Sapakoff: Citadel and C of C duck CSU in basketball, and fans lose
"Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey . Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur."
White Goodman, "Dodgeball"
Say what you want about outrageously attired White Goodman and his Globo Gym behemoth. The Ben Stiller character and his dodgeball-playing pals weren't afraid to take on Peter La Fleur's upstart Average Joe's.
Which is more than you can say for the College of Charleston and Citadel basketball teams.
Their schedules say they fear little ol' Charleston Southern. Maybe for good reason: the Buccaneers, picked to win the South Division in the Big South Conference, are the Palmetto State's best bet for an NCAA tournament appearance.
But the Cougars, Bulldogs and their lack of creative scheduling are depriving fans of good, competitive rivalry fun.
What you're missing: CSU's battle-tested guards Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley vs. the College of Charleston, with point guard Anthony Stitt and backcourt newcomers Canyon Barry and Joe Chealey.
Underworked Citadel turnstiles could use any fans CSU brings to McAlister Field House.
"For us there just wasn't a date and a time that we could schedule," Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell said. "It just didn't work out."
Driesell said he is open to future games with CSU.
College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik doesn't offer as much hope.
"In my case, we were at the end of the contract (with CSU)," Wojcik said. "They never approached me, but I have a double-problem right now of trying to keep the Southern Conference influence going. In a lot of ways, I had to choose."
Wojcik: One city rivalry
The Cougars, having jumped from the SoCon to the Colonial Athletic Association, won a home game against SoCon member Furman in November and play at The Citadel (Dec. 29) and Davidson (Jan. 1).
"Definitely, The Citadel is more the city rivalry for me," Wojcik said. "I don't think that's fair that we have two city rivals."
CSU has a long-standing series with both the College of Charleston and The Citadel.
The College of Charleston leads the Charleston Southern series, 52-23. That's a lot of games, considering the Bucs didn't start playing basketball until the 1965-66 season.
The Cougars put together a mostly attractive non-conference home schedule this season. Charlotte, Miami and Furman came to town.
But only 1,812 fans showed up at TD Arena Wednesday night for a 68-54 victory over the NCAA Division II Coker Cobras.
The Marist Red Foxes, 0-9, are due in Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tipoff.
Buc Dome 'fun'
The Citadel is no Globo Gym. But, like the College of Charleston, it has a better basketball facility, larger fan base and deeper tradition than CSU. The Bulldogs come from a more prominent conference (Southern), even with the College of Charleston gone to the CAA.
The Citadel is 19-17 against the Bucs, and the programs met 11 times from 2001 to 2012, including the Bulldogs' 101-73 loss last December at CSU.
The joke around the College of Charleston and The Citadel is that dodging the Bucs actually helps CSU, by speeding up funding and planning for a new arena project approved in early 2012.
The Buc Dome seats approximately 800 fans, so something more suitable than a straight home-and-home deal is fair for the Cougars and Bulldogs.
But CSU deserves some home games. The Cougars won 72-67 in a good game at the Buc Dome last season, only their third appearance on the CSU campus.
It wasn't so bad.
"(The fans) are really close to the floor and you can hear what they are saying, so it was a lot of fun," Cougars guard Andrew Lawrence said after the game.
Thankfully, Ben Stiller is committed to a "Dodgeball" sequel. Hopefully, more basketball pitting CSU against the College of Charleston and The Citadel is on the way, too.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.