Showing posts with label Coppin State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coppin State. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On to Raleigh

Talked to so many great Mount fans last night after the win. What a great win it was.

I still hold onto the belief that the Play-In game should be eliminated or at least modified. Two teams that win their conference tournaments shouldn't have to do anything more to get in the main bracket. But when you win, you like it a little more.

Jeremy Goode continues to impress me. He just does things that makes everyone better. Clearly he was the best player on the floor. He deserves the homecoming and the right to play against his childhood team, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Great defensive adjustment by the Mount staff at halftime. To jump the ball up top off the screen was huge and made a big impact.

Never felt more comfortable down one at the half than I did last night. I figured Coppin wouldn't continue to play so well, wouldn't make as many shots in the second half and the score would end up close to my projected 73-61. At 69-60, I didn't miss the mark by much.

Kelly Beidler was an animal on the glass. It's easier to rebound wearing one of those big numbers. Tough to remember a kid that size with that much athletic ability wearing the dark blue and white.

Although Shawn Atupem is a little bigger and pretty athletic. That dunk was a "One Shining Moment" type dunk.

The Mount got open looks and didn't make them. First time that has happened in awhile. Big three though by Will Holland to start the second half which really set the stage for what was to come.

Heard a lot of complaints about the announcing crew. Well none about Erin Andrews. But a lot about Musberger and Lavin, because they really didn't know there was a game going on. But my thought on this was simple. They said Jim Phelan should be in the Hall of Fame. So I excuse them for everything else. We all know he should be, but it means a lot more when Lavin and Musberger say it than when I say it.

Andrews by the way is hot. She's like a 9.5 out of 10. Then she opens her mouth starts talking about sports and you realize she's a 12.

Big time announcers in Raleigh as well. Jim Nantz and Billy Packer with the call. I still haven't heard from the fine folks at the Harrisburg CBS affiliate. But they may force me to watch the game elsewhere.

Good to see Chris Vann have a great night. And a fine piece by Kyle Whelliston over at about Vann and his friendship with Dustin Bauer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Jim Phelan

On the eve of the Old Coach's birthday, Mt. St. Mary's advanced to the first round of the NCAA tournament with an opening round 69-60 win over Coppin State.

The Mount won for the first time in the NCAA Division I Tournament, and for the first time this season when trailing at the half. The Mount erased a 34-33 deficit with a quick 6-0 burst out of the gates in the second half and will play #1 North Carolina on March 21st in Raleigh.

Jeremy Goode was the best player on the floor and led the Mount with 21 points and 5 assists. Fellow sophomore Kelly Beidler was a monster on the boards and finished with 15 caroms. The senior Chris Vann had a solid night with 13 points, and freshman Shawn Atupem finished with 10, including a ferocious dunk on the rebound of a missed shot.

It's late, I've got to get to bed. But a great win for all Mountaineers tonight. Now it's on to Raleigh and a chance to dance with Cinderella.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hoppin for Coppin

It might not make sense that the Mount is in the play-in. But that is where they are. And as Milan Brown has said, the Mount just wants to keep playing. So now the Mount must buckle down and take on Coppin State from Dayton Ohio.

Who plays?: MEAC champion Coppin State (#16) takes on Northeast Champion Mt. St. Mary's (#16)

What's at Stake: The winner knows that #1 North Carolina and a trip to Raleigh awaits. So the reality is that the Cinderella story continues for a few more days after this game. But getting into the full bracket will serve as motivation. Plus both teams want to validate their conference tournament championships. The Mount also has the chance to show that the RPI strength of the NEC, at 23 - its highest rating in quite some time, was warranted.

When is tipoff: Tuesday night at 7:37 precisely.

Where are the proceedings: Truly they ought to be playing this downtown at the Baltimore Arena. With two schools only 40 miles or so apart it would make sense to play it somewhere closer to home. But the game was scheduled long ago for the Dayton Arena on the campus of the University of Dayton. If you can't catch a flight out of BWI, try ESPN, they'll have the broadcast. And if there is one reason you want to be in the play-in, well it's Erin Andrews and she is in the house for the game. Some guys named Musberger and Lavin will provide the play-by-play and color commentary.

How did we get here: Both teams had great finishes to the season. The Mount turned a mediocre season into a fantastic February and March. After a home loss to Sacred Heart, the Mount changed its offensive philosophy and started scoring some points. It worked the Mount got hot and has won 8 of its last 9, including three straight in the NEC tournament. The Mount beat Quinnipiac, regular season Robert Morris and Sacred Heart for the title. Coppin State had won just two games against Division I opponents before the shortest month of the year. But the Eagles also got hot at the right time. It has won 13 of 14 games, including four straight in the MEAC tourney to land here. Coppin beat Morgan State at the buzzer to win the crown.

The Analysis: The Mount has beaten better teams than Coppin State this year, but the Eagles have played more real good teams. The Mount has been listed as a touchdown favorite.

Advantages for Coppin State: The Eagles haven't had to sit very long since winning the MEAC title on Saturday night in Raleigh. So the momentum is there for the Eagles. Plus they are hotter than the aforementioned Erin Andrews right now. Although these schools haven't played since both went to Division I in the 80's the fact that they are close together gives them familiarty. Plus we know Fang Mitchell knows how to get his team ready for tournament games. He won an NCAA game as a #15 seed a few years ago over South Carolina.

Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: The uptempo style offense has made the Mount more efficient. Since turning Jeremy Goode loose the Mount has scored more than a point a possession. Even in the NEC final when the offense looked spotty, they produced. The key has been the balance and the fact that there is not a reliance on a small group of players. All eight players who saw time in the NEC tournament have contributed. The shooting streak of Jean Cajou has been simply amazing, and Kelly Beidler scored 15 in each of the NEC games. But the team has gotten solid contributions from the Atupem brothers, Chris Vann, Markus Mitchell and Will Holland as well. The Mount has shown a resiliency to win when they are not at their best and fight off opponents in clutch time.

What to Expect: Both teams are happy to be here. Two months ago, you could have never predicted this. There won't be too many games on Thursday or Friday where you'll see two teams with a combined 20 wins in their last 12 games. Both of these teams are playing at their best right now. I expect that the Mount will be able to force the tempo and get Coppin State to play its game. If that happens, I think the Mount will eventually wear the Eagles down. It might take awhile, but I think that eventually the Mount pulls away for a win down the stretch. I think the senior Chris Vann is going to make a key three-pointer at some point that is going to ignite a rally, and I think a double figure night for Sam Atupem could be in the forecast. Ultimately, I see the Mount winning 73-61.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's Official: Mount is headed to Dayton

Mount St. Mary's will play Coppin State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night at Dayton Arena in Dayton Ohio. The winner will play a #1 seed to be announced during the 6 o'clock hour.

The two schools are seperated by only about 48 miles, but by my recollection haven't played since they were both Division II schools in the late 1980's. Both teams ended the seasons on hot streaks, Coppin won 12 of 13 to rebound from a 4-19 start. The Mount won 8 of its last 9 to win the NEC berth.

The committee chose to place the Mount in the play-in game despite an RPI ranking of 157 compared to Mississippi Valley 243. The Delta Devils are 15-15, the Mount is 18-14. MVSU's schedule was ranked 315, the Mount's 204.

Other possibilities for the play-in game would have been Texas-Arlington, which finished 7th in the Southland Conference before winning the conference tournament and had an RPI of 144.

Coppin State in Play-In

The first half of the Tuesday night opening round game is known. The committee has selected Coppin State as one of the two participants. The Committee chairman said they are awaiting the result of the Southland championship before announcing the other participant. I think this was there last ditch effort to keep two Historically Black Schools out of the Play-In. But it appears that Texas-Arlington will win the Southland - although NW State has cut it to two. I think if NW State wins, they play in the Tuesday night game. If not then Mississippi Valley State does. However, it would still be possible for the Mount to be the second team in that game.