Leave it to Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball coach Jeff Oliver to provide the comic moment of the first day of play at the NCAA Division II West Region Tournament at Western Washington University.
Remember Oliver has been an outspoken critic of the conference since Day 1. He never resists a chance to tell anyone – media or otherwise – exactly what he thinks.
So Oliver is in the postgame press conference after his team beat Humboldt State 75-66 in the fourth meeting of the season between the two conference foes. He is sitting at a table in front along with players Corey Caston, Aaron Hill and David Jefferson.
Someone brings up the fact that the Coyotes are playing well and have some momentum.
Oliver then says “I’d like to thank the conference for having a tournament,” looking directly at conference commissioner Robert Hiegert who was standing in the back of the room.
Everyone in the room laughed, all apparently knowing the back story.
Oliver looked at Hiegert and said, “Sorry, I couldn’t resist”
Everyone laughed again. Oliver’s face was bright red, not sure if it was from laughing or because his team was 10 minutes removed from court. We all know he gets pretty worked up!
There was nothing surprising about the outcomes on the first day. All went pretty much as planned. So the semifinals should both be outstanding.
It’s Brigham Young-Hawaii vs. Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona vs. Western Washington.
The first game will pit two outstanding point guards – Caston and BYU’s Virgil Buensuceso. Hopefully neither will get in foul trouble defending the other and we can watch them go at it all night.
BYU is the team no one wanted to play. The Seasiders had some losses early but many were because of some injuries or they would have been seeded higher, They are certainly not a sixrth seed. The Seasiders are very good and might have the best player in the tournament in Lucas Alves. But they haven’t seen a team that plays defense like the Coyotes.
BYU, no doubt, wants Pomona. It lost to the Broncos in the regional final on its own home floor last year. That has not been forgotten!
Dixie State was no match for the experienced Broncos. Western Washington will give the Broncos a test and they”ll have the home court advantage. The place was jammed pack for the Vikings win over Central Washington. Broncos coach Greg Kamansky likes to play the underdog card. He was doing that after his team’s win over Dixie State. Whatever works!
I think it at least one local team will make it to Monday’s championship game. At the moment I’m not sure which one. But it wouldn’t surprise me if both did – giving us a Coyotes vs. Broncos No. 4.