Thursday, March 27, 2008


Spring signing date is not far off. I suppose our coaches are out on the recruiting trail hard. We need a true point guard badly - a freshman preferably, but I'd take what I could get. We will be losing a bunch of guys at the 3 and 4 positions after next year, and we can never have too many pure shooters or big men.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great quote

"People get away from the fact that defense wins championships," Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry said. "No one wants to say that anymore. Everybody talks about guys being athletic and getting dunks and all that. The way we play defense might not be pretty to watch, but we're going to win games and do what it takes to win them."

Non-BCS doing well

Of the 36 teams still alive in the three post-season tournaments, 15 of them are non-BCS schools. Little guys are doing pretty well for themselves.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Next year is the year

With a veteran team, next year is the best we will have had in a while to make a splash. Hope our guys are focused in the off-season and work hard to improve where they need to in order to make it work.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My favorite Trojan?

Keep in mind that I know none of the team personally, and saw only three games in person this year. That having been said, I suppose my favorite Trojan this past season was John Fowler. He is my kind of player: gritty, hard-nosed, good defense, not spectacular, just get the job done. He reminds me of Co Willis and Josh Jacobs from a few years back.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goodbye, Bo

It is a shame that Bo McCalebb of New Orleans, the all-time leading scorer in the SBC, did not get to go to post-season in his senior year. They finisehd 19-13, but it wasn't good enough. He stuck by his alma mater through the Katrina disaster, which speaks very highly of him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Conspiracy? Surely not!

Is it a conspiracy? Probably not, but it surely does look fishy. In four different instances, non-BCS schools that might possibly win a game or more in the NCAA are pitted against other non-BCS schools of like quality. The one thing the big-money BCS schools hate are the little guys embarrassing them in the NCAA. Well, at least four of them got protected this time, didn’t they. Couldn’t have been deliberate. Couldn’t have been deliberate. Could it?

Monday, March 17, 2008

mild disappointment

I was very mildly disappointed that we did not get invited to either the NIT or the CBI tournaments, but not much. Our non-conference schedule was too weak for us to merit much consideration. However, even the fact that I was mildly disappointed speaks volumes, I think, because going into the season I certainly had no expectations of being disappointed - at all - about not making post-season. Rebuilding faster than we thought.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Next step?

What is the formula for moving Little Rock to the next level? To know that, we have to be honest about what our level is now. In the last eight seasons we have been first or second in our division four times. I think we are to the point where we expect to be in the hunt for a division title every season and are disappointed if we are not. Next step probably is to get to where we realistically expect to be in post-season contention every season. We are not there yet. How do we get there?

First, I think longevity in quality coaching is a must. Porter Moser was a good coach. Steve Shields has been a good coach. The next couple of years will tell whether or not he can be a great one. Every program needs positive stability in order to excel – Gonzaga as a case in point. Steve needs to show he is a very good coach.

Second, we need to sell the program MUCH better than we have been. This is a no-brainer, and I absolutely cannot understand how an institution the size of UALR can do such a poor job of promoting its flagship team. Just a little big of common sense and attention would go a long way. (Surely P. T. Barnum has a great-grandson out there who can be our public relations man.)

Third, we need to upgrade our talent level. We need to redshirt incoming freshmen on a regular basis unless we have to have them in the current year. That is one easy way to upgrade your talent automatically, because a 5th year senior can reasonably be expected to be significantly better than he would have been as a true freshman. Before this year, our best season was when we had several fifth year seniors on the squad.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

bright future

I think we have every reason to be optimistic about the future. Assuming everyone comes back, we have four starters returning (in terms of total minutes played), plus the first two players off the bench. Two of those were in their first year of D1 play and might be expected to improve significantly.
Looking further down the road, of the four returning starters, the two leading scorers are only sophomores, and both of them really only started coming into their own offensively toward the end of the season. Our best pure shooter and the best big man prospect we have had in a long time are both freshmen. IF we can keep the incoming talent moving in the right direction with a couple of good recruits for next year, we could move the program forward a step from where it has been. We have been, normally, in the top half of the conference over the last eight years, but we have not yet moved into the elite at the top (usually WKU, USA and ULL). We will have to improve the talent, because those schools always seem to have outstanding players, and hustle alone cannot always overcome the talent discrepancy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Keep checking in

Keep checking my blog in the off-season. I will keep putting thoughts and facts here to keep things going in the off-season.

a good season

Well, unless the unlikely scenario occurs and we get a bid to the NIT or the new CBI tournament, our season is over. Given the fact that we couldn’t shoot the ball worth two cents, we did pretty well. Going into the season, seeing that we were one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation, I was thinking that 17 wins would be good, and 18 would be very good. We got 20 wins, for the first time in twelve years, so needless to say I am thrilled! It has been an outstanding year, particularly since most of our players return to form a solid base for next season. I can’t wait!

Monday, March 10, 2008

20 WINS!

Well, I can say that I am happy with this season of Trojan basketball, no matter what happens from here on. We have won 20 games for the first time since I have followed the team. How many times has a team won 20 games without a player averaging double figures? Hard to do. I don’t see how we beat FAU, and we certainly would not have done it without outstanding defense and good team rebounding. Other than that, we stunk, to be honest about it. Our FT shooting was just flat HORRIBLE. We had 19 turnovers. Our two starting forwards fouled out. Ugly! But, we’ll take it. But we won’t be able to beat WKU playing like that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Here the reason I don't root for Fayettevile

Here is a typical (though by no means universal) comment from a Fayetteville fan regarding the ASU coaching search:

"I hope Nolan coaches ASU! It would be nice to have two instate teams worth keeping up with." As if the only way any other school in the state could accomplish anything was by getting a cast-off from Fayetteville.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have little respect with those who call themselves college "fans" who only really get interested at tournament time and who only know what they see on ESPN; and who, like so many of the "experts," only know anything about the BCS conferences.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Division Co-Champions!

Our Trojans beat Monroe Saturday night to claim a share of the Western Division crown in the Sun Belt Conference. They also notched their 19th win, which is the highest total since I have been following them (they have had 18 four times), so I am thrilled, needless to say. A lot of the old-timer fans are not as pumped up about this, because they have seen greater things, but I am enjoying it while I have it. We ought to win at least one game in the tournament, which would be the first 20 win season in a LONG time. To get into the NCAA, they have to win three more games, which will be tough, because two of them will be Western Kentucky and South Alabama, without doubt the two best teams in the SBC; but we shall see. Stranger things have happened, and this team is playing well right now.