Where does the time go? Been a week since the last SHOUT...yikes (!), sorry for the delay.
We'll keep this one relatively brief, but there are indeed two main and interrelated topics as alluded to in the title of today's post.
First, the basketball itself--the men's side has gotten very interesting, with the competition both expanding (in number of teams) and contracting (in separation of games). Coastal Carolina dropped a game to Radford, but still holds the lead at 7-1 and has matched the Big South's best overall mark through 20 games at 17-3. Radford is indeed right behind, still a game back at 6-2 thanks to a loss at CSU. Behind those two is the other pair from last weekend's battle royale: Charleston Southern and High Point, each at 5-3. Now we warned you about the Buccaneers being in a position to charge, and CSU closed the deal, beating both RU and HPU. The flip side of that is High Point, dropping two games and falling back of the leaders.
The next group is a trio of 4-4 teams: UNC Asheville, Winthrop, and Liberty. Of those squads, we say now watch out for Asheville, as the Bulldogs have been on the rise. Their losses were close ones and their wins have come recently and in bunches. With Coach Eddie Biedenbach now the all-time leader in regular season Big South victories, it looks like this edition of UNCA has indeed learned about winning. Winthrop and Liberty haven't proven reliable this year, but they can hang with anyone when they're "on"...
The remaining teams need help if they are to climb up from the bottom. GWU holds onto a glimmer of hope at 3-5, but PC and VMI are each 1-7...and while PC is sitting out its last year of transition-based ineligibility, the Keydets are at risk of dropping from the 2-seed to OUT of the Conference Tournament in the span of a year.
For the women, the leader club has grown by one again, with Gardner-Webb, High Point, and Radford all 4-1 going into the weekend. GWU seemed to be the team-to-watch first, then HPU pulled alongside, and now RU is in the pack...and don't be surprised that 3-1 Liberty wants to climb right into the mix too! As for the rest...well, the top four squads have 15 wins in Conference play, while the bottom five teams total six Big South wins...nuff said.
For more hoops, check out the Conference site, but okay, it's now time for the "bare feet" part of the program...seriously.
Avid hoops-watchers may have caught on to this already, but some college coaches have been appearing on sidelines without their shoes, or socks, or anything, on their feet. It seems unusual at first, but the key is that it is getting noticed. The whole effort is a campaign on behalf of Samaritan's Feet, a humanitarian relief organization dedicated to acquiring shoes for children around the world who have no shoes to wear. A five-dollar donation is the equivalent of a pair of shoes--which might be all it takes to stave off some diseases and infections, might be what is needed to get involved in sports otherwise difficult or impossible to play, or might be the difference in taking both literal and figurative steps forward in life. We take it for granted--they do not have that luxury.
In the Big South Conference, the initiative is "Barefoot for Bare Feet," and runs selectively through men's and women's games from January 23rd to March 1st, starting with both Charleston Southern coaches (Barclay Radebaugh and Julie Goodenough) in their home games tomorrow (1/23). At the Barefoot games, members of the Big South Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will collect new shoes (athletic shoes only) and monetary donations. In addition, school-specific donation-by-text numbers are available.
We encourage everyone to help Samaritan's Feet with their initiatives. And yes, as you might expect, Haiti is a target for this aid (they were part of the SF programs even before the devastating earthquakes that deepened the troubles there).
And so with that, we return to the games themselves by offering this week's Big South Network Guide:
That's all I've got today--make it a great weekend, folks....and that's SHOUT--out!!!