Morning Five: Groundhog Day EditionPosted by rtmsf on February 2nd, 2011
- Indiana’s Christian Watford broke his hand over the weekend against Michigan State and had surgery on it yesterday; he will be out indefinitely. This is just another gut-punch to the stomachs of Indiana fans everywhere, as Watford, IU’s leading scorer, represents the third Hoosier starter to miss significant time (Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones III are the others). This comes on the heels of what was the most promising week for Indiana basketball in quite some time — a win over Illinois and an overtime loss to Michigan State. Say what you want about Tom Crean as a head coach (and we’ve said a lot), but it’s especially difficult to get wins in the Big Ten when you don’t have your full hand to play with.
- A couple of other significant players suffered injuries recently. Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson sprained his ankle at practice on Tuesday and is considered uncertain for Thursday night’s game at Auburn. According to this story, it was bad enough that he had a protective boot on and he left the arena after practice in crutches. UT has won its last four games and part of the reason for their improved play has been Hopson, so if he isn’t at 100%, even a trip to Auburn could be troublesome. Meanwhile, St. John’s announced that forward Justin Brownlee had suffered a fracture of his left thumb during Sunday’s huge Red Storm win over Duke, a game in which he had 20/9/6 assts. He will wear a splint on the thumb, though, and is not expected to miss any time from practice nor games.
- Mike DeCourcy writes that Auburn’s Tony Barbee believes that the NBA will go back to the preps-to-pros route as a result of next summer’s collective bargaining agreement between the NBA Players Association and the owners. He says that he’s been talking to “people” who seem to be in the know, but we question if those people are tied into the owners, management and David Stern — the group that will ultimately drive this decision. We’re on record stating that both the preps-to-pros and the so-called “baseball rule” are bad for the game of college basketball, but the NBA’s self-interest will rule the day and ensure that names like John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Jared Sullinger have value and cachet behind them prior to entering the league as rookies.
- We thought this was an interesting article from the Cleveland State Cauldron lamenting that CSU basketball is a consistent winner in a town that traditionally has not had many of those, yet it still has significant trouble getting any kind of attention from anyone in the community at-large. The Vikings are currently 20-3 overall and 9-2 in the Horizon League with second-place Valpo and traditional power Butler coming to town this weekend. We agree, Cleveland… get out there and support this team. They just might end up being one of the best mid-major stories of the year in all of college basketball again.
- In the inaugural year of this blog, we took SI writer Grant Wahl (who has since moved on to cover soccer) to task over his Magic Eight selections for leaving UNC off his list of teams that would win the title. That season was 2007-08 and, if you recall, he was right. Both Kansas and Memphis were on his list, but the Jayhawk obliteration of North Carolina in the national semifinals validated his concerns. Consider our crow eaten. After what sounds to be significant negotiations, Luke Winn has revitalized the Magic Eight this season, and his choices are a combination of obvious and bold, as such: BYU, Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Ohio State, Texas, Tennessee and Washington. As he acknowledges, leaving Kansas, Pittsburgh, UConn and SDSU out are rather huge gambles, but we’ll see how he does as things develop over the next month.