Author Archive - Andrew Force

Villanova Wildcats

Offensive Identity: “We are trying to mix learning our system along with competing on every possession,” says Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Wright looks a touch like Mark Cuban: his intentionally loose grip on his guards resembles Cuban’s friendly clutches with Dallas veterans. He allows his guards to create, improvise within the loose-fitting sweater that… more »

Rhode Island Rams

The tiniest American state runs out a sizable rotation of players.  Nine guys play important minutes for the Rams even though the same five have started every game for Rhode Island head coach Jim Baron.  The greatest contributions come from the upperclassman as Baron starts his only two seniors and three juniors. Ordinarily the offensive… more »

Team Profile: Northern Iowa 71, Old Dominion 62

The college basketball world got a sneak preview of Ali Farokhmanesh Friday night as Northern Iowa shoved away the Old Dominion Monarchs 71-62.  Farokhmanesh led all scorers with 23 points despite not having a single point at the half. UNI displayed both exceptional court balance and prudent patience.  The zone defense of Old Dominion was… more »

West Virginia Mountaineers

Offensive Identity: Waves and waves of 6’7” athletes bombard the shores and unrelenting water can have a dramatic impact. After a seaside hamlet braces for the oncoming wave, weary of its resolute supremacy, there comes a period of relaxation right after the water harmlessly splashes ashore.  In that moment the following wave pounds down upon… more »

Temple Midseason Report

Offensive Identity: There is no urgency amongst Temple Owls’ backcourt. No rush. With floor spacing out of a coach’s fantasy, the Owls each have plenty of room to operate.  Lavoy Allen and Michael Eric screen to open up Ryan Brooks and Juan Fernandez.  When Brooks starts flying around the screens, trouble is on the way…. more »

Pittsburgh Midseason Report

Offensive Identity: Most of the early important possessions are scripted, with the director being associate head coach Tom Herrion. The former College of Charleston head coach holds up a dry erase board with the play name on it. The plays themselves typically involved scoring ace Ashton Gibbs, who has led the Panthers in scoring all… more »

Cincinnati Midseason Report

The Cincinnati Bearcats look like a team, an actual team, which is refreshing to see after three years of the Deonta Vaughn show.  The senior guard gets fewer shots, fewer points, and more smiles this season.  No respected basketball player–which Vaughn certainly is–minds sacrificing shots for wins. Offensive Identity: The cast of scoring threats now… more »

Xavier Midseason Report

The turnover at Xavier was tremendous with three 1,000-point scorers graduating.  The school’s all-time winningest player, B.J. Raymond left, and winningest NCAA coach Sean Miller also departed. A modest step back would have been understood, but in the words of DMX, X gonna give it to ya. Offensive Identity Xavier has a lot of unselfish… more »

Atlantic 10 Notebook

Three full months are nearly over.  The Atlantic 10 Conference has sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years.  Half of the 14 conference teams are led by a coach with less than five years of A-10 experience.  Most of these coaches are just now escorting their programs into… more »

Louisville Cardinals

The Louisville Cardinals are in a year of transition.  After winning the Big East regular season title along with the conference tournament championship and sending two players to the NBA, Rick Pitino knew the growing pains of rebuilding awaited him this year. Fortunately, a couple of upperclassmen have smoothed the bumps to slight seams in… more »

A-Mason Returns

Anthony Mason Jr. returned to action on January 9  in Louisville, nearly 14 months after his college career seemingly ended. His first shot back clanged off the rim, just long.  But in truth there were days his return appeared a longshot. The return has not been completed.  His lateral movement appears cautious and the forward… more »

Big East Player Development: Part One

The Big East Conference expected to suffer a dramatic drop-off in national success this year.  The conference sent nine players to the NBA draft, and nearly every program lost multiple three-year starters. Surprisingly, the power conference lost little of its nationwide dominance.  In this edition of the Beast Report, we take a look at the… more »

Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58

Two teams filled with gold/black bedecked players tussled last Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  The Purdue Boilermakers outlasted the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 69-58 in a battle between two programs that crossed paths while seemingly headed in different directions. Despite recently sending two players to the NBA, Wake has not won an NCAA… more »

Professor Xavier and the X-Men

Sean Miller left Xavier in the spring, reinforcing the belief that Xavier is a launching-pad program.  The last four lead Musketeers, all wildly successful at the Cincinnati campus, moved on to bigger and better things. It’s hard to blame a guy for accepting the head coaching position at the University of Arizona where the money,… more »

Dayton Flyers, Please Adjust Your PG Situation Prior to Takeoff

Dayton’s win over Creighton, though expected, raises the national focus on the Flyers from a whimper to a murmur. Brian Gregory’s bunch of athletic anomalies got national airplay by playing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff, but they lost to Villanova and Kansas State. Forward Chris Wright, offered by Michigan State, can only… more »

MAC Tournament Final Recap

The sweet styling of the McKnight Brothers was on display Saturday night in the MAC Tournament Final.  The toughest ticket in town was for the duet’s vibrant harmony, competently contributing to a 65-53 Akron win.  Less famous than singer Brian’s McKnight family, these brothers (junior Chris, and sophomore Brett) have more to celebrate en route… more »

Syracuse Orange

Good Wins: 11/25 vs. Kansas (semi-away), 12/20 @Memphis, 2/4 vs. West Virginia, 3/7 @ Marquette, 3/12 vs. UConn (neutral), 3/13 vs. West Virginia (neutral) Bad Losses: None. Strengths:  1. Variety. The spice of life encapsulates Syracuse’s offense, the Big East’s best.  How many different ways can they score on you?  Let me count the ways. … more »

MAC Tournament Semifinal Recap

Buffalo 64, Ball State 52 Pete Newell would have been proud.  In a league habitually dominated by backcourts, big men thrived Friday night.  Buffalo Bull junior forward Max Boudreau poured in a lucky 21, raising his career high by 50%.  Even a free fall landing him square on his back could not slow the Canadian… more »

Defense a Staple at Minnesota and Dayton

De-fense. Clap! Clap!  De-fense. Clap! Clap! Defense wins championships.  It’s a highly regarded maxim that covers all sports.  If defense is so vital and clearly intrinsic to success, then why are defensive values rarely addressed in the written word? In Minnesota, Tubby Smith brought a renewed focus on defense.  “We take away sight from the… more »

MAC Tournament Quarterfinal Recap

Ball State 64, Central Michigan 61  An eventful overtime went to the birds.  Finally.  The Ball State Cardinals (14-16) pulled out a MAC slugfest on the strength of six Laron Frazier overtime points.  ”We have three seniors who all stepped up and made the shots to get to the next step,” said Frazier.  The final… more »

Morehead State Eagles

Good Wins: 11/30 Central Florida (Neutral), 12/30 @ East Tennessee State Bad Losses: 11/23 FAMU (N), 11/29 Grambling (N), 1/5 vs. Tennessee State, 1/17 @ Eastern Illinois, 2/5 @ Jax St. Strengths:  1. Center of attention.  Kenneth Faried will be the new Glen “Big Baby” Davis.  Such effervescence and zest for life.   Unfamiliar fans will… more »

Atlantic Sun Tournament Recap

The Atlantic Sun Tournament opened play in the first week of March, declaring their champion second to the Big South.  Of course the Ivy League has no post-season tournament and therefore decides their automatic bid first. Stepping into Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena, a resplendent concert hall, it becomes immediately apparent the title sponsor is General… more »

West Virginia Mountaineers

Good Wins: @Ohio State, Providence, Villanova, Notre Dame Bad Losses: None. Strengths:  1. Team Defense.  In a league stacked with scorers, the Mountaineers provide opponents a rocky terrain to hike.  A person is more likely to win the shell game (33% chance) than they are to make a 3-point shot attempt against West Virginia (29%).  The personnel are… more »

Cincinnati Bearcats

Good Wins: @ UNLV, UAB, Georgetown, Notre Dame, @Georgetown, West Virginia Bad Losses: None, but swept by Providence. Strengths: 1. Pace.  Anytime a team is able to forcibly alter your offensive flow, the level of comfort crumbles.  Its tough to even initiate the offense effectively when avoiding traps and rushing past the halfcourt stripe supersedes.  The… more »

Dayton Flyers

  Good Wins: 11/29 vs. Marquette (Neutral), 2/11 vs. Xavier, 2/28 vs. Temple. Bad Losses: 1/10 vs. UMass (Neutral), 2/8 @ Charlotte, 2/21 @ St. Louis   Strengths:  1. Defense. With forty minutes within which to operate opponents cannot muster 60 ppg against UD.  Quick hands at each position help the Flyers compensate for being… more »

Meet Andrew

Check Out More Staff Articles:

Or, Browse By Category: