Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bubble Poppers

March is upon us. The term 'bubble' is in the air and relevant again. 'Under Consideration' is how the NCAA committee would phrase it. Quick review: 31 conference tournament champions receive automatic bids and the rest of the field is made up of the 34 best at large teams. How they arrive at those at large bids is always a source of much conjecture and debate. Let's preview some conference tournaments outside of the Top 6 and who teams on the mythical bubble should be pulling for to win those tourneys:

ATLANTIC 10: Xavier or Dayton. Xavier is being projected as a #5 seed currently in most brackets. Dayton has a big test today at home against Temple. If they lose today it will be three in a row and UD will be putting their NCAA chances at risk.

CONFERENCE USA: Memphis. The Tigers have dominated CUSA, something along the lines of 55 straight conference wins. If they were to lose in the CUSA tournament I would expect it would be either against UAB (no way Robert Vaden goes 0-17 against the Tigers twice) or Houston.

HORIZON: Butler. Butler polished up their resume by winning at Davidson on 'Bracketbusters' last weekend. They have stumbled of late in conference so teams facing them in the Horizon league tournament know their beatable. They play alot of underclassmen so anything is possible.

METRO ATLANTIC: Siena It is highly likely Siena needs to win their conference tournament after last night's loss at Niagra. Still their 'team card' shows they have a RPI in the high twenties and their non conference strength of schedule of 3 stands out. IF they can stay where they are at currently and make it to the MAAC championship game and lose I think they are in.

MISSOURI VALLEY: Creighton. The Blue Jays are gaining steam. They are another team that shares the 'bubble' with top 6 conference teams. However if they won their conference tournament there would be one less on the bubble to contend with.

MOUNTAIN WEST: Utah and BYU. Many bracketologists out there are saying the Mountain West could get as many as 4. I think that number decreases if either Utah or BYU win the MWC tournament. Since games against non D1 opponents do not count against RPI, the Utes embarrassing loss to start the season does not hurt them and they are in the top 10 currently.

WEST COAST: Gonzaga. The tournament darlings are sitting in good shape to get an at large bid if they do not win the WCC tournament. Santa Clara and St. Mary's are both capable of winning that one. It will be interesting to see how the committee handles St. Mary's. They lost their star all american candidate in Patty Mills halfway through conference season but should have him back for the conference tournament.

Also bubble teams should pay attention to the top 6 conference tournaments in addition to those listed above. The SEC has been wide open and remember Georgia came out of nowhere to win that one in 2008 stealing a bid. Any of those leagues could see a talented underperforming team come alive at just the right time.

I am ready and excited for March basketball. Intensity and stakes are raised which generates some great performances to witness. After today we will be two weeks away from Selection Sunday.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

St. Joseph's Recap

Xavier picked up a much needed road win 68-54. Derrick Brown led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds. BJ Raymond added 18 and CJ Anderson chipped in 10. Terrell Holloway was 0-6 from the field but the silver lining is he had four assists with NO turnovers.

Ahmad Nivins is the A10 POY and he led the way for the Hawks with 24. He kept Love and Frease in foul trouble all night. Tasheed Carr suffered a concussion earlier in the week during practice and was held out of tonight's game. The senior guard certainly would have helped and this is the Hawks' first five game losing streak since 1999.

Also of note: Temple lost to LaSalle tonight. I think their bubble is popped after that one. I still hope they beat UD this weekend. With an 11-3 conference mark we currently hold a one game lead over Rhode Island.

The Musketeers are off for a week before taking on Dayton next Thursday night at 9 PM. The school will be on spring break so the team should have plenty of time to work on improving things. It is senior night and we owe them a return beat down.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Musings

The polls came out early this afternoon and as expected X took a tumble in both. The ESPN poll has us at #22 and the AP at #19. Safe to say we need a win at St. Joes to stay in both next week. The Hawks have lost four straight so the pessimist in me says they are due for a win, the optimist says X closes out these last 3 league games and wins the A10 title.

Other things noticed:

- Brad Redford is leading the A10 in 3 Point Shooting Percentage at 48%. He is 45-94 on the season. BJ Raymond is shooting from deep at a 42% clip on 150 attempts. DBrown is a very good 43%. Holloway is at 38% on 34 attempts and Dante' checks in at 32% on 98 tries. Hopefully we get hot in March and stay on a roll from outside. I like our chances against anybody if we can hit 8 or more treys a game.

- ESPN has done their own mock bracket. They used a lot of 'what if' scenarios and X landed as 5 seed playing Western Kentucky. The trend the last couple of years by the selection committee has been to place teams from non power conferences against each other in the first round so that seems plausible. What doesn't fit in my mind though is having Notre Dame seeded as a 10 and Georgetown at 9 WITHOUT having the Bearcats in the tournament. They are listed as one of the first four out. It is important to note this is not Joe Lunardi's 'bracketology' as that comes out a little later this week and I don't think Joe will have both ND and G'Town in.

- Also of interest is Temple is listed as one of the first four out. They are 'bubbling' up based off strong recent play. Their RPI is in the thirties and if they can beat UD on the road next week they may squeeze themselves in.
I don't believe they have lost since X beat them at home.

- St. Louis is making a late season push and it wouldn't suprise me if they end up with a first round bye in the A10 tournament. Solid NIT team and Rick Majerus is starting to lay the foundation. Reportedly the brand new Chaifetz Arena was rocking during their upset of UD on Saturday night. I like their senior guards a lot and you never know they could peak in the A10 tournament and punch a ticket to the big dance.

- Speaking of our St. Joseph game it is being televised at the same time as the UC/West Virginia game on Thursday. I am going to have to DVR that one and you guys need to know I turned down a couple tickets from a vendor for the return of UC's all time winningest coach. IF it was any other day I would have been all over it. It's going to make for great television and probably the only time in my life I would root for Bob Huggins. Why? Because I like Mick Cronin even less. At least Bobby could back up his talk. And if you really know me that is a big statement.

- In the next week or so I will be throwing up teams outside of the top 6 conferences that the big boys on the bubble need to keep an eye on during conference tournmament time. In another week March will be here and soon ESPN will have all kinds of tournament action to view. I love all the intensity March basketball brings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Game Recap: G-Dub

X took care of business and rolled George Washington 71-53 Sunday afternoon. They were the perfect opponent for us to get back on track. CJ Anderson hit a three and scored all 14 of his team leading points in the second half. 5 XU players ended up in double figures showing that 'balance' that has been key to their success in the past. Next up is a struggling St. Joseph's team who dropped a close decision to UMASS at home today. 'Home' for the 'Hawks this year is the Palestra. We get them on Thursday night at 7 PM. Thankfully it is not in that on campus band box Alumni Fieldhouse. They are putting several million dollars in renovation work on the gym this season. It will result in a 'lipstick on a pig' type effect I would imagine. They could spend a million alone in the locker rooms in that place.

They jumped on the Colonials early and never looked back. The game was very 'ugly' in the second half with GW doubling everybody on the perimeter. The flow was never there in stanza #2. The Musketeers will punish poor perimeter defensive teams as was the case today. Karl Hobbs' honeymoon has been over for some time but I think they owe him another year to turn it around. The win today gives Xavier a half game lead for first in the A10.

Of bigger interest to me was the recruit in the house today. EVERYBODY gave plenty of attention to Kyryl Natyazhko. You couldn't miss him. He is in the 6-10, 6-11 range and is not your typical BWS. rate him as the #75 prospect in the class of 2009. The four star recruit has listed offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, and of course X. Hopefully the visit went well but the young man certainly has some attractive options for basketball. Obviously he would be a nice get for the team.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I hate the Cardinals

Well, one more time the Bearcats prove they cant the really good teams. Opportunities to prove themselves are running out and the selection committee doesn't care if you have 10 "good losses".  It looks like the Huggins homecoming is now a must win.  Oh I hate the damn Cardinals. Any city with 5 ways to pronounce its name deserves to be renamed Doucheville. 

p.s. I know I haven't been posting much. I apologize for that and thank Deck for carrying the load. We(my wife and I) are getting a better handle on the new family situation and more frequent updates are on the way. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Unless you are a Louisville fan. If thats the case you suck(yes I am just pissed and very petty). 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Game Recap: 49ers

Xavier went down to the other 'Queen City' and were handed a 65-60 loss. It appears X is doing everything they can to prove the A10 is a tough conference having dropped three of the last four, all on the road. If the intensity doesn't pick up we will be quick outs in the A10 tournament and the NCAA tournament. If they were seeding today we would be in the 6 range. At the beginning of the season I predicted 12-4 in conference which seemed not likely at the midpoint of the A10 season. However X, with the way they have played recently, could lose three of the next four as well. Our major issue of experience at the point guard position is more prevalent than ever. We got a couple of weeks to get all of this figured out.

Jamel McLean deserves mention for how he played last night. Charlotte did a great job of limiting touches for BJ in the first half and they hit timely 3 point shots. That is another theme I have seen develop in X's five losses. IF a team is 'on' from deep turn out the lights susie. I am also starting to think I won't miss CJ Anderson as much as I thought after he is gone. He is a complimentary player and we get in trouble when he tries to take over in games, especially against teams with athletic front lines. He got fed a couple spalding burgers last night and deservedly so. Shot fake anyone? Terrell Holloway needs to come out of the hole he is in and I think his confidence took another blow when he was removed from the starting lineup. GW comes to town Sunday afternoon and that is probably the last 'easy' game on the schedule. Obviously they need to win that one and get one back on the road at St. Joseph's. I would imagine we will fall another 6/7 spots in the top 25 polls as well. You are picking a bad time to play poorly guys. Here is to hoping the team recoups quickly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Afternoon Update

In the polls this afternoon X has dropped to 16th in the AP and 17th in the USA Today rankings. Dayton climbed into the top 25 in the AP and rest just outside of it in the USA Today compilation. Please note UC received 0 votes; zero, nada, nothing in both polls. They haven't actually beaten anybody in either poll as well. I normally wouldn't be so harsh but I am still a little upset at 'Mickey'.

Joe Lunardi took the time to also place the little guy back in his box in his column today concerning his latest update on ESPN's 'Bracketology'. He still has UC on the outside looking in and they are right there. They really need to win two of the next three and finish off Seton Hall and USF at the end of the year. As it were today West Virginia would get the call over the Bearcats. Again all of this is in the Bearcats' hands to change over the next couple of weeks.

The Memphis Tigers have climbed up to #5 in the Associated Press. X also own wins over Missouri (11) and LSU (23). Also three of our four defeats come against teams in the current top 25. This is the main reason our RPI is staying in the top 10. Getting wins over teams like Fordham certainly do nothing to improve it.

I thought CJ, BJ, and Derrick Brown handled themselves very well on Channel 9's 'Sports of All Sorts' last night. They remained classy when a caller baited them with how they would do in another conference. The guys responded they were 12-2 this year outside of the A10.

And finally 2010 high major wing guard Rod Odom was in the house for the Fordham game. He is every bit of 6'8" and moving towards 6'9". He looks a little slight of frame but he intrigues me as a prospect. Number one he first received attention from the Ivy league schools meaning he is an outstanding student. Secondly I am curious to see if the '2' is his best position in college. He is getting plenty of high major looks at this time but it is nice to have another east coast prospect visiting us so early.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Game Recap: FU Rams

As expected Fordham was little match for the Musketeers on Valentine's Day. The final tally was 88-53. Of note Dante' Jackson rejoined the starting line up and coach Miller gave Kenny Frease a furlough for this one to rest his sore ankle. It is not clear if he will play later this week at Charlotte either. Xavier responsed by having 6 players score in double figures and pulled away about the midpoint in the first half.

Brad Redford led the scoring with 15 points on 5-9 from trey land. Jamel McLean took advantage of the extra PT (23 minutes) to tally 10 points, six boards and four blocks. Jackson played like he wanted to stay in the starting lineup with 13 points, 5 rebounds, four assists and only one turnover. Jason Love added 11 and 7 caroms. Brown and Raymond were solid with 12 and 14 points respectively. DBrown had another impressive throwdown over Fordham's precocious frosh Jio Fontan. It was replayed several times on ESPN's 'Midnight Madness' show.

Again I realize it was the Fordham Rams but it was good for this team to get some confidence back heading into a road contest at Charlotte. The 49ers currently sit at 9-15 overall with a 3-7 mark in the A10 after their victory over GW Saturday night. DiJuan Harris dropped 15 dimes in that one. He had a dozen in Charlotte's victory against Dayton. IF there was one player I could take off a conference opponent's team and put on ours to play right away it would be him.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Why does Mick Cronin find it necessary to constantly remind us that the Big East is better than the A10? Is it because two programs in that conference reside in Southwest Ohio and are currently doing better than his? Was he upset because Derrick Brown recently commented he liked playing for a coach who has 'been there and done the things we are doing'? Is it because the guy who has forecasted the NCAA tournament with 99% accuracy the last ten years is calling UC a bubble team? Is he mad because that guy (Joe Lunardi) is a St. Joseph's alum? Shouldn't you be taking care of your own house (we still have a month left in the season) and keep working on the next game? Do you not think 'karma' is keeping an eye on you? Did you miss the announcement that Xavier's AD (Mike Bobinski) is on the NCAA selection committee?

All sarcasm aside Mick worry about your next game. You need to win 2 of the next 4 to get in the tournament. The A10 has absolutely nothing to do with that. They don't select conferences to go to the 'Big Dance'. They select teams. Your team has a chance to be NCAA worthy with a couple more wins. You appear to be a whiner at almost every turn. The reason you are on the 'bubble' is because you didn't beat enough quality teams out of conference. Playing D1 transitional schools like South Dakota doesn't do you any favors either. So please quit shilling so much about the Big East is better. It reminds me of the little guy on the playground who had the biggest bike but still couldn't pedal it fast enough to keep up with the cool kids. You control your own destiny. Make a believer out of the committee and you will get in. Simple as that. Control what you can control.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Game Recap: Flyers

UD ran out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. They gave it to the Musketeers good on their home floor winning 71-58. It sucks losing to a rival no doubt about it. But I tip my hat to them. They play very good defense and the fact that they hit some shots from deep was enough to carry them. Chris Wright is as good as advertised. Their intensity was not matched by X. Brian Gregory is now 4-10 all time against Xavier. I hope their guard Rob Lowery recovers quickly and the knee injury he sustained in the first half was nothing serious. It appears the A10 will be getting in at least two teams and maybe a third depending on what happens in Atlantic City.

X will continue to slide in the rankings but I feel strongly they will rebound against Fordham on Saturday afternoon. However we still have challenges to overcome in terms of FT shooting. At one point CJ missed four in a row in the second half. It would be nice to see that improve but this team better be ready to excel at defense and rebounding. What happened at the end of the first half with Terrell was inexcusable and Sean made sure he was sitting next to him at the start of the second half. Hopefully the Muskies can go on another long winning streak after back to back losses. We now share second place in the A10 with Dayton and St. Joseph's hold the top spot as of tonight.

Rivalry Games

Rivalry games is what you look forward to on your schedule. Tonight at 7 PM the 'X' men tip off at UD Arena to face one of our fiercest rivals. We have beat them six straight times and have won 17 of the last 22. However the Flyers still own the all time series record at 67-80. They cherish that fact. The undercurrent to this game is UD needs it more than X for NCAA tournament considerations. I am not sure that is entirely accurate that they need to beat X to get to the big dance. It appears many in their fan base that post on UD message boards feel they need at least one more signature win to go with their pasting of Marquette on a neutral floor earlier this year. They seem to have no confidence in beating us down here in March but that is a story for another day.

Brian Gregory uses 12 players. This allows UD to play at an uptempo, in your face defense pace. It has been effective. Their point guards (Warren and Lowery) are 'blow by' type offensive players and Lowery has a streaky jumpshot to go with it. Warren has not made a three pointer all year. The Musketeers need to be cautious to not get caught up and play faster than they should when they have the ball in their hands. With both teams being strong on defense the score most likely will not get out of the sixties. Miller is imploring his team for stronger point guard play. He is now taking to some extended one on one sessions with Dante' and Tutu after practice. Sean is a very good coach who realizes the '1' needs the extra attention this year for us to satisfy goals in March. I would expect to see BJ, CJ, and Derrick bringing the ball up quite a bit tonight. I also have this feeling Kenny Frease will not play and I hope I am wrong. Should be a fun one to watch.

Also I have respect for the UD program. They do things the right way. In the Great Midwest days when they had Jim O' Brien and struggling through some bad times the fans still showed up in droves to support their team. They have a blind passion for their program which I appreciate. The A10 should be thankful UD is part of the league because it is a solid program. The UD Arena is a nice place to watch a basketball game (when your not sporting your X gear) and regularly hosts NCAA events. I am also looking forward to seeing their 'superman' Chris Wright and how we defend him. I have only seen him play a few times but some Daytonians like to postulate he is as good as Derrick Brown; I would say not yet but if CW continues to develop he could be playing in the three letter league someday. Now I need to email my friend 'Swampy Meadows' and see who is (cough, cough, wink, wink) sick this year on the UD squad. Dayton Daily News thought it was newsworthy to mention Marcus Johnson had the flu for the Charlotte game. So I am a little concerned they will not be at full strength when we beat them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Afternoon Notes

After the Duquesne loss on Saturday X's RPI has actually moved up to #5. In all honesty I thought we would drop to the mid teens. However Duquesne is a team with an RPI around 90. For reference Wake Forest dropped an ACC game to Georgia Tech who comes in around 140 on the RPI. Conference losses are hard to escape. We did drop in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls to 14th. Butler fans have to be upset with the pollsters because they come in at 15th in both polls. SO first things first to all the detractors who said our SOS would tank in the A10; it hasn't exactly happened that way pallies. Strong wins over Missouri, LSU, and Memphis are resonating now and in March. Also (and you couldn't tell by this blog)UC is becoming more of a quality win to go along with VA Tech as well. All five wins were of the road/neutral court variety.

A win on the road Wednesday night at UD will be a tough challenge. The Flyers just dropped one on Sunday afternoon at Charlotte. It is fair to say that Charlotte has had less impact on the A10 than CUSA other than to hurt league at large chances by scoring the occassional upset. I am feeling confident we will win for the 7th straight time overall against UD. IF we do win the players, coaches, and staff would be wise to leave through an unmarked exit and load into several unmarked cars. I have had the opportunity to view this rivalry one time at UD Arena. It is by far the most hostile environment I have seen X play in personally and that includes the Shootout games. When a 70 year old+ lady refers to you as a 'Xavier Fag' right off the bat you know it's going to be a long night. SO IF we win the natives will be a little more than restless and most likely violent. They are desperate for another signature win to go along with their Marquette victory. Back to the game I think X will have to limit turnovers (sound familiar?) and hit free throws around 70% (sound familiar?) to win, but again I am confident they will find a way. The desire of the team is to stay in the hunt for a top 4 seed for the NCAA tournament.

What to say about the Duquesne loss? I am sorry I didn't have the usual recap but I had a very busy weekend and I have learned not to post when I am heavily intoxicated. First thing I will say is that X fans who traveled to the game need to have a ceremony to burn all those damn blue snuggies. Snuggies = X loss. Also Ken Frease will be fine with the ankle turn. I don't think he would have played more than 10 minutes anyway with the pace the game was being played at. We didn't shoot poorly but Duquesne was absolutely on fire in the first half shooting 81%. New Jersey Institute of Technology would beat us if they shot 81% in the first half. But I was pleased to see Sean and BJ offer no excuses for the loss and I will follow their lead. X lost and it is time to move on. Looking forward to an exciting, tough challenge with a different outcome this Wednesday night.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Game Recap: Temple

I respect Temple. They are the only A10 team we have a losing record against (8-10) since joining the conference. The atmosphere was the best I have seen in Cintas Center this year tonight. You could feel the energy. Also Dave Parker aka 'The Cobra' sat right behind me in section 207. I so badly wanted to tell him about the first Reds game I attended circa 1985. He hit a home run two rows behind us in the green seats in the first inning off of Mike Bielicki. One of my personal favorite moments in all the sporting events I have attended. But alas I wanted to leave him and his wife alone. They were there to watch CJ play.

Back to the game: BJ Raymond has scored 20 points + in our last four games. Has there been a better two guard in college basketball recently? He was 5-7 from three point land and scored in a variety of ways. He cashed in on a wonderful opportunity tonight in front of 22+ NBA scouts. He also guarded Dionte Christmas most of the night and we held him down fairly good as he ended up with 12 hard earned points. Brad Redford rediscovered his shooting touch going 4-7 from behind the line. His teammates were looking for him more tonight. Also DBrown had a solid overall game. Thirteen points and 8 boards. 'Big Lovely' was a perfect 6-6 from the field to contribute to a 83-74 victory. Jamel McLean needs mention as he scored five and recorded 6 rebounds in 10 minutes. Four of his six rebounds were of the elbows above the rim variety. X has a real chance to move up further in the rankings considering Wake Forest's recent struggles. However we have work to do in Pittsburgh Saturday night. My boy Dustin Dow stated recently that the Dukes wanted to play this game early in the afternoon. I bet they did. A real challenge as they have one of the most underrated players in all of college basketball in Aaron Jackson aka 'AJAX'.

This X team has reached 20 victories faster than any team in history of Xavier basketball. It is too bad the clowns on local sports talk radio aren't giving it as much play as they should. BUT who really cares. We know where to get our fix for X basketball. And it ain't 1530 homer. Maybe the producers will finally realize we want to talk sports and not worry about how we feel about television shows, just a thought.

Fran Dunphy (Temple head coach) mentioned earlier this week that Xavier is 'a team on a mission' and I am starting to feel the same way. The goal is a national championship my friends. How about those Muskies!

Yes The Bearcats Are Good

A few weeks ago I wasn't sure what to think of this Bearcats team. I'm still not totally sure but I do know a few things I didn't know then. 
1. This team is tough. I'm not sure what happened but it seems like they all of a sudden realized what it takes to play in this league. They'll have to prove it against some VERY tough competition in the next few weeks for sure. I am willing to bet they win at least one they shouldn't. 
2. Deonta Vaughn isn't  just the leading scorer and best player. He is this teams leader. His toughness and determination is what makes this team better than it should be. His on court poise and his quotes in the media of late tell me he finally gets it. 
3. If he keeps his mind on the game and concentrates Yancy Gates is as good as anyone in the Big East. What he lacks in experience he can make up for in talent. If he learns from Vaughn how to lead this team the skies the limit. 
4. The Bearcats have an outside shot at meaningful post season play(I wont say it yet). With 5 of there losses coming against teams in the top 25 in both major polls. Six of 8 losses against teams in the top 30 in RPI(realtimerpi). The other 2 against #64. Two wins against teams that have spent time in the top 25 and the very real possibility that they finish with 19 or 20 wins in the top half of the Big East. A few planets may have to align just right but.......

One last thing. Its been exciting to be a Bearcat fan this year. I love being able to say that. 

Regarding Nancy Z

I don't want to spend to much time or energy on the topic so here is my very quick take. I am not and have never been a fan of her or the way in which she held the basketball program hostage. She turned a national power into 2nd fiddle in its own city. She robbed the guys on the team at the time of the kind of experience they envisioned when they came to UC. She pissed off every fan of UC basketball and turned many away for good.

I am not one of those fans obviously and I actually think that those fans need to grow up or move on. He's not coming back. Ever. Never. Ever. She is leaving.

 Now maybe you can come back and support a damn good basketball team. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Afternoon Delights

Overall a 'good news' afternoon for Xavier basketball:

- Announced (finally) a ten year home and home series with Wake Forest beginning next season. The long rumored series will be titled the 'Skip Prosser Classic' and rotate each season between Cincinnati and Winston Salem. Excellent deal for us and kudos (again) to 'Bobo' for getting it done. I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute for Prosser.

- X inched up to #9 in both rankings that come out this afternoon. It will be hard for the Muskies to climb much higher playing in the 'average' 10 of a conference that we do. BUT there is hope that UD (sitting just outside of the top 25) will string two wins together this week and join us in the national rankings. That would make our 2/11 game up north all the more interesting.

- ESPN reported that 'Tutu' Holloway did not practice today due to his ankle. The good news is that tests revealed no fracture. I believe Terrell will play Thursday and this is simply the staff giving him a rest and a chance to heal. Not sure if he is 100% and don't look for Sean to be completely accurate on his radio show tonight. In the spirit of gamesmanship he will be guarded in his response one would think.

- Also I would like to comment on the marketing departments idea for Thursday's night game. They are asking that we wear a white shirt if we sit in an odd numbered section and wear a blue if we park in an even section. I don't like it. The only way I will like it is if shirts (XL please) are given out at the door. We tried this a few years ago for the Temple game. Many might remember it: a day or so before the game John Chaney blamed southern Ohio for re-electing W. to a second term. It didn't go over well then what makes them think it will go over now? I admit it is a cool concept but come on. The X fans aren't interested in a 'white out', 'blue out', 'blue/white out' ad nauseum. A BLOW OUT will suit us just fine.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Game Recap: UMASS

X escaped with victory Saturday afternoon at Cintas Center. The Minutemen kept it interesting all the way down to a final tip. 82-80 was the final with the trio of Anderson, Brown, and Raymond having 64 of those points for the Muskies. And we needed all of three of them to be on because we surrendered 23 turnovers that gave UMASS 36 points. Way TOO MANY turnovers. Unfortunately 'Tutu' hurt his ankle and we probably won't learn the full extent until Coach Miller's show on Monday night. We need the kid because he gives us a bonafide option at point guard for a good run in March. This is starting to feel like 'deja vu all over again' with the Lavender injury last year. Overall I thought Dante' played poorly and Redford has now gone three games without scoring.

UMASS is an enigma. They seem to play up to their level of comp. We were lucky that Tony Gaffney didn't hit a tip off Lowe's missed free throw at the end. Not sure we could have survived overtime with these guys. Overall if Gaffney would have brought his 'A' game this could be a different story. But it's not and the X men now sit at 19-2 overall and 7-0 in the A10.

Temple is coming to town Thursday night in what will be one tough matchup. They are very skilled and very long on the perimeter. X will need to take better care of the ball (duh!) to beat this team. They added a point guard named Fernandez at the winter break who compliments them very well. The Owls are well coached and remain in the top 50 of the RPI. A win on the road against the Musketeers would make them bubble worthy.