Thursday, August 28, 2014

NCAA Logo Tournament Challenge

For anyone who hasn't heard through social media, the Connecticut-based website has been hosting an NCAA Tournament-style logo challenge, where fans vote for the best team logos in the country.

It is formatted so that the team with the most votes from each of the 32 conferences will be given an "automatic bid" to the Round of 64, and the 32 highest vote-getting schools after that, regardless of conference affiliation, will receive an "at-large" bid.

Teams from FCS conferences and other small conferences have been doing quite well in this contest: from the old Big South, UNC Asheville, Winthrop, Longwood, and Campbell made it past the conference stage; not to mention The Citadel, Wofford, Western Carolina, and of course VMI, who passed with a modest 123,000 votes.... it would be an understatement to say our fans came out in full force (you can see the overwhelming results here).

Now the First Round of the tournament is upon us, and we are up against the Texas Longhorns, the logo of whom is one of the most recognizable cattle in the country. They also have the largest athletic budget in the country at over $210M, though luckily, that won't help them out here. At this point we are winning with ease (perhaps thanks to some Aggies and Red Raiders), and barring some unforeseen Longhorn infestation, we should cruise through this round. This support comes despite a rather unfavorable view from the pollsters, who criticized the logo for its blandness and lack of creativeness (which, from a distance is fair, but they may have forgotten to realize the militaristic origins of the logo).

But voting doesn't end for this round until September 5th, and in the meantime, I encourage everyone to support your Keydets:

You can vote as many times as you wish, by simply clicking the "Return to Poll" button in the bottom right-hand of the voting box.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hoops Schedule Finalized

The 2014-15 Keydet basketball schedule has finally been released, and, in our first season back in our true home, it is certainly no cupcake.

Released today, the schedule features three match-ups with teams from Power Five Conferences (Virginia Tech of the ACC, West Virginia* of the Big 12, and Big Ten newcomer Maryland). We'll also be playing at George Washington just before New Year's, an Atlantic 10 school which, all things considered, may well be the best mid-major conference in the NCAA. The schedule is most unforgiving within the first two+ months, as only five of our first eighteen games will be played in Cameron. At least 11 of those games will be on the road, depending on who wins the semifinal game between Army and Air Force at this year's Military Classic in West Point (Nov 14-15).

The home opener will take place on November 18 against Johnson University (non-NCAA), followed by a Saturday night (7pm) matchup with UNC Wilmington, a return game from five years ago...we will likely reveal our CIT banner that night, if we do at all. The only other non-Division I game will be against Mid-Atlantic Christian University (USCAA), and another return game from Marist will round out the home slat in 2014. And I should mention we have a game at Navy, the first since 2004, on December 9 in Annapolis.

The conference home opener will against the Mercer Bears on January 5. The format will feature a full round-robin schedule, 18 games w/ two per team. Six of the first seven conference games will be on the road, two of which will be in early December on that awful Georgia/Alabama road trip. Luckily, the schedule brightens up in February: eight of the final eleven games are at home, including a long five-game homestand (something that would have never happened in the Big South), including weekend matinees with The Citadel and Wofford. The season ends on February 28 at home versus Samford, and we should get plenty of rest for the SoCon Tournament in Asheville. But getting the first-round bye will be crucial, seeing as it would very rigorous to play on four straight nights, as the tournament format demands. The championship game should be on some ESPN network, with the prior rounds on ESPN3.

Full Schedule

*-game with WVU will be played in Charleston, WV at the Charleston Civic Center.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reggie Williams Signs 1-year Deal with Miami Heat

After a hectic 2013–14 season, NBA small forward and VMI alumnus Reggie Williams is returning to basketball in the U.S. Williams inked a one-year deal with the Miami Heat last Thursday, worth the league's minimum of slightly under $1 million. Since May of this year, he had been playing with the San Miguel Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association. In parts of five NBA seasons, Williams has played for three teams, as well as two international stints in Spain and France.

Williams had an incredible career as a Keydet from 2004 to 2008, scoring 2,556 career points which was the most in history by any VMI player, and tops among all Virginia college basketball players. He led the NCAA in scoring twice in his career, peaking in his junior season with 28.1 points per game. He is fifth all-time on the school's rebounding list, and seventh in assists.

Following his graduation from VMI, Williams continued his basketball career with JDA Dijon (France), and in 2009 he signed a contract with the NBA D-League's Sioux Falls Skyforce. He averaged over 26.4 PPG with Sioux Falls, and was selected as a D-League All-Star. Williams was picked up by the Golden State Warriors in March of 2010, and after being signed to several 10-day contracts, Williams was signed for the remainder of the year as well as the next season. In 24 games, Williams averaged 15.2 PPG for the Warriors that season.

In December of 2011, Williams was picked up by the Charlotte Bobcats before the start of the lockout-shortened NBA season, a deal worth $5 million for two years. His numbers declined heavily, and he appeared in only 73 games in that span. During training camp prior to the 2013-14 season, Williams was signed by the Houston Rockets to a multi-year deal, but was waived later in October. After returning to the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers, the Oklahoma City Thunder called him up on another 10-day contract, and Williams lingered with the team for the remainder of the year. He averaged 3.7 points in three games with the Thunder this past season.

Now, with the departure of All-Star and face of of the league LeBron James from Miami, as well as James Jones and possibly Ray Allen leaving the team, Williams will have a chance to compete for a roster spot this preseason. He will likely compete with Danny Granger and James Ennis for a backup role, and with a largely undefined Heat roster, Williams may have what it takes to find himself on the court again this winter.