Around the Rim–5/1/09

May 1, 2009

So I was hoping for some interviews this week to post, but it appears it is not working out like I expected.  As I try again and also keep afloat with other things going on in life, here are some things of interest from this past week.

  • Incoming recruit Andrew Bock will be playing in the Academic All-American Classic on May 9th at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.   Playing with Bock is 6-foot-10 UCLA-bound Brendan Lane, who was on Rocklin, the Bock let Eisenhower team defeated to win the state championship in Sacramento.  Bock just missed being named California D-II player of the year from CalHiSports.com.   Lane beat him out for that.  Must be because Lane is going to UCLA.
  • If you want to see Anthony Tolliver and “Friends,” then sign up your K-8 child to participate in the 2nd annual Omaha Sports Academy’s Anthony Tolliver camp that runs July 27th-30th. Campers will experience a high interaction level with not only Anthony Tolliver, but also current and former D1 and D2 standouts.
  • Now that the Utah Jazz NBA season is over, it will be interesting to see if Kyle Korver stays in Utah or opts out of his contract.  I remember initially when he got traded to the Jazz from the 76ers, I was really dumbfounded why Utah?  But after seeing him play there the last year and a half, he looks like a natural fit there.  I see him staying.
  • When was the last time Jays fans received a personal letter from head coach Dana Altman?   I find it interesting that John Pelphrey sent out a letter to all Arkansas ticket holders to provide some very frank information about the team.  Now, the Razorbacks just hope they don’t lose a scholarship as the APR reports come out.   I am only mentioning this stuff because it could be Coach Altman that is in the situation that Pelphrey is in with the Arkansas basketball team.
  • Ryan Anderson from Nebraska declared for the NBA draft.  Wow.  Maybe he is being pushed out with all of the players Doc wants to play on scholarship next year.  Maybe the scholarship is being pulled out from Anderson, so he wants the NBA pre-draft experience to hopefully come back as a better player for them.  Keep an eye on this one.  He torched the Jays as a freshman.  Osiris Eldridge from Illinois St. is joining him.   Two thorns in the sides of the Jays.
  • Matt Perrault, who did a sports talk show in Omaha that had a lot of Jays coverage, has landed back on his feet at KXNO in Des Moines.  Now he can talk Drake basketball :)

In other Valley related things

  • Indiana St. coach and former Bluejay assistant Kevin McKenna will be coaching an Athletes in Action team this summer.  Dane Watts and Anthony Tolliver  participated on these teams in the past that go to other countries to play basketball but also teach the game of basketball to others in those countries.
  • Apparently the powers that be in Wichita like the job Gregg Marshall is doing down there as they extended his contract which will keep him around until 2015.   Marshall currently makes $750,000
  • This will be an interesting year for Bradley.  Jim Les signed all just out of high school players this season and no JUCO players.  Before this, 17 of his 33 recruits before this class were junior college or Division I transfers. I mentioned before that I think Les is on the hot seat this season, but he may have just gotten himself another year because he can use the excuse that he brought in 4 young players that he expected to contribute right away.
  • The brand new Diamond Head Classic that pretty much replaces the Rainbow Classic that the Jays played in a few years back has announced their field.   No MVC teams in that one.

Finally, check out a new radio show starting this Sunday covering Bluejay sports.  The Bluejay Banter show will be on Omaha’s 1620 the Zone radio station from 10-11AM on Sundays.  For those outside of Omaha, the stream will be available at 1620thezone.com and podcasted for listening later. The first show will feature Steve Pivovar from the OWH and Kevin Sarver from Creighton athletics.

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Around the Rim–3/20/09

March 20, 2009

As Jays fans get pumped up for the game on Monday, here are few other things of interest or other stuff in the past week or so that I came across:

  • Here is another reason to love Booker Woodfox.  This time, not as a basketball player.
  • With the Jays missing the NCAA Tourney, it is interesting to see teams like North Dakota St. being able to make the Big Dance already, but they don’t benefit financially yet.
  • Since we are talking about money, getting to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 could mean more money for coaches.   It was interesting to see the details about Bruce Weber’s contract.
  • The economy is hitting college sports.  A few weeks ago, Northern Iowa said it was shutting down its baseball program.  The Southern Conference announced last month that they are going to reduce the number of schools participating in several Southern Conference tournaments; cut baseball series from three days to two; and will not stage preseason gatherings in football and men’s basketball next season.  Who knows, maybe that will make it easier for  Davidson to the Big Dance next year if Curry is still around if they are cutting the number of schools in their conference tournament.
  • Creighton recruit Andrew Bock has been getting a lot of pub lately as his team is in it’s class basketball finals.    He has helped his Eisenhower team go farther into the state playoffs than any other in the school’s history.    Last Thursday, they made it to their regional final where Bock had 20 points.  Then they won the regional final a couple days later where he had 21 points and led the first San Bernardino County boys’ team to advance to a state championship game.   The Championship game will be this Saturday at Pauley Pavillion.
  • Speaking of recruits, Ethan Wragge is trying to lead his high school team to the state championships as well scoring 25 points in their district semifinals.  Their district final is tonight.
  • Gregg Marshall still won’t let that MVC tourney game go away.  The Shockers host Stanford Monday in the CBI tourney.  It is on HDNet.
  • Pat Forde from ESPN has a nice little tidbit of information at the bottom of his Forde Minutes about referees for the NCAA Tourney.  An interesting process.
  • Would you rather be up at halftime or down at halftime?  Some interesting research on why it might be good to actually be behind at halftime.  But not too far behind.
  • San Diego St. has sold out to the Indians.  No more Cox Arena, but maybe more slot machines.
  • Apparently Arkansas-Little Rock is too good to play in the CBI or CIT tournament since they didn’t make the NCAA or NIT.
  • Finally, it sounds like Osiris Eldridge is testing the NBA waters.  I hope he decides to keep his name in.  He has killed the Jays in his three seasons.

MVC Tourney and Other Stuff

March 11, 2009

As you can tell, it has been a few day since I posted on here.  I did not post anything after the Jays loss last Saturday.  For one reason I didn’t have anything positive to say.  I was disappointed to say the least.   The other reason is that I was doing some extensive coverage of the MVC Tourney for Rush the Court and that took up a good amount of time.  Couple that with sporatic internet access the rest of the tourney, intensely watching 8 games in 3 days, driving to and from the tournament and heading home early due to a family emergency, I was a little shot and surprised how much Arch Madness took out of me.

Anyway, in case you missed out on everything since you were in St. Louis, here is what I have been doing for Rush the Court lately:

  • Last week, it started with the MVC season wrap-up and tourney preview.  Obviously I was totally off with the Jays vs. Bradley in the finals.
  • Then there was the Rush the Court Live coverage of the Southern Illinois/Bradley game and the Jays vs. Illinois St. game.
  • After the Southern Illinois/Bradley game, I reported on the game with extra pictures and stuff from courtside.
  • It was tough to blog a game where the Jays were just totally dominated and then still gave an after game  report on the game with pictures.  Though it was fun sitting basically behind the Creighton bench to hear and see what was going on with the team.
  • We then had to head for home and scrapped plans for live blogging the MVC Final due to a family issue.  I did listen to the game and watched it on DVR later and provided a report and postseason MVC predictions.
  • There was a season wrap-up and preview of the Big 12 tourney
  • Creightonjoey has some new recruiting information on the Recruiting page.
  • Finally today, I submitted a “Make Your Case” for the Jays on why they should be included in the NCAA Tourney.
  • “The Bracketeer” had a new bracket this past Monday and will have another new one Friday night and a final bracket on Sunday before the selection show.

So it has been a busy week.

Like I said before the MVC Tourney, I said I would post some pictures and talk about the experience.  First off, I want to thank Rush the Court and the Missouri Valley Conference for allowing me to cover the tournament.

Thursday night when I was trying to find out where to pick up my credentials, the Scottrade Center staff was very helpful and were able to direct me to where I needed to go.  Thursday night however, I decided to just enjoy Arch Madness and watch the play-in games.

Friday I went to Arch Madness through the media entrance before the UNI/Indiana St. game to find my spot on press row and to see if I would run into any problems setting up to live blog the SIU/Bradley game and ran into Charlie Spoonhauer as I was walking in.    He was doing several of the games for Fox Sports Net on TV that weekend.  I then made my way to the media workroom to get acquainted.

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Right outside the media workroom was an area that included all of the media guides and other information about the teams that could be useful for reference or anything that would need to be looked up during the course of the tournament.

Inside the media workroom were a bunch of tables available for computer and other work items along with being able to find out the wireless access information for the Scottrade Center.  There was also a corner where there was a layout of snacks.  Across from that was your beverage area with fountain Pepsi products available along with bottled juices and even milk.  Then there was an ice cream machine available for that sweet tooth.

After getting the wireless stuff figured out, I headed out to the floor to see where I was sitting.  I ended up right behind the bench of one of the teams and the WFAN radio crew Next to me was Matthew Stevens from Braketography.com and on the other side was one of the many MVC staff.

So I got everything ready to go for SIU/Bradley and watched the end of the UNI/Indiana St. game.  As that game was over, I thought I would go ahead and figure out where the postgame interview area was.

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So then I listened with several other media members and a platform of cameras and listened to Ben Jacobson talk about the win:

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One thing I quickly learned was if you stayed in the postgame area for both sides to give their postgame, you might miss the start of the next game going on out there.  So I didn’t stick around for Coach McKenna and headed back to courtside and got started with the SIU/Bradley live blog.

Wireless internet in the bowl of the Scottrade Center was kind of sporatic at times, but things didn’t go too bad.  In fact across the court on the other side, Kyle Whelliston (from Mid Majority and formerly of ESPN fame) was doing his own live blog chat on college basketball in general during this game.   He mentioned his own wireless problems going on there as well.

After the SIU/Bradley game, I again went to the postgame news conference, but this time I was able to stay for both sides since there was a little extra time until the next game (Jays of course) and they cleared all the fans out of the Scottrade for the next 40 minutes until they opened up again for the next session.  All the while, the media was still feasting on the postgame interviews.

Sam Singh will be back for year 6 next season.

Sam Singh will be back for year 6 next season.

Will SIU be better next year?

Will SIU be better next year?

It was now time for the Creighton/Wichita St. game and I met up with my wife to actually sit in the stands to watch this game.  I wanted to be able to just sit and enjoy at least one Jays game in the tourney because I figured if the Jays kept winning, we were probably going to live blog their other games, so I wanted to enjoy this one.   I was just going to watch it and call it a night.   And boy, things were looking great for the first 30-35 minutes.  But then as everything fell apart,  I was just cringing.  When I was sitting next to the guy from Bracketography earlier in the day as Northern Iowa was on the cusp of getting beat by ISU-Blue, I asked him if Creighton lost that night whether they would still get into the NCAA.  He said “No way.”  Now 6 hours later, my worst fear was becoming reality.  As Toure Murry hit that three pointer to put Wichita St. up one, I couldn’t believe how it got to that point.   But then with all the stuff that went on at the end and Booker Woodfox’s shot at the end, everybody was just going crazy in the stands and I was like “I gotta get down there, I’m sure the post game will be interesting.”  So I slapped on my media pass and made my way down there.  That let me put this together afterwards.   As I walked into the postgame and as we waited for the players and Coach Altman,  Matt Perrault, Travis Justice and Tom Shatel were sort of talking about the end of the game and that they thought there was no way Booker got that shot off in time.  I sort of sat close by just to see how they saw it.  As we know though later, Mr. Shatel went with Doug Elgin and basically seemed to prove that it was a valid and good shot.  I thanked Mr. Shatel the next day for writing the article that I thought would everyone at ease.

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However, I think Gregg Marshall’s experiences with Creighton will always leave a bad taste in his mouth no matter what.    As he carted his wife and kids into the postgame news conference and proceeded to get really emotional about the game and the situation, I was wondering how much was authentic and how much was a show for his wife and kids.  Also as a bit of interest, when Coach Altman and the Bluejays were done with their part of the interview and Gregggg Marshall came up for the news conference, Matt Perrault disappeared from the room.  I can’t imagine why he didn’t want to stick around to hear what would come out of Marshall’s mouth.

By the time the news conferences were over with for that game it was well into the Evansville/Illinois St. game.  I was dead tired by then and watched some of the game and headed home for the night.  Also as a side note, if I wanted to, I could have went to the different locker rooms and done individual interviews, but I will admit I was a bit intimidated and didn’t want to overstep myself in my first experience doing this type of stuff.

Saturday was pretty much the same as the day before, but that day was the live blog of the Illinois St./Creighton game.  Like I said before, that game was a really hard one to watch and you could tell that the Redbirds wanted it more.  I happened to be again in my same spot from the day before, so I was right behind the Creighton bench.  As the game was getting further into it, the Jays coaching staff was talking a lot about getting the ball inside and would yell repeatedly to get the ball inside.

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Josh Dotzler and Justin Carter tried to pump up the team, but it wasn’t enough Even though in the postgame Dotzler said that the way the game ended from the night before did not have an effect on the team, I really think it did.  It was like the air was let out of the balloon and the cohesiveness that this team had developed over the previous 10 1/2 games all of a sudden disappeared.  Everyone had their own plan to do things.  P’Allen Stinnett was hitting things and knocking things over and just did not have the composure needed.   At the end it came down to shooting the ball. Creighton had one of their worst nights ever and Illinois St. had one of their best.  The rest of the stats were even.  The Jays outrebounded Illinois St.  Steals and turnovers were just about even.

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Though disappointed, I was all set to enjoy my courtside experience for one more day to cover the MVC conference tourney title game, but then had a family issue sort of cut our trip short and had to make the trip back to Omaha earlier than anticipated.

Now the Jays sit and wait and hope that they get the call next Sunday to the NCAA Tournament.  For Booker Woodfox, he worked his tail off this season and deserves the chance to experience the Big Dance.  For Josh Dotzler, it is a culmination of what was anticipated, what dreams were shattered and a 4-year legacy that may end by only getting to the NCAA tournament once.  He also deserves more.  Here’s to the other bubble teams–lose!

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Divine Intervention

March 7, 2009

Box Score

Whew!  That was close.  For those who decided to turn the channel midway through the second half of the game tonight missed out on what should not have come down to this, but a last second shot as time expired by MVC Player of the Year,  Booker Woodfox as the Jays escape to Saturday’s semifinal against Illinois St.

The Jays were pumped and the crowd was excited (and apparently many were being escorted out of the student section throughout the game) and the Jays took it to the Shockers flying around the floor, pushing the ball, a few spectacular dunks and the Jays run into halftime with a 13 point lead.  The Jays also held the Shocker’s JT Durley scoreless.

Then out from halftime, the Jays still look in control and were up by as many as 22 with 16:41 remaining.  OK game over, right?  Well according to Bill James his formula said that the Jays lead was 38% safe.  Well obviously that was pretty accurate.  Durley started getting involved, the Jays were getting outrebounded heavily (48-26 for the game) and the Jays were turning the ball over.

The Shockers picked away at the lead.  After several weird plays, referee conferences, water seeping from the ice beneath the basketball floor and check-in problems at the scorers table the Jays are up 2 with 12 seconds left.   Then out of no where, P’Allen Stinnett loses Toure Murry (who was 0-4 from three at the time) and he drains the three for Wichita to put them up one.   Jays have 9 seconds left to bring the ball down the court and Antoine Young drives and puts up a wild shot that bounces off the rim.  A Shocker gets the ball, but then it appeared to get knocked away from him and out of bounds, but the clock is still running and the buzzer sounds. Wichita appeared they escaped with a win.  Players and the cheer squad storm the court.

The referees go to the scorers table to see if there was indeed time left on the clock.  They discovered there was 1.9 seconds left.  After 3 timeouts (2 by the Jays and 1 by Wichita st.) Josh Dotzler was able to find Booker Woodfox but he fumbled the ball a bit, but still was able to dribble twice and hit a 15-footer to win the game.

Again the referees go to the scorers table to verify that the shot was good and after seeing that it was, the Jays escape with a 63-62 win.

The talk originally in the press room directly after the game between Matt Perrault, Travis Justice and Tom Shatel were all convinced that the Jays got more like 3 seconds to shoot the ball and that the clock was not started on time.  But as Mr. Shatel wrote later, he went with MVC commissioner Doug Elgin to watch the replay again from the truck with a stopwatch and indeed, the play only actually took about 1.5 seconds and Booker had the shot out of his hands with .4 seconds left.

Here is Booker’s reaction from the Postgame Press Conference that I took:

And as you can tell, Wichita St. head coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t too happy.   Here were his thoughts on the end of the game:

The good parts of the game was the first half and the first part of the 2nd half where Kenny Lawson played with a lot of fire and finished with 14 points.  P’Allen Stinnett really looked good in the first half and I really liked his leadership.  I was about ready to talk about how he was just doing everything for the Jays with his points assists and 4 steals in the first half.   But the bad part was that a bad second half with 7 turnovers.  I really had no idea until looking at the box score that Cavel Witter shot 1-10 from the field.

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Of course, Coach Altman had his reactions to the game.  First, that they had planned all along to get the ball to Booker:

Then what he is going to stress to the team and how they reacted to all of this:

But now there is no time to really dwell on tonight’s game.  A win is a win and the Jays now have to focus on the Illinois St.  Redbirds.  With my affiliation with Rush the Court, I will again be down at courtside tomorrow as we do RTC Live and live blog the Jays vs. Redbirds.  If you are not in the Scottrade Center and you are watching on TV at home or don’t have access to the game on TV, take a gander at RTC Live and participate in the live blog.  Also you can submit any questions or request info from the players and coaches that I can as for you and get answers.  See you tomorrow (I mean today a little later).


Gametime Primer: Jays vs. Wichita St.

March 6, 2009

creighton @ wsu-shocker-logo-3

Friday, March 6, 2009, 6PM
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Quarterfinals
Scottrade Center

Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 122
TV: Fox Sports Midwest (Cox ch. 47 in Omaha)

Creighton Game Notes | Wichita St. Game Notes (Not Available)

Audio to Listen To
Any of the stuff on Big Sports 590 Podcasts

Other Previews
Steve Pivovar’s Valley Tourney Notebook (OWH)
Best Approach for Jays: Take Nothing for Chance (OWH)
Paul Suellentrop Notes (Kansas.com)

Tonight, I watched a grind it out game with Missouri St. and Wichita St. that at times was hard to watch.  However, there was a lot more energy felt in this one than the previous Indiana St./Drake game.   By the time the game was over, it was getting quite physical and that definitely was an advantage for Wichita St.

The Jays did stop by in the stands for a quick gander at the game in the first half, but they looked focused as ever and I think they are ready to play.

Wichita St. had a very balanced scoring attack Thursday night with Toure Murry with 16, Ramon Clemente with 12 and JT Durley with 10.  It is going to be very important for Kenny Lawson and Kenton Walker  to outplay Clemente and Durley in order to win this game.   Otter’s blog had a great entry this last week  in preparation for the tourney on the “Others” who seemed to come out of no where and step up for the Jays in the MVC tourney.   It may be Justin Carter as mentioned, but it may also be Lawson or Walker or even Chad Millard who will be the surprise players in this tourney.

Everyone will key on Booker Woodfox and P’Allen Stinnett.  But it is the toughness that the frontline has gained over this 10 game winning streak that will keep the streak going.

The other thing out of Wichita St. camp tonight is that Gregg Marshall didn’t get T’d up and didn’t get kicked out of the game like he did last season.  Maybe he is waiting until the Creighton game.

We’ll have to keep an eye on Josh Dotzler to see how his shins and cramping will affect his play.  He is a key cog and will need to be leaned on as Antoine Young experiences his first Arch Madness.

(Oh, and as a side note, I would not be surprised if Indiana St. upsets Northern Iowa tomorrow to kick off the quarterfinals.  Indiana St. was up 21 on Drake before they let them back in the game, but I am sensing that with Kevin McKenna being from the Altman stable, that he has a blueprint on how to get his teams ready for the MVC tournament.  This should be an interesting game.)

The Jays will have a battle on their hands and with the Wichita St. and Jays fans in almost the same side of the Scottrade center lower bowl, it could get loud in there.  It appeared the Shockers and the Jays were the most represented as far as fans during Thursday’s play-in games.  I think this game will be close and the Jays remember what happened last time in Wichita the last time they played the Shockers.  The weather is beautiful here in St. Louis and it will be a pleasant day for the Jays as well.

PredictionJays 71, Wichita St. 67

MVC Tourney Notes:

The Jays have been busy getting postseason awards.  Along with all of the MVC awards given out earlier in the week with Booker Woodfox winning the MVC player of the year and First Team All-MVC.  Here are some of the other awards the Jays have won:

  • P’Allen Stinnett was placed on the All-MVC 2nd team.
  • Josh Dotzler and Kenny Lawson were on the All-Defensive team
  • Antoine Young and Kenton Walker were named to the All-Bench team
  • Kaleb Korver and Dustin Sitzmann were named to the All-MVC Scholar Athlete Teams.
  • Booker Woodfox received another award being placed on the National Association of Coaches All-District team which makes him now eligible to be selected for the State Farm Coaches Division I All-American team.

Cox goes off against Indiana St.

“Bucky” Cox almost singlehandedly brought Drake back against Indiana St. Thursday night.  Drake was down 21 points and for a 6 minute stretch in the second half, Drake held Indiana St. from scoring and Cox then went on a tear.   He went for 27 points for the game  shooting 10-16 from the field and 4-7 from three.  And at least 2 of those three pointers were well behind the NBA three point line.  Simply amazing.  Drake had gotten ISU’s lead down to 3, but then didn’t get Cox the ball anymore and then made free throws helped the Sycamores survive.   I don’t think I will be sad that Cox is done after this year.  He has been tough on the Jays and we saw his range tonight.

Weems goes cold

Kyle Weems was hot for Missouri St. in the first half going into the half with 16 points on 6-9 shooting.  But what seems to be a constant problem for Weems is his inability to perform in the second half.  He struggled once again going 1-6 from the field.  I guess the good thing for Weems is that he is only a freshman and he has time to improve that aspect of his game.  Bad news for the Valley opponents if he can play two good halves int he same game the next few years.


Around the Rim–1/21/09

January 22, 2009

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.


Bull Fighting at its Best

January 19, 2009

Many of you have experienced the Wichita St./Creighton game in all its glory from Saturday night.  I’m not going to waste time going over the disappointing aspects of the game since it has been talked about already by others and others

Watching this game late at night Sunday, I was just amazed that this team is still trying to find it’s identity and the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are alive and well.  Not knowing which team is going to show up home or away.  Anyway, the defense was porous at best and as some has referred to in the past as Bull Fighting defense, there were enough red cape ole’s  for the Shockers that anyone could win when you can shoot within a few feet of the basket and make dunks and layups.   No rebounding is an understatement.

I did enjoy the energy and effort of Antoine Young and Booker Woodfox.  Antoine has really been able to get his game to fit into what the Jays are trying to do and will suck more playing time from Josh Dotzler and Cavel Witter.  The spurts of effort by P’Allen at times is really frustrating.  The “deep bench” that was supposed to create 40 minutes of h*** has not materialized this season and it is frustrating to not have a solid feel for what this team is doing.

The only hope now is that with about a 1/3 of the season left that they can get a win  on the road at Evansville and enjoy the home court advantage for 3 straight games to right this ship.   Stay tuned to see if this team can rise to the occaision.

If this season does not materialize an NCAA tournament birth, I can see fans start to get into a tizzy about this program.  Expectations have been raised for this program whether it is fair or not.  Winning 20 games and getting to some postseason that is not the NCAA Tournament will not be enough.    Oh well enough of the soap box commentary.   Just wait and see.