We had a blast

We're not going to switch gears and go national for the tournament.

The newest offering in the Hoop Time store

We're Patriot League-centric, we'll stick with what we know.

For us, the season is pretty much over.

Sometime soon, maybe as soon as tomorrow, you are going to find we took a day off for the first day since we launched this site on Nov. 23.

We started with a basic blogger format, the tweaked it into its current form during the slow period around the holidays. At the same time, we refined the focus.

When we launched Hoop Time, the thought was to be a blog for all small college basketball in Central Pa. That was the focus of the original print version.

When we launched the old print version, it was the season after Bucknell had gone 13-1 and lost at home in the Patriot League final to Holy Cross. Old Davis was packed nightly. Charlie Woollum had a string of 11 straight winning seasons.

Down the stretch of that season, the little paper I worked for in Lewisburg had produced three special sections that we gave away at Bucknell games. The first, done for the regular season Holy Cross at Bucknell game, was incredibly popular. The second, which was given away at the first playoff game (that was the year of all homecourts and Bucknell was top seed), included what I am pretty sure is the only media selected all-league list ever produced (I polled one beat writer and one radio guy from each team for the balloting).

The third section included a "Never give up message" to former Bucknell coach Jim Valvano on the front cover, with a picture of Jimmy V. from his BU days. Distributed at the league final, it even got shown on the ESPN broadcast of the game.

It seemed a natural progression to start a paper/magazine devoted to Bucknell basketball. Former AD Rick Hartzell had given the OK to distribute it at the games.

One small problem: Bucknell, who looked to be set with Penn State transfer Brian Anderson arriving to plug its biggest hole, turned out to be about to have what turned out to be a losing campaign in Woollum's last season before fleeing to William and Mary.

The answer was to spread the coverage to include DII Bloomsburg, DIII Susquehanna and Lycoming and Penn State.

It turned out the small school stuff was too unpredictable to blog reliably. Games are not covered on a regular basis and it was too time consuming looking for stuff that often was not there.

There is a school like that in the Patriot League. I got an e-mail the other day asking why not more Colgate coverage. The answer is simple: There's none to link to. Best of my knowledge, the Utica paper saw them twice, Syracuse not much more.

That, in fact, was why I approached the Worcester Telegram & Gazette about picking up the Holy Cross at Colgate game. I like telling editors looking for a stringer I am two hours from everything. Hamilton is not included.

It is a long, long drive to get there. It always snows. I had not seen Colgate in person all season, though. If we do this next year, we will try to find a way to get more Colgate coverage. But I doubt it will include my driving to Hamilton again.

This might have been a breakout year for the league.

Or maybe not.

It sure does not look like a fluke. But Bucknell looked awful good coming back that first season of Hoop Time and went 10-17, 6-8 in the league.

Given the talent coming back next year, it is hard to imagine the league not once again being better. Scholarships raised the bar. Holy Cross and Bucknell have pushed it even higher.

Dave Jones thinks the league could equal, even surpass the Atlantic 10. Jones argues that with scholarships, what parents won't want their kids to go to these schools. It is hard to find flaw with that logic.

Before this turns into a season recap, we'll remember what this post was intended to be about.

It has been a long season, with not a single day off from this very consuming avocation. It has been like having a second job. Although it beats a convenience store in almost every category other than the paycheck.

We're not going to shut down in the off season. We will like post something at least weekly. Bucknell has a foreign trip coming up to England and Ireland. We will try to get regular updates on that.

We're not going to keep a schedule in the offseason. It will be post when the spirit moves or the news warrants. If I were a betting man, I'd expect most posts to occur in the evening, instead of climbing out of bed earlier than the day job demands.

Some thank yous are in order.

We will start with Bucknell SID Jon Terry. This was sort of his idea.

I had gone to the Saint Francis-Bucknell game just to get a look at the Bison. After the game I mentioned to Jon how I wished I had someplace to write about the game.

"You ought to have a Web site," Jon said.

That night, I drove back to the Harrisburg area and stayed up until after 3 a.m. to build and launch this site.

So Thanks Jon, for the suggestion and also all the accommodations and help during the season. Bucknell's sports information folks are among the league's best. If we handed out a Hoop Time Award for Best Sports Info Dept., they'd definitely be on the list of nominees.

Thanks also to the rest of the league's SIDs. I can't begin to tell you how much writers appreciate the SIDs and their staffs.

Special thanks to Chuck and Bri at Holy Cross, who almost always were sure to have a credential waiting at will call of Holy Cross road games.

The fine folks at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette are kind enough to use me pretty regular covering Holy Cross when the Crusaders are within that two-hour circle. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that underwrote Oklahoma City.

A shout out to the guys in Worcester who stopped by press row at the championship game to say hello.

It would not be fair to not thank some writers whose work kept us informed all season and provided consistent links. Tom Housenick of the Daily Item gives Bucknell the attention the beat deserves, something his predecessors at that paper were loathe to do.

Corky Blake of the Easton Express-Times knows this league, especially the Lehigh Valley. Cork has been around the league nearly as long as I have been. Andre Williams at the Morning Call joins Corky to form a Lehigh Valley tag team that results in the best covered part of the league.

The Annapolis paper deserves a small mention here. We don't link to them much because as an afternoon paper, it does not update its site early in the morning when we are updating this one. But they do a good job covering Navy.

The Telegram is the only paper in the league that had a writer at every game, men and women. Jen Toland does a fine job in Worcester. The Boston Herald had pretty good coverage of HC this year, too.

CoachRalphWillard.com has been a favorite click all season. Thanks Coach.

Speaking of Web sites, Kyle hit the 100-game mark at MidMajority.com. Congrats! Kyle's imaginative work has bee a fun read all season. I'd say that even if he had not said nice stuff about us on his site.

Thanks to all the other guys who link to us. They are listed on the side of the page, give them all a click.

Big ups to all the message board crews we've held discussions with. Even Blid.

Especially Blid.

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