Gameday Poll: How Many Games has GSU Played on Natural Turf in its History?

It’s Gameday and the Panthers will play their final road game of the season, traveling just up I-85 to face Clemson in Death Valley. If you can’t make the trip with us, we hope that you will follow along on ESPN3 or the RSN Family of Networks or listen to our radio broadcast on 1340 The Fan 3.

Thank you to all who have been voting in our Gameday Polls and if this is your first time voting, we hope that you will come back to our blog and vote during every game. We have had some great numbers through 10 games.

Also, as I mentioned before the last game, if you are a basketball fan, make sure to come back before every men’s basketball game for the Basketball Number of the Game. It will replace our Gameday Nugget from last year, but be equally entertaining.

Playing its home games in the Georgia Dome and with many stadiums going to artificial turf, the Panthers have not played too many games on the natural stuff. The Panthers will get that opportunity against Clemson this afternoon. So we have turned this week’s Gameday Poll almost into a Gameday Quiz.

So, our Gameday Poll/Quiz asks the simple question: Before today, how many games has Georgia State played on natural turf in its history?

Thanks for voting and hope you come back one more time next Saturday before the Panthers host Texas State for Senior Day in the Georgia Dome at 2 p.m.

–Mike Holmes

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Men’s Basketball Number of the Game: 9

Georgia State will begin a 5-game, 10-day road trip at Colorado State on Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. Make sure to listen to the game live on 1340 The Fan 3 and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Brandon Leak calling the action.

It will mark the first time that the two schools meet on the court and just ninth time the Panthers face a program from the current Mountain West.

Running through the entire season, the InsideGSUSports blog will present the Number of  the Game, a quick number and explanation of its significance before tip-off.

The number will come from a variety of different places, but will always be significant to the team or that specific game.

Tonight’s Number of the Game:

9

The number 9 represents the number of Father-Son combos at the NCAA D1 college basketball level this year. The list includes:

Steve & Kory Alford – UCLA
Steve & Bryce Alford – UCLA
Todd & Blake Bozeman – Morgan State
Billy & Billy Donovan – Florida
Ron & R.J. Hunter – Georgia State
Dale & Ethan Layer – Liberty
Craig & Cullen Neal – New Mexico
Keith & Lance Richard – UL Monroe
Bill & Tyler Self – Kansas

Come back Monday before the Panthers open a set of three games in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Rochester, Mich.

–Mike Holmes

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Inside Communications: The Power of Technology

On the third Monday ( a couple days late this week) of every month, a member of the Communications staff will give a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on around its area and the department. Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming Monday: Academics.

Telling stories of our individual student-athletes and teams has become easier with more technology at our fingertips. It’s made our lives more difficult, in a way, with always having to be connected to see who’s saying what, but having more technology is huge a benefit to help us do our job, and a greater service to the media as well as fans.

Here’s a small example: Most people may not think about the fact that when you have a TV game like our men’s basketball team did earlier this week, there are at least two people feeding statistical information to the commentators throughout the telecast. As the action rolls on on the court, the stats are input on the scorer’s table by a two- or three-person crew and then disseminated to the web, mobile devices, scoreboards, live video feeds and anywhere else you can think of live stats ending up. The people the TV production company employs then help break down the stats more easily so the commentators can better inform the viewer at home.

The thing that’s many times overlooked is that we do this every game, no matter whether there is TV or not. We still have to put out the stats, and while we may not have national TV nearly every game like a Big 12 or SEC or Pac-12 school, we do have media doing a live broadcast every game. And we have fans who want the immediate update just by logging into their Georgia State Athletics mobile app or looking on GeorgiaStateSports.com.

That little bit of technology goes a long way for us to communicate through our radio crew. Helping them provide a complete picture with the use of a new stats technology we’ve purchased this year – Stat Broadcast – has put the true power of our stat crew into their fingertips. Every single thing that is entered in the stat program is logged and easily accessible to Dave Cohen, Brandon Leak and Rodney Turner within seconds. Drew Hinesley and John Morgo can do the same at a women’s basketball game at home too, just like the football radio team did. They can pull up a run over the last 1:13 or look to see that Ryan Harrow is 8 for 8 in the second half overall inside the arc. Nearly anything is accessible.

The Stat Crew program has not come far since it began in the mid-1990s. It is still DOS-based (yes, you read that correctly and if you know what that means, you understand our frustration with the program) and has actually not evolved much over the years. Luckily, other technologies like Stat Broadcast have come along to harness that power and help us push the information out more quickly to help our media calling live action do their job more easily, and tell a more complete story of the game.

 

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Inside Operations: Basketball Season is Upon Us

On the third Wednesday of every month, a member of the Operations staff will give a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on around its area and the department. Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming Thursday: Communications.

There is a lot of buzz in the air around campus and the Sports Arena as we move into basketball season.  The men’s basketball team is coming off of a strong season last year, one of the best in GSU history, and the team is looking to improve upon that success.

With on the court pressure comes pressure to make sure the Sports Arena in the best possible condition for all of the fans attending the games.  Fresh coats of paint have been put walls, locker rooms, and other areas that fans will be walking around.  Floors have received fresh coats of wax and the bathrooms on the third floor South hallway have been completely remodeled.

Another new addition this season is the lighting fixtures that have been installed on the Courtland Street Bridge to provide more light at the main entrance of the Sports Arena.  Prior to each game the facilities team walks the arena to make sure all lights are functioning, signage is correct, trash is in garbage cans as well as ensuring that the concourse is set the way it needs to be for optimal fan experience.

Sound tests and scoreboard tests are also done prior to each game to ensure that everything is functioning correctly. All of these things are important to fan experience, it may not be something that you recognize every time you walk into the arena, but if something was out of place or if the sound system was not functioning correctly fans would definitely notice.

Next time you attend a game take a minute to look around and notice the detail that the facilities team takes to ensure the arena is in top condition. See you at the game!

–Steve Wojcikowski
Assistant AD Facilities and Operations

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ICYMI: Georgia State Athletics in the News, Nov. 12-17

Each week on Monday, we take a quick look back at the past seven days to review some of the highlights of stories in the media for Georgia State student-athletes, coaches, administrators and, like you’ll see this week, occasionally our university leadership. Enjoy a few minutes today catching up on the headlines you might have missed during your lunchtime.

And always feel free to tweet us @GSUPanthers with headlines you’ve seen around the nation that highlight the Panthers. We’re all one big team, and the few of us here in 125 Decatur don’t always see every article, or hear every interview, that’s posted out there. If you think there’s something we’ve missed, shoot it our way.

ESPN.com- First Bracketology
Many believe that Georgia State has a great chance to make the NCAA tournament this year, including ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.  Read more

Yahoo Sports – Sixty-eight predictions for the new season that are sure to come true (unless they don’t)
College basketball season tips off Friday night with 23 AP top 25 teams in action. To celebrate the end of the offseason, here are 68 fearless predictions for the new season. Read more

Associated Press – A guide to the 2014-15 college hoops season
Last season’s NCAA Tournament was one for the ages, filled with massive upsets and brilliant performances, capped by an unexpected champion taking down a powerhouse. But in the days after UConn cut down the nets in Jerry Jones’ football-topia, the adrenaline wore off and college basketball fans were left with a hollow feeling: The next game was seven months away. Read more

Sports Illustrated – College basketball preview: 68 things to watch this season
Don’t think that the college basketball season begins in January. After seven long months, the sport is back with a strong slate of games in November and December. Here are 68 things we’re looking forward to until the nets are cut down again in April. Read more

–Mike Holmes

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Men’s Basketball Number of the Game: 15

Georgia State will face No. 14 Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Monday night. The game will air live on ESPNU at 9 p.m. as a part of the 24 hours of College Basketball Tip-off Marathon.

The game will serve as a little bit of revenge for head coach Ron Hunter whose collegiate career at Miami (Ohio) came to an end in the NCAA tournament in a 81-79 loss to Iowa State. Hunter did go 6-of-6 from the floor for 12 points in his final game.

Running through the entire season, the InsideGSUSports blog will present the Number of  the Game, a quick number and explanation of its significance before tip-off.

The number will come from a variety of different places, but will always be significant to the team or that specific game.

Tonight’s Number of the Game:

15

The number 15 represents the highest ranked team ever defeated by Georgia State, but which could be broken on Monday night. Georgia State defeated No. 15 St. Joseph’s during the 2001-02 season. Iowa State enters tonight’s game No. 14 in the AP and Coaches Polls.

Come back Friday before the Panthers face Colorado State in Ft. Collins, Colo. The game will air digitally live on the MW Network at 9 p.m. ET.

–Mike Holmes

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The Copycat Season Begins Saturday Night

The women’s basketball copycat season gets under way Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla., against Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida.

The 12 returning letterwinners make the women want to be copycats for the men’s season that saw those Panther 10 returning letterwinners improve by 10 wins from the previous season and earn a regular season conference title.

Here’s a few other numbers to consider as the season starts:

1 – GSU will need to win on the road to be successful. It took the fifth game on the road last year to get the first road win and the team was just 5-11 away from the Sports Arena.

2 – The number of freshmen and the number of preseason all-conference picks. Freshmen Makeba Ponder and Kennesha Nichols both played well in the exhibition win. Seniors Brittany Logan and Alisha Andrews were named preseason All-Sun Belt Conference.

3 – The number of new assistant coaches added by Sharon Baldwin-Tener.

5 – Seniors to provide leadership.

12 – GSU had a rebound advantage in 12 of the final 14 games last year and the board control will be another key to the success.

70% – The team shot above 70% from the free throw line last year. That’s another goal that needs to be met to win in 2014-15.

702- Games played experience by the returning 12 players.

3,629 – Career points scored by the returning 12 veterans.

The copycat season starts at 7 p.m. Saturday. Listen live on WRAS-FM (88.5) as Drew Hinesley describes the action.

–Charlie Taylor

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Men’s Basketball Number of the Game: 7

Georgia State will host Tennessee Temple in the regular season opener on Friday night in the Sports Arena at 7 p.m. Prior to the game, head coach Ron Hunter and the team will unveil the 2013-14 Sun Belt championship banner. It will be the only opportunity for fans to see GSU play at home during the month of November.

Running through the entire season, the InsideGSUSports blog will present the Number of  the Game, a quick number and explanation of its significance before tip-off.

The number will come from a variety of different places, but will always be significant to the team or that specific game.

Tonight’s Number of the Game:

7

Junior R.J. Hunter enters the season as one of just seven returning players in the country to have made 100 or more 3-pointers last season. Hunter’s 100 3′s from beyond the arc are a Georgia State school record and his 3.03 3-pointers per game last season ranked No. 22 in the NCAA.

Come back Monday before the Panthers face No. 14 Iowa State in the opener of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Ames, Iowa, live on ESPNU at 9 p.m. ET.

–Mike Holmes

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ICYMI: Georgia State in the News, Nov. 4-11

Each week on Monday (or a couple days late this week), we take a quick look back at the past seven days to review some of the highlights of stories in the media for Georgia State student-athletes, coaches, administrators and, like you’ll see this week, occasionally our university leadership. Enjoy a few minutes today catching up on the headlines you might have missed during your lunchtime.

And always feel free to tweet us @GSUPanthers with headlines you’ve seen around the nation that highlight the Panthers. We’re all one big team, and the few of us here in 125 Decatur don’t always see every article, or hear every interview, that’s posted out there. If you think there’s something we’ve missed, shoot it our way.

CBSSports.com- Ten Coaches on the Rise in College Basketball

Who will be the next under-the-radar coach to make the jump to the big time? Check out our list of 10 coaches who are on the rise in college basketball.  Read more

Bleacher Report – Ranking the Mostly Likely Cinderellas in the 2014-15 NCAA Basketball Season
No. 1 – There might not be a sexier sleeper in the entire country. Not only did Georgia State go 25-9 with a 17-1 record in the Sun Belt conference, but the Panthers’ top competition in that conference lost its most important player this offseason when Elfrid Payton jumped to the NBA. Read more

USA Today Preseason Bracket: Predicting the 68 teams in the 2015 NCAA tournament
Georgia State can be one of, if not the best, mid-majors in the country, largely thanks to the return of Harrow and the addition of Ware. Interestingly, neither is the best player on the team. That would be R.J. Hunter, a 6-6 junior, the coach’s son and an All-Sun Belt performer with NBA potential who averaged 18.3 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. Read more

Sports Illustrated – College basketball Crystal Ball: SI picks the Final Four and more
The Panthers aren’t on the same level as the mid-major holy trinity of Gonzaga, VCU and Wichita State but they’re built to cause problems in the NCAA tournament. They have a backcourt trio that’s high-major quality: 6-6 marksman R.J. Hunter is a future first-round draft pick, 6-2 point guard Ryan Harrow is a Kentucky refugee thriving in a new role, and 6-2 Louisville transfer Kevin Ware should add a defensive element that they lacked last season. Read more

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Inside Compliance: It’s Signing Day

On the second Wednesday of every month, a member of the Compliance staff will give a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on around its area and the department. Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming Monday: Communications.

This is an exciting time for prospective student-athletes (PSA) across the country today we will enter the 2014-15 National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing season for many of our PSAs enrolling in 2015-16.  An NLI is a binding agreement in which a PSA agrees to attend an institution full-time for at least one academic year.  Under the NLI framework, the institution agrees to provide athletically-related financial aid for at least one academic year provided the PSA is admitted and eligible for athletic aid per NCAA legislation.  The NLI program is only available to those enrolling at a 4-year college for the first time or 4-2-4 college transfers who have graduated from the most recent 2-year institution; 4-4 transfers are not permitted to participate in the program.

The NLI program has come a long way since its inception in 1964, when it started with seven conferences and eight independent institutions.  Since then, the program has grown to include 635 Division I and II participating institutions.  Just last year, over 42,000 PSAs signed NLIs, 72% of which were signed during the early signing period.

PSAs are not required to sign NLIs; however, NLIs prove advantageous both to PSAs and NLI member institutions.  Once the agreement is signed, PSAs are no longer subject to the telephone call and contact legislation set forth by the NCAA, recruits are assured of an athletic scholarship for a minimum of one year, and an enhanced emphasis is placed on the commitment to an educational institution as opposed to a coach or team.

Additionally, the NCAA has revised legislation that now allows PSAs who have signed NLIs to work at an institution’s camps prior to enrollment and provides the ability to have access to information regarding weight training programs before reaching campus.  NLIs encourage stability from the perspective of member institutions.  Stability is encouraged via NCAA-imposed penalties in the case of student-athletes who leave an NLI-member institution before the completion of one full academic year.

If a student-athlete breaches an NLI agreement by transferring, the student-athlete must serve one year in residence at the school to which they transferred and lose one season of competition in all sports.

The early signing period is set to begin on today and conclude Nov. 19.  This period allows PSAs participating in basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, golf, volleyball, and, for the first time, track & field/cross country to sign an NLI with the institution of their choice.

During last year’s early signing period, Georgia State signed two of our most notable incoming freshman, Jeff Thomas (MBB) and Makeba Ponder (WBB).  Due to the recent growth in popularity of high school sports, we have begun to see the signing of this document as an event open to the general public typically called “Singing Day” or “National Signing Day.”   Please feel free to follow our sports twitter feeds for the latest news concerning our signees.

–Michael Sainte

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