Jay Bilas jumping on the Pilot Bandwagon!

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Jay Bilas jumping on the Pilot Bandwagon!

Post by DTLegend on Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:19 pm

So it turns out that Jay Bilas is on Portland's bandwagon.

He wrote an article intitled "Here's what we learned in November"

Bad news is you have to be an insider to read it

Good news is that I am an insider.

without further ado, this is what mr. bilas says about our beloved Pilots:


That November Still Counts: Securing quality wins in November is really important. After all, when you get to the last few teams being considered for selection into the NCAA field, all of those teams have proven they can lose games. The separating factor is the kind of teams they have proved they can beat.

Last year, Michigan finished 9-9 in the Big Ten (and was clearly in the field), but also proved it could lose games. But even if Michigan had finished 8-10, the Wolverines would likely have made it into the field because of important early wins over UCLA and Duke (a December win but you get the point). This November, Portland and Northwestern really helped themselves with the Pilots' wins against Minnesota and UCLA and the Wildcats' wins against Iowa State and Notre Dame. Those wins are in the bank and will serve as additional brownie points should the Pilots and Wildcats get knocked to the canvas a few times later on.

The Pac-10 Is Way Down: The Pac-10 has been among the best conferences in the nation over the past several years, but not this season. This is a "down year" for the league. Coaching changes and star attrition have hurt the power index of the league, and it will take more than a few months to recover.

So far, UCLA has looked woeful, weak and sad, getting blown out by Portland and also losing to Cal State Fullerton, Butler and Long Beach State. Oregon State lost to Sacramento State and Texas Tech and was blown out by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Stanford was beaten by San Diego and Oral Roberts. USC has lost to Loyola Marymount and Nebraska. Oregon has lost to Portland and Montana. Washington struggled against Montana in Seattle.

Does that mean the entire Pac-10 stinks and will not be heard from this season? No, there are still some good teams, such as Washington and California. But November has proved that there are no great teams in the Pac-10, and if the league wants six bids, some teams had better get on their horses and ride.

Portland Is Really Good: The Pilots are very good, very skilled and very fun to watch. Eric Reveno's Portland team has perimeter shooting and big men who can step away; the Pilots will be difficult for anyone to beat. T.J. Campbell is a fire hydrant of a guard who can really shoot it, Jared Stohl is an outstanding perimeter shooter, Robin Smeulders can take advantage of opposing bigs with his versatility and Nik Raivio is an excellent guard, rebounder and passer who simply knows how to play.

Right now, the West Coast Conference has more good teams at the top than the Pac-10 does.

But Nobody Seems Afraid Of Portland Or Other Mid-Majors: Portland is among the best mid-majors this season, but few seem to have been afraid to play them, as the conspiracy theorists will try to sell to you.


Portland played Oregon at home and UCLA, Minnesota and West Virginia on a neutral floor, and will play at Washington before heading into West Coast Conference play. That is a good schedule and one that Portland can use to prove it is a very good team.

San Diego played Stanford at home and Oklahoma, Houston and Washington State on a neutral floor, and will play New Mexico, South Florida and Mississippi State at home. That slate is more than enough to prove whether the Toreros can play.

Saint Mary's played San Diego State and Vanderbilt at home and will play at Oregon. Butler has played at Northwestern, Davidson at home and UCLA, Minnesota and Clemson on a neutral floor, and will play Ohio State and Xavier at home and Georgetown on a neutral floor.

So, tell me who is afraid to play Butler?

And Richmond played Mississippi State and Missouri on a neutral floor, and will play at VCU, South Carolina, Florida and Wake Forest (after Wake played at Richmond last season) before starting Atlantic 10 play. November has shown that mid-majors can get the games needed to prove they are NCAA tournament good. And the good news is, some of them are proving it in a big way. Gonzaga, Butler, Portland, Richmond, Northern Iowa, Missouri State and Siena are the best mid-majors I saw this November.

There Are Some Great Shooters: If you haven't seen these guys shoot the ball this season, check them out. November taught us or confirmed that Arkansas' Clarke, Washington State's Thompson, Portland's Campbell, Northwestern's Alex Marcotullio, Vanderbilt's John Jenkins, Syracuse's Andy Rautins, West Virginia's Casey Mitchell, Iowa State's Lucca Staiger and Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn can really shoot it. These guys don't just make shots; they swish shots.

It Seems We Haven't Learned Anything: Once again, some of us have overhyped some early wins, and have overstated some early losses. It is just November. These games most certainly count and are valuable, but they are not determinative of the entire season's outcome.

Teams that have had some troubling losses (Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois) can still recover, and teams that have won a few games can still stumble. And we have not seemed to grasp that a good team is a good team, irrespective of conference affiliation, and that you can find bad teams in every league.

Beating a bad team with a good reputation is not a big deal for anyone. Every year we express surprise that some of the traditional "little guys" can really play, and some of the traditional power teams are just not that good. We cannot spend half of our time saying that UCLA isn't any good at all, then turn around and heap praise on Cal State Fullerton, Portland and Long Beach State for beating the Bruins and claiming that a win over UCLA is a great accomplishment.


A few more notes.
The story includes a picture of TJ saying he "is one of the Pilots' assests"
Also, San Diego and Saint Mary's getting some love. On players who deserve more attention Omar Samhan and Charles Garcia are two of about 15 he lists.
Just thought you would all like to see this.


Lets keep the momentum and get a win in the river city rivalry tonight.

DTLegend
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Re: Jay Bilas jumping on the Pilot Bandwagon!

Post by DTLegend on Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:24 pm

Andy Katz just Tweeted!!!

@ESPNAndyKatz Gonzaga will be in from the WCC and Portland just has to avoid losing to teams below them, beat the Zags at least once with a gaudy record. 5 minutes ago

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Re: Jay Bilas jumping on the Pilot Bandwagon!

Post by DTLegend on Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:29 pm

One more from Katz in his "Hey, don't forget about these games!" segment

Portland State at Portland: This is the type of game the Pilots must win -- you can't lose to Portland State after knocking off UCLA and Minnesota and getting ranked in the AP Poll. There will be a lot of eyes on this one.

also mentioned are Gonzaga and San Diego

Washington State at Gonzaga: The Cougars won the Great Alaska Shootout and were led by Klay Thompson's 43 points in the win over San Diego. Gonzaga, UCLA and others passed on Thompson and it turned out to be a mistake. The Zags are coming off a Maui Invitational win over Cincinnati. The Cougars could be the sleeper team in the Pac-10 if this keeps up. I've been to this game before, and it's an intense rivalry between two schools separated by 70 miles of rolling hills.

San Diego State at San Diego: The Toreros have better wins so far this season than the Aztecs. Beating San Diego State will only enhance the profile of the WCC. San Diego State needs something positive before it gets into the MWC, and losing to the nearby rival wouldn't help.

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