PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Less than a month into this, and the whole Boubacar concept is taking hold. I'm getting tons of e-mails describing players, plays, teams and performances as "Boubacar-worthy," "Boubacar material," "Boub-tastic." One even used the term -- I kid you not -- "Boubalicious." Surely, in mid-major arenas all over Hoops Nation, this scene is playing out.
"He's good, man... he's good," one fan says to another as the crowd, as one, rises to its feet. Following a monstrous, rim-rocking dunk by a star player, the teams go back down the floor the other way.
"He's going to be Lord King Boubacar someday," says the other, clad in a similar t-shirt that features the coach's last name followed by a plural noun that starts with his second initial. "Just you watch." Double overtime.
The Top 25-based media might have moved on from the Gardner-Webb story, but we haven't. The Runnin' Bulldogs hosted a barnburner last night
, as the visiting Radford Highlanders needed 50 long minutes to overcome the Kentucky-killers 100-97
. Gardner-Webb is now 5-5. And it may well have been Free Taco Night had G-Webb scored three more points, since Taco Bell is one of the few restaurants that exist in that remote area.
Radford's in its first year of the Brad Greenberg era (he's Seth's older brother), and have three wins already against six losses. Considering that the Big South school had eight wins in total last season, that's not bad. And you can't "break up the Highlanders," because this is college. True believers.
After a slow Monday night of hoops and a six-state road trip, it's time to relax. We'll occasionally turn the Boubacar stage over to loyal Viewers Like You, especially the ones who submit the types of essay responses that we love here at The Mid-Majority. Jason M. is true, honest and real basketball fan, and he checked in late last week before heading to a game that most outlets would consider too small-time to even mention.
With the end of the preseason Tournaments that are covered by ESPN, I must say good-bye to most any chance of seeing televised Mid-major games, until the Bracketbusters are televised. Not quite ready to suffer the forced diet of Duke, UCLA, and North Carolina, my wife and I decided a little trip is in store. Looking at available days that we could pull this off, and general limitation of trip length, it was decided that a 1 1/2 hour trip south to DeKalb was in order on Saturday Dec 1st. The scheduled attraction is the Cardinals of Lamar University visiting the home Huskies of Northern Illinois.
I see on paper that this doesn't scream of marquee match up material, with NIU being 0-6 and Lamar a impressive 1-3. That matters not to us, we are looking forward to hitting the road, and taking in a new venue with college basketball played on the purest level, just for the love of the game. Good basketball is the best to watch.
In years past we would head to the Bradley Center to watch a Friday evening doubleheader in the opening round of a little tournament that Marquette hosts. The early game was always the one without Marquette and the stands were less then full. I would always find it the more enjoyable of the games sitting in a quiet BC, and getting to actually listen what was being coached to the kids, and other sounds that you just can't pick up with a crowd of 10,000 fans. Give me a Kent St, vs. Binghamton in the Bradley Center with a crowd of 200 family and fans, any day. Seeing Kent State a few years ago introduced me to one of my favorite collegiate players in Kevin Warzynski and his "fro to die for." You might remember it if you've ever seen it.
I do! And NIU did win that game, 65-63
to earn its first win under new head coach Ricardo Patton. It was tight throughout, and both teams had a double-doubler. Jason and his wife paid 3 bucks for parking, under $20 for tickets, and 12 clams for cheeseburgers and cokes. Awesome college basketball: priceless.
One of the things I've never understood is people who will walk out on a power-conference blowout they paid $50 to see, but who won't attend a virtually free game with two evenly matched teams that goes down to the wire. More fans of perceived importance than basketball, I guess. The Upset Club.
When mid-major schools go up against power-conference opponents, bad things usually happen. Over the past two-plus seasons, these matchups only result in upsets 12 percent of the time, so they're very special. I always feel that little jolt of energy whenever I look at my phone and see that Centenary has beaten Texas Tech, or that Louisiana-Monroe has topped Iowa.
Now, you can have that little jolt too. Today we debut The Upset Club, a special e-mailing list that you yourself can join. Put your e-mail address in the box below, and within three minutes of the final buzzer of any upset around Hoops Nation, you'll get beeped with the score and a link to the boxscore-once-available (over at presenting sponsor Basketball State, of course). For our purposes, as always, an "upset" is any victory for a sub-Atlantic 14 team over a school from the six power conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10, SEC and ACC) or the two money conferences (MWC and C-USA). Gonzaga is a major program, even though we love them, and A-14 results are not included.
If you're sick of Upset Club membership (or if you're just Billy Packer after you've been added to the mailing list by some smart-ass George Mason student), you can come back to this form, enter your subscribed address with the "remove" button clicked, and you're out. Gone, baby, gone. There's a link to the removal form in every Upset Alert e-mail that goes out, and I don't have time to spam you. Seriously, I don't. I work for four different outlets.
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