Flavor of Georgia

first_imgJudges have selected 30 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia’s 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest on March 9-10 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta. The Flavor of Georgia contest is a chance for food businesses to highlight innovative and time-tested products and receive feedback from a panel of food industry professionals. The 30 finalists were selected from a field of more than 100 products in 10 categories, one of the largest fields in the contest’s history. Finalists will bring their products to the final round of judging on March 9-10 as part of the governor’s annual Agriculture Awareness Week, held across the street from the Georgia state Capitol. “The Flavor of Georgia contest allows food entrepreneurs from every corner of the state to highlight their creative and delicious products that make Georgia’s food scene one of the most vibrant and diverse in the nation,” said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator. Kane, a food business development specialist, and her colleagues at the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, have organized the annual contest since 2007. “Every year we are amazed at the quality of the products submitted as part of the Flavor of Georgia contest,” Kane said. “It’s increasingly difficult to identify finalists when so many excellent products are submitted.” Judges for this year’s final round of the Flavor of Georgia contest include food brokers, grocery buyers, chefs and other food industry experts. They judge each entry on commercial appeal, Georgia theme, taste, innovation and market potential in each category. This year’s finalists include: Barbecue Sauces:Buzzy’s Savannah Slather Barbecue Sauce, Savannah, Christopher MyhreCausey’s Hot BBQ Sauce, Smyrna, Wynn BakkeSugar Hill Smokehouse – Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce, Sugar Hill, Michael O’RoukeBeverages: Friendship Coffee Company Smooth and Black Cold Brewed Coffee, Savannah, Gay FortsonLulu’s Chocolate Bar Sipping Chocolate Sauce, Savannah, Rebecca RadovichPaulk’s Pride 100% Purple Muscadine Juice, Wray, Erin BoettgerConfections: Abundtant Love, Gluten Free Cake Mix, Canton, Shannon AldridgeByrd Cookie Company’s Georgia Peach Cookies, SavannahRC’s Golden Flan, Alpharetta, Roda LopezDairy: Honeysuckle Gelato, Snacks on a Plane Gelato, Atlanta, Wes JonesMountain Fresh Creamery, Sea Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Clermont, Jennifer GloverProper Pepper, Get Back Jack Pimento Cheese, Sandersville, Deanna Bibb Jams and Jellies: Fairywood Thicket Farm, Strawberry Lavender Jam, Fairburn, Kim and John ConnerUnicoi Preserves, Georgia Apple Cider Pepper Spread, Sautee, Clark NealWisham Jellies, Cranberry Pepper Jelly, Tifton, Eric WishamMarinades, Sauces and Rubs: Food Gasm, Special Sauce, Stone Mountain, Austin JohnsonThe Original Maryland Fried Chicken Hot Sauce, Blackshear, Richard HeavilonThe Salt Table, Tybee Island Coastal Blend, Pooler, Carol and Dave LegasseMeat and Seafood: Hunter Cattle Company, Grassfed New York Strip Steak, Brooklet, Del FergusonStripling’s General Store, Jalapeno & Cheese Smoked Sausage, Moultrie, Ashley GossWhite Oak Pastures, Turkey Sausage with Dried Cranberries, Bluffton, Reid HarrisonSalsas, Chutneys and Condiments: Abby J’s, Blackhawk Farm to Table Black Bean & Herb Salsa, Clarkesville, Abby JacksonDoux South Sweet Georgia Red Relish, Atlanta, Debbie HungarlandTulla’s White Balsamic Vinaigrette, LaGrange, Tulla and Britt WhiteSnack Foods: Southern Straws, Short Straws (original), Columbus, Margaret AmosStripling’s General Store, Pork Jerky, Moultrie, Ashley GossVerdant Kitchen, Savannah Snaps, Duluth, Chandler ChaseMiscellaneous: Back to Organic, Bloody Mary Himalayan Pink Salt, Atlanta, Julie FeaginOliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil, Pitts, Clay OliverZiegler’s Honey Company, Georgia Wildflower Honeycomb, Stockton, Robert EdmondsonWinners will receive an award and membership in the state Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program, statewide notariety and bragging rights. All winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2015 Flavor of Georgia logo. They also gain exposure to grocery buyers and food industry professionals who judge the final round of the contest. All of the 2015 Flavor of Georgia entries will be featured in the Flavor of Georgia product directory. More information about the contest is available at flavorofga.com. The Flavor of Georgia food product contest is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of the Governor, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council. For all the latest about the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest, follow us on Twitter @Flavor_of_GA.last_img read more

New Biofuels

first_imgResearchers have produced biofuels from corn, switchgrass and even algae, but researchers at the University of Georgia will soon study a new source of renewable biofuels: the lesser-known crop of carinata, also known as “Ethiopian mustard.”Through a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an interdisciplinary public and private partnership will develop production, marketing and sustainable supply chain systems to commercialize jet fuel obtained by refining carinata oil. The project will be led by David Wright at the University of Florida. The team, the Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC), will identify and develop varieties of carinata that will thrive in the South and will develop systems to use and market carinata to produce jet fuel, feed for livestock and industrial chemicals while mitigating risks along the entire supply chain. Carinata oil is considered a nonfood oil.“Carinata provides a climate-friendly, sustainable option for replacing aviation jet fuel in the United States without getting into the debate of food versus fuel,” said Puneet Dwivedi, assistant professor in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “Carinata is well integrated into the current cropping systems in the Southern region as it grows well in winter months and, therefore, provides much-needed cover to otherwise exposed soils. Additionally, the use of carinata for jet fuels, feed and chemicals will provide increased income to farmers, create local jobs and boost local economies and, thus, will jump-start the bioeconomy in the southern United States.”Researchers and UGA Cooperative Extension specialists from UGA’s Warnell School, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and College of Engineering will play a key role in the project and will receive $2.1 million in grant funding over the next five years.UGA faculty working on the SPARC project will tackle a wide variety of projects associated with the larger effort. Dwivedi, UGA’s principal Investigator for SPARC, will evaluate the life cycle and economic impacts of carinata production, including direct and indirect markets and impacts of land-use changes. He will also optimize the supply chain to reduce the production cost of carinata-based jet fuel in the region. Additionally, he will develop a site suitability model for carinata production in the region.Bill Hubbard, Southern Regional Extension forester with Southern Regional Extension Forestry, will lead on the overall project. Daniel Geller, public service associate in the engineering college, and Greg Colson, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in CAES, will work with Cooperative Extension personnel and farmers in Alabama, Florida and Georgia to develop on-farm research relationships with row crop farmers and build the knowledge base of Extension agents working with carinata farmers. They will leverage existing producer networks to organize trainings and educational events and develop Extension and workforce training materials that will be used support training efforts. Woo Kim, assistant professor of poultry science in CAES, will assess the efficiency of the carinata meal — a byproduct of carinata oil production — as feed for broiler production.Brian Bledsoe, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the UGA engineering college, will develop hydrology models for the proposed production area that will project the effects of carinata production on water supplies and runoff quality and quantity. Other partners in the SPARC project include Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida A&M and North Carolina State universities, the University of South Florida, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., Applied Research Associates Inc. and Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.“SPARC is part of a larger public and private effort to jump-start the bioeconomy of the southeastern United States,” Dwivedi said. “Carinata is on the verge of success as it is already being used for manufacturing drop-in jet fuel, and we sincerely hope that, by the end of the fifth year, we have established a much-needed supply chain so that there are commercial flights crisscrossing the national and international skies using carinata-based jet fuel obtained from a farm in the rural South.”For more information about the SPARC’s research and outreach activities, visit sparc-cap.org.last_img read more

Two newcomers soar on Indonesian bourse despite market see-saw

first_imgShare prices of two companies, financial service provider PT Bhakti Multi Artha and property developer PT Bumi Benowo Sukses Sejahtera, have soared by up to 35 percent during their market debut despite weakening stock index on Wednesday. The shares of Bhakti Multi, listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the code BHAT, rose by almost 35 percent to Rp 139 (1 US cent) from its initial public offering (IPO) price of Rp 103, just a minute after morning trading opened.  Bumi Benowo’s shares, traded under the code BBSS, also climbed 35 percent to Rp 162 per share, from its initial price of Rp 120. “Going forward, we will continue to develop insurance products and other financial services to meet the dynamic needs of the public,” Dimas noted. During its IPO, Bhakti Multi raised Rp 206 billion, which will be used to increase the capital of its subsidiary company, PT Asuransi Jiwa Nasional. “With the listing, the company has a greater chance to conduct expansion such as strengthening capital and adding investment portfolio,” Dimas said in a written statement published on Wednesday. Read also: Millions to lose jobs, fall into poverty as Indonesia braces for recessionThe company’s subsidiary, operating in the life insurance sector, has more than 900,000 customers. Bumi Benowo, on the other hand, raised Rp 156 billion from its IPO, which took place earlier this month and planned to use the majority of its proceeds to purchase plots of land. “Our company operates in construction, warehousing and shop-houses and so far owns 10 hectares of land from a total of 30 hectares allowed in the location permit,” Bumi Benowo Sukses Sejahtera president director Felix Soesanto said during the virtual ceremony on Wednesday. The company planned to allocate 88 percent of the funds to purchase a 59,000-square-meter plot of land in Kebomas district, Gresik, East Java. The land, worth around Rp 130 billion, will be developed into a warehouse area. The rest of the funds will be used as working capital for the company’s development. The company aims to increase sales by 579.1 percent this year and see a net profit increase of 808.3 percent, of which 20 percent of the net profit will be disbursed as dividends to  shareholders. According to a written statement obtained by The Jakarta Post, the company expressed optimism about its business growth as it was supported by the strong prospects of e-commerce business and third party logistics, as well as its lands’ strategic location to transportation hubs, which would ease distribution. Read also: Explainer: The progress and challenges of sustainable financing in IndonesiaBumi Benowo and Bhakti Multi became the 25th and 26th companies, respectively, to be listed on the IDX this year and the seventh and eight companies to do so with a virtual officiating ceremony as the government issued large-scale social restrictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak. “It is a very strategic decision for the company to engage with the public through an initial public offering and to join elite companies on the Indonesia Stock Exchange,” IDX assessment director I Gede Nyoman Yetna said in the virtual ceremony on Wednesday. “We hope these two companies can bring optimal shareholder value and are capable of contributing to the growth of the national economy,” he added.Topics : Read also: Companies offer special packages, new services to entice virus-weary customersAs the share prices of the two companies had reached the limit of percentage increase for a single-day transaction for their price range, bids higher than the peak prices will automatically be rejected as regulated in the exchange’s auto rejection regulation. The IDX’s main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), meanwhile, jumped during morning trade before succumbing back to negative territory as trading went on. The index plunged by more than 2 percent as of 2:10 p.m. and had lost almost 27 percent of its value so far this year amid concerns of economic blows during the COVID-19 pandemic.Bhakti Multi Artha president director Dimas Teguh Mulyanto said during a virtual ceremony of the company’s listing on Wednesday that it planned to bring out new financial products for its customers. last_img read more

IORP II Directive to be ‘less regulation, more politics’, promises Barnier

first_imgThe European Commission should focus less on regulation and more on politics, according to one of its most senior commissioners.Michel Barnier, commissioner for the internal market, said the focus on less regulation had been applied to the revised version of the IORP Directive, which the Commission is set to publish tomorrow.Speaking at a conference in Brussels to mark the second anniversary of the White Paper on Pensions – a policy paper jointly drafted by the directorates general for internal markets, social affairs and economic and monetary affairs – Barnier stressed that, despite tomorrow’s IORP proposal not including any measures related to solvency or capital requirements, work conducted by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) would form a “useful foundation” for the commissioners appointed after the May European parliamentary elections.The French commissioner, who abandoned plans to introduce the first pillar of the revised IORP Directive last year, said his successor would be able to look forward to a “definitive report” on the impact of the proposals compiled by EIOPA. He also said it was now time for Europe to be a force for removing red tape and avoiding over-regulation of markets, focusing instead on mobility.He argued his preferred approach was for “less regulation, more politics” to emanate from Brussels, a mindset he had taken forward into the revision of the IORP Directive.Nadia Calviño, deputy director general within the internal markets commission’s financial services unit, reiterated during the panel debate following Barnier’s speech that pension matters would carry over into the next Commission’s term.“I don’t think tomorrow’s proposal, whatever reform we do to IORP, is going to be the end response to the challenges we face, and we probably need to continue this debate in the coming years,” she said. Reacting to Barnier’s comments, UK pensions minister Steve Webb called on the commissioner to urge his successors “to do exactly what you’ve just said”.Webb said it was important to have less regulation on pensions matters, reflecting that all countries are different, and not to attempt to impose a Europe-wide “blueprint”.“My concern is that EIOPA, which perhaps has a little less profile and a little less scrutiny, will simply bring all of this [solvency] back in a few years time, and we’ll have to go through the whole thing again,” he said.Later, he added that, despite the White Paper stating that the Commission should support member states’ efforts to reform pensions, it had been perceived differently.“For the last two years, it’s felt like the role of the Commission is to try and destroy what we have,” he said, adding that solvency requirements would have been “catastrophic” for his native pensions industry and that time had been spent attempting to prevent damage, rather than cooperating on more positive policies.Calviño sought to assuage those concerned about “regulation through the back door”.“I haven’t seen the European Commission ever propose something out of the blue and being a big surprise,” she said. “Normally, things are discussed – and there are panels such as this. Regulation through the back door is quite difficult in this area, where we have active stakeholders.”However, even Calviño’s comments did not appease Webb.When asked what he wanted from the Commission in future, he said: “Let’s not have that phrase you just used: ‘more harmonisation’.”last_img read more

The Block’s resident builder Matt Menichelli shares top reno fails

first_img ROBIN BAILEY SELLS QLD HOME MORE QLD REAL ESTATE NEWS: Too often enthusiastic renovators fail to call in the right expert at the right time and the result can be disastrous..When it comes to streamlining that process, Mr Menichelli said the first area to look at was the structural integrity of the home.“You’ve got to fix the real bones of the house before you get carried away with cosmetics,’’ he said.“Time and again I’ve seen renovations which are just a spruce-up of a very dated property and that’s going to lead to serious and expensive problems down the line.“The bottom line is do it once and do it well.“Engage a professional because this is what they do day in, day out and the money you spend upfront will offer a better result, save you further cash later and achieve the vision you’re looking for.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours agoAny renovation should be clear in its intentions, he said. “You’ve got to know what you’re trying to achieve.“Are you renovating for profit or renovating for your growing family?“Because they’re very different and this will decide your wants and needs.“If you are renovating for a profit, you need to know what the market wants in that area and play on that without over capitalising.”And when it comes to buyers looking at renovated homes, he also offered an essential tip.“Do get a quality building inspection,” Mr Menichelli stressed.“In the past four years anyone and everyone has been attempting to make money by flipping properties, and often that involves a quick spruce up.“If the finish is not on point, it indicates something is probably wrong beneath the surface and, though it might be disheartening to walk away, it could save you real money in the future.” NEW TOWNHOUSES FOR DOWNSIZERS NEW PROJECTS RETAIN CITY’S HISTORY The hipages tradie says too often enthusiastic renovators fail to call in the right expert at the right time and the result can be disastrous.“Nine out of 10 clients are working to a tight budget and often they try to start the process themselves, getting plans drawn up without consulting a builder,” he said.“My advice is always engage a builder at the outset because they’re the ones who’ll be swinging a hammer on-site and they can give you real insight into cost-effective, appropriate options that will streamline the process.”Mr Menichelli, is the hipages tradie who worked with Tess and Luke on their winning home on The Block this year. Mr Menichelli is the hipages tradie who worked with Tess and Luke on their winning home on The Block this year.Reality TV might make renovations appear easy, but according to The Block’s resident builder Matt Menichelli they can be anything but straight forward and getting things wrong can be costly.last_img read more

South Africa, Australia to clash in rare four-Test series

first_img(REUTERS) – South Africa and Australia will contest a four-Test series for the first time in almost 50 years when they clash in March and April 2018, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced yesterday.Australia will tour South Africa seeking revenge for their 2-1 home series loss in November and will play four Tests for the first time since being humbled 4-0 on South Africa soil in the 1969/70 season.Since South Africa’s readmission to international cricket in 1991 the sides have met in only two- or three-Test series.The first Test will be played in Durban (March 1-5), followed by Port Elizabeth (March 9-13), Cape Town (March 22-26) and Johannesburg (March 30-April 3).“Test match cricket between Australia and South Africa has always produced epic battles and brought out high-class individual performances that have become part of the annals of the game,” CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.“Australia are currently the number two-ranked team on the ICC Test table and we will need to beat them and India to regain our place at the top of the table.”The tour will form part of a busy home summer for South Africa who will also host Bangladesh (two Tests, three ODIs, two Twenty20s) in September and October, as well as India (four Tests, five ODIs, three Twenty20s) over the festive season period and into 2018.last_img read more

NCAA allowing Syracuse to count 3 scholarships this year toward penalty

first_imgThe Syracuse men’s basketball team will be allowed to begin serving its scholarship reduction penalty this season, according to a university release. The Syracuse Post-Standard’s Mike Waters first reported the news Tuesday afternoon.The Orange currently has 10 scholarship players on its roster, three below the NCAA’s scholarship limit of 13, so those three will be allowed to count toward the penalty, per the release. Originally, Syracuse was docked 12 scholarships over four years as part of the NCAA’s eight-year investigation into SU but that was reduced to eight in the university’s appeal. Now, with three of those counting toward the 2015-16 season, Syracuse will forfeit five scholarships over the next three seasons. Two will come in the 2016-17 season, two in the 2017-18 season and one in the 2018-19 season, per the release.While Syracuse’s appeal was pending in October, according to the release, Syracuse voluntarily forfeited a trio of scholarships for this season. The NCAA reduced the initial penalty and SU petitioned the Committee on Infractions to allow the three scholarships from this year against the new penalty.“(Syracuse) has taken the recent major infractions case and resulting penalties very seriously,” Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote in a Dec. 23 letter to the Committee on Infractions, according to the release. “… applying the scholarship reductions as we have proposed will hold Syracuse University fully accountable for the violations that occurred without causing undue harm to student-athletes by withholding a scholarship unnecessarily.”The Orange will lose two scholarship players after this season, fifth-year senior guards Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney. It currently has two Class of 2016 signees under its belt, Matthew Moyer and Tyus Battle.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNext season, Syracuse will have 10 scholarship players on its roster and will only have to forfeit two scholarships. That means it can offer four-star Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) forward Taurean Thompson, who SU has been tracking, without needing a current player to transfer or leave early for the NBA Draft. That has been the case since the NCAA rewarded Syracuse back with a scholarship per year in November. Comments Related Stories Why did the NCAA give Syracuse basketball 4 scholarships back?What we know: A breakdown of Syracuse’s NCAA appeal resultsSyracuse wins back 1 scholarship for each of next 4 years in NCAA appealRead the full NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee reportDougherty: When the North Carolina game ended, so did an era of Syracuse basketball history Published on January 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidmancenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

COLUMN: Men’s basketball still has plenty to prove in postseason

first_imgWhen children first learn how to walk, no one critiques or bashes them for being too slow. You’re just happy that the kids are walking. And once they nail the clumsy walk, everyone marvels at their ability to self-navigate, as unstable as children may be. But eventually, the children’s walk is expected to mature into a stable strut. Right now, the USC men’s basketball team is a child who needs to begin straightening up his stride. After making last year’s NCAA Tournament and finishing with a 21-13 record, we’ve seen that this baby can take its first steps, but it’s time for the Trojans to stabilize their walk as they are on the verge of a second consecutive appearance in March Madness. In other words, it’s no longer acceptable for the Trojans to continue just showing up to the Big Dance; it’s time for them to make some noise there. While the gut punch of afirst-round exit in last year’s tournament may have been acceptable, this season is the time for USC to establish itself as a respectable postseason threat. The Trojans (23-8, 10-8) are coming off a pair of solid victories against Washington State and Washington to round out their 2016-2017 regular season. And as nice as two wins — albeit against mediocre competition — may look, the game on Feb. 26 against Arizona State raises concerns about this USC team entering postseason play.That game between the Trojans and the Sun Devils just over one week ago saw USC blow a 10-point lead over Arizona State with 3:57 remaining; it was USC’s eighth conference loss of the season. “We didn’t deserve to win that game [because] we didn’t play all 40 minutes,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “You’ve got to be able to close games out on the road.”Despite the meltdown in Tempe, USC still enters the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday as a young, scrappy team with sleeper potential. A solid showing at the conference tournament this week could significantly brighten its postseason outlook. After defeating Washington at the Galen Center, 74-58, on Saturday, the Trojans will square off with the Huskies once again four days later in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday.A USC win over Washington in the opening round would pit the Trojans against a No. 3 UCLA team that won its final nine games of the regular season. If USC can replicate its Jan. 26 upset over the Bruins this week at the T-Mobile Arena, the Trojans would advance to the Pac-12 semifinals and likely boost their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Now, about March Madness: This is where USC can cement itself as a true “program on the rise.” In his most recent Bracketology report released on Monday morning, ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi projected USC as a No. 12 seed in the West bracket of the national tournament. If Lunardi’s projections hold true, USC would square off againstNo. 12 SMU in the first round of March Madness. USC defeated SMU earlier this season, 78-73, at the Galen Center on Nov. 25. Should the Trojans top the Mustangs for a second time this season, they will advance to the Round of 32, where they could face a team like No. 23 Duke. I ultimately feel that this — the second round of the NCAA Tournament — is where USC’s season will come to an end. However, in the case that the Trojans shock the world and advance to the Sweet Sixteen or further, I’m not sure I would label USC a “Cinderella team.”The regular season saw the Trojans pick up some solid non-conference wins against No. 12 SMU, reigning SEC-champion Texas A&M in College Station and a BYU team that upset then-No. 1 Gonzaga two weeks ago. In conference play, USC upset UCLA and  also played down-to-the-wire games against top-10 Oregon and Arizona teams. USC was the only team in the nation this season to endure a stretch of games in which they played three consecutive games against three opponents (Oregon, UCLA and Arizona) ranked in the top six nationally. The Trojans built up a credible regular season resume, which makes them a viable opponent for anyone in the NCAA Tournament. Personnel-wise, the Trojans have the pieces to propel them to a deep postseason run. USC possesses solid leadership in junior guard Jordan McLaughlin, who finished the season playing arguably his best basketball of the season (averaged 19 points, 9.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game over his final two games). But USC’s shining star this season has undoubtedly been its youth. A pair of dynamic sophomore forwards in Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu is able to stretch the floor. Meanwhile, even the freshmen have gotten in on the action. Guards De’Anthony Melton and Jonah Mathews and forward Nick Rakocevic have all significantly contributed in their first year. At the end of the day, this season will be a success for the Trojans if they can pick up even just one NCAA Tournament victory — anything more would simply be icing on the cake. Back-to-back appearances in March Madness and a tournament win this season would add fuel to the Trojans’ expectations for next season. A tournament win — that’s all USC fans should realistically ask for this March. Just one thing, USC: Don’t break the heart of Troy with a miscue on an inbound pass. We’ll take a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to knock us out of the tournament, no problem. Just please don’t screw it up on the inbound — tragically, we’ve been there and done that quite a bit this last year. Angel Viscarra is a sophomore studying broadcast and digital journalism. His column, Viscarra’s Vice, runs on Tuesdays.last_img read more

Men’s basketball looks to continue strong conference start

first_imgSenior forward and captain Bennie Boatwright embraces his teammates before facing Long Beach State Nov. 28 at Galen Center. (Josh Dunst/Daily Trojan)After successfully protecting home court against Cal and Stanford, the men’s basketball team will venture north for its first away game of conference play. Despite various injuries sustained by key players, head coach Andy Enfield has the Trojans sitting at 2-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time in his six-year tenure.“We’ve just pushed together this whole preseason, out-of-conference and these last two games,” Enfield said. “We don’t know who’s going to be healthy on a game-to-game basis or even a half-to-half basis, so we’re very excited to be 2-0.”Injuries have sidelined the highly touted freshman guard duo of Kevin Porter Jr. and Elijah Weaver, as the two have only appeared in the same game once all season. Nevertheless, the Trojan upperclassmen have been able to carry the weight early in conference play.Redshirt junior point guard Derryck Thornton has been running the Trojan offense and setting the tone on defense for all but four of the 80 minutes of Pac-12 play thus far. He is currently the second best passer in the conference at 5.4 nightly assists.A lot of those assists have been going to the skilled big man pairing of senior forward Bennie Boatwright and junior forward Nick Rakocevic. Altogether accounting for 91 of the 159 points scored in conference play, Boatwright and Rakocevic have combined for well over half the team’s scoring production and are proving to be an impressive one-two punch duo. “It’s very easy to play with a guy, [Boatwright], who is capable of doing so many different things,” Rakocevic said. Playing alongside a versatile player like Boatwright has created multiple high-low opportunities for Rakocevic, and the 6-foot-11 forward has been taking advantage of those good looks down low. After a week of career highs, Rakocevic was honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Week, making him the first Trojan to take home the honor this season. Seeing as Oregon State has lost just one true home game all season and is coming off an emotional 77-72 away victory over rival Oregon, the duo will have to come in full offensive force for the Trojans to notch their third straight victory in the Gill Coliseum. Another element that Enfield and Co. will have to strengthen is their recent defensive toughness. “[To win in the Pac-12] you have to make plays and defend,” Enfield said. Since giving up 102 points in an upset to a West Coast Conference Santa Clara team, the Trojans have held opponents to under 70 points in three of their last four games. The recent success of Enfield alternating between a high pressuring 2-3 zone defense and a conventional man-to-man defense will have to carry over for USC to stop the current Pac-12 scoring leader in redshirt junior forward Tres Tinkle. At 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, the 6-foot-8 forward does it all for Oregon State. After missing two seasons due to a broken foot and wrist, Tinkle has been dominating opponents all season with routine 20-point outings. It will be interesting to see how Tinkle matches up against the long reaches of 6-foot-7 junior guard Shaqquan Aaron and 6-foot-10 Boatwright. Despite the impressive potential matchups on the wings, the most important battle within a battle will be which backcourt can dictate the game’s outcome.The upperclassmen backcourt of Thornton and junior Jonah Mathews will have to square off against the Thompson brothers of Oregon State: Senior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. and sophomore guard Ethan Thompson have scored or assisted on over 60 percent of the Beavers’ points.  The Trojans will square off against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum at 8 p.m. Thursday.last_img read more