Author Archive - Matthew Stevens

Siena Saints

Good Wins: vs. Northern Iowa, two wins against Niagara Bad Losses: vs. Wichita State, at Rider Strengths:   1. Guard Play. Kenny Hasbrouck and Edwin Ubiles make up one of the best one-two punches in the country, averaging  29.4 points per game.  At 6-foot-3 and 6-6 respectively, they cause matchup problems for smaller defenders. Hasbrouck had 30 points in… more »

The Mid-Major Waiting Room

For Creighton and St. Mary’s, let the waiting game begin. Three mid-major schools with at least 20 wins and RPI rankings in the Top 65 are without automatic bids after experiencing embarrassing loses in their conference tournaments. With Selection Sunday only three days away, the next 72 hours for these schools are going to determine… more »

Northern Iowa Wins MVC Bid in Thrilling Fashion

ST. LOUIS – Paraphrasing the old NCAA Tournament mantra, Northern Iowa simply knows how to survive and advance. “I think a major factor for us have been the experience this team has in close game all season,” UNI head coach Ben Jacobson said. The Panthers survived three games in three days of Arch Madness, including… more »

Northern Iowa Panthers

Good Wins: N-Auburn, Creighton, Illinois State, @Illinois State, N-Illinois State Bad Losses: at Illinois-Chicago, Iowa State, Iowa, Indiana State, Wyoming, at Wichita State and Drake Strengths: 1. Balance. On the offensive end, Northern Iowa’s five starters (Adam Koch, Jordan Egleseder, Ali Farokhmanesh, Kwadzo Ahelegbe and Johnny Moran) are all averaging between 8.6 and 12 points per game. If… more »

Illinois State Humiliates Creighton 73-49

ST. LOUIS – Both Illinois State and Creighton’s head coaches needed only one word to describe their play Saturday evening. “Wonderful, how about that,” Redbirds head coach Tim Jankovich said. Shift to Creighton head coach Dana Altman for the equal and opposite reaction. “Disappointed.” Illinois State crushed the second-seeded Bluejays 73-49 in the semi-finals of… more »

UNI Blitzes Bradley 76-62

ST. LOUIS – Northern Iowa has its swagger back. The top-seeded Panthers exuded that confidence on both ends of the floor in their 76-62 defeat of Bradley in the first semi-final of the Missouri Valley Conference. “I think that speaks to a lot of guys and different guys are making big plays down the stretch,” UNI… more »

Illinois State Overwhelms Evansville 78-68

ST. LOUIS – Less than four minutes into the game, Evansville head coach Marty Simmons turned and yelled to his assistants in very plain, simple language exactly what the problem was. “We just can’t stop them,” Simmons said. Illinois State showed consistent flashes of superior offensive firepower by eliminating Evansville with a 78-68 victory in the last quarterfinal game… more »

MVC Buzzer-Beater Controversy Ends Swiftly

ST. LOUIS – Even in a packed Scottrade Center, everyone on press row heard the yell. “Start the clock!” The scream was heard from every member of the Wichita State bench. Shortly afterwards, the ball went through the hoop, the horn blared, and the Shockers’  season was over. Creighton’s Booker Woodfox had good reason to celebrate… more »

Buzzer Beater vs. Wichita State Keeps Creighton Alive

ST. LOUIS – The blue and white faithful from Omaha can file the date of March 6, 2009 in their long basketball history as another day Booker Woodfox won the game. “Book has made a career of doing that, and so for that moment I was elated,” Creighton head coach Dana Altman said. After blowing… more »

Bradley Routs Southern Illinois 67-55

ST. LOUIS – Bradley was just too quick, too athletic and much more careful with the basketball than Southern Illinois in its dominating 67-55 win.  The Braves got 30 points in the paint mostly off dribble penetration and received 22 points courtesy of turnovers by the Salukis’ ineffective offense. “We needed to control the paint… more »

UNI defeats Indiana State 73-69

ST. LOUIS – Top seeded Northern Iowa can take a deep breath -  at least for now. After being behind for most of the second half, the Panthers survived a scare from ninth-seeded Indiana State by using a late 9-2 run over the last five minutes to earn a 73-69 victory in its Missouri Valley… more »

Drake Eliminated on Day One of MVC Tournament

The first game of the Arch Madness has already sent a 2008 NCAA Tournament team home. Ninth-seeded Indiana State knocked out eighth-seeded and defending Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion Drake 62-55 Thursday evening. The Sycamores (11-20) jumped out to a 44-23 lead with 15:38 left in the second half after a three-pointer by senior forward… more »

MVC Tournament Preview – Welcome to Arch Madness.

Two big firsts are the big stories heading into the 2009 State Farm MVC Tournament, starting Thursday. 1. If you take the wacky world of the Missouri Valley Conference regular season as a litmus test, nine different teams can make a serious argument that they can take home the championship trophy and the automatic bid… more »

Butler Bulldogs

Good Wins: @Xavier, UAB, @Davidson Bad Losses: Loyola (IL), @UW-Milwaukee Strengths: 1. Head coach – I just voted Butler head coach Brad Stevens as my NBWA National Coach of the Year. After losing four starters and being picked to finish well down the Horizon League ladder, he’s led Butler right back to another NCAA Tournament. Plus… more »

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Good Wins: sweep of Tennessee, sweep of St. Mary’s and Oklahoma State Bad Losses: Portland State and a blowout loss to Memphis at the Spokane Civic Center Strengths: 1. Putting the ball in the basket – Like a lot of previous Gonzaga teams, this season’s version can also find a way to generate offense, whether it’s… more »

Memphis Tigers

Good Wins: at Gonzaga, vs. Cincinnati, at Tennessee, sweep of UAB Bad Losses: none (but losses are vs. Xavier (San Juan Shootout), at Georgetown, and vs. Syracuse). Strengths: 1. John Calipari has done his best coaching job by getting out of his own way. Ask the Tigers head coach what was the turning point that turned… more »

Team Profile: Saint Mary’s – Utah State Recap

Saint Mary’s 75, No. 23 Utah State 64 Patty Who? Okay, Patrick Mills has not been forgotten around McKeon Pavilion – not even close. But, after seven games, the Gaels are doing their best to show the Committee they are one of the 34 teams that deserve an at-large bid. “(Utah State) was going to… more »

Team Profile: Siena – Northern Iowa Recap

Siena 81, Northern Iowa 75 These Saints don’t come marching in–they run in, and they don’t stop. Siena (22-6) got its 18th win in a row at the Times-Union Center by making a lesser-athletic team play its style and adjust to its pace of play. While waiting for the Buffalo-Vermont contest to end, basketball fans… more »

Team Profile: Butler at Davidson Preview

Saturday, noon EST, ESPN Michael Buffer should do the pre-game introductions for this game, because the winner will be crowned the unofficial 2009 mid-major champion. Butler head coach Brad Stevens may have the best perspective on this game and how it affects his team trying to make another second weekend of madness run. Stevens told… more »

Team Profile: Utah State at Saint Mary’s Preview

Saturday, 5 P.M. EST, ESPN2 Utah State goes into St. Mary’s gymnasium desperate for a win. The visitors have to prove that they can win this game on the road even if the Gaels are still without star guard Patty Mills. Stew Morrill’s team had a 19-game winning streak before losing last week at Boise… more »

Team Profile: Northern Iowa at Siena Preview

Saturday, 3 P.M. EST, ESPN2 The contrasting-styles matchup of this year’s Bracketbuster event will take place in Loudonville, N.Y., where Northern Iowa comes to town with its slow-down, defensive, long-range shooting style to take on the Saints, who prefer games in the 80s. Look for 2008 MAAC Tournament MVP Kenny Hasbrouck to have a big… more »

Team Profile: Buffalo at Vermont Preview

Saturday, 1 P.M. EST, ESPN2 Buffalo is a team with a decent Tournament resume that is diminished by the atrocious Western Division of its own conference (six teams with RPI rankings from 214-323). Imagine if two months ago Bulls guard Rodney Pierce had not panicked at home against top-ranked Connecticut and opted to shoot for… more »

Team Profile: Northeastern at Wright State Preview

Saturday, 11 A.M. EST, ESPN2 Northeastern currently holds the tiebreaker over VCU for the top-seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament and the team doesn’t believe that VCU’s hometown advantage (the tournament is played in Richmond) diminishes that accomplishment. “We tell the kids that imagine being told in August that with three games left… more »

Team Profile: VCU at Nevada Preview

Friday, 9 p.m. EST, ESPNU The team most disappointed by its Bracketbuster matchup is probably Virginia Commonwealth. Consider its predicament: 1. 2,661 miles of travel, including a 6-hour plane ride 2. Its opponent is a team outside the RPI Top 100 (Nevada is No. 104 and a loser of three of its last six) 3…. more »

Team Profile: Illinois State vs. Niagara Preview

Friday, 7 p.m. EST, ESPN2 Illinois State was literally unbeatable through 14 games (14-0 start) and head coach Tim Jankovich was being called a miracle-worker by ESPN. The Redbirds were starting to pump their chests and chirp about BCS schools refusing to agree to home-and-home contracts, which would negatively affect their early season schedule. A… more »

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