Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Season Changes

True, it was not the best of weeks for the Big South on the basketball court...all four squads with postseason berths bowed out in their first games: UNC Asheville at Ohio State in the NIT, Radford at JMU in the WNIT, Winthrop vs. Washington State in the Men's NCAA, and Liberty vs. Old Dominion Sunday night in the Women's NCAA. Just don't let it put a damper on your memories of the 2007-2008 season, with so many great storylines on which to reflect.

On the men's side, you had the season-long duel between Winthrop and UNCA--right up to sharing the regular season crown and playing for the tournament title, the emergence of Asheville's tall and talented Kenny George as a player of national interest, and the careers of some solid seniors closing as all-time Conference leaders (Points-Reggie Williams-VMI (pictured), Rebounds-Arizona Reid-HPU, Games Played-Michael Jenkins-Winthrop, Steals-Chris Gaynor-Winthrop).

For the women, you had Liberty's monumental run to a 28-4 record with only one Conference loss, three teams reaching the 20-win plateau in the same season for the first time (Liberty, Radford, and Winthrop), the remarkable turnaround for Winthrop in posting its best-ever season at the Division I level, and the emergence of a tremendous freshman class--keyed by the first-year stars at High Point (with three Panthers on the All-Freshman Team: Mackenzie Maier (pictured), Jurica Hargraves, and Frances Fields).

In short, try not to hang your head too long over the 0-4 postseason--no one likes to lose, but there was a lot to be proud of this year (go with the half-full perspective, not the half-empty one).

And if you're looking for more positives, direct your attention to the Spring Sports...that's right, the book has closed on the Winter Sports and you can give all your attention to Springtime in the Big South!

Meaning what? Well, the first glimpse of Conference play in baseball has given the Keydets the early lead in the standings, thanks to VMI's three-game sweep at High Point. Speaking of the diamond, Coastal, Liberty, and Radford all have winning records so far despite some tough out-of-conference scheduling.

No Big South games in softball yet, but the strongest season so far belongs to Radford, with Winthrop (pictured, WU's Megan Evans) and associate member Birmingham-Southern also notching winning out-of-conference records.

Some teams are burning up the tennis courts already--Charleston Southern's women and Radford's men (pictured, RU's Martin Sayer)are undefeated in early Conference play. Overall in tennis, the Charleston Southern men and the Coastal Carolina women are the first to reach ten wins respectively this year.

And there's more--like strong competitive showings by several Big South members in outdoor track and field meets (both men and women) as well as golf tournaments for men's and women's teams.

So the vernal equinox last week and the blooms on the trees outside are not your only signs of change. Baseball, softball, tennis, golf, and track have been in full swing for weeks--but they're all heating up now like the temperature outside as we work our way to the next swing of Championships in April and May. Follow it all on http://www.bigsouthsports.com/, and keep visiting us here at Big South SHOUT for more perspectives! (By the way, after sharing this blog with a select few up to this point, we have reached our wider "launch" point--we welcome everyone to our web log community...thanks for taking the time to enjoy a good SHOUT with us!!!)


Brendan said...

I just wanted to say that I think this blog is a great advancement in the coverage of the Big South Conference. I am continually impressed with the league's forethought and willingness to get ahead of the tidal wave that is technology. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What about Jack Leasure the league's all-time leading three point shooter and only the eighth player in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 career threes being among the elite seniors finishing their careers? Again, the bias of the league office shows itself...

Jason Corriher said...

Stop with that League Office is biased garbage. You have no knowledge of what you speak...

BigSoutherforlife said...

People who say the League office has a bias are out of their minds! Total garbage!!!

BigSouthFan said...

Considering Jack Leasure is one of the most overrated players to ever play in the Big South, I think the league was right on target.

If I was picking five players to play ball with off of all the Big South teams, Jack Leasure would still be standing in the corner.

Yes, he's a talented 3-point shooter. a great outside threat. If you're playing Coastal and they're down two with second left, you sure as hell better guard him. But that's all he does.

And as for the League bias, that's a load of crap. If anything, Leasure got All-Conference because of voter bias towards Leasure, since he earned a joke of a player of the year award.

Anonymous said...

howard abegesah........vmi rb...no pre season honors, but lead the league in rushinn...hmmm