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Posts Tagged ‘Sun Belt Conference.’

LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL: Tonight at 7:30 pm, Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan on ESPN

(courtesy of Bowl Game)

(photo by Ciccone39, Fuzzy510 via wikipedia commons)

The bowl season continues tonight on ESPN, as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl has a 7:30 pm start at Ford Field in Detroit.

With a $1.5 million payout, Western Kentucky (7-5) plays local favorite, Central Michigan (6-6).

Three years ago, the Hilltoppers were 0-12 and in 2011, they finished at 7-5 but did receive a bowl invitation.

In 2012, despite a 2-4 stretch run, Western Kentucky found out that its 7-5 record was good enough this time around, but they had to wait until the final hours and minutes on December 2 that they’d be playing in the Motor City.

The Hilltoppers are making their first bowl appearance as an FBS member.

Central Michigan is making its fifth bowl appearance in the last seven years and first since 2009.

(courtesy of WKU)

(courtesy CMU)

The Hilltoppers are led on offense by Antonio Andrews with 1,609 rushing yards and have one of the top tight ends in the country in Jack Doyle who is 6’6, 255 pounds. He has caught 47 balls for 530 yards.

Western Kentucky has the best defense in the Sun Belt Conference, allowing 342.8 ypg and 136.6 on the ground.

The Chippewas of Central Michigan started the season at 2-5 in the Mid-American Conference but was able to get bowl eligible by winning its final three games against Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Massachusetts.

CMU has a very porous defense allowing 441.2 yards per game and 197 on the ground.

But the Chippewas have a deep and talented receiving corps with Titus Davis, Andrew Flory, Courtney Williams and Cody Wilson. At running back, they have Zurlon Tipton with 1,391 yards and 19 TD’s, QB Ryan Radcliff who threw for 20 TD’s and 2,905 yards.

Thomas fired by Florida International University after three seasons

 

Isiah Thomas coaching Knicks (2007 photo by Keith Allison via wikipedia commons)

Florida International University is located in Miami, Florida.

The school is a Mid-major playing in the Sun Belt Conference of NCAA Division I. The enrollment is 47,966 students.

Three years ago the athletics department came up with the idea of bringing in a name basketball coach who could lure “big-time talent to the tropical paradise of South Florida. They felt they could win.

Entering the picture was former NBA star and coach Isiah Thomas to take a risk with an unknown program.

Thomas signed a five-year deal with the school to take the job, accepting nothing in base salary for his first season but agreeing to receive almost half of any gross revenues from ticket sales, commissions collected on food and beverage concessions and sponsorships.

Three years into the agreement, FIU did not see the fruits of his labor enough to reward the final two years of his contract.

The basketball program never was able to generate the enthusiasm that the school administration and Thomas had hoped. The Panthers averaged 1,071 fans at home this season.

One of the problems is that FIU tried to schedule games at home when the NBA’s Miami Heat were on the road and sometimes that didn’t work out because game dates and times have to be mutually agreed upon by both schools and the league it plays in.

Other factors that hurt FIU, is that the University of Miami draws huge crowds and has a winning team plus, Miami being a paradise city as mentioned before, there is the beach, surfing and volleyball for people to engage in.

(courtesy of Florida International University athletics)

The Panthers schedule was tough as well playing George Mason, Oral Roberts, Maryland, Dayton, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama and Western Kentucky.

Thomas, the Basketball Hall of Fame player, was fired last Friday with a record of 26-55. His teams never won more than 11 games in a season.

FIU has never been a basketball power. The school’s last winning season was 1999-2000, and its winning percentage of .315 since that period of time is one of the worst in college basketball, 329th out of 344 Division I men’s programs, according to STATS LLC.

 

Info compiled from Radio, TV, Florida International, Internet reports

 

FIRST FOUR, Game 1 at Dayton: W. Kentucky 59 Miss. Valley State 58

 

President Obama & Prime Minister Cameron in attendance (megasportsnews.com)

(courtesy of Western Kentucky athletics via wikipedia commons)

DAYTON, OHIO — With President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron in attendance, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, 59-58 in the first game of the 74th NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I Championship.

The Delta Devils led by as many as 16 points, (53-37) in the second half.

The Hilltoppers went on a 22-5 run in the last five minutes to wins its 19th tournament game.

The 15-point deficit by the Hilltoppers with 5 minutes to go was the biggest in that time frame. Before that, the deficit was Illinois coming back to beat Missouri in the 2005 Elite Eight.

T.J. Ford and Derrick Gordon led Western Kentucky with 11 points each. While George Fant and Gordon led the way on the boards with 11 each.

The Hilltoppers are in their 22nd NCAA and have a record of 19-22. Their last win coming in 2009.

Head coach Ray Harper, who took over in the middle of the season, is now 11-7.

Western Kentucky, champions of the Sun Belt Conference, are 16-18 on the season. The only team in the tourney with a losing record.

Mississippi Valley State ends the season at 21-13. They earned their way into the tournament by winning the fifth Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament in their history.

They drop to 0-5 in the NCAA tournament.

The Delta Devils were led by Kevin Burwell with 20 points, William Pugh with 11 and Cor-J Cox with 10.

The Delta Devils were outrebounded 60-32 in the game.

Their head coach is Sean Woods, who played at Kentucky who graduated in 1992. He is one of college basketball’s “Unforgettables” from the Kentucky team which lost to Duke in the 1992 East Regional Final.

The game was the 88th NCAA Championship game hosted by UD Arena, spanning 33 years (1970-2012). The home of the Dayton Flyers became the most-used site in the NCAA Tournament’s history last year while hosting the First Four. UD Arena passed Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium which 83 games from 1940-1964.

 

Western Kentucky fires McDonald due to weird play, declining attendance & program’s lack of progress

 

Ken McDonald (courtesy of Western Kentucky athletics)

Most media reports out of the Western Kentucky city of Bowling Green stated that head basketball coach Ken McDonald was fired recently due to a weird play at the end of an overtime loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, 72-70 when the Ragin’ Cajuns scored with six players on the court and the Hilltoppers coach should’ve but did not notice.

But athletic director Ross Bjork said the team is struggling at 5-11, needs a “new voice”, attendance is declining and the respect has to be restored.

He has appointed assistant coach Ray Harper as the interim coach the rest of the season.

The Sun Belt Conference did confirm that the Ragin’ Cajuns did use six players, but the score stands.

McDonald, who is 41, leaves with a three-year record of 67-49.

 

Info compiled from Radio, TV & Western Kentucky news

2010 LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL: Florida International beats Toledo, 34-32

(courtesy of Little Caesars Pizza Bowl via Wikipedia Commons)

Jack Griffin’s 34-yard field goal on the final play of the game gave Florida International a stunning, come-from-behind win over the Toledo Rockets, 34-32 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field.

The upstart Golden Panthers, playing in their first bowl game, faced fourth-and-17 on their final drive before picking up the first down on a hook-and-lateral to T.Y. Hilton.

Seconds later, Wes Carroll found Greg Ellingson across the middle of the field to the Toledo 22-yard line, setting up the final kick for FIU who finishes up 7-6.

The Rockets, who were the favorites and had most of the crowd at Ford Field rooting for them because Toledo, Ohio is just 46 miles south of Detroit, finishes the season at 8-5.

Toledo had taken the lead with 1:14 remaining on a touchdown run by Terrance Owens and a two-point conversion pass to Eric Page.

The two teams aren’t strangers. The Panthers beat the Rockets 35-16 in 2008. Toledo won 41-31 at FIU Stadium in 2009.

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL PANTHERS GAME NOTES

* FIU started the season at 0-4, losing on the road at Texas A&M, Maryland and Pittsburgh in exchange for huge paydays to help the program.

* This was their first bowl game.

* FIU had a 6-2 record in the Sun Belt Conference and made it to the postseason in the ninth season in the history of the program and its sixth year in the Football Subdivision level.

* The Panthers loss in their season finale to Middle Tennessee State cost them sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt.

* FIU has an explosive all-around player in junior T.Y. Hilton with 56 receptions for 816 yards and four touchdowns. As a running back from scrimmage, he has 26 carries for 278 yards with four TD’s.

* QB Wesley Carroll has completed 61.8% of his passes, but he takes too many risks throwing 13 interceptions compared to 15 interceptions.

TOLEDO ROCKETS GAME NOTES

* Made its first postseason appearance since 2005.

* Freshman QB Terrance Owens took over after Austin Dantin went down after the ninth game with a partially separated shoulder on October 30. Owens ends the season at 2-2 as the starter.

* The Rockets get their spark from sophomore wide receiver Eric Page, who won All-Mid-American Conference honors as a receiver and kick returner. Page is 10th in the nation in all-purpose yardage (158.8). He is fifth in the nation with 94 receptions and is the only player in the Football Subdivision this season with three kickoff returns for a touchdown. He has also thrown for three scores.

* LB Archie Donald is the first Toledo player to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive years. Donald tied for the MAC lead in tackles with 134 and had three interceptions.

* RB Adonis Thomas is second in the Mid-American Conference with 905 rushing yards, averaging 6 yards a carry, and had 29 receptions.


compiled from Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Florida International & Toledo athletics news

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