HOUSTON -- It's only of those slow post-Monday Tuesdays here in Hoops Nation, a perfect opportunity to get some site housekeeping done. We have one contest in search of a winner, for those of you with long memories... the Badlands Conference logo contest from earlier this month. We'll anoint the champion of that tomorrow, but I wanted to get this competition underway first.
Just a reminder about what you're playing for: a real, live stuffed Bally, just like the one pictured here
. Not for sale, only earned. Okay. Ready?
You may have had the opportunity to fly through Houston Hobby
lately, it's a major to-and-fro point in the Southwest Airlines system. If you haven't, you've missed out on the opportunity to sample its fine food court. There's a restaurant there with the weirdest name of any eatery in the nation, and that includes all those Thai food places in Manhattan. This is what it looks like:
I first noticed this on my way out to California last summer to visit The Official Wife while she was doing her Navy training, and others
have seen it too. Hunan: Return Of The Phoenix
isn't somewhere to eat, it's a direct-to-DVD movie... one that may or may not involve liberal doses of ass-kicking kung fu.
We're not going to make any more flip jokes about this, because this is where you come in. For the Bally
, I want you to write a treatment
for this movie (200 words or less) -- the main character
, their sidekick
, their goal
, a plot twist
, the ending
and what movie(s) it's similar to
. (EDIT: You should probably cast
the parts as well for extra fun.) Here are the only two content rules: don't use this
, and a mid-major school or conference must feature prominently in the movie. Use the form to submit your entry
You have a week. Go. Prairie View A&M.
Did you know that this school, the former Alta Vista College for Colred Youth, was one of the "Super Six" original members of the SWAC back in 1920? The league formed and grew up here in Houston, and the other five were local schools like Wiley, Texas College and Paul Quinn, which now serve as November punching bags for the current SWAC teams, allowing some to artificially inflate records from 2-24 to, say, 5-24.
The Panthers have been a national athletic punchline for years now, with their constant losing in football and basketball. But the baseball team
is bringing the school glory, the women's team is ripping through the SWAC
, and the men's team might be next.
The venerable old Baby Dome hosted our game last night, and it attracted a crowd about eight times bigger than the one from the last time we visited. The game drew the Greeks of Eta Gamma (motto: "Mackin, Packin', Never Lackin'") were all there. So were the Classy Gentlemen Of Rho Meo with their gold walking-canes, which they twirl and dance with in synchronized time with the hip-hop tunes on the P.A. system.
And after the Panthers squeaked out a 55-53 win, in their nearly-identical uniforms to Northern Iowa's, there was a lot of gold canes waving in the air, a lot of dancing in the Baby Dome aisles. PVU came roaring back from a second-half deficit with a 10-0 run, held conference favorites Mississippi Valley State to just three points in the last nine minutes, and capped it with a missed Aaron Smith
free throw with :02 left that he slammed into the floor off the carom, which didn't allow MVSU to get its Hail Mary off in time. The Panthers are now 3-4 in the SWAC after a 10-game losing streak out of nonconference.
That might not be impressive to most schools, but this is a program that's only made the NCAA Tournament once, a school that had 15 conference wins in 2003 wiped out with a first-round tourney loss. If you see PVU on your bracket as a 16a or a 16b in a few years, you'll know how far they've come. Saint Mary's.
Last night in the WCC, the nationally-ranked Gaels fell at San Diego by eight
. That makes SMC 0-2 as an entrant in the Popularity Contest, having lost at Southern Illinois
after thwacking Oregon
. It didn't really impact their RPI that much, though, as the school still hovers around 15. That's why we can't give 'em the down arrow, because any way you slice it, this is an at-large candidate team.
But seriously, how did San Diego do this? For one thing, they slowed the Gaels down and forced them to play at a slow pace (61 possessions, nine below national average), just like SIU did. Saint Mary's doesn't like that, they like to run, run, run! That, plus one part of the three-headed scoring monster, Diamon Simpson
, didn't have a good night. So slow and steady, plus hold down at least one of the Simpson-Samhan-Mills troika, and you've got a chance against these guys.
Elsewhere and otherwise...How 'Bout™
UNC Asheville? They just keep rolling along in the Big South, winning at Coastal Carolina by four
to go 6-0 in the league. Mr. Kenny George
(you call anyone who's 7-foot-7 mister, you know) went 6-for-8 to maintain his sterling 70 percent floor-shooting, and was out on the floor for 26 minutes. Keep those knees strong, Mr. George... you might need those in mid-March.
Oh, and How 'Bout™
Morgan State? Beat Hampton by seven
in last night's G!O!T!N! to tie the Pirates at 6-1, which is tops in the grand old MEAC conference. How did who
do? I knew you'd ask. The Boubacar
went all sorts of 12 points, 12 rebounds on that, and helped the Bears win despite 36 percent team shooting and a 3-for-18 mark from 3.How 'Bout™
Cal Poly? I would have to say that this might just be the stealthiest under-the-radar team in Hoops Nation. A few missed opportunities away
from last year's NCAA tournament, and a forgotten quantity in the Big West until last night's 69-64
win at Pacific on ESPN Big Monday. Bally and I made sure to stop at a sports bar to catch the waning moments of the second half last night, to support the conference and all, and the following sentence will only make sense to those who stayed up to watch the telecast. Dude, he's exaggerating. Look at the game situation. Seriously, it's okay.
Also, and How 'Bout™
Alabama State? We've been talking about the SWAC all day, might as well give some attention to the leaders. The Hornets are 6-1 after pounding Southern 59-44
last night on the road. Dynamic junior guard Andrew Hayles
(13.5 ppg) has been one of the most proficient scorers in the conference for a while, but this team has shown itself to be the toughest in the paint at both ends. In league play, they're shooting 56 percent from inside the arc and allowing just 39 percent of opponents' 2-pointers to fall. Who's doing this? Try Brandon Gordon
, a 6-7 senior, and 7-foot transfer Chief Kickingstallionsims
, who once helped Stetson engineer a 6-over-3 upset in the Atlantic Sun tourney. That was current SMU coach Matt Doherty's last at Florida Atlantic.
Stetson could probably beat SMU right now too, but that's another story for another site.
Finally, How 'Bout™
Texas-Pan American? Matched last year's win total of 14 with a convincing nine-point win at Chicago State in which the Broncs shot 60 percent from the floor. That's right, 60! We featured Paul Stoll
yesterday, and all the reigning MMBOW did did last night was double-double with 24 points and 11 assists. Go Paul! And go, independent Division I basketball!Do you have a nomination for tomorrow's Boubacar?Our thoughts are with the family of
Basketball Times colleague Bob Ryan today, after this sad news.
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