PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Tuesdays mean no lollygagging, goldbricking or hanging out in the alley. This is contest day, and we have a prize to give out: a real live stuffed Bally
. And in order to keep 99.9 percent of Hoops Nation from feeling sorry for itself, we have another contest on deck.Hello, Bally Tuesday
Last week at this time, we asked you to dig through the dusty books of college basketball history and find a mid-major school that had accomplished a feat that Loyola (Ill.) had done over 2008-09's first weekend: lose to a lower-division school and beat a defending power-conference tournament champion in the same season. A whopping 53 of you did just that, many opting to take the hedge clause (a school from this level that lost to a D-II and went on to the NCAA tournament). But we're proud to say that one man has stepped forward and won this thing outright.
We have to go back to the 1996-97 season to find a team that lost to a D-II and beat a tourney champion from the previous year. UNC Wilmington, a Colonial Athletic Association stalwart, opened its season with five straight losses
, including a disastrous three-game crash at the Top of the World tournament in Alaska. While there, they dropped a 55-54 decision to host school Alaska-Fairbanks on Nov. 24.
Once November turned to December, the team improved. On Dec. 21, the Seahawks destroyed the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, a team coming off an SEC championship and a run to the Final Four. The 71-54 won helped spur UNCW on to somewhat greater things, like a record over .500 (16-14), a 10-6 mark in the CAA, and a win over American at the tourney before James Madison ended the dream. That team would have been just another assigned to the scrap heap of history, if not for our winner this week.
Evan Dorey, congratulations. Please send in your mailing address via the form, use the same e-mail address you used before (to keep the pranksters out), and allow 4-6 days for delivery.
If that's not your name, don't lose hope. Because we've got another Bally to give away, and this time it's more of a conceptual contest that will be judged on style points, not accuracy. It's Thanksgiving week, after all, and you have enough to do.
A number of former Boubacar
fans have pointed out that a new star is rising in the east. His name is Drake U'u
, a 6-5 freshman on the Hartford Hawks. Besides having a virtually un-Googlable name, he's an All-American swimmer
with a movie star smile. I will not have lived until I hear Celtics legend and current Hawks broadcaster make a call of him making a two-point dunk shot. I really hope it's pronounced "Ooo! Ooo!" but I haven't had a chance to talk to Hartford sports information yet this year.
This site would still be nothing, with negligible traffic, if it didn't celebrate awesome names. I realize that. But I'm at a loss as to how to properly celebrate, enshrine and encapsulate the U'u sensation. Can you help me? Best answer gets you a new orange friend, contest ends on Black Friday, winner announced next Tuesday.Red Line UpsetsYale 53, at Oregon State 52
-- A lot of the fancy-boy snarky-talk on the internet is about how Oregon State is a "mid-major" now, seeing that the Beavers have lost three games to sub-Red Line teams in the first two weeks of the season. Sure, it's ha-ha funny for half-a-second, but at its root it's just as offensive as when Google serves "Gay Chubby Dating" ads to your website. Think about it -- it's silently equating the phrase "mid-major" with "sucks." And think about this: Oregon State's $54 million athletic budget is more than the combined total of the three schools it's lost to: Howard ($9m), Nevada ($19m) and Yale ($17m). Now that's
funny.They Came Closeat Ohio State 61, Bowling Green 57
-- We like
Bowling Green's chances in the MAC, it was apparent last year that all those juniors would come around to be fine seniors. Although they're 3-2 now, they nearly went 4-1 with a close loss at Value City Arena last night. Showing poise and determination, the Falcons erased a 13-point lead with 15 minutes left in the second half
by knocking down 3's and mid-range jumpers. They even outrebounded Ohio State, 36-32. Finally, though, it was bad shots down the stretch as well as Buckeye free throws sealed it. A little more assertiveness around the basket on the offensive end, and BG will be just fine by conference season.