Friday, April 5, 2013.
You know what happens when you assume. But if you handicap the first two days of the Davis Cup quarterfinals at Taco Bell Arena, you get the feeling the tie between the U.S. and Serbia won’t be decided until Sunday. American John Isner has played reasonably well against the world’s No. 1 player, Serbian Novak Djokovic. But Djokovic should be favored when play begins this afternoon. He wouldn’t be here if playing for his country wasn’t a big deal to him. The second singles match between Sam Querrey of the U.S. and Viktor Troicki of Serbia can be considered a tossup. And as the No. 1 doubles team in the world, Bob and Mike Bryan should have the edge tomorrow, regardless of who the Serbians throw at them. The score very well could be 2-1 either way going into Sunday’s reverse singles. Could be. But that’s why they play the games.
Troicki is the “other” Serbian singles player, and he’s no slouch. Troicki has never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament and has only one ATP Tour victory, at the 2010 Kremlin Cup in Russia. But he’s an experienced Davis Cup player, having won the final match against France in 2010 that won the title. Troicki’s best career results have come on hardcourt surfaces like the one he’ll play on this weekend.
The Bryan brothers return to the city that was a temporary home for them 13 years ago when they played for the Idaho Sneakers of World Team Tennis, coached that summer by their father, Wayne. The time in Boise was but a blip on the Bryans’ career screen, as they have 86 men’s doubles titles together on the ATP Tour. Bob and Mike are renowned musicians—maybe if the U.S. manages a win in this Davis Cup quarterfinal they’ll plug in their guitars courtside with Dad in Taco Bell Arena for a little celebratory jam.
Boise State football exposure materializes in the strangest places. Now the Broncos are featured in Forbes Magazine. An article by Jason Belzer headlined “Boise State Football And The Blueprint For Organizational Greatness” touts the program’s culture as the key to its success. Who can argue that? “Chris Petersen has built one of the most successful organizations in the world on the premise that cultural fit is far more important than pure talent,” writes Belzer, who notes the Broncos’ lack of budget relative to other Top 25 programs and their lack of four-star recruits. It’s all about intangibles.
Belzer gets down to brass tacks, all the way to one of Petersen’s favorite subjects, OKGs (Our Kinda Guys). “If you fall in love with talent, you’re making a big mistake,” Petersen says. “You have to fall in love with the person first and foremost because you can only change someone so much. We have to be mindful of falling into the trappings of looking for great (football) talent and instead go recruit an OKG and make him a football player.” Belzer pretty much nails it in his piece.
Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com has Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor going in the second round, No. 43 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. “Cornerback is the biggest need for the Bucs, and Taylor can help early,” writes Kiper. Taylor and Doug Martin would be competitive against each other on the practice field, would they not? Seems like a lot of teams are talking about Taylor, though. You hear his name in conjunction with the 49ers, Lions and Giants as well. The NFL Draft is three weeks away.
Idaho’s second scrimmage of the spring is set for tomorrow morning, with the Vandals hoping to build momentum in the running game. That facet of the offense has been sporadic at best the past three seasons. Kris Olugbode, the 5-9, 200-pound transfer from City College of San Francisco, wowed ‘em at last week’s scrimmage. Olugbode rushed for 108 yards and four touchdowns and had four catches for 62 yards. He’s a physical runner, conjuring up images of DeMaundray Woolridge off the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl team. "(Seeing Olugbode run over people) is great to see," Idaho coach Paul Petrino said of last week’s performance. "It inspires everybody else.”
When goals are being scored at the pace they were last night, you don’t expect overtime to last very long. Game 2 of the Kelly Cup Playoff series between the Idaho Steelheads and Colorado was 5-5 at the end of regulation, but it took until 2:23 remained in the first overtime period for the game to be decided on a goal by the Eagles’ Kevin Ulanski. So the series is knotted at a game apiece as it moves to Loveland, CO, for Game 3 tomorrow night. The Steelheads would have taken a commanding two games-to-none advantage last night had they been able to hold a third period lead. The Steelies were up 4-2 with 14 minutes left when the Eagles unleashed a three-goal barrage to go ahead. Austin Smith’s game-tying tally with 3:07 remaining gave Idaho new life, but Colorado was king in OT.
The Idaho Stampede are happy for their season scoring leader, Justin Holiday, who has made his NBA debut with the Philadelphia 76ers. But they have to fend without him when they close the season tonight and tomorrow night against the L.A. D-Fenders in CenturyLink Arena. We talked last week about the possible final go-round for former Boise State standout Jason Ellis—he pulled down a combined 27 rebounds in last weekend’s games. Same goes for ex-Bronco star Coby Karl, at least in Boise. Karl, who turns 30 in June, is averaging 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Before tomorrow’s Davis Cup action there’s Boise State tennis at the Appleton Center (or the Boas Bubbles if the weather doesn’t permit). The Broncos host BYU as part of the U.S. Tennis Association’s College MatchDay. Boise State is targeting its 28th consecutive home win, dating back to the WAC Championships in 2011 when the Broncos lost 4-3 to Fresno State. Elsewhere, the 21st-ranked Bronco women’s gymnastics team is at NCAA Regionals in Corvallis, where it’s seeded fourth of six teams behind Georgia, Oregon State and Arkansas. The top two teams from each region go to nationals. And the Boise State track teams make their Dona Larsen Park debut with the All-Idaho Cup today and tomorrow. But they’ll do it without coach J.W. Hardy, who was suddenly relieved of his duties yesterday.
This Day In Sports…April 5, 1913, 100 years ago today:
At a cost of $750,000, Ebbets Field opens with an exhibition game between the Brooklyn Superbas (later to be called the Dodgers) and the New York Yankees. Brooklyn won, 3-2, with a run in the bottom of the ninth before a sold-out crowd of 30,000. The new stadium featured a lobby 80 feet in diameter, with marble and glazed brick walls. Ebbets should have been saved as a national baseball shrine, but it was torn down after the 1957 season.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)