The other shoe finally dropped last night as the Catholic Seven made their separation from the Big East official. Bernadette McGlade is on death watch, currently curled up in the fetal position on the floor of her kitchen. “Who will love me now?” she asks herself, sobbing uncontrollably into a tattered Xavier t-shirt.
McGlade brought in VCU and Butler to compensate for the departures of Charlotte and Temple, all was good in her world. She managed to turn a negative into a positive, earning the confidence of both skeptics and supporters alike. In addition to that minor miracle, McGlade secured the Barclay’s Center as the venue to host the conference tournament for the immediate future; no longer would the A-10 decide its champion under the same roof that hosts the Ms. Portly New Jersey pageant and arm-wrestling competitions. How quickly fortunes change.
Of course none of the events of the past week, or their anticipated ramifications, are McGlade’s burden. This situation was put in motion years ago; the breakup of the Big East was an imminent and entirely foreseeable event. From what we’ve learned via smoke signals and scuttlebutt, the new “Catholic League” will probably be composed of ten schools with like-minded goals and I assume pro-life attitudes (baptisms and exorcisms will be the halftime shows). Xavier and Butler seem like near mortal locks to be invited to the new conference – while UD, Saint Louis and Creighton will likely battle it out for the final spot (I’d think SLU would have the slightest advantage at this point).
I desperately want Dayton to make the cut simply because this whole thing feels so exclusionary and alienating. Plus, it will just feel odd to not be in a league with Xavier. How are we supposed to know our place in the world without X looking down on us? I’m at a loss, not yet ready to contemplate that particular scenario. It’s going to be awkward when we see Xavier in the pantry at work. “Heard you got invited to that sweet party, bro” we would say. “Yeah…um…I totally put in a good word for you, but they were like all…those guys just party too fucking hard. So, it’s like nothing personal, dog. Those guys totally think you guys are rad.” Xavier would respond. Not rad enough, dudes. Never rad enough.
If any fan base in the nation should understand that you shouldn’t get ahead of yourselves, it should be UD’s. So, while we still have the chance, let’s just consider, however hard it may be, that the call from the Catholic Seven never occurs. Are we ready to accept that cold, harsh reality? I honestly hope we never have to answer that question.
As the great Winston Wolf once said, “Let’s not start sucking each others dicks quite yet.”
Let’s change course, I got just the thing to get your minds off of the exciting developments of the past 48 hours: the Florida Atlantic University Owls. Does that scratch your itch?
Remember Mike Jarvis? He’s that black guy with the crazy Boston accent that basically decimated the St. John’s program? Yeah, he coaches Florida Atlantic now. Some college coaches are like suicidal roaches, they get more brazen when the lights are on them. Give credit to Jarvis, the Owls are improving steadily, reaching the NIT in his third season at the helm. Last year, however, Florida Atlantic stumbled a bit, finishing 11-19 on the year. Four key cogs transferred out of the program this past spring, a sure sign that Jarvis still has “it” (“It” being an unabashed ability to completely alienate players that don’t fit his particular vision, a problem that Jarvis seems to have carried with him wherever he goes).
On a positive note, the Owls are bringing back four starters from last year’s club and are adding two freshmen that were game-ready the moment they stepped on campus. FAU will go through some growing pains as well; as they feature one of the youngest rosters is division one basketball, with seven freshmen on scholarship. You can’t say Jarvis has been sitting on his hands either, as the old man has been hitting up every inner-city outpost and reaching out all over the globe to find talent, bringing in players from Croatia, Spain, Argentina and Germany.
The Owls come into the Dayton tilt with a 5-4 record, their best win coming at the hands of a common opponent, Arkansas State.
Greg Gantt is the sensei of the FAU dojo and current Player of the Week in the Sun Belt Conference. Gantt has led the Owls in scoring every year since his freshman season and will undoubtedly top the team in scoring this season as well. He is averaging 20.8 points per game and pulling down an impressive 6.1 rebounds per outing. Gantt is just a scant 84 points away from becoming FAU’s all-time leading scorer. Which looks sort of impressive on paper, I guess. He is very adept at getting to the stripe, where he is hitting on 88% of his free-throw attempts.
Starting in the backcourt with Gantt are Pablo Bertone (7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and freshman Jackson Trapp (7.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.9 rpg). Trapp is the rarest of the rare: a white starting point-guard. Jarvis gave him the keys to the team before the third game of the season and the young Caucasoid hasn’t looked back since. Expect his play to be “gritty” and “hard-nosed.” Pablo Bertone looks like he probably owns a linen suit or two and absolutely refuses to wear socks with his loafers. He’s a decent perimeter shooter as well, not that you need to know that.
Freshman guard Stefan Moody is Florida Atlantic’s first Parade All-American, Jarvis’ biggest recruit since arriving in Boca four years ago. This is just evidence that although Mike Jarvis may not be coaching in the bigs anymore, he still knows where the bodies are buried. Moody is off to a quick start, currently second on the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game. Standing at just 5’9”, Moody is a phenomenal athlete with a just plain silly forty-four inch vertical. That’s some kangaroo shit.
Jordan McCoy, Kelvin Penn and Dragan Sekelja are the major contributors coming off the Owl bench. McCoy gives Jarvis a garbage man with the ability to score around the hoop. Penn is a big body used primarily to smash and bash, grab some boards and set screens. Sekelja is a seven-foot transfer from Baylor, a solid rebounder, and like all freakishly tall guys from Eastern Europe is a life-long project.
“If you really want something in this life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”
Flyers continue to roll over the scags of college basketball society. Even a sleep walking Dayton squad could beat FAU by double digits. Kevin Dillard does Kevin Dillard things, Josh Benson continues to roll and Greg Gantt leads all scorers with 31 points. No one will watch this game.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.