Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fall Semester Belt Updates

OK, class. Pop open your Trapper Keepers and get out your fuzzy troll-topped pencils (hey, I'm a child of the 80's). Classes are in session around the nation and some more updates are needed.

--The 2007 BracketBusters home and road teams are all set. No Sun Belt teams are participating this year. It will be interesting to see if this is a good move or a bad move for the Belt.

--The Denver Pioneers recently released their schedule. The open at Colorado on Nov 10 and will also make a trip to Stanford on Nov 25. Terry Carroll's bunch has 5 home non-conference games and 5 roadies.

--Arkansas-Little Rock also has their schedule ready to go. They have big tests at Texas A&M and at Minnesota. The Trojans are also playing in the CBE Classic (formerly known as the Guardians Classic). UALR will be in Lubbock, Texas, for the first round. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

--South Alabama has three SEC teams on the docket: at Auburn, at Mississippi State, and the Jags host Ole Miss. The also play in the Fresno State Classic.

45 days until practice begins. Until then, enjoy the pigskin appetizers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

WKU Hilltoppers Release Schedule

The Tops released their schedule yesterday, and it is impressive. Five NCAA Tourney teams pepper the non-conference slate, including the defending NCAA Champion Florida Gators. WKU will open the season on the road at Kennesaw State and Georgia before coming home to host Towson and Tennessee State in the opening portion of the Las Vegas Invitational. The Toppers will then travel to Vegas to take on aforementioned Florida and Ball State. They also host perennial NCAA teams UAB and Southern Illinois as well as cross-state rival Eastern Kentucky. Division II opponent Kentucky Wesleyan also will visit Diddle Arena. They will play other non-conference roadies at Montana, Tennessee, and Nebraska. That is a pretty tough non-conference slate.

The Sun Belt has grown to 13 teams with the addition of Florida Atlantic and Louisiana-Monroe. This prompted a realignment of the East and West divisions. The conference now is divided like this:

Florida Atlantic
Florida International
Middle Tennessee
South Alabama
Western Kentucky

Arkansas State
Arkansas-Little Rock
New Orleans
North Texas

This results in an 18-game Sun Belt slate. WKU plays everyone in the East division and North Texas twice this season. Also, there will be three byes in the conference tourney: both divisional champions and the team with the best record apart from the division winners. The other first round games will be played on campus sites at the higher seeded team on February 28. The rest of the tournament is at UL-Lafayette, March 4-6.

A full breakdown of WKU opponents will occur sometime in late September or early October.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sun Belt Summer News

--UALR has added two Ole Miss transfers. Brandon Patterson and Mike Smith, both natives of the state of Arkansas, will be eligible for the 2007-08 season after sitting out this season per NCAA regulations. Patterson was a 1st-team all-state player and the Southeast Arkansas POY. Smith was tabbed as a 2nd-team all-state selection. The Trojans really could use those guys this year after loosing star G Zack Wright and leading perimeter shooter Elijah Muldrow. The do return Board Beast Rashad Jones-Jennings as a solid anchor.

--FAU has a new coach (Rex Walters) and six new players coming in.

--South Alabama has had quite a tumultuous offseason. They lost a host of players off last year's NCAA Tournament squad and have replaced those losses with EIGHT new faces. Mario Jointer, Chey Christie, Jeff Collins, Michael Phillips, and Richard Law used up their eligibility. Returning C Jason McGriff (5.9 ppg, 4.1 rebs, team leader in blocks) has transferred due to academic issues. Prize recruit A. J. Wilson failed to meet admissions criteria and will have to find another home. On a very sad side note, former Jag C Jacque Pate was shot and killed this summer. The 23-year-old Pate had transferred to Bowie State last year and was scheduled to graduate this fall.

--Denver had their share of turnover as well, but they are high on incoming G Tyler Bullock. Now that Mt. Yemi is dormant in Denver, the Pioneers will have a different look this year.

--UL-Lafayette went doo-doo-doo lookin' out their back door for some help. They found SIX Louisiana natives to fill the cavernous void left by departing seniors C Michael Southall, G Dwayne Mitchell, and C Chris Cameron.

--North Texas has added Oklahoma State transfer Roderick Flemings and South Florida transfer Collin Dennis, but both will have to sit this season. The Green lost long-time PG Isaac Hines, C Jeffrey Simpson, and Justin Barnett, but they do have a couple of nice wings returning in Kendrick Davis and Calvin Watson. Everyone keeps waiting for NT to make a move out West...

--Troy just released their schedule today.

More updates as warranted.