COLUMBUS, Oh. -- Daily roundups
have been a Mid-Majority staple over the past three-plus years. They were known as "Daily Dribblings" during the first season, weren't given titles in Year Two -- an open pander to the surrealist Samuel Beckett fans who make up a good portion of my audience. Finally, daily posts were renamed "The Daily Paragraph" in 2006-07, which was right around when longtime "Daily Word" writer Andy Katz stopped returning my calls.
So it's been a turbulent history, which has provided a lot of pressure during my search for a Year Four concept. I needed something that I could handle five days a week, something that would stretch to fit all the eventualities of a college basketball season -- from big upsets to 45-point performances to humdrum conference Tuesdays to bad press-room food. But most of all, most importantly of all, I needed a gimmick
I thought about this a lot last week. A lot of that thinking happened Wednesday evening, in front of a television that was showing a Morgan State-Connecticut game. Over and over, the answer was right there in front of me, like a chanted mantra.Boubacar. Boubacar. Boubacar.Boubacar Coly
is a 6-9 forward in a league that doesn't have too many of those (the MEAC). He was brought into the Morgan State program last year when Todd Bozeman took over. He's been a solid contributor, averaging around eight a game last year. He scored a dozen in that UConn game on six field goals. He's a bit of a mid-major journeyman, playing at Xavier but battling a knee injury that kept him out longer than his studies lasted -- he joined the Bears as a junior transfer and a degree-holder. So that, in basketball terms, what a Boubacar is.
But for our purposes, "Boubacar" is a.) fun to say, b.) cool and exotic-sounding (Mr. Coly is from Ziguinchor, Senegal), c.) sounds like an award anyway (shares four letters with Oscar™), and c.) gives the vague impression of open-ended freedom. Indeed, daily roundups this year will be a loose index of what's happening in the mid-major world, presented in stock-market form instead of the strict riddles of bullet-points. My goal is that fans of mid-major schools will start using the Boubacar in everyday speech: "Did you see we were on the Boubacar today?" "That was definitely a Boubacar-worthy performance!" "Boubacar, baby! Nothing but Boubacar!" See, it is
fun to say.
And, like, the internet itself, it's going to be an interactive exercise. Starting tomorrow, when I get the form up and working, you'll be able to make your own nominations for the Boubacar. If you have one for today that just can't wait, you can use the feedback link on the front page -- remember to include four things: your name, your nomination, a brief supporting paragraph, and a directional signal (up, down or across).The Atlantic STUN.
What can we say? Coming on the heels of the Gardner-Webbageddon
in Kentucky last week, Belmont won at Cincinnati 86-75 and Mercer never trailed at USC in a 96-81 shocker
that featured 59 percent Bear shooting. For all the O.J. Mayo talk, don't forget about James Florence, the Mercer sophomore coming off a ROY season. Florence had a very similar scoreline to Mayo's -- 30 points against the much-hyped freshman's 32. The league now has a 6-7 nonconference record, not bad for a league that went 29-69 (.296) against other conferences last season.The Houston Baptist cheerleaders.
Speaking of the ex-TAAC, HBU made its return to Division I this weekend after nearly two decades in the NAIA. Old-timer mid-major fans (and Basketball Times
readers) will remember the Huskies squads of the mid-Eighties, which led the world in FG% and FG% defense and broke through to the 1984 NCAA Tournament as the Trans-America Athletic Conference's representative. Over the past three days, teams from Pitt, Saint Louis and North Carolina A&T have taken their turns on them at the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Pittsburgh, and Houston Baptist is 0-3.
D-I life is already taking a toll on head coach Ron Cottrell, who was tossed on Sunday for two quick techs once A&T had built a 20-4 lead. His two daughters, however, kept up the Husky faith for all 120 minutes of action. As the only two HBU fans in the 12,000-seat Petersen Center, they yelled their lungs out, cheered on players by name, and stomped on the metal bleachers behind the Husky bench to distract enemy free-throw shooters, 110 feet away.Thomas Coleman, North Carolina A&T.
MEAC fans know about A&T's six seniors and their great chances to recapture their Eighties NCAA glory. But yesterday against HBU, Aggies head coach unleashed his secret freshman weapon. The 6-9 Coleman (who has a similar body to Boubacar Coly, incidentally) was picked out of the Louisville area by former Cardinal hero Eaves. In his first featured role, he went 7-for-9 and showed excellent agility and bounciness. He can run the floor but still looks iffy handling things in transition, but he showed that he could go on to dominate against the many size-challenged teams in the league in Eaves' quick-moving set offense.Chipotle mayo.
Saint Bonaventure at Boston University was my first game of the season last Friday, and BU showed why it's being picked by some to win the America East (I still like Binghamton), easily handling the A-14 Bonnies in a 68-57 win
that stopped being close early in the second half. All this despite having lost co-captain Tyler Morris to a tibial stress fracture, an injury that will keep him out until at least mid-December. But even worse than Saint Bonaventure's general play was the oily mess on the press room sandwiches that were supplied by a local catering company.
I know anything with "chipotle" is hep nowadays, but there's such thing as going too far for trend's sake. There's the good kind of tangy (a word I could use to describe BU's defense), and there's tangy that rhymes with "mangy." Less effective, in my opinion, than O.J. Mayo.