LEFTOVERS: Mismatch sets stage for rematch


College basketball schedules all over the country are littered with the names of colleges few fans recognize.

Playing games against obscure schools is a good way to pad a team’s record, which helps coaches keep their jobs. Those games also are a good way to get in a few organized practices and build confidence without jeopardizing the Ratings Percentage Index.

These games also work out for the little guys, who get a nice paycheck for the athletic department and the thrill of competing in a high-level game.

Some unwritten rules should be followed when scheduling and playing these games, though.

First of all, no Division I team should play a school whose basketball coach also is the university president. Also, a school that doesn’t have a working website should not be on any D-I schedule.

Enter Champion Baptist, a school in Hot Springs, Ark., with an enrollment of 250 and a website that won’t load that has a basketball team coached by school president Eric Capaci.

By now, nearly everyone has heard the story of the team’s game this week at Southern University.

Champion Baptist trailed by a record opening margin of 44-0 before losing 116-12 on Monday night. The Tigers made 3 of 44 shots and committed 27 turnovers.

What hasn’t been as widely covered is Capaci’s frustration with Southern coach Roman Banks, who had his team trapping and pressing deep into the second half.

“I looked over a couple times at their coach, like, ‘Are you serious?’ I was in shock,” Capaci told Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports. “We lost to Southern last year by 54 points. That’s normal. They didn’t press us the whole game, and we scored quite a few points. I don’t know why that happened this year.

“I don’t know of any bad blood between us. In fact, I told (Banks) before the game that when they played Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament last year, we were all in front of the TV cheering Southern on. I’m not upset with him personally. I shook his hand after the game. It was just abnormal for us to face a full-court press like that.”

After seeing the comments, Banks asked Capaci if they would play again next season.

“We talked, and we want to play to set the record straight and show people that there was no intent to hurt anyone or embarrass them,” Banks said. “We both felt it was best to play again.”

Of course Banks wants to play again. He’ll be looking to make another run at the record books.

He most likely already is assembling an even-more aggressive defensive approach for the rematch.

■ FIERY REACTION — The U.S. Olympic hockey team’s selection committee took a cool and unprecedented step toward transparency when it allowed two reporters into the room as it selected the final roster.

It went as badly as you might have hoped.

The reporters, Scott Burnside of ESPN and Kevin Allen of USA Today, reported some unflattering things that were said about Bobby Ryan, who was left off the roster.

Brian Burke, who drafted Ryan when he was the Anaheim Ducks’ general manager, called Ryan “passive” and argued against his inclusion.

“He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary. It’s never going to be in his vocabulary,” Burke said. “He can’t spell intense.”

Ryan didn’t have much of a reaction when informed of Burke’s assessment. He shrugged his shoulders and slowly walked away.

COMPILED BY ADAM HILL LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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