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NEWS, NOTES & COMMENTARY
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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

By Bethany Bradsher

Thank God for hoops

ITEMS OF INTEREST

East Carolina wallops Mountaineers
Thank God for hoops
Win and youíre in
Audio: Ruffin McNeill's Weekly Press Luncheon
Future looking bright for ECU defense
BCS Standings
Harris/AP/Coaches Polls
 

C-USA Standings

(Through games of 11.19.11)

East Division

SCHOOL

C-USA

ALL

USM
ECU
Marshall
UAB
UCF
Memphis

5-2
4-3
4-3
3-5
2-5
1-6

9-2
5-6
5-6
3-8
4-7
2-9

West Division

SCHOOL

C-USA

ALL

Houston
Tulsa
SMU
Rice
UTEP
Tulane

7-0
7-0
4-3
3-4
2-5
1-7

11-0
8-3
6-5
4-7
5-6
2-10

Scoreboard & Schedule

By Bethany Bradsher
©2011 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

Itís Thanksgiving Eve, and my gratitude overflows. Iím thankful for countless things that have nothing to do with sports, but for our purposes today letís narrow the scope to the most sublime and thrilling sport in this country.

Itís Thanksgiving Eve, and Iím thankful for college basketball.

Iím thankful for the sport that presents a true clean slate every fall, for the pregnant promise of even the smallest Division I school that ó given the right fall of the dominoes ó could become a glorious March Madness fairy tale.

Iím thankful for frenetic fast breaks that start out looking too fast and too out of control but end with a graceful layup that seems impossible coming after such all-out intensity. Iím thankful for defenders who put their bodies in the way of that charging bull, sacrificing themselves for the sake of two points.

Iím thankful for arenas that come to life, even in November, even against schools fans have to find on a map. Iím thankful for C-Bass and the guy with the afro and the guys who wear the spandex suits because, even when theyíre obnoxious, they remind Jeff Lebo and his team that people care. A lot.

I was thankful last Thursday, when the Lady Pirates played a home game and then the men filed in to play their own, both improbably against two different teams whose mascots was Cobras.

People were there for both games, and they were pumped. If this is what Coker brings, letís take a moment to imagine the fever that could accompany the Memphis game on February 8.

Iím thankful for the history of the college game, a history I have been saturated with lately as part of a different writing project. As much as Pirate fans might be loathe to admit it, an old N.C. State coach named Everett Case lit a fuse when he arrived in 1946 that is still burning.

The achievements of Case and Bones McKinney and Lennie Rosenbluth mean something even at ECU, but around here we can also cherish the contributions of Blue Edwards and Oliver Mack.

Iím thankful that after I eat the turkey leftovers, Christmas jumps right in to fill the void, but thereís no letdown after Santa comes because soon college basketball teams start battling with conference foes, and before we know it weíre looking for the biggest flat-screen we can find to watch conference tournaments and selection shows and the greatest spectacle in all of sports, the NCAA Tournament. Iím thankful that in my world, Christmas goes all the way to April.

Iím thankful for the unwritten promise of players who have come to make their home in Eastern North Carolina from other Division I programs like Virginia (Whitny and Britny Edwards), Missouri (Miguel Paul), Clemson (Bryelle Smith) and South Carolina (Austin Steed). At this stage in the season hope is everything, and newcomers with that experience added to the experience of a Darrius Morrow or a Chareya Smith make a hopeful recipe indeed.

Iím thankful for a Pirate pilgrimage to Charlotte Tuesday that ended in a 20-point victory over an Appalachian State team ECU hasnít faced in a decade. And even if their most recent road trip to UNC-Wilmington ended in defeat, Iím thankful for the chemistry and skills an almost-new Lady Pirates squad has collected as they prepare to host the ECU Thanksgiving Tournament this weekend.

Not to take anything away from football, but thatís another topic for a different Thanksgiving. This year Iím fixed on the long road ahead, full of last-minute comebacks and bubble teams and impossible three-pointers. I donít want to wish any part of it away in my rush to get that day when my brackets are due and the first tip-off is at noon. I just want to soak up each game I get a chance to experience, in front of my TV or in Minges surrounded by other thankful fans.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

Bethany Bradsher Archives

11/23/2011 04:24 AM

 

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