Friday, October 30, 2009

Bits and Bytes: Enjoy no. 1 while you can, Kansas!

That's right, Bill. You've got two weeks left as the unbeaten top-ranked team in the land.

It’s official: Your good friend and mine Jeremy Kniffin can get rid of the qualifier “likely” when it comes to referring to Kansas as the preseason no. 1 team.

The Associated Press unveiled its first poll of the ’09-’10 campaign Thursday, and despite rampant internal dissension in Lawrence and the overwhelming likelihood of a lopsided loss to the Flying Dutchmen two weeks from tonight, the damn liberal media still made the Jayhawks the overwhelming pick to win the national championship. Kansas, which returns all five starters from a year ago, received 55 of the 61 first-place votes.

Amazingly, the anti-Hofstra bias in the poll was three-tiered. The only school in the top six not to receive a first-place vote was Villanova. Still disrespecting Jay Wright for his Hofstra days, AP dudes and dudettes?

Even worse, two CAA teams received votes, and neither is based in Hempstead. Defending champion VCU got two votes and reigning champion Old Dominion received one vote. So many doubters, so little time.

That’s OK though. The over/under on Hofstra’s spot in the next top 25—to be tabulated, of course, after the Dutchmen shock the world—is 1.5. Bet the under if you know what’s good for you.

Some other bits and bytes as I put the finishing touches on my Tom Pecora costume and prepare for the Freak Formal tomorrow night:

—Speaking of Pecora, sort of, I have to begrudgingly admit that Noted Hofstra Hater Mike Litos made a pretty good case yesterday for Northeastern’s Bill Coen, and not Pecora, as the best coach in the league. From literally the moment he stepped on campus in 2005, Coen has done more with less than anyone in turning a hockey school into a perennial basketball contender.

Still, what jumps out at me there is not the ruthlessness of Ron Everhart or the spot men’s hoops occupies on the athletic totem pole at Northeastern. It’s that the administration there was willing to send one of its secondary programs across the country to continue its season in a new—and admittedly dubious—postseason tournament.

Am I unnecessarily harping on an issue I already ranted about in April? Possibly.  Is this going to annoy the powers that be? Positively. And with the benefit of hindsight, I can almost—ALMOST—see how the disappointing performance of last year’s seniors could have influenced the decision not to continue the season, as was rumored way back when.

But, again: I keep coming back to how the Dutchmen performed down the stretch last year—better than both Northeastern and James Madison, the latter of which won two games in the CIT, and almost as well as Old Dominion, which edged the Dutchmen by one point in the CAA quarters—and it annoys me a program that is The Program on campus, one with an underclassmen core that was just beginning to gel in February and March, didn’t get an opportunity to gain some valuable postseason experience.

Is it any coincidence the CAA’s consensus top two teams both recorded victories in these new tournaments last season? I think not. Anyway, that’s all out of me about that. Until the Dutchmen play Old Dominion, at least.

—I try not to be one of Those People who harps on every little error or misconception a national writer makes about my alma mater, but I can’t let this one go without comment: In reporting the UFL’s decision to move next Wednesday’s New York-Las Vegas game from the Mets’ new stadium (screw them, I’m not calling it by its actual name) to Shuart Stadium, writer Andrew Kossak theorizes it’s a good idea because “…it’s on a college campus, meaning ticket sales could easily increase as the student body is looking for some entertainment.”

Yeah, ask Joe Gardi and Dave Cohen how far the Hofstra student body has to look for entertainment options before it settles for the football team. Kossak is also a bit too optimistic in projecting the crowd at Shuart Stadium, writing “…it’ll look a lot better on TV to see a half- of three-quarter full Shuart Stadium than a near empty [Corporate Stadium Name redacted].”

I’ll bet you, right now, that even the announced attendance for next week’s game is closer to the 2,751 that turned out for the James Madison game than the 7,160 that showed up for the opener against Stony Brook. And that might even include me, because I whole-heartedly support minor leagues that temporarily call Hofstra home! When is the United States Basketball League starting again, anyway?

—Speaking of the UFL, how bad are things going for our beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers, known worldwide as The Official NFL Team Of Defiantly Dutch? So bad that Tatum Bell thinks his UFL team—the Florida Tuskers, whatever the hell that is—could beat the 0-7 Bucs, who mercifully have a bye this week but will debut their third starting quarterback of the season next week against the Packers.

That’s crazy talk, as AOL Fanhouse blogger Matt Snyder subtly points out. But with the Bucs’ final nine opponents owning a 34-21 record, can we get a game at Hofstra against the Tuskers, just to assure one win?

—Lastly, stop back later tonight or tomorrow for a Halloween-themed Time Machine. And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten yesterday’s 15th anniversary of the gut-wrenching loss to Towson. I’ve got a feature in mind to commemorate that and am hoping to speak to a couple people in time to unveil it next week.

Email Jerry at or follow Defiantly Dutch at

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