Author James Squire

35 entries

A Rivalry Renewed

They say it can't be a rivalry if one team wins all the games. I think that's hogwash. The Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan, not Oakland, California) joined the Mid-Continent Conference for the 1999-2000 season as they transitioned from Division II to Division I. The one team in the...

And So This Is Christmas

Conseco Fieldhouse recently hosted the Hoosier Classic on a Saturday, pitting Butler against Purdue and Notre Dame against Indiana in front of a packed house. Yesterday, that same venue was renamed Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Just after lunch today, the first sporting event under that new name took place -- in front...

Where Boys Become Men, If Anyone Cares To Take Notice

Valpo and Milwaukee (sometimes known as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but not for this report) were charter members of the Association of Mid-Continent Universities (ACMU) in 1982. Just about the time Valpo was getting good, Milwaukee and several other members of the conference (which had since changed...

The Green Bay Way

Like their Milwaukee neighbor, the Green Bay Phoenix were original members of the Association of Mid-Continent Universities (AMCU) with Valpo, but bolted for the Horizon League (HL) in 1994, and now they have to deal with us all over again. Unlike Milwaukee, Green Bay has owned Valpo since they were reunited...

HL Stands for Heart-attack League

If Green Bay is a team that figures out quickly how much the refs will let them get away with, Cleveland State is the team that knows how to do this AND register loud complaints when they don't get away with contact. Gary Waters is a virtuoso at working the refs. One of the disheartening things about playing Cleveland...

Dressing Up Like the Haves

Gigantic arena with all the bells and whistles. Big time coach that once led a team to the final four. Your own ESPN commercial featuring your own mascot. The mystique of that mascot. A big metropolitan city all to yourself. Every mid-major's wet dream. Think of the recruiting advantages. Sure, the state school...

Bring it On

It still feels strange. Butler comes to the Athletics Recreation Center (ARC) to close out the season. That much is not strange, it happened in 2010. But what still feels strange is that this time it is Valpo who has the #1 seed all wrapped up (in fact they have sole possession of the regular season title wrapped...

Clash of the Dangerous on a Neutral Court

With apologies to my team, who secured the 1 seed by a 2 game margin and earned the right to host the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Horizon League tournament in my home town of Valparaiso at the Athletics Recreation Center (ARC), I still miss those extended weekends in Kansas City or Tulsa spending 50 bucks to watch...

Whose House Is This Anyway?

For tonight's second game, the Milwaukee Panthers take on the Butler Bulldogs. The Panthers are the higher seed (4 vs. 5), but you would never know it looking at the fan sections. Not only are there lots more Butler fans in the house than Milwaukee fans, but according to a friend of mine who is a Panther fan,...

A Case For The Double Bye

The Horizon League first semifinal contest marks the end of neutral court basketball this weekend. The most-talented team (3 Detroit) takes on the most physical team (2 Cleveland State). The issue for the Titans has been playing with discipline, but other than a late season loss at Cleveland State (where they...

Make It Count

This, of course, is the one game this weekend where court neutrality has been thrown out the window. The 1 seed is tasked with defending their home court on national TV. This is another one of those defining moments. The trash talking, posturing, and prognosticating are over. It is time to toss the ball in the...

It Ends With Frayed Edges and Hurt Feelings

On the one hand, a championship will be won tonight -- something worth celebrating. Nets will be cut down. Trophies will be handed out. There are even story-lines to be exploited by the World-Wide Leader, whose flagship station is in the house for the first time in the history of the Athletics Recreation Center...

Ohio Bobcats, our nation turns its lonely eye

It hardly seems fair. The Bobcats of The Ohio University are the only one of us left in the Sweet Sixteen. OK, I coined that name because I'm feeling emotional these days -- getting knee deep in March Madness as a Mid-Majority fan opens you up to more hurt the more you embrace the experience. It also doesn't help...

Teamwork is Sacrifice, and Sacrifice is Hard

It's hard to get past the fact that until this year I had never even heard of USC Upstate. A brief scan of their website suggests that they were Division II until a few years ago, and the name suggests they belong to the fraternity of schools living in the shadow of a power conference school whose name they share...

Our Game Writes Its Own Narrative, Thank You.

Our game writes its own narrative, if we can stand to get out of the way long enough to let it. Long before I usually wake up on a weekday, much less eat breakfast, Valpo and Northern Illinois (brief conference rivals once upon a time) wiped the cobwebs from their eyes and played a little 5 on 5 for an ESPN audience...

Life is in Charge

Today's game takes place under the shadow of death. Last night, as I waited to place my dinner order with 20-30 Valpo alumni from the St. Louis area in a private room at Joe Buck's Restaurant just a stone's throw from that ballpark where they play baseball in front of the so-called "Greatest fans in baseball",...

Long Drives and Hard Lessons Part 1

A 7-hour Saturday round trip to Springfield, arriving home at 1 am, resting up on Sunday, driving 10.5 hours to Rochester, Michigan for another game on Monday, 4 hour drive to Valpo to sleep over at my Dad's house, early morning drive back to St. Louis on Tuesday - this may be the closest I ever come to what...

Long Drives and Hard Lessons (Part 2)

I left St. Louis at 7am early Monday morning. Ten and a half hours later, via Indianapolis, Toledo, and Detroit, I wound up on the Campus of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan a half hour before tip time. Fortunately there was enough light on campus to illuminate the signs pointing to the O'Rena. I found...

Rock Star as Team Leader

A member of the Hickory Picket Fences team also attended this game. At first I thought he was here to see their fantasy player Isaiah Canaan rack up points for them. When he stopped by my seat at halftime, he informed me I was mistaken. But still, there will be dueling game recaps, so, as far as TMM9 is concerned,...

How big is your ocean?

Loyola and Valpo were prognosticated differently in the preseason. Valpo was picked by some to win the conference, Loyola maybe middle of the pack at best, if not lower. Both Loyola and UIC had surprisingly good non-conference performance. If preseason predictions are definitive, we naturally discount such...

The Perfect Storm

I like to take my Dad to home games that I make the trip for, but he's in his 80s and doesn't move very well. Fortunately, Valpo has a small section behind the Valpo basket for wheelchair and similarly disabled clientele, so I was able to take my Dad to this game and he had a heck of a time. Fortunately,...

No Frills Basketball

8 days ago, Reggie Arceneaux was the hero in Wright State's win at Loyola. Valpo just two days ago erased a 22-point early 2nd half lead at the home of the preseason pick for 2nd place, Detroit. WSU was picked to finish 9th (last) in the preseason poll, but while Detroit inflicted its heart-felt revenge on the...

This is not Savannah State

So said, St. Louis' own Bob Ramsey, who ritually announces a Billiken 3 with "BANG!" As I pulled out of the parking garage next to Chaifetz Arena, Ramsey wanted to make sure SLU fans knew that this was no cupcake win. Either that, or he was just so blown away by what he had seen that his Hype-O-Meter went haywire....

This is not Butler

So might have said Bob Ramsey after this one. Or not; I didn't listen to much of the post-game show. I hadn't planned to go to this game, but a friend of mine had an extra ticket at half-price through something called "Living Social", so I jumped at the chance. He brought his two young boys along and several...

A Safe, Non-Combustible, Fierce Rivalry For T

Last year I wrote about Valpo's current rivalry with Milwaukee, and I alluded to a potential budding rivalry with Detroit from last year's Horizon League championship game. Both last year and this year, I've written about Valpo's reviving rivalry with Oakland. But there was another rivalry Valpo had in the old...

Area Code Rivalry

Last March, after the Horizon League championship game, this happened: Yesterday, during ESPN's Rivalry Week, the team celebrated brashly by denizens of the 313 area code returned to the scene of the crime and were greeted with this: Detroit-Valpo has developed into something that lends itself to easy stereotypes...

Havoc Quelled

Butler and VCU both home games for the A-10 school that plays in the metropolitan area where I live? I'm there, looking to see how these Final Four combatants from 2 years ago will fair. The Butler game turned out to be one-sided, but I was still pumped to see how HAVOC would fare at Chaifetz Arena. Interestingly...

Rematch at Hinkle

After the beat-down I witnessed at Chaifetz Arena 3 weeks ago, I was hoping to see a much better game tonight in the rematch. I regret that I failed to give myself plenty of time to get there. I had meant to give myself an extra hour, in case there were traffic problems, but once I hit the road, I realized I...

The Fond Farewell

"There's no real bracket busting in it... It's an extra game on your schedule" -- Billy Donlan, Wright State coach won't miss BracketBusters event I agree, though there was nothing wrong with the concept. The 4-letter network dreamed it up as a way of giving mid-majors a chance to impress the NCAA Tournament...

Memories

"You can't get there from here" -- Richard L. Harlan, TV voice of the Valparaiso Crusaders, 1946-2012 Out in the middle of nowhere in the western part of the state of Illinois is the city of Macomb, home of the Western Illinois Leathernecks, the last remaining charter member of the Mid-Continent Conference/Summit...

Baby Steps

Last year at the Horizon League quarterfinals, also held in Valparaiso at the Athletics Recreation Center (ARC), 3 seed Detroit ambushed 6 seed Youngstown State from the opening tip, and the Penguins never seriously threatened. 5 seed Butler buried 4 seed Milwaukee decisively in the 2nd half. In both cases,...

The Beginning of Madness

This was a very entertaining game, much more entertaining than last year's 4-5 game. In fact both quarterfinal games this year were much more exciting than last year. For the 2nd year in a row, the 5 seed has more fan support than the 4 seed. UIC brought a healthy contingent of students along with their pep...

Reigning In The Titans

Wright State is the most deliberate, disciplined team in the Horizon League. Detroit is the most athletic, fast-paced team in the Horizon League. Doug Anderson's dunks have been all over Sports Center for 2 seasons now. These two styles go together like oil and water. Something had to give. Would Detroit force...

OH. MY. GOD.

I was this close. This close to returning to St. Louis today and getting some much needed breathing room in my vacation balance account. This close to witnessing first-hand the first ever 1 seed semifinal loss since the Horizon League switched to its current "Protect the top seeds" format. This close to seeing...

Prolonging the Madness

In the Horizon League, March is truly maddening. And the madness only increases with each win. If you are the 1 seed and graduating 6 seniors, 5 of whom start and the other who plays a key role, the spectre of a loss looms large, bringing with it that dreaded R word (rebuilding). It may take a while to scale...

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One Beautiful Season

1BS weaved the history of mid-major college basketball together with stories from the 2009-10 season, culminating in Butler's epic run to the National Championship game. Now it's available as a free download: PDF in the original 592-page book layout with all photos and graphics, or ePub format for electronic reading devices.