Some games that caught this Hoopscribe's eye of late, in no particular order of importance ...
- Siena men win at Florida Atlantic.
The interest goes beyond a team that uses just six players (Siena) beating an expected contender from the Sun Belt Conference, on FAU's home court for two reasons.
First, FAU coach Mike Jarvis did a Rex Ryan imitation before the game, getting quoted saying this: “I think we should get a win,” Jarvis said Tuesday to Owl Access, a website which covers Florida Atlantic. “I think we should beat Siena at home. So it’s very important that we get a win. You should beat the teams you are supposed to beat. We are suppose to beat Siena at home. We’re a better team than they are.”
Jarvis has never been afraid to speak his mind, a inclination this scribe has been familiar with back into the mid-1980's when he coached at Boston University and the Terriers and Siena both were members of the old North Atlantic Conference.
To his credit, Jarvis had this to say after Siena's victory: "We were the team that played like it only had six players."
Secondly, Siena had two national-championship ring wearers in its locker room before the contest..
Coaching great Rollie Massimino spoke to the team before Wednesday's game in Boca Raton, Fla. Massimino, the head coach of Villanova's 1985 national championship, is now the head coach at Northwood Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“(We) were very lucky to have Rollie Massimino stop by,” Tyler Simms, Siena’s director of basketball operations, said on Twitter. “The legendary coach gave a great speech."
Massimino, 77, is in his fifth season at Northwood, an NAIA school. He has 633 career victories at five schools.
The other ring-wearer is current Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro, who served as Massimino’s assistant at Villanova for eight seasons, including that memorable 1985 title run, and for seven more at Cleveland State. Buonaguro prepared the scouting report for the 1985 championship game in which Villanova upset Georgetown.
- Iona Men Lose To Hofstra
It's no shame to lose. The 10-3 Gaels had already lost twice previously, to Purdue of the Big 10 and to 9-3 Marshall (whose losses include ones to Ohio State and Syracuse).
But, Iona's 83-75 setback at Hofstra on Thursday night was a little bit of a stunner. Iona entered the game with a 9-2 record while Hofstra came in with a 5-7 mark.
The Gaels, though, committed an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers in the game, after averaging just 14.4 miscues per outing entering the contest.
Said Iona's senior forward Mike Glover (20 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks): "I think we ad zero perent effort. we played worse than what the score said.
"We have to do a better job of not listening to what's being said about us by (the media)," said Iona's junior guard Momo Jones. "We have to understand that with glitz and glamour comes big stages and publiity that people may not have had before. We have to do a better job of handling that."
Said Iona coach Tim Cluess: "It looked like it meant more to them (Hofstra)."
- Rider Women Defeat Mount St. Mary's, 53-44
The Broncs are on a five-game winning streak as they end non-conference play.
The significance? The team only won five games, total, for all of the 2010-11 season. Its current 8-3 record accounts for the program's best start since the 1982-83 season.
Rider, which has never finished with an above-.500 overall record since joining the MAAC in 1997, is certainly the rags-to-riches, feel-good story of women's basketball in the conference so far this season.
- Marist Women Lose to Kansas State, 57-56
No shame here, either, in losing to a now 9-3 opponent from the Big 12 conference.
But, Thursday's results included losses by the two teams (Iona men and Marist women) picked as runaway preseason choices to dominate conference play this season.
The loss dropped Marist to a 5-6 overall record, its first sub-.500 mark this late since the 2002-03 season.
The loss was the second straight for the Red Foxes, who dropped a two-point decision to Hofstra in its previous contest.
“We’re kind of tired of being close,” Giorgis said, whose team arguably played the most-difficult non-conference schedule (as usual) of any conference women's team. “We’re not last year’s team, but we’re a good team and we can play with a lot of people. But playing with a lot of people and beating people are two different things. The kids were frustrated, because moral victories don’t do much for you. Everybody has something they need to work on.
“This one, more than the others, bothered them. It’s at home and you have a chance to beat a very good basketball team.”