OMAHA -- It's been half a forever since we gave away a Bally
. It's mostly due to a backorder situation, something that will be rectified when we head home for a couple of days next week. There are two people out there still waiting on their orange globular friends, and those will be forthcoming. Sorry for the delay on that.
I've talked before about the growing poet-geek imbalance
among the readership, but this will be the most emphatic statement on the subject to date: for the rest of Season 5, there will be no more statistical or research-related questions. A balanced brain is a happy brain, and we're going to be spending the next two months on the right side. The bad news is that you just lost an excuse to spend three hours at work hunting down obscure facts on Basketball State
. The good news is that your chances of winning a Bally just shot up, because art contests draw about one-twentieth the entries that the text-based ones do.
So anyway, this one's all about the kids. Bally loves all children
, and vice-versa. And the children are the future, or whatever. So we want to get this next Bally into the hands of a deserving child. That's why we're holding the First Annual Bally Refrigerator Art Contest
, a chance for your precious boy or girl to draw him and win him. Crayons, pencils, Etch-a-Sketch, those magic water pens that you can buy on TV... anything goes. Take a picture of the final artwork (bonus points for putting it on a refrigerator), and send it to bally @t midmajority dot com
. Deadline Friday, winner announced Tuesday.
And of course, there's no possible way
for us to check the actual age of the artist. This is all on the honor system, wink wink.Conference CallsMEAC: It's a simple equation we've mentioned a lot before, but with all the guarantee games this league plays during the first two months, it's extremely difficult to get to double digits in wins by the end of January. And in this reality, winning overall records are major accomplishments. That's why it's great to see the MEAC with three squads sitting at .500 or better. Bethune-Cookman, a school with only one .500 record in 30 years, is 5-2 (11-9 overall) after a 58-55 win at Maryland-Eastern Shore sealed with late heroics. Hampton is also 5-2 (10-9 overall) after gutting out a five-point victory at Morgan State's Hill Field House despite 30 percent shooting; those MSU Bears (10-10), picked to win the league easily, fall back into the first-place tie. The fourth member of that first-place club is Norfolk State, still well underwater but winners of four straight. The Spartans emphatically took care of business at newest league member Winston-Salem State.
SWAC: In contrast to the league's black college brethren to the east, the SWAC has just one team above .500 overall, and nine that have already lost at least 10 games. The regular season champion and previously league-undefeated Alabama State Hornets (6-1, 9-8 overall) took their first league L of the campaign last night, losing at home 79-74 to lowly Alcorn State (2-6) in the Joe Reed Acadome. The Braves overcame a career night by 7-1 NOB-Buster Chief Kickingstallionsims (24 points on 11-for-12 shooting) to win their fourth of the last five in the head-to-head series -- some teams just have your number. Prairie View, which had been soaring with a 5-0 SWAC start, was swept on its weekend road trip; Arkansas-Pine Bluff won by five at home to pull into a second-place tie at 5-2. The other 5-2 team is Jackson State.
Ohio Valley: Remember Jacksonville State, which jumped out to an 8-3 record on the strength of great 3-point shooting in James Green's first year as Gamecock head coach? Umm... the team's lost six straight to land at 2-7 in the league, and are sharing basement space with 0-10 Southeast Missouri, which has to be one of the most devastated and gutted programs in the country. Both are chum in a hot league race, with champions Austin Peay leading the way at 8-1 (the Govs beat Jax State 86-80 on Saturday). Morehead State is 7-2, and here comes Tennessee-Martin... the Skyhawks have won six straight to roar back to 7-3, and beat Eastern Illinois on Saturday by 14. Lester Hudson had 29 to uptick his scoring average (27.3 ppg), and is two points behind Stephen Curry in the national race.
The Badlands Conference is eyeing South Dakota. The Coyotes were originally tabbed to join the Great West, which may or may not be aiming to claim an NCAA big by the year 2020.
And we'll be going more in-depth with your cards and letters here a little later, but many of you expressed desire to keep the weekly chat going -- I guess I'm not the only one with withdrawal symptoms. I've finally figured things out on the technical side, and we're moving ahead with plans to bring the Mid-Major Power Hour (With Shazam) home to TMM. Come by Friday at 12 noon EST for further instructions.
U'useless Stat of the Day
Longtime readers know about my love for UC Irvine, and how the Anteaters were a gateway drug to a larger mid-major obsession. Because it's a fine and technology-forward kind of school, UCI was one of the first schools to stream its basketball game broadcasts online -- this was a decade ago, back when state of the art on the Internet was the Button That Doesn't Do Anything. Anyway, I like to occasionally catch up with the 'Eaters, and tuned in on Saturday night.
UCI isn't having a very good season -- they're 6-13 (3-3 Big West), and can't rebound or get stops. Saturday, they were severely thwacked by Cal State Northridge, but one of the Matadors' performances pricked my ears up. Tremaine Townsend, a former MMBOW and a great juco-transfer success story, scored just four points on 2-for-9 shooting, but hauled down 15 rebounds. Since it's much easier to pile up numbers with layups (they give you two points for those) than boards, it was time to get U'useless.
Occurrences in which a player gets 10 more rebounds than points are rather rare. In 66,797 logged performances over the 2008-09 season so far, it's happened just 31 times. It's not something that happens more during the crazy nonconference season (14 times vs. 17 times in league play), but it seems to require a certain kind of horrible shooting performance. Fourteen of these statlines involve an oh-fer from the floor, like Ben Botts' 0-for-10, zero point, 10-rebound night for IUPU-Fort Wayne against Centenary in the Badlands Conference on Jan. 10. And check out this 20-rebound, nine-point performance by Mercer's Daniel Emerson against A-Sun rival Campbell. He actually shot 3-for-7, which isn't bad. He just was more effective on the other end getting his Hulk on.
But my favorite of these has to be that of Gardner-Webb's Joshua Henley, who had 21 rebounds and two points in a glorified Dec. 20 exhibition against Ferrum. He had one shot that night, and made it.