Wagner stuff

First off, I wanted to go into the AE vs. NEC stuff, but my cpu is being annoying tonight and I won't get to do it all before I have to crash.

But check the paper for a Wagner preview, and I will be there so we'll have full coverage. I'm also scheduled to go to SH on Saturday for the doubleheader, so now's the time to read the Herald now that we're back in business, I'm healthy, and basketball season is heating up.

A quick thought on "the gesture"

What may or may not have happened was right in front of me, but I was watching the ceremony for Howie and didn't see it.

So I'll just say this. While I've only spoken to coach Moore a couple of times, I've been told enough about him that I'm certain this much is true:

IF what is said to have happened actually did happen, and Moore had seen it, he would have at the very least ripped into the kid. Especially since Coach D and coach Moore seem to like each other quite a bit.

So I wouldn't read anything into it other than the actions of a single frustrated young player (again, IF it happened.) I certainly wouldn't use it as a representation of the Quinnipiac program.

A good job by all

First off, I have to give you guys credit. I said you had to show up if you're ever going to talk about Detrick being too small again, and you did. And for the 1,000-plus who stayed for the women's game...well done. Now that you've proven the big games are an event, we have to do something about the lesser games when no one is there.

Two great games. For the men, a gritty effort against a very good defensive team that is brilliantly coached. Phenomenal effort to pull away late.

Kudos to Marcus who has raised his game to new heights lately. When he plays that well, as I always say, CCSU is tough to beat.

The women didn't win, but they proved 2 things. 1) They can play with the good teams in the NEC. Suddenly, no one is going to want to see CCSU in say, an NEC semifinal.

2) While they didn't play well early, they showed exceptional guile coming from 17-2 down to have a chance to tie late. Just a gutty performance by another beautifully coached team.

And for the record, the men are coached pretty darn well too. Can't leave them out.

One quick addition for the board guys

On the AE:

Seriously, the way the AE gets overrated by you guys shocks me sometimes.
Anyone who has ESPN Insider, go look at the conference RPIs, and the top teams in the NEC are right with the top in the AE. And UH had a whopping 1600 tonight.

I'm not knocking UH or the AE, just saying, you guys make it sound like the Big East when it's really not that much different.

Put up or shut up.

First off, Thursday's game: One run will do you in on the road, especially when it comes late. But you're starting to see the makings of the deeper team I've been so excited about now that Marcus is a bigger factor. This would have been a nice one to get, but there were good things in the loss.

Now, here's my challenge to you. I get asked all the time when CCSU will try harder to get a new arena. I often respond that in order for that to happen, CCSU hoops needs to be deemed as a big deal by the public.

Here's your chance. You won't get an arena built off of one big day, but you as Blue Devil Nation can start to change the culture surrounding the basketball programs the way Red Sox Nation changed the culture around Boston even before the Sox won it all.

On Saturday, the men and women have a doubleheader against their biggest rivals (at least in the fans' minds) in Quinny.

For the men, it's a big game in the race for a home game in March. For the women, you could argue this is the biggest home game CCSU has played in the DI era.

Your challenge is this: Show up. Show up in numbers that require the event staff to turn people away or keep at least keep them out of the isles. Show up and make noise. Reward the men's team for surviving a brutal road stretch. Stay for the women's game and reward them for one of the biggest turnarounds this area, forget the school, has seen in years.

The women are 6-1 in the NEC. Imagine what this team can do with a home court advantage?

You want a new building? Show the state and the boosters and the potential investors that, when everything comes together just right, CCSU basketball can be an event. Saturday has the potential to be one of the biggest regular season days of basketball New Britain has seen in a long time. The atmosphere should reflect that.

You want the media to give Central some pub? Have them follow the crowd. Anything less than 2500 is a disappointment to me. I'm thinking big.

Show me I'm right and show me that you guys care about CCSU hoops as much as you tell me you do. Show everyone Detrick Gym can't hold such an event anymore.

The men have a chance to push back into the top 4. The women have the chance to become true contenders in the NEC.

It's time to show some Blue Devil pride. If not now, then when?

I wouldn't be a good free agent

At least this year, I'm on the DL too much.
Anyway, thanks as always for the well wishes while I was away, hopefully I'm in good shape now through the rest of the hoops season. And thank goodness, because things are just getting good.

First off, and I know I'll get heat from this from the "every game is the national championship" crowd, but Thursday's game is basically house money based on what CCSU already accomplished during this trip. I said before the trip that the Devils needed 2-2 to come home in good shape, and they're 2-1 now.

That means the game against the Mount is fun. Central is starting to play better on the road (though part of that is who it played to an extent) so it has a chance, though this game doesn't decide a tiebreaker (unless CCSU wins it).

Also, Central picked the right time to send Shemik to get fixed up... better to miss some time now than have it bug him all year.

Those who have mentioned it to me as a concern aren't totally wrong: CCSU doesn't have a true backup point, but the Devils have gotten away with it. Robby will get better as the year goes and next year they should have some depth there.

As for Aaron, his loss is big but as Chris gets healthy and better, he can help fill the void, though in a different way. Also, Marcus is starting to wake up, which makes up for the points.

The hope was that Shemik would be back Thursday, and I haven't heard anything to change that. Though I've been out for a week. I'll keep you posted now that I'm fishing around a bit.


Remember two things.
1) Which sets are run is based on the opponent and the style of play. You want to stretch a big team like Wagner out and make them run around. Also, it's harder to run pick and rolls against zones, when players aren't necessarily getting guarded straight up as much. CCSU will see a lot of zone until they make some shots.
2) It also depends who is out there, which is dependant on matchups and who is playing well. When CCSU goes big, it will play differently when it's going small.

The short of it is this: No set is "dead." Nor will CCSU get by playing one way all the time. The weave will be there at times, as will the running game.

Catching up

First off, thanks to everyone who has passed along good words about the paper. We are going to be bought it seems, which means I get to keep covering CCSU. Can't tell you how thankful I am to get to work for you guys.

Now, onto tonight: First off, the lineup you saw tonight could be Central's best... IF Marcus plays like that. When he disappears, Central needs another scorer, and that means playing a third guard. Marcus was fabulous tonight, and can take a lot of heat off Ken. I think with Marcus a lot of it is confidence. When he's playing well he seems more aggressive. When he isn't, he doesn't seem as forceful.

I liked the way Robby looked for another things to do while his shot wasn't falling. Clearly he is learning from Joe. And before you guys go burying him, remember one thing. CCSU will need Joe at some point this season. I guarantee it.

Dave appeared to be fine, it seemed like just a cramp. Aaron left the court after most fans had with a crutch, but that could be just a precaution. I'll try and get more on that tommorow.

As for the Ken 3/4 talk... Ken does have to bulk up in order to spend some time at the 4... what makes him special is his ability to go between the two spots... he's a very good 3, don't get me wrong, but if he can get just a LITTLE stronger and be able to be even more of a combo guy, he will be unstoppable. Once that happens, Central controls the matchup. Right now, he kind of plays a role based on what the defense is doing.

In response to the comment: Can he score 20 a night as a 3? Yes. Can he be 24 and 9 if he's a bit bigger? I (and I admit to being the president of the Ken fan club) think so.

If Aaron's injury is serious, I think you'll see more of the 3 guard sets. But go back to some of the stuff I wrote towards the end of last year. Put Ken and a productive Marcus around Dave in the middle, and you have a very dangerous frontcourt.

And Marcus, if you happen to read this: 1) Keep it up. 2) Yes, I can read that scribble I write. It's mostly shorthand. And I don't do it much, my tape died.

Women are home Saturday, looking to go 4-0 in NEC play for the first time ever. If it snows Saturday you're excused, but Monday night you guys should go support this team. It's a different culture now.

I wouldn't even worry about the Beryl haters. What she has done in less than two years is staggering.

2 quickies

More to come, but here's 2 quick thoughts.
1) Blue: Horton is not a power forward. He's a tweener. An exceptionally skilled tweener, but a tweener. He's not going to have the role Simmons does. Marcus can do it to some extent because he is much bigger. Horton would get beat up.
2) The scoring issues are as much because the guards aren't making shots as anything else. That won' t last, so don't panic yet.

catching up

Ok, so new year's came and slowed down this update, my apologies.
First off, my apologies for the type on the game time today in the paper. Not sure how that happened, but it's definitely my fault.

Well, CCSU got blasted by more than I had predicted at Arizona State, but you can't really fault the Blue Devils for not being able to stop Mr. Harden...very few have in the last 2 years.

But, with that said, Central needed more tonight. Everything seemed fine at half. Central was shooting poorly but led, thanks in part to a big stretch for Aaron Hall. But Central got ice cold down the stretch and it fell apart.

This was a guard's game, and CCSU will win some shooting contests. But the bad thing about that kind of game is that it keeps Kenny from being fully involved. And giving the ball to Kenny is never a bad plan in my humble opinion.

Ken is still young, and he will learn to take over games. Also, as he gets a bit stronger and more and more used to the banging he's taking, he'll get better. Give him and this team time. There's 16 to go.

If you've seen the paper lately, you've seen what Ryan and I have written about the women. What Beryl Piper has done in less than two years is just remarkable. If this keeps up... well I won't jinx them yet.

The main thing I want you to take from this is to not freak about the men's loss. There will be another along the way. It's a LONG year.