The audio of the UMKC — aka Kansas City  — press conference with Dave Boots is included above. Give it a click and listen for a good friend of mine in the television business knocking down a folding chair as sort of an introduction to the festivities, then picking it up. Then there’s a delay until everyone is re-situated and the questions begin.

OK, as for the rest of this….

In USD’s case, the men’s and women’s basketball teams went into very similar situations last Saturday against the UMKC programs. Both Coyote teams were facing squads that had been losing games in bunches recently and both had the opportunity to assert themselves a little — you know, start edging up in the early season standings — with wins against struggling teams.

Instead they both posted four-point losses to the Kangaroos.

These losses were arrived at via different routes. The women were not able to sustain much of an offense and the men were not able to get many stops.

The men have 10 conference games to play and the women have 12, so it’s early  — the men are 3-3 and the women are 2-2 — but there are a few things, some of them actually encouraging, that we’re probably looking at for the rest of the year.

The Coyote men are not long enough to really get it done every night in the Summit. Coach Dave Boots was very honest about his team’s strengths and weaknesses following the loss to UMKC. (Recorded and available at the top.)

Summarizing, they don’t play consistent defense and the reason they don’t is that they’re not physically well-suited to do so. There are very few nights this year where the Coyotes win the eyeball test — a big percentage of the teams they’re facing are taller, more athletic and stronger than they are. They’ve survived because they’re a strong offensive unit these days with a lot of guys who can dribble the ball and shoot, surrounded by a very sound post player.  Some nights that equation works and some nights you commit four turnovers, shoot 53 percent and lose.

The Roos hit 19 of  23 from the field in the second half. Had they hit 16 of 23 – which still translates to a hefty 70 percent from the field – the Coyotes would have won the game. Perhaps there are things they can work on in practice that will help them shore things up, but this is a team that has been practicing for more than two months now, and working diligently on defense the whole time. At some point, what you’re getting is what you’re going to get and you try to make the best of it.

I did not see the women’s game, obviously, but looking at the box score it looks like there was a regression from what I thought was a fairly decent performance in the loss at Brookings. USD hit 19 of 60 shots against the Roos and no one, other than reserve Sam Mehr, had anything above an average shooting night. The starters hit 12 of 43 shots. Even with the Roos turning it over 19 times, there’s only so much you can do if you’re not hitting one-third of your shots.

But here’s the deal, and it applies to both teams: How important is seeding for the Summit League tournament if you’re not going to get a bye, you’re probably not going to finish last, and you’re out of the running for the top two spots?

 Avoiding a first-round game against the top seed is a worthy goal, but beyond that, I’m not seeing a ton of difference between the teams on the women’s side. Time will tell in the men’s race, but apart from NDSU and SDSU, is there that much difference? Even if Western Illinois would continue to hang in there (The Leathernecks are a salty 6-0), would you rather play a second-seeded Leatherneck team at Sioux Falls Arena with your own crowd dominating the scene, or SDSU/NDSU with more than half a houseful of their fans riling them up?


1. Straps  

2. Barber chair

3. Artificial plant

4. Corduroy blazers