You’ve Inspired My Stupidly Brilliant Side…

•June 11, 2009 • 4 Comments

I never know which ideas you will grab onto and run with. This whole CAA Season Opening Extravaganza was a smidgen of fun that became exactly what the summer should be about: let’s hash out some fun stuff.

So I went the next step, and I again invite you to work with this.

Here’s where we are, and I’ll lay it out as simply as possible:

  • Wednesday 12/29 of 2010 through Monday, 1/3 of 2011.
  • Six days, four games. Two designated home games, two designated road games for every team.
  • You play Wednesday, Thursday. Take 12/31 and 1/1 off to rest and enjoy a CAA New year’s Eve Party. Perhaps there’s some kind of awards thing, or roast, or whatever. Make it fun and relaxing.
  • You play Sunday and Monday to round out the four games.
  • We play in Philly, mostly because I love Philly. I do.
  • Here’s where it gets good for coaches and administrators, the real power brokers in the league. With those four games out of the way, coaches get that early December date back for nonconference flexibility. Here’s why…
  • Beginning Sat, 1/8 you get seven Saturday dates (Jan 8, 15, 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 26). We give Feb 19 to Bracketbusters.
  • Beginning Wed, 1/12 you get seven Wednesday dates (Jan 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, 9, 16, 23).
  • Seven Saturdays plus seven Wednesdays plus four games in the Kickoff Event gets us to our 18 games without the pesky Monday games that get into the swirl of SAT-MON-WED-SAT.
  • Lots of flexibility in there for games to be moved for teevee. And we’re still finished on time to allow rest for the CAA tournament on 3/4.

Throw in all the bonuses we spoke of the other day–media attention, new games on teevee, etc. and we may be onto somthing.

Issue #1: you need to buy tickets, and help sell some sponsorships.

What say you?

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The Latest Stupidly Brilliant Idea…

•June 9, 2009 • 6 Comments

You always hear the coaches complain about it. Oh, they have a legit complaint, but it happens around January 15 of every season. Team A has just had its SAT-MON-WED-SAT week–one game perhaps moved for teevee–and the coach says the scheduling is ridiculously difficult.

Playing 18 games over what is essentially eight weeks is tough.

First, they are correct. The conference is already playing one game in December, and they lose a Saturday in February for Bracketbusters. Throw in that the CAA tourney has to be the first week in March for teevee’s sake, and it is tight. The conference is doing well to spread things out as is.

But I’ve got the killer solution.

Oh, it is clearly one of those solutions you’d see play out in a bad, early-teen sitcom. Think Zach talking to Screech on Saved by the Bell. They’ve botched getting a band for the big seventh grade dance and are in a pickle. (This is, of course, Screech’s fault.)

Zach hits on the idea to dress up a bunch of dummies, rent a fog machine, and play a stereo through the PA. Screech’s response: “that’s so crazy it just might work!”

Yeah, that’s the kind of idea I’m tossing out: The CAA Season Opening Celebration.

Think the Daytona 500 meets a college basketball exempt tournament. Four days, three games, and you get out of town. Put it in Philly or Baltimore–you know, test cases for those complaining about northern schools having to travel to Richmond in March.

Make it the first of January–kids are out of school (players and fans’ children). Heck, back it up to Dec. 30 through Jan. 2 and throw a New Year’s Eve bash. Buy a ticket book to the games, you’re in the party. Works for college football bowls.

Coaches get three games out of the way quickly, teevee is bound to pick up the content, the press would be all over the concept, no more complaining about home games when students aren’t in session, players will love it.

Each team plays either one designated home game and two roadies, or vice versa. Compensate the teams giving up a home game with a piece of gate and sponsorship money.

The conference is making a national statement. The CAApalooza Season Kickoff starts the Road to Richmond. we have enough trouble getting some presser time come late season BCSness. So let’s beat them at their game.

One day I may thread all these random thoughts together, but I like what it could become.

I guess it comes down to this. When people had the problem of getting places quicker, they didn’t invent faster horses. They invented the car.

The quirky solution isn’t always wrong.

Warning: Long Post, But…

•June 8, 2009 • 1 Comment

…we’re going to move this over to its own page so we can keep track of it  and update as needed throughout the summer. Also, this is an early version and I know there are holes to fill. I just have to go get the info. So do you.

EDIT: Thanks to the CAA Zone guys, who gave me the first three adds.

MORE EDIT: Thanks to Mike at WRHU for Hofstra info…

This is the 2009-10 Official Schedule Page. Your job is to help me when you know something is finalized. Email, comment, correct me, etc. on what you know. We will do this together, and it will give us all a running tally of the upcoming schedule.

You see, I had lunch with a CAA pooh-bah on Friday, and I ran into a good friend over the weekend at the Broad Appetit Festival–some of you wouldn’t recognize downtown Richmond–and the combination got me ridiculously fired up for the season. In early June.

Anyway, without further boring detail, here we go. One note: Everybody also has a BracketBusters matchup in February.

Northeastern

OOC: Providence, Wright State, Boston University, Rhode Island, Cable Car Classic (2 games: Santa Clara and Wofford/Kent State), Diamond Head Classic (3 games: USC, UNLV, St. Mary’s, SMU, Western Michigan, College of Charleston and Hawai’i)

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Hofstra, Drexel, Mason, Ga State, VCU, UNCW. Single games–JMU, ODU, Towson, William & Mary.

VCU

OOC: Bethune Cookman, Oklahoma, Nevada, Rhode Island, Richmond, Western Michigan, Tulane, East Carolina.

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, JMU, William & Mary, UNCW, Ga State, Northeastern, Drexel. Single games–Towson, Delaware, Mason, Hofstra.

Old Dominion

OOC: Charlotte, Duquesne, Marshall, Liberty, Richmond.

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, JMU, William & Mary, Mason, Ga State, Delaware, Towson. Single games–Hofstra, Drexel, UNCW, Northeastern.

Delaware

OOC: Philly Classic (Temple, Siena, and Va Tech), Ohio, Bucknell, Hampton, Lafayette, Villanova, Delaware State, Penn, Vermont.

CAA Sked: Two games–Drexel, Towson, Hofstra, Northeastern, Mason, W&M, ODU. Single games–UNCW, Ga State, VCU, JMU.

William & Mary

OOC: UConn, Harvard, Norfolk State, Navy, Radford, Manhattan, Ohio

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, VCU, JMU, Drexel, UNCW, Hofstra, Delaware. Single games–Northeastern, Towson, Mason, Ga State.

Hofstra

OOC: Kansas, NIT Season Tipoff (TBD), Fairfield, Manhattan, New Hampshire, Florida Atlantic, Holiday Festival (2 games TBD)

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware, Towson, UNCW, W&M, Mason. Single games–JMU, ODU, VCU, Ga State.

Drexel

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Delaware, Hofstra, W&M, Towson, VCU, JMU. Single games-Mason, Ga State, UNCW, ODU.

Towson

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, JMU, Ga State, ODU, UNCW. Single games-Mason, Northeastern, VCU, W&M.

George Mason

OOC: Puerto Rico (Three games: Boston University, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Villanova), Dayton, Creighton, George Washington.

CAA Sked: Two games–JMU, ODU, Northeastern, Delaware, UNCW, Hofstra, Ga State. Single games-VCU, Drexel, Towson, W&M.

James Madison

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Mason, W&M, Towson, VCU, ODU, Drexel, Ga State. Single games-Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, UNCW.

UNCW

OOC: Wake Forest, Richmond, Appalachian State, Elon, George Washington, Charleston Classic (Three games against: LaSalle, Miami, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Tulane, Davidson.)

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, Mason, W&M, Ga State, Hofstra, Northeastern, Towson. Single games-JMU, ODU, Delaware, Drexel.

Georgia State

OOC: Kansas

CAA Sked: Two games–UNCW, ODU, VCU, Towson, Northeastern, Mason, JMU. Single games-William & Mary, Drexel, Delaware, Hofstra.

Hey, It’s A Holiday…

•May 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

Big news for CAA tournament-goers: they’re building a brand-spanking new “upscale” sports bar at the Richmond Marriott, a good three-iron from the Coliseum.

The bar will be called T-Miller’s and will include an outdoor seating area facing Broad Street. It will be ready this fall, they say. So the inevitable three-month delay won’t affect next season’s CAA tournament.

Why I Love The Offseason…

•May 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

There’s always banter.

Dick Weiss is among those ’round the sphere who carries both a pile of credibility and a take on the Hofstra/CAA issue.

Here’s where I land, a little more clear: yes, there is a conference that makes more sense for Hofstra than the CAA. No doubt about it. However in 2009 that conference doesn’t exist. It isn’t the A10; it isn’t the MAAC; it isn’t the West Coast.

The Pride’s best home, until perhaps 2013 when the Big East implodes under the guise of “new teevee contract,” is the CAA. After that, collegiate sports will be playing its own version of 52-Card Pickup. That is when Hofstra will find a better home.

The one thing the Pride cannot do is chase.

***

Here’s an interview with new VCU coach Shaka Smart. It runs 11 minutes and gives you a look into the head man. Side note: those VCU Ram Nation guys are doing a phenomenal job…it is the barometer of what a great fan site should be.

***

I’m not really sure what to do with this. My first thought–let’s see the NCAA react. If there isn’t a hefty penalty, and I don’t know if it is cash or whatever, then they no longer get to credibly talk about inequity in college athletics.

By not taking a strong stand against a lesser-monied team purposely forfeiting a conference game so they can cash a check, the NCAA is admitting that inequity exists and they are okay with it. In fact, by allowing it they NCAA is also admitting they are siding with the money program, showing a bias that a governing body is supposed to avoid.

Not surprising, mind you, but somewhat shocking.

Think about it: by allowing a mindful forfeit, you are allowing competitive balance to be impacted. Not from Michigan because they will probably win this game 58-3, but from the structure of the 1AA playoffs and the entire MEAC race.

Spare me the “but the money will help Delaware State be competitive” argument. Penalize Michigan $250K for inducing the forfeit. I’m thinking delaware State will be fine playing its conference game and pocketing half the money.

(Unwritten part of the equation: in football, there are realities of injury that must creep into the discussion…imagine underwriting a horrible injury to a smaller, less talented 1AA player.)

Let me put this on a CAA basketball level.

Delaware State is a top half of the conference team, making the 1AA playoffs a couple seasons back. North Carolina A&T is a bottom feeder.

Imagine Old Dominion forfeiting a game against Towson or William & Mary to cash a check against Kansas?

Your Weekend Funny…

•May 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’m not sure where to start laughing. It’s like attending a redneck family reunion or trying to remember a Letterman Top 10 list the next day. You need to take notes to properly recall everything comical.

Enjoy your weekend!

Hoops Friend Rob Says…

•May 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

(via tweet) that he still harbors ill feelings towards the Richmond Spiders for leaving–and the manner in which they left–the CAA waybackwhen.

Short history: Richmond essentially defected to the A10 ’round about the turn of the century in a manner that basically left Tom Yeager and crew holding the bag. There were broken promises, etc. It wasn’t pretty.

In the aftermath, the CAA ended up getting its A-East Quadrant of Hofstra, Towson, Delaware, and Drexel. Richmond got Jerry Wainwright, kids that shouldn’t have been at that school, and a mess that has taken years to clean up.

That’s karma at its finest, folks, and the last stroke needs to be this: Richmond comes back to the CAA, the place everybody knows it should be.

My point is this: other than Richmond AD Jim Miller, whose personality is somewhere between Brad Brownell and tofu, there’s no reason to continue the venom. Everything about Richmond is ideal for the CAA (and vice versa).

Chris Mooney has done an outstanding job getting things back on track. He was handed the worst possible mess this side of Tom Crean, and though it has taken longer than impatient Richmond fans have wished, the program is on solid footing again.

The thing they are missing–energy–can be provided by the natural rivalries of the CAA. For the same reasons Hofstra is better off in the CAA, the reverse holds true for Richmond. They get what they need in the CAA, except for the rare season that 24-7 would be helpful.

For those W&M and VCU and JMU people who remain angry at Richmond for bolting nearly 10 years ago, I say this: wouldn’t it be better to get to hate them twice a year in hoops?

Spite from a distance isn’t getting you anywhere. Time to let it go. Embrace what is right and helpful.

I have no idea how that would impact expansion/contraction/realignment/global warming. There are as many ideas out there as grains of sand. But Richmond in the CAA just has that right feel on every level, except perhaps ego.

Why Hofstra and the CAA Work…

•May 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

Lots of speculation, innuendo, opinion, and fact flying around this spring about Hofstra and their future in the CAA. (In addition to message board banter, there are two newspaper items here and here.)

The gist: Hofstra is unhappy in the CAA and is looking to move somewhere. Nobody is quite sure where, which strikes me as funny, but the Pride must move. The side angles are many: the future of football at the school, conference bandying as you might expect, and athletic department motives. Beach covers it best.

Here’s why Hofstra belongs in the CAA, and why it should stay: you can quibble about the inadequacy of your special interest–no true rival or pro/con football–but when you factor everything into the equation, no better alternative than the CAA exists. And the grass is seldom greener, despite what you think.

The whole football argument is a red herring. Hofstra is going to make its own decision regarding football, but the CAA is the best option because (1) if you are playing 1AA football, this is the conference you want to have membership; (2) if you don’t want to play football, you can succeed in the CAA (see VCU, Mason, UNCW, and ODU before next year).

So no matter what Jack Hayes and Stuart Rabinowitz decide for football, Hofstra is covered. Football is not the deciding factor, nor is it the motivating factor.

That said, I’ve been fortunate to see up close the whole A10 thing play out for the University of Richmond. While you can argue its merits (and there is enough gray area to start a doozie of a sports bar discussion), it is unassailable that the move to the A10 has not been a rousing success.

Lots of miles to cover for non-revenue sports, lots of empty seats at hoops extravaganzas, and lots of contrived storylines (re: Rick Majerus!)

I don’t know that a move to the A10 would be all that beneficial for Hofstra. Yes, there are increased opportunities for the NCAA tourney, and lets be honest–the A10 is a better basketball conference right now. But you have to win and win big in order to reap that benefit, because the margin is not as great for the middle strata of basketball programs.

A 22-10 in the A10 is no different than 22-10 in the CAA. If you didn’t beat four top 20 teams, you aren’t getting in. But 24-7 in the A10 is better than 24-7 in the CAA. All else being equal, you end up on the correct side of the bubble in the A10 much more easily.

But watching basketball at a Richmond home game is like church, only with a worse PA system. Nobody there really cares about St. Looie, St. Bonnie, Fordham, even Charlotte and St. Joe’s. They pretend Xavier and Dayton are big deals.

It is no fun and a constant grapple for the Spiders faithful, many of which are my friends. They miss VCU and JMU and the energy that comes with those games whether they will admit it or not. (Come on–we all remember the Electric Zoo, Lefty, and that midnight game, no?)

My point is that Hofstra fans complaining they have no natural rival in the southern-based CAA aren’t solving their problem with the East-of-the-Mississippi based A10. And so we’re clear–in no way am I saying a move to the A10 is bad; I just don’t believe it is all it is cracked up to be. It may be more of the same, just with a bigger travel budget.

And that begs the analysis: if you are traveling so much in all sports, and it is more difficult to win the conference championship in hoops, and there isn’t football to underwrite everything, are you really getting anything bigger and better?

That’s why I believe that while the CAA may not be a perfect fit for Hofstra, it is the best approximation.

Everybody seems to be looking around for something better, when I don’t know that anybody has said what is becoming obvious: “better” than the CAA doesn’t actually exist right now.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

•May 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

You want funny, and a sign that times are changing?

Follow Jim Larranaga on Twitter. Seriously.

I wonder: once we have his book recommendations, will we get “Pearson is a beast in practice” or “Acorn turned his ankle today.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great and I love it. But there’s going to be a fine line between the fun of the summer and October 15.

Keep it up, Coach L. The fact that you are out there doing stuff like this is commendable.

All The Things You Are…

•May 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

Coaches should be off the road by now. The whole disgusting dance that makes up recruiting goes into an NCAA-mandated quiet period. (Laugh with me on that one.)

The coaches get to work on their golf games in May and re-introduce themselves to their families. They will hold individual meetings with their players and outline summer work plans for skill development. But really, they get to exhale for the first time since October 15.

We’re not going to rest. In fact, we should be able to zip through the summer months in what I plan to be one big fat experiment. We’re going to try some things to see if they work in an effort to make next season better.

Call it our own personal skill development meeting.

First item: we’re going to build the perfect schedule. I’m going to enlist some A-listers to help craft the ideal mid major basketball schedule. We’ll debate and chew on every aspect in public, for you to see. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a coach on record.

Please understand: this is going to be a smart schedule, not one chock full of home games with Duke and Kentucky, roadies at Hawaii (twice) and University of My House, and the season opener against the Massachusetts Culinary Institute.

Nope–it is going to be the best schedule you can muster for what you believe a team needs. Translation: teams expected to struggle get wins; and teams expected to contend for an at large get a balance.

***

Good to see Jerry Beach back at it.

I get to read a lot of funny stuff throughout the course of my Sybil-esque life, but nothing in the past three months made me laugh as much as his line in today’s entry.

Lacrosse, a sport that allows rich northeast kids to beat each other senseless with sticks, is played at a pretty high level at Hofstra. The Pride were apparently upset in the semifinals of the CAA tournament but still received an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Beach’s first thought? “What, was Tom O’Connor busy this weekend?”

At least he’s past the venom.

***

BTW–that’s Arturo Sandoval, if you were wondering.

***

LATER EDIT: An email popped in from my friends in the Summit League (or Badlands Conference as Whelliston aptly calls it).

It appears Reggie Hamilton is transferring from UMKC to Oakland. That is an in-conference move. Here’s the thing: Hamilton was named all newcomer two seasons ago–the only freshman to make the squad–and is a double-figure scorer. Very interesting to say the least.

In our world? Imagine Cam Long or Chase Allen or Fonzie Dawson transferring to ODU or VCU.