New Year’s Day

There is no possible way to quantify, organize, or collate the past two days, so I have to give you a smattering of random thoughts and notes from throughout the weekend. Try to stick with me…

Congratulations to Anthony Grant and VCU on their CAA championship. The regular season champs netted three more victories in the tournament, getting them to 19-2 in a good basketball conference. That’s impressive.

Let’s get this out of the way now: the intentional foul on Darryl Monroe was absolutely the correct call. The officials try to give every bit of leeway, but two tugs to the back of the jersey–the neck, no doubt–as the opposing player is going the other direction cannot be forgiven. The game situation is unfortunate, but you have to make that call.

It’s unfortunate Jordan Carter was injured in the stretch run. Clearly he was needed. But before you bury Gabe Norwood, consider it was just one steal that Eric Maynor made against Norwood, and I don’t believe Carter hits the two treys that Norwood drilled. The sum: players made plays at crucial moments and that is what you love to see.

Lost in the hoopla: VCU made all eight free throw attempts in the end game situation.

Jim Larranaga is really, really smart. It was quickly evident his game plan was to switch on the high screens and put a tall (Thomas) player on the VCU guards, denying Pellot-Rosa and Walker their weapons. Larranaga figured Wil Fameni can have 25 points if he wants, but Walker and Pellot Rosa aren’t gonig to combine for 36 points. I’m not thinking anyone counted on 12 second half points from Calvin Roland. For 36 minutes it worked to near-perfection.

I’ve never seen a guy bagel a stat sheet for the championship game and get named all tournament team, like Michael Anderson of VCU. Four fouls was his only scratch.

Biggest play to go barely noticed: with VCU hanging on for dear life, Pellot Rosa took a three from the top of the key. He had the will to beat the other nine players on the floor for the rebound and lay in his own miss. That kind of hustle play kept VCU in the game.

As for Sunday, boy, do we now have a muddled mess. I still say the CAA is getting two bids. The second? Opinion varies and it seems to reside clearly on the stats by which you put most emphasis, which coincidentally lines up with rooting interests.

More Sunday: I was okay with the ODU no show on Saturday against Towson. Honestly, it could be expected and it frequently happens. But there’s no excuse for the Sunday holiday. Sure, George Mason played very inspired basketball and took it to the Monarchs, but ODU allowed themselves to be taken to. Arnaud Dahi, in particular, seemed to lay down. Keeping in mind that Valdas Vasylius is no my Favorite Players team, his Houdini Act didn’t help matters. When that happens, you need your scorer to show up and rescue you. And there shows Old Dominion’s Achilles: they don’t have a true put-the-ball-in-the-basket player.

Because of that fact–and Drexel’s impressive road, nonconference performance–my second bid choice is Drexel. They have the “look” of an NCAA team. (Those are Littlepaige’s words, not mine.) And about the two victories over Drexel? Someone call Tom Pecora and ask him what those are worth.

That said, I will tell you an in-the-know gave me a tidbit: the Selection Committee has no idea what to do with Drexel. They’ve never faced this problem–a mid major with every criteria it needs for inclusion, yet they finished fourth in the conference. Adds one more dimension to the intrigue of Selection Sunday.

Think about the discussion two years ago: ODU had just beaten VCU in an overtime thriller. All you talked about was the game. Today, you’re talking at large and seed and all that blather. Kinda fun, no?

Certainly VCU has a home crowd advantage. Note the difference in home court and home crowd. Of the 11,000 that packed the Richmond Coliseum, I’d guess there were 7,000 VCU fans, 2,500 Mason fans, and 1,500 others with rooting interest. Yes, it is a home atmosphere. But here’s the deal: only Norfolk and Richmond bid on the contract. Want it to change? Get your local politicals interested and involved. Rotating sites and the like sounds nice, but the cities have to want it there.

Well now I’m kind of stumped. So let me grab a sandwich, let you chew on these, and check back in later today.

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~ by mglitos on March 6, 2007.

15 Responses to “New Year’s Day”

  1. Why don’t you just post these thoughts on CAAZone, since that’s where most of them originated from anyways.

  2. mgl does post his thoughts on CAAZone, when it is actually up and running 😉

  3. Heh, I was joking around. I kind of like the fact that it’s all in one place, instead of spread out around the topics. Easier to read his thoughts on the matter.

    BTW MGL: Tell Maynor that GMU is looking to charge him with 3 counts of burglary, and another count for stealing the game. That kid can freakin’ play.

  4. The intentional foul on Monroe was the correct call by the book.

    What about the non-intentional call on Fameni who made absolutely no play on the ball in grabbing the streaking Campbell on his way for an easy score?

    Inconsistency at its worst.

  5. If Drexel gets in and ODU is left out, that would be a crime. All numbers point to ODU and I think a 12 game winning streak “looks like a tournament team.” I hope they both get in so we don’t have to suffer through Purdue getting blown out in their place.

  6. Drexel has a problem scoring points, their defense looks tournament ready, but does anyone see them scoring consistently enough to make a run? I don’t. Can they run up and down the court and make plays like GMU last year? I don’t think so.

    ODU always has trouble with GMU, both games this year were very tough, and I didn’t like their chances of beating them a third time. Losing to a bitter rival in the semi’s shouldn’t negate a 12 game winning streak, and 2 impressive wins over Drexel.

    ODU deserves in. Drexel has a good chance at the 3rd bid.

  7. “All numbers point to ODU”

    I love ODU fans.

  8. “the Selection Committee has no idea what to do with Drexel. They’ve never faced this problem–a mid major with every criteria it needs for inclusion, yet they finished fourth in the conference.”

    You need to finish the thought here. Are you saying that ODU is in and they are trying to figure out what to do with Drexel? Or how can a 4th place team that finish 2 games back and got beat down twice by ODU deserve to be in.

  9. VCU and Drexel are built better for an NCAA tournament game

  10. “Keeping in mind that Valdas Vasylius is no my Favorite Players team, his Houdini Act didn’t help matters.”
    “Because of that fact–and Drexel’s impressive road, nonconference performance–my second bid choice is Drexel.”
    You used to root for the whole CAA.
    When everything is equal, I would go to heads up. ODU beat Drexel bad both times.
    I didn’t like your book.
    xo
    Valdas

  11. While you all are crying over ODU or Drexel in the field, you should be rooting for Butler, so they don’t potentially screw either of you over by losing to Wright St.

    The major conferences haven’t started their bid-stealing action and you’re already squabbling.

  12. The Fameni foul wasn’t the same thing. He didn’t grab the jersey. He reached in, hooked the guy around the waist briefly, and let go right away. If he had tugged Campbell backwards, it would have been an intentional no doubt. Fameni played it exactly right – just enough of a foul to slow the guy down a half-stride and force the refs to call it, but not excessive enough contact as to make it an intentional.

  13. That’s a homer explanation of an obvious intentional foul call. That’s as good as dead though.

  14. The City of Baltimore, the best location to hold the tournament, also submitted a bid.

  15. I wasn’t writing that as a homer. I am a fan of another CAA school and didn’t really care who won. If anything, I was rooting for Mason to add one more CAA team to the postseason.

    The Fameni foul could have certainly been called an intentional, but he was smart and didn’t hold on to Campbell or make the contact excessive. He gave the refs an excuse not to call it intentional. In the NBA it would have been an obvious clear path foul (one shot and the ball), but that rule doesn’t exist in college.

    The Monroe one HAD to be called intentional. He just grabbed Maynor’s jersey and yanked it. He could have run Maynor over and they would have called it a regular foul. Instead, he committed a textbook example of an intentional foul.

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