Sunday, August 28, 2011

News & Notes From Rider Men's Hoops

Here are a couple of interesting items related to Rider men's basketball, discovere recently and written about by your hoopscribe while weatering the upstate New York version of Tropical Storm Irene.


Fans of the Rider men's basketball team, no doubt, will be stocking up on strong coffee for the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 15.

That's the day Bronc fans can wake up to basketball as Rider will host rexel for a 6 a.m. game that will be televised nationally on ESPN, part of the sports network's 4th annual Tip-Off Marathon for college hoops.

Game coverage begins at midnight an, in all, the network will televise 17 total games non-stop over 25 hours.

It's the second time MAAC teams have been featured, and the second time a conference squad will have the honor of playing in the early morning eye-opener. In 2009, Saint Peter's hosted Monmouth in the 6 a.m. slot. Also that year, Niagara got a little extra sleep when it played in an 8 a.m. event against Drexel. That same year Siena was also part of the marathon schedule, hosting Northeastern in a noon contest.

"The 6 a.m. ESPN game with Drexel is going to be a lot of fun," said Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey, in a recent press release issued through his school's sports information office. "It seems everyone on campus is looking forward to the game. This is going to be a strong Drexel team so we will need our student body and fans to set the alarm clocks and come out and support us."

School officials indicate that planning for a variety of events to involve students is already underway, probably starting about 2 a.m. and will include music, contests, prizes and giveaways.


Jon Rothstein, who does work covering college and professional basketball for the MSG network, recently did a blog item about five coaches he perceived as being underrated at the college level.

Rider's Tommy Dempsey came in as one of the five, along with Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt, Fran Dunphy of Temple, Randy Bennett of St. Mary's and Blaine Taylor of Old Dominion.

Rothstein points out that Dempsey probably isn't underrated by those who closely follow Rider's program and the MAAC.

And, for sure, the Broncs' coach isn't underrated by this hoopscribe.

Yours truly made that mistake last year, picking the Broncs to finish eighth in the 2010-11 conference standings.

And, then, Dempsey directed Rider to a 13-5 MAAC record that was good for a share of second place.

We now know better than to underestimate Dempsey's coaching ability, and shoul have known even before that,

Now entering his seventh season as Rider's hea coach, Dempsey's teams have been to three national post-season tournament (once to the CBI, twice to the CIT). Over the past four years Rider's 82 total victories is the best four-year total in the program's history.

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