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'The Nightmare' is Baylor's 'Tower of Terror'
9:57 P.M. EST, SUNDAY, NOV. 29, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

Six days. Nine blog posts. 18 meals. 32 cups of coffee. Nearly 50 tweets and 11 Twitpics. We're Leaving on a Jet Plane but, unlike John Denver's song, we do know when we'll be back...For the Baylor Bears, the 2009 Old Spice Classic is officially in the books after posting a 69-64 win over the Xavier Musketeers Sunday afternoon at the Milk House. Senior Tweety Carter - the shortest player on the court - played arguably the biggest game of his solid career, scoring a game- and season-high 27 points. Seven of Tweety's 27 came in the game's final 34 seconds. Repeating: SEVEN POINTS. 34 SECONDS

We said earlier this week that Tweety was capable of a huge scoring game at any time. Well, if you missed the game Sunday on ESPNU, you missed one of the best individual shooting performances by a Baylor Bear in recent memory. Six of Tweety's eight field goals were from downtown, including two that he shot from somewhere near the Magic Kingdom.

While Carter's 27-point outburst propelled Baylor to the five-point win, the performance that will go unnoticed by the majority of fans watching from home was LaceDarius Dunn. Granted, the numbers he posted in Sunday's box score are in no way indicative of the way he played: 9 Points, 7 Rebounds, 5 Turnovers on 2-of-14 shooting. But, what Lace did that's not shown on the stat sheet made the biggest difference.

Radar/Kool's defensive presence, ability to drive the line and poke holes in Xavier's defense like a freshly sliced piece of Swiss cheese was one of Baylor's 'X' factors (pun intended). His performance did not go unnoticed by ESPNU analyst Len Elmore, who visited Lace in the locker room to give him words of encouragement after the game.

Sunday's performance by Ekpe Udoh inspired our imagination - seriously, does anyone's imagination need to be further inflated when you're at Disney World? Is there room at Hollywood Studios for a NEW Tower of Terror? Alabama, Iona and Xavier were all given the opportunity to see Baylor's 'Tower of Terror' up close in person. Udoh averaged team highs in points (15.0), rebounds (10.0) and blocks (4.3), while dishing out 3.3 assists and shooting 58.8 percent (20-of-34) from the field. Impressive. Very Impressive.

Baylor knocked off a very talented (and athletic) and well-coached Xavier team...Like head coach Scott Drew said in the locker room postgame, don't be surprised when Xavier is ranked later this season. They were receiving votes in both polls entering the weekend - the Musketeers are that good. That means one thing - this win is huge for the Bears' postseason résumé.

Hey, Baylor: You Won 69-64 over Xavier. What Are You Going to do Now?
It's certainly cliché but the players did indeed go to Disney World. And by Disney World, we mean Hollywood Studios sans a few players who opted to watch the Alabama-Michigan game at the Milk House. The majority of the team, as well as many support staff - including Sam Patterson, Ty Beard, (manager not the St. Louis Rams lineman) Jason Smith, Inside Baylor Sports' Lawrence Gilligan, John Morris, Pat 'P-Money' Nunley and David Chandler - rode both Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. Well, almost everyone rode the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster...Once freshman Nolan Dennis saw the roller coaster go from zero to 60 in, oh, two seconds, he found the nearest exit and took it, much to the chagrin and razzing of his teammates.

And the 'Tower of Terror'? Fred Ellis held on to the nearest manager when the thrill-ride made its first terrifying drop. 'The Cookie Monster', not a fan of the elevator ride, rode it a second time against his better judgement. All in all, the guys enjoyed their free time Sunday night at the park.

The Closing List Consists of a Photo Shout-Out
While Baylor's cheering section consisted in upwards of 70 screaming parents, spouses, children, alumni and fans, FCP had a cheering section of their own. One of our biggest fans (and longtime friends Lana C.) and chief editor - which lets us know when we can't spell or if we have a comma splice or seven - took a few seconds postgame for a courtside photo op before we rushed out the arena door (as to not get left at the Milk House and miss all the Disney excitement).

Our bags are packed...and we're leaving on a jet plane. We'll be back sometime soon as we unpack our bags for a day or two and repack for The Valley of the Sun.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Mouseketeers Musketeers On Tap for Sunday's Curtain Call
12:41 A.M. EST, SUNDAY, NOV. 29, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

It seems like we've been here at The House of Mouse for months, but, alas, we've only been here for a mere 110-plus hours (in layman's terms, almost five full days). As we type this morning's blogtastic preview for Sunday's fifth-place game at the Old Spice Classic, we keep wanting to type Mouseketeers, instead of the Xavier Musketeers. We have Mickey on the brain and, really, how could you not?

The d'Artagnanless Xavier Musketeers (4-1) present possibly the toughest challenge yet at the Old Spice Classic for the Bears. In continuining with the Alexander Dumas theme, Xavier does possess its own three musketeers - Jordan Crawford, Jason Love and Mark Lyons. Not too sure who would play the roles of Athos, Porthos or Aramis, but the aforementioned Xavier trio is averaging double figures in scoring. Crawford, who gained national notoriety by dunking on LeBron James last summer, leads XU with 19.0 points through five games. Love is averaging a double-double with 12.6 points and 11.8 rebounds, while Lyons averages 10.8 points and 2.6 assists.

In five games, Crawford and Love have led the Musketeers in scoring and rebounding four times, respectively. Perhaps more impressive? Lace 'We-call-him-Radar-you-know-him-as-Kool' Dunn has led the Bears in scoring in all six games...Ekpe 'The Nightmare' Udoh has led the Bears in rebounding in five of six games. Quincy 'The Cookie Monster' Acy led in rebounding for one game.

While ESPN officially only designates Sunday's Championship Game, there are no games officially designated third-place, fifth-place or seventh-place. For our purposes, the Baylor-Xavier contest is the fifth-place game. (PROGRAMMING NOTE: Sunday's game tips at 12:30 p.m. EST on ESPNU)

Know which team finished fifth last season at the Old Spice Classic? Answer: Michigan State, which lost to North Carolina in the National Championship game. We're just sayin'...

Sunday's d'Artagnan-like Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Listen | Gametracker Live Stats | Game Notes Game Notes

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: XAVIER
Xavier (4-1) bounced back from its disappointing Thanksgiving Day loss to Marquette in convincing fashion, rolling over Creighton Friday...The Musketeers opened up a 22-point lead, 73-51, in the second half before cruising to the 13-point win, 80-67...Xavier shot 53.7 percent from the field, extending its streak to 50 straight wins dating back to the 2005-06 season when shooting 50 percent of better from the field...Ever heard of Jordan Crawford? Well, if you haven't by now (Google: Crawford, Dunk, LeBrown James), then learn his stat line - he lead all scorers with 19.0 points per game...Xavier has not had a leading scorer average 17 points or more per game (at the end of the season) since National Player of the Year David West averaged 20.1 points as a senior in 2002-03...Jason Love, Xavier's lone senior, has recorded three double-doubles in five games, including a career-high 21 points and Old Spice Classic record 19 rebounds vs. Marquette Thursday...Love leads the Musketeers in rebounding at 11.8 boards per game...Love is trying to become just the second XU player in 15 seasons to average 10 or more rebounds per game in a season (David West averaged 11.8 rebounds in 2002-03).

SERIES HISTORY
• Sunday marks the first series meeting.
• Baylor is 3-10 all-time vs. current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
• Xavier is the first of two first-time A-10 opponents for Baylor in 2009-10. The UMass Minutemen travel to Waco for a non-conference game later this season (Jan. 23, 2010).

MR. NOVEMBER
Ekpe Udoh continues to have a monster month of November in his first season with the Baylor Bears. Udoh is averaging 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 2.2 assists through the season's first six games.
• Udoh has recorded four double-doubles, including three straight.
• He is only the fourth Baylor player in the Big 12 era to record three or more double-doubles in the month of November in a single season, joining Brian Skinner (Nov. 1997), band Terry Black (Nov. 1999).
"The Nightmare" is the first Baylor player to record three consecutive double-doubles since Kevin Rogers posted four straight, Feb. 16-27, 2008.
• Udoh is the first Baylor Bear to record multiple double-doubles in the same month since Kevin Rogers posted three in January 2009.

UDOH'S BLOCK PARTY
• Udoh has recorded is quickly closing in on Baylor's single-season blocked shots top 10 in his first season with the Bears. Through six games, Udoh has blocked a team-high 19 points, including five blocks each against Hartford and Iona.
• The Edmond, Okla., native needs 21 more blocks to move into 10th place on Baylor's single-season list (40 by Daryl Baucham and Kish Lewis).
• Udoh has recorded multiple blocks in 10 consecutive games dating back to the final four contests of the 2007-08 at Michigan.
• He has recorded two or more blocks in 54 of his 73 career games.

FCP's Food for Thought: Entering Sunday's game, Baylor has more wins (five) and fewer losses (one) than Oklahoma (3-3) and UCLA (2-3)...Oklahoma, which began the week No. 25 in the AP Top 25, lost three straight to VCU, San Diego and Houston. UCLA has dropped games to three non-BCS schools - Cal State Fullerton, Portland and Butler. It may not mean much now, but it proves that the teams that play in November are not the same squads come conference season in January and February.

AND, BOOM GOES THE HAKUNA MATATA DYNAMITE.


Maxin' and Relaxin'
4:05 P.M. EST, SATURDAY, NOV. 28, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

The beauty of playing at one of the five ESPN-owned regular season tournaments? Saturday's off day. After burning the candle at both ends since Wednesday, Saturday is a welcomed respite for both us and the players. While the guys still had a solid shootaround earlier today at the Milk House, the guys have remained off their feet and avoided all things Disney-themed amusement.

Today's schedule has looked a little something like this:
10:15 a.m. - Wake-Up Call
10:45 a.m. - Breakfast
11:30 a.m. - Scout
12:30 p.m. - Shootaround at the Milk House
2:15 p.m. - Lunch
2:45 p.m. - Study Hall
7 p.m. - Dinner

So, we're taking the rest of the day off to relax in one the cozy hammocks on the quaint beachfront retreat outside our section of the Coronado Springs Resort, Cabanas. And, since we've heard this song almost every day at the resort, courtesy of The Lion King...

HAKUNA MATATA.


We Now Pause Five Seconds...To Prove We Were Right
2:31 A.M. EST, SATURDAY, NOV. 28, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

We don't normally boast about much, but after Friday night's 72-62 OT win over Iona, we felt we needed to gloat...just a little. Prior to Baylor's game with Iona Friday, we posted our 'five keys to the game'. Well, four out of five isn't bad. From our vantage point (which is courtside, BTW):

  • Baylor executed a successful press break in crunch time. Iona did pressure the Bears many times and forced turnovers that led to transition buckets. Even though Baylor squandered a double-digit lead and the Gaels tied it late, the Bears prevailed by 10 in the end. CHECK.
  • Baylor shot a season-high 71.4 percent from the free throw line, including 80.0 percent in the game's final 25 minutes. CHECK.
  • Josh Lomers posted consecutive double-figure scoring games for the first time in his career (Lomers finished with 11 points). Ekpe 'The Nightmare' Udoh posted his third straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Baylor owned a huge size advantage, which forced Iona to stay around the perimeter. CHECK, CHECK.
  • The Bears shot just 29.4 percent from downtown, but sophomore Anthony Jones hit three very timely 3-point field goals for Baylor. PARTIAL CREDIT.
  • Don't judge Tweety Carter's performance Friday merely by the box score: 1-of-9 shooting, six points, four rebounds, five turnovers, 42 minutes. Tweety played 42 of Baylors' 45 minutes vs. Iona. Carter managed the offense and orchestrated Baylor's overtime run to pull away. CHECK.

Saturday is a well-deserved day off from competition for the Bears. But, don't expect to see Ekpe visiting the various countries at Epcot or Tweety hanging out with Mickey and Minnie at the Magic Kingdom. After its hour-long shootaround Saturday at the Milk House, the guys will be off their feet for the rest of the day in preparation for Sunday's game.

To relive Baylor's overtime win, here's Friday's Retrospective:
Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

And to preview Sunday's game vs. Xavier, here's an early look at all that is MULTIMEDIA MADNESS:
Listen | Gametracker Live Stats | Game Notes Game Notes

By the time the team wakes up for breakfast later this morning, The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris should be arriving in the 'Big D' for Saturday's football season finale vs. Texas Tech at JerryWorld. And since Baylor is playing the 12:30 p.m. EST game Sunday, JMo will make it back to the Milk House in time for the game. Whew! Had Baylor played the 10 a.m. EST game, FCP would have filled in for JMo on the broadcast (FCP would have served as the color analyst, while Pat Nunley handled the easy part - play-by-play).

Now, it's time for a break...Check us out on Twitter Saturday for some snapshots throughout the day.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Black Friday Primer: Still Plenty of Hoops to be Played
6:49 P.M. EST, FRIDAY, NOV. 27, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

After enjoying a cool, crisp fall afternoon at everything Downtown Disney has to offer, FCP is recharged for another night of hoops here at the Milk House at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex. Baylor, which suffered a 79-76 quarterfinal loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide Thursday night, faces the Iona Gaels Friday in a consolation game at the Old Spice Classic.

The winner faces the Xavier Musketeers Sunday at Noon EST (11 a.m. CST) on ESPNU in what we will dub the fifth-place game. The loser will face the Creighton Bluejays at 10 a.m. EST (9 a.m. CST) on ESPNU in the seventh-place game. ESPN does not officially label the games as such (except the Championship game), but our purposes, its the fifth- and seventh-place games. Ok? Ok.

Now before more people start jumping off the bandwagon after one three-point loss to a very athletic Alabama team that has two NBA first-round caliber prospects (see: Mikhail Torrance and JaMychal Green), let's take a look at the six teams that did not qualify for the 2008 Old Spice Classic championship game:

Third Place: Georgetown (2-1), lost in NIT first round at Baylor
Fourth Place: Maryland (1-2), lost in NCAA second round
Fifth Place: Michigan State (2-1), advanced to the NCAA Championship game vs. North Carolina
Sixth Place: Wichita State (1-2), lost in CBI second round
Seventh Place: Oklahoma State (1-2), lost in NCAA second round
Eighth Place: Siena (0-3), lost in NCAA second round

The two teams that played for the 2008 Old Spice Classic - Gonzaga and Tennessee - both advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Zags lost to eventual national champion North Carolina in the Sweet 16, while Tennessee lost in the first round to Oklahoma State.

Repeat after us: Siena. NO WINS. THREE LOSSES. NCAA appearance. November tournaments carry plenty of weight when it comes time to decide who makes the NCAA Tournament field. But how good is a team in November? Teams aren't judged by how they start - it's by how they finish the regular season. Case in point: last season's Baylor Bears (started 12-1, finished 5-12).

Black Friday's Multimedia Miscellanea Madness (minus the long lines and ridiculous sales)
Watch | Listen | Gametracker Live Stats | Game Notes Game Notes | Special FCPedia Trivia: What is a 'Gael'?

As we wait for the Alabama-Florida State game to wrap up, we'll save you the pregame speech and give you FCP's Five Keys to the Game:

  • Breaking the Defensive Pressure: Alabama pressed Baylor full court for the majority of the game, forcing turnovers and producing transition points. If BU can break Iona's press, the Bears will present a matchup problem for the Gaels.
  • Free Throw Shooting. Baylor is shooting 56.9 percent as a team. LaceDarius Dunn is shooting a team-best 82.6 percent from the charity stripe. Take Lace out of the equation and Baylor is shooting 51 percent.
  • The Big Fellas. Josh Lomers established career highs in points (12) and rebounds (eight) Thursday vs. Alabama and appeared to be unstoppable. Ekpe Udoh posted his third double-double of the season. The combo of Lomers and Udoh would give Baylor a lethal 1-2 big-man punch on the blocks.
  • Perimeter Shooting: Baylor shot just 30 percent from 3-point range vs. Alabama after entering the game with a shooting percentage near 40 percent. If Lace gets hot early, it could be a high-scoring night for the Bears.
  • Tweety Carter. We think Tweety will be Baylor's 'X' factor vs. Iona. Why? The offense begins (and runs through) Tweety Carter. When it comes crunch time, look for Tweety to lead the Bears.

Don't forget to turn down the sound on your TV (ESPNU) and turn up the volume on your radio dial with 1660 ESPN with The Voice of the Bears, John Morris, and the best color commentator, Pat Nunley.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Breaking (Down) Bama
1:48 A.M. EST, FRIDAY, NOV. 27, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

It is now officially 'Black Friday', which signifies the start of the Christmas season. Baylor's 2009-10 basketball season, like the Christmas season, is just beginning. Our suggestion? Enjoy it.

THANKSGIVING ALABAMA REWIND: RecapBox Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

We know what you're thinking after Baylor's 79-76 loss to Alabama Thursday night at the Old Spice Classic. And, no, it wasn't Ekpe Udoh's great buzzer-beating shot...One game does not a season make. There is no need for over-analyzation of Thursday's game. It is, after all, just Baylor's fifth game this season. By our calculations, there are still 25 regular season games, including two more here at the Old Spice Classic.

While the final score favored Alabama by three, there are plenty of positives (and some not-so positives) to take from Thursday's game.

  • For starters: EKPE 'THE NIGHTMARE' UDOH. ESPN2 play-by-play announcer Jon Sciambi even referenced Mr. Udoh as 'The Nightmare' on air (as well as Quincy 'The Cookie Monster' Acy). We believe it was around the time that FCP got some serious air time in the second half. In his first five games at Baylor, Udoh has recorded three double-doubles, including a 17-point, 10-rebound performance vs. the Crimson Tide. He became the fourth Baylor player in the Big 12 era to record three or more double-doubles in the month of November in a single season, joining Brian Skinner (1997), Kish Lewis (1998) and Terry Black (1999). Ekpe us also the first Baylor Bear to record multiple double-doubles in the same month since Dos Tres posted three in January 2009.
  • After committing eight turnovers in the first half, Baylor turned the ball over only three times in the second half. Baylor finished with 17 assists to 11 turnovers Thursday.
  • Baylor trailed by as many as 10 in the second half (69-59 at the 3:54 mark), but the Bears managed to put together a late rally, outscoring Alabama 17-10 to end the game.
  • Udoh's first four games = not a fluke. Ekpe proved how dominant he is on the blocks with his 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Crimson Tide.
  • Josh Lomers was an immovable force with 12 points and eight rebounds against Alabama.
  • Senior point guard Tweety Carter returned to the lineup after missing the season's first four games due to suspension. Carter dished out a game-high eight assists - his highest total since nine vs. Georgetown in the NIT last season.

Unfortunately, Baylor set a pair of season lows Thursday (DISCLAIMER: These are season lows through FIVE games, so no need to use irrational thought to predict the rest of the season) - steals (four) and blocks (three). Baylor's 46.0 field goal, 30.0 three-point and 54.5 free throw percentages - as well as the Bears' 39 rebounds - are the second-lowest this season.

There is still plenty of hoops left to be played. Don't believe us? The Iona Gaels are up next for the Bears Friday at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Turkey, Pumpkin Pie and Baylor Hoops
10:02 A.M. EST, THURSDAY, NOV. 26, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

Gobble Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving Day greetings from Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Move over Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...We could get used to Baylor basketball becoming the new Thanksgiving Day tradition. What better side to have with your Thanksgiving turkey (and cornbread stuffing, sweet potato caserole, pumpkin and/or pecan pie) than Baylor basketball on the national stage. For the second consecutive season, Scott Drew's Baylor Bears will play a Thanksgiving Day game on ESPN2 when they face the Alabama Crimson Tide today at 5:30 p.m. CST or 12:30 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time.

When you take a break from football and flip the TV to ESPN2, Jon Sciambi (pxp) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) will serve up the finest in basketball analysis for our game.

A Bountiful Harvest of Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Watch | Listen | Gametracker Live Stats | Game Notes Game Notes

PROGRAMMING NOTE: All three of Baylor's games at the Old Spice Classic will also be available on ESPN360.com. Check your local broadband service provider for details.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: ALABAMA
Remember the names JaMychal Green and Anthony Brock...Green is an NBA-caliber player, while Brock returns to the Tide lineup from a two-game suspension...Alabama, under the guidance of first-year head coach Anthony Grant, is 2-1 after winning its last two games against Jackson State (86-69) and Providence (84-75)...The Grant era began with a Tide loss to the Ivy League's Cornell Big Red, 71-67, Nov. 14...Mikhail Torrance leads the Crimson Tide with 18.3 points and 5.0 assists through three games. Torrance is shooting 51.4 percent from the floor (18-of-35) and 88.9 percent from the free throw line (16-of-18)...JaMychal Green is averaging 15.0 points and team-best 8.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks...Alabama posted an 18-14 record, including a 7-9 mark in the SEC, last season. After starting the season 10-3, the Crimson Tide posted an 8-11 record in its final 19 games...The Tide has four teams on its 2009-10 schedule that BU defeated last season -- Jackson State, Providence, Kansas State and Auburn.

UP NEXT AT THE OLD SPICE CLASSIC
• Baylor will play either Florida State or Iona Friday, Nov. 27. Baylor is 0-2 all-time vs. Florida State and has never played Iona.
If Baylor wins Thursday night, the Bears will play Friday at 4 p.m. CST on ESPN2.
If Baylor loses, the Bears will play Friday at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.

LAST SEASON ON THANKSGIVING [NOV. 27, 2008, AT 76 CLASSIC]
Kevin Rogers scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help Baylor remain undefeated as the Bears easily defeated Providence, 72-56, in the first round of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif...LaceDarius Dunn chipped in 12 points for the Bears, who advanced to the semifinals to face No. 14 Arizona State. The Bears overcame a season-high 23 turnovers by shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and outrebounding the Friars, 47-33.

Answers for the next time you play 'Trivial Pursuit' (aka 'The Triple Ns': News, Notables and Numbers)
3:
Baylor is receiving three votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.
5-1:
According to Baylor records, Alabama leads the series 5-1 and has won the last five meetings. Baylor won the first series meeting, 29-24, at the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City, Okla., Dec. 31, 1947. That season, Baylor advanced to the NCAA Championship game at New York's Madison Square Garden.
or it 6-1?: According to Alabama records, Alabama leads the series 6-1.
5-0: Baylor (4-0) is seeking its third consecutive 5-0 start under seventh-year head coach Scott Drew. Baylor has started 5-0 four times in the last 10 seasons. A 5-0 start would tie Drew with Ralph Wolf (three) for the most in school history. No Baylor coach has ever started 5-0 in three consecutive seasons.
16: Dunn has made a 3-pointer in 16 consecutive games -- the 10th-longest streak in school history. Dunn has scored in double figures in each of his last 17 games dating back to last season (averaging 18.5 points per game during this stretch).
15th: Dunn ranks 15th on Baylor's career scoring list with 1,136 points.
18: Dunn has 18 20-point games and three 30-point games in 74 career contests.
85: Seventh-year Baylor head coach Scott Drew has 85 wins to his credit at the helm of the Bears men's basketball program. Drew currently ranks sixth all-time at Baylor and trails former head coach Gene Iba (98) by 13 for fifth place.
14-1: Baylor has won 14 of its last 15 non-conference November home games.

Another note worthy of mention - we here at FCP are thankful for our wonderful family, friends, colleagues and the chance to write about college basketball year-round. From the Baylor Basketball family to yours, Happy Turkey Day! Be sure to take a nap after ingesting all the tryptophan your turkey offers...then slide on over to ESPN2 for Baylor-Alabama at 5:30 p.m. EST. Don't forget to turn down the sound on your TV telecast and turn up the volume on your radio to 1660 ESPN with the Voice of the Bears, John Morris, and the man that needs no introduction, Pat Nunley...

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Mickey Mouse and Tweety are the Same Height...
11:45 P.M. EST*, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

*EST stands for 'Eastern Standard Time', as Josh Lomers so poignantly informed one of our coaches today

But can Mickey Mouse shoot 3-pointers with precision (and from 10 rows up in the stands) like Tweety? Better yet...did Mickey score 7,457 points as a high school McDonald's All-American? That's what we thought. Baylor's first full day in the Magical Land known as Orlando and the vast Walt Disney World amusementdom (obviously not a word, but amusement + kingdom does equal 'amusementdom', no?) was riddled with rain, humidity, hoops, food, more hoops, more food and Mickey Mouse. Yes, the mouse.

After a late arrival to the Coronado Springs Resort - our home away from home until Monday - Tuesday night, the Bears were rather chipper and crisp during their alotted 10 a.m. EST shootaround at the Milk House Wednesday. The Milk House is just a small portion of the incredible 220-acre Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. After Baylor's one-hour scheduled practice time, the Bears headed back to base for lunch and scout.

Following its film session, the entire team, as well as staff members (and FCP), relaxed and ventured to Downtown Disney to see the film, Blind Side, which is based on a true story and a book (The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game). It received rave reviews from the players...On a related note, Blind Side was directed by Baylor Grad John Lee Hancock, who earned both his english and law degrees from Baylor. Both his dad (John Lee Hancock Sr.) and brother (Kevin) lettered in football at Baylor.

For a nightcap, all eight participating teams boarded their respective busses for Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) for the Old Spice Classic Thanksgiving Banquet, which was held on the set of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (that is not a point of exclamation - the name really features an exclamation point). Our favorite ESPN analyst, Fran Fraschilla, was the guest speaker for the banquet. It was short. sweet. and to the point. Upon the completion of dinner, teams were invited - one-by-one - for a photo op with a uniformed-clad Mickey Mouse.

The teams even had the opportunity to ride both The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster before calling it a night. Lace Dunn was overheard as saying that he 'will never ride another ride the night before a game again'.

It's Game Night Eve. We'll give you the rundown of what you need to know prior to Baylor's Thanksgiving Day game with Alabama Thursday. It's Tourney Time!

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Do You Believe in MAGIC? We Don't Need Any Convincing
11:55 P.M. EST, TUESDAY, NOV. 24, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

Nearly 12 hours after leaving the Ferrell Center at 1:15 p.m. CST Tuesday, the Baylor Bears arrived at their http://bigorangebasketball.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/old-spice-logo1.jpgtemporary home for the next six days - Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. It's been a long day of traveling, but we didn't want to leave you disappointed...That's why we prepared tonight's blog in the air so we could go to bed...

Rewind 12 months to the day and you'll remember that Baylor started the season 4-0 after defeating the Jacksonville Dolphins, 76-68, in the Ferrell Center in what we call - in layman's terms - an RPI game. This season, Baylor is 4-0 after throttling Division III Hardin-Simmons, 106-45, thanks in part to Lace Dunn's 27 points (and new haircut), 13 points and 11 rebounds from "The Nightmare" and "The Cookie Monster" doing his part, by cleaning the Ferrell Center glass for 13 points and seven boards.

Baylor (4-0) is seeking its third consecutive 5-0 start under head coach Scott Drew and the Bears will aim to do so - for the second year in a row - at The House of Mouse. And, not just any House of Mouse...The Granddaddy of them all - Disney World. Never been to DW? Imagine Wally World...now imagine the complete opposite.

There really is something magical about Orlando - the Magic NBA franchise, Magic Kingdom, Magic shows, etc. But, Baylor's trip to Disneyland last year in Anaheim was pretty magical, too. The Bears, considered a bit of an underdog entering the 76 Classic, defeated Providence handily in the opening game (for those of you still awake after the 9:30 p.m. CST tip). Then, behind Lace's game-high 27 points, the Bears upset No. 14 Arizona State, 87-78, which garnered national media attention and thrust Baylor into the Top 25 for the first of eight consecutive weeks.

The only thing not-so-magical this year in sunny FLA? You won't catch Lace on any roller coasters this go-round after last year's trip to California Adventure. Lace won't have to worry about riding roller coasters next year, either. As Baylor will be playing in its third ESPN-hosted event in three seasons in beautiful - you didn't think we would really tell you? We promise it'll be a good tourist destination...ESPN should be announcing it in the next few weeks.

Receiving votes...
Baylor received three votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll this week, marking the first time the Bears have received votes in the AP poll since the week of Jan. 26, 2009. Baylor actually received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll for the week of Feb. 2, 2009.

Historical Significance
Pre-Drew Big 12 era: Baylor received votes three separate times in the AP Top 25 (all during the 2000-01 season).
Drew Big 12 era: Baylor has received votes (or been ranked) 23 times in the AP Top 25 (all during the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons).

Bears Return to National TV
It's been a while since the Baylor Bears have played on national television. Baylor's Turkey Day contest with Alabama will be the Bears first nationally televised game since April 2, 2009 - the NIT championship game. Fran Fraschilla, who served as the color analyst for Baylor's NIT championship game vs. Penn State, will also serve as the analyst for Thursday night's game with the Crimson Tide.

A More Multi-Dimensional Lace Dunn
Last season, Lace (hereby renamed `Radar' since he can dial a shot from anywhere; yes, we are that clever) was one of five Baylor Bears to average double-figure scoring, leading the way with 17.3 points. This season? Add eight, carry the two and Radar (there's that name again) is leading the team with 25.3 points. Multiply that number by four and - that's right - Dunn has scored more than 100 points in four games. Seriously? Seriously. Want to know what else is serious? Dunn has eight assists through the season's first four games in 2009-10 - he had four through four games last year before finishing with 24. Seriously.

`The Lace and Tweety Show' Debuts Thursday
Question from the audience: FCP, so what exactly does the return of Tweety Carter mean to the Bears? Answer: It gives Baylor another scoring option, but don't expect Lace and Ekpe's scoring averages to suffer. Carter means that Baylor has THREE 20-point scoring options at any given time. Follow-up Answer: Freshman A.J. Walton did a phenomenal job stepping up during Tweety's absence. Walton proved that he is a Big 12-caliber point guard and can run the offense with precision and efficiency. A.J. was on the court 82 percent of the time in Baylor's first four games. Add that to the rest of his numbers - 6.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.0 steals - and you have a solid point guard and...wait for it...he's only a freshman.

Baylor is scheduled for shootaround Wednesday at 10:10 a.m. EST at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Be sure to check FCP this week or follow us on Twitter.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Jerrells, Dugat Reunite in D-League Preseason Saturday
1:08 P.M., SATURDAY, NOV. 21, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

Baylor 1,000-point scorers Curtis Jerrells and Henry Dugat will reunite in an NBA D-League preseason game Saturday night when the Austin Toros (Jerrells) face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Dugat) at the South Padre Island Convention Center. It is the only preseason game for both teams, which will play each other in the season opener Nov. 27 in Austin. NBA D-League teams must cut their rosters down to 10 NBA D-League players by Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. CST.

However, CJ and Hendu are only two of four former Baylor hoopsters playing professionally. Don't forget about Brian Skinner (Clippers) and Kevin Rogers (Greece)...

Skinner Makes Season Debut vs. Memphis
Brian Skinner
made his season debut Nov. 18 in a 106-91 loss at Memphis. He played three minutes and recorded one personal foul. Skinner is in his 12th NBA season - the third-most seasons played by a Baylor alum (David Wesley, 14 seasons; Vinnie Johnson, 13 seasons).

Rogers, Panionois Return to Action
Kevin Rogers/
Πέντε (formerly known as Dos Tres) and his Greek club Panionios return to action after a week off Saturday against Gymnastikos Olympia Larissas (hereby known as Olympia L.). In three games, Rogers is averaging 6.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 26.7 minutes.


The Madness is Over (for now): Six Days Until Baylor Visits the (Milk) House of Mouse
4:11 P.M., FRIDAY, NOV. 20, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

For those FCPNationites concerned about our whereabouts these last few days, have no fear. We took a bit of a sabbatical to recharge our batteries from the litany of basketball games we endured to start the 2009-10 season. We think Baylor's first three games alone could have been included in ESPN's second College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon this week. But, nearly 98 hours after Baylor's season-opening (and FCP-proclaimed) November Madness started on Friday the 13th, we prevailed - albeit barely - in tact.

To recap the November Madness:
Friday:
Men's Hoops vs. Norfolk State (Baylor won, 86-58)
Saturday: Football vs. Texas
Sunday: Men's Hoops vs. Hartford (Baylor won 71-69)
Monday: Men's Hoops vs. Southern (Baylor won 61-45)
Tuesday: Women's Hoops vs. Tennessee Tech

To be honest, we're really not sure what day it is without looking at the 2009-10 basketball schedule. And by referencing it again, it appears to be Friday...which also means that Baylor concludes its four-game homestand Sunday vs. Division III member Hardin-Simmons. Not only are we gearing up for Sunday's home game, we are also packing for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando next week.

FRIDAY'S '42 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS' EDITION OF THE CLOSING LIST...
Friday's Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Watch | Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Game Notes | Tickets | In-Game Blog In-Game Blog

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: HARDIN-SIMMONS
Hardin-Simmons, which posted a 9-16 record under first-year head coach Craig Carse, returns five letterwinners and welcomes nine newcomers in 2009-10...Baylor is Hardin-Simmons' only Division I opponent this season...Senior guard Carlos Singer is the Cowboys' leading returning scorer with 12.1 points in 20 games a season ago. Junior guard Casey Riddle, who averaged 6.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 25 games, averaged 10.0 points and 4.8 assists over the last 12 games a year ago...Of Hardin-Simmons' five returning letterwinners, Riddle started the most games last season -- eight; Singer and Courtney Lockridge each started five...Hardin-Simmons was picked fourth among teams in the 2009-10 American Southwest Conference West Division Preseason Poll.

LAST TIME OUT VS. HARDIN-SIMMONS [NOV. 17, 2001]
Kenny Taylor scored a game-high 21 points, while Lawrence Roberts added 19 points and 17 rebounds to lead Baylor past Hardin-Simmons, 107-48...Kevin Henry's three layups fueled a 10-0 run in the game's first three minutes as Baylor took an 11-2 lead. The Cowboys cut the lead to 15-8 at 15:31 on Bryan Conover's jumper, but Baylor went on another 10-0 run for a 27-10 lead and Hardin-Simmons never threatened again...Chad Elsey had 16 and three other players each had 10 for Baylor. Roberts also had four blocks and six steals. Taylor was 5-of-7 from the 3-point line. The 59-point margin of victory represented the second largest in Baylor history. The record of 66 points, a 121-55 win over Austin College, occurred on November 24, 1978.

Answers for the next time you play 'Trivial Pursuit' (aka 'The Triple Ns': News, Notables and Numbers)
2nd:
Ekpe Udoh currently ranks second nationally in blocked shots per game (3.3)
8th:
As of Thursday, Lace ranked eighth among Division I players in free throw percentage (93.3)...
13th:
and 13th in scoring (24.7).
.835: LaceDarius Dunn currently ranks as the school's career leader in free throw percentage.
105: Freshman A.J. Walton has played in 105 of Baylor's 120 total minutes in the first three games this season.
63-29: Baylor is 63-29 all-time vs. current NCAA Division III member schools, including 59-27 vs. NCAA Division III schools from Texas.
5-1: Scott Drew is 5-1 vs. non-NCAA Division I schools.
4-0: Baylor (3-0) is aiming for its third consecutive 4-0 start under head coach Scott Drew.
15+1=TOP 10: Dunn has made a 3-pointer in 15 consecutive games dating back to last season. Dunn has scored in double figures in each of his last 16 games dating back to last season.
1,109: Dunn ranks 16th on Baylor's career scoring list with 1,109 points.
17: Dunn has 17 20-point games and three 30-point games in 73 career contests.
22-5: Baylor is 22-5 in the month of November under Drew.
13-OF-14: Baylor has won 13 of its last 14 non-conference November home games.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THE BEARS IN ACTION AT THE FERRELL CENTER. AFTER SUNDAY'S GAME VS. HARDIN-SIMMONS, BAYLOR DOES NOT PLAY AT HOME AGAIN UNTIL TUESDAY, DEC. 15 VS. JACKSON STATE.

Another note worthy of mention - Sunday is the return of the popular In-Game Blog (after a one-game hiatus). Be sure to tune in at 4:15 p.m. and catch up on all the action with FCP and the web guy formerly known as Wednesdays With Webguy.

We'll be in College Station Saturday to cover the 106th meeting of the Battle of the Brazos. Until then...AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Here, There, Everywhere
4:37 P.M., MONDAY, NOV. 16, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

We're fairly certain that today is a day that ends in the letter 'y', but we aren't certain as to which day it is. In case you missed it, we are in the home stretch of our three-games-in-75-hours marathon. And, do we mean marathon! In no particular order, here's everything Baylor Basketball related you've missed since Friday...

MONDAY'S LIST TO CLOSE THE CLOSING LIST
Lace Dunn Named Big 12 Player of the Week
Baylor junior guard/three-point specialist LaceDarius Dunn was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for Nov. 9-15 Monday in voting by a panel of media covering the conference. It is the first player honor for Dunn after he won top rookie honors twice during the 2007-08 season. The Monroe, La., native is the first Bear to earn top player recognition since Kevin Rogers did it in 2008. Dunn averaged 30.5 points as Baylor won its first two games of the season. The three-point specialist has scored in double figures in each of his last 15 contests dating back to last season and has made at least one 3-pointer in 14 straight games. Dunn currently sits 17th all-time in scoring at Baylor with 1,096 career points. He trails William Chatmon (1969-71) by eight points for 16th (1,104) and Larry Gatewood (1967-70) by 24 points for 15th (1,120).

It's Pronounced YOU-doh...Like 'U(DOH) DA MAN'
Junior Ekpe Udoh has become a fan favorite in his first two games as a Baylor Bear. In his debut, Udoh scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high tying 11 rebounds in Baylor's 86-58 win over Norfolk State. 'The Nightmare' out-did himself Sunday in Baylor's last-second win over Hartford. The Edmond, Okla., native scored a career-high 21 points, while blocking a team-high five shots, and drilled the game-winning 20-footer as time expired for a 71-69 win against the Hawks. For that: U(DOH) DA MAN.

What they said about Udoh's game-winning shot Sunday...
John Werner, Waco Tribune-Herald: Ekpe Udoh Saves Bears, 71-69
Justin Baer, Baylor Lariat: Udoh's Game Winner Catapults Baylor
The Hartford Courant: Hartford Men Beaten at Buzzer

Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy says Baylor's Scott Drew believes Ekpe Udoh has made immense improvements since arriving in Waco in June 2008.

Kool Moving up Baylor's Career Points List
Lace entered the season 23rd all-time in career scoring at Baylor with 1,035 points. In two games, Dunn has jumped to 17th on the school scoring list with 1,096 points. He trails William Chatmon (1969-71) by eight points for 16th (1,104) and Larry Gatewood (1967-70) by 24 points for 15th (1,120).

Weekend Multimedia Madness Rewind
Friday's Headline: Norfolk State Spartans 'Dunn' in by Baylor, 86-58
Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  Photo Gallery  | Highlights

Sunday's Headline: Udoh, MBB Down Hartford with Buzzer Beater, 71-69
Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes | Highlights | Postgame Interview

By 10 p.m. tonight, Baylor will have three games under its belt before Missouri plays a regular season game (Mizzou opens the 2009-10 season Tuesday). Plus, Baylor (2-0) is looking for its third straight 3-0 start under head coach Scott Drew. Don't forget to tune in to The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and the best (and we're biased) color commentator in all the land Pat Nunley at 6:30 p.m. for all the action.

SIC 'EM BEARS AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


A Friday Addendum
1:37 P.M., FRIDAY, NOV. 13, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

We here at the FCP pride ourselves on accuracy, inside jokes, analogies and accuracy (did we mention accuracy?) So, when we were bragging about meeting ESPN's only two Baylor alumni in Bristol, we thought we were spot on. That's a big negative, Ghostwriter. We learned today - through no research of our own, just a friendly forwarded e-mail - that there are indeed FIVE - yes, we said FIVE - Baylor alumni employed by the Worldwide Leader...In no particular order: Trey Wingo (Personality, host of NFL Live), Noubar Allen Stone (Senior Creative Director), Michael Holmes (Editor and 'Source of our omissions'), Chris Bloxom (Associate Producer) and Cameron Neal (Editor). Our apologies for the omission - and expect a visit next time FCP and his merry band of gypsies make the trek to the Constitution State again.

Switching gears, ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz posted his list of things to watch for during this weekend's action...Towards the bottom of the page are several graphs on Scott Drew, Missouri's Mike Anderson and Oklahoma State's Travis Ford spending a day at the ESPN Studios this week:

Andy Katz's Daily Word: What to Watch for During this Weekend's Action
Baylor coach Scott Drew isn't packing in on this season, not with the return of guards LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter. Drew is one of the most optimistic coaches and only he could spin the Bears' Top 25 ranking at the start of the season and its NIT final appearance after a disastrous 5-11 Big 12 season last year. Still, the reason for his giddiness on Wednesday was the signing of ESPNU No. 3 player Perry Jones out of Duncanville High (Texas). The 6-11 center could be a one-and-done and will make Baylor a stopping point for NBA scouts next season.

"When you bring in a person like that it opens doors," Drew said. "He's going to be a great player. We've recruited top 20 classes but haven't been able to sign that consensus top-five pick in the country. Most NBA drafts have him as a lottery pick. We'll be viewed in a whole new light because kids will say 'I want to play with that guy' or 'he went there so I can play there.'..."We go after the best and we feel like if we get them on campus, and they see the academics and they see the facilities we've got a chance," Drew said. Drew said that with the return of Dunn, Nolan Dennis (who will be a sophomore), and Michigan transfer Ekpe Udoh the Bears will have the right pieces around Jones in 2010-11 to make a significant run. "We'll have have talent around him and it will be great to have somebody that, night in and night out, everyone out there knows who that guy is," Drew said.

Did we mention it's Gameday? Check us out on the In-Game Hoops Blog tonight beginning at 6:45 p.m. AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


March Madness? We've Got November Madness
4:45 P.M., THURSDAY, NOV. 12, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

And we're not kidding...Beginning with Friday's season opener, Baylor will play three regular season games in a 75-hour window. REPEATING: THREE GAMES, THE, 75 HOURS. (If you read the first sentence, you'd know we never said 'the'. That's why we threw it in there. BOOM.) In comparison, the Bears will have three games under their belt before Missouri tips off for its first regular season game. That's what we call 'November Madness.'

PARASKAVEDEKATRIAPHOBIC - Say that three times fast...
So Baylor opens up the season on Friday the 13th. Are you - by any chance - paraskavedekatriaphobic? If you are, then Friday the 13th probably isn't your day. Paraskavedekatriaphobic is the fear of Friday the 13th. Not Monday the 13th. Not Tuesday the 13th. FRIDAY the 13th. Not the movie, just the day. Tomorrow is one of the most feared (?) days of the year...For those non-Greek majors of FCPNation, that long word at the top is derived from the combination of the Greek words Paraskevi (meaning Friday), dekatreis (meaning thirteen) and phobia (meaning fear). There's your Wikipedia Greek lesson for the day...

Twelve days into the 11th month of the year, November has already been madness as 1) the Bears signed the nation's No. 3 recruit Wednesday and 2) head coach Scott Drew (with FCP, in tow) invaded ESPN Studios in Bristol, Conn., for the ESPN 'Car Wash.'

Behold the triumphant return of THURSDAY'S CLOSING LIST...
The MADNESS is back!
Thursday Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Watch | Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Game Notes | Tickets

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: NORFOLK STATE
Seriously this scouting report won't take long - keep an eye on #2 Michael Deloach. Deloach, the preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year, was a first-team All-MEAC selection in 2009 after leading the league in scoring (21.5 points per game). He finished 15th nationally in scoring and his 666 total points scored set a new Division I era record at Norfolk State. Deloach earned MEAC All-Tournament team honors after scoring 30 in the championship game loss to Morgan State. More than just a prolific scorer, Deloach was second on the team in rebounds (4.9), assists (2.8) and steals (2.0). He ranked third in the MEAC in steals and minutes played (36.2), seventh in free throw percentage (71.5) and eighth in assists. He was selected as the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year by Sporting News and Lindy's college basketball preview magazines.

'Friday the 13th' will feature debut of 'Friday, who wears No. 13'
Just call him, 'The Nightmare'. Ekpe Udoh will make his official official Baylor debut (last week's exhibition does not count, remember?) Friday night vs. Norfolk State. For those keeping track, it has been 610 days since Ekpe last stepped onto the basketball court in the regular season. And, in case you've missed it, Ekpe, who's middle name is 'Friday', will wear No. 13 this season and has been dubbed The Nightmare by Quincy 'The Cookie Monster' Acy.

News, Notables and Numbers
FIRST: Friday will mark the first series meeting between the schools.
NO. 3: Baylor signed the highest-ranked recruit in program history Wednesday when the Bears signed Perry Jones to an NLI (No. 3 by ESPNU).
3 (PART TWO): Baylor has improved its season win total in each of the last three seasons and five times in Drew's first six seasons at the helm in Waco.
FOURTH: Norfolk State is the fourth first-time opponent Baylor has faced to open the regular season under seventh-year head coach Scott Drew. Baylor is 3-0 in the previous three instances -- Hillsdale Free Will Baptist (2004), Jackson State (2007) and Paul Quinn (2008).
5-2: Scott Drew is 5-2 in season openers and 6-1 in home openers, including matching 5-1 marks at BU.
6-0: Baylor is 6-0 all-time vs. teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
19-5: Baylor is 19-5 in the month of November under Scott Drew.
10: Baylor has won 10 of its last 11 non-conference November home games.

BOOM SHAKA LAKA AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


ESPN 'Car Wash' Photo Blog*
11:40 A.M., THURSDAY, NOV. 12, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

*minus the oil change, waxing and tire rotation

Wednesday was a monumental day of epic portions for Baylor basketball. For those of you that follow us on Twitter (Shameless Self-Promotion Plug: @BaylorFCP), many thanks. For those of you that do not follow us, you missed quite a large amount of "behind the scenes" goodness, including quotes and photos. Wednesday was not only every men's basketball head coach's Christmas morning (see: National Signing Day), it was also a Christmas-like morning for FCP. Wednesday was unlike any other day; FCP visited the Pulse of the Sports World - ESPN Studios in the tiny hamlet of Bristol, Conn..

10:00 A.M. EST - After the initial shock of reaching an SID's 'Promised Land' wore off, we met our `Car Wash' party for the day - Big 12 Conference representatives Tim Allen, Rob Carolla, John Underwood; Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford; Missouri head coach Mike Anderson (with SID Dave Reiter); and ESPN College Hoops representatives Emily Horowitz and Ashley O'Connor. As we entered the lobby of Building 4 on the ESPN Campus (yes, it's literally like a college campus, complete with fitness center, five-star cafeteria dining and intramural basketball court), we were met by Stump the Schwab's Howie Schwab. He recognized Coach Drew and FCP immediately - Coach because he's on TV and FCP because we e-mail A LOT of basketball info). Soon after, we were given our visitor badge and whisked away behind the security doors of Building 4 to the content production floor. As we made our way downstairs, SportsNation co-host Michelle Beadle ran past us in the opposite direction.

10:30 A.M. EST - Once we reached the first floor of content production, which featured ESPN.com and EXPN staffers - just to name a few - the three Big 12 head coaches sent in various directions: Coach Drew began Wednesday morning with an interview for ESPNU via satellite in a room adjacent to the ESPNews studio on the third floor. While waiting in the hallway during the interview (and coordinating a radio interview with THE Voice of the Baylor Bears, John Morris), we spotted another ESPN personality, John Buccigross, typing away at a cubicle.

11:40 A.M. EST - Next on Coach Drew's schedule was a live SportsNation chat on ESPN.com at 10:40 a.m. CST. FCP followed along as a very experienced ESPN transcribed Coach Drew's answers to all of BaylorNation's hard-hitting questions.

12:30 P.M. EST - A quick lunch and an impromptu tour of the ESPN campus followed (thanks to Emily H. for the gracious tour). Coach Drew's favorite part of the tour - by far, in our opinion - was the ESPN Cafeteria. While checking out Wednesday's lunch variety, we spotted Mike and Mike's Mike Golic and Outside the Line's Bob Ley. No Chris Berman or Colin Cowherd (both FCP favorites). We also caught a glimpse of ESPN's intramural basketball court and football field in the middle of campus. We thought one of the coolest things (behinds the ESPN Cafeteria) on the trip was the Big 12 Conference flag flying about the ESPN Campus.

1:15 P.M. EST - Our impromptu tour continued through Building 3 (ESPN Radio) and Building 2 (SportsCenter, NFL Live, OTL studios). We didn't make it on the SC set because they were live, but we promise we saw the door that said: "LIVE SHOW IN PROGRESS. KEEP OUT." Our abridged campus tour concluded with the set of College Gameday and the cage where ESPN stores all 120 FBS Division I helmets, including the golden dome with a green interlocking BU.

1:45 P.M. EST - A hop, skip and jump later, we returned to Building 2 to tape a College Basketball Preview that will air TONIGHT on ESPN2. ESPN college basketball analyst and former Oklahoma State point guard Doug Gottlieb interviewed all three Big 12 coaches about the upcoming season.

2:20 P.M. EST - While waiting to join Andy Katz for an ESPN.com college hoops segment, Coach Drew kicked it with Missouri alum, ESPN personality and 'Wipeout' host John Anderson. Anderson was one of the many Missouri alums that work at ESPN. We found two Baylor alumni - we'll tell you who in a bit.

2:45 P.M. EST - Katz and Coach Drew talk about Baylor's talent-laden lineup as well as Wednesday's top story - the signing of Perry Jones, who is ranked No. 3 on the ESPNU Top 100. The Katz feature will air on ESPN.com and ESPNU in the near future.

3:03 P.M. EST - Coach Drew headlines Wednesday's The John Morris Show. And guess who walks into the conference room? Baylor alum and ESPN NFL Live host Trey Wingo. J Mo got two interviews for the price of one as Trey jumped on the phone with J Mo for a few moments before heading over to the NFL Live set.

3:17 P.M. EST - Trey invited us to the third floor of Building 4 as he and the rest of the NFL Live crew put the finishing touches on Wednesday's show (FACT: Trey Wingo writes all his own content). We met his NFL Live partners, Tedy Bruschi and Mark Schlereth. As soon as Trey finished typing the final few words for Wednesday's show, we took the `Skywalk Tour' - taking the skywalk from Building 4 to Building 3, then down the stairs onto the skywalk to Building 2, then down another flight of stairs onto the old SportsCenter set and current set for NFL Live and Outside the Lines.

3:35 P.M. EST - Trey, Mark and Teddy posed for a quick photo op with Coach Drew as we bid farewell to Bristol.

3:51 P.M. EST - Before leaving ESPN, we made it a point to find the second Baylor alum housed in Bristol - ESPN Senior Creative Director and BU football letterwinner Noubar Allen Stone. Stone was a member of Grant Teaff's `Miracle on the Brazos' team that defeated Texas in 1974. (Side note: Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson were entering the lobby of Building 4 as we exited...)


Digital Hoops Blast Gives FCP Props
1:15 P.M., MONDAY, NOV. 9, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

We received a pleasant e-mail surprise this morning when we arrived at FCP Headquarters...Former Baylor AMR staffer and currently BaylorProud tweeter extraordinaire Jeff Brown notified us that FCP was featured on www.DigitalHoopsBlast.com today during the site's rundown of Big 12 College Basketball Marketing and Media Relations promotions. Today's entry pinpointed Baylor as the second-best marketer of college basketball in the Big 12 (Texas A&M is numero uno). It touched on various areas, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and - wait for it - BearBlogs Unlimited's Full Court Press. (Insert round of applause here.)

However, we'd like to contend the best part of Andy's synopsis was the portions dedicated to the Baylor Athletics Experience, which launched in September. There was an infinite amount of man hours put into the project by not only us but the entire Baylor AMR staff, including the guy formerly known as Wednesday's With Webguy, the web guy himself Brad Sheffield.

And for those of you interested in DHB's Big 12 college hoops marketing rankings, here they are in reverse order: #12 Texas Tech, #11 Colorado, #10 Texas, #9 Kansas, #8 Oklahoma State, #7 Missouri, #6 Iowa State, #5 Kansas State, #4 Oklahoma, #3 Nebraska, #2 BAYLOR and #1 Texas A&M.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!


As Kool as the Other Side of the Pillow
11:43 A.M., FRIDAY, NOV. 6, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

In honor of a new season beginning and it being Friday (and in honor of the last day of Baylor Media Relations Associate Director, future Poet Laureate and writer-in-residence Larry Little), we have a riddle for you: What starts with L and ends in 3? Give up? The answer: LaceDarius Dunn. Cheezy? Maybe. Accurate? You betcha. While the nation's best 3-point shooter (we're biased) went just 1-for-5 from downtown last night, Dunn scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting to lead the Bears to an 86-71 exhibition victory over Central Oklahoma. Kool was in mid-season shooting form, knocking down fade-away jumpers from all over the court and showing fans what he did so well towards the end of last season - driving hard to the hoop.

Lace proved Thursday night that he is and wants to be the Bears' number one scoring option. If he keeps this up, he could break into the school's top five scoring list by season's end. Aside from Lace's offensive clinic, Thursday night was also the debut of 'The Nightmare', Ekpe Udoh. Ekpe, playing in a college basketball game for the first time in 601 days, posted a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) and added three monstrous first-half blocked shots. Tweety Carter chipped in 12 points to go along with his team-high five assists. Josh Lomers scored 10 points, while grabbing four boards in 21 minutes.

And while Baylor was not in mid-season form from deep (2-of-18 3FG as a team), the Bears looked very good distributing the ball down low to Udoh, J-Lo, 'The Cookie Monster' (Mr. Quincy Acy), Dragan Sekelja and Cory Jefferson. Jefferson's first sequence of the game included a defensive rebound then an alley-opp dunk that made the Bear Pit erupt. TCM was 4-of-5 from the floor with nine points and three boards in 18 solid minutes.

LOCAL MEDIA HEADLINES AFTER THURSDAY'S EXHIBITION WIN
Justin Baer, The Baylor Lariat: "Bears' Basketball Season Officially Underway"
John Werner, Waco Tribune-Herald: "Dunn Takes Charge for Baylor in Exhibition Opener, 86-71"

In other Baylor FCP-tweeted happenings...
Curtis Jerrells is one of 17 players heading to the NBA D-League's Austin Toros training camp which begins Nov. 13...Henry Dugat has been invited to attend Rio Grande Valley Vipers training camp...RGV, an NBA D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, open camp Nov. 14...Tim Bush, one of the 200 draft-eligible players for last night's NBA D-League Draft, was not selected.

AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


Jerrells Allocated to Austin, Dugat Gets Tryout
10:45 A.M., THURSDAY, NOV. 5, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

Attention Central Texas citizens: Curtis Jerrells could be playing at an NBA D-League arena near you. Jerrells, who participated in training camp with the San Antonio Spurs, has been allocated (based on territorial rights) to the Spurs' D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. CJ joins the Toros alongside fellow allocated player Roderick Riley and returning players Justin Bowen, Ryan Bright, Fred Gibson, Carldell Johnson, Dwayne Jones and Jason Parker. Jerrells is the only rookie on Austin's roster. CJ will battle former UAB guard Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson for the Toros' starting point guard spot.

Henry Dugat, who was added to the Dallas Mavericks summer league team with Jerrells last July, has been invited to try out for the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Two hundred NBA prospects make up the 2009 NBA Developmental League Draft pool. The NBA D-League draft will be televised tonight on NBA TV beginning at 7 p.m. EST. The D-League Draft utilizes a "serpentine" format, meaning the order will alternate in each of the eight rounds. Former Baylor Bear Tim Bush is among the 200 draft-eligible hopefuls.


601 Days Later, 'The Nightmare' Returns to the Hardwood
11:35 A.M., WEDNESDAY, NOV. 4, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

It's finally here...What's "IT", you ask? It is basketball season, 217 days after arguably the greatest postseason run in Baylor history. And, judging by today's blog title, it will mark the debut of Ekpe 'The Nightmare' Udoh, who has not played a game in 601 days. That's a long time. Of course, we can't forget to mention that Ekpe will make his Baylor debut against Central Oklahoma, which is from his hometown of Edmond. Thursday will be well worth the wait for Ekpe and the legions of Baylor Bear fans.

And, if you haven't been to the Ferrell Center since last season's NIT win over Georgetown, then you haven't seen the new tapestry hanging from the rafters...That's right - the 2009 NIT Runner-Up banner, which we posted via TwitPic this morning (thanks to ISP's Mitch Mann for the photo op).

Thursday's Exhibition [NEW AND IMPROVED] Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Game Notes | Tickets

It's Only an Exhibition (and that goes for FCP, too)
While BaylorNation is ecstatic for the return for basketball, keep in mind Thursday's game is only an exhibition. Stats do not count. Win-Loss does not count. But you get a sneak peek at the Bears will look like this season. Under head coach Scott Drew, the Bears are 3-1 in exhibition play. Thursday marks the fourth straight season Baylor has played an exhibition game against a Lone Star Conference school. Last season, Baylor defeated preseason LSC South Division favorite Tarleton State, 76-44.

News and Notables Entering Thursday (aka Game Night Story Lines)
• Baylor leads the all-time series 5-2, but the schools have not played during the regular season since the 1938-39 season.
• Baylor will play 24 regular season games on television in 2009-10, including nine on the ESPN family of networks. Last season, the Bears played a school-record 34 televised game as well as 18 on the ESPN family of networks.
• Seventh-year Baylor head coach Scott Drew enters the 2009-10 season with 81 wins to his credit at the helm of the Bears men's basketball program. Drew currently ranks sixth all-time at Baylor and trails former head coach Gene Iba (98) by 17 for fifth place.
• Junior forward/center Ekpe Udoh, who transferred from Michigan in June 2008, will suit up for the Bears in 2009-10 after sitting out the 2008-09 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. When Udoh steps onto the floor for Baylor's exhibition game Thursday, it will be his first game in 601 days.
• Baylor was picked 10th -- garnering 33 votes -- in the 2009-10 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll in October. Baylor was picked ahead of Nebraska (11th) and Colorado (12th). Last season, Baylor was picked tied for third -- the Bears' highest preseason prediction in Big 12 history.
• Baylor's 45 wins in the last two seasons (21 in 2007-08, 24 in 2008-09) under head coach Scott Drew are more than the Bears' combined win total in his first four seasons (36).
• Entering the 2009-10 season, Baylor has nine underclassmen, which ranks third in the Big 12 (11, Nebraska; 10, Kansas; 9, Baylor and Oklahoma) and 20th among NCAA Division I schools. The Bears possess only four upperclassmen, fewest in the Big 12 and ranks ninth nationally.

Finally...Since the Baylor 2009-10 season ticket commercial has aired, we've changed our minds.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.


The Wait is ALMOST Over
12:41 P.M., MONDAY, NOV. 2, 2009
CHRIS YANDLE  (EMAIL)

It's our first blog entry of November, which means one thing: Basketball Season is here! Baylor hosts defending Lone Star Conference champion Central Oklahoma in its only exhibition of the season Thursday at 7 p.m. To celebrate the start of a new season, check out the 2009-10 Men's Basketball Season Preview video, courtesy of Inside Baylor Sports...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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