Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year, Same Teams on Radar And Off.

Sure, you look up top of the AP and USA Today polls and see Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky and more. The Big East has six teams and potentially nine or ten down the line.

What a week for #12 Georgetown to battle #4 Louisville, Wednesday night at the Yum! Louisville may be looking ahead? Yep. Kentucky awaits on Saturday. Yes, the Wildcats of Calipari, the Cards of Pitino, and hoops hysteria state, what a day for hoops fans in the bluegrass state. Amazing it will only be December 31.

John Thompson III has led Georgetown to an outstanding start. Jason Clark is shooting ball well and is Markell Starks, but, playmaker, yes playmaker, Henry Sims has been a large contributor at the big man spot, leading the Hoyas at 3.7 assists per game. Hoyas are getting solid contributions from Hollis Thompson and youngsters, Greg Whittington and Otto Porter.

Tough week for Xavier in Hawaii. A seventh-place finish, with only a win against struggling Southern Illinois. For all of you who wanted hoop gods to hammer down on Tu Holloway and company after Cincy fiasco, you got your wish.

Maryland is expected to get a boost Wednesday, as 7-footer, Alexi Len becomes eligible as the Terps host Albany at 8pm.

Having been a constant on the Prep School scene this year with a son playing at Massanutten Academy for Chad Myers, its been a busy time for college coaches. Virginia's Tony Bennett has lost four of his original class with James Johnson leaving most recently, but Bennett has been hustling on the prep circuit, taking in games involving Fishburne Military, Hargrave, and Massanutten.

Surprises so far: St. Louis is 11-1 under Rick Majerus. The Billikens have dominated foes. Winning every game by double-digits in the span and beating Washington and Villanova in that stretch. UMASS, St. Joe's and Dayton also highlight a real good opening two months for the A-10.

All 12 members of the Big Ten are over .500 and Indiana at 12-0, with a win over Kentucky deserves a salute. You figured the Hoosiers would be better, but they have opened eyes and raised expectations in Bloomington.

WINLESS STILL: On the ouch circuit early, Towson, Hartford, Binghamton, Grambling State and Northern Illinois are still winless on the year.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tourney time! Not really..

(BETHELEHEM)- Sitting in the Hotel Bethlehem, this Historic hotel where JFK once stayed, the Navy Midshipmen Mens Basketball team just returned from its shoot around at Lehigh University.

Now in a lot of tournament settings, there was a Patriot League Official there to make sure that the Mids only took their alotted 60 minutes because you know there are eight teams, and everybody has to get an hour, oh wait, not here.

The league plays all its tournament games at the site of the highest seed. Thus, a sterile atmosphere, as it feels like just another regular season game on the road in the Lehigh Valley, yeah, hey, back up the Northeast Extension again to go to Lafayette Saturday right?

There is just something different about a tournament. Navy has great facilities. So does Bucknell. There are some places in the league where you couldn't host, I.E. Colgate, because there wouldn't be enough hotel rooms without going to Utica or Syracuse. But, league officials and other schools would complain about coming to Navy as they did in the 90's or going to Bucknell, sighting, ummmmm home court advantage!

It would be great to have all 16 teams, yes, mens and womens, all in the same city. The A-10 has found at home in Atlantic City! People would come to a destination city.

I bet the Palestra would be cheap to rent at this time of year and we know Philadelphia does an awesome job with big events, Hello Army-Navy, ring a bell?

The kids could get a chance to play in one of basketball's great venues. More important, we would have a tournament environemnt. How about the Hershey Arena or the TD Waterhouse Center in Wilkes Barre? Casino right down the street, lots of hotel rooms and city that would give you the focus and make you fell wanted and special to be there. You want neutral court, Ill find you a neutral court.

Not to mention, look at the disruption it costs when hosting other events. Bucknell is hosting the EIWA's and Womens quarterfinal action, so, sorry Navy, we have to play you Monday since we can't staff all of these activities properly. change your hotel reservations, bus schedule, class schedule etc. If you had hoops on a neutral court, we wouldn't have that issue.

The quality of the tournament has gone down hill since we left the traditional tournament setting. Like #7 Lehigh beating #2 Navy in 99 at Army when Navy shot how's this for ironic for a Patriot League School, 17-76!

The underdog has a much better chance to be competitive on a neutral court. Did you know Bucknell is a 16-point favorite at home tonight against Army, and Colgate is a 14-point dog on the road tonight at American? Sounds like they have a big chance, and yes I know Army is the only team to beat Bucknell, but that was at West Point.

It's time to take the tourney back to a for a lack of better word, TOURNAMENT. Ive been at conference tournaments before at the BIG EAST, CAA, and ACC and Patriot League. Today doesn't feel like that. There is nothing like hustling a coach or player to an interview room, double-lined media row, lots of people every where.

No one has brought up moving the CAA from Richmond even though, its on VCU's territory. For years the CAA had two teams in Richmond!

There wont be many folks at Stabler Arena tonight for this Quarterfinal Matchup and that's too bad. There will only be one game here tonight, and that hardly feels like a tournament.

BIG PROPS: Former Patriot League Assistants, Nathan Davis (Randolph-Macon), Joe Burke (Skidmore) and Andy Sachs (Bethany) all led their respective schools to the Division-III NCAA Tournament. For Burke and Skidmore, it will be the schools first NCAA appearence in school history.

Seventh-seeded Colgate is at second-seeded American and is the televised game on CBS College Sports with Bob Socci and John Feinstein on the call.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good old fashioned Sportsmanship still lives

Last night I watched my sons's team, Southern High School, a small Class 2A school, take on one of the top 4A schools of this decade in Anne Arundel County, Old Mill.

It was game that never saw either team lead by more than five points the entire contest. It was a game with star power, Old Mill's great senior Eric Savage, and Southern's senior guard Bryan Harris and 6-7 senior forward Cody Joyce.

That trio didn't lack for quality as the three combined for 44 points among them. Savage played great defense, Harris, despite injury, was game, and Joyce spent the night at the line with 16 free-throw attempts and three dunks on the inside.

A talented 10th-grader in Brian Hinton posted 19 points and Southern's Jay Greenwell, who by all rights, shouldn't have been on the floor with a leg injury in the overtime, hit for 15 points and a big trio of three-pointers.

Bodies were laid out on the floor all night. Both teams desperate to claim victory in a close game. Southern's Davonte Burke with some high acrobatics to answer quality play from the Patriots Joe McCargo and Gavin Salmond.

College coaches in the stands. With all that talent out there, who could blame them for not wanting to see this one.

The great thing about last night's game though, was the behavior of the players, the sportsmanship the entire night from guys trying to beat the other guy through some heated moments, bad calls that left their coaches and fans to do the complaining, but from the players, nothing. Lets go to the other end and try again.

In a perfect world, all games would be like last night's 83-81 overtime thriller where the small school challenges the big guys and the kids would play the way they did. It shows their coaches preach the right things in how to play. Even though the game likely should have seen a second overtime last night, I will always take away the way the kids played and RESPECTED each other the entire night. Perhaps some of the parents in attendence should learn from them.

Georgetown's Austin Freeman doesn't get mentioned enough in player of the year discussion, but perhaps he should. His output against Big East competition has been extraordinary this year.

Stock up- TEXAS. Beating A&M at home was one thing, but destroying them at College Station was pretty impressive.

XAVIER- The win at Richmond Saturday by 23 made me a believer.

Stock Down- Gonzaga, Butler, Gordon Haywood, where are you ?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


(IRVINE)- The Mids have lost two games but made strides, considering they are playing freshmen a lot of minutes. The Mids trailed by 17 tonight against Louisiana Tech, but cut it to 59-57, before succumbing, 80-65.

A group of Navy fans greets the guys at the hotel and takes a big group picture. Panera Bread sandwiches arrive.

One more game to go, Sunday at 6 eastern against Seattle University. What seems like the longest trip of my life is almost over.

Friday, November 19, 2010


(IRVINE)- Day two of this five day trip was uneventful until practice started at NAIA Vanguard University, home of the 2008 NAIA Womens National Champions. An interesting campus, colorful dorms, easy going folks, and lots of hand sanitizer dispensers.

Breakfast at the Marriott Irvine Towers was delicious, though the Potatoes were a bit dry, the waffle and oatmeal tremendous.

Mids had energetic practice despite jet lag, and adjustig to Pacific Time Zone. Mids made some offensive adjustments and all well prepared for the game at Irvine, Friday night.

It is awesome watching hoops at 11am. Watching games from Puerto Rico, Harrison Barnes looks as good as advertised. Hoping the Hoyas can play as well against Wofford as they did Coastal Thursday.

Dinner in the meeting room post practice was great. Lemon chicken and cheese ravioli. A relatively uneventful day otherwise. Game Dat tomorrow.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On The Road With Navy Hoops: IRVINE DAY ONE

The life of a broadcaster is sometimes exciting. You meet great people, travel to great places and get to see the country in ways some envy.

Sometimes though, there are days which really stink. Take for instance today for me.

I drop my daughter off this morning and knowing I will not see her except for my computer background for five days left me tearing up as I left our Aunt’s house. My older son is college is calling me for an opinion on a school paper, meanwhile I’m desperately waiting for Al my tire technician to finish putting tires on since I have to be at the Naval Academy by 4pm. Al comes through in the clutch. I’m out the door by 3:30. By the way I killed time walking around the mall which is always exciting, and found out JC Penney is open at 3am the day after Thanksgiving and send that information to my wife via text. %:22, my middle son texts and says who is picking me up? I replay Mom, and before I can say anything else he hangs up!

The best part of the day is sitting across from Navy Head Basketball Coach Billy Lange and taking in knowledge that I can use and some I can’t on the air as The Mids are set to play three games in three days in Irvine, California. Yes I get to see the Anteaters!

Good news, the flight to Denver arrives on time, and after a purchase of Chocolate Chex Mix, its on to the connector to Orange County, California and John Wayne Airport. We’re early the pilots says with glee as if they have done us a favor! Well it has been a good flight.

While people say “Wow that’s a great job” and don’t get me wrong it beats making a living in much tougher and less rewarding ways, it’s times like this where some of us who have taken family for granted at times while collecting our experience through this career, get a reality check.

No matter how fun, how exciting, when all is said and done, all you have when the game is over, is your family. Right now, I miss mine.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Take Duke lightly, no way say Mids.

It would be easy for Navy to take Duke lightly on paper. Afterall, the Blue Devils are 1-6. They played Miami tough two weeks ago, put up 48 against Wake Forest and threatened late at Maryland before losing by five.

They are also the same Duke team that gives up over 200 yards a game on the ground and this is the same Navy offense that just ran for 367 on Notre Dame. I did have that capped except Notre Dame is only 4-4.

"They do have some athletes and they have played better than the record,'' Navy Defensive Cooridinator Buddy Green said.

Nose guard Chase Burge and Jordan Marks have done a great job filling in for the injured Shane Bothel and Burge knows this team can't take anyone lightly.

"We know that we have to be focused. we have to put last week behind us and concentrate on our assignments this week,'' Burge said.

Last week's 35-17 win over the Fighting Irish was a sight to behold.

75,000 people saw it in person, a ntional TV audience, and Notre Dame fans watching outside the interview rooms and cheering Navy Coach Ken Niamatalolo and his players as they stepped down from the podium.

No, this wasn't Dr. Lou's 1988 National Title team, but, its still Notre Dame. People noticed.

"We had lots of messages and e-mails, and kids requesting to come visit so it was was very big day from that perspective,'' Niamatalolo said.

Navy's recruiting during the triple-option era has been off the chart for Navy Football. Never, could Navy have withstood losing six senior starters during the course of the season and still managed to not only compete but still WIN against Notre Dame. Navy now has 18 wins against BCS teams since 2002, the most by any non-BCS school.

WHY? Navy started Sophmore Devon Richardson in place of Emmett Merchant, Alexander Teich in place of Vince Murray, Burge for Bothel, Doug Furman/Brandon Turner/Matt Aiken for Mike Shupp, Ryan Bassford for Matt Malloy and kicker Jon Teague for Joe Buckley. Keep in mind too Marks was in on the goal-line stand on Notre Dame's first drive also. Hello?

The Mids have gone into places like Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina and convinced kids this is a great place to play football and set yourself up for life. Coaches have truly coached them up and just when you thought this program may fade to black after the loss to Air Force, think again. Just ask Notre Dame.