Sunday, June 30, 2013
Now that June is in the rear view mirror, it's time to layout the second half and take a stab at who will be playing in October. Here are the standings as of right now.
http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings (Via ESPN)
The AL Central is much more clear. The Royals will hang around, but this is a two horse race. The Tigers and Indians will battle it out for the division crown, and I don't think the loser will make it. The AL East/Second place West teams are too strong. Ultimately, the Tigers should win this thing. Their lineup might be the best in baseball, and the rotation is stacked (Verlander has been great, and isn't the ace at the moment. That's saying something). They need (!!!!) to find some bullpen help, including a closer. Cleveland may be this years version of the 2012 Orioles. They don't really do anything great, but they come up with clutch hits, and don't blow games. With that said, the Orioles were extremely lucky to make it to the postseason, so I wouldn't bet on the Indians making it.
Remember how the AL West ended last year? Pure craziness. I think were in for more of the same. Oakland and Texas are so solid (and this year they get to beat up on the Astros). Once again this race should come down to the last days of the season. I like Oakland's rotation a ton. They don't have many weaknesses. They also can really hit the ball. Josh Donaldson has been a great find, and they have good balance up and down the lineup. Oakland does this every year. You can never put your finger on how they do it, but they do it. A's take the division. Texas will be in a dog fight for a wildcard spot. The Angels have the talent to make a run and get back into this thing, but they are nine out, and I cant see Oakland or Texas fading. Without a dominant rotation, I don't know if the Angels can make a run at it.
Final AL thoughts: Baltimore wins the East, just ahead of Tampa and Boston (Side note; Tampa and Boston finish tied, leading to the always awesome one game play in.). Detroit takes the Central by 10 games. Once the Tigers get the pen figured out, I believe they pull away. The A's take the West but it comes down to the final game. Rangers get the wildcard.
AL: Oakland, Baltimore, Detroit. WC: Texas, Tampa/Boston (I'll take Boston in the one game playoff, but it would come down to the pitching match up.)
The National League isn't as exciting, but does feature some very good races. Lets start with the NL East. The Braves are certainly the team to beat. They lead the division by 6.5 games, and the second place Nats have been insanely inconsistent. They get Bryce Harper back tomorrow, and that should be huge for the lineup. Washington has two pitchers (Strasburg/Haren) are in the top three for worst run support. If they start hitting, and stay healthy, they can make a run. In the end, the Braves should win this thing. Atlanta has a strong team, and after the loss in the wildcard play in last year, they know the importance of winning the division. The Phillies, Mets and Marlins are all toast.
While the AL East may be the best division top to bottom, the NL Central has the best teams at the top. The Pirates (Yes Pirates) have the best record in baseball led by their strong rotation, and the Cardinals and Reds aren't far behind. Let's start with the Bucs. The losing season drought is over. They're 21 over on July first, and play in the same division as the Cubs and Brewers. No way they don't finish over .500. The next question, can they make the playoffs? I say.... YES. The rotation is very good, and will get Burnett, and Rodriguez back at some point. They have depth, and Gerrit Cole is a stud. I really like the lineup too. Cutch isn't playing bad (.292 average), but he hasn't gone on that tear where he carries the offense for a few weeks like we know hes capable of. Marte gives the team a dimension they haven't had in the past, and Russell Martin has been a great signing, not to mention Pedro Alvarez is playing like a first round pick. Bad news for the Bucs? The Cardinals are simply a better team, in my opinion the best in baseball. The Cardinals pitching staff is just as good, and they have a potent lineup to match. I expect St. Louis to take the division. The Reds will be there all year long too. This race will be great to watch. Only the Nationals stand in the way of the NL Central getting three teams into the playoffs.
Final NL thoughts: I can't wait to watch the Central race play out. It should be amazing. It's great to have baseball back in Pittsburgh, and it will be fun to watch that team win that 82nd game, and beyond. The West will be a great race, but don't expect the winner to finish with 90 wins. 85 could get the job done. In the East, the Nats may be the only team that has a chance to steal a wildcard spot from the Central.
NL: St. Louis, Atlanta, Colorado. WC: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati
-- Lee Kunkel
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
|Coron Williams is transferring to wake Forest. (p/c: Justin Berl)|
Morris to Wake Forest. Williams was one of two players to play in all 35 games this season and averaged 24.7 minutes per game, 9.1 points per game, and shot 41.6% from three. All in all, Williams started 71 career games and played in 107 at RMU.
Andrew Chiappazzi of ColonialsCorner.com has a more complete write-up on the process, we encourage you to give it a read. Here is a small glimpse:
Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said the machinations for Williams to transfer began two weeks ago, when he said Williams came into his office and told him he'd like to play his last year closer to his Midlothian, Virginia home. Toole said Williams wanted his family more involved, and he'd like to explore a transfer that would also challenge him.
"As much as we'd like to hold him hostage, we can't do that," Toole said.
Robert Morris helped Williams explore his options, and when Wake Forest offered a scholarship, he accepted. Toole said the lure of playing in the ACC also excited Williams.
Williams will be able to play right away for Wake Forest because of the NCAA's fifth-year transfer rule. Student athletes who redshirt for one season and finish their undergraduate course work in three and a half years can transfer immediately to another school for their final year of eligibility.I'm happy for Coron. He gets to play in the ACC, the big boys of all big boys in college basketball. I do have some reservations about how his game will transfer in the ACC, but that's for another time.
So now RMU has lost Velton Jones, Russell Johnson, and Coron Williams. Those are three of the best players in the history of this program. Besides losing a sniper from beyond the three point line, there are some other parts of Coron's game that we're going to miss. His leadership was going to play a huge role on this team.
Maybe the most underrated part of Coron's game was his ball-handling. Remember who would run the point when Velton was injured and Anthony Myers-Pate needed a breather? That was Coron. Who takes that role this year if Myers-Pate gets hurt and freshman Kavon Stewart struggles? It would be nice to have a security blanket like him. It doesn't sound like Toole is expecting any more departures but who knows if something changes. I wouldn't be shocked to hear if Mike McFadden or Lijah Thompson didn't come back.
Robert Morris loved to knock it down from three last season. I already thought this team was going to run more through the big's this year anyway but now it doesn't have much of a choice. Don't get me wrong, the likes of Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones (and even Myers-Pate can knock it down when he has his confidence) will get RMU going from thre, but expect to see Mike McFadden play a bigger role on this team and for freshman Jeremiah Worthem to play a huge role right away.
Speaking of Karvel, here's some good news!
Monday, April 29, 2013
Mike Freeman from CBS Sports on why Matt Barkley ended the "stay or go?" argument for college athletes. Link: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/22166756/barkleys-big-accomplishment-ending-the-stayinschool-argument
The Big 10 is already done with the "Leaders"and "Legends" divisions. Moving to a more natural east and west. Link: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9220734/big-ten-schools-ok-realignment-9-game-schedule
Jason Collins became to first "big four" athlete to come out while actively playing. His story. Link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/?sct=hp_t11_a1&eref=sihp
Great documentary detailing RMU's upset win over UK a month back was released today by NEC FrontRow. Link: http://necfrontrow.com/video.php?NEC-Documentary-Short-NECPride-Moon-Magic-1699
Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets. Link: http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/9222945/new-york-jets-tim-tebow-debacle-was-jets-worst-move-ever
We also had the NFL draft, NBA playoff action, and the NHL season come to an end, not to mention some intriguing soccer going on across the pond. Oh yea, the MLB is heating up (except the Angels, they are still ice cold) as we approach summer!..... Enjoy all the action!
Sunday, April 28, 2013
|Miami is the clear favorite to|
repeat as Champs.
Nets over Chicago-- I must admit I had Brooklyn in this one. After rolling in game one I looked like a genius but Chicago has won three in a row including a sweep in the Windy City. The Nets return home looking to starve off elimination, and I think they will. Problem for Brooklyn, I don't see the Bulls losing game six at home. Look for Chicago to move on and set up an epic Eastern Conference semifinals with the Heat. Underlying story line....Will D-Rose make an epic come back in an effort to knock out the champs? Just something to keep an eye on.
Indiana over Atlanta-- There isn't a whole lot going on here. I took the Pacers in five, and I'm sticking to it. If they can win game four in Atlanta this one is all over. No way the Pacers lose at home. They are a good team at home, and the Hawks have always struggled on the road in the playoffs.
New York over Boston-- This has been a fun series. I predicted the Knicks in seven. Boston has had a chance in every game but just couldn't get the job done in the second half in games one, two, and three! Thanks to the Jet, they won game four in OT. Can they stay alive and get a win in Madison Square Garden now? I don't think so. Knicks wrap it up in five.
In the East I have Miami over Carmelo and the Knicks in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
|Can KD carry the load without|
Clippers over Grizzles-- This has been a great battle. The home team has won every game so far. I expect that to continue and the Clips to pull it out in seven. Chris Paul has already won one game for LA. His game winner in game one may be the difference.
Denver over Golden State-- I had the Nuggets winning this one in seven but I'm really second guessing that now. The Warriors have been incredible all series long. They lost game one and David Lee, and everyone wrote them off but the play of Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes has elevated them. Denver is great at home, and I think the winner of game six in Oakland will decide who wins the series. If the Nuggets win it, they close it out at home game seven.
Spurs over Lakers-- I called this sweep from the get-go. The Lakers lost Kobe Bryant, and had no shot in this series. After Manu came out and scored 18 points in 19 minutes game one, the writing was on the wall. The Lakes lost a few more key players to injury, and it was all downhill from there. The Spurs are getting healthy and will now get some rest as they await the Denver/Golden State winner. Pop has to be happy with where his team is at.
The Thunder were the favorite to win the west but the Russell Westbrook injury changed everything. I think the Spurs become the team to beat. Also, I know the Nuggets are down 3-1 right now, but if they can win that game six on the road they can win the series, and I like there chances going forward.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Siena has been the name most floated around when talking about Toole. Siena has seemed to narrow the list down to three, putting Toole, Loyola (MD) coach Jimmy Patsos, and VCU associate head coach Mike Rhoades as the other two main candidates. Toole has reportedly visited Siena more than once, writes ColonialsCorner.com Andrew Chiappazzi:
It does not appear that Toole was offered the job Thursday, but that doesn't mean he won't get an offer. Mark Singelais of the Albany Times-Union, one of the main papers covering Siena, wrote just a short while ago that it appears Loyola (MD) coach Jimmy Patsos and VCU associate head coach Mike Rhoades are Siena's other prime candidates. Singelais wrote that both will visit at some point next week, and that Siena will likely make a decision before the Final Four.This is only the beginning in what will be a long off-season full of rumors, folks. According to Andrew, Toole met with Siena officials last week to gauge his interest and again Wednesday for a visit.
Robert Morris, meanwhile, is prepared to put together an aggressive package to try to keep Toole. This process could come down to a couple factors. The first is what Toole is looking for out of a coaching situation. The MAAC has a better conference RPI than the NEC and a better overall reputation, but in nearly every year it's still a one-bid league. That said, Siena has a larger backing than Robert Morris. Siena plays in a multi-purpose arena in downtown Albany, one that's funded by more than just the college, and Siena has more financial resources available.
The fact that Toole went back to Siena for a second time is not surprising, but maybe a little worrying. Toole was born in New York and his interest in coaching in the New York region would just seem natural. Siena is a good program who has hit a bit of a slump lately.
RMU commit Britton Lee has already tweeted that if Toole leaves he would ask for his release from Robert Morris. I don't think it would end there, either. I'm sure the rest of the recruiting class would leave as well, including three-star recruits Kavon Stewart and Jeremiah Worthem. Besides that, I'd fear that guys like Lucky Jones and Stephan Hawkins would follow him and Mike McFadden, who has an option to not return to the team this year and graduate, would not return as well.
That's not to say RMU would be hindered for this upcoming season. The talent they have with Anthony Myers-Pate, Coron Williams, Karvel Anderson, and Lijah Thompson could still win an NEC title, but any future coach would face a lot of pressure to bring the recruiting class Toole did.
Of course, this is all worst case scenario. As we've said many times, it comes down to
Is this the last we've seen of Andy Toole at RMU?
(p/c: Justin Berl)
Would Siena be a better job than Robert Morris? Depends on what your definition of "better" is. In terms of facilities and budget, yes, it would be. If Toole wants to win now and reach the NCAA tournament, it's a no-brainer that he'd stay at RMU. If I had to guess, Toole gets a raise close to the $450K range at RMU and gets an offer at Siena that's closer to $650K. That could be tough to turn down
I honestly believe Toole does stay and spends one more year at RMU if schools like Siena are his best option. Siena is a two year rebuilding process minimum while RMU is in a win-now mode. If Toole stays and makes the NCAA tournament I'd be shocked if he didn't get an offer from an A-10 or Big East school. If he goes to Siena, it'll be another rebuilding process. Is the extra money worth the lack of success? That's up to Toole and his family.
Feel free to comment and let me know if you're interested in the lemonade stand. No Huddle has kept it no secret that we would love to keep coach Toole. As your new president of the colonial crazies, feel free to add fundraiser ideas to help the athletic department.
Update: I've been told my figures are way off. RMU will likely give Toole a raise in the 200-250K range while Siena would likely go no higher than 300-350K. We'll just say I was right in principle.
Monday, March 25, 2013
(Needs to be said: Thank you to the senior class of Velton Jones, Russell Johnson, Treadwell Lewis and Shane Sweigart, specifically Jones and Johnson. They both had incredible careers at RMU, and put the program on the map with their performances vs Villanova and the win over Kentucky.)
First off, how big was the win over Kentucky? Sure this program has had a ton of success over the past few years; 24 wins (2012-13), 26 (2011-12), 18 (2010-11), 23 (2009-10), 24 (2008-09), 26 (2007-08). That's impressive, but NOTHING gave them the exposure that last Tuesday's win provided. National TV, court storming, epic game. It had it all. Now what will it do for the program?
|Can RMU keep its head man?|
|RMU will miss Jones and Johnson|
but the team is in good hands.
Ant Myers-Pate will replace Jones as the #1 point guard, and there will be depth behind him with a great freshman class coming in (we will get to that in a bit). Coron Williams and Karvel Anderson will be seniors, and will give RMU the two best shooters in the conference. To build on that, Anderson will only get better. The last few weeks of the season he became more than just a spot up three point shooter. Not to mention he won't be playing with a broken wrist (we will get to the injuries in a bit too). David Appolon returns as well. If Appolon develops more of an offensive game, he could become Andy Toole's (I hope) most versatile player. He is a tremendous athlete, and maybe the teams best perimeter defender (ask All American PG D.J. Cooper).
|A healthy Lijah Thompson will help|
RMU immensely next year
Speaking of injuries, can this team really have the luck (or should I say BAD luck) that it did this year going forward? Thompson missed the whole year, Anderson played through a broken wrist for over a month, Velton Jones got a head injury, and missed time with a nasty shoulder injury (and played with it for multiple games), Armstrong had a foot injury that cost him 2/3 of the year and his whole off season, McFadden battled bad knee injuries all season, Johnson battled back injuries early in the season, and Myers Pate had a nasty ankle injury in December (take a breath). Yikes! I'm sure they will battle injuries next year, after all every team will, but will there be that many?
|Worthem could be a huge get for Andy Toole.|
With that class, the team should look something like this assuming nobody transfers and the recruits remain committed.
1) Myers Pate- Stewart/Lee (One may red shirt)
Myers Pate, Anderson, Williams, McFadden, and Thompson will all be seniors. Andy Toole will certainly have options.
Some other questions that RMU will have to answer: Can they upgrade the facilities? The Chuck isn't exactly state of the art. Can they attract big time programs to play in Moon? Tough to get teams like Ohio (forget about UK) to schedule a series. What about the NEC? The conference is losing two big time programs in Monmouth and Quinnipiac, might the Colonials look for an upgrade too?
There is no doubt that RMU has had tons of success over the past six seasons. My ultimate question is this....Was the Kentucky win the start of RMU's next big step in its quest to become a great mid major basketball program, or was it the climax of this era of RMU hoops? Only time will tell.
Providence is a bit of a chameleon, a Big East team capable of grinding it out with physical defensive play on the perimeter and a large presence inside in Kadeem Batts, and an ACC-team willing to get out and run behind the steady backcourt duo ofVincent Council and Bryce Cotton.
Providence is an interesting, and very inconsistent, team. Like Andrew pointed out, they're a complete team capable of playing a multitude of different styles. They looked good against a tough Charlotte team and have more than enough players that can take over a game if needed."It's going to be a situation where if they feel they have an opportunity to break, they're going to take off and they're not going to stop until we get back in transition defense," Toole said. "If they need to slow it down and execute offense, they can do that as well."
|Could this be the last we see of|
Velton Jones? (p/c: Justin Berl)
Forward Kadeem Batts can bang down low in his big, 6'10'' frame and is very efficient from the field and a solid rebounder. Forward LaDontae Henton is the team's third leading scorer but is not very efficient from the field.
It's the same old song and dance for RMU right now. The keys to the game are the same as what they have been all year: Can they rebound against a solid rebounding team like Providence and can they hit the three ball. If they can do those things, than there's no reason for RMU not to walk away with a win.
I'm interested to see if head coach Andy Toole starts Anthony Myers-Pate as his starting point guard again or if he goes back to Velton Jones. I don't think it matters too much, but Myers-Pate is definitely playing his best ball of the season and if he can set the tone early again it could go a long way for RMU. Also, RMU needs to get something from Karvel Anderson from behind the arc, who seems to really be struggling with his broken wrist.
The Colonials have to prove to the nation that their upset over Kentucky wasn't a fluke, and that's what is so exciting about tonight. Beating a good team on your home court is one thing, but flying out to a hostile environment in a win-or-go-home tournament is another. If this really is the last time we watch Velton Jones and Russell Johnson (and very possibly coach Toole) I hope everyone understands how much they've meant to this program and everything they've done to make Robert Morris what it is. Speaking of, Velton Jones only needs eight dimes to give him the all-time assist record and Johnson needs nine rebounds for the all-time rebounding record.
Prediction: Why not? Lets keep this thing going with a 67-66 victory.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Now, as Toole is set to turn 33 in September, it’s time to realize his work in Moon Township is complete.
And there’s nothing wrong with such a notion.
It’s simply business…on both ends.
Not to be the buzz kill here, but Toole shouldn’t coach many more games for RMU. Simply put, when this NIT run is over, makes no difference how much of a raise university president Greg Dell’Omo wants to give Toole or what promises he bestows the coach, the Andy Toole era must come to an end.
|Is Andy Toole's work at RMU done? (p/c: Justin Berl)|
I don't think he leaves to go out west (like USC) or too far down south. Toole's main recruits come from the Philadelphia/New Jersey area, so I think if the right job comes up around there, he will leave.
I also don't think Toole leaves unless he goes to a multiple-bid conference, meaning you won't have to necessarily win your conference tournament to get into the big dance. Would the CAA or Patriot league be a step up from the NEC? No doubt! But is it worth it? That's the big question.
There's no way Toole does not get a very competitive raise from Robert Morris. If I had to guess, I'd say he gets an offer close to half a million dollars per year to stay at Robert Morris. Dunlap is right that Toole's name will never be hotter, but I guess it really just comes down to price. If Siena can truly triple Toole's pay like some fans insist, than I think it'll be tough to keep him.
It sounds bad, but it's truly not the worst situation if Toole is gone. Robert Morris is now on the national radar for at least a little and President Dell'Omo and the athletic department can now tote about the success of the program's last two coaches. Who's to say Robert Morris doesn't become a main stepping stone for assistant coaches looking to get their foot in the door?
RMU fans everywhere obviously should not be hoping for Toole to leave. The recruiting class he's bringing in would be good for Xavier, let alone Robert Morris and Toole is really building something here. Besides, it's not like he's without imperfections. Does it worry anyone that he has come up small in the NEC conference tournament since he's been here?
Right now, just enjoy this run that Robert Morris is on and enjoy the spotlight. After that, keep your fingers crossed.
- Robert Morris wins one for the lambs, according to Dana O'Neil (espn.com)
- Robert Morris defeats Kentucky, stroms the court (CBS Sports)
- Did the RMU-KY game really get better TV ratings than NCAA games? (USA Today)
- Andy Toole's work at RMU is done, says Colin Dunlap(CBS Pittsburgh)
- James Madison bounces Long Island (Big Apple Buckets)
- Robert Morris will play Providence on Monday (Friars.com)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
|Karvel Anderson and RMU students celebrate the team's upset over Kentucky.|
Russell Johnson was great again for RMU (p/c: Justin Berl).
|Andy Tooe is officially on the radar of|
major college programs.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Though it'll be a more compact version, Andy Toole expects Kentucky to be used to the madness.
"I think our guys might be surprised by the atmosphere more than they will," Toole said. "It's awesome to have this type of atmosphere, it's great to have this type of attention, and it's incredible to have this kind of fan support that people are lining up to get tickets, but there's still a responsibility that we have as a team and as players to go out and compete and do the right things."
So here it is. Today has come with much anticipation and there is truly a great buzz not only on campus but in the community as well.Toole has harped on his team's attention to detail all season. At times, the focus helped Robert Morris win 23 games. But it also slipped away from them at times, including the heartbreaking NEC semifinal loss to Mount St. Mary's. The ability to consistently compete and be detailed on every possession is something Toole said is a hallmark of good teams, including John Calipari's Kentucky squad.
Kentucky is the national defending champions, and I'm not talking about the NIT. This is a big, athletic group led by Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress on the offensive end. Center Willie Cauley-Stein is every bit the part of his seven foot frame and I worry about RMU's ability to rebound.
This colonials squad lives through two things: the three ball and Velton Jones. Last Saturday, Mount St. Mary's gameplanned to make Jones a shooter and not let him work the passing lanes. It resulted in a 2-of-17 shooting day. I'd expect coach Calipari to carry the same gameplan towards this game, so it is important Velton knocks down some early treys, not only for his confidence but to make Kentucky respect him a little more.
There is some silver lining. Kentucky is without their best player Nerlens Noel, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. Since he's been out, Kentucky has not won a road game. Also, KU has really struggled shooting the ball lately, going under 40 percent as a team the past three games. This could be the perfect storm; lots of road teams initially have trouble shooting in the Sewall Center because of the lack of... anything behind the backboard. The depth of the shooter is thrown way off.
We'll know exactly where this game is heading within the first few minutes. Is Kentucky going to come out and play like a team mad they didn't make the tournament or annoyed that they had to travel to a 3,000 seat gym? With such a young team, Calipari said he worries about his teams mental readiness for this game.
Overall, just enjoy the atmosphere. This is unexpected and fun; it's the first time RMU has ever hosted a power six conference team. Like ever. Night classes have been cancelled (and as coach Cal joked at practice yesterday: "who does that?") and this is a great showcase game for the program. It is a student red-out.
Prediction: why not? RMU ends Kentucky's season, just like everyone predicted in November 68-66.
|Russel Johnson will have his hands full guarding|
Alex Poythress. (p/c: Justin Berl)
Monday, March 18, 2013
|Jamal Olasewere is a lot to handle in the low post.|
Jason Brickman is one of the best point
guards in the country (p/c: NY post).
|The Dukes need Rayshawn Goins to win.|
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Yes, the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats. Oh, and there's a catch.
Because Rupp Arena is being used for NCAA tournament games, Kentucky will travel to Moon Township for Tuesday's 7:30 ESPN game. Kentucky staff will not be able to help out for any games near Lexington, thus moving it to none other than the Sewall Center.
There are lots of storylines here, but none bigger than the fact that this is the biggest game in RMU program history. We'll be sure to have many more posts in the next few days.
Feel free to leave your thoughts.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
- Robert Morris and UCONN will meet in the AHA quarterfinals (ColonialsCorner.com).
- Mount St. Mary's gameplan for Velton Jones and what lies ahead for the basketball team (ColonialsCorner.com).
- Long Island three-peats as NEC champions (Big Apple Buckets).
- The Broncos signing of Wes Welker makes them winners of two straight off-seasons (Yahoo! Sports).
- The World Baseball Classic is proving to be more than an exhibition thanks to the U.S. (Sports Illustrated).
- Jim Boeheim reflects on the last Big East tournament as we know it (NJ.com).
|The Ravens will be just fine come September.|
So lets wait and let the great Oz work his April magic. I have a feeling this roster will look just fine come July when training camp kicks off.
Monday, March 11, 2013
In order to beat the top seed on the road, Christian devised a plan that naturally centered around Velton Jones.
The core of that plan? Don't let him pass. Make the redshirt senior guard, who had single-handedly beaten teams in clutch moments in the past, try to shoot his team to another Northeast Conference title.
There still was the luck factor, though. I am not saying Mount St. Mary’s got lucky because they didn’t; they certainly were the best team on the floor Saturday. But there is a little luck that goes into it, right? I mean, how many times is Velton Jones going to have that bad of a shooting day? If we played that game 100 times how many times does Velton miss 15-of-17 shots? The team overall went 5-of-19 from three and Karvel Anderson, Coron Williams, and Russell Johnson, and Velton Jones had none of them.
Sharp shooter Karvel Anderson will be back to lead
a dangerous RMU squad (p/c: Justin Berl).
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Robert Morris was upset at home by Mount St. Mary's by a score of 69-60. You catch the box score here. The Colonials tried to make a run at it late but fell short in a game pretty much dominated by the Mountaineers. Robert Morris started off the game well but Mount snagged a lead by the under eight media TO and didn't look back after that. Rashad Whack lead all scorers with 26.
There are a few considerable numbers that stand out from this game. Velton Jones had the worst game I've ever seen him play in a 2-17 shooting night and turned the ball over four times. RMU is a team that lives by the three and when that happens, sometimes you fall on your sword. RMU shot 5-19 from three (26.3 percent).
The only word to describe this game is devastating, really. How can you not feel awful? Sure, this team went through their bumps, but it's hard not to feel like they were the best team in the NEC this year. I tip my hat to the Mount, who just seemed to always have an answer, but it's going to be tough to watch Tuesday's championship game.
Robert Morris will get a chance to play in the NIT. It'll be disappointing, but fun to watch the guys try and pull of some upsets and reach Madison Square Garden.
Wagner has defeated Long Island both times they've played, the first by a score of 85-76 and the second by an epic score of 94-92. LIU was still adjusting to play without Julian Boyd and had a few players shaking off the rust from suspension in the first loss but provided a wildly entertaining game at Wagner, which saw the Blackbirds erase a ten point deficit in the last 2:06 only to lose off a Kenny Ortiz putback with one second remaining.
As many will remember, Wagner was in a very similar position last year as they are this year. Last year, Wagner was coming off one of the best seasons in school history and hosted a very experienced Robert Morris club with a chance to go to the finals on the line and could not pull it out.
There are a lot of variables that could determine this game. Wagner hung a 56 spot in the second half of the last game, can they do that again? Can they get another 7-10 shooting night from Mario Moody and have Dwaun Anderson go 3-4 from downtown again? I'm interested to see if that can happen.
Robert Morris has only matched up once this year with Mount St. Mary's and I think it's safe to say neither team had reached their best play. RMU won the game 76-68 thanks to a strong run to end the game from the Mount that turned a blowout into a close game.
Karvel Anderson lead all scorers with 22 and Russell Johnson added 14 but besides that we saw balanced scoring from the Colonials. Julian Norfleet and Shivaughn Wiggans did the bulk of the scoring for Mount St. Mary's with 21 each. The Mountaineers had more rebounds and free throws than RMU but really just ran out of time in this game.
Everyone knows the Mount likes to give you 40 minutes of the full-court press and RMU has struggled at times, but overall this is a much better match up for the Colonials for a few reasons:
a) Velton Jones is healthy, giving RMU two viable point guard options to handle the ball.
b) The Mount like to play small, which works well for Robert Morris
c) Mount St. Mary's likes to play more zone than your average team, which plays right into the strengths of Robert Morris' offense.
Maybe I'm more optimistic than I should be, but RMU is playing their best basketball of the year and their best is better than anyone else's.
Wagner over Long Island 85-82
Robert Morris over Mount St. Mary's 77-69
Thursday, March 7, 2013
|Robert Morris fans came out to support Russell Johnson and|
the Colonials (Photo credit: Justin Berl).
RMU had just a really solid all-around game. They canned eleven three's, controlled the boards, played solid defense, and had outstanding ball movement. I was impressed with the colonial "big's" of Mike McFadden, Russell Johnson, and Lucky Jones. They did a great job battling with Jalen Cannon, who is the Terriers best player. Johnson had probably the best all-around game with 19 points (on a very efficient 7-12 shooting), seven rebounds, five steals, and two assists.
Finally, what else can you say about Karvel Anderson? I mean, the guy is playing with a broken wrist and has stepped up in every big game this season. He led the team with 20 points and put the nail in the coffin with his own 8-0 run late in the second half. There is no one who can shoot like him in the NEC.
Hat tip to the RMU crazies, who showed up in full force, stood (!), and made noise the whole game. As always, we encourage all students to stay that extra night so you can attend the semifinal match-up, which will be broadcasted on FSN and MSG among other networks.
Around the NEC: I was not surprised with any of the outcomes in the first round of the quarterfinals. Quinnipiac gave LIU a scare (again) but couldn't seal the deal in the second half (again) and lost by a score of 91-83. The refs were whistle happy in the game; Ike Azotam, Zaid Hearst, Dave Johnson, and Ousmane Drame all fouled out for the Bobcats (their four best players, by the way) and Jamal Olasewere fouled out for LIU. Olasewere, the NEC player of the year, didn't have the monster game he did last Saturday but still added 20 and six. C.J. Garner was the star of the game with 30 points.
|Rashad Whack was the best player on the floor last night.|
Mount St. Mary's went into Bryant and defeated the Bulldogs by a score of 75-69. It wasn't the high scoring affair one may have expected, but nonetheless the Mount overcame an eight point second half deficit thanks in part to the complete game that guard Rashad Whack played and their ability to hit free throw's down the stretch. Sam Prescott did not go for 40+ in this one but he didn't have to thanks to the balance scoring of his teammates. The Mountaineers had four players in double digits. I do have a few additional thoughts about this game:
1) Is there anyone who wants to play the Mount right now? They're winners of eight in a row and ten of their last eleven.
2) I understand that Bryant has a great student section, but lets stop with the notion that they're the toughest place to play in the NEC. They lost their three biggest NEC games of the year at home (LIU, RMU, MSM).
3) Is there a more boring name in college athletics that the "Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers"?
Finally, Wagner handled Central Connecticut State with a final of 72-50. Kyle Vinales got his with 23 points but needed 22 shots do so and CCSU shot an uncharacteristically 25 percent from the field. Jonathon Williams paced Wagner with 20 points.
Saturday's match-ups look like the following:
(2) Wagner vs (3) Long Island, ESPN3.com, 12:00 pm
(1) Robert Morris vs (5) Mount St. Mary's, FSN, 2:30 pm.
Look for a post tomorrow that breaks down these games and tune in to No Huddle on rmuradio.com tonight at nine for more exclusive coverage. We'll have Andrew Chiappazzi of ColonialsCorner.com on at 9:20 pm and will be taking calls all night to talk NEC hoops. The number to call in is 412-397-6816.
|How much longer can these guys be the face of the Yankees?|
Granderson and Texiara will both be out until May. It sounds like Eduardo Nunez could get the nod at third and Kevin Youkilis will move to first base-- not the worst situation out there but not ideal. Don't be surprised to see the Yankees look elsewhere around the majors to solve the left field situation. Alfonso Soriano anyone?
|Brett Gardner can be a pain for all AL pitchers.|