Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quinnipiac - Mount running diary (from the QU perspective, kind of)

Written for your enjoyment by: Ray Curren

Well, I paid the $5 for the Mount feed to see the mighty Bobcats of Quinnipiac look to go 9-1 in the NEC. But they had a tough time at home against the Mount when they couldn't just use their athleticism like they do in most of their NEC games. So I have a sneaking suspicion tonight may be the Mount gets themselves back into the discussion for the tournament title. And a trip to Dayton (should we just call the NEC the rest of the year The Road to Dayton? Done and done.)

Disclaimer, as a resident of Hamden, Conn., I have to root for Quinnipiac because I can almost walk there from here. Except that it's 10 degrees out here right now.

6:47 - Already impressed that the announcer can say Quinnipiac (QUIN-a-pee-ack not quin-a-PEE-ack). Off to a good start.

6:50 - Announcing points out that Quinnipiac has a win streak, but it's over chumps. Hard to argue with that one.

6:55 - Coach Brown's interview over the National Anthem. Boooo.

6:58 - Apparently, the weather is bad down in Emmitsburg, too.

7:01 - We're under way, tip goes to the Mount, which I guess is new. Students supposedly "thunderous". I would go with "audible". QU man-to-man.

7:03 - After a held ball call, the color announcer says, "What is this, girls high school basketball?". As a girls high school basketball coach, I take offense. The QU announcers were called homers when they played here, but so far these guys are much worse.

7:05 - Announcer just figures out that it's "Coaches vs. Cancer" weekend, and both coaches are wearing sneakers. Could have watched any of the 100 games that were on TV earlier in the day.

7:09 - Will Holland came off the bench to hit a 3 for the Mount, but the defenses rule the day early with stifling man-to-man. Mount leads 5-4 and Rutty has 5 rebounds at the U-16 time out. Offense will come soon, methinks.

7:11 - Little water on the court delays play from all the people walking into the game, just like our high school gym. Except no AD yelling at people, I don't think.

7:16 - "What do you have to do to take a charge?" the color announcer asks. I would say set your feet. The Mount announcers, just like the QU announcers, earlier this month, are begging Shawn Atupem to shoot. He obliges, and shoots a pair of bricks.

7:19 - 10:20 to go in the first half, Mount leads 11-6. What were they saying about high school girls basketball? Our team scores a lot more than both these teams. With that being said, both defenses are playing very well. To say QU's offense is out of sync might be the understatement of the year. They look like crap. Tom Moore will try to figure it out. QU 3-for-17 from the field with 6 turnovers. Yikes.

7:23 - Quinnipiac is trying to run a "Flex" offense, but they are running it in slow motion. Kelly Beidler goes back door for a layup and an 8-point Mount lead.

7:25 - Under 8 (7:36) to go and the Mount has a 15-9 lead as the game stays ugly. It looks like Atupem can do everything else well except for shoot, he's grabbed a couple of big rebounds. Atupem and Justin Rutty are the respective leading scorers with 4 points each. Jeremy Goode is at the line when we come back.

7:29 - James Feldeine has arrived in the building and hit a shot, which is nice to see. Meanwhile, Rutty is figuring out that they can't stop him, which is allowing QU back in the game. But Danny Thompson gets a big bucket for the Mount on the follow. It ain't pretty, but the offenses are scoring. A little. The announcers continue to badger the officials. Amateur hour.

7:32 - Rutty goes to the basket again and gets fouled. Mount has 7 fouls, and QU has 3, mainly because they're actually going to the basket, but it's all the biased officials' fault, I guess.

7:35 - It's Rutty at one end and Goode at the other as the play has opened up. Big play by Thompson again who retrieves a miss, kicks it out to Holland, who drains a 3. Big basket to kill some QU momentum, and it's 26-20 Mount with 2:38 to go in the first half. Rutty has 10 points and 8 rebounds.

7:39 - Offensive foul on Goode on a 4-on-2. Don't agree with that one, and if I don't agree, then you know what's going on with the Mount announcers. "These guys don't deserve a paycheck for this game." Meanwhile, the Mount is winning 26-24.

7:43 - It goes to half with Mount in front 26-24 after the Mount misses two shots in the final seconds. It was ugly, and the Mount may rue the fact they don't have a bigger lead here.

7:46 - You want some ugly numbers: QU 8-30 from the field, 0-3 3-pointers. Mount 9-24 from the field, 2-4 from 3. Rutty has a double-double with 10 and 10 already, Feldeine has been invisible, 1-8 from the field, 2 pts. For Mount, Goode has 6 points, but only took 3 shots, and only has 2 assists. There's only been 6 assists in the entire game. I don't think Syracuse is worried.

Some Internet problems at the half, so we're going to skip the timestamps, but you can figure it out yourself.

* The much-maligned Shawn Atupem, whom both announcing crews dared to shoot, and went 2-of-8 in the first half, has taken over to start the second half. Meanwhile, Jonathan Cruz keeping QU in the game with back-to-back buckets.

* Time out to clean up the water on the court again with 16:46 to go. Mount leads 35-28 after a runout and layup by Goode. QU has nothing as far as an outside game and if that doesn't change, they're going to lose this game.

* Under 16 timeout (15:58) and the Mount has its largest lead of the game at 37-28 after another Atupem hoop. Where did this guy come from? Feldeine has gone to the bench, and is 1-of-8 from the field for QU in this game. That's not going to get it done.

* Went a long time without a whistle there, 39-34 Mount with 11:22 left. Feldeine is killing QU tonight, he can't make anything. Meanwhile, Thompson made another hustle play that led to a Mount second chance. After Holland was called for a charge, the announcer said, "Fahey is terrible. The worst official I've seen all year." Rutty has 12 points and 14 rebounds.

* Atupem continues to dominate in the second half. Pierre Brown comes off the bench and drains a 3. Nice to see someone hit an outside shot. Time out, QU. 44-35 Mount with 9:55 left. QU has 7 fouls in this half, and Tom Moore is not happy. Of course, the announcers still think the refs are in his pocket.

* Feldeine misses another easy shot. He's 1-11 from the field. He's averaging 18.2 points per game. He finally gets to the line and makes a couple. Atupem takes Rutty to the goal and it's starting to get away from the Bobcats a little here. Mount trying to push to double figures. And they do, Goode to Barber for the dunk, and another QU timeout, 48-37 with 7:46 to go.

* 11 seconds to by, Rutty gets fouled, media timeout with 7:35 to go. Quinnipiac is 12-44 from the field. Ouch.

* QU goes to a half-court trap, which is effective, but they still can't score. Finally, they get a layup to cut it to 49-41. Cajou scores, but Twyman finally hits a 3, QU's first of the night to cut the Mount lead to 8. Actually it was called a 2. Steal on the inbound, it goes to Baker, he scores and he's fouled. Might be game on. Baker misses the free throw, but Rutty gets it and puts it back in. 51-47 Mount, 7 points in about 15 seconds for the Bobcats. QU gets it to 2, but Holland hits a huge 3 to make it 54-49 with 4:30 left. Timeout Mount. Could be a good finish.

* Feldeine misses back-to-back layups. And they were layups. Unbelievable. Called a charge against the Mount at the other end, but apparently the announcer had a better view again. QU ball down 54-49 with 3:21 to go. Feldeine is 1-13 from the field.

* Rutty gets an easy layup. After a couple of misses, Cajou with a huge shot to make it 56-51 with 2 to play. Feldeine misses another shot, he looks for a hole to crawl into, but none available. Time out, QU with 1:43 to go. If Mount makes free throws, they should win. QU has 6 assists in this game, by the way.

* Feldeine gets a steal, but throws it back to the Mount. Goode makes a free throw, Rutty misses a shot. Timeout Mount, 57-51 with 36.1 seconds left and they have the ball. All over but the shouting, I think.

* Twyman hits a 3 after a couple of free throws, 59-54 with 15 seconds left. Mount ball, just have to get the ball in.

* Cajou makes 1 of 2 free throws, but Goode fouls Twyman on a 3 with 5.8 seconds left. 60-54 Mount. Scoreboard goes out, someone pulled the plug. Whoops. Twyman makes 2 of 3, 60-56. All over.

* 61-56 final Mount wins. About what I expected. Except for the Feldeine part. I don't think anyone wants to see the Mount in the NEC Tournament just based on their athleticism. Rutty finished with 18 and 15, but it wasn't enough. Atupem was great, 16 points, 10 in the second half.

* I'm going to guess that the Mount has not played defense like this all season. Cajou was especially dominant on the defensive end, and although QU had the advantage inside, the guys inside for the Mount did enough to keep it from being too easy. Good win for the Mount, and Wagner coming up twice (although Wagner is playing a little better). As an outside observer, I expect to hear from the Mount in the NEC Tournament. Also known as The Road to Dayton.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In a Nutshell

Written for your enjoyment by: Raff

Thursday's 64-52 win over Sacred Heart seemed like it had every part of the Mt. St. Mary's season rolled into one forty-minute game. There were moments of excellence, periods of ugliness but an ending that brought you wanting to see what tomorrow will bring.

The Mount led by 17 in the first half, only to see that lead entirely disappear when the Mount went 10 minutes and 15 seconds - spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second with only four points. After that interval the Mount found itself trailing by three points, but a steal and a layin from Jean Cajou ignited a Mountaineer rally.

Down the stretch, the Mount does what it always seems to do against Sacred Heart. The sharpshooters for the Pioneers never seem to fire at their best with the Mount hounding them on the outside. The Pioneers shot 6-for-20 for the game and turned the ball over 22 times. Consequently, the Mount turned that three-point deficit into a 12-point win. A much needed at that - and maybe a possibility for the Mount to establish some momentum heading into Saturday's contest with frontrunning Quinnipiac. The Mount remains a game behind St. Francis PA for the final playoff slot in the NEC. The Red Flash downed St. Francis NY in Loretto on Thursday night.

Freshman post player Raven Barber had his best game as a Mountaineer tallying a career high 15 points while playing 21 minutes. He continues to play his way into shape and shows an ability to finish around the basket. He is both strong and athletic and has good size. If the Mount is to make a run down the stretch, it would appear he must be a key part of the push.

Jean Cajou made 6-of-9 shots from the floor and finished with 13 for a balanced attack. Kelly Beidler had 9, while Jeremy Goode and Shawn Atupem each had 8 in the victory.

If in fact this game was a microcosm of what this season is and will be, the most positive thing to take away from it was the Mount finished strong. Certainly, this team has the capabilities of finishing this season strongly. The schedule also works to the Mount's favor. However, they have played themselves into a situation where there is very little margin for error the rest of the way. Still Thursday was encouraging. Now there needs to be another consistent effort on Saturday to prove that there is real reason for optimism down the stretch.


So Richard wants to talk about next year and why not? Certainly we've gone round in round enough about this year. I thought next year would be a rebuilding year to some extent. But at the present time, I'm not sure what there is to rebuild. Hopefully, my thoughts change in the next few weeks.

I'm going to classify next year's schedule into three parts....What I've been told, What I think I know, and What I expect.

What I've been told....The Siena and American games this year were front ends to home and home series, so those two schools will visit the Mount next year. Niagara and Vermont were likewise home and homes and the return trips go north next year.

What I think I know....The Mount is confirmed for an MTE (Multi-Team Event) involving Cincinnati, Dayton and Murray State. The parts I've been able to put together, the Mount will play three road games against those teams. Included within that will be a home game for the Mount. That team was TBA at last check. Murray State will then play at that team.

What I expect.....We'll assume the Loyola series stays on the books. As long as Patsos thinks its a good thing to keep playing. There is a joke in there somewhere and some of you are laughing. The game will be at Reitz Gym - and could be the opener....I also think the Navy game will stay on the books - might even be a signed deal, but its been going on so long, I always forget whether the series (always a two-game set) is coming or going. Sometimes scheduling a date with Navy gets difficult, so a one-year hiatus is always a possibility. The Boston U series is complete. With a new coaching staff on board up there, I doubt it gets renewed. But I'm just guessing. The Mount will have a little flexibility with that series and may look to actually start this series on the road, so that the schedule balances a bit more in the future. Recent history suggests this will be a Patriot or America East team, but we'll wait and see. I vote for Bucknell. Although St. Bonaventure is still looking for some home and homes to start next year, and that wouldn't be a bad matchup either. Albany is also in search of a home and home - but it must start in Albany - as is UNC-Wilmington - and Northeastern as well. In recent years, the Mount has played four guaranteed games. With the inclusion of the MTE (which doesn't count as games toward the 27 max) I think they may be able to drop one or two of the guarantees if the guarantee from the MTE is enough. It's where Economics gets involved and I'm really not sure. Some sort of triangle scheduling as a result would be possible. Say for example Marshall would play at the Mount, the Mount would play at James Madison and Madison would play at Marshall. All of that is hypothetical. But with the inclusion of the MTE, it might give some additional flexibility and maybe a home game.

So that is about as much speculating as I can do in a short period of time. The trip to Niagara looks entertaining - and it will be nice to see Siena at the ARCC. We'll see what else develops.

Monday, January 25, 2010

That was fun

Beating Georgetown just never gets old.

And that was a woodshed type beating. Certainly, it was only a 17-point win, but down eight three minutes into the game, you knew Syracuse was going to win.

The thing that this team does so well is share the basketball. And they did it so well on Monday night. They needed a little bit of a lift early and Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph gave it to them. Notice how JB didn't waste any time getting them into the action. The Orange had 18 assists on 24 baskets - Jardine had four of those assists and Andy Rautins led the Orange with six assists.

But all in all it was the defense that made the difference. Syracuse started the game down 14-0 - quicker than a Greg Robinson coached team could find that hole - but picked up the defensive effort at that point. Georgetown shot just 42% and turned the ball over 19 times. That was was allowed Syracuse to get back in the game offensively.

At 20-1, the Orange has a few easier games upcoming in the Big East. DePaul and Providence are next before a trip to Cincinnati. The big games will come toward the middle of February.

But this team has already shown that the real important games will come in March. There is no doubt that this team is a true title contender. Right now its deserving of a number one seed - and will be a tough team to contend with in March because of the ability to do some many things. And the ability to do so many of them so well.

The ride has been fun thus far. But I get the feeling that it is just beginning.

Syracuse Georgetown Live Blog

Syracuse and Georgetown from the Carrier Dome

Join us with your thoughts as the game transpires

BIG Monday

Some noontime thoughts on this rainy Monday.

....I'm excited for the Syracuse Georgetown game tonight. It is always a rivalry and it seems to have added significance this year. I know Ray was a bit concerned that the Orange has struggled a little bit of late. I expected Saturday to be what Saturday was. In fact, a 15-point lead with 3 minutes left was more comfortable then I ever thought it would get. I expected Marquette to play much better than they did in their loss to Depaul - and I thought their style was more like Pitt's then anybody else we've played. So I thought that would cause problems. I also expected that we might be looking ahead a little bit to Georgetown tonight. It seemed like some, or maybe all of that happened and we still led by 15 with three minutes to go. Don't get me started on what happened to that lead, I'm focusing on the fact we had it.

....Tonight will be a tough tussle. I think Syracuse is going to throw one of those top notch efforts out there and really have a blazing effort. But Georgetown definitely has the ability to win the game and be a factor at both ends of the floor. This is a very good test, but one I am looking forward to.

....Obviously, I've been very silent about the Mount since Saturday. Truth is, I don't know what to say. They got swept in Brooklyn and although I didn't see the game on Saturday, the numbers were downright dreadful. I'm sick of looking for silver linings. Sick of waiting for the real team to appear. I think the body of work is too large right now to ignore the fact that this team just is missing something. Shooters ideally.

....I was at the Theater yesterday afternoon (Nice performance by Music Gettysburg! presenting Amahl and the Night Visitors) and I bumped into a Penn State fan. He was in a rush to get home. He says to watch the football, I joked to watch Penn State play. He said they are probably already down by 30. I joked back and said, they are just like the Mount, they lose every game by 1. Little did we know that Penn State had Wisconsin on the ropes at that time. Of course, the Badgers rallied for the win. Sort of fitting.

....I did get home in time to see Seton Hall and Pittsburgh finish up. I wasn't overly surprised that the Hall won the game. The Pirates are definitely a bubble team right now and have a huge game at South Florida on Thursday night. It is games like that, when they go down as losses, that really hurt that level of team. It also could end up being the difference between a +500 record and something below that for Seton Hall. The two recent wins over Louisville and Pitt are nice and will help them in the long run, but I still think they are going to have to be +500 with their non-conference schedule to earn a bid.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

If We had a College Football Playoff - The Championship Game


Nothing was going Alabama's way.

After three quarters of play, it looked like the Tide's dream of a 19-game unbeaten season would come to a crashing halt in Miami.

Florida was ripping off chunks of yardage on the ground and had held Alabama to just three field goals offensively. A 20-9 lead, courtesy of two Tim Tebow touchdown runs, looked extremely large.

Enter Javier Arenas.

After a Florida drive had halted just out of scoring territory, the Gators punted the ball away. Arenas made a catch and immediately avoided a tackler at his own seven yard-line. Two steps to his right and he made another Gator miss. Five strides through the center of the football field and he found an alley to the right side. Then the speed kicked in and all of sudden we had 11 minutes to decide a national championship - the first in the history of college football.

A two point conversion made it 20-17.

Things went from bad to worse for the Gators. Emmanuel Moody fumbled on the Gators first play after the score and 'Bama recovered at the 25. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram gained one yard on first down, and Terry Grant picked up three more on a second down counter. But faced with third and six, it looked like the best Alabama might do was to muster a tie. But Greg McElroy found Julio Jones on a crossing route and Jones made the most of his only catch, just getting to the pylon to give the Tide a 24-20 lead.

The Alabama defense did the rest. Florida never crossed midfield the rest of the way and Alabama went onto a 33-24 win and the National Championship.

Ingram finished the game with 109 yards and a late touchdown. Tebow ran for 144 yards on 19 carries and earned game MVP honors despite the loss.

Worry signs from the Cuse?

(Take the following with a grain of salt. Syracuse is 19-1, 6-1 in the Big East, and will probably be ranked No. 4 in the country when they take on Georgetown Monday. I understand that's pretty good for a team that many experts thought might be a bubble team after losing last year's nucleus to graduation and - well, whatever you call Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf. But I'm a blogger, my job is to nitpick and criticize, right?)

I've mentioned before that Syracuse is going to have trouble with teams that are athletic and can defend all over the court (and don't tell me North Carolina is one of those teams because they don't defend anyone). I've pinpointed these teams left on the schedule as problem areas: UConn, Louisville, Villanova. To a lesser extent, Providence and St. John's will try to do the same thing, but you hope the talent gap will win out.

Of course, today was one of those lesser extent games against struggling Marquette, who was coming off a loss to DePaul, their first Big East win in nearly two years. And struggle was the word for the Cuse today, and the Golden Eagles made them work for everything in a 76-71 win.

The box score is a statistical contradiction. Syracuse outrebounded Marquette 43-21, yet took 14 less shots. The Orange shot 59% from the field (they have shot the bell tremendously all year long), yet only won by 5 at home. Time to worry? Well, kind of.

First, bad news: Marquette was small and athletic, and did very well attacking the Syracuse zone. They went 10-25 from 3-point range, but what opened up those shots was the fact that they were able to penetrate. This is the danger, especially against Villanova, but also against UConn and Louisville. It was way too easy for them to get into the lane at times, and that's why it was tied at halftime.

Also, they effectively took our guards out of the game with pressure and forced 22 turnovers, way too many at this level (Wesley Johnson had 6 and Rick Jackson 5. Andy Rautins only had 4). Rautins never scored, and in fact only got off 2 shots. Brandon Triche managed only 7 points and only took 5 shots. As I've said all year, neither one wants the ball against pressure and they saw plenty of it today.

On the flip side: Syracuse figured out they could do whatever it wanted to inside. Jackson and Onuaku (in foul trouble again) combined stats: 24 points, 11-12 FG, 10 rebounds. But while hose two were OK, Johnson - without anyone doubling him, was allowed to run wild, 22 pts (9-15 FG) and 15 rebs.

But with better, bigger players guarding the big guys and Johnson, will Syracuse have that kind of success? We shall see, but this paranoid blogger is worried.

A little worried.

OK, concerned, are you happy?

We'll just see you Monday night.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another Close loss

A couple more follow ups on last night's loss at St. Francis.
  • I really was very impressed with St. Francis. Much more so than during their visit to the Mount last week. Caddell is a solid player, but they really work hard at both the offensive and defensive ends. They play a style that is more old-school than new age basketball, but they aren't afraid to shoot it and they shoot it pretty well. From a lot of different slots. I would not be surprised at all if they are the NEC's representative in the NCAA tournament.
  • The Mount struggled to shoot the ball again last night. You had to figure that after Saturday there would be some sort of dropoff. It happened. However, I thought the deficit had more to do with the Terriers than with the Mount. Obviously, I did not like the whole-sale substitution early. Maybe it was an energy thing, that sometimes you don't see on a small computer screen. But either way it didn't work.
  • Even though the Mount was behind the whole game, I always felt they were in control of the game as it was being played. I was never certain they controlled the outcome because of the deficit, but controlled the play. St. Francis seemed to be hanging on. Almost like a fighter running around the ring after winning the early, but then throwing a big punch or flurry of punches to ward off the opposition.
  • Shawn Atupem had a very good second half after a sluggish first half. He is athletic, but sometimes his athleticism puts him at weird angles shooting the ball. He looks soft or tentative as a result. And he misses his shots. But when he goes straight up with that athleticism he can be a force inside. He was that in the second half.
  • I liked the gameplan (adjustments) in the second half much more. The posts cross screened in the zone to get some openings, they lobbed behind the back line, they attacked it better - and they seemed to take away things defensively a bit better. But maybe the fact that SFNY didn't make everything helped them on defense.
  • Unlike the commenter I thought the Mount executed very well down the stretch last night. There weren't a lot of empty trips and they got a realitively good look from Beidler when everyone knew you'd be shooting the three.
  • New York just made too many plays at the end. And they were pretty well defended. The three that gave them the lead and the foulline jumper that extended the lead back to three from Caddell were well defended plays. I'd expect that they don't make either of those shots more than 2 out of 10 times.
  • The Mount ranks 342 out of 347 in Luck according to Ken Pomeroy
  • I'm not trying to sugar coat anything. This team will not meet my expectations. I think I still had some hope before last night. I no longer do. I won't give up. I'll still be at the games cheering and watching when I can. The best we can hope for is they make a run, get into the playoffs and win some road games and get to the play-in. Even if that happens, it won't have been what I expected for this team. Still I like this group of players - and I'll root hard for them if they keep playing hard on the floor. I know the coaching staff will continue to put in long hours and try to win basketball games. It's been frustrating for me and you as a fan, but I'm sure even moreso for those who have poured hours into it.

Mount O'Links

In Richmond on Saturday, check out Justin Burrell

Barnes on Calhoun

Big East race = wide open

Mount offers Summer Camps

Syracuse learned a lot on Road

Burns the first alternate on US Bobsled Team; likely to miss Games

The All Hair Team
You know you can't wait to click to see if Shawn Atupem is a part.
Obviously, somebody has a little too much time on their hands.

Winning DNA

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mt. St. Mary's/St. Francis NY Game Post

The Mount is in Brooklyn to take on the Terriers in an NEC game. St. Francis NY won a game at the ARCC a week ago and the Mount will look for a rebound on the road tonight. Feel free to join in as the game moves along. Video is available here

Let's see how this goes....

The Mount trails 10-7 at the first break. Jean Cajou made an early three - and then the Mount settled for threes later on. Atupem has looked tentative inside after making two early free throws. An alleyoop to Beidler gave the Mount a 7-6 lead but St. Francis has scored four in a row. I like the Terriers offense, a lot of movement and good ballwork.

The Mount has coached itself out of the game early. Wholesale substitution at the first break, played that segment with Trice, Holland, Thompson, Jackson and Brown on the floor. Not sure where the offense was expected to come from. They didn't score the whole segment, its now 15-7. Good crowd at the Arena. I'd say its about 50% full, the SFNY announcer said 85%. I'm just trying to find something to comment on other than the poor play.

The score is 25-15. Jeremy Goode has singlehandedly kept them in it. If down ten is in it. New York is making everything right now. Need to win this next segment and close it down before halftime. But right now there is no flow for the Mount. Too much choppiness to everything. Lots of turnovers thus far.

The lead is still ten for the Terriers, who are playing very well at the moment. Shooting ridiculously well. I'd like to see the pace of the game increase a bit. Jeremy Goode has nine for the Mount and he's headed to the free throw line after this break. The Mount needs to cut into the lead before halftime and give itself a chance in the second half.

The Mount trails 37-26 at the half. St. Francis does this real innovative thing off the high ball screen, they roll to the basket. It's beaten the Mount on at least three ocassions in the first half, including near the end helping the Terriers restore the lead to 11. St. Francis has brought the same gameplan they used a week ago in the second half to beat the Mount. We'll see if the Mount adjusts to it at all in the second half.

Anytime things start to look good for the Mount they go south quickly. The Mount has shaven one point off the lead, but has had a few empty trips lately which could have closed in. They had it to seven at one point, but New York pushed it back out. There is some life in the second half, but Beidler is on the bench with three fouls.

The Mount had it to seven and had the ball, but haven't gotten any closer. Rich Clark just hit a three for St. Francis to make it ten. The Terriers continue to make shots when the need them. They are deliberate offensively but they move the ball well and they shoot it very well. Or at least tonight. I sensed the Mount was just about to get it close and then they had some empty trips and SFNY responded.

The Mount has forced a New York timeout drawing within six. A 2-2-1 full court press fooled the Terriers and got a turnover - and a backdoor lob to Beidler got the game within six. Less then 10 to play, the Mount needs to cut into this quickly.

This slow and plodding comeback may end up being effective. The Mount has drawn within five and was to within three after a Jeremy Goode three-pointer moments ago. But NY scored at the other end and then the Mount turned it over before this TO. The Mount needs a stop and to get the ball back. St. Francis is not playing (or shooting) nearly as well as they did in the first half. It could get very interesting.

The lead is still six with Goode headed to the line and 3:53 left. The Mount had two possessions with a five point deficit and couldn't convert on good opportunities. There is still a chance. But really have to steal something on the road. I fear that SFNY will be better in the halfcourt sets the rest of the way.

Gonna end up being similar to last week in Emmitsburg. The Mount has the ball down three with about three minutes left. Jean Cajou's layup drew them within three and then the Terriers took a rushed three. The Mount has called timeout and is drawing something up.

Holland hit a three to tie it - and then Akeem Bennett hit a three at the other end as the shot clock was winding down. The Mount has the ball and called timeout down three. 67 seconds left.

Shawn Atupem has scored inside to draw the Mount within one - down to about 50 seconds left. Another timeout. And the Mount has to defend.

The Mount got a near steal and SFNY called timeout.

Caddell hit a floating turnaround from the fouline to extend the lead to three. The Mount will have a three to tie. 11 seconds left.

Beidler's three was short and SFNY wins 63-60 in Brooklyn.

Mount O'Links

Feldeine's Blog

Mid Major report

Rhode a Model of Consistency

Groundhog Day

Two game trip starts tonight

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Halfway Around the World

I know that Pitt and Georgetown are on the U. But there is just something that keeps bringing me back to the Tennis Channel. Right now the featured match is Ana Ivanovic and Gisela Dulko. We expect that Ivanovic will win this right here in the second set, but she is having her problems with Dulko. We also think that Pitt will rally to win and stay atop the Big East.

It's good tennis, Ivanovic won the first set in a tiebreaker. Meanwhile, on the men's side Novak Djokovic lost the first set of his match to Marco Chiudinelli and must rally to stay alive in Melbourne.

Also be interested to see how Kansas does with Baylor tonight. That is a game that many folks probably don't expect to be close, but I think the Bears play solid enough defense where they could keep it close for awhile.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Syracuse Notre Dame Game Thread

I made it home from the office in time for tipoff. It has been a good start for Syracuse. The type of pace I expected and one that I think the Orange will thrive in. They are shooting the ball really well thus far and have a 21-16 lead in the early going. 10:22 left in the first half. I don't think Notre Dame plays good enough defense to really be a concern tonight.

I get a little complimentary and all of a sudden Notre Dame, courtesy of some good efforts on the offensive glass has climbed right back into it at 23-20. The Syracuse zone seems to be having a positive effect for the Orange, but if you don't rebound out of it, it doesn't matter. And as of right now, Syracuse isn't rebounding. Andy Rautins just picked up his second foul, we'll see what effect that has.

Down to the U4 - a huge block by Rick Jackson before the timeout. Let's see if Syracuse can get some seperation before the intermission. Leading by four right now, Wesley Johnson has started to get involved a little bit more. The last four minutes of a half are always important, and the momentum has started to swing back to them. If they win this segment, they could do a lot to take away any confidence the Irish got when it got back into the game in the middle part of the half.

This was the type of seperation I was looking for. Syracuse has really stepped it up in that zone and is forcing mistakes from Notre Dame. Meanwhile, the offense is being efficient enough to open things up. Rautins buried his fifth three-pointer to make it a double-digit lead. Harangody just passed JW (the other one is a throw up) for tenth on the all-time Big East scoring list. Harangody is very solid. But Wesley Johnson is still the MVP of the Big East. And I'd probably put Ashton Gibbs ahead of Harangody as well. It ends up seven at halftime. Comfortable.

Links on St. Francis (NY)

Picked to beat Dartmouth

Dartmouth wins thriller

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Ryan likes that Ryan

It's been quite some time since I last posted. I know, you've missed me. Since my last post, I've a) lost a crown while chewing on a piece of candy, b) had a staph infection that had me in the ER at 2am Christmas Eve and kept me from walking for two weeks, and c) spent over a week in Key West, where the temperatures for that stretch were the coldest they've been in over 80 years. But hey, I'm feeling much better now.

One thing that helped was the Jets win over San Diego. I'm not a Jets fan, mind you. But I did become a fan of head coach Rex Ryan this past summer. You see, the New Yorkers invaded Central New York this past summer to train in Cortland, about 30 minutes south of Syracuse. At first, I was ticked, because summertime is a chance to relax a bit when you work in local TV (I was still a reporter in Syracuse at this point). For ten months, you're constantly on the go from one high school game to another....then another...then another. Throw in a bunch of local college action, and it's a long day at the office. Yes, working in sports is great, but it's still work! Summer is when you can coast a bit and recharge. The Jets moving their camp to our neck of the woods meant our chance to recharge would be cut by several weeks.

Rex Ryan immediately made me all right with the change of schedule. He's not the typical NFL coach. He's personable; actually seems happy to talk with you, will answer a question with a legitimate response, and makes you feel at ease. Not easy to do when you have an imposing frame such as his. But his constant jokes about sed-frame made you appreciate his battle. Oh, and he laughs. Not the manufactured kind of laugh. The kind that human beings have. This....was a guy who loved what he was doing.

Ryan was overly-honest at times talking about his new team and staff. You knew he liked the team, but didn't seem like he was preparing to be playing the third week of January. But there was a gleam in his eye you could see at his daily press conferences...almost like he knew something we didn't. I'd say that was certainly an understatement. His players would run through a wall for this guy, and he'd do the same for them.

When the Jets left Cortland, I had a new appreciation for Rex Ryan. I told a co-worker I wasn't a Jets fan, but I would be a Rex Ryan fan. I'm legitimately happy for the man. The Jets may be surprising the entire country, but the performance of their coach is something I could see coming from 30 miles away.

Tids and Bits

The NFL has returned to some sense of normalcy. In past years, the Divisional weekend of the playoffs was probably the most predictable week of the year. But in the recent past there had been plenty of upsets on that weekend and the teams that had worked all season to earn home field hadn't waltzed through to the Championship games. But this year, with the Jets at San Diego still to come, the home teams have fared quite well. Maybe the teams that got off to such good starts in the NFL and cruised to the finish line knew what they were doing. New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minnesota have all won realitively easy contests this weekend. I expect San Diego will have a similar result, which should make for a pair of great games next week.

Huge win for the Orange in Morgantown yesterday. The Orange proved that they could win in a hostile environment against a half-court team with a solid defense - thereby answering some questions about the team. The other thing that I've like about recent performances is that the Orange has once again shown the balance that was apparent at the start of the season. SU has found a different hero each night and has worked both inside and outside. They are a team that can go deep into the postseason.

If I was filling out brackets on this Sunday evening, I'd probably be picking six teams to win it all. Duke, Syracuse, Kansas and Texas would likely be the Number One seeds at this point, and they all show the makeup to win it all, but I'd also look at Wisconsin and BYU as teams with enough versatility to win six games in March.

In Joe Lunardi's Bracketology last week, he said Purdue had done more than the Orange to that point in the season, but he expected that the committee would have chosen Syracuse as the final #1 seed. Wonder if he still feels that way, after the Boilers dropped another two this week. Purdue is still strong, but getting it back in order quickly is a necessity.

Among the bubble teams right now. North Carolina and Connecticut. The Tar Heels have some bad losses and a 12-6 record. UCONN fell to 11-6 with a loss to a mediocre Michigan team earlier today. Watch them both closely, they are big name schools that have remained in the rankings becuase of it, but haven't been playing good basketball most of the season.

Another great game in the Big East today. Villanova snapped a five-game losing streak to Georgetown with a win at Wachovia Center. Scottie Reynolds bolstered his bid for the Naismith award with his effort today....Marquette has a 16-point first half lead on Providence and is trying to work its way back into the Big East hunt. The Golden Eaglers are much better than their 1-3 Big East mark indicates.

Among those privileges reportedly taken away from the Mount basketball team by head coach Milan Brown after Thursday's loss: Use of the team locker room. Apparently after practice on Friday, which reportedly was pretty intense, the Mountaineers had to retreat to their campus housing for showers. I don't know if that made the difference or not, but undoubtedly Saturday was the sharpest and most complete effort for the Mounties.

Notre Dame will test Syracuse on Monday night. But I don't believe the Irish play solid enough defense to earn the win. Ultimately, I would expect Syracuse to wear down the Irish and come away with the win.

Remember when there was talk that Lane Kiffin would be the next coach of the Syracuse Orangemen. During the 2008 season, it seemed for a long while that Kiffin would end up at either Washington or Syracuse - and then of course the Rocky Top job came open. Thankfully, he ended up there. I think Tennessee has the type of program that can survive Kiffin's one and done action, but a move like that in Upstate New York could have left Syracuse digging out for quite some time.

The Australian Open begins in Melbourne in a few hours. My picks - no big surprises - Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mount Basketball

Longtime Mount basketball fan Tony Little said it best afterwards, "That was Mount basketball."

Indeed it was. Showing an offensive efficency that has been absent most of the season and a trademark defense, Mt. St. Mary's destroyed Long Island 86-67 at Knott Arena on Saturday afternoon. The loss is the first NEC defeat for the Blackbirds.

Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler each recorded double doubles to lead the Mount. Goode had 17 points and 10 assists, while Beidler had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Jean Cajou broke out of a shooting funk knocking down four three-pointers and finishing with 16 points in a balanced Mount attack.

Some more thoughts and observations from my seat....
  • I noticed that the Mount was without its warmups at the start of the game. Afterwards, I was told that the team has been without all the extras that come with being a scholarship athlete the last few days. Apparently the message was intended to be if they weren't going to play Mount basketball, they weren't going to get all the benefits that came with it. 
  • Former Mountaineer Gregory Harris was on hand. Of course, Harris' all-time assist record was passed on Thursday night by Jeremy Goode. Harris still looks like he could take just about anyone off the dribble.
  • Goode was sensational. He had seven assists midway through the first half, and he made six of eight shots from the field. Playing against one of the other top-notch point guards in the league, Goode dominated Jaytornah Wisseh. 
  • Equally impressive was Kelly Beidler. I've always been a Kelly Beidler fan, but the one area that I always thought he could and should be better at was finishing around the basket. #4 was extremely strong around the hoop and scored a few buckets in traffic. He also continued to show a soft touch from the outside knocking down a pair of three-pointers.
  • Danny Thompson and Tayvon Jackson played well off the bench for the Mounties. In forty combined minutes, the duo scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and handed out three assists. When the Mount plays well these guys seem to excel.
  • It was easily the most complete effort of the season for the Mount. It started with six quick points and the Mount extended the lead to 20-9 early. They never took their foot off the accelerator. When LIU tried to rally in the second, Cajou and Goode hit big three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to erase any thoughts of a comeback.
  • There is still hope for this team. They showed today that they have another level. But efforts and performances like today have to be the norm and not the exception. This is an experienced bunch, maybe Thursday night truly served as a wakeup call. They have the ability to win the rest of their games. 
  • They play these same two teams next weekend in New York. Getting a sweep is a necessity. And you can bet that LIU will be ready. You may remember that the Mount blitzed the Blackbirds here in Emmitsburg last year as well, but lost the return trip. They must get two wins next weekend if they wish to have any thoughts of a regular season league championship.

Just win, baby

I wrote a column for my local Connecticut paper last month about a team that won the state football championship. They had been 4-6 the year before, but it became apparent to me about halfway through this season that they had "it."
What was "it"?
It's that something that coaches kill for and fans don't understand. It goes beyond stats. It is just something that when you watch a team play, you just get the feeling they're going to win.
The 2003 Syracuse national championship basketball team had "it" at the end of the season (which obviously involves talent as well), and they got just enough contribution for various different sources to run through the 64-team tournament field.
By contrast, it never really seemed like any team with Eric Devendorf on it (although last year's tournament run was impressive) had "it."
"It" involves talent, leadership, and a general confidence that borders on arrogance, but doesn't cross that line (see Devendorf).
The jury is still out on this year's version of the Orange, but it might be there this season. They have some holes: they don't handle the ball well at all (which will be a big problem against Louisville, Marquette, Villanova, UConn, and even Providence), they have a couple of woeful free throw shooters in the post, by playing exclusively zone they are vulnerable to good shooting teams.
But after today's impressive road win over West Virginia (in which all of their weaknesses were evident in small doses), I'm starting to figure out that they don't seem to care. And if they don't care, then maybe they can make this a special season in Syracuse.
Another sign that your team has "it": everything your coach does works. Brandon Triche was dreadful against Rutgers, so bad that he played only 17 minutes. His sub, Mookie Jones went off for 11 points.
Today, Triche scored a team-high 16 points and was 6-of-8 from the field (the big statistical reason why Syracuse is so good is that their shooting is remarkable on a game-to-game basis). Jones played only three minutes.
Confidence problem? Not on a team that has "it".
"One of the troubles I've been having is with pressure, turning the ball over a little bit," Triche said. "I think I dealt with the pressure well at the end of the game."
There is a long way to go in the season. Syracuse still has Georgetown and Louisville twice each, and a test Monday night in South Bend against a good-shooting Notre Dame team.
But even if they lose a couple of games down the stretch, as long as they keep that confidence, as long as they have "it", they could make a long run in March.
And maybe even into April.

Friday, January 15, 2010


No, I'm not a few weeks late on the whole Big Ten expansion topic. I'm talking about the expansion of The Fan Blog. In recent weeks, you've seen a few new names posting articles around here. Indeed, I have extended the invitation to numerous of the guys I went to Syracuse with. At one point or another we all worked with the campus radio station, WJPZ-FM and we were Central New York's Sports Authority. Most of us called basketball games for the Syracuse Orangewomen meaning we all have that in common with Greg Paulus.

So I thought it would be neat for us, and for you the readers, to reunite in some form or another right here on The Fan Blog. We all will probably have some perspective on the Syracuse sports scene, but we all also are all over the country as well. And we all have different rooting interests. So hopefully, you'll get some good insights from many different areas and it will cover all sorts of different topics.

Thus far, you've heard from Ryan McNaughton and Ray Curren. Randy Stern and Derek Snow have also informed me that they will offer their insights as they have them. Through their writings here, I'm sure you'll find them all to be quite entertaining and also knowledgeable and passionate about the areas that they write about.

Again, we're all Syracuse people. McNaughton even worked in the Syracuse market covering the Orange on a local Syracuse affiliate the last several years. Ray and Snow are both Yankee fans, while Stern and McNaughton cheer for the Tribe. As you have seen, McNaughton is still a big Cleveland fan and is hoping that Lebron and the Cavs win that crown this season before Lebron leaves town (or resigns in the offseason).

As time wears on, I hope that the numbers continue to increase and The Fan Blog brings you entertaining and informative content from all areas of the sporting world.

Welcome them aboard, make them feel at home.

If We had a College Football Playoff - Semifinal #2 Results


Jeffery Demps ran for two touchdowns, including a 69-yard blast on the final play of the first quarter, as Florida downed Texas 20-6 in the College Football Championship Tournament in Pasadena. Florida will take on Alabama for the National Title in Miami next Saturday night. Demps' first touchdown run came after Texas had tied the score on a 32-yard Hunter Lawerence field goal. The second touchdown came with just :46 left to seal the outcome. Florida led 10-6 from the 6:31 mark of the second quarter until 7:19 remained when Caleb Sturgis booted a 46-yard field goal to make it a touchdown lead for the Gators. The Florida defense sacked Colt McCoy five times and Joe Haden picked off a pass in the win. McCoy having to deal with the heavy pass rush was 16-of-28 for just 123 yards. Demps finished the game with 162 yards rushing and the two scores.


There is really no other way to describe my feelings leaving Knott Arena last night. And based upon the reactions of those around me and on this site last night, I was far from alone.
  • One of the commenters (and I appreciate many of you starting to use something to identify yourselves) said there was nothing positive to take from the result. I saw a lot of Syracuse gear in the crowd. Like 2 hats, a sweatshirt and a t-shirt that made me happy. Otherwise, nothing.
  • Truth is I knew with 12 minutes left in the first half - I would leave disappointed. There was no energy no spark - and no desire to blow out a struggling St. Francis team.
  • The Terriers didn't score in the first five minutes of the game, when they finally did, the Mount led just 6-1. That immediately made me concerned.
  • St. Francis finally scored from the field with 13 minutes left in the first half, and remarkably the Mount only had a 9-3 lead. I was even more scared after that.
  • The Mount starters jumped to an immediate 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game, and three substitutes entered the game. Over the next five minutes, St. Francis scored three points and the Mount did nothing more than match that. It was at that point, that I knew the results were not going to impress me - win or lose.
  • I really expected last night to be a coming out party. To be a return to home base after all that time away - to be focused on making a big run - and to show everyone that they weren't done yet. A statement game. It was none of that.
  • How bad was it? When Jeremy Goode somehow corraled a missed foul shot with around 50 seconds and fed Kelly Beidler underneath for a 58-57 Mount lead it appeared that maybe we'd sneak away with a win. My daughter - the brighest of 10-year old kids (I can say that, she's my daughter) said, but Dad they don't deserve to win. It was that obvious.
  • So we got what we deserved. Maybe St. Francis didn't deserve to win either. Afterall their performance wasn't much the better. Minus the three straight three-pointers that took a 52-45 deficit and made it a 54-52 lead with about 4 minutes left, there wasn't much in what the Terriers did to get thrilled about. 
  • The Mount had every chance to end the game early. To blow out a team - that was more than struggling on the road - and end any thoughts of a comeback. But it didn't happen. It hasn't happened. And the questions and concerns from the posters on this site and in the crowd around me are justified.
I'm not giving up. I'm sure most of you won't either. And I haven't seen any real signs from this team that they have thrown in the towel. I don't think they will either. I'll be there Saturday afternoon - hoping that the team I believe this Mount team was going to be or could still become appears. But we're running out of time and the window is closing very, very quickly.

Links on Long Island

Onyechi Newcomer of Week

Thursday, January 14, 2010

St Francis wins in Emmitsburg

The Terriers won 61-58 over the Mount on Thursday Night in an NEC game at Knott Arena.

The effort seemed very uninspired from the Mount. Shooting both from the floor and the foul line doomed the Mount.

Kelly Beidler had another solid effort with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Jeremy Goode became the school's all-time assist leader with 9 points and 7 assists.

I'll have some more tomorrow, but it was far from impressive.

If We had A College Football Playoff - Semifinal #1


Javier Arenas ran a punt back for a touchdown and Mark Ingram ran for another two as Alabama moved onto the championship with a 28-0 shutout of Ohio State. The game played in the SuperDome was a defensive struggle that lacked big plays, but ultimately 'Bama's class wore down the Buckeyes and helped them prevail. The Crimson Tide defense limited Ohio State to just 9 first downs and forced three turnovers in securing the shutout. Arenas ran a punt back 67 yards near the end of the first quarter to give the Tide a lead it would never relinquish. Ingram scored in the second quarter from 16 yards and again in the fourth from 12 yards away. He finished with 118 tough yards on 28 carries. Brandon Saine led the Buckeyes with 79 yards on 13 carries, but the Buckeye offense was slowed all night long. The win advances 'Bama to the championship game next week versus the winner of Florida and Texas. The Gators and Longhorns battle in Pasadena on Friday for the right to oppose Alabama.

Mt. St. Marys vs St. Francis game Thread

I'm headed to the game with my family tonight. I'll have some thoughts and opinions afterwards. And probably more stuff tomorrow as well.  If you are not at the Knott and want to post your thoughts on the game, feel free to do so.

I am excited to see how the Mount plays tonight after snapping the losing streak at Sacred Heart on Saturday. I think that win can be the start of something very good for this team. I also may get the chance to say hello to former Syracuse guard Allen Griffin, who is on the Terrier staff for a second go-around.

The Mount has controlled the series recently with the Terriers, but this team can not be taken lightly. The Terriers have won 2 out of 3, including a conference game with St. Francis PA last week, and a non-conference tilt with Columbia earlier this week.

This is a guard oriented Terrier team, so it will be interesting to see if the Mount can get anything going inside from the likes of Shawn Atupem or Raven Barber. Also, St. Francis likes to play a half-court game and if the Mount gets out and runs and gets some buckets in transition it should be to there benefit. I expect to see improvement for the Mounties tonight - and I expect to see a win. I'll take the Mount, 70-57 in this one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Howdy folks

Glad to finally post. Quick facts about me, Ray Curren:

* I live in Connecticut, but hate UConn (I am a Syracuse grad after all).

* I actually watch NEC basketball once in a while, even if it is the Connecticut teams (Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, Central Connecticut).

* I love soccer, more than any other sport. But I'm not here to try to convert you. Not until the World Cup at least (if you are a soccer fan, I write for

* I do root for the Mount when they're not playing a Connecticut team.

* I'm a fan of the World Champion New York Yankees. And I know they buy all their players. And I know you hate them. And I would probably hate them, too, if I grew up somewhere else, but I didn't, so there.

* I also root for the New York Giants (hiding head in shame), and the New Orleans Hornets (there's a story behind that one, maybe someday they'll be time for it).

* I've picked North Carolina to win the national title in the NCAA Pool in 19 of the last 20 seasons. The one year I didn't, I correctly picked Florida as a No. 3 seed. Why? I still don't know. That was the only year I've actually won anything, but I continue to think I know what's going to happen every year.

* My favorite hockey team is the Hartford Whalers. I refuse to root for another team until they come back (and they will come back).

That's about it for now. Until the next SU game.

Syracuse/Rutgers In Game Thread

Feel Free to post your thoughts in-game. I'll try to post my after the completion, as I'm celebrating my father's birthday with the family tonight.

Mount O'Links

Checking in on the NEC

Brumbaugh introduced

BCS here to stay?

Can Gibbs be an elite player?

You can't go a day without a bracket

Holdin Court

QU beats Brown

Bait and Switch?

So this showed up in my inbox yesterday. A message from the Cleveland Cavaliers. An early bird ticket offer. Even though its only January, I figured they were pushing playoff tickets already, trying to sell a package for the rest of the season. Most teams are selling mini-plans for the rest of the way. I got a phone call from the Islanders the day before, and an email from the Nets (no playoff mention) in the last week, pushing mini-plans. But upon close examination, the Cavs offer was for season tickets. Next season. 2010-2011. And right there in the middle of the ad. Actually the ad. Was Lebron James. You know the most sought after free-agent in the history of the NBA. There he was attempting to sell me tickets for this year's playoffs, if I bought season tickets for next year. Of course, Lebron is rumored to be playing for every team with any room under the salary cap except for the Cavaliers next year. Do the Cavs marketing people know something we don't? Actually I think they are hoping they do. Hoping that we don't realize that in 2010-2011, Lebron may very well be in Miami or New York or Atlanta or Chicago - and hoping that our excitement for this season, will lead us to buy some ticketes for next year. It's a good thought. But as Jose Canseco would say, maybe a little short of the truth.

For Ryan McNaughton's (a native Ohioan and Cavs' fan) take on Lebron and the pending free agency click here

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Links on St. Francis NY

Fall at Fairfield

Picked to lose at Columbia

ACC Stats picks Lions as well

Syracuse/USF In Game Thread

Feel Free to post your thoughts and comments as the Orange tries to move to 3-1 in the Big East against an improving South Florida team.

A very shaky beginning for the Orange. There seems to be absolutely no intensity or enthusiam within this group today. Defensively they have been fairly active, but not necessarily good. USF has an early lead. I'd like to see Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine as soon as possible. Hopefully they add some bounce. But as of now, I am not impressed.

That was a bit better, but USF continues to fare well against a somewhat lacksadasical Orange defense. Syracuse leads it 17-13 with 11:56 left. Kris Joseph and Jardine have both entered. Joseph is playing with great confidence now. He looks good. Wes Johnson has scored five straight points for the Orange and appears to be heating up. I am impressed with how USF guards you. They play good team defense.

26-17 with 7:01 left in the first half. Syracuse just has more athletes and better players than USF. The Bulls do play hard and they defend well, but they don't have the horses. Syracuse should ease away as the game goes on, but it will take a solid effort.

The female voice you hear on the broadcast is Brooke Weisbrod. Apparently the former Big South player of the Year.  Second day in a row, I've watched a game where the Leader in Sports has used a female as the color commentator. Not there is anything wrong with that. Abby Waner worked the Wake Forest/Miami game yesterday.

How long until Boeheim passes Calhoun? Seriously, I've been saying all season long it is going to happen. I also said Wisconsin was going to beat Purdue. It happened yesterday if you missed that. Wes Johnson is taking over in this game. USF just doesn't have the matchups necessary to stay in this game. but the Orange needs to be a little more aggressive on the glass. Syracuse leads 35-23 at the final first half media timeout.

Syracuse leads by 12 at halftime. That is a comfortable number. And seems about right for the way the half went. It is 40-28 SU. Mookie Jones knocked down a pair of threes late to help ward off a little bit of a Bull run. It doesn't look like South Florida has the ability to come from behind to win a game like this. Hasn't been the best Orange performance, but it hasn't been bad either. Like to see Rautins get going a bit in the second half.

Opened the lead up to 51-34 at the start of the second half. Arinze has gone to the bench with four fouls, but Jackson has scored a few down low. An interesting lineup in there now and not one we've seen a bunch of: Jardine, Triche, Rautins, Johnson and Jackson. Rautins knocked down a three - his first basket of the game and only the second shot. Be nice to see him make a few more before the final horn.

A lot of balance for the Orange today. They lead it 57-36 and forced a Stan Heath timeout. The balance is coming from different players, but also a nice inside outside mix, which had seemed to be lacking the last few games. This is a good one to build on.

Observations from the Sacred Heart Win

The Mount ended its month long losing streak with a good win on the road at Sacred Heart, 69-65 on Saturday afternoon. Some additional thoughts and observations on the game and where it leaves the Mount at this point
  • Kelly Beidler had a very nice game for the Mount. The senior has probably been the Mount's most consistent performer this season. He leads the team in rebounding and has become a very good second or third option offensively. I'd like to see him finish a little better inside, but he continues to get big buckets when needed.
  • Sacred Heart made 10 three pointers which really kept them in the game. I think the Pioneers and their fans may feel they had a bad day shooting the basketball. However, I think much of that had to do with the Mount defense. However, every time SHU needed a basket to stay within striking distance they got a key three. Sometimes in well-defended situations.
  • Shawn Atupem had a good game Saturday. The QU announcers sort of blamed Atupem, or at least the Mount's strategy to goto Atupem so often for the loss on Thursday night. But Atupem stepped forward and had a big game on Saturday afternoon. He seemed more under control around the basket and finished a little stronger.
  • The gory part of the schedule is over. Certainly, we all expected the Mount to fare better during it. But we also knew that with the tough non-conference schedule and the tough opening to conference play that a rough patch was possible. No one expected it to be this rough. But the Mount has played 3 of the top 4 conference teams on the road already. (Unless you're willing to throw Monmouth into that bunch).
  • With that said, there may not be a game the Mount is thought of as an underdog the rest of the way. Games at Monmouth and Long Island may be the lone exceptions. But the Mount must capatilize on this easier part of the schedule and build on what happened on Saturday. I think if they do that a 12-6 (or possibly better) conference record is still in the cards and with that would likely come at least one home game in the NEC conference tournament.
  • Jeremy Goode is now two assists away from matching Gregory Harris as the all-time assist leader in Mount history. He'll likely surpass Harris on Thursday night against St. Francis (NY). Stand up and give #1 a hand when he achieves the milestone. He deserves it.

Mount O'Links

QU Downs Wagner

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Wrapping Up the Sacred Heart Win

Beidler leads the way

Greenwich Time

Report Card

If We had a College Football Playoff - Quarterfinal Results - Saturday Late Afternoon


Texas shook off a sluggish first half performance and rallied for a 20-14 win over West Virginia and a spot in the Tournament semifinals. The Longhorns trailed 14-3 at the half but scored twice in the third quarter to seize momentum of the game. Cody Johnson's 34-yard touchdown run gave the Longhorns the lead with 3:47 left in the third quarter. Colt McCoy's touchdown strike to Malcolm Williams on the first drive of the second half got the Longhorns back into the contest. After a scoreless first quarter, the Mountaineers took the lead on Noel Devine's 43-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter. Jarrett Brown's five-yard pass to Jock Sanders with 33 seconds left in the first half really started to get the Longhorns faithful concerned. But the 'Horns responded positively after the intermission. Jordan Shipley had 8 catches for 107 yards as McCoy threw for 232 yards in the win. Devine ran for 117 yards for West Virginia.

Mt. St. Mary's/Sacred Heart Game Thread

Feel free to post your thoughts during the game as the Mount takes on Sacred Heart in an NEC game. The Mount looks to end its losing streak and get back on track in the NEC. The Mount has lost its last three games by a combined six points, including the 64-63 loss to Quinnipiac on Thursday.

The game is available online in streaming video at this spot

At the first media timeout the Mount has an early 10-8 lead. The Mount has made a pair of threes, but is giving Sacred Heart too many early open looks. But the Pioneers have not been making the open jump shots.

That was a pretty short segment and it is now 12-10 Mount. Pierre Brown continues to really hurt this team when he is in there. He had two turnovers in a little over a minute of play. 3 possessions I believe. The Mount seemed to be a little better defensively that time. But seems to be lacking confidence offensively. They don't look sharp for certain.

Best we've seen of Raven Barber this year. He has four points and a couple of offensive rebounds. The Mount leads it 21-18. Sacred Heart doesn't look overly strong right now. They seem to be settling for a lot of outside jumpers.

The Mount is getting just about everyone involved this afternoon and most are in the scoring column. Cajou, Holland and Beidler have all knocked down threes, Goode has a baseline jumper, Barber has the four points, Atupem has a bucket in the lane. But it would be nice to see them get somebody going.

26-23 at the final media timeout of the half. The Mount still leads. They had stretched it to 8 but the Pioneers have scored five in a row to climb back in it. The inconsistency of the Mount offense allows that to happen. Kelly Beidler has scored 8 at the moment to lead the Mount. At least by my unoffical count.

Quinnipiac has put away Wagner in the second half - after the Seahawks led at halftime. The Mount leads at Sacred Heart 32-28 at the half. The Mount has led throughout, but it has been far from a pristine performance.

The Mount has pushed the lead to 43-35. It has been a pretty good start to the second half. Shawn Atupem is taking advantage of an athletic advantage inside and finishing under control and strong. Kelly Beidler is in double figures. The Mount defense has forced a few Pioneer turnovers as well. Be nice to get this lead to double figures with another strong four minutes.

The lead is 11 - as Tayvon Jackson has been the beneficiary of some good interior passes. The first from Atupem the second from Lamar Trice, which forced Dave Bike to call a timeout.

The Mount starting to get a few breaks. It is 51-41 with just under 12 to play. On that last possession with the shot clock running down, the ball bounced to Atupem and he scored inside. He is having a big second half in the low post. Good to see. He is bouncing back from a subpar game at Quinnipiac. Extending this lead in this segment would be nice.

Five straight points for SHU and the Mount has called timeout. It was very sloppy and Milan just decided to take a break and settle his team down. The Mount has the ball and needs to get a bucket out of the timeout.

The Mount lead is 53-49. The Mount will shoot free throws on a technical foul after the break. So this is a big chance for the Mount to open things back up. They seem to have weathered the first charge by Sacred Heart, but there will probably be another coming.

The Mount is up 60-56 and Sacred Heart has called timeout after the Liam Potter dunk. The Mount has gotten a couple of scores down low from Atupem and Holland the last few trips. Atupem has 15 to lead the Mount, Beidler has 14.

The Mount has traded 3 for 2 and with a four-point lead that is a good deal. Goode buried a three - and then Hardy scored on a putback and Bike called timeout. The Mount leads 63-58 with about 3 minutes to play.

1:36 left and the Mount leads by 3 65-62 and has the ball and has called timeout. The Mount kicked the ball away and gave SHU two - but then Cajou found Holland for two - before the Pioneers scored to get us where we are. The Mount has not trailed all game, but these are still tenuous moments. Beidler is headed to the line after the timeout with 1:16 to play and a three point lead.

The game has gotten to 67-65. We have 22 seconds left. Beidler missed the free throw. The Mount then got the rebound and couldn't score, but Goode made a big steal and Holland scored at the other end. But then Hardy hit a three.

Beidler was fouled and made both free throws. So it is a four point lead with 20.7 seconds left. The Mount is that close to stopping the nine-game skid.

This streak is over. Now this team can get back to winning basketball games and focusing on its goals. It ends up 69-65 in favor of the Mount. They never trailed.

More thoughts later. Good win on the road.

If We had a College Football Playoff - Quarterfinal Results - Saturday Afternoon


Chris Rainey ran for 107 yards as Florida downed Virginia Tech 27-9 at LandShark Stadium to advance to the Semifinals. The Gators defense kept Tech out of the end zone limiting the Hokies to 10 first downs. Virginia Tech stayed close at 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. But Rainey capped a Gator drive with an 18-yard run to put the Gators up 14-6 and in control. The Florida offense controlled things with a running game that the Hokies couldn't stop. Florida ran for 392 yards for the contest. Jeffery Demps had 87 yards and Emmanuel Moody ran for 77 yards. All scored touchdowns in the victory. Florida moves onto the Final Four and will leave Florida for the first time in the tournament when it faces Texas or West Virginia in Pasadena next weekend.

Mount O'Links

Highlights from the Siena Game - (in case you never saw them)

It's gotta be the Shoes

He wasn't in the Concession Stand line at halftime

NY beat PA

Friday, January 08, 2010

If We Had a Collge Football Playoff - Quarterfinal Results - Friday Night


Ohio State ended TCU's dream season with a 23-10 win at the Rose Bowl on Friday evening. The Buckeyes used the big play to attack the Horned Frog defense. DeVier Posey hauled in a 74-yard pass from Terrelle Pryor to open the scoring, and Jordan Hall broke off a 33-yard touchdown run after TCU had drawn within 13-10 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Buckeyes to victory. Hall's touchdown run came on a two-play 77-yard drive that featured a 44-yard burst from Daniel Herron. For the most part the TCU defense shut down Ohio State. The Bucks finished with 329 yards of offense but nearly half of it was on those three plays. On the remainder of the plays Ohio State averaged just over three yards per play and was a putrid 1-of-16 on third downs. However, the Buckeye defense continued to show that it is a force to be reckoned with. Ohio State limited TCU to 15 first downs and kept them out of the endzone on all but one occasion. It was a 2 yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Evan Frosch that gave the Purple hope with 11:18 left in the contest. However, Ohio State put the game away midway throught the quarter when Hall and Herron broke off their runs on back to back plays. The Buckeyes will now face top-seeded Alabama in New Orleans next weekend.

Frustration MOUNTS

I punched the sofa last night. Punched it hard. It was a similar type punch to the kick I put on a sofa when Lawrence Moten called timeout and cost the Orange a trip to the Sweet Sixteen and a win over the defending national champ Arkansas Razorbacks. Thankfully, last night's frustration didn't have the same results. The boot put a hole in the side of the couch. The punch just got me a dirty look from my wife.

It's been a long time since the Mount has won. And for those of us who are fans, it seems like an eternity. But imagine how it would seem if you were a part of this team. Certainly, the coaching staff has been working hard to try to end the skid. The players are giving effort. They aren't quitting. There have been times in this run where they could have packed it in. From my view they haven't done that yet.

I didn't write a preview for yesterday's game. I don't like previews late in the season, because it seems like you are writing the same things over and over. There was that and then there was the fact that I didn't really think the Mount would win.  Because every way I anylyzed things I came up with the Mount losing. By one point no doubt.

One of the commenters last night, said this team finds a way to lose. That seems to definitely be the case. But the root of the problems all start at the offensive end. The Mount just doesn't get enough easy shots. They miss some when they get them. But they don't get enough of them anyhow. And that puts pressure on the need to make everything. The Mount's assist to Field Goal Made percentage is just bad. Only 41.8% of the Mount's field goals are accompanied by assists. That is 334th of 347 in the land. For me it comes down to the pace of the offense, when the offense has pace things seem to work better. There was plenty of pace to the game last night, but there were still a lot of offensive possessions where the Mount offense was stagnant. In all they scored 63 points on 79 possessions, a far cry from the 1 point per possession stat that has seemed to indicate success for this team as far back as the NEC championship season.

Is there still reason for optimism? That is a tough one. I still think that talent wise there isn't a team in this league that is better. And I'd only expect the Mount to be underdogs twice more this season if you look strictly at performances. Unfornately one of those games is tomorrow at Sacred Heart, and at Monmouth later in the season. I've said 12-6 is the most likely number. I still think that is accurate. But winning 12 of 15 games is never easy. Especially when you've lost nine in a row. And as the commenter said this team knows how to lose.

The potential to do that though is there. But there comes a time when somebody just has to say enough is enough and make the difference. That hasn't happened yet. We're all waiting for it. And we're all getting more and more frustrated. Mount fans I feel your frustration. I'm there with you. Let's hope that we find a reason for optimism tomorrow. Let's hope that the reason starts with a W.

Links on Sacred Heart

Heart downs Stony Brook

FDU pulls upset

SHU conference's best offense

Wagner Sacred Heart Recap

Sacred Heart bounces Wagner

Postcard from the Army All-American Game

Catching Carolina at the right time?

More recap from the Memphis game

The Women Won

Mount O'Links

RMU forming identity

Joseph leads second half surge

Gibbs impresses Coaches

Evolution of Scheyer


Beckham returns to Milan

Former QUer Kevin Jolley signs in Egypt

Monmouth wins again

Get Big

Jay Bilas

Thursday, January 07, 2010

If We Had A College Football Playoff - Quarterfinal Results - Thursday Night Game

Alabama vs Nebraska - in Orlando Florida - Site of the Capital One Bowl

Nebraska's Cinderella run come to a crashing halt within earshot of her Castle as Alabama ran roughshod on the Cornhuskers in Orlando on Thursday evening. Mark Ingram scored three touchdowns, including a 55-yarder on the Tide's first possession as Alabama moved to the Final Four with a 39-17 thrashing of Nebraska. The Huskers season comes to an end at 12-5. The Heisman trophy winner ran for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns on the night. Roy Helu, who has had some impressive performances in the tourney, tried to keep Alabama close. The Husker runner ran for 157 yards and two scores but 'Bama was just too much. The 'Bama pass defense limited Nebraska to just 7 completions on 27 attempts - and picked off a pair of passes in the win. Alabama led just 20-10 nearing the end of the third quarter, but a field goal from Leigh Tiffin and a 33-yard run from Ingram in a span of 1 minute and three seconds left little doubt. Trent Richardson also had a nice night for the Crimson Tide. He toted the ball 14 times for 81 yards and a second quarter touchdown. Greg McElroy was an efficient 11-of-14 for 102 yards in the win. Julio Jones caught four of those posses for 58 yards.

Mt. St. Mary's Quinnipiac Game Thread

Feel Free to post your thoughts and comments in the Comments section as the Mount tries to end the losing streak in Connecticut.

Looks like we're about six minutes from tipoff in Hamden CT. The Mount is starting the same five its been playing of late. Goode, Beidler, Cajou, Atupem and Raven Barber. Barber replaced Kristian Krajina in the lineup at BU and has been a starter since then. He hasn't been playing a lot of minutes but he'll be back in the starting lineup tonight.

I really dread having to listen to this group of broadcasters. They are not very good. And they are homers all the way. Quite a contrast from the guys we had from Albany the other night.

The announcer just called the Mount players a bunch of knuckleheads. Yes it is going to be a long night. Let's get a win. It's about time. The game is available at Click Here for a surprise

A decent start for the Mount. There doesn't seem to be a lot of energy in the Arena. But the Mount has a 6-4 lead, Atupem has four and Beidler has 2 off a steal and layin. Kels could have made that a three-point play but missed the FT.

This is a poor production. Not only are the broadcasters horrible, but they have a big scoreboard at the top of the screen that basically blocks the basket. 9-6 Mount with 15:48 left. Atupem now has 5 and Cajou and Kels each have two. The Mount seems to have the better unit early on. But we'll have to wait and see how this plays out.

Its 18-15 with 10:35 to play in the first half. A very sloppy segment from the Mount. They are able to get it to Atupem inside whenever they want. But Shawn is not finishing and there have been some pretty poor efforts. Meanwhile, QU seems to be getting a lot of dribble drive penetration that the Mount needs to stop.

The Mount fell behind 23-15 and I was wondering where Jeremy Goode was. He came through and made a three and then a foul shot for his first points of the night. The Mount trails 23-19 with 7:59 left in the first half, and I have to be honest, I don't like the way this is going. The Mount does not appear sharp. And defensively they are not stopping penetration and it is leading to easy buckets for the Bobcats.

The Mount drew within 23-22 and then QU scored four quick points to push the lead back to five at 27-22. It stayed that way for a long while. Both teams struggled at the offensive end. Kelly Beidler had a few blocks. Then Pierre Brown hit a trifecta off some good ball movement out of the corner and that is where we are with about 2 minutes left and the Mount trails 27-25.

They are now at halftime and the Mount trails 29-28. In some regards the Mount has to feel good that they are only down 1. The Mount was 10-for-34 at 29% shooting in the first half. And in another sense, you have to feel like the Mount has to be disappointed they didn't score 38 or 40 points in that half. The Mount had a few open shots that they should have made, that they didn't.

I think the Mount scoring looks something like this....Goode 6, Atupem 7, Brown 3, Cajou 2, Beidler 2, Holland 3, Jackson 1, Barber 2 - I've missed two somewhere, it might belong to Beidler.

The Mount will win this game if it shoots better in the second half, but I'm not confident that the Mount will shoot better. Consequently, it could be a tussle to the end.

Beidler has just two, so I'm still looking for 2. My second choice would be Holland. But I can't remember a two-point basket from him. I remember a miss he should have made. Maybe Tayvon scored in the lane. I know the announcer said he did. But that was clearly Barber. And it would be too wise for them to do some sort of halftime stats.

The Mount women won at Quinnipiac earlier today.

QU has opened it up a little bit. 16:15 in the second half and the Bobcats lead 39-32. The Mount took a lead at 32-31, but QU has scored eight in a row. The Mount needs to find a way to get a big score out of this timeout.

The Mount did not score out of the timeout. Goode missed in the lane. But Cajou made a steal at the other end and Beidler has two free throws when the commercial ends.

The Mount has a 44-42 lead, but it hasn't been pretty. At least not of late. They had some chances to open it up and turned the ball over on two straight possessions. But I do like the 2nd half better right now. 11:53 left. The Mount has gone to pressure against QU and it has bothered them. We'll see how that develops.

QU leads by 1 with 7:43 left. The Bobcat announcers have said Beidler just fouled out. Not sure that is right, but he did pick up two quick fouls and leave the game. It is possible. And the Mount will miss him.

Pierre Brown's driving layup has cut the lead to two. The Mount has really struggled since Beidler left the game. The Mount is going to have to make some plays down the stretch to win the game. They haven't had anyone really have a big night tonight.

The Mount is really struggling in the halfcourt set. The QU announcers love it when the Mount throws it inside. And truly they haven't converted enough of the opportunities inside tonight. But the QU announcers think that is the way to beat the Mount. Let them throw the ball inside. QU leads 54-50 and has the ball at the line with 3:34 left.

Jeremy Goode has buried three three-pointers in a row to keep the Mount in this. The last one tied the scored at 59. But Feldeine was fouled at the other end by Cajou who has fouled out as well. Feldeine made both. And the Mount trails by two and has called timeout with 1:19 left.

The Mount got a good look from Goode but he seemed to be looking to pass and not shoot and missed the 8-footer. QU then had two layups that could have essentially ended it and missed them both. The Mount has the ball back down two with 29 seconds left. Goode will shoot two with 19 seconds left. He made one of two. He has 21. The Mount has to foul. They forced a timeout on the inbounds as QU couldn't get it in.

The Mount loses this one 64-63. Jeremy Goode's three-pointer at the buzzer cut it from four to one. He finished with 24 - and played the last three or minutes with a desire to score we haven't seen in awhile. He is the Mount's best player. He also was likely fouled with five seconds left and the Mount down two, but there was no call made. The Mount trailed by two at that point, Justin Rutty made two free throws at the other end.

A win at Sacred Heart on Saturday is a must.

Tids and Bits

I'm most intrigued by the New England Baltimore playoff matchup this weekend in the NFL. After all it is the only game that features a matchup that didn't just happen in Week 17. How unlikely is it that that three of the four first round matchups are rematches from the games the week before? Still the Ravens and the Patriots met way back near the start of the season. New England won. You may recall that Baltimore was not to happy with the officiating in that game. It was one of several games this season, that the Ravens could have and maybe should have won. If they want to be succesful in the playoffs they have to find a way to win the close games. I'm basing my theory that they won't on the fact that all season long things have gone against them. I wouldn't see why that would change in the postseason. Expect the Patriots, even without Wes Welker, to win this game.

I said back at the start of Bowl season, that I expected Texas to win tonight. I'm reaffirming that pick right now. Colt McCoy is going to go out a winner and give the Horns the BCS championship. I don't really think there are going to be any dramatics in tonight's game either. I just think that the Texas defense is going to slow down Alabama enough to give McCoy and the Texas playmakers enough of a cushion. I like Texas by
at least a touchdown and maybe more.

Word is that Comcast and NBC are about to merge. Or that Comcast is going to buy NBC from GE or something of the sorts. Well I don't think that is a good thing for sports fans. Comcast does everything it can to monopolize the entities it owns - which might be good for Comcast and its shareholders and I respect that - but it isn't good for sports fans. Because if you are a Phillies fan in this area - and you are not a Comcast subscriber - you can't watch the Phillies. That is pretty ridiculous. Obviously, I understand Comcast's motives, but I also understand that the move has made quite a few Philly fans mad. Imagine what Comcast could do if it now controls all of NBC's sports interests - including the online rights to the Olympics. Would Comcast go as far as to only allow Comcast internet subscribers to see the Games online? Something to think about.

How much an impact will Brad Smith have on the NFL playoffs? I think the chances are pretty good that he'll have a positive one for the Jets. You have to like the way New York has used him of late - and the former Missouri QB - has really started to come into his own. I think the model came from how Josh Cribbs was being used in Cleveland, but it just came about quicker in New York. Still, I think Cincinnati wins the game.