Frosty coupons might expose rebuilding Rockets teamWritten by Matt Sussman | | email@example.com
Nine freshmen. Four sophomores. No seniors.
If you needed any sort of UT men’s basketball preview beyond that, you simply love excess reading. They lost their exhibition game to Division II foe Central State on Tuesday by seven. Saturday night they lost their home opener to Eastern Illinois by 10, and for much of the game it wasn’t really close. The team’s greatest export is youthful exuberance, but for this season that may not translate into many games.
Naturally, it’s up to the athletic department to come up with new and inventive plans to bring fans into the stands and, perhaps more importantly, keep them in their seats for the entire game. That’s why Saturday night they tantalized the audience with coupons for a free small Wendy’s Frosty, provided the Rockets scored 60 or more points. (And they did.) At face value it’s just a 99-cent dessert, but one who would freely refuse a free Frosty is either an American traitor or perhaps lactose intolerant. It’s a brilliant ploy by the Rockets athletic department, because even in a blowout there is a reason to stay, other than to see the dudes at the end of the bench play some minutes.
But there’s probably no better way to expose the Rockets youth than to set the bar at 60. If a team can’t routinely score that many points, it’s usually not exactly a hopeful sign.
Consider: of the 330 teams in Division I last year, 311 of them averaged at least 60 points. Toledo was one of the 19 who weren’t (59.2). In more than half of their games (18 of 32) they ended with 59 points or fewer. In all fairness, the 60-point threshold was met in 9 of their 13 home games. But with four of their top six scorers graduating, who will account for the 67 percent of points that either have diplomas or left the team?
In my day, BGSU basketball games offered free McDonald’s fries if the team reached 85 points. This was achieved only once last year by the Falcons at Anderson Arena, and they scored at least 80 two other times. This is the carrot dangled in front of the typical ADHD fan. Of course, you can’t lure people with free carrots. Junk food is more effective.
Perhaps 85 is too much to ask in Savage Arena (UT hasn’t netted 85 at home since November 30, 2005 against IPFW) but putting it at 60 could demoralize the Rockets. Admittedly they made it to 62 on Saturday against EIU, but it was a struggle. Perhaps something like 70 points is a more reasonable “treat,” and the sliding scale can be such that when Gene Cross’s team starts winning more games and shooting better, then they can increment the coupon milestone.
Note: I plan on live blogging select UT men’s basketball home games this season on Twitter. Follow @rockethoops to enjoy this free public service.