Monday, December 24, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!





Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rambling thoughts, part II

What is different this year from last year?

The schedule is much tougher this year. I addressed that in the prior post, so we'll consider that issue settled.

Steph was a bit (understatement) of a surprise last year. He's not a surprise this year.

Last year we had games where several other players went nuts and scored tons of points. It seemed that anybody on any given night could light up the other team. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't feel like we've got that this year....at least, not so far.

Thomas Sander dropped 30 points on somebody last year. Thomas is averaging 8 points per game this year, as opposed to 13 PPG last year. He's also playing 6 minutes less per game. He's only scored in double figures twice this season.

I think Boris went crazy on a couple of teams last year. His scoring is down about 3 points per game, and he's only hit double figures in 3 games this year, one of which was D-III school Emory (so it doesn't really count in the analysis).

Jason scored 25 on Arizona State last year. I will say, though, that his average is about the same as last year, and he has dropped over 20 points on 2 different teams this year.

Lovedale is getting 2 less rebounds per game so far this year. His scoring and minutes are basically the same as last year.

Steph was scoring a little bit less last year than he is this year.

MPG was actually scoring some last year. He averaged 4.8 PPG last year. This year, it's only 2.3 PPG.

Big Willie, as we all know, has seen a drop in scoring. He averaged 8 PPG last year, and so far it's down to 4 PPG this year. However, aside from the ankle injury the other night, Will seems to be getting back on track.

Bryant "The Maine Lobstah" Barr is hitting his stride and scoring 5 PPG MORE than last year.

What does this mean?

I had not actually looked at the hard numbers before beginning this post, so it was interesting to see how the numbers matched up with my gut feelings. There were a few gut feelings that were wrong (thinking Jason was not scoring as much as last year, for example). However, many of my gut feelings were correct. My overall feeling was that we are depending way too much on Steph to score and that the rest of the team was not scoring enough. Well, between MPG, Big Willie, Boris & Thomas - they are scoring 14.5 less points per game this year. Steph is scoring 3 points per game more, and Bryant Barr is scoring 5 points more per game. More load is on Steph now, and luckily Barr is helping take up the slack more and more as the season has progressed. (Let's hope that Barr is an emerging star now that he appears to have found a comfort zone.) Maybe the interior scoring will go up as the team hits the SoCon schedule. It is obviously a little tougher to score inside against UNC, Duke, UCLA, etc. than the SoCon teams. Perhaps the comparison is unfair until more of the season is complete.

Any way you cut it, in my UN-expert opinion, we really need to see more evenly distributed scoring. Teams are going to figure out how to lock down Steph at some point, and we can't live and die by Steph's ability to hit 3 pointers from 30 feet. The other 4 players on the court need to start putting more points on the board.

As I said below in the prior post, all that matters at this point is the SoCon schedule and the tournament in March. As we work through the SoCon schedule, I think we'll see a great deal of improvement from our guys.

My hope has been that I will get to see Davidson win at least one game in the NCAA Tournament at some point. The early season losses -while they hurt - are helping get these guys ready for March. If we are fortunate enough to win the SoCon Tournament again, this team will be very well prepared to win an NCAA Tournament game. But there's a bunch of basketball to be played between now and then, so buckle up.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rambling thoughts about the NC State game and the season so far

NC State game:
I'm at my in-laws' house for our pre-Christmas gathering and we were having the family dinner last night. Therefore, I only saw bits and pieces of the first half and had to pick up about halfway through the second half. As the clock ran down on the second half, I was reacting to every possession. My in-laws probably think I'm nuts, but they probably already thought that before last night. And that's another story for another time.

I'm going to let you all know what I honestly thought about the "big 4" games on this year's schedule. Before the season started, I thought we would likely get pounded by UNC and UCLA, but give Duke a decent game. I also thought that we had a pretty good shot at beating NC State.

I'll come back to the other 3 games momentarily. Now, with regards to NC State, that was yet another game that we could/should have won. There were a few things that I saw about our play that bothered me a great deal. However, I have always tried to be positive on this website, and not single out any player(s). I certainly don't want to start now, but I will say that I've never wanted to do so as much as I do now. But we'll let that go.

Anyway, it was painful last night seeing those free throws go in and then seeing the clock expire as Steph's half-court shot missed. I thought we were going to pull that one out. I had to leave the room to go relax for a few minutes right after that game ended, so I could keep my cool. It's hard when you care so much, you know? When we lose a game like that in the last seconds, I just have to turn off the TV and get my mind immediately on something else so I don't sit around and let it ruin my evening.

The rest of the season so far:
As I said, I figured we'd get killed by UNC and UCLA, hopefully give Duke a decent game, and maybe (maybe) beat NC State. Well, if you measure the team's performance in those 4 games against my expectations, I'd say they performed very well....BETTER than expected. So, that's actually a positive. Had we pulled out a win against UNC, Duke or UCLA, it would have been one of the biggest upset wins (if not THE biggest) in school history. A 1 point loss at NC State hurts and I don't like it, but it's not the end of the world.

The loss to UNCC really bothered me for a couple of reasons. First, I hate UNCC. I just do not like them. They were always a bunch of cheeseball, hair-gel wearing guys when I was at Davidson, and they have a goofy looking crown-like logo, and I just hate them. End of story. Second, we beat them DOWN last year at Belk Arena. So I thought we should win this year's game. That loss stung.

I wasn't sure what to make of the Western Michigan loss. It was very early in the season, but we had just cracked the Top 25...so I expected a win. Then I thought that WMU might be a pretty good team. Then WMU lost a bunch of games after that. That loss has become more and more disappointing as WMU's true colors have shown.

What does this all mean and should we be concerned about the losses?
Well, I think that we all realize that the hopes of going "big-time" were a bit premature and expectations were a bit too high. Think about it. Last year's team did go 29-4 before the NCAA Tournament, but really didn't beat anybody noteworthy. This year's team could have a much better record right now if they had last year's schedule again. Conversely, last year's team would NOT have been 29-5 with THIS year's schedule. So let's keep last year and this year in perspective. It would have been great to have won one of those big 4 games. But it didn't happen. So what? We lost by 30 to Duke last year. We lost by 6 this year. Big improvement.

What this leads to is that, for any Southern Conference team, the only season that matters at all is the CONFERENCE SCHEDULE....and that's only for the purpose of SoCon Tournament seeding. The only reason the regular season even matters at all is that, since splitting into 2 divisions, no team has ever won the tournament without getting a BYE on day 1. So, you play the regular season to qualify for a BYE. Then, what REALLY MATTERS is those 3 days in March in Charleston at the SoCon Tournament.

So, don't worry about what has transpired so far. It doesn't matter!!

It's all about the SoCon Tournament in March. Period. Always has been.

Friday, December 21, 2007

BEAT N.C. STATE!!!

Davidson vs. NC State tonight on TV at 7:00


Tonight's game is televised on Fox Sports Net South (FSN South). Check your local listings.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Press conference audio: NC State coach, Sidney Lowe


Click here to listen to the press conference. (Give it some time to download, so be patient. You will be directed away from this page.)

The press conference is pretty long, but he does discuss Davidson a good bit. Although, he apparently thinks Jason's last name is "Richardson".

This is the final (as far as we know) ACC test for the Wildcats this year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yet another Davidson Basketball blog has begun

A few alums have started up another Davidson Basketball blog called Lefty's Legacy. Check it out!

This could be another great source for info on Davidson Basketball.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blog header

Something is going on with the header of this website, and I cannot figure out the problem. The space for the uploaded image has shrunk, and I don't know why. It's almost as if Blogger has modified the template without telling me. Strange, huh?

If any of you can help me figure this out, I would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

From The Observer


Observations: The Citadel-Davidson
KEVIN CARY

• Davidson had to play most of the first half without guard Stephen Curry, who sat out after getting hit in the mouth. He had seven points before leaving with 10 minutes left.

• The Citadel started five freshmen, but the Bulldogs look more promising than they did last season. The Citadel hit 60 percent from the field in the first half, and made 7-of-10 3-pointers.

• Curry's injury gave Brendan McKillop more playing time, but the freshman is still adjusting to the speed of the college game. • Davidson reserve guard Bryant Barr made three 3-pointers in the first half, and rarely misses when he shoots in rhythm.

• Davidson's offense can be one of the most productive in the country, but that won't matter unless the Wildcats defend better. Take away victories against Division III Emory and N.C. Central -- in its first year of Division I play -- and Davidson is allowing 47 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent on 3-pointers.

• Davidson point guard Jason Richards is making less than 60 percent of his free throws, not good for a point guard who has the ball in pressure situations.

From The Observer


DAVIDSON 95, THE CITADEL 74
Wildcats set Barr too high for Bulldogs
Sophomore guard scores 23 as Davidson snaps 3-game losing streak
KEVIN CARY

DAVIDSON --Sometimes, Davidson guard Bryant Barr has that look.

It's a look that made teammate Stephen Curry chuckle after the Wildcats' 95-74 win against The Citadel on Thursday.

Curry couldn't help but grin after the performance of his roommate, who scored a career-high 23 points and hit six 3-pointers to help Davidson snap a three-game losing streak.

"He smiles a lot when he's going good," Curry said. "There's a certain pep in his step. It's pretty fun to watch."

That is, unless you play for The Citadel, which watched Barr scorch the Bulldogs for the second straight game. Barr had 21 points on seven 3-pointers against The Citadel last March.

Maybe the Bulldogs were confused by which sophomore shooting guard was the star. Curry might have contributed to that, getting cut in his mouth and sitting on the bench the final seven minutes of the first half.

Curry got seven stitches and had to change uniform numbers because of blood on his shirt.

He wore No. 25 in the second half, to which teammate Boris Meno joked, "What's up Falconi?" referring to graduated walk-on John Falconi, who wore the number last season.

The walk-on's number had a little life in it, because Curry had 13 points and six assists after halftime. But Barr made the biggest impact, hitting three 3-pointers in a 22-4 second-half run that gave Davidson a 72-53 lead with 11 minutes left.

"Sometimes my shot is on, sometimes it isn't," Barr said. "But I felt good in warm-ups today, and it went from there."

Barr had shown glimpses of his good shooting in Saturday's loss to UCLA, but the rest of the Wildcats (4-5, 2-0 Southern) still had a hangover from that defeat early Thursday. The Citadel (3-5, 0-2) hung with Davidson in the first half, hitting contested 3-pointers and not allowing Davidson to break away.

Davidson took over in the second half. The Citadel still hit outside shots -- the Bulldogs made 15 3-pointers in the game -- but Curry (20 points), point guard Jason Richards (21 points, nine assists) and Barr helped Davidson shake out of its slump.

"We know we constantly have that cloud over our head," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said of preseason expectations. "But we can't worry about what other people think. We just have to concern ourselves with getting better and playing to win."

Post-game article from Charleston paper


Wildcats too strong for young Bulldogs
By Jeff Hartsell
Friday, December 14, 2007

Davidson 95, The Citadel 74

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Stephen Curry was in the locker room, getting seven stitches sewn into his bloodied lip. And a crowd of 3,492 at Belk Arena murmured nervously as a battalion of Citadel freshmen fought two-time defending Southern Conference champion Davidson to a halftime tie.

"They numbed me up pretty good to give me the stitches," said Curry, the Wildcats' sophomore sensation who was felled in the first half by an inadvertent elbow. "But the pain started coming back in the second half."

By the time his pain medication wore off, Curry and backcourt mates Jason Richard and Bryant Barr had ended any threat of what would have been the biggest upset in SoCon basketball this season.

The three guards combined for 64 points, led by a career-best 23 from sophomore reserve Barr, as the Wildcats pulled away for a 95-74 victory over the Bulldogs, who were without their lone senior, center Demetrius Nelson.

Davidson (4-5, 2-0) ended a three-game losing skid — the losses coming to No. 7 Duke, Charlotte and No. 7 UCLA — as Curry scored 20 points and Richard added 21 points and nine assists. Curry, son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, played the second half wearing No. 25, his familiar No. 30 jersey sprinkled with blood.

Tied at 39 at halftime, the Wildcats opened the second half by drilling eight of their first 10 shots from 3-point range. The last three were by Barr, who made 6 of 9 3-pointers and has hit 13 of 18 from distance in his last two games against The Citadel. His last 3 capped a 22-4 run for a 72-53 lead that reached 27 points in the final minutes.

"I tried to give our young guys some perspective," said Citadel coach Ed Conroy, who started five freshmen and deployed 10 during the game. "But I could tell they were getting frustrated and stretched out a little bit, trying to get to their 3-point shooters.

"I told them, 'They are shooting well, but we are shooting it better.' But we lost our composure a little bit and got our defense stretched."

The Bulldogs (3-5, 0-2) shot 60 percent from 3-point range (15 of 25) to 55.2 percent (15 of 28) for Davidson. Guard Cameron Wells scored 20 points with six rebounds and five assists, and

Austin Dahn was 5 of 7 from distance for 17 points. Freshman forward Tyrell McDowell, making his first start, scored 13 points, and the Bulldogs' knobs made an impression on Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

"They are going to be very, very good," McKillop said. "For a young team to execute their system the way they did, they are a hand-in-glove group to fit Ed's system. I think he's really laying a great foundation."

That foundation was missing an important piece without Nelson, the 6-8 senior from St. John's High School. He did not make the trip to Davidson and underwent an MRI exam on his injured foot on Thursday.

"In the first five minutes of practice Wednesday, he did not look good," Conroy said. "We were getting on the bus when they said they had an MRI scheduled, so I made the decision right there to leave him at home for the exam. I haven't heard the results yet."

The Wildcats led by 25-17 in the first half when Curry took an elbow to the mouth from guard Jon Brick, who was called for an offensive foul. After the blood was wiped from the floor and Curry was helped to the bench, Andrew Lovedale scored in the lane for a 27-17 Davidson lead with 8:33 left.

The Bulldogs outscored Davidson by 22-12 the rest of the half as Dahn drilled three 3-point shots, the last one a long-range dagger that gave The Citadel a 39-37 lead with 30 seconds to play. Barr got loose for a layup at the buzzer for a 39-39 tie at the break.

"We came out and played pretty well in the first half," Wells said. "We gave a better defensive effort in the first half than in the second. But we had a chance to beat them."

Dahn hit all four of his 3-point tries and scored 14 points as the Bulldogs shot 60 percent in the first half, including 7 of 10 on 3-point tries. Wells hit 5 of 7 shots for 11 points in the first 20 minutes.

Curry played only eight minutes of the first half, hitting 3 of 4 shots, as Davidson shot 50 percent from the field and from 3-point range.

The Citadel is at home to Atlanta Christian on Saturday.

3-Point Field Goals — Cit 15-25 (Dahn 5-7, McDowell 3-5, Urbanus 1-2. Wells 2-4, Brick 1-1, Pandak 1-3, Eykyn 2-3); Dav 15-28 (Sander 0-1, Richards 6-7, Archambault 1-3, Curry 2-7, Bond 0-1, Barr 6-9). Steals — Cit 3 (Wells 2); Dav 11 (Lovedale 4). Blocks — Cit 1 (Dahn); Dav 7 (Curry, 2). Turnovers — Cit 18 (Urbanus 5); Dav 9 (Sander 3). Technicals — None. Att —3,492.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bryant Barr goes nuts, scores 23 in win over Citadel

Bryant Barr introduces Steph Curry to the Maine "Lobstah" lifestyle

Bryant "The Maine Lobstah" Barr had a break-out performance tonight, scoring 23 points, as the Wildcats defeat The Citadel 96-74. Barr's roommate, Steph Curry, had 20 points.

The game was tied at the half after an apparent sluggish first half by Davidson. The Wildcats broke the game open early on in the second half to pull away and never look back.

Yes, I know the photo above is ridiculous, but it makes me laugh a little, so I thought I'd post it. Incidentally, I cannot take credit for giving Barr the nickname "The Maine Lobstah". Someone on DavidsonCats.com came up with that one, and I think it's pretty good.

More to come.

BEAT THE BULLDOGS!!!

From The Charlotte Observer


TONIGHT: THE CITADEL
Davidson tries to shed weight of losses
8 games in, defeats equal last season's total, but foes were top-tier
KEVIN CARY

Citadel game preview from Post & Courier



Today's Game: The Citadel at Davidson

When: 7 p.m. Where: Belk Arena (5,700), Davidson, N.C.

TV: None. Radio: WQNT 1450-AM

The Citadel (3-4, 0-1 SoCon)

HEAD COACH: Ed Conroy (10-27 in second season at Citadel, 51-67 overall)

PROJECTED STARTERS: G Cameron Wells, 6-1, fr. (13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg); G Zach Urbanus, 6-2, fr. (11.3 ppg, 2.9 apg); G Austin Dahn, 6-4, fr. (11.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg); F Matt Clark, 6-8, fr. (7.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Demetrius Nelson, 6-8, sr. (12.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

NOTES: The Citadel is coming off an 87-74 loss at Chattanooga on Dec. 1 in its SoCon opener ... Nelson played only 12 minutes in that game with a sore foot ... Urbanus led the Bulldogs in that game with 24 points on 7 of 14 shooting from 3-point range ... Wells added 20 points, six rebounds and five assists ... Freshman Matt Clark leads the SoCon in field goal percentage, shooting 65.6 percent ... Urbanus is fourth in the league with 1.71 steals per game and is tied for third with 2.86 3-pointers per game ... As a team, The Citadel ranks fifth in scoring offense (73.3 ppg) but last in scoring defense (81.7 ppg) ... The Citadel is at home against Atlanta Christian on Saturday.

Davidson (3-5, 1-0 SoCon)

HEAD COACH: Bob McKillop (314-223 in 19th year at Davidson)

PROJECTED STARTERS: G Stephen Curry, 6-0, so. (24.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg); G Jason Richards, 6-2, sr. (11.8 ppg, 9.1 apg); F Thomas Sander, 6-8, sr. (9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); F Boris Meno, 6-8, sr. (8.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg); F Max Paulhus Gosselin, 6-6, jr. (2.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg).

NOTES: The Wildcats have lost three straight games, but the losses were to Duke, Charlotte and UCLA ... Three of Davidson's five losses have come against teams currently ranked in the top eight in the country — North Carolina, Duke and UCLA ... The fifth loss was 83-76 to Western Michigan ... Davidson's best win so far is a 71-60 win at App State in its SoCon opener ... Curry leads the SoCon in scoring and in 3-pointers per game (4.63), while Richards leads the nation with 9.1 assists per game ... Davidson beat The Citadel by scores of 79-54 and 87-70 last season.

From Charleston Post & Courier


Nelson could miss Davidson game
Citadel's lone senior, and top offensive threat, likely won't face SoCon power
By Jeff Hartsell (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fresh off their first semester exams, The Citadel's freshmen basketball players now face the sternest test that Southern Conference basketball has to offer — a road game at two-time defending champion Davidson.

And the Bulldogs will likely be without their lone senior, forward Demetrius Nelson.

Nelson, at 6-8 and 250 pounds the Bulldogs' only real inside presence, has been hampered by a foot injury in recent weeks and was limited to just 12 minutes in The Citadel's 87-74 loss at Chattanooga on Dec. 1.

Davidson vs. Citadel tonight at Belk Arena at 7:00 p.m.

From Davidson website:

From Citadel website:

Thought and notes from LA

I had a "correspondent" on location in Los Angeles. He's an anonymous younger Davidson alum that offered to share his thought and observations from the UCLA game. I thought this was a great idea. Many of you would probably love to read another account of things......so here it is, in its entirety:

Not only was I able to schedule a "business trip" to coincide with the 'Cats California campaign this weekend, but I was lucky enough to fly back to Charlotte on Saturday night with the team. Talk about a great surprise. After a stressful drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Anaheim to LAX, it was nice to be greeted at my gate by the ten tallest men in the building. If airport officials needed any light bulbs changed in the B-concourse, they missed a real opportunity.

The whole trip -- the game, sitting in the alumni section, the flight home -- I think, upgraded my Davidson family membership; I went from being one of the throngs, to one of the inner-circle. When your fan numbers dwindle -- from nearly 5,000 at the Bobcats Arena last week to just shy of 200 in Anaheim -- the few and the proud come together in a pretty big way. For the first thirteen minutes at least, we were a very unified presence in a strange and faraway land.

You may even catch me using the pronoun "we" when I talk about the 'Cats from now on. It was that kind of trip.

The weather on Saturday was terrible by Southern California standards -- seven or eight clouds in the sky with a high just below 70 degrees. To be fair, it rained eight or nine drops while the games were going on. Compared to the East Coast, though, the day was a great one. I had a bagel and coffee before the session started outside at a local Panera Bread -- no coat and in short sleeves. Southern California (aside from the violent crime, mutant traffic, general arrogance, severe socio-economic stratification, and proliferation of obnoxious UCLA fans) is really a lovely place.

My seats at the Honda Center were amazing -- five rows off the court at the free throw line. Thank you, Alumni Office! I was seated quite close to Tom Ross and was privy to his pretty general "Come on, ref!" banter for the first time. On the whole, a decent showing from the new president. He didn't quite compare to Bobby Vagt's offering to lend his eyeglasses to the officials, but it was nice to see him making the effort, nonetheless.

John Wooden sat a row back and seven or eight seats over from me. Bill Walton, a row in front and fifteen seats over. The coolest part of the celebrity watching, though, was when Walton walked by the alumni section, his head nearly banging into the lights of the Honda Center, and Tom Ross pointing to him and saying something to the effect of "He's nobody. He played for the wrong team." Right on, Tom.

I learned lots about the Wildcats this weekend -- on the court and off. On the court first:

- Most important, we can (and do) consistently run with the best in the country. We were up by as many as 18 in this game and we dominated the first half in resounding fashion -- especially the first fifteen minutes. Our fans made a ruckus in the Honda Center that peeved a lot of the Bruin faithful. The blue-clad were so out of sorts early on that they erupted when the Davidson lead was finally cut to ten. To ten. When UCLA is pleased with a double-digit deficit, the natural order has been upset.

- The kool-aid tastes incredible: Jason Richards and Steph Curry officially form one of the best backcourts in the country. I'd trust Steph to do almost anything with the basketball -- handle it, shoot it, turn it into wine -- because he constantly proves himself reliable. He hits impossible shots and can make things happen even in the face of incredible defensive pressure. He's still forcing the long ball -- and I think his charging struggles against Duke made him a little reluctant to cut the lane up against UCLA (or maybe he was coached out of it) -- but his ability to score from anywhere is a sight to behold.

- But, without Richards to bring the ball up, Steph stalls. He seems to get forced into an awkward brand of street ball complete with contrived stutter steps, head fakes, and ball-hogging. It's clear to me that he's far more effective as a true two guard. I'm afraid I'll be pretty nostalgic for Richards next year when (presumably) Steph takes over for him at the point.

- Boris Meno should never get the ball unless he's moving directly to the basket. I'm sure he's a sweet kid, but dribbling miscues and abysmal passing make him a six-foot eight-inch liability. I heard a couple of alums -- in jest, but still lamentably -- discussing whether or not Meno was point-shaving. "Who can be that bad?" was the essence of their conversation. A bit of overstatement, certainly, but the sentiment is one I shared on Saturday. I say give Lovedale the start -- he's far more athletic and his move to the hoop has improved significantly since last season.

- I talked with Bob McKillop for the first time in my life this weekend. Between my odd squeaks and nervous ticking (let's face it, the man is disarmingly Adonis-like), I managed to vomit forth some poorly constructed statement about the team making six-foot, seventeen-inch Kevin Love a veritable non-issue despite his national hype. Without thinking, all Bob said in response was, "Thomas Sander" -- as if my statement was ridiculous and hadn't I heard of the guy who's been shutting down opposing big men all year long? While you'd certainly love to see Sander produce more consistently on the glass and on the offensive end, his knack for corralling the nation's best beasts is becoming legend.

- Having seen us play UNC, Duke, and UCLA in person this year, all top-ten squads, I have to say that Duke impressed me the most -- and I say that from a pit of unfettered hatred for that man and his program. UNC as a consensus #1 is also a bit absurd to me. Sure, they've got the record and the flash to back it up, but for my money, Duke plays a smarter brand of basketball with a more balanced shooting and passing attack. The ACC in conference will be interesting at the top this year.

Now to the gossipy drivel a la Us Weekly from my time with the 'Cats. I was, after all, in LA last week, so paparazzi behavior seems appropriate:

- The team, inexplicably, had three first-class seats for the first leg of the red-eye home -- from LA to Phoenix. Care to guess who got to take advantage of the bump up? If you guessed Bob McKillop, his wife, and Athletic Director Jim Murphy, you'd be wrong; those three rode back in coach with us common folk. Nope, the answer is three of the larger fellows: Boris Meno, Thomas Sander and Andrew Lovedale. Not sure the pecking order there. I would almost say "those who played well, ride well" but then I saw Boris taking his seat up front and that theory was shot.

- Watching Dan Nelms walk down the aisle of a Boeing 747 is comical. He essentially has to fold himself in half to fit. Dan and first-year teammate Aaron Bond also didn't get the memo that carry-on items go under the seat in front of you, not the one behind. Though, when your legs are that long, foot space is understandably hard to come by.

- Airplane reading lists: Boris Meno is currently picking his way through The Bourne Identity. Bob McKillop selected the Sports page of the Saturday LA Times as he sipped his club soda. Jim Murphy is tackling a John Grisham. Steph Curry and Bryant Barr, however, decided to forego reading in favor of a little quality time with their PSPs.

- John Wooden is really old.

All in all, despite the loss, the trip was a good one. We led a previous #1 for the entire first half of play, and not in fluky fashion. We got there with solid three-point shooting, successful backdoor cuts, and a commitment to pressurized half-court defense.

The atmosphere in the Honda Center was great, especially considering the distance from our home floor. To hold an arena full of UCLA fans near-silent for almost a half was a great feeling.

And, for the record, I don’t buy into Kyle Whelliston's ESPN article from last week. Asking "What's wrong with the 'Cats?" when they lose games like this misses the mark entirely. The reason we play the top teams, the reason we fly cross-country during the lead-up to final exams, the reason we stretch ourselves like we did this weekend, is to sharpen our tools for the conference and tournament seasons. Like it or not, the only way we're assured an NCAA berth is by winning the conference tournament. Sure, knocking off a Carolina or a Duke helps our RPI, maybe gets us a national ranking and a shot at an at-large bid, but ultimately we're preparing for the meat of the season and beyond. We're preparing to play in March; and preparing to win in March.

All the early upsets in the world don't make for a successful season. It would certainly be nice to find the word "Davidson" somewhere in the AP or ESPN polls, but that can't be our end game.

So, no. We didn't walk off the plane in Charlotte early Sunday morning with a victory over UCLA in tow. But we are better for the experience. We've played the very best under the very worst of conditions; we've squared off against a former # 1 on what was essentially their home floor. And we led. Big. I'm lucky to have seen what we can do in person.

Despite a 3-5 start, I'm pretty hopeful.

Two insane Davidson fans (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Basketball Is All They Need
By Josh Herwitt - December 12, 2007

One of the best things about working in this business is getting to meet some of the people that I used to look up to when I would wake up before school and open up the newspaper at the breakfast table each morning.

And as I'm quickly learning more and more everyday, your colleagues, even the ones that you don't directly work with, can often be a nice resource to have from time to time.

Sometimes, though, a story just falls in your lap. For me, it came in my Inbox one day last week from Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times, a kind gesture from a colleague that I have never met, yet was nice of to think of me in offering up a story that hit home with me and hopefully does the same for you as well.

It's a story about Bro Krift and Tripp Cherry, two former Davidson students from the Class of 1999 who weren't just loyal fans of their beloved Wildcats. They were, at least to some, Davidson basketball fanatics.

But this isn't a story just about Bro and Tripp or even a story about Davidson basketball. It's a story, rather, about two friends, and even more, two fans.

Two fans willing to do anything to watch their team miles away from home, even if it meant spending nights in Econo Lodges and parking lots, dinners at McDonald's and Taco Bell and 25 hours driving just to watch 40 minutes of basketball.

It all started back in 1997 when the two were sophomores at the North Carolina private liberal arts college. Bro, who had always loved sports growing up as a youngster, managed to score two tickets to Davidson's game against third-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

And though the Wildcats would ultimately suffer a 100-65 blowout loss to the Blue Devils that night, it was there in Durham that their love for Davidson basketball blossomed, as the two spent their remaining college years attending game after game all over the Southeast of the country.

But when it finally came time to graduate, Bro and Tripp weren't ready to end their season-after-season basketball run that had defined so much of their college experience.

So when Davidson earned a bid to the 2002 NCAA Tournament and headed to Albuquerque for its first-round game against fourth-seeded Ohio State, Bro and Tripp were there.

And when the Wildcats returned to the Big Dance in 2006 with a game against none other than No. 2 seed Ohio State in the Dayton Regional, Bro and Tripp were once again there.

And this past summer when sophomore sensation Stephen Curry made the trip to Dallas, Texas, to play in the U19 U.S. national team's exhibition games, so did Bro and Tripp.

For many of us, keeping up with close friends from college is not always easy. Work, family and other life-long obligations often leave us never enough time to stay in touch with the friends we made during our four years away from Mom and Dad.

But for Bro and Tripp, Davidson basketball has been the glue that's held their friendship together for this long and most likely the rest of their lives.

And when Davidson headed to Southern California to face UCLA in the Wooden Classic this past weekend, who was there?

Bro and Tripp, of course, rooting on their 'Cats despite a 75-63 loss to the Bruins. Because, after all, it's moments like those that only come every now and then for two best friends separated by more than 1,300 miles.

So as Tripp continues to work in Charlotte for his father's T-shirt printing company, it's Bro who resides far, far away in Odessa, Texas, where he struggles to make ends meet at the Odessa American.

"I'm 31," Bro wrote in an e-mail to Kruse last week, "entering a new section of life, and still dependent upon my friends of old like Tripper to keep me 'grounded' while I'm struggling to make it in a dying business in a far-off, off-the-road location where 75 percent of America would never consider living and where 90 percent of journalists would never consider working.

"I can do that because of friends like Tripp."

From LA Times

Bruins make an impression
Davidson has played or scrimmaged Texas, North Carolina, Duke and UCLA and the Wildcats' coach says all of them have qualities of a Final Four team.
By Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 12, 2007


For a straight-talking New Yorker, Davidson basketball Coach Bob McKillop sure tried to be circumspect.

Including a scrimmage with fourth-ranked Texas, McKillop's Wildcats have played top-ranked North Carolina, sixth-ranked Duke and eighth-ranked UCLA.

So which team is best? Like his players immediately after Saturday's game with UCLA, McKillop, in a follow-up telephone interview, wouldn't be pinned down.

After the UCLA game, the coach said, "I told our film guys, 'You have now been exposed to four teams that are all real contenders for the Final Four. You know now what it takes to play at that level. In that film is some kind of map of how to get to be a Final Four-quality team.' "

Which team would he and his Wildcats want to play again? "All of them," McKillop said, echoing the answer Davidson point guard Jason Richards gave after UCLA rallied from 18 points back to beat the Wildcats, 75-63.

The 32-14 first-half deficit wasn't a fluke. Davidson ran its motion offense well, finding ways to leave Bruins defenders -- often Kevin Love, sometimes Luc Richard Mbah a Moute -- flat-footed as Boris Meno or Andrew Lovedale scored on backdoor plays.

The Bruins also were unwilling to extend themselves to guard Davidson's jump shooters. So Richards (who made three of four), William Archambault (two of two), Bryant Barr (three of five) and Stephen Curry (three of 10) were left to shoot over lollygagging UCLA defenders who were slow to fight through a screen or two.

UCLA's final margin of victory was the largest among the four top teams Davidson (3-5) has played or scrimmaged.

While official stats from a closed scrimmage aren't released, McKillop said it was safe to say Texas never trailed the Wildcats by 18 points nor did it finish 12 points ahead.

Davidson never led Duke by more than two points and trailed by as many as 16 when the Blue Devils won, 79-73. Duke's 16-point lead came with 3 minutes 33 seconds to play, a statistic that suggests the game wasn't as close as the final score.

Statistics also suggest that Duke paid for its lack of size -- 6-foot-8 freshman Kyle Singler often plays center for the Blue Devils, a position he was reluctant to commit to play when UCLA recruited him -- with Davidson blocking seven Duke shots.

Davidson led North Carolina, 50-46, with 9:31 left and was tied with the Tar Heels with 3:45 left in a game in which the Tar Heels never led by more than seven. North Carolina won, 72-68.

McKillop chooses his words carefully when he talks about UCLA, North Carolina, Duke and Texas. "Each team exhibits a pattern of excellence," he said. "They make every pass, every catch, every dribble."

The coach attributed his team's fast start against UCLA to geography as much as anything else.

"Familiarity was the No. 1 reason, because I think UCLA was very unaware of Davidson," McKillop said. "Both teams within North Carolina [the Tar Heels and Duke] know us. I think we caught UCLA a little."

McKillop said that where North Carolina, Duke and UCLA vary the most is in the way they score. "North Carolina has Tyler Hansbrough in the paint and UCLA has Kevin Love," the coach said. "Duke doesn't have that back-to-the-basket presence in the paint.

"Duke will spread you out more and use much more of a three-point game at more positions. North Carolina and UCLA don't use three-point shooting at all positions. They're more balanced."

One common thread: "All three take a lethal approach to the game because they are in an aggressive attack mode with team defense," McKillop said.

"North Carolina does much more strategic doubling you up and trapping you," he added. "Duke uses an aggressive man-to-man coverage to cut the court in half. North Carolina tries to do that by trapping you.

"All three of them extend the court by putting some sort of pressure on the ball. What seems like token pressure is actually pretty aggressive pressure."

McKillop gave credit to UCLA's Russell Westbrook for playing the "toughest" defense against Davidson star Stephen Curry.

Curry had 15 points against UCLA on six-for-19 shooting. He scored 20 against Duke on eight-for-17 shooting and 24 against North Carolina on eight-for-22 shooting.

On Davidson basketball message boards, anonymous fans were more willing to make value judgments.

"Let me say as a College of Charleston fan, UCLA is ridiculously tough," said one. Another said, "UCLA has the athletes, desire and coaching to lock you down defensively and keep you off the boards. Duke and UNC don't."

And then there was this: "I think we just played the team that will win the national championship. This was the best game [Davidson] played all year."

Monday, December 10, 2007


• Davidson got a little support from an unexpected source. The San Diego State pep band, whose team played in the first game, stuck around to play Davidson's fight song in the second contest. It didn't take much to learn it -- the band rehearsed it once before playing "O Davidson" at the game. "It's probably the easiest song we'll do all year," band member Jaime Fratacci said.

• The most impressive part of Davidson's 18-point lead in the first half was that the Wildcats did it without a big effort from Stephen Curry. Curry had five points in that stretch, but forwards Thomas Sander and BorisMeno (13 combined points) and reserve Bryant Barr (nine points) gave the Wildcats a lift.

• Give Davidson coach BobMcKillop credit for getting a key foul on UCLA. McKillop yelled to official TonyGreene, "That's illegal!" referring to the way UCLA forward Kevin Love fought for position. A second later, Love picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench.

• Davidson shook up its starting lineup because forward MaxPaulhus Gosselin sat out the game with a back injury. Will Archambault started and hit two 3-pointers in the second half.

• Davidson has played strong teams, but none as physical as UCLA. The Bruins fly to the basket after missed shots and like to bang defenders on post moves.

From LA Times

UCLA uses big second half to beat Davidson
By Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

John Wooden carefully climbed down the steps from his seat at the Honda Center and when he got onto the floor, he shrugged off the men who had supported his steps and gave UCLA Coach Ben Howland an emphatic double fist pump.

After a second half filled with stylish passing and mean-streets defense, the seventh-ranked Bruins beat Davidson, 75-63, in the second game of the Wooden Classic in front of 17,440 on Saturday. St. Mary's defeated San Diego State, 69-64, in the first game.

After his happy congratulations, Wooden took a microphone and praised the Bruins (8-1) in a way that made Howland smile. "We played tough defense," Wooden said. "Most championships are won on defense and sharing the ball extremely well. If we get behind, we come back. We don't give up. I'd rather we wouldn't get behind that much in the first half though."

Indeed, for the third time this season, UCLA slogged through an uninspiring first 20 minutes. After trailing Michigan State by 13 (the Bruins ended up winning) and Texas by 16 points (they lost), UCLA was behind Davidson, 32-14, with 6 minutes 18 seconds left in the first half.

Backup forward Andrew Lovedale had just made a hook shot and Bryant Barr had come off the bench to make three three-point baskets to help the Wildcats (3-5) leave the Bruins looking muddled.

Junior Josh Shipp said it was tough to explain these slow starts. "Our intensity level isn't where it should be," he said. "But we do have a never quit attitude."

That attitude kicked in when the overhead scoreboard showed the Wildcats celebrating Lovedale's nifty shot.

It was Shipp who got UCLA moving with two free throws and the Bruins began to push the tempo faster by making some defensive stops. Point guard Darren Collison tipped in a missed layup by Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love moved aggressively inside and made two free throws, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored seven points in a row (he had 12 at halftime) to pull the Bruins to within 32-27.

The deficit was 34-30 at the break, but the momentum had swung all the way toward Westwood. Davidson Coach Bob McKillop said he told his team that the first half had been about runs. "We had one, they had one," he said.

He had hoped his team would make another at the start of the second half, but instead Shipp made a 15-foot jump shot to start and Mbah a Moute, who had a season-high 21 points plus eight rebounds, made a three-pointer to give UCLA its first lead of the game, 35-34.

The Bruins took the lead for good, 43-41, on a three-pointer by Shipp with 16:20 left. Davidson, which has already lost to top-ranked North Carolina, 72-68, and sixth-ranked Duke, 79-73, was left without the resources to make another big run.

McKillop counted three key statistics that told him the story. "They doubled us up on rebounding," McKillop said of the Bruins' 37-18 advantage. "They beat us 20-0 on second-chance points. And they had a 21-1 free-throw advantage [in the first half]. Those things all equate with toughness."

Also earning praise from both McKillop and Howland was UCLA's sophomore guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was the primary defender on sophomore Stephen Curry, who was averaging 26 points a game. Westbrook held him to 15 on six-for-19 shooting. Westbrook also finished with 14 points, six assists and three rebounds.

It was amped-up defense by everybody in the second half that kept the Bruins in a quick tempo. The Wildcats shot 51.9% from the field in the first half and only 40.7% in the second. All five Bruins starters scored in double figures and Love had his fifth double-double of the season (12 points, 12 rebounds).

UCLA will play in its sixth consecutive Wooden Classic on Dec. 13, 2008, and its 12th overall. An opponent will be named later. The first two rounds of the 2008 NCAA tournament will be at the Honda Center next March and Howland said that once renovations begin at Pauley Pavilion he hopes the Bruins will play more games in Anaheim, saying he would expect at least one Pacific 10 Conference weekend swing to be at the Honda Center.

UCLA blog from LA Times


Click here to read. Nothing really all that great, but I thought I'd post it. Scroll down the page of that blog to get to the Davidson game stuff.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another west coast article


Davidson a threat to UCLA
Wooden Classic: The Bruins need to be on their guard against the Wildcats.
By JANIS CARR
The Orange County Register


ANAHEIM -- On the surface, UCLA appears to have an easy opponent in today's Wooden Classic when the Bruins face Davidson in the first of a double-header.

But a closer look reveals that the No. 7 Bruins could be in for a long afternoon at the Honda Center.

Davidson is a small, mid-major school (enrollment 1,700) located in North Carolina, where they know a thing or two about playing basketball. And the Wildcats are no exception.

Last season, the Wildcats finished 29-5 and reached the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Maryland.

Building on that success, Davidson coach Bob McKillop scheduled games against North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State. The UCLA contest was a late bonus when Davidson was invited to join the Wooden Classic field that also includes San Diego State playing St. Mary's at the Honda Center.

Some might have thought McKillop had lost his mind. Turns out, he knew was he was doing.

So far this season, Davidson has pushed No. 1 North Carolina to the brink, losing by just four points in the Wildcats' third game. Two weeks later, they played then-No. 7 Duke and gave another perennial college a challenge before falling, 79-73.

"I felt if we had had more of those kinds of games last year, (it) might have helped us in the (NCAA) tournament," McKillop said. "This will serve us well in preparation for March."

UCLA coach Ben Howland has seen enough film on Davidson to know his team is in for the same kind of potential trouble the other top-ranked teams encountered. Howland said the Wildcats (3-4) run a similar kind of offense to Texas, and the Longhorns handed the Bruins (7-1) their first loss last Sunday.

"We have to be much better than Sunday at taking shots," Howland said. "They are an unselfish team, with team players who share the ball."

Howland also said that the Wildcats are so quick that "before you get to the screen, they slash and go to the basket. They have all sorts of wrinkles they put in.

Davidson has something Texas didn't though, and that's a prolific shooter in 6-foot-1 guard Stephen Curry. Curry, who is on nearly every preseason watch list, ranks fifth nationally in scoring (26 points a game). He also is averaging 4.5 3-pointers and 4.4 rebounds.

"He reminds me of (former Arizona point guard) Salim Stoudamire," Howland said. "What makes him tough is that he doesn't always follow through on his shot. He has such a quick release it's incredible. His release is as quick as anything you'll see throughout the country.

"He's also a good ball handler who can put the ball on the floor. He can penetrate and make plays for himself and makes plays for others. He's their back-up guard when (Jason) Richards isn't in there. He creates a lot of problems."

UCLA has its own set of problems, one of them being feeding the ball to center Kevin Love. Love only attempted six shots against Texas because he often times kicked the ball out to a teammate. He also was on the bench for defensive reasons during crunch time in favor of Lorenzo Mata-Real.

Howland said the team focused on its inside game this week at practice.

"We did a good job in getting him the ball," Howland said. "He is unselfish to a fault. Pretty soon I'm going to have to tell him he can't pass up a shot. He loves to pass … I love to see a player who loves to pass and make plays for others. That's the thing he enjoys most."

So does coaching legend John Wooden, who compared Love favorably to former UCLA center Bill Walton.

"I haven't seen a player since Walton, who can rebound and turn with his hands up and pass the ball three-quarters the length of the floor. You have to have strength to make that particular pass and accuracy."

AP article: "Pesky" Davidson vs. UCLA is "enticing"


Suddenly, No. 7 UCLA's matchup with Davidson is enticing
By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
December 7, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- UCLA's matchup against Davidson in the John Wooden Classic looks a lot more enticing than it did when originally announced.

That's because the seventh-ranked Bruins (7-1) will face a mid-major team that put scares into No. 1 North Carolina and Duke this season.

The pesky Wildcats (3-4) lost both of those games, by four to the Tar Heels and by six to the Blue Devils, then ranked seventh.

"Those games were right down to the wire," UCLA coach Ben Howland said Friday. "They had leads at Carolina. They're that good."

Davidson coach Bob McKillop beefed up his team's schedule after losing to Maryland in the first round of last season's NCAA tournament, hoping the Wildcats would be more experienced next time around.

"It makes you significantly better with your fundamental aspects of the game than if you were playing teams that would not push buttons to beat you as well as they do," he said.

UCLA is coming off its first loss, 63-61 to Texas in which the Bruins gave up an offensive rebound that led to a dunk with 8 seconds remaining last Sunday.

"You're always more intense after a loss because of the disappointment," Howland said.

This week's practices included 11 healthy players for the first time this season. Previously, only eight scholarship players were available.

The Bruins and Wildcats will play the second game of Saturday's Wooden Classic doubleheader. Two schools representing the opposite ends of California, Saint Mary's (6-0) and San Diego State (8-1), will meet in the opener.

Freshman Kevin Love leads four UCLA starters in double figures, with 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds.

McKillop compared UCLA's transition game to Texas Tech, which played Davidson in the NIT several years ago.

"I was very impressed with how quick they changed in transition and we started calling that the Texas two-step," he said. "UCLA is known for their defense, but they got as good a Texas two-step as I've seen and of course being triggered by Kevin Love makes it even more lethal."

Davidson's Stephen Curry, the son of NBA 3-point specialist Del Curry, averages 26 points, making him the first prolific scorer the Bruins have played this season.

"It's just a big challenge because he's such a good shooter," Howland said, comparing Curry's quick release of the ball to former Arizona star Salim Stoudamire.

"He's also a good ballhander because he can put the ball on the floor, he can penetrate, make plays for himself, make plays for others. He creates a lot of problems."

It'll be guard Russell Westbrook's job to stop Curry, with help provided by swingman Michael Roll, Josh Shipp and point guard Darren Collison.

Curry scored 24 points against North Carolina and 20 against Duke, adding to the sophomore guard's double-figure streak of 34 consecutive games.

"He balances the chip on his shoulder with a sense of humility that is rather unique in our world of competitive athletics today and he's answered every bell," McKillop said.

"He's played against some of the best defenders in the country in the first three weeks of the season and done quite well for himself."

So why the chip on Curry's shoulder?

"Well, he's playing at Davidson College instead of the ACC or the Big East or the Southeastern Conference or the Pac-10," McKillop said.

The Wildcats also feature guard Jason Richards, the nation's assist leader at 9.4 per game. He had 14 points and 11 assists against Duke.

Roll is expected to play much more than the 5 minutes he did in his season debut against Texas. Collison, however, isn't likely to duplicate the 39 minutes he logged after returning last week from a left knee sprain.

"It was really unfair to play him 39 minutes because you're getting diminishing return on yourself when you're playing tired, tired, tired at that high level," Howland said. "That's my fault. It's hard for me to pull that guy out, especially a guy like Darren who plays both ends and really has pride in his defense."

The only other time Davidson and UCLA have played was in 1975, Wooden's final season when the Bruins won by 27 points.

They advanced to the Final Four, beating Louisville in overtime before Wooden announced he would retire after the championship game. The Bruins responded with a victory over Kentucky for Wooden's 10th and final national title.

The 97-year-old coach said he didn't recall the Davidson game.

"I remember the Louisville game," he said, smiling. "I remember the championship game against Kentucky."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Curry featured in LA Times

(Good find by Will Bryan. Check out his Davidson blog.)


Nothing Hokie about Curry
The son of the former NBA standout could have attended his father's school, but he's doing fine at Davidson, which faces UCLA on Saturday.
By Robyn Norwood, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The scent in the air, fresh and clean, is what you notice first.

Stephen Curry, a slender basketball player who scored 32 points and made seven of 14 three-pointers in Davidson's loss to Charlotte the night before, stepped off a campus walkway Thursday and into a small building.

"Over here, you bring your button-up shirts, and they iron and press them and hang them up for you," he said. "Over here, you just bring your bagful of clothes -- they give you a number when you first get to campus -- and they wash and fold them. It's very helpful during the week when you have a lot of work. You take a 10-minute break, and drop off your laundry."

This is no perk for privileged athletes. It is the free Davidson College laundry service, in operation since 1919 for all students.

Carol Belk, who has worked in the laundry for 17 years, spied Curry and hurried over.

"Hey, you awesome thing," she said, "Bless your heart, you were great. You have a safe trip to L.A."

"I appreciate it," Curry said, and headed back out the door to practice, a Davidson knit cap on his head to ward off the chill of a fall day.

Deep in the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference country, the son of former NBA player Dell Curry who was slighted by 12 ACC schools -- including Virginia Tech, his father's alma mater -- has found a home at tiny 1,700-student Davidson, a Presbyterian college founded in 1837.

Curry scored more points last season than any freshman in the country but Kevin Durant, set an NCAA record for freshmen by making 122 three-pointers, and finished his season with 30 points in an NCAA tournament loss to Maryland.

This season, with Davidson's record at 3-4 as the Wildcats try to steel themselves for March with games against some of the nation's top programs, the 6-foot-3 guard scored 24 in a four-point loss to top-ranked North Carolina, and 20 in a six-point loss to Duke.

Today, Curry -- the nation's second-leading scorer at 26 points a game -- brings Davidson to Anaheim to take on seventh-ranked UCLA in the Wooden Classic at the Honda Center.

"We missed out," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who remembers Stephen as a skinny youngster who used to attend Blue Devils basketball camp. "Hell, I'd like to have him."

At a school such as North Carolina, Curry would be a demigod, and students might whisper excitedly on the rare moments they encountered him on the sprawling campus.

At Davidson, Curry knows the names of those who greet him as he passes the stately old brick buildings on a campus that has produced 23 Rhodes scholars, and he eats his meals with the other students.

"The big chicken parma," he said. "That's chicken parmesan. It's the meal everybody comments about.

"Just how small it is here, it has its benefits. I know probably 85% of the student population by their first names. It's pretty cool. I like that."

It wasn't what Curry had in mind when he was a high school player in nearby Charlotte, where his father was a mainstay of the old Charlotte Hornets and now works for the Bobcats, recently deciding against a job as an assistant coach in part so he and his wife, Sonya, could watch Stephen's games together.

"I always grew up wanting to go to Virginia Tech and follow in my father's footsteps," said Stephen, whose mother also went to Virginia Tech, starring for the volleyball team.

When Stephen's senior year came, Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg -- who didn't have a scholarship open for the next season -- offered Curry, then maybe 6 feet and 160 pounds, a chance to walk on and sit out his freshman season and be awarded a scholarship the next year.

"I loved his game, but we had two very, very good guards who were seniors -- Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon who beat Carolina and Duke -- and they were going to play," Greenberg said. "He wanted to play right away. Probably being honest was a mistake."

Stephen -- whose name is pronounced "Steff-in" -- was crushed. His family could have afforded to pay for his freshman year, but Stephen wanted to feel more wanted.

"I realized my dream of being at Virginia Tech was kind of gone," he said, and two days after Virginia Tech's offer, he committed to Davidson, whose coach, Bob McKillop, he had known since he played youth baseball with one of McKillop's sons.

Greenberg became just another ACC coach with regrets.

"He's a terrific kid, a beautiful kid, and they're a Norman Rockwell family," Greenberg said. "It puts everyone in a hard situation. Dell's beloved here, and he should be. In a perfect world, Stephen would be at Virginia Tech. But things have worked out very well for him."

It was Stephen's size that gave coaches pause.

"My junior year, I was 5-8. I was a shrimp," Curry said.

His freshman year in college, he was 6-1, then grew to 6-3 over the summer. When doctors recently X-rayed his injured left wrist, they told him his bone structure suggested he might grow another inch or two, a late-bloomer like his father.

"He's grown more, I think, than any ACC coach thought he would," Krzyzewski said. "A lot of people thought, well, he'd be good, but he's not going to be a star. Obviously Bobby's a great coach and he's been showcased there, and his bloodlines have come out. He's a championship-level kid."

McKillop was never dissuaded by Curry's size.

"I've always had this inkling that the sons of ex-players usually turn out to be pretty good players," he said, and he loved Curry's easygoing nature and resilience.

"He has a fearlessness about him that transcends the past and allows him to live in the moment. That's a pretty mature young man," McKillop said.

For the Wildcats, 29-5 last season, there already have been four setbacks this season -- the close losses to North Carolina and Duke, and losses to Western Michigan and conference rival Charlotte.

With UCLA today and North Carolina State later this month, Davidson's nonconference record could take the kind of beating that would make it important to win the Southern Conference tournament to earn an NCAA tournament bid instead of hoping for an at-large bid.

"It's a different mountain to climb for a team like ours," said McKillop, who doesn't seem worried that he might have overscheduled.

These are the teams he believes Davidson has to play if the Wildcats are going to get past the sort of nice-try, no-cigar first-round NCAA tournament loss they had against Maryland last season, and maybe someday relive the glory of 1969, when a Davidson team coached by Lefty Driesell fell seconds shy of reaching the Final Four before losing to North Carolina on the final shot.

These days, the difference between an ACC team or Pacific 10 team and his is often endurance, McKillop said, and not necessarily physical endurance.

"It's possession to possession," he said. "It's toughness, where when you miss a shot you don't take the next defensive play off, or do you go and entrench yourself? If you get to the line in crunch time, do you miss the foul shot?

"It's a season-long journey. The investment we're making is part of the process of us trying to be better come March."

San Diego State band to play Davidson fight song during UCLA game?

If the following is true, we should be able to hear the Davidson fight song coming through the airwaves on national TV tomorrow evening. Coincidentally, San Diego State's colors are red and black.

From a post on DavidsonCats.com:

Hi from San Diego State! Best of luck to your team tomorrow. Looking forward to two great games. Just want to let you know that the San Diego State Pep Band has obtained your fight song and will be playing it for you tomorrow. Go Aztecs!


UCLA blogs


Click here to read Bruins Nation. They do have some Davidson material to check out.

Also, check out Bruin Basketball Report, which also has a DC/UCLA preview.

From The Daily Bruin


Basketball finally free from injuries
Bruins look to learn from mistakes against Texas and win big in the Wooden Classic this weekend
Bobby Gordon, Bruin Sports senior staff
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2007


...The Bruins will have no more of that confusion this week as they prepare for the Wooden Classic this weekend at the Honda Center in Anaheim. UCLA will look to get back in the win column Saturday at 2:30 p.m. but will be pitted against a challenging opponent in Davidson.

Davidson has made a name for itself this year by giving highly ranked teams a lot to worry about. The smaller school had No. 1 North Carolina on the ropes on the Tar Heels’ own court, leading for most of the second half before falling 72-68. More recently, the Wildcats played No. 7 Duke very close, losing 79-73 on Dec. 1.

Sophomore Stephen Curry, son of former NBA player Dell Curry, leads the team and makes a huge impact. Against North Carolina, Curry had a game-high 24 points. Additionally, when he was on the bench with two fouls against Duke, the Blue Devils went on a 17-4 run.

“Curry’s a great shooter, and it’s a very good team we’re playing Saturday that could have beat Carolina at Carolina early in the season,” Howland said. “It’s a one-point game with a minute and a half, two minutes to go. ... They’re a team that all shoots it well; they set a lot of ball screens. They’re a smart, very heady, experienced group. We have our hands full.”

Davidson-UCLA game to be on national TV

Don't forget that the game tomorrow (5:30 p.m. EST) will be on WGN TV nationally. It will also be on HDNET in high definition.

Curry gets SoCon honor again

Curry Named SoCon Player of the Month for Fourth Time in Career
Joey Beeler -- Assistant SID

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- On the heels of earning his fourth Southern Conference Player of the Week honor, Stephen Curry of the Davidson men’s basketball team has been named the league’s Player of the Month for the month of November as announced by the conference office Tuesday afternoon.

For the opening month of the 2007-08 campaign, Curry averaged 26.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 treys and 2.2 steals per outing, while connecting on 50.0 percent (47-94) of his attempts from the floor and draining 23-of-55 (41.8 percent) from behind the three-point arc.

The 6-3 shooting guard from Charlotte, N.C., hit the 20-point plateau four times, including a game-high 24 points in the Wildcats’ near upset of top-ranked North Carolina at Bobcats Arena, Nov. 14.

In the Wildcats’ triumph over Appalachian State Monday, Nov. 26 in both teams’ SoCon opener, the sophomore scored a career-high 38 points, 26 of which came in the opening period. Curry set a Holmes Center scoring record and added six rebounds and four steals. He also tied his own school mark for treys in a contest with nine.

The Preseason Southern Conference Player of the Year has hit double figures in 33 consecutive contests and 39-of-40.

A year ago, Curry won the monthy honor three times (November, February and March).

Curry currently ranks fifth nationally in scoring at 25.0 points per contest.

From Davidson website

Davidson Travels West to Face No. 7 / 8 UCLA in John Wooden Classic
Joey Beeler -- Assistant SID

DAVIDSON, N.C. – In search of their first win over a ranked opponent since 1974, Bob McKillop and his Davidson Wildcats travel west to battle 11-time National Champion and No. 7 / 8 UCLA, Saturday in the John Wooden Classic at 5:30 p.m.

The contest will be televised nationally on WGN and marks the third time Davidson has faced a Top-10 opponent on the young season.

John Wooden Classic website


Click here to visit the official John R. Wooden Classic website.

THE 2007 JOHN R. WOODEN CLASSIC
No. 7 UCLA takes on Davidson
San Diego State battles Saint Mary's
Read More...

From UCLA website

No. 7/8 UCLA Faces Davidson in 14th Annual John R. Wooden Classic

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
DATE: Dec. 8, 2007
SITE: Honda Center (17,608)
TIP-OFF: 2:30 p.m. PST
TV: KCAL
TALENT: Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Brad Holland (analyst) and John Ireland (sideline)
RADIO: AM 570
SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO: Channel 126
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst)
SERIES: UCLA leads 1-0

What it'll take for Davidson to rebound
KEVIN CARY

Davidson faces a solemn cross-country flight today to California, one day after its second consecutive loss. The Wildcats were left searching for answers after a 75-68 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. They face No.7 UCLA Saturday.

Davidson, ranked at one time this season, is 3-4 and doesn’t have a win against a Division I opponent with a winning record. Any hope of a NCAA tournament at-large bid is distant at best – the Wildcats first have to start winning games.

To do that, Davidson has to get more help for sophomore guard Stephen Curry. Curry has been spectacular at times this season, but point guard Jason Richards is the only other Davidson player to score at least 15 points against a Division I opponent (reserve Bryant Barr had 17 against Division III Emory in the season opener).

Last season, all five Davidson starters scored 20 points in at least one game, and Davidson had four players average double figures. Curry accounted for about 25 percent of the offense, but this season he’s scoring a third of Davidson’s points against Division I opponents.

The Wildcats also have been too reliant on the 3-point shot. Davidson has attempted 3-pointers on 46 percent of its shots. Those shots aren’t going in as often, because players other than Curry are making only 27 percent of their 3-pointers. The Wildcats have been effective when they have gone inside, making 58 percent of their two-point attempts.

Coach Bob McKillop said this season that his team has been hunting for 3-pointers too much, and Wednesday night he also pointed to Davidson’s decline at the free-throw line. The Wildcats are shooting 64 percent this season; they made 76 percent last season. Those misses played a role in at least two losses.

McKillop hasn’t mentioned any possible lineup changes, but that might be something to consider. Curry and Richards are both playing heavy minutes against top opponents, and their fatigue at the end of games has hurt Davidson’s perimeter defense. Freshmen Brendan McKillop and Aaron Bond could be useful for short spurts in the first half of games, and the Wildcats might also want to consider going with a big lineup with starters Thomas Sander and Boris Meno and reserve Andrew Lovedale on the front line. Those three aren’t outside threats, but they screen well, are strong defenders and would force Davidson to look for more inside shots.

UNCC follow up....and moving on

Sorry I haven't posted much since the UNCC game. I've been pretty slammed at the office, and a bit bummed about the loss as well (see photo in post below....no that's not me, but it illustrates my feeling after the loss). Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on the UNCC loss much now, since the team plays UCLA tomorrow. The UNCC game is behind us now.

All I'm going to post about the UNCC game is the following:

Funny quote from Scott Fowler of The Observer: "The two Mecklenburg County teams were playing for the Hornet's Nest Trophy, a prize so coveted that every year I forget what it looks like."

Click here to get to all the Charlotte Observer coverage of the game. I honestly only read one article, and don't care to read anything else. I'm done with UNCC for this year. Losing to them really stings. Man, I hate those guys.

On to UCLA.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Heartbreak

Davidson drops a tight one to UNCC by 7. More to come.

Get your peanuts!

Davidson Wildcat Peanuts

NEW! The perfect snack for the Wildcat fan! This 30 oz. plastic recyclable jar is filled with our famous Blister Fried Peanuts and labeled in the Red and Black of the Wildcats. Additionally the label prominently displays both the men's and women's basketball schedules. This beautifully designed product is perfect for displaying on your kitchen counter or your desk at work. And, when you've exhausted your supply of peanuts use the jar to hold odds and ends so you can keep those basketball schedules close at hand.

An officially licensed product of Davidson College.

Game Notes for tonight

From UNCC

From Davidson

Ticket info for Davidson/UNCC

800 tickets remain for Davidson-Charlotte

If you're planning to attend tonight's Charlotte-Davidson men's college basketball game at the 49ers' Halton Arena and you don't have a ticket, time is running out.

As of noon, John George, assistant athletics director for ticket operations, said the entire 4,500 student ticket allotment will be distributed for the game and there are about 800 other tickets remaining to be sold.

If they all go, it will mark Charlotte's first sellout since the Feb. 4, 2006, homecoming game against Dayton, won by Charlotte 62-49.

Already this season, Charlotte has seen a tremendous uptake on student ticket distribution. More student tickets were given out for the Nov. 12 win against Appalachian State than any game last season, including homecoming.

Tickets are available by calling, (704) 687-4949.

UNCC interview with McKillop


Click here to listen to the interview.
The audio is not very good, and hard to hear, so be ready to turn up your volume.

Davidson vs. UNCC


Move to neutral site?
Schools prefer games on campus vs. Bobcats Arena
KEVIN CARY

Davidson and Charlotte created a buzz the past two weeks with basketball games at Bobcats Arena, but don't expect future games between the schools to be played there.

Officials from both schools said they would not rule out that possibility, but said they preferred those games to be at campus sites.

"In some ways it would be attractive because it would be a neutral site every year," said Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, whose 49ers host the Wildcats tonight at 7:30. "It would be, I would think, a pretty split crowd and a pretty exciting event.

"On the other hand, I think we both like playing at home and giving our fans that type of home game as well."

Both schools drew larger crowds against ACC opponents at Bobcats Arena than the capacity of their on-campus arenas. Davidson averaged 18,000 fans against Duke and North Carolina, and Charlotte drew 9,800 fans to its game with Wake Forest last week. Davidson's Belk Arena holds about 5,700 fans, and Charlotte's Halton Arena seats 9,100.

"It's certainly not out of the question to have games at Bobcats Arena," Davidson athletics director Jim Murphy said. "But we would have to think long and hard before we made a decision."

Murphy said he would prefer a rotation -- where games would be at Bobcats Arena every third year -- instead of moving every game there. Davidson and Charlotte officials also said they have discussed hosting a two-game "classic" style event at the arena, where Davidson and Charlotte would host doubleheaders against schools from other parts of the country. Officials said they would need a sponsor to make that happen, and they said any event would not include a game between the county rivals.

"We want to do what's best for Davidson and Charlotte," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "I think things are pretty good right now."

The Matchups: 49ers vs. Wildcats
Observer beat reporters Jim Utter (Charlotte) and Kevin Cary (Davidson) analyze tonight's position-by-position matchups.

Jim Utter's Take

Point guard
Charlotte will remain jumbled here until Pepperdine transfer Michael Gerrity becomes eligible. EDGE: Davidson.

Shooting guard
Few teams have stopped Davidson's Stephen Curry, and Charlotte's Leemire Goldwire has struggled, having to spend time at the point. EDGE: Davidson.

Center
Charlotte rotates athletic junior-college transfer Charlie Coley and 6-foot-10 sophomore Phil Jones. EDGE: Charlotte.

Small forward
Freshman An'Juan Wilderness (6-6) has made an immediate impact and is one of the 49ers' best defenders. EDGE: Charlotte.

Power forward
Athletic Lamont Mack (6-7) is just as comfortable around the basket as behind the 3-point line. EDGE: Charlotte.

Intangibles
Halton Arena should be a sellout. Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz is 7-2 against Davidson during his nine-plus seasons. EDGE: Charlotte.

Kevin Cary's Take

Point guard
Dijuan Harris is quick, but Davidson's Jason Richards might be the state's most underrated player. EDGE: Davidson

Shooting guard
Curry will hear it from the Halton crowd, but he likes it like that. EDGE: Davidson

Center
Boris Meno has improved into a consistent scoring threat, something Charlotte doesn't have here. EDGE: Davidson

Small forward
Wilderness will focus on Curry, but Wilderness' athletic skills also will challenge Davidson's defenders. EDGE: Charlotte

Power forward
Davidson's Thomas Sander won't outjump anyone on Charlotte's roster, but he will outwork them for points. EDGE: Davidson

Intangibles
Davidson needs this game for its NCAA tournament resume, but the Wildcats have never won at Halton. EDGE: Charlotte

History of the Matchup: 49ers vs. Wildcats
Since 1979, the Charlotte 49ers and Davidson Wildcats have played 35 times in basketball, and Charlotte leads the series 25-10. Some seasons the teams played twice, but at least one game is held each season with the winner receiving the Hornet's Nest Trophy. Charlotte leads the trophy games 19-9. The teams meet tonight at 7:30 at Charlotte's Halton Arena. A glance at the series' past 10 games:

DEC. 9, 2006, DAVIDSON WINS 79-51
Then-freshman Stephen Curry leads Wildcats with 17 points.

NOV. 30, 2005, CHARLOTTE WINS 85-81 (2OT)
Leemire Goldwire scored a then-career high 26 to lead 49ers.

DEC. 8, 2004, CHARLOTTE WINS 87-68
Brendan Plavich's seven 3-pointers in final 11 minutes lift Charlotte.

DEC. 11, 2003, CHARLOTTE WINS 76-65
Curtis Withers has 14 points and 11 rebounds for 49ers.

DEC. 7, 2002, DAVIDSON WINS 75-56
Wildcats snap six-game losing streak to 49ers behind 21 points from Peter Anderer.

NOV. 16, 2001, CHARLOTTE WINS 65-51
Charlotte wins 2001-02 opener.

DEC. 9, 2000, CHARLOTTE WINS 69-53
Win gives 49ers 6-1 start to season, which ends with NCAA trip.

DEC. 1, 1999, CHARLOTTE WINS 74-55
Charlotte opens game with 14-0 run and cruises to victory.

DEC. 8, 1998, CHARLOTTE WINS 71-62
Coach Bobby Lutz earns his first win in the series.

DEC. 10, 1997, CHARLOTTE WINS 70-55
Melvin Watkins finishes 2-0 against Davidson in his only two seasons as head coach.