Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Mount:All Decade Team

Well folks, I've still got a few more minutes to get in on the action. Still time to get a Mount All-Decade Team out there. So since everybody else is doing it (How is that for blogger pressure?) I'm all in on the Mount St. Mary's All-Decade team.

We might end up with all guards. But we'll have a good team. I'm picking ten guys. That is one for every year. I'll save the extra scholarships.

But here goes.....In no real order.

Gregory Harris - guard - His career ended in 2000 - so we sneak him in here. He's sixth in scoring and still the leader in assists. He took his team to the tourney while he was here and he was a very good point guard who started four years for the Mount.

Jeremy Goode - guard - the lefthander from Charlotte has been everything he was expected to be after coming North. He led the team to the NCAA tournament in his sophomore year and might take them back in the next decade. He'll leave with his name all over the Mount record book and images of his drives through the lane etched in our minds.

Sam Atupem - forward - We've got to have at least one guy who play in the pivot. Atupem is that guy. A strong rebounder and defensive player, he can score when needed as well. Who can ever forget his bucket that beat Winthrop?

Mychal Kearse - guard/forward - A great defensive player who also got it done on the offensive end. He left as the 34th leading scorer in Mount history. A great leader and someone who will always have a stamp on the program as long as the tenacious defense stays.

Charles Cook - forward - We need a shooter on this team. And Cookie is clearly a pure shooter. He knocked down 212 in his career, including 70 in one season.

Landy Thompson - guard - 8th on the All-time scoring list at the Mount. The shooter from Archbishop Spalding could absolutely catch fire at times. We'll always remember that shooting touch from long range.

Jean Cajou - guard - Who knows, maybe by the end we'll have this guy on both this decade and next decade's team. He'll provide both offense and defense for this group. We're still thinking his best days as a Mountaineer are in front of him.

Chris Vann - guard - Somehow we all as fans just thought we wouldn't miss this guy. Shame on us. The little guard found a way to create shots and score points.

Terrance Wilson - forward - The forward became one of the first Mount players from Virginia and the Beach District that has been so profitable of a recruiting area for the Mount. Wilson was part of that late 90's run to the NCAA tournament, and one of the more talented big players to ever wear the white and blue.

Kelly Beidler - forward - He's been a key factor in all the good times over the last few years. At times he has really come up with the key bucket when needed, or the big rebound at other times. He has become a better defensive player and can be counted upon at both ends of the floor.

Here's all the Mountaineers of the 00's - Donte Alexander, Koki Adasi, Matt Ashcroft, Pat Atangana, Sam Atupem, Shawn Atupem, Michael Bajornas, Rob Balgac, Kelly Beidler, Kirk Bunn, Pierre Brown, Joey Butler, Kiel Butler, Jean Cajou, Jason Carbone, Jamion Christian, Gavin Coco, Charles Cook, Michael Cook, Josh Dittmar, Nick Dodson, Gus Durr, Jason Epps, Drew Gaeng, Marvin Gibson, Jeremy Goode, Mike Harvey, Will Holland, Tayvon Jackson, Antonio Johnson, Kevin Jones, Mychal Kearse, Ed Kenny, Jason Loughry, Shawn Mark, Esmond Marvray, Markus Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Keith Price, Guyvans Richard, Konata Springer, Chris Sumner, Landy Thompson, Chris Vann, Melvin Whitaker, Nick Whitney, Terrence Wilson.

Those are my 10, you might have your own. Certainly there is plenty of reason for discussion. But all these guys have made the last ten years of Mount basketball some of the most memorable for me. Certainly, the fact that my daughter has grown to enjoy Mount basketball during this time almost as much as I do has added to the enjoyment.

Wonder what the next ten years will bring?

If We had a College Football Playoff - Sweet Sixteen - New Year's Eve Results

Arkansas vs Alabama @ Atlanta

There is no Heisman jinx in the College Football Championship Tournament. Mark Ingram ran for 215 yards as the Crimson Tide rolled Arkansas 64-3 at the Georgia Dome on New Year's Eve. Ingram ran for a touchdown and caught a two-yard pass from Greg McElroy for another. The Tide ran for 459 yards and led 31-3 at the half. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was 10-for-38 with three interceptions in the season ending loss. The Razorbacks finish at 9-6, while 'Bama moves to 16-0 and into the quarterfinals.

Nebraska vs Boise State @ El Paso

Alex Henery's 43-yard field goal with six seconds left put Nebraska through to the Quarterfinals of the College Football championship Tournament with a 27-26 win over previously unbeaten Boise State. The Huskers led all game, but Boise took the lead with 1:44 to play on Kyle Brotzman's fourth field goal, a 28-yarder. Zac Lee completed three passes on the drive, but it was his key 3rd down scramble for 11 yards, that put Henery in position to win the game. The first half was a tale of two quarters. Nebraska stormed out to a 21-0 lead as Roy Helu bookended a pair of touchown runs (45 & 57 yards) around a Lee to Manelik Holt touchdown pass. Helu finished the day with an impressive 199 yards. Boise came back in the second quarter as Jeremy Avery and DJ Harper each scored on touchdown runs, and Brotzman kicked a pair of field goals, and it was 21-20 at half. Henery's first field goal extended the lead to 24-20 midway through the third. The odd/even scoring pattern continued in the fourth as Brotzman booted a pair of field goals for the only scoring and a 26-24 lead. But Henery's heroics broke the pattern and advanced the Cornhuskers to a Quarterfinal date with top-seeded Alabama.

More Recap from the Vermont Loss

I saw my barber leaving the game last night. He said he felt like he had just been pickpocketed.

There was definitely a certain sense of disgust after the loss last night. It definitely didn't feel right.

So when I sat down in the chair this morning, to get my final haircut of the Aughts, he asked me, "So what did you think of the game last night?"

I paused, I wanted to be sure that my disgust didn't show through entirely. Because in the 10 or 11 hours since I had last seen him, my feelings toward the game had changed a little bit, but I was still sick of losing. And last night still stung a little bit.

So I replied, in as optimistic tone as I could gather, "I still think they can be better than that. But it is a lot better than what we've been seeing."

I think in a nutshell that describes where this team is right now. And to some extent where they are going. There were positives last night, and enough to be encouraged. But there is a three-game road trip that is looming, that the Mount figures to be the underdog in all three games. And at some point they have to have a performance that gets a W. Getting close isn't enough.

Some more observations from last night.....

....Vermont is a good team. I think Boston U is better and should win the America East. It comes down to do you like the marquee player or the balance. The Terriers have the balance, I like that. And the ability to score from more places on the floor, which in the long run should be enough.

....The commenter liked the approach on Blakely. I didn't. Actually, I wasn't disappointed by it. But when it didn't work as well as it could have, I would have liked to see some adjustment or variation. Of course, he did turn the ball over eight times, so maybe it was better than I thought. Vermont scored 71 points on 74 possessions (.959) which is ok defensively. But can still, and needs to be a little bit better. .9 is always my goal. .9 of 74 is 67 points and the Mount would have won by 2. Of course, if the Mount offense would have been at the 1 point per possession that I like to see, they'd have won 74-71. Anyways, I thought we let him get the ball too easily. Maybe make him work a little bit harder to get it. Because it seemed once he had it, good things happened.

....When Blakely picked up his second foul with nine minutes left in the first half, I was hoping there could be some sort of seperation before the intermission. With four minutes left in the half the game was tied and it was obvious the Catamounts were trying to nurse the game to the break. The Mount made a late push and led by 9 right before the break. Then a foul and a Blakely tip in made it six. Six was comfortable, but when the Catamounts made a couple of treys at the start of the second half it was a game.

....The game was tied with seven minutes left. Vermont pushed the lead to 7. And I thought the Mount was done. Great guts and courage to get back in it and make it exciting at the end. Big tip of the cap to Sleepy Thompson. He didn't do anything spectacular, he made two free throws and two layups. But he came through when he was asked to with Jackson and Atupem out with fouls.

....Minus the final call, I thought the game was poorly officiated. Chris Boehm was working his second Division I game of the year, Jim Bruno just his seventh, and Tom Fahey (his third Mount game) only his eighth. So it wasn't the most experienced crew. All of them average more than 40 fouls called in game, which seems like a lot. It puts them in the top 75% of fouls called. And there they were all three together in Emmitsburg on a Wednesday night. Two good teams that had to deal with three officials who had combined to ref 17 games during the first two months of the season. Mike Eades has called 41 games himself. So there you go. You take it for what it is worth.

....That Blakely tip in was the biggest play of the game.

....2009 is over as far as the Mount is concerned. 2010 is a new year - hopefully with a little better luck and breaks. Maybe its just me...but it seems like every loose ball goes to the other team. And I get flashbacks of Dallas Green. This team's best basketball is in front of it. I am certain of that.

Happy New Year Everyone. Thanks for reading and supporting The Fan Blog. We look forward to a prosperous 2010 for all.

Links on Siena

Siena readies for post-holiday stretch

Siena starting to simmer

Pulls away from St. Peter's

Mount O'Links

Decade of LAX

Post Gamestory from Seton Hall win

We knew this day would come; Or did we?

New Times says SU is now the favorite

USC rallying under O'Neill

2009 in Orange

Still Unbeaten

Mescheriakov leaves Georgetown
The way I understand it is - Mescheriakov will have two years left to play, but would have to complete that by 2012 (as his five-year window started in fall of 2007). With still having to sit out a year, due to transfer rules, Mescheriakov would be eligible for spring of 2011 semester and then the full 2011-12 season. Of course if he transfers to a non-Division I program, he would be eligible right away (depending on the release from Georgetown and Big East rules) and have 2 1/2 years of eligibility.

Mount women win at Penn

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two late free throws the difference

The first thing they teach you at refereeing school is don't let a game goto overtime. Given the opportunity, the refereeing crew made a call with 2.5 seconds left and sent Joey Accaoui to the free three line in a tie game. Accaoui, despite the five vowels, made both free throws and the Mount was unable to get off a shot in the final seconds as Vermont won a 71-69 game at Knott Arena.

Marqus Blakely showed exactly why he has been the America East Player of the Year the last two years (and will be again) as he scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win. Maurice Joseph made 4-of-7 three pointers and added 14 as the Catamounts won the first game between the two schools.

Vermont took its largest lead of the game at 65-58 with 3:43 but the Mount rallied with 11 of the next 15 points to tie it at 69. Danny Thompson scored six of his eight points during that stretch including two layups in the last 21 seconds. His layup with 8 seconds left tied it at 69.

The Catamounts inbounded to Accaoui who worked the length of the floor and took a fadeway 16-footer that came up helplessly short. But Goode was whistled for a foul (a phantom one from my second deck vantage point) and Accaoui took advantage.

Jeremy Goode led the Mount with 20 points, while Jean Cajou had 12. Kelly Beidler chipped in with 11 and 9 rebounds, while Shawn Atupem had 11 before fouling out. The Mount shot the ball a little better, 44%, but was 23-of-45 on two point shots. And a disappointing 11-of-20 effort from the foulline cost the Mounties in a close game.

I'll have more thoughts tomorrow - feel free to post yours in the comments section.

Burlington Free Press

Reflections on the Seton Hall win

Couple of thoughts and observations from the Seton Hall game....

....Syracuse didn't play its best. And still won. On the road. In the conference. Against a pretty good team.

....Wes Johnson continues to do things that are impressive. Somebody mentioned Len Bias as a comparison at one point. I thought that was a little out of line, because of the way Lenny could just dominate games. But after seeing the 20-point, 19-rebound, 5-block performance from Newark last night. Well I'm not sure I'm going to put him in that class yet. But he is getting very, very close.

....Scoop Jardine was huge in the first half. His play stabilized Syracuse and made a rough night for Triche bearable.

....Also big Kudos to Kris Joseph for making his foul shots and his second half performance. I think a lot of the rebounding deficiencies in the first half were a result of some poor blocking out by Joseph - and the rest of the weakside, but he did a much better job in the second half.

....I also thought Mookie Jones did a real nice job both on the glass and offensively when in the game.

....Speaking of Mookie - I didn't I would see some one who likes to shoot more than he does in a game this year. But Jeremy Hazlett was definitely that guy. Sure he scored 39 points. But his team lost and he took a ton of shots.

....Seton Hall had 77 shots in the game. Syracuse had 61. The offensive rebound advantage for the Pirates was offensive. 23 offensive rebounds is a huge number. Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku did a better job in the second half.

....Ray said in his comments to the Live Blog about how a good defender can take Andy Rautins out of the game. I think that is pretty much true. However, guarding Rautins the way the Hall did leads to other openings on offense, and Syracuse got the ball to Onuaku and Jackson inside when they needed to. The inexcusable part of Rautins game was six turnovers. He is a senior he shouldn't have six turnovers. And besides that he doesn't handle the ball nearly enough to have six turnovers. Still, I have confidence in Rautins and believe that last night won't happen too often.

....I truly do think that this team doesn't lose more than 3 games in the Big East - 4 tops. Maybe 5 if you force me to say it. But I think they are that good. And if that number was going to be inflated it probably had to include a loss last night. I don't think many realize how good of a win this was.

....Pitt on Saturday will be another test. The Panthers will force the Syracuse offense to work hard. But I just don't think Pitt has the weapons offensively to do much damage. I was hoping to make it to the Dome for the game, but the weather is scaring me, and will probably keep me away.

If We had a College Football Playoff - Sweet Sixteen Matchups

Alabama vs Arkansas - @ Atlanta, Georgia - Site of the Peach Bowl - Thursday December 31st
SEC matchup in SEC Country - Tide looks to stay unbeaten

Nebraska vs Boise State @ El Paso, Texas - Site of the Sun Bowl - Thursday December 31st
Teams combined to score 137 points in the last round

Oregon vs Ohio State @ San Diego, California - Site of the Holiday Bowl - Friday January 1st
Pac 10 Champ vs Big Ten Champ in Southern California on New Year's Day - Tradition abounds

Penn State vs TCU @ Dallas Texas - Site of the Cotton Bowl - Friday January 1st
Can the Horned Frogs continue the dream season against another Big Ten power?

Texas vs Iowa @ San Antonio Texas - Site of the Alamo Bowl - Friday January 1st
Texas' tour through the Lone Star State continues

Ole Miss vs West Virginia @ Jacksonville Florida - Site of the Gator Bowl - Friday January 1st
Both teams were upset winners in 2nd Round; Whose season continues

Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma @ Orlando Florida - Site of Champs Sports Bowl - Saturday January 2nd - Oklahoma needs to be respected after first two performances

Oregon State vs Florida @ Tampa Florida - Site of Outback Bowl - Saturday January 2nd
Gators didn't even have to change hotels; Oregon State is a big underdog

Mount O'Links

Burrell averaging 21.8
That of course is Mt. St. Mary's and not St. Mary's - still no respect
Adding the link from the commenter below - JB scores 31
Thanks for the heads up

UC gets Competitive

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Syracuse/Seton Hall Live Blog

Game vs Vermont - a little more than ordinary

Make no mistake about it, Vermont Head Coach Mike Lonergan wants to beat the Mount.

The Catamount head coach is a former Maryland assistant and Catholic head coach - and grew up in the DC Area and attended Archbishop Carroll HS, before heading to Catholic for his collegiate career. Lonergan won a Division III national championship while coaching at Catholic.

His wife Maggie Meagher Lonergan played at the Mount and was an assistant to former Mount Women's head coach Bill Sheahan. As a player she helped lead the Mount to back-to-back NEC titles and to the NCAA tournament in 1994. As a coach, she was an assistant to Sheahan until the time of his resignation in 1998. At that point, there were many who believed that Lonergan might in fact be the replacement for Sheahan. Instead, the Mount hired another former player Vanessa Blair as its head coach. Meagher Lonergan went on to eventually be the head coach at Catholic, where it is believed that her and her husband were the only two spouses to coach a school's basketball programs at the same time.

In addition, Lonergan's brother John attended Mt. St. Mary's. So it won't be an unknown outfit that the Coach has to face on Wednesday night.

How many hard feelings were there over Meagher Lonergan not getting the Mount job? We'll never know the full answer to that. But word was that there was certainly disappointment. Couple that with the close family ties to the University and the Area - and you can be certain that Wednesday's game isn't just your run of the mill out of conferece game for Lonergan.

The Catamounts meanwhile bring an efficient offense to Knott Arena. They are 8-5 on the season, 0-1 against common opponents to the Mount. They lost their season opener at Loyola by 13 - a team the Mount beat by 19. But Vermont has played better of late - and did beat Rutgers earlier in the year. In addition, they have a win over Quinnipiac (whom many view as the top contender to the Mount in the NEC).

Marqus Blakely is the Catamounts top performer. He averages better than 18 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game. He isn't big. But at 6-5, 6-6 - he is a force that the Mount must find a way to contain.

The other thing the Mount must do is defend Maurice Joseph. The senior averages 14 points a game and knocks down better than 40% of his three pointers.

Evan Fjeld, a 6-8 junior, has also shown an ability to capitalize inside if given the opportunity. The Mount must do its best to limit his output.

The Mount enters having dropped six in a row, including the game at Boston U (the preseason America East favorite) last time out. There were several positives in that game for the Mount, against a team that is similar in ability to Vermont. Still the Mount must find a way to continue to be effective offensively. Seniors Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler and junior Jean Cajou all had efficient offensive games but must find a way to improve on that performance.

I'm looking for the good that happened at BU to carryover in this game against Vermont. If that happens the Mount's six-game losing streak could come to an end. Mike Lonergan will do everything he can to keep the losing streak going. It's probably a coin flip type game. One that each squad would win five times if they played ten games. I'm calling heads and saying the game turns up positive for the Mount. Let's say 74-70 at the ARCC.

ACC Stats say Mount by 2

RaffNotes - I fixed the mistake in the third paragraph. Vanessa Blair was hired instead of Meagher Lonergan. Vanessa Branch as originally stated went to school with me, and is now the Orbit Gum girl, and has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean as well as afternoon Soap Opera Port Charles - as Mary Margaret 'Paige' Barrington Smith. Her latest work is in the role of Lorraine in Feed the Fish. Just in case you wondering.

Why can't royalty live in Ohio?

I suppose I should get this out of the way before I go on: I am from just outside of Cleveland, and am an unabashed defender of the region. I can also see all our warts, which are plentiful, yet find plenty of beauty within. Having said that, I ask you this: why can't LeBron James stay and be happy in Cleveland?

For that past few months...years actually, locals have been bombarded with reports on the departure of James after this season. I mean, after all, why in the world would he stay here? Ignore the fact he's from the area, built a mansion nearby, has a team that has bent over backwards to make him happy, including building a 30 million dollar practice facility closer to his home, and very, very far away from where the rest of the team lives, could run for mayor and/or governor and win in a landslide, is the biggest sports icon the city has ever seen, already is a global entity, etc., etc., etc.

Well, New York is New York. Los Angeles and Miami offer better weather and visibility. Chicago is a great sports town. Yes, all this is true, but I ask you this: would he really, really have a better chance of winning anywhere else? If D-Wade stays in Miami and they pair up, perhaps. But have you seen the Knicks and Nets? The Mount could give them a run. The Bulls front office can't seem to get anything right of late.

If it's really about winning, which James says it is, he'll never leave. The Cavaliers are 24-8 at the time of this writing. They've won nine of ten, and have the third-best record in the league. They're 11-3 against the West, and recently throttled the Lakers in L.A. They reached the Finals in '06, had the league's best record and advanced to the Eastern Finals last year. Their salary cap situation becomes pretty favorable after this season to not only pay James max money, but allow them to go get another player to add to the roster.

Believe it or not, James actually likes the area. His family and longtime friends are all there. He's already a worldwide icon, and has more money than he and 15 generations will be able to spend. He's winning where he's at. He's comfortable. The media and fans give him his space.

Does this mean he'll stay? Of course not. But if winning is the determining factor in his decision, I wouldn't be so quick to look for a "For Sale" sign outside his mansion anytime soon.

Why am I nervous?

There is something that just doesn't feel right about the Syracuse @ Seton Hall game this evening.

Regular season games don't usually do this to me. Let alone regular season games against second-tier Big East teams. Some of that has to do with the fact that I really don't value the regular season as anything more than a tuneup for the NCAA Tournament. Because truthfully that is all it really is.

But there is something about this game at Seton Hall that bothers me.

I don't think its that I want the Orange to go undefeated. Sure, deep down maybe I have these high hopes. But realistically I see something in the 28-3 or 27-4 range. That seems to make sense against a very good Big East schedule.

However, I guess where all my trepidation is coming from is the fact that on paper this game at Seton Hall is probably one of those three or four. Many may not feel that way. But seriously, which other games have a higher likelihood of the Orange losing. Certainly the road game at West Virginia. That makes sense. But after that which. @ Louisville (Western Carolina won there) @ Georgetown (Old Dominion just recently beat the Hoyas), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, maybe home to Connecticut.

So I guess what I'm saying is I fully believe that if Syracuse played 10 times in New Jersey they'd beat the Pirates at least 7 times maybe 8. But it's those other two games that scare me. What if one of them pops up tonight. It could happen. I fear that it might. On the road after the Christmas Holiday is never a good thing. And the Hall got a game in on Saturday. So there break has long since been over.

Maybe I'm sweating something that doesn't needed to be sweated. If the Syracuse team we've seen in the first part of the season shows up tonight, it will not be beaten. But maybe they won't shoot 60+% on two-point buckets. Maybe the zone will look human against familiar Big East opponents.

I've gained confidence in this team as the season has worn on. Been impressed with their effort just about everytime out. And I can't remember a Syracuse team ever giving me this feeling that they really were That Good. Especially this early in the season. But this Syracuse team is That Good.

So you would think with that I'd enter tonight extremely confident. But I don't. Seton Hall is a good team, ready to beat a better team. Ready to make a mark. The Big East opener isn't supposed to matter, not in my mind at least. Games aren't supposed to get me juiced up until March. But for some reason this one is different.

Maybe that is what concerns me. Maybe that is why I seem to really care about the Big East opener for the first time in a long time. Because this team is now That Good.

Mount O'Links

LIU in Dr. Pepper Classic

I think the Owomen won 11 games combined in the three years I called games

SU All-Decade Hoops team

One of the tougher ones left


Saturday, December 26, 2009

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Games - Saturday Night

LSU vs Oklahoma @ Shreveport - home of the Independence Bowl

The Oklahoma Sooners weren't thought of as title contenders before the tournament began. But the pundits may want to rethink the title thoughts after the second straight impressive performance from the Sooners. Oklahoma bombed LSU 30-3 in Shreveport to advance. Ryan Broyles started the rout with a 79-yard punt return for a score after the Tigers had gone three and out on their opening possession. Chris Brown ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the win. The ability of the Oklahoma defense to stop the LSU rushing attack was a key for the Sooners. LSU averaged less than one yard per carry on 44 carries. Meanwhile, the pass rush pressured Jordan Jefferson nearly everytime he tried to throw and finished with five sacks.

Oregon State vs Pittsburgh @ Las Vegas - home of the Las Vegas Bowl

Justin Kahut's 44-yard field with 11:13 left lifted the Beavers to a 27-24 win over Pittsburgh. Oregon State trailed 24-17 entering the fourth quarter but scored ten points within the first four minutes to take the win. Jacquizz Rodgers caught a seven-yard TD from Sean Canfield to tie the score, before Kahut hit the game-winner. Pitt's Dan Hutchins missed from 41 yards with just over three minutes to play and the Beavers were able to run out the clock. Rodgers ran for 114 yards and caught six passes for a nother 48, including the touchdown. Dion Lewis ran for 168 yards on 34 carries in defeat for the Panthers.

Texas Tech vs Florida @ St. Petersburg - home of the St. Petersburg Bowl

There was nothing easy about this second round matchup for the Gators, but Florida sent the partisan crowd home happy with a 29-17 win at the Tropicana Dome. Tim Tebow threw for two scores as the Gators pulled away late. Florida led 19-17 entering the final quarter, as Baron Batch had scored a pair of touchdowns to close a 19-3 lead to two points. Chris Rainey ran for 145 yards for the Gators in the win on just 12 carries. The Florida defense intercepted Taylor Potts 5 times as the Red Raiders slung it around 50 times for the game. But the Gator defense never really gave Potts time to throw sacking him six times to go along with the picks.

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Games - Saturday Evening

Texas vs Utah @ Houston - Site of the Texas Bowl

Texas gave the in-state crowd plenty to cheer about as the Longhorns drilled Utah 40-7 at Reliant Stadium. Colt McCoy threw for 232 yards and Tre Newton ran for another 129 as the Longhorns breezed to a victory. Texas led 17-0 early and was never really challenged. The Utes rushing attack was stymied, held to 69 yards on 41 carries. Meanwhile, Terrance Cain threw a pair of interceptions for the Utes. Texas moves to 14-0 with the win and will play in San Antonio next weekend.

Arizona vs Iowa @ Tempe - Site of the Insight Bowl

Iowa beat Arizona, 31-22, for the second time this year advancing to a Sweet Sixteen date with Texas next weekend. Iowa scored 24 straight points after falling behind 10-7 to take control of the football game and held on for the victory. Adam Robinson was the big gun for the Hawkeyes picking up 143 yards on 27 carries. The Hawkeye defense picked off Nick Foles three times. Pat Angerer had one of those interceptions and also had a pair of sacks in the victory. Keola Antolin had 137 yards rushing in the loss and also scored on a 47-yard screen pass.

Virginia Tech vs Tennessee @ Washington DC - Site of the EagleBank Bowl

The Hokies got a huge performance from Ryan Williams and moved one step closer to filling their empty trophy case with a 35-13 win over Tennessee in Washington DC. Williams ran for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Hokies took control after halftime. Virginia Tech fell behind 13-7 on a Bryce Brown 3-yard run, but that seemed to ignite Beamer's bunch. Williams took off on a 64-yard scoring jaunt just plays later starting a string of 28 unanswered points that led the Hokies to victory.

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Games - Saturday Afternoon

Oregon vs Georgia @ San Francisco - home of the Emerald Bowl

Georgia got exactly the style football game it wanted, but couldn't hold on in the end as Oregon rallied for a 23-13 win over the Dawgs at AT&T Park. Jeff Maehl caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jeremiah Masoli with just 1:20 to put the Ducks into the lead 16-13. Talmadge Jackson ran an interception back 50 seconds later, the third Duck pick of the day to preserve the victory. LaMichael James ran for a game high 117 yards in the win. Joe Cox threw for 309 yards in the loss, but was victimized by the three interceptions. Oregon faces Ohio State next weekend in the Sweet Sixteen.

Nevada vs Penn State @ San Diego - home of the Poinsettia Bowl

Evan Royster ran for 157 yards and scored two touchdowns as Penn State ended Nevada's Cinderella run with a 31-17 win in balmy San Diego. The Nittany Lions never trailed and pounded out 475 yards of offense in the win. The attack was balanced for Penn State as they accumulated 242 yards rushing and 233 passing. Nevada again showed one of the top running attacks in the country as Vai Taua ran for 146 of his team's 300 yards on the ground. Taua's 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter drew the Wolf Pack within 14-9, but Penn State took control after that and Nevada had two drives go scoreless with missed field goals.

Wisconsin vs TCU @ Albuquerque - home of the New Mexico Bowl

Color the Horned Frogs a contender. TCU left little doubt in a 36-0 pasting of Wisconsin in the 2nd Round. The Hourned Frogs held Wisconsin to 169 yards of total offense and nine first downs. Meanwhile, the two-headed rushing attack of Joseph Turner and Edward Wesley combined for 203 yards rushing and two scores for TCU. The Frogs led 7-0 after one quarter and built the lead to 20-0 at the intermission. Ross Evans booted five field goals in the win for TCU. TCU returns to Texas to face Penn State in Dallas on New Year's Day.

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Games - Saturday Early Afternoon

Ohio State vs Clemson @ Toronto - site of the International Bowl

The Buckeyes defense found a way to slow down CJ Spiller and Terrelle Pryor scored the game's only touchdown as Ohio State bounced Clemson in Canada 9-2. Pryor ran one in from seven yards out midway through the first quarter and it was assumed the shootout was on. But it never developed. The Tigers only scored when they caught Pryor in the end zone late in the first quarter for a safety. Ohio State completed the scoring with a 41-yard Aaron Pettrey field goal on the final play of the first half. Spiller managed just 52 yards as Ohio State held Clemson to 9 first downs.

Miami (FL) vs Ole Miss @ Nashville - site of the Music City Bowl

Ole Miss rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit to eliminate the Hurricanes 34-23 in Nashville. Dexter McCluster scored three touchdowns after the break, two on the ground and one from quarterback Jevan Snead to spark the rally. McCluster finished with 163 yards rushing and another 23 receiving. Miami took a 20-7 lead on the second of Javarris James' first half touchdown runs. But couldn't hold on as the Rebels rallied for three straight touchdowns to tak a 27-20 lead. The 'Canes cut the lead to four on Matt Bosher's 36-yard field goal with 6:08 left, but McCluster's 13-yard scoring run sealed it with 2:52 left

Cincinnati vs West Virginia @ Detroit - site of the Motor City Bowl 

West Virginia finally figured out the Cincinnati offense and rallied for a 43-37 double overtime win in Detroit. After allowing 41 points in six quarters against the Bearcats this season, the Mountaineers held Cincy without a second half touchdown and rallied from down 30-16 in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Noel Devine scored twice in the extra sessions, including a 4-yard run to eliminate the previously unbeaten Bearcats. Jarrett Brown's 17-yard pass to Alric Arnett with 2:46 left forced the extra time and the Mountaineers didn't disappoint. Devine scored in the first session on a six-yard run, before Isaiah Pead caught a 13-yard pass from Tony Pike to make it 37-all in the first overtime. Jake Rogers missed a 42-yard attempt in the second overtime setting the stage for West Virginia.

Mount O'Links

EPL TV preview for the week

Checking in on the NEC

Nine things on the 12th Green

Thursday, December 24, 2009

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Results (Christmas Eve) Late Afternoon


Georgia Tech is going to wake up on Christmas morning with visions of Roy Helu in their heads. The Nebraska running back scored seven touchdowns as the Huskers blasted Georgia Tech 77-16 in ACC Country. Helu scored three first quarter touchdowns, including an 85-yard burst that broke the game open at 21-0. He finished the day with a tournament record 312 yards on a meager 25 carries. Nebraska finished with 782 yards of offense, including a total of 536 on the ground and racked up 42 first downs.


Those still in favor of the bowl season and not having a college football playoff might have had their mind changed with this game. Boise State rallied for a remarkable 60-57 win in this Christmas Eve Classic. The Broncs trailed nearly the whole game but scored two touchdowns in the final 2:40 to eke out the victory. Jeremy Avery scored both of those touchdowns, the game winner on a 5 yard run with :17 left. The td run followed four straight completions from Kellen Moore, who marched his team down the field after the defense held Auburn and gave Boise the ball back with 1:21 to play. Avery finished with 146 yard and four touchdowns while Doug Martin picked up 130 and two scores in the win. Auburn was able to stay ahead of the Broncos all game because of its power running game. Ben Tate rand for 286 yards and two scores including the one-yarder with 5:18 left that made it 57-45. Onterio McCalebb also scored twice and picked up 127 yards rushing. Boise trailed 17-7 after one quarter, but seemed to take control in the second quarter and took a pair of second quarter leads before Auburn got a field goal late in the half to restore the halftime advantage. After falling behind 35-30 in the third, the Tigers scored on its next four possessions and built the lead to 50-38 in the wild fourth quarter. But that only set the stage for Boise to make the heroic comeback.

If We had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Results - Thursday (Christmas Eve) Early Afternoon Games

Here are the early results from Thursday's afternoon Games....


Top seeded Alabama needed to rally past Cal in the 2nd Round of the College Football Championship Tournament to secure its place in the next round with a 31-24 win. Playing before an in-state crowd in Mobile, Alabama found itself down 21-7 early in the second quarter. After cutting it to 21-14 at halftime when Greg McElroy found Collin Peek on a 31 yard touchdown pass, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram capped a second half opening drive with a two-yard plunge to tie it at 21. Cal took the lead back on a Vince D'Amato 37 yard field goal with 13:36 left. But Roy Upchurch's 6 yard with 9:57 left gave the Tide the lead for good. Ingram finished with 138 yards on 28 carries but was outrushed by Cal's Jahvid Best who broke free for 162 yards on just 17 carries.

STANFORD VS ARKANSAS @ Memphis, Tennessee

Arkansas raced out to a 28-0 lead and held on for a 52-35 win at the Liberty Bowl on Christmas Eve. The Razorbacks torched the Cardinal defense for 633 yards of total offense in the win. Stanford got as close at 45-35 at the end of the third quarter, but Arkansas stiffened defensively in the fourth quarter. Michael Smith ran for 112 yards for Arkansas while Ryan Mallett threw for 412 yards and 5 touchdowns. Toby Gerhart carried the ball 33 times for 200 yards in the loss.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Links on Vermont

Vermont rises past QU on Blakely's career high

Blakely rallies Catamounts past Marist

If we Had a College Football Playoff - 2nd Round Matchups

The first round is complete. Now there is no more home field advantage. All the remainder of the games are played at sites of College Bowl games, except the Championship Game, which will be played at the site of the Super Bowl each year. So here are the 16 2nd round matchups.

33 California vs 1 Alabama @ Mobile, Alabama site of GMAC Bowl
Jahvid Best was a Heisman contender early in the season

17 Stanford vs 16 Arkansas @ Memphis Tennessee site of Liberty Bowl
This has the potential for points a plenty

9 Georgia Tech vs 24 Nebraska @ Charlotte North Carolina site of the Meineke Car Care Bowl
ACC Champs looking to move on in ACC country

25 Auburn vs 8 Boise State @ Boise Idaho site of the Humanitarian Bowl
Okay so maybe home field advantage still exists

5 Oregon vs 28 Georgia @ San Francisco California site of the Emerald Bowl
This has a lot of folks thinking upset

12 Ohio State vs 21 Clemson @ Toronto Canada site of the International Bowl
Do they allow singles since it is in Canada?

52 Nevada vs 20 Penn State @ San Diego California site of the Pointsettia Bowl
Can the Pack keep the Pistol moving?

36 Wisconsin vs 4 TCU @ Albuquerque New Mexico site of the New Mexico Bowl
Badgers try to take out 2nd Mountain West team in as many weeks

3 Texas vs  35 Utah @ Houston Texas site of the Texas Bowl
Texas trying to advance to San Antonio with win

14 Arizona vs 19 Iowa @ Tempe Arizona site of Insight Bowl
Cats trying to make Sun Devil Stadium home for a day - and avenge early season loss

11 Miami Fl vs 22 Ole Miss @ Nashville Tennessee site of the Music City Bowl
'Canes didn't draw optimum site on this game, will it matter?

27 West Virginia vs 6 Cincinnatti @ Detroit Michigan site of the Motor City Bowl
WVU came close once before

7 Virginia Tech vs 26 Tennessee @ Washington DC site of the EagleBank Bowl
Tech has a lot of followers in DC

10 LSU vs 23 Oklahoma @ Shreveport Louisiana site of the Independence Bowl
One of the most appealing matchups of the second weekend

15 Oregon State vs 18 Pittsburgh @ Las Vegas Nevada site of the Las Vegas Bowl
Quality Sun Bowl rematch

31 Texas Tech vs 2 Florida @ St. Petersburg Florida site of the St. Petersburg Bowl
Gators can play five of six games in State, but better not get caught looking ahead

Check back tomorrow for the first four game results, and then the bulk of the schedule will be played on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mount at Boston U Game Thread

Feel Free to post your thoughts and comments during and after the game in the comment section

The Mount is in Boston tonight. Finally finishing this road trip that started at the end of November and hasn't been very productive. The Mounties did start it with a win at Navy and have a chance to finish it with one at the America East preseason favorite.

The Terriers enter the game at 4-6, but on the heels of back to back wins over Bucknell and Marist.

The Mount beat BU at the ARCC last year in the only ever meeting between the schools. The Mount won going away down the stretch after breaking a 62-all tie on a Kelly Beidler three-pointer out of the corner.

The Mount will need to find a way to slow down John Holland, one of the top scorers in the country. At 6-5 he is a pretty good player, has range on the jump shot and likes to slash to the basket. I assume Kelly Beidler will get the initial call on him, but the Mount may look to do some different things.

If I recall from last year, the Mount's guards were vastly superior, so maybe this a game for Goode and Cajou to get it back going again. Corey Lowe has had a good stroke of late for the Terriers and with all the things he does, might actually be their most important player. Also keep an eye on Jake O'Brien down low. The 6-8 sophomore has a good touch, and can step outside and hit the long range jumper as well.

The only video I could find for the game is available at The School's website and there is a $9.95 monthly fee for the service.

I'll have my thoughts and opinions as the game goes on.

National Anthem in Boston. I'm excited to see what transpires tonight. The Mount is definitely the underdog, but I have a good feeling about where things are headed in this game.

Raven Barber in the starting lineup. WOW

2 quick fouls on Atupem...The Mount once again struggling offensively. 6-2 at the first media timeout. Only a Jeremy Goode fastbreak layup to show for it. Some pressure from BU which could help to speed the play up. But the Mount is really struggling from the field, misses from just about everyone...Goode deep, Cajou, Holland and a pair from Beidler.

The Mount is in deep trouble. They are down 11-2. The offense is very stagnant. They have turned it over twice since Goode left the game. The Mount hasn't scored in six minutes.

It is 13-4 with 11:44 left in favor of the Terriers. The Mount is at the free throw line (Holland) after the break. Jake O'Brien does have two fouls now for BU, which could help the Mount. But the problems aren't in defending BU, its at the offensive end for the Mount.

An 8-0 run for the Mount has brought the Mount back into the game at 13-10. Much of the work done at the free throw line for the Mount (6-of-6) and another fast break layup for Goode.

21-13 with 7:41 left as BU has stretched it back out a little bit. Cajou just picked up his second foul. Beidler had a three in there, but the offense is still struggling.

It's 31-23 - the pace has quickened and this is to the Mount's advantage. When it is a halfcourt game, the offense really struggles. But Beidler and Goode and some good free throw shooting trying to keep the Mount in it.

The score is 39-32 at halftime. The Mount had it back as close as 5, but a John Holland jumper made it seven right before the break. In the halfcourt, the Terriers are the better team. But in an open court game, the Mount has a chance. The pace was very quick the last ten minutes or so. Jeremy Goode made a few plays and had 11 in the first half by my count. We'll see if it can carry over to the second half.

The Mount needs to eliminate so many turnovers...they were in double figures the first half. That has to improve the second half or another loss is coming. They can shoot a little better - and they need to make better decisions. The pace must continue or I think BU will win going away in the halfcourt. But if the Mount gets the up tempo game, they can climb back into this.

In that first half, the Mount got a lot of confidence back. They've scored four straight and forced a BU timeout @ the start of the second half. The lead is just three. Goode has 13, Beidler has 11.

BU has scored seven straight and the lead is back to 10. The Mount gave up a rebound on a missed free throw - and a jumper. Plus they had a turnover at the offensive end and Atupem missed a layup. Atupem seems to be trying to avoid contact inside.

The first media timeout has hit us - its 46-38 with 15:51 left. The Mount is still making mistakes offensively. But it has been better. BU is shooting 50+% from the field. So the Mount still has a chance to get back into this. But they need to cut into it as soon as possible. Get it to a game with 10 to play.

It's gone the other way. BU leads by 17 - as Jake O'Brien has taken over inside and opened up the outside j's for the Terriers.

The Under 12 Timeout has come. The Mount is in the bonus and has a chance to score some points at the line. BU has many guys with 3 fouls and O'Brien with four. But they still trail by 17.

The Mount has cut the lead back to 65-52 on a Beidler three out of the corner. The Mount playing a lot of four on the perimeter tonight. Will Holland is also in double figures. I think Beidler is now the leading scorer

They are at the Under 8. The Mount has two free throws down 13 coming back. Not sure the shooting percentage but it might be a little better than what we've been seeing. But still a lot of misses.

It's 78-67 with 3:37 left. The Mount keeps battling. Keeps fighting. But they still trail by 11 and everytime they do something, BU makes a big shot. The Terriers still shooting better than 50% - so its been a problem for the Mount. Offensively this is the best we've seen in a while. But they've got to make some key stops down the stretch to have a chance to steal this one.

Its Over in Boston. The Mount has lost its sixth in a row. An 86-77 defeat at the hands of the Terriers. Still something to build on over the Holidays. But a lot of mistakes tonight. Vermont is at the Knott Arena after Christmas.

Shock and Outrage

Why the shock and surprise over the Brett Favre situation in Minnesota?

I mean seriously.

The guy opted not to show up for two-a-days and now we're surprised when he objected to being pulled and his head coach reconsidered.

This should be a non-story. It's been asked and answered. Brett Favre runs the ship in Minnesota. It's that simple. So who cares? So far it has worked out fairly well for the Purple and Yellow. They are cruising along and are the top contender to knock off the Saints in the NFC playoffs.

Oh, but now that the Vikes have lost a few in a row - and Favre hasn't looked as good it makes a difference. Is that what we are saying?

Not me.

Truly, though, how many pitchers have argued when a manager came to the mound to let them stay in. Let them get the next hitter. Or even more closely related, how many of those conversations go on in a dugout between innings? It's really not a big deal.

Now, if Childress thought his team's best chance to win on Sunday night was with Favre on the bench, then he should have made the move regardless of the feedback he got from the signalcaller. But if he was already resigned to losing, and was only trying to give Favre the rest of the night off. Then so what?

I'm not a big Brett Favre fan.  I respect his ability. I think he is good. But if I thought he was wrong here, I'd piled on. But in this case, that would be unnecessary. Favre just wanted to play. As a competitor he wanted to work out the problems. Try to rescue his team. Can't fault him for that. And for discussing this with his head coach when he was pulled, it isn't a big deal.

We'll see if this lights a fire under Favre and the Vikings. Seems as if they might need it right now. But it shouldn't be the wedge that drives between them. The groundrules were laid a long time ago. Nothing has changed.

Mount O'Links

O'Brien nearly left after freshman season

Shooting from the Lip

PAC-10 finally has a big win

Roy "Having a bad year"

Big East Power Rankings

Monday, December 21, 2009

Are the Broncos Done?

Denver Broncos 2010 12x12 Team Wall Calendar
The link above is for a 2010 Denver Broncos wall Calendar. If you are a Broncos fan, you might as well start using it. Because let's be honest this year is done.

After the promising 6-0 start, the Broncs have fallen back into the form many of us expected of them. They've dropped six of eight, including Sunday's last minute loss to Oakland at Invesco. That's right with the playoffs at stake this group couldn't even put away the Oakland Raiders at Mile High.

So even if this group limps into the playoffs, and its possible. The Broncos still have a one-game lead on teams like Miami, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, New York and the defending Super Bowl champs the Pittsburgh Steelers. Denver must travel to Philadelphia this weekend before wrapping up the season at home against lowly Kansas City, so the Broncos aren't out of contention yet.

But at 6-0 this team was thinking of grander things. Thinking could they make a deep run into the playoffs - possibly even a return trip to the Super Bowl. But all of those thoughts are gone now. There seems to be no chance. Just getting to the playoffs would be an accomplishment from here.

Denver seemed like they had righted the ship after dropping four straight after their bye week. But after falling in Indianapolis, they fell to the giant killer in Oakland. Inexcusable (particularly when I had them in my Survivor Pool).

So the bloom is off the rose. A consistent running game has been a problem for the Broncos. If they find a way to reestablish that late, maybe just maybe then can get things restored.  But with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter both ailing that seems unlikely. Time to start turning the pages of those calendars to next year.

Why the rush?

So I'm watching the Wyoming/Fresno State New Mexico Bowl game the other night (yes, I was the one). Granted, it was a time-filler at the local establishment I was at before the NFL Network game was to air. But hey, an overtime game will get me every time. My viewing begins with Wyoming missing a field goal at the end of the first OT, only to find redemption and win in the second extra-session. The final score shows the Cowboys finish the season 7-6. Now, we can debate the merits of a 6-6 team even making the postseason, but here's one thing that needs no debate: Cowboys fans storming the field to celebrate this momentous victory.

It's my belief that storming the field/court should be reserved for only the biggest of wins. Big wins over your arch-rival, conference titles, wins by a NEC team to make the Big Dance, a Syracuse football victory, etc. But for the love of all things great and small, NOT THE NEW MEXICO BOWL.

Have we as a society become so desperate for good news that something like this deserves storming? Wyoming fans: Cowboy up. Have some pride. Congratulations on winning a bowl game. It's a good step for your program. But it's a step backwards for fans everywhere when these are the types of events that warrant the big sprint. I'm ashamed to be a member of fan-nation today.

Mount O'Links

Morales leads Fishburne

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I watched a pair of games from the world of College basketball today and they both went overtime.

Cornell won an exciting game over Davidson at the Garden on a Ryan Wittman 35+ footer at the horn in OT. The Big Red had tied the game at the end of regulation after Davidson could have made it a three point games but missed free throws.

Then Florida State had a big ACC win at Georgia Tech. Its just the second loss for the Jackets who had started to look pretty good. But weren't very good at all offensively in this game. Both teams had chances to win it in regulation but both struggled down the stretch. Florida State regained control in overtime and was the deserved winner.

In the Ivy, I think that Cornell has to be very careful of the threat that Harvard poses. I think many expect that Cornell will waltz through the Ivy League, but the Crimson have proven early that they can be a factor. Remember the Ivy is the only conference that rewards its regular season champ with an NCAA bid. And only one of these teams is going to go.

Cornell is now 8-2 with losses to Syracuse and Seton Hall and I would think they are still the favorite. They play St. John's at the Garden tonight in the Holiday Festival Final. Harvard meanwhile, has a program building win over Boston College and has lost only to UCONN and an improving Army squad. The two teams play January 30th in Boston and February 19th in upstate New York. Those two games might be the deciding factors in the Ivy. Keep an eye on those games.

Today's win for Florida State is the kind that will be very important in the month of March. It will give the Seminoles a seperation style win against another team that is likely to be in consideration with it. So getting a win on the road will have a profound effect on the tournament committee. And if isn't needed to get the 'Noles into the tourney, it will help bump them up a line or two.

Links on Boston University

The Mount travels to Beantown to take on the Terriers. The Mount won last year at Knott Arena, the return trip will not be easy.

Boston U downs Bucknell

Full Court Press

Boston U downs Northeastern

UCONN too much for Terriers

Marist Preview

Marist Recap from WTBU

BU shoots the lights out

Marist Recap

BU Marist postgame comments

Recapping Saturday in College Hoops

The other day, I wrote about the Final 11. The Final 11 unbeatens in College Hoops. I knew that it wouldn't be long before that number would be reduced. But not sure I expected it to be so dramatically reduced on Saturday as 3 of the 11 were handed their first losses.

I'm sure the biggest surprise of the bunch was Georgetown falling at home to Old Dominion. But it wasn't a big shock for me. The Monarchs are a good team - who caught the Hoyas coming off a pair of big wins. Also ODU is one of those real good defensive teams that make it very difficult for teams. And I wouldn't go as far as to say the Hoyas hadn't been challenged yet, but they did have things seem to go their way most of the season. Consequently, I knew Saturday would be tough. Not sure I expected them to lose, but it was not a shock. Old Dominion can be an NCAA first round winner and maybe a Sweet Sixteen team, depending on the draw, and if they get there.

Seton Hall was the biggest untested of the group before the weekend - and they weren't able to get a win in the first real test. I was going to say failed the first test. But a six-point loss to a good Temple team can't be viewed as a failure. In fact, it probably makes me feel that the Pirates are exactly what I thought they would be. A team that will be right around .500 in the Big East. Syracuse opens Big East play with the Pirates after Christmas and we'll learn more about the Bobby Gozalez coached team then. But still, I think they are a team that is going to push folks all season long.

Texas Tech also fell from the ranks of the unbeatens. It was just the second road trip for the Red Raiders this year, so the loss to a very good Wichita State team was not a surprise. However, what it does prove to me is that this Tech team is more of a pretender than a contender in the Big 12. Because I don't think they are going to be able to win consistently in the conference. And they won't able to keep up with the likes of Kansas and Texas. Expect Pat Knight's group to be a bubble team come March and around .500 in conference.

Meanwhile, there were also some escapes from the other unbeatens. West Virginia scored near the buzzer to hold off Cleveland State. The Mountaineers had a big lead (17) in the second half, but almost lost to the Vikes. Give Huggins and his group credit for playing on the road against a true-mid major.

No surprise for me that New Mexico had a tussle with Creighton. The Blue Jays are solid and they made the Lobos work for their 12th win of the season. But in the end, Steve Alford's group won by five. Just a thought, but is Alford going to be on everybody's shortlist soon. Or are the struggles he at Iowa going to end up keeping folks away from him.

Solid win for Missouri State to go on the road and beat St. Louis, you know Rick Majerus' bunch, by 10 in St. Louis. Good win.

I was extremely impressed with Duke yesterday. This is the best group that Coach K has had in a while. I know they aren't unbeaten. But they are one of the folks that I'd think could win the tournament if it started tomorrow. They've got enough balance to endure the tournament and play hard enough defensively to stop good teams when necessary.

Not sure what to think of Gonzaga. Many expected this to be a down year for the Zags. And then they won in Maui (against a weaker than normal field) but played so well against Michigan State. Games against Oklahoma and Illinois in the upcoming weeks will be very important.

Watching the Texas game. I just kept thinking that the Tar Heels couldn't keep up with Texas. Eventually, it turned out to be that way. Texas made that one run near the end of the first half, and then countered every push that Carolina made. The Heels need a true outside shooter in my opinion. I'd also like to see Strickland at the point guard spot some more.

Kansas cruised past Michigan. However, it was a somewhat sluggish effort from the Kansas team after they rolled to an early lead. The Jayhawks were bothered by the zone of Michigan after the Wolverines went to it. However, it seemed like they went to cruise control after they opened up an early lead. And even though that has worked for Kansas against most of their opponents this season, it won't work against better teams like Michigan who has some talent. Kansas is obviously superior - and that kept Michigan from getting back in the game, but there were some chinks in the armor.

I hoped to watch Bama and Kansas State last night. Because I wanted to see K State. They are probably the best team that nobody realizes right now. Only loss came in Puerto Rico to Ole Miss. They have quality wins over Dayton, Xavier, UNLV, Washington State, and now Alabama. Maybe they don't have the horses to play with the big boys, but they've shown they are better than the mid-tier teams and a definite NCAA tourney team.

Mount O'Links

The Wac

Lewis racking up honors

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Observations from the Mount/Pittsburgh game

The Mount fell for the fifth straight time dropping a 66-48 contest at Pittsburgh.
  • There were some aspects that offensively I felt good about for the Mounties. But the final numbers seem to make it all pretty bad. And there were stretches in the game (3 in fact) where the Mount went prolonged periods without points.
  • I thought Kelly Beidler had a nice game. Finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. But he put the ball on the floor well and scored off the dribble. A nice effort.
  • The Mount lost the battle on the boards 44-30 - and I thought that was the real difference in the basketballl game. Pitt had 17 offensive rebounds - and countless 2nd chance points.
  • Getting Will Holland back - and Jacolby Wells and Raven Barber into the lineup is going to help this group. Holland made a pair of threes - and seemed to have a good long range touch, but missing the time seemed to affect him with some plays. Looks like it might take him a few more appearances to get the total feel back. I liked Wells when he was in the game. He had three rebounds in seven minutes. He is athletic and he must rebound for this team. I think he can really add something for them. Barber hasn't practiced all season, so I expected that we wouldn't see much of him. But getting a first look at him in the Blue and White was good. He got in there and immediately made things happen. He has the potential to be a real good one. It will be interesting to watch how he develops and how he is used as this season progresses.
  • Jeremy Goode seemed more aggressive at times. He needs to be. He might not be a vocal leader. But he needs to be the heart and soul of this team. If he plays well, this team will play well.
  • It is hard to watch Jean Cajou struggle offensively. He plays so hard that you want him to do well. But there is no doubt that he's fighting it right now. He did get himself to the foul line late and it seemed to get him going a bit. Hopefully, that carries over.
  • Pitt is a good team. Not a great team. Not sure where they'll end up fitting in the Big East. I think there are definitely four teams better (Syracuse, Villanova, Connecticut and West Virginia) How they fit in with Georgetown (which lost at home to Old Dominion) Notre Dame, Seton Hall, St. John's and that middle group will be interesting to see.
  • I liked Brad Wanamaker and the contribution he made for the Panthers. He'll definitely be needed to add something offensively. Because it seems that is where the Panthers have the most trouble. They don't have a go-to guy on the offense.

11 In A Row

Tonight's game just proved to me that I believe in the Syracuse Orangemen.

There could have been some tense moments early, based on the way the Orange was playing and the past history of mid-majors in the Carrier Dome about this time of year.

But I was never concerned. Not even in the slightest. Seriously. Ok maybe I thought about when I would need to get concerned. But that was as close as it got.

And the truth is, I expected to gain some seperation at the start of the second half, and when that happened I felt really good.

In the end, it turned into an easy 85-72 Dome win.

Syracuse was once again balanced. Four players in double digits and it was J Crew that led the way. That's Jackson, Joseph and Johnson. Jackson led the way with 18, while Johnson and Joseph each added 17.  Andy Rautins was also in double figures with 11. Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine, the two-headed point guard combo combined for 16 points.

Other than the Big 3 (Cal, UNC and Florida) St. Bonaventure is probably the best team that Syracuse has played. And the A-10 team kept it close for a half. The Bonnies trailed just 39-35 at the intermission, and actually led 35-34 with just about 2:30 left in the opening stanza. However, St. Bonaventure never got closer than four in the second half as the Orange stepped up their game a little bit.

Syracuse faces Oakland on Tuesday before starting the Big East portion of its schedule after Christmas.

If we Had A College Football Playoff - 1st Round Results- Saturday Night games


LSU jumped to a 20-0 third quarter lead and cruised to a 23-10 win over Central Florida. The Tigers led 17-0 at halftime - and needed only two Josh Jasper field goals after intermission to preserve the win. Brynn Harvey provided most of the Golden Knight offense rushing for 163 yards and one score, but it wasn't enough.


The coaching career of Bobby Bowden came to an end in Norman Oklahoma, as the Sooners pounded Florida State 58-10. Chris Brown ran for 129 yards and three scores and caught one more, while Landry Jones trhew for 373 yards and three more. The Sooner offense cranked out 36 first downs in rolling up a 41-0 lead.


Oregon State stopped three Navy drives inside it own territory as the Midshipmen were unable to convert on fourth down plays turning a close game in the box score into a rout on the scoreboard, 41-15. Jacquizz Green scored three times for the Beavers (runs of 1 & 56 and a reception of 13). Navy ran for 313 yards and finished with 366 total yards to Oregon State's 381, but the Beavers were able to find the endzone and keep Navy out.


Pitt drubbed South Florida for the second time this season 52-14 behind the sensational running of freshman Dion Lewis. With the score tied at 7, Lewis scored on a 17-yard scoring run to ignite a 45-straight point outburst from the victors. Lewis finished with 261 yards rushing and five td's in the wins.


In a game that featured 5 lead changes and 2 ties, Texas Tech prevailed on Alexander Torres' 12-yard scoring catch from Taylor Potts with 6:54 to play, 34-27. Potts threw three touchdowns on the evening. Kenny Miles led the Gamecok offense with 119 yards rushing. South Carolina had tied the game on a Spencer Lamming field goal with 9:54 left, but the Raiders marched down the field and reclaimed the lead for good


The Bobcats were no match for second seeded Gators, as Florida scored nine touchdowns en route to a 63-0 thumping. Chris Rainey (141), Emmanuel Moody (124) and Tim Tebow (112) all went over 100 yards for a Florida offense that threw the ball only four times and ammassed 503 yards rushing. The Florida defense picked off three Ohio passes, Joe Haden snared two, while AJ Jones returned one 49 yards for a score to make it 35-0 at halftime.

Bowl Season officially underway

One down - Thirty-three to go.

And if they are all that good, we'll have no complaints.

Wyoming downed Fresno State 35-28 in double overtime in the New Mexico Bowl in a big upset. (At least as far as those in my NCAA Bowl Confidence Pool were concerned.

The Pokes kicked a field goal with 20 seconds left to force the overtime and then made a crucial fourth down stop in the first overtime.

Fresno had the ball at the start of the first overtime and worked itself into a first and goal from the one situation. But Ryan Matthews was stopped on two tries and then a quarterback sneak didn't work on third down. Head Coach Pat Hill opted to go for the TD on fourth down and Matthews was again stopped.

But Wyoming was extremely conservative after getting the football. And it missed a field goal giving Fresno life. However, it was shortlived. Wyoming scored a touchdown in the second overtime, after a 3rd down pass interference call kept the drive alive.

The Wyoming defense stopped Fresno one more time and the Cowboys could celebrate as New Mexico Bowl champs.

If We had a College Football Playoff - 1st Round Results - Saturday Early Evening Games

Jacory Harris threw for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Canes advanced with a 23-14 win over the Aggies. Leonard Hankerson had five catches for 67 yards and the game's first touchdown which gave Miami a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. Jerrod Johnson threw for 194 yards for the Aggies.

In what may go down as the best game of the opening round, Ole Miss rallied for a 35-34 win over Houston. Jevan Snead's 17-yard scoring strike to Shay Hodge gave Ole Miss the lead with 2:07 to play. The Rebels trailed 24-7 early in the second half before starting the rally. Case Keenum threw for 519 yards and 3 scores for the Cougars.

West Virginia advanced with a 19-10 win at Mountaineer Field. Jarrett Brown led the Mountaineers throwing for 184 yards and 2 TD's, while rushing for 49 yards as well. Boston College committed 3 turnovers, all in the second half as the Moutaineers beat their old conference rival.

The dream season continued for the Bearcats as they pummelled visiting Northwestern 44-24. Tony Pike threw for 509 yards and four touchdowns in leading UC into the next round against West Virginia. Pike hooked up 9 times for 152 and a score with Mardy Gilyard.

Defense ruled the day and the Hokies held on for a 15-9 win over Southern Miss on Saturday. Tech managed just 12 first downs, but a blocked punt set up one field goal and an interception set up a second, plus the Hokie defense recorded a safety.

In a matchup of SEC teams, Tennessee nearly left an 18-0 lead slip away but prevailed 18-11 in Knoxville. Montario Hardesty ground out 75 yards on 22 carries for the victors. Jonathan Crompton completed 63% of passes as he managed the game for the Vols.

Mt. St. Mary's/Pittsburgh Game Thread

You should be able to find video here

Feel free to post your thoughts and observations in the comments section.

We'll keep you posted on the activity right here.

11-2 Pitt - It's been a rough start for the Mount at the Peterson Events Center. The Panthers have looked very sharp offensively and have gotten a few offensive boards to keep possessions alive. The Mount has seemed to have better spacing and flow offensively, but can't get any shots to go. Beidler has the only two points.

11-4 Pitt - 13:58 - Will Holland is back from his injury, but is 0-for-3 from the floor. The Mount getting good looks, but not making those shots at the moment.

15-6 Pitt - 11:35 - Beidler has four, Goode has two. The Mount seems a little fresher offensively and might now have their feet underneath them in this one. But they still need some jumpers to go and they have to do a much better job on the defensive glass. Too many second chance opportunities for the Panthers.

15-6 Pitt - Under 8 TO - I guess the best thing to say is the defense was good during that segment. The mount seemed to be helped on the glass by the collegiate debut of the athletic Jacolby Wells. Wells did miss his only shot, but he made an impression at the other end. This game needs someone to get hot in a hurry.

21-18 Pitt - 3:57 - Some good stuff for the Mount forces a Pitt timeout. The Mount seems to be gaining some confidence. Need to play well here before halftime.

23-18 Pitt Under 4 TO - Pitt got an easy layup after the timeout, the Mount missed a pair of threes (Goode and Holland) Will has been solid though, knocking down a pair of trifectas and Atupem has made a couple nice moves inside for some points as well. The five on the floor, Beidler, Goode, Cajou, Jackson and Holland before that TO.

30-18 Pitt at Half - The Panthers made a good run before the half. The Mount obviously went the last four minutes without a point. They missed a shot or two, but that was probably the best Pitt played defensively in the first half. And the Mount struggled. Meanwhile, Pitt worked the offense for some good shots - and got a key offensive rebound or two to keep possessions alive. I think I heard the stat that 20 of the Panthers 30 first half points came on 2nd chances.

First half thoughts....the commenter is right there is still some confidence needed. But there were some positivies. Hopefully, those positives can be magnified in the second half and some confidence can be built. Pitt is a good basketball team, and a better than good defensive team. But the Mount needs to get a little bit more efficient on the offensive end and see if that can help them in the second half and then let that carry over in the games ahead. Getting Jean Cajou going would be a good thing

33-28 Pitt and Dixon called a timeout. The Mount has looked good to start the second half. Three straight layups and then a Goode pullup J have pulled them within five. Beidler had a pair of buckets as did Atupem during the stretch. A lot to build on during that stretch.

36-28 Pitt at the U16 - Pitt got a conventional three-point play after the TO as Dixon continues to draw up some good stuff in the timeout circles. The Mount has Goode headed to the line after the break. So a chance to cut back into it. Let's see if this good start offensively can be sustained.

46-35 Pitt at the U12 - A lot more pace for the Mount offensively and I like it. But Pitt has been effective offensively as well and is building the lead at the moment. Holland missed a pair of free throws a moment ago and that hurt. Trice is headed there when the game resumes and the Mount can cut back into the lead. They are in the bonus with a lot of time left, but how many opportunities will they get in a money game on the road late?

50-38 Pitt - TO Milan - Lamar Trice really did a good job defensively on the ball when he was in the game. The Mount needs a few stops and soon - which means they have to rebound to get back into it.

55-38 Pitt - TO Milan 8:38 left - Pitt has made a nice run based on some good shooting and getting to the offensive glass. 35-23 rebounding advantage for the Panthers.

Same score at the U8 - The Mount isn't getting a lot offensively right now. Seems more stagnant. Need to finish strong and let that carry over to Boston. This Pitt team is decent. Pretty good defensively. And the Mount needs to finish strong so it can be a positive effort. There have definitely been some good signs, particularly in the 2nd half.

57-46 as the Mount has outscored Pitt 8-2 in that section. Good news was Cajou got going a bit. 6 points.

61-46 at the U4 - Pitt got a rebound bucket and then a fast break score to extend the lead. Goode, who has 10, is headed to the line after the break. This has been the best offensive half I can remember from the Mount since maybe the Navy game. And it might have been before that. But they have gotten some inside outside balance, have gone hard to the bucket. Have drawn fouls and its been positive. Pitt has just had an answer. The timid beginning is the reason for the deficit.

66-48 - is the final. Some more thoughts later. The last segment included the debut of Raven Barber, who got on the scoresheet in the process. Some things to build on. I'll be excited to see what transpires in Boston.

If We had a College Football Playoff - First Round Results - Saturday Afternoon Games

The Pac-10 champ advanced to the second round with a 43-18 pasting of Troy. LaMichael James ran for 162 yards on 21 carries, including a 58-yard touchdown run on his first carry to get the Duck offense rolling in the first quarter. The Oregon offense racked up 552 yards. Oregon faces Georgia in San Francisco next weekend.

Cinderella does live in the NCAA football tournament in the form of the Nevada Wolf Pack. The Pack shut down a sputtering USC offense, limiting the Trojans to 201 yards total offense in a 13-9 upset. Vai Taua ran for 100 yards on 27 tough carries and scored the games only touchdown.

The Badgers knocked out BYU with a 35-21 in Provo. Scott Tolzien led the attack throwing for three touchdowns and 257 yards. John Clay scored a rushing touchdown and went for 121 yards on 19 carries. Constant pressure to Cougar QB Max Hall led to four sacks and two interceptions.

TCU dominated SMU and advanced to Albuquerque to face Wisconsin with a 26-3 win. The Horned Frogs defense held the potent SMU aerial attack to 150 yards and kept it out of the end zone. Andy Dalton completed 16-of-25 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown to Bart Johnson.

The Longhorns took care of business with a 35-3 win over the play-in winner. Colt McCoy threw for three toudowns during a 27-of-39 329-yard performance. Jordan Shipley hauled in 126 yards receiving but did not reach the end zone. Dan Buckner had a pair of receiving touchdowns.

Arizona dominated Air Force from start to finish in posting a 36-11 and moving on to face Iowa next week. Nic Grigsby ran for 149 on 21 carries for the Wildcats. But it was the Desert Swarm defense that really made things easy for the 'Cats. They held the ground game of the Academy to three yards per carry and intercepted three of the seven pass attempts.

If We had A College Football Playoff - 1st Round Results - Saturday Early Games

Joe Cox threw for 512 yards and four touchdows as Georgia downed Central Michigan 46-34 in a slugfest between the Hedges. The two teams combined for a tourney record 1315 yards. Orson Charles hauled in 3 touchdowns for the Dawgs while AJ Green caught 11 balls for 171 yards. The fantastic career of Dan Lefevour came to an end on a 27-of-39 for 448 yards and 3 score day.

Favorites moved to 9-1 in the main bracket of the tournament as the Buckeyes downed conference mate Michigan State 31-16 at the Horseshoe. Ohio State used a balanced attack (217 yards passing, 211 rushing) in the win. Kirk Cousins was 24-34 for 226 yards but threw two interceptions deep in Buckeye territory in the loss.

Clemson won the battle of the Tigers 36-24 in Death Valley on Saturday. The Tigers scored two early touchdowns and never looked back. CJ Spiller picked up 135 yards on 17 carries, while Kyle Parker threw for 342 and three touchdowns. Clemson faces Ohio State in Toronto next weekend.

Notre Dame was given new life when the tournament was announced but dropped its fifth straight game 16-7 in Happy Valley. The Nits were too much defensively holding NFL draft announcee Jimmy Clausen to 176 yards passing. Penn State trailed 7-3 but a Darryl Clark to Derek Moye td strike gave them the lead for good.

Terrence Cain's 7-yard touchdown strike to Matt Asiata with :38 left gave the Utes a thrilling 28-27 win over North Carolina. Asiata ran for 109 yards on the game, but it was his one catch that did the most damage. Tyler Yates threw for 266 yards in defeat.

Happy to have Ricky Stanzi back to guide the offense, Iowa won a hard fought 31-25 affair with Each Carolina. Stanzi threw two touchdowns in a 367-yard performance. Adam Robinson ran for 100 yards for the Hawkeyes. Iowa forced three Pirate turnovers, including Patrick Pinkney's second interception around midfield with 1:11 left to secure the outcome.

Mount O'Links

Saturday Hoops Festival

Bryant heads to BC

Look Ahead

Expansion for the Sake of Expansion


Expansion leads to funny thoughts

Dixon says Stay

MVC report

Knight off base?

Is it Pittsburgh?

Upset didn't help Lemoyne

Club 4 4

One of top 10 upsets

Best game ever

Can't get enough

NW a Tourney team?

Williams didn't mean to have fan ejected

Friday, December 18, 2009

Headed West

You may recall Mt. St. Mary's basketball season started with a trip west. Back in the middle of November, the Mount headed to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners and there were a lot of folks who were very excited about this bunch. Since then, the Mount has dropped six of nine games, including a pair of conference games, and much of that optimism has faded.

But this is still the same group that we were excited about six weeks ago. Or is it?

Will the additions of Raven Barber and Jacolby Wells and the return of Will Holland from a knee injury be enough to jumpstart this team. The answer remains to be written. But one thing is for sure, there seems to be a little hop back in the step.

The fact that the 16 individuals who went through preseason conditioning are all available together for the first time seems to have ignited this bunch - and we'll get our first look at the rejuvenated bunch on Saturday.

Obviously, Pitt is a tough team to try to get back on track against. The Panthers defensively have the ability to cause some problems. In addition, Jamie Dixon hasn't been happy with the play he's gotten this season and practices at the Pete this week have apparently been highly contested. That could lead to some good things on Saturday. The Panthers will also have the offensively talented Gilbert Brown returning tomorrow.

But as the Mount heads into the second semester, it seems that there again is some excitement about this team. Maybe that will take some pressure off of Jeremy Goode, Kelly Beidler and Jean Cajou. Maybe that will help the Mount to make some of the jumpers that haven't been falling.

This team still has a lot of good basketball in front of it.

It starts on the road at Pittsburgh tomorrow.

Pitt working hard

Blame Blair for down year

Trib Preview

DCI says Pitt by 22

If We had A College Football Playoff - 1st Round Results - Friday Games

Georgia Tech amassed 306 yards rushing in a 38-21 1st round win over Minnesota. The Jackets got 95 yards from Jonathan Dwyer and 71 from Josh Nesbitt in the win. The Golden Gophers closed the lead to 24-21 early in the fourth quarter, but Tech scored two late touchdowns to seal the verdict.

Nebraska held UCLA to 13 first downs in recording an 18-7 win in Lincoln. The Huskers defense was the key as Nebraska managed only 14 first downs of their own. But the big play helped Nebraska. Zac Lee threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to help the cause.

Ben Tate ran for 104 yards as Auburn advanced to the second round with a 29-15 win over the Big East foe. Jordan Todman ran for 112 yards for the Huskies, but the balanced attack of the Tigers was too much. Chris Todd threw for 241 yards in the victory.

The Broncos remained unbeaten with a 40-16 pasting of the Owls on the Blue Turf. The Boise defense used five turnovers, including three interceptions to slow the Owl offense down. Meanwhile, there wasn't much that Al Golden's defense could do to stop the Broncos. Boise racked up 602 yards on the night.

Missing class argument shows a lack of it.

It's the most wonderful time of year. No, not dealing with all the family and crowded malls and dwindling bank accounts. It's bowl season, when teams dream of going to far off, dreamy destinations like.....Boise, Albuquerque and Detroit. It also rekindles the age-old discussion: playoffs, or no playoffs? Having covered Division I athletics for several years, I've had the good fortune of covering tournament runs in many sports. The excitement they generate is hard to describe in a blog. It's a feeling that is generated as your team advances towards a possible title. But once again, this will not be done in D-I football. And once again, college presidents are failing us.

The most mind-numbing explanation given is something to the effect of, "well, our student-athletes would miss a lot of class, especially around finals." I will tackle this from a few angles. First, the use of the phrase "student-athletes" can be at times, silly. Except for a handful of institutions, these schools could honestly care less if the kids graduate. The only attendance they're concerned about is at the stadium, not the classroom. Many of these kids are in school only because of their amazing athletic talent, and unfortunately do not take advantage of a free education that you and I would drool over.

Second, football players miss less class than pretty much every other athlete on campus. Most games are on weekends. You have a better chance seeing a football player in class Tuesday than a volleyball player. With the exception of the occasional weeknight game, football players are on campus all week long. The same cannot be said for soccer, field hockey, basketball, etc...who do a lot of traveling Monday-Friday.

Finally, with today's technology, studying on the road has never been easier. Laptops, smartphones, web-based's quite convenient for students to learn while away from campus. Trust me, as the husband of a college professor, she's on call 24/7 thanks to all of it.

So let's call a spade a spade. The lack of a playoff isn't due to keeping the best interests of the student-athlete in mind. It's keeping the best (i.e.-financial) interests of BCS schools in mind. So until then, we'll watch, because that's who we are. But at least we're willing to admit who WE are.