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Tuesday Tidbits

November 2, 2010

Thursday night, EMU volleyball downed Central Michigan, completing a season sweep, though both games were hard-fought 3-2 wins. Saturday night, the Eagles fell 3-1 to the MAC East leading Ohio Bobcats. EMU will host their final home games this weekend. Ball State, currently the MAC West leaders but just one game ahead of EMU, will be in town Friday. EMU has printable vouchers good for free admission to the game, and will be giving away up to three HDTVs — one for each set that EMU wins. Saturday will be Senior Night — the final home game of the year — against Toledo.

The Eagles are currently tied with Northern Illinois for second place in the MAC West (and overall), one game behind Ball State, and one game ahead of Western Michigan. With four games remaining, EMU will play those three teams, so they can at least force a tie for first. If EMU finishes in the top four overall (and one of the top three West Division teams, since the division champions automatically get the #1 and #2 seeds), they will get a bye in the first round of the MAC tournament and go straight into the quarterfinal round. If they finish in fifth through eighth place, they will host a first-round game on Tuesday, November 16. It is not possible for them to finish worse than a tie for seventh, so they will definitely not need to play an away game in the first round.

The Eastern Echo has a commentary supporting Ron English’s indefinite suspension of five players. According to the Echo, none of the five players are expected to play again this fall. There is some question about whether Latarrius Thomas might be eligible for a medical redshirt since he only played in two games this fall.

AnnArbor.com contradicts the Echo, writing, “English said that he does expect the suspended players to return to the field this season.” English’s assessment of the game as an offensive failure matched mine:

The defense showed up…Special teams did a decent job, but I didn’t feel like the offense showed up.

After the hit he took in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin will be out for a while.

Dantin said X-rays taken of his shoulder Saturday showed no fractures, but since he was still experiencing a lot of pain near his sternum and collarbone, UT medical personnel advised him to get a CT scan done Monday morning.

Results of the test weren’t known when Dantin spoke with the media Monday.

“The X-ray showed a couple areas of concern, so that’s another reason why I got the CT scan,” Dantin said. “They’re not exactly 100 percent sure [of the exact nature of the injury], except they know for sure I have a separated shoulder.”

Sources vary on exactly how long Dantin will be out, but he’ll certainly miss the game at Northern Illinois, which will probably decide the MAC West champion. It’s possibly, though unlikely, that he might be able to play for the final game of the regular season, at home against Central Michigan. Given that the Rockets are 6-3, and likely to finish 8-4 or 9-3, they’ll probably be going to a bowl game, and Dantin may be back by then.

Last Thursday, EMU announced the hiring of Yvette Harris as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. This appears to finally fill the vacancy created when Leonard Drake resigned over the summer, which was originally offered to Anthony Smith. Harris is a veteran coach with more than 25 years of collegiate coaching experience.

An alumnus of the University of Detroit Mercy, Harris began her coaching career as an assistant at Northern Illinois from 1982-1987. From 1987-1990 she was an assistant at Western Michigan University while earning a Master of Arts in Administration degree. From 1990-93 she was an assistant coach at Ohio State, during which time the Buckeyes won a Big Ten championship and went to the Final Four. For the 1995-1996 season she was an assistant at Fresno State, following which she spent five years as an assistant at Michigan, during which time the Wolverines earned their first-even national ranking. From 2002-2007 she was the head coach at Central Connecticut State, compiling a 36-105 record. In the 2007-2008 season she coached the Romulus High School girl’s varsity basketball team to a 18-6 record, and for the last two seasons she’s been back in Kalamazoo as an assistant coach for Western Michigan.

That’s not exactly a glowing resume, but I suppose that’s why she’s still an assistant coach in the MAC 28 years into her career.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that EMU’s overall athletic graduation rate for the classes that started school from 2000 to 2003 was the lowest of any of Michigan’s Division I schools at 74%.

The EMU men’s swimming and diving team kicked of their quest for a fifth consecutive MAC title with a win over Ball State, their 57th consecutive MAC dual-meet win. The women’s swimming and diving team did not fare so well over the weekend, losing their opening meet to Ohio on Friday before falling narrowly to Ball State on Saturday.

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