EIU Panthers

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quick Hitters On Hoops

Since this became a regular feature during the football season we figured we would figure a way to drop a few Know Your Opponent Facts for the hoops season. Since both the men's and women's teams play so many different opponents we pulled a couple from each schedule that are relavant for this week.

This might have been longer but with the women's basketball loss to UNC Greensboro last night we are playing a little earlier than expected today. Besides that everyone in South Florida seems to be glued to the Miami-South Florida football game taking place today.

Too bad it could not have taken place in the Orange Bowl. Now that would have added some excitement.

So without further delay:

Bradley - since both teams played the Braves we figured we would start with them.
1.) Was founded as Bradley Polytechnical Institute by Lydia Moss Bradley
2.) Bradley still uses the nickname Braves but no longer associates it with the local Indian tribe from the Peoria, Illinois area
3.) A couple of famous alumni include: baseball star Kirby Puckett and announcer Chick Hearn

South Dakota State - EIU men's opponent Saturday
1.) Founded as a land grant school in 1862 as part of the Morrill Act
2.) Inventions made at SDSU are Daktronics Scoreboards and Briggs & Stratton engines
3.) Famous alumni include NFL player Adam Vinatieri and politician Tom Daschle

UNC Greensboro -
1.) Founded as a women's university in 1891. Men first admitted in 1963.
2.) the 1993 movie House of Cards was filmed on the campus
3.) Famous alumni include country music star Emmylou Harris and writer Claudia Emerson

Florida Atlantic
1.) Opened as a public university in Boca Raton in 1964. Currently has six campus locations.
2.) Has the largest adult continuing education program in the nation
3.) Famous alumni include comedian Carrot Top and Grand Funk Railroad Drummer Don Brewer

Hope you enjoyed Turkey Day and survived Black Friday Shopping.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!!!

First off we apologize for not having a blog for over a week now. It mainly came down to a lack of manpower and hours in the day, so we will try to get an extra one or two in here the upcoming days.

Next we wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day. Hopefully you are enjoying cold turkey sandwiches and left over green bean casserole today. For EIU women's basketball they are in lovely Coconut Grove to play in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.

The men's team is on a bus heading to very cold Brookings, South Dakota for a road game at South Dakota State.

We were not raised by dummies and have hopped on the trip to Florida.

Yesterday - Thanksgiving Day - the women's team departed Lantz Arena at 3:30 a.m. to catch a flight in Indianapolis. Two Southwest Flights later (including one over Disney World) - we arrived in Fort Lauderdale. The team is staying at the host hotel - the Mayfair Hotel and Spa. -- Spa being the exclusive word in that phrase as every room as a hot tub on the outdoor deck.

In a couple of hours EIU will play UNC Greensboro in the opening round game. They will play either Florida Atlantic or host Miami on Sunday.

For a couple of quick kudos since our last post:

Men's basketball knocked off Bradley on Wednesday - the biggest non-conference win for EIU in several years.

Women's basketball knocked off Missouri about ten days ago - the biggest non-conference win for EIU in several years.

Since that win EIU has played without Ta'Kenya Nixon for the last two games She is listed as day-to-day.

EIU head football coach Bob Spoo announced his plans to retire on Monday following the 2011 season. He even beat Joe Paterno to the punch as Paterno announced his retirement following the 2011 season on Tuesday.

Lastly EIU men's swimming had a solid second place team finish at the Western Kentucky Invite. We will come back with more tomorrow and thought we would do a November know your opponent quick spin for basketball that day.

Sunday we are supposed to hit South Beach and will give you our impression of that world famous place on Monday.

Also EIU Athletic Alumni remember the drive is on to Push Your Team Forward.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Play Here, A Play There

I think the phrase a play or two here or a play or two there is very common in what fans would consider to be "Coach Speak". That term was very prevalent during the EIU football season that ended on Saturday with a loss at Illinois State.

Here are just a couple of examples which could have easily swayed the outcome of any one game and thus the record for the entire season.

1.) The game against Central Arkansas - EIU muffs three punts in the first quarter
2.) The game against Jacksonville State - A late pass near the end zone gets intercepted preventing an EIU comeback win
3.) The game against Murray State - A sky kickoff was not properly fielded resulting in an on-side kick that the Racers recovered
4.) The Illinois State game - The Panthers left points on the table with an interception in the end zone and mishandled extra point snap

Of course the Panthers did get that same play here, play there treatment to go in their favor in the win at Tennessee State as they scored one touchdown on a tipped pass in the end zone and won the game as a ball was fumbled out of the end zone for a touchback.

Despite some of those miscues the Panthers did show some life in the final weeks which can only bode well for next season as some key players from this year's team are set to return.

The play here, play there theory was also in full effect on Sunday in Lantz Arena where the Panthers knocked off Big 12 Conference member Missouri to give the women's basketball team a 1-1 start to the year. In that game sophomore Kelsey Wyss hit an improbable half court short off an inbounds pass that helped EIU stay on top midway through the second half. Wyss' play has been submitted to ESPN for Top Play consideration.

Congrats to the men's and women's cross country teams which finished up the season on Saturday at the NCAA Regional while the volleyball team also ended its season falling short on its bid to make the OVC Tournament in Kate Price's first season at the helm. Look for good things from both of those programs as they had good year's under young first year head coaches.

The men's basketball team will be looking for its first win this Thursday when the Panthers play at Loyola. The EIU Alumni Association is having a pregame function in the Windy City at Hamilton's Bar and Grill prior to the game.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Know Your Opponent - Illinois State

As if meeting people were not easy enough the USA Today reported today that the University of Kansas has done a study that identified five different types of flirting.

1.) Physical
2.) Traditional
3.) Polite
4.) Sincere
5.) Playful

To find out your style visit http://love.usatoday.com

My best guess is that none of those styles will be in play on Saturday when EIU and Illinois State meet in the 99th edition of the Prairie State Rivalry. The two teams respect each other, but any kind words probably drop off quickly after that.

Here is the week's Know Your Opponent. (P.S.) Sorry this has been a short blogging week but with many fall seasons, EIU didn't have a whole lot going on this week.

For those that do like the excitement of the hardwood, basketball season starts on Friday. The men are at home hosting South Dakota State at 7 p.m. EIU's women will be at home on Sunday hosting Missouri.

Now some quick facts to bring you up to speed on Illinois State.

1.) It is the oldest public university in the state of Illinois
2.) The town Normal actually took its name from the original name of the school - the Illinois State Normal School.
3.) Some famous alumni include actor Gary Sinise, Sean Hayes (actor - Will & Grace), singer Suzy Bogguss and golfer D.A. Weibring.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Call It A Come Back...

Ever have those moments where you get a song or phrase from a song stuck in your head. Well if you take away the Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac that I kept hearing in the elevator, the other one stuck in my head from the weekend was LL Cool J's - Momma Said Knock You Out.

Not that those two songs have anything to do with each other, but the one verse that kept coming to mind was Don't Call It A Come Back, I've Been Here For Years.

That would best describe the efforts of the Eastern Illinois football team the last two weeks of the season as the Panthers looked more like the reigning champs of the OVC with nice wins over Austin Peay and Tennessee State, rather than the OVC cellar dwellers from some other contests this year.

The come back against Tennessee State was one of the best in EIU history and while it would probably have meant more had that game been to decide an OVC title, the result will linger in the memories of players on this Panthers team for years to come. Carlos Reyna made one of the biggest came saving hits in recent years - if EIU had been playing at home it most definitely would have been the Porter Auto Body Collision of the Game

So kudos to the Panthers for not giving up the fight and picking up a second straight win. Now a three game win streak to end the season would reap some benefits heading into the recruiting season. A win in the Prairie State Rivarly Game with Illinois State would mean even more.

Congrats to a couple of Sunday award winners by the OVC. Kristin Germann and Sarah Rusk were named to the OVC All-Tournament team for women's soccer. Chris Wright was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week.

In some other Saturday news the men's soccer run in the Missouri Valley Conference came to an end as they fell to Drake, 2-1, in the final regular-season game. Rugby ended its regular season with another blow out win, this time over Missouri. Men's basketball had four players score in double figures as they rolled in an exhibition win over Illinois College.

Volleyball picked up a 3-0 win over Tennessee State as they are still in contention for the final OVC Tournament berth. EIU faces Tennessee Tech on Friday evening with both teams sitting at 7-9 in the OVC.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Blend Of It All

While Atlanta may be called the Capital of the New South - Nashville may be right up there with it as it is a little more than just Music City.

Many times the overlooked as a destination city in the southern state - Nashville has something to offer for everyone - even those not destined to be the next big country star.

Take this weekend for example as Eastern Illinois will play at Tennessee State. While 25,000 plus will be in town for the Tigers homecoming game, a step-show and other festivities will be taking place in one part of downtown.

Just a few mere two miles away the Southeastern Conference will be in full tilt with Florida visting Vanderbilt. Just in case you wondered what Nashville looked like a on Friday night - last night it was Orange and Blue as the Gator Nation had invaded. A few Blue and White shirts were out too, but the Panther Nation doesn't quite travel as well.

Throw on top of that the fact that Tootsie's is celebrating 50 years of business this weekend with the Country Music Award Show being televised from LP on Wednesday - a star sighting or two may be possible. Even EIU alumnus Jake Maurer had his name on the front page of The Tennessean as they did the article while Jake was playing his set.

Hopefully EIU can overcome some of the jitters of playing in front of a bigger crowd and an NFL Stadium later on tonight.

For those not fortunate enough to hit the road this weekend, EIU men's basketball kicks off its season tonight with an exhibition game with Illinois College at 6 p.m. Volleyball and men's soccer play their final regular season matches - both start at 2 p.m.

Last night EIU women's soccer finished its season falling 2-1 to Morehead State in the OVC semifinals. An own goal ended up being the difference which goes to show that soccer more often than not comes down to just one play or one goal.

Also men's and women's swimming posted wins over Lincoln College while volleyball lost a tough match to Austin Peay in four games.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Know Your Opponent - Tennessee State

We're back with a second blog tonight with our second to last Know Your Opponent segment. This week's opponent is Tennessee State. Before we take a quick look at the Historically Black University, we recap some other news from tonight.

EIU women's soccer had four players earn All-OVC honors. Kaylin Lorbert was a first team selection.

Men's soccer lost at Valparaiso. The Panthers play their final regular-season contest on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Drake.

Now for Know Your Opponent - Tennessee State.

1.) TSU plays at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans

2.) The school was opened in 1909 as the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial School

3.) TSU has several famous alumni among them are Oprah Winfrey, Wilma Rudolph, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Richard Dent just to name a few.

4.) The TSU Marching Band is known as the Aristocrat of Bands... to see them in action you will need to attend the game this weekend as this will be homecoming weekend at TSU.

Blogging The Night Away

I have been going back-and-forth the last couple of days trying to decide when would be the best time to throw up a new blog report.

Should we have done a Halloween recap - trying to relate EIU's team's performances to Halloween Classic films. Why that was a nice idea, it didn't really pan out as most of EIU's teams turned in good performances that were not really worthy of horror film references.

So after some procrastination, Election Day rolled around and I thought about an - out with old, in the with the new concept. Only problem is its still too early if anyone will be leaving or anyone coming in. The only change known for sure is that men's soccer will be moving to the Summit League for soccer action next season.

So now we are into Wednesday which is normally reserved for a Know Your Opponent segment. Don't worry we will be back with that a little later on tonight. So as if I was inspired by an episode of Tennessee State alum Oprah Winfrey in her last season on the air - we are going to churn out two blogs in one night.

This one will be a quick recap of the things we have missed in the last couple of days like women's soccer having four players on the Academic All-District team, volleyball picking up a crucial win over Southeast Missouri on Tuesday to set up an interesting final home weekend or women's rugby crushing Iowa State in their senior day game.