'The Nightmare' is Baylor's 'Tower of Terror'
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?
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
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
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'...
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: XAVIER
UDOH'S BLOCK PARTY
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'
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:
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...
We Now Pause Five Seconds...To Prove We Were Right
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):
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.
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
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
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).
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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
UP NEXT AT THE OLD SPICE CLASSIC
LAST SEASON ON THANKSGIVING [NOV. 27, 2008, AT 76 CLASSIC]
Answers for the next time you play 'Trivial Pursuit' (aka 'The Triple Ns': News, Notables and Numbers)
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...
*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
Nearly 12 hours after leaving the Ferrell Center at 1:15 p.m. CST Tuesday, the Baylor Bears arrived at their temporary 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.
Bears Return to National TV
A More Multi-Dimensional Lace Dunn
`The Lace and Tweety Show' Debuts Thursday
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
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
Rogers, Panionois Return to Action
The Madness is Over (for now): Six Days Until Baylor Visits the (Milk) House of Mouse
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:
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.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: HARDIN-SIMMONS
LAST TIME OUT VS. HARDIN-SIMMONS [NOV. 17, 2001]
Answers for the next time you play 'Trivial Pursuit' (aka 'The Triple Ns': News, Notables and Numbers)
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
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
It's Pronounced YOU-doh...Like 'U(DOH) DA MAN'
What they said about Udoh's game-winning shot Sunday...
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
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
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
"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.
March Madness? We've Got November Madness
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...
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.'
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: NORFOLK STATE
'Friday the 13th' will feature debut of 'Friday, who wears No. 13'
News, Notables and Numbers
BOOM SHAKA LAKA AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
ESPN 'Car Wash' Photo Blog*
*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
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
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
In other Baylor FCP-tweeted happenings...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Jerrells Allocated to Austin, Dugat Gets Tryout
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.
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
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).
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)
Finally...Since the Baylor 2009-10 season ticket commercial has aired, we've changed our minds.
The Wait is ALMOST Over
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...