Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Wish List

It's the end of the year. With that will come those stupid New Year's Resolutions lists that everyone makes. I've decided to break away from that a little bit. We'll just call this a Wish List. Here's a 2009 wish list for Spartan basketball. Also, I've got a few personal wishes for myself that I'll throw in at the end.

1. That UNCG chancellor Linda Brady will continue to push this athletic department hard to accomplish more. She has hit this job hard in her first 4-5 months. She's injected excitement all over the place. Her basketball announcement is the lone bright spot so far this basketball season. I hope she keeps it up.
2. That someone will step up at PG and become a leader and a player. Many of UNCG's problems have come from a lack of production at the PG spot. This has to change for the Spartans to start winning.
3. That attendance numbers will really pick up. They are going to have to pick up. UNCG is moving to a larger building and it needs to be filled with UNCG fans. Notice I said UNCG fans, not just people. It's the job of the people in the sports marketing department and ISP to figure out how to not just get fans to come watch 1 game a year, but to become UNCG fans and come back many times.
4. That UNCG and the Greensboro Coliseum handle this change over well. Hopefully, they won't over charge for tickets, parking or concessions. I would love to see this move turn out great and look back as the turning point of UNCG basketball.
5. That donations to the Spartan Club get to the point where they can sustain all of the athletic scholarships given out. I think that if all the UNCG alumni and fans out there gave at even the lowest level, this could happen in a hurry. Let's hope that the energy this move will generate can be translated into a larger financial support for our university.
6. And finally ... that the Spartans start winning. Generating campus-wide excitement, stopping all of the conversations about Dement's future and filling Fleming up with fans would be awesome effects of a winning streak.

Here are a few of my personal ones ...

- I gave up cigarettes about 5 months ago and I've have felt like complete shit ever since. Everyone told me that this would be the case. One of my wishes for 2009 is that I will finally start feeling better.
- I had 3 major injuries playing sports this past year. I pulled a muscle in my chest (that still isn't 100%), sprained my knee and tore my calf muscle. I really think this is my body telling me that I'm not young anymore. Might be time to stop playing softball like it's my job and start to just enjoy it for the exercise and friendship. Another of my wishes for 2009 is to stay injury free.
- I need to sit up straight. My posture has been screwed up my entire life. As far back as middle school, friends would pick on me for walking with my head down and slumping shoulders. Fast forward 15 years and my back is always in knots. My final wish for 2009 is that I can pretend that there's a string attached from the ceiling to the top of my head.

Akron (7-4) @ UNCG (1-8)

When: Wednesday, Dec 31 2 pm
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Akron Athletics
Akron Forum - Zips Nation
Rasor on the Zips - Blog

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, UNCG fell to Dayton 75-44. The Spartans scored just 15 first half points. Mikko Koivisto scored 10 points.
- This will be the first UNCG home game since a December 6 loss to College of Charleston. This will be the second (and last) non-conference home game for UNCG.
- This is the second straight season that a MAC conference team will visit Fleming Gym. Last year, Kent State visited Greensboro.
- Koivisto still leads UNCG in scoring (12.6) and assists (2.6). Ben Stywall leads in rebounding (8.1).
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 36.1% from the field, 29.2% from behind the arc and 65% from the free throw line.

Zips Notes:
- Akron built on a 2 point halftime lead to beat St. Francis (NY) 77-70 on Sunday. Jimmy Conyers (17 pts) led three Zips in double figures.
- My recap on Akron's wins/losses/RPI can be found here.
- Nate Linhart (11.5), Brett McKnight (11.2) and "Humpty" Hitchens (10.8) are all averaging in double figures. Linhart is also leading Akron in rebounds (5.7) and assists (2.0).
- So far this year, Akron is shooting 42.4% from the field, 32.7% from 3 point range and 71.6% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
There was an almost sellout crowd for Kent State last year. Even though this year's squad is playing poorly, I'm interested to see what the turnout will be for this season's marquee OOC game.

As far as the game goes, UNCG will have to show a lot of improvement in all areas of it's game to compete in this one. Akron has 9 players averaging double figures in minutes played and they seem to spread around all of the stats.

Let's hope the layoff and some home magic can bring UNCG together and get them another win in 2008.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the Rise?

UNCG 44- Dayton 75

News & Record
UNCG recap
Dayton Daily News
Dayton recap

I'm going to skip my normal recap style for this game. I'll just make random points because there was no good or bad, only ugly. Lots and lots of ugly.

- I've never been more happy for a video feed to mess up as I was 4 minutes into the second half last night.
- UNCG didn't have a second half breakdown. This one was long over by by that point. The Spartans scored 15 points in the first half. UNCG made 4 field goals and had 12 turnovers.
- The guys who do the radio play-by-play for UNCG have got to be insane. At halftime, they tried to make the point that the Spartans were going to make some noise in the second half. I'm all for staying positive, but that was ridiculous.
- I've never seen one team destroy another team one on the boards as bad as Dayton beat UNCG last night. I honestly started thinking that every time UNCG got a defensive rebound that the entire Dayton team had taken pity on them.
- While I was watching Michigan State and Texas play yesterday, I couldn't help to think that either of those teams could beat UNCG by 80 points. It's sad how bad this team really is right now. What team on the schedule can UNCG beat?

Here's the final thought ... Will Dement be coaching UNCG next year?

Friday, December 19, 2008

UNCG (1-7) @ Dayton (9-1)

When: Saturday, Dec 20 8 pm (est)
Where: University of Dayton Arena (13,409)
TV: None

Dayton Athletics
Dayton Forum - Rivals
Blackburn Review - Blog
(There are actually a bunch of UD blogs. I just picked this one b/c that's who I've been chatting with. There are links on that page to the rest of them.)

Spartan Notes:
- UNCG fell to Kent State 73-62 on Thursday night. Kendall Toney scored 14 points and Elhanan Bone grabbed 10 rebounds for the Spartans.
- UNCG is 0-5 on the road this season and have lost 6 straight games overall.
- Mikko Koivisto (12.9) is leading UNCG in scoring and assists (2.8). Ben Styawall is the Spartans leading rebounder (8.4).
- For the season UNCG is shooting 36.8% from the field, 28.9% from behind the arc and 64.8% from the free throw line.

Flyers Notes:
-Dayton defeated Coppin State 73-56 last Sturday night. Chris Johnson had 20 points and 12 rebounds as Coppin State was held to 28.8% shooting form the field.
- The recap of Dayton's wins/losses/RPI can be found here.
-Chris Wright is leading Dayton in scoring (13.0) and rebounds (7.5). London Warren (4.1) and Rob Lowery (3.2) both have solid assist numbers.
- For the season Dayton is shooting 41.6% from the field, 29.9% from the 3 point line and 68.6% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
My thoughts on this game are roughly the same from the other night's game against Kent State. UNCG will need to avoid turnovers, poor free throw shooting, poor rebounding and foul trouble in order to have any shot. But, the main thing I'd like to see is UNCG coming out after halftime and being the more aggressive team.

The main difference from Kent State to Dayton is that the Flyers have an amazing defense. I believe they are ranked 4th nationally in defense. That means that the Spartans will have to really work to take care of the ball and make every possession count.

Hopefully, the Spartans can build on some of their success on Thursday night and sneak up on a very good team that's maybe looking ahead to Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Know Your Enemy

I had the chance to exchange some questions University of Dayton blogger Tom over at the Blackburn Review. We got the chance to discuss hair bands, defense and if a fashion show could break out in the middle of a basketball game. You can find my answers to his questions here

I'll have my normal preview of the Flyers later on.

Discarding stats, who is the guy that makes the Flyers go?
Chris Wright is the obvious choice, but I would say Marcus Johnson dictates how UD plays. If he is on, the Flyers seem to play well. If he is off, UD has a hard time finding a second scorer to compliment Wright. This has become a disconcerting trend with Dayton this year, finding someone to score on the nights in which Wright is struggling. The team has yet to find that consistent scorer.

Statistically, the Flyers' defense has been outstanding this year. What's the story behind it? UNCG will shoot a Duke-esque amount of three pointers. Will that change the kind of defense that Dayton normally plays?
Gregory finally has the type of players that can effectively implement the type of defensive scheme he wants to employ. The team is very athletic and deep--two necessary facets for running Dayton's defensive system. I don't think UNCG style will change the way Dayton comes out on the defensive end. UD has played against up-tempo teams and half-court oriented offenses and played the same type of pressure defense all year. The one area, ironically enough, is their 3 point defense. Their brand of defense usually leads to some over pursuits, which often leads to open looks on the perimeter.

I read somewhere that Dayton would be wearing a light-blue and red uniform against the Spartans. If UNCG wears it's all gold uniforms, will anybody be able to watch this game for more than a couple of minutes at a time before having to turn away? Would Dayton consider dimming the lights?
Yeah, it could look like an XFL game out there. UD has had considerably bad luck in the light-blues, going 0-2 in them last year. Personally, I want to spearhead the movement to switch back to the old uniforms. UD's current color scheme and logo are unoriginal and generic looking. I'm hopeful that there will be some support for reverting back to the Marian blue unis as fans get used to them.

Recently UNCG announced that it's moving all of its home games from tiny Fleming Gym to the Greensboro Coliseum which is less than a mile up the road from campus. The Flyers seem to always play in front of a full house and even the NCAA "play-in" game in Dayton looks full every year. Got any advice for us to start drawing in more people?
Here's the thing, when you upgrade to a bigger facility it has to be about more than basketball. You have to bring in some novelty acts to get people to come at first. If I was consulting UNCG, I would say have crappy hair bands from the 80s play concerts right after the game. You would be amazed at how many people will still come out to see Great White play their hit.

What do the Flyers need to do to prevent any thoughts of an upset?
With Dayton, it all begins and ends with defense. Their offense is mediocre at best. I would think forcing Greensboro into 20+ turnovers would almost guarantee a win for UD. I will say this, UD has a tendency to play a little sloppy in games right before Christmas break. I don't know if it's the fact that there are less fans in the arena, or if they would rather be somewhere else, but the Flyers have a history of underachievement in these type of games. In other words, it wouldn't shock me if this one was closer than Vegas thinks.

Damn, this record is broken

UNCG 62- Kent State 73

News & Record
Kent State

UNCG lead Kent State 32-29 at halftime, but was outscored 44-30 in the second half. I've had enough of this "let's kick ass for the first half and give you hope before we stink and crush your hope in the second half". I'm ready for a good first half effort to not be wasted. Maybe I'm hoping for too much. It was impressive how UNCG fought back from 20 down to make a game of it. At least they haven't thrown in the towel yet.

The Good:
- Elhanan Bone - 8 points and 10 rebounds. That's a stat line that I think every Spartan fan loves to see. Bone was a beast on the boards.
- Free throw shooting - 11-13 (84.6%) is a solid effort. If we'd have shot that well at Central Arkansas there might have been a different outcome.
- Kendall Toney - 14 points including a couple of big 3 pointers. It's good to see him play well against someone not named NC State.

The Bad:
- Turnovers (18) - Just when you think UNCG has a problem fixed, it re-appears. UNCG's first half turnovers didn't hurt them too bad. The miscues turned into fast break points in the second half, though.
- Shooting - 37.5% for the game (including 9-26 in the second half). UNCG ranks 327 in D1 (out of 343) in field goal percentage.

The Ugly:
- Second half performance.
The definition of "Beating a Dead Horse" from Wikipedia ...
"Beating a dead horse" is an idiom that means a particular
request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and
any attempt to continue it is futile.
Yep, That's what I'm doing.

UNCG women win again

Since this blog is called UNCG basketball fan, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's just a men's basketball blog (although that is kind of what it is). However, it's time to show the women's team a little attention.

Last night, the Spartans beat Georgia Southern to win their fourth game in a row. They are still undefeated in conference play (3-0). All of this comes after finding out their team leader, Kristen Boone, had another season ending knee injury. However, it seems like the team has steadied themselves and are playing much better.

On the SoCon fans website, UNCG was listed as the highlight of the night. That's a nice change b/c our men's team has been the lowlight several times this year already.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UNCG (1-6) @ Kent State (4-5)

When: Thursday, Dec 18 7 pm
Where: Memorial Athletic and Convocation (M.A.C.) Center (6,327)
TV: None

Kent State Athletics
NewsFlashes - Kent State Blog
Kent State Forum - NCAAbbs
Kent State Forum - Rivals

Spartan Notes:
- In their last game, UNCG was destroyed by East Carolina in Greenville (97-53). Montel Smith led the Spartans in scoring (11 pts) while Ben Stywall pulled down 10 boards. Sam Hinnant led seven Pirates in double figures with 18 points. UNCG was outscored 56-21 in the second half.
- Last season, Kent State held on late to defeat UNCG 71-64 in Fleming Gym. Mikko Koivisto led UNCG with 22 points. Mike Scott scored 15 for Kent State.
- The Spartans have now dropped 5 straight games.
- Mikko Koivisto is leading UNCG in scoring (13.7) and assists (2.6). Ben Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.9). The Spartans are averaging 17 turnovers per game. Nine players are averaging double figures in minutes played.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 36.7% from the field, 27.1% from 3 point range and 62.9%from the free throw line.

Golden Flashes Notes:
- Kent State was the MAC tournament Champion and an NCAA tournament participant last season. They finished with a record of 28-6.
- Kent State defeated Youngstown State 82-74 in their last game. Al Fisher led three Kent State players in double figures with 20 points.
- My recap on of Kent State's wins/losses/RPI can be found here.
- Fisher (17.8 pts and 3.7 assists) and Chris Singletary (16.4 points and 3.1 assists) are the Golden Flashes best offensive weapons. Brandon Parks is leading Kent State in rebounds (6.4).
- For the year, Kent State is shooting 46% from the field, 30.3% from behind the arc and 62.6% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
When I sat down and put together a preview for the ECU game, the stats of that team just jumped off the page. Even though East Carolina had played several non-D1 teams, they just appeared to have a lot more firepower than the Spartans. I guess that I can say that it didn't come as much of a surprise that they whipped UNCG last Saturday night.

By that same token, there's not a whole lot from Kent State, statistics-wise, that jump out at me. They seem to be an average team that spreads a lot of their stats out. Their record indicates much of the same thing. They have a nice win over UNCW and took Illinios to overtime before eventually losing. Fisher appears to be the closest thing the Golden Flashes have to a star player. However, there seem to be a lot of solid role players.

To have a shot on Thursday, I could go down the same 'ol "laundry list" of things that UNCG must do well. Turnovers, free throw shooting, poor rebounding and foul trouble have all taken turns tripping up UNCG. But lately UNCG has just been awful after halftime. In all but the Charlotte game, the Spartans have been very competitive in the first half and then failed to make anything happen in the second half. That's got to change.

This road trip (@ Kent State 12/18 and @Dayton 12/20) through Ohio will be a homecoming for freshman Damian Eargle. Maybe he can elevate his game and help UNCG snap this 5 game skid.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Greensboro Classic and more

College of Charleston opened their new arena this season with a 3-day tournament featuring themselves, Clemson and several other other solid programs (Temple, TCU). That sparked up a discussion at UNCGfans forum. Would it be a good idea to put on a similar type tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum and invite some of the local area teams plus maybe an ACC school? Over the last few days a NC A&T fan has added to the discussion.

I've decided to add a poll to the blog just for my own interest to see if there would be support for a tournament/event. Feel free to vote and comment.

Also, WUAG (103.1 fm) is carrying Spartan basketball games throughout the holidays. You can find their schedule here. I'm always glad to see them carrying the games b/c their streaming is a lot better than WPET.

Here's an article from from Sunday's News & Record with more discussion on the move to the coliseum. Not a lot new in there, but it's got more of a positive tone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aaaarrrrgggg ?!?

UNCG 53 - East Carolina 97

UNCG Athletics
ECU Athletics
News & Observer

Halftime score ... ECU 41-UNCG 32. Second half score ... ECU 56-UNCG 21. We've seen this before. The telling stat is second half shooting percentage. UNCG 18.8% (6-32) and ECU 67.7% (21-31).

The Good:
- I'm honestly struggling to find anything good here. It was another solid first half effort. If they gave 1/2 wins for good first half performances, UNCG would have a good record. I don't know what Coach Dement is saying in locker room at the break but he needs to change it (hint: Watch Bull Durham).

The Bad:
- "Splash" page on UNCGSpartans.com. Can we just go ahead and take that down now. It was great to infuse a few days of excitement back into the basketball program. The slogan "On the rise" seems a little hollow right now.

The Ugly:
- Offense - 30.2% from the field, 19% from 3 point range and 61.1% from the free throw line. Mikko (9 pts), Stywall (4 pts) and Landon (0 pts) had a bad night.
- Defense - 59.7% from the field and 51.7% from 3 point range. Seven, SEVEN Pirates scored in double figures.

That's it. Wish I could come up with some great analysis as to what happened, but I've got nuthin'. Hopefully, the Spartans can just put it behind them and start to pull things together.

Friday, December 12, 2008

UNCG (1-5) @ East Carolina (7-1)

When: Saturday, Dec 13 7 pm
Where: Minges Coliseum (8,000)
TV: MASN (tape delayed)/ ChannelSurfing.net

ECU Athletics
ECU Forum (Scout)
ECU Forum (Rivals)

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, the Spartans lost a televised game to College of Charleston (77-62) at Fleming Gym. Mikko Koivisto led UNCG with 17 points and Ben Stywall had 10 rebounds.
- UNCG has now used a different starting lineup in every one of its games. There are nine Spartans averaging double figures in minutes played.
- Koivisto is leading UNCG in scoring (14.5 pts) and assists (2.8). Ben Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.7)
- UNCG is shooting 37.9% from the field, 28.5% from 3 point range and 63.2% from the free throw line.

Pirate Notes:
- See my quick review of ECU's season here.
- ECU defeated Limestone 69-43 last Saturday at Minges Coliseum. James Leagan scored 14 points and Darrius Morrow had a double-double (12 pts & 10 rebs).
- There are 3 Pirates scoring in double figures. Sam Hinnant (17.4) is leading scorer. Morrow is the leading rebounding (8.4). Brock Young (8.1) is the leading in assists.
- ECU is shooting 47.3% from the field, 35.5% from 3 point range and 70.7% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
Before the season, I thought this game was one of the road games that UNCG might could steal. I don't know if that's the case anymore. Even though they have played 3 non-D1 teams, those stats are still quite impressive. The Pirates have beaten a couple of solid CAA teams.

I think that there was some obvious improvement from the Citadel game to the CofC game last week. UNCG did a lot of things in the first half against the Cougars that it will need to repeat to have any shot in Greenville on Saturday.

The Spartans will need to continue to improve on their free throw shooting and rebounding. Also, the guards have got to start making some shots.

With the students gone and NC State (who ECU beat last year) coming up this week, ECU may be looking past UNCG. Let's hope so.

Go Spartans !!!

EDIT: UNCGSpartans.com is reporting that the game is no longer going to be shown in MASN. It is still listed on ChannelSurfing.net.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I promised I'd give this topic it's own blog entry and here it is. First, here are some of the articles.

UNCG Athletics

Here is the main quote from both articles ...

"With the partnership, ISP will work with the Department of Athletics’ staff
to market a variety of corporate sponsorship opportunities involving Spartan
Athletics, including live play-by-play game radio broadcasts and call-in shows,
various athletic department publications, signage in on-campus facilities,
corporate hospitality events and the official website of the department,
www.uncgspartans.com. "

I have not been a huge fan of the way that UNCG has marketed its basketball program. I love that UNCG has realized that they need help and partnered with ISP. ISP is the same company that partnered with UCLA and then proceeded to call out USC in the LA Times. That's the kind of "moxie" that I hope they bring to UNCG. There's a reason why this company has athletics departments teaming up with them in huge numbers. Hopefully, being located in the triad will give them a unique perspective on this market and how to attack our problems.

I think it's ridiculous that I live 30 miles away from campus and can't hear a Spartan basketball game on the radio. Meanwhile, I can easily find an App State or High Point game. ISP is going to have to use it's connections to fix this problem. There needs to be a UNCG flagship station with a strong signal, or maybe more than one station carrying the games. Part of the reason for this problem is market demand. Radio stations make decisions based on their bottom line. Whatever station Spartan games end up on, it's up to us fans to tune in, send appreciative emails and do business with its sponsors. I think that last one is true for all aspects of UNCG athletics not just radio broadcasts. Fans need to show their patronage to companies that financially support athletics.

Moving into the Greensboro Coliseum means that there will now be a lot of extra seats to fill. Putting the meager 1,300 people that UNCG is currently drawing into the ~7,600 seats will look just plain dumb. The draw has got to be bigger. UNCG has to reach out to more of the alumni living in the triad or within driving distance. If you were to take a census of the crowd at Fleming Gym for a basketball game, I think you'd find that a large majority are students. This is to be expected. But I think the second largest group would be alumni/fans over the age of 40. It's important to get the group of alumni that fall in between those 2 groups involved and interested in what's going on with the university (and it's basketball program). Those people might not buy season tickets, but may come to 3 or 4 games. Those people might start talking about UNCG basketball in their offices or with their friends. Those people might skip watching an ACC game on ESPN to catch a Spartans game on FSN. This is going to be a several year process, and I think that UNCG is missing a huge opportunity with that group of potential fans. I can't say that I've got any brilliant ideas on how to get them involved. I'll leave that to the people that get paid to make that happen.

I'm not sure if ISP can make any changes to the problems listed. I have no idea what they have in mind for UNCG. I'd like to think that they see some of the same things. However, I feel better having them involved in our basketball program.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Charleston Sweep of UNCG

UNCG 62 - College of Charleston 77

News & Record
Charleston Post & Courier
College of Charleston

The Spartans played their best half of basketball on Saturday. They followed it up with one of their worst. The Spartans took a 40-36 lead into the locker room. However, CofC owned the second half (41-22).

Since I didn't really do much of a recap after the Citadel game, this is going to just be more of some of my major thoughts of both games. I'm not going to bother discussing major negatives b/c I think we're moving towards "moral victory" territory.

- Damian Eargle was ineligible for the Citadel game, and UNCG was outrebounded 37-30. He was back for the CofC game and UNCG outrebounded the Cougars 35-31. These two thing could be completely unrelated. I doubt it, though.
- Elhanan Bone is really starting to look more comfortable and his stats are showing it (8 pts & 6 rebs - Citadel, 12 pts & 5 rebs - CofC). If Bone can average 10 & 7 guy the rest of this year, the Spartans will be competitive in a lot of games.
- Even with the disappointing early season play, the crowds at Fleming Gym have been nice. Not "sell-out" nice, but enough to generate a fun atmosphere. The crowds will have to get larger an more vocal next year, though.
- Daniel Oliver has been a good spark off of the bench. In both games, he's brought a sense of urgency on the court with him. He's also looked to take a few more shots and made some of them.
- UNCG shot free throws well in these two games. 12-14 against CofC and 7-9 against the Citadel.
- UNCG played very good free throw defense. The Citadel made just 7-13 and CofC missed all of their 11 attempts.
*** I am not going negative here. While this was might come off as an underhanded shot at UNCG, it's not. I'm actually cracking on CofC. That's an unbelievable stat (0-11). If the Cougars plan on really competing with Davidson, they better get the problem corrected in a hurry.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

College of Charleston (6-1) @ UNCG (1-4)

When: Saturday, Dec 6 3 pm
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: SportSouth

College of Charleston Athletics
College of Charleston Forum

Spartan Notes:
- UNCG fell to the Citadel Thursday night, 57-50. Landon Clement scored 15 and Ben Stywall pulled down 10 boards. UNCG managed to shoot an unbelievable 17.2% from 3 point range (5-29). The Bulldogs also out rebounded UNCG by 7 (37-30). UNCG turned the ball over just 8 times.
- Mikko Koivisto (14.0) and Landon Clement (10.8) are scoring in double figures. Koivisto is leading UNCG in assists (3.0), and Ben Stywall is averaging 8.4 rebounds.
- UNCG has used 5 different starting lineups in 5 games.
- Last year, UNCG won 88-71 in Charleston. The Spartans prevailed 75-67 in the return game at Fleming Gym.

Cougar Notes:
- CofC won at Elon on Thursday night, 77-69. Andrew Goudelock scored 19 points for the Cougars.
- CofC already has wins against South Carolina and TCU. Their lone loss came to Temple in the semi-finals of the Charleston Classic. The Cougars are 3-1 at home, 3-0 on the road and they've won five 5 straight games.
- Goudelock (18.0 pts) leads 5 players scoring in double figures. He also is their assist leader (3.4). Jermaine Johnson is the Cougars leading rebounder (8.6).
- On the season, CofC is shooting 49.3% from the field, 41% from 3 points range and 66.2% from the free throw line. 6 CofC players have positive assist-to-turnover ratios.

My Thoughts:
With everything going on yesterday, I haven't had much time to research the Cougars. However, when you look at their stats you can see that this is one of the best teams in the SoCon. UNCG will need to take care of the ball again today. As bad as the Spartans were on Thursday night, they were a couple of 3's away from stealing a win. UNCG will need to shoot a higher percentage. Damian Eargle will have to get out of Coach Dement's doghouse and back to being productive on the court.

Hopefully, the Spartans can have a good showing on TV and gain some confidence moving forward.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Blue & Gold Day

I started writing this blog for a couple of reason. Some of those I have already talked about in a previous post. One that I didn't point out was that I really thought that big things were going to happen at my alma mater and I really wanted to keep up with them.

After last night's tough loss, (and what is turning into a tough season) Spartan fans need something to feel good about. Today came some news that UNCG fans, students and alumni can get excited about. I posted a quick blurb about the possibility of a UNCG move to the Greensboro Coliseum yesterday. During a noon press conference, all of this was confirmed.

Article Links:
- News & Record (yesterday)
- News & Record (today)
- University Homepage
- Athletics Homepage
- News & Observer (Raleigh)

You can watch the press conference on demand on Spartan all-access. Here's what I took away from watching.

- Linda Brady gets it. I have no idea where this woman came from, but I'm glad she's here. She understands that athletic success plays a huge role on the image of the university itself and the pride that the alumni take in the school. This woman has a big vision for UNCG and I like it. Hearing her speak just fires me up. Please go give some halftime speeches.
- Fred Barakat is going to deliver us a #1 in strength of schedule. He made it quite clear that we're going to have 4-5 ACC games on our schedule (home and away) and games against A10, CAA and CUSA teams.
- The coliseum is going to try very hard to make this a home court for the Spartans. I really like the idea of cutting the seating down to ~7,300. Also, I like that the floor will have UNCG's logos and locker rooms.

My concerns are over some of the ticketing and pricing issues. I really hope that the UNCG administration understands not to bite the hand that's already feeding it. I think everyone is aware that prices will change, but it can't be that dramatic. The parking prices will have to be reasonable also. Right now, I can park on campus for free and go to the game $10. UNCG can't change that to $15 tickets and $5 parking and expect all of the fans that follow them now to just move down the street with them too.

Right now, UNCG's season tickets were priced in some of the oddest ways possible. I could buy a walk-up ticket to every game and pay the same price that I would if I'd have bought season tickets a month ago. There's no reward for buying all games early. Plus, you could (and I did) buy a SoCon ticket package for $75. That's easily the best deal they offered this year. I hope they offer a reward to UNCG fans that buy season tickets next year. Give a 25% break in the full price and offer some kind of season parking pass for a reasonable price. That means that when 5,000 NC State fans buy their tickets the day of the game, they won't be sitting court side and will pay more than your loyal Spartan fans. Plus, selling these season tickets assures UNCG of nice crowds when we're not playing ACC schools.

I like the idea of selling beer at the games. It will get casual fans from the Greensboro community interested in attending games. Case in point, my wife has said repeatedly that she'd love to go to basketball games with me as long as she could drink. Now this really says more about my behavior at games than anything else, but you get the point.

Also I hope the administration and coliseum officials get the students involved by putting them in the first 2-3 rows all the way around the court, or let them have the risers right behind the baskets. That's how you get a home court advantage. Also, have the full band there for all of the games.

UNCG also hired ISP to do their sports marketing. I'll have to devote an entire upcoming post to this move because it might be the best news of the day.

Happy Blue & Gold Day !!!

Not the best way to start

UNCG 50 - The Citadel 57

There's a ton going on with the Spartan basketball team today, and I'm really swamped at work. So, I'm really just going to link to some game stories. I'll put up a more detailed review after the second half of the "Low Country Double Header".

I'll also be back with a full recap on all of the days events ...

News & Record
Charleston Post & Courier
The Citadel

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Be sure to bring some bubble wrap to the game tonight

According to this News & Record article, the UNCG men's basketball team will now be calling the Greensboro Coliseum home starting in the 2009-2010 season.

Also, UNCG has hired Fred Barakat to serve as a scheduling consultant. One would assume that his job will be to get well known teams to play the Spartans in Greensboro.

There is a news conference scheduled for noon on Friday. I'll wait until after then to post most of my thoughts. I will say that I'm impressed with the new chancellor and her vision. Hopefully it will be executed very well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Citadel (4-3) @ UNCG (1-3)

When: Thursday, Dec. 4 7 pm
Where: Fleming Gym (2,320)
TV: None/ All-Access

Citadel Athletics
Citadel Forum

Spartan Notes:
- Last time out, UNCG lost to NC State 79-52 at the RBC Center in Raleigh. Kendall Toney scored 16 points and pulled down 8 boards. Freshman Damian Eargle chipped in 10 points. UNCG trailed by just 11 at the half. However, a 16-4 Wolfpack spurt after the break squashed any thoughts of a Spartan upset.
- 9 UNCG scholarship players (out of 10) have seen action in all 4 games this season. Eight of those players are averaging double figures in minutes played.
- UNCG has used a different starting lineup for all 4 games.
- Only one player is averaging double figures in points. Mikko Koivisto leads the team in points (15.8) and assists (3.3). Ben Stywall leads UNCG in rebounding (8.0).
- As a team, UNCG is shooting 39.7% from the field, 32% from 3 point range and 58.2% from teh free throw line.
- The Spartans defeated the Bulldogs twice last season. UNCG won 84-54 at Fleming Gym. Kyle Hines led UNCG with 22 and Austin Dahn led the Bulldogs with 19. UNCG won 74-63 in the return game in Charleston. This time Ben Stywall led UNCG in scoring (21 pts), but Austin Dahn again led the Bulldogs (17 pts).

Bulldog Notes:
- The Citadel are coming off a 55-41 win over Grambling State in Cancun, Mexico. Cameron Wells had a double-double (10 pts and 14 rebs). The Bulldogs went 12-26 from 3 point range (46.2%).
- UNCG and The Citadel have played one common opponent so far this year, Central Arkansas. UNCG lost to the Bears 73-60 in Conway. The Citadel lost 58-53 in Cancun, Mexico.
-The Bulldogs are led in points (16.9) and rebounds (6.6) by Cameron Wells. Zach Urbanus is their leading assist man (2.6).
- For the season, the Bulldogs are shooting 43.5% from the field, 32.3% from 3 point range and 72.7% from the free throw line.
- The Citadel has beat Grace Bible, Cincinnati Christian, Charleston Southern and Grambling State. The Bulldogs lost to VCU, Iowa and Central Arkansas. The Citadel is 0-1 on the road, 2-1 at home and 2-1 in neutral site games.

My Thoughts:
News Flash --- UNCG isn't going to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Spartans will have to make some noise in the SoCon in order to play somewhere in the postseason.

Ok, here it is. This is a home game against a team that was picked to finish basically last by the coaches and media. But here's the tricky part ... they're not quite as bad as predicted. Unlike UNCG, they have won a game against a D1 program. They have played 7 games already and they have shown signs of playing well. Last year, this team started 5 freshmen. Thus, these guys have played together quite a bit. However, this will be only their second true road game.

UNCG is going to have to do several things in order to be successful. They are going to have to play off the crowd energy. They are going to have to protect the basketball. They are going to have to step up and make free throws. They are going to have to play smart, hard-nosed defense without getting into foul trouble.

It's time to start seeing some real improvement out of this team. The games are coming weeks apart right now. Hopefully, this means the guys are getting plenty of time to watch film and then work on things they are seeing. With the conference opener here now, it's time for things to start coming together. We can't start behind the 8-ball ... with a home loss.

Go Spartans !!!