It’s been over a year since I returned from England — for that matter, it’s been more than a year since I last posted about it — but there has still always been that one last post to write. I delayed for several reasons, including schoolwork, my focus on sports blogging, and my uncertainty about how to illuminate an overarching theme of the trip, until every time I thought about writing a conclusion it seemed too troublesome to pull off and completely trivial to delay another week.
Now, though, I have to come to terms with the reality of how long it’s been since I last discussed the trip and how long the story has spent without an ending. So I thought I would do in this post what I’ve done best in the whole blog — simply describe the remaining events of Oxford as they happened, and post a few photos. Perhaps that’s what this adventure needs for a denouement: not an ending at all, but a final exhaustion of stories to tell.
A top-20 mid major basketball program has just reached its first 20-win season. A future NBA player, the team’s best shooter in school history, is playing in one of his last few home games. The team is inches from clinching the conference championship and beginning a giant-killing playoff run. The only opponents to have beaten the home team in conference play are showing up for a high-stakes rematch.
This situation happens from time to time in the world of big college basketball. But now we’re not talking about Gonzaga or Witchita State or even Saint Mary’s. This momentum belongs to none other than our own UC Davis basketball team, and on Saturday night Davis students have the opportunity to take part in can’t-miss Aggie history.
It’s that time of the year again. For the third consecutive year, UC Davis Basketball is going to be nationally televised on ESPN after getting assigned a Wild Card game due to strong early-season performance. Like the first ESPN game two years ago, this game will be against conference power Long Beach State in a battle between two conference powers.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year, you have no doubt discovered the renovated MyUCDavis software suite and explored at least some of its customization options. Its main feature are movable “tiles” (reminiscent of the old My Yahoo and iGoogle) that have different student advising and entertainment services attached to them. It’s pretty thorough, except for one glaring omission: athletics.
And with two hours until kickoff, one final question remains: who will win?
Hornets, says the casual fan, looking at the teams’ records this season.
Ags, says the Bayesian statistician along with the older Aggie fan.
Indeed, looking at the past four years (and past decade) would indicate an Aggie victory. Regardless of record, UCD almost always beats Sac State. But then again, UC Davis hasn’t usually had this bad of a record.
The Hornets are also quite good this year, with a great passing game under Garret Saffron and his best-in-class receivers. Passing defense is incidentally what the Ags are quite mediocre at; our one victory was against Cal Poly, a school that rarely passes.
However, Poly has a quite stout defense which gave up 48 points the Ags, indicating the home team’s offense might have evolved to something similar to Sac’s. The game may become very light on defense and turn into a score-most-in-the-allotted-time affair.
The weather also plays a role; if it keeps raining or the wind picks up, expect to see offensive stats off from normal for both teams.
However, with a historic and home-field advantage, there is no reason to not place bets with the Ags on this one. 52-48 Aggies.