February 08, 2016

Future Watch

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Thursday -- Men's Basketball vs. UTEP, 7 p.m.

Friday -- Softball vs. Florida State, 7 p.m.

Saturday -- Softball vs. St. John's, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday -- Men's Basketball vs. UTSA, 7 p.m.

Saturday -- Softball vs. Illinois, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday -- Softball vs. LIU-Brooklyn, 1 p.m.

Sunday -- Softball vs. Valparaiso, 3:30 p.m.

The Futures market sells big in FIU Athletics these days.

Make no mistake, it always has. Talk of what could be, should be, will be (maybe) always seems to draw more interest at FIU than what is. Maybe it's just I'm noticing this confluence this year.

Softball starts this Friday at home. Baseball begins a week from Friday at Ole Miss. Sand Volleyball will start soon after finishing last season ranked No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. And, of course, we just had Signing Day with the football coaching staff likely looking at a Pack For a Bowl or Pack Up the Office season.

Now, take men's basketball, 11-13 overall, 5-6 in Conference USA, zero for four in its last four. You knew the season had entered the "just get ready for the conference tournament" phase when when coach Anthony Evans exuded an almost sanguine air after the Jan. 30 men's basketball home loss to Old Dominion. FIU did some things well, not enough or as many as Old Dominion and took a four-point loss. They're still trying to gain the cohesion and consistency of a team, which is where they seem to be at this point every year. Even in Evans' third year, there's still a chop shop quality to the roster -- this part from a Hialeah body shop, this piece from Sanford & Son's area, these pieces driven down from Tallahassee. There's not wholesale roster changes, but enough key players change each year that FIU seems perpetually trying to get past the dating stage.

The good news for the women's basketball team (3-19, 1-10)? Everybody makes the conference tournament. The bad news? FIU has to play with this year's team instead of next year's. This year's Panthers show about 72 times more pluck than they did last year. They're still tax refund light on talent and focus. Nobody's looked forward to next year like this since the Brooklyn Dodgers ("Wait 'til next year!") or 1960s Dallas Cowboys (Next Year's Champions).

Here's what FIU gains next year: a pair of three-star freshman forwards, 6-1 Sydney Fields from Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview and 6-2 Jamesia Amand from Dallas Skyline; three-star 5-7 point guard Alexis Gordon from Palm Bay Covenant Christian; point guard Kayla Rogers, who runs the show for Jacksonville Ribault, which has been nationally ranked this year; and 6-4 transfer Erin Garner, a former three-star recruit who transferred from Georgia Tech. Oh, and last year's CUSA Freshman of the Year, 6-1 forward Kiandre'a Pound, will be back from spending a redshirt season becoming a mommy.

Swim & Dive just finished its dual meet season at 8-5 by beating FAU 115-71 and the defending Conference USA champions enter conference meet prep. With the variation how much stress some programs put on earlier season meets, checking out top conference times can be like looking at a Kandinsky -- looks wonderful, but you might not be seeing what you think you're seeing. Still, FIU's got one of the top two CUSA times this year in the 50 freestyle, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free, 1,650 free (sophomores Kyna Periera and Naomi Ruele, take a bow); 100 back (Ruele), 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay; and sophomore Rebecca Quesnel could sweep the three diving competitions.

But FIU's owned the best individuals at conference meets before and been left to celebrate them while finishing from here to Hollywood from the team title. That changed in 2015 with FIU's depth burying second place Rice. The challenge is to repeat that feat Feb. 24-27 in Atlanta.

  

February 05, 2016

Women's BBall Gets First Conference Win In a Long Time

On Feb. 22, 2014, senior guard Jerica Coley scored 35 points on 12 of 26 shooting from the field and eight of 11 from the free throw line to lead FIU to a 77-66 win against Marshall.

FIU's women's basketball team lost its next 30 regular season Conference USA games. Until Thursday.

Senior guard Taylor Shade went off for an efficient 26 points -- nine of 13 from the field, three of four from three-point range, five of five from the line -- and Destini Feagin dropped in 19 points with seven rebounds and two steals as the Panthers beat UAB 72-61 at FIU Arena. First-year coach Marlin Chinn gets a conference result to go with his upbeat, energetic attitude.

FIU hosts Middle Tennessee State Saturday at 2 p.m.

 

January 29, 2016

Money, No Coffee & TV

When the Conference USA winter meetings broke in Boca, the conference proudly spoke of new regulations on student-athlete/athlete-student time demands. That's a problem that long needed to be addressed. Nothing like giving an athlete an education as payment for playing sports, then giving the athlete precious little time to get that education or the education you get from the whole college experience.

(If the education you got at college was the one they gave you the diploma for, you flunked)

The release spoke nothing of new television deals. That doesn't breed confidence in what the conference has cooking with its TV pals.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Maybe you didn't see it on American Sports Network, whose games involving FIU are often as invisible in Miami-Fort Lauderdale as the rights fees ASN pays Conference USA, but FIU center Adrian Diaz might've cost himself some money Thursday.

Diaz showing some nice spin moves on offense and the deft touch around the rim that's given him the conference lead in field goal percentage in conference games, 69.2 percent. But defense and rebounding top Diaz's can-do list. While Diaz slapped down Charlotte freshman guard Jon Davis like, well, a senior hazing a freshman, he had a problem with Charlotte senior center Joseph Uchebo. Uchebo went seven of 12 from the field and pulled down 10 rebounds going mostly at Diaz.

Diaz doesn't have many true big-on-big matchups this season to put on his tape for whatever or wherever his basketball life goes after FIU. He needs to dominate those few games.

FOOTBALL

You ever avoid going someplace on a date or just looking for a hookup because you know the glare of your competition for attention will render you invisible?

Then you know why FIU moved its season opening home game against Indiana to Sept. 1 from Sept. 3.

Oh, there was some official reason about now there's no chance the game gets jerked into the early afternoon by TV or some such. Yeah, yeah, yeah. As soon as the Hurricane's schedule came out with a season-opening home game against Florida A&M on Sept. 3, the first home game under new head coach Mark Richt, FIU began looking for a different date. Between attendance and attention, even by pulling off the very possible upset of Indiana, that fighting the first glow of Savior Richt would be The Charge of the Light Brigade for FIU.

On into the valley of death, rode the 600 (in the stands)...

FIU got Big Kahuna'd back to Thursday. And I don't blame them one bit.

 

 

January 24, 2016

Who is Daviyon Draper? And Women Up, Though Still Down

Besides the FIU 6-7 senior forward averaging 17.1 points per game in Conference USA play (10th in CUSA), 8.3 rebounds in conference games (sixth) and put up another double-double (17 and 10) in FIU's not-that-close 79-69 win at UTEP Saturday.

What part of Los Angeles did you grow up in and how would you decribe it?

"I grew up in South Central. It's pretty tough in some ways. You learn a lot about being disciplined and what you want out of life.

Which part of South Central?

"I stay at 107th and Broadway, the east side of South Central."

What's on your pregame playlist?

"JCole. Kendrick Lamar."

What's something about you that surprises people who don't know you well?

"I like being around kids. I'm a people person, too."

What age kids?

"Probably 4, 5, 6. I've got a lot of nieces and nephews. I teach them basketball and stuff like that. They look up to me, so I interact with them a lot."

Playing on the playground or Nerfhoop, what player would you imagine you were? And when you were imagining you as you, what team would you be playing for?

"Growing up my favorite player was Kobe (Bryant), I looked up to Kobe, idolized Kobe." As for the team: "The Lakers."

Outside of your parents, who's the one person who believed in your basketball dream and goals?

"All my coaches throughout my life believed I could reach this point. I'd say my grandmother. She's been a big influence on me. She always believed I could make it to this point."

Favorite video game?

"NBA2K."

Now, when you play, do you always take the Lakers?

"Oh, naw, they're not that good. I play OKC."

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

FIU's still winless in Conference USA, 0-7 after Saturday's loss to conference leading UTEP 69-57. And that does show progress.

Playing a team with UTEP's 15-1 record and whatever stature being just outside the Top 25 gives you, the Panthers didn't quit after a 22-0 run buried them 22-3. Instead of giving UTEP a Saturday walk in the park -- er, gym -- FIU gave UTEP a full 40 minutes of work. The Panthers got the margin into single digits at 24-16, then kept playing the Miners on even enough terms that UTEP never could cruise.

A year ago, FIU got blasted by conference champion Western Kentucky twice by 39, to Middle Tennessee State by 49, to Marshall by 24, Louisiana Tech by 23. The players looked like they'd quit. One player said recently she felt the coaches quit on them.

First-year head coach Marlin Chinn's talent light, something he's hustling to remedy in recruiting. He also lost last year's CUSA Freshman of the Year, forward Kiandre'a Pound, to pregnancy and 5-10 Katrina Epnere to a knee injury after Epnere started the first three games. But whether it's the energy of a new staff, new players such as Tianah Alvarado and Kristian Hudson or just the roster finding some pride, FIU's taking the first step to getting off the carpet.

Acting like they want to do it.

 

 

January 21, 2016

Who is Donte McGill?

Besides FIU men's basketball's starting point guard and leading scorer, that is. McGill's 17 games removed from Vincennes junior college and two seasons removed from Division II Goldey-Beacom College.

Tell me something about Newark, Delaware or your neighborhood in Newark, Delaware...

"It's pretty nice. I moved out of Philadelphia when I was younger. It's a pretty good neighborhood. Not too much going on. I get to relax and focus on what I need to do.

"It's like a small city area, almost. There's a little bit of crime, stuff going on. I just try to stay focused and out of that stuff."

What's on your pregame playlist?

"Chief Keef. Some of my friends (Chan Andreas) rap, too, so I listen to their stuff. I really just put my phone on shuffle and let it play."

What's something about you that surprises people who don't know you well?

 "My work ethic. I feel like I worked very hard to get here, coming from a Division II school and a junior college. I've focused on working hard, always staying determined and knowing where I wanted to go in my life. As I got here, I've been double of what I did before."

How'd you find Vincennes?

"There's a guy I don't know too well. I sent him an e-mail with my numbers from Division II and sent him some videotape. Taht was the first school that called me. They were ranked Top 5 in teh nation for junior colleges. So, it was a good fit right off the bat. I was really blessed to get that (offer). All those top players get to leave there and go to good schools. I felt like it was just supposed to happen."

What'd you think about the town of Vincennes (a city of 18,000 in Southern Indiana)?

"I liked it. I actually miss it a little bit. It was small. All the fans come out to the games and support us. It was a good environment to play basketball in. It's a basketball game."

Growing up playing basketball on the playground or Nerfhoop, which player did you imagine yourself being. And when you were just yourself, which team did you imagine you played for?

"I was playing for the Sixers. I liked AI (Allen Iverson) a lot. That was the player I wanted to be like.

Other than your mom or your dad, what one individual most believed in your basketball goals/dream?

"Probably one of my close friends. I call him "my brother." His name's "Rel" (Jerrell). He used to play basketball, too (in high school). He just figured out he had to do something else. He always pushed me. We'd always go to the gym together every single day and work out four times a day. He just helped me stay focused and that I can do whatever I set my mind to. He always pushed me to do better. He always liked to tell me what I need to get better on, stuff like that. I've known him about eight years."

 

January 08, 2016

Western Stories

You know that feeling Thursday when the State of Florida finally got the Florida Lottery website working again, you looked at the numbers and you had nothing? Or, maybe just a free ticket?

That's how the FIU basketballers of each gender left Western Kentucky feeling Thursday.

Up in Bowling Green (the one in Kentucky), the Panthers came from 10 down in the second half to win 75-72. The women hung tough for the full 40 against the best team in Conference USA, one with a 17-2 conference record over the last two seasons and 10-2 overall this season. In the end, some panicky possessions and key rebounds got away from the Panthers, as did a chance for the biggest upset in college women's basketball this season. Still, the 71-69 loss that left FIU 2-11 and 0-2 in conference play didn't leave Chinn upset.

"Our ladies really executed the game plan for us tonight. I couldn't be more proud of their effort to come up against the conference champs," he said. "They've got a really nice club. (Western coach) Michelle (Clark-Heard) does an awesome job with her team. For them to come out and give their best effort was really exciting to see. We had told them prior to the game, we just want to measure up. We want to see what the best team in the conference has and see where we stand. Give our best effort and see what happens."

What happened: FIU, down 33-23 and on the verge of being blown out with 5:37 left in the first half, stormed back behind defense and 5-9 junior Tianah Alvarado. Alvarado scored the next 14 FIU points. That got the game tied 37-37 at halftime because FIU stopped letting Western run layup drills after Chinn called a timeout at the aforementioned 33-23 and 5:37 left. After what looked like a strong excoriation, FIU, which had allowed Western to shoot 60 percent before the timeout, held the Hilltoppers to two of eight from the field the rest of the half.

The second half saw the teams trade baskets evenly, until a few ragged FIU possessions and a few too many offensive rebounds by Western did in FIU. Say this for the Panthers -- despite their record over the last two seasons, they never look intimidated. They've got the confidence actor William Talman injected into Hamilton Burger, the prosecutor who used to get undone by Perry Mason. One person on the show loved Talman's performance because you believed Burger deeply believed he'd win that week.

"We're right there, we're missing one little thing," FIU senior forward Janka Hegedus said after a game-high 22 points on 11 of 14 shooting.

"They're so hungry to get a win," Chinn said. "And they want it really bad. We've just come up short. We've got to learn how to win. Obviously, wins have been few and far between these last couple of seasons. But they seem really motivated to do something about their season, so I'm proud of that."

And, as he said, the losses weren't by last year's embarrassing margins. Western blasted FIU by 39 there and 41 here a year ago.

"I think everybody puts in effort and hard work. Everybody wants to be here," Hegedus said, explaining the difference from last year. "It's like our job. Everybody takes it seriously."

 

 

January 05, 2016

How Does FIU Compare to Its Conference USA Peers? (Part 1)

Curious about how FIU ranks among its Conference USA peers since moving from the Sun Belt Fun Belt in 2013, a curiosity prodded by several people inside and outside the athletic department asking the same thing, I did a little record hunting.

Now, obviously, the best answer to the above would be found by compiling the records of each CUSA school in each sport that FIU plays, weighting for things like missed conference tournaments, NCAA runs, conference tournament runs, individual brilliance (such as FIU's Meghan MacLaren tearing up the 2015 conference golf tournament). But all that would take up way too large a portion of whatever time I have left on this plane of existence. So, here's what I did:

I ranked the schools on overall and conference records since 2013 in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and then a wild card sport -- each school's best sport in which FIU also participates.

You play to win championships, so when ranking in conference play, the title winners eat first. When I assign point values later to determine an overall ranking, conference play will get greater weight. You get more credit for beating your peers than you do gorging on lesser punks.

I see the obvious flaws. With a relatively small sample size, one great or abysmal season can swing the results too hard in one direction. That's even more the case with schools that entered CUSA after the Great Sun Belt Migration of 2013 brought FIU, FAU, North Texas and Middle Tennessee State to the league. But, outside of Intelligent Benevolent Dictatorship, no perfect systems exist. 

Here's the rankings for each sport:

FOOTBALL OVERALL

1. Marshall – 33-8, three bowl wins

2. Western Kentucky – 20-7, two bowl wins.

3. Rice – 23-16, two bowl appearances, one win.

4. Louisiana Tech – 22-17, two bowl wins.

5. Middle Tennessee State -- 21-17, two bowl appearances.

6. Old Dominion – 11-13

7. North Texas -- 14-23, won one bowl game.

8. UTEP – 14-23, one bowl appearance

9. UTSA – 14-22 (ranked behind UTEP and North Texas despite a smidge better record because UTEP’s extra loss came in a bowl game and North Texas’ extra game was a bowl win).

10. Southern Mississippi – 13-25, one bowl appearance

11. FAU – 12-24

12. UAB – 8-16 (loses tiebreaker with FAU on, you know, the program being dead, then revived to two-season coma).

13. FIU – 10-26

14. Charlotte – 2-10

FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

1. Marshall -- 20-4, one conference title

2. Western Kentucky -- 12-4, one conference title.

3. Rice – 15-9, one conference title.

4. Middle Tennessee State – 17-7

5. Louisiana Tech -- 16-8

6. UTSA – 12-12

7. Old Dominion – 7-9

8. Southern Mississippi – 9-15 (gets the tiebreaker over UTEP, North Texas and FAU based on a Conference USA West Division title.)

9. UTEP 9-15 (gets the tiebreaker over North Texas and FAU on combined head-to-head record)

10. North Texas -- 9-15 (head-to-head tiebreaker over FAU)

11. FAU -- 9-15

12. UAB – 5-11

13. FIU – 7-17

14. Charlotte – 0-8

MEN’S BASKETBALL OVERALL

1. Louisiana Tech – 68-19

2. UTEP – 55-27

3. Old Dominion – 53-32

4. Middle Tennessee State -- 51-31

5. UAB – 49-32

6. Western Kentucky -- 28-18

7. FIU – 38-40

8. North Texas 36-42

9. Charlotte – 17-28

10. Marshall – 27-52

11. UTSA – 25-50

12. Rice – 24-53

13. FAU – 21-53

14. Southern Mississippi – 41-36 (placed down here for two years of self-imposed postseason bans after fundamental NCAA violations, such as completing homework assignments for recruits).

MEN’S BASKETBALL CONFERENCE

1. UAB -- 20-15, one Conference USA title

2. Louisiana Tech – 31-6

3. UTEP -- 27-9

4. Western Kentucky -- 12-7

5. Old Dominion – 23-12

6. Middle Tennessee State – 22-13

7. FIU – 16-19

8. North Texas -- 17-21

9. Charlotte – 7-12

10. UTSA -- 13-23

11. Marshall – 12-23

12. Rice – 10-26

13. FAU – 7-27

14. Southern Mississippi -- 17-18 (See above)

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL OVERALL

1. Western Kentucky – 40-7

2. Middle Tennessee State – 60-20

3. Southern Mississippi – 60-22

4. UTEP – 52-25

5. UAB – 41-33

6. Old Dominion – 44-37

7. FAU -- 38-34

8. Marshall – 38-37

9. Charlotte – 22-22

10. UTSA – 34-40

11. Louisiana Tech – 33-42

12. Rice – 24-49

13. North Texas -- 23-48

14. FIU -- 20-54

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CONFERENCE

1. Western Kentucky – 17-2, one conference title

2. Middle Tennessee State 30-5, one conference title

3. Southern Mississippi -- 27-8

4. Old Dominion -- 21-14

5. UTEP – 21-15

6. Charlotte – 10-9

7. UAB – 18-17

8. Louisiana Tech – 15-20

9. UTSA -- 15-21

10. FAU -- 14-21

11. Marshall -- 11-24

12. Rice – 11-25

13. North Texas -- 11-25

14. FIU – 6-29

BASEBALL OVERALL

1. Rice – 79-42, one NCAA at-large bid

2. Southern Mississippi – 71-43-1

3. FAU – 70-44, one NCAA at-large bid

4. UAB – 68-46

5. UTSA – 68-51

6. FIU – 66-51

7. Old Dominion – 63-54

8. Middle Tennessee State – 63-54

9. Western Kentucky – 24-28

10. Louisiana Tech – 40-62

11. Marshall – 40-63

12. Charlotte – 38-60-1

North Texas & UTEP – No team

BASEBALL CONFERENCE

1. Rice -- 45-15, one conference title

2. FIU – 29-31, one conference title

3. Southern Mississippi – 38-21

4. Middle Tennesse State – 37-24

5. UAB -- 35-25

6. FAU -- 33-26

7. UTSA -- 33-28

8. Old Dominion – 30-30

9. Marshall -- 22-37

10. Charlotte -- 21-38

11. Western Kentucky – 10-19

12. Louisiana Tech – 13-46

North Texas & UTEP – No team

WILD CARD SPORT

1. Western Kentucky – Volleyball. 62-10, 30-2 in conference, two conference tournament titles.

2. UTSA -- Men’s Track & Field. Two outdoor conference titles.

3. Charlotte -- Men’s Soccer. 37-16-7 overall, 16-5-4 in conference, one conference title, two other at-large NCAA tournament bids.

4. UTEP – Men’s Cross Country. One conference title, one conference runner-up (tell me I was the only one who thought the Miners won this every year).

5. Old Dominion -- Men’s Soccer. 32-18-5, 14-8-3, one conference title (a men's soccer championship is worth more than any other conference title because it's Conference USA’s best sport, by far).

6. FIU – Swimming & Diving. 22-3 in dual meets, one conference title (2015), one conference runner-up (2014).

7. Rice – Swimming & Diving. One conference title (2014), one conference runner-up (2015).

8. North Texas -- Women’s Soccer. 49-16-3 overall, 22-5-3 in conference, one conference tournament title.

9. Middle Tennessee State – Women’s Golf. One conference title.

10. UAB – Softball. 64-46 overall, 30-15 in conference, one NCAA at-large bid (gets close nod over FAU softball on incrementally better conference record).

11. FAU – Softball. 72-41-1, 31-16 in conference, one NCAA at-large bid.

12. Marshall -- Women’s soccer. 32-18-11, 14-9-7 in conference.

13. Southern Mississippi – Volleyball. 61-39 overall, 26-21 in conference.

14. Louisiana Tech -- Women’s soccer. 34-24-3 overall, 14-14-2 in conference.

As this is a multi-part post, the master of the multi-part hit...

 

 

January 04, 2016

Diaz Gets Third CUSA POW Honor

Rarely do you see a player take over a game the way 6-11 senior center Adrian Diaz did Sunday against FAU. Diaz scored 20 of FIU's first 22 second half points and assisted on the other hoop. Defensively, he altered shots and blocked one drive by FAU's Adonis Filer so ferociously, Filer went to the floor and resembled Michael Spinks after he got Mike Tyson'ed. Diaz also later had what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra calls "a hockey assist" (the pass that led to the pass that led to the bucket -- they give two assists in hockey).

Anyway, mainly for that effort, Diaz was named Conference USA's Co-Player of the Week with Louisiana Tech's Alex Hamilton. It's Diaz's third player of the week award this season.

January 03, 2016

FIU Cagers go 1-1 vs. Boca Woodsys Sunday

Yeah, it's a headline straight out of 1956. Basketball players used to be called that because netting or fencing surrounded early basketball courts and the name stuck until the late 1970s.

Anyway, the FIU women lost 87-82 to Florida Atlantic up in Boca despite guard Taylor Shade's 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers. Tianah Alvarado tossed in 22 points with seven rebounds before fouling out. The men showed FAU that size matters and smacked the Owls in the face with Adrian Diaz, whom FIU insists on calling "The Hialeah Hammer" (sounds like a by-the-book cop who works Okeechobee Road). Diaz went six of eight from the field, 11 of 17 from the line for 23 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, blocked three shots and got two steals. 

So, the men sit at 7-7, 1-0 in Conference USA play going to Western Kentucky and Marshall this week while the women are 3-9, 0-1 hosting those two schools at Camp Mitch. 

FAU's men came into Sunday with wins only over Lesser Miami (of Ohio) and a song (Ave Maria). The Owls' leading scorer, sophomore forward C.J. Turman, is transferring and they didn't have injured backup guard Marquan Botley, a junior guard second in assists and steals who plays 20.5 minutes per game. FIU should spank the Owls they way they did. Diaz should Godzilla the Boca Boys the way he did. Then again, mediocre mid-major teams don't always do what they should so that FIU did is to its credit.

“The whole season is about progress and growth," FIU coach Anthony Evans said. "I think the team has more confidence in each other. Now, on the floor, if somebody gets beat, Adrian’s going to be there. The guards are making a conscious effort to keep people in front of them, so they don’t get easy shots, layups. They’re maturing, getting better."

December 31, 2015

Cindy Russo To Be Feted Feb. 20

Live from the Orange Bowl....

FIU's noon women's basketball home game against Rice Feb. 20 will feature the school honoring Cindy Russo, who built the program into a consistent winner over 36 years before retiring a year ago.

Both basketball teams open conference play Sunday against FAU, the women in Boca at 2 and the men at Camp Mitch at 3.

 

December 07, 2015

Diamond Schedules & Diaz Love

Senior center Adrian Diaz wound up the only winner in men's basketball from last week.

While the team compiled a hat trick of losses to Stetson, Elon and Florida Gulf Coast, Diaz averaged 19.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocks in the three games. For this, he was honored for the second time this season as Conference USA Player of the Week.

 

2016 FIU Panthers Baseball Schedule

Date                       Day                           Opponent                                          Location                                    Time (ET)           

Feb. 19................. Friday                       at Ole Miss....................................... Oxford, Miss............................ TBA

Feb. 20................. Saturday                  at. Ole Miss...................................... Oxford, Miss............................ TBA

Feb. 21................. Sunday                    at Ole Miss....................................... Oxford, Miss............................ TBA

Feb. 23................. Tuesday                  ST. THOMAS................................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

Feb. 24................. Wednesday            MISSOURI....................................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

Feb. 26................. Friday                      SETON HALL.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

Feb. 27................. Saturday                 SETON HALL.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

Feb. 28................. Sunday                    SETON HALL.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 1................ Tuesday                  SETON HALL.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 4................ Friday                      LOYOLA MARYMOUNT................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 5................ Saturday                 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (DH)...... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 6................ Sunday                    LOYOLA MARYMOUNT................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 8................ Tuesday                  STETSON........................................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 9................ Wednesday            ILLINOIS STATE............................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 11............. Friday                      MANHATTAN.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 12............. Saturday                 MANHATTAN (DH)........................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 13............. Sunday                    MANHATTAN.................................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 15.............. Tuesday                  at Jacksonville................................ Jacksonville, Fla..................... TBA

March 16.............. Wednesday            at Jacksonville................................ Jacksonville, Fla..................... TBA

March 18.............. Friday                       at Charlotte*.................................... Charlotte, N.C......................... TBA

March 19.............. Saturday                  at Charlotte*.................................... Charlotte, N.C......................... TBA

March 20.............. Sunday                    at Charlotte*.................................... Charlotte, N.C......................... TBA

March 24............. Thursday                MARSHALL*................................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 25............. Friday                      MARSHALL*................................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 26............. Saturday                 MARSHALL*................................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

March 29.............. Sunday                    at Bethune-Cookman.................... Daytona, Fla............................ TBA

April 1................... Friday                       at UTSA*.......................................... San Antonio, Texas................ TBA

April 2................... Saturday                  at UTSA*.......................................... San Antonio, Texas................ TBA

April 3................... Sunday                    at UTSA*.......................................... San Antonio, Texas................ TBA

April 8................... Friday                      OLD DOMINION*............................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 9................... Saturday                 OLD DOMINION*............................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 10................. Sunday                    OLD DOMINION*............................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 13................. Wednesday            BETHUNE-COOKMAN................. FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 15................. Friday                       at LA Tech*...................................... Ruston, La................................ TBA

April 16................. Saturday                  at LA Tech*...................................... Ruston, La................................ TBA

April 17................. Sunday                    at LA Tech*...................................... Ruston, La................................ TBA

April 22................. Friday                      FLORIDA ATLANTIC*.................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 23................. Friday                      FLORIDA ATLANTIC*.................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 24................. Sunday                    FLORIDA ATLANTIC*.................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

April 26................. Tuesday                  at USF............................................... Tampa, Fla.............................. TBA

April 27................. Wednesday            at Louisville..................................... Louisville, Ky........................... TBA

April 29................. Friday                       at WKU*............................................ Bowling Green, Ky................. TBA

April 30................. Saturday                  at WKU*............................................ Bowling Green, Ky................. TBA

May 1.................... Sunday                    at WKU*............................................ Bowling Green, Ky................. TBA

May 6.................... Friday                      RICE*................................................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 7.................... Saturday                 RICE*................................................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 8.................... Sunday                    RICE*................................................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 13.................. Friday                       at UAB*............................................. Birmingham, Ala.................... TBA

May 14.................. Saturday                  at UAB*............................................. Birmingham, Ala.................... TBA

May 15.................. Sunday                    at UAB*............................................. Birmingham, Ala.................... TBA

May 19.................. Thursday                SOUTHERN MISS*........................ FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 20.................. Friday                      SOUTHERN MISS *....................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 21.................. Saturday                 SOUTHERN MISS *....................... FIU Baseball Stadium.......... TBA

May 25-29............ Wed.-Sun.               Conference USA Tournament..... Hattiesburg, Miss.................... TBA

May 29-31............ Sun-Tues                NCAA Regionals............................ TBA........................................... TBA

TBA....................... Fri.-Sun.                   NCAA Super Regionals................ TBA........................................... TBA

TBA....................... Sat.-Tues.                College World Series.................... Omaha, Neb............................ TBA

 

2016 FIU Softball Schedule

Date                     Day               Opponent                                      Location                                                            Time

FIU Invitational

Feb. 12                Fri.                Florida State                                Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 13                Sat.               St. John’s                                     Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 13                Sat.               Illinois                                            Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 14                Sun.              LIU Brooklyn                                Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 14                Sun.              Valparaiso                                    Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Panther Invitational

Feb. 19                Fri.                Holy Cross                                   Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 19                Fri.                Indiana                                          Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 20                Sat.               Delaware                                      Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 20                Sat.               Holy Cross                                   Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 21                Sun.              Holy Cross                                   Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

 

Feb. 25                Thurs.          Central Connecticut State       Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Felsberg Invitational

Feb. 26                Fri.                Siena                                             Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 26                Fri.                Central Connecticut State       Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 27                Sat.               Central Connecticut State       Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 27                Sat.               Delaware                                      Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

Feb. 28                Sun.              Siena                                             Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

UF Invitational

March 4               Fri.                vs. Illinois State                            Gainesville, Fla.                                               TBA

March 4               Fri.                at Florida                                       Gainesville, Fla.                                               TBA

March 5               Sat.               at Florida                                       Gainesville, Fla.                                               TBA

March 5               Sat.               vs. Florida A&M                            Gainesville, Fla.                                               TBA

March 6               Sun.              vs. South Alabama                      Gainesville, Fla.                                               TBA

March 8               Tues.            East Carolina                              Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 9               Wed.             Notre Dame (DH)                       Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 12            Sat.               Charlotte (DH)*                           Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 13            Sun.              Charlotte*                                     Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 15            Tues.            Rutgers (DH)                               Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 19             Sat.               at WKU (DH)*                               Bowling Green, Ky.                                         TBA

March 20             Sun.              at WKU*                                         Bowling Green, Ky.                                         TBA

March 25            Fri.                UTEP (DH)*                                  Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

March 26            Sat.               UTEP*                                            Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

April 2                  Sat.               at North Texas (DH)*                  Denton, Texas                                                  TBA

April 3                  Sun.              at North Texas*                            Denton, Texas                                                  TBA

April 9                  Sat.               Florida Atlantic (DH)*                Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

April 10                Sun.              Florida Atlantic                            Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

April 13                Wed.             at Bethune-Cookman (DH)       Daytona Beach, Fla.                                       TBA

April 16                Sat.               at UAB (DH)*                                Birmingham, Ala.                                            TBA

April 17                Sun.              at UAB*                                          Birmingham, Ala.                                            TBA

April 23                Sat.               at Florida Gulf Coast (DH)         Fort Myers, Fla.                                                TBA

April 24                Sun.              at Florida Gulf Coast                   Fort Myers, Fla.                                                TBA

April 30                Sat.               at Marshall (DH)*                         Huntington, W.Va.                                           TBA

May 1                   Sun.              at Marshall*                                  Huntington, W.Va.                                           TBA

May 7                   Sat.               Middle Tennessee (DH)*          Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

May 8                   Sun.              Middle Tennessee*                    Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium     TBA

May 12-14           Thurs-Sat.   C-USA Championship               Denton, Texas                                                  TBA

May 20-22           Fri.-Sun.       NCAA Regionals                         Campus Sites                                                  TBA

May 26-29           Thurs.-Sun. NCAA Super Regionals             Campus Sites                                                  TBA

June 2-8              Wed.-Sun.   NCAA WCWS                               Oklahoma City, Okla.                                      TBA

* - Conference USA game

November 26, 2015

The Night Before the Macy's Parade

What I found interesting in FIU's Thanksgiving Eve 80-72 win over Long Island University-Brooklyn, in which the Panthers came home eased up almost into second place, wasn't the 24 points that represented FIU's halftime lead or Donte McGill's game-high scoring; or the 14 second half points scored by former FIU forward Jerome Frink; or even FIU men's hoop coach Anthony Evans succinct summation of duality in the Thanksgiving Eve win.

"Defend," Evans said. "We held them to 29 percent from the field (in the first half). They hit four free throws. In the second half, they scored 50 points. Tale of two halves."

But what I found interesting was this from Evans:

"We spent the whole preseason working on offense. I thought that was something we needed to improve going into this year. We're always going to be a good defensive team because I'm a defensive-minded coach. We worked on shooting. We worked on skill development. We worked on timing of our offense, things of that nature, in the preseason also in the summer so we can be better once the season started."

Also interesting was that 6-10 Adrian Diaz played all of five minutes in the first half as FIU built that massive halftime lead. Cameron Smith handled the inside defense well, blocking two shots and altering a couple of others. McGill threw in 16 points, including six of seven from the line, previously a Panthers problem. Eric Nottage went three for three from three, yelling and making joyful noises all along the way.

 

November 23, 2015

Diaz Gets CUSA Love

FIU senior center Adrian Diaz put up double doubles in the Panthers loss to James Madison (12 points, 10 rebounds) and the loss to Oral Roberts (14 and 13). He did 17 and 7 against Tennessee-Martin, FIU's lone win of James Madison's Men Against Breast Cancer tournament.

For this, Diaz was named Conference USA Player of the Week.

November 12, 2015

Pregame Friday

Roast pig. Free stuff. Games. Swimmers. Divers.

Aw, now you know it's serious at FIU when they bring out the swimming & diving team, the best team in FIU athletics. Is there any other campus that uses the water women or men to draw a crowd for football and basketball?

Friday's occasion, of course, is the season-opening basketball doubleheader for FIU women's and men's basketball, tipping off at 5 p.m. with the women's game against Florida A&M. The men's game versus Trinity Baptist is scheduled for 7 p.m., but that never holds. Bet more 7:20 p.m. 

But from 3-5 p.m., in front of FIU Arena, there's a tailgate with food, which I hear will include a roast pig (it'll already be roasted, so it won't be exactly like your uncle in the backyard). There will also be an autograph session with the last year's Conference USA champion swimming & diving team around 4 p.m. The women's hoops team will be signing autographs between games in the FIU Arena lobby.

 

October 27, 2015

Tuesday Afternoon Futures

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Tennis -- Friday, Saturday, Sunday, FIU Invitational, all day

Football -- at FAU, Saturday, 3:30 (yeah, it's not "home" but it's an easy drive on a Saturday)

Men's soccer -- vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m. 

Volleyball -- Sunday vs. UTSA, 1 p.m.

Backup running back Anthon Samuel was the latest on crutches this week. Ron Turner said Samuel had an ankle sprain. Safety Niko Gonzalez didn't practice with what Turner termed "mild concussion symptoms."

FIU opened favored by 2 and is now up to 3 1/2. That seems an awfully small spread, perhaps an awfully generous application of Rivalry Effect.

As far as which bowl FIU would go to if it gets to six wins, a local source told me I was way off in assuming the Miami Beach Bowl would eschew FIU for a team from out of town that would fill hotels and attract eyeballs.

The bowl's owned by the American Athletic Conference, the source said. Thus, it's not money driven as in current and future tourist money, but money driven by ticket sales. FIU would be a gift in that regard. So might the AAC's South Florida, which has four wins and a remaining schedule that includes Navy and disintegrated UCF. Also, the source reminded me, FIU athletic director Pete Garcia is on the Miami Beach Bowl committee.

Obviously, staying local would let FIU use its own facilities, saving thousands of dollars. Last year, both teams stayed in South Beach, but BYU practiced at FIU while Memphis practiced at Miami Beach's Flamingo Park. 

WOMEN'S AND MEN'S BASKETBALL

The Nov. 13 doubleheader will be streamed live on FIU Athletics' YouTube page as a demonstration of the streamcast's improved production qualities, sort of like the free week of NFL Sunday Ticket or NHL Center Ice you get at the start of each season.

 

October 08, 2015

Women's Hoop Dissed Even More Than Men by CUSA Coaches

The Conference USA women's basketball coaches preseason poll, released Thursday, made the men's 10th place projection look like sycophant flattery as far as FIU.

Great expectations? Low expectations? Try no expectations -- 13th out of 14, ahead of only North Texas.

That results from being in a total rebuilding situation after the first wholesale coaching staff change in over three decades and the best returning player (forward Kiandre'a Pound) off a 3-26, 0-18 in conference play team won't be returning until she's finished with the reproductive process next year.

Middle Tennessee State, 29-5 in conference play since joining CUSA, is the preseason favorite.

October 07, 2015

CUSA Coaches Pooh Pooh FIU Men's Hoop...Except For Diaz

Conference USA coaches don't see FIU's men's basketball team having an offensive replacement for leading scorer Dennis Mavin or having the defense to translate to offense.

That's the message sent by FIU finishing 10th out of 14 CUSA teams in the league's preseason poll of coaches. Alabama-Birmingham is the preseason favorite.

The coaches put 6-10 center Adrian Diaz on the preseason All-CUSA Team. Though Diaz stood out as FIU's most dependable non-Mavin scorer, he made his conference rep on defense -- a conference-leading 99 blocked shots, sixth in the NCAA. 

 

October 01, 2015

HoopTV, Y-Chromosome Version; Losses for FIU You Don't See

The group of Sinclair stations known loosely as the American Sports Network will broadcast seven FIU games:

Nov. 25 -- vs. LIU, 7 p.m.

Nov. 30 -- at Stetson, 7 p.m.

Dec. 6 -- vs. Florida Gulf Coast, 3:30

Jan. 28 -- vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 -- at Alabama-Birmingham, 8 p.m.

Feb. 20 -- at Rice, 2 p.m.

Feb. 27 -- at FAU, 2 p.m.

For the channels or live streaming, check out ASN's website.

 

Some of you who follow FIU sports other than football have noticed the in-game Twitter updates that kept us apprised of the action now trickle like California's water supply when they come at all. That's because the folks who let us know what was going on -- while dealing with 17 other things -- left FIU.

FIU Athletics media relations department needs replenishment in quantity and quality. In a short span, the office lost three staffers of uncompromising integrity, high work ethic and tremendous patience with the sometimes harassing conditions (faulty equipment, many people looking over their shoulders, etc.) of their jobs. Each was in charge of certain sports and were part of the mini-army for sports that needed multiple staffers at home games, i.e. football, baseball, the basketballs.

They write the stories for the FIUsports.com website, handle interview requests, do pregame and postgame notes for distribution to the media and a pile of other stuff not appreciated by many outside the media industry.

Kristina Taylor, the assistant sports information director in charge of volleyball, women's basketball and sand volleyball, left before the school year to be Membership and Operations Coordinator with the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in New Orleans.

Greg Kincaid, who handled men's basketball, baseball, swimming & diving, left last week for a similar position at Indiana University.

Jill Boucher (women's soccer, softball) would like to get a Masters in nutrition. She's pondering her options.

Good luck to all.

 

 

September 26, 2015

Changes (Football), Additions (women's basketball) & Soccer

UPCOMING HOME GAMES/MATCHES

Men's Soccer -- 7 p.m. vs. Marshall

Women's soccer -- 1 p.m. vs. UTEP

Before we get to the ball-and-butt kickers that have been the nationally-ranked men's soccer team, here's a couple of quick hits.

FOOTBALL

Freshman safety Tyree Johnson proudly announced via Twitter that he's making his first collegiate start today against Louisiana Tech.

Video coordinator Brian Duval's on this trip. Also let's hope unlike the last road game and last week's home game, the ESPN1210 radio broadcast team of Mike Levine and Wesley Carroll will be able to analyze the game at halftime. The last two weeks, they've been forced to spend halftime talking to a stream of Burger King executives, suite buyers and other assorted FIU hangers-on who have nothing to say about the game being broadcast.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Pregnancy is the reason last year's Conference USA Freshman of the Year Kiandre'a Pound will miss this season. Pound and her boyfriend, junior football safety Wilkenson Myrtil, found out three weeks ago that she's in the family way.

Looking on the on-court upside, a very good player doesn't use up a year of eligibility during the transition year that usually follows a coaching change.

MEN'S SOCCER

The five-game win streak No. 24 FIU takes into today's match with Marshall has its roots in the two-game losing streak against soccer royalty North Carolina and Wake Forest that opened the season.

"When you play Chapel Hill and Wake Forest, you have to defend well," FIU coach Scott Calabrese said. "You have to defend from your forwards, your midfield, back and you have to get good play from your goalkeeper. The biggest change this season is all 11 players on the field was committed to working hard to defend. That's reflected in the goals against, but also the goals scored because we tend to win the ball higher in the field."

The Panthers' team effort is such that when I asked Calabrese for who he'd call standout players aside from the obvious -- defender Marvin Hezel, leading goal scorers Luis Betancur and Daniel Gonzalez -- he couldn't. He pointed out FIU's had 10 different goal scorers and "all 11 are defending."

Clearly, he's happy with where the team is seven games into his second season at FIU.

"The goal for our teams as coaches was to try to create a positive environment where players were committed to each other and committed to high standards," he said. "I seen the players have committed themselves to things on and off the field."

 

September 17, 2015

W(Hoops), Here It Is...

As the FIU Arena roof drips near me...

The men's basketball schedule got lost on the way to my e-mail boxes yesterday. Which is why it's not until today that you see the below:

NOVEMBER

Nov. 13 -- Trinity Christian; Nov. 15 -- Florida Memorial; Nov. 20 -- at James Madison (JMU Men Against Breast Cancer Classic); Nov. 21 -- at Tennessee-Martin (JMU Classic); Nov. 22 -- at Oral Roberts (JMU Classic); Nov. 25 -- LIU-Brooklyn; Nov. 30 -- Stetson.

DECEMBER

Dec. 4 -- Elon; Dec. 6 -- Florida Gulf Coast. Dec. 14 -- at North Florida; Dec. 19 -- at Northern Illinois; Dec. 22 -- at Binghamton; Dec. 29 -- Florida A&M.

JANUARY

Jan. 3 -- FAU; Jan. 7 -- at Western Kentucky; Jan. 9 -- at Marshall; Jan. 14 -- Louisiana Tech; Jan. 16 -- Southern Mississippi; Jan. 21 -- at Texas-San Antonio; Jan. 23 -- at UTEP; Jan. 28 -- Charlotte: Jan. 30 -- Old Dominion

FEBRUARY

Feb. 4 -- at Alabama-Birmingham; Feb. 6 -- Middle Tennessee State; Feb. 11 -- UTEP; Feb. 13 -- UTSA; Feb. 18 -- at North Texas; Feb. 20 -- at Rice; Feb. 27 -- at FAU

MARCH

Mar. 3 -- UAB; Mar. 5 -- Middle Tennessee State; Mar. 8-12 -- Conference USA tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. 


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