Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Kurt Huelsman/Booing


A lot has been made over the past couple of weeks about the play of center Kurt Huelsman. The 6-10 native of St. Henry was apparently booed during the Marshall win last week (I was not there and I did not get a chance to watch it on my laptop). According to the DDN’s Doug Harris, Huelsman was booed when he would miss an inside shot.

Here’s what Brian Gregory had to say, in case you haven’t seen the most recent DDN article:

“I was shocked and, to be truthful, a little disappointed because I believe the majority of Flyer fans appreciate how he’s trying to positively impact our team,” Gregory said. “As a head coach, if fans want to get on me, that’s part of the job. I understand that. But as a young athlete, I think the only time you should be called out by the fans is if you’re not giving 100-percent effort. And there’s never a time Kurt Huelsman steps on the court that he’s not giving everything he has.”

Now I agree with Gregory that Huelsman does play hard. I can tell that he cares and that he’s trying. But he is averaging 3.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. On a team that can’t shoot from the perimeter, that’s simply not acceptable.

Unlike Gregory, I have no problem with fans booing. I never have. I do not think a fan should boo high school kids, but Division I basketball players get paid - they get a free ride to their university. And as someone who will be paying back student loans until he’s 70, getting a full scholarship is getting paid.

Yet I’m not sure UD fans should be booing Huelsman. Yes, he’s not making himself a presence in the paint. I’d argue Devin Searcy is doing a better job of that this season in his minutes on the court. However, I’m not entirely sold that the guards are getting him the ball in the best of situations. Nor do I think fans should totally ignore his rebounding, free throw shooting (which has skyrocketed this season) and defense.

I think the fans are frustrated because they (and I do, too) think about how good this UD team could be if they had an inside presence. It’s going to be the key to the season. Brian Roberts ain’t walkin’ through that door. The Flyers are going to need a post presence.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Beatdown Musings

It was a game UD was supposed to win big, and the Flyers did exactly that. I don't think anyone is going to be able to take much knowledge away from this one, but it was still nice to see the Flyers take advantage of a team they were supposed to.

Here are my thoughts as I was watching:
• I wish Charles Little was like this every game. His vertical is illegal in most states.
• Nine dunks was a school record? I think a couple of Little's (especially the one on the inbounds play) should have counted twice.
• UNC-Greensboro is a bad basketball team. I honestly felt bad at times. The Spartans could never handle UD's pressure (usually it's the other way around!). I felt especially bad for PG Daniel Oliver, who not only struggled against the Flyers' D, but also got essentially knocked out in the first half. He did show toughness coming back in the second half, although he probably had to. The Spartans had less than a dozen players dressed.
• With about 10 minutes left and UD up 35 or so, I started thinking that it was time to get Chris Wright and Little out. No need for injuries. I held my breath.
• Kurt Huelsman was a little more aggressive. I've come to the conclusion that it's not all his fault. He's not getting the ball in good spots on the court because teams are daring the Flyers to beat them outside (which is smart). I would just like to see Huelsman be a little more assertive to try to make those 2-3 zones (which is all we're going to see when the Flyers play in the A-10) work a little more.
• Luke Fabrizius made two shots inside the three-point line. And he had a rebound! It's worth noting.
• I officially have a man-crush on Chris Johnson. That is all.
• And finally, yes, I am going to comment about the Marian blue unis. They were better in person than they are in photos. My aesthetic heart was aflutter. See UD? Trim on the arms and neck is your friend!
Seriously though:


















Awesome jersey



















Not awesome

I'm not saying use the blues all the time, but bust them out now and then. Keep them in the rotation. The Flyers should be wearing red on the road, but don't be afraid to break them out at Toledo or at one of the lesser A-10 road foes. Maybe even use them at Xavier just to shake things up. My only wish was that the shorts were like the regular shorts (with the checkers). That would have been great (and almost identical to the ones I proposed during the offseason).

Oh, and last year's blue jerseys were not cursed. UD lost to a NIT finalist that night, assholes. Someone sitting two seats down from me suggested burning the blue jerseys after the game. Of course he was old and stupid, but I still wanted to hit him in the face with a shovel.

It's because of the older, crusty fans/alumni that we can't have nice things. And it's their fault the "Dayton Flyers" block script is still our awful-looking logo. In the row in front of me, a little old lady proudly displayed a sweater with a giant block Dayton Flyers logo on it that she was going to give someone for Christmas. It's her fault. Stop buying that! That's an ugly logo on an ugly navy blue sweater. Ugh.
/end rant

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The Marian blue jerseys are back!

YES!!!

UD will wear these bad boys Saturday vs. UNC-Greensboro, and I will make the drive to see them in person.

Astute Uni Watch nerds like myself will notice that these jerseys are different. The blue seems to be lighter (although that might be just in the photo - red backgrounds are a bitch when toning a photo). And the Dayton script is red.

For comparason's sake, here's the one they wore last year (and I own and will wear Saturday).


The blues do look different. I like my jersey's blue better, but I have to admit that I like the numbers and the red Dayton better.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Know What's Worse Than Losing A Basketball Game?

This...



IT'S ROSIE O'DONNELL IN LEATHER! LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT IT!!! THINK OF THE MOVIE EXIT TO EDEN AND LET FLY IN VOMITOUS GLORY THE BURRITO SUPREME YOU ATE EARLIER TONIGHT!!

************************************

Now, think about how you feel right now. Then reflect back on what you felt like after the Flyers' game. See, not even close. The sun will, in fact, come out tomorrow... so long as it can find its way from behind Rosie. (Insert canned laughter here)

There's no doubt that tonight's loss was disappointing. After starting 8-0, there's no way an 18-point loss can be put into much of a positive light, especially to a team from Omaha. But let me try anyway.

We played a road game against a team that had trouble missing shots. Not a stellar defensive effort (Remember guys, when there's a white guy at the perimiter, stay on him like, well, white on rice.), but one I can live with for tonight. We had bad nights from our two top scorers in Wright and M. Johnson, which is never good. And we played without Stephen Thomas and Little's knee injury was clearly more of a factor that Coach Gregory had hoped given the steep drop off in performance from last week to tonight. We were set up for failure tonight, folks.

Luckily, in the coming weeks the Flyers' schedule has nobody the caliber of Creighton. Toledo and Miami are likely the two toughest non-conference opponents left and Toledo lost to previously 0-6 Wright State earlier tonight. Looking at those teams, I see little possibility that UD is any worse than 13-2 heading into the conference opener against UMass on Jan. 10. Furthermore, I didn't think we'd beat Marquette, so we're already a game up on where I thought we'd be at this point.

In the end, we as fans would be fooling ourselves if we thought this season had any real importance outside conference play. Even if we'd lost to Marquette and even if we still lose to George Mason or Miami... all that matters for us is that we play well in-conference for the first time in what feels like ages. For the next couple weeks, it's all about getting the momentum going as we near January.

Besides, it could be worse... you could be waking up next to Rosie... in Omaha, Nebraska... at a cheap motel owned by the Korver family. But on the upside... free HBO. "Exit to Eden" starts in 15 minutes. Nice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

59-77

Well, that was fun...

I don't even have much to say, but I'd figure people might want to leave comments.

Secaur's right, you know. Here's what he said after the Akron game and my happy post following it:
"I just feel bad for all of the poor UD fans getting suckered in for the third straight season. Sorry to be the perpetual wet blanket, but the 8-8 record in A10 play is coming, as is the NIT/CBI bid. Don't say I didn't warn ya."

Why must he hurt me with his words and his logic?

Why You Should Hate: Creighton

(This little guy is a blue jay, not a bluejay. "Bluejays" don't exist.)
It's "Blue Jays," not "Bluejays" – I'm a stickler for that kind of thing.

(Am I jealous I can't be happy like that? Yes. Although I wouldn't wear a Spam suit.)
Success – Creighton has been to the NCAA Tournament six times in the 21st Century: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007. UD? Two appearances.

(L.A.M.E.)
• They did a "White Out" – There's almost nothing I hate more than White Outs. They're lame and unoriginal, unless you are in Winnipeg and the NHL's Jets happen to come back to town. Otherwise, it's no different than Thundersticks and the Wave, something that needs to die.

(Not pictured: Whoever is being called for a foul.)
Nate Funk – This jerk scored 38 points in UD's last trip to Nebraska, a double-overtime loss to Creighton in which Funk made 15 free throws. Fifteen!! UD shot 15 – as a team! Oh, and Funk was not called for a foul all game. Obviously. Funk actually suffered a season-ending injury days later. Too bad it didn't happen four days before the UD game.

It's Jesuit – You know which other school is Jesuit? You got it. Xavier. Fuck Xavier. All the hate comes back to Xavier.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I knew I liked Gary Parrish for a Reason

He has UD in his top 25 + 1 which can be found here: http://www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/polls/top25

I particularly found the note interesting: "The Flyers are now 21-2 during the past two seasons when Chris Wright is in the lineup."

In addition to pointing out that Chris Wright is a beast, I think this shows a little bit how much the injury last year really hurt UD during the A-10 season.

Not in the top 25, but....

...getting a little love, as the Flyers are ranked 27th if you extend the "other receiving votes" category.

Also, I saw this today on ESPN.com. It's admittedly full of terrible puns, but UD is getting a bit of national recognition.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3753638

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Road Trip Fun

(Photo by the DDN, bad text additions by me)
On Friday, my fiancee (a 2004 UD grad like myself) and I decided we would make the trip to Northeast Ohio Saturday night to watch the Flyers play their first official road game at Akron's Rhodes Arena. We had debated whether or not to go all week. We went to the UD-Akron game last season, which nearly gave me a heartattack, and my record at UD road games was awful (0-4). But with the college football season winding down, I have more free time, so I decided to buy general admission tickets and find UD fans to sit it. It was totally worth it.
I neglected to take a camea, mainly because I'm stupid and because the camera's battery power sucks. Thus, I don't have any photos. However, I did take down some notes to let you know what I was thinking before/during/after the game.
  • The weather was awful. I can only imagine what it was like for the buses of UD students/fans who made the trek. We only had to drive a couple of hours in a blowing snowstorm. I'm sure the trip was longer and more difficult for those coming from Dayton.
  • Some counties just suck and need to be called on it. Morrow County, I'm talking to you. I know it only officially snowed about an inch or two, but you still have to salt and plow the main highway in your crappy county. I-71 was a disaster in Morrow County. Also, thumbs down to the lower half of Ashland County. I wasn't expecting the roads to be perfect, but we couldn't even see the lanes on the way home in Morrow County.
  • We parked in a free parking garage near the arena. I was a huge fan.
  • Things I didn't know until we arrived at Rhodes Arena: Bob Huggins was the Zips' coach back in the day. There was a big banner with all of his accompishments there. I also did not know that there was/is a volleyball NIT. Apparently there was/is because Akron has been there twice. Also, I did not know that Zippy, Akron's kangaroo mascot, was the 2007 Capital One Mascot of the Year. But still - Rudy > Zippy.
  • I know everyone knows this, but UD fans are great. It was not a sell out, but I'd say anywhere before 40-50 percent of the fans there were wearing red. It was also a good showing by UD students, who were louder than Akron's Ak-rowdies. Oh, and Ak-rowdies is a stupid name for a student section, even if it's a section of less than 50 students.
  • The Red Scare shirt with "Bridge Out" and "We'll swim" on the back is awesome. The one with a big RS on the butt in the Dayton Flyers typeface is awful.
  • While I thought the students were great, I do have a complaint. Since when did the name of the school become Daytoooon? I love the Dayton Flyers chant, but stop adding 'Os.' It sounds stupid. Really stupid.
  • Brian Gregory's getting it. I felt he substituted well, kept players fresh. I think he's got the guys he wants now, and he's using them to try to wear other teams down. A deep bench also helps when he wants to send a player a message. For example, after Kurt Huelsman went up weakly for a shot on offense early in the game, Gregory immediately yanked him. I liked it. Gregory did nothing last night that frustrated me.
  • Chris Wright is better than you. And by "you" I mean everyone. He was clearly a man amongst boys. He needs to work on his midrange shots, though, and I want him to be more aggressive. He needs to be the go-to guy and play like it.
  • Akron native Marcus Johnson tried to do too much. UD won, so it's OK, but I felt he was trying too hard.
  • Charles Little may drive me insane. He's so athletic and talented, but sometimes it's just not there. He was great and awful at times yesterday.
  • The point guard play is going to be up and down all year. At times London Warren, Rob Lowery and even Stephen Thomas were bad. And at others they were good.
  • I like Huelsman. I just wanted to say that before I say that he's a wimp on offense. He does well defensively and (usually) in the rebounding category, but he's just not getting it offensively. I lost count of how many times he was just soft in the paint. Everytime he got the ball, he wasn't looking to score - he was looking for someone to pass the ball to. Go up strong, young man. I was going to say he played like a girl inside the paint, but I recently watched the UD women play in the Buckeye Classic, and that's just not fair to Justine Raterman and Casey Nance. I'm frustrated by Huelsman because he's got the talent.
  • Another reason I wanted Huelsman to do more was because of the officiating last night. It was just fucking awful. Against both sides, too. It was just atrocious. Too many fouls being called by refs who were the furthest away from the action. It was hard to watch.
  • The Red Panda acrobat performed at halftime and it was awesome. If you haven't seen her, check this out.

  • What pleased me the most about the victory was that I felt this would have been a loss last year. Akron started off hot, made a couple of threes and were up early. But UD never panicked, chipped at the lead over time, eventually tied it and won it. It was far from pretty, but it was gritty.
  • Nonetheless, they better play better than that at Creighton, or they'll lose. By a lot.
  • Also, Brian Gregory thanked me and my fiancee for coming and I thought that was pretty cool. We waited for the crowd to disperse after the game, and after Gregory finished his postgame radio interview on the court, we were standing over where Gregory would be heading back to the UD lockerroom. As he passed under us, he waved up and thanked us for coming and supporting the team. While I still occassionally disagree with some things he does on the court, I thought that was pretty cool.

Fuck You, AP

Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio -- Charles Little's dunk with 1:56 left gave Dayton the lead and Chris Johnson hit two foul shots with 3 seconds left to preserve it in the Flyers' 54-50 victory over Akron on Saturday night.

Brett McKnight's 3-pointer with 3:45 remaining gave Akron (5-3) a 50-47 lead. A foul shot by London Warren and two by Kurt Huelsman tied it before an Akron miss led to Little's dunk that put the Fliers (8-0) ahead to stay.

The Fliers? The god damn Fliers? How hard is it to spell Flyers? Honestly. You go to hell and you die, anonymous AP writer.

Getting Too Old For This

Two-plus hour drives in a blinding snow (at times) back and forth from Columbus to Akron to watch UD win a nailbiter. I'm exhausted.

More tomorrow – but I did want to say that this was a game last season's team probably would have lost.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nice Dunk

In case you missed it (and I did because I don't live in the Dayton area), here is video of Chris Wright's dunk a few games ago. My thanks to a loyal blog reader for sending me the link, and reminding me of every time I slack off and don't post in the blog.

http://thebiglead.com/?p=9743

Why You Should Hate: Akron

First, a question: Who has two thumbs and is totally making the two hour road trip to see the Flyers for the first time in person in the regular season?

Answer: This guy.

OK, on to the hate. Akron is a MAC school, which isn't a reason to hate. I like the MAC. But their nickname is the Zips.



What the fuck. Seriously. A kangaroo? The name Zips apparently came from "zippers," which (according to the baston of truth, Wikipedia) were overshoes that were nationally popular in the 1920s and 1930s. They were invented in Akron. Fucking Lame. Good thing the Flyers aren't the Onions, since tying an onion on a person's belt was the style at the time.

Another reason to hate Akron? Rhodes Arena. Granted, I haven't been there before, but it's named after James A. Rhodes, the Ohio governor who ordered the Ohio National Guard to Kent State prior to the May 4, 1970 shootings. I guess I shouldn't judge, UD hired a former governor/crook a couple of years ago.

Other reasons to hate:
The Buchtelite: Akron's student newspaper. I know Akron used to be called Buchtel College, but it's still stupid. Flyer News > Buchtelite. FN forever!
Last Season: In the only regular season game I made it to last year, Akron took UD to double overtime before the Flyers prevailed. Jeremiah Wood and Ohio State transfer Nick Dials led the Zips with 21 and 19 points, respectively. I was all excited to see the ranked Flyers cruise, only to have to sit in the 400 level and watch the Flyers almost choke. Not good times. Dials and Wood are both gone now, but Nate Linhart (9 points, 10 rebounds) remains.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HEY!!!

Holy shit! I’ve got huge news!!!

DAYTON IS 7-0!!!!!!1!!1 They beat Marquette!!!11!!!!!

What? You already knew?

Damn.

See, it’s been awhile for me here at PB&aB. Though I’m the same thousands of miles away from Dayton that I’ve been since I created this blog, I’ve felt further away than usual. I share a wireless internet connection with my neighbor, and my laptop doesn’t seem to really believe in its wireless abilities. Even listening to Larry and Bucky is an iffy proposition.

So here I am, seven games into the season, making a self-indulgent post trumpeting my return. Pretty lame, but I guess the point is, we’ve been struggling a bit in these parts. The same thing happened last year. Only, now we’re slightly more irrelevant due to the typically strong showing at Flyers Fieldhouse and the yeoman’s work being done over at the new Blackburn Review.

But I have a feeling we’ll eventually flip the switch and get this thing going. I’m going to try to do my part. Hopefully we’ll carve out a little niche. If anybody wants to buy me a new laptop, that might help.

In the meantime, I’m going to talk about myself again.

My first real "Dayton is playing now, you should pay attention" moment came when I saw the same ESPN headline that Broadcasting Fool made reference to below: “Dayton (0-for-24) sets 3-point futility record in win.”

Which is an awesome little gateway to the season. Futility.

But, as we’ve noted, it was a record and a win.

Since seeing that headline, I’ve tried my best to catch up, and I have to come one conclusion: this team is different than I thought it would be.

It’s true that I was unsure what kind of expectations to assign the Flyers this year. The loss of my soulmate favorite player Brian Roberts really left me wondering. This team was so reliant on him last year. I legitimately wondered how they would score points. I think I was actually afraid. I know a major college basketball team can score 40 points by accident, but still I worried.

But it would appear, from what I can gather, that the absence of Brian Roberts has actually opened things up. The Flyers are averaging 71.3 points per game without a single player averaging more than 13. That’s some balance we haven’t seen around here lately.

The bigger difference in this team seems to be their identity – and that’s the difference I’m most excited about.

In all the years BG has been at Dayton, I’ve not only questioned the Flyers’ identity, I’ve wondered if they’ve ever really found one. In years’ past, they’ve tried to be great at everything. In the process, they’ve been great at nothing.

It looks like this team has an identity, and it revolves around defense and rebounding. The Flyers haven’t yet allowed an opponent to shoot over 40 percent this year. Their rebounding margin is +9.3. Compare those numbers to last year. The Flyers allowed teams to shoot 43 percent from the field, and their rebounding margin was +4.3.

Statistically, these are not gigantic differences, but they’re big enough. More importantly, I think they underscore this team’s identity. They play defense and they rebound.

If we learned one thing from last year, it’s that those are good things to rely on. Last year, much of Dayton’s early success hinged on hot shooting. When the shots stopped falling, the Flyers stopped winning.

But look at the Auburn game. If the Flyers went 0-for-24 from three and shot 28 percent from the field last year, they probably lose by 20. This team won.

That’s pretty encouraging.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got so far. If I need to be enlightened, enlighten me.

Otherwise, keep checking back, and we’ll try to get some more things going.

Go Flyers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Little Love for Marcus Johnson

So even though my posts don't have much substance, I still like to think that I'm helping to carry the torch of this site, since a bunch of others aren't posting. I'm more of a traditional blogger, in which I read way too many other sites, and link to them when I see something interesting.

Over at sportsline.com, Gary Parrish has some good college basketball columns, and he referenced Marcus Johnson in yesterday's "Monday Look Back" (http://www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/story/11144735)

For those of you that don't like to follow links, here's his entry on Johnson:

"Player who deserves improper benefits: Marcus Johnson is to be recognized, not for what he did as much as what he didn't do. You see, Friday, Johnson launched five 3-point attempts, missed all five and helped Dayton set the record for most 3-point attempts without a make in a 60-59 overtime win against Auburn. Then on Saturday he adjusted, took zero 3-pointers and helped the Flyers to an 89-75 upset of Marquette while proving that less can be more, particularly when less means less misses and records for futility. "

FYI: He has a player who deserves improper benefits every week, and a player that should lose his scholarship each week as well. Don't read anything into it, it's just his way of praising a good performance or ridiculing a bad performance.