Bucs to take on Southern Miss Wednesday in Cancun
Bucs to take on Southern Miss Wednesday in Cancun
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 21, 2010)
-- With the end of its month-long, eight-game road streak in sight, the ETSU men's basketball team will finish this grueling stretch in paradise, taking on Southern Miss Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (EST) in the first round of the Cancun Governor's Cup at the Poliforum Benito Juarez.

The Buccaneers, who are 4-5 on the year and currently 2-3 during the road trip, are hoping to rebound after a humbling 71-50 loss at Southeastern Conference foe Ole Miss last week. If the Bucs can advance to the finals of this tournament, they could possibly play the Rebels again in the finals.

For more on this matchup, click on the game notes link above or read the notes below. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link. 

We are "ETSU"

The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called "ETSU" ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.


Buc bits

The ETSU men's basketball team only added to its rich history of success during the 2009-10 season, capturing its second straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and earning the program's ninth trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament ... Posting the program's fourth 20-win season in the past seven years, the Bucs overcame multiple challenges during the season before dropping Mercer in the A-Sun finals ... The Bucs were led by a team of "role" players that included forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), guard Micah Williams (Manchester), guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.), post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), and post J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) ... Hubbard finished the year as a second team All ASun player after leading the Bucs in both scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg), and was named to the league's All-Tournament squad ... Meanwhile, Williams finished the year on a tear, scoring in double figures in 11 straight games, including a 32-point effort against Campbell en route to being named the A-Sun Tournament MVP ... Only losing senior guard Jocolby Davis off the roster from 2009-10, the Bucs will add Smith back to the mix after receiving a medical redshirt a year ago, and a trio of incoming recruits will also add to the talent pool.


The series versus Southern Miss

The Bucs and Golden Eagles have met 11 times previously, with ETSU trailing the all-time series 4-7 ... The last meeting between the two teams came during the 1992, with Southern Miss winning that game 79-63 ... Interestingly, the two teams played twice that year, with ETSU winning in Johnson City earlier in the season 87-76, then losing on the road in Hattiesburg, Miss.


Last time out

OXFORD, Miss. (Dec. 18, 2010) - A 13-0 run to open the game and another 9-0 offensive burst at the end of the first half were the difference Saturday afternoon inside the Tad Smith Coliseum, as the Ole Miss Rebels dropped the ETSU Buccaneers 71-50 in non-conference basketball action. ... The Buccaneers, who dropped to 4-5 on the season, will return to Johnson City and prepare to leave for Cancun, Mexico, on Monday, where they will compete Dec. 22-24 in the Cancun Governor's Cup. ETSU could face Ole Miss (7-2) again next week in Mexico, as the Rebels will also be playing in the same event. ... The game started poorly for the Bucs, as the Rebels hit three of their first five 3-point attempts and opened the game with a 13-0 run over the first eight minutes. Meanwhile, in that same time frame, the Bucs were dismal, going 0-of-8 from the field and committing six turnovers. ... ETSU woke up in a big way though, as senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finally got the Bucs on the board with a three-point play at the 12:21 mark, and that sparked an 8-0 run to make it 13-8 with just over 12 minutes left before the break. The Bucs got to within five points on three different occasions in the half and trailed just 31-26 after back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.). However, at that point the Rebels closed the first half with their 9-0 run to make it 40-26 at the break. ... In the first half, the Bucs shot just 36 percent from the floor and committed 12 turnovers compared to four turnovers for Ole Miss. While the Bucs outrebounded the Rebels 21-15 in the first half, the turnovers by ETSU allowed Ole Miss to take eight more shots from the floor. ... The Bucs' offense opened the second half poorly once again, scoring just eight points over the first eight minutes and allowing the Rebels to build their lead to as many as 21 points. ETSU never got closer than 14 after the break. ... For the game, the Bucs were led offensively by Smith, who finished with 18 points, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with 12. ETSU shot just 31 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers on the night. ... While they outrebounded the Rebels 40-35, Ole Miss took 12 more shots on the night and hit on 49 percent from the floor and 32 percent from beyond the arc. ... Ole Miss got a game-high 22 points from Chris Warren, while Reginald Buckner scored 16 and Zach Graham added 14.

Buc Bits: With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 5-8 all-time against the Rebels Senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) missed his second straight game, and is not expected to play again until after the Cancun Governor's Cup. There is an increasing chance that Hubbard will not play again this year and will request a medical redshirt from the NCAA.


ETSU in "exempt" holiday events

The Bucs have played in four previous holiday tournaments over the last seven seasons, and have had mixed success ... ETSU is 4-8 in those events, but have enjoyed solid wins such as a victory over SEC foe Georgia in the 2007 Rainbow Classic ... Georgia went on to win the SEC Tournament that season.

2003 (Rainbow Classic) -- 1-2

2006 (South Padre Island Invitational) -- 1-2

2007 (Rainbow Classic) -- 1-2

2008 (Charleston Classic) -- 1-2


"Big 3" hitting on all cylinders key to Bucs' success

Coming into this season, the Bucs were counting on quality offensive production from their "Big 3" senior guards in Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) ... All three have had double-figure scoring seasons in the past, and expectations were for much of the same in 2010-11 ... However, so far this season, the Bucs' five losses have coincided with poor output from the trio ... In fact, when all three score in double figures, the Bucs have won each of those games (Tennessee Tech, Milligan and Dayton) ... But when one or two is having an off night, the Bucs have lost each of those games. Here is a breakdown:


Game Smith Williams Tubbs

Kentucky 15 7 2

Murray State 10 8 2

Tennessee Tech 26 10 13

Milligan 13 17 11

Dayton 17 16 26

USC Upstate 15 11 3

Charleston 9 16 2

Mississippi State 20 18 8

Mississippi 18 2 9


Plans, trains and automobiles await Bucs

The Bucs find themselves in the midst of a month-long road trip that will see the team play a total of eight games away from the ETSU/MSHA Atheltic Center ... Trips to Dayton, Ohio, Charleston, S.C., Starkville, Miss., Oxford, Miss., and Cancun, Mexico await ... In all, the Bucs will travlel 3,776 miles by bus and 1,906 miles by plane during this time ... In total, it will amount to 5,682 miles and 67 hours/33 minutes of travel time.


Bartow among best in the country over last

five years

When looking at coaches across the country, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow stands among a select group ... Of those coaches that have been at their current school for at least five years, only 24 have averaged better than 20 wins a season ... That list includes coaches such as Dayton's Brian Gregory, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, UConn's Jim Calhoun, Florida's Billy Donovan, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Kryzewski, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kansas' Bill Self, Maryland's Gary Williams and North Carolina's Roy Williams ... The list also includes Bartow, who is average 20.2 wins a year since 2005-06.


Bucs help bolster A-Sun to strong RPI standings

With a pair of signature wins already this season, the ETSU men's basketball team - along with other members of the Atlantic Sun Conference - is doing its part to put the league in some impressive company on the national hoops stage. ... With wins over Atlantic 10 Conference stalwart Dayton and Southeastern Conference West Division favorite Mississippi State, the Buccaneers have helped the A-Sun generate plenty of waves across the board in the national RPI rankings. As a result, one month into the 2010-11 NCAA men's basketball season, the Atlantic Sun Conference is ranked ahead of other mid-major leagues including the Southern, Ohio Valley, Big South, West Coast, Mid-American, WAC and Sun Belt. ... The A-Sun remains among the top half of the conferences in the country. CollegeRPI.com ranks the A-Sun 14th, immediately behind the Horizon, Conference USA and Missouri Valley, and ahead of the conferences mentioned above. Against the Southern, Big South, Sun Belt and Ohio Valley conferences, the A-Sun owns a 15-8 mark. ... The conference has more than held its own against the BCS conferences. With ETSU's win at Mississippi State, the conference grabbed its fifth win against the "Power-6" leagues. No conference eligible for consideration for the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll owns as many BCS wins as the A-Sun. The five wins represent the most for the league since they also picked up five wins in 2007-08.


ETSU "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's

best "Prestige" programs

Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com's "Prestige" ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, 10 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.