Breaking: Broadus suspended by BU

... and he deserves it.

The following is from the Press & Sun-Bulletin:

Broadus suspended by BU for one game

Binghamton University men's basketball coach Kevin Broadus has been suspended for one game by the school for his role in a post-game altercation with a University at Albany assistant coach on Wednesday.

Broadus will miss the Bearcats' game against Stony Brook University on Saturday. He will also be issued a formal reprimand by the school for shoving University at Albany assistant coach Chad O'Donnell following the Great Danes' 74-62 victory over BU at the Events Center.

Assistant coach Lawrence Brenneman will act as the Bearcats head coach in Saturday's game. Broadus will be traveling with the team but will not be on the floor for the game.

Honestly, if it's true that he shoved one of Albany's assistants -- which, by many accounts, is true -- he obviously deserves to be suspended. Let's just rejoice that it's against a Long Island high school JV team.

(And on a related note: How do the majority of the voters so far think that Bing will actually LOSE to SBU? I almost didn't even include that option!)

SBU sucks.

If we can't beat the good SUNY school ... at least we can beat the bad one. You suck, Emanuel Neto.

The outcome of Saturday's game is pretty much inconsequential. I'm actually sort of hoping for the six seed, because if we're the 6 and Albany's the 3, I'll at least appreciate having another shot. If we're the 6 and Vermont's the 3, at least we'll lose to a good team. If we're the 6 and Hartford's the 3, I like our chances. And if we're the 6 and Boston University's the 3, we'll be playing on Sunday.

What's so great about the 6? At this point, post-crapping-the-bed against Albany last night, the 6 is as good as the 3 because 1) you can make the argument that Hartford/Boston/Vermont/Albany/Binghamton could all beat each other on any given night, and 1a) The 6 would give us a chance to play the victorious 2 seed (or UNH) on Sunday afternoon with an "upset" victory over one of the aforementioned four. The winner of the 4/5 game will at least put up a good effort against UMBC in the semis at the Events Center, and if the Bearcats are in the other game in the Sunday afternoon, UMBC's opponent will have a built-in home-court advantage if it matters to Bing, and I wouldn't consider them a shoo-in to the finals.

The Bearcats as a 4 or 5 would mean a semifinal showdown with UMBC -- at the EC. However, it would guarantee, IF they made it that far, a road game for the title. I know I'm building in a heavy homer bias, but again ... this is Bearcat Country.

You suck, Emanuel Neto.

But even if the Bearcats slipped up against SBU, guaranteeing Bing the 6 seed ... I'd have to rescind my previous statement that the Bearcats are guaranteed a quarterfinal loss in the tournament. (Although I'll still hitchhike home when Maine beats SBU next Friday night.)


Fans at least in part to blame

After some time to think it over, I'm clearly disappointed in tonight's craptacular performance by every single Bearcat. Kevin Broadus, if you're reading this, you should be taking responsibility for letting your guys get out of control and get overly emotional for a game that I should have predicted would've gotten out of control. I should've guessed that the Bearcats would crap the bed tonight, especially with a pathetic BU Zoo that was 80% filled with students who had never bothered to come to a game before, and subsequently got down on Bing when we went down 8-4 and never bothered to cheer again.

In fact, I largely blame the Bearcat team and the crowd for tonight's loss. We were soft, much as our players were soft. Mark Macyk sent me a text message halfway through the first half indicating that he could hear the Albany fans more than the BU fans, which is utterly embarrassing, and I don't use that lightly, to a program that brags about its consistent ability to draw the biggest crowds in the conference. When you sit on your hands and leave with 12 minutes to go in the 2nd half, that doesn't really count as being a 'fan.'


Courtesy of Ben Masur

More coming on this later.

benmasur08 (10:24:34 PM): will brown down played it: "oh nothing, just two coaches competeting against each other. theres nothing more to say or get excited over...i wasnt paying attention. i was anxious to get back to the locker room...it's not about will brown and not about kevin broadus not aout anyone else, its about the kids wearing the uniform."

Broadus: "I said please dont talk about my players and my program in the media to you guys and thats all that was said. In this profession, everyone has to undertand as coaches sometimes you have to hold back your anger and bite your tongue, but i just dont want guys to take shots at my program and saying that this that and the other stat or a guy is not this. i just wanted to make sure he understand that ya know im gonna protect my guys and that was it at the end. He [Assistant coach on Albany O'Donnell] got up in my face and he said back up and i was like no no no dont touch me. simple as that. i asked him to back up off me. theres no war between me and will brown. this is binghamton-albany."

Albany 74, Binghamton 62

Obviously I'm disgusted. I really think the game was over at this point in the first half:

GOOD! LAYUP by Forbes  03:01  16-21  V 5
FOUL by Trifunovic 02:48
REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon02:36 MISSED 3 PTR by Wilson
GOOD! JUMPER by Gordon 02:27 18-21 V 3
02:12 18-24 V 6 GOOD! 3 PTR by Iati
02:12 ASSIST by Wilson
TURNOVR by Olomo 01:52
01:35 18-27 V 9 GOOD! 3 PTR by Iati
01:35 ASSIST by Wilson
MISSED 3 PTR by Forbes 01:19 REBOUND (DEF) by Lillis
01:09 TIMEOUT 30sec
00:58 18-29 V 11 GOOD! LAYUP by Connelly
I really thought Dwayne Jackson was going to deck someone, and I'm actually sort of glad he fouled out and wasn't on the court for the last few minutes.

Apparently KB shoved one of the UA assistants on the handshake line. I didn't see it happen.


Albany 67, Binghamton 65.

This will be a dogfight. Don't forget this game's on TV, if you can't make it.


I gave up on "SHUT UP WILL."

Biggest game of the year?


Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement, but for any fans of Binghamton basketball, it's hard to imagine a better setup for the last home game of the season.

There's a bit of a media firestorm today about Kevin Broadus' response to Will Brown's controversial post-game comments after the Bearcats beat Albany last month in the state capitol.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the following is courtesy of Mark Singelais's blog:

"Brown’s opening statement: “I thought coming into this game Binghamton was very talented. Like I said earlier, I thought (fired coach) Al Walker left the cupboard fairly full. (Lazar) Trifunovic and (Vermont’s Marqus) Blakely are the best frontcourt guys in our league and Gordon is the best point guard in our league. They’ve got a lot of talent. I thought we came out flat. We let a good player in Gordon get in a rhythm. It’s probably a career night for him shooting. I don’t think he’s ever shot that well. If you look at his percentages, that’ll prove it. But he’s a good player and he got into a rhythm. And when you let good players get in the rhythm, the basket looks bigger and bigger and bigger. Even down the stretch when we did a decent job on him, he made tough shots. We were very soft tonight. Very soft. That’s the best way to put it. We’ve got great kids. It’s tough to teach toughness. And I’m not so sure how much toughness we have right now. We’ve got some nice kids. We’ve got some solid players. But tonight, in my mind, we lost because of a lack of toughness on both ends of the floor.”

On his team’s tentativeness around the basket: We’re playing against (Binghamton forward) Reggie Fuller, not Dikembe Mutombo. I mean, come on. Fuller’s a decent player at this level. He had six points and three blocks. We’re pump-faking and hesitating like we’re trying to score over Mutombo. It’s not a knock on Fuller. He’s a solid player. But why not go right through the guy. Pump-fake. Go right through him. We were soft. I’ve got no problems saying it. We were soft.”

On UAlbany losing at home to a team that didn’t have a road victory: That’s their problem. They’re talented. Like I said, I think Al left the cupboard full with some of those guys. They have good experienced players. I’m an Al Walker guy. I thought he did a good job. We knew coming in they were really good … talented, I should say, really talented. What happens with talented teams, regardless of their record, if you’ve got good personnel, it doesn’t matter what their record is. Binghamton always has a lousy record heading into conference play. It’s just disappointing that we lost at home, and i thought our fans had more energy than we did, and that’s disappointing.”

It's been well-documented that Brown's comments were out of line, and reportedly, he tried to call Broadus the week of that game and apologize. Broadus contends that he is waiting to talk to Brown face-to-face, as he fired back at Brown today to PD's Ben Masur:

"These guys will be hyped up. And I will be hyped up. The guy put something in my system that will not go away. You just do those things. I would never talk about Albany. I have two dear friends there. I would never say anything negative they’ve had some success. Its classless."

Perhaps even more interesting in this saga is that Broadus himself is the one who started this whole thing back up again -- this is Mark Macyk's intro to that post:

"As if Wednesday's Binghamton/Albany game wasn't big enough, I got an e-mail today from the athletic department saying that Kevin Broadus wanted to pass along a link of what Albany coach Will Brown said after UAlbany's loss to Binghamton last month. It said to "take it for what it was worth."

After Pipe Dream's men's basketball beat writer Ben Masur gave Broadus a call it was clear that this was all Broadus' doing, and that even if he did do it to fire up the crowd, he's still not too happy with Brown. "

Alright. Enough back story. Broadus thinks Brown is a jerk, we've got that much. So what does it mean?

First of all, of course, every single BU basketball fan needs to be at the game tomorrow night. And every BU basketball fan needs to back up Kevin Broadus for taking such a -- pardon my French -- ballsy stance here.

I've always thought that there's too much coddling between coaches, too much fake niceness, trying to cover up true feelings, and it turns out that we've hired a man who is not afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve and say how he truly feels.

Good for him. I am sick of coaches constantly slobbering each other and slathering each other with "respect" to try and build up the overall image of a league that, you know what, everybody realizes is not that good. In four years of closely following the conference, it appears that every year, every team gets better, every team is scary, every team is a threat, etc., and that's not true. It's usually our job as journalists (well, I guess I'm not really a journalist anymore [tear]) to set those things straight, and it's really refreshing to see a coach say it straight.

In a way, I'm sort of defending Will Brown and his original comments here. The difference is, this is Bearcat Country, and I'll bleed green 'til I die. My journalistic integrity (or what's left of it) aside, this is exactly what the conference needs to drum up a sorely needed rivalry between two schools that really should be at each other's throats. And after years of symbiotic slobber, the battle lines are being drawn. I couldn't be happier.

That's not to say there's no history between these teams. My journey to the Big Purple Growl last year was a small taste of what the rivalry can turn into, but there was never a real passion behind it. Now there's passion. Now, there's a reason to watch. And now, as stupid as this is going to sound, I'll say it anyway: There's incentive to win the game. Because if Kevin Broadus is going to talk a big game, his players better back it up.

So let's turn from the crowd and the back story to the game itself.

I'll be honest; I haven't seen Albany play this year. I have, however, seen Brian Lillis play many times, and he is an impressive player. Whether he deserves to be POY is a whole separate discussion (that Will Brown has also drawn plenty of crap for) -- I personally would lean towards Blakely, for the record, (that's my pro-Vermont agenda speaking, right?) -- but this is certainly not the UAlbany teams of old that featured Jamar Wilson with a side of Lillis. 8-6 is a pretty good indication of Lillis' leadership abilities, I'd say -- pretty good, but certainly not close to the domination that he and Jamar together could provide. (Of course, you could also chalk that up to the overall strength and growth of the league as a whole; right, every coach? /sarcasm)

Let me try and remove homerism for a moment: I think the Bearcats' depth is fairly impressive in this year's league. I legit think DJ is a third-team all-conference player, and he can't even crack our starting lineup. Chretien Lukusa has certainly given us way more than anyone could've expected, and Reggie Fuller is bringing back the ghost of Sebastian Hermenier in a good way (not the ghost that lives in my roommate's room [clarification: I live in the apartment where Andre Heard, Sebastian Hermenier and Duane James lived last year].) Richie Forbes has been a bit of a disappointment, at least in my eyes, but the real emergence of Laz Trifunovic has really made up for Forbes' shortcomings.

Post-game comments-gate not withstanding, I've always thought Brown was a good coach, (that that for what it's worth -- I liked Ted Woodward for a while) and I think he's good at working with what he's got. But if Mike Gordon can play a solid Mike Gordon game -- he does not need to explode for 8 threes again -- I legitimately like our chances tomorrow night.

In the middle, Reggie Fuller will be back tomorrow night. He deserves at least a 45-second-or-so chant in the pregame.

Laz Trifunovic is reportedly a game-time decision, but I will personally guarantee that the kid will play. Short of amputation, there are no circumstances that will keep LT out of this game.

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Back to the wacky stuff. If anyone from the BU administration is reading this: Please realize that I appreciate you letting Moe play 'The Horse' again, but it doesn't really work if you don't embrace it completely. Thus, please, PLEASE pass along the word to Moe that 'The Horse' should be played as the Bearcats take the court at halftime ... followed by a full-blast version of 'The Hey Song' as the halftime clock ticks to zero. That's how the BU Zoo rolls, and that's where that song is best utilized -- especially if you're only going to want it played once.

- - - - -

Apologies in advance if I get emotional tomorrow night. (Commence making fun of me.) I teared up when Nick Billings hugged Mike Gordon a few years ago, and now it's all coming full circle as Mikey will be the one celebrated tomorrow night. I also lost it a little as Troy Hailey played his last game, and with this being my sort-of senior year (I consider 2003-04 a redshirt year for me), I suspect I'll feel it even more tomorrow, as I've really developed a personal connection to the area and especially this team. (/making fun of me)

- - - - -

I'm going to go work on a few signs I'll be bringing tomorrow night. Perhaps I'll post pics of them later tonight, so stay tuned.

- - - - -

Also, as a few people have asked, I don't have any real information on what my Press & Sun blog will entail, but I'll let you know when I know more.


Pipe Dream site down

I regret to say that I sort of saw this coming.

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With all the Will Brown-Reggie Fuller-Dikembe Mutombo rhetoric swirling around, did anyone else realize that the real Dikembe Mutombo is still in the league?

Bing 66, @Manhattan 56

Just briefly on the Manhattan game -- again, I don't think it was that big a win. I think both the Jaspers and the Bearcats have more important things on their minds than a pointless late-February OOC game that means nothing. (Moritz makes a few good points about the system's flaws.)

A lot of people are making a big deal out of winning a game sans Reggie and sans Laz. Sure, it was nice to see Mike and Richie step up big, but I don't see that being a good formula for success against UA tomorrow night or in the conference tournament. (As for Stony Brook, I think we could send 5 Gio's out there and eke out a victory ...) Hooray -- we won without Laz -- but take a look at what's actually happening: Laz's body is falling apart. As I'd been writing for weeks (weeks!) Laz should not have even suited up for the Manhattan game. There was no point. Then he goes out and hurts himself in warmups?

Kevin: The kid was hurt! The Manhattan game means nothing! And don't give me the New York Giants argument about momentum -- this, by comparison, would've been like the Bearcats playing a CFL or semi-pro team right before the playoffs. Just completely pointless.

Tomorrow night's game will be the one that really matters, and the point where you can bring momentum back into the discussion. If the Bearcats lose to Albany, I certainly don't see them making it past Sunday afternoon, if they even make it that far. If the Bearcats BEAT Albany -- and of course squash SBU -- there may be three postseason games in their near future.

As a fan, I certainly hope that Reggie Fuller returns to the team tomorrow night, but you have to feel for the kid and his situation with his sick mother. If Reggie Fuller needs more time away from the team, he should feel ZERO pressure to return, from coaches, teammates or fans. Family comes first.

- - - - -

In other news, I may have an officially sponsored Press & Sun-Bulletin blog within a month or so. (It won't be a Bearcat blog.) Lots still to figure out with that, but we had a meeting this afternoon and things are, presumably, in the works.


Binghamton 66, @Manhattan 56

Sorry, fell a little bit behind this weekend.

I refuse to describe yesterday's win in any spectacular way, despite the extenuating circumstances around Reggie and Laz. I'll post more tomorrow, but temper your feelings about this OOC triumph.

Year-defining game Wednesday night. Get ready.


Binghamton @ Manhattan, today at 4

Got to be honest with you: with all the insanity going on in the America East right now, I haven't looked much into this contest. So I'm going to switch it up a bit tonight and sum up my feelings with a series of text messages from this evening:

Pipe Dream beat writer Ben Masur to Chris Strub: "Manhattan -4.5"
Chris Strub to Pipe Dream beat writer Ben Masur: "No Reggie = no chance"

For the love of god, give Laz a bit of rest too. The kid deserves it.

If you really want to read a well-thought-out preview of the faux Bracketbuster tomorrow, read Macyk's analysis. Very good, as you'd come to expect.

I'll take Manhattan in a relatively close game. Should be a surprising BU contingent, with plenty of Bearcat grads currently living in the city.

And I promise I'll be back with more than a copout "preview" for the Albany game.

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BTW: still no word on the media pass. What's up, America East?


Etienne Brower

Just saw an Etienne Brower highlight on Sportscenter. Didn't he used to be a Terrier?

For the record ...

... the new Pipe Dream Web site looks awesome. It's much cleaner, much more visually appealing, and would make people want to keep coming back. It looks great. I especially like the ESPN-like graphical interface out front, and I'm glad they brought back the .pdf's of the covers.

However -- the functionality of it seems to be up in the air. I hope the web guys over there didn't dig themselves in too deep with the non-working widget on the right side of every story. The photos linked to stories seem to be shoehorned into the little rectangle. The big "media" thing on the front doesn't seem to do anything; I'm on Firefox, maybe it's different on IE.

And I think the aforementioned big interface is perhaps the biggest worry. The site can work great if you put sufficient manpower into it, but expecting, say, a photo editor to have to configure all of those interfaces for each issue will inevitably become overwhelming.

Of course, I wish them best of luck. It's great to see the paper looking to get better, and although I don't read the other sections as much as I probably should, Mark Macyk and his sports gang are doing a bang-up job. I'm especially looking forward to whatever he has planned for the tournament.

Separated at birth?

Today's Press & Sun-Bulletin tells me that Snoop Dogg -- aka Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr. -- is coming to Binghamton on Sunday, which led me to wonder: were the Broadus brothers, perhaps, separated at birth?

... ?


Albany @ Binghamton looms even larger

From a Binghamton standpoint, last night's results made Wednesday night's Bing/Albany Senior Day showdown an even bigger deal.

It was known from the day the schedule came out that Mike Gordon's final home game, against Bing's biggest rival, would have heavy postseason implications. But now, with two weeks to go, Wednesday night's game could determine the number one contender for a Championship showdown with UMBC.

First things first: After an overtime win last night at the RAC, I'm putting the Retrievers in the final. UMBC has just two stumbles this season: one against a Bearcats team that quickly returned to Earth shortly thereafter, and one against ... um, Maine?

The Maine loss, of course, is much more baffling. I'd simply chalk it up to a bad night; every good team loses focus once in a while. You can't win them all, and UMBC just happened to have an off evening against a subpar team. Remember that Ted Woodward and Randy Monroe have coached against each other plenty of times, and a confusing in-conference loss, in a mediocre conference like the AE, is less devastating than a bad out-of-conference loss.

(Of course, it's still a loss to Maine. Ouch.)

The loss to Binghamton is curiously paired with a home win where the Retrievers watched a 20-point lead evaporate in the final minutes. Those two close games perhaps show a soft spot against the Bearcats, and in examining their schedule, one could make the case that the Retrievers, despite their first-place record, are not as dominant as 11-2 would indicate.

But I see it the other way. All nine head coaches in the league describe it as filled with parity, yet one team has separated itself from the pack. Wins and losses are what matter, and even though they might not have been especially convincing triumphs, the Retrievers have repeatedly escaped with W's, both on the road and at home. With strong senior leadership, the Retrievers have clearly demonstrated they know how to win, and so I don't see them stumbling against a lesser team in the tournament's early rounds -- even against an inspired host team.

So what does that mean for Wednesday night?

If Binghamton wins, they'll avoid the 4th or 5th seed and any meeting with the Retrievers before the final, and set up a probable Binghamton/Hartford semi -- as I've mentioned before, a very winnable game. (And for the record: I'm just as confused as everyone else, if not more confused, about this huge four-way tie [actually more like a five-way if you pencil in a Hartford a loss in their season finale against UMBC] -- I know that Hartford's in second place now, and has a tiebreaker over the Bearcats ... and I've got UVM losing at New Hampshire, keeping them out of the two ... but I don't dare make widespread predictions a la Mark Macyk -- at least yet.)

If they lose, the Bearcats will lose all momentum before the tournament, lose any realistic shot they have at running the table, and end up destined to crumble under the Sunday afternoon pressure against the Retrievers at the Events Center -- if they even make it that far. (Although I think if it somehow shakes out that Bing gets another postseason shot at Dennis Wolff, the results will be different this year.)

There's no excuse for the Events Center to not be sold out Wednesday night.


A gem from the Black Bears Pit

How glad I am to not be a Maine fan:

"Little known fact:
Thursday's loss likely has assured the Black Bears program a fourth straight losing season for the first time since 1988-91. For UMaine to finish .500 or better, they'll have to win 11 in a row (five regular season, four AE tourney, 2 NCAA tourney)." (LINK)

(Kudos, again, to the Leaster for finding that blog.)

Mark Macyk temporarily loses his mind

Of all the bloggers out there, (and if you have not perused my list of favorites over on the right there, you're really missing out), Mark Macyk might be doing the best job this season -- until today. And I quote:

"The game at Stony Brook no longer looks like a gimme, especially since the Seawolves could go on a run and play their way out of the play in game (more on that later) and because it’s Senior Night for Mitchell Beauford, Ricky Lucas and Emmanuel Neto." (LINK)

Quote me on this: If the Bearcats lose to Stony Brook, they will lose in the first round of the tournament, I guarantee it.

And this: If the Bearcats lose to Stony Brook, perhaps the worst basketball team I've ever seen, I will WALK home from their inevitable 8/9 game in two weeks.


America East tournament

I'm starting to get incredibly excited about the America East tournament.

Remembering how much fun we had the last couple times we hosted, I can't really think of anything I'd rather do than sit through another Saturday session. (I guess when you're 22 and single, postseason basketball's near the top of your priorities.)

I'm legitimately torn about what to do during the tournament though, which leads to the new poll question: should I do everything I can to sit courtside and blog all weekend (as I did last year), or go buy bodypaint, tons of Bearcat apparel ... and a ticket?


@Binghamton 80, Maine 55

Looks like I overrated Maine in my preview this afternoon.

Maine sucks. They were turning the ball over left and right, especially in the first half, which got very ugly very quickly. Sure, they were missing a bunch of guys, but nothing they did today impressed me in the slightest.

Seriously, it's hard to come up with a single positive from the Black Bears' perspective -- if you saw this game, you'd be hard-pressed to disagree with me. They simply couldn't control the ball at all, which led to countless fast breaks. The Bearcats' crisp passing, especially on the interior, made Maine look like a mystified JV squad.

Can Dwayne Jackson get some love? This may be slight homerism, but I think the kid has emerged as a prospective All-AE third-teamer -- off the bench. 26 points for DJ today.

Troy Barnies accidentally crashed into one of our cheerleaders -- which was scary for a moment, to make sure that she was ok, but once we realized everyone was alright, we razzed him pretty good about it. It's too bad Maine will probably win the play-in game and play UMBC, and of course we'll have to root against the Retrievers in that 1-8 game to sustain any hope of playing a potential final at the Events Center -- I'd really love to get on Barnies about it again. (My favorite chant today: "Say you're sor-ry," clap, clap, clap clap clap)

And I have to say, after today's surprising events around the league, that's actually looking slightly more realistic. Vermont lost to Stony Brook (huh?), while Boston U. pushed UMBC to the limit in Maryland.

Bing sits in fourth now, with a pair of SUNY matchups left on the docket. A loss to SBU would obviously be devastating, but I can't see that happening. (Unless, of course, Laz is "f*ing soft" again this year -- doubt it.) Assuming a W there, that makes the Albany game -- on Senior Day -- even bigger. Here's why.

Let's give UMBC the 1-seed. Hartford sits alone in second and is likely to stay there. But the difference between 2 and 3 is moot for the Bearcats, as both semifinal games will be held at the EC. The difference between 3 and 4 is gigantic; although you'd be okay with playing UMBC in the semis in Vestal, you'd be pretty much guaranteed a final on the road against either Albany (ehhhh ...) or Hartford (yikes).

I'm certainly not counting out Vermont. They've shown in the recent past they can win games from the bottom half of the draw. But losing to SBU this late in the season is genuinely painful. I'd really hate to have to play UVM in the playoffs; they seem to have our number. So here's the ideal situation in my mind:

UNH checks in as the six seed and we play them in the early Saturday night game (7 p.m.); UMBC squashes Maine, Hartford beats Vermont (in a hell of a game) and fourth-seeded Albany beats no. 5 Boston U. (Let's face it -- Boston cannot win a tournament game against anyone not named Al Walker.) I legit think Albany could beat UMBC on our "neutral" court (although won't it be sickening to root for UA? Ugh!). That would set up a 2/3 Hartford/Binghamton semi to host the championship, and as I've reiterated several times -- I think with a third chance against Hartford, we beat them. Of all the games that I've seen this season, I'm convinced Hartford is not better than Binghamton. (For fairness sake, and to prove to you I'm not a complete homer, I'm convinced that no matter where they play, Vermont beats Binghamton 85 out of 100 times.)

That whole situation rides on Binghamton beating Albany on Senior Day. With a loss in that one, there's zero shot at a potential final in Vestal -- although it might actually increase the Bearcats' chances of making it to the final, because they'd (theoretically) play the Retrievers at the Events Center, where I think we'd have a better shot to beat them.

More musings tomorrow, perhaps.

- - - - -

Edit: Can someone please tell the radio/TV guy that Laz's last name has a 'u' in it?


Maine @ Binghamton, starting shortly

Heading out to the EC shortly.

Maybe I'm the last guy in the world who's a Ted Woodward fan. I thought he drew up some excellent gameplans a few years back in the 2005 AE tournament. Of course, Maine sucks over the past few years, so maybe I've got to re-program my thinking. But I'm definitely not as down on Ted Woodward as say, the Leaster.

Today's game must be a blowout win for the Bearcats. A two-point escape, don't get me wrong, would be just as much a win as a 20-point obliteration, but I really think Richie Forbes & co. need a good old-fashioned butt-whippin' to get back on track, and Maine is just the team to deliver that.

Binghamton 72, Maine 56.


UNH/Binghamton TV coverage

Just realized I did remember to set my DVR for last night's Bing/UNH game.

A couple of quick notes:

- This color guy sucks.

- I'm still not big on Roger Neel, but if nothing else, he should stick to radio. If nothing else, the man is so accustomed to doing radio that he cannot give a TV audience a moment to breathe. It seems like this color guy is just sort of jumping into what would typically be a-tad-too-long moments of silence that Rog usually leaves during his radio commentary.

- This color guy sucks.

- Jen Wegmann, the "sideline reporter," was my nutrition professor a few years ago. She's a fantastic professor, but when it comes to TV ... well ... she's learning.

- The emptiness of the Events Center makes us look pretty pathetic -- especially in the Zoo. We look like freakin' Stony Brook.

- Did I mention this color guy sucks?

Also, watching the first few minutes of the game over again reminds me how many stupid charges they called in this game, especially in the first half.

- - - - -

Edit: 10 minutes later. I'm now re-watching the last two minutes of the game. A couple more quick hits here:

- At 50-49, after Forbes missed the dagger 3, Gordon almost had an offensive rebound before a UNH player grabbed the ball and rolled over on the ground. We booed hard there, looking for a travel, but watching it again, Gordon totally fouled the guy.

- I think Herrion mis-managed his timeouts. UNH was really stuck there with no way to stop the clock late, although KB called one late.

- Looks like it was indeed a bad call on Reggie Fuller with 27.4 seconds left.

- What are these referees THINKING? Fuller was certainly NOT fouled with 9.1 seconds left, although that would've been nearly impossible for me to see from the opposite side of the court there. Looks like it was a good call on Gordon with a couple seconds remaining.

- No love for the BU Zoo from Time Warner sports. Did they think the Zoo was the crowd behind the Bearcats' bench?

- If the pep band's going to play 'The Horse,' they must come through with it at 9.1 seconds left. That, or 'The Hey Song.' (And in a related note, why the f did they play 'Barbie Girl' at halftime?!)

- Reggie Fuller claimed in the postgame that he blocked the final shot. Lie.

Flak from the Leaster

Looks like I've been called out for my 'Doomsday mentality' after the BU loss by Drake Tungsten over at America Least. And I respect that; I deserve a bit of it for burying the Bearcats before a gutsy win. Maybe I was a little bit harsh.

But remember that we were a couple of made free throws away from losing to a bad team, at home, in front of the leftovers from the fair-weather (you heard me) BU Zoo.

If DiLiegro hits a free throw or two, the late-season losing streak would've stretched to five, and the Bearcats would've fallen below .500 in conference play after bursting out to a 6-2 mark. If Mike Gordon's last-minute runner rims out (see: Binghamton vs. Boston, 2007 playoffs; UNH @ Binghamton, Jan. 18, 2007 -- the guy is human), I think you have to completely re-evaluate where the Bearcats are heading into the final few weeks.

And to reiterate that point, so it doesn't seem like I'm just taking an underhanded shot: This year's Zoo is pathetic, a group of fair-weather fans who pale in comparison to the glory years of a healthy Nick Billings and Brandon Carter. Of course, the best way to solve that problem is to win, but it sure was sad to see a paltry crowd come down last night for a pivotal (I really hate that word) Thursday night contest.


@Binghamton 56, UNH 54

First off, my heart goes out to the victims of yet another horrifying on-campus shooting, today in Illinois. What the f--- is wrong with people??

- - - - -

Tons to talk about tonight in a game that appeared to have it all.

Expect every article you read tonight/tomorrow about this game to lead with Kevin Broadus' postgame trip into the BU Zoo. As a part of the Zoo, it was sort of exciting to see, although I have to tell you, I certainly wouldn't expect a coach to do it after a 2-point win over a poor team. (I thought it was bad when the Zoo stormed the court against Vermont a few years back!)

But back to the game; things sure seemed bad when the Bearcats AGAIN failed to box out in the last minute of the game. The go-ahead three seemed like a heartbreaker (no Valentine's Day pun intended), but as soon as you saw Mike Gordon grab the ball, you knew (or at least I knew) he was going to the hole and he was going to score (again, no Valentine's Day pun intended).

The rush of emotions in the final minute was unlike any I've felt at a Bearcats game before. We were gunna win, then lose, then win, then go to overtime, and then we had it locked up again, overtime thoughts again, and then finally the buzzer. Perhaps that whirlpool of emotions was the reason Broadus came into the crowd, but either way it was a heck of a finish.

Reggie Fuller sure had ice in his veins with those final two free throws. Proof positive that spirit fingers do work ... on the flip side, how bad does that jackass who was taunting the Zoo feel after missing TWO free throws, down one point? Way to go, buddy. And don't expect us to forget about that come tournament time ... ever heard of Seth Davis?

Continuing to move backwards through this game -- you have to feel at least kind of bad for Jaan Montgomery. He really appears to be giving an exorbitant amount of effort out on the court, and if there was an ever an opportunity for Jaan to step up and contribute, now would be the time. But he just doesn't appear to be in control of his huge body. Refs give him no benefit of the doubt, and furthermore, the coaches don't appear to be very encouraging. Jaan was called for a charge tonight, leading into a media timeout, and as he came to the bench, Lawrence Brenneman stared the young man down -- twice -- before mouthing (or perhaps saying), "What the f--- are you doing?" I swear, if I were Jaan Montgomery, I don't quite think I could respond calmly to a man who, and you're hearing this correctly, does not deserve his job. Ever wonder, LB, if failure after failure in the Al Walker era wasn't at least sort of your fault?

Perhaps the most exciting part of the night? MOE HAD 'EM PLAY THE HORSE! Stop slurping the UMBC band, Moritz, the Bearcat band is back!

But I disgress. Good effort tonight from the Bearcats tonight, even Laz Trifunovic, who looked like his dog died as he was introduced in front of relative silence. The Zoo, or what was left of it tonight, was certainly not quick to get behind the slumping 'Cats tonight, but perhaps a tight victory -- and a coach storming the crowd (!?) -- was what the fan base needed to get back on the team's side.

Laz really fought his way through tonight's game, but there's no way that he is 100%, and the way he's moving, I don't think he's capable of being 100% again this season. If I'm KB, I give him the Manhattan game off. Like I've said before, beating Manhattan isn't going to get us any closer to winning the America East, which needs to be the number one goal for as long as it takes to get there.

Sad to see Gio not in uniform. His career would be a sad tale to tell ... too bad I'm not a "real" journalist anymore ;).

(By the way, KB, try extending your arms full-length when you attempt to pump up the crowd. Maybe the local residents aren't understanding your "get up" movements as you keep your elbows tethered to your hips ...)

We've reached the point where this game was a must-win in my eyes. A five-game losing streak, including a 26-point drubbing at Boston and a home loss to UNH, would've meant utter disaster. But with a couple cupcakes left on the schedule, including an exhibition game at Stony Brook, the Bearcats may be able to scrape up enough momentum to host the most successful postseason tournament at the Events Center yet.

- - - - -

I'd like to ramp up my posting with the conference tournament approaching. Stay tuned.

UNH @ Binghamton, 7 p.m.

In what has become somewhat of a tradition at the Events Center over the past few years, Bearcat fans will have a chance to watch what should be a high-quality basketball game with their Valentines tonight, with what, surprisingly, could be a make-or-break matchup for the Bearcats coming down the stretch in America East play.

Reggie Fuller and Laz Trifunovic have been the keys for the Bearcats throughout conference play, and both have run into their troubles lately.

Fuller played an incredible first half against Boston, shooting 5-for-5 from the field to continue his superhuman shooting from the field that began at UMBC. But in the second half of the Boston game, Fuller didn't even get a shot off from the field.

Certainly, the Bearcats can survive without Fuller scoring double-digits. He's thrived all year long in his Sebastian Hermenier-type role, but it's been those four-to-six points deep in the paint that seem to ignite the crowd and the other Bearcat players throughout the year. Fuller's rebounding prowess on the offensive glass is crucial to the Bearcats success, and that will be no different tonight.

Laz Trifunovic, the Bearcats' other starting "big man," is the other story lately. Apparently, Laz has been saddled with some injuries that he tried to fight through lately. Now that the word is out, I think it's important to realize that this young man's health is paramount, after seeing what happened in their later years to the aforementioned Hermenier and the now-infamous Nick Billings. There should be ZERO chances taken with Laz's health, and so if he's not good to go tonight, he should not play. It doesn't matter how important KB thinks this game is.

It says a lot about this year's UNH squad that they were picked pre-season to finish behind Stony Brook. I mean, Stony Brook is just terrible. However, no one ever counts Bill Herrion out, including me.

However, I've changed my mind about my initial prediction; I think the Bearcats will win tonight's game ... we'll say by 5 points. Bearcats 70, UNH 65.

- - - - -

In related news, I have applied for a media credential for the America East tournament. I am looking forward to sitting courtside and delivering live coverage for everyone who cannot make it to Vestal for the tournament, much as I did last year in Boston.


@Boston U 79, Binghamton 53

... and oh lord was I WRONG.

The miserable cynicism that plagued my writing in the latter Al years is back. The Bearcats put up one of the worst performances in school history in the second half against a bad team, in front of 582 people, with nothing to play for.


The senior leadership on this team is PATHETIC. Richie Forbes? PATHETIC. Mike Gordon? PATHETIC.

After several impressive overachievements early in the conference schedule, the Bearcats were almost set up for some sort of mid-season letdown, which materialized with an acceptable loss to Hartford, a tough loss to Vermont and what we expected all season to be a loss at UMBC.

I fully expected all along to have to weather losses in two of those three games. A three-game slide would hurt, but wouldn't be the be-all end-all for the season.

A four-game slide culminating in a 26-point loss at Boston University?

Panic time.

The most disturbing number from this loss is the -12 rebounding margin, which has to be pinned partially on Laz's injuries and partially on the team's lack of size and rebounding prowess. But it's not like we're talking about Chris Holm, Taylor Coppenrath or Kenny Adeleke here. Tyler Morris and Matt Wolff, a pair of wimpy jump-shooting guards, are the on-the-court leaders for BU, who doesn't even list a center in the starting lineup this year.

Changes are necessary. KB, if you're reading this -- I mean, I disagree, but if you think it's Richie Forbes' fault, here's what you do: BENCH Richie Forbes. If you think it's Laz, don't force him into the starting lineup. Don't crucify me for this but ... if you think it's Mike Gordon -- BENCH Mike Gordon. It's obvious that things are not working, and if it takes benching your senior "leader" to make a statement, he'll understand.

So here's the scariest part: I think this slide continues tomorrow. Everyone always points to UNH as a scary matchup. I'm doing the same right now.

UNH 74, Binghamton 63.

And -- unjustifiably, yet -- they get booed out of the Events Center.

Recaps - Part I

My apologies for falling a couple of days behind with the blog. I'm going to make it up to you with two separate and complete posts, because what happened last night completely changed all my thoughts about the season.

So here's part I - a look back at Binghamton's four-point loss to UMBC on Saturday:

I thought the Bearcats showed a lot of heart in fighting back and erasing the huge deficit they dug themselves into. Apparently Laz has a few minor injuries that he's battling, the revelation of which changed my mind significantly about what I wanted to scream -- er, write calmly -- about him and his effort lately.

But even without their best player, the Bearcats put up a valiant effort against the Retrievers. After a number of clutch shots and big defensive stops, the 'Cats put themselves in a position to win the game -- until the last minute of the game, when they had an opportunity to clamp down on defense and, in my mind, seal the game.

And then, in what felt scarily reminiscent of the Al Walker era, the Bearcats simply failed to box out. Despite a long, arduous fight to get all the way back from 20 points down, they failed to perform one of the simplest tasks in the game of basketball -- boxing out -- and it cost them the game. Because, at least in my mind, after that monumental collapse, the Retrievers were TOAST if they did not score on that possession.

So, the bottom line was, although their shot at the top seed was officially out the window, I thought the UMBC game was a good way for the Bearcats to turn things around ...


Binghamton @ Boston, starting shortly

Sorry I'm falling a bit behind. I do still have a lot to say about the UMBC game the other day, but expect a bounce-back game from the Bearcats, and especially Laz Trifunovic, tonight. Binghamton by 8 in a game that's not as close as an 8-point spread sounds.


@UMBC 63, Binghamton 59

Full update coming tomorrow afternoon, but for now, I can sum up that horrible collapse / thrilling comeback in a mere two words:


There's obviously a lot more to talk about in a game that saw the Bearcats erase an embarrassing 20-point deficit, but in the end it came down to one play -- not even, just one player's failure to get in the position he needed to be in, and another player's rebounding prowess: if Cavell Johnson is properly boxed out with the game tied, and the Bearcats come up with that simple rebound -- I think BU wins the game.

Care to disagree?

I'll post a whole lot more tomorrow before I go to work.


Vermont @ Binghamton follow-up; Binghamton @ UMBC, today at 3:30

Sorry, I thought I wrote a real follow-up about the UVM game the other day, but here goes:

I was quite disappointed in Laz Trifunovic. I think he must've gone into the game with a poor mindset, because he was not playing like BU could win the game. He had very limited energy and did not work underneath on the boards like he usually does; Broadus was right in keeping him off the floor in the second half.

But a colleague of mine made a good point, that KB deserves at least some of the blame for not understanding how to get Laz the ball in a zone. Granted, it was not easy to figure out what scheme UVM would come down the court in, as they continually switched up their game plan, alternating between a couple types of zone and (a much more manageable) man-to-man. But despite the score, the Bearcats were really struggling in the first half.

Mike Gordon has also been a disappointment to me lately, quite possibly because opponents are keying on him but also because he's very reluctant to pull the trigger. His record-setting shooting day last month showed that he's capable of being a big-time scorer, but he just seems to prefer to shy away from that role, choosing instead to make the extra pass, even when it's not the best option. Mike needs to re-establish himself as a scorer if Binghamton's going to get off the schnide.

That being said, this afternoon's TV game is going to be rough. Since the first UMBC game, everyone's been pointing to this return game as a likely loss, as the Retrievers are very talented and sure to be inspired on their home court. Randy Monroe doesn't strike me as the ideal coach to channel that type of anger, but their lineup is chock full of experienced athletes who certainly remember their last game against the overachieving Bearcats.

Today could get ugly, although Binghamton continues to prove me wrong by keeping these losses close. I thought coming into this week that Bing could get away with winning one of three (vs. Hart, vs. UVM, @ UMBC), although I sure was hoping it wouldn't have to be this one. Three-game losing streaks in the second half of the season never bode well for the postseason, but I just have an inkling that even though they'll probably lose today, this team is good enough and smart enough to weather the storm coming down the stretch.

@ UMBC 86, Binghamton 73.


Vermont 83, @Binghamton 78

Laz really let us down tonight.

Vermont @ Binghamton, tonight at 7

UVM scares me.

Of all the teams in the league, Vermont is the one team that truly intimidates me on paper. This may be slightly homer-ish, but on any given day, I'll take Laz and Mike against any other duo in the league -- except Trimboli/Blakely.

Trimboli is simply phenomenal, and I think he'll display that tonight. Mike Gordon's a better defensive player, but Trimboli's scoring ability separates him from all the other PG's in the league. He's a truly special player in this league, among the likes of Jose Juan Barea, T.J. Sorrentine, Andre Heard before him.

Between Blakely and Laz, you could make the argument for a push. But I'm still stuck giving the edge to the UVM pair because I really think Trimboli is the league's top guard.

However, let's not hand UVM the league quite yet. The reason they have not separated themselves, as a team, from the rest of the league is because their role players are simply not that good. Of course they have Kyle Cieplicki, a carryover from the Tom Brennan era. But UVM's role players pale in comparison to Binghamton's Reggie Fuller/Richie Forbes/Dwayne Jackson, and those are the guys who could make the difference tonight.

All that said, I'm sticking to UVM by 10; and I hope the Zoo brings the house down despite Saturday's loss (which I think will take a big toll on the student support, no matter what Brian Moritz and bubearcats.com say).


Hartford 71, @Binghamton 62; Binghamton will head to Manhattan for Bracketbusters; Vermont @ Binghamton, tomorrow, 7 p.m.

People have to get off of the Bearcats' back about Saturday's loss against the Hawks. It's not as big a deal as everyone says.

Take a step back and look at the big picture. The Bearcats are still beating everyone's expectations and still sit near the top of the league. The goal this year was never to go undefeated (sound familiar?); it was to be playing the best basketball of the season near the end of the season. That's a familiar mantra around here, except that Al Walker always interpreted that saying as, we can suck most of the season, as long as we play alright the last few games.

Broadus has raised the expectations in Bearcat Country with his overachievements against Albany and UMBC early on. For Binghamton to lose to Hartford the way they did on Saturday -- I'm not declaring this a lost season like many people are. Here's why:

I really thought that the Bearcats, for much of Saturday's game, outplayed Hartford. Despite Kevin Broadus' awkward postgame comments about Forbes: (Courtesy the one and only Brian Moritz)

"Richie has got to trust in his teammates, Richie has got to trust in me, because I trust in him," Broadus said. "It's his last go-around, and he's got to approach every day like it's his last day. You can print this however you want - We've had our ups and downs all year, but it's come time for Richie to step up and be a man and say 'Hey, this program has got to be about the program and not about Richie Forbes.'
"Richie is a good player in our program, and he's going to be a good player in our program, but he's going to do it our way ... Richie's got to understand that guys are looking at him every day. Whether he believes it or not, they're looking at him every day. They want to see his actions every day. He's got to understand that.
"Richie's going to be fine. But this program is not solely about Richie."

... I actually thought Richie played one of the best games I've seen him play lately. He continued to do the little things that he often overlooked in the past. Yes, he missed a couple of big shots, but I thought he was well within his means to take those opportunities, because he is a senior leader and heck, he was open! Let's not forget that Forbes is naturally a scorer, and just because he's been blending into the mix lately does not mean he should not take an open shot in a big spot, as he did on Saturday.

I know this sounds sacreligious, but can we place even a little bit of blame on Mike Gordon and/or Lazar Trifunovic? Laz played, at times, like he had cement in his shoes, while Mikey couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. But the pair has become so beloved with this great start we had that everything automatically falls back on Richie Forbes. That's not fair.

Honestly, if that same exact game were played over again 100 times, Binghamton would win, I'd say, 80 of them. Hartford hit some tough, contested, step-back threes that just buried us, and I legitimately think that if we do end up facing the Hawks again come playoff time, we are still the better team.

- - - - -

Anyone complaining about Binghamton getting a sour draw at Manhattan is out of place. If you don't want to land a crummy OOC game, don't lose at Chicago State and give up 97 points to St. Bonaventure. That's all I've really got to say about that, other than I almost wish we didn't have a late OOC game to take the team's focus off of America East play. For the time being, the program's only goal should be to win an America East title. Period.

- - - - -

Tomorrow night's going to be a heck of a lot of fun, if the students come out to play. Kyle Cieplicki and Mike Trimboli are not going to have an easy night, if we have anything to say about it. As for the game itself, I'll post more later/tomorrow, but for now, I anticipate our "slide" to continue -- Vermont 78, Binghamton 66.


Best games of my lifetime

I've kept this blog very Bearcat-centric to this point, but tonight's Super Bowl was one of, if not the best, game I've been alive for. It got me thinking - what are the best games I've seen? Obviously, I'm not going to speculate on the best game ever, but just the games that immediately come to my mind (and I'm not going to specifically tag these games with date, score, etc. ... if you know sports, you know what games I'm talking about here):

In no truly particular order --

2008 Super Bowl, with the "new immaculate reception"
2001 World Series game 7, Diamondbacks de-throne Yankees
2003 Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State beats Miami in 2OT
2007 Eastern Conference Championship Game 6 - Lebron James dominates the Pistons
2006 Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 - Carolina beats Edmonton
2006 World Cup Final - Italy beats France in PKs
1998 NBA Finals Game 6 - Jordan hits the jumper on Byron Russell
2000 Super Bowl - Titans come up one yard short

I cannot omit the best individual performances I've ever seen as well; immediately coming to mind are numerous Tiger Woods wins in various majors (how about the 2005 Masters?), and the 2002 U.S. Open, when Pete Sampras proved everyone wrong and toppled rival Andre Agassi in four incredible sets.

And in the spirit of the Press & Sun-Bulletin, here's a brief list of the best games I've ever seen locally:

Fall 2004 - Meghan Taylor the hero as BU women's soccer wins Championship
March 2005 - Vermont topples Syracuse in March Madness (that's like, America East local)
Fall 2002 - Chuck Guittilla escapes a major decision to get Huntington wrestling past Islip

I wouldn't quite put them on the list, but as an honorable mention, a couple BU volleyball games come to mind: Sept. 2007 - Binghamton d. UNH in 5 games, and October 2005 - Binghamton d. Maine in 5 games.

- - - - -

I'll have a full recap of yesterday's 71-62 loss to Hartford tomorrow afternoon; I just can't think about basketball right now.


Hartford @ Binghamton, right now

So I overslept a bit today, but I expect a tight loss this afternoon. I'll take Hartford by three.

I'm gunna throw on a sweatshirt and make it down to the EC by halftime.
ping Bearcat Country www.bearcatcountry.blogger.com