Author Archive - Andrew Force

2008 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Key Wins: UConn, @Villanova, Marquette, Pittsburgh Key Losses: N-Baylor, @Georgia Tech, @ Marquette@ Georgetown Key Stat: Rebounding Margin. No player on the floor quits until the ball is in the basket. Like piranhas in search of an unclaimed meal, Irish rebound with tremendous hunger. They will finish the year in the top ten nationally in… more »

The Lighter Side of the MVC Tournament

Slumpbuster Evansville went 7:53 without making a field goal in the first half. The Aces then began the second half with a 7:30 scoring drought. To give an idea of how long eight minutes is, two Northern Iowa fans almost figured out how to pay for their parking when no attendant was on duty. Almost…. more »

2008 MVC Tournament Recap: Drake 79, Illinois State 49

Normally subdued, Keno pumped his fist in the air right around the time Drake took only its second lead of the afternoon. Little did he know the game would open up almost immediately. Playing with trademarked balance, DU knocked the Redbirds from the windowsill early. The hungry Bulldogs closed the first half with a protracted… more »

2008 Connecticut Huskies

Key Wins: @Indiana, Marquette, Pittsburgh, @Syracuse, Notre Dame, West Virginia Key Losses: Memphis, N-Gonzaga, @Notre Dame, @Georgetown, Providence, @Providence Key Stat: 8.7. The Huskies as a team average nearly 9 blocks a game, with 7’3″ Hasheem Thabeet swatting approximately half of those. Most Important Player: A.J. Price. “It’s my job to be the head of… more »

MVC Tournament Recap: Illinois State 56, Northern Iowa 42

When “Little O” nailed a 3-pointer with two on the shot clock all hopes of the first ever All-Iowa MVC Final were dashed. The Osiris Eldridge shot came from 22 feet out with 2:18 to play. Trying to rebound from an off night in the Illinois State tournament opener, Eldridge came out possessed. The super… more »

MVC Tournament Recap: Drake 75, Creighton 67

No worries. Drake defeated Creighton 75-67 to reach the nationally televised Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Final. The one team that did not need a strong conference tournament showing, Drake is starting to regain the air of invincibility they established earlier and seemingly lost in late February. Led by an incredibly reserved coaching staff, DU plays… more »

MVC Tournament Recap: Illinois State 63, Missouri State 58

Illinois State needed to win or it risked seeing its bubble burst. Without a win, Missouri State would lose its coach. Suffice it to say a sense of urgency was in the air. As usual, the underdog came out swinging–the winners from Day One tend to ride a wave of passion to a first half… more »

MVC Tournament Recap: Drake 68, Indiana State 46

“We have to work at putting teams away,” said Drake forward Jonathan Cox one month ago following a depressingly narrow defeat of Evansville. His dream came true in Drake’s 68-46 drubbing of a worn down Indiana State team. Despite sharing a color scheme, 100 seconds of basketball left no doubt which team was the favorite…. more »

Georgetown Hoyas

Senior Writer Andy Force takes a look at the 2008 edition of JT III’s Big East behemoths.

Drake Bulldogs

Key Wins: @Iowa, Southern Illinois, @Butler, @Creighton, Illinois State x3 Key Losses: @Saint Mary’s, @Southern Illinois, Bradley Key Stat: Rookie Head Coach Keno Davis won 21 straight basketball games following a loss to St. Mary’s November 10th. His father Tom Davis actually won 18 straight in his first year at the Univeristy of Iowa (1986-1987)…. more »

Missouri Valley Conference Award Ceremony

Player of the Year: Adam Emmenecker, Drake. The spunky guard floats around the floor not with boundless athleticism, but with the clearest understanding of prudent play. Rarely shooting more than eight times a game, Emmenecker led the conference in assists (6.7 per game). During conference play he dished out over 30 more than anyone else… more »

Creighton Basketball: Still Pressing, But Impressing?

The system is the same. Thankfully, the coach is the same. There was a frightful window in which Dana Altman was gone, but he chose to return. The roster he returned, too, is hardly the same. The turnover in Omaha was tremendous. No team lost more in the Missouri Valley. Way back in October, Altman… more »

Louisville Cardinals

Key Wins: @UNLV, @Kentucky, West Virginia, Marquette, @Marquette, Georgetown, @Pittsburgh, Notre Dame Key Losses: N-BYU, Dayton, N-Purdue, @Seton Hall, @UConn, @Georgetown Key Stat: 10-2. The Cardinals finished with ten wins in their last 12 regular season games, making them one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the Big East Tournament. Most Important… more »

Pittsburgh Panthers

Key Wins: Oklahoma State, N-Duke, Georgetown, @Syracuse, West Virginia Key Losses: @Dayton, @Villanova, Rutgers, @Marquette, @West Virginia Key Stat: 3-point FG %. Pittsburgh, despite the attention defenses place on guarding DaJuan Blair and Sam Young, is the fifth worst three-point shooting team in the Big East. Biggest Strengths: Pittsburgh, as a team, makes a conscience… more »

Team Profile: 2008 BracketBuster Recap: Illinois State 54, Wright State 46

On every team there are five guys that believe they can do better. They can score more points, make crazier passes, shutdown more opponents than the players who are actually on the floor. On the very best teams, there are one or two guys who truthfully can do better, if given the chance. Illinois State… more »

Providence Friars

Most Important Player: Geoff McDermott. McDermott carved out an interesting role for himself in four years at Providence College. The point forward makes innovative, exceptional passes from the top of the key or within the closer confines of the painted area. If PC needs a play made, McDermott is the man to facilitate said play…. more »

Team Profile: 2008 BracketBuster Recap: Southern Illinois 74, Nevada 49

An ordinarily mild-mannered Tyrone Green beaming with delight told the story for Southern Illinois’ homecourt 74-49 win over Nevada. The Kentucky-born guard had reason to smile, aside from his team’s nearly flawless performance. Guarding Marcelus Kemp, who attracted four NBA scouts to Carbondale, Green put on a defensive show. He got up in Kemp’s personal… more »

Team Profile: 2008 BracketBuster Preview: Wright State at Illinois State

Quite the anomaly exists in western Ohio. The lowlands of Dayton are currently housing a Mountain Man. Wright State freshman Cooper Land began growing quite the beard over a month ago. Purely superstitious in its inception, the beard will not be shaven until Wright State loses. Last Saturday, it looked like the razor might finally… more »

Team Profile: 2008 Bracket Buster Preview: Nevada vs. Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois was left for dead early on. Once it became apparent that the Salukis lacked their traditionally adequate scoring punch, national media jumped ship. The eyes SIU had attracted in the last couple of years looked elsewhere, searching for the next mid-major media darling. Now, in the quieter moments, SIU is winning close games…. more »

Missouri Valley Newcomers Attempt to Carry on the Tradition

In this most recent off-season, one coach, Mark Turgeon, left for the money and recruiting benefits of the Big 12. His departure, coupled with the graduation of countless valuable seniors, leaves the MVC fighting for that elusive consistency that power conferences tend to have. Look at the list of names of the departed, leaving gaping… more »

Marquette Basketball: A Story with Holes

Sit down children. Be quiet and keep your hands to yourself. It is time for a “Story With Holes.” John and Mary were lying dead in a puddle with broken glass. Chester wasn’t found. Why is that? While you ponder that, let’s look at another Story With Holes. This hole is in the middle. The… more »

From New Heights

This season in college basketball, 3-pointers are being released from extraordinary heights. No, guards are not jumping higher. Taller players are becoming arc-roamers. Five of the 18 most accurate long-range shooters in the land are 6’7” or taller. For the modern prototype, look no further than Kevin Durant. The 6’9” Durant certainly did not begin… more »

UConn Come Back

A typically short-tempered Jim Calhoun somehow disallowed impatience to consume him. The last year was unquestionably difficult on the program. For a school with 11 Sweet 16 appearances in the last 17 years, a regular season record of 17-14 hurts. It hurts badly. The present was bleak, but the future had promise. Predominantly because the… more »

The Life Of Brians

Shhhh. A city in Ohio has a secret. The sixth most populous city in the 34th biggest state understandably remains nationally underrated for basketball fervor. For goodness sakes, the very first “mechanical money drawer” was invented in this fine town. How could such a basketball revelation escape if money itself was perfectly protected in the… more »

Hoops are High in Ohio

Downtown Cleveland, a giddy scream of “Yahoo!” cuts through the windy, bitter cold night air. Mere minutes earlier the source of the cheer was storming the floor, bouncing up and down on the hardwood celebrating the upset of a ranked opponent. Could the exuberance really be the result of a Cleveland State basketball game? The… more »

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