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UNCG Looks to End Series Drought

Posted by Dash on December 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

It's not really a rivalry if you don't occasionally win some games. Well that's the only thing lacking in the rivalry between UNCG and Elon. Even thoguht they're just down the road from each other, UNCG hasn't defeated the Phoenix since 2010. That's 10 straight losses for UNCG. Here's some things I'mlooking at for tomorrow's game ...


1. Home Sweet Home. It's holiday break for the students and it's the last weekend before Christmas. I have no doubt that it's going to be a smaller than average crowd in the Greensboro Coliseum. After the Spartans came out nervous in front of the large audience on Tuesday, it'll be interesting to see how they respond to a totally different enviornment.


2. Dealing with the system.UNCG hasn't really had good showings lately against teams that are really committed to runnning their offense and being patient. Examples of these teams are Elon, Davidson and Wofford. While not many SoCon schools have had a lot of success against those three programs, it would be nice to see UNCG dig and really play defense with focus and discipline.


3. Shaking off the beating. I'm intersted in seeing how UNCG responds after having a really poor game on national TV on Tuesday. The Spartans are not as bad as that game portrayed. Seeing the ball go in the basket early will be a good sign and relief for all.

Baldwin Will be a Game Time Decision Today

Posted by Dash on December 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

UNCG point guard Diante Baldwin will be a game time decision for today's midday home contest against Greensboro College. Baldwin hurt his knee late in the rpeseason adn hasn't been available this season. Freshman Marvin Smith Jr, who like Baldwin hasn't seen action this season, is expected to return in the next few weeks.


From today's game notes ...

 

Sophomore guard Diante Baldwin suffered a knee injury prior to the season but has returned to practice this week and will be a game time decision ... Freshman guard/forward Marvin Smith will not play this week after suffering a left foot injury and is expected to be back in mid-December.


Previewing Longwood With LancersBlog

Posted by Dash on November 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Spartan Fans Nation has done a Q&A with our Palmetto and Pines sister site LancersBlog. Thanks to Parks for answering my questions as the Spartans prepar to play the Longwood Lancers on Friday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Michigan at the EMU Showcase. You can read my answers to his questions here.


As for the game preview, Longwood and UNCG enter Friday's game with equal (1-1) records.  The Lancers ran past Division III Averett 79-53 on Friday night. On Wednesday, James Madison beat back the visiting team from Longwood 82-60. So far, the Lancers have been led by a duo of young players and a transfer. Freshman Ryan Badowski (15.0 ppg & 10-22 3 Pt FG's) and sophomore DJ Allen (13.0 ppg & 2.5 apg) have led the team on offense. Tulane transfer Lotanna Nwogbo (12.5 ppg & 6.5 rpg) has been the big post prescence and leading rebounder. 


Longwood will be without the services of senior point guard Quincy Taylor who will be serving the 3rd game of a 3 game suspension for playing in an unsanctioned recreational league. Way to get all over that NCAA (cough, cough ... Chapel Hill .. cough). Freshman forward Victor Dorsey (6'9") will be available for the first time this season after serving a suspension for a non-basketball related incident.


Now on to the Q&A ...


1. Longwood Coach Jayson Gee is in his 2nd year in Farmville. Talk about him and what he's done to really energize the fan base there. How's that translated in recruiting?


I really can't say enough about Coach Gee. If he can't win at Longwood, then no one can. His personality is infectious and he's even better off the court. He has a plan to make Longwood relevant and when he came to Longwood he wanted to instill PACE, which stands for Pressure-Attack-Compete-Energize. He's all about defense and will trust in his point guards to run the offense. The fan base has been very responsive and he has people believing. I'd say he re-energized the fan base but our students have always been awesome even under Voldemort's decade long reign prior.


In terms of recruiting I think our class this past year speaks for itself and is far away the best in school history. He's brought in high major talent with Lotanna Nwogbo, Quincy Taylor, Shaq Johnson, and Tra'Vaughn White that has really turned some heads in recruiting circles. He has taken some flyers on some guys with checkered pasts, like Shaq, but I think that's the risk you have to take to help jump start a program. His assistant Jake Luhn has been dynamite on the road and I think the biggest moment over the past two years was signing Kanayo Obi-Rapu. Obi-Rapu bought into what Luhn and Gee were selling and turned down Mercer, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Rhode Island to come to Farmville. We've also been in the conversation with a level of recruits that we've never been close to before, a good example of that is Obi Romeo (St. Joseph's) and Winston Grays (JMU). Grays actually talked about how much he respected Gee in his postgame presser after our loss on Wednesday. The final thing is finding talented guys that fit different roles like a Leron Fisher, Ryan Badowski, DJ Allen, and Damarion Geter. You can really see it coming together at times. He goes back to the well a lot in Ohio for recruiting.


2. I'm a big fan of fun college traditions (like UNCG's Rawk). Tell me about Longwood's G.A.M.E. tradition.


Really the G.A.M.E tradition happened after I graduated but it really seems to be catching on. Longwood is a totally different school then it was 30, 20, or even 10 years ago and a lot of that is the Division I transition. It's cool because we're establishing our culture now and coming up with some cool traditions like outdoing opposing student sections at in-state opponents via bus trips, our drumline Lancer Stampede, and even the G.A.M.E. The idea behind The G.A.M.E. is really to get new students into our athletics culture the first or second weekend of school. There is a pep rally that is sort of tied into hoops and then everyone marches to our "off campus" fields that are probably a mile or two away for either a soccer or field hockey game. The biggest thing is the scarf that is given out. It's a soccer style scarf that is redesigned each year and has really become part of the Longwood culture. I guess we're kind of like Hogwarts. And now I'm embarrassed because that's the second Harry Potter reference I've made in two questions...


3. The Lancers find themselves sitting at 1-1 after Wednesday night's game. What have you learned about Longwood so far?


I've learned that we need Quincy Taylor back. But in all seriousness I've seen some good things and the semblance of what could be a good team. We've had stretches where we've looked long but I think Quincy will solidify that. The team just looks SO much difference than anything we saw last year or under the Voldemort era (3!). I think there are three guys in particular that I've learned a lot about in DJ Allen, Lotanna Nwogbo, and Ryan Badowski. Allen is definitely our most improved player and dropped 20 points on JMU Wednesday night. He's bulked up a lot and has become a real slasher on the offensive end. Nwogbo is a Tulane transfer who looked kind of tentative in our exhibition and home opener because the refs were limiting him. He seemed to wake up a little at JMU and I think he can start to be a force inside as the season progresses. Badowski is a freshman who has a neon green light when it comes to letting it fly from three. He nailed seven three pointers in our opener and then was a little off against JMU but was still letting it rip.


On a team level I think I've learned this team has character on the court. There are really no knuckleheads and they take pride in what they are doing. I've really been impressed with how focused and together this team is early on.


4. That's an awful quick turnaround for the Lancers. Does that worry you any?


I mean we're only playing 5 games in 7 days!?!?! Haha really I'm not that worried about that because we're getting some fresh legs back when Victor Dorsey comes back Friday and Quincy Taylor on Saturday. This team is a lot more well conditioned than any we've had in the past and I think this is three days really just to focus on basketball. I think if two guys do get gassed it will be Geter and Nwogbo. This team is anxious to get back on the court and they are anxious to get their leader back on Saturday and press forward for the rest of the year.


I'm interested to see Dorsey on the court. He's probably going to be forced into more playing than the coaches would like because of Jason Pimentel's suspension but it's a chance for him to step up. He's more of a pick and pop big but he did average over 20 points and 14 rebounds per game in high school last year. We'll definitely need him against UNCG.


5. I joked on Twitter a few weeks ago that I could come up with 20 awesome Longwood t shirt slogans off the top of my head. Your site sold some intetesting ones. What's your favorite?


Yea we classed up the place a bit and got rid of most of them. Sales are down, haha. I think I've heard every Longwood joke there could possibly be over the past 11 or so years but I think the one I actually liked as a student was "Get Big Wood". Obviously we get the reference but it also kind of pertained to defense on the basketball court.


I can only imagine how much merchandise we'll sell nation wide the first time we make the NCAA Tournament. We might have to dust off the penis jokes t-shirts in the LancersBlog store.


6. Prediction time. What do you think will happen with Longwood and UNCG on Friday? How about for the entire weekend?


Man...I hate these sterile environments because I think the play can get out of hand in terms of sloppiness. I think Friday has the greatest shot as the most sloppy game. I really think we have a chance against all three teams and I'd be happy with any weekend that doesn't end in 0-3. I think we can get UNCG just because I think our guys will come in a little more focused and have kind of been punched in the mouth on Wednesday. I'll say 79-73 Lancers.


Bonus prediction: Friday's attendance number?


I think I said 47 on twitter and I'm sticking with it. I'm guessing it's cold outside in Ypsilanti and I don't think people will be rushing to the Convocation Center at 4:30 on a Friday.


You can read the full game day preview on Palmetto and Pine Sports.


* With all of the Harry Potter references, let me just remind everyone that UNCG really does have a Quidditch Team and that one day I hope to live blog one of their games.

#therivalry Takes Center Stage

Posted by Dash on November 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Spartans will play their second straight home game on Tuesday night before hitting the road for the rest of the month. The UNCW Seahawks will be making their first appearance in the historic Greensboro Coliseum in a matchup that I long ago coined #therivalry. For the second straight game, I'm going to be paying close attention to a few specific things that I think are the keys to tonight's contest


1. Foul trouble is a big deal ... for both teams - UNCG and UNCW are both both very thin teams. If the refs are liberal with their whistles again tonight, this game could finish as a 3-on-3 affair.


2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - On Friday night. RJ White and Tevon Saddler both went down with cramps. Just look at the above point (or just the box score) to see why those guys need to be on the court healthy.


3. Rowdy Blue Crew - So after seeing the Friday night's game was a sellout and getting there an hour early to get a good seat, I expected there to be a standing room only crowd there by tip off. That wasn't the case and that irritated me. Sure, it was a nice vocal crowd. Just not as big as I wanted to see or was expecting. Hopefully tonight the students show up in big number and lose their voices yelling. Time for them to bring it.


4. Rebound the dang ball - UNCW is a Division I team with Division I athletes. The Spartans can't let themselves be beaten again on the glass or this one will go down in the "L" category.