Around the Rim–1/21/09

As we prepare for a 3-game homestand, just a lot of interesting things going on with in and out of conference teams of interest:

  • Most of us are probably aware of the MWC/MVC Challenge starting next season for at least 4 seasons.  Anyway, Steve Alford, the great guy that he is, was one of the MWC coaches who voted against the challenge thinking it will hurt their league more than help it.   “Winning a game on the road at one of those schools is difficult.”  Isn’t that the idea of  playing tough competition?  He must not want to get outcoached against teams like Creighton like he did this season.
  • Northern Iowa is on top of the MVC right now, but between them and Drake (considering their performance last season) attendance is down for both schools.  Officials at Northern Iowa say it is because of the weather while averaging only about 3500 fans a game.   Well don’t tell that to the people in Omaha as 15,000 show up on cold nights for games.   Even last night’s UNI game at home against Bradley only drew 5,173 people.  The facility has a capacity of a little over 7000.  Drake’s  reasoning is because of games on “Church Nights” and other various reasons, but there isn’t really a spike in attendance.    Though it is only down 1.1% from last year, it appears that it is really farther down than that.  Just a little interesting
  • I’ve had this for a couple of weeks, but just forget to mention it.  Anyway, The Denver Post did an interview with Sean Ogirri (who was Mr. Basketball in Colorado his senior year) on how he is doing since transferring from Wichita St. to Wyoming.   I always thought it was interesting that Ogirri transferred out of Wichita with only one year of eligibility remaining.  But I think it sheds a little light on how Coach Marshall is a likeable unlikeable guy.  I hate to guess or read into it, but I think there was a little conflict between the two guys that caused him to transfer.  I only mention it because Ogirri caused the Jays quite a few headaches when he was at Wichita.
  • Speaking of hometown newspapers, a newspaper in Maryland did a nice little article on Justin Carter and about his transformation from a guy that really wanted to play football to now playing Division I basketball.   Seeing Justin’s play lately just sort of seems fitting with this recognition.
  • In another local newspaper story, here is an article on Kenny Lawson’s brother, Quincy Lawson and his play as of late.
  • Speaking of recruits, one of Bradley’s new recruits , John Wilkins, doesn’t appear he will make the grade to go to Bradley at this time, so he has enrolled in JUCO.   Why it takes so long for the NCAA to decide some things is baffling to me, but they can kill the early Midnight Madness within a few days.
  • Oral Roberts who the Jays played earlier this season has lowered ticket prices for the rest of the season for the endzones and upper level to $5 due to the economy.   ORU started horribly this season, but in the conference they have turned things around and are 6-1 and just a half game out of 1st in the Summit.
  • There was a little article about Dayton’s non-conference schedule and how it might hurt them down the line but are attempting to be more aggressive in scheduling in the future.   We know that the Jays are headed there next season to continue a series, but consider New Mexico and George Mason opponents to mention in the article.  Another interesting note is that they pay $70,000 per “buy” game.
  • What a nice transition….Our favorite “Buy” game–Arkansas-Pine Bluff, from the great SWAC conference created a little history last week.  They won against Alcorn St. 101-77.  The significance.  This was the first time Pine-Bluff scored 100 pts. or more in a game in about 30 years.   Before that game Pine-Bluff had only 1 Division-I win and that was against another Jays opponent from this season, Mississippi Valley St.
  • It is nice to see former Jay Anthony Tolliver getting another shot at the NBA.  After getting released by San Antonio a week before he was guaranteed his contract, he went back to the D-League to play for Iowa which still had his rights.  He got “called up” by New Orleans who is depleted by injuries and signed him to a 10-day contract.  He has had quite a year with all of this NBA emotional roller coaster  plus the loss of his mom.  I hope it all works out for him.
  • And your funny of the day comes from the great satire “The Onion” and the Rural Nebraskan who isn’t sure he could handle the frantic pace in Omaha.  Though the story is fake, I could actually believe it is real from some people I know outside the Lincoln/Omaha area.

Now that the Jays appear to be getting their identity defined a little more, it is time for the Fans to do the same starting Saturday against Drake in one of the few Saturday games this season.  Pack the Qwest.


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