Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hoooooooooops & more...

Special day, the rolling out of Conference action in men's basketball, and a good time to SHOUT (shout it, shout it, shout it out loud...yes, KISS reference, deal with it).

There's other news to get to, but let's start with that (let's get it started--HA--let's get it started--IN HERE...okay, Black Eyed Peas reference seems less dated, perhaps).

Here's the deal, folks...out-of-conference play hasn't given us much positive ground to latch onto so far...against the really heavy hitters it's been a whitewash (0-15 against the major combination of ACC, Big East, Big Ten, and SEC--and none of them particularly close), against the next tier and the peer groups, it's been a mixed bag (13-16 against other D-I's), and finally against lower-level squads, the mark has been appropriately favorable (14-0 including D2-3-NAIA and whoever else lined up out there).

In other words, we are where we lifelines thrown from above to improve RPI, no mines exploding below to destroy it either. We've gotten used to seeing a win or two against "the big boys", but so be it--not shaping up to be that kind of year so far...after all, we're also sort of used to seeing a slip-up against the tiny schools too and so-far-so-good (insert knocking on wood here).

So the proof of the metaphorical pudding lies in the middle...let's give it a look: 0-8 against the A10, Big West, Colonial, and Mountain West; 7-8 against the A-Sun, MVC, SoCon, and reclassifiers; plus a more pleasing 6-0 against the OVC, Patriot, SWAC, and MEAC. Like I said, a mixed bag. Being a little more analytical, the common measuring-stick/peer conferences in terms of geography and level of play for our fanbase are these: A-Sun, Colonial, & SoCon...and against that trio, the Big South record is 5-9.

Bottom line: Big South men's basketball is a bit behind of the preferred curve to date. Sure, there have been a lot of strong players departing over the last two seasons, but it's not as if we haven't seen skilled replacements step in--there are a lot of quality ballers on the floor in this League.

So now what? Wellllllllllll....that's where Conference play comes in--a chance to get a measure on these squads head-to-head, a legitimate opportunity to see what we've got out there. Losing to power conferences and drubbing lower classification schools proves nothing...those are the results that could've been drawn on paper rather than played on a court. Obviously the sub-.500 record against the other opponents gives us a small clue or trend, but now that we put the teams together to battle it out, who will step up and put a claim on being better than that?

Radford is certainly the popular favorite, a preseason pick of the Big South poll and national publications, and who can blame them with the squad the Highlanders can put on the floor? But right now, every team is's that perfect point of the season when all possibilities are open. That starts to change tonight with four games, the first two tipping at 7pm...and say, they're all on the Big South Network--cue the video:

You can also find the Big South on MASN today and tomorrow--------
Coastal Carolina at VMI, 12/3 at 9pm, and
UNC Asheville at GWU, 12/4 at 7:30pm.

Other news briefs from the Big South this week:


--NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP for Sam Chelanga in the NCAA Men's 10k!!!
--Flames take Sasser Cup lead due to strong fall performances
--football stadium demolition/construction underway

That looks like enough for today--go enjoy those games for the men's hoops...pretty soon we'll talk about the women's game and the benefits of being a "Fantastic Fan"!

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