Five Reasons Why NKU Playing Kentucky was a Good Draw

March Madness is a time when everyone rallies behind their team and dreams of advancing to the late rounds of the tournament. The Northern Kentucky Norse are a 15 seed and are likely not headed past the first round. They did however draw an in-state team in this first round that should generate some interest: The Kentucky Wildcats. Some fans are conflicted as they are a fan of both teams, but here is why every Norse fan should be happy that this match-up is happening.

1. Generate Local Interest in The Program

NKU is in its first year of eligibility to make the NCAA Tournament and they did that. How will that success carry over? They need to draw as much interest in the program to sell tickets, get boosters and get recruits. There is no other match-up in the first round that could have generated more interest than playing Kentucky.

Drew McDonald (Photo courtesy: nkytribune.com)

How did this generate interest? Northern Kentucky is located just south of Cincinnati, Ohio. The majority of people in the city dislike the University of Kentucky, even though there is no major rivalry between the Wildcats and teams in the area. By playing Kentucky, the Norse are drawing fans that wouldn’t typically root for NKU, making the game of more general interest.

The key is to get some of these fans to stay on the bandwagon for years to come. Whether they buy one ticket or end up being the biggest NKU fans in the world, it will help the program.

2. Players Get Their Shot at the Super Bowl

I can guarantee that none of these players will end up playing in an actual Super Bowl, but for the Norse this game will likely be the biggest they ever play in.

With five players from the state of Kentucky, and many more from surrounding areas, NKU has a lot of local talent. These athletes were overlooked by the college basketball powerhouses, but the one that stings the most is Kentucky.

3. More People Will Watch Their Game

Kentucky has some of the most watched games in college basketball this season, which won’t change in the tournament. Their games against North Carolina and Kansas were the second and third most watched games in the regular season for college basketball.

Getting in the NCAA Tournament will draw a lot of eyes on a program, but if the Norse had drawn almost any other team the ratings would go down drastically. At the end of the day more eyes on the program is a good thing. The team and school will be more marketable and as mentioned before, should be able to recruit more.

4. They Get to Play in Indianapolis

While NKU is still a relatively new Division I college basketball program, there are some die-hard fans and students that would love to watch their first tournament game in history. It is a monumental game that will lead to good things in the future and can’t be missed for the loyal fans.

NKU isn’t far off from its first round location. (Photo courtesy: oberers.com)

The good news is that, because they are playing Kentucky, they get to play in Indianapolis. This is a manageable drive of, at most two hours from NKU’s campus. Fans have their chance to support their team, which isn’t something that comes very often. Last season Kentucky had to play their first and second round games in Des Moines, Iowa. The Cincinnati Bearcats, who are just across the river from NKU, play their first round game in Sacramento on Friday. Norse fans should consider themselves lucky to have an opportunity to go to this once in a lifetime game.

5. Free Steak

Jeff Ruby is a famous restaurant owner from the Cincinnati area. He has offered free steak to all students at NKU if the Norse can upset the Wildcats. That is free steak for 15,000 students. His steaks aren’t cheap, so this will cost him a lot of money. If a chance at free steak for poor college students doesn’t make you think that this match-up is the best thing that could’ve happened, nothing will.

 

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Players That Can Lead Their Team to an Upset Victory in the 2017 NCAA Tournament

The best part of the NCAA Tournament year in and year out are the upsets. The unheralded team knocks off the national powerhouse and goes down in history. Every team that pulls off the upset has a player that leads them to victory. C.J. McCollum scored 30 points on Duke in Lehigh’s upset. Sherwood Brown dropped a total of 41 points in Florida Gulf Coast’s run to the Sweet 16.

Not all upsets have to be extreme as a 15 seed beating a two seed, like the ones previously mentioned, but every upset needs a star. Here are some players that can be that catalyst for their team:

Trevon Bluiett, Xavier Musketeers

The Xavier Musketeers are a popular pick to beat Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Musketeers will be without point guard Edmond Sumner, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. If they do pull off the upset it will be in no doubt because of Bluiett.

Bluiett is averaging 18.1 points per game and shooting 44% from the floor. He has the ability to get hot in an instant and can go from no points to 20 within minutes as a classic shooter, who hardly ever drives to the basket. Bluiett has been in the NCAA Tournament before, but has yet to score more than 10 points in a game in five career tournament games.

His crowning moment this year was his performance against cross-town rival Cincinnati. He scored 40 points on 12 of 15 shooting. He made nine of 11 three pointers in that game, in an unbelievable shooting night. Xavier ended up losing the game, but had he gotten more shots up, things could’ve been different.

With not having scored a lot in the NCAA Tournament, Bluiett is going to have all the motivation he needs to have a good game and lead his team to victory.

Chris Flemmings, UNC Wilmington

Flemmings has one of the best backstories in college basketball. He had to email UNC Wilmington to get a chance to play for them after playing at nearby Barton College, a division II school. Last season he came close to helping the Seahawks pull off an upset over Duke with 18 points.

Chris Flemmings

Photo courtesy: foxsports.com

UNC Wilmington has made it back to the dance and Flemmings has had another good season. He has averaged 15.8 points per game on 47% shooting. He hasn’t been as good at defense, as last year, but that is because he is tasked with guarding bigger players all the time. The Seahawks lack height and Flemmings usually has to pick up the slack by guarding power forwards.

The first round match-up for UNC Wilmington will be tough as they play an elite defensive team in Virginia. Flemmings will need to score a lot (which may not be as much as usual against such a good defensive team), and guard players bigger than him well.

JaCorey Williams, Middle Tennessee

After starting his career at Arkansas, Williams has played his last year of eligibility at Middle Tennessee. He didn’t do much with The Razorbacks, playing behind Bobby Portis and only averaging 4.8 points per game his junior season.

Williams sat out last season because of the NCAA transfer rules, but has been lighting up the scoreboard for the Blue Raiders this season. He is averaging 17.3 points per game and has given them another big presence in the paint, averaging 7.3 rebounds. He is shooting 54 percent on the season, which is about the percentage that will be needed for Middle Tennessee to advance.

The Blue Raiders will need him to be at his best, as they are playing a Minnesota team that has a lot of size. He may not need to score every basket, but does need to find the open man, if the Golden Gophers choose to double him in the post.

Keon Johnson, Winthrop

Johnson is one of the shortest players in college basketball at 5 feet 7 inches tall, but can score with the best of them. He is by far the most important player for the Eagles.

Keon Johnson

Photo courtesy: whri.com

His average of 22.5 points per game is good enough for 10th in the country. He steps up in big games, scoring 38 at Illinois and 24 at Dayton. Johnson is shooting 40% from behind the arc, but also does his part getting to the basket to amass his points.

Butler is an above average defensive team, but Johnson should be able to get his shots up. If he converts, Winthrop can take Butler to the wire.

Marcus Marshall, Nevada

Nevada has been a trendy pick to pick Iowa State and Marshall is the reason why. Marshall played his first three seasons at Missouri State before transferring to Nevada.

Marshall averages 19.8 points per game and hits 3.3 three point field goals per game. He scored 32 points at Washington, against future top draft pick Markelle Fultz. He can score against premier talent and will have to do so against Iowa State.

He will be matched up against Monte Morris, one of the best point guards in the country. If he can match him shot for shot, Nevada has a chance to win.

 

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NCAA Tournament Bracketology 3/12/17

MARCH 12, 2017 BRACKETOLOGY

The NCAA Tournament is fast approaching. March Madness is here. This NCAA Tournament bracketology is an outlook of what the bracket could look like on selection Sunday. Click on the picture to zoom.

 

 

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NCAA Tournament Bracketology 3/11/17

March 11, 2017 Bracketology

The NCAA Tournament is fast approaching. March Madness is here. This NCAA Tournament bracketology is an outlook of what the bracket could look like in a few days. Click on the picture to zoom.

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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Terrish Webb

Terrish Webb is one of the most experienced players that look to hear their name called in this year’s NFL Draft. The free safety from Pitt played in 45 games in his college career, including all 13 games the Panthers played in his freshman season.

Four years ago, many expected Webb to have success in college on the other side of the ball. Webb played both wide receiver and defensive back in high school, and was listed as a three-star wide receiver in the class of 2013 in 247 Sports’ recruiting database.

One of Webb’s coaches at Pitt suggested the switch to safety, and it’s paid off for Webb.

“It was kind of a switch up, being an offensive type of guy,” Webb said. “Once I got down to the basics I just ran with it.”

Terrish Webb

Photo: CardiacHill.com

While talking about Webb in high school, it’s impossible not to mention his team’s unprecedented success.

Webb was instrumental in helping Clairton High School win 63 straight games, and Webb’s season never ended with a loss. That’s right, Clairton High School won a state championship in all four of Webb’s seasons.

Webb also played in a state championship game with his basketball team in his senior year.

As an all-state athlete, it seems as though his high school career foreshadowed what was to come. All that winning didn’t end when Webb arrived on Pitt’s campus.

Webb and the Panthers handed national champion Clemson its only loss of the season. Pitt upset Clemson, 43-42, and Webb had nine tackles.

As Webb makes his next step, hoping to land on an NFL roster, he knows there’s still work to be done as he prepares for his Pro Day.

“Becoming a little stronger because I’m moving to the next level, so guys are bigger, faster, stronger,” Webb said. “Working on my technique and trying to take less steps as I’m breaking.”

Webb’s strongest suit is his ability to help a team in multiple ways. Webb was asked to do a lot at Pitt, and he answered the bell with vigor.

If an NFL scout walked through Webb’s door tomorrow, Webb is confident that he’d be able to sell himself.

“I would tell him that you’re getting a very smart football player,” Webb said. “I would be able to play special teams and I’m versatile as a defensive back. I can play pretty much anywhere as a defensive back.”

Webb may not be the Malik Hooker of the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he brings a winning charisma and the talent and smarts to contribute in many different facets.

Terrish Webb Scouting Report

Terrish Webb (Photo courtesy: twitter.com)

Webb’s size is adequate (5-foot-11-inches, 195 pounds) for the NFL level and shouldn’t hold him back whatsoever. NFL teams will love the fact that he was in on a lot of snaps for Pitt.

Webb diagnoses plays and route concepts very well. He also trusts his eyes. When he sees something he recognizes, he goes to make a play. Webb has good discipline and isn’t fooled by trick plays or play action passes.

The best trait for Webb is that he doesn’t give up any big plays on deep throws down the middle of his field or on running plays. He won’t let receivers behind him down the middle of the field. On running plays, he gets in good position and makes the play.

He isn’t the hardest hitter, but Webb is a sure tackler who can also break up passing plays by hitting the receivers as soon as they touch the football.

In order for Webb to be successful in the NFL, he will have to cover well one on one and provide good run support. He will likely need to be able to do well on special teams in order to get playing time at the NFL level.

 

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Terrish Webb in its entirety below.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Jordan Bowman

The College Gridiron Showcase shows off the top college football players from across the NCAA in a five-day camp. The camp is selective and prestigious, and gives under the radar prospects a chance to shine for over 100 professional scouts to see. Former California of Pennsylvania University star Jordan Bowman was one of the players invited to the showcase, and Bowman had a chance to talk with NFL scouts about his game.

The feedback he got was both positive and constructive.

“I need to work on my hip mobility,” Bowman said. “Some people think I have tight hips and I can’t flip them as fluently as I should be able to. I also got feedback that I’m a smart football player with pretty good instincts and ball skills.”

Bowman was an All-American for one of Division II’s finest football programs. Bowman piled multiple awards over his four years with the team, including multiple all-region and all-conference awards.

The strong safety is one of the best all-around players that you’ve probably never heard of. Bowman has size, speed, intangibles and a great personality, all of which can makeup a future NFL performer.

Jordan Bowman

Photo: Mon Valley Independent

The fact that Bowman comes from what could be called the Ohio State of Division II in terms of NFL production helps his cause. With several former Cal players in the NFL right now, Bowman thinks scouts need to give high consideration to players coming out of the program.

“I definitely think they should because we have six guys in the league right now,” Bowman said. “We were also very good this year and have a lot of big names in our class. I feel as though a lot of scouts are definitely gonna be on the lookout for us and Cal teams to come.”

Cal has bred Bowman into a solid football player, and the strong safety puts in plenty of work off the field to become the player he is.

“I take pride in my football IQ and my preparation,” Bowman said. “Watching film, hours of it each week, looking at QB tendencies, favorite route concepts, receiver giveaways and being all over the field.”

Bowman’s talent isn’t just in his head. Bowman scored a touchdown in all four seasons at Cal and totaled 170 career tackles.

“I bring consistency, I bring leadership, I bring all traits of a safety,” Bowman said. “I can tackle, I can run, I can cover, and I stay out of trouble.”

Bowman, although gifted, will see a huge talent disparity as he transitions from playing Division II college football to playing with the greatest football players on the planet in the NFL. Bowman is solid in the box, playing man and dropping back in coverage, but doing those things in the NFL is no easy task.

The NFL prospect understands how different the NFL is. Athletes that play in the league are physically gifted like no one else.

“I think the biggest thing is gonna be the size and speed,” Bowman said. “Playing against Julio Jones who is 6-4, 220 and runs a sub 4-40, those guys are freaks that you don’t normally see.”

Even with a bright future playing football, any athlete’s playing days are numbered. Luckily for Bowman, he’s smart in areas that aren’t just football.

Bowman majored in business administration at Cal. The major is broad and many aren’t sure what to do with a business degree.

Bowman isn’t one of those people. Just like Bowman stands out on the football field, he wants to stand out in business.

“I want to be an entrepreneur and create my own path,” Bowman said. “I don’t wanna just be a guy in a company, come to work 9-5 every day. I’d rather open my own shop or franchise.”

Jordan Bowman was one of the best players in one of the best programs in college football during his time at Cal. Bowman has the potential and tools to bring that success to the NFL.

His playing days are numbered, just like anyone else’s. However, luckily for Bowman, he has a plan, whether he’s on the field or off.

Jordan Bowman Scouting Report

His height and weight (6 feet, 208 pounds) are good enough for the NFL level and he has great football IQ, demonstrating his attention to detail in the film room. He is able to be positioned near the line of scrimmage like Troy Polamalu, or cover deep.

Jordan Bowman (Photo courtesy: nfldraftonline.com)

Once the ball is snapped, Bowman starts reading the quarterback’s eyes and diagnosing the play, both of which he does well. When the ball is thrown he jumps the route and makes plays. He is solid at both man to man and zone coverage. Bowman displays the ability to be in the right place at the right time, something that is key for safeties.

He is capable in run support and demonstrates his tackling ability. Bowman isn’t used as a blitzer often, but when he is, he takes down the ball carrier or quarterback often.

Some concerns with Bowman will be his speed and his ability to cover NFL-level talent.

Teams will love Bowman’s ability to play special teams and that is how he will be able to make an immediate impact on an NFL team. He will be fighting to make an NFL roster so excelling at special teams needs to be his competitive advantage over other players vying to make the team.

You can view Jordan Bowman’s highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Jordan Bowman in its entirety below.

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

NCAA Tournament Bracketology 3/10/17

March 10, 2017 Bracketology

The NCAA Tournament is fast approaching. March Madness is here. This bracketology is an outlook of what the bracket could look like in a few days. Click on the picture to zoom.

 

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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Aaron Terry

Football players are just dumb jocks, or so they say. However, that’s not the case for two-time All-American Aaron Terry.

Terry played for Division II powerhouse California University of Pennsylvania and garnered multiple impressive national and regional awards. All the while, Terry found his way onto the dean’s list multiple times and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May.

If that’s not remarkable enough, Terry intends to pursue a master’s in business as he pursues an NFL career. Later on, Terry sees himself working for Homeland Security.

Terry was an electric punt returner and ball-hawking defensive back, and he expects to bring those traits with him to the NFL.

The 5-foot-11-inch standout can play anywhere in the defensive backfield, and his versatility gives him a shot at making an NFL roster.

“I’m able to play more than one position on the field,” Terry said. “I’m very good at special teams as well. You’re able to do more things with me.”

Aaron Terry

Photo: California University of Pennsylvania Athletics

His encounters at Cal are some that he values emphatically.

“My experience has just been one of a kind,” Terry said. “It’s definitely not something that I would trade in for any other school.”

“In high school, I never won a championship and then I get to Cal and I win a championship and I’m on the winning team. It was a great atmosphere. I love the team and I would never trade it in.”

Terry may want to thank his parents for his athletic ability. His mother was an all-state pitcher in high school and his father was a “very well-known” basketball player in Virginia.

While on the field, Terry amassed 13 interceptions and 175 total tackles. The three-time all-conference player also added one punt return for a touchdown in his career.

Terry averaged 13.2 yards per return as a punt returner and he credits his high football IQ to his success.

“The most important thing about punt return is being smart back there and not being scared,” Terry said. “I’m very smart and I understand what decisions to make and what not to make.”

Terry is working on every little thing to gain an edge. He is training in Pittsburgh while finishing his degree at Cal. Terry does weight training and combine drills and is never content with his talent level.

“You’re never as good as you want to be and I’m never satisfied,” Terry said. “I’m just making sure I perfect my craft. There’s always more room for improvement and I’m really a strong believer in that.”

Terry credits his eyes and instincts to his incredible play in zone coverage. Those smarts are helping him become a darkhorse candidate to become a great player at the next level.

Those same smarts will propel Terry to a successful career. Whether it be in football or criminal justice, Aaron Terry has the work ethic and intelligence to make a splash in whatever he does.

Aaron Terry Scouting Report

Terry has adequate size for an NFL defensive back at a touch under 6 feet and 200 pounds. He is usually in good position pre-snap, but sometimes gives a lot of cushion to receivers. That is something that can be fixed easily for the next level.

Aaron Terry

Aaron Terry (Photo courtesy: lockerroomupdate.com)

He is above average in man-to-man coverage, but is a great zone defender. The main quality that makes his zone coverage great is his ability to recognize where the receivers are and where they will be. He gets himself in the right position to make the play.

On broken plays, Terry shows good discipline by staying with his man or shutting down his zone. This gives the pass rushers more time to make a play.

As with many players at the Division II level, Terry will be questioned on whether he can cover NFL-level talent if asked to play man-to-man.

Like his teammate, Jordan Bowman, Terry offers the ability to play special teams and is a good punt returner. He has good hands and uses his excellent vision to find holes in the return game and breaks big plays. He has a career punt return average of 13.2 yards per return.

You can view Aaron Terry’s Highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Aaron Terry in its entirety below.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tyler Peerson

Tyler Peerson never missed a game in his time with California University of Pennsylvania. Tyler Peerson also started every single game with Cal, which is one of Division II football’s most accomplished programs.

That’s 44 games started, in 44 possible games. Tyler Peerson is durable. Tyler Peerson also was a first team All-American his senior season.

It’s safe to say Peerson is as consistent as they come. But playing a bunch of games played won’t impress NFL scouts. Scouts want to see talent. Luckily for Peerson has the talent.

“My hand placement is always on point,” Peerson said. “That’s something I’ve been able to acquire through wrestling in high school.”

Hand placement is one of the most important aspects of an offensive lineman’s repertoire. You’ve got to be able to move large men around and displace their movements.

“Not only the hand placement, but finishing blocks, blocking to the whistle,” Peerson said. “Just really opening up those holes for the backs or giving the quarterback the most time.”

Cal has sent multiple players to the NFL, which is already impressive for a Division II program. What’s more, C.J. Goodwin, who played in Super Bowl LI for the Atlanta Falcons, graduated from Cal.

Tyler Peerson (Photo courtesy: nfldraftdiamonds.com)

Peerson’s teammates, Jordan Bowman and Aaron Terry, are also in line to make an NFL squad.

It’s safe to say Peerson has a pedigree of talent and winning flowing through his veins after four years at Cal.

“Cal of PA has been great for me,” Peerson said. “This past season has been awesome because for the most part we were just blowing teams out which was a lot of fun.”

Other than Cal’s three-point win over IUP, the closest regular season game was a 35-14 beatdown of Gannon (PA). Cal scored 48 points or more in seven of its ten regular season games, thanks in no small part to Peerson.

The team averaged 49.6 points per game, good for first in the entire NCAA Division II.

Although there weren’t too many close calls in Peerson’s career, he relished the opportunity to play in tight games.

“The ones I always enjoy are the ones that are nail biters and they just come down to the wire,” Peerson said. “Those are the ones I enjoy the most, win or lose.”

As Peerson trains for his Pro Day, he’s working to becoming a more well-rounded, versatile player. He said he wants to be able to serve a team anywhere on the line and improve any team he’s on.

With solid size and mobility, Peerson has a great shot to help serve an NFL team. His durability is unmatched, and he’s been a one-of-a-kind player during his time at Cal.

Tyler Peerson Scouting Report

Peerson has good size for a guard at 6’4″ and 305 pounds. He has the versatility to play a lot of positions on the offensive line which will be his main selling point to NFL teams.

Run blocking is what Peerson is best at. He can block his man one on one and get downfield. After blocking his man he can get to the second level to pick up more blocks. He uses his mobility to pull effectively and picks up his block on the outside. Peerson is also good at getting downfield to block on screens.

His pass blocking isn’t as good as his run blocking, but he recognizes blitzes and picks them up. He has the necessary mobility to slide over and block pass rushers who are about to sack the quarterback.

Scouts will need to see that he can block players that have elite strength and speed, but Peerson has the fundamentals down.

You can view Tyler Peerson’s Highlights here.

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Tyler Peerson in its entirety below.

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tim and Joe!

NCAA Tournament Bracketology 3/8/17

March 8, 2017 Bracketology

 

The NCAA Tournament is fast approaching. March Madness is here. This bracketology is an outlook of what the bracket could look like in a few days. Click on the picture to zoom.

 

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and eSports articles from other great TGH writers along with Joe!

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