Friday, October 31, 2008

Quick Hits (No Tricks, Just Treats)

A Happy Halloween SHOUT to you all--but aside from the holiday, October's time is running out of the hourglass and November is upon us, which means championships (among other things).


We're going to go rapid-fire few some of the things going on out there...


-- Saturday the 1st actually begins the championship swing with the races for the Big South Cross Country Championships. Liberty claimed both the men's and women's crowns last year, and this year the Flames are hosting the event--will that give them another leg up (or two)? We'll see this weekend.


-- Saturday also offers three football games for our Conference teams: VMI at CSU, each with only one Big South win so far; Liberty at PC, which does not yet count as a Conference game so LU will carry over its undefeated League mark; and Gardner-Webb at Stony Brook, the first meeting for those schools and one in which SBU seeks its third straight Conference win. Coastal Carolina has a bye this week, and the Chanticleers could use the break: 0-3 in the Big South so far.

-- Looking beyond the weekend, each of the next three weeks has a championship tournament in store for us: women's soccer (11/6-9), men's soccer (11/13-16), and volleyball (11/21-23). All of those tournament games will have video streaming available on The EDGE--packages are up now, each tournament offering daily passes or full championship subscriptions.



-- Let's talk academics for a moment...there is an impressive scholarship offer out there right now from Big South Corporate Partner Sunbelt Rentals. Information is available at BigSouthSports.com (look for the green box with the Sunbelt logo, or just click here). The original deadline was 11/1/08, but they are still trying to grow the applicant pool, so it has been extended to 11/15.



-- Still on the academic bent, 2009 will bring us the second Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, known as Big SURS. UNC Asheville is hosting the event in March, but will start accepting research abstracts on November 10th. For more details, refer to the Big South Big SURS page or to UNCA's Big SURS page.


-- The Big South has an interesting new service available starting with the Cross Country Championships: BigSouthPhotos.com. You can see galleries from the various Conference championships and even purchase the pictures you like! The site is still under construction as I write this, but our partners with Sideline Sports expect to have it up with available shots from cross country as soon as Monday the 3rd. And starting with the Women's Soccer Championship, Sideline Sports will have reps available to sell shots on-site at the event!


Okay, gotta run, but I'll leave with this week's Viewers Guide before I go...
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That just might be the scariest thing you'll see this Halloween!

Keep it safe and fun out there, people--and two reminders: don't forget to set your CLOCKS this weekend and don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday (unless you've already done early voting, of course).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Reflection


Spinning around the Conference and updating the fall sports as we head into Halloween week (and beyond it, to the November tournaments/championships)...


Men's Soccer continues to be a dogfight, with Gardner-Webb 5-2, Coastal Carolina 4-1-1, and Winthrop 4-1. GWU and Winthrop face off Wednesday evening in a game with tournament seeding implications. Interestingly enough, of the three squads, only Winthrop has a winning record overall.


Women's Soccer has Coastal Carolina (6-2) out in front, with CSU (4-1-3) and VMI (4-2-1) in a battle for second and HPU (3-2-2) and Winthrop (3-3-2) right behind them. Time is running short on the season, with the Conference Championship starting play November 6th.


Volleyball offers a fight to the finish at the top going into the stretch run: Liberty is 10-1 and High Point is 9-1 in Conference. Look for them to clash in just a couple of weeks (on Tuesday, 11/11) with plenty at stake.


Football has a tight race of its own for everyone, but the battle may be for second unless something changes in the next few weeks. Liberty regained its footing after an out-of-conference loss, shutting out Charleston Southern and pushing the Big South record for the defending-champion Flames to 3-0. Newcomer Stony Brook downed Coastal Carolina to improve to 2-1 and hang a game back of LU. GWU defeated VMI, leaving both squads with 1-1 records to work with. Behind those teams, CSU sits at 1-2 and Coastal holds the sixth position--surprisingly still winless in Conference at 0-3.


Speaking of football, some happier news for the CCU crowd: a solid performance by Chanticleers alum Tyler Thigpen for the Kansas City Chiefs this week, as reviewed here by an ESPN blog correspondent. He's already had some ups and downs in his young NFL career, but his performance this week would seem to indicate that he's really "getting it" now.


By the way, I know I missed posting the viewers guide video on Friday...here it is now, just in case you want a review of what's coming up on The Edge for today-Thursday (or if you want to know what was on this past Friday-Monday, for that matter)...




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Catch you later.............

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Follow This Link...

Hello, SHOUT readers!
Today I am sending you on a field trip--no, really.

I was a guest blogger recently on "Rush the Court," a national college basketball blog, offering the RTC readers a preview of the Big South (for men's basketball). So instead of rehashing that text here, I'll give you the link to read the piece there: Rush the Court Big South Preview. Enjoy--and we'll send another SHOUT your way soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Sports Frenzy

I know the last SHOUT spent most of its time on basketball, so in the interests of fair time, we remind everyone that the Big South scene is very much about the FALL sports right now...basketball is just starting practice this weekend but the other sports are all in the heat of Conference races.


It's an interesting football weekend, with four games on the schedule (and all of them on The EDGE). Three of those four are first-ever meetings and one is a series with history:

CSU @ SBU -- "Buccaneers & Seawolves" just sounds adventurous, doesn't it? This is no old Errol Flynn flick nor a Johnny Depp sequel-in-the-making, this is Big South Conference football...between teams going in opposite directions right now. Charleston Southern has won three straight and Stony Brook, crushed by injuries, has lost five in a row.

Lafayette @ Liberty -- it's strength on strength: Liberty #7 in FCS in total offense, Lafayette #5 in total defense--something's gotta give here! Liberty has won eleven in a row and has continued its march up the rankings.

NCCU @ Coastal Carolina -- Chanticleers trying to get back on track (and hoping NC Central helps get them there).

PC @ GWU -- this one is the battle of familiar foes, with 30 previous meetings (PC leads the series 16-14). Gardner-Webb is trying to stop a three-game slide.

VMI is idle.


For more on all these games, look at the Conference Football Preview at BigSouthSports.com.


Now it's time to look at what streaming offerings we have for the week ahead...
video

Let's get beyond football, because as mentioned on the video, the fight to the finish is on for men's soccer, women's socer, and volleyball too...and all that being said, the first championship on the slate is for men's and women's cross country, just a couple of weeks away!

Here's the upcoming Big South Championship schedule:
Nov. 1 - Cross Country Championships, hosted by Liberty
Nov. 6-7, 9 - Women's Soccer Championship, hosted by High Point
Nov. 13-14, 16 - Men's Soccer Championship, hosted by Coastal Carolina
Nov. 21-23 - Volleyball Championship, hosted by UNC Asheville

That means a lot of fired-up competition in the next few weeks, followed by the races and tournaments for the respective titles in those sports--basically filling up your calendar between Halloween and Thanksgiving. It's a great time of year, folks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hoops on First

It must be confessed that the above title narrowly beat out other contenders like "Hoops Can It Be Now?" and "HOOPS, There It Is!" Sad yet true, but I digress...


Yesterday was Big South Conference Basketball Media Day, and yours truly had a front row seat for the fun. I would have offered posts-in-progress, but I was far too busy at the time trying to keep all the parts of our video streaming operation going (more on that at the end).


You probably know the drill: various media members gather, compile preseason materials, listen to what the coaches have to say, and learn the results of the preseason balloting for All-Conference teams and predicted order of finish (in men's and women's basketball). The Big South, of course, also streams and archives video interviews of the coaches in attendance and the selected Preseason Players of the Year.


I won't keep you too long today, but here are some of the key points from Tuesday:


For the men...

-the race is wide open, with seven of the ten teams receiving first-place votes...

-defending champ Winthrop topped the voting as preseason favorite, despite significant player losses--resulting in no Eagles on the preseason All-Conference Team...

-Winthrop Head Coach Randy Peele added that he only has about 18 points per game returning this season...

-and WU's not alone, as nearly every team reflected on the loss of great players and the importance of youth and development this season...

-most coaches seemed to admit when pressed that Radford's talent may be the best of the group...

-and Liberty's Anthony Smith (pictured) has extraordinary talent yet tremendous modesty about it.



For the women:

-the whole preseason All-Conference Team was composed of seniors...

-Liberty is expected to succeed again, thanks largely to the contributions of the Frazees...

-Megan Frazee (pictured), in particular, was considered good enough to be a topic of conversation for most of the coaches yesterday afternoon, which is natural given the level of her game and the amount of attention opponents must give her...

-Gardner-Webb's Rick Reeves returns to the Big South, having previously coached at Liberty, and seems happy with the GWU switch from the A-Sun to the Big South...

-as was the case with the men, youth and the quest for leadership remain big issues for lots of teams once you get beyond that list of senior All-Conference stars...

-and Radford's dissatisfaction with last year's second-place finish was evident in the way new coach Taj Ngongba referred to how her players "remember their last game."


A couple of my favorite off-the-cuff short answers from the afternoon:
VMI's Duggar Baucom on the wide-open MBB race this year: "It's crazy, really."
PC's Gregg Nibert on the three-point line moving back: "It's gonna be neat."


You can learn all the latest from BigSouthSports.com, where you can see the following stories:
- Winthrop picked as preseason favorite for the men,
- Liberty picked as preseason favorite for the women,
- Anthony Smith named Preseason Player of the Year for the men, and
- Megan Frazee named Preseason Player of the Year for the women.


Those articles also have links connecting you to the 2008-09 Basketball Preview video and the archived clip of the coach interviews. Look for the site to add a "Basketball Media Center" soon, similar to the ones that you've already seen there for Football and for the Big South's 25th Anniversary. It will collect all the early hoops info in one convenient place for you.

Hey, everybody--believe it or not, this is post #50 for the Big South SHOUT!!!
Thanks to everyone who's been reading us and passing the word on to your friends, we really appreciate the support.

I close with a grateful SHOUT-out to Liberty Men's Basketball Head Coach Ritchie McKay who, after standing behind me while watching the very talented Matt Hogue handle the interviews of Megan Frazee and Anthony Smith for The EDGE, commented, "This guy's doing the job of four men back here!" Thanks, Coach, I'm flattered...it's all just another day's work in doing the one-man-band video streaming technique (producer/director, 3 cameras, audio, graphics, floor manager, etc.)--you gotta love it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Media Daze

Can you say "basketball time" ?

Believe it or not, the hoops preseason tip-off time is here!
Early next week we hit the annual events that mark that seasonal launch: the Big South Conference Basketball Media Days and Fall Meetings.

Best of all, you can get in on the fun...well, not the golf outing for the coaches and media (nor the board meetings of the Conference administration, although it's less likely you would find that "fun")...but you CAN get exclusive interviews with all the men's and women's basketball coaches on The Big South EDGE--for FREE.

The live streaming interviews can be seen at BigSouthSports.com on Tuesday, October 14th, at about 1:15pm (the time's a little flexible based on the events of the day, but that should be pretty close). In addition to the coaches, there will be interviews with the preseason players of the year--but you're not going to get those names out of me until all that is released on Tuesday, along with the full All-Conference Team and preseason poll predicting the order of finish (put together by the coaches and selected media representatives).

Meanwhile, back in the seasons that are playing right now, we have lots of intriguing match-ups, many of them on the video streaming schedule--so here's a look at the week ahead with our "On the EDGE" feature:


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Look for more details on football in the Big South's Week 7 Preview.

In other news, we want to point out that the "Dig Pink" campaign is not the only volleyball effort on behalf of breast cancer awareness in the Big South Conference. High Point is playing a match for "Dig for the Cure" in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That's happening tonight (Friday the 10th) at 7pm in the Millis Center at HPU.

Speaking of the world of pink, get ready for more promotions in women's basketball this season to help breast cancer awareness...last year they were thinking pink, but this year it's straight to the "Pink Zone", so watch for that campaign coming soon.

And since we've worked our way back to basketball, I should point out that the Basketball Sports Passes are now available for the video streaming of all home basketball games in the Big South Conference for 2008-09. Order now and enjoy the games!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DIG PINK with guest blogger Kristen Bauer!


Ladies and gentlemen, there's a very special promotion going on out there called "Dig Pink"--volleyball teams working together for breast cancer awareness. The Big South Conference has member schools involved in Dig Pink, leading us to turn SHOUT over this morning to guest blogger Coastal Carolina Head Coach Kristen Bauer (pictured below at right) for the whole story...

In the Fall of 2008, hundreds of teams from around the country will participate in the “Dig Pink” National Breast Cancer Awareness Rally. For the month of October, the Coastal Carolina volleyball team will promote breast health education as well as raise funds to help eradicate this disease. “Dig Pink” attendees will not only cheer the players on as they compete on the court, but will support the cause by donating funds and make a statement by wearing pink to home matches. The proceeds from all donations will benefit the Side-Out Foundation.

The foundation’s name underscores the purpose of the organization – “Side-Out” in volleyball occurs when one team wins a point while its opponent is serving, thereby regaining serve or control of play. Likewise, in the war against cancer, the Side-Out Foundation enables those affected to regain control of their lives.

Coastal Carolina University Volleyball will highlight their match on October 7th, 2008 against Winthrop at 6 pm in Kimbel Arena.
Players will be wearing pink warm-ups and pink socks. Dr. DeCenzo, the President of Coastal Carolina University, will be introducing our event and speaking on the importance of giving to this wonderful cause. Our very first volleyball player to receive a scholarship is Martha Davis. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor and will be serving the first ball of the evening. The Coastal Carolina Student Athletic Advisory Committee will be giving pink ribbons to all in attendance. HTC (Horry Telephone Cooperative) is sponsoring the event by donating $1 for every fan wearing pink.

Throughout the month, the Coastal Carolina University Volleyball team will be raising money by going into the community and asking for donations. We have already had two bake sales on campus and have been stationed at our local Food Lion grocery stores collecting funds. Several companies in Conway and Myrtle Beach have donated items to be sold and all the proceeds will go to the Side-Out Foundation. In addition, the Side-Out Foundation has also graciously allowed a portion of our proceeds to be given to a local breast cancer organization. This way, the Coastal Carolina University Community is helping save lives in their own area.



THANK YOU, COACH BAUER!

That's fantastic information and a great cause--now if you can't get to Conway for the game, there's another Dig Pink event coming up in Asheville 10/18, when UNC Asheville hosts Coastal Carolina for more exciting Big South Conference volleyball, so stay tuned for that!




Finally today, a huge SHOUT-out to former Coastal Carolina men's golf standout Dustin Johnson (one of the Big South 25th Anniversary "Best of the Best"). Johnson birdied the final two holes Sunday to get his first tournament victory on the PGA Tour. The win in the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, NY, earns him a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. Congratulations, Dustin!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kicking Off the Kickoffs!

Conference play is everywhere, with rivalries heating up throughout the Big South in all fall sports. For football, this is just the beginning of Conference games--and it's an intriguing weekend on the gridiron...

#20 Liberty at Coastal Carolina is the headliner, with the defending champion coming in undefeated and the home team eager to dethrone the Flames. The Chanticleers lead the all-time series 3-2. Coverage includes Big South television partners MASN and SportSouth.

Gardner-Webb at Charleston Southern is the week's other Conference game--the Runnin' Bulldogs have a 6-2 edge in the series, but the Buccaneers have won two of the last three, giving this one an interesting spin.

#6 Richmond at VMI presents the match-up with the most history: Saturday is their 85th meeting. The Keydets lead the all-time series 40-39-5, and the highly-ranked Spiders will be eager to even up the record among these rivals.

North Greenville at Presbyterian gives us a pair of 1-4 teams meeting with hopes of getting back in the right direction. PC has won all three previous meetings between the schools, although last year was a shootout, so anything can happen (the Blue Hose beat the Crusaders 66-52 in a game where QB Tim Webb threw for 648 yards and seven touchdowns).

All that being said, it's NOT just about football! The volleyball and soccer schedules are already in the thick of Conference play and the games are getting bigger and better. That's as good a cue as any to look at what's On The EDGE this week for all the fall sports...

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Gosh, that was really an unfortunate freeze-frame, wasn't it?

By the way, don't forget to go back to the Big South 25th Anniversary Media Center, particularly for the "Best of the Best" Voting. After a rush in the first few weeks, voting has slowed down, so jump in and help your favorite (but remember, only one vote per day--we've been pulling out the extras)! There are also updates to the profile and monthly history stories in the article library and vignettes telling you all about the "Best" honorees in the video library.

That's all for now--gotta run...believe it or not, we're already working on BASKETBALL things too--it's closer than you might think!