Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Talking Turkey

Hello, Big Southers far and wide...possibly traveling farther and getting wider this Thanksgiving! Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family and friends or is able to share time with others close to you. Don't forget those who may be down on their luck as the holiday season rolls in--word is some charities have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

Okay, all that said, let's talk sports for a minute or two, yes?

We recently put the wraps on the volleyball season--Coastal Carolina won the Championship, downing number two seed Liberty in the final...and that's after the Chants knocked out the top seed UNC Asheville in the semis! Yep, CCU bumped out both co-champs of the regular season...impressive. See the year's All-Conference Team here.

Meanwhile, up in New York, Stony Brook won a back-and-forth battle with Liberty to split the Big South football crown. The loss pushed LU out of serious contention for a playoff spot, so the Big South goes without a berth for the final time--next year the champion is an automatic qualifier!

On the heels of that season, the always-anticipated All-Conference Football Team and annual awards were announced. Congrats to Offensive Player of the Year Mike Brown of Liberty and Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Santucci of Stony Brook--and all the other honorees!

So as mentioned above, it's holiday time...the streaming schedule is a little lighter over the next several days, but that still means plenty of hoops for our basketball fans on the Big South's the latest guide:

Speaking of basketball, I have to say it hasn't been the most auspicious of beginnings for the season--particularly on the men's side. Tuesday (11/24) was a good case study for early out-of-conference play: five games, all losses--to the Big Ten, SEC, MVC, Colonial, and Big West. That comes on the heels of some lopsided losses on television...let's hope the boys can collectively pick it up and perhaps get a "signature win" or two as we've become accustomed to in recent years. Otherwise, it's starting to get a little rough on the ol' RPI...

But hey, here's a SHOUT-out to Radford's Art Parakhouski (pictured) for his impressive double-double at Duke (23 points, 14 rebounds). The Blue Devils were too much for RU on the night, but Parakhouski obviously made his presence known inside all game long. The Belarussian also got a nod in Sports Illustrated recently, as the mag's NCAA Tourney predictions put Radford in from the Big South, citing Parakhouski's rise "from Minsk to Madness". Parakhouski earned Player of the Week honors, a week after High Point's Nick Barbour and Coastal Carolina's Joseph Harris shared the award--so the Preseason All-Conference Team has shown its mettle early. Gardner-Webb's Grayson Flittner put in his claim as a candidate for next week with Monday night's 32-point show at North Carolina (he tied a Dean Smith Center record with 9 three-pointers)! By the way, keep an eye out for freshman Blake Smith at Radford--two weeks into the season and he's already got two Freshman of the Week awards under his belt.

All right, that's my time, you've been great--enjoy the turkey (and maybe offer to help with the dishes, okay?)...

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