ACC Continues To Dominate, While Big Ten Starts Conference Play Very Early

SONG SELECTION:

“I’m Still Here” by Day Wave

From The Days We Had

Released May 5, 2017 via Harvest Records

SPECIAL NOTE:  South Carolina State player Tyvoris Solomon collapsed on Saturday seven minutes into their game at North Carolina State.

Solomon was on the bench when he collapsed, and play was discontinued as medical staff performed CPR and would subsequently be carried out on a stretcher.  Thankfully, he has since been stabilized and was transported to Rex Hospital in Raleigh.  Play resumed nearly 45 minutes later in a game which the Wolfpack won easily 103-71.  Hopefully, Tyvoris will recover and make it back to school so he can finish his first semester exams.

ACC Takes Second Straight Challenge Over Big Ten

The ACC surely came out with their shooting shoes on straight this past week, winning an astounding 11 of 14 games in the 19th annual Challenge presented by the networks of ESPN.

On Monday, Wisconsin was held to only 37 points against the very stingy Virginia defense losing on the road 49-37.  The next night, Purdue put up a good fight and survived a second half surge from Louisville 66-57.  Northwestern fell only one point short and hopefully raised some members’ eyebrows from the Selection Committee, in hopefully is a “good loss” 52-51 at Georgia Tech.

Wednesday had the Big Ten winning only once, by Nebraska of all teams beating up on Boston College in Lincoln by a score of 71-62.  The other five games saw the ACC schools win by an average margin of just slightly over 10 points per game.

Thursday had Michigan State race out to an early lead and never looked back against Notre Dame, in the school’s first Top 5 matchup since Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Greg Kelser won the 1979 Elite 8 at the old Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.

Leading the way for the Spartans was Joshua Langford with 17 points, while Miles Bridges had 14 points on 6 of 15 shooting to go along with six rebounds and 4 assists in a game high 32 minutes of action.  For the Irish, Bonzie Colson led four players in double figures tabbing 17 points and six boards.  Rex Pflueger had a nice game with 15 points, while T.J. Gibbs and Matt Farrell had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Big Ten Conference Starts Nearly One Month Early

Largely because of having their postseason tournament at around the same time when the first group of automatic bids are decided in the first weekend of March, the Big Ten began conference play on Friday night.

Purdue got a statement win at Maryland 80-75, behind Isaac Haas scoring a game high 21 points to go along with 5 rebounds.

In Rosemont, Northwestern bounced back with a nice 72-68 come from behind win over their in-state rivals from Illinois in overtime.  Scottie Lindsey came back big time after being held scoreless in their loss earlier in the week to Georgia Tech, scoring five of his game-high 22 points (all while coming off the bench) in the extra period.  Illinois did not help their own cause, coughing up the ball 19 times in what Head Coach Brad Underwood said to reporters after the game:

”We might have set a Guinness Book of World Records for the most travel calls tonight…And we’re traveling. We can’t have 11 of our turnovers from bigs.  Those are self-inflicted. Those are mistakes you can’t make. Those are not Northwestern beating us…those are our mistakes that allowed them to have success.”

Somewhere, somebody has to have that record down in print or online somewhere.  But I am sure as most things in this era we live in–it will probably the 6,740th most important thing in the small section of our head we simply call the brain.

Illinois did in fact lead for a good chunk of the extra stanza, but some key rebounding and a pair of free throws by Lindsey with 59 seconds on the Allstate Arena clock proved to be the margin for victory.  Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh combined to score 30 of the team’s 43 from Chris Collins’ starting five.

Northwestern improved to 5-3, while Illinois dropped to 6-2.

Taking a small page out of Shannon Ryan’s book

If you are familiar with her Big Ten Power Rankings mentioned periodically in the pages of the Chicago Tribune, Shannon does a great job in explaining why certain teams are pegged where they are at key junctures of the conference season.  For those of you who don’t follow in-conference games as much as the non-conference slate–the season normally lasts a little over two months.  The Big Ten is going nearly three months, with many more off days inbetween especially for Minnesota since Williams Gym will be used for entertainment purposes in the days leading up to Super Bowl LII in early February.

I present to you, my seldom produced section of the blog simply called
Who’s Better and Who’s Simply Pretending–Big Ten Style

  1. Michigan State (6-1, RPI of 12)–they are just getting warmed up.
  2. Purdue (8-2, RPI of 36)–even without Caleb Swanigan, the Boilers need to keep shooting well in order to stay competitive
  3. Michigan (8-2, RPI of 81)–how about four threes to start the CBS slate on Saturday afternoon against lowly Indiana?  That is one way to get out of some early season doldrums.
  4. Minnesota (7-1, RPI of 44)–winning against only three players from Alabama in that Facebook game a week ago has to count for something–right?
  5. Northwestern (6-3, RPI of 110)–with their top four scorers from last season’s Tournament team back, they will find a way to secure a Top 4 seed before the MSG portion of the schedule looms on the horizon.
  6. Nebraska and Penn State tied, both 6-2 and having similar RPI’s in the mid 90’s.
  7. (Skip this line)
  8. Maryland
  9. Illinois
  10. Ohio State
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Rutgers
  13. Iowa
  14. Indiana, looked pretty lifeless on Saturday in Ann Arbor.(((

Otherwise, the big headline is Arizona State replaced Arizona in the Top 25 poll.  It is the first time the Sun Devils have been ranked since 2009.  And Gonzaga came back from a 44-37 halftime deficit and won comfortably over Creighton by a 91-74 count.

See you all sometime next week.  And yes, my holiday shopping is almost done…thank you very much:).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Duke and Michigan State claim PK80 titles, while Notre Dame wins in Maui

Since there were so many games and tournaments to keep track of during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I felt like bringing back a feature that used to be a popular segment on the former Mike & Mike ESPN Radio show:

Stock Up, Stock Down

Duke and Michigan State–for winning the inaugural PK80 Victory and Motion Brackets on Sunday night in Portland, Oregon.  Phil Knight attended as many games as he could, but there were no swooshes to be seen on the team’s trophies (sad to say, but it was true).

St. Bonaventure, for winning at the Emerald Coast Classic defeating Maryland 63-61.  It was their first win against a Big Ten school since topping Michigan in 2002.

William & Mary, for winning on a last second three to upend Old Dominion 79-77 on Saturday.

Purdue for blowing out Arizona 89-64 in the Bahamas.

Notre Dame, for their impressive showing at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Hawaii.

Stock Down

Arizona, for losing three straight games in the Bahamas–they fell from the Number 2 ranked position in the weekly Associated Press poll to being unranked.

Alabama, what a battle on Facebook this past Saturday in Brooklyn.

A bit of background–

With 13:39 remaining on the second half clock at the Barclays Center, some rough play underneath the basket caused a bit of a scrum.  The entire Alabama bench joined in on the fight, which the rules clearly dictate that anyone who leaves the bench to join any fight is automatically ejected from the game.

Playing with only five players against Minnesota, the Crimson Tide outscored the Gophers 30-22.  To make matters even worse, one player eventually fouled out and another player had to leave due to suffering an injury.  The final score was Minnesota 89, Alabama 84.

The game can be replayed on Facebook’s Stadium page.

Texas, for blowing a lead late in their semifinal game at the PK80 Tournament against top ranked Duke.  Even with Grayson Allen and Mo Bamba fouling out, a 15-2 run in the final five minutes sealed their fate.

St. Mary’s, lost at Cal State Fullerton in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy Touranment to unranked Washington State 82-77 on Friday.

Wichita State, for blowing a lead against Notre Dame in the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Tournament.  The Shockers led 37-23 at halftime, but the Fighting Irish found a way to get back in the game and pull it out in the final minute 67-66.

No more Chaminade hosting their own tournament, will host at least every 2 years going forward

Great article on The Athletic website over the weekend detailing the Silver Swords from Chaminade.  Due to decreased interest and failing attendance each year at the Lahaina Civic Center, Chaminade will play next November at San Diego State and Arizona.  Some Chicago travel agency will be taking care of all the travel arrangements to and from the Pacific Ocean and back.

The 2018 Maui Jim Maui Tournament will feature schools like UConn, Gonzaga, and Illinois.  Next summer, I hope to detail the matchups for Turkey Week 2018.

In the meantime, the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge is currently going on and I hope to have a brief report late in the week.  Thank you so much reading and please have a good night.

Michael Porter, Jr. More Than Likely Out For Season

SPECIAL NOTE:  This blog is dedicated in memory of singer David Cassidy, who died in a Florida hospital at age 67 after a long illness.  Best known for leading the 1970’s ABC musical comedy series “The Partridge Family”, the group’s ten albums gained them a legion of fans with their catchy pop tune jingles.  Even after the group disbanded, David succeeded as a solo artist and even was a guest numerous times on the former Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio–a few years before suffering from dementia.

As the old adage goes, ‘Some people were left with a harp in heaven, but I am sure others gave out guitars instead.’

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Crushing blow for Missouri

Center/forward Michael Porter, Jr., chosen by some members of the media as Preseason All-American will be heading for major back surgery.  This news was according to ESPN, CBSSports.com, and other key media outlets on Tuesday.

Simply put, what a blow for the Missouri Tigers and their potential NCAA Tournament hopes.  ESPN.com still projects him as the Number 2 ranked prospect for next June’s NBA Draft.

What this means in terms of the college landscape is that their slot could be taken over by:  a) another team in a Power 5 conference, like Texas A&M or Minnesota, or b) if the resumes stack up among any available mid-majors, there could be a possible last minute addition to the 10 or 11 seed line.

But again, we will know a lot more with 110 days remaining until Selection Sunday.

See you all next week with my Maui and PK80 Tournament recaps.

Maui and PK80 Tournament Previews

 

Monday begins another fun week for ESPN.

“Feast Week” brings true tropical flair in our 50th State

At Lahaina Civic Center in Hawai’i will be four quarterfinal games:

The first pair of games are on ESPN2:

2:30 p.m. Marquette vs. VCU, Rams should be favored

4:30 p.m. Wichita State vs. California, Shockers have 5 guys averaging double figures led by Shaquille Morris averaging 17 ppg, shooting 13 of 18 from the field good for 72.2 percent and he has six blocked shots.

The other pair of games will be on ESPNU

9 p.m. Notre Dame vs. Chaminade, Fighting Irish led by Bonzie Colson.  Good sample size of averaging 20 ppg to go along with 11 rebounds per game and 9 blocks.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Michigan vs. LSU, could go either way but both schools moving on after losing key pieces to the NBA.

Late Tuesday are the semifinal games and Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2 will be the championship.

PK 80 brings 16 Team Style Bracket in Honor of Phil Knight’s 80th Birthday

The newest tournament begins on Turkey Day in Oregon with eight games:

2:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN  Portland vs. North Carolina

4:30 p.m. ESPN  Portland State vs. Duke

5 p.m. ESPN2  Arkansas vs. Oklahoma

7 p.m. ESPN2  Butler vs. Texas

9 p.m. ESPNU  UConn vs. Oregon

10 p.m.  ESPN2  Florida vs. Stanford

11:30 p.m. ESPN  Michigan State vs. DePaul

Midnight ESPN2  Ohio State vs. Gonzaga

The rest of the schedule for Friday’s Motion Bracket (the Thursday losers) and Victory Bracket, along with Sunday’s championship game can be found at this link:

http://pkinvitational.com/brackets

Please have a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend, everybody.

See you all this time next week with my review of both tournaments, along with my first edition of “Stock Up, Stock Down”.

 

Facebook to partner with Stadium in doing 47 live streaming games

The games will be from smaller conferences, echoes similar deals from college football and Major League Baseball

WatchESPN and Amazon have a new partner in the streaming game.

According to the website Awful Announcing, 47 games will be exclusively streamed on Facebook.  Schools like Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, VCU, Rhode Island, Nevada, and New Mexico State will be featured.

The games will be streamed at this page:

https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeBasketball/

The popular social media channel will also air three first-round games in the Mountain West Tournament, as well as two quarterfinal game in the Conference USA Tournament come early March.

There will also be a 30 minute studio weekly studio show airing on Wednesdays, which will preview the games and reviewing other key highlights and news in the sport.  First show is on November 29 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

For more information on which games will be airing, check out this press release:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb14923661.htm

and bookmark this site to see instant highlights and clips highlighting recent games:

https://watchstadium.com/

So Long, Greeny–At Least For A While

A few years into the ESPN Radio era when weekdays were added to the schedule, Tony Bruno commanded the mornings from 1995 to 1998.  He was a steady, but firm voice who properly put the key sports headlines from the night before into proper perspective.

In 1998, nine year NFL veteran Mike Golic entered the picture.  Late in 1999, Bruno accepted a job to begin a new era for Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.  Several rounds of auditions took place on the Bristol campus.  Several reporters and a wave of former athletes tried but were all rejected.

The person who ended up getting the job to wake up early in the mornings was an original Scorehead that helped launch WSCR (which was then heard only in the daylight hours at low power frequency 820 AM) “The Score” SportsRadio in Chicago.  A sports reporting stint on WGN sister cable news outlet CLTV (short for Chicagoland TV News) would soon follow.

Mike Greenberg would gain national prominence being one of the first anchors for the 24 hour ESPNEWS outlet in 1996.  A few years of doing weekend editions of SportsCenter would soon follow.  When the one-time Duel game show host on ABC who loves getting pedicures and going to the opera as much as women would be the right combination with Mike Golic, Mike & Mike In The Morning was born.

From January 2, 2000 to today–November 17, 2017, over three million devoted listeners (more if you count all of our devoted servicemen and women overseas) would make their show our morning routine to laugh, sometimes criticize, ponder, but most of all to have fun.

For Yours Truly Online, just hitting the one button to turn the radio on was all I needed to hear when Greeny would affectionately say shortly after 6 a.m. Eastern time,

“Gooooooooooooood Morning…We are back, and better than ever.”

We have had six months to brace for this moment to say good bye.  But it is not a good bye forever.  Greeny will still be employed by ESPN, and I am sure he will be keeping many fans of his books apprised when his fifth book (his first foray into fiction writing) will be something to watch later in 2018 or early 2019).

He is very active on Twitter as well, especially giving off his honest thoughts about his hometown team in the New York Jets.  So in a way, this will be a homecoming for him when he gears up to host the new ESPN weekday morning show simply called Get Up when it is tentatively scheduled to start sometime in the spring.  The primary reason, according to sites like Awful Announcing and Sports Media Watch cite the fact that there have been several construction delays at their new studio around Chelsea Piers, adjacent to the GMA studios at Disney sister cousin of ABC.

This much we do know–Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose will be leaving NBA Countdown and Beadle’s weekday gabfest of SportsNation to join Greeny as co-hosts.  More talent will soon follow, with a possibility of maybe having occasional appearances by GMA Meteorologist Ginger Zee (whom by that time will be coming off her second maternity leave) to give fans key weather details of major sports events nationwide.  The show will air weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m. Eastern, with simulcasts on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.  SportsCenter: AM will slide over to ESPN2.

As for the new era on the radio side, we won’t have to wait too long for the Trey and Mike era to begin.  The one-time page for David Letterman and longtime host of NFL Live will be the new full-time co-host starting on Monday, November 27, 2017.  Even more interesting is that fellow Notre Dame alum Mike Golic, Jr. will join his father during the first hour (keep in mind that Golic, Jr. appears with Robin Lundberg on the overnight talk show, First & Last–heard weekdays from 4 to 6 a.m. Eastern time).

Of course, the 2005 cartoon making fun of themselves called the Off Mikes was too cute to pass up.  But the annual March rite of downright craziness and idiocy climaxed during each of the NCAA Tournaments from 2000 to 2014.  The “Sheets of Integrity” were definitely strange episodes indeed, especially since Mike Golic would complain to Greeny many times about him winning his pool on five different brackets, where you are supposed to only fill out one.  The loser would be forced to do something very dumb, of which you can see the results for yourself on YouTube if you so desire.

The new era already has a few practice runs

Yes, I have heard Trey Wingo more than a handful of times when he was paired with Mike Golic, and it appears the show will be in very good hands going forward.  Once the football season ends, it will be interesting to hear their general thoughts on the 2018 Winter Olympics, followed by the NCAA Tournament, and the start of the baseball season which will be happening much earlier than in decades past–on Thursday, March 29, a full two days before Super Saturday at the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

But, if you want to hang on to the glory days going into and during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend…

There is hope for you after all.

Besides their uber popular podcasts, there are 2,430,000 YouTube clips for you to enjoy.

Plus, the guys talked about many things including why Mike Greenberg came up with the dumbest idea ever when the winning baseball league in the All Star Game during the years 2003 through 2016 earned Game 7 home field advantage in the World Series.

That and a short conversation with the wives, Stephanie Greenberg and Christine Golic appear in the April 2010 five disk CD set titled appropriately enough:

Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life

https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Mikes-Rules-Sports-Life/dp/1598597124

Believe me, you wouldn’t want to get the book–since the text is mostly written in yellow and green ink.  A little difficult to read, IMHO.

At least, I will end this special blog with one of their early slogans and how I will remember 18 great years:

“What makes them different makes them great.”

So long, Greeny.  It is time to get some much needed rest.

At least, it was a very, very classy move in the final moments at 9:53 a.m. Eastern time for both of the families to enter the set and share in the final seconds of over 17 1/2 incredible years.  Many past and present ESPN reporters took time to send their thoughts via Twitter, leading off with newly christened NBC Olympics prime time host Mike Tirico:

http://awfulannouncing.com/espn/mike-golic-greenberg-sign-off-espn.html

 

 

 

Big South Conference To Add Pair of Schools For 2018-2019 Season

Big South to Grow to 12 Team League

Following an ESPN.com report earlier in the week by South Carolina Upstate, Hampton on Thursday has decided to leave its’ long standing home in the MEAC and join the Big South Conference.

SC Upstate will leave the Atlantic Sun, which traditionally is the first conference to decide the slew of 32 automatic bids into the NCAA Tournament.

The Big South has two divisions, with the North comprising of longtime conference tournament champions in Campbell, along with High Point, Liberty, Longwood, and Radford.

The South has a few current powerhouses in Charleston Southern, along with Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville, Presbyterian, and Winthrop.

By the time we get to next October, I will hope to analyze Hampton and South Carolina Upstate and see how they both stack up in their new conference.