Saturday, December 20, 2014

College Football Bowl Podcast Part 1

I join up with longtime friend Matt McQueeny on his mix-minus podcast to discuss the upcoming College Bowl Season.

http://www.matthewmcqueeny.com/2014/12/2014-15-college-football-bowl-preview.html

I went 183-135 this year in Division 1 football against the spread. I have a decent pulse on the beat of D1 college football and look forward to the second part of the mix minus podcast.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

FLOORS for 2014-15

     Coaches, conferences, uniforms, rule changes, and FLOORS! Below are photos of new floors debuting this year in college hoops.

North Carolina State
...not bad

Northern Illinois 
...nice touch with the eyes.

Xavier 
...when I think of Xavier basketball, the skyline of Cincinatti will never come to my mind but whatever. Trending obviously.

Washington 
 
...totally buy in because of the Space Needle. Good job.

Utah 
...keeping it simple looks good.

Wyoming 
...facilities renovations abound in Laramie and love that reminder of altitude. Wish I had a better shot.

Baylor 
...despise Baylor so I was hoping the ugly floor would have remained but the arms race never ends! 

Dayton 
...if there was anything other than Long Beach State's floor and Western Kentucky's floor that dominated floors was the OLD Dayton floor. Debuting this floor is not just upsetting but outright ugly. At least their new uniforms aren't as bad as this overthought, tradition killing floor. Good luck.

UC Irvine 
...another confusing one. I get that incorporating an anteater maybe challenging but I think UTEP upon initial sight. Seems lazy and non-creative.

Eastern Kentucky 
...good job.

Texas Tech 
...I guess today's hypersensitive, blameshifitng, culture wouldn't allow a "Guns Up" ode to Tech on the hardwood but reminds me of the Longhorns and A&M too much with the state logo right there smack-dab on the circle. Set your program apart!

Murray State 
...back to the Ohio Valley and Murray States new floor dons the improved logo. Sucker for the old one but not a bad look. 

IUPUI 
...I get it but this is a classic example of when trying too hard goes wrong. Unless this turns it around for the Jags, ugly, unacceptable, and who knew Indianapolis even had a skyline. For the casual college basketball fan, IUPUI, is Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Out of the ever changing Summit League.

     My take on what otherwise has nothing to do with the play on said floors. Everyone is trying to keep up with the latest this and that so I brought debuting floors. Always on the look and will be on watch for new ones. 

     Western Kentucky is still my favorite floor. So basic and yet so confusing because it doesn't include "Big Red", the best mascot in college basketball. Take that Syracuse.


     Going forward to 2015-2016 Long Beach State actually improves their floor with a more organized palm tree look. 

     But one will never forget arguably the best design ever emblazoned on a basketball floor 




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Changes

     College hoops is almost upon us only a few weeks away. Anticipation is exciting and anxiously fueling me for one more year of fantastic basketball. After a great run last year that ended to a talented Arizona squad, Weber State has been picked to finish first in the preseason Big Sky Conference poll. Sixth out of the past seven seasons for those keeping score and you know as well as I that preseason polls amount to jack. A good sign nonetheless for the fans of the Weber State Wildcats. Last weekend, in Utah, I stopped inside the Dee Events Center to watch the Wildcats practice. Coach Rahe is focused and in control. The program has reflected this image, annually contending for Big Sky titles. A trip down memory lane as I was thinking of my time with the program, spending two seasons as Weber State student manager.
 
     
     Many conference changes. Here they are:

The Atlantic 10: Along with new logo 
the A10 welcomes Davidson from the SoCon bolstering an already strong basketball league.

The Atlantic Coast Conference adds Louisville. Yikes.

The American gets Tulane, Tulsa, and East Carolina by way of CUSA. 

The Big Sky adds the Vandals of Idaho.

The Big Ten will get Maryland and Rutgers, which has to be the new punching bag. 23 years and counting for the Scarlet Knights absence in the NCAA tournament. 

The Colonial welcomes former SoCon member, the Phoenix of Elon.

Conference USA has just one team coming in after three teams bailing. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Same best floor logo and mascot.

The Southern Conference or SoCon adds more teams than any other league welcoming VMI, East Tennessee State, and Mercer.

The Sun Belt Conference adds Appalachian State and Georgia Southern primarily to strengthen their football.

     Listed below are this years new head coaches. Thanks to bsstate.com. Not listed is recently fired Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold. As of this blog entry a new hire as not been confirmed.
Obviously Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello had quite the time this off season, leaving the Jaspers to coach South Florida, only to be let go by the Bulls after they found out Masiello hadn't yet completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky. Manhattan welcomed him back as head coach on the condition he completed his degree over the summer, which he did. So interesting that I found this photo from Steve's twitter account dated October 14th 2014.
Have never been the biggest fan of Coach as blogged about 2 seasons ago but I must say that I hope for the best!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Final Four, MLB, Nets Podcast

http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/2760069

Another great podcast with Matt McQueeny. We discuss Final Four, MLB, Nets, among other sports podcast. A great listen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

32 Left

        Big Sky representative Weber State went up 7-0 on top seeded Arizona, at one point leading by 8 points. However Arizona went on a 30-10 run to end the 1st half and if you have half a brain there was no way Arizona was going to lose. Honestly was shocked that Weber State wound up losing by 9 points, thanks to a late offensive flurry. Arizona coach Sean Miller gave Weber State its due come post game and was quite candid with his disappointment in his teams performance. At least Weber showed me fight and didn't give up. Arizona will be playing Gonzaga on Sunday. Gonzaga survived the foulfest with Oklahoma State beating the pokes, 85-77. The refs, wound up calling a tournament tying 61 fouls in what was an unwatchable "game." Yet I watched and heard perhaps a career mistake from play by play man Andrew Catalon. When Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski was fouled, Catalon goes on to say that perhaps Ok.State's strategy was "hack a polack" noting his poor free throw percentage. Surprised to hear it, partner in the booth Mike Gminski said "Easy now" to which Catalon apologized and then went on to describe Karnowski's Polish basketball ties. This will get anyone in trouble but to me it wasn't as offensive as the officiating. Perhaps one of the worst officiated games I've witnessed but then I look no further than to the Nebraska Baylor game played a few hours prior. Even worse. Nebraska committed 31 fouls to Baylor's 16. The crossing guards went to the line 48 times, Nebraska 16.  I'm sure this was one of the reasons Nebraska head coach Tim Myles was heated and got t'd up twice. But this is no way to focus on a great day of action. Not here on Modblog.
       The most exciting game today was between VCU and the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin. In an eerily similar brain cramp to Oklahoma last night albeit a cramp of a different variety, VCU fouled a 3 point shot that SFA made, resulting in a 4 point play. This allowed SFA take VCU to overtime, eventually winning the game. All you Mercer-Duke game fans can say that Mercer was a lower seed, "it was Duke!", the game was played in Raleigh, but this game between VCU and SFA simply was more exciting. I wasn't that surprised with Mercer beating Duke. If you read Modblog, you should notice that I have been keeping tabs on the Atlantic Sun conference and as shocking as the Mercer win was, the SFA win was that times ten. Moving along, what's with this praise for Coach K acting classy in the loss? Last I checked Coach K is Hall of Famer. Would you expect anything less? Enough of the fake shock realizing Coach K is a decent guy. UNC played in an exciting game against Providence, negating Bryce Cotton's impressive 36 point performance beating the Friars 79-77. Coastal Carolina kept it close for awhile, led at the half even but eventually lost to 1 seed Virginia.
       New Mexico lost again in the opener. Nothing against Stanford but for as much Mountain West basketball I follow, the Lobos played crumby. Sad really. I thought that last year's early exit to Harvard would still be lingering and New Mexico would find a way to overcome another loss in an opener. The Cardinal had other ideas and Johnny Dawkins gets his first tournament win as head coach. Speaking of the Mountain West, last week in the Mountain West Tournament there was a rather strange "administrative technical foul" given to Nevada when they played Boise State. In the scorer's book, Nevada had mis numbered one of its players resulting in the technical. You'd think that  programs would a.) know better  b.) take notice. Apparently not. This happened Thursday with Cincinatti. But in the category of "can you get any more serious?!?!," Kansas State probably topped it last night. I know this rule but for all of you who don't, while a team is in pre game shoot-around, NCAA rules prohibit players from dunking anytime after the 20:00 mark. If caught dunking after 20:00 the other team will shoot free throws prior to tip. Kansas State was caught dunking after the 20:00 mark(by a walk-on no less) and Kentucky shot 2 free throws before the tip. Kentucky wound up winning a game that seemed forever to end. This is why I like going to games early, like with 40:00 minutes left before tip-off. Case and point was this year witnessing a show put on by Florida Gulf Coast in Spartanburg S.C. The Gators weren't as impressive in their warmups in Columbia.
       Iowa State, despite running on all cylinders beating NC Central, have lost matchup nightmare Georges Niang for the rest of the year. Devastating hit to their run. Not that they can't do it but not exactly what Hilton magic was wishing for. Broken foot, ouch.  What doesn't hurt, is my Final Four remains intact. Creighton and Memphis survived tonight. I have Florida and Louisville as well. In closing it's interesting to note all flaws of the NCAA. For instance SDSU coach Steve Fisher going off in Thursday nights post game press conference or this tweet from Sports Illustrated writer Joan Niesen:
     

                                                     March Madness Indeed!




Harvard, Fraschilla, and Wroblicky

       Second round action debuted yesterday and didn't disappoint. It marked the first time 4 overtime games were played in the same day. Insane action, questionable decisions, and Harvard. Harvard, of course hinders me again. I am zero for three with the Crimson. In 2012 had them beating Vanderbilt, last year no way were they beating the Lobos sans Brandyn Curry, and of course yesterday they beat Cincinatti. Not so much surprise but more of a what the heck from the Bearcats. What I did find out was that Brandyn Curry from Harvard, despite hailing from North Carolina is not related to Dell. Also found out that Matt Fraschilla, freshman for the Crimson was indeed the son of Big 12's favorite spokesman, Fran. But the family ties extend to Oklahoma Sooners basketball. James Fraschilla is a sophomore on the Oklahoma team. Not to my surprise, Oklahoma lost to North Dakota State. The Bison feature good match ups on the front line with good ball handling big men. If San Diego State plays the way they did last night, North Dakota State should win. I'm probably the biggest proponent of Mountain West hoops but they continue to underwhelm in the big dance. Why should I be surprised if the Lobos lose today?
       Dayton got the last laugh beating the Buckeyes by one point in an exciting game. Texas escaped the Sun Devils in a wild finish. Speaking of Texas. no fan of SMU but the Mustangs, St. John's, or any other team on the bubble probably would have given better effort than Colorado yesterday. Pittsburgh is damn good but the Buffs effort yesterday was abysmal, joke worthy of their 9 seed.  Saint Louis somehow escaped with the win over NC State. Majerus lives. Albany kept it damn close with Florida. Louisville played a very intense Manhattan squad but somehow managed to advance. My favorite moment this side of the Sim Bhullar was courtesy of American University senior center Tony Wroblicky. I was unaware of his one handed free throws. This leads me to Florida Gators commit Zach Hodskins. If you think Wroblicky was good one handed, Zach will be a walk on.

                              Well, it's about time a 16 seed beats a 1. Let's Go Weber State!











Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

No Deonte Burton but Josh Adams was pretty good


I have to say I didn't expect as close a game Wyoming provided yesterday. However this dunk from Josh Adams was pretty sick, especially when you're not expecting it.

Weber State Basketball NCAA Birth Please

                            Weber State Basketball is rich in history, tradition, and winning.
       Lately, however the Wildcats seem unable to get that BIG win. Coach Randy Rahe has done a very good job since taking over the program in the 2006-07. In his first season, the 'Cats went 20-12, going 11-5 in Big Sky play, winning the Big Sky regular season and tournament. That team went onto the NCAA tournament where they were handled by UCLA in a 70-42 loss. In 2007-08, the 'Cats went 18-14 losing in the Big Sky semis. However the next two seasons Weber State locked home floor for the Big Sky tournament in Ogden. Promptly losing in the semis in 2009 and in 2010, a heartbreaker to Montana by one point in the championship game. The 2011 Wildcats went 20-14 but lost in the Big Sky semis.  In 2012 and 2013, granted not having home court advantage the Wildcats managed to lose the Big Sky title game, both times to Montana. Weber State has had five 20 win seasons, including a 30 win season last year yet has not advanced to the NCAA's since 2007. To date under Coach Rahe's helm, Weber State has gone 167-86 dominating the Big Sky, with only one conference tournament championship(one NCAA appearance) to show.
        Maybe just maybe, starting tonight against Northern Colorado, the Wildcats will change their losing ways. Even in last years incredible 30 win run, the Wildcats lost to East Carolina at home, at the buzzer for the CIT title. At least Montana has found its way out of this years Big Sky tournament. It's not as if Weber State needs to find a new offense or defense, they just need to find a way to win in a big spot. It's been sometime since a court storm at the Dee (this pic from '03),


SO let it begin tonight Wildcats.....please.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

12 Tickets Punched

       12 teams have advanced to the round of 68. Quite surprised to see Robert Morris and Florida Gulf Coast lose on their home floors. Also surprised to see Belmont lose, although not on their home floor, lose to Eastern Kentucky in Nashville. So the 12 teams punched in are Harvard(Ivy, only conference to not have a tournament), Eastern Kentucky(Ohio Valley),  Coastal Carolina(Big South), Mercer(Atlantic Sun), Wichita State(Missouri Valley), Delaware(Colonial), Manhattan(Metro Atlantic Athletic), Wofford(Southern), UW-Milwaukee(Horizon), Mt. St. Mary's(Northeast), North Dakota State(Summit), and Gonzaga(West Coast). Also surprised to see Vermont and Davidson not advance to at least
their respective conference tournament title games. That's why they play them right. Going forward, these next few days will be information overload for me. Have fun with the madness!



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Deonte Burton Dunk of the Year

     
       This has to be the dunk of the year courtesy of Nevada Wolfpack 6-1 guard Deonte Burton

       Or this one at UNLV?
     
             

         I have to share this one from a few years ago from Deonte as well at New Mexico State
       
Now that I have finally figured out how to post videos on modblog, this will enhance your viewing.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Atlantic Sun Championship Preview

     

       This years Atlantic Sun Championship game will be a rematch of last years title game between the Mercer Bears and the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles. However this years game will be played at the home of Americas Cinderella at Alico arena in Fort Myers Florida. Interesting to note that when modblog took off, it was with the Atlantic Sun Championship. FGCU became the first 15 seed to advance to the sweet 16 in the history of the NCAA tournament. Looking back at my blog about last years A-Sun championship I had the nerve to write that perhaps Sherwood Brown was too much of a showman. Very funny. Look where that took him and "Dunk City." Needless to say, the rest was history. Sunday afternoons game will be a highly anticipated rematch with a birth to the NCAA tournament. I've seen Mercer play twice this year and Florida Gulf Coast twice on television, one time in person. I have to question Mercer. Will they embrace the role of underdog? Will FGCU embrace the role of "Dunk City" in front of their home fans? For Mercer, a senior laden team struggled at home to finally beat the Spartans of SC Upstate last night, taking 2 overtime sessions. I'm not particularly fond of Mercer Coach Bob Hoffman. I don't agree with his whining and sideline antics. In the previous matchup with FGCU I observed his actions on the sidelines, which I think were a liability to the Mercer Bears. My opinion aside of Coach Hoffman, this game already has me pumped up. I remember last year's game and FGCU ripping it from Mercer on their home floor. That has to still be on the minds of the Mercer Bears. Although I wouldn't be surprised to Mercer win, I like FGCU. Why? Because I saw them play at SC Upstate. Chase Fieler was in foul trouble, he eventually fouled out but Dunk City found a way to win on the road. Also Brett Comer is a solid point guard  despite what you hear or read. I'll take him. Should be a great game, Sunday at 2pm.
       Speaking of sideline antics, Frank Martin of South Carolina has been suspended the final SEC game of the year for his swearing at players Tuesday night in the game against Florida. Despite not seeing it on TV, I was there and it really is eerie to see in person. Not that I disagree with what he says or does I'm frankly surprised it took him this long to get a suspension on the grounds for what he was suspended for. I remember listening to a radio broadcast of South Carolina in December and listening to Frank Martin question his players manhood in an equally profanity laced tirade. So, why all of a sudden now? Fishy.
       So Weber State locks up home court with the Big Sky and loses at Portland State last night. I will have a separate blog entry for Weber State. Cool, home court. Will you win the Big Sky tournament please?!?!?!
       Last night, with the Mercer game playing on the radio in the background and the Hawaii/UCSB game on TV, I saw Hawaii coach Gib Arnold get t'd up and a fan from the UCSB stands runs onto the floor and gets in Gibs face. At that moment, I thought, lunatic. But then I thought it was funny. God forbid right. Guilty. Thankfully nothing bad happened with the incident but as the game went to halftime here is what a very (visibly) pissed off Sean Farnham said, "he's lucky he wasn't at a football game. if i saw him i'd have speared him." Way to be Sean. Another unidentified babbling dolt goes, "who knows if this guy had a weapon, if he was under the influence of drugs. under the influence of alcohol"...this guy gives insight I never knew existed. What's more disturbing is the fake phony self righteous "outrage" these talking heads profess. Had to vent. It's as if people forget what happened when the crowd threw beer at Ron Artest.
       BTW the Mercer band playing "Together in the Sand" by NOFX. Read the lyrics. Now imagine if someone that did became offended and declared that song never to be played by bands. To be passive aggressive, we're not that far away. Still a good tune nonetheless and was the first I have heard. Rick Cameron, the play by play voice for the Mercer Bears is pretty good. A good listen indeed.
       Hey USC won it's 2nd Pac-12 conference game this year, 1st on the road defeating Washington State. The Trojans now improve to 11-19 on the year. Memphis hosts SMU at noon. Will Memphis play like they can? I hope so. I was a bit ticked off at the inept SMU crowd on Wednesday night. So Louisville is running clock at the end of the game, which is over 82-71 but some SMU player goes ahead and steals the ball. Fine. So, Louisville tracks the ball down after the SMU missed layup, pushes up floor for a dunk putting the Cards up 84-71 with 3 seconds left and the SMU crowd is booing. Wait a second, that's what happens when you steal the ball on a team that is running out the clock. Moody Tragic. And how about this: UConn sweeps Memphis, Memphis sweeps Louisville, Louisville sweeps SMU, and SMU sweeps UConn. The AAC circle of life. HA!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Upstate to Columbia, South Carolina Basketball

       Division 1 men's basketball is very entertaining. A few weeks back I was in Spartanburg South Carolina home to SC Upstate at Hodge Gymnasium. I found out Hodge is the smallest capacity gym in D1 at 818. I thought NJIT was the smallest gym but no, that honor belongs to humble Hodge. Up at Hodge I went to see Florida Gulf Coast because they rocked the D1 men's basketball world last March. They didn't disappoint and wound up with a big road win for their Atlantic Sun title hopes. So going down to Columbia tonight to see South Carolina play host to the No.1 Florida Gators I didn't know what to expect and afterwards wasn't disappointed.

       18,000 seat Colonial Life Arena wasn't filled to capacity but most of the seats were filled. Carolina had just beat No.17 Kentucky on Saturday and the fans were primed for another upset. Although their were many Gator faithful in attendance, Gamecock pride was rampant and at the end of the first half #1 Florida was leading 28-26. The ol'ball coach(Steve Spurrier) came out during halftime riled the crowd, made a few jabs at Clemson, and Conor Shaw made an appearance thanking the crowd for his time as Carolina quarterback. Electric the atmosphere. Fans primed. The Gamecocks came to play. Another upset right. My brother and I were in for a show. After Carolinas Brenton Williams made a 4 point play and hit another 3 point shot the Gamecocks came back with a mini run of their own cutting the Gator lead to 39-35. That was as close as they would get because billy ball came back roaring. I think they went on a 23-5 run blowing the game open. Carolina got careless and despite my brother and I thinking the Gators had relied too much on the 3 point shot Michael Frazier II went record books knocking in 11 triples finishing the game with 37 points. It was as if the Gators vacuumed the place. South Carolina just got blitzed and it happened very fast very quick. Next thing you know the number one team in the nation was acting like the number one team in the nation. It did get funny at the end with the Carolina crowd throwing stuff onto the floor and chanting "Georgia Southern". The final score, Florida 72 South Carolina 46.
       Colonial Life isn't as intimate as Hodge. But the Gamecocks have a band. Love the college band, a vital piece to the college hoops experience. In closing obviously the Gators are good and it was cool to see how good they can be when they want to. The Gamecocks got gassed in the second and the Gators took that proverbial bait. Also, got to say what up to New Jersey Nets legend and former Gamecock Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to get the photo opp because it was "Bo Time" and he returned to his seat at the start of the 2nd half with some Bojangles.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Getting Ready

       If there was a team that I'd bet not to lose at home, it would have been the Billikens at Chaifetz Arena. SLU got Duquensed by Duquense at home. Good for the Dukes in that it was their first time since 1962 beating a top 10 team. I don' necessarily subscribe to the idea of losing before the Tournament but if this is what SLU needs in order for them to get to the second or third weekend than so be it. Fairly surprised to see Memphis lose on the road in Houston. If there was a game Pastner wants to win, I gather it would've been in his old hometown. Memphis looked flat. Thing is before the AAC tournament the Tigers play host to Louisville, at Cincinatti, and then host SMU. Strange Memphis is lately. They are 2-2 in their last four games beating Temple only by three points in overtime and Rutgers by five points. Memphis is tricky. They're showing me now the flaws. Talent wise, I think unlimited and can turn it on and play with anyone. Still wouldn't want to see any American Athletic Conference Team in the NCAA tournament.
       Five of six ranked teams in the top 25 lost last night, Louisville being the exception. Florida Gulf Coast lost on the road at Lipscomb getting schalacked by 21, opening the door for Mercer to take sole possession of the Atlantic Sun. Surprisingly Mercer, at home no less, lost in overtime to North Florida last night. So tonights finish between East Tennessee/SC Upstate at Hodge will be a very important game for the FGCU Eagles and the Mercer Bears. Vermont flexed its America East muscles last night taking care of second place Stony Brook 69-53. Big win for the Catamounts. Big wins for High Point and Utah Valley.  I don't know if Weber State will ever exact any revenge for losing at Sacramento State but they did exact a win by beating the Hornets at the Dee last night 79-67. Weber now goes 13-4 in Big Sky play. Was surprised to see the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah take Montana State to overtime last night in Bozeman. SUU eventually lost but they maybe the worst team in all of D1 basketball team dropping to 1-25 overall. Interesting to listen to college basketball on the radio. Two nights ago I gave UNLV's broadcast a listen. Considerable homers with a decent play by play guy and a shaky color guy. Last night I tuned into USC's broadcast and was impressed with their tandem. Granted not too much going well for the Trojans but have to say their overall broadcast was much better than the Runnin' Rebels. March is tomorrow. Can't wait.
   



  This is also the annual ladder season...brought to you by...Werner. Just thought I'd be the first to remind you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

30-0 Pretty Shocking

       Wichita State has now won 30 games out of 30. Potentially 35-0 going into the NCAA tournament if they win the last 2 remaining games in conference play and then go onto win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Not since 1991 has a team entered the NCAA tournament with an undefeated record. I am getting ahead of myself but consider this. Since the Runnin' Rebels entered the 1991 tournament undefeated there have been 23 college basketball seasons. Since then there have been about 7,500 teams with a chance to have done what Wichita State has done. How can anyone dismiss what the Shockers are doing right now while maintaing any iota of credibility? Now one can easily point out that the MVC is Creighton-less and blah blah blah. In my life I'd love to see a team run the table. Will the Shockers do it? I'm pulling for them.

       St. John's losing to Nova on the road ok. Real tough for the St. John's fan last night losing at home to Xavier. Not taking anything away from Xavier but a tough loss nonetheless. Props to Robert Morris(NEC) locking up their conference regular season title.
       With just two games left in an insane finish to the Big South conference VMI and High Point are tied for the league's best record. VMI visits High Point tonight. VMI has won 7 of 8 and High Point 8 of 9.
       The Atlantic Sun may come down to East Tennessee State at USC Upstate. On Friday night these teams will square off and will be a factor deciding the regular season champ in the event that FGCU and Mercer finish tied.
       Vermont will host the Seawolves of Stony Brook thursday night at Patrick Gymnasium. Vermont leads Stony Brook by one game in the America East and the last loss the Catamounts had were 8 games ago at the hands of the Seawolves.
       The OVC, WAC, CAA and Patriot leagues have fascinating finishes to their conferences as well.
       Georgia State wins again courtesy of the 3pt shot from Manny Atkins. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFwlFlZHLaA The Panthers now 13-1 in the Sun Belt.
       Stephen F. Austin remains undefeated in league play at 14-0. I had thought that Northwestern State would be the team to beat in the Southland this year and nearly pulled off the win on the road but Jacob Parker had other thoughts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7-DJhZVsXc

















Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25th, 2014

       Ever the critic of Virginia basketball, it is nice to see Tony Bennett coach. When he left Washington State after the 2009 season headed to Virginia, I was upset knowing that the ACC gained a good coach while the Pac 10 was losing one. Look at Washington State since Tony left. As we look at the Cavaliers schedule this year, they are currently 23-5 overall 14-1 atop the ACC conference. In looking at their non-conference wins, beating SMU, Davidson and maybe Hampton get your attention. They lost to VCU and Green Bay by 3 points apiece. The Cavs lost to Wisconsin by 10 at home 48-38 to which the score reminded me more of a WAC football game. But what has perhaps propelled Virginia's success was their blowout loss at Tennessee 87-52. I remember watching that game Dec. 30th feeling really bad for Coach Bennett. Yes, he had taken Virginia to the postseason the past two years but after this loss I wondered what was in store for Virginia. How would they be able to handle the ACC? I think their win at Pitt on Feb. 2nd also cemented more confidence. The Cavs won 14 of 15 and I would have never guessed their turnaround. 
         Interesting to watch the Mercer/FGCU game Friday. Having personally watched FGCU at SC Upstate the saturday prior, this game was huge for the Eagles. Mercer came into Ft. Myers leading the Atlantic Sun Conference holding a one game edge over FGCU. FGCU wound up beating the Bears(soundly I will add) but I have to question the methods of Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman. From start to finish Bob Hoffman was upset at the officials. Unreal. Look at the tape. Hand on hips. Constant complaining. Head shaking. Yelling. Constant disagreement. The officials were the reason you lost the game Bob, just ask Jim Boeheim. I guess the whole dressing in all black didn't help.
       A split on the dreadful Montana swing, I'll take for Weber State. Still leading the Big Sky at 12-4 with four games remaining in conference play.
       This got my attention. After Wichita State pounded Drake saturday night 83-54, Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said, "If you're a skeptic about Wichita State, then that's on you." Coach Giac was an assistant with Gonzaga last year, when the Shockers beat them. "And they're much better this year." Who knows how good the Wheat Shockers really are so I could care less where they are ranked in the polls or where they will be seeded. They are 29-0 though.
       Huge win for Boise State in overtime over UNLV in what I thought was most exciting game I've seen this year.  I know the Mountain West has not produced many wins come the NCAA tournament but three teams at least will get in, if not four. 
       

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bill Walton and other college basketball news

       There were a lot of games to chew on last night. Obviously, Syracuse finally lost. Look no further  than last week to Coach Boeheim's post game interview after the buzzer beater victory at Pitt. The same was echoed last night. The offense needs to get better. Dan Dakich also chimed in during a halftime show, "You can analyze the heck out of this game....but it just comes down to making shots".
       Belmont and Murray State are primed to meet up in the Ohio Valley Conference championship. But I have been tracking Morehead State. Last night the Eagles won at home in double overtime over Austin Peay. Here are the highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he6sJamlPu4 Morehead State sits a game behind Belmont at 10-3 in the OVC East division. I think they should make some noise come OVC tournament time.
       It is interesting to watch George Mason University. Last night the Patriots lost their second game to St. Louis in overtime, again. Stan Van Gundy, color commentator for the broadcast last night said it was tough to watch Mason lose. He's right. I'm pro Billikens and St. Louis was lucky to escape Fairfax with the win. George Mason is 9-17 overall and are cellar-dwelling the A-10 at 2-10. However it is not as if they are rolling over and getting spanked by opponents. Of the 10 games lost in A-10 play six games were lost by six points or less. In 3 non conference losses, the Pats lost by five points or less. Just like recently fired Pat Knight said, "you have to win games" and like Parcells says, "you are what your record is". I'm sure there are similar situations around college basketball nonetheless interesting to plug George Mason into the equation.
       Creighton once again goes onto win. Last night in Milwaukee, Marquette came to play in one of those "signature win" games. Not to say any one game is more important than any others but if you're a team like Marquette, last night was a prime opportunity. And you could feel Marquette clawing back into the game down 5 points with 7:10 left. The crowd standing as one, roaring the chant of defense. Marquette gets a stop here the momentum will surely be with the Golden Eagles. Enter Greg McDermott. He gets the ball and makes a highly contested 3pt. shot with 6:53 left. It was at that moment that I knew, the game, the energy had shifted. Creighton wound up winning by 15. Very impressive.
       Weber State lost their second overtime game of the month in Big Sky play on the road in Pocatello. The Wildcats still sit atop the Big Sky at 11-3 but 4 of their remaining 6 games are away from the Dee. The all important Montana road trip begins tonight in Missoula concluding saturday in Bozeman. If this isn't the Wildcats year I don't know what will. Two overtime defeats and still leading the Big Sky. A big trip for Weber State this weekend is very much understated.
       I was able to catch some of the Oregon/Washington game last night. I can't get over how awesome Bill Walton is.  I'm happy to see that awful announcing was able to provide the clip I'm sharing with you. Here's Bill, as only Bill can be: http://www.awfulannouncing.com/2014/february/this-is-the-most-bill-walton-clip-ever.html. Love the love to Woody Guthrie.
       Vermont once again winning dealing New Hampshire a crushing loss. I'm surprised to see Ohio University sitting middle of the pack in the Mid-American. I thought they would be a little bit better in conference play. I have yet to touch upon UConn and Iona this year and by no means am I overlooking them.  Intriguing to look at Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall's coaching record. I live close to Wintrhop University and I think you should look at his coaching record. Not too shabby.
     

Monday, February 17, 2014

Flying with the Eagles

       I've got to say my first visit to Spartanburg South Carolina was pretty cool. It was a trip with high anticipation that did not disappoint. When I revisited the Florida Gulf Coast men's basketball schedule after moving to South Carolina, I had February 15th circled on my calendar. I knew I had to go see the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. For this college basketball fan I cannot translate or compare the run the eagles made to the sweet 16 last year. I have tried to no avail.
       We arrived in Spartanburg 3 hours before tipoff. With time to kill grabbed some grub at the local Waffle House. Some people dog the WH but this one was solid. After food, a little sightseeing. My brother and I took a ride to the Wofford College football facility, where the Carolina Panthers partake in their summer workouts. A wrong turn and we approached the baseball field where Wofford must have been playing host to a tournament as Morehead State was on the field playing George Mason. Then onto downtown where the Denny's headquarters building raises above the skyline. Ok, enough of Spartanburg, let's go to the game.
       The Hodge Center holds 818, not 878 as I previously mislead. Entering Hodge reminded me of the Bill Bradley Center at Ramapo College or Paramus High School. Not at all big but this is just another reason why College Basketball fascinates me. We got into the gym with 50 minutes before tip, allowing ourselves to watch warmups and the all important layup line before the refs. See, in college as well as high school hoops when the refs come out before tip, if you are dunking, it will result in a technical foul. Typically the refs come out to the floor with 20 minutes before tip. Florida Gulf Coast was in their "Dunk City" mode during warmups. What made the warmups better was that Hodge has no baseline seats, just concrete walls so needless to say watching dudes throw self passes for dunks was cool. (Trying to get Warmups video but having trouble) Fieler and McKnight were the most fun to watch. Granted most D1 teams can do all the tricks but this was Florida Gulf Coast and watching the layup line was well worth the admission. Getting recognized from Fieler and Comer was sweet and even my brother got into the mix yelling at Kevin Boyle, acknowledging his new jersey sweatshirt.
       Onto the game. FGCU opened up with a 12-0 run. But Upstate countered with a 10-0 run of its own. It was an intense game that produced a solid shooting performance from the Eagles. "Dunk City" only provided 3 dunks, no alley oops either but Brett Comer had 2 sweet dishes(10 assists overall) and the Eagles won the game 84-80. Bernard Thompson, FGCU's leading scorer had 24, Fieler fouled out but had 17. The Eagles went 11-19 from distance and shot 59 percent from the floor. Ricardo Glenn made all of his shots from the floor for SC Upstate and finished with 24 points and 11 boards. The A-Sun's leading scorer the past 2 years, Torrey Craig had 14 points going 0-9 from deep for the Spartans. 
       In closing, despite no Coach Enfield and Sherwood Brown, FGCU did not cease to entertain. Granted they probably have a bigger target on their backs this year, the Eagles remain solid. Best of luck to them.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Smart

       Shaka Smart speaks about Marcus Smart incident and fan-player behavior:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I8px9C5Euo&feature=youtu.be Pretty good interview if you ask me. NOT smart was Arizona State. Look, the Sun Devils did come away with the win in double overtime, however I'm trying to decide what was NOT the smartest moves performed by everyone ASU. Obviously hindsight is a forty and Bachynski's block on McConnell was awesome but Carson dunking leaving time on the clock when he could have ran it out. Not Smart. ASU fans storming the court with time left on the clock. Not Smart. Allowing an opportunity for the Wildcats to hit a game tying three with plenty of time to set up for a decent inbound defensive set. Not Smart. Look, don't get at me for getting at the ASU fans. Oregon assistant coaches were spat at last week at Wells Fargo. When I tuned into the game an ASU fan threw one of those large cardboard heads at Nick Johnson(UofA) while he was on the floor. And the premature rushing of the court. I get it but at the same time I don't. All I can say ASU fan, enjoy this one. You deserve it. (vid of premature court rush)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG0bYm89O40
       BTW Harvard also escapes with a double OT W against Columbia.
       St. Louis will be tested at home playing host to VCU. Should be a good one and I would have planned to watch that but I'm heading west to South Carolina Upstate in a couple hours. The Spartans play host to Florida Gulf Coast. I'm sure the 878 will be rocking at Hodge.


Friday, February 14, 2014

TMI and Poor Organization

       Today, I am overloaded with an abundance of information so this blog will have limited organization. I'm going to be link happy today. First off, whoever the writers are at College Hoopedia are simply the best. Check this entry out for Larry Brown: http://www.collegehoopedia.com/blog/professional-grade-assessing-what-next-town-brown-has-done-smu. What a finish to the Syracuse game a few nights back via the buzzer beater. In this link you will see the buzzer beater of the layup variety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJcLtKBnk-s. Have just caught on to GazettesSports. Very thorough and informative. Tough loss for Long Beach at home. A frustrated Craig Neal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OFwK6zEcHM. He's right, New Mexico couldn't hit free throws which allowed Boise to get back in the game. Kudos to Boise, a much needed win. Speaking of free throws, I thought Seton Hall should have won the game last night had they knocked down one or two in certain situations. They were 11-18 from the stripe not terrible but wound up losing 68-67 to a very determined St. John's squad. Belmont, once again impressive winning last night. However I thought who would have a better game if they played each other. Chad Lang of Belmont: http://belmont.prestosports.com/sports/m-baskbl/2011-12/bios/lang_chad_ojn2 or Justin McBride of Central Florida: http://www.ucfknights.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/justin_mcbride_852407.html. I would love it if the basketball gods somehow got this matchup together. Another win for Weber State. South Carolina wins their 2nd SEC game beating Vandy at home. Southern Cal losing only by 8 at home to the Utes. Creighton winning a close game at Butler but the more I hear about McDermott, he just really is that good. That and Butler isn't as good as recent years. Looking forward to Villanova playing at Creighton this Sunday. FGCU loses at ETSU. Raise the jolly roger, East Tennessee State is coming.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

6 Left

       As of this afternoon in snowy Clover, South Carolina there remain 6 undefeated teams in conference play. Syracuse, Wichita State, St.Louis, Delaware, Georgia State, and Stephen F. Austin.            
       Conference play is extremely compelling to me. Obviously for the one bid leagues it is the ultimate. Which brings me to the San Diego State team. Comfortable in the national polls, an undefeated mountain west conference record going into Laramie, the Aztecs showed me something last night. It was as if it had been a chore to show up, let alone play basketball. And I get that. That is why Wyoming does have a "home-court" advantage, if you choose to call it that. Judging by last nights crowd, it wasn't a sell out but nonetheless the arena-auditorium(that's the name) faithful supported their Cowboys to a 68-62 victory. It was kind of uncomfortably cool to watch the fans storm the court and celebrate a huge win for Wyoming, knowing that this probably will be their highlight of the season. And that is in no way demeaning the effort of everybody involved with Wyoming basketball, just observing. San Diego State fell behind early and surged back at the end of the game cutting the once 16 point lead to 4. If the Aztecs make a 3, their 4th to last offensive possession, I think the Aztecs win. However they did not and despite the loss, I have no questions with the Aztecs. Simply, they have met that proverbial wall and unless you lost money, you are probably the only one that cares. When the horn sounded and a hesitant crowd rushed the court, the Aztec players went straight to the locker room. No handshake, which I thought was odd at the time but then I think that the players had to believe they mailed it in and they wanted to get the heck out of there. Yes, they probably were tired with the elevation factor but they had to, right then, know what they did wrong.  By no means am I condoning their effort or performance just observing. Because if you were also watching the game, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
       Syracuse 10-0 in the ACC(23-0 overall), number one, check. And if you came here to read Syracuse basketball, this ain't the place. Wichita State Wheat Shockers 13-0 in the Valley(26-0 overall), number four in the polls, check. St. Louis Billikens 9-0 in the A-10(22-2 overall), number 12 in the polls(number 1 in my heart), check, and could have an absolute gush fest on why they are my favorite team to watch. Stephen F. Austin, check. The Lumberjacks play out of the Southland conference and are similar to Weber State in that they have really good runs in the regular season but can't get over their bugaboo. In Weber's case it seems to be Montana and in Stephen F. Austin's case it seems to be Northwestern State.  In any case the 'Jacks sit atop the Southland at 11-0(22-2 overall). Delaware, check. Ahh Delaware. The Fightin' Blue Hens lead the Colonial Athletic Association at 10-0(18-7 overall). Strange for Delaware in that they have lost two starters for the month of February, Jarvis Threatt(yes, Sedale is related, albeit a cousin) and Marvin King-Davis due to school violations. They should get these guys back in March. Georgia State 10-0 in the Sun Belt, (17-6 overall), check.  The Panthers coached by Ron Hunter, is in his second season at Georgia State and previously led IUPUI to the NCAA tournament and coached George Hill, for you NBA fans.
       Looking forward to the Duke-UNC game tonight but looking more forward to the George Washington-VCU game.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Solid Win for the Johnnies

       Does it make me less of a college basketball fan in that I was looking more forward to the Creighton/St. John's game last night more than the highly publicized Duke/Syracuse game last week? Of course not. And both games did not disappoint. Fine, if you're a blue jays or blue devils fan you probably wouldn't agree. This game peaked my interest for many reasons, mainly though, to see how St. John's would respond after losing to Creighton 63-60 a few weeks back in Omaha. The first half, in my opinion was probably the most entertaining half of college basketball I have watched all year. The fluidity was impeccable. 3 turnovers combined after the first half. Smarts. Defense. Hustle. Execution. Gee whiz, I'm sitting there watching the first half and loving every bit of it. That first half was truly a pleasure to watch. It was Creighton's first time at the "mecca" and they embraced it. But then something happened in the second half. Perhaps Lavin's methods or perhaps St. John's confidence. That was something I didn't notice in the 3 point loss by the Johnnie's in Omaha. St. John's prevailed 70-65 and this win clearly had to be important. Creighton, not so much. They still are a great team to be reckoned with. It was much a building block for Creighton as it was for St. John's. What struck me was Creighton's below par free throw percentage, McDermott not scoring a single point the final 8 or so minutes, and the refusal of Wragge. Wragge went 1 for 4 from the field. I saw a headline that read, "St. John's Shocks Creighton", proving not only the that headlines are headlines but also that anyone with a clue knows this couldn't be farther from the truth. With the exception of the blowout loss to Georgetown, the Johnnies haven't not been "uncompetitive". St. John's, in answer to my previous blog certainly embraced the challenge and must continue on this way if they want to play in the NCAA's. Creighton will have some fine tuning to do because they still are a dynamic team that has all the ingredients to get to the Final Four.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9th, 2014

       Have to take time to comment on the Murray State Belmont game on Thursday night. I was conflicted in that I had the Oregon Arizona game on my mind and was concentrating on that. Then when I had flipped back over to the OVC contest the score was 93-83 in favor of Belmont with 48 seconds left, I figured the Bruins had the game wrapped up. Often the end of games like these actually take 20 minutes despite the clock reading 48 seconds but was prepared for it. Belmont wound up winning 99-96 in a game that may have gone to OT with the Racers missing a 3pt. shot at the buzzer. A good look actually that didn't fall for Murray State. It is interesting to note that had Belmont made free throws, the game wouldn't have got to the point where Murray could have tied it up at the buzzer. Either way an extremely entertaining finish. It's too bad, this year, the OVC will most likely only get one bid to the NCAA's. Too early to predict but both teams are real fun to watch and think the Racers and Bruins are NCAA worthy. Hopefully both programs will make it to the NCAA tournament.
       St.Louis wound up with one of those "escape" wins. They only wound up beating LaSalle by a bucket and are very fortunate to get it. Speaking A-10, wouldn't you know St.Joe's? Good win at home against the physical VCU team after calling them out last blog. Texas was probably due for a loss and they did lose by 18 on the road in Manhattan(that's the K-State Manhattan). UNLV keeping it ugly but a win is a win beating the pokes by 2. Vegas has won 5 of 6. Weber State goes to 10-2 in Big Sky play beating Northern Colorado at the Dee last night. I really have a hard time wrapping my head around LIU-Brooklyn's struggles in the NEC. Yesterday they lost at home making them 2-7 in conference play. I mean it's not as if they are losing close games a la LaSalle this year. Very surprised.  Long Beach state rebounded with a win last night in Riverside after losing a tough one by 3 in Irvine thursday night. The Beach now goes 6-3 in the Big West. USC lost at home by ten to UCLA. I hope that was another "message" sent by Steve Alford.
       SMU. Great win at home to beat the 7th ranked Cincinatti Bearcats last night. A friend of mine was at the game and the Moody Center was Pantera like "electric". I'd like to think that SMU can use this win and push through the American but I can't. It seems that although a "statement" game it was, I don't think it will propel SMU to the NCAA's. Good for Larry Brown and SMU fans but I'd be surprised if the Mustangs go to the NCAA's. More disturbing was the play by play man on ESPNU last night. It was as if he had to keep reminding us about the "historic" performance SMU was putting on. OK, do that but it was so uncomfortable. Hopefully the play by play guy will review the tape, realize it, and not do it again. Perhaps he was caught up in the emotion of it all and maybe he's a SMU guy but I hope the guy comes to and recognizes the overemphasis of his force-feeding, over informing "homer" type of call. Bad job.
       UTIP in the front of CUSA at 8-1 while Charlotte is middle of the pack at 5-4. Looking forward to the Creighton St.John's game later tonight. What an opportunity for the Red Storm. Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer(once again) atop the Atlantic Sun at 10-2.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

       Boise State did it again. First it was the Runnin' Rebels, on the road. This time it was against the 5th ranked Aztecs at home. Both in the same week, the Broncos had given up a big lead in the second half and lost the game. Boise State had led by as many as 14 points in the second half and the Broncs took a 57-43 lead with 13:37 left. They were in command. Yet, the Aztecs, I thought were ranked #5 for a reason. They staged a fun comeback but the home fans at the Taco Bell Center seemed as if they were waiting for the collapse. Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt3Y23YCjFs. Granted the Broncos did have a shot to win but if you could gauge "feeling", you just knew it wouldn't drop. Xavier Thames is a joy to watch and what a find to Polee for the late onions. Boise State blew an 11 point lead late four nights ago, albeit on the road. But this game felt and looked worse. I cannot doubt the resolve of Boise but these past two games will either propel them forward or take their season to the depths of despair. On the bright side credit the Boise State band for their varied array of tunes. Well not that varied but they seemed to be in a punk/ska mood. Welcome to paradise, zootsuit riot, the impression that I get, here in you bedroom, sellout, and hey ska were played in between timeouts and station breaks. But of course Goodman's sing, sing, sing  and my all time favorite from Bruce Channel "Hey Baby" were also played. Another reason why college sports, to me cannot be topped.
       Todd Mayo, from Marquette is very entertaining to watch play. 
       The idea that St.Joe's could compete for an at large bid after beating UMass at home had to have been ripped to shreds last night losing to St.Louis. If I had it my way, I'd take St.Louis into a 7 game series with any team in the country. 
       It's tough to say what conference is the "best" but the Big 12 has been a lot of fun to watch this year especially Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. Obviously it's Kansas' league to lose and I wouldn't be true to form if I didn't point out that the crossing guards of Baylor are 2-7 in the league.
       Haven't even looked into it yet but I just noticed Nebraska-Omaha played Peru State. Wow. 
       Props to Loyola(MD) for handing American their first loss in conference play.
       With all the crap that is talked about refs and that's why this game was lost or won, especially in the Syracuse victory over Duke, I can not only say I am guilty of it but am really surprised that Purdue beat Minnesota last night.
       Oh, Virginia beat BC at home, cool. They should. In fact actually impressed they didn't let a hangover occur after beating Pitt on the road.
       How will Weber State come out after getting their 9th Big Sky victory ripped out of their heart?
       Arizona Oregon will be a fun game to watch later tonight. Oregon can go fly a kite but this game obviously has to be huge for them. But will Arizona approach the game with the same urgency?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dylan Garrity Does it Again

       Wouldn't you know, as I trolled the Weber State loss again via YouTube, I came across this gem:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-etJ-0rqPsM. Here's another video of the winning shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNjn25vPOG0. Somewhere in a dimension that we cannot see or feel, I know Brad Barton is smiling. I was going to blog today but I got my answer. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Insanity in Sacramento, Weber State loses 2nd game in Big Sky

       In what maybe the wildest ending to any overtime game, Dylan Garrity hit a backcourt heave to lead the Hornets of Sacrmento State to victory over Weber State. Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGVomz0XAfA The two three-pointers were not the only wild part of the end of Saturday’s game as three technical fouls were called in the final 15 seconds of overtime. Sacramento State led 71-70 when Davion Berry was fouled with 15 seconds remaining. Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz was also called for a technical foul. Berry missed both technical free throws but made the two free throws on the foul and the Wildcats led 72-71. With 6.3 seconds left, Berry stole the ball and quickly called a timeout. The Wildcats were called for a technical for calling the timeout when they didn’t have one. Then, WSU head coach Randy Rahe was whistled for a technical for running on the court. Sacramento State’s Mikh McKinney hit all four free throws to give the Hornets a 75-72 lead before the wild finish.
       Earlier in the evening the Duke had lost to Syracuse in an overtime game. However this finish in the Big Sky was much better. Unfortunately for Weber State fans, including me, this was a tough loss to take. If there's any consolation after this unfortunate loss, at least the Wildcats remain atop the Big Sky Conference at 8-2.

Monday, January 27, 2014

#ThingsBetterThanKay

       This blog dedicated to the trending hashtag #ThingBetterThanKay and the late Tom Gola(RIP). UNLV survived a voracious Fresno State squad in overtime at Thomas and Mack saturday night. Fresno had two shots to win at the end of regulation but the Rebels dodged the home loss. Clearly Vegas is not as stealthy this year when compared to last. In other Mountain West action Utah State looked to extend their home game winning streak against the Aztecs up in Logan. Oddsmakers had only favored the 7th ranked Aztecs by two points. I wondered aloud. But the oddsmakers were near perfect because San Diego State needed overtime to defeat the Aggies 74-69. Playing up in Logan is crazy as Steve Fisher said, "My 1st trip in here: incredible atmosphere. This is an atmosphere that everyone in America should witness. I was immensely impressed how they stayed engaged and involved and without question it helps their team. It's a big reason why they win about 90 percent of their games here." Yes Steve, welcome to the Spectrum. 
       Running down the Wasatch front, Weber State extended their home court winning streak to 23 straight games defeating Montana. BYU looked to defeat Gonzaga but came up short at the Kennel. Gonzaga now leads the nation with 24 straight wins at home. Utah kept it close most of the game at Arizona yesterday but the number one team prevailed 65-56. Surprising Utah Valley State remains unbeaten in the WAC. Southern Utah stinks.
       Marshall Henderson back to his ways with cussin out Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray the other night. God forbid I find it funny. But we're not robots yet. Stony Brook protected home floor against Vermont. This has to be the year for Stony Brook. Texas took care of the Baylor safety patrol and the horns looking better game to game. USC looking like they can actually compete this weekend defeating Cal but losing in overtime to Stanford. Oh well. Getting back to Utah State, right now it looks like the Aggies are in danger of not winning 21 games for the first time in 14 seasons. Who knew that Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, Syracuse and Utah State were the only teams to win 21 games each year the past 14 seasons.
       Kudos to Cincinatti, Stony Brook, Syracuse, St. Louis, Michigan, Kansas, Delaware, Green Bay, Wichita State, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Arizona, American, Florida, Chatanooga, S.F. Austin, Georgia State, and the Wolverines of Utah Valley State. They remain undefeated thus far in conference play. I purposely left out the Ivy because they have only played 4 games thus far. 
       
Some Buzzer Beaters

       Gee Whiz! Nice shot from the Mocs' Gee McGhee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHiDXnihulo 
       Crazy shots courtesy of the Big West's Hawaii-UC Irvine game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mthbetc2M-A&list=UU4JJjCP4w7kOIL1pm59EzeA&feature=c4-overview Hawaii wound up losing in overtime. 
       While perusing the Bob's Blitz website I came across the Zoran Planinic buzzer beater: http://www.bobsblitz.com/2014/01/former-nets-player-zoran-planinic-hit.html Too bad it had to come off of Keith Langford's missed free throw, sorry Jamaal.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Arid-Zona?, Khem-Kong!!!

       Arizona is the real deal. As noted before, their backcourt is the best in the country. Although I do think Wichita State is quite comparable. Arizona's bigs are legit and by legit they are college legit. The comparison to players in the league are not only boring but nauseating. The NBA surely does not get the respect it deserves. NBA legit? Ask Greg Oden or Joel Embiid but still, Arizona did take care of business last night at home against the Buffs.  The problem for Arizona as with most talent rich teams is when the night comes that the ball doesn't drop, how will they react? It's sick but I am waiting for that game. For fans of Tucson, obviously you dread the night. Memphis and Syracuse have as much raw talent one through five as Arizona. I've seen Memphis react poorly when the shots don't fall. For Syracuse and Arizona, I'm anxious to see how they will respond. It's inevitable, isn't it? At least Dave Pasch and Bill Walton were calling the game last night. Here is a clip that had me laugh out loud when watching it live and thanks to youtube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Bill%20Walton&sm=3 Bill Walton is sarcastic, get over it.
       The Aggies of Logan Utah arrived at Tarkanian court with a gaudy 42% 3pt percentage and Stew Morrill. I know some things about Stew. He wins. He is intense. Sidetrack, I had the unfortunate privilege to listen in on a post game tirade after Brad Barton hit a (bank) three at the buzzer for Weber State to beat the Aggies a few years ago. I compare that tirade to Majerus one in which Utah beat Weber by 11. Advantage, push. So the Aggies came into Thomas and Mack and got blown out by 20. Vegas loves to push and Stew's crew is half court obsessed. Needless to say Utah State couldn't throw it in, 2 for 17 from beyond. Stew always wins. The Aggies are in trouble Saturday when the Aztecs show up at the spectrum. Perhaps this will be the worst year for Stew in a LONG time. I was unaware of freshman Jalen Moore's afro. It is incredible. But not as incredible as Khem Kong!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8lBbloRebU  Wait for it.......... Khem Kong should stay in Vegas AAAAAOOOOO
       How about Texas? Good for Rick. Solid wins and hopefully a good run come March. The Baylor crossing guards have dropped to 1-4 and their fashionable counterpart, the "fighting" ducks of Oregon  are at 1-5.  Perhaps if they toned down the contrast in the uniforms it would benefit. South Carolina continues to struggle but hey, Brenton Williams is leading the nation at 98% from the charity stripe. One wonders how the Golden Bears threw up an absolutely terrible performance at Galen. USC is not that good but Cal made them look decent. Gonzaga sneaked away a win last night to San Diego. You can throw Wisconsin into the mix of 3 game losers. Minnesota, still not buying. Guilty. Weber State protecting home floor once again drilling the Bobs of Bozeman, 86-57. A week ago I read some articles and listened to a podcast going on about how Montana State shouldn't surprise anyone in the Big Sky. Neither should Weber State. How about VCU? Personally I don't like their style  of play and their games bore me however the Rams are tough. They dominate and are so physical I wish they would play Cincinatti.
       LIU Brooklyn! Where you at? Brickman? Get it together blackbirds. That's what's best about this sport. It ain't march yet.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stainbrook, Wragge, and Polls

       As a college basketball fan there are players that I tune in just to watch. Chris Webber, Hakim Warrick, Kevin Freeman, Mike Miller, Dan Dickau, Tim Winn, Marvin O'Connor to name a few. No disrespect to Keith Van Horn and Gerry McNamara but I could go on forever. College basketball fascinates me all the time and with the ability to watch an incredible amount of games I really do get lost in the shuffle. So I tuned in to watch Xavier play at DePaul yesterday and off the opening tip I see this clumsy #40 for Xavier hustle. It was really funny. He hustled down the floor for a bucket fell over and while hustling to get back on d after the make, fall back on the floor. Who is this guy? He's the 6-10 junior center for the Xavier Musketeers. A transfer from Western Michigan who plays basketball the way I like to see. I can't put my finger on why but Stainbrook is so much fun to watch. Sort of like "coach on the floor" mixed with Andrew DeClercq. In any case his presence really compliments Xavier's perimeter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6JwKHgDM4c (this clip courtesy of the always classy Utah State fans at the spectrum). If hustle were a requirement to play, Stainbrook is fun to watch.
       Unfortunately I was unable to catch last nights Creighton Villanova matchup. I guess Villanova missed the game too or at least the scouting report. Easy for me to say but when you make shots, you win and Creighton was the prime example in philly. This is what scares me about Creighton along with St. Louis for that matter. With Creighton, McDermott commands so much attention that it allows others to get involved. When those second and third options get hot for Creighton they look unbeatable as was the case last night. And not a knock on Villanova. Perhaps a knock on their #4 ranking and not defending home. Wragge just went absurd from beyond. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSjY0EPpX88 Creighton as a team hit 21 treys in the huge win for the Bluejays.
       Which brings me to the polls. Gary Parrish does a tremendous job explaining polls and I read most of his stuff. http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/24408570/poll-attacks-theres-an-ap-voter-who-has-no-idea-memphis-won-at-louisville
(I recommend reading his latest article about Pitt.)As was the case last night, was Nova really #4? Look at Ohio State. Look at Iowa State. Look at Oregon, who is now cellar dwelling with the Trojans and Cougs in the Pac12 after being ranked as high as #10. I like polls just as much as the next guy but to me it's a bit overrated, especially when conference play starts. As for Seton Hall's win at Georgetown good for them but I can't be too surprised with the underwhelming Hoyas. Guilty.
       Vermont wins again but isn't this Stony Brook's year in the America East? Same can be said about Weber State. The wildcats back to where they should be, above .500. Very interesting to watch Gamecocks basketball. They lost a tough one at home to Ole Miss(Hendo back!) but in typical Frank Martin fashion saw him yell at Chatkevicius after a non-hustle play. Martin in the 6-11's grill goes "you're a f---ing bum!", to which the play by play guy goes, "well, Coach isn't bashful and the players know where he stands." Yuck, yuck, yuck. I'd be impressed if the cocks win 4 games in the SEC. After waxing poetic about Herenda's FDU knights they go ahead with the huge hangover loss at home to Bryant 95-68. Florida Gulf Coast looking good. Looking real good.

Here's a promo for Lumberjack night at Creighton:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwOrQY2rp_E

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014

       This past Saturday I watched the St. Louis Billikens play at Dayton, a tough place to play. What I didn't realize was that they started 5 seniors. That is rarefied air in todays age of college basketball.  Aside from my affinity for Majerus, I could watch Jordair Jett play all day, there's such a confidence when he plays. That translates well for the Billikens. They wound up beating Dayton and won their A10 home opener last night. UMass is the other A10 top 25 ranked squad and am hopeful that they will meet in the A10 title game. Oklahoma defended home in their matchup with the Cyclones saturday. In my opinion Iowa State has far more talent than the Sooners but they were dreadful from 3pt territory. Similar to Memphis. See, Memphis and Iowa State have incredible talent yet when their 3pt. shooting goes south so do the victories. I'm sure other teams have this problem but when the 3 drops for the Tigers and Cyclones, it stretches the defense, which then allows them to operate at their maximum capabilities. By the way UConn defeating Memphis on the road maybe an upset to the polls but I have to disagree. This past saturday also marked the first time in years where UNC, Duke, Wake and NCState all lost on the same day. I figured UNC would give Syracuse a better fight up at the Carrier dome but didn't. Duke has no legit inside threat and their perimeter D is not good. However one would think that Roy and Coach K will have their squads good to go come tournament time. What a finish to the Kentucky Arkansas game at Bud Walton. If you haven't seen it, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLB0wcFDmKs  That is awesome. That is why, in my opinion, Division1 men's college basketball is the best team sport in America. Another buzzer beater courtesy of the Rockets from Toledo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzOHZe-xptA
Somebody told me and I'm not mentioning names that Florida is having a down year in college basketball. OK. Xavier went down 17 to Georgetown and came back with a 40-14 run to beat the Hoyas at Cintas. Later on UNLV played at New Mexico. Quite similarly New Mexico came back but vegas came out with the victory. In either case San Diego State is the team to beat in the Mountain West.
       I guess Minnesota is to be reckoned with. I'm still not buying. Wisconsin got their loss out of the way. Dinwiddie's injury hurts Colorado so much and for obvious reasons. McConnell and Johnson have to be the best backcourt this side of Wichita State. Props to FDU Teaneck. Going on the road and absolutely handling the blackbirds of Brooklyn on the road. Greg Herenda has done well in state beating Rutgers and Seton Hall but if there was a signature win for the year, this has to be the one.  USC can't catch a cold and Long Beach State had another loss on the road in Santa Barbara. Charlotte needed overtime to beat Tulsa at home. Another win for Vermont. That's all they seem to do. Murray State won on the road but Belmont couldn't. Western Kentucky lost at home to UALR. BYU looks like the only team that will give Gonzaga a run at the WCC title. St. John's needs a win bad. Real bad. For most teams that are struggling right now if there is any positive to take from losing now, it's not march. Obviously you want to win now for better seedings come conference tournament time but you'd rather get hot late than pan out mid season.
Here's a tremendous  dunk courtesy of Glenn Bryant and Eastern Michigan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivkDdOXAZr0 

I'm looking forward to the Pitt Syracuse game saturday. Pitt, I feel is a bit overlooked.