The college basketball exhibition season is now winding down.

By Gus Bode

But while these games are intended to prepare teams for the regular season, they are completely different than most regular-season games.

In the exhibition season, the college basketball world is turned on end.

Normally, all-star teams are good and can win with frequency. But in the exhibition world, all-star teams rarely win.

Advertisement

If the Salukis can handily defeat an all-star team, that must make them the super-duper spectacular all-star Salukis.

The exhibition season is also the only time you’ll see old men on the court whose joints creak so loud even the fans in the upper deck can hear them.

Seriously, I recently saw a team called Dream Builders lose to Southeast Missouri State’s men’s basketball team by 40 points.

When I watched these former Division II stars walk, they more closely resembled a nursing home basketball team than a team that should be playing college squads.

Their schedule probably had something to do with their gaits.

All of these teams cram as many games as possible into a very short span.

The Northwest All-Stars will be the only team to pay a visit to the Saluki den for an afternoon game after finishing a night game 16 hours earlier in a city 100 miles away.

Advertisement

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the team had played nearly every night for a week straight before its game against the Salukis.

Many times these teams leave their opponents wondering if they’ll make it to the game, then rolling into town just an hour or two before tip-off.

And these guys aren’t your typical pampered athletes. They’re more comparable to the average fan, pouring their own water during games and washing their own uniforms.

In some ways, exhibition teams are throwbacks to the days of yore, when an athlete wasn’t catered to in every way.

And many of the teams don’t even have the luxury of playing more than a couple of guys off the bench. A team composed of six to eight players is not an oddity among exhibition victims.

When the Northwest All-Stars played a game at Southwest Missouri State, they played only six men, and the sixth man played just two minutes.

But with these low numbers, most exhibition victims don’t bother trying to play fundamentally sound basketball.

Quick and sometimes wild shots are the norm with these teams, and the ability to make these crazy shots determines the level of competition exhibition teams will play.

Northwest All-Stars was able to hit quite a few contested shots, and this earned them the right to get smoked by decent competition.

Dream Builders, on the other hand, takes poor shots and misses badly on most of them.

The inability to hit wild shots gives Dream Builders the honor of being beaten by 40 points against bottom rung Ohio Valley Conference teams. They shot 26 percent against SEMO. A sixth grade girl’s team could shoot at this level against the Indians.

Now that takes a serious lack of pride to be slaughtered by SEMO in front of less than 2,000 fans who didn’t even have to pay to get in.

And these guys looked like they’d left their pride outside of some burg near Podunk.

And many coaches say that defense wins championships but exhibition teams say, “Defense…what’s defense again?”

And they play defense as well as a crippled 80-year-old. Why play defense anyway? The better you play defense, the longer you have to wait to jack up another circus shot.

As an example, the Dream Builders gave up 92 points to SEMO, a poor OVC team that missed numerous lay-ups during the game.

The so-called coaches of these exhibition teams probably have something to do with their teams’ foreign concepts of defense.

Sunday’s Saluki exhibition victim did without a coach for three-fourths of the second half. But it’s not as if it needed a coach. I don’t think these guys were listening to their coach when they could watch the cheerleaders or the guy who won the millionaire for a day contest.

I could coach an exhibition team. What do you have to do other than convince yourself that your players are listening to you?

The coach’s main responsibility is probably to book the hotels and to make sure the team doesn’t get lost on the way to the game.

Some of these guys in suits do about as much coaching as is done at a rec center game.

But it’s not as if anyone cares about the struggles of the exhibition team. No one ever cheers them on other than their coach and occasionally a player on the bench.

But take heart Saluki fans, the regular season is just around the corner. You’ll no longer have to see these teams that play poor basketball for another year, and bad teams such as SEMO will be exposed for their every weakness.

Ethan is a senior in journalism. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Egyptian.

Advertisement