Tuesday, February 05, 2008

You don't have to buy Drake merchandise, or openly root for the Bulldogs, but how can anyone not respect this team? It's unbelievable.

I thought the streak would come to an end at Illinois State. At halftime, I felt smart. By game's end, I was glad to be wrong. These guys won't quit. Down 11? No problem. Just keep hustling until the shots start falling.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate just how hard it is to win 20 straight---regardless of the conference strength---doesn't follow college basketball. 20 in a row is staggering for an overly talented team. For a squad that starts two former walk-ons, it's beyond comprehension. During this great run, Drake could have lost to any team it played.

Several of the people in our newsroom who don't follow sports have taken an interest in Drake because the Bulldogs humility and positive spirit is contagious. They're not cocky, they're having fun.

The Dogs all but locked up a conference championship with the sweep of Illinois State. Drake leads by four with six games to go.

By the way, great job Tuesday night by Andy Fales, Shawn Terrell, photojournalist Trent Reicks, and engineer Mark Hoffman. They drove through a snowstorm to bring our viewers terrific coverage of a big game not on TV. Wake up Missouri Valley! This is 2008.

It's nice to have such a positive story to cover.

We love it. And Iowa State should too. Maybe no one will notice how Hilton Magic seems to have left the building.

7 comments:

thebigcheesemcr said...

Hey I'm with ya Murph, most of the way on this one. It is great to see a local team do good things for not only themselves but also our home town, and the sport. I admit, when you guys cover the Dogs, it brings a refreshing breath of fresh air to the somewhat stagnant world of sports- at least during this time of year. But I don't take any credit away from the team at all - they have done an amazing job...so far. But I do have to disagree with you when you talk about conference strength - it means so much more when it really counts. Sure they are the powerhouse this year in the MVC and they have their former walk on's starting- but just wait until March. The inexperience of the team and these so called stand out stars of the team, when going up against these athletes with the likes of Memphis, Duke, Kansas, UCLA, UNC and so on- they will LOOK (not saying they are) like mediocre farmer boys (at best).
We cannot compare the Drake program to Memphis, or hell, I'll even give you a school like Marquette.
Again, I will point out that I am not trying to take any credit away, run any smack or put a negative spin on the success of this team and or disrespect them in any way. But I would think you, of all people, would understand you have to be realistic about these things. I have heard you (amongst others) tear down the Hawkeye and Cyclone nation when they get their hopes up for looking ahead to a season, a player or a game- I will say that I have never heard this personally on your sports coverage of the news and you remain professional (unlike the way a sports duo has now started to throw their opinions in most of the time and their show is going down hill in a hurry (*CoughMartyandMillerCough*), but on Sound Off, you really tee off at times. But I am getting off the subject at hand.
I will go on the record and make a prediction: Drake will not make it past the first round of the NCAA Tournament- Dr. Tom should have stuck around another year!
I will offer you this though- IF Drake somehow pulls out a first round win (and I hope for their sake and hard work they do) I will publicly humiliate myself wearing all Drake gear around the outside of the station. IF they make the sweet 16 (and if you want), I will personally come on Sound Off and let you shave my beard off (it is approx. 12 inches in length and has been a long time growing. Your call completely. I think we can have a little fun with this and want to show you we can agree to disagree somewhat on this topic.
Also, very cool you give out credit to where credit is due. Great job to Fales and Terrell and even the photojournalist for hitting the road to bring everyone coverage of this game. They risked their lives because of passion for what they do. And really isn't that what sports is all about?!

-The Big Cheese (yes, I really am a sports fan and follow college basketball!)

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, I guess we have another pessimistic, bearded freak on our hands. Why don't you just go root for your Dukies and your Tar Heels. Iowa has no place for you. Drake wasn't even supposed to be the power house of the conference to begin with, get your head out and pay attention for once instead of stroking your beard all day.

Keith Murphy said...

Big Cheese,

I'm not predicting Sweet 16 or Final Four for Drake, and I don't expect either. This isn't about the end game, it's about the journey.

What we're seeing from a team picked to finish 9th in the MVC is downright remarkable. Drake may or may not win a single NCAA tournament game. As I've said, the Dogs don't have much of an inside game, and they could lose to anyone on their schedule; that's why 20 straight wins is so much more enjoyable than it is for Memphis.

NCAA tournament success should be the barometer of success for many programs, but Drake isn't there yet. The Dogs deserve praise and admiration for what they've done to date. Everything else is a bonus.

Thanks for the feedback and kind words.

Keith

Anonymous said...

That's just it, though, Murph. They deserve the praise and admiration, but likely won't get it. While those of us in DSM, and probably the Valley at large, appreciate where the Dogs have come from and what they've accomplished, respect from the nation-at-large has been slow in coming, precisely because Drake plays in what some would (incorrectly, BTW) call an insignificant mid-major conference experiencing a down year.

It's too easy for the rest of the country to dismiss Drake. A tournament win and a good 2nd-round showing would legitimize (in the eyes of the rest of the nation)the Bulldogs' accomplishments this season and let the rest of the nation know--just as Drake did 40 years ago--that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the Bulldog.

Right or wrong, those are the conditions that prevail.

Anonymous said...

15th-ranked, 20-1 Drake beat unranked, 15-8 Illinois State. Yay. And if Drake is so great, why were they underdogs? Because they were playing at that mecca of college basketball, Redbird Arena?

Jt said...

Hey Keith -
What do you think of the Suns trading Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Heat for Shaq?

Matt said...

what jt asked you keith