bowl berth was on the line.

The NFC Championship Game is not the time to coach scared. And those who coach scared often lose.

Seattle’s first touchdown came on special teams when holder Jon Ryan tossed a 19-yard scoring pass to Garry Gilliam with 4:41 left in the third quarter. And when Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception of the game late in the fourth quarter, it appeared that Green Bay might survive squandering so many points.

But the football Gods apparently got wind of what was going on and weren’t about to allow the Packers to move on to Glendale, Ariz. Wilson suddenly began moving the Seahawks and he scored on a 1-yard run to cap a seven-play, 69-yard drive to pull Seattle within 19-14 with 2:09 left.

Green Bay could still escape by recovering the onside kick but we all know a good collapse needs to have an onside recovery involved. And this one was a real doozy.

A guy that America knew only as “No. 86 on Green Bay” went up to recover the onside kick and it caromed off his hands and was recovered by Seattle’s Chris Matthews. The infamous person we now know as Brandon Bostick told reporters after the contest that it wasn’t his job to go for the ball.

You see, he is supposed to block and right behind him was receiver Jordy Nelson, who has the best hands on the Packers. But Bostick made that split-second decision to try to catch the ball and the door remained open for the Seahawks.

Four plays later, Seattle went ahead on Marshawn Lynch’s 24-yard touchdown run with 1:25 remaining and Wilson tossed a miraculous two-point conversion pass to Luke Willson to make it 22-19.

Though the Packers recovered enough to force overtime on Crosby’s fifth field goal of the game – too bad Green Bay’s head coach didn’t perform as well as its kicker – you knew what was going to happen in overtime.

A team that should have been put away much, much earlier in the football game had all the momentum and Green Bay was shell-shocked. A 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter had gotten away and teams don’t typically recover from such a collapse.

So it was no surprise when Wilson threaded a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse just 3:19 into overtime. The contest was going to end with Seattle celebrating at some point so the earlier the better.

Kearse and Lynch (157 rushing yards) might have left the stadium as heroes but we all know who had the biggest influence on how this game was decided.

Yep, we’re looking at you, Mike McCarthy. Bad time for a coach to have a bad performance at the office.

OK, which SEC team is playing in Monday’s national title game? Hey, can’t find them

01/12/2015

It’s time to get ready for the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night.

Of course, the first thing you have to do is make sure you know which teams are playing. So I will just rely on the banter that went on throughout season and do the obvious thing.

Check to see which SEC school is playing in the big game.

You know, because the lame banter on ESPN all season told us how the SEC West was the greatest division of all-time. Not just better than other college divisions but better than the meek NFC South and perhaps as good as the NFC West.

So gosh, I can’t wait to see which SEC West team is playing in the big game. (see stellar preview here — http://cbpost.sportsdirectinc.com/football/ncaaf-preview.aspx?page=/data/NCAAF/matchups/g8_preview_2.html)

OK, ridiculously high-paid Nick Saban, is your Alabama squad playing in the title game?

I don’t hear anything, Nick. Oh yeah, silence. Kind of like when you walk down the halls and can’t acknowledge the lowly support people.

So sounds like no Alabama in the title game.

How about Mississippi State? Are the Bulldogs in the national title game?

Wait, did I just mention the Mississippi State Bulldogs and national title game in the same sentence? About 100 LOLs are in order for that.

We know playing in a Starkville city league title game would be a high-water mark for Mississippi State so, yeah, we know the Bulldogs aren’t in the most important game of the season. Duh.

Sure was a lot of television hype about Mississippi State, as there was for the school right down the road.

Wait, now we’re checking to see if another Mississippi school reached the title game. Ummmmmm, what was the name of that song by The Who?

Won’t Get Fooled Again?

Yeah, no surprise to see the Ole Miss Rebels nowhere near a big game. They pay their way in to see big games, they sure don’t play in them.

Well, at least since Archie Manning ended his college career in 1970.

Hmmmm, Auburn maybe? No. This year’s edition of the team wasn’t anywhere as fearsome as last year’s squad, which did reach the title game before losing to Florida State.

OK, how about LSU? No chance. Les Miles has lost the touch and he’s on his way to being a Mack Brown – someone that never recovers after losing it and eventually the school pushes out.

Oh yeah, Texas A&M. Oh no, Johnny Football is not there. That means Kevin Sumlin is back to being an OK coach and not wearing the genius tag the college football media wanted to put on him the past two seasons.

Perhaps it was all Johnny Manziel’s doing after all.

That leaves Arkansas. OK, that’s not happening. More of a chance of Bobby Petrino crashing the venue with a motorcycle than the Razorbacks being in the title game.

Hey, maybe it is an SEC East team then.

Florida used to play in big games, right? Oh, not anymore. Tennessee used to be a power. Oh, it hasn’t been good in more than a decade.

Looks like Missouri was the top team in the East. Wait, the Tigers just showed up and remember, they were supposed to get crushed because they were joining a more stout conference. Starting to realize the SEC isn’t all that tough, huh?

How about Steve Spurrier and South Carolina? Looks like the Gamecocks weren’t all that potent. And not Georgia either. The Bulldogs seem to win a lot of games but fail often when it comes to winning important contests.

We won’t discuss Vanderbilt or Kentucky. We’re trying to pinpoint a team making the national championship game, not one that would be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Mid-American Conference.

What do you know – it turns out the Big Ten has a team in the game. A conference criticized for underachievement over the past decade. And Ohio State got to the title game by beating Alabama.

Uh oh, little Nicky is going to be terror back on campus.

The other team is Oregon of the Pac-12 so it is official. The SEC was shut out of the national championship game.

All the worthless chatter, all the meaningless hype, all the shameless promotion … it all meant nothing.

The SEC wasn’t the best conference, it was the most overhyped and underachieving.

They will be watching the big game on TV – just like the common folk.

And the common folk can use the following info as a lesson: Nothing the college football talking heads say mean a thing. Nothing. Nada.

Who does A.J. Preller think he is? Making deals at a pace like he’s Trader Jack McKeon

12/19/2014

Who does A.J. Preller think he is? The new “Trader Jack?”

The new general manager of the San Diego Padres just keeps on wheeling and dealing and his trades are transforming a club that badly needed a makeover.

It’s gone from no hope, no offense and really, really boring baseball to renewed hope, tons of offensive bats and actually able to score runs.

Yeah, touching home plate could again become a thing.

Preller has acquired a new whole new outfield by getting Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves and Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays. He also landed catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics and third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox.

He accomplished this maneuvering without having to trade any of his top three starting pitchers in Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.

It’s pretty amazing stuff for a club that has been operating on the cheap during the entire Petco Park era.

Preller also hasn’t dealt any of his top prospects though you never know when one of those mid-range prospects will turn into Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (yep, the Padres dealt him as a minor leaguer to get journeyman outfielder Ryan Ludwick in 2010).

But back to Preller’s amazing work.

The big difference is the 37-year-old Preller doesn’t have any limits on him. He wouldn’t have accepted the GM job if he couldn’t take the steps necessary to revamp a putrid offensive roster.

Suddenly, the Padres are spending money and able to land high-priced players like Kemp and Upton. Just as quickly, fans are excited and people nationally are talking about the Padres.

When is the last time that has happened in December?

And we all know how seldom the Padres create a buzz in October.

Only time will tell whether Preller’s inaugural flurry of trades produces a memorable season or the typical San Diego campaign of more losses than wins with nobody caring or watching once the Chargers begin their season.

But for now, he is showing signs of having the dealing ability of “Trader Jack” McKeon, the general manager who made trade after trade and signed key free agents to get the Padres into the World Series for the first time in 1984.

They have been back only one other time, which is pretty sad if you think about. But the first step is moving away from last season’s terrible club and being competitive in the National League West.

Preller seems to have already taken five steps to improve the club’s fortunes – with plenty of time in the offseason to make more moves.

Wow, feels weird to hear optimism about the Padres in December. Next step: Not having it fade away in April.

All the bad San Diego State teams never had a lower-scoring game than the current Aztecs

12/08/2014

Just think of all the really bad San Diego State basketball teams I covered over the years.

Picture the horrible teams under Jim Brandenburg and the terrible teams put together by Fred Trenkle.

Remember all those junior-college guys and high school guys that had no business being on the roster? Guys pinching themselves that they were actually part of a Division I program.

Oh yeah, we can’t forget Steve Fisher’s first season as San Diego State coach. You know, when he didn’t win a single conference game.

After that season, junior-college star Randy Holcomb orally committed to the Aztecs and during a phone conversation, he asked me to tell him exactly how bad it was.

I told him I was an expert at writing 20-loss stories. He responded that his junior-college team would have routed the Aztecs.

So think of all that and then let it sink in that San Diego State gave its worst performance as a Division I program on Sunday. Yes, the worst.

Worst ever.

Washington punished the Aztecs 49-36 and the putrid 36 points are San Diego State’s fewest since turning Division I in 1969. (see stellar recap here – http://cbpost.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/ncaab-boxscores.aspx?page=/data/NCAAB/results/2014-2015/recap889200.html)

Yeah, the No. 13 team in the nation – the Aztecs ought to free fall down the rankings on Monday – just gave a scoring effort worse than all the bad teams in program history.

San Diego State shot 20.4 percent and let’s just say it was a good thing that its last shot – a 3-pointer by Matt Shrigley – went through the nylon or otherwise the Aztecs shoot less than 20 percent.

That’s a pretty low percentage for scholarship players. A collection of cooks, bus drivers and welders might be able to do that.

These Aztecs missed their first 10 shots, were 5-for-30 at halftime and 7-for-47 late in the game en route to the program’s worst shooting percentage since 1996. (Naturally, a team coached by Trenkle). Oh yeah, the starting five was 4-of-36.

Repeat … FOUR OF THIRTY-SIX.

“Our offense was bad and that’s the only way you could put it, and they had a lot to do with that,” Fisher said afterwards. “We had a lot to do with that also. They gave us nothing easy until the very end.”

The previous low for a San Diego State team was 38 points in 1999 — an 86-38 loss at Utah. The next morning, Trenkle announced his resignation. Fisher gets to keep on working.

The scary part is that this San Diego State team has already shot less than 25 percent twice this season in eight games – the other in a win over Cal State Bakersfield (24.6).

Overall, the Aztecs are shooting 39.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range. Forward Winston Shepard, with a skimpy 10.3 average, is the only player averaging double digits.

Unless freshman Trey Kell (7.8) emerges as a bona fide threat, San Diego State might go the entire season without a go-to player.

Playing stellar defense is great and will win the Aztecs numerous conference games. Could win them the conference tournament too.

But here is one fact that always holds true: If you can’t score points, you can’t advance far during March Madness.

Right now, these Aztecs struggle to score and don’t shoot well.

And also are the unhappy owners of the most inept scoring performance in 45 years as a Division I program.

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