Sometime, it seems, despite an all-out effort, planning, preparation, a person isn’t accomplishing their goal. It ‘s like RUNNING ON A TREADMILL….lots of effort…no movement/ no change! It happens in sports also. A team or player seem to be running on a treadmill. Always going at maximum speed…but not really “moving” forward.  In sports, some teams are  Running on A Treadmill right now!

….Mizzou was hoping to jump off the TREADMILL OF MEDIOCRITY in the NCAA. The win last week was their 1st win in 6 years in the NCAA Tourney. MU has made it to the Elite 8 level- 5x—2009, 2002, 1994, 1976 and 1944. In 1944, there were only 8 teams in the entire NCAA Tourney. The Tigers lost the 1st game to Utah 45-35 in ‘44. Obviously, it was a totally different era in 1944 than now. In their 1st round game  this year, the Tigers were far too athletic for Utah State but in the 2nd round, Princeton worked their offense to get good shots, knocked down 3’ & outrebounded MU and kept their turnover level very low. Princeton beat the Tigers at their own game. I’m confident that Coach Gates will have an easier time recruiting this year than last year after players see the team’s style of play & Coach Gates style of coaching. The one area of improvement needed, from my chair, is better defense.

…Unbelievably, City SC is running on a Fast-Track TREADMILL! Now 4-0 in their inaugural season. City, it appears, is led by talented evaluators and precise, detailed, productive practice sessions. For years leading up the draft, the City GM & his staff evaluated players from around the world who would fit into this aggressive, yet carefully outlined style of play. Congrats to them for this sensational start! I will say that I do wish that City had built a larger stadium (but not as big as Busch) but something in the 30-35 thousand level instead of its current size of CityPark– 22,500. I understand that they want it intimate but it also limits expansion of  soccer fans (new & old) to seeing the game 1st hand.

…On a stalled TREADMILL is St Louis U Basketball. Hyped in the pre-season that “this WAS the Year” with a bevy of veteran players returning for 22-23 season. SLU seemed to running on a treadmill all year. Sure… they finished in a 3-way tie for 2nd in the A-10 but that REALLY isn’t saying a whole lot. Only 6 of theA-10 of the 16 teams finished with final season records over .500. According the final season NET rankings of NCAA M-Basketball, SLU was ranked #99! Hence not even an invite to the NIT (Nobody Is Talented). SLU has reached the Elite 8 only once—1952. Ed Macauley was the star on a team that had only 1 player from outside the StL area! The Bills did win the 1948 NIT Tourney which, at the time, was viewed by many, as a bigger accomplishment than the NCAA title!!

…Graduating are a foursome who gobbled up many minutes. 6-9 Francis Okoro, 6-9 Jake Forrester, Javon Pickett, Javonte Perkins. I thought that the Billikens seldom presented “an inside force” to the opposition this year and it kept the SLU offense running on a treadmill. Coach Travis Ford will have the ability & challenges this off-season to find the necessary major improvements in the Paint for SLU.

…For some of the long-time Blue-Blood NCAA Mens Basketball powerhouses, they’ve fallen onto the  “GOOD” treadmill but not “GREAT” treadmill  in real recent years. UCLA has won the Most NCAA Tourneys with 11 championships but none since 1995. Kentucky owns 8 championships, none since 2012. N.Carolina has 6 titles with the last one in 2017. Duke & Indiana each have 5 titles. Duke’s most recent title was  in 2015  and for Indiana, it was 1987.

…suddenly, the TREADMILL stopped…it was time for the Cardinal Quiz of the week. This Cardinal played 13 years for the Cards. His salary reached a high of $25,000. In his career he had 2383 hits in 2380 games. His career average was .300. He had 1018 walks & 538 strikeouts.  Stan Musial called him one of the greatest hustlers of all time.

…Using a familiar, fast-paced, TREADMILL doesn’t work either. The defending NCAA champion hasn’t advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2007!

….Hopping back on the Fast-Track TREADMILL at the D-2 level– UMSL Basketball led by Bob Sundvold has his team on a treadmill that’s running at a very fast clip. The Tritons (24-10) reached the Elite 8 in the National-D2 Tournament. Despite losing 7 players from a 26-7 team that reached the Regional Championship game in 21-22, this years club WON the NCAA regional  by beating Mckendree who had beaten them 2x in the last 22 days.  Isiah Fuller led UMSL with 27 pts & Victor Nwagbaraocha added 14. Tritons Play Nova Southeastern on Tues, March 21. This is the 2nd UMSL team this year to go deep into the NCAA Tournament. The Womens Volleyball team reached the Final Four in Seattle last fall.

….At a totally different part of the season, spring training. The Cards, it seems, are running on a TREADMILL that starts & stops. With the “star” players gone to play in the World Baseball Classic (why couldn’t that be scheduled in January so that players don’t miss their MLB camps?), there’s lots of  juggling & opportunities for younger players (usually already designated minor leaguers) but the StL Cards progress is RUNNING ON A TREADMILL w/o the day-day starters. As a result, team cohesiveness along with the competitiveness for spots, unity & camaraderie fall by the wayside. Can real progress in assembling a team be the same as if 13 players are absent, including the 2 best players? The shortened spring training trial makes evaluations w/o on the same field comparisons more “iffy”. How does that impact the entire team composition or has the script already been written by the brass & the play in Feb/March on the field is just a charade?

…suddenly, the TREADMILL began running erratically!  After a check on it, we found that the erratic movement was due to the shocking upset of a #16 (Farleigh Dickinson) over a #1 seed Purdue in the NCAA Trny. Who was Farleigh Dickinson anyway? Dickinson lived from 1866-1948. He became famous for his work in developing surgical instruments. So much for history….It’s only the 2nd time that a #16 beat a #1. The 1st time it was done was 2018, when #16 UMBC beat #1 Virginia 74-54. Who is UMBC was my question- it sounded like a bank to me? Probably yours too…University of Maryland-Baltimore County!

…Quiz answer—Enos Slaughter.

…Oops… the TREADMILL has completely stopped. So, I’m getting off.  Thanks for your read! I enjoy, as do others, YOUR thoughts on the RIDE ON THE TREADMILL!   Bob

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