Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ballers, No Bawlers

Okay, so Monday I wrote a little bit about the teams on top in men's and women's basketball...the men's teams cited won't have a beef with me from that, because they won their games, but on the women's side, things took quite a turn. Now I'm offering some thoughts on Thursday afternoon and the men are at it again tonight--no jinxes here, and I'll explain in a minute, but let's get going...

As I write this, Coastal Carolina and UNC Asheville are playing an afternoon game at the Justice Center. Yes, that was originally slated to be an evening game, just like the other tip-offs coming up at 7pm tonight, but weather concerns for the Asheville region bumped the game up in advance of the winter precipitation threat. That being said, the weather isn't the only thing cold out there, since the two teams kept scores in the single digits for a good while into the game--we'll just have to hope the results warm up well past the temperatures.

Here's the deal at the moment for Big South men's basketball--the top three teams all notched wins again back on Monday, putting Coastal Carolina and Radford each at 4-0, with High Point just back at 3-1. Interestingly enough, as the Chants put their ten-game winning streak and unblemished Conference mark on the line in today's pre-snow matinee, RU and HPU are both sitting out this date--eight of ten teams in action, but not those two, so there may be some subtle shifts in the leader board depending on the CCU outcome. Next, ALL ten teams play Saturday, including a match-up that has Radford AT High Point, which could be a doozie.

So if you like streaks (and who doesn't?), not only do you have Coastal's ten-game overall and four-game Big South runs at stake (do you know the final yet? still the first half for me)--you also have HPU's 6-0 home mark this season flying headlong into RU's 11-game Conference road game winning streak. The painful flipside to those positive rolls: GWU and PC, losers of ten and nine games overall, respectively.

And I promised women's hoops--with a whoops! At the start of the week, I lavished praise on GWU's Lady Bulldogs for their tremendous start and forecast a bright future for naturally, they laid an egg that same night. Radford came to Boiling Springs with a record of 1-10 on the year, but left with a surprising upset win over the formerly 12-2 Gardner-Webb squad, thanks in part to a start that saw GWU miss its first 11 shots from the field...ouch.

Sports being such a fragile creature at times, I feared for cries of a jinx about our humble blog's remarks...but GWU Coach Rick Reeves settled the matter with some perfectly blunt coach-speak via Twitter:

We got the big head and thought we just had to show up to win and we got taught a hard lesson. I believe we will respond well next game!

Sounds like the final word on that to me.

In any case, HPU's women have now won five straight and own the only 2-0 mark in the Big South...but then again, not all teams have even logged a pair of Conference games yet, so too early to start drawing any serious conclusions.

I also promised I'd go over the Big South Conference Fall Sportsmanship Awards in this entry, so without further ado, here are the honors announced over the holidays, as voted on by their peers within the Conference in each listed sport:

Football:........................VMI, Charleston Southern
Men's Soccer:...................UNC Asheville
Women's Soccer:..............Presbyterian College
Women's Cross Country:......VMI
Men's Cross Country:...........Liberty

A huge SHOUT-out to all the student-athletes on these teams, representing the ideals of sportsmanship and leading by example! The Big South will again award an Institutional Sportsmanship Award at the conclusion of the 2009-10 competitions. VMI has won the overall award all four years of its existence.

We interrupt this blog to bring you our weekly peek at the upcoming events on the Big South Network:

One more SHOUT-out before we're colleague and friend Everett Hutto, who has made the switch from UNC Asheville to Winthrop (his alma mater). The jobs at either end are both media-related, but he will have a role concentrated more on the video and new media aspects of the athletic department and less on the traditional sports information side. The WU fans will benefit from his work, to be sure, just as the Asheville fans will miss his efforts on their behalf. Good luck, Everett!


Big South Sports said...

And Coastal Carolina did go on to win its afternoon game at UNCA, but just barely: 58-57, thanks to Chad Gray's lay-up with five seconds to go!

Big South Sports said...

Okay, ha--went by erroneous report there...wasn't a lay-up, but a 13-foot jumper for Gray that won the game for Coastal. Other Thursday winners were Winthrop (over VMI), Liberty (PC) and GWU (CSU).