Sights and Sounds

By David Scott - October 11, 2007

MEMPHIS -- The "formal" part of the media day has now concluded as the CSTV Media Slam portion is now being broadcast from the Forum Foyer with the men's show underway.

Since we last joined you we've had a spirited discussion with SMU's Matt Doherty, an insightful talk with Tom Penders and some motivational discussions with Tony Barbee.

Here are some of the highlights from what we were able to gather:

The subject of Doherty's non-conference schedule was broached and it was pretty clear the coach didn't like the direction or tone of the questioning. When Hang Time made the mistake of asking whether the "honeymoon" was over after Doherty's rookie season at SMU, Doherty took noticable umbrage.

"I hate when guys talk about [honeymoons] or hot seats," said the ex-Notre Dame, ex-UNC and ex-FAU coach. "It impacts guys lives. What you guys say in the media impacts recruiting. You're damn right it gets under my skin. I lost my job [at UNC]."

Doherty said he is working under a mandate from C-USA which is asking each of its members to win 70 percent of their games. He also emphasizes a thre to five year plan that he says it takes to build a program. With that in mind, Doherty isn't comfortable scheduling "up" in a season when he will have a freshman-dominated roster. "When these guys are junior and seniors I can do that," he said. "I've got George Washington and Santa Clara [likely] for next year. A lot of teams - -the Dukes or Kansas -- won't play us at our place."

The solution for Doherty -- beyond the abolition of all writers and media -- is tenure.

"Give us less money and tenure us like professors," he said. "I'll take a lot less money and tenure. I'd rather that."

SMU's non-conference schedule, for the record, includes Southern, Alabama State, Centenary, Dayton, Paul Quinn, Texas San-Antonio, TCU, Houston Baptist, SC Upstate, Prairie View A&M, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and Colorado.

. . . UTEP Head Coach Tony Barbee enters his second season with his team picked as No. 8 in the pre-season poll but there are a lot of folks around the league who think the Miners are ready for a breakout season. Barbee tends to agree but is more surprised at the fact that his junior All-America candidate Stefon Jackson was left off the pre-season all-league team. "It's not so much where we were picked as team, I was more disappointed where he was(n't) picked," said Barbee. "I hope he uses that as motivation for him everyday to prove them wrong and that it helps drive our team to help prove everybody wrong."

As for the low opinion that league coaches seem to have of UTEP based on the voting, Barbee said, "Our expectations as a program are higher than that."

. . . Houston coach Tom Penders is on the verge of his 600th career win, needing 16 Ws to reach the mark. But Penders is not getting all misty-eyed about the achievement. "It's like birthdays at my age," said Penders, 62. "You don't really look forward to them all that much."

Penders said he remembers his his 100th win because it came in Hawaii while he was at Fordham and he knows his 500th game against his former assistant Seth Greenberg who was at South Florida at the time. "I don't remember any of the other 'milestone' games."

Posted by David Scott at 05:21 PM on October 11, 2007

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