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Diesel Fuel: Can the MAC be a basketball conference?


Mini_n_2_medium Elton Alexander of the Plain Dealer interviews new MAC Commish Jon Steinbrecher, and one answer stood out from the rest:

PD: What needs to be addressed quickly with respect to basketball?

JS: "Hey, the sky is not falling and the roof is not falling in. I want to address what we're doing with our football scheduling. We need to focus in on basketball and spend a lot of time on it. What I want to make sure we're doing, at virtually every meeting, basketball is the topic of conversation. What makes basketball important is when it is in front of you all the time.

"So I want to make sure that stays on our front burner, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out."

This is a radical idea.  The MAC is currently a football conference and basketball is hurting.  The MAC is completely off the map in terms of roundball and it's going to take some time to build up to the varying levels of success the league has had before.  Looking back at Ricardo Patton's recent interview, he had an interesting answer on the same topic.

JS: With a new commissioner in the MAC (Jon Steinbrecher), what do you want to see him do to raise the profile of MAC basketball?

RP: I think, first and foremost, raising the profile of any conference falls mostly on the coaches in terms of their recruiting, in terms of the marquee players in their programs, raising the fan interest. If we can all get better individually in our programs, then collectively as a conference, we're going to improve the status of the league.

So...enough talking, just let the coaches get out there and recruit I guess.  This isn't a surprise because Patton has talked about how recruiting is the key to winning games several times in the past.

Mini_n_2_medium John Sahly asks a good question about the men's basketball team: So, umm … who starts next season? | Daily Chronicle

Mini_n_2_medium This Friday and Saturday, Northern Illinois will be hosting a team basketball camp at Moody Bible Institute featuring some of the top teams in the Chicagoland area plus a Minnesota team that has 6'9" NIU prospect Kevin Noreen on it.

Mini_n_2_medium More coverage on newly hired assistant basketball coach Todd Townsend:

Todd Townsend Joins NIU Basketball Staff as Assistant Coach (Official NIU Huskies Website)

NIU hires men's assistant basketball coach | Daily Chronicle

"Coach (Todd) Townsend comes highly recommended from a number of high school and AAU coaches in Chicago and its surrounding areas," said Patton. "He brings a wealth of experience, and an understanding of what it takes to advance to the Final Four. I think that is a great story that both our current and future players will be motivated by. We're excited to have him on board."

Mini_n_2_mediumIt was interesting to see the words "NIU" and "secondary violation" in the same sentence the other day, but that's what happened.  Usually that second phrase is reserved for Vols Coach Lane Kiffin and his borderline recruiting.  Our situation involved Softball and Women's track.  Softball started practices early because they didn't receive the new manual on time and the track team had an ineligible athlete compete.

Mini_n_2_medium In their Minnesota football preview, Athlon calls Northern Illinois a "patsy".  Did the Gophers not have to convert on 4th down with under a minute left to win against the Huskies by only 4 points last year?  However, in Dr. Saturday's preview of Idaho, he states that Northern Illinois is a scarier team to play this year than the Washington Huskies.

Mini_n_2_medium Eagles CB Jack ikegwuonu sheds some light on his lingering legal troubles stemming from "The X-Box Incident" in Dekalb back in 2006 with his twin brother Bill, who used to play safety for the Huskies.

The Eagles' second-year cornerback is scheduled to finally get his day in court July 2 in DeKalb County, Ill., where he and his twin brother, Bill, were charged with residential burglary and criminal trespass Nov. 26, 2006.

"It has lingered for a long time," Ikegwuonu said after a workout last week at the NovaCare Complex. "We've been unfairly prosecuted for three years, and it's really unfortunate that they decided to take this to court because no one but [the prosecutor] wanted to take it to court. It's unfortunate that we got ourselves in this situation."

It's the first time I've seen either brother comment on the situation.  Both trials should end up having the same result:

"My brother's case went extremely well, and my case is the same thing," Ikegwuonu said. "[Bill] went to court, and the jury came back in like 20 minutes - not guilty. I guess they were going to come back sooner, but the judge said, 'You have to take a little bit of time and think about it.' It's really ridiculous and a joke that they're taking it to court."

Mini_n_2_medium Former Huskie TE Matt Dunker's new job is coaching girls track at Crystal Lake South High School.

Mini_n_2_medium Could the East vs West Aurora rivalry game be moving to the Convo in Dekalb?

Around the MAC & CFB

Thar be a MAC blogging newbie on the corner called MAC Smack.  Welcome to the blogosphere, son.  His initial posts cover a look at MAC OOC scheduling and MAC East predictions.

Matt Melton of Statistically Speaking goes over his MAC SDPI rankings.  It's a little complicated, but it tells us that NIU was the 2nd best team in the MAC last year behind Ball State.

Fresh off a MAC Championship, Akron basketball coach Keith Dambrot was awarded a contract through 2016

The Sports Directory previews both the MAC East and the MAC West.

The Quad counts down another MAC team: No. 78 Buffalo

Rock M Nation, SBN's Missouri blog previews NIU fellow opponent Bowling Green