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Hoops Gets Smaller; 2-QB System

Gacesa In case, you missed it in my game story in Wednesday's MH, FIU hoops has lost its 2 tallest players to injury.

6-9 forward Nikola Gacesa (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is done for the season with an ACL tear he sustained at Monmouth. 6-9 forward Cedric Essola had hernia surgery and is not expected back until the earliest January. The injury bug moves from FIU Stadium to the Bank.

J.C. Otero, a 6-7 small forward, did a nice job filling in at the 5 last night with 16 points and 14 rebounds. But eventually, the lack of size will catch up with the Panthers this season.

With the exception of the Golden Dazzlers, it wasn't pretty last night for FIU against NAIA FloridaGdazz Memorial from Miami Gardens.

Ragged play all around from a team that is showing it has not played together before. Don't get me wrong, there were moments such as the alley-oop from Antoine Watson to Marvin Roberts. When was the last time we saw an alley-oop by an FIU team? Yes, this is a more athletic team, but the playing chemistry is still off.

Stephon Weaver and Otero combined on a nice play in the paint. For being 5-10, Phil Gary (below, left) is a proud, card-carrying member of Company Jones, driving fearlessly to the hoop against bigger bodies. And Roberts had that dunk off a rebound in the middle of the paint -- again when was the last time we saw that kind of play from a Panthers team?

However, the disjointed play needs to be cleaned up come conference time. Expect this season to be similar to MC's and TT's first years as FIU coaches. Not expecting FIU to compete for the Sun Belt this season, but a better season than has happened in a while at the Bank would be a start.

Gary Speaking of the Bank, very nice renovation job of the arena. The Panthers hoopsters home finally had the feel of a real arena last night with all the changes.

Plenty of signs everywhere telling you where your seats were, where the concessions, bathrooms and where the courtside seat holders suites were located. And having fans come down from the second level to their seats also is an improvement. The place also benefitted from an entire new paint job and new court markings as well. Next up some time this season will be a jumbotron scoreboard and work on the new FIU hoopsters locker rooms, which should be ready for next season.


Pmc As for Saturday's game against the Gators and for the Boca Raton Hooters gameWy on Dec. 5, MC said today that he "thinks so" that both Paul McCall (left, thanks AJH photo) and Wayne Younger (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) will play. The two-QB system worked at times for FIU last Saturday against North Texas. Tell us below, what you think about the idea for the Panthers final two games of the season.

Future FIU quarterback Wesley Tebow, er, Wesley Carroll has been playing the role of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow this week in practice running the scout team offense.

Appropriate enough for a former All-SEC Freshman QB to be playing the role of an All-SEC QB.

Obviously, WC does not have the size or credentials of Tebow, but WC has looked pretty good running theCarrollwes scout team. WC is a very mobile QB, has a good arm and throws well on the run.

If the FIU offensive line can improve next season, then WC could have a pretty good first year as FIU's QB.


Aaapaw LIVE BLOG coverage of the FIU/Florida game will begin at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. It is a very deadline friendly kickoff time so I will be able to stick with you until the end of the game.

Aaapaw Will have the next LIVE FIU HOOPS BLOG for Sunday's game which is a 6 p.m. start against James Madison. LIVE BLOG starts at 5:45 p.m. No LIVE BLOG for Friday's hoops game vs. NC Central since I will be in Gainesville on that night.

Aaapaw Due to space constraints in Thursday's MH, the FIU Volleyball story will likely run in Friday's MH paper. Here's a preview of the story....

   The patrons in a downtown Nashville restaurant were in for some unexpected entertainment from the FIU volleyball team on a Saturday night earlier this month. The Golden Panthers -- who had just wrapped up their second consecutive Sun Belt regular season title by defeating defending conference champion Middle Tennessee an hour earlier – were ready for a late night dinner.....

Check out the rest on Friday.


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oooooh nice teaser pete.... reads like the start of an agatha christie novel ;)

We've all seen FIU play against extremely tough teams in even tougher venues. Penn State, Iowa, Alabama and now the Gators.

I think FIU will give them a game, like they gave Bama a game. It won't be pretty because we know Tim Tebow wants (and frankly, needs) to have a HUGE HUGE HUGE game in order to get back to Heisman talk.

But I think FIU will do something similar to what FAU did to the Gators.

My prediction: 56-21, Gators.

Can FIU pull the upset? Sure, anything can happen. Just knock Tebow out of the game and you're looking at a whole new ball game.

But, let's not get discouraged if FIU gets completely leveled....

Pete, can you give us a little insight on what is going on with Kambriel Willis? Is he injured or just in the doghouse? I have a hard time believing a kid with his talent can't get on the field for a few snaps a game, especially considering all of the injuries this year. Please don't just say succinctly that the coaches don't feel he's ready, or others are performing better in practice. I know he's a little undersized playing DL, but that's probably because he should never have been put on the DL to start with.

If it's non-football related issues, then at least just let us know that and I won't bring up his name again. I really want to see him succeed, and would hate to see his career at FIU go to waste.

I agree, I think FIU will go into the swamp fighting. The GP's seem to put up a better fight against top teams (at least for a couple of quarters) than SBC teams.

My only concern is injuries during the game and after. This will be the most physical game FIU has ever played and I am sure the players will give it their all, which means a totally different team may be playing against FAU, a game we desperately need to win considering they're in our house.

In any case, the anticipation for this Saturday's game is building up, especially since UF probably already wrote us off. If nothing else, it helps the GP's to be the underdogs yet again.

my username is the champion underdog... but i dont see this one being remotely close to winnable. im probably going to keep my eyes clenched shut half the time like during a horror flick.

Our boys will come prepared for battle - facepaint and all - but i just dont think we are there yet. Im just hoping can avoid a monumental embarrassment. With our defense giving up 500+ yards to sun belt teams i think keeping the gators under 60 will be an achievement.

Gosh, come to think of it, i think id like to go on vacation this week... to china.

UF 65 FIU 10

LOL I hear ya champion, I will also be praying this doesn't turn out to be a disastrous game. I am confident our boys will give it their best shot.

FIU 14
UF 45

UF blows the game wide open in the second half, but I'm still hoping for that Miracle in the swamp.


Kambriel was tailgating near my group at the UNT game, from what I can tell, he may not play football here anymore...

As a Senior here at UF I am a huge Gator fan. I go to every game wearing my orange and blue. However, I grew up in Miami, right around the corner from FIU. I went to all their baseball and basketball games and occasionally the football games before I started here at UF. My fondest memories are of going to the FIU games with my dad, an FIU alum, wearing my FIU gear - some of it homemade. So, with the game on Saturday I will be at The Swamp with all of my UF friends, but something will be different. For the first time in the last two years of me going to games at UF I will NOT be wearing my orange ande blue! I will be wear blue and gold baby. I do not care what the Gator Nation thinks. 364 days a year I am a Gator through and through - but on this day, the day TY is going to score 3 touchdowns and the Golden Panther defense is going to shut down Tim Tebow, I will stand proud amongst the orange and blue draped in gold. And when the game is over - it WILL BE the Golden Panthers who lead off SportsCenter after completing the biggest upset in college football history.

Go Panthers!

Wow Gator/FIU!! That was pretty deep! Just be careful cuase UF will start charging extra tuition if they catch you with FIU gear.. ha ha.. Regardless of what the fianl score maybe I will alsway wear my Blue and Gold. Right now unfortunatly we are NOT in the Top 5 team in the State of Florida (forget the nation).. But maybe a good showing (just like in Alabama), and the $800,000 that we are getting will only help our team get better. Cristobal needs to have one BIG goal.
Get the Best recruting class in the Sunbelt.. It will be hard to beat Troy, but he can pull it off..

Go Golden Panthers..

Nice post Gator/FIU Nation, very encouraging and moving! A few thousand fans will be there to cheer on the Golden Panthers, so you'll be in good company.

Great post gator/fiu nation!!!! I think that FIU will come into this game fighting hard!!! and hopefully stay in the game for the first half, but really don't think they have a chance...they are coming into this game 42 point underdogs and i hope we do a least score a few touchdowns. I will be there cheering them on even if they win or lose!! GO Golden Panthers!!!!!!!!

21 hours before I leave to Gainsville decked out in FIU shirts, with my FIU license plate and FIU flags on my windows.

Imagine if TY were healthy... to run one back just like at Alabama... and have UF short kick the rest of the game....But, alas, we wont even win the Special Teams phase of the game. Any how, we'll be heading up on Friday to watch our boys play. Hopefully, the Dazzlers' will be there too... Hit on some local white girls in UF.... They love us Hispanics, we're exotic...LOL... GO PANTHERS

Same here FP&L...well more like 30 hrs for me...countdown begins...

UF has some very fine ladies, I'll be checking out the talent as well...and the Golden Dazzlers...

T-minus 24 hours for departure.....

35-0...at the end of first quarter
49-0 at halftime

Final Score 73-0

But I hope FIU wins...I really do

i am gonna pick fight with albert..

Gator/FIU Nation - good for you.

However, the posts that followed yours from the FIU fans on this blog were all lies. They do not look at you as a real FIU fan because you did not go there. Sorry. I guess you are just FIU phony as I am a UM phony.


You must really live in a dark, quite and lonely universe !!!

Get a life !!!

That's "Dark, quiet and lonely universe"

D- bag !!

Gator fans Rock ! -
CC you represent the majority of your classless fan base.

And what exactly do you represent FIURage?

Good response FIUPIKE, really showing off that FIU education. Funny how you did not attack what I wrote, probably because you know I am right.

CANDY CANE - did you actually read AND comprehend what Gator/FIU Nation wrote? Here, let me quote him..."364 days a year I am a Gator through and through - but on this day,...I will stand proud amongst the orange and blue draped in gold."

Did you somehow infer that his story is relatable to yours, a phony scUM fan 365 days a year? Now sit quietly in a dark room and analyze the difference. People on this blog are tired of spoon feeding you.

Gator/FIU Nation,

Great post, sounds like you had a real special relationship with your father.

"Did you somehow infer that his story is relatable to yours, a phony scUM fan 365 days a year?"

Posted by: scUMsanitizer | November 19, 2009 at 05:14 PM


Have you guys read some of the stories on ESPN regarding the SunBelt? Pretty cool if we get 3 bowl eligible teams. We forget the SunBelt is only 8 years old.

GO F I U!!!!!!

The FIU Dazzlers are way prettier than the Gator Dazzlers.....lol !!!!!!!!!!!

chrisfiu and chiapanther, go to sorority row, and hit the bars, you will have fun. Roary, beat Albert and take Alberta with you to Miami.
I love this game, I did half of my under grad at UF and the other half at FIU, I would love to go back to the Swamp, but I have some commitments that wont let me out of town this weekend.
I might go hang out withe local Gators to watch the game and wear all blue, or just my frat jersey. Anyway here is my prediction.
UF 73
They are too fast, strong and experienced for us, and on top of that they will have 80,000 fans and a large marching band making noise all day.
For all of you going have fun, Gator fans are passionate but since there is no beef with FIU, and they know they are going to win, they will be civilized with FIU fans, they might actually might look at FIU as a baby brother.
I hope one day we can raise to that level of fans, boosters, and play.

What's the TV Situation?

Fiu 10 UF 49 dazzlers 73

Thanks Baltimorepanther, will do!

KJ, haven't seen the UF dazzlers all that much, but I'm sure you're right.

scUMsanitizer, lol good post, sure feels like we're spoon feeding crazy turd

Unfortunately I think we won't beat the spread in this one (I've seen the spread being 40, 42, 44 and 49). I really hope we come out and play like we did in the first 2/3 of the Bama game, but I really don't think that will happen. I think we'll lose something like 66-14 or 72-17. Our defense just doesn't impress me and I hope I'm wrong. But if Troy lost 56-6, we'll certainly lose by more.

I hope I'm wrong.

I meant our FIU Dazzlers 73

Look here Crazy, the FIU fans accept me because I grew up as one of them. Yes I am a Gator now, but I am and always be a Golden Panther first. That is why this weekend, I am wearing the gold and blue.

And I am sorry scUMsanitizer, but I have a little sympathy for Crazy's position here. Yes the other 364 days of the year I cheer for the Gators, but only because they are not playing the Golden Panthers on those days. I am a Golden Panther fan 365 days a year. So if Crazy says he bleeds orange and green, good for him.

We will beat the spread, but we won't beat the best team in the nation. Just too many weapons in every facet of their game. Miracles happen as we've seen Appalachian State humble the Wolverines, but we aren't Appalachian State and the Gators aren't the Wolverines. Even if our team was running on all cylinders and we were in position to win the SunBelt, we'd still struggle against the mighty Gators.

I've been waiting for this game for awhile now, I graduated from FIU and my little brother goes to UF so as I sit here and smack talk him he has the same attitude that all UF fans have, they simply don't care. Which is why I'm hoping that we can show up and show the big boys that we're on our way up to catch them. We can certainly do it by being in a recruiting hot-bed with a great fan base and the hottest girls in the friggin' nation! I've been pondering selling my soul to the devil for this game...but I may need my soul later on. All in all we will get some exposure and will soon be one of the big dogs in Florida and leave the Sun Belt for a better conference. Right now we need to be bigger, stronger and faster and UF will simply wear us down like Alabama did.

UF- 49
FIU - 13

Folks, this game will be the most physically demanding game ever for our Golden Panthers, no doubt about it! However, I have a strong feeling the gators aren't too concerned about us. Whether they admit it or not, they're focus is on FSU and the SEC title game. Having said that, they will still crush us, but not to the extent that some are predicting.

Furthermore, the GP's will keep this a close game through the half, after which UF will unload and put us to rest. I have a feeling the same team that showed up against Bama for the firt two quarters will show up against Florida this saturday. This is our bowl game after all. Alas, football is four quarters long, so we won't hold up to UF's speed, size and depth.

Regardless, our boys will play with a lot of heart. They won't go down without a fight and that's all we can ask for right now! FIU will be representing South Florida tomorrow, so we should all be proud of that, whatever the outcome may be.

amen....chrisfiu! and btw...the calling for a 50% chance of rain in the swamp tomorrow, so i'm bringing my poncho...and my "spirit" GO Golden Panthers!

Word of warning too people, the Gator fans can get rowdy, so everyone please be careful and have fun at the game....


The only thing CrazyCane bleeds is red a couple days of the month.

Posted by: quijote | November 20, 2009 at 09:35 AM

LMAO, only because it's true.

You know what quijote - that comment was so sophmoric, and expected from your small FIU brain, it is not even worth my time. Enjoy life. By the way, get used to the following question being asked of you on a daily basis... Can you fill up my car at pump 3?

Gonna say Gators roll...

It'll be 50-13 UF wins easy. Maybe we keep close in the first quarter. Maybe,

Going to change my prediction to 55-9. If it rains that pits UF's strength against FIU's biggest weakness. Doubt they let Brantley throw much when they sit Tebow too.

UF - 51
FIU - 13

Does anyone know if the game will be blacked out on ESPN360?

UF 59 FIU 7

By the way, get used to the following question being asked of you on a daily basis... Can you fill up my car at pump 3?

Posted by: CrazyCane | November 20, 2009 at 01:14 PM

You are a special kind of stupid aren't you? It's never a clever joke to infer that all graduates of a particular institution are only suited to work the register at a gas station; but it's downright moronic to make that joke about the very institution you attended and graduated from. The only thing I got out of all the posts you've ever made on this blog is that we really need to tighten up our admission standard.


CrazyCane = Manny Navarro?

Think about it; it makes sense.

ok score time.. i predict 65-21... UF... its not goin to be pretty

Just wanted to be clear Pete, the prediction (should be obvious) is

UF - 55

FIU - 9

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