College Basketball Nation: Loyola Maryland Greyhounds

3-point shot: ASU to add Musselman?

August, 30, 2012
1. Arizona State coach Herb Sendek could be on the verge of a coaching coup. He lost two assistants this month when Scott Pera left for Penn and Lamont Smith departed for rival Washington. Multiple sources said that Sendek has had serious conversations with L.A. D-Fenders head coach Eric Musselman. The Sun Devils, who finished 6-12 in the Pac-12 and 10-21 overall, get high-profile Jahii Carson back after he sat out last season. Musselman was a head coach with Golden State and Sacramento and an assistant with Minnesota, Orlando and Atlanta and also the head coach of the Venezuelan National Team. The Sun Devils need all the help they can get to climb in the Pac-12 and adding a teacher like Musselman will only help speed up the process.

2. Loyola (Md.) coach Jimmy Patsos said he credits MAAC commissioner Richard Ensor for making sure there was no movement to overturn the bylaws regarding the departure of Loyola to the Patriot League and the rules that allow the Greyhounds to still compete for championships this season. “He loves the league and wants to do what’s right,’’ said Patsos, who added he’d like to keep a home-and-home series with Manhattan when Loyola leaves for the Patriot in 2013. The addition of Loyola was warmly received by other coaches like Lehigh’s Brett Reed and American’s Jeff Jones, who added that Patsos will find the transition interesting. However, Navy coach Ed DeChellis said, “The NCAA bid continues to get harder to achieve." DeChellis advocated for moving the conference tournament to a neutral site instead of the home of the highest remaining seed.

3. A source said Wednesday that La Salle would have no interest in going back to the MAAC from the A-10, despite having much more success in the former league. The MAAC should focus on getting Quinnipiac or Monmouth as a replacement for Loyola. Both schools have poured money into athletic department facilities. Either one would be a good fit for the MAAC. The other option could be Albany, but I’m not sure Siena would be on board considering the two schools share the same city. Stony Brook would be a great get but the Seawolves seem poised to make a bigger jump at some point if they leave. The MAAC board of directors will meet Tuesday to discuss Loyola’s exit and likely realignment issues.
Tourney-bound mid-majors, whether their stay is short-lived or Final Four-worthy, are always fun while they last. That's not only because they accomplish extreme upsets on the court, the kind of once-in-a-lifetime, odds-beating wins that make the tournament the glorious crapshoot that it is. They also bring a unique flavor, a smaller, less-corporatized, more endearing feel. That goes for coaches who aren't used to holding their big personalities back, to bands like VCU's (which brings the pain).

It also goes for stories like this, via Yahoo! Sports' The Dagger, which is so charmingly mid-major it almost hurts.

The Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds hail from a school that doesn't offer an academic music program, and thus have no usual pep band. Typically, the Greyhounds use a local high school band, but when an NCAA rule prevented them from bringing the high schoolers more than 150 miles away from home for Loyola's first-round game in Pittsburgh against No. 2-seeded Ohio State. So Loyola reached out to nearby Duquesne and asked if the Dukes' pep band would be cool with coming down and supporting the Greyhounds. Band director H. Carl Hess -- not to be confused with referee Karl Hess -- agreed. The Dagger's Kristian Dyer reports:
Duquesne provided 29 student musicians for the game, the maximum number allowed by NCAA regulations for the tournament. Hess led the group of students, dressed in shirts adorned with pins supplied by Loyola, in a number of songs, from Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" to even the 60's rock anthem "Born to be Wild." [...]

"It was quite strange, especially when I saw friends who were working the game," Hess said. "They had to look twice, for sure. The kids loved it. Before we went over to the arena, I reminded them that they were now representing two universities, and I think they did that wonderfully. They were into the game, and I think our presence added quite a bit for the fans."

Charming, right? Sportsmanship, communal solidarity, the power of music, all of that stuff. Of course, Duquesne's duties were finished after just one game; the Greyhounds had little hope of keeping up with Jared Sullinger and the hyper-talented, defensively dominant Buckeyes. In fact, that's the only way this neat little story gets better: Loyola wins, makes a deep tournament run, joins the ranks of other No. 15-seed upsets, and some production company immediately commissions a script that is pitched as a cross between "Hoosiers" and "Mr. Holland's Opus." Cue baritone narration: A team needed a band ... but the band didn't know ... how much it needed the team. This summer in ... "The Pep Band."

It's a working title. Anyway, you get the idea. Cool story.

Highlights: Loyola (MD) 48, Fairfield 44

March, 5, 2012

Loyola-Maryland defeated Fairfield 48-44 in the MAAC championship game to earn its way back into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.