1. Goodbye, Babers! It’s been a fun two years, but the search is on again for a new head coach at Eastern Illinois. Dino Babers accepted the head coaching job at Bowling Green yesterday, which is heads and tails above the Eastern Michigan job he was being considered for just last week. There were some rumbling that he could have possibly have gotten even a bigger job, and he was in a great position to renegotiate his contract at EIU, but the last few weeks, to me at least, made it clear Babers had no intention of staying. While it’s a great sign of success, I’m not sure if you can do in football what you can in basketball: consistently win with rotating coaches. Murray State has been doing it for two decades on the court, but schemes in football are more complex, and you need much more than one or two transfers to accelerate the process. It’s a good job, and should get some good candidates. but expecting instant success again, especially given the skill graduating this year, might be a tall order.
2. With foul rates rising, there are some rumblings, again, to allow six fouls for players in college basketball. But statistician extraordinaire Ken Pomeroy says doing so would likely only lead to more fouls. Which means more free-throws and more stoppages. Pretty much just more of everything fans hate already about the new rules. Sure, star players would be on the floor more, but they also wouldn’t have to play conservatively as much, because they would be in foul trouble less. He also cites some statistics during a test period in the nineties, where two conference experimented with six fouls a game. Yep, fouls were up from the stats he could find. Just something to think about if you’re clamoring for NBA foul rules.
3. Today’s Slate is quite full
South Dakota at Morehead State: Mid-major teams aren’t usually known for their size, or at least key players over 6’7. South Dakota is led in part by 6’10 center Trevor Gruis, who could challenge the 6’11 Chad Posthumus in the paint. They also have a solid three-point threat in Brandon Bos. The Coyote don’t turn over the ball often, and will likely hope to slow the Eagles tempo.
Eastern Illinois at Wright State: There’s no team that needed a lengthy break, in my view, than Eastern Illinois. Sadly for them, their first game back is against a solid defense in Wright State. The Raiders force the 7th most turnovers in the nation, something that’s been a concern for the Panthers. When they’re not getting steals, the defense is vulnerable, but everything has been a challenge in recent weeks for the EIU offense.
Lipscomb at Austin Peay: After a tough loss on Tuesday, the argument could be made that Austin Peay might come out a bit flat at Lipscomb. We’ll see. The Bisons like to run as much as the Governors do, shoot a lot of three’s, but it’s their defense that’s been troublesome. Lipscomb are one of the worst in the nation at committing fouls, and have been especially soft defending in the paint.
UT Martin at Arkansas: The Skyhawks are on their best win streak in three years, but keeping it going is going to require quite an effort. This is a very good Arkansas team, averaging 85 points a game. Defensively, their third in the nation at forcing turnovers, and tough to score on inside. They have struggled against good jump shooting teams, if only the Skyhawks were that.
Hillsdale at Tennessee Tech: Yay, non Division I teams! The Golden Eagles have lost three of four, so they could do well with a solid win at home.
Tennessee State at Illinois State: The Redbirds are just 5-5, but they’ve played a tough schedule that includes Northwestern, VCU, Oakland, and Dayton. They’re an up-tempo team that doesn’t have a lot of offensive weapons in the half court, especially if you can defend the perimeter, which TSU can. Tennessee State has probably had better chances to get a Division I win, but the Tigers shouldn’t be horribly outmatched against Illinois State.