Thursday, February 11, 2016

Interview: Coach Lonergan thrown out of daughter's basketball game (for a pretty good reason)

This is kind of funny, but also kind of sweet: the Post reports that Coach Mike Lonergan was thrown out of his daughter's basketball after he (rightly) argued that she didn't have five fouls.

Talking to Lonergan's friends the Sports Junkies on 106.7 FM, he told the story when asked if he was kicked out of the game:
“That could be a little exaggerated. I rush over to St. John’s to catch the Seton JV game. Middle of the third quarter, my daughter — they’re down like four — so start of the fourth quarter, she gets a foul called, and the scorer’s table hits the horn and says she’s got five fouls. So my wife she’s sitting … near me in the bleachers, I said ‘she doesn’t have five fouls.’ She said ‘no way she has five.’ So my daughter goes to the bench, bawling, she’s crying, so I look over, I say ‘Hey, do you have five?’ She said ‘No.’ So, I thought I was discreet, I waited till the next timeout, and I went over to the scorer’s table and I asked the little young lady that was sitting there, from St. John’s, I said ‘Hey, how many fouls does No. 13 have?’ She said ‘Well, I only had her for four.’ So some middle-aged loser at the scorer’s table starts yelling at me, asking me who I am. I said, ‘I’m nobody. I’m just, my daughter’s down there crying, I know she doesn’t have five fouls and I’m just curious why, you know, you got her for five. And then he called over a policeman — who I knew, I used to play basketball with [him] — so I just went into the hallway and talked with him, and then I just said ‘Well I better get out of here.’ So that was a little embarrassing, to say the least.”
One of the hosts asked, “So they never corrected it?” 

“No! And so, I don’t think my daughter knows I got thrown out, ’cause it was pretty, kinda quietly done. I went and sat down, and the cop came over and said, ‘Hey, they want you to leave.’ I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? Alright.’ My wife didn’t even say anything to me, so I don’t know how the heck you could know. I think maybe I had a Nike shirt on, and since they’re owned by Under Armour over there, maybe they got upset with that.”
The full audio is below, which goes on a bit longer. It sounds like coach was pretty chill about it and admitted he shouldn't have gotten up, but was sure she only had four.

They also talk about Garino's great play, Yuta Watanabe's play, the then-upcoming St. Joe's game :( and more. He also says that he doesn't talk about the bubble with the team so as not to put extra pressure on them.

It's a pretty interesting interview, and funny too. Mike Lonergan interview with the Sports Junkies

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ugh: GW spanked in ugly loss to St. Joe's

 I needed more beers for this one

This was one of those games that makes you ask existential questions: why does this happen? Why do we like GW basketball? Is it even worth it? The answer to the last question is of course yes, but it still was not a lot of fun.

At least the game makes analysis easy: the good guys never had the lead, getting it as close as three to get our hopes up before the Hawks went on a soul-crushing 17-3 run. The Colonials were out-everythinged: outshot, outhustled, outcoached, outdefensed, outbenched, outlayuped, out-any other basketball word you can think of. At least we all got out of the Smith Center by 8:45 pm.

The students who sit under the basket seemed to know what was going to happen: they were all dressed in black and acted like they were at a funeral most of the game.

I brought my friend, a Maryland alum. He got to see a crummy, sloppy game with an angry friend. At least he liked the stadium.

GW, now 7-4 in conference, faces 8-3 St. Bonaventure Saturday in Olean.

Around the A-10 for the week of Feb. 8: big games, tourney buzz, news about the league


Here's this week's update from the Atlantic 10: GW is getting votes again in the AP poll, there are some big games coming up, and lots of media types are noticing the league.

Week Ahead Top Games

Below are the top games around the league this week. A full schedule is always available on Atlantic10.com and can be found here.
  • Third-place Saint Joseph’s will take on a tough fourth-place George Washington WEDNESDAY night. The Colonials have won their last three games, including a huge road win over VCU Saturday. (7 p.m. ET, CSN-MA, streaming on A-10 Network)
  • VCU will try to rebound after the Rams’ first conference loss to GW on Saturday, taking on UMass THURSDAY evening (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU) and Saint Louis SATURDAY. (6 p.m.ET, CBS Sports Network
  • Nationally ranked No. 19/17 Dayton hits the road to take on Rhode Island FRIDAY night in the third of five Friday night A-10 games on ESPN2. (7 p.m.ET, ESPN2
  • George Washington is on the road, tipping off against St. Bonaventure SATURDAY afternoon. The Bonnies have won five of their last six games at home. (4 p.m.ET, TWC-NY)
National Picture Updates
33 Days Until Selection Sunday

Week 14 of the AP Top 25 has Dayton at 19, up five places since last week, when the Flyers re-entered the rankings at No. 24. The USA Today Coaches Poll also has Dayton in its top 25 in the No. 17 spot. This is the first time the Flyers have been ranked in the top 20 of both polls since 2008. VCU and Saint Joseph’s received votes in both polls, and GW received votes in the AP poll.

The Atlantic 10 now has six teams, Dayton (12), Saint Joseph’s (31), George Washington (36), VCU (41), St. Bonaventure (49) and Davidson (50), in the top 50 of the NCAA’s published RPI ranking as of February 9. This is more than the Big East, SEC and Big Ten, which all have four teams in the top 50.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his latest NCAA tournament predictions Monday with four Atlantic 10 teams included: Dayton (four seed), GW (nine seed), VCU (10 seed) and Saint Joseph’s (11 seed).

In CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm’s most recent bracket prediction, Dayton sits at a four seed and VCU and George Washington are both projected to make the tournament as part of the last four in. Saint Joseph’s is just outside the cut as a first four out team.

In the latest USA Today bracketology update (February 9), three A-10 teams are projected to make the tournament. Dayton is slotted at a five seed, VCU a nine seed, GW a 12 seed as a first four in. Saint Joseph’s sits just outside USA Today’s bracket, as a first-four out team, and Davidson and St. Bonaventure are noted as other possible at-large bid contenders.

A-10 Pulse
Following George Washington’s major win over previously undefeated-in-conference-play VCU, CBS Sports writer Matt Norlander stated the win should put the Colonials solidly in bracket predictions and noted the team’s previous win over Virginia as another major proof point to GW’s case. LINK

CBS Sports Insider Jon Rothstein noted GW as a team that is going to be hard to keep out of the tournament if they continue performing following the win over VCU. He notes other wins over Virginia and Seton Hall as additional justification for a tournament bid. LINK

Bleacher Report featured columnist Jake Curtis named VCU as a current unranked team “set to make waves” in the NCAA tournament. He notes the current squad is probably better than the Rams’ Final Four team in 2011 and gives a nod to coach Will Wade. LINK

St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams was named A-10 Player of the Week Monday. The sophomore guard averaged 25 points and 5.5 assists in the Bonnies’ two games last week, including a career-high 31 points and seven assists on the road against Saint Joseph’s on February 3 and a buzzer-beating three to defeat Saint Louis. LINK

Social Buzz
  • CBS Sports Insider @JonRothstein called Dayton “the best team in American no one is talking about.”
  • @JonRothstein also noted Dayton’s Charles Cooke as the best transfer in CBB that isn’t being talked about.
  • @marcdavissports, WBBT sports director in Richmond, tweeted there isn’t a team more dangerous than VCU. Following the Rams’ loss to GW, he tweeted the loss shouldn’t affect VCU’s at-large bid chances if the team preforms well going forward.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hatchet on Lonergan: pushing the team to focus and get better

The Hatchet has a really good article about Coach Mike Lonergan working to get the team focused on basketball and get tough. Published before the team's nice win over Davidson, it's got some choice quotes from the coach on those two issues, both of which Lonergan has talked a lot about this year. 
“I said, ‘I just need you guys to really look in the mirror and seize this opportunity,’” Lonergan said. “We worked so hard: Seton Hall, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Tennessee. We got a lot of quality wins and we’ve got the opportunity to get more. But our seniors, for them, I just told them, ‘You’ve got the rest of your life. You don’t want to have any regrets when you’re my age.’”

...
“We’re good enough, our top five to seven. We should be playing at a higher level, and to me it’s concentration and focus,” Lonergan said. “You’ve got the rest of your life to worry about girlfriends and different things.”

“I’m tired of the cell phones and all this stuff. We’ve got to be focused, man. We’ve got to play team defense," he added. "We’ve been playing with each other for four years, some guys, and we want to take this thing to the next level. I love our team, but I don’t think they realize that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and these next three, four weeks are very important.”
The coach also talks about beating good teams but losing to bad ones, like Saint Louis and DePaul, and says he believes the team should make the NCAAs.

It's actually all pretty inspirational stuff, almost from a movie, and it works out. It's worth reading.

This Saturday's game in Richmond against VCU will be a big one -- if the good guys can win, it'll help their chances significantly. As noted in the recap, the team is on the bubble -- Jerry Palm has GW as one of the First Four play-in games.

Around the A-10: big games, rankings, and more from the league


The Atlantic 10 has recently started putting out a weekly recap for bloggers, which I'm going to start sharing with you. It's a nice recap of what's going on, what's interesting, and what's new. Check it out!

Week Ahead Top Games
Below are the top games around the league this week. A full schedule is always available on Atlantic10.com and can be found here.
·      On SATURDAYGeorge Washington will face a tough road challenge, taking on current conference leader VCU, who hasn’t lost a game since mid-December. (CBS Sports Network, 12 p.m. ET
·      Davidson will also be taking on Duquesne on the road SATURDAY afternoon. (NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. ET
·      SATURDAY evening, No. 24 Dayton faces George Mason as the Flyers look to keep their hold on second place in the conference standings. (MASN, 6 p.m. ET)
 
National Picture Updates
40 Days Until Selection Sunday
In both the latest AP and Coaches polls released Monday, Dayton made its way back into the Top 25 at No. 24. VCU and Saint Joseph’s received votes in both polls.
 
Six A-10 teams, Dayton (13), St. Joseph’s (29), VCU (34), George Washington (54), Davidson (58) and St. Bonaventure (60) are in the top 75 of the latest RPI rankings, last updated February 2. The Hawks and Bonnies both jumped a spot since the previous rankings.
 
CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has four A-10 teams in his latest bracket, released Monday night. Both Saint Joseph’s and George Washington are projected in his First Four as an 11 and 12 seed, respectively. VCU sits at a 10 seed and Dayton as a 5 seed.  
 
USA Today’s latest NCAA tournament predictions (updated February 2) puts three A-10 teams in the mix: Dayton (6 seed), VCU (9 seed) and Saint Joseph’s (11 seed). George Washington Davidson and St. Bonaventure are also considered potential contenders for at-large bids.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has three A-10 teams, Dayton (7 seed), George Washington (10 seed) and VCU (11 seed), making the tournament cut in his latest bracket.

A-10 Pulse
Bleacher Report wrote a great long-form piece on VCU’s Melvin Johnson and his evolution as a student-athlete, including his career goals. A great nod to the emphasis A-10 teams place on both on and off the court performance. LINK

Forbes wrote a case study on the relationship between athletic directors and university presidents, which includes VCU’s Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin. LINK

The Washington Post’s Matthew Giles wrote an article on Dayton’s strong potential come NCAA tournament time, considering its current 8-1 run. LINK

Duquesne senior guard Derrick Colter was named A-10 Player of the Week after averaging 25 points in the team’s victories against La Salle and Saint Louis during Coaches vs. Cancer week. Fitting timing, as Colter himself is a cancer survivor. This marks the first time a Dukes player has received Player of the Week award in almost two years. LINK

Buffalo News’ Bucky Gleason wrote about the relationship between St. Bonaventure’s junior guard Marcus Posley and Coach Mark Schmidt. LINK

Friday, January 15, 2016

Looking at GW's conference season so far: the good, the bad, the not great


The Colonials are on the way to one of the best seasons in recent memory, and GW is now four games into the Atlantic 10 season. However, there have been some ups and downs along the way, with the good guys going 3-1 thanks to a painful loss at Saint Louis. Today we look back at the team's performance in the first four games of the conference schedule.

Tyler Cavanaugh has been the man. T-Cav is averaging 22 points a game in conference, as well as 7.2 boards per game. He's been aggressive, playing tough, and taking (and making) outside shots. He's playing at an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year pace, and it's been awesome to watch.

Kevin Larsen is also playing better in the conference season so far: a little quiet in the non-conference, he's been averaging 15 points and 9 boards per game in conference games. I wish he would go to the rim harder sometimes, but it's nice to see a more active Big Kev.

Patricio Garino has also been strong, and helped push the team to victory against UMass on Tuesday, when he knocked down a few threes and flashed the slashing Garino we know and love to keep GW going strong as the game wound down.

The bench has also been solid, in all games except the loss to Saint Louis where the bench only accumulated 7 points. But that loss isn't to be blamed on them -- the team was uncharacteristically bad with free throws, shooting 54%, well below the season average of 77%, and they played lackadaisically towards the end, letting the Billikens push them out.

Joe McDonald has been out for two games with an eye injury, but the bench has been filling in ably, especially Alex Mitola. The Dartmouth transfer has scored 26 with 11 assists and only 1 turnover in two games of significant action since Joe went down. He's been calm against pressure and controlled the tempo of the game, at times flashing some serious speed. And I always like watching Paul Jorgensen play, even if he sometimes goes a bit out of control and makes Coach Lonergan go bonkers. Matt Hart has also been solid off the bench, as has Jordan Roland, even though he occasionally gets burned on defense.

It'll be interesting to see how the lineup changes when Joe is back, as Mitola has demonstrated he can be trusted. Maybe more two (or even three) point guard setups with Joe, Mitola and Jorgensen.

That leaves Yuta Watanabe: Yuta seems to have lost his confidence, though he's focusing more on defense and rebounding. His shooting has been only 28.6% in conference play, well down from his 44% for the season. That translates to 4.8 points in conference rather than 8 for the season as a whole. Let's hope he finds his confidence and his shot.

The team sometimes still seems to lack the toughness that Coach Lonergan mentions at press conferences, but with an average margin of victory of 10 points in conference tilts, I'm not too worried. It will be an exciting next few weeks!

Photo by Bill Bride

Friday, December 18, 2015

Great video about GW basketball: Building the Foundation


GW is doing great lately -- top 25, big wins, and some great outreach. Here's a fantastic video about the team's growth since 2012, especially the seniors: Joe McDonald, Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino.

It's really well done and inspiring. Hail to the Buff!

I can't figure out how to embed it, but here's the link.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Yes!! GW now #21/22 in the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll!


It seemed like any day now, and it's here: GW is in the top 25! The AP has GW at #21 and the USA Today Coaches Poll has the team at #22.

That's a jump a jump in 8 and 9 spots respectively after the Colonials demolished Rutgers 83-49 to improve to 9-1.

This is the first time since 2006 that GW has been ranked, and it's well-deserved -- the good guys have only lost to then #24 Cincinnati and have beaten then #6 UVa, plus Tennessee, Penn State, Seton Hall and Rutgers.

GW is also an absurd #8 in the RPI.

GWSports.com has more on the rankings!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Colonials now 8-1; GW looks at best starts in program history


The good guys resoundingly beat Penn State on Tuesday, 76-66, improving to 8-1. That's among the best starts in program history, and GWSports has an interesting article looking at other good starts in the past.

Highlights include 2004-2005, when GW beat #9 Michigan State and #11 Maryland in back to back games at the BB&T Classic, the great 2005-2006 team when the Colonials started the season 26-1 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament, the 1992-93 Sweet 16 season, and all the way back to 1953-54 when the team won the Southern Conference and reached the NCAAs for the first time.

That team included two players that scored 21 points a game, Corky Devlin and Joe Holup, and Holup also added an absurd 18.6 rebounds per game. Both later played in the NBA, and Holup collected 25.6 rebounds in the 55-56 season! Not bad for a 6'6" guy.

One of the most interesting things is that with all these great starts, GW made the tournament each time. Time will tell, but I'm hoping.

Here's the stats from that 53-54 team. Yow.




Pictured is the 1906-07 team from the GW Encyclopedia and 1953-54 stats from Sports-Reference.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

GW vs Penn State tonight at the Smith Center -- and free Ben's Chili Bowl for first 250 fans!


The Colonials are back, looking to improve to a redonkulous 8-1 tonight, hosting the 5-2 Penn State Nittany Lions. It's the first time GW has hosted a Big 10 team since 1986, and there will probably be a lot of PSU fans in attendance, as there's a big fan base in DC.

So you should go! And another good reason is FREE FOOD! GW is giving away 250 Ben's Chili Bowl chili dogs to the first 250 fans, starting at 6 pm. Pretty awesome deal -- and also an awesome way to make lots of Bronx cheers to drown out the opposing fans.

It's also a good chance for revenge, as last year Penn State beat GW in State College, and the Colonials played poorly, shooting only 34% and hitting 0/8 threes and 15/23 free throws.

GW needs a big turnout today -- let's go!
You can get college basketball tickets here.