Auburn volleyball a good show against Florida, SEC’s best

Auburn Florida Volleyball

NCAA volleyball – the indoor variety – has changed since I first began covering. In those days, Misty May and Long Beach State were the dominant program in volleyball crazed SoCal. Games were called games, sets were only things done by a player to setup a kill, and only the team serving could score. Twenty of the first 24 NCAA women’s champs crowned hailed from California.

But things changed in the last decade. Well, thanks in part to the ascension of the beach game, and perhaps even more significantly because of the availability of matches on the internet and television, women’s indoor volleyball has become a signature sport for many schools. Now, a game is actually called a set, a set is still a set (go figure), you don’t have to serve to score. Only UCLA has represented the “beach” tradition, winning in 2011.

Last year, Penn State, Wisconsin, Texas and Washington played in the Final Four, with the Nittany Lions claiming the title. This season, Florida (10), Kentucky (14) and Texas A&M (22) are all in the NCAA rankings as of this week. 

I had the chance to see Florida up close in their SEC opener at Auburn, and the Gators didn’t disappoint, sweeping the Tigers before the War Eagle chant got good and revved up, in straight games, er, sets: 3-0 (14-25, 19-25, 19-25) in front of 1,183 fans at Auburn Arena. The Tigers looked every bit a young contender in the SEC, rallying point after point in the first set, but with little to show for it. That’s what happens when you play a bigger, deeper, more experienced program. The scoring doesn’t always show the effort, but the score did indicate the Tigers, with one of the youngest rosters in the SEC (no seniors, only two juniors), are up for a fight. In the video below, shot as part of a teaching assignment for sports journalism students at Auburn, you will see a long first set point, won by Florida. That’s how well you can play and still get swept while building a program. I look forward to seeing this team play in the future.

It was a fun match to watch, and I believe Auburn is headed in the right direction. With more size up front and experience, they may be able to finish off a team at this level soon, if not this season next. And for now, their players and fans know what they are up against after opening the SEC against the Gator.

The Tigers play at Texas A&M next. You can read the game story and learn more about them via Auburn’s official website. This blog is not affiliated formally with Auburn University.

Sports Talk on KOSU this week: Caron Butler, OSU needs to be coachable to win at the dance, and the Shockers

KOSU 3 5 14

This week on KOSU Sports Talk Michael Cross and I talk about the shocking season – or was it? – for Wichita State men’s hoops, OSU women and men prep for the post-season and why (I believe) the Thunder are just getting better and better prepared to win it all.

This week’s segment airs Wednesday morning at 630 and 830 on KOSU-FM in Oklahoma, but you can always go to the KOSU website later in the day (or week!) and check it out at KOSU.org. 

Sports Talk on KOSU this week: Why Oklahoma City is not living up to the big league moniker

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If you missed our weekly segment on KOSU-FM this week, you can hear my thoughts as I yell at Michael Cross (just kidding) about Marcus Smart, the OKC Barons and more…

Check it out on KOSU.ORG!

http://kosu.org/2014/02/marcus-smart-leads-the-discussion-in-this-weeks-sports-talk/

Brent Weber Sports Talk and recap of Thunder win over Blazers

Oklahoma City reeled off 15 straight points in the closing minutes of the game, as Kevin Durant’s hot scoring stretch continued with 6 of 7 threes in his 46 point effort, as the Thunder rallied to beat visiting Portland 105-97.

Check out my recap and post-game sound on KOSU-FM Wednesday morning – and please listen to my SPORTS TALK segment with Michael Cross on KOSU.org. 

If you miss the recap and the sound on KOSU, here it is…

Thunder, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl and more on KOSU Sports Talk this week with Brent Weber

Bedlam Final Score 2013

This week on KOSU Sports Talk we recap Bedlam. As painful as it was for OSU fans, there are realities to the result, and perhaps only one degree of separation between the two state bowl teams (think coach).  Plus, the Thunder’s big picture benchmark, an early look at bowl games and Longhorns head coach Nick Saban (oops! not yet!)  and a  Smart early pick for the Final 4.

KOSU Dec 11

Sports Talk on KOSU this week: Longhorns head coach Nick Saban – oops -, snarling Thunder, Smart pick

KOSU Dec 11This week on KOSU Sports Talk Michael Cross and I recap Bedlam. As painful as it was for OSU fans, there are realities to the result, and perhaps only one degree of separation between the two state bowl teams (think coach).  Plus, the Thunder’s big picture benchmark, an early look at bowl games and Longhorns head coach nick Saban – oops –  and a  Smart early pick for the Final 4.

This week’s segment has been pushed back to Thursday morning – so join Nikole in the morning drive on KOSU-FM starting at 630 am… and hear the entire segment after 8:30 am on kosu.org.

 

Cowboys problems aren’t on the sideline, Big 12 Football is like NASCAR, and an Oklahoma WS Connection

This week on Sports Talk on KOSU-FM, we touched on a few topics hanging around, starting with the Big 12 football race for the remaining teams in it (OU, OSU, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor). I likened it to the NASCAR sprint. Just check out the remaining schedules and see if you think it’s realistic OSU and OU will play for the Big 12 title at the end of the regular season. I can’t see Baylor or Texas making it to the final week with just one loss, and if the Oklahoma teams sweep the Bears… I could see Texas losing twice or three times.

Baylor (4-0): vs OU Nov. 7 in Waco, TX; vs TX Tech Nov. 16 in Arlington; vs OSU Nov. 23 in Stillwater; vs TCU Nov. 30 in Fort Worth; vs Texas Dec. 07 in Waco

Texas (4-0): vs Kansas Nov. 2 in Austin; vs W Va. Nov. 9 in Morgantown, WV;  vs OSU Nov.16 in Austin; vs Tx. Tech Nov. 28 in Austin; vs Baylor Dec. 7 in Waco

Oklahoma (4-1): vs Baylor Nov. 7 in Waco, TX; vs Iowa State Nov. 16 in Norman; vs Kansas State Nov. 23 in Manhattan, KS; vs OSU Dec. 7 in Stillwater

Texas Tech (4-1): vs OSU Nov. 2 Lubbock, TX; vs Kansas State Nov. 9 in Lubbock; vs Baylor Nov. 16 in Arlington; vs. Texas Nov. 28 in Austin

Oklahoma State (3-1): vs Texas Tech Nov. 2 Lubbock, TX; vs Kansas Nov 9 in Stillwater; vs Texas Nov. 16 in Austin, TX; vs Baylor Nov. 23 in Stillwater; vs OU Dec. 7 in Stillwater

This weekend, OSU can earn a spot on the front row, if not the pole position for the sprint with a win…

We also talked Dallas Cowboys football, and one of the most disturbing finishes to a game any fan can endure. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford was an NFL signal caller playing against a CFL secondary. The Cowboys were down to Taxi-squaders in the cover positions, and Stafford and Calvin Johnson just ate them alive. It wasn’t Dez Bryant’s silly showing up of his teammates on TV that hurt this team; but they had better find some cover talent in a hurry. Good news Cowboys fans: Demarco Murray’s return and your team plays in the most disappointing division in the NFL this season.

The World Series features a great story about Oklahoma, specifically Stillwater/OSU connections between John Farrell, the Red Sox manager, and one of the Cardinals studs, Matt Holliday. I won’t take credit for the story, so I advise you to go the Cards website if you want to read it and hear a Matt Holliday interview on the subject. Here  is also one of many articles on the subject. 

The NBA season starts tonight – sorry to say don’t expect the Thunder to start 2 and 0 on the road… but they will be home against a poor Suns team SUnday night.

Michael Cross and I talk sports on Wednesday mornings on KOSU-FM in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and you can hear this week’s segment here on KOSU.org.