Sunday, February 22, 2009

Playoff Possibilities

The Mount has put itself in a great position to earn at least two home playoff games in the NEC Tournament. All it has to do is win on the road at league leader Robert Morris to guarantee that. No easy task indeed.

If the Mount fails in that respect, it could end up in a tie for second with either Sacred Heart or Long Island or both. Both SHU and LIU have just six league losses, the Mount has five. So if the Mount takes care of business it wins the #2 seed. I don't think the #1 is a true possibility, although a tie with RMU is possible if the Colonials fall to St. Francis of PA on Thursday and then lose to the Mount Saturday afternoon. But I think the tiebreakers would goto RMU.

So looking at the possibility of a tie with the other two. Sacred Heart has just one more game, against SFNY on Thursday. Long Island plays at FDU and then St. Francis NY on Saturday. If either of those teams lose they can't tie the Mount, regardless of the Mount outcome at Corrapolis.

But let's say they end up in a three way tie. At that point they all have 2-2 records against each other and would move to the next tiebreaker. That is win % against Robert Morris. None of those teams has beaten RMU so, it would move down the standings. Quinnipiac is the current 5th place team. QU has two wins over LIU so LIU would be eliminated in the three-way playoff and be the fourth seed. SHU has split with Quinnipiac so that would give the Mount the #2 seed and place SHU third.

However, if Quinnipiac doesn't finish ahead of Central - and that is still a possibility as QU leads Central by just a game and they play on Saturday. Long Island is 1-0 against Central and Sacred Heart is 2-0 against Central. So that would conceivably place the Mount fourth, and SHU 2nd and Long Island 3rd.

So what happens if QU and Central end up tied - and there is a three-way tie ahead of them, you ask? Great question. Here goes how I think the answer would be reached. The Mount is 3-1 versus CCSU & QU, SHU is 3-1 versus CCSU and QU, and LIU is 1-2. So, LIU would be the fourth seed and the Mount and SHU would wrestle over the second seed by moving to the seventh place team which is currently St. Francis NY and both teams have swept the Terriers. Wagner is currently next in the pecking order and SHU would own that advantage as they are 1-0 versus the Seahawks this year.

So basically, the Mount can make things a lot easier on themselves by winning on Saturday. Although by my calculations a win by QU in either of its final two home games versus Wagner or Central should be enough. But don't hold me to it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Perfect Saturday Night

If you're a Mount fan, it doesn't get much better than it was on Saturday night. Not only did the Mount dominate St. Francis (PA) in a 93-63 win at the Knott, but the Mount celebrated 100 years of basketball before a near capacity house and announced its All-Century team.

In all there were 17 named to the team and it brought back tremendous memories from the time that I've been making the trip to Emmitsburg to watch the Mounties. I don't have the list, so I'm trying to go clearly on memory but let's see how many I can remember.

Three members of the team were unable to attend, Riley Inge, Steve Rossignoli and Bob Sutor were not at the Arena and were the first three introduced to the crowd.

Landy Thompson the long-range shooter was the first present player to be introduced and was followed by Gregory Harris, Kevin Booth, Sal Angelo, Durelle Lewis, Paul Edwards, Chris McGuthrie, Jim Rowe, Ed Pfeiffer, John O'Reilly, Lou Grillo, Mike Cataline, Fred Carter, Jack Sullivan and Coach Jim Phelan were all part of the team. I may have missed one player and if I did I apologize. Congratulations to all of those guys for all they did while at the Mount and for being recognized by the Mount fans as the All-Century team.

To the credit of the program there were some great players who didn't make the team and some tough choices if you took the time to vote.

As great as that team was they'd have had trouble with the current group of Mountaineers and the effort that they put forth on Saturday night. Right from the opening the Mount was crisp and sharp. They shot the ball very well (maybe the best they have all season) and looked extremely good and relaxed on the floor.

I don't know what happened in Staten Island on Thursday night. But this team tonight looked as good as I've seen it in a month and loooked as good as it has in a month in my estimation. Of course, making a few outside jump shots never hurt anyone. And playing a team that was 5-21 entering might have had something to do with it all. But tonight really seemed more about the Mount being good. And maybe Thursday night had more to do with Wagner playing improved basketball (they beat Robert Morris tonight) than I was willing to give it credit for on the surface.

Jeremy Goode was great tonight. He was over 20 points and had 8 or 9 assists.

Jean Cajou knocked down an early three and got fouled while making it and hit four threes in the first half and might have joined Goode over 20 points.

Kelly Beidler was strong once again and might have actually gotten close to 20 with a flurry of points in the second half. It seemed like he never missed tonight.

So a great effort by the big three for this team, and the inside trio of Sam and Shawn Atupem and Markus Mitchell also played well.

So what would have been a great night with just the introduction of the All-Century Team turned into something more with the phenomenal performance from this year's team.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another win....

ho hum. Or almost. The Mount won for the 12th time in its last 14 games, defeating St. Francis NY 68-57 at Knott Arena on Thursday night. If my calculation is correct the win and the Monmouth loss to LIU wraps up an NEC playoff berth.

It wasn't really as close as the final score indicated, yet the Terriers did give the Mount fits for most of the first half. But from about the five minute remaining mark of the first half, until the time the Mount started to take the air out of the basketball, the Mounties looked like a team that couldn't be beaten. I think the Mount led 67-47 at one point, but it might have just been 65-47.

Kelly Beidler again was sensational. I'm going to guess he finished with 19 points and a little more than a handful of rebounds. He really was very, very good again tonight, both inside and out. He's finishing better around the basket, and his dropstep dunk late in the game was one of those moves that we don't see a lot of at this level.

Jeremy Goode was well, Jeremy Goode. He gave exactly what we've come to expect in his now nearly three years at the Mount. He seemed very sharp passing the ball tonight and he consistently beat his defender off the dribble and got into the lane creating opportunities for himself and his teammates. He scored seven early points and I'm going to say his final line probably had him around 16 points and six assists and a few steals. A fine night.

Shawn Atupem had a strong game inside and Markus Mitchell made some nice plays as well.

There were stretches in this game where this team looked as sharp as it has been in the last two to three weeks.

Jean Cajou missed most of the first half with two fouls, but he knocked down some jumpers in the second half, which was a very good sight to see. I would think he probably ended up in double figures as well. He also had a big rim rattling dunk.

That ends the praises.

The foul shooting was outright atrocious. The worst effort I've seen in awhile. It doesn't matter in games like tonight. But if the Mount wants to get back to the NCAA tournament, it will need to do a better job at the line. By my count they were 14-of-29 from the charity stripe. That makes an 11-point a 20-point game and a close game a loss.

But even more concerning was the student section. There just wasn't anybody there. The crowd in general was nice, but the studen section was non-existent. There is just one more regular season home game and likely two playoff games. The crowd needs to be a factor in all of that and it needs to be led by the student section. The one lone rowdy Mountie deserves some credit, but he needs a few friends. He shouldn't be running around the Knott Arena trying to get 60-year old (or older) men to say MOUNT U - if a Mountaineer makes a free throw. That is what the student section is for, and they aren't doing their job.

Monmouth on Saturday night. It's Valentines Day. So I don't think I'll get to see it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sick of the whole ARod story

Actually the headline isn't right. The headline should read I'm sick of the whole steroids story. Now don't take what I'm about to say as me saying that it was ok for these guys to use performance enhancing drugs. Because I don't for a second think it was ok. But at the time that most of them were using, the league was essentially turning its head on the action.

And let's face the facts, drugs or not Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds, along with some of the others were great baseball players. They might be jerks. They might be bad people. But they were great baseball players with or without the substances. And since MLB was doing nothing at the time about it, I don't think you can turn around and punish these guys now.

So let's move forward. Let's punish the guys who cheat now. Let's admit that there was an era in baseball that all the numbers should have asteriks beside them. And if you want to say that Henry Aaron is still the home run king, I won't really argue with you. But when you say that let's remember that baseball wasn't doing anything to prohibit Bonds from cheating. Instead, in some ways it was almost encouraging it.

So let's quit going back in time and let's continue to move forward. Let's stop looking back. The system is in place now to make this a clean game. It wasn't in place at the time that all of this controversy was taking place. The issue has been addressed. Let's move forward and play the games, on the same level playing field.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reflections on a Sunday afternoon

The Mount got a win last night. Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler were both very good. They combined to score 40 points and were really the difference in the game.

I didn't see Thursday's game with Long Island, but I was still not overly impressed with the Mount and the way they are playing. Although I will say my two major area of concerns from last Saturday were addressed. The Mount passed well out of the double team in the low block and it did a much better job of handling and attacking the hedge on the ball screen screen up top.

The problem was the Mount wasn't making all the shots. I think they were generally getting shots that they wanted but they weren't making them. They will need to be better from outside down the stretch.

The one big positive from last night was Tayvon Jackson. In his first real extended playing time of the season, he played very well. He contributed seven points. This must have been a situation where Jackson was starting to show some things in practice that merited additional playing time and when given the opportunity he delivered. We'll watch to see if he can give the Mount a lift down the stretch.

The race for the regular season NEC championship is essentially over. Barring a mjor collapse (and we don't expect it) the Colonials of Robert Morris will win the title for the second year in a row. RMU has consistently gotten better as the season has worn on and has all but wrapped up the NEC home court in the postseason. The Mount is in good position to finish second and earn two postseason home games (if the seeds hold). The Mountaineers currently have a one game lead on Sacred Heart for that #2 seed.

Shifting gears to the Orange. They are clearly on the bubble. This stretch has been a nightmare and they just aren't producing.

I've seen enough of Eric Devendorf. Offensively he scores and gets his numbers. But his efficiency is lousy. He makes way too many poor decisions and ends up with the ball in his hands on the dribble way too much. He's killing this team right now, and the injuries to Onuaku and Rautins aren't helping.

I commend Doug Marrone for his first recruiting class at Syracuse. With so many early commitments, it is even tougher now to come in after the season and get quality guys. But Marrone seemed to do that. They weren't big star guys, but they were upside guys, who seemed to have interest from bigger name schools then the GRob era was producing. Let's hope this is the first step back.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mount on road to try to start new winning streak

Just two days after dropping its first game in nine starts, the Mount heads back out on the road to take on Fairleigh Dickinson in a Northeast Conference game. The game is scheduled to start in just a few minutes and I'll post updates as the game progresses.

7:09PM - The game has been delayed after the women's game which preceded it went overtime. FDU defeated the Mount 73-69 in that one.

7:22PM - The game is underway but FDU might not know it. The Mount has scored eight straight to start the game. Kelly Beidler with four early points for the Mount.

7:25PM - We're at the first media timeout and its 11-0 Mount. They seem to be shaking off the effects of the loss at LIU on Thursday night. Goode with five early and Beidler with four. But FDU is just bad right now. Not quite as bad as the broadcasting team, but close. Two other scores of interest from the NEC today. Robert Morris won at Central and Sacred Heart lit up LIU.

7:33PM - I'm gonna do my best not to rip on this broadcast team all night long. But it's going to be tough. Some classic lines already. Like "the cylinder is still on the rim" and "two hops from the three point line to the rim with no momentum = a travel". The Mount leads 17-9 as the Knights have started to get it going from the outside a bit. Tayvon Jackson logged a few early minutes for the Mount tonight. 10:15 to play.

7:41PM - 7:09 to play the Mount leads it 21-11. The Mount started very well, but has missed a lot of shots lately. They just had three shots on the last possession and couldn't get any to go.

7:45PM - Goode just found Tay Jackson with a pass inside and Jackson got the hoop and the harm - promptly completed the three-point play to make it 26-13 Mount. Just over five to play.

7:47PM - Tayvon Jackson just scored again on a putback and the Mount leads 30-16. We're are at the under four timeout in the first half. 3:47 to play. The Mount is in total control.

7:56PM - A 9-0 run from FDU made it a game again. The Mount leads 32-25 as either Markus Mitchell or Tayvon Jackson - I thought it was Mitchell but the stellar play-by-play combo called #34 ended the Mount drought with a stickback. The Mount hasn't shot really well - particularly in the latter stages of the first half, but did enough on the offensive glass to produce 32 points. Unofficial stats at the half have Goode with 9, Beidler with 8 and Jackson with 5 (maybe 7).

8:23PM - The second half is underway and the Mount has a 39-32 lead now. Jeremy Goode has started the half very quickly. He has six points after the break. A real good crowd on hand according to the FDU announcers. They estimate 3-400 there.

8:29PM - The Mount has opened up a little bit of a bigger lead here. The announcers just said 13. Goode and Beidler just sandwiched three-point j's around a Cajou bank shot forcing a Tom Green bank shot. The scoreboard on my broadcast says 39-32 at halftime. We know that isn't right. Not much about this broadcast is.

8:34PM - We're at the under 12 timeout in the game. The Mount leads 49-39. The Mount needs to put the game away in the next few minutes and take away any idea that FDU has of a comeback. Jeremy Goode has been playing superbly and he needs to get a few more shots.

8:40PM - Another timeout on the floor. The Mount still leads by 11. Kelly Beidler has played well for the Mount tonight. He's in double figures along with Goode. The Mount hasn't found a way to finish off FDU. But there is nothing about this game that makes you think the Knights have enough to rally with 7:53 left.

8:53PM - The Mount is up 13 at the under four timeout. They are going to get a win. But they haven't finished this as well as they might have liked. It's pretty much been the Goode and Beidler show. And FDU has drawn within nine as Babtiste scores two in a row.

8:58PM - One more shot at the announcers. The only Mount name they said all night was Goode. And for awhile they called him Gou-day. I've listened to a lot of demo tapes in my day, and these guys are the worst. The worst, I've ever heard. They have no play-by-play skill and the analysis is worse. The Mount leads by 10 with about 1 minute and a half left.

9:06PM - This game will never end. The Mount still holds a comfortable lead. It's nine. Big games from Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler. And the Mount is going to get what they needed tonight. And that is a win. But it wasn't really pretty by any measure.

9:13PM - It is finally over. The Mount wins 75-68. Still some work to do. I'm going to say Goode and Beidler each went over 20 - and Jean Cajou was in double figures as he knocked down some free throws down the stretch. Tayvon Jackson gave the Mount some key minutes off the bench and he finished with at least seven maybe nine.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Vann drafted fifth

Congratulations to Chris Vann.

The former Mountie, who we know has been aching to play more hoops, was selected fifth in the ethnic draft of the Korean Basketball League yesterday. He was selected by the KTF Magic-Wings, who call Busan, South Korea home.

Vann finished second on the Mount in scoring on last year's NEC championship team.

We wish Vann well and hope to keep tabs on his professional career here at the FanBlog. We know he'll be raining down jumpers on the KBL soon.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Watching the Halftime Show

I'm thinking the Mount must have won again....after that rendition of Glory Days

I'm also pretty sure that the Cardinals won't recover from that Harrison return. They took the Steelers flurry early and seemed to get back in the game. But they had two chances to get points in the final six minutes of the first half....after the Breaston punt return and after the interception. And not only didn't they score, they gave up seven. It doesn't bode well.

If this is ruled in a can start talking about whether the Steelers have any chance to repeat. The game might not really be in doubt either way. But if this is a fumble it's over.

Ok, so there is still a little bit of life left for the Cards. But they need to stop the Steelers quickly and get the ball back. The game is probably a little closer than the scoreboard indicates, but Arizona needs to get back into it quickly. I think this defensive possession will tell us whether or not the game is still a game.

Mount O'Links

The Big Game is almost here

Not a System

State of the Other 22

Catching up with the Blackbirds

Here is everything I've found on Long Island recently....

A loss at the buzzer to Bryant