Jim's Blog

LATE PUSH

Can you learn from a loss? Can you find something, a spark, from a setback that can help you the rest of the season? The Air Force Men’s Basketball team believes it can take something from their 89-74 setback against #4 San Diego State Saturday and use it for a late season push into the post season. That was the tone coming from players after the loss. San Diego State is ranked 4th for a reason. They are damn good, and remain unbeaten. The Falcons made them play and play hard Saturday. It was a 3 point game with 6:15 to go when the Aztecs went on an 8-0 run to pull away. But in the course of the contest the Falcons may have learned something about themselves. Their losing streak sits at 6 games, but of the 6, this was the hardest they had played. They showed energy, and urgency, which has been hit and miss this year. And they showed they could stay with the #4 team in the nation. But only because they played with passion and emotion. It’s easier to do at home, in front of a near sellout crowd. What is tough is to take that and play with that fire on the road. There are  6 regular season games left, and if the Falcons can play with that kind of emotion they showed against the Aztecs, they can go into the Mountain West Tournament with a lot of momentum.

 

Follow AF Basketball all season long on 740 KVOR.

Time is Running Out

Just 8 games remain in the regular season for the Air Force Mens Basketball team and while opportunities are still out there, the Falcons are trending in the wrong direction. They’ve lost 4 straight after 2 crucial losses at San Jose State and at home against Fresno State. They won’t play again until Tuesday at Nevada at 9pm on KVOR. Their weekend bye comes at the right time, because the team is struggling. A frustrated Head Coach Dave Pilipovich said, outside of Sid Tomes, his seniors are not playing well and he needs more from them. He added that he may have to change some lineups and sit some seniors if things don’t get better. This has not been a good season. The consensus was this team, this group, would be special. With 4 seniors most nights in the starting lineup, it was believed the Falcons would battle for an upper division finish in the Mountain West. But it has not gone according to plan. One of the big problems has been defense. I asked Tomes on the postgame show the other night was it offense or defense that the Falcons were struggling with most. He answered “Defense-100%.” Granted, Air Force is facing very athletic teams night in and night out. But the Falcons have to find a way to tighten up at the defensive end, and do a better job defending the 3 point line. Fresno State had 14 3’s the other night. San Jose State was shooting 29% for the season from the arc. Against the Falcons they shot 43%. And there are other examples. There’s no gimmies the rest of the way. This season can still be successful, but Air Force may have to do a deep dive to figure out why they haven’t been better on the defensive end. But they need to act quickly. The Falcons are on the clock.

 

Listen to Air Force Basketball on 740 KVOR

Halfway

Saturdays AF Mens Basketball game at San Jose State is the halfway point in the conference season. The Falcons are 3-5 in the MW with 10 games left. Time to get on a run and make some noise in the MW Tournament, and secure a post season tourney berth somewhere, but also time to let the potential of a good season get away from them. CSU and Utah St may have helped the rest of the league decide how to play Air Force moving forward. Both used aggressive man to man defense, not giving Air Force guards any space to shoot 3 pointers, which has been the strength of the Falcons all season. That, along with the team cooling off from the field inside the 3 point line, could be a recipe for bad times. Air Force has shown the ability to stay with, and beat, the best conference teams. (see Nevada, New Mexico UNLV and Utah St) But they have also been inconsistent at times-CSU and again Utah State, to make one wonder how the final 10 games of the season will look. First, you gotta win at home. 5 games left at Clune, including against undefeated San Diego State. 5 left on the road, including at Fresno State, San Jose State and Boise State. Winnable games are out there. Opportunities are still there, but the games are dwindling, and the season is winding down.

 

Listen to Air Force Basketball all season long on 740 KVOR.

A SPECIAL NIGHT

Tues 1-7-20..Clune Arena came alive with more than 4500 in attendance, many of them cadets, who watched Air Force dismantle Utah State 79-60. It was both a reminder of the past (Joe Scott 03-04) and perhaps a taste of what could be the rest of this season. The Academy enticed cadets to show up to cheer on the Mens basketball team (a little food from Chick-Fil-A didn’t hurt) in their game against the Aggies. What the Falcons showed, especially in the second half, could serve as an opening volley to visiting teams this season. Behind Ryan Swan, and suffocating defense from Sid Tomes on Utah State star Sam Merrill, Air Force soared past the Aggies and re-awakened the echoes of 16 years ago. When Clune is full and the Falcons are winning the 5800 seat arena becomes a chamber of horrors for the opposition. You can’t hear, the fans are on top of you, and it feels like you are playing uphill. The late Rick Majerus, said his Utah teams played at Cameroon Indoor and Madison Square Garden, yet Clune Arena was louder than both. Credit most of that to the cadet squadron. Yea, maybe its cooler to get off campus for a weekend than to go to a basketball game, but if the Falcons can continue to play like they did Tuesday night Clune Arena may become to cool place to be.

Saturday Air Force is at New Mexico. Listen to the game beginning at 4 on 740 KVOR.

ONE FINAL TEST

It’s been an amazing year for the Air Force football team. A 10-2 regular season, wins over CU, CSU, and Wyoming, going back to a bowl for the first time in 3 years, a legitimate opponent in Washington State (sorry South Alabama and Western Michigan) And Friday Night December 27th the final game of the year vs the Cougars in the Cheez-It Bowl. That game represents one final test. Air Force can claim a second win over a Pac-12 team in one year, and an elusive 11 win season. They don’t hand those out on the corner. You earn EVERYTHING just getting to 10 victories. That’s rare air, and that’s what the Falcons want. This team wants to reach heights few even barely dream of. It can happen, but it won’t be easy. Washington St. leads the nation in passing. 4 and 5 wide receiver sets are common for Head Coach Mike Leatch. And like all Pac-12 schools they are bigger than the Falcons. Which means this plays perfectly into Air Forces’ hands. The Cougars will spend a lot of practice time over the holidays (when there isn’t a lot of practice time) trying to figure out the option. They’ll try to take away the edge and load the box, figuring their DB’s are more talented than Geraud Sanders and Ben Waters. Bring it on, and fall into the same trap most every school has this year. Look, this won’t be easy. This will be a tough game for the Falcon defense. They’ll play nickel and dime coverage a lot, and will have to blitz a lot to have a shot. But, it’s Air Force. The Falcons are, and love to be, the underdog. It will be fun in the desert December 27th at 815p on 740 KVOR.

Time is Running Out

Just 8 games remain in the regular season for the Air Force Mens Basketball team and while opportunities are still out there, the Falcons are trending in the wrong direction. They’ve lost 4 straight after 2 crucial losses at San Jose State and at home against Fresno State. They won’t play again until Tuesday at…MORE

Halfway

Saturdays AF Mens Basketball game at San Jose State is the halfway point in the conference season. The Falcons are 3-5 in the MW with 10 games left. Time to get on a run and make some noise in the MW Tournament, and secure a post season tourney berth somewhere, but also time to let…MORE

A SPECIAL NIGHT

Tues 1-7-20..Clune Arena came alive with more than 4500 in attendance, many of them cadets, who watched Air Force dismantle Utah State 79-60. It was both a reminder of the past (Joe Scott 03-04) and perhaps a taste of what could be the rest of this season. The Academy enticed cadets to show up to…MORE

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