Friday, January 30, 2009

Revenge of Web-O-Rama!

Today's SHOUT has a lot going on, so let's actually start with a little preview of what follows:

1- BigSouthSports: now officially on You Tube!
2- The Web-O-Rama feature returns to SHOUT for a full tour around the Conference.
3- The EDGE has a basketball schedule full of important upcoming games for you--and we've got the preview right here (with yours truly leading the way)!

So first, the news of the day--the Big South Conference has stepped up to offer its fans and friends yet another outlet for finding what they want to see regarding the great schools and student-athletes of the Big South. Next time you're visiting YouTube, look for our official dedicated channel: BigSouthSports. Right now you'll see all 25 of the "Best of the Best" 25th Anniversary features and the overview piece highlighting all our "Best" honorees, plus the latest "On The EDGE" promo, and very shortly you'll see the preview pieces for recent seasons in basketball and football and additional Big South video segments. All these clips can also be found through The EDGE at BigSouthSports.com, but now you can just hop on while you're already surfing around YouTube--or even subscribe so you know when new videos are popping up on the BigSouthSports channel!

Speaking about doing a little surfing, it's been a while since SHOUT took you on the tour of Big South sites that we call Web-O-Rama...but it's back! Remember, we know that every site will tell you about the latest games and scores--but we're always looking for things you may not know about: the unusual, the special, or simply the different pages you may have missed along the way...so let's begin, shall we?
Charleston Southern wants to know if you played sports for CSU or its predecessor, Baptist College. The folks with the athletic department would like to stay in touch with all the student-athlete alumni, and in particular keep them informed about alumni events and Hall of Fame Weekend activities. Does this apply to you or someone you know? Go visit the Bucs' site and let them know!

Coastal Carolina has a recent story about a specific alumnus that you might not have caught...Jack Leasure, the Big South's all-time leader in three-pointers made, will be playing basketball for a team in Austria! You see, Austria sent us a big guy who kept saying "I'll be back" and eventually became a governor--and so we send Austria a big guy who keeps popping threes and eventually becomes...well, we don't know yet, but we wish him luck!

Gardner-Webb reminds us that our student-athletes do a great job of contributing to the community. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at GWU held a fundraiser in December to help needy families in the Boiling Springs area for the holidays. They were able to raise over $1,000 and turn that money into gifts so that Christmas could be a little merrier for those who could use a helping hand.

High Point knows it's never too early to make those big summer activity plans. The Panthers and men's coach Dustin Fonder have announced the schedule for their soccer camps in June and July. They've got just about everyone covered, with a wide range of age options along with camps designed for half-days, full-days, and overnights.

Liberty wants to take you inside the life and times of its women's basketball seniors, with six different student athetes contributing to the "Life with the Lady Flames" feature. It's a series of linked journal-style articles in which you will find first-hand accounts from the Lady Flames (including all three Frazee sisters) on how the season is progressing.

Presbyterian gives us a profile of a group that doesn't get much press from most athletic websites: the pep band! Check out the full story on the Blue Thunder Pep Band and at the bottom of the page, you'll even find bonus offerings in the form of fight song audio and sheet music as well!

Radford has been quite busy lately, unveiling a fantastic redesign of the RUHighlanders website in December (go look if you haven't seen it yet--they did a great job) and reopening the newly renovated Dedmon Center in January. As part of the major web changes, say goodbye to the "Lineburg's Line" blog...but don't worry, you can still read the perspective from the A.D. with online updates in the new "Lineburg's Notebook" blog: new name, new look, familiar point-of-view.

UNC Asheville often offers great stories in its ongoing "Bulldog Blog"--this week it tells the tale of teamwork between teams in different sports within the program. The Bulldog Blog is actually an article series rather than a traditional blog, but perhaps its time to revisit putting it on the SHOUT blog roll... In any case, give UNCA's Bulldog Blog a look (link right off the UNCA home page).
VMI is enjoying great basketball success these days, but there's a lot more going on in Lexington, and the Keydets will be showcasing plenty of it with the upcoming 2009 VMI Sports "Winter Blitz." On Saturday, February 7th, the VMI athletics facilities will be buzzing with a track & field meet, wrestling competition, and a basketball game all in the same day!

Winthrop has joined the Big South in the Vortex revolution! Who needs old-school widgets when you get grab the power of the Vortex? Much like the Big South Vortex, which you can see in the right-hand column of this page or access through the Conference site, the Winthrop Eagles Vortex can be copied into your social networking pages as an application or embedded in your blogs or websites (UNCA also has a Vortex, and other schools are in development). Capture one now!
Okay, as promised, here's the video preview/promo for the upcoming game schedule on The EDGE. This week includes a few doozies, as we begin the "crunch time" stretch for men's and women's basketball (I won't go into details here, I'll let...well...ME do it in the clip below):

video

All right, this has gone on long enough.
No, really, it has...I'm done.
Enjoy the weekend everybody--we'll have another SHOUT soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rock-It, Big South, Rock This Town!

Music translates so much of our experience...if you're a music lover, often a song can propel you to a certain time and place with the memory of the senses. That being said, reflect for a moment on what those with emotional ties to the present day will look back on...

Hmmm...okay, but before you're ready to knock anyone for titles like "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "Gives You Hell" (honestly the top two songs on iTunes right now), think back to when the Big South got its start in 1983. There are definitely some songs of the day to revel in and some to bury.

My personal collection, a wall full of CDs for years, is now itself reduced to pocket-sized iPod life (and before the CDs, we're talking about a lot of cassette tapes back in this land of 1983 to which we're referring). In that collection, I have a compilation called "Classic MTV: Class of 1983." So in the spirit of the Big South's 25th Anniversary Season, reflecting back on the Conference launching in 1983, here are the tunes (titles and artists) that made it to that little gem...

She Blinded Me with Science (Thomas Dolby)
Come On Eileen (Dexy's Midnight Runners)
Always Something There to Remind Me (Naked Eyes)
Mirror Man (Human League)
Cool Places (Sparks & Jane Wiedlin)
Love My Way (The Psychedelic Furs)
China Girl (David Bowie)
Twilight Zone (Golden Earring)
Rock This Town (Stray Cats)
The Walls Came Down (The Call)
Lies (The Thompson Twins)
True (Spandau Ballet)
Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo)
Why Me? (Planet P Project)
I Melt with You (Modern English)

Our House (Madness)
Too Shy (Kajagoogoo)
Burning Down the House (Talking Heads)
Back on the Chain Gang (The Pretenders)
Strip (Adam Ant)
One Thing Leads to Another (The Fixx)
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (Culture Club)
In a Big Country (Big Country)
Working Girl (The Members)
Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime), (The Flirts)
Eat Cannibals (Toto Coelo)
Reap the Wild Wind (Ultravox)
Talking in Your Sleep (The Romantics)
Goodbye to You (Scandal)
Rock-It (Herbie Hancock)

Naturally that's just one sampling...you can make seemingly endless lists for any respective year, but this is a snapshot courtesy of one specific compilation--and it's certainly got its share of hits, misses, and outright curiosities...such is the beauty of looking back on a quarter-century passing by the Big South.

Okay, enough time machine nonsense for one afternoon...let's talk about Big South BASKETBALL!

On the men's side, VMI took a blow by losing to Liberty in front of a record crowd at Lexington, but the Keydets recovered well, defeating Radford and holding off the Highlanders' charge for the top position. So VMI holds the lead at 7-1 heading into Saturday, with Radford one back at 6-2.

As for the women, Liberty remains undefeated and in first place, but High Point sits right behind at 4-1, so the competition remains fierce.

Here's the video for the weekend and week ahead, touching on the match-ups and the games available on The Big South EDGE...

video

Keep checking www.BigSouthSports.com for the latest in all the action and developments throughout the Big South, and SHOUT for additional perspectives on what's happening across the Conference. Don't forget you can also see Big South men's basketball analysis updated biweekly at Rush the Court.

Thanks--we'll SHOUT again soon!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not THE Big Game, but Certainly A Big Game

HOOPS ALERT--all eyes to Radford tonight!
VMI and RU face off in men's basketball, and this is an early statement game for these teams: tied for first (6-1) in the Big South standings, the winner gets a leg up even with most of the Conference slate still to come. Strangely enough, it's Radford that comes in with the current momentum--VMI had rattled off ten straight wins but got upended at home by Liberty as part of last Saturday's results, while Radford now holds the Big South's longest positive streaks: five wins overall, six wins in Conference play! Buckle your seatbelts and get ready for a ride...and yes, the game is available on The EDGE, of course.

While those two squads tangle for the top spot, keep in mind that only one game separates the teams bunched from the third through seventh positions. When the regular season wraps up, the top four seeds will have home games (remembering that PC will be pulled out as ineligible/transitioning this season), so that battleground in the middle will have all sorts of fascinating subplots in the coming weeks!

On the men's side, every squad has at least one win and one loss in Big South play now--but the same cannot be said for the women's basketball standings with these teams. Liberty has managed to stay unbeaten through four Conference games--three of them on the road At the other end of the spectrum, Presbyterian has struggled winlessly through four Big South games--three of them at home.

In other news--it snowed all across the Charlotte area yesterday, the home base for the Big South office...that in itself wouldn't be news in a lot of places, but it is a rather rare occurrence around here, even the very few inches that fell on Tuesday...

...and speaking of things you don't get much in the Big South, VMI will be video streaming Keydets WRESTLING Thursday night, so check that out on The EDGE at BigSouthSports.com.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekend Plans?

If you're within reach of a Big South campus Saturday, there's plenty of good basketball out there to satisfy your hoops hunger...orrrrr, you can settle in with The EDGE and watch video streaming games all day long (if you're so inclined...or reclined, for that matter). That might not be a bad idea for those wanting to stay in out of the cold over the next few days!

With that said, here's the "On The EDGE" video update for the week on what you can look for from the Big South in video streaming, plus a few good notes about the match-ups themselves and some reminders about the variety of contests running right now on BigSouthSports.com, all featuring yours truly (and the graphics have returned this week--huzzah!)...

video

Wow...got through the whole thing without that nagging cough that's been here all week...

And hey, while I've got you--don't forget to keep telling others about the Big South SHOUT--help us continue to grow! Oh, and also don't be afraid to send in a comment or two--it's been awful quiet out there lately.

Stay warm and safe out there, Big South fans!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Updating the Update

Hey there, Big South fans...yesterday we threw a "breaking news" update at you (and every time I hear that phrase now I can't help but think of the "Daily Show" promo line: "When news breaks, we fix it!"). Today we offer you (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest...of the story.

Wednesday afternoon, Presbyterian College did indeed introduce the new Blue Hose football head coach: Harold Nichols. Coach Nichols returns to Clinton, where his college career began--first as a QB and then an assistant for PC. His career coaching stints include a couple of tours with the Blue Hose, plus time at Georgia Southern, Rhode Island, and--most recently--Bucknell (as offensive coordinator). Here's a SHOUT of "good luck" for Coach Nichols on the new job, and welcome to the Big South!

Aaaannd yesterday's other fresh item regarded the impending appearance of VMI's Travis and Chavis Holmes on ESPN2...that has been postponed to NEXT week, time to be announced. So it's not canceled, but don't look for it this morning--keep an eye out for further updates on when the rescheduled interview will air.

That's all for now, my friends...more to come soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breaking News: PC ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello to everyone in the SHOUT universe--Presbyterian College will be announcing its new head football coach today at 3pm.

The announcement press conference (which I suppose would be a PC PC...and if it's considered politically correct, it could be a PC PC PC...and I'll stop there) will be shown LIVE and FREE on The Big South EDGE at BigSouthSports.com, so check it out...click HERE to go straight to the upcoming live events page for your video stream link.

In other news, I'm told ESPN2 First Take has tentatively scheduled VMI basketball's talented Holmes twins (Travis and Chavis) for an interview in its 11am hour Thursday...if it happens, it will be the Big South's second appearance on the program this season (Seth Curry made the show several weeks ago).


And congrats to Liberty running back Rashad Jennings, who has accepted an invitation to show what he can do in the Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, January 24th. Good luck, Rashad!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hoops Quick Hits

In case you missed it, here's the link to our Big South update for Rush the Court (men's basketball). It was sent in on Friday, so the weekend results were not included...even if they had been, it would not have changed too much--VMI is still on a roll, now 5-0 in Conference play and 13-2 overall, riding a nine-game winning streak. An interesting development along with that is how Radford is keeping pace, with Saturday's win bringing RU to 4-1 in the Big South. Liberty remains red hot at home. Charleston Southern needs to stop a freefall that has stretched to six losses in a row overall. And Winthrop has regained some of its footing, notching a second Conference win.


So other than VMI, each team on the men's side has at least one win and one loss so far. Meanwhile, after the weekend games, the women's teams have four "perfect" teams going into Monday's games...two undefeated: High Point (3-0) and Liberty (2-0)...and two winless: Presbyterian (0-1) and Gardner-Webb (0-3). With HPU facing GWU Monday night in High Point, the extreme ends of the Big South standings will expand or contract depending on the outcome of that one.

By the way, while we're talking hoops here, I'll let you basketball fans in (part-way) on a secret...

Okay, here's the thing...the Best of the Best fan balloting is still open--and although 10 of the 25 top moments in the running are basketball-related, only three of those hoops highlights are in the top ten in voting right now!

I can't be specific, because that would be against the rules, but I've seen the numbers and can share some observations: the top vote-getter overall has about 20% of the total votes and nearly double the entry in second place; the top four honorees all come from different schools; and most voters have been properly following the rules (vote as many days as you like, but only once per day), as only about one vote in eight has had to be discarded up to this point.

Why tell you this? To encourage you to throw in a vote for your favorite contender, of course (just don't try stuffing the ballot box)! It doesn't matter which one is YOUR favorite: each one needs your support to get its due in the final evaluation for the year-end "Best of the Best" results. See all the Big South 25th Anniversary information at BigSouthSports.com.

Friday, January 9, 2009

You're the Next Contestant...

Don't you just love a job where you can give something back to people?

The Big South and its partners are trying to give plenty these days: prizes galore in a variety of contests and sweepstakes.

Here's what you do: go to BigSouthSports.com and just start looking around...

--Register for a $10,000 prize package from a variety of sponsors--with a chance to win an additional $25,000 in cash for the Big South's 25th Anniversary Season...check!

--Find out how to get in on-court contests for a trip the the Final Four with our State Farm NCAA March Madness...got it!

--Sign up to win a weekend getaway thanks to the Roanoke Valley Sweepstakes...done!

--Earn prizes (and your own claim to fame) as the Big South's Top Fan in the Advance Auto Parts Best Time of the Year contest...yessirree!

So GO -- SIGN UP -- WIN STUFF, okay?

Anyway, here's the lineup this week for video streaming with our "On The EDGE" feature (the typical graphics were a casualty of the computer problems alluded to in the last post, but what can you do?)...

video

And there you have it, sports fans!

I rarely do this, but I'll close with a purely personal note--as a Florida alum and a huge fan of the program, here's a SHOUT-out to all the Gators everywhere on the National Championship win!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Long Holiday

So you're saying to yourself, "Sure, we hit Christmas and New Year's and all that, but where's SHOUT been?"

A long holiday break out of town with family, followed by some computer problems, silenced SHOUT for a couple of weeks (the longest break we've had between entries since coming online at the end of February '08), but it's back for 2009 and ready to roll forward with a great year in the Big South Conference.

We're planning another entry for Friday, but here are a few things we just have to point out from the basketball side of life: at the time of this posting...

*** VMI is on top of the men's standings: 4-0 in Conference play...the Keydets are riding an eight-game winning streak overall and a total record of 12-2...and they are undefeated at home, something to remember when you also consider that the Keydets are 3-0 in Big South road games!

*** There's only one other men's team in the Big South with a winning record overall. That team is Liberty...and here's the thing with the Flames--they're just not getting it done on the road this year: LU is 9-0 at home or in a neutral site, but 1-6 as the visiting team (including 0-3 in Conference away games). That record includes a loss at Winthrop--one of only two victories the Eagles have grabbed this season (2-10 overall).

*** On the women's side, it looks like the non-conference schedule was just as harsh overall as it was for the men--only one team has a winning record for the full season at this point: Coastal Carolina (9-6). When you look at Big South Conference games, High Point has the early lead with a 2-0 start (and both wins on the road at that).

*** Keep in mind as we wind our way through the next two months that seeding on the men's side is critical, as the top four teams will host quarterfinal games in the tournament and the top seed has an opportunity for home court advantage in each round. On the women's side, seeding will decide the match-ups but it will not factor into game sites, since that championship will be held at a single site (High Point).

*** One more twist to throw at you--there are indeed ten member teams now in the Big South, but while PC is eligible for regular season titles, the Blue Hose cannot participate in postseason play this year. And since VMI does not field a women's team, that leaves eight teams to fill the WBB bracket...while on the other side, the men still have nine eligible--meaning that whoever brings up the rear will not be part of the championship bracket in MBB.

Hope that gives you something to ponder on as the games and storylines continue to unfold this season...