Friday Frivolity…

You want the classic definition of a team “pressing?” Run back the DVR of Nor’easter and Delaware from last night. The Hens are pressing like I’ve never seen. It shows up in their play and on their faces.

Too many possessions with four crisp passes then a suddenly-jacked three. Great movement and spacing followed by a forced pass that lands directly between the numbers of an assistant coach. Solid defense for 15 seconds. Then, crinkle faces as suddenly there was a wide open shot, or a loose ball going Nor’easter’s way.

It’s almost like walking down the hallway and your daughter unexpectedly jumps out from behind the bathroom door and screams “boo!” For a split second you are clueless, and if there’s anything in your hands it hits the floor. I don’t know how much credit goes to Poor Bill and his assistant coaches, but someone pulled out a shovel and put a beating on the Hens last night.

There is absolutely nothing to be gleaned from the box score because everything for Delaware was a result of just that–good or bad things happening halfway through every shot clock. For once, the final margin was exactly as it should be. Side note: Nor’easter fans should be encouraged by Eugene Spates hitting six of seven FT and NkemOs jump hook.


Today’s foray into “what the heck is he thinking:”

Take a look at the CAA standings from January 15, 2007. This was two seasons ago, Old Dominion’s at large year. Those are listed next, and in parentheses next to the 2007 records I have this year’s teams/records as of today:

VCU 6-0 (NU 6-0)

Hof 5-1 (Mason 6-0)

ODU 5-1 (VCU 5-1)

Drexel 4-2 (JMU 4-2)

WM 3-3 (ODU 3-3)

Mason 3-3 (Drexel 3-3)

NU 3-3 (Hof 2-4)

Towson 2-4 (Towson 2-4)

GSU 2-4 (GSU 2-4)

UNCW 1-5 (UNCW 1-5)

JMU 1-5 (WM 1-5)

Del 1-5 (Del 1-5)

I don’t point that out for the reasons you believe. This has nothing to do with an at large bid.

Thanks to this from Beach, I started thinking about relative strength of CAA teams to one another. After six games this season, it appears the teams stack up very similar to 2006-07, in relation to each other.

Based on that fact alone, if we were extrapolate to the end of this year and use 2006-07 final standings, you get:













I’ll let you slot teams where you believe they will end this season. Help me remember to come back to this post in late February to see if this relative strength thought process holds any water. It probably doesn’t, but remember we’re experimenting here. We may be wrong but we like to think.

And who says there’s no at large bid if Mason, NU, or VCU goes 16-2? (I just punched myself in the teeth.)


What am I watching this weekend?

Foremost, it’s the rivalry that needs a nickname. Really, these two teams should play for an old brown jug or ax handle or something, don’t you think?

This one has been sold out for days but tipping at 4:00 on a CSN station near you. ODU/VCU is heated, shockingly respectful on the floor, and for whatever reason the basketball is played at a high level even if neither team is actually playing that way coming in. There is always controversy, and it is the Lords of Karma getting it right.

Did Lidonde double dribble? Was Maynor fouled? Did Rico Marsh charge? Did Steve Gordon ignore a timeout seven people were calling?

As for the game: I see Keyon Carter, Kent Bazemore, Darius James, Jesse James, James Earl Jones, James Evans (Sr and Jr), Paul Evans, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Mary Chapin Carpenter driving right at Larry Sanders to get him in foul trouble.

Gerald Lee might, too.

But really the game is going to hinge on three point shooting. ODU is not as good a shooting team as they showed against Georgia State. If they were, they’d have done it in at least one other half this season. But they aren’t horrible, either. Another hot afternoon is key.

VCU will see about 57 different zone looks from Blaine Taylor. Joey Rodriguez, Brandon Rozzell, and Bradford Burgess are going to have to knock down a few. If they do and VCU builds a lead, it is going to be a long afternoon for the road team.

I’ll be right behind Blaine Taylor, watching him implore his team to play an active zone like this. (Taylor makes his appearance at the 50-second mark.)

The call: Too many things have to fall into place for the Monarchs. VCU 71, ODU 63.

Nor’easter at Hofstra: High Noon, MSG Plus/CSN Regional TV. The Pride is going to get somebody and they are going to get them good. The only thing they haven’t done is score, primarily because they can’t make anything. I mean this bad: the Pride makes only 39%-of-its-two-point-shots. Hofstra does make 29% of its threes, which is merely bad, not pitiful.

One day Hofstra is going to shoot 55% and blow someone out because they always defend and they keep playing hard. You know Bill Coen thinks that day is Saturday, January 17, 2009. I don’t. Nor’easter has too much size, and the Huskies didn’t exactly wear themselves out last night.

The call: Another Pecora rock fight goes the way of the Huskies. Nor’easter 57, Hofstra 55.

James Madison at George Mason: 2:00, the Comcast Network (formerly CN8). Some pithy line about the founding of our country would be too easy. So would something completely inane like they are moving this game to George Washington.

MNFC is dying for his team to get a wake up call. Heck, he is practically begging somebody to blow out his team. Apparently those three freshmen need their ears greased in order to fit through the door to the locker room.

There is no better suitor for a planned destruction than a roadie at the conference’s best team. Larranaga is certainly willing to do the honors. The thing to keep an eye on: when we hit the 10:00-mark of the second half and Mason has a 15-point lead, what does JMU do?

The call: Mason 73, Madison 63.

Towson at Georgia State: 4:00. This is a “prevent ugly” game. The Panthers have lost four in a row and nine of 10 and are staring at a game they “should” win. Towson has been a terrible road team. If GSU loses they are greeted with a three-game road swing and every expectation in November is out the window. Rod Barnes may get into minimize damage mode.

Here’s my marker: Pat Kennedy had a lot of good things to say after his team’s loss to VCU. I got the sense Kennedy was quietly happy with Towson’s progress.

The call: Towson 68, GSU 62.

The College at Delaware: 7:00, CSN TV. I love that we can eight hours of CAA TV today, with the added bonus of an hour off for dinner. As for the game, methinks Tony Shaver’s patience wins the day. I’m also starting to figure Monte Ross is bald not because he shaves.

The call: Tribe 57, Delaware 55.

Drexel at UNCW: 7:00. Let me say I know I am getting ahead of myself. I know what I am about to write may be invalid by 9:00 on Saturday. But get this: the team that was the near-unanimous choice to finish in the CAA cellar, the Drexel Dragons, have a chance to go 9-3 hosting ODU, then 10-3 at Nor’easter. The schedule lays out nicely.

I know, it is crazy talk. But the fact that you can look at that schedule and at least nod your head that it could, indeed, be a reality is my point. This is especially notable because it would also represent a seven-game winning streak after being blitzed by 29 points at home to VCU.

The call: Evan Neisler is going to have some crooked numbers in his stat line. Drexel 74, UNCW 67. (We haven’t had an overtime game in awhile. We’ll call OT here.)


I realize I just picked four road teams to win. That’s the kind of year it has been.


~ by mglitos on January 16, 2009.

5 Responses to “Friday Frivolity…”

  1. Mike….you are a great read..but…you don’t drink new world wine which makes me a little skeptical..we will fix that in Richmond.. you need to tell me how we are getting a second bid this year….does the CAA have enough impressive ooc wins? Does anyone care about the CAA but the CAA? I want to believe you I really do…your lips to a glass of Cakebread and the powers that be…please?

  2. It’s Friday and about 458 degrees below zero. Cut me a little slack. In actuality, somebody needs to go 17-1 or 18-0 and then we cross our fingers. Call it the Davidson Scenario.

    And I learned a lesson last night: a good chateauneuf du pape goes well with Northeastern basketball.

  3. chateauneuf du pape is fine for you…but this NU team is a lunch pail type and if we are going to pair wine with this team I think a we should be drinking a nice Cakebread Chardonnay with the sweet nuts at the Richmond Coliseum.
    Make sure you spend a few moments with this crew during game time…its a reality show in the making.

  4. The way NU plays, our vintage wine should be Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s – Nothing fancy, but it meets the needs and tastes of those with a non discriminating palate.

    I think Mr. Litos has just found the icon for the NU Hoop Team for the rest of the year – The Shovel.

  5. […] I need a little ego boost after the Mason/Hofstra debacle from last night, I must point out that we were the first to believe that Drexel could be on the road to 9-3 and staring at ODU. (Scroll down to the Drexel/UNCW […]

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