Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Been A While

Hey Guys! Remember me? I'm the person who probably checked in on this blog more than anyone else over the summer to see if new stuff was posted, only to leave disappointed.

So why didn't I post anything? Well, something about working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week over the summer just ruins your hopes of contributing to a college basketball blog.

Anyhow, I wanted to weigh in on the Flyers early season results thus far.

First off, let me start with my preseason thoughts which should have been posted about a month ago. This year's team has a chance to do something special. Ten of the top 11 scorers back, some experienced stars with some young up-and-comers. I've gone on record as saying "if the Flyers are ever going to make some noise on a national stage, this is the year it's going to happen."

Now, onto the season...

The Creighton win was interesting in that it was a double digit victory, yet I didn't feel good about the game after it was over. The Blue Jays were without a couple of their players, and yet still put up 80 points on the Flyers. I'm not going to argue with a 10 point win, but I was a little bit skeptical.

Then the Flyers went to Puerto Rico, and knocked off Georgia Tech in the first round. I was ecstatic. I was bouncing around the office that afternoon, ready to purchase my Sweet 16 tickets. I even found myself saying "even if they lose to Villanova, this is still a successful tournament." My reasoning was you get to play a top 5 team, and barring a complete blowout loss, it'll help the overall package in terms of record, quality opponents, etc.

So the Flyers to go on to lose to Villanova, but at least made it interesting at the end. While I'm never happy when they lose, I was pleased with the second half effort and the fact that the Flyers were able to compete with the big boys.

Then Kansas State happened. The loss to the Wildcats turned a great tournament for UD into a bad one. I'm sorry, but going 1-2 in Puerto Rico after beating the Yellow Jackets in round one wasn't acceptable. You had to go 2-1 in that tournament. Say what you want, but I was majorly disappointed with the loss and the effort in that game.

Additionally, the Flyers dropped out of the top 25 with two losses in Puerto Rico. Now that might not seem like a big deal at this point in the season, but to me, I think it's huge. How many wins will it take to climb back into the top 25? What about the national exposure that comes with being in the top 25? While some may call this petty, I think being able to see your team's name on ESPN's Bottom Line over and over again is big. It creates national exposure, you get your highlights on TV more often, and people talk about you when you are in the top 25. No one talks about the "Others Receiving Votes".

So now we get to Saturday, and the Flyers struggled mightily with a Towson ballclub at UD Arena. I realize that there are very rarely 20+ point blowouts in college basketball anymore, but there's no way that UD should have been dicking around with a team like Towson. These are the games that need to be controlled from beginning to end. Yes, kudos to the team for rallying back and getting the victory. But try putzing around with Xavier, LaSalle, or any team in the NCAA tournament, and you won't be able to put together a 24-5 run to get back in it.

Anyhow, looking at the schedule, UD should be able to reel off seven or eight wins in a row, with a game at George Mason being the only possible stumbling block. But with the A-10 doing it's best to lose big games early in the season (UD's lost twice, Xavier has lost to Marquette and Baylor, LaSalle has fallen by double digits in their big games), you don't want to start playing tight games with inferior teams.

I'm still sold on this team being in the NCAA's, and I still think they'll be in a top 25 team most of the season. But the play has been a lot sketchier in the early season than I had hoped, and my level of concern has risen despite the fact that we aren't out of November yet. And in the immortal words of Roy Flynn, the legendary Flyer TV administrator, that's NG (not good).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Towson Second Half

2:55 p.m. - The second half couldn't be as bad as the first, right? The rebounding wasn't that bad for the Flyers, but they took 11 fucking threes. They fall in love with those long jumpers and they simply don't make enough of them to justify it.

3:01 p.m. - UD is the first team out of the lockerroom. I assume Brian Gregory may have voiced his displeasure during the break.

3:03 p.m. - The Flyers start the half by goaltending a Towson shot. Goodie. 44-35, after a UD basket.

3:05 p.m. - Towson's zone is just killing them. 47-35.

3:06 p.m. - Marcus Johnson wakes from his slumber and makes a three.

3:07 p.m. - Chris Wright is 6 of 7 from the foul line. He's the only one who apparently realizes this game counts. Towson leads 49-39.

3:09 p.m. - 49-41 after a London Warren running layup. But Towson answers with a three, naturally.

3:10 p.m. - Media timeout at 15:37. 52-41 Towson. My wife and I made the trip to Minneapolis last March to watch the Flyers in the NCAA Tournament. I'm thinking we'll be able to save that money this March.

3:12 p.m. - Desperation has set in. Fabrizius has made a shot inside the arc. 54-43.

3:13 p.m. - Remember when UD had a great defense? That was awesome.

3:16 p.m. - A layup and a foul for Towson. RaShawn Polk misses the FT, but it's 56-43.

3:18 p.m. - Towson can't miss from beyond the arc. Timeout UD. 59-43.

3:20 p.m. - Towson's 2-3 zone is stifling UD offensively and the Flyer defense is still just awful. I have no idea what they're problem is. Did they read their press clippings this season? Do they miss Charles Little that much? Were they just that lucky last year? Perhaps it's all three...

3:21 p.m. - Stop me if you've heard this before, but Towson just made another three. It's a 17-point game.

3:22 p.m. - Media timeout 11:14. 62-45 Towson.

3:23 p.m. - Who should feel worse today? UD or Oklahoma State's football team?

3:26 p.m. - I made the mistake of looking over at the UD Pride forums. The Blackburn boys are right about those people. There's a thread about how there's a curse on the alternate unis. I love talking about unis and what I like and don't like, but the players in them are what matters. When they play like this, it doesn't matter what they're wearing they'll lose.

3:28 p.m. - 64-50 Towson after a Fabrizius basket.

3:29 p.m. - 7:54 left. Still 64-50 with Towson heading to the line.

3:32 p.m. - UD is in the double bonus. They still have an outside chance if they make free throws, but who honestly expect that to happen? Wright does make both, however, to cut it to 64-52.

3:33 p.m. - Towson misses an open three...for the first time today. Marcus Johnson then makes a driving layup and was fouled. UD cuts the lead to 10 pending the FT. The FT is good. The deficit is nine, 64-55, with 7:31 left. Towson TO.

3:34 p.m. - UD on a 9-0 run after falling behind by 18.

3:35 p.m. - Towson makes a jumper to stop the bleeding but UD answers with a three to cut it to eight.

3:36 p.m. - Chris Johnson, my man crush, drains a three! Timeout Towson. 66-61. The crowd is finally back in it. 6:28 to go. Towson with 10 team fouls. UD with seven, FYI.

3:38 p.m. - Towson's Polk heads to the line shooting a one-and-one. Makes both. 68-61. 6:05 left.

3:39 p.m. - Chris Johnson misses a three, Towson using all of the shot clock, but turns it over out of bounds. 5:20. 68-61.

3:40 p.m. - Nice pass to Wright from Warren, but he couldn't hold on. Jump ball, UD keeps possession.

3:41 p.m. - Lucky foul for UD. Franklin runs into Warren trying to force a steal. 4:57 with London at the line. Misses the first. Makes the second. 68-62.

3:42 p.m. - A handcheck foul on Warren, his fourth. Morris for Towson heads to the line with 4:27 left. Makes first. Misses second. 69-62.

3:43 p.m. - Perry with an open three. 69-65. Then an offensive foul on Towson. Media timeout at 3:44. 69-65.

3:45 p.m. - It's not just the basketball team that's seemed off today. The pep band isn't having it's best day, either.

3:46 p.m. - Chris Johnson misses a three, Towson rebound. After a Towson miss, Wright dunks! 69-67.

3:47 p.m. - Towson turnover when Morris throws it away! UD can tie. 2:36 left.

3:48 p.m. - Paul Williams misses a jumper. Towson rebound. Then Towson throws it away again. 1:56.

3:49 p.m. - UD drains shot clock... Chris Johnson makes a three!!! UD 70-69. Towson misses a deep three! UD rebound and timeout! I love me some Chris Johnson. 54 seconds left.

3:50 p.m. - Per Larry Hansgen, UD has outscored Towson 24-5 in the last nine minutes.

3:51 p.m. - Paul Williams with an open three!!! UD 73-69. Good ball movement to find Williams alone! Timeout Towson!! 31.1 left.

3:52 p.m. - I'm going to hate this team so much this year.

3:53 p.m. - Sophomores have come through again today. Chris Johnson and Paul Williams with big threes.

3:54 p.m. - After a missed Towson three, Towson offensive rebound and another miss, UD grabs the rebound and will go to the line. Williams with the big rebound. Timeout again. Seven seconds left.

3:55 p.m. - Towson has not scored in four minutes.

3:56 p.m. - Williams makes one of two, but Wright grabs the final rebound! UD wins 74-69. Holy shit.

4:06 p.m. - Well, that was certainly something. My wife and I are heading to a wedding tonight. Good thing it's open bar.

Towson Game Thread

1:59 p.m. - Why not get back into the swing of things with a game thread? The Flyers shouldn't have any trouble against the Tigers of Towson, but you never know. If UD rebounds like it did in Puerto Rico, it could make me an Angry Matt.

2:02 p.m. - The Flyers are currently being introduced. They're wearing royal blue uniforms today, which I'm totally OK with. Unlike the godawful black set, blue is a UD color (just like the light blue they've worn the past two years). I'm watching this online with college football games on the tube (muted so I can listen to Larry and Bucky, natch). Good times.

2:05 p.m. - We start with a Chris Wright dunk. Good times again.

2:06 p.m. - And I should mention that the unis look good. The blue isn't too dark, which I worried about. Huelsman gives up an easy Towson bucket but responds on the other end. Flyers 4-2.

2:07 p.m. - 6-2 UD after a Chris Johnson layup. He's starting today, and so did Mickey Perry. London Warren did not start because he missed a team meeting. He's already subbed in in place of Perry, though.

2:08 p.m. - Towson's center misses an open dunk. I'd make fun of him, but I can barely tough the net myself. UD 8-2.

2:09 p.m. - Marcus Johnson's first jumper of the game clanks off the side of the backboard. Ugh...

2:11 p.m. - Back-to-back threes ties the game. 8-8.

2:12 p.m. - 15:17 left. Media timeout with UD up 11-8 after a Mickey Perry three.

2:15 p.m. - Robert Nwankwo, Towson's center, looks just as bad as Huelsman. Yeah, that bad. Luke Fabrizius misses a three and then fouls a Towson shooter who makes the basket. I don't get the Fabrizius love at all. If this UD team needs Fabrizius to be a major contributor this year, get ready for a disappointing NIT season.

2:18 p.m. - Chris Wright makes a pair of FTs to give UD a 13-11 lead.

2:19 p.m. - Wright dunks again. I don't know how you can not cover him. But Townson leads 19-15 after a pair of threes.

2:20 p.m. - Stop me if you've heard this before, but Huelsman gets the ball in the paint and does absolutely nothing with it. Media timeout with UD trailing by four. 11:43 left in the half.

2:22 p.m. - UD getting outrebounded yet again. By another team they are bigger than.

2:23 p.m. - Wright with an and-one. He makes the FT to cut the deficit to 19-18. Wright already has 11 points.

2:24 p.m. - Paul Williams looks for a kickout pass, but he threw it into the third row behind the Towson bench. In his defense, the old lady was open.

2:26 p.m. - Fabrizius makes a three to give UD the lead. Timeout Towson. 21-19 with 9:12 to go.

2:28 p.m. - Huelsman make a shot in the paint. Yes, you read that right. 23-19. Fabrizius has three rebounds. Yes, you read that right as well.

2:30 p.m. - Marcus Johnson dunks to increase the lead. 25-19. If this were in Puerto Rico, Johnson would have missed the dunk and possibly exploded.

2:31 p.m. - Media timeout at 7:07. 25-21. I was going to mention how much I liked having the DDN's new UD GameTracker this season, but it hasn't been updated today. Oh well. It really helped me when the Flyers were in Puerto Rico and I was stuck at work.

2:33 p.m. - Towson takes a 26-25 lead after a long three. This was after UD missed three straight threes on the previous possession. Ugh.

2:34 p.m. - 29-27 after UD answers the three with a basket and Towson drains another long three.

2:35 p.m. - Towson is 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. It seems more like 9 of 10.

2:36 p.m. - Another Towson three. 32-27.

2:37 p.m. - Fabrizius, trying to silence my criticism, takes a charge.

2:39 p.m. - Towson's Josh Thornton has made all five of his fucking three-point shots today. 35-28.

2:40 p.m. - Towson leads 35-30 at the under four timeout. Searcy just made a basket and was fouled to go into the TO.

2:41 p.m. - Towson is 8 of 13 from beyond the arc as a team. Who do they think they are? Luke Fabrizius? Jimmie Binnie? Searcy makes the FT to cut the lead to 35-31.

2:42 p.m. - Ice cream sandwich break, FTW.

2:45 p.m. - So I got married during PB&B's downtime. What's the best part? My wife has the remote and is rotating between the good college football games while I do this game thread.

2:46 p.m. - Thornton makes yet another fucking three. He has 20 points. Towson leads 42-33.

2:47 p.m. - That's the score after a fucking awful first half.

2:54 p.m. - Quick Stats...
Leading scorers
Towson - Josh Thornton 20 (7-8 shooting, 6-6 3s)
UD - Chris Wright 13 (4-5 shooting, 5-5 FTs)
Team stats
Rebounding - UD 20, Towson 13.
Off. Rebounding - UD 7, Towson 2.
Team shooting - Towson 51.6 (16-31), UD 40.0 (12-30)
Team 3s - Towson 64.3 (9-14), UD 18.2 (2-11).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ain't Dead Quite Yet

Yeah, I know, we haven't updated with any substantial in a long time. But we're not dead yet. Stay tuned, hopefully we'll get things going soon.

And by "we'll" I probably just mean Stonemill and I. Possibly Broadcasting Fool. Who knows?