August 26, 2014

Community brings together America’s new Cinderella: The Dayton Flyers


I was pleasantly surprised when Jacob asked me to write a post for this site. It’s not everyday a Cincinnati sports fan gets to spout on a Cleveland sports site, but today is neither about Cleveland nor Cincinnati. No, we must put our differences aside for this moment.

Today is a celebration of Cinderella. Today, we celebrate THE University of Dayton.

I have what could be called a typical UD history. My grandfather went to Dayton in the 1950s, splitting time between playing club baseball with several members of the great Flyer basketball teams of the ‘50s and serving his country during the Korean War. All five of his children then went to Dayton, although a couple didn’t graduate from UD — it’s a bit of an underrated party school. I’m a third-generation Flyer, which isn’t all that unique at UD, but that doesn’t make me or any other alumnus less proud of what’s happening with the Flyers right now because UD has spent the last 24 years, since their 1990 NCAA tournament bid, fighting the clutches of mediocrity.

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No more-deserving Cinderella than the lovable Dayton Flyers

devin oliver dayton

Why not Dayton? This was the question asked for decades by the renowned Flyer Faithful. While the once-storied program consistently disappointed, mid-major after mid-major blasted through the gates of the NCAA tournament’s first weekend into the hearts of the nation.

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A son, a son and The Cathedral

TD photo 4

New memories made where old ones will live forever. A trip back to the ‘old stomping grounds’ becomes a building block for the future.

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Final Four: Enter WFNY’s NCAA Tournament Challenge

We had hoped of getting this to the masses earlier this week, but better late than never.


The details are as follows:

  1. You’ll want to go here — Yahoo! Sports Tournament Pick’em
  2. If there are issues, the group number is 173147; the password is wfny
  3. Winner will get a slew of WFNY swag thrown their way. We have shirts, stickers, stuff…we’ll take care of you. We always do.
  4. Use your commenter handle where appropriate — it’s always nice to relate.
  5. Tell your friends. The more the merrier!

Good luck, kids. Go Buckeyes.

The Diff: NCAA tournament bracket math

Hope you had fun reading through an abbreviated version of my thesis research on baseball attendance last week. I could talk about projected Cleveland Indians attendance numbers all day, especially with an Akron Aeros tie-in. Now, this week, we’re heading over to college basketball.

The Diff

March means madness. It’s one of the most fun sports times of the year. I’m personally a huge basketball fan, but when it’s do-or-die in the NCAA tournament, it’s perfect for any fan. But yet, I have an issue with the way bracket predictions are portrayed in the media. So I’ll cover that today. And closest to home here in Northeast Ohio, we have the Akron Zips. In order to follow up on my Sunday article about their success, I’ll have a more thorough look at their NCAA odds today. Hope you enjoy. [Read more...]

Despite loss, Akron Zips still an NCAA tournament threat

keith dambrotAll good things must come to an end eventually. And for the Mid-American Conference’s Akron Zips, that had to mean its 19-game winning streak, the longest of the 2012-13 college basketball season.

The run ended Saturday night at Buffalo, a tough setting in the past for Keith Dambrot’s teams. The Bulls built an early lead and expanded it in the second half, but unlike every game since Dec. 25, there was no miraculous last-minute run for 23-5 UA. The final scoreboard read 81-67 for the Bulls.

For many, the loss was half-disappointing and half-celebration-worthy. Obviously, the streak elevated the national stature of the Zips. They were ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll last week, the first ranked team in school history. Nearly every major sports outlet was writing about them too — from Sporting News to the front page of USA Today even to ESPN’s Dickie V.

But in a way, the loss was cleansing. There is now no more pressure. The unsung team gets a completely clean slate. And all that matters again are those NCAA tournament hopes. [Read more...]

Big Ten Basketball – The Bizarro World

Tyler GriffeyIn case you have been all football all the time and have not paid the least bit of attention to what is going on in College Basketball so far, your old friend and College Hoops Honk is here to get you up to speed with the best conference in America.

My man @ClevTA (a must-follow on Twitter) said it best last night – Big Ten Basketball is the bizarro Big Ten Football right now. We watched all fall as mediocre team after mediocre team played boring, uninspiring football. Yes, your Ohio State Buckeyes came out undefeated under Urban Meyer, but even the most ardent OSU supporter would tell you this was far from a National Title type team. The next best thing in the league was probably either a Michigan team that was throttled by Alabama, scored nine points against a Nebraska team that allowed 70 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and needed a miracle bomb with less than a minute to go to force OT with Northwestern at home. An argument could be made for four loss Penn State as well, but two of those losses were at home to Ohio (not Ohio State, Ohio) and a bad Virginia team.

The bottom line – in the glorious history of the Big Ten conference, 2012 was as bad of a season as the league has ever had. [Read more...]

Cleveland State Preview: Season Tips Off With Waters Getting A Seven-Year Extension

Since the salad days of Kevin Mackey, the “Run and Stun,” and Ken “The Mouse ” McFadden, there were some seriously lean times for the Cleveland State Men’s College Basketball team. From Mike Boyd to the disastrous Rollie Massimino hire to Mike Garland, the program was headed in the wrong direction.

Enter Gary Waters.

The former head coach at Kent State came back to Ohio after a failed stint at Rutgers, never an easy place to win in the loaded Big East. Waters arrived in Cleveland in 2006 with a plan to get the Vikings back to the top of the Horizon League and he has done just that. He enters his seventh season piloting the Vikes, where he has gone 122-82. Most importantly, Waters has taken CSU to four postseason appearances, including the school’s second NCAA Tournament bid where they upset fourth-seeded Wake Forest in the first round.

All of this has added up to Waters getting extended by the school late yesterday for seven more years. [Read more...]

Buckeyes ranked fourth in pre-season AP poll

For the second straight season The Ohio State men’s basketball team enters the year ranked in the Associated Press top five. The Buckeyes start the season ranked fourth, matching their ranking in the pre-season coaches’ poll.

The top five in the AP poll looks identical to the rankings as voted on by the coaches. Indiana is the national favorite, collecting 43 of 65 first place votes. Bluegrass rivals Louisville and Kentucky rank second and third respectively, with Ohio State and Michigan rounding out the top five.

Michigan State (14) and Wisconsin (23) give the Big Ten five teams in the top 25, tops for any conference in the country.

[Related: Ohio State picked 3rd in Big Ten; Craft and Thomas honored]

Ohio State picked 3rd in Big Ten; Craft and Thomas honored

The Ohio State men’s basketball team was picked by conference media to finish third in the Big Ten
pre-season rankings. The rankings were announced prior to the Big Ten’s media day, with Indiana being chosen as the conference favorite and Michigan picked as runners-up.

The Buckeyes, ranked fourth in the national coaches’ poll, return three starters including pre-season
all-conference selections Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas.

Craft and Thomas are joined by Cody Zeller (Indiana), Trey Burke (Michigan), and Tim Frazier (Penn State) on the Pre-Season All-Big Ten team.

The Buckeyes tip off their season on November 9th against Marquette. The game will be played in Charleston, SC aboard the USS Yorktown as part of this year’s Carrier Classic.

Preview: Ohio State and Syracuse for a trip to the Final Four

Deshaun Thomas can score on anybody, but he may not necessarily be able to score on everybody. What I mean by that is, he won’t be able to beat that Jim Boheim Zone Defense by himself tonight, but I do expect him to be the main reason why it gets all blown up.

As opposed to traditional zone busting, which usually comes with the three ball first, I really feel like Tank Thomas and Jared Sullinger can exploit the Fab Melo-less frontline of Syracuse and create shots all over the floor for Aaron Craft and William Buford specifically.  Inside out, as opposed to outside in, or something like that. Tank and Sully will need to continue to play off one and other like they have throughout this tournament in order to do so however.

Against this zone defense particularly, Craft will need to get the ball into Thomas at the high post to start the offense. From there, Thomas and Sullinger will need to go to work. Once the double teams come they’ll need to find scorers, if it doesn’t, they need to finish strong at the rim. Craft and Buford can’t get caught watching those guys work in there though either, they have to be ready to catch and shoot when that ball comes back out. They’ll need to get the shooting performance that they each had last round against Cincy out of their heads from the jump though, and come out tonight ready to be the scoring threats they can be. If Sully and Tank keep playing like they have been, Craft and Buford will be wide open, and I expect them to capitalize. [Read more...]

2012 WFNY Bracket Contest – First Winner Chosen!

I told you guys that I would be giving out prizes for joining our March Madness bracket contest. Well, today’s winner has been chosen pretty randomly.

Before I name the winner, let me thank all 337 of you who decided to join up. I’ll even thank the few of you who joined and then forgot to fill out a bracket. I am humbled that so many people decided to join up to try and win free stuff from WFNY.

So, how did the first winner get chosen? The number 13 is my favorite number. There were 9 people who are currently in 13th place.

Contestant Chosen Winner
13 1 Round and Done Kentucky
13 Scrapin’ Bottom Kentucky
13 The Ostrich Farm North Carolina
13 Hangin’ with DJ Cooper North Carolina
13 mouse Michigan St.
13 Urine Trouble Michigan St.
13 Bulldogs 3 Duke
13 Shock and Audit Kentucky
13 5KMD Kentucky


So, how did I choose the winner after that? [Read more...]

TD’s Tuesday NCAA Tournament Thoughts

I know baseball is right around the corner, the Cavs are in full swing (as you know, I’m NBA Free), and the Browns draft and QB situation are on the top of everybody’s mind these days, but I am all in for the NCAA Tournament right now. Everything else gets put on hold during these next three weeks for me. This is the greatest event in all of sports, bar none. You can have the Super Bowl or the World Series or the NBA Finals; I will take the NCAA Tournament all day long.

With the “First Four” just one day away in Dayton, Ohio, I know you are all getting your brackets ready and your picks in. Readers of my work know that I am a Kansas grad and a die-hard supporter of the program and the sport in general. My wife likes to say I watch more college basketball than any normal human being with two kids should. Its probably true. But hey, this is me. We’ve been together now for half of our lives (18 years) and these are behaviors that have been embedded in her by me over the years (dating advice 101 – get those things right out there in the open and don’t hide them from a new girlfriend. It will only benefit you later). [Read more...]

The “Real” Ohio Gets Michigan, Bucks Stay East, Akron/CSU Get NIT Invites

Ah, we have arrived at March Madness. It is my favorite time of year. Now the country’s eyes are focused on a sport I follow intently all year long. I have a lot of friends that are of the “call me in March” group who love to parachute in for the tournament, but that is all right with me. Come one, come all, to the best event in all of sports.

Locally, we have lots to look forward to and to watch, starting as early as Tuesday night:

Ohio State – The Buckeyes, coming off a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten finals, look to have regained some of their mojo over the past three weeks. The selection committee placed them as the #2 seed in the East Region, where Syracuse sits on top. Thursday in Pittsburgh, OSU will face 15th seeded Loyola (MD), winners of the MAAC Tournament. The thing they are best known for is their media darling coach Jimmy Patsos, who you will hear about 100 times this week as the “former bartender turned coach.” He was one of Gary Williams’s top assistants at Maryland for years before finally getting the gig at Loyola eight years ago. [Read more...]

Time of Yahoo! Syracuse Report Brings Back Bad Memories For This Tribe Fan

Yesterday afternoon, the great investigative reporting crew over at Yahoo! Sports dropped another bomb on a college sports program. Charles Robinson, of the Miami Football program takedown fame, and Pat Forde, a longtime veteran reporter who is amongst the top of his profession, published a story on the Syracuse Basketball program and its decade of ignoring failed drug tests. The gist of the report from Yahoo!:

Over the course of a three-month investigation, four sources with intimate knowledge of the Syracuse men’s basketball program told Yahoo! Sports at least 10 players since 2001 have tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances. The sources said all 10 of those players were allowed to practice and play at times when they should have been suspended by the athletic department, including instances when some players may not have known of their own ineligibility. The four sources said Syracuse violated its drug policy in at least two areas: failing to properly count positive tests; and playing ineligible players after they should have been subject to suspension.

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CSU Weekend Wrapup: Vikes Sweep Wisconsin Schools and Stay Atop Horizon League

It was a huge weekend for the Cleveland State Vikings basketball team. They entered Friday night’s home tilt with Green Bay in a three-way tie for the Horizon League lead with Valparaiso and the team they would be facing Sunday, Milwaukee. A sweep of the Wisconsin schools would be of the utmost importance, especially at home, considering the Vikings have already lost an in-conference home game against the upstart Youngstown State Penguins.

Before the first place showdown with the Panthers, CSU had to make sure they didn’t overlook Green Bay on Friday.

They didn’t.

In front of a National TV audience on ESPNU for the second straight week, the Vikings controlled the game and took down the fighting Phoenix 78-68. The first six minutes were a back and forth struggle, but after back to back threes by Senior Tre Harmon, the Vikings never looked back. They led by six at the half. [Read more...]

TD’s Five For Friday: Top College Hoops Games of the Weekend and Players to Watch

The weekend is upon us, and for most of the country, its the first big weekend of conference play. This is where the men separate themselves from the boys. The games get bigger, as do the stakes in terms of NCAA Tournament seedings and for the individual players themselves. The NBA scouts are watching. Teams such as our own Cleveland Cavaliers will be viewing these games with a close eye. So let us take a look at the top five matchups of the weekend alnong with the players to watch for in these games. Just a warning, its not a great slate this weekend….p.s. I love this old photo of the 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

#20 Marquette (12-3) at #1 Syracuse (16-0), 4 PM, ESPN3
The #1 team in the country has looked loaded thus far. This may be the deepest team that Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim has ever had in his 30-plus years as coach. The way they run up and down the floor is a beauty to watch. Its an unselfish group without a true “star” player. They are a solid group one through 10.

In terms of draft picks, an interesting guy to keep your eye on is their Sophomore Center Fab Melo. Had the 7-foot Melo come straight to the NBA, someone would have taken him in the lottery on size alone. Instead he went to Syracuse and spent his Freshman year in Boeheim’s doghouse. This season, he has looked terrific. He lost weight and has been a real presence, especially on the defensive end. Though he is still a project, he’s a late first/early second round candidate. But you cant teach size and he is rapidly improving. [Read more...]

TD’s Five For Friday: College Hoops Weekend Games To Watch

It’s Friday. The weekend is upon us. I for one cannot wait to hunker down for a solid weekend of College Basketball. The College Football slate has been rendered meaningless, so its time to get your self into some hoops.

OK Cavs fans. I know you are looking for your Basketball fix while awaiting the start of the NBA season. With your pro team headed for another losing season, you need to acclimate yourself with the top prospects in the college game, because one of them will be wearing the Wine and Gold next season.

Scott got you all warmed up yesterday with his  NBA Draft big board, so today I thought I’d take you through some of the best games of the weekend and some of the players you should watch for. It all starts tonight. [Read more...]

Ohio State and Might Just Have Been the First Domino

There is no gloating to be done by Ohio State fans today.  Alabama might be in trouble for having players involved with a memorabilia scandal and now the University of Miami potentially in big trouble with a rogue Ponzi scheming booster, but these two situations – and any others that might arise – don’t absolve anyone or anything at Ohio State.  Sure, it might add some perspective to the things Ohio State and its players were involved with, but it will hopefully be good for everyone in the end.  Ohio State fans (this one included) largely sounded like babies when they said, “Oh come on!  You know everyone is doing exactly the same stuff.  The NCAA is a broken system.”  That’s the pain of being the first domino to fall.

Some will want to point at everyone else and say how much worse someone else’s violations were, but that ignores the larger point.  The NCAA has a system where the goals and benefits are so apparently misaligned that rule-breaking has become the norm, not the exception.  You can blame the players.  You can blame the boosters.  You can blame the NCAA and the schools.  At the end of it all, if this many big programs can’t figure out how to create an environment where players aren’t doing the wrong things, then it is the whole system. [Read more...]

WFNY Bracket Challenge – Winning

Charlie Sheen is in town tonight and some people are pretending like this whole deal wasn’t played out two days after it started. Similarly, that championship game was played out about two minutes in. When a buzzer-beating three pointer to end the first half represents 15% of your previous point total, you know the game is an absolute abhorrent snoozer.  But, as bad as the game was, it served its true purposes. It has allowed WFNY to give out a couple of prizes to the best pickers/guessers in our Yahoo! bracket competition.  Here is your final top ten.

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