Conference USA Dispatches: Rice 2.0At The Ballpark
BILOXI, Miss. — It looks like Wayne is on a roll again. He AND his team, that is.
When asked after his teams’ 5-4 victory over FAU about why his team always seems to play so well in the post-season, Rice head coach Wayne Graham quipped, “Well because we’re not going to class anymore.”
He might have a point. He’s not coaching some community college where you can slide by even after skipping half the classes. Rice University is one of the top academic institutions in the country. Pick your favorite story about why there is such a higher emphasis on higher learning. Mine is the fact that players on the football team have routinely left practice in the middle of it because they’ve got a lab class to go to.
That’s right, a synthetic and systems biology lab trumps defending the spread offense at this school.
So for Wayne to say that his team is playing better because the rigors of their heavy academic load is at first funny, then easy to understand.
With his team concentrating solely on what goes on between the white lines, they have moved to 2-0 in Graham’s final go-round in the Conference USA Tournament. They will now chill their heels until the Saturday morning lidlifter where they will take on the winner of FAU and Louisiana Tech.
“It’s what Rice does,” FAU coach Mark McCormack said afterward. “They have the tradition, the pedigree to play like this. My hat’s off to them. They did a great job against us and got the key hit when they needed it.”