Thursday, September 17, 2009

Big South Observatory

Let's scan the scope about and see what we see out there this week...

First off, how about a BASKETBALL item?
That's right, we've got hoops news--ESPN made the announcement this week that the ever-expanding "Worldwide Leader" will reprise its Tip-Off Marathon and the 24 hours of basketball it entails across the family of ESPN networks. Mark the date of November 17th for the Marathon, and note the time 10am, because that's when the Big South joins the party. Last season it was UNC Asheville hosting Liberty for the season's first Big South Conference game--this year the Flames are back on ESPN, but this time Liberty will host ACC foe Clemson! It was just last year that the Tigers survived a tight one at home against LU, so this has all the makings of a solid match-up...assuming all the players are fully awake for a 10am ballgame, of course.

So now a football observation, while we're on the subject of major out-of-conference competition...the Big South teams are certainly unafraid of taking on FBS--and even BCS--programs, and that is to be commended. While the record is not a good one (don't pretend to be shocked, we're all friends here, just stay with me), the recognition factor is growing with each of these "guarantee" games. Charleston Southern's national profile had never been as high as it was in the lead-up time before CSU lined up in front of Florida in week one--and Jay Mills' Bucs are at it again this week, facing the South Florida Bulls of the Big East. Did we mention Coach Mills recruits players from the Sunshine State? Gardner-Webb, off to a strong 2-0 start, will put its players to the test at NC State Saturday. Liberty's only loss came at the hands of West Virginia, in a game much closer than many forecasters might have believed. Just a few examples...this is good stuff, folks. Hopefully it's just a matter of time before the Big South is pulling upsets of the variety seen in the Colonial-ACC match-ups this year.

A volleyball salute and SHOUT-out to UNC Asheville's Lauren Ficker and Raquel Miotto for being the first multiple player of the week honorees in any of the fall sports--and not only multiple winners, but back-to-back recipients as well! It's early yet, but after four weeks for women's soccer, three weeks for volleyball, two weeks for football and men's soccer, and one week for men's and women's cross country (XC therefore not yet eligible for repeats), only Ficker and Miotto have pulled in the double: Ficker as Player of the Week and Miotto as Defensive Player of the Week. Nice job; congratulations, ladies!

So you're saying, "What about the video guide for this week? Gotta have my update on the Big South Network..." Glad you asked:

We close with thoughts in memory of the late Myles Brand. The NCAA President passed away this week after a fight against pancreatic cancer. Brand worked very hard on behalf of institutions and student-athletes across the country, and will be missed throughout the collegiate athletics community.

Until next time, SHOUT--out!

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