Thursday, March 26, 2009

Curry Out, Cherry In

Just when you thought basketball season was over, right?


Two big news items hit this week that will make some ripples in Big South men's hoops in the coming seasons.

First came the story out of Lynchburg that Seth Curry was preparing to leave the school, seeking a transfer to an as-yet-unnamed program to further his basketball plans.

Frankly, that's a shame--for a few reasons...yes, the Big South admittedly got some attention for having the "son of Dell, brother of Stephen" at Liberty, but that's somewhat beside the point now. No conference wants to see its Freshman of the Year, a recognition of early success and virtual designation of future greatness, unplugged from the league--whether by transfer, "one and done" jumping, or injury...it's just bad news, the removal of such potential from the big picture.

Meanwhile, if you're Coach Ritchie McKay and the Flames, don't you have a multi-year plan in the works that has Curry's offensive output as a major factor? Combine Curry's early exit with Brolin Floyd's transfer and Anthony Smith's graduation and it's a whole different picture being painted in the Vines Center next year.

The games will go on, and one player's presence or absence will never change that. Curry's historic freshman season will be just that--history, an end rather than a beginning. So be it.

It's just unfortunate that the Big South was made a bit of a scapegoat in his departure for "opportunities that may be available...in a higher rated conference" somewhere else, but I won't belabor that point--I'll let someone else stick up for us on that one...read Tom Sorenson's blog/column for the Charlotte Observer on this subject.

In other news...

Earlier today, High Point University announced its new Head Coach for Men's Basketball: Scott Cherry (pictured). Cherry leaves South Carolina, where he was an assistant under Darrin Horn for the NIT-qualifying Gamecocks out of the SEC. Prior to that, Cherry was with Horn in Western Kentucky for a year and had previously been on the staff at George Mason for four seasons (including the memorable Final Four run for the Patriots in 2006). Read more at BigSouthSports.com.

Cherry has name recognition in the region for his playing days as well, thanks to his days with the North Carolina Tar Heels--which included membership on the 1993 National Championship team.

RECAP...
In the last SHOUT, we said that only Liberty's men's team was left to carry the Big South banner through the basketball post-season...well, that didn't last the night, unfortunately, as James Madison doused the Flames and ended the on-court action for the year (jump-starting the off-court info discussed above).

Okay, time for this weeks' "On The EDGE," although I'd take some of the program suggestions with a grain of salt, as the weather forecast for the region seems a little dicey...we'll see.

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By the way, it's my birthday as I write this...I won't bother with how old I am, but I'm obviously older than the Big South itself--that should be enough (Hey, is that a SHOUT-out to myself? Wow, that's the very definition of self-serving. Oh well...).

Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Then There Was One...

The post-season fortunes of the Big South hoopsters have not been good ones (an understatement, I'm afraid).


Lopsided losses have befallen Radford on the men's side (to UNC), plus Liberty and Winthrop (to Louisville and Georgetown, respectively) on the women's side. The closest of those three games had a 20-point gap, so no "almost" this year.


Meanwhile, it may be a first-year event, but the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) is the home of the Big South's last team standing. Liberty's men's team knocked off Rider at Lynchburg in the opener for the Flames, and they get to host again tonight--James Madison comes in for a quarterfinal match-up, 7pm tip-off. And don't worry, if you can't make it to the Vines Center, we'll bring the Vines to you on The Big South EDGE!


Enough basketball talk for the moment--Big South BASEBALL is in full swing. Conference series have already begun and there are some early storylines to watch. Coastal Carolina (18-4 / 3-2) is a known commodity, ranked and rolling for the most part, but the Chants got upended in a weekend series by Winthrop, making the Eagles (14-7 / 5-1) a team to watch as well. And don't leave Liberty (15-5 / 4-1) out of that discussion either. Although their overall records aren't as stellar, there are still three additional teams with winning records in Big South play early on: CSU, VMI, and GWU.


Baseball is not alone in the spring action...while you were watching basketball, other seasons have been gaining steam: softball is settling into the thick of its schedule now and the championships are just weeks away for tennis, golf, and outdoor track & field!


DEADLINE ALERT--have you been voting for your "Best of the Best" selections? Your time is running out! The scheduled conclusion for the "BoB" voting window is Wednesday, March 25th, so get over there and make your vote count. Remember, you can vote just once per day, but as many days as you like--so that gives you three more opportunities as of this posting! We'll combine the fan voting with the Big South's 25th Anniversary Committee ballots and reveal the results at the conclusion of the athletic calendar in May.

FYI, we did a little housekeeping and updated the blog-roll on the right...the outdated ones have been removed and new ones added in their spots--and probably more coming soon...


Keep your ears open for the next SHOUT from the Big South Conference!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Think Me Mad, Do You?

MADNESS!
It's that time, most definitely that time.

The last few weeks have been a crazy frenzy of tournaments and championships, setting the scene for the biggest one of all, the Big Dance itself.

Well, as I write this (1pm Thursday 3/19), the Big South has a team alive in four different postseason basketball tourneys:
RADFORD MEN: NCAA (Big South Champion, Automatic Qualifier, and a 16-seed, opening against 1-North Carolina in Greensboro...perceived by many to be the ultimate death sentence--but surely a 16 must beat a 1 SOMETIME, right? I mean, just because it's never happened...well, let's hope for the best!!!)
LIBERTY WOMEN: NCAA (Big South Champion, Automatic Qualifier, and a 14-seed, opening against 3-Louisville in Baton Rouge--tough draw, especially since an upset win probably means host LSU next)
LIBERTY MEN: CIT (This is the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, and the Flames already have an opening-round win against Rider under their belts!)
WINTHROP WOMEN: WNIT (The Big South gets a team in the WNIT field, and WU is the top eligible team--best seed from the Conference with a winning record overall.)

As for streaming options, it's very much a baseball week--here's the quick rundown...

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Admittedly, this is a quick note today--it should be longer after the "radio silence" you've been getting from SHOUT over the last two weeks, but the Conference staff is heading out to watch the Radford-UNC game together...for this game, we're clearly in the minority here in the Tar Heel State, but we'll be hoping RU can find a little magic.

ENJOY THE GAMES--more SHOUT coming soon...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Update--From Semis to Final

Hey everybody, the men's basketball final is now set!

The quarterfinal winners Tuesday were the top four seeds (RU, VMI, LU, UNCA) on their home courts.

The semifinal winners tonight were the top two seeds (RU, VMI) on #1 Radford's court.

So now Radford will host VMI in a showdown for the Big South Championship Saturday afternoon (on ESPN2).

Yes, men's basketball grabs the headlines these days, but that's not all that's going on--as we discuss in this week's "On The EDGE"...

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Mascot Dance Video Fever is catching on--if you haven't seen it yet, check out the post from March 2nd!!!

That's all, just a quick one tonight--thanks for reading, more coming soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Big Days, Big Games

It's that time of year, folks.

Two weeks ago I was at swimming and diving championships...
One week ago I was at track and field championships...
Today I'm at the beginning of the basketball championships.

Four Big South teams have home games tonight: Radford (top seed, hosting High Point), VMI (against Coastal Carolina), Liberty (facing Gardner-Webb), and UNC Asheville (taking on Winthrop). Yes, it's the Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship--with quarterfinals at the top four seeds...the semifinals will be at Radford Thursday (even if RU gets upset tonight), with the final game Saturday at the higher remaining seed of the two surviving teams.

I'm in Lynchburg, Virginia, for the LU-GWU showdown. As part of my job here as the Big South Conference rep, I had the privilege of handing the All-Conference awards to the deserving players from these two teams after their respective shootarounds, including two of the major individual honors: Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Gardner-Webb's Aaron Linn) and Freshman of the Year (Liberty's Seth Curry--the highest scoring freshman in the history of the Big South Conference). Other awards included First and Second team All-Conference, All-Freshman team, and All-Academic team--you can see the full lists for all the winners at BigSouthSports.com.

By the way, the other major individual awards (given at the appropriate sites today) included Player of the Year (Artsiom Parakhouski of Radford), Defensive Player of the Year (Mantoris Robinson of Winthrop), and Coach of the Year (Radford's Brad Greenberg).

It's always fun to see events come together, particularly one with weight to it--win and advance, lose and the season's done. Good luck to all the teams, should be fun tonight!

Monday, March 2, 2009

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!

It's that time of year: everybody wants to dance: win, advance, and DANCE...everybody--and I mean EVERYBODY in the Big South Conference is trying.

Just watch this and you'll see what I mean (in other words, "Mascots-a-Plenty")!!! Enjoy.

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Big South SHOUT is now one year old--we got our start 2/29/08 (Leap Day!) and just crossed into March '09. That means it's tourney time for the 2009 Championships and certainly a worthy cause for celebration...hence the dancing (our thanks to all the mascots and cheer squads for their fantastic contributions).

Thank you all for reading and supporting SHOUT throughout the last exciting 12 months, and for staying with us for more from the Big South Conference through the many months, seasons, and years ahead!