Saturday, January 31, 2009

Slacker post of the week....

For those of you who hang on this blog's every word, and there aren't likely too many that don't have the last name of Archibald, I must first apologize for not posting at all this week.

Between the GRE's, extra classwork and a bunch of other busy things going on I haven't posted but wanted to get this up before Super Bowl Sunday.

I also had tickets to the Blazers game tonight and the Rose City's finest put on a great show. Even with the disappointing outing from Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge were enough to get buy a pretty crippled Jazz team.

I was most impressed with point guard Sergio Rodriguez who seems to be finding his own during this Steve Blake injury. Tonight he did a pretty good job controlling the tempo of the game, making good decisions with the ball and hitting a couple of shots. He also set up Przybilla at least a couple of times and hit Fernandez for a couple of highlight reel dunks.

Still think that the Blazers are better off standing pat, or making a move for a legit starting small forward/point guard/backup power forward if they are going to do anything over the next few weeks.

I still think Richard Jefferson would be a great get for the Blazers but at this point it seems unlikely that that big of a deal would go down. I also wouldn't mind seeing a push for Rudy Gay, although it would take a ton, or David Lee.

On to Super Bowl news....

A couple of years ago, my twin little sisters were pretty good basketball players at Seaside High School and their basketball team made it to the state playoffs. I traveled with my parents to watch them play in their first round game at Junction City High School, which they won.

Then, by some OSAA scheduling miracle, the Gulls had to travel back down the I5 corridor to Roseburg to play Douglas High School.

Most of you probably know that Douglas, a small school about five miles from Roseburg, is the alma mater of Troy Polamalu, the now safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While at the game, I couldn't help but notice the insane amount of Polamalu jerseys being worn by students at the game and the similar hairstyles displayed by some of the young men.

Thru a friend I was introduced to the Douglas High School Athletic Director who was relating a story about Polamalu.

Apparently, every off-season Polamalu makes a trip back to Southern Oregon and always stops by the high school. He doesn't come to be recognized at an all-school assembly or even to make an appearance to speak to an athletic team.

He always requests that nobody in the media know about his visit and often doesn't even warn the school when he is coming. When he gets to the school, Polomalu heads straight to the Special Education classroom where he spends the day working with the high schoolers with some sort of disability. The athletic director said that he is the most gentle and caring volunteer that the school has.

Now, some of this may be urban myth, or a high school athletic director exaggerating the truth a bit. But from everything I have seen or heard of Polomalu, it could just as well be true.

My point in sharing this is that the guy, despite his big hits and aggressive nature on the field is a pretty good guy. I will be rooting for him as much as anything else on Sunday. Maybe you should too.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

PSU kicks it into gear in the second half, 70-47

After a sporadic first half in which the home squad scored just 32 points, the Vikings have exploded for 38 points after just 12 minutes of second half play.

The ginormous offensive surge was prompted by 15 second half points by junior guard Phil Nelson and some terrific perimeter defense by Nelson, Dominguez and Andre Murray.

Murray, now with 15 points, has totally shutdown Benny Valentine and Eastern Washington looks close to throwing in the towel here at the Stott Center.

Nelson, meanwhile, has been all over the court, scoring at will and looking like the player that most thought he would be when the smooth electrician, and yes I coined that nickname, transferred from Washington.

With under six minutes to play, I think its safe to say that the Vikings likely have this one in the bag and it was an impressive showing no doubt about it.

PSU trails at the half, 33-32

After the Stott Center Scuffle two weeks ago that saw the Vikings and Idaho State Bengals carry their fierce play into the locker room tunnel, Stott Center game management did a great job making sure that the teams exited the half separately avoiding any fights.

It has been an entertaining game thus far. It doesn't seem like the Vikings are playing their best basketball and head coach Ken Bone has deployed a number of defensive strategies to slow down a pretty strong Eastern Washington offense led by Benny Valentine.

Valentine has 10 points as does junior forward Mark Dunn. For the Vikings its more of the same story from their last game as senior guard Andre Murray has eight points and junior forward Julius Thomas has six points.

The Vikings are shooting 50 percent from the field but have connected on just four of their 14 three-point attempts.

It seems like a pretty even matchup thus far and the score indicates that as well. Not completely positive on this but it seems like the Vikings will have a tough time getting a victory tonight if Jeremiah Dominguez does not step up a little more.

I was surprised when it was Murray who drew the Valentine matchup on the defensive end of the court and not Dominguez. Usually Dominguez would check Valentine--both small and explosive point guards--but he isn't, and it may be affecting his offensive game as well as he heads into the second half with just three points and one assist.

Midway through the first half PSU leads, 19-18

I certainly anticipated the Vikings and Eagles to battle it out low scoring style tonight ut it looks as if both teams have brought a ton of energy and terrific offense to this game.

For Eastern Washington, junior guard Benny Valentine is the real deal and has helped all those in attendance remember that he was recruited by one of the finest basketball coaches in history, Bob Knight. Valentine transferred from Texas Tech two seasons ago.

The Vikings have gotten strong performances from just about everybody, except senior guard Jeremiah Dominguez who hasn't yet been able to penetrate or hit the shots that he usually does.

The game's momentum may have swung early on a technical foul called by the refs on Eagles head coach Kirk Earlywine who was yapping at the zebras after they missed a call.

PSU vs. Eastern Washington pregame

The gym is looking more full than ever... at least one half of it. Its one of the biggest home games of the season as the Vikings are taking on the school that athletic director Torre Chisholm calls, "Portland State's true rival" in Eastern Washington.

For the first time since maybe forever, the South side of the Stott Center is completely full with less than a minute left before tipoff. Unfortunately the higher priced seats on the North side have some green showing....

Check back for all of your updates during the game.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Basketball squads prepare for stretch run

With their mid-season "hump" game coming up this weekend against Eastern Washington both the men's and women's basketball squads are preparing for a string of games that will likely decide their post-season fates.

The men will take on Eastern Washington this weekend in the Stott Center. The Eagles are a talented squad but seem to be playing inconsistent and outside of talented transfer Benny Valentine should not be able to run with the Vikings. Here's a shot of Benny being "educated" by former Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight.After this weekends contest the Vikings play four of their next six on the road in the most hostile environments that the Big Sky can offer in the Montana road swing and then facing Weber State and Idaho State.

If Portland State can slide through that stretch undefeated, they will solidify themselves again as the conference's toughest team and likely claim the right to host the Big Sky Tournament again.

The women also take on the Eagles on Saturday and then face the Montana schools at home next weekend. It looks like the race for the Big Sky on the women's side will come down to either Portland State and Montana.

Both squads have looked dominant up to this point in Big Sky play. If the Vikings can get take the first matchup between the two teams they obviously have the upper hand heading into the stretch run of games.

Portland State fans could have the opportunity to cheer on both teams in the Rose City as they both vie for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

On a different note, men's basketball beat writer pointed out a scheduling quirk that could keep the Vikings from hosting the Big Sky Tournament in the Rose Garden as they did last season.

The tournament, scheduled to be played during the second week of March, would have to work around the Blazers scheduled games that week on Monday and Wednesday.

It seems likely that the squad may just play earlier in the day, although that will probably screw up all the television contracts and such or that the tournament will be moved to Memorial Coliseum.

Or we could ask the Pilots if they mind sparing their gym for some championship level basketball...

Here's some food for thought links that taste way better than a student-run vegan cafe....

Statistical analysis that the Cardinals suck
. Or at least, the television ratings of Cardinals games suck compared to prior seasons. Of course these numbers dwarf any other sports playoff games.

The Week in Quotes from Football Outsiders...

I think we forget that The Oregonian has some pretty talented sports writers outside of Canzano and J Quick. Here is Mike Tokito's piece on Brandon Roy getting his jersey retired at Washington last night.

On to more depressing news of the NBA, Wally Szczerbiak's big contract apparently doesn't help him find clothes for a grown man playing in the league.

In other disturbing roundball news, Chris Tomasson has a story on the potential that 2010 could be remebered not as the year of Lebron James moving to New York, but as the year of the lockout... As in NBA lockout... Yikes.

And in a sad story it looks like Jefferson County in Kentucky will be making an example of a football coach who, allegedly, pushed his football players too far during the heat of a summer practice. Here is the story.

Monday, January 19, 2009

All the reading you could want...

The Vanguard has searched high and low to bring you the best of the best sports links and timewasters for your holiday Monday. Enjoy!!

Just to prove that there is more to the Portland Trail Blazers than Darius Miles phat salary and the latest injury update here is Greg Oden's less-than-funny undersized bus commercial. Like I said, not that funny.

Meanwhile Rudy Fernandez is headed to the dunk contest as the United States gets another taste of the potent fan reaction of international players.
This after it seems like the entire Houston starting five will also be doubling as the West's team starters at the All-Star game.

Like I said before, if Rudy could just do this again.
.. I think he'd be fine... Somehow I imagine Howard not wanting to comply.

Meanwhile, the O's high school writer, Doug Binder, had a cool story about Jefferson High School's basketball program.

In case you were wondering, it seems that the two biggest names that could be on the move before the NBA Trading block are: Jermaine O'Neal and Monta Ellis. Both seem unhappy about their current roles and O'Neal has only hindered the flair and creativity of the Raptors. Couldn't the Blazers use a productive veteran power forward to back up Aldridge? Just a thought.

One of the story's of the week was the announcement of USC QB Mark Sanchez declaring for the NFL draft and leaving a broken-hearted Pete Carroll alone at the podium. While Carroll took a bunch of heat for his unprofessional and unusual behavior Gregg Doyel presents a different side of the story. Worth a look...

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe sums up my feelings on Arizona Cardinals and their fans nicely. Of course he wrote this before the Buzzsaw's huge victory yesterday but I think there's still some application.

And if you were wondering how Matt Leinart feels about being the backup quarterback on a Super Bowl squad, apparently he's taking it quite well.

And if you're having any college football withdrawals after what was a pretty good season, unless you're a Viking fan, check out how you can convince yourself that your other favorite team actually won the national championship. See for yourself:


Oregon State

Of course Utah probably didn't need this kind of site... They sort of had their own parade last week...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PSU pulling away, 80-58... And Kelsey Kahle breaks the record

After some amount of anticipation Kelsey Kahle has become the school's all time leading scorer.

Kahle scored her 22 point of the game on a nice move inside for a reverse layup following a terrific pass by sophomore Kelli Valentine.

Kahle, who is now out of the game as the Vikings have pulled away from the Bears, sat at 19 points and then 21 points for a brief moment. While at 21 points, and just one bucket away from breaking the record, she missed an easy shot and then delivered a brilliant pass inside to Valentine.

On the next trip back down the court, Valentine returned the favor.

Kahle, in her normal way, seemed as if the she did not even know about the record and continued playing her hard-nosed style.

The crowd stood in applause and then once again as Kahle was removed from the game, likely for good.

PSU leads at the half, 47-34

A sharpshooting first half has given the Vikings a 47-34 first half lead.

Portland State has hit 16 of their 30 field goal attempts and six of their 11 three-pointers.

Kelsey Kahle will at least make a push toward the record as the senior has 10 points. Kelli Valentine has 10 points as well and Claire Faucher looks to be regaining some of her form from last season as she leads the Vikings with 11 points and four assists.

Vikings lead Northern Colorado 30-16, early in the first half

If fans had any concern about the Vikings responding after a tough loss on Jan. 14 at UC Santa Barbara, those concerns should now be nullified.

After a somewhat slow start, Portland State has taken over the game on both ends of the court. The Vikings are deflecting just about every ball and using crisp passing and high percentage shots to build a lead on the Bears.

At this point, Kahle has nine points and seems well on her way to breaking the longstanding record.

Kahle is not the only Portland State player on the court that has looked sharp thus far as the Vikings seem to have a great advantage over the Bears at every position.

Stay tuned for more updates...

PSU vs. Northern Colorado Live Blog

We're here at the Stott Center live blogging the Vikings matchup with Northern Colorado.

No doubt about it, the expectation is on senior forward Kelsey Kahle and the possibility that she could break the all-time scoring record in school history today.

She is just 22 points back and with the Vikings playing on the road next week at Eastern Washington I am sure that Kahle and others would not mind seeing the record fall today as opposed to next Saturday in Cheney.

Check back later for more updates.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back on Top

Somewhere last night Portland State head coach Ken Bone clinched his fist and gave a powerful, Tiger Woods-like pump. Well, at least he should have. Add Image
With Weber State's slip up against Montana State Friday night, losing 75-70 to the Bobcats at home, Bone and the Vikings return to their rightful place atop the Big Sky Conference standings.

As most Portland State fanatics, and yes there are some now, know, Weber State handed the Vikings their only conference loss a couple weeks ago. So this is certainly some indirect revenge.

This is definitely good news for Portland State, who is headed into the Big Sky Game of the Week versus Northern Colorado on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The top-seeded Vikings are 4-1 in conference play thus far, however, they have yet to face off against the Bears, who are 7-11 overall and 3-2 versus conference foes.

Sunday's matchup features the two highest scoring teams in the Big Sky, so offense will be at premium. It is defense that will determine the outcome, as the Vikings allow the fourth least points of any Big Sky team while the Bears give up close to 76 points per game, the worst mark in the conference.

Another important statistic will be three-point shooting, as the Vikings jack up the most three-pointers in the conference but the Bears actually own the highest shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Add Image
But forget about all these numbers, figures and percentages, because there is one thing above all else that will decide the winner: the mask.

If Portland State sophomore forward Phil Nelson straps up the protective mask he wore in a 23-point performance in a victory over Idaho State last Saturday, the verdict is already in and done: Vikings victory.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Vikings defeat Bengals, 85-58

It appears that the Vikings have started a new conference winning streak.

Portland State seems to be cruising for their fourth conference win and will send the Idaho State Bengals home with their third consecutive loss.

Outside of the refs taking over the second half a bit, it has been a great game for Viking fans.

Midway through the second half- PSU leads 65-43

The result of the Stott Center Scuffle, and I am coining that phrase was literally, nothing.

Both teams began the second half as if the incident never happened outside of the officials conducting a minute-long conference with both coaches.

Portland State player Paul Guede who hasn't played in over a month because of a stress fracture mysteriously did not join the Vikings on the court after the intermission possibly due to his involvement in the fight although that is unverified.

Guede was in street clothes on the bench and just recently got the boot taken off his foot so I would question his mobility and ability to really throw down, not that I am an expert.

Portland State continues to hold strong, sharing the ball better than usual and getting solid inside and outside play. Julius Thomas has played outstanding down on the block and controlled the paint on the defensive end.

Idaho State has found recent success off of dribble-penetration by Stucki but they seem a little out of the game at this point to make a serious run. Plus, they really struggle from beyond the arc.

It is hard seeing how this team defeated Utah (who also beat Gonzaga), and played BYU and Utah State tough. Maybe we just aren't seeing their best tonight.

Idaho State coach Joe O'Brien just got teed up and is asking to be kicked out of the game.

Maybe he wants to avoid the possibility of being in the middle of another skirmish, this one potentially coming at the end of the game on the way to the locker room.

Halftime at the Stott, PSU leads 38-24

It has been a well played but rather ordinary first half here in Portland.

The story of the night, up to an interesting halftime incident that we'll discuss later, was the Vikings ability to get strong inside play from Jamie Jones, Julius Thomas and Tyrell Mara.

The three players have combined for 17 points, which is more than the Vikings got from those players all of the Weber State game. Portland State has also caused havoc by grabbing nine offensive rebounds and seven steals.

Idaho State looks solid, but to be honest, not well coached. Most of the Bengals look like they don't have true roles and outside of senior Matt Stucki, who hasn't scored, seem void of any true leadership.

The story of the half will undoubtedly be the minor scuffle that ensued as both teams tried to leave the floor to head to the locker room out the same door.

According to one unconfirmed eye witness, a Bengal player gave an extra nudge to at least one Viking as they ran into the small open way to head to the locker rooms. A gigantic pushing match ensued with players having to be separated by the Portland State coaching staff.

The cat fight was only observed by a small percentage of the crowd at first but quickly had the rest of the crowd and the entire press row running to get a view of the fracas.

It is unclear what will happen by way of official repercussion from the game referee's.

PSU leads 14-4 early in the first half

The Vikings have gotten off to a terrific start behind some aggressive defense, Andre Murray shooting and two fastbreak dunks by Nelson.

Idaho State has yet to find their rhythm on offense and the Vikings defense has led to some easy baskets. Well they could have been easy but Nelson upped the degree of difficulty with two pretty breathtaking dunks to get the Stott crowd off their feet.

The Vikings are also getting some decent play inside from Jamie Jones and Kyle Coston, something they didn't get at all on Thursday.

PSU vs. Idaho State Live Blog

The Vanguard will be liveblogging tonights Big Sky matchup between the Vikings and the Bengals from the Stott Center.


Junior forward Phil Nelson is wearing a Rip Hamiltonish mask covering his face. Not sure if he was dinged up in the waning moments of the Weber State game or at practice on Friday or if he just wants to change up his style after playing so poorly at home. He is averaging just seven points during home games this season and shooting just 18 percent from beyond the arc.

Idaho State is out in their trademark orange jerseys with black trim. Let me just say this: yours truly is not a fan.

Big Sky Conference blogger extraordinaire Kellis Robinett is here live blogging for the Idaho State Journal. I am a big fan of his work and you should check it out.

The Stott Center was pretty packed for Thrusday night's game against Weber State but at least one school official was not pleased with how quiet the crowd was. He remarked that this should be the most intimidating place for opposing teams in the Big Sky because of the setup of the gym.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vikings return home: Will the Stott be stuffed?

Thursday night not only marks the end of a pretty dang good college football season with the BCS Championship in Miami, but also will be the night in which the Vikings make their triumphant return to the Stott Center.

Since Thanksgiving the men have played three games at home: Seattle, Lewis and Clark and Montana. The Seattle and Lewis and Clark games were under-attended and the squad didn't seem too focused despite posting victories over the Pioneers and the Redbirds.

The 72-45 victory over Montana on Dec. 20 was a terrific win for the club to open the conference season, but because it came in the middle of one of the worst snow storms in the history of the Rose City, was only attended by 415.

I am interested in seeing if fans respond to this team in an appropriate fashion this weekend. Weber State and Idaho State are two of the top four teams in the conference and I think that they, along with the Vikings and Northern Colorado, will be the four teams in the Big Sky Tournament.

Fans also will have an opportunity to watch the ever-improving Vikings following a long and exhaustive road trip. By my count the team has traveled over 14,000 miles since Thanksgiving, putting your holiday trip to the parents that you complained about in perspective.

And let's remember that this team isn't traveling in one of these:

The team and small traveling party don't roll around in a custom jet. When they fly, they fly coach. The buses are not built for people of basketball height. Trust me, I am 6'5 and I don't fit on them well. When the team stays in a hotel, they usually don't stay in a Marriott but a Holiday Inn.

Hopefully fans can get a sense of the things that the squad has already overcome. By all accounts they really had every reason to lose against Northern Arizona on Sunday but overcame the odds and eventually took the Lumberjacks down.

I think head coach Ken Bone and the rest of the team are hoping that the squad gets a boost from the hometown crowd as they continue on into Big Sky play.