Monday, December 31, 2007

Reexamining Atlantic 10 media poll

Last week, Matt Vautour, the beat writer who covers Massachusetts for The Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Mass., decided to conduct his own unofficial updated Atlantic 10 media poll of the conference's men's basketball teams.

Because of how many teams have had surprising starts, Vautour wanted to know how beat writers of other A-10 schools would rank the conference teams after seeing most of the nonconference schedule completed.

Vautour released the results Sunday and there were several interesting changes. Xavier and Rhode Island both remained at the top, but four schools originally ranked sixth through 11th – Dayton, UMass, Charlotte and Duquense – made dramatic jumps. Charlotte (10th in the preseason), Duquesne (11th in the preseason) and UMass (eighth in the preseason) all improved four spots moving to sixth, seventh and fourth, respectively. Dayton moved from sixth (preseason) to third (updated), and this poll was mostly completed before the Flyers' upset of No. 6 Pittsburgh.

Fordham, which returned all five starters this season, made the biggest movement down. The Rams started the year ranked fourth in the preseason and have moved to ninth.

Poll results
Team: preseason, updated ranking
Xavier: 1, 1
Rhode Island: 2, 2
Dayton: 6, 3
UMass: 8, 4
Saint Joseph's: 3, 5
Charlotte: 10, 6
Duquesne: 11, 7
Saint Louis: 5, 8
Fordham: 4, 9
Temple: 9, 10
George Washington: 7, 11
Richmond: 12, 12
St. Bonaventure: 14, 13
La Salle: 13, 14

-- Jim Utter

Monday, December 24, 2007

Baseball team getting some poll votes

Some odds and ends:

  • The Charlotte 49ers baseball team will begin the 2008 season among other teams receiving votes in the Collegiate Baseball poll, which was released this week. Last season, Charlotte was ranked in five different polls, finishing 19th in both the Ping! Baseball poll and the Perfect Game CrossChecker poll. The 49ers finished tied for 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and were 29th in the final Collegiate Baseball poll of the season. The 49ers reached the finals of the Columbia Regional in the NCAA tournament this past season, winning a pair of games over N.C. State -- Charlotte's first postseason wins in program history. The 49ers were eventually eliminated by regional champion South Carolina.
  • Three members of Charlotte's Atlantic 10 champion women's soccer team earned All-Southeast region honors from Soccer Buzz. Senior midfielder Lindsey Ozimek, the A-10's midfielder of the year, earned second team All-Southeast Region honors. Freshmen Whitney Bryant and Sam Huecker earned Southeast Region all-freshman honors. Ozimek, a 2004 Soccer Buzz Freshmen All-American, has earned Soccer Buzz All-Southeast Region honors in each of her four seasons at Charlotte.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Q&A with recruit Julius Powell

Julius Powell, a 6-foot-8 forward from Newton-Conover, N.C., has played two seasons at Clemson and is transferring at the start of the spring semester. Powell made a recruiting visit Saturday and attended the 49ers’ 83-51 win against Gardner-Webb.

Q: What brings you to Halton Arena?

Powell: I wanted to come check out the 49ers. I am considering coming here next semester. I wanted to check out one of their ballgames.

Q: What was your main reason for looking to moving to another school?

Powell: Things just didn’t work out the way I wanted them to at Clemson. Coach (Oliver Purnell) and I sat down to talk about it. I wanted to redshirt because of some problems with my left knee. After we talked about it, it made more sense for me and the Clemson program to transfer, if that was what I wanted to do. I think that’s the best decision for me and for them. They have some big guys coming in next year and it would be a fresh start for me.

Q: How is your injury situation?

Powell: I had two surgeries on my left knee. I got a second opinion and basically I came back too soon after surgery and needed more rehab time.

Q: What do you like about Charlotte?

Powell: I’d be very close to my family and friends. Basketball is the biggest sport here. Like at Clemson, it’s really a football school. Charlotte has a great basketball environment here and I would really look forward to that.

Q: Do you feel you would fit into Charlotte’s style of play?
Powell: Oh, yes. Big guys have a lot more freedom, a lot of freedom to create your shot. I really like the up-and-down game.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Atlantic 10 ranks high among conferences

An update on the Atlantic 10 and the RPI:
The Atlantic 10 is ranked seventh out of 31 conferences through games of Dec. 19 by The A-10 is the only league to have four teams ranked in the top 20 overall as Xavier comes in at No. 10, followed by Massachusetts (15th), Rhode Island (16th) and Dayton (19th).

In addition, the Atlantic 10 boasts a record of 86-53 (.619) in non-conference action this season which, if maintained, would be the fourth-highest winning percentage since the formation of the league in 1976-77 and highest since the 1993-94 campaign (69-35 - .663).

A-10 teams were 104-85 (.550) in non-conference matchups last season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More observations from 49ers vs Tulsa

-- Charlotte freshman guard Javarris Barnett, still on a growth spurt and approaching 6-foot-7, has started an extensive workout regiment set up by the 49ers’ strength and conditioning coach, Preston Greene, with an emphasis on improving his upper body strength. Barnett is likely to redshirt this season barring any unforeseen circumstances.

-- There were no problems during Tuesday night’s game, but Oklahoma and the Tulsa area are still feeling the effects of last week’s severe ice storm. Several thousand Tulsa residents remained without power Tuesday and countless tree limbs still litter city streets.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tulsa | 49ers Next Opponent

The Charlotte 49ers (6-3) play Tulsa at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla. Jim Utter takes a quick look at the Golden Hurricane (4-4), who is coming off a 90-61 victory Saturday over Texas-Pan American:


Tulsa has played well at home, with a perfect record (3-0) at the Reynolds Center. The Golden Hurricane hasn't played exactly tough competition, though, as the wins have come over the likes of Arkansas State, Central Arkansas and Texas-Pan American. The Golden Hurricane utilize a three-guard offense much of the time, led by sophomore Ben Uzoh, who leads the team averaging nearly 16 points per game.


The Golden Hurricane have not played well away from home, losing handily to Hampton, cross-town rival Oral Roberts, Arkansas-Little Rock and Oklahoma. Tulsa has had trouble generating consistent offense in the face of strong defensive pressure. The lack of a strong nonconference schedule at home makes it difficult to judge Tulsa's ability.


Charlotte has had difficulty rebounding, particularly in last Saturday's loss at Hofstra. Tulsa has a 7-footer, so the 49ers will need to continue to focus in that area. Charlotte should be one of the best defensive teams Tulsa has faced so far this season. How well Charlotte responds to its loss, will likely determine the flow of this game.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Soccer's Salvaggione earns 2 honors

Junior forward Chris Salvaggione of the Charlotte 49ers men's soccer team has received two postseason awards in addition to being named to the first team All-Atlantic 10 at the conclusion of the season. Salvaggione has also been named second-team NSCAA/adidas All-Mid-Atlantic Region and to the N.C. Collegiate Sports Information Association's University Division All-State team.

Salvaggione led the Atlantic 10 with nine assists this season and finished tied for third in scoring with eight goals. He led the league in game-winning goals (four). Salvaggione's 25 points was the most scored by a Charlotte player since David Hughes had 25 (on 10 goals and five assists) in the 1997 season.

Salvaggione is the fifth different Charlotte player to earn NCCSIA all-state honors. The others were Evan Harding, Floyd Franks, Adam Ruud and Joe Lampert.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hofstra | 49ers Next Opponent

The Charlotte 49ers (6-2) play Hofstra at 4 p.m. Saturday (MASN) at the Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, N.Y. Jim Utter takes a quick look at the Pride (1-5), who are coming off a 77-74 home loss to Stony Brook on Wednesday:


Hofstra features scoring wonder Antoine Agudio, who is tied with Niagara's Charron Fisher as the nation's leading scorer. Both average 27.0 points per game. The Pride obviously relies on Agudio a lot and it shows as he leads the country in minutes played (39.8 per game). Freshman guard Charles Jenkins has provided a spark, scoring in double figures in five straight games.


Too many times this season, Hofstra has given up big leads to its opponents early in the game and mounted spirited comebacks, only to fall short each time. Agudio may have the ability to shoot the Pride back in games, but you cannot do that successfully on a regular basis after giving up 20-plus point leads. Hofstra has lost four consecutive games by a combined 12 points.


The Pride can put points on the board, but Charlotte is also very capable of explosive runs on offense, particularly from senior guard Leemire Goldwire, who has scored a career-high 34 and 24 points, respectively, in each of his past two games. If the 49ers' defense can match anything like that in their win over Southern Illinois last Saturday, Hofstra could be looking at five straight losses.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's award week for Goldwire, Niners

Charlotte 49ers senior shooting guard Leemire Goldwire is raking up kudos from across the country for his play last week.
Goldwire, who scored a career-high 34 points in a victory against Davidson and 24 in a win against Southern Illinois, shared player of the week honors in the Atlantic 10 Conference with Xavier’s Drew Lavender when the league announced its weekly awards Sunday night.
But that wasn’t all.
On Monday, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale in his "Dickie V" weekly awards column for gave player of the week honors to Goldwire.
Vitale also tapped the 49ers as his team of the week, writing, "Very quietly, Bobby Lutz has done a super job. It’s a nice week when you can beat Davidson and Southern Illinois, two teams that are not cupcakes by any stretch of the imagination."
Finally, late Monday, Jeff Goodman of named Goldwire his player of the week. He also named Charlotte his runner-up for team of the week, which he gave to fellow A-10 member Rhode Island.

49ers baseball stars on watch list

A short timeout from basketball season for a quick update on the Charlotte 49ers’ baseball team.
Over the weekend, two Charlotte players were named to the 2008 Wallace Watch list, one of several player of the year awards given to college baseball’s best player. Those named were outfielder Brad McElroy and catcher/outfielder Chris Taylor.
Last season, McElroy became the sixth 49er to bat .400 or better in a season (.401) and paced Charlotte with 11 home runs, 68 RBIs and a .661 slugging percentage. He had nearly a third of the team’s hit by pitch at-bats with 15. McElroy, a senior from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, led the Atlantic 10 in hits (97), runs scored (65), RBIs (68) and doubles (26).
Taylor, a senior from Mount Pleasant, N.C., finished fourth on the team with a .340 average, while learning the outfield position. He split time as the designated hitter and a right fielder, belting 25 doubles, second only to McElroy in the Atlantic 10. For the season, he had nine home runs, 65 runs driven in and 25 doubles.
Charlotte set a school record with 49 wins last season, including a pair of victories in the NCAA Columbia Regional. Charlotte opens the 2008 season at 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at Hayes Stadium when it hosts Manhattan.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shots not easy, but they'll take 'em

This Charlotte team does not like to do things the easy way.
Free throws? Can't hit them consistently.
Layups? Ditto.

Shots within 3-feet of the the basket? Not hardly.
But the difficult plays? The big-money plays which can turn the tide of the game? Charlotte is just about perfect on those.

The 49ers needed every one to down rival Davidson 75-68 at Halton Arena on Wednesday night. And they came from everywhere.

Their were clutch 3-pointers from Leemire Goldwire, five coming in a five-minute span late in the second half.

When Stephen Curry scored eight straight points late in the game for Davidson, including back-to-back 3-pointers, freshman An'Juan Wilderness answered with a traditional 3-point play for Charlotte.

After Davidson missed on the next possession, Charlie Coley, who started the game missing his first five shots, hit a highlight reel one-handed slam in transition to push the Charlotte lead to three.

When consecutive 3-pointers from Goldwire gave Charlotte a four-point lead with under three minutes remaining, Coley again came up big, this time nailing a reverse layup. To add to the excitement, he was fouled and made his free throw.

Charlotte may not produce basketball this season that will be used in a skills clinic. But it is producing wins. And the bottom line is a 5-2 Charlotte team that does it the hard way is far better than a 49ers team that finds easy ways to lose.

800 tickets remain for Davidson-Charlotte

If you're planning to attend tonight's Charlotte-Davidson men's college basketball game at the 49ers' Halton Arena and you don't have a ticket, time is running out.

As of noon, John George, assistant athletics director for ticket operations, said the entire 4,500 student ticket allotment will be distributed for the game and there are about 800 other tickets remaining to be sold.

If they all go, it will mark Charlotte's first sellout since the Feb. 4, 2006, homecoming game against Dayton, won by Charlotte 62-49.

Already this season, Charlotte has seen a tremendous uptake on student ticket distribution. More student tickets were given out for the Nov. 12 win against Appalachian State than any game last season, including homecoming.

Tickets are available by calling, (704) 687-4949.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wake, Arkansas joining Niners in Anaheim

Fresh off a victory over Wake Forest, the Charlotte 49ers may not have to wait too long for a rematch.

The 49ers had already accepted an invitation to play in the eight-team Anaheim Classic during the Thanksgiving weekend next season and on Monday they found out who else is joining them.
As it turns out, it may be one of the strongest early-season tournaments next season. In addition to Charlotte, the Anaheim Classic will feature Wake Forest, Arkansas, Providence, Arizona State, UTEP, Cal State Fullerton and Baylor.

Baylor was in this season's Paradise Jam tournament along with Charlotte, but the two teams never met. In the teams' only other meeting, Baylor won 94-93 in 1992. The 49ers have never played Arkansas, Providence or Cal State Fullerton.

Charlotte lost its only meeting with Arizona State, 91-78, in 2000. The 49ers are 2-0 against UTEP, winning 86-58 in the team's most recent meeting in 2001.

The bracket for the tournament has not been set. Each team will play three games in four days.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Win over Wake Forest behind them, 49ers now prepare for rival Davidson

"Enjoy the moment."

That was Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz's words of advice Friday to his team as they completed their first practice since Thursday night's 63-59 victory against previously unbeaten Wake Forest at Bobcats Arena.

Lutz and his staff wasted no time in beginning preparation for the 49ers' next opponent, Davidson, which Charlotte plays Wednesday at Halton Arena. The team worked extensively on Friday on ways to defend Davidson guards Stephen Curry and Jason Richards.

Lutz gave his team Saturday off and planned to return to practice on Sunday. Senior guard Leemire Goldwire, who struggled in Charlotte's win Thursday, said he and others planned to watch Davidson's game Saturday against Duke on TV.

"The win over Wake was great for us and it was a big momentum builder for us. I know our fans are going to be excited going into Wednesday," Goldwire said. "We'll watch the (Davidson) game on TV and look at some of the things they do.

"I think we already have a good feel for it, but they're playing against Duke, and they might put in a new wrinkle or two."

Asked about his tough night against Wake Forest, Goldwire offered this explanation: "I let them get in my head, not just talking, but they were bumping me for no reason and hitting me for no reason and refs weren't calling it.

"I was frustrated with myself. I basically went into the locker room at halftime and cussed myself out. I apologized to my team because I was better than that. I'm a senior and I'm supposed to lead by example and that wasn't leading by example."

- Jim Utter