Posted on: February 26, 2010 10:30 am
Edited on: February 26, 2010 10:32 am
 

Snow, You Got Us Again

By: Drew Franklin

10:30 AM

Good Morning!

Are you ready to follow us to Ithaca, NY?

Well, that's too bad.  We're not going.

A "snow hurricane" is hitting the Northeastern United States and the ol' Kia Rondo just isn't ready to go ice skating.  We love her, she's been great, but we have families and putting our lives in the hands of a  stationwagon/SUV to see the Big Red of Cornell is too risky.

With Cornell out of the equation for tonight, that also takes Syracuse off of the schedule for tomorrow, so we need a backup plan.  We're frantically flipping through the college basketball schedule and calling places to make this work.  And if it does work, it will be a Peyton Manning-like audible.

Right now, we're leaning towards going to Virginia Tech for the Maryland game or to Georgetown to see the Hoyas play the Fighting Harangodies.  Both are Saturday games so we'll be taking it easy today unless we find a way to make it to the Idaho St.-Portland St. matchup.  (And we're not counting that out.)

If you have any other suggestions, e-mail us at collegebasketballroadtrip@gmail.com.

Now, I'm going back to bed to sleep off this crazy night at Morehead State.  

Talk to you soon.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 25, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:50 pm
 

Nation's longest winning streak snapped, 70-65

Thomas Beisner

10:45 pm




On a cold, blustery Kentucky night and in front of a raucous crowd, the Morehead State Eagles sent the Murray State Racers a message in a physical win.  If they want to go dancing in March, they better be ready for a fight.

Facing an opponent that  boasted the nation's longest winning streak and delivered a 30-point beatdown to them in December, the Morehead State Eagles looked like they might have the right recipe for some NCAA Tournament magic, relying on rebounding and three-point shooting to hand the Racers their first OVC loss.  

The game was physical and emotional and exactly the type you'd expect from two OVC rivals battling for post-season bragging rights.  What was a tight first half resulted in a three-point halftime lead for the Eagles.  But, they weren't done there and came out hot in the second half, extending their lead to 11 at about the halfway point and keeping it in the 7-9 range before a Murray run that closed it to 61-60 with about a minute to go.

But, the Eagles weren't ready to hand this one away, even with star big man Kenneth Faried saddled up on the bench with five fouls.  Instead of folding, they found clutch plays from two of their other veteran players. 

With the Eagles hanging to a one-point lead and under a minute left, Steve Peterson , who finished with a team-high 16 points to go with 5 rebounds, stepped to the line and knocked down the first, pushing the lead to 62-60.  He missed the second, but grabbed his own rebound, giving his team another possession.  Coming out of a timeout, Morehead inbounded the ball to Terrance Hill who knocked down his third three of the game, extending the lead to five points and essentially nailing home the game.

When the buzzer sounded, Murray State's conference record was no longer unblemished and the message was clear.  It's going to be a two-team fight for the OVC's NCAA Tournament bid.  And it's going to be a fight.


What Else We Learned About Morehead

1.  The Guys have spirit, yes they do
- The Morehead All-Girls cheerleading team is fresh off of their seventh national championship, but it was the heavy presence of the the Y chromosome that was the most noticeable.  I'm not sure if it had an effect on the crowd's interest in the game, but Drew did run out to the car for his contacts after we started talking about it.

2.  Be Faried, be very Faried - If you haven't heard of Kenneth Faried, you better ask somebody.  In front of five NBA scouts, the junior from New Jersey posted his 21st double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds.  He has a knack for always being in the right place to make a play and, despite fouling out with his team up 1 and two minutes left in the game, there's no doubt the OVC Pre-Season Player of the Year was a man among boys.

3.  The Crowd came to party - After a night of sorry fandom at the Dean Dome, the Ellis T. Johnson Arena atmosphere was quite refreshing.  The students stood on their feet nearly the entire game and every person in the arena seemed to be rooting loudly for the Eagles.  It's the loudest I've ever heard 4,500 people.  And I hear 4,500 people a lot.  I'm pretty much an expert.

4.  No Morehead jokes - Not one.  Can you believe it?  Neither can we.  Especially on a night where a few miles down the road Kentucky is playing the Cocks.  We're maturing.

So, now we're off to.....ummmm......we don't know.  There's a snow storm blowing half of the East Coast away and there's a good chance we can't make it to Cornell and Syracuse.  So, were will we end up?

To be continued....

Posted on: February 25, 2010 8:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 8:51 pm
 

At the Half: Morehead vs. Murray St.

By C.M. Tomlin

8:50 PM

Finally, the band is back together as – for the first time on the trip so far – the entire crew is in attendance: Matt, Beisner, Drew, Hubby and myself. And it’s for the Morehead State Eagles (19-9) and the Murray State Racers (26-3). If there is such a thing as an OVC rivalry, this would maybe be it. Or maybe not. You decide. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do, America.

We’re in the homey, comfortable Ellis T. Johnson Arena, named after the former Morehead football coach and a man likely confused that presumably the Morehead alumni office read his request for a football field incorrectly. It’s notable that there are a large number of fans at the game, especially considering many of these folk probably swing double-shifts as UK Wildcat fans as well, and that the Cats are avenging their loss against South Carolina tonight. That’s solid home-town support, and Morehead is very much a town defined by its college.

Let’s be honest – Morehead’s a small school by Division 1 standards. But that doesn’t stop the student body from turning out in a minor drove to take on a school that pretty much owns them as far as tourney appearances go. It’s an excitable crowd.

(I should also note, just as an aside, that the National Anthem was played tonight by Morehead’s “trombone choir,” which I’m pretty sure is the only “trombone choir” I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I’ve never seen more than three or four trombones in one place at one time; and I can only imagine that the troupe’s original name of "The ‘Bone Zone" was nixed by administration. I’d fight for that if I were you, guys.) 

It’s definitely worth mentioning that you tend to see a lot of televised games from smaller conferences where the attendance seems pretty paltry – not so in both Morehead tonight and Northern Iowa, which we attended earlier in our trip. In Iowa’s case, it was probably a “go to the game or freeze to death, and we have fifteen dollars” situation, but here at Morehead this has traditionally been a fan base that not only loves its school, but – being in Kentucky – has a solid love of basketball itself. Having grown up not far from Morehead, I’ve always known the school to hold its athletics in high regard. Support the team, be at the game,bring the family. While the crew who attended the Dean Dome last night are talking about how the fans seem to have turned against the ‘Heels, the good feeling in Morehead’s impresive even when the team’s record is admittedly mediocre.

At the half, this fan turnout is working -- only barely -- as the Eagles roost on top at 28-25. Further information as events warrant.

 

Posted on: February 25, 2010 8:23 pm
 

Courtside for Murray State vs Morehead State

MATT JONES

8:05 PM



Ok honestly, this may not be a game that is on your national radar.  But tonight, we find ourselves in Morehead, Kentucky for a battle between the two best teams in the OVC, Murray State and Morehead State.  Why should you care?  I will give you five reasons:

1.  The NCAA Tournament:  One of these two teams will be in the NCAA Tournament and if its Murray State, they have a legitimate chance to win a game in the first round.  Murray State has won more games consecutively than any team in America.  Want to be smart in your tournament pool?  Learn more about Murray State.

2.  Kenneth Faried:   Chances are that if you dont live in Morehead, you have never heard of Faried.  Well I tell you who has, NBA Scouts.  There are six of them here tonight and they are all here to see Faried.  He has a chance to play himself into the NBA Draft if he finishes the season well.  Get to know the name of the Renaldo Balkman lookalike.

3.  Phil Simms Went Here:  You watch our parent network's number #1 NFL team, but you probably dont know that Simms is a graduate of Morehead State.  The relationship between the school and Simms has been dicey, but he is without question the most famous alumnus, and you can use that tidbit of knowledge on "Stump the Schwab."

4.  Popeye Jones is Handsome:  As you can see above, Popeye Jones is one of the better looking men you will find in the lower 48 states.  He got his basketball talent, crazy nickname and awesome ears while playing at Murray State.  Plus, I needed an excuse to run that picture.

5.  We Drove a Long Way to be Here:  We came through West Virginia, which is mountainous, boring and has towns that look like the town in "Hoosiers", only more depressing.  It snowed the entire way and we considered quitting...but we had a mission to see the two "MSUs" that arent Michigan State play.  Plus this is the only game of the trip in which all four correspondents are here.  So pay attention.

And oh yeah, Kentucky plays later and we will let you know if they win.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:15 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:52 pm
 

A Morning In Durham

By: Drew Franklin

3:00 PM



Good afternoon!  What’s hapnin’?

Me? Ah, we’re on the road.  Imagine that.

This morning, before leaving that great state just north of South Carolina, we stopped by Duke’s campus in Durham to see the atmosphere best known for getting Dick Vitale’s rocks off.  It was a very pleasant visit.  Let me tell you all about it in a list format as only we can do…

Elmo’s breakfast tastes like breakfast.   We met our good buddy Bomani Jones for some bacon and eggs at Elmo’s in Durham.  The food was good but it had nothing on our roundtable discussion of freestyle comedy.

Oh yeah, Beisner is here.  He looks so fresh, energized, and enthusiastic.

Krzyzewskiville is in-tents.   Tents in the Krzyzewskiville campground outnumbered students 50-1.  From a distance, K-Ville looked like a crazy scene, especially for a non-conference game against Tulsa.  But, as we made our way to the crowd, we were disappointed to find that most of the tents were empty and that Kryzyzewskiville campout is a joke. 

Cameron Indoor Stadium is smaller than I expected.  And I expected small.  There is a tiny foyer full of J.J. Redick pictures when you first enter Cameron.  Go through an ancient doorway and twenty feet past that is the baseline.  I bet the Fire Marshall in Durham is a basketball fan.

The Duke Law School has more money than you.  Our visit to the Duke campus wasn’t all basketball and public urination.  We stopped by the law school to see if we could sit in on a lecture, too.   Unfortunately, the lecture didn’t happen but it was interesting to see students flying around on jetpacks and writing with lasers.

Coach K’s Court has soft rims, as Beisner noted after shooting this picture-perfect, Mike Dunleavy Jr.-like jumper over Matt:

 

See you at Morehead!

Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:09 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 12:14 pm
 

You're Next, Morehead State University

By C.M. Tomlin

12:15 PM


And so, following a rather slow evening with the lackluster Roy Williams & Company, the Road Trip Crew is en route north once again, this time to take in the Morehead St. Eagles vs. the Murray State Racers. I know what you're thinking, but I'm sorry -- for the last time, UT-Martin and Jacksonville State weren't playing tonight, so just let it go already. As it is, this inter-state Ohio Valley Conference rivalry is a tad uneven, with Murray State showing up with credentials from 13 NCAA tourney appearances while Morehead showed up in the Big Dance last year for the first time since 1984 and were promptly slaughtered by #1-seeded fellow Kentuckians Louisville. 

It should also be noted that Morehead, Kentucky is also particularly close to this writer's heart, as it was and is the go-to site for many of Kentucky's high school events, like the Morehead State "Foreign Languages Festival" and the regional Middle School science fair, the former which I attended many times and always enjoyed the free day off school (muy bien!) and the latter which I progressed to only once and didn't really care because I just wanted to go eat at Mr. Gatti's (muy bien!). I was also, as a young fullback for the Mason County Royals Varsity Soccer Team, punched in the face in Morehead by a halfback for the Rowan County Vikings during a particularly heated playoff situation.

But this trip is only partially for brutal vengeance in retaliation for a malfeasance committed on the soccer field many years ago; it's also a chance to see two smaller Division 1 schools in action. It's always interesting what one finds at a smaller schools' games. For instance, it sounds very much like the Northern Iowa game we saw a week ago would have put the UNC game last night to shame. Sometimes a smaller school brings the fan noise more than you'd ever suspect, and that can always be a lot of fun. With that said, we're coming, Morehead State University -- so display your A-game tonight. And you can forget about taking the blue ribbon in the "earth sciences" category this year, because we're bringing a baking soda volcano that is going to blow your ever-loving minds. See you very, very soon.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:08 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:53 pm
 

Final Dean Dome thoughts

By Thomas Beisner

8:00 AM



1.  Where have all the Tar Heel fans gone?
- I know North Carolina is struggling.  I know it was a rainy Wednesday night.  I know the very sexy ACC Swimming and Diving Championships were going on next door.  Still, the crowd at the Dean Dome was not what I expected from one of the most storied programs of all-time.  What we originally thought would end up being a late-arriving crowd turned out to be a never-arriving crowd, leaving the storied building to be a cavernous, empty shell of a basketball arena against the Seminoles.  The Carolina fans we spoke with said that it was a little worse than usual, but that it seemed to be pretty typical of what they were seeing late in this disappointing season.  Fair weather fans are nothing new to college sports.  I'm just shocked to see an apparently apathetic attitude strike Chapel Hill.  Definitely not what we expected.

2.  The Dean Dome is dangerous - Though I was worried the community troughs in the bathrooms would mean I'd walk in on someone with their pants around their ankles while they enjoyed a mid-game tinkle, it turned out to be the last of my architectural concerns.  The seats in the lower level of the dome are designed to recline a bit, adding a bit of comfort not seen at many basketball arenas.  However, those same reclining seats also present a serious threat to your shins and knees because as soon as someone sits down, that seatback comes rocketing into your shins and pins you in place.  North Carolina:  the only school where the fans might be more injured than the team.  Of course, no one was in the arena, so everytime it happened, we just moved and talked to someone else.

3.  A strange Jordan tribute - As we mentioned earlier, UNC came out sporting special edition silver and white Jordan brand jersies.  Sure, it makes more sense for Carolina to do it than Georgetown and California (who will also take part in the tribute), but it seems a little odd that these schools are not honoring Jordan's on-court accomplishments.  The jersies are a tribute to the 25th anniversary of Jordan's  shoe launch.  Luckily for UNC players, I saw a Michael Jordan Nissan dealership in Durham, so maybe they'll get to celebrate that anniversary soon.  Or maybe Charlie Sheen can stop by next week and be honored for his underwear commercials with Jordan.

4.  To the woman who gave me a bag of chips:  Thank you.  I was hungry.

5.  The forgotten Jordan - After Roy Williams' press conference, the road trip crew congregated again on press row and soaked in the history hanging from the rafters of the Dean Dome.  Between all the national championship banners and the retired players, you can tell that you were in a place of great historical significance.  But, our eyes were all drawn to one retired jersey hanging in the back row of what seemed to be hundreds of retired jersies.  Sitting in the back, there was a #8 Jordan jersey, which of course made us laugh about how much that guy had to hate Michael Jordan for coming to UNC.  However, a quick Google search actually provided us with an interesting story that none of us were aware of.  The #8 jersey belonged to Jim Jordan, who earned All-American honors in 1945 and 1946 as a Tar Heel.  Certainly an impressive career, but it's not all that's on Jim Jordan's resume.  In 1946, he transferred to the University of Kentucky where he played on the 1948 national championship team...and somehow received his master's from Eastern Kentucky in the same year.  Jim Jordan, you might not have a shiny cool jersey for the Heels to wear, but you just earned infinite respect for the "random trivia" points you just gave us.

All in all, the Dean Dome wasn't what we expected.  It was definitely a cool stop and it was neat to see all it's history.  But, on that Wednesday night, that's exactly what it seemed to be.  History.

Morehead, we're on our way.  Get ready.
Posted on: February 24, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 1:48 am
 

A Sad Night in the Dean Dome

By: Drew Franklin

9:30 PM



North Carolina is terrible.

They are absolutely pathetic.

I watch this Roy Williams-coached team full of McDonald's All-Americans and future NBA first round picks, and I wonder how they could be so bad.  I know they're young.  I know it's a rebuilding year.  I know they just lost Tyler Hansbrough and his irreplaceable Texas-style ping-pong skills.  But, rebuilding and awful are two completely different things.  And this team is awful.

If you or someone you know, can explain to me how this team has managed to lose nearly every single ACC game this season including seven of their last eight, please contact me at collegebasketballroadtrip@gmail.com.  I'm not kidding.  Seriously, e-mail me.  I really want to know how they're so bad.  I don't get it.

As far as tonight's game goes, Florida State won 77-67 but it never was a close contest.  North Carolina was down 20+ at one point in the game.  Fans were fleeing the Dean Dome faster than you could say "NIT Bubble".  And when I say fans, I mean the handful that were in attendance.  The upper-level of the Dean Dome was completely empty.  The lower level had patches of die hard fans still living in the glory from 2009.  But for the most part, the fans have given up on this team and I don't blame them.

Now it's time for us to move on to Morehead State to see some competitive basketball.  

Dean Dome, it's been real.  

Thanks for our second round of Bojangle's Famous Chicken'n Biscuits for the day and good luck in the future.  Get some new chairbacks, too.  Your current setup is incredibly uncomfortable.


  

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com