Monday, March 30, 2009

New Recruit Looking at UNCG

According to this blog article, Kyle Randall (#29 PG - spent Sunday on campus checking out UNCG. His father hinted that he could commit to the Spartans if all goes well this weekend. Randall would be great addition at a position that could really use some help.

UPDATE: is reporting that Randall has given UNCG a verbal commitment. There won't be an official announcement of this by UNCG b/c they can't comment until a LOI (Letter of Intent) is signed. This can't happen until the middle of April. I'll post the link here when it happens.

In the meantime, congrats to Coach Dement and staff.

Welcome to the Spartans, Kyle !!!

UPDATE x2: has this little blurb on their site about Kyle's commitment.

Update x3: Kyle was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year in Class A by the AP.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

4 SoCon Teams Play On

Four SoCon teams received bids to continue playing in the postseason. Chattanooga (SoCon Tournament Champs) and Davidson (SoCon Regular Season Champs) were already guaranteed bids. College of Charleston and the Citadel got bids to play in 2 of the newer tournaments. Here are the match ups (with TV listed where available).

NCAA Tournament
#16 UT-Chattanooga
#1 UConn
Thursday, March 19 3 pm (CBS)
Philadelphia, PA

#6 Davidson
#3 South Carolina
Tuesday, March 17 7 pm (ESPN2)
Columbia, SC

College Basketball Invitational
College Of Charleston
Wednesday, March 18 8 pm
Troy, AL Tournament
The Citadel
Old Dominion
Thursday, March 19 7 pm
Norfolk, VA

UConn 103 - Chattanooga 47
Davidson 70 - South Carolina 63
Davidson 68 - St. Mary's 80
College of Charleston 93 - Troy 91
College of Charleston 72 - Richmond 74
Citadel 59 - Old Dominion 67

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UTC Wins SoCon Title

UTC defeated College of Charleston at McKenzie Arena to claim the SoCon Tournament and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This year was similar to the last time the tournament was held in Chattanooga, in that College of Charleston beat Davidson in the semi-finals (like UNCG did in 2005), only to fall to the host school the next night. The wrap up of this season's tournament can be found over at SoCon fans.

Chattanooga's record all but assures them a #16 seed in the "Big Dance". If you looking for some interesting discussion, try the forums at Davidson, UTC and College of Charleston.

In other news ... Elon's Ernie Nestor and High Point's Bart Lundy will not be returning to coach the schools next season.

UPDATE: App State fired Houston Fancher as well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

That's all Folks

UNCG 56 - College of Charleston 69
myspace graphics
News & Record
Charleston Post & Courier
UNCG Athletics
Charleston Athletics

College of Charleston jumped on UNCG 33-15 and never really let up. UNCG fought back to make it a 10 point game with about 10 minutes left, but could get no closer. That was all for UNCG at the SoCon Tournament in Chattanooga.

The Good:
- Ben Stywall 21 pts & 11 rebs.
- Pete Brown had his second straight double figure game and set his career high with 12 points.
- UNCG only turned the ball over 11 times.

The Bad:
- 32.3% shooting. Offense has been a big part of the Spartan's problem all season and things were no different on Friday afternoon.
- It took 17:48 for a guard to score for UNCG. With good shooters like Toney and Mikko, that's a tough stat to read.

The Ugly:
- Rebounds: UNCG 34 - Charleston 45
- Offensive rebounds: UNCG 14 - Charleston 21

So, that's it for the season. It's been a rough one. As fans, we must remember that suffering through the bad times makes the good times that much better. Hopefully the good time aren't that far off.

I'll post a end of the year wrap up later this weekend (or maybe the first of next week).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

#6N UNCG (5-24) vs #3S College of Charleston (23-7)

When: Friday, March 6 ~4:30 pm
Where: McKenzie Arena (11,218) Chattanooga, TN
TV: None/ Spartan All-Access

Previous Meetings:
12/6 - UNCG 62 - Charleston 77 (@ Fleming Gym)
1/29 - UNCG 73 - Charleston 89 (@Carolina First Arena)

College of Charleston Athletics
College of Charleston Forum

Spartan Notes:
- UNCG closed out its regular season with a 74-66 win over Elon. Ben Stywall scored 23 points and pulled down 6 boards to lead the Spartans.
- The win will be UNCG's last in Fleming Gym for a while. Next season, the Spartans will call the Greensboro Coliseum home.
- UNCG finished up the SoCon regular season with a 4-16 record.
- Damian Eargle was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team. Eargle averaged 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds and led the league in shots blocked (57).
- Mikko Koivisto leads UNCG in scoring (12.5) and assists (2.4). Ben Stywall is averaging 11.4 points and a team best 8.3 rebounds.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 40.1% from the field, 31.6% from behind the arc and 64.8% from the free throw line.

Cougar Notes:
- Last time out, College of Charleston used a 15-4 run after halftime to cruise to a 69-58 win over Furman. Donavan Monroe scored 15 points and Jermaine Johnson had a double-double (10 pts & 10 rebs) to lead the Cougars.
- Charleston finished the season on a 5 game winning streak. Their record away from home is an impressive 11-3.
- College of Charleston finished with a 15-5 conference record. Their signature win was a victory over Davidson in Belk Arena.
- Andrew Goudelock lead Charleston in scoring (16.9). Tony White Jr. is averaging 10.8 points and team best 2.9 assists. Jermaine Johnson is averaging 10.1 points and team high 7.7 rebounds.
- For the year, College of Charleston is shooting 47.9% from the field, 38.0% from 3 point range and 67.3% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
It's a new season. Win 4 games in 4 days and go to the NCAA tournament.

UNCG is playing a team that it had some success against. Other than a couple of spurts in both games, UNCG played close to even with the Cougars. Let's hope that Saturday's win will carry over into the game tomorrow.

Go Spartans !!!

Lady Spartans Win

The UNCG women's basketball team live to play another day in Chattanooga. The Lady Spartans beat Wofford 83-64 on Thursday evening. Next up they face #2 seed Samford on Friday morning at 9 am.

UPDATE: The Lady Spartans fell to Samford 58-49 Friday morning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pre-Tournament Post

With a little down time between end of the regular season and the start of the tournament, I figured I post a few links to some interesting and useful information.

- The UNCG women's basketball team will open SoCon tournament play on Thursday as the #7 seed (the women don't use the 2 division format like the men). The Lady Spartans will take on the #10 seed Wofford around 5:30. The Spartans finished the year 12-17 overall (9-11 conference). Wofford brings in a record of 5-23 (3-17 conference). UNCG defeated Wofford twice during the regular season. The bracket for the Women's tournament can be found here.

- Monique Floyd was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Year.

-UNCG alum Kyle Hines was named MVP of his Italian league (Lega Due) team's mid season tournament, called the Vanoli Cup. Hines is averaging 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 2.5 steals in 22 games.

- The teleconference for all SoCon men's basketball coaches can be found here. Let me help by summing things up. Every coach answers at least 1 Stephen Curry question. Coach Dement's is relatively short. He opens by talking about the game against Elon. He then answers his token Curry question. He complements Stephen's basketball IQ and talks about him listening to conversations with Dement and his players trying to pick up on called plays. He finishes by talking about the 2 previous match ups with College of Charleston.

- Here are the match ups for the men's basketball tournament. UNCG will play on Friday around 4:30. I'll have a better preview tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Regular Season Recap - February

One last month to recap ...

Davidson (L) - 11,687 fans showed up to see the Stephen Curry show. Curry scored 29, but the Spartans hung tough for most of the game. It was a great "homecoming" atmosphere at the Greensboro Coliseum that ranks near the top of best moments of this season.
Georgia Southern (W) - Mikko Koivisto re-emerged and UNCG pulled away from GSU in a game that was similar to the game at Elon earlier in the season.
Wofford (L) - Junior Salters and Noah Dahlman were too much for UNCG. The Spartans fought hard but ran out of gas at the end. It was a scenerio that played a out many times this year.
Samford (L) - Samford's offense just dismantled UNCG for the second time this season.
Chattanooga (L) - A huge foul discrepancy put UNCG behind the "8 ball" in this game. The guys showed some heart on Valentine's Day, but still came up short.
App State (L) - A 3 pointer by ASU's AJ Highsmith with less than 30 seconds pushed the Mountaineers to the win in Fleming. The Spartans shot themselves in the foot repeatedly by missing free throws.
Western Carolina (L) - A complete "throw away" game here. There are way too many of these this season. A cool halftime presentation was really the only thing made this game worth the trip.
Davidson (L) - Second straight "throw away" game. The Spartans started a lineup of 3 freshmen and 2 walk-ons.
Elon (W) - UNCG played an inspired game that may prove to be the last win in Fleming Gym.

So, that's the regular season. A lot more disappointments than successes. It's in the past now. Hopefully, the Spartans can go win some games in Chattanooga. Starting Thursday, everyone is 0-0. Let's see some magic.

Go Spartans !!!

Regular Season Recap - January

The recaps continue ...

Princeton (L) - It was a 3 point game with about a minute left and then UNCG started fouling. Princeton hit their free throws. Game over. I still think this was the worst coaching decision of the season. If the strategy had worked out, it would've been the best strategy ever. It didn't, and it wasn't.
Western Carolina (L) - The Spartans let a 9 point lead slip away and lost their second straight close game.
App State (W) - Damian Eargle went crazy (25 pts and 11 rebs) and UNCG survived a desperation 3 pointer that sent the game into overtime.It was the first win against a D1 team.
Georgia Southern (L) - UNCG takes a step backwards after moving forward and gaining confidence in their last 3 games.
Elon (W) - A second half explosion from UNCG turns a close game into a blow out win. All 5 Spartan starters scored in double figures.
Chattanooga (L) - Not really a competitive game. Basically another "throw away" game.
Samford (L) - Samford used their "Princeton" offense to cut up the Spartans. This game wasn't really close or in doubt. The second straight of that variety.
Furman (L) - Still the most perplexing loss of the year. This is a game that UNCG really should have won. One of the few games that I'm hanging on the coach. He's got to get the guys up to go down to Greenville and get a win. UNCG slept through the first half and couldn't wake up in time to get a win.
Charleston (L) - Almost the exact same game that was played a month before in Greensboro. Only difference, UNCG's bad half was the first half this time.
Citadel (L) - By now, everyone had figured out that the Citadel was a good team. UNCG had a 4 point lead late and then went scoreless at the end. It was a good showing with a bad outcome.

Regular Season Recap - December

Let's continue with the recaps.

Citadel (L) - A close game that, at the time, I was shocked to see the Spartans lose. I just couldn't fathom UNCG dropping a game to "lowly" Citadel in Fleming. It turns out that even Davidson would lose at home to the Bulldogs. The Citadel have battled their way to bye in the SoCon Tournament. As for the game, Damian Eargle was suspended, and it really hurt UNCG. He might have been the difference maker in a close game.

*** Let's note that in between the home games with the Charleston teams, Chancellor Linda Brady excited Spartan fans by announcing that UNCG would move all of its home games next season to the Greensboro Coliseum.

Charleston (L) - UNCG played a great first half, but couldn't keep it going in the second half and fell hard. Charleston even tried to help by missing a bunch of free throws.
ECU (L) - The Pirates absolutely throttled UNCG in the second half in Greenville. The ECU return game in the Greensboro Coliseum next season should be a lot of fun.
Kent State (L) - Another second half collapse for UNCG. The Spartans led this one at the half, but couldn't hold on. Kendall Toney hit a couple of big 3's.
Dayton (L) - The Spartans were crushed by a really good Dayton team on the road. I really won't be shocked if Dayton gets in the NCAA Tournament and makes plenty of noise. Their defense was way too much for an already poor shooting UNCG team.
Akron (L) - The first of a few "throw away" games that UNCG played this season. The Spartans didn't do much in this game and very few people actually showed up to watch it anyways.

Regular Season Recap - November

Since the regular season is now over, let's take a look back to what happened. Here's a quick game-by-game recap.

We'll do these in separate posts for each month.

Charlotte (L) - UNCG got down early, but played a pretty solid second half. In the end though, the 49ers really didn't do much to let UNCG back into the game.
Webber International (W) - Landon Clement went off for 26 points, but UNCG showed glimpses that point guard play could be a problem. Still, it was the Spartans only win before the calendar flipped to 2009.
Central Arkansas (L) - A loss to a transitional D1 school signaled trouble ahead. Turnovers and poor free throw shooting caused UNCG problems.
NC State (L) - Too much inside toughness for UNCG to really threaten the Wolfpack. Kendall Toney still loves playing NC State, though (they're on the schedule next year Kendall).

UNCG will face College of Charelston

The Citadel defeated Georgia Southern (74-53) to clinch the #2 seed from the South Division. This means that the College of Charleston will be the #3 seed from the south and will face UNCG in the opening round of the SoCon Tournament in Chattanooga. That game will take place on Friday around 4:30.

All of the pairings are listed at SoCon Sports.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bookend Wins

UNCG 74 - Elon 66

News & Record
UNCG Athletics
Elon Athletics

On November 17th, UNCG defeated Webber International (90-78) to open the home schedule with a win. Yesterday, UNCG defeated Elon to end the home schedule with a win. In between there have been 10 painful losses. However, none of that mattered yesterday in what was (in my opinion) the best atmosphere in Fleming Gym this season. The Chancellor stood in the front row, the cheerleaders threw t-shirts into the crowd after every basket and it felt like last year all over again. It was nice to forget that the Spartans had only won 4 games and just cheer.

From the News & Record:
The 1,007 fans made it a good atmosphere for the game. One of the more
enthusiastic was UNCG chancellor Linda Brady, who spent a chunk of the second
half standing in the front row of the student section, wearing a blue and gold
"Blue Crew" T-shirt under her suit jacket.

"I saw her over there jumping
up and down in a Spartan shirt," said point guard Montel Smith. "It's real
exciting. She's that type of woman. When we had that big game against Davidson
in the Coliseum, she was in the stands with the students."

Let me just say that even thought this team only won 5 games in the regular season, I still feel good about the direction of this program. Chancellor Brady is the main reason. I feel that her enthusiasm towards athletics and the university in general is great and infectious to everyone around her. Obviously, there's a long way to go for the program. All of us fans are just going to have to show patience and enjoy the ride.

As for the game ...
- I've been really hard on UNCG point guards this season. They were very solid against Elon, though. Sean Spooner's stat line - 6 points (3-3 from the field) 3 assists, 0 turnovers. Montel Smith's stat line - 8 points (6-6 from the free throw line), 3 assists, 2 turnovers.
- Pete Brown scored a career high 10 points. The defense he played on Constantine was the thing that caught my eye. Constantine had a very easy time pushing some of the younger big men around. Brown fought him hard on every possession when he was in the game. That's the kind of play that I hope Pete becomes known for next season.
- 17 assists to only 10 turnovers.
- UNCG out rebounded Elon 24-20.
- 55.3% (26-47) from the field.

UNCG now awaits the outcome of Monday night's Citadel game (@ Georgia Southern) to determine who the opening round opponent is in Chattanooga. If the Citadel wins, the Spartans will play College of Charleston. If the Bulldogs fall, they will be match up with UNCG.

For now, let's hope the Spartans take away some confidence from this game and carry it with them to the tournament.