Tag:MAC
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:19 pm
 

Miami's Charlie Coles calls it a career

By Jeff Goodman

Charlie Coles has finally called it a career. 

Miami-Ohio's head man, one of the more likable guys in the industry, announced his retirement moments after his team was knocked out of the MAC tournament Monday night. 

Coles replaced Herb Sendek back in 1996 and was in the final year of his contract. He was 70 years old, but it was the numerous health issues that may have ultimately caused him to retire. 

He had a heart attack in 1986 while at Central Michigan, collapsed on the court during a MAC tourney game in 1998 and underwent bypass surgery a decade later. Recently, Coles was in the hospital for a couple days due to a virus. 

Coles played at Miami and was an assistant under Sendek. He coached a Wally Szczerbiak-led team to the Sweet 16 in 1999. 

Coles leaves with a 266-226 mark at Miami. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:15 am
 

Kent State's Chris Evans can get up and over

By Matt Norlander

It was a pretty great Saturday for Kent State's Chris Evans. The 6-7 junior forward had three degrading dunks on/against Western Michigan in a game Evans' Golden Flashes won, 78-73. Kent State is 16-6 overall, but at 6-3 in the incredibly loaded MAC East, it's a fourth-place team in the division. So let's do the modern thing and celebrate a team not because of it's record, but because it's got a guy who knows how to flush.

Evans, who averages 10 points and four boards per game, has about 30 dunks this year, according to Kent State athletics.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:57 pm
 

The shot doctor fixes D.J. Cooper's issues

By Jeff Goodman

D.J. Cooper was in a funk. 

Ohio University's standout junior point guard had made just 15-of-64 shots from the field and 6-of-28 shots from beyond the arc in the last four games -- three losses. 

The struggles began with a 3-for-17 performance in a setback to Robert Morris on Jan. 2, continued against Bowling Green and Buffalo -- and then came a brutal 2-for-15 outing in a loss last Saturday at Akron. 

Cooper needed help -- and he got it from an unlikely source. 

Me. 

Ok, I didn't actually do anything to help Cooper get his shot back, but I'm going to take credit for it, anyway, since he was 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep in a 22-point win against Kent State. 

"I'm OK with that," Cooper said on Friday. 

I wound up taking a detour and stopping in Athens, Ohio, on my drive from Huntington, West Va., to Columbus for the Indiana-Ohio State game. Cooper gave me the quick tour of the campus, arena and we also sat down for a quick lunch at Broney's (the wings are big-time). He talked about how he needed to get in the gym more, since teams are daring him to take perimeter shots. 

"They are daring me to shoot it knowing I want to get in the lane and kick it," Cooper said. 

Cooper and the Bobcats had gotten off to a 12-1 start, one that included road wins against Marshall, Northern Iowa and Oakland. However, Ohio has dropped three of its last five. 

One primary difference, Cooper said, was heading into MAC play as the hunted. 

"We had a target -- and we'd never had that before," Cooper said. "The last couple years, we've always entered league play around .500. This was new to us." 

Despite the 2-2 start in league play and the fact that any at-large hopes appear to be out the window now, Cooper comprehends that a few days in March are ultimately what matters most. 

That's because two years ago, Cooper was a freshman on a team that went 7-9 in league play, but ran the table in the league tourney, earned a spot in the Big Dance and then pulled the upset over Georgetown in the first round. 

"We want to win our conference," Cooper said. "Because that'll guarantee us at least an NIT bid. But we also know that it comes down to three days when it's all said and done." 

Cooper is one of the most underrated point guards in the country, averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds. I didn't know his entire story, but he nearly committed to Baylor coming out of high school in Chicago, but opted to go the mid-major route and doesn't regret his decision at all. 

He arrived in Athens as a 145-pound baby-faced freshman and now he's up to about 175 pounds. 

When his shot is falling, he's lethal. Just ask Kent State coach Rob Senderoff. 

Cooper's shooting slump -- for now -- is history.

But if he needs to break out, he's got my number. Soon, they may start calling me the Shot Doctor. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Ohio is the quietest good team in college hoops

By Jeff Goodman

No team has managed to fly under-the-radar more than the Ohio Bobcats. Ohio has just one loss, a close one at Louisville.

The 11 victories? Six have come in the form of true road games, including wins at Northern Iowa, Marshall and Oakland. Not bad for a program that was expected to fall into the abyss after the departure of Armon Bassett, Steven Coleman and Alex Kellogg shortly after the NCAA tournament first-round upset over Georgetown a few years ago.

Bassett, a one-time Indiana guard, got into off-court trouble and put his name in for the NBA Draft. Coleman took a shot at a rap career and Kellogg gave up basketball.

"We lost three starters in five months," Ohio coach John Groce said.

Therefore, the Bobcats coach had no option but to go with the youth movement and after struggling to an 8-11 mark out of the gates, Ohio finished strong, winning 12 of its last 17 and earning a postseason trip to the CBI. But no one -- including Groce -- could have predicted this year's near-flawless start. Ohio was picked to finish third in the MAC. In its division.

However, point guard D.J. Cooper (right) continues to mature and has no shortage of help -- from well-traveled wing Walter Offutt, forwards Ivo Baltic and Reggie Keely and a team that Groce said is his deepest since arriving in Athens. Clark Kellogg's other son, Nick, as well as Saint Louis transfer Jon Smith and freshman Stevie Taylor have all been solid and made key contributions.

"We play 10 guys every night," Groce said. "They all play before the 10-minute mark of the first half. We're deeper, they play harder and this is the most cohesive team I've had."

It's also a team that doesn't have a single senior on its roster. Cooper, Baltic and Keely are juniors and were on the team that knocked off Georgetown two seasons ago. Offutt, who began his career at Ohio State, has two years with Groce after leaving Columbus after just a few games as a freshman, then going to Wright State for a brief stint before arriving at Ohio.

"He's athletic, explosive and can rebound and score," Groce said. "He's something we really needed on this team."

Cooper's scoring has dipped, but his overall floor game - and mental makeup - have improved, according to Groce. In fact, the entire team has begun to learn to prepare in an identical manner whether the opponent is Louisville or the sister's of the poor.

"I like the direction we're headed," Groce said. "But we have to keep getting better."

Maybe then people will begin to take notice.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:32 am
 

Night Court: C.J. Leslie beats the buzzer

By Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Kenpom.com anointed North Carolina State vs. St. Bonaventure as the game of the day prior to Tuesday – and he certainly wasn’t wrong. It was a back and forth game throughout, but it looked like it was heading to overtime once Eric Mosley tied it up at 65 with 3.1 seconds left. Then C.J. Williams launched a full-length pass to C.J. Leslie, who somehow got a shot off to win the game for the Wolfpack. Check the really high-quality video above.

Win to brag about: Northern Iowa was 6-0 on its homecourt heading into Tuesday, but Ohio went into Cedar Falls and came out with a 17-point win. The Bobcats shot 52 percent from the field, 52 percent from 3-point range and stifled Northern Iowa on the defensive end. Ivo Baltic went for 22 points in the win for Ohio, which is now 10-1.

Loss to hide from: There weren’t any truly bad losses on Tuesday, but Stephen F. Austin dropping one to Prairie View A&M tops the list. Prairie View didn’t have a Division-I win all season and had won just two games away from home in the last season and a half. Stephen F. Austin expected to contend in the Southland this season, but going 0-for-8 from 3-point range en route to a 53-50 loss isn’t going to do it.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Richmond’s Darien Brothers scored 38 points to lead the Spiders to a 90-82 overtime win against Old Dominion. Brothers jumpstarted the extra period with a four-point play to give Richmond a lead it would never relinquish. Overall, he had 19 points in the last 11 minutes of regulation and overtime. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Coming off Butler’s win against Purdue over the weekend, we expected the Bulldogs to show better against Gonzaga. Instead, they got behind early and fell, 71-55. Three of Butler’s top four scorers – Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Chrishawn Hopkins – combined to shoot 3-for-21 for a grand total of seven points.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 358: Towson lost to Manhattan on Tuesday night. The Tigers have now gone 358 days without a win.
  • November 16: Prior to its win over UNC-Asheville, Tennessee hadn’t defeated a Division-I team in over a month.
  • 11-1: After its win over St. Francis (Pa.), Pittsburgh has now started 11-1 in 11 of the last 12 seasons. The PA announcer in that game had to call out an update after every basket due to a scoreboard malfunction.

Three other notable results:

  1. Charleston looked poised to pull the upset over Louisville, but a quick 8-0 run in 70 seconds gave the Cardinals a seven-point lead with two minutes left. Louisville held on, 69-62.
  2. Doron Lamb shot 8-for-12 from the field to lead Kentucky to an 82-50 win over Samford.
  3. Syracuse stayed undefeated with an 80-61 victory over Patriot favorite Bucknell.

Notes:

  • Jared Sullinger returned from a foot injury to play 30 minutes against Lamar. He scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 70-50 win.
  • New Mexico’s game against Montana State was delayed 30 minutes by a fire alarm before tipoff. Per the AP, it was the third time in the last two seasons New Mexico has had a game delayed.
  • BYU bounced back from an early deficit to beat Buffalo, 93-78.
  • North Texas freshman Tony Mitchell is averaging 12.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in his first two games since becoming eligible.
  • Solomon Hill had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Arizona get an 85-73 win over Oakland.

On tap: There are several good games to check out on Wednesday. The best game of the night should be Texas taking on North Carolina, with Myck Kabongo going head-to-head with Kendall Marshall. Seton Hall also faces Dayton, and Alabama looks to bounce back against Oklahoma State. A couple of teams with gaudy records battle in DePaul and Cal Poly, and Parrish will be at Mississippi vs. Middle Tennessee State.

Photo: US Presswire
Video: YouTube

Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:25 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 11:27 am
 

Video: Miami coach brings grandkids to presser

By Matt Norlander

Armed with the curiosity of a European pickpocketer, the grandson of Miami University head coach Charlie Coles stole the show at the team's post-game presser Monday night.

Coles brought two of his grandkids to the table when he spoke with the media. Because the young boy was sitting on his lap, Coles is barely audible. But who cares what a coach has to say after a 71-61 win over a D-II team (Saginaw Valley)?

The :57 mark is particularly funny. By the end, they both looked bored as all get out. Get those children some ice cream.



(HT, The Hustle Belt)
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 10:46 am
 

Akron's Dambrot realistic despite upset

By Jeff Goodman

It had been four years since Keith Dambrot's team knocked off a BCS school.

This coming from a MAC program that has won at least 20 games each of the past six seasons - and made the postseason each of the past four years.

Last night Dambrot's Zips pulled off the first upset of the young 2011-12 college basketball campaign with a 68-58 victory over a talented Mississippi State team.

"Usually, we're not very good early in the year," admitted Dambrot, whose honestly is refreshing in an industry in which it's also a rarity.

Dambrot said this was the worst his team has looked in practice in any of the eight seasons since he took over in 2004.

"I honestly didn't know what to expect," Dambrot said. "We've got a lot of good pieces, but we have a lot to learn."

While Akron was led by Quincy Diggs in the scoring column, the key was developing 7-footer Zeke Marshall - a former Top 100 player who could be a pro due to his length and defensive ability.

"He affected every shot," said Dambrot, best-known for coaching LeBron James early in his high school career. "He's such a great kid and he keeps getting better."

"I called him a basketball virgin when he came here because he had no idea how hard to work and didn't know a lot about the game," he added. "He was a blank canvas."

Marshall finished with 10 points, six boards and five blocks and helped keep Mississippi State's inside duo of Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie in check to 20 total points. Diggs, a New Orleans transfer, led the team with 19 points.

Despite the victory, Dambrot remained level-headed. He's not upset that his team isn't going to New York City next week while the Bulldogs will advance and play at Madison Square Garden - even after the loss.

"I'm a mid-major coach," he said. "Nobody understands that better than me. That's the way this tournament is. Nobody wants to watch the Akron Zips next week. They want to watch the big boys. I want us to get to that point, but I wouldn't invite us right now, either."

"Most likely we're going to have to win in March to get in the NCAA tournament. I'm a realist," Dambrot said. "This wasn't going to make or break our team."

Photo: AP
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: March 12, 2011 12:56 am
 

MAC championship game preview

Steve McNeeseIt's time for championship-caliber basketball to return to QuickenLoans Arena. March 12 will see a team from Ohio crowned champion on the court.

The participants in the MAC championship game are No. 1 seed Kent State (23-10, 12-4) and No. 6 Akron (22-12, 9-7). The last time a MAC title game was played without one of those two teams in it was 2005, when the Ohio Bobcats edged the Buffalo Bulls for the auto-bid. Even more amazing, this is Akron's fifth straight MAC title game, which they reached this year in spite of a low seed.

The most serious bit of history between the Flashes and Zips came in 2008, when Kent State pounded Akron 74-55 in the final to make it to the NCAA tournament. There have been ample in-season meetings that decided seedings and pure pride as well.

Kent State puts an experienced and balanced team on the floor, led by junior forward Justin Greene (15.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) alongside fellow upperclassmen Sherman Robinson (13.1 ppg) and Carlton Guyton (12.4 ppg). Akron is led by junior Nikola Cvetinovic, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds over the course of the season.

The MAC final will be played at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Posted by Eric Angevine

Photo: US Presswire

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