ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- I'm really all atwitter today. I've been to 52 games so far this year, but none has been as eagerly anticipated as tonight's. For the finale of my weeklong tour of the Carolinas, I'm going to see UNC Asheville square off against High Point
for first-place bragging rights in the Big South Conference. And if that isn't enough to get just about anyone excited, it's an opportunity to see 7-foot-7 Mid-Majority favorite Kenny George
play. He's been injured the last few times I've seen Asheville in action.
I seriously couldn't sleep last night. Part of that was because of the bright lights at this here truck stop, and the PA system was playing the Sirius "classic rock" station really loud ("Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo" haunts my waking dreams), but that was just part of it. I was trying to think of questions to ask Mr. George
after the game tonight, and I couldn't come up with much of anything. Seriously, what do you ask a 7-foot-7, 360-lb. guy?
So I'm putting this one to you, faithful reader-viewers. Let me stand in your place tonight, the conduit between you and a 7-foot-7 guy. What would you
ask a 7-foot-7 guy? Would you have a brain cramp, a neck cramp, or just ask weakly, "uhhh, how's the weather up there?" Submit your best, most well-thought-out questions via the feedback form
, and I'll collect them before the game. If we get some good Q & A going, I'll post it all here tomorrow. Indiana State.
Of the three Valley teams that began 3-0
, the Sycamores were the most suspect. They came out of nonconference with a 5-5 record, and it was evident that they were using bursts of athleticism to overwhelm noticably weaker or chemistry-challenged teams. Okay defense, horrible shooting, non-existent rebounding, but the steady ballhandling that ISU excels in was keeping them consistent.
The Trees have gone 1-2 since the perfect start, and aside from a solid home win against SIU
in which grippy-handedness overcame glass-cleaning, they've looked straight-up road-tired. The drops have been by 25 (at Drake) and by 21 last night at Missouri State
, and they've allowed both teams to shoot better than 50 percent. On the whole, the team is 1-7 away from home, and that road win was at 0-6 Evansville (who, by the way, allowed defending champs and Sweet 16'er Southern Illinois its first road win of the season -- of the season!
Another scary road date awaits Indiana State on Saturday at Creighton, where Dana Altman's boys will be more than happy to avenge the eight-point loss in Terre Haute on Jan. 2. Gotta win on the road in the Valley. New Jersey Tech.
Being on constant NJIT watch makes us feel bad, periodically. A big part of us hopes that they'll break out of it and win a game, which would make them just another one-win team (like North Florida and N.C. Central). But no, the Highlanders are special. The worst team in Hoops Nation by any available metric is 0-19 now, after last night's 64-33
home thumping at the hands of Cornell.
NJIT hung around for a while -- seven minutes or so. Then Cornell opened up a 21-7 lead, going into the halftime break up 25-9. The Big Red eased up a bit in the second half, allowing the D-I independent hosts to score 24 points. The last four minutes were pure garbage time, as Cornell rested its starters for the tough Ivy season ahead.
It's come to my attention that I've been lax about allowing you to meet these guys. The leading scorer is a 6-8 junior forward Nemanja "Nesho" MiloÃ...Â¡eviÃ„â€¡, a holdover from last year's inaugural Division I team. He's from Montenegro, and that's a surname that brings back some bad memories there
. Nesho is contributing 11.1 ppg and shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, which is, somehow, a full 10 points over the team average.
And, before I forget...How 'Bout™
Cal State Bakersfield? Life wasn't all bad for the indies last night. The Roadrunners put on a ferocious 14-4 second-half run to speed by Big Sky entrant Sacramento State 73-61.
CSB is 6-12 in its first D-I year, and has won three straight games against league affiliates, having beaten WCC teams Loyola Marymount and Kentucky-beaters San Diego. It's worth pointing out the the Big Sky has an uneven nine teams and would provide Sac-State a nice travel partner. What say, guys?
Lastly, How 'Bout™
La Salle? In last night's Big 5 G!O!T!N!, the Explorers did away with a 13-game Palestra losing streak with a second-half surge against building curators Penn, and emerged victorious by a 62-58 count
. A blog super-spy
who was present at the game noted that La Salle, a 67 percent free throw shooting team in general, hit 25 of 30 one-point baskets, accounting for 40 percent of its points. Pretty good for a team that usually gets only 21 percent
of its points from the line.#boubacar
onclick=simpletogglediv('boubacar')>Do you have a nomination for tomorrow's Boubacar?