The fallout for the St. Marys basketball team from Cals horrific 65-54 beatdown from South Florida Wednesday is ...
... well, none, really. Doesnt matter a jot.
RECAP: Cal's season comes to ugly end
This seems easy if you assume as most right-thinking folk do that teams go into tunnel vision-mode as the NCAA Tournament begins. The Galloping Gaels, other than a presser Thursday afternoon expected to reveal no secrets or sterling insights from the particulars, are all into Purdue, except for the assistants breaking down Kansas and Detroit on the just-in-case plan.
But fans think differently. They think in terms of defending the honor of the Bay Area (as if there was some), or the Pacific-12 (big in the NIT, not so much where people are looking), or the WCC (BYU has already made it a big tournament).
And nothing could be less interesting to the performers. Their world is about themselves; Rob Jones isnt talking about Victor Rudd (South Florida), hes talking about Robbie Hummel. He may also be talking about studies, or girls, or a million other things, but on the list of things that are on his list, Victor Rudd is way down it either way.
Thats why players tend to be so impatient the day before a tournament game. The waiting and not knowing has killed them, and though like fans they tend to pay attention to the big teams or the ones they know, in this case Cal and St. Marys may as well be Neptune and Mercury.
Too bad, too. Both are programs that by clashing shields become better for the experience, and their fans would get a kick-start out of it as well. In fact, a Bay Area tournament (a non-starter of an idea from long ago) would be ideal.
But coaches are risk-averse, especially the higher you go on the reputational food chain, and Cals version is that St. Marys cant help them but could certainly hurt them, while St. Marys version is that Cal cant hurt them and certainly help them.
Thats the bigger picture. The smaller picture is, St. Marys plays tomorrow, and Cal plays in November. Ships not even passing in the night, and honor aint got nothin to do with it.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com