As many of you have already read, the details for Season 9 were released Wednesday afternoon. I was waiting in anticipation, like I'm sure others were to see what was in store for the Mid-Majority next year. "We Are, Together" could have meant many different things, but I could not wrap my mind around what changes may occur. I kept checking the site through the morning, but it wasn't until shortly after I got back from lunch when the preview was released. After reading the info, a ton of questions started to form in my head. I tend to over-analyze and worry about things unnecessarily, which probably provided me more stress than I needed, but I was still doing it in this case.
"What's a team leader?" "Can the leaders write about games too?" "Do I have $100?" "Do I have to pay to be able to write?" "If I'm able to be a writer, will anybody pick me to be on their team? Will it be like grade school dodgeball all over again?" "What number do I want on my shirt?" "I want the number to be of the total games I've been to, will that number be taken?" "Will there be memberships left?"
Then the thought of "why do I even worry so much about something that is 9 months away" came across my mind. There is plenty of time to figure things out between now and then. The questions in my head did take up a huge chunk of the rest of the day though. It even made the drive up to Wilmington go that much quicker. Here I was contemplating TMM9 while we're only a little over halfway into TMM8, and I still had a game to go to.
Coming off their last defeat, the UNCW Seahawks had issues they were probably worrying about too. You knew it would happen eventually, but no one wanted to be the team that was going to give Towson its streak-breaking win. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they were "That Team" when they went up to Maryland on Saturday and gave the Tigers their first win in 41 tries. And the bigger picture problem for UNCW was that they had lost 6 of 7 and were on the verge of falling apart altogether.
Georgia St was in a slump of their own, as they once had an 11-game winning streak and the look of a surprise contender in the CAA, but losing four out of five recently had dropped them back to the middle of the pack.
I could tell right away that the fans were still peeved with the Seahawks after the embarrassing loss to Towson. The crowd at Trask Coliseum was sparser than usual and the student section is diminishing for every game. I could also overhear people questioning what was wrong with the team and how something like that could happen. The pressure was on for UNCW to make a statement against the Panthers, and prove that they were still a team worth getting behind.
In the early going, Wilmington did respond with a sense of urgency. It benefited them on the defensive side of the ball as they were making stops and forcing GSU into mistakes. But iy became a hindrance on offense, as they seemed too amped-up and were forcing shots. I could only think it became demoralizing for UNCW that they were playing well, but there was nothing to show for it. That's when GSU started to take over, with two big first-half runs. First it was a 10-0 run that got them the lead; Wilmington came back to tie, but a 15-0 run dispirited the team and the fans.
The home fans had nothing to cheer about until a promotion during a media timeout. It was your basic make a layup, free throw, and 3-pointer and win the prize. An older guy in blue jean overalls and a teal shirt was able to make all three, including the 3-pointer at the buzzer, which of course led to the "maybe they should suit this guy up... har har har" comments from the crowd.
While Farmer John was well past his eligibility, I don't think he or Brett Blizzard would have helped on this evening. Georgia State maintained its lead and while UNCW would make small runs of 4 or 6, there would always be a response from the Panthers. The defense that had been so good for the Seahawks in the first 10 minutes disappeared for the rest of the game, as GSU was getting uncontested layups and dunks. On the rare occasion GSU did miss, Eric Buckner was there to clean things up, especially in the second half when he had five offensive boards and 16 points.
Georgia State pulled out of their recent funk and dominated most of the game to get a 68-53 win. The loss for UNCW was pretty bad, as they have lost some at home of late but mostly kept the games close. Freshman scorer Adam Smith has hit the wall and isn't pouring in points like earlier in the season, and the overworked Keith Rendleman can't do everything on his own. It's troubling that the Seahawks have so many questions to be answered this late in the season.
If only the answers were as easy as the questions I had in my head when I left the arena: "When can I get enough cash to get that awesome Mid-Majority foam finger?" and "I wonder if they'll take that McDermott kid #1 in the 'sixth man draft'?"
GEORGIA STATE 68, at NORTH CAROLINA-WILMINGTON 53 02/01/2012
GEORGIA STATE 15-8 (7-5) -- J. Ali 6-11 2-4 16; E. Buckner 8-11 1-4 17; D. White 2-10 0-2 5; J. Fields 3-6 1-1 7; J. Micheaux 3-6 2-2 8; R. Richardson 4-10 0-0 10; T. Kimbro Jr. 1-5 1-2 4; B. McGee 0-0 0-2 0; J. Vincent 0-0 1-4 1; J. Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 8-21 68. NORTH CAROLINA-WILMINGTON 8-14 (4-8) -- K. Rendleman 5-10 2-5 12; F. Jackson 2-6 0-1 4; D. Morales 5-12 3-3 14; A. Smith 4-15 0-2 9; M. Wilson 3-3 0-1 6; K. Simmons 2-6 0-1 4; C. Williams 1-1 0-0 2; T. Milson 0-1 0-0 0; T. Deloach 0-0 0-0 0; N. Anderson 1-1 0-0 2; C. Chambers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 5-13 53.
Three-point goals: GSU 6-15 (J. Ali 2-3; J. Fields 0-1; J. Micheaux 0-1; R. Richardson 2-6; D. White 1-2; T. Kimbro Jr. 1-2), UNCW 2-10 (T. Milson 0-1; D. Morales 1-3; K. Simmons 0-2; A. Smith 1-4); Rebounds: GSU 38 (E. Buckner 9), UNCW 36 (K. Rendleman 13); Assists: GSU 13 (D. White 6), UNCW 15 (F. Jackson 5); Total Fouls -- GSU 14, UNCW 16; Fouled Out: GSU-None; UNCW-None.