oh boo

I admit for many selfish reasons I wanted a date with QU, but you have to give Central credit for the way it rallied to get that win. Shemik is just tough as nails.
Anyway, I'll be on this thing tommorow, going to bed after an exhausting week on and off the (side of the) court.

Quick update

tons to do here so I can't stay long, but I wanted to update you: Mount just scored with 8 seconds left, then held on to beat RMU.
So IF my math is right.... if QU and Monmouth win tonight, CCSU goes to Hamden Wed. If one of those two lose, the Devils go to Pittsburgh.

one more thought

before I put a very long night to bed.
Joe E. isn't going to block 8 shots every night, but he is going to be a defensive factor as he starts to figure everything out. Put him and Kenny in the same frontcourt. Who's getting it inside against them? And are Dave and Markeys salivating over how many rebounds they'll be able to get next year on all those missed shots the duo creates?

Quick update

The women did in fact clinch the tourney tonight. I left it out of my story because everything was so up in the air, I'd rather add it later than be wrong the first time.
Big thanks to Dan who helped me try and figure it all out.

checking in

First off, wanted to let you guys know that with senior day stories I'm working on and a big computer changeover we have going on at work and all the training that goes with it, I'll be a little in and out this week.
So just in case I'm not on much (though I will get you those tiebreaks as soon as I get them), I'll give you guys a topic.
I'm going to say that with Kenny, they beat Fairfield, Sv. St. at least once more, and at least one of those early-season close road games in the NEC.
With a healthy Robby, they get at least one of the last 2 home losses. And I'm trying to be conservative.
My point: A healthy team without Kenny is easily .500 in this league (an improvement on last year) and with Kenny, even accounting for Robby being out and Shemik being hurt, then sick, they're 14-13 something like 10-6 in the league right now.
Put Robby, Kenny and Shemik at 100 percent and they're no worse than the 3.
My 2nd point: Going into next year, you're not really building off the 8-10 NEC mark you probably will end up with. In reality, it's a 11-7, 12-6 type team with Devan having a year under his belt and freshmen coming.
This team reminds me a lot of 04-05. Right down to how the schedule broke at the end. The next year, CCSU was 2nd in the league and made the semis, which it lost because it shot less than 30 percent and its two-best shooters were 4-of-20 from 3.
What does everyone think CCSU would be this year if healthy, and what do you think happens next year?

Needs and wants

RR, I wasn't saying CCSU NEEDED FDU to do anything. But if they lose, then CCSU needs them to lose only 1 more to catch them. SFNY losing doesn't hurt, it's just that CCSU could have done that itslef. It just makes them need less help to get more teams close to them. I was just trying to get as many teams to 9 losses as I could.
I'm getting tiebreaks from the NEC as soon as they figure it all out, along with scenarios. I'll post it all as soon as I can.
Of course, CCSU has to take care of business at home now. But tonight was a great start.
Welcome back Robby.

Root for SFNY

I know, crazy, right? Here's why: If they win today, FDU has 8 losses. Then Central can beat SFNY, get them to 9 while winning the tiebreak, and would only need FDU to lose one more to get them to nine.
Of course, this all matters a lot more if Central wins tonight. If they do, the students MUST do a good job this weekend and come out for big, big home games.
On the other CCSU front: My colleagues who work the high school side as well as anyone in the state report that all that stand between CCSU and New Britain's Darius Watson is UNH letting him out of his letter, which should happen, and him making sure he does his work in classroom. Again, important to note that I haven't gotten this on my end yet, but I trust the guys I'm getting this from and who they talked to.


20 turnovers and a 20-5 run against to start the 2nd half. Bad day for the Devils, despite Shemik starting 10-for-10. he has 22 of their 40.
2 CCSU notes: The game's on FCS Atlantic as well as MSG if you wanna see the end. I just figured that out myself. Maybe I'm bad luck. They were down 3 when I put it on tv.
Also, 2 New Britain sources told a colleague of mine that CCSU might be back in on Darius Watson. I'm looking into it. He's a nice wing type.

2 quickies

Maybe you already knew them, but I was talking to someone at the NEC and came up with a couple notes to pass along.
First, the women, we think, are in with 2 wins this week. Yes, those are road wins, but you never know in this league. With this team, nothing would surprise me.
Also, the standings on the NEC page sort tied teams by alphabetical order, NOT by tiebreakers.

Good news and bad

Ok, so I thought I'd pick off the Devan questions before I even got them.
First off, no, he didn't need to take the 3. But he was wide open. You can't kill him for the shot, though it's absolutely ok to say they should have tried to get the ball inside.
The last shot: Yes, he had more time than he thought and rushed up a shot. He probably could have kicked it or set himself for a shot. Sometimes younger players don't realize just how long 7 seconds is.
Shemik being out hurt there. Say what you want about him taking too many shots (who else do you want with the ball?) but he'd have gotten either a jumper or gotten to the rim and maybe drawn a foul.
But let me say this in Bailey's defense: The kid wanted the ball. In a year where I've written too often about Central looking for an answer on offense and needing someone to step up, someone not named Shemik tried to take over. Usually, freshmen are scared to have the ball. If you told me Devan messed up at the end of a game on the last shot, I'd have told you he turned down an open look and gave it to Shemik. Nope. The kid was aggressive. Maybe he didn't handle either play right, but that will come. He's done too much too fast for me to give him grief over an enthusiastic mistake.
Robby was ok. A step slow. I was just giving him a hard time about the jersey thing, which was funny. It happens to NBA guys a couple of times a year. Coach said he didn't want to push him too much in his first game back, and referenced Dave's needing 2 or 3 games to be back to his old self. I think he'll be fine. If he's healthy next year, I still say this is a team to watch out for.
Speaking of which, let me revise and extend my chat remarks like they do in Congress.
First off, the projected lineup for next year, and this is just a guess: Devan, Shemik, Robby, Kenny, Markeys.
The bench bigs will be Dave, Chris and Justin Alexander. Joe Efese will give them some versatility if they want to go big and use him as a 3 or small and let him be a shot blocking 4 like Kenny is. The backup guards will be Vince, a freshman, and Robby sliding back to the 2. It will be an odd year where Central might have more answers up front than on the outside. But let's get back to this year first. I think Central needs 3 of 4 to guarantee a berth.

He's clearly rusty

Robby Just went to check into the game with 8 minutes played and either pulled his jersey off with his shooting shirt or didn't have it on. Either way, he almost took the floor without his jersey.

Surprise, Surprise!

Robby is dressed and warmed up like he was going to play. I didn't even mention him in the preview today because coach said Thursday that Ptacek was probably out another week. We'll see if it's just an emergency thing because Tull and Gerrity are both inactive today.


Can't thank you guys enough for all the questions and thoughts, and intrest! I thought we'd go a half hour and we went 90 minutes! Thanks a ton. Lemme know if you'd be interested in doing it again.

Let's go!

http://bradcarrollgameday.blogspot.com/ takes you right to the chat, there's a link in the middle of the Herald's site, near the top under latest updates.
Let's chat.

We have a date

Ok folks, here's how this is going to work. We're going to do the chat Thursday at 1. You can get there from the Herald's site, Brad's going to put a link up, but it will be easier to get there from his site, which is bradcarrollgameday.blogspot.com.
Or you can email questions in advance to mstraubblog@hotmail.com, or post them to the new sticky thread on ccsufans.com and I'll look through them Wed. and add them. The ad in the paper says CCSU basketball, and that will be the main focus since it's almost March, but all things Central are on the table. Football, baseball and soccer questions are all welcome. We can also talk about the beat, me, conferences, facilities, whatever is on your mind.
I do really hope a lot of you can be there though, the numbers will help determine when we do it again and how often. If you can't make it live, you'll be able to read the archive on Brad's site forever. So check it out whenever you can.
Really looking forward to this, and I really hope you guys like it.

A couple of RMU thoughts

First off, I know Mike Rice rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but man does he get his team to play hard. They just claw at you from start to finish. The most impressive thing to be tonight was getting a 20-point lead down to about 13 and making a game of it again in the 2nd half.
As for their actual play: I thought they did their best stuff tonight against Pitt in their version of the weave. Lots of movement and drives, very well done. When they tried to just pass it around, they just kind of stalled because no one was moving. Also, Green picking up his third foul really hurt. Had they been able to get to the half in a little better shape, Pitt might not have started the 2nd with such a bang.
That little 2 guard is fun to watch, but I have a feeling Devan will be able to slow him down. To me, it comes down to 2 things Thursday. First, can CCSU survive against their bigs. 1 is tough enough, but two to worry about will be tough. Green is a nice 1-2 with Robinson. If Central can tread water there, then it just comes down to who runs its offense better. When these two teams are moving with and especially without the ball, they can score. If not, I think it could be a scrappy kind of game in the 50s. If Central can pick spots to run and not get beat up inside, I saw nothing tonight that makes me think it's an unwinnable game if the good CCSU shows up. But I do like this RMU team a lot.


Morris vs. Pitt is about to start on SNY. Gonna watch and will give you a scouting report later.

Chat update

We're going to go with the chat on Thursday at 1 p.m. If you can't be there live, don't worry. There are still 2 ways to be involved. First, email questions now to bcarroll@centralctcommunications.com or mstraubblog@hotmail.com, and we'll post them ourselves as the chat goes along if we get them in advance. Also, you'll be able to see the chat on Brad Carroll's GameDay site. You guys will like him, he's doing a lot to raise the level of the coverage we give CCSU. So get on board. Hope you can be there live on his site, but if not email questions in now and read the chat later!
And if this goes well we can certainly do more.

Hold your horses folks

I know everyone loves speculating (I'll do some before the month is over with you), but remember that there's a long way to go. I'll admit that i don't like the way the league schedule shakes out for Central this upcoming week, but then there's two more, then the tourney itself.
Right now I could write a convincing case that CCSU will get a home game, and I can write a good case that it could miss the tourney.
I'll say this though for the Blue Devil fans that want to dream about a big March: You want a red-hot Mount squad to play RMU in the first round. I know, I've been in love with the Mount for like three years now, but I really can see a surprise run coming from them.
Again, we're weeks away from even having the pairings, but doesn't this feel like a year where form will do anything but hold in the NEC tourney? If you're a high seed now, do you want any of the Mount? A suddenly hot and experienced CCSU? A Sacred Heart team that could hit 15 3-pointers in any given game? I know home is huge in the league this year, but I'm calling it now. Someone is going down.
And no I'm not contradicting myself because I didn't say who exactly is going down or who's pulling the upset. But someone is, I'm sure of that.
What about my chat idea? Who's in? When's good for everyone?

Delta Guy

I did mention that the charity game was on tv. It was in a box in the paper next to the story that got webbed. Remember folks, sometimes you have to see the actual paper!

sorry for the delay

the women's interview ran late.
Efese starting again, Dave is fine, Robby still out, Tull dressed.

Happy Herald Day!

I'll have an attendance report of the guys during warmups, but wanted to mention 2 things quickly.
1) We're putting together an online chat with me about all things CCSU on Thursday. Who's interested? comment here, on the board, or email me at mstraubblog@hotmail.com
2) I'll have a James Mallory feature Monday.

First reaction

I have a tidbit that might be interesting regarding the class.
I haven't seen any high school games this year save for one on Thanksgiving, but I just had two colleagues in the last five minutes say to me "they got Denzell Jones?!?!?" with great excitement. So the Bloomfield QB gets the official Herald seal of approval.

Update and a rant

First off, wanted to remind you that I will have a breakdown of CCSU's recruiting class in the paper tomorrow.
Only one I know much about so far is Chris Linares, an exceptional athlete at New Britain. Has baseball-level hand-eye coordination, which will help him. Interesting to see what they do with him, because I remember him being not that big.

While I have the floor... first off, let me say that I don't think the NCAA will ever actually go to 96 teams for the big dance. That said, let me remind them of why it's an awful idea.
1) You kill the regular season at the higher levels. You think the season gets made fun of now? Try getting someone to care when every team .500 or better in a BCS league gets in.
2) You kill the conference tourneys at the higher levels. Wanna make the Big East tournament and ACC tournament totally meaningless? Let them all in.
3) You kill the good non-BCS tourneys. The CAA semifinals are a perfect example. ODU, Mason and Northeastern playing for MAYBE two spots. Give them an at-large or two and, while I'd be happy to see good teams like that finally get a chance to dance, you're officially saying the season starts on Selection Sunday.

But, since I always chide people that email me complaints without a solution, I'll give the NCAA one. You want Jim Boeheim to stop whining? 68 teams. I'd prefer the Tuesday quadruple header be for the 12 seeds. And if the NCAA is smart, that's what they would do. This year is an extreme example, but it makes my point so I'll use it. What would get ESPN better ratings? A typical play-in game between the NEC and Southland champions, or a game between UConn and North Carolina with a bid on the line?
It's going to end up that the bottom 8 league champs play for each 16 seed, but it's better than Bobby Knight's idea of 64 big teams and no one-bid league champs getting in. So we'll take what we can get I guess.

Hitting home

Covering a small school gives you the good fortune of getting t get closer with people than those at bigger schools do. Maybe that's why this hit home with me so much, I can only imagine if something like this happened at Central.
This is Doug Gotlieb remembering the Okla. St. plane crash that was now 10 years ago last week. One of the best things I've ever read. Though I wish he hadn't had to write it at all.

Reader mail

Sorry for not doing this over the last couple days... I'm sure you saw the story today as well as running around with the teams of late, haven't had a lot of blogging time. That ends now as we tackle two questions from a guy named Matt, clearly a great man.

Q: "Hi Matt...where do you stand on all the Baskerville-Simmons talk on the board? I know you don't want to bash a player...but do you think Howie has some sort of "love affair" with Simmons that is unfounded? Is he not playing Baskerville as much because of a lack of talent or a lack of work ethic? I just think Simmons is the better player. I'd love to hear your take.

A: Matt,
First, I must admit that I haven't lurked around the board much lately for the reasons above, but I can speak about the two in general. If I miss someone's specific argument, let me know and I'll reanswer the question.
I think Howie is always going to favor tough guys, but that's not to say he doesn't like Baskerville. I think they're different kinds of players. You're all right that Chris is probably a better offensive player than Dave, though Dave can get just as many (if not more) points through his board work. And with this team, which has so few big rebounders, Dave's boards are critical.
Chris strikes me as a complimentary type of offensive player. A good number of his points have come lately from that big-to-big pass I love (look at how many assists Markeys had the other night) that leads to easy layups. Dave's meanwhile, are going to come on offensive rebounds, cuts to the basket and open court dunks.
Translation: Neither player is explosive enough offensively right now to be worth of all the minutes in the post. It's not an either/or thing. Nor is either guy a real option. Their points come from situations, not plays run for them. Each will play based on matchups and how they're practicing and playing.

Q: I'm curious about Ken Horton...are the CCSU coaches expecting him to be the Horton of the 1st half of last season? I don't expect him to be THE MAN in November...but I'm hoping he'll be full strength by mid-January of next season. Is he practicing with the team yet? I think a lot of people, including myself, expect next season to hinge on his health.

A: First off, everyone keep these coming. I want to make these columns a regular thing. We'll do five a day if we get them.
I haven't talked to the coaches specifically about Kenny in a while, but I did to talk Kenny himself a couple of weeks ago. I also relayed on here that story about at the FDU game on the road, when he was running around and looked great. My understanding all year was that he'd have been ready to come back some time this month, which from my talk to him and seeing him, sounds about right. But the idea was that it was silly to bring him back now. Give him the redshirt and give him the full year.
Howie has told me repeatedly that they expect Kenny to be as good as new next year. It might take him some time to get his timing back and conditioning, but I think a lot of that comes during this offseason. As of today, and man do I hope I'm not jinxing it, I expect him to be 100 percent by the time conference season comes around next year.

My own 2 cents on something I saw while I was getting caught up on that debate to answer the other question: regarding the rotation for next year. I think you're playing too many guys in that breakdown.
Here's my guess:
It's Devan and Shemik with Vince as the third guard and a freshman stealing a few minutes her and there.
Up front it's Ken, Markeys and Dave up front with Chris, Mr. Alexander and Joe Efese coming off the bench. That's your 10, and I think in that order.