Archive | February 2014

The Top 5 Most Overlooked Teams In College Basketball

By Christian Pierre-Louis 

As the college basketball season winds down and heads into conference tournament week, I would like to shine a light on five teams who deserve more love from fans and the media. All season you have been hearing about great teams like Syracuse, Kansas, Duke, Arizona and Florida, but there are some under the radar teams that could make some noise in the NCAA tournament.

5. Saint Joseph’s– Ten years ago, guards Jameer Nelson and Delonte West led the Hawks to an undefeated regular season and a trip to the Elite Eight. The Hawks have made the NCAA tournament only one time since, in 2008, when they fell to Oklahoma in the round of 64. The Hawks lost four of their first eight games of the season, including a 30-point loss to Big East rival Villanova. They have since lost only three games — at then-No. 19 UMass on January 8, Richmond on January 25, and to then No. 13 St. Louis on February 5th. Saint Joe’s has quietly climbed the conference standings since, passing teams such as UMass and Dayton, and now sits just two games out of first place. Winning the A-10 might not be a realistic proposition for the Hawks, but a solid formula for an at-large bid could involve one win this week as they face St. Bonaventure tomorrow afternoon.

4. Providence– Being on the bubble to qualify for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament entering the first weekend of March always makes for great basketball, as teams are fighting for victories to make a case to get in the tourney. That is the case for the Friars; they have an 8-7 conference record, and with three games remaining, they need to separate themselves from the pack. Coach Ed Cooley has worked wonders with his Providence team this season amongst a massive amount of chaos. The Friars essentially face three must-win games with the end-of-season clash at Creighton being the most important one. Providence already has a win over the Bluejays in its pocket, but a road win would carry more weight during the selection process. Just like their conference rival St. John’s, with whom it split road victories in conference play, Providence is in need of a good showing at Madison Square Garden next week to solidify their chances of getting in.

3. Harvard– Harvard, under coach Tommy Amaker, is trying for a third straight Ivy League title this season and it, too, has the most-gifted roster in the conference. It may be building toward some kind of a breakthrough as well. But if the Crimson can make it back to the Big Dance, all top teams need to be put on notice. Last year as a No. 14 seed Harvard shocked No. 3 New Mexico in the Round of 64. They did that last year as their All-Ivy players Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry were wrapped up in a cheating scandal that involved about 125 students and they withdrew to keep the chance to return to school and also preserve their final year of eligibility. Without them, Harvard overachieved and ended up with that win over the Lobos before falling to Arizona two days later. This year those two are back, along with multidimensional Wesley Saunders and slippery quick Siyani Chambers, who are now the two leading scorers but this team full of balance with six players averaging between 14.8 and 9.0 points. Watch out for the Crimson, as they have the firepower to make some havoc and bust some brackets.

2. SMU– The SMU Mustangs are a team that should be considered to be one of the most dangerous heading into the tournament. Thanks to Larry Brown, this year’s squad is looking to make a run and prove doubters wrong. Less than two years after being lured out of retirement, the Hall of Fame coach has transformed one of college basketball’s biggest doormats into a team that is ranked No. 23. When you look at the Mustangs’ resume, they have marquee wins over the Connecticut Huskies, Memphis Tigers and Cincinnati Bearcats, which is nothing to scoff at. At 22-6, SMU deserves more recognition from the public. They still face the Louisville Cardinals and Memphis to finish out the season, and should only need to win one of these games along with a home game against the UCF Knights to better their profile for the Big Dance. The Mustangs are a good team that could pull off a few upsets in the tournament, and it wouldn’t be March Madness without teams like them.

1. Witchita State– Most of you are wondering how could the No. 2 ranked team in the country be overlooked, well they are and it’s a travesty. A lot of people point out that the Shockers play in a weaker conference and that their competition is bad. I tell those people to go look at the tape, this team is ridiculously impressive and have a chance to finish the regular season undefeated! No matter who you play, that is quite impressive in today’s world of college basketball. One of the best stories in college basketball this season has been reduced to a talking point, and that discussion will ramp up as we head for the exit of the regular season. This team has won 30 straight games and with the way teams now schedule, it’s tougher than ever before to go wire to wire without a casualty on the schedule. To the skeptics, I’ll say this: Fight it all you want, but Wichita State will be on the top line as a 1 seed if it’s got a bagel in the L column come March 9, the finals of the MVC tourney. I would be stunned beyond belief if Wichita State isn’t handed a No. 1 in that scenario. Being perfect carries symbolic and tangible significance. In fact, even one loss would keep them in the conversation. For those who keep on underestimating the Shockers, be advised that come late March-early April, you may be watching them cut down the nets.

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Christian Pierre-Louis is a journalism major at Seton Hall University. He is a HUGE fan of the, LA Lakers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees. He is also an assistant sports producer at Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 FM. You can follow him on twitter at @CPL_78.

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NHL Trade Deadline is March 5th…Who’s Available?

By Ryan Crawford

New York Islanders

Stick a fork in them because the Islanders are done. 12 points out with six teams to jump and 22 to play makes it virtually impossible to make a serious run. Throw in the injuries to Tavares and Nielsen and yesterday’s call ups of Strome, Lee and Halmo and it’s wait until next year for the talented but young and beat up Islanders. The top players available include:

Thomas Vanek- the best player on the market, Vanek can be had for a high-end prospect a mid level prospect and a first round pick. Can Garth Snow get that high a return is the question.

Andrew MacDonald- word on the street is a first round pick gets the top d-man on the trade market

Evgeni Nabokov- not mentioned often but with the team out and UFA pending, he could be cheap goalie insurance for somebody. Minnesota? St. Louis?

Vanek will be a highly coveted asset to acquire at the trade deadline (Via USA Today Sports)

Vanek will be a highly coveted asset to acquire at the trade deadline (Via USA Today Sports)

New York Rangers

The Rangers are in a tough spot. They are a playoff team with key players approaching UFA status.

Ryan Callahan- The team captain is looking for about 47 million over 7 years and the team is offering 30 over 5. Interested teams are rumored to include St. Louis (Anthony Stewart?), Tampa Bay (Martin St. Louis?), Buffalo for a long-term deal, Columbus and Toronto.

Dan Girardi- Also looking for more than the Rangers want to pay, he would be a prime chip if the Rangers make him available. Expect Boston, Toronto, Philly, Anaheim and Phoenix to be in the mix.

Buffalo Sabres

The team with the worst record in the league will make just about every veteran available. Three in particular are hot.

Ryan Miller- The top goalie on the market, the Sabres are looking to create a bidding war for his services. St. Louis heads the list of potential destinations but don’t count out Minnesota, Anaheim, San Jose or even Colorado.

Steve Ott- a gritty guy who could fit in with any of the top contenders. Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Chicago and Tampa Bay head the list.

Matt Moulson- acquired early this season for Vanek, Moulson will be flipped at the deadline for more young assets. With scoring at a premium, expect Los Angeles, Ottawa, Montreal and possibly Detroit to be in play.

Calgary Flames

Mike Cammalleri– smaller scoring winger could be looked at by Pittsburgh, New Jersey or Los Angeles to provide some jump.

Nashville Predators

Shea Weber- probably won’t be moved at the deadline but could be a blockbuster if the right team comes calling with enough goodies. Philly and Edmonton are always mentioned but teams like Buffalo, Florida, Dallas and the New York Islanders have plenty to offer and more than enough cap space.

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IT SHOULD BE AN EXCITING 10 DAYS IN THE NHL AND DABUZZZA WILL BE ON TOP OF IT THROUGHOUT. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for up to the minute coverage.

NCAA Proposes to Slow Down College Football Offenses

By Nick Vespasiano

The NCAA has proposed a new rule that would prevent the offense from snapping the ball for the first 10 seconds of the play clock. With offenses running more plays than ever before, the NCAA Football Rules Committee believes giving defensive players time to substitute would improve player safety.

A February 12th press release on NCAA.org, “The committee believes that 10 seconds provides sufficient time for defensive player substitutions without inhibiting the ability of an offense to play at a fast pace…This rules proposal also aligns with a request from the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports that sport rules committees review substitution rules in regards to player safety.”

If the offense snaps the ball before the 10 seconds they receive a five-yard delay-of-game penalty. The rule would not be in effect the last two minutes of each half. Some head coaches have voiced their opinions.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy expressed his opinion February 13th on twitter, “The no huddle, fast tempo style has changed the game of CFB. Our sport has exploded in popularity with high scoring games & packed stadiums.” A relevant point when college football attendance is on the decline. A recent article on ESPN.com by Darren Rovell reported “attendance for FBS schools dropping below 46,000 per game for the past five seasons.” (http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10458047/next-generation-ticket-holder-concern-students-show-college-football-games). These fast offenses are fun to watch but this rule change could hurt the already dropping attendance numbers.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was present at the Rules Committee meeting where this rule was introduced. Saban sounded off two seasons ago  about a need for a rules change in an October 3rd , 2012 teleconference: “I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety. The team gets in the same formation group, you can’t substitute defensive players…That’s when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they’re not ready to play.”

Alabama's Nick Saban is one coach who would not like to see the new rule put into place (Via AP)

Alabama’s Nick Saban is one coach who would not like to see the new rule put into place (Via AP)

Alabama’s only losses in the regular season came against Texas A&M and Auburn, two of the country’s best up-tempo offenses. Oklahoma also used some no-huddle offense to their advantage in their 45-31 defeat of the Tide in the Sugar Bowl. The no-huddle can clearly work against Alabama. Many people, myself included, think Saban wants this rule change so his defenses can continue dominate.

Some Saban-style teams, however, have managed success in stopping face paced offenses. Stanford, a team known for its slow, ground-and-pound offense held Oregon and UCLA to 20 and 10 points respectively. They also beat Arizona State twice, another team with a solid no-huddle attack. Michigan State, for example, held Ohio State’s fast paced offense to its lowest point total of the season in the Big 10 Championship Game.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been outspoken against the rule change, stating in a press conference,“there’s absolutely zero evidence, documented evidence, that is hazardous on the pace of play, only opinions.” He also pointed out the rule change would make it more difficult for a team to come back late in the game.

NCAA national coordinator of officiating, Rogers Redding told CBSsports.com on February 13th, “I think it’s fair to say there’s not really much hard data on this.”

A website cfbmatrix.com has been putting together data on pace of play and its effect on injuries. His data reflected the Big 12 conference ran the most plays of the five BCS conferences between 2009-12 and had the fewest “starts lost to injury” of the five conferences. Alabama lost 30 starts to injury from 2010-12 despite being in the bottom 10 of plays run per game. Compare that with Oregon which lost only 18 starts between 2009-10. The most glaring stat of all though was in 2012, the top 15 teams in plays-per-game had eight less “starts lost to injury” than the 15 slowest teams.

To become official, this rule will have to pass the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6. Hopefully the panel makes their decision based on the evidence.

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Nick Vespasiano is a senior English major at St. Olaf College and aspiring sports writer. He was raised in Minnesota, favorite teams are the Vikings, Wild, and Twins. Favorite athletes are Randy Moss and Jaromír Jágr.

2014 New York Yankees Preview

By Christian Pierre-Louis

Welcome back baseball fans!

The 2014 season is upon us and we have all waited patiently for the national pastime to begin once again. The New York Yankees open up spring training today down in Tampa, Florida and for the first time since 2009 there are a number of questions with this team. As you should know at this point, the face of the Yankees, heck, probably the face of baseball for the past two decades, Derek Jeter plans to retire at the end of this upcoming season. Who will replace him is one of the many questions that needs to be examined as the team opens up camp.

The 2013 season was one full of frustration for the team and the legendary shortstop who only played 17 games coming off of a fractured ankle. One thing to look out for is whether or not he can stay healthy in his final season. He has work tirelessly this offseason to heal and gain strength back in his lower body, but at the same time he will be 40 years young this June and he cannot play every day in the field as he used to. The Yankees need to find another option at short just in case the injury bug comes back to bite Jeter. Is that answer Eduardo Nunez? The young infielder hit .260 with three home runs and 28 RBI last season, but he struggled in the field.

Another option the Yankees could go is to sign free agent SS, Stephen Drew. The shortstop is still without a home this season after helping the Red Sox win the World Series last year. Although he batted .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBI, he is great in the field and a good clubhouse guy. Whether or not the Yanks will reach out to him we will soon see.

The losses of many important players from last year’s team will impact this year’s team greatly. Mariano Rivera, who was the greatest security blanket in the history of finishing ballgames, is gone; Andy Pettitte, who was one of the most consistent, reliable Yankee pitchers to begin ballgames, is gone; Robinson Cano, who came up through the system as a teenager and blossomed into one of the most valuable players in the game, is gone. The infield is unresolved and troublesome; as of now Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson are starting at second and third respectively. Roberts used to be one of the best second basemen in the league, but he has spent much of the last five years on the DL. Kelly Johnson is a good defender, but at times his offense is a little suspect. Also, how will Mark Teixera come back? He injured his right wrist during preparations for the World Baseball Classic and was eventually diagnosed with a partially torn tendon sheath. He hit .151 in just 15 games before undergoing season-ending surgery on July 1.

With all that said, still the Yankees could win 95 games in 2014.

The front office has spent half a billion (!!!) dollars this offseason to put a winning product on the field and they expect no less than a championship with this roster even with all the losses stated above.

The outfield is outstanding with the additions of Jacboy Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, also holdovers such as Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano will be key in the success of this team. Beltran is one of the best clutch hitters in this generation and Ellsbury wreaks havoc on the bases. Soriano’s power will be much needed again this season and the combination of Gardner and Ellsbury will add a different dimension to the offense. The outfield defense is now much improved now that two of the fastest players in the league will patrol left and center. Beltran is no slouch in right as he has a rocket from out there and can gun people out. Behind the plate, the Yankees added Brian McCann this offseason and he is a major upgrade for this team. His offensive numbers will be like nothing we have seen in the past few years at that position for the Yanks. His leadership and fire will help the team and the young pitchers on the staff such as, Tanaka, Pineda, and Nova.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has put together another contender in 2014 (Via Getty Images)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has put together another contender in 2014 (Via Getty Images)

Speaking of the pitching, the starting rotation has questions to answer themselves. How will star free agent signee, Masahiro Tanaka, translate to the MLB? Will CC Sabathia return to form? What version of Hiroki Kuroda will we see; the one pre August 15th or after? Well, it all starts with Sabathia, who struggled last season with different injuries and ended the season on the DL. He and Kuroda will have to perform to take the pressure off of Tanaka. Ivan Nova should look to continue his success off of last season and continue to develop into a quality pitcher. Following Nova will be a combination of David Phelps, Adam Warren, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno all fighting for the 5th spot. The best scenario would be for Pineda to get it because he is only a few years removed from being considered one of the best young pitchers in the game.

The bullpen also has questions and has competition between at least a dozen unproven names. David Robertson has been given the role of closer following Rivera. Clearly, fans cannot expect him to duplicate what Mo did, but he can be a quality closer if he limits his walks and locates his pitches. Now, who will replace Robertson as the set-up man? That spot is up for grabs, but as of now it looks like Shawn Kelly will get the opportunity. His stuff is at times electric, but he looked tired by the end of last season, so time will tell. The Yankees also signed Matt Thornton, who before his arm trouble was a great reliever for the White Sox.

The 2014 Yankees team is one of promise, but also one that is full of questions. It will be very interesting how this team unfolds this spring going into the season. All the hype and attention will be on Tanaka and Jeter, but it will be the role players that will define this team and help lead them to a 28th World Series.

Here is a look at the potential team roster on opening day:

Lineup        Player         POS

1       Jacoby Ellsbury    OF

2       Derek Jeter                   SS

3       Carlos Beltran     OF

4       Brian McCann      C

5       Alfonso Soriano   DH

6       Mark Teixera        1B

7       Kelly Johnson       3B

8       Brian Roberts      2B

9       Brett Gardner      OF

Possible Starters:

Starter        Player         POS

1       CC Sabathia        SP

2       Masahiro Tanaka SP

3       Hiroki Kuroda      SP

4       Ivan Nova            SP

5       David Phelps       SP

6       Michael Pineda     SP

Closers/Setup:

Player                 POS

David Robertson  RP

Shawn Kelley       RP

Matt Thornton     RP

Bench Hitters (may include/exclude guys not on 25-man roster):

Player                  POS

Ichiro Suzuki       OF

Brendan Ryan      INF

Eduardo Nunez    INF

Francisco Cervelli         C

Austin Romine     C

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Christian Pierre-Louis is a journalism major at Seton Hall University. He is a HUGE fan of the, LA Lakers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees. He is also an assistant sports producer at Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 FM. You can follow him on twitter at @CPL_78.

A Letter to Derek Jeter

Dear Derek,

I never thought that it would ever come to this. Yesterday I was in disbelief as I read your letter announcing your retirement. Ever since I was a year old, you’ve been in the Yankees lineup. You became my favorite player when I was only two years old and I was able to name all of the Yankees and their numbers (true story). You’ve taught me many, many things over the years. Going back to 1995, your play in Columbus AAA convinced Joe Torre to name you the starting shortstop to open the 1996 season. In typical Jeter fashion, you homered on Opening Day. You became the leadoff hitter and led the Yankees to their first championship in 18 years. You were also a unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. But that wasn’t important to you. You cared more about the championship, and satisfying Mr. Torre and Mr. Steinbrenner. But you weren’t done there. You led the Yankees to a three-peat in 1998, 1999, and 2000 and took home the World Series MVP in 2000. But you didn’t care. You wanted the championship. You were also named an all star 13 times. And while you were thankful for the honor, it wasn’t important to you. You wanted that World Series ring. You taught me to put the team before yourself.

I watched as each hit became more memorable, as you passed hall of famers on the hit list. But no hit will be bigger to me than hit number 2722. It came on September 11, 2009, the eight-year anniversary of the tragic attacks. It drizzled all afternoon and the game was in danger of not being played. I came home from school that day and my dad surprised me with tickets. I was so excited and I ran to my room to put on my Derek Jeter jersey. This could be the night that Derek passes Lou Gehrig to become the Yankees all time-hit leader. But as I hopped in the car, the drizzle became worse and my dad said, “I think we should turn around and go home.” I grew upset. “No!” I replied. “We have to go. If there’s a rain delay, we’ll just walk around the stadium. We have to go! It’s Derek Jeter and he has a chance to make history.” My dad complied and we proceeded to Yankee Stadium. There was a rain delay but we waited it out. You hit the ball down the right field line, and history was made. That is one moment I will never forget and I’m thankful that I was a there to see it in person. That season continued and once again, you led the Yankees to another championship.

(Via USA Today)

(Via USA Today)

I watched on television as you smacked your 3000th hit into the left field bleachers. And after about a minute of celebration, you said, “We have a game to play,” and got back to business. You went five for five that day, including the game-winning hit. That was what you cared about: helping the team. When you got injured in the 2012 playoffs, I cringed and feared that it was the last time I’d see you on a baseball field. I’ve never seen you in that much pain. Even after you dove into the stands against the Red Sox back in 2004, you seemed to be okay and told everyone you would play the next day. But you weren’t on this play. There was a long path to recovery ahead of you and you took it one step at a time. That first pitch you saw this past July, you belted into the right field bleachers. You taught me to never give up and to battle back when the odds are against you.

You are the kind of person who I strive to be each and every day. You are a huge inspiration to me both on and off the field. You will always be my favorite athlete in any sport. And so Derek, as your farewell tour begins, I’m going to leave you with a story. Back in April 2011, my family and I hit the road to look at colleges in upstate New York, as I was going to be applying that Fall. As we visited SUNY Oneonta, we decided to stay in Cooperstown so that we could check out the Hall of Fame. When we walked in, the admissions person greeted us. He convinced us to sign up for a hall of fame membership. He presented us with a catalog of different options for membership cards. We picked the Mickey Mantle one. We talked to admissions person for a few minutes. He asked each of us who our favorite hall of famer was. My dad tells him “Mickey Mantle is my guy.” My brother sister and mother are all asked as well. One at a time they reply: “Mickey Mantle” “Babe Ruth” “Probably Babe Ruth.” Suddenly the man turns to me. “Who is your favorite hall of famer?” I didn’t even have to think about it. With complete confidence in my answer and in the next few years, I knew the man that I’d say. And then I replied. “Derek Jeter.”

I’ll miss you Derek.

Sincerely,

Brett Malamud

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Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

NFL Honors Recap

By Dan Lagnado

Though all players would have liked to have been playing on February 2nd, February 1st proved to be more exciting for most. The NFL announced this season’s awards at their annual NFL Honors ceremony in New York. Many players had incredible seasons and several awards were hotly contested. Here are the major winners:

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Eddie Lacy, Packers

Lacy was drafted by Green Bay out of Alabama and provided a spark that the Packers desperately needed. He added a whole new dimension to the team. Lacy provided a powerful running attack that helped the Packers to win the NFC North and reach the playoffs.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sheldon Richardson, Jets

Richardson was taken as the Jets’ 13th overall selection and was envisioned as an important interior lineman in Rex Ryan’s defense. Richardson more than lived up to expectations and proved to be equally good at stopping the run and the pass.

Sheldon Richardson broke into the NFL, taking home an award after his first season (Via AP)

Sheldon Richardson broke into the NFL, taking home an award after his first season (Via AP)

Fantasy Player of the Year: Jamal Charles, Chiefs

It seems that every year, Charles is in the top 5 of everyone’s fantasy draft board and he shows no signs of slowing down. With the Chiefs having as much success as they did under Andy Reid, look for Charles to remain a top fantasy player for many years to come. Plus he went for five touchdowns in one game this season. You don’t see that from a running back every day.

Comeback Player of the Year: Philip Rivers, Chargers

Sometimes a new head coach can do wonders for a quarterback. Rivers is a perfect example of this. Following last season, many experts were wondering if his best days were behind him as Rivers had ranked among the worst in the NFL in turnovers. However, Rivers had a resurgence this season and led the Chargers to a Wild Card birth and a victory over the Bengals in the first round.

Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera, Panthers

The Carolina Panthers started this season, as they had started many others before it: badly. The Panthers were 1-3 following Week 5. What happened next surprised everyone. The Panthers won 11 of their last 12 games and clinched the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs. A big part of that success was “Riverboat Ron”. Rivera beat out a group of very worthy nominees including Super Bowl winning coaches Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick.

Defensive Player of the Year: Luke Kuechly, Panthers

Coaching isn’t the only thing that helped the Panthers on their winning streak. Luke Kuechly improved upon his remarkable rookie season and has solidified his name as one of the best linebackers in the game. In addition to being a tackling machine, Kuechly’s pass defense improved as well and he has emerged as a leader of a fairly young and dominating defense.

Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, Broncos

No real surprise here. Peyton had arguable the greatest season of any quarterback in NFL history. He set records for yards, touchdown passes and overall offensive points in leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Certainly in the discussion of greatest of all time, Manning proved that he is only getting better with age.

Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, Broncos

Manning received 49 of a possible 50 votes in winning his record 5th MVP award. Just another feather in the cap for the man who had the best offensive season of all time.

For more awards information and winners visit:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000321591/article/nfl-honors-complete-list-of-winners

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Dan Lagnado is studying communications, law economics and government at American University. He’s a fan of both the Mets and Jets and has been writing about sports for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @dlag1995

BU Zoo Gives Binghamton Bearcats Some Noise

←BACK TO THE NEW BU ZOO WEBSITE

By Brett Malamud

It has been an up and down season for the Binghamton Bearcats. Currently they are 4-19 overall and 1-9 in the America East Conference. Last season, they brought in new head coach Tommy Dempsey, a 119 game winner at Rider, but went on to finish the 2012-13 season with a total of three wins. Each game, the 5,000-seat Events Center barely reached 2,000 in attendance. Attending each game was a difficult thing for me to do, while anticipating an upcoming loss in an empty arena each time. The fact that I am a huge fan of college basketball is probably the reason I decided to attend every single game anyway.

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This season, while the record just isn’t there at home, the crowd noise has been. The student section, the BU Zoo, has been there for the Bearcats the entire season.  But the BU Zoo is more than a student cheering section- it is a movement. It began with simply designing a great logo, slapping that logo on t-shirts, and giving the shirts away to students. Soccer season came in the early Fall, and the Zoo began to grow with a couple hundred students attending the games. The Zoo became good friends with some of the soccer players and then some basketball players as well. Then opening night of basketball season came. As I walked down to the Events Center, excited for a new season of college basketball, I thought to myself “Are we even going to have anyone show up tonight?”

Events Center Opening Night 2013-14 (Via Brett Malamud)

Events Center Opening Night 2013-14 (Via Brett Malamud)

BU Zoo Opening Night 2013-14 (Via Brett Malamud)

BU Zoo Opening Night 2013-14 (Via Brett Malamud)

That night, 4,318 fans, showed up at a packed Events Center. The BU Zoo was filled to the top that night with students wearing green. But that wasn’t the end of it. The trend continued, with a couple hundred students showing up for each game. But then another major breakthrough came for the Zoo when the Bearcats faced Stony Brook University at the Events Center on Tuesday night.

Back on January 15th, the Bearcats lost on Long Island to the America East conference leading Seawolves by 22. As I attended the game on Long Island, I noticed that the Bearcats didn’t really prove to be any competition for the Seawolves, so I was a little nervous about Tuesday. But the Zoo showed up in full force for a game that was nationally broadcasted on ESPN3. A confirmed 1,200 students showed up out of the 4,635 fans for the game and sat with the Zoo. Complete with their own fan mascot Mr. Green, the Zoo did not sit down and was loud for the game’s entirety.

The BU Zoo's fan mascot, Mr. Green (Via Binghamton University)

The BU Zoo’s fan mascot, Mr. Green (and myself to the right of him)  (Via Binghamton University)

This greatly factored into Stony Brook’s lack of production and Binghamton proceeded to take a surprising 23-18 lead into halftime. The Bearcats made it a game throughout but eventually lost the game in the final minute. Losing by five to a team that is likely to be representing the America East Conference in the NCAA tournament is something that the Bearcats should be very proud of. The Zoo received praise from coach Tommy Dempsey in a letter regarding the noise level during the game.

On behalf of the Athletic Department, coaches, and our players I would like to thank you for your enthusiastic support for our team on Tuesday night vs. Stony Brook. I just want to make sure you all know that it gives our players a tremendous emotional lift when the BU Zoo is rocking like that. We are working hard everyday to improve and to reward your loyalty with some big wins to close out this season. We hope to see you all again on Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Thanks again and GO BEARCATS!

Tommy Dempsey

And when we all thought it was over, the Zoo received another huge praise, this time on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption from the show’s host, Binghamton alumni Tony Kornheiser. The BU Zoo has been rocking and will continue to rock the house for seasons to come.

 

For more information about the BU Zoo,VISIT THEIR NEW WEBSITE,  like their Facebook page, and follow them on twitter at @The_BU_Zoo

BU Zoo Logo (Via BU Zoo)

BU Zoo Logo (Via BU Zoo)

←BACK TO THE NEW BU ZOO WEBSITE


 

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy