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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Expectations and Predictions

Expectations are a funny thing. As fans we cheer for our team and talk trash about how we're better than other teams. But then sometimes, we are hesitant to predict big things from our team. Why? Because we don't want to "raise expectations."

And why don't we want to raise expectations? I guess because of some fans have this idea about how much enjoyment you can get out of it. If you expect to come in 1st, and you come in 3rd, you're disappointed. If you expect to come in 1st, and you come in 1st, you're merely satisfied. And if you expect to come in 3rd, and you come in 1st, you're ecstatic beyond your wildest dreams. These fans think you get more enjoyment out of coming in 1st if you're not expecting it, and they want to mitigate their disappointment in case they come in 3rd ("Well, this is how we expected to do..."). The same effect comes into play to a sickening degree at political debates.

In the case of players and coaches, they try to set expectations low for the same reasons, except it's job security instead of enjoyment.

Well, the players can do what they want, and the coaches can do what they want. But I'm not tempering my expectations. I expect us to win a game in Puerto Rico. I expect us to win 20 games. I expect us to have two players on the All-AE First Team. I expect us to win the America East this year and go to the NCAA Tournament. And I'm going to enjoy it all just as much as if I only expected us to finish in 8th place (Binghamton is the default 9th place).

These high expectations should be the same every year, for every team. They're the reason Dennis Wolff was fired. And I don't think Pat Chambers should get any leeway from them just because he's new! We have a group of great veterans who have proven themselves capable. This is their last shot - why wouldn't they expect to make it to the NCAA's themselves!

Coach Chambers, Tyler Morris and Carlos Strong have all recently talked about not looking ahead of the next practice or game in front of them, and not worrying about where they are at the end of the year as long as they are the best team they can be. That's a fine attitude to have in order to keep concentration on the day-to-day efforts at improving. But they're crazy if they don't have any goals or expectations for the entire season.

There is pressure involved in setting high expectations. But when you expect great things, sometimes you get great results.

* * *

Now, predictions are different that expectations, but for fans they can fall into the same trap as the expectations... forecasting lower results to minigate disappointment and be "pleasantly surprised" by success. Well, not me. I predict (and expect) that this group of seniors and this new coach will bring us a championship.

Others who don't care about our program one way or the other are unencumbered by the expectations game. So what do they think?

In short, they all have pretty high expectations for us. I haven't seen a publication yet (published post-Tiki) that doesn't have us winning the America East. So what about beyond that, in the NCAA tourney?

CBS Sports: #16 vs. Kentucky
ESPN Bracketology: Play-In Game vs. Jackson State (!)
Blogging the Bracket: #14 vs. West Virginia
FoxSports: #16 vs. West Virginia

That's a lot to live up to.

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1 Comments:

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"In short, they all have pretty high expectations for us. I haven't seen a publication yet (published post-Tiki) that doesn't have us winning the America East."

Or the American East, since more than half of national sportswriters place BU in that mythical conference :p

 

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