WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army basketball team seemed to hit every bump and pothole in the road the last two seasons, derailing one of the best senior classes ever to play at West Point. Continue reading
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Amongst the alleged crumbling of American society, there are two bastions of hope that refuse to allow excuses to infiltrate thought and slow down society: team sports and the military.
Therefore it was not surprising that the first words out of Army coach Zach Spiker’s mouth after another frustrating evening that culminated in a 76-67 loss to Boston University Wednesday night were: “Injuries are no excuse”.
His opposing number, Joe Jones, begged to differ a little. After all, Tanner Plomb was averaging 21.8 points per game (14th best in the nation) and making a case for Patriot League Player of the Year before going down with a knee injury and missing the last four games. Fellow senior Kevin Ferguson is a four-year contributor, and at 6’10”, essential to everything Army does as a rim protector, and now he has been out for three games with an ankle injury.
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Zach Spiker had just 10 days after being hired to prepare for his first head coaching gig, but being a bit quixotic is part of how he got to be a head coach anyway just a couple of days after his 33rd birthday.
Army hadn’t had a winning record since 1984-85, you say? Didn’t matter, after all Spiker and his energy had helped make Cornell and his boss Steve Donahue an Ivy League powerhouse, surely anything was possible at West Point.
He and the Black Knights won nine of their first 11 games in that 2009-10 campaign, four of them against Ivy teams (that season Donahue and Cornell went to the Sweet 16), using a shutdown defense that was fourth nationally in defensive turnover rate. Alas, Army also finished 335th in offensive efficiency and finished 14-15 after losing to freshman C.J. McCollum and Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament.
While we have tangible defensive statistics to pore over in the 21st century, they aren’t exactly as concrete or in-depth as their offensive counterparts, especially on the individual level. Continue reading
The tough, really unfair to be honest, thing about being in a one NCAA bid conference like the Patriot League is that the non-conference season is pretty much meaningless. Zach Spiker went 9-2 with Army the last two months, including wins over Air Force and USC, which are not Kentucky and Duke (although one the losses was at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Black Knights were respectable in it), but Spiker is running a program that has a single winning season (barely) in three decades, and he was the one that got it two seasons ago, so that’s a fairly remarkable achievement. Continue reading
Yes, there has been some variety, but unlike many other conferences this season the Patriot League has played fairly close to form in the non-conference slate. Perhaps because of that, you can make a case for several horses in the field of 10 to cross the wire first at the end of the league race, which begins on Wednesday when the conference gate opens. Continue reading
Army led by as many as 12 points at the Pope Center on Wednesday night, but a late run closed the gap for St. Francis Brooklyn and gave Brent Jones a decent look from three to tie the game. Unfortunately that attempt clanged off the left rim. Army moved to 3-0 on the young season, while the Terriers fell to 0-2.
A 14-point Army second half had evaporated, not in a barrage of VMI three-pointers as you might expect, but just some really shaky offensive execution that allowed the Keydets to go on an extended 26-6 run and take a 83-77 lead with 4:16 left in the All-Military Classic final. Continue reading
It speaks volumes to the rising expectations of Army basketball that after a somewhat convincing win over a Mountain West team to open 2014-15 Friday night, Zach Spiker was, well, non-plussed. Continue reading
In advance of tomorrow’s media day, Big Apple Buckets would like to present their preseason all-conference teams and individual awards for the Patriot League. Continue reading