Morning Jac: I Didn't Take the Hint
"I'm surprised you didn't ask me about my defense," said Arizona State head coach Chris Malone when my interview with him was wrapping up last Wednesday.
"I wouldn't be surprised if one, or both, teams were under 10 goals on Friday," added Colorado State coach Alex Smith.
I figured they were throw-away lines. Or maybe a sop to the respective defenses that would undoubtedly get overwhelmed during the course of the game between the No. 2 Sun Devils (averaging 18 goals per game) and the No. 3 Rams (13.5 gpg). So I concentrated on other storylines in my Weekender column about the match-up.
Looks like I should have listened.
Colorado State rallied from an early 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead at halftime and held on for the 6-5 victory in Fort Collins. I'm not sure of the pace of play, or who did the scoring (MCLA programs generally takes a 'day after' approach to statistics), but it appears the coaches were prophetic.
Malone boasted that "if you were going to score 10 goals against us, you'd have to find 10 different ways to do it," and Smith said he wasn't going to handcuff his offense, but the Rams would be taking extra precautions not to inadvertently spring the deadly Sun Devil transition game. The result was 6-5 grinder.
In the broader picture, this game was essentially a tie if you figure home field is worth a goal. Colorado State will bump up to No. 2 in the polls this week (assuming they beat Arizona on Sunday) and ASU shouldn't fall too far unless they tank against No. 6 Colorado on Sunday.
Continuing on a macro level, this game bodes well for both teams as they each eye a trip to No. 1 Michigan next week. Blunting a prolific offense will give these programs the belief that they can go into Ann Arbor and slow down the Wolverines. Whether they do it or not is obviously a different equation.
Regardless, I clearly need to start reading between the lines better when talking to coaches before a big game because Malone and Smith tried to warn me.
Best & Worst
Worst part about today: When I woke up this morning at 6:45 a.m., it was 19 degrees on my back porch. Nineteen degrees on March 26? Anytime now, Spring.