PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- It had to come to an end eventually, these two weeks of sitting at home, watching basketball, cooking dinner for the Official Wife and digging out the driveway. This weekend, I go out on the road again for a seven-day, eight-game trip through Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
But if you're still stuck at home, there are some great basketball games featuring mid-majors on the tube tomorrow (overall sked is here
). If you're one of the 176 U.S. households that get ESPNU, you can watch Drexel and Temple
tomorrow at 12 noon ET, followed later by Southern Illinois at Saint Louis
, a game that might end up 41-25. Full Court purchasers get Mississippi State and South Alabama
, a neutral-court game that Team USA has a shot at winning. If you're stuck with the Deuce, Ohio's at Kansas.
If the Bobcats are hitting their 3's, that could be interesting. Kenny George, North Carolina-Asheville.
It was a light night across Hoops Nation, again. But there were a very strong performance turned in by Campbell super-soph Jonathan Rodriguez
. 34 points, 15 rebounds, 14-for-19 shooting. You can be forgiven if you didn't notice, what with that 7-6, 360-lb. dude running around.
UNC-Asheville earned a nonconference season sweep of Campbell with a 79-76
win, and as in many of the Bulldogs' wins so far, Kenny George
stole the show. He had 12 rebounds last night, matching the dozen he had in his 20-point, 12-board, 10-block big-boy triple-double
against CU last month. That earned him (co)-player of the week honors from the Big South
, and lots of love from in-yo-face aficionados everywhere. So he gets the up arrow, because you have to look up to see him. How's the weather up there? LOLOLOLOL
'Cause let's face it: people love watching really tall dudes play basketball. It's just one of those things. Oakland.
Would normally give them the up arrow, but this one matches their uniforms... and the Golden Grizzlies are all about fashion.
Nike rolled out their new form-fitting, ab-flattering jersey tops (undercut, in this reporter's opinion, by the poodle skirts that accompany them) last March, when teams like Ohio State and Syracuse came out for the 2007 conference tournaments with uniforms from 2027.
But that's nothing compared to the Uni Watch
that's going on in Oakland this year.
I was checking out the Michigan-Oakland game on the Big Ten Network the other night, and couldn't help noticing the extremely awesome, futuristic black uniforms the Griz were wearing. Everything's so high up on the front, the bottoms of the jersey numbers are nearly at nipple level. They've had the names under the numbers on the back for a while, like the Knicks used to do back in the day, but the name's never been across the shoulder blades with the number on top. Dayum, it's like roller derby up in there.
OU has a history and a reputation for making its games into Project Runway
. Last season, to end a losing streak, the Grizzlies wore their white tops with their gold shorts
and started winning games
. They ended up with 19 victories, and came within four points of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Oral Roberts
in the Mid-Con title game. This year, they're 4-6. Could it be because the jerseys are so tight, they're having trouble breathing correctly? New Jersey Tech.
We have to give them the yellow across arrow because they can't go down any further. Last night's Highlanders loss to Rutgers
places them at 0-13, and has prompted a new regular feature here on The Boubacar. We call it: NJIT: On The Cliff Of History.
We never thought that the 2004-05 Savannah State Tigers
, with their perfect 0-28 record, could ever be caught... well, actually we had a feeling they might. The issue with the threadbare-uniformed Tigers was that they came from a new Division I program that was drastically underfunded (an overall athletic budget of $1 million), and was the product of an athletic department with ambitions and egos that far eclipsed their readiness to compete. With all the schools going Division I these days (the NCAA placed a moratorium on jumps over the summer), it was just a matter of time before 0-28 became a possibility again.
Which brings us to the Highlanders. According to the Office of Postsecondary Education's 2007 report (which isn't on Basketball State yet), NJIT has dedicated exactly $6,492,010 to its total operating expenses for athletics -- over six times what Sav-State spent, but they're getting the same results. They are the worst team in college basketball
according to our computer model, and are near the national bottom in many key categories, including points scored (51.9), field goal percentage (35.4 percent) and turnovers (21.5 per game). They score on only 36.2 percent of their possessions, easily the worst mark in Division I.
What made Sav-State's 0-28 so amazing, though, was that only four of its losses were against power and money conferences -- as an newly minted D-I independent, competing for money games is tough when you don't know the coaching network. NJIT is also getting knocked around by mid-majors, as only two of its 13 losses (Washington and Rutgers) have been against higher-profile teams. They only have one more, to make three: Central Florida of Conference U$A. The rest of the losses have been to teams like Maine, Lafayette and Army.
The Highlanders have 28 scheduled games as per NCAA rules, but they'll get a 29th at UCF's Holiday Classic later this month in the second round, against either Long Island or Texas-Pan American (which is alread on their schedule twice). So at Utah Valley State on Feb. 23, the Highlanders just might be in position for historic loss number 29.
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