Honest question time.

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Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:44 pm

Honest question: Why can't we hold a lead? What is it that we do/don't do that allows teams to battle back? One or 2 games, you say bad luck... this seems systemic. How many times have we built decent leads in the second half just to let them evaporate?

Tonight we seemed to get tentative on offense in the closing minutes when trying to run time off the clock... obviously missed free throws and losing Thomas and Voldy killed the ability to rebound. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:04 pm

Game by game: Opponent, largest Pilot lead, W/L, final margin.  I added an * to the games that we gave up notable leads or couldn't take advantage, an X to games we closed out, and a - to the N/A games:

* @SJSU, 5, W, 5.  We couldn't pull away from a terrible SJSU team.
X SIU-E, 27, W, 22.  We closed them out, but they are awful.
- Murray State, 6, W, 3.  Close all the way.
X Drake, 16, W, 12
- Valpo, 2, L -15
* PSU, 27, W, 12.  Remember this one?
- OSU, 7, L, -7  Brutal, this was close after we lead by 5 with 10:22 to go.  I could mark this one, but won't.
* @Sac St, 12, W, 5.  We were up by 11 with 8:44 to go, Sac St got within 3 with 4:36 to go, and 2 with 59 seconds left.
* @UNLV, 8, L, -2  Had this one won in regulation and gave it away.
X Montana St, 29, W, 27.  We put them away... but they are not good.
X @USD, 8, W, 3.  This was a Pilot comeback in the final minutes--USD didn't close us out, when they were up by 6 with under 3 minutes to go.
- @BYU, 5, L, -9.  
- GU, N/A, L, -12.  GU closed us out.
X SCU, 17, W, 17.  We held the lead and increased it in the closing minutes.
- USF, 3, L, -12.  USF closed us out, it was never within less than 7 points in the closing minutes, and most of the time it was double digits.
* @LMU, 1, L, -12. Pilots made a run to cut the 14-point LMU lead to 1, but then LMU quickly ran it back up to 16.  I marked this one due to letting them so quickly get back to the double digit lead.
* @Pepp, 6, L, -4.  We led by as many as 5 until about 4 minutes to go, then never lead again.
* Pac, 11, W, 3.  We lead by 7 with 7:42 to go, and Pacific got the lead at the 3:46 mark.
- SMC, 6, L, -10.  We lead by 5 with 13:22 to go, but SMC just was better after that point.
- @GU, 2, L, -18.  No comment.
X @USF, 13, W, 12.  We steadily increased our lead and put USF away.
X @SCU, 20, W, 22.  We put them away, with the largest lead being with 28 seconds left.
X Pepp, 19, W, 17.  We put them away, with the largest lead being with 57 seconds left.
* LMU, 14, W, 3.  We lead by 10 with 2:42 left, and 9 with 1:14 left, then Evan Payne went nuts.  We missed FT's that would have iced it.
- @SMC, 4, L, -17.  We were never really in this one.  
* @Pac, 9, L, -2.  We lead by 9 with 5 minutes to go, and 7 with 1:55 to go.

That is 9 games we couldn't close out/take advantage, and 8 we did... so I guess it isn't as bad as I thought, but a Senior-laden, experienced team seems like they could be doing much better. I guess this has been therapeutic....  but just think if we could have closed out a few of those 9....


Last edited by PilotNut on Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : additional thoughts)

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by Dean Murdoch on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:11 pm

I think this situation is pretty much a wash this year.

The same complaints we could post on here about the Pilots not being able to close out UNLV and Pacific, we'd see from San Jose State and San Diego not being able to close out the Pilots.

Those are really the only four games this year that have been decided by game-changing "great comebacks" or "collapses" depending on your point of view. Crises averted against Sac State and LMU (I'll ignore the Portland State game...that was annoying but at no point were they in danger of giving up that whole lead).

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:54 pm

It's possible that emotions were getting the best of me when I started this thread... but I calmed down once I looked at all the games. Embarassed

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:58 pm


Terry Cahill wrote:
Those are really the only four games this year that have been decided by game-changing "great comebacks" or "collapses" depending on your point of view. Crises averted against Sac State and LMU (I'll ignore the Portland State game...that was annoying but at no point were they in danger of giving up that whole lead).

You mean that layup ultimately didn't matter?

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by up7587 on Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:56 pm

Since P-Nut answered his own question, here is another question asked by a Pilot fan: The Loneliness of a Portland Pilots Fan

I guess another Pilot fan couldn't sleep well after last Saturday's game, and took to his keyboard.  Rant

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:17 pm

That article is fantastic, and it hits on many points that I feel... we face a lot of challenges...  but even a broken clock is right twice a day, and I feel like we haven't 'been right' in far too long.

There is so much apathy and that is what kills me.  There could be a thriving basketball culture in NoPo, St. Johns and on The Bluff... but the program has been a tragedy of errors for decades: insufficient institutional interest/support, a victim of a lack of funding, poor coaching decisions (Steele, Holton, Chavez along with their contract extensions), alumni dis-interest and playing second fiddle to the MSOC and/or WSOC programs.

There needs to be a fundamental shift in the University to establish a premier basketball program, that isn't just lip service, or small investments to keep up with the neighbors. I am sick and tired of UP being called a women's soccer school (no offense to the WSOC program).  

I do not sense that the fundamental commitment, desire or urgency currently exists on campus.  There certainly are people trying, but until the entire UNIVERSITY (Alumni, donors, Administration, students, faculty/staff, Board of Regents, Athletic Department, etc) makes it the priority and determines that enough is enough, I am afraid it will be more of the same. Don't get me wrong, the U can't do this without money... donors and Alumni need to be sold a vision, and how their support will drive results.

We are 19 years from our last NCAA tournament birth.  Is it asking too much for us to make the tourney--heck even be in the conversation--more than once every 20 years?  I don't think so.

The potential growth of the University from having a relevant basketball program is enormous... Look at the complete reincarnation (buildings/construction, student growth, name recognition, etc.) that a certain other NW WCC school has enjoyed!  20 years ago, they were a quiet little school with no basketball program, no name recognition and no "brand" (sound familliar?).   Now, their enrollment has exploded, the campus has exploded, the city has embraced them, and all of their other programs have improved facilities and results (I dont believe that GU had a single WCC title in any sport, other than 1 in boxing decades ago, prior to the men's basketball program taking off).  The GU Alumni base is locked in and has a priceless  sense of community, invovlement and pride that UP should be very envious of.  

As that link above notes, if we keep on doing what we are doing, we are going to keep on getting what we get.  

Does anyone really think that the program is anywhere near a "breakthrough" point?  Are we on the cusp of something materially bigger and better?  I would love to hear your opinions if you think so, because I don't see it.  Finishing 5th or 6th this season, after so many seasons of misery (remember the unbalanced recruiting classes, the building for the future and "youngest team in Div I" that we were sold previously) is not enough for me when I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel... we are not going to be better next year, and unless we get a quality big man, it could be quite painful again.

I'll stop now.  You've all heard this from me before several times.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by up7587 on Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:09 pm

Yes, we few, we happy few (maybe a bad analogy) band of fans know all these issues. We all want to get to where GU has gotten. But Spokane is a small city with not many other sports options; selling UP as the destination sport in Portland (against Blazers, Timbers) is much tougher. Would love to see it, though.

For what it's worth, I think the USF, SCU, Pepp, LMU and USD dedicated fans would all have similar comments about fan apathy, limited success, coaching issues, etc.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by Dean Murdoch on Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:17 pm

Current KenPom ranking: 120
MBB rank by budget, D1: 121 (according to this)

Current standing in WCC: 6
MBB rank by budget, WCC: 6 (according to the above site)


It is zero coincidence those numbers above are so similar.

It would be nice to be in the tournament once in a while, but for that to happen you've obviously got to either have a team good enough to get an at-large bid, or good enough to beat at least two of Gonzaga, BYU, and SMC on a neutral court. Either way, you likely need to have a team about in the top 50 because there are some damn good teams at the top of this conference.

Budget for the 50th ranked team in the country is $6 million. Pilots checked in at $2.5m last season.

It's a lot to ask, and the Pilots aren't the only WCC school in this situation. Schools not named GU/SMC/BYU made the tournament four times in a six-year span between 1998 and 2003 - Pepperdine even got an at-large bid in 2000. But in the 12 years since? Only one...USD in '08 after their run through the tournament.

That leaves UP, Santa Clara, and LMU all without tournament bids since the Pilots last made it in '96. Two each for Pepperdine and USD, and one for USF. So it's not like the Pilots are alone...but like others have said in here, how do you climb the hill?

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:18 pm

So that is the question...  how do you climb the hill faster than your competition?  What specifically are we doing that is over and above what the other programs in the WCC and in the NCAA are doing, for us to gain ground?

Yes, we remodeled locker room facilities and are building a practice court.  Is/was this over and above what others are doing?  Are we closing the gap or just keeping up?  Did we miss an opportunity in these projects to make a statement and build "best in conference" facilities?

I am not naďve and think that someone on The Bluff just needs to write a check.  Money is a (the?) major factor here, and it has to come from somewhere...  so what is being done to raise money to allow the budget to increase relative to our WCC friends?  Did we miss an opportunity to make this a specific item in the Rise campaign?  I don't believe that the practice court aspect of the Beauchamp Center was ever a point of emphasis in the campaign materials--it was focused on the overall building.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by up7587 on Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:58 pm

Obviously you climb the hill faster with players. I don't know about our competition, but I think Rev works harder at recruiting than any of our previous head coaches. Seems we were always looking for an edge (NBA credentials, JC contacts, UCLA history). But Rev seems to make more efforts to find players from wherever he can locate them. Maybe I just have this perception because he is so transparent on twitter, and I have no real knowledge of how much effort previous coaches, or our competition, puts in. Given that our pool of potential players is limited to those who can succeed academically and have good "character" traits, I think intense efforts is the only way to find them. We seem to get that effort. And we have zero complaints about our athletes being students.

Others on here have better insights into this; please validate or correct my assumptions.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by DTLegend on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:07 am

Thanks for the feedback on the post. Glad that you guys are reading the site.

The frustration we we all feel is difficult to get past. This has really been the first time that I've written something that wasn't 100% behind the current situation at Portland, and really my point isn't to push for a change or anything like that, my point is rather is to talk through the current situation. The conclusion I came to at the end, is that we have challenges as a program to continue to grow and get to a point where we are competing every handful of years for a tournament bid (an expectation that I think is very plausible) and to get to that point, we need to work harder at the areas that we have control over to close the gap in overall talent.
Like I mentioned, it's going to be difficult for us to get a "savior recruit" so we need to build a team. Not just a solid team that can compete once in a while with top teams, and may put together 20 wins in a season. We need the team that is capable of taking care of weaker competition consistently, that can put together 40 minute games, that can win on the road, that can knock off a top team on a yearly basis, that can put together 25+ wins. These are my expectations and I finally realized that it's ok for me to express them.

When it comes to expectations, getting to the Gonzaga level is almost unrealistic. It doesn't make sense for us to compare ourselves to them. A better example would be to compare ourselves to Saint Mary's. Their budget according to the site mentioned above ranks 13 spots about Portland, and they spend about 10% more than the Pilots do.



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Re: Honest question time.

Post by pilotram on Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:16 am

Seems to me that recruiting is a huge problem. Who are we beating out for recruits, besides D2 schools? I used to think coaching could solve everything, but now I'm not so sure. I don't follow things nearly as closely as the rest of you, so any insight here is appreciated.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by Dean Murdoch on Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:12 pm

pilotram wrote:Who are we beating out for recruits, besides D2 schools?

Is that the question to be asked? The Pilots only beat out FIU and Mercer for Wintering, but is anyone going to argue against the fact he's a WCC-level point guard right now?

Who'd they beat out for Jazz Johnson? Maybe the Pilots were the only school ever to offer him because he committed so early, then you see people saying he'd have multiple Pac-12 offers after he blew up at the Les Schwab.

Chiir Maker, bit of a different story. The ultimate wildcard, dude drops 49 on Rainier Beach a few months ago but there's almost no info on him. Maybe the Pilots were the only school involved, maybe there were 20 involved. We've got no clue. Maybe he's a role player at best, maybe he's an all-WCC guy, maybe somewhere in between. So many question marks on this guy, but if you're the Pilots this is EXACTLY the type of player that you roll the dice on and hope you come up with box cars.

And then over to Jarrel Marshall. Take a close look at what he did this year for that Palm Beach State team. It's top-notch JUCO competition - they beat #6 Eastern FL State for one of Eastern's only three losses of the year - and Marshall is the leading scorer (18.4) and rebounder (7.1) for Palm Beach and shoots 42% (!) from three. And yet, if the Pilots get him they'll "only" have beaten out Kennesaw State and FAU. Not exactly like taking down Oregon in a recruiting battle, but there's a reason the coaching staff keeps flying to Florida and it's not just the weather.

Long post short - tradition of success needs to be built before the Pilots can be a legitimate threat to UO and OSU in recruiting battles. How do you do that? Under-the-radar types...and I really like what they've done, and what they're doing, for the 2015 class.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:48 pm

Good stuff. If the 2015 class ends up panning out, it will be the first time in some time that we could have 2 quality, balanced classes back to back). Having solid bench depth would help, as well... injuries are a part of the game, and we need to get to a point where losing a starter does not spell disaster and a losing streak. I don think we are making progress in this regard.

Above, I didnt mean to imply that we should, right now, be aiming to be at the GU level; I just happen to know a lot about that school, town, alumni, etc. We cannot completely ignore them, either, though... it needs to be in the long range sites as we ultimately need to be aiming for top of conference. We need to be solid mid-conference first.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by up7587 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:09 pm

Dana Altman at UO has had some quick success due to his recruiting.  I doubt UP would want to deal with some of the issues UO has had to deal with (http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/09/justice/university-of-oregon-title-ix-lawsuit/).

Players can have great skills, good academics, and good character.  But I think UP only gets to pick two, because a player with all three can write his own ticket anywhere.  Obviously we are focusing on good academics (100% graduation, TVDM 1st team academic all-american).  We seem to be getting good character; at least there are no news stories about our players in rape investigations, stolen laptops, "we smoked it all", or http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=2761201.  I think if you asked most of us to pick two out of the three, that's what we'd pick, and hope we can build them into a team that is stronger than the individual pieces.

Everybody wants a Marcus Mariotta, a great player, person and student with few offers.  But that is like a winning lottery ticket.  Take a Jameis Winston, you get a national championship, and you get stolen crab legs.  Take a Cardale Jones, you get a national championship, and you get a "Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS" tweet.  

I guess I will choose the path we are on, wish we could be better, and support the program we have.

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Re: Honest question time

Post by bullwinkle on Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:13 am

I appreciate this conversation, though I’m feeling a growing compulsion to drink, medicate, pray, or skip all that and perhaps join the Peace Corps. I was really struck by the question of whether the program is anywhere near a “breakthrough” point. I wish it was, but after eight years of hoping every big win or streak of small ones was a turning point, only to lose the next easy game to an “inferior” opponent, I’ve started to get realistic. Here’s a few thoughts:
- Are we better off now than we were four years ago? (The Presidential election question.) I started following the Pilots with Michael Holton. At the end of those first four years, I was certainly ready for a change in leadership. After Reveno’s first four years, I supported another “term.” We’d had two or three 20 win seasons and some post season opportunities (disappointments, but post season nonetheless). Now, at the end of eight years (a second term), I can’t say we’re better off than we were four years ago. It’s ridiculous that after eight years, my goal for conference play is avoiding a play-in game at the tournament, yet that’s where I am.
- Is it the players or is it the coaches? Several folks commented we just need higher caliber recruits. That would always be a plus, though I think we have some pretty good talent already. But we also need some coaching improvements. Last night’s game was a good example. We played exceptional basketball the first half. It was just fun to watch (I was thinking, “maybe this is the breakthrough).” Then we had half time. The second half belonged to BYU, even though we managed to make it look close. Their offense was impressive - the ball movement, the player movement, the aggressive attacks at the basket - and it paid off in open lay-ins and open threes. We, on the other hand, generally looked sluggish and befuddled. A few passes, play down the clock, Alec would attempt to penetrate, toss the ball and we’d take whatever we could - or - give the ball to Kevin and see what he could do. BYU seemed ready for both. (And of course, BYU steals and UP free throw shooting.) The other thing about coaching - look at our post season record of the last eight years (or save yourself the misery and just accept that it’s dismal).
- What comes first, winning or money? I never talk about replicating Gonzaga. It’s a unique situation. But I would say this, my recollection is that Gonzaga’s Cinderella-at-the-dance two years running created a situation where the money was chasing them, both in terms of donors and increased enrollment, not the other way around. I suspect the same may be true of Butler and other small colleges that now have consistently good teams. Hard work, good luck, and the ability to capitalize when the moment arrives. But perhaps one of you researchers can disprove that.

So, what to do? I don’t know. I like Rev. He’s smart, personable, hard working. I like the analytical approach he tries to take. Maybe we are on the verge of a breakthrough. Is it worth another “term” to find out? Or do we go through the disruption and find a new leader and suffer the drop in performance while they get their feet wet? That’s what AD’s are paid to decide.


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Re: Honest question time.

Post by DoubleDipper on Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:06 pm

Well said, all of you.

Well thought-out responses that, in summary, indicate there is no single or easy answer or fix to make the Pilots more competitive.

Each time we've won or lost this year I've attempted to put the game and team in the perspective of how good or bad the Pilots teams were when I was a student in the mid 60's and when I returned to the area in 1991.  And believe me, these recent teams are much better than the majority of teams I witnessed in the past......unfortunately, so are the other teams in the WCC.

The WCC is rated as no worse than the 7th or 8th best conference in the nation out of 33 conferences and the Pilots are ranked around 125 out of 351 D1 teams.  

No, none of us are satisfied, nor are the coaches or players, but I'm confident everyone continues to work to bring the Pilots to the top of the conference.....and from what I've seen and heard, that includes the UP President and AD.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by ekrauss on Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:53 pm

I like Rev, but the results are frustrating.  Minus a gigantic infusion of money and energy I don't really know what can be done that would have an impact on the program.  And when you look at it closely, it seems the entire athletic department is mired in this zone of so-so, ho-humness.  Women's basketball, volleyball, and baseball haven't been at a championship level in years, decades even.  Men's soccer hasn't experienced much in the way of championships in the last decade.  Even women's soccer isn't where it used to be.  About the only program that's doing much on a championship level is men's cross country, who finished third in the nation this past season.  I think the commitment to the entire athletic department and how it's operated is something that needs to be examined…but absent an infusion of big bucks, I sure have no idea how to do it.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by Dean Murdoch on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:18 pm

http://www.oregonlive.com/pilots/index.ssf/2015/03/eric_reveno_and_his_fight_to_m.html#incart_m-rpt-1

This article is brilliant. No punches pulled by author, or in quotes by Reveno or Leykam. Encompasses - and addresses - many of the sentiments expressed in this thread.

edit: When was the last time the Oregonian had a 2300-word article on Pilots basketball?

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by DTLegend on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:19 pm

Wow that was insightful and transparent

When it talked about the practice, I know that we all have felt that way from time to time during this season.

Hopefully this weekend provides another opportunity for that leadership that we have sorely missed this season to develop.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:25 pm

Wow, that is a great article... and you are right, they don't hold any punches.

2 comments stuck out to me: Rev is disappointed in the lack of leadership on the team currently, and the comment that he has multiple years left on his contract although there is a buyout clause that is less than the remaining term.

It will be interesting to see what happens after this season, for sure. In the big picture, would a run in the WCC tourney make a difference in his standing with the administration? The article sounds supportive of him (they can't really be anything other than that)... but AD's are infamous for being very supportive of coaches right up until they are fired the next day.

I am glad to see this article looking at things from the program level that dates back decades... its been rough for long term fans.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by up7587 on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:57 pm

Also agree, a strong and accurate article. A good point was made about not wanting kids who will stand out in the classroom as not up to the academics. In a school this small, there is no place to hide.

The article has some good comments as well.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by DoubleDipper on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:14 pm

PilotNut wrote:Wow, that is a great article... and you are right, they don't hold any punches.  

I am glad to see this article looking at things from the program level that dates back decades... its been rough for long term fans.
Tell me about it.  I don't know if since-1962 is considered "long term," but there are only five winning games that stand out for me during that time....the semi-final and final at Santa Clara to win the 1996 WCC Tournament under Rob Chavez, the win at home against St. Mary's (Nacho Night) in 2011, and the wins over Gonzaga and BYU last year....all under Coach Reveno.  

My point is, in 52 seasons of watching/following Pilots basketball there have not been a lot of mind-sticking highlights, but the majority have been when Coach Reveno was in charge and all the players were the kind you'd like "your daughter to marry."

We all hate losing, but having had the opportunity to meet the players and staff over the years has made it more bearable by just knowing what outstanding human beings they are and knowing how much they care about their teammates and fellow students.  We've seen the undesirable results of lowering those standards on occasion.

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Re: Honest question time.

Post by PilotNut on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:44 pm

I still have a piece of the net that was cut down from the 1996 Championship game. It is also possible I was one of the people that rushed the court. Cool

The '95 and '96 Championship games at SCU were both Portland vs. Gonzaga. GU won in 1995, we won in 1996. My, how the 2 programs would go in different directions from that point on....

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