The entire title of this post is not completely accurate since the FIU women's hoops team beat Denver in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament Wednesday night and now travel to Mobile, Alabama to play Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday night. Congrats to the FIU girls.
As for the FIU men hoops team, their season ended for the second consecutive season at the Hooters home gym. Unlike last year's 91-88 overtime thriller, there was no suspense in this one as FAU went on a 22-7 run to start the game and finished off FIU with a 17-2 run in the second half. The Owls scored 91 points again, but FIU could only put up 64 points. Here's what appeared in the Miami Herald on Thursday morning: FAU ends FIU season
Unfortunately, space was limited in the Herald again, so here's what was left out from Wednesday's game, including a Seinfeld moment, and what FIU needs to do to get better next season. The interview with FIU Prez Maidique will follow this post, but first a wrapup of FIU hoops.
Besides being a poor road team this season (1-12), FIU also had a bad habit of not being physical enough in the paint and overall. The Golden Panthers were a basically a team of jump shooters that didn't play enough inside.
After all FAU outrebounded FIU 40-23 and held the Panthers to ONE offensive rebound in the first half. After the game, I asked SR why FAU was able to control the boards and here's what he had to say: "How about putting an elbow in your mouth. How about being tougher. Rebounding is toughness. It's a tough way to finish the season. They physically came out and bullied us and we didn't sustain the same intensity physically." Or if you ask Rex, FAU was a man.
FAU basically copied what South Alabama did to FIU in the season finale last Saturday. SA outrebounded FIU 41-23 and held the Panthers to 3 TOTAL offensive rebounds. So what's the solution?
"We're lifting four times a week," SR said. "My first meeting will be [Thursday] with the strength coach and he's going to have a game plan for individually getting my guys stronger. He's going to make Alex Galindo quicker, stronger and faster. Russell Hicks has to get his core stronger. He's got to be able to have enough strength to hold his ground around the basket."
While Rouco was saying what is written above, there was a humorous exchange in the postgame interview with an old man who writes about FAU for one of those Boca Raton community newspapers. If you're a fan of Seinfeld, think of Morty Seinfeld (Jerry's dad) and the episode he ran for president of Del Boca Vista Phase II. In that episode the Boca Breeze community newspaper smeared him - Morty called the paper a "pinko, commie, rag". Well, this old man writes for a paper similar to the Boca Breeze. Average age of the readers is 112 years old.
So as SR is talking about lifting weights and getting stronger, the old man interrupts him and says in a New York accent: "G-a-a-a-a-rds, you need g-a-a-a-a-rds". SR smiling replied: "Excuse me, what's your name?". Old man says: "Lou". SR replies: "Lou, you're a genius. We've got four guards coming in next season."
That would be Josue Soto, T.Y. Hilton and two others SR could not talk about. And yes, Lou was correct FIU needs serious reinforcements at the guard position. For the past two years, FIU lost its four starting guards. In 2006-07, Elvis Lora and DeJean Prejean became academically ineligible. This season, Redd White quit the team and Michael James was kicked off the team.
As for the future of FIU hoops, asked PG about it and this is the AD's take: "Every coach and every person in the athletic department is evaluated on a yearly basis and then decisions will be made."
PG would not comment directly on SR's future when asked if SR is staying or going. However, word is SR is expected back next season.
Good win for the baseball team against Maine Wednesday night before a three-game test at Troy, who is 9-2 and two games against an underrated Jacksonville team. FIU can hit with anyone, with just a little bit better pitching the Panthers can make some noise in the conference.
Wouldn't necessarily agree that the search for an offensive coordinator is taking a long time. This is, arguably with the defensive coordinator position, the second biggest hire on a football team after a head coach. You can't win too many football games if you can't score points (ask the Balitmore Ravens defense) and having the right offensive chief for such a young team like FIU is critical. MC is not exactly looking to fill the position of the assistant to the traveling secretary of the New York Yankees here. OK, enough Seinfeld references on this post. A new OC will be in place soon, because, per NCAA rules, the last day teams can have spring football practice is April 19.
FIUJM: Don't know if you could say this was SR's most talented team. The thought here is SR's first team in 2004-05 which went to the Sun Belt semifinals may have been better. There was some pretty good balance on that team with forwards Ivan Almonte and Ismael N'Diaye, and guards Junior Matias, Antonio Jones (who is tearing it up at St. Thomas now) and Jayce Lewis. Plus they upset Florida State and played George Washington tough.
GP1, INS PUB ADJ & OffTheFielder: Welcome to the GPP.
INS PUB ADJ: Yes, it looks like Jorge De Cespedes will become FIU's director of basketball operations. According to a couple of Miami Herald high school writers, after JDC's Sagemont High basketball team lost in the state championship in Lakeland last week, during the post game press conference, JDC told the high school reporters that he was leaving Sagemont for another basketball job not involving coaching. In the middle of the interview, JDC got a call and said "Excuse me, guys, it's my new boss I have to take this call. Hello, Pete."