Friday, December 29, 2006

OU whips SMU 69-42

Well, that wasn't much fun. At least the DMN sent Katie Papadapoulous to cover the game.

All this game proves is that the men's basketball team is that this team isn't going to have some kind of miracle season. Nor should one have been expected. This is still the team from last year minus its best player. The coaching is better, for sure, but the talent isn't there to compete night in and night out. I said before the season started that .500 was the best anybody could reasonably expect. SMU is better than that and may very well be the team nobody in Conference USA wants to play come conference tournament time. That in itself will be a successful season.

Listening to Doherty, however, reveals that he would punch me in the face for saying that.

"We got to learn from this," Doherty said. "I really don't care about Saturday's game [against North Carolina A&T]. I care about finding a toughness in our team. If that means running the heck out of them in practice tomorrow, that's what I'll do. We've got to be tougher or otherwise we're just pretending to be a good team."

I don't envy the players today, but I envy where I think Doherty is going to take them eventually.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Post-Christmas and SMU @ OU

Well, I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Me? Mine had its usual ups and downs. Santa gave great gifts. I got great bills. For Christmas presents I received, there is this ongoing problem. I ask for certain items and instead of getting those items, I get a "variation on theme." For example, imagine walking into a restaurant and ordering fried chicken. The waiter brings out pecan crusted seabass. See, it isn't fried chicken, but it was pan-fried and it does have a crust, but while it isn't chicken, it is "white" meat. Apply that to Christmas gifts: I asked for an FM modulator for my ipod so I can listen to it through my car stereo; I received a speaker so I can listen to my ipod at home through it rather than through my home stereo. This has gone on for years with my wife and for the life of me, I can't figure out how to correct it. I have tried circling items in catalogs, I have tried writing down model numbers; I have even told her where to buy something for the cheapest price.

Anyway, Matt Doherty had a merry Christmas. SMU beat TCU on a buzzer-beater. And Santa brought this:

Now, SMU faces OU in one of its toughest nonconference games of the season. I think Jeff Capel is a good coach and I think OU is a good team. I won't be surprised if OU goes to the NCAA tournament. I remember remarking that I thought Capel was an inspired hire by OU. Sure, he is young and inexperienced, but by all accounts he has a bright future and good basketball mind. It is nice to see a major athletic program willing to do something other than hire the safest choice: a coach from a lower major program.

An SMU win will likely give SMU some well-deserved regional and national attention. However, a win is unlikely. SMU has not played a lot of great teams and as I mentioned after the TCU game, OU blew the doors off TCU earlier this year. This game will be interesting to watch. Undoubtedly, Doherty has a gameplan for winning this game, rather than just keeping it close.

Oh, and TCU's Neil Doherty thinks SMU-TCU basketball can be a great rivalry. He just wishes it could be played later in the year when the students were on campus. I am sure it can eb a great rivalry, too. Too bad TCU whizzed its chance to play SMU twice a year in conference when it bolted for the Mountain West. And not like it matters, Neil Doherty isn't likely to get too many more chances to coach again SMU, anyway. After talking to my TCU and Fort Worth friends, the consensus at TCU is that nobody goes to the games and nobody cares and the basketball team stinks.

Friday, December 22, 2006

And there will be much rejoicing (and fist-pumping)

In the above picture, SMU's Donatas Rackauskas crushes TCU's dreams like a bug. Notice you can actually see the moment when the TCU' player's heart breaks.

DMN version.

Star Telegram version.

Let's be honest, Dez Willingham's 3-pointer at the buzzer was a gift from Santa.

SMU played up and down all night, trailing by as much as nine in the first half and leading by as much as eight in the second. Ike Ofoegbu was in foul trouble much of the night but was subbed in and out effectively. I liked the way Matt Doherty stuck with Rack on the inbounds play despite two turnovers at the end. It shows confidence in the player.

This was basketball win number 100 over TCU. I like that. Symmetry. This was a win SMU needed to keep momentum in the metroplex. I still say SMU is struggling for relevancy in this town and beating the cross town rival is a good way to establish itself as the dominant basketball team within a 100 mile radius.

Matt Doherty, you are my hero. Now go beat Oklahoma. Of course, OU already beat TCU 63-35. Eeeeee.

Wow, three basketball entries in a row.

When Baylor fans come to Ford Stadium in 2011 and 2013, they can also check out the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

SMU signed Rock Dennis, a defensive back from Garden City Community College. The more I hear about this kid, the more impressed I am; he sounds like a true athlete. I don't know if he will start, but at a minimum, he will provide needed depth for a weak secondary. Still, most SMU football fans were hoping for more.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


It's D'oh Time!

Coaches share Court Again as SMU Plays TCU

Shows you what I know. I was completely oblivious to the fact that both TCU's Daughetery and SMU's Doherty were assistants under Roy Williams at Kansas at the same time. I mean, I knew TCU got Daugherty from Kansas and I knew Doherty had been an assistant at Kansas before getting the Notre Dame head coaching job, I just never put the two together. I guess it isn't surprising to me that this is the "story" leading up to the game.

To me, the real story is the slide TCU basketball has been on the past few seasons, despite landing a premier assistant and building a nice practice barn, err, facility. Compare that to SMU, which is also building a practice facility and has hired a new coach that has reinvigorated the program. A friend of mine that went to TCU was lamenting the complete lack of interest in the TCU basketball program these days. Asked if he was going tonight, he said he had absolutely no interest.

Best thing in the Star Telegram is a chart listing the highlights for both coaches. Among the list, "Notable award: Doherty: Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 2001; Daugherty:'s Best-Dressed Coach in 2004." Well, there you have it.

Wow, two basketball posts in two days. I may have to change the name of the blog.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Upgrading the blog to see if it corrects the "issues" I am having. It will take me some time to get the colors and the header back.

George Lynch

Matt Doherty added George Lynch to his staff as "administrative assistant/graduate manager."

Administrative assistant?

"Hey, George. I know you were the twelfth overall pick by the Lakers in 1993, but will you make a copy and fax this? Great. Thaaanks."

In other basketball news, the Dallas Morning News has the following uncomfortable headline for the SMU women's basketball team's victory over Detroit in Mexico: "SMU Women have good time in Cancun." Apparently, they went wild.

Finally, tomorrow is the SMU-TCU men's basketball game in Fort Worth. TCU is bad but probably better than a lot of teams SMU has beaten to date. In my opinion, this is an important game for SMU and for Matt Doherty. After all, it is the rivalry. SMU coaches have in the past lost games that really matter to the SMU fan. This will be an important game to determine if Doherty "gets it." I think he does; everything we have seen to date says as much.

I hate blogger

I had a nice little post and it just got lost.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Orsini interview on

I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere. Orsini sits down in his office and talks about the state of the athletic department. It is a long interview, but worth watching.

Mustang Momentum

Apparently, we took a step back in volleyball. Who new?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Louisiana Tech hires Derek Dooley

I only post this because it is interesting. Former WAC conference-mate Louisiana Tech hired Miami Dolphins Tight End Coach Derek Dooley to be its new head coach. Derek Dooley coached Wide Receivers at SMU under Cavan from 1997 to 1999.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Doherty Pub

From CNNSI's Seth Davis:

Immediate Impact
Ten first-year coaches who are already making mark

9. Matt Doherty, SMU
Previous school: Florida Atlantic
Replaced: Jimmy Tubbs
SMU's record last season: 13-16
Current record: 6-1

This program hasn't been heard from since Dave Bliss was coaching there back in the early 1980's, but many people believe there is potential for growth at SMU, mostly because of its location in Dallas. Doherty knows how to schedule easy wins (one came against Texas College, a non-Division I school), but SMU did play Florida State close before losing in Tallahassee. The Mustangs also have a five-point home win over a good Dayton team to their credit.

Also on the list is Mike Davis at UAB (#5).

Thoughts on the Practice Facility and Dodge

Orsini Blog

SMU Release

Dallas Morning News

SMU broke ground on a new practice facility on Friday. The facility will honestly be as good as any facility in the country. Add to that new lights, a new scoreboard and a new floor for Moody and the building blocks for a first class basketball program seem to be in place.

SMU men’s basketball is ridiculously high in the RPI and Sagarin rankings. The RPI will start to plummet as SMU will play a couple of really low ranked Division I teams. Sagarin, I am not sure about-that one may stay up there a while. If I were to guess, the RPI drops into the 50’s by the Oklahoma game, even if SMU wins every game up to that game.

So the basketball team takes to the court tonight for the first time in seemingly forever. I am not going to be there, but I will make the game at TCU on the 21st.

The world is apparently ending because NTSU hired a high school coach. Now, granted, Todd Dodge is a really frickin’ good high school coach. But he has never been a head coach at this level and we really don’t know how well he is going to be able to recruit to NTSU, though most think he will be a good recruiter and most think he is an offensive genius. Only time will tell.

My thoughts on this are pretty simple. The average SMU fan is so beaten down, it has started looking around for where the next punch will come from. Therefore, everything is a negative. And if SMU loses a game, SMU needs to fire the coach. And if the season doesn’t end with a bowl, SMU needs to fire the coach. It is just the nature of the “SMU condition.” SMU fans view potential offseason changes as the only excitement to be had. Yet hiring a new coach yields only temporary gratification if he isn’t immediately successful. And since success, let alone immediate success, is hard to come by at SMU, the SMU fan starts to look for the next coach.

Well, Steve Orsini thinks differently. He believes that the best thing for SMU is to keep the current coach. Steve Orsini believes Phil Bennett will be successful at SMU. Two thoughts oh that. First, it doesn’t matter what you or I believe because Steve Orsini is the one making the decision, and as long as he really believes it and actually cares, I am willing to go along with it. Second, assuming Orsini is right, Phil Bennett and SMU being successful is ultimately far more important than any instant gratification to be gained by hiring a new coach.

So best of luck to Todd Dodge; I hope SMU beats NTSU by 50.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Willis Honors

My son made a "dreamcatcher" thing in preschool: paper plate, yarn, feathers and beads. I think it worked because last night I didn't think about SMU losing to Rice or NTSU. So, maybe we can get back to positive SMU news.

Willis now has a nice little display for all the honors he has picked up:

Willis was named Conference USA's Freshman of the Year by both the media and coaches and was also tabbed an honorable mention All-C-USA selection on the past two weeks. Willis set numerous school records in 2006 including new marks for season touchdown passes and completion percentage. For the year, he completed 182-of-270 passes for 2,047 yards and 26 TDs with just six interceptions and ranks 10th in the nation in passing efficiency. His 29 TDs accounted for are the most in SMU history and his 2,401 yards of total offense is fourth-best in a season at SMU.

And now, he was named Third-Team Freshman All-American behind Colt McCoy and Riley Skinner. That puts Willis ahead of Matt Stafford @ Georgia, Graham Harrell @ Texas Tech and Chase Daniel @ Missouri.

We should all be pleased and encouraged with the year Willis had.

Things you can find on ebay

Do I have a good reason for posting this? No. Do I need one?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell spoke at the Tate Lcture Series last night. I missed it because of a long ago scheduled commitment, so I forgot to mention it. Malcolm Gladwell writes for the New Yorker and among other things, is a sports junkie.

Here is an article he wrote in May 2006 on quantifying NBA talent.

He's written two books: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Not the lightest of reading, but worth checking out.

Here is a link to an interview Gladwell did with ESPN Page 2's Bill Simmons.

I do have space on my calendar for the January 16th lecture by Doris Kearns Goodwin, if anybody has an extra ticket.

Are they following us?

So SMU schedules Sam Houston State, then UT schedules Sam Houston State. Now, comes word that UT is going to schedule Arkansas State. Very suspicious to me.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I can't sleep. I keep having the same nightmare. In it, all SMU has to do to go bowling is beat Rice playing with a backup quarterback and they can't do it. In another version, all SMU has to do is beat NTSU having a year so bad that NTSU fires its coach. Oh, wait. These are not nightmares, they actually happened.