Morning Five: 01.05.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on January 5th, 2011
- Seth Davis published his annual Stock Report on Tuesday, and it’s full of interesting tidbits as usual. His biggest on-a-limb prediction comes with Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels, who he has listed as a “buy-plus.” While it’s looking more and more like the Heels are the second best team in the ACC, that’s not really something to hang one’s hat on this year — half of the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 would also be the second best team in the ACC. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion and he gets more of these predictions right than he does wrong, but we think he’s off on this one. UNC, by virtue of the weak ACC, will end up back in the Top 25 polls with a reasonable record; but without a legitimate point guard threat and a Charmin-soft interior, Williams’ teams tend to sputter, and we see the Heels as no better than a Second Round team this year. While on the subject of Davis… he, Luke Winn and Andy Glockner put together their mid-season Crystal Ball projections yesterday. The biggest surprise there? All three writers had Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger as their NPOY. So why, again, was it so stupid for the AP writers to take a risk in putting UNC freshman Harrison Barnes on its preseason All-American first team? The “freshman” part, as we all should know by now, isn’t the problem — the voters just got the wrong frosh.
- We discussed this Sunday night as part of our weekend After the Buzzer, but ESPN commentator Ron Franklin was let go by the company on Tuesday for his condescending run-in with sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards prior to last week’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl broadcast. Franklin was never one of our favorite ESPN guys from an analytical perspective and his bias for the Big 12 was often astonishing in its transparency (although not to Mike Patrick/ACC proportions), but his smooth baritone voice was a calming and resonant one for us through many cold winter nights. We hope that he’s learned some kind of a lesson from this embarrassing incident, but we doubt he has; rather, the only lesson learned here is that nobody in this industry should ever screw with Ms. Edwards.
- According to Connie Joseph, Devoe Joseph’s mother, the Minnesota guard who was reportedly “suspended” from the team is actually transferring out of the program. She said that he made his decision after the New Year’s Eve loss to Michigan State, and did not attend practices over the weekend. The Gophers struggled at home tonight against Indiana, but it’s unclear to some whether the Gophers will feel his absence. We’re not sure you can ever completely survive the loss of a talented player like Joseph, but sometimes the headache just isn’t worth it. With some young players as well as Blake Hoffarber and (currently) Al Nolen at his disposal, Tubby Smith still has a very talented team that will compete in the Big Ten. He cannot afford any more suspensions or incidents, though.
- At some point schools are going to wise up and train players on the simple matter of tact and taste when giving quotes to reporters. We know that some places already do this, but usually those trainings are focused on avoiding hot-button words, topics and answering with deflections in complete sentence form. Earlier this week K-State star Jacob Pullen told 1350 KMAN in the Kansas City area that he felt “like Michael Vick in some ways” as a result of his three-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits from a local department store. Right. It’s a good thing modern players have very little sense of world history or we’d probably hear a lot more Holocaust references made when referring to unfortunate group situations. Memo to Pullen — no, you don’t feel like Michael Vick. He went to prison and is universally reviled by most of America as a disgusting human being who hurt innocent animals for sport; you were suspended (not imprisoned) which meant you went back to your dorm for a few days and watched television. These two things are in no way similar — stop the hyperbole.
- We knew that Georgetown and Syracuse are old Big East rivals who really don’t care for one another. But we had no idea that it had gotten to this level of distaste for the other. Georgetown has made an executive decision that it will not sell individual tickets to non-GU students and alumni for its February 9 game against SU at the Verizon Center in DC (ticketmaster site here). Syracuse blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician believes that this is a direct and proximate cause of Orange fans filling up the Hoyas’ home arena with its strong alumni base located in the Washington area, and they make a convincing argument to that effect. But like great fans always do, the Cuse faithful have already figured out the workaround, and let’s hope for the sake of anti-protectionism that SU fills half the building with orange on that day.