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The line between reporting and commentary is getting squeezed even in the world of college basketball news.

Among the most annoying proponents of the “new sports journalism” is someone named Dan Gelston, whose byline suggests that he works for the Associated Press. However, after reading several of his reports from Philadelphia area college games, I get the impression he thinks he should be coaching the games, not writing about them.

In tonight’s report about a game between the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University, Gelston couldn’t keep himself from making the obvious observation that Penn needs to do a better job at scoring if it wants to do well against future Ivy League opponents:

Once an Ivy League power under former coach Fran Dunphy, the Quakers (1-5) haven’t clicked under Glen Miller and lost their third straight game. They need to find some steady scoring before the conference season opens on Jan. 30.

Do you really think so, Dan? Let’s run that advice right to Coach Miller in case he thinks it’s OK to shoot 33% and lose by 22 points.

Then there’s Gelston’s on-going anti-Villanova rant about how easy their schedule has been prior to the Big East schedule.

(Villanova coach Jay) Wright had little reason to fret over this win or even put a crease in his designer suit.

The Wildcats (7-0) have won every game this season by at least 13 points and have fattened their record against teams that won’t come close to cracking the Top 25. Wright defended Villanova’s soft nonconference schedule by suggesting games against four Philadelphia schools are almost like playing a Big East school.

Connecticut and Pittsburgh will surely prove a stiffer test.

How did Dan figure this out? UConn and Pitt will be tougher than URI or Penn? What a hoops genius!

Of course, if Gelston were running the team, I supposed he would have planned a different schedule for the Wildcats based on his extensive experience coaching college hoops. Never mind that Jay Wright has created an impressive program at ‘Nova and his team is currently ranked 17th nationally. I suppose whoever does the ranking knows far less than Gelston. Based on his evaluation of Villanova’s opponents, the Cats’ RPI should be around 200 and they should not be ranked at all.

In any event, what started me off on this story is realization that know-it-all reporters, those who are supposed to report news, are behaving more like pundits and commentators even when giving us the recap on college basketball games.

My guess is that Dan hopes that someone at ESPN is reading his florid prose and will lure him away from his AP job. On the other hand,  I think another former Philly hoops reporter named Dana O’Neil beat him to it. 

Sorry, Dan.

You can read more about the Villanova-Penn game at the blogs below:

http://villanovanews.blogspot.com/

http://ibleedblueandwhite.blogspot.com/2008/12/villanova-takes-care-of-penn-69-47.html

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