Around The Blogosphere: April 29, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on April 29th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • He has spoken: God’s Gift Achiuwa to St. John’s: Quotes and news about the Steve Lavin’s latest pick-up. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Maryland Recruiting 6-9 JuCo Robert Goff?: “With Jordan Williams on the verge of going pro, Maryland could really use some post help. One guy that might be able to provide it: Robert Goff, a 6-9, 240-pound JuCo center from Hutchinson C.C. Goff was committed to Oklahoma earlier, but Jeff Goodman reported that he’s been released from his LOI. IMS followed that up hours later by reporting that Maryland was “moving in on” Goff.” (Testudo Times)
  • Pitino introduces Kevin Keatts, talks recruiting: Some key quotes from Pitino’s local radio appearance. (Card Chronicle)
  • 2011 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Field Finalized: Maryland, Purdue, Alabama Highlight: “Besides the Terps, teams include Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan, and Wichita State.” (Testudo Times)

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Morning Five: 04.29.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 29th, 2011

  1. Dear unnamed ACC coaches who are more interested in their own selfish interests than the well-being of their players: go eff yourselves.  You got what you wanted in that the NCAA approved yet another change to its NBA Draft withdrawal deadline, making it virtually impossible for players to work out and solicit good advice on their draft status in 2012 and beyond before making a final decision.  The May 8 withdrawal deadline this year is already too short, allowing players merely two weeks to get full information that will help them make a life-changing decision; next year’s deadline will be a ridiculously-early April 12, only ten days after some lucky team will cut the nets down in New Orleans.  The ostensible reason behind this change is that coaches want to know what their rosters will look like going into the spring signing period (which begins at approximately the same time as the new deadline), but it rings extremely hollow when they’re claiming to care about their players first while banking millions of dollars themselves.  The coaches driving this legislation, every one of whom is a millionaire, has the luxury of wealth and privilege to fall back on if they make a hasty mistake, while their players get… what, exactly?  A couple of phone calls, a rumor or two, and a pat on the back?  It’s embarrassing and it’s shameful, and if anyone believes that this change will frighten players who are not draftable to stay in school, they’re dreaming.  Successful people generally believe things will work out for them, no matter the decision — it’s just that now they’ll be making their decisions without proper information on which to rely.  Congratulations, fellas.
  2. Ok, on to the players in this year’s draft who still have another ten days to make a final decision.  The NBA released its official list on Thursday and the biggest surprise name on it was Minnesota’s Ralph Sampson, III.  DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony makes the call on every one of this year’s early entries, including analysis that shows several players — Tennessee’s Tobias Harris, Michigan’s Darius Morris, and Xavier’s Tu Holloway, to name a few — have difficult decisions ahead of them next week.
  3. Georgia’s Mark Fox received a nice raise as a result of his guiding the Bulldogs to its first legitimate NCAA Tournament appearance in nine seasons last year (the Dawgs’ 2008 appearance with a 17-17 team was a fluke in part caused by the Atlanta tornado).  His contract was extended by one year to 2016 and his salary was increased by $400,000 annually for a total package worth $1.7M per year.  Not bad for a football school, eh?  Fox will lose stars Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA Draft this offseason, so his ultimate worth will be determined by how he does the next four years with his own players.  Still, he’ll have plenty of dollars put away to carry him for a while if things don’t go as well as last season did for his program.
  4. Hey, we can’t say that we did or did not write a couple of letters in a similar vein to this back in the day, but what we can say is that Ethan Peikes’ letter to Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich applying for the open head coaching position this spring was probably more logical, likely more witty, and definitely better written.  This is a great story from Mike DeCourcy about how a 15-year old kid from Stamford, Connecticut, made a name for himself by simply, well, making a name for himself.  Nice resume booster.
  5. Jerry Seinfeld on Thursday made headlines when he said that the bombastic businessman-turned-politician Donald Trump was “God’s gift to comedy.”  Little did he know that another God’s Gift would be making his way to the Big Apple, and this one doesn’t involve a weird comb-over and a penchant for egomania.  As far as we know, at least.  God’s Gift Achiuwa, a 6’9 sophomore forward from Erie Community College picked St. John’s over Washington and Cincinnati for his services in the post next year.  Steve Lavin calls him “Gift,” and he represents exactly that to his packed recruiting class that comes in long on talent but not particularly sizable.  The Johnnies will be extremely young next season but should remain fun to watch for a number of reasons, not least of which will be enjoying various announcers handle Achiuwa’s God-Given name.
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Study: D1 Men’s Basketball Players At Highest Risk For Sudden Cardiac Death

Posted by jstevrtc on April 29th, 2011

A study published earlier this month in the American Heart Association journal Circulation has found that Division I men’s basketball players are at the highest risk among all college athletes for sudden cardiac death (SCD). According to the authors of the study, there is one incident of SCD for every 3,124 men’s college basketball players in Division I per year. This is an alarming number for many reasons, especially when compared to the incidence of SCD among ALL college athletes that was measured at a much less frequent 1 in 43,770 athletes in a given year.

Herb Pope's Sudden Cardiac Arrest Did Not Become a Sudden Cardiac Death Because an AED Was Nearby

If you’re like us, you saw that 1 in 3,124 SCD rate for D-I men’s basketball players and immediately remembered that there are over 4,000 guys playing D-I college hoops each season. That would imply that there are between 1-2 players dying from this each year, or between 10-20 over the last ten years. At first blush, that may seem like an impossibly high rate — how many D-I players over the last ten years can you name who died because their hearts stopped? — but the researchers note in the article that during the five year study period (January 2004 through December 2008), nine players suffered SCD. Their math is unfortunately backed up by what really happened.

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Conference Report Card: ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 28th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Conference Recap

The ACC had a down year though North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall-led resurgence and Florida State’s Sweet Sixteen appearance helped a little bit. Before and during the season, Duke was the runaway favorite in the conference: Kyrie Irving’s toe injury obviously was the pivotal point that brought Duke back down to earth. Equally pivotal (in the reverse direction) was Marshall’s move to starting point guard for North Carolina. With Larry Drew II at the helm, there is no way the Tar Heels could have come close to surpassing Duke for the regular season title. The down year did not really surprise most people, and despite lofty preseason expectations (read: people forgot how highly rated North Carolina was to start the season) I think the perception is that the league at least lived up to preseason expectations with a couple of notable exceptions: NC State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. NC State had NCAA Tournament talent, but did not come anywhere close to sniffing the Big Dance; Wake was arguably the worst major conference team in the country; and Virginia Tech once again found itself very highly seeded in the NIT. On the flip side, Clemson and Florida State both exceeded expectations.

Roy Williams and Kendall Marshall led a mid-season resurgence that resulted in a trip the Elite Eight. (News Observer/Robert Willitt)

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Morning Five: 04.28.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 28th, 2011

  1. We didn’t get to this on Wednesday, but Seth Davis checked in this week with a piece analyzing the offseason coaching carousel thus far.  There’s not much there to quibble with, as it’s been a relatively quiet year in this regard.  We completely agree with his take that Tennessee hiring Cuonzo Martin was a very smart play, while Missouri going after (and getting) Frank Haith was perhaps the most questionable.  At the mid-major level, Richmond’s Chris Mooney and VCU’s Shaka Smart choosing to stick on the banks of the James River was the most surprising (how often will runs like theirs at those schools happen?).  Jim Larranaga to Miami (FL) (with Kenny Anderson?) and Sydney Johnson to Fairfield?  Those two situations were just weird.  As of this writing, there are only five jobs left open — Mason, George Washington, UC Davis, Alabama A&M, and Florida A&M.  The Patriots have an excellent team returning next season; that opening left by Larranaga is clearly the true remaining plum of the group.
  2. Perhaps mad about John Calipari’s possible gig with the Dominican Republic (joking), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has canceled his dalliance with Puerto Rico to coach their national team.  Citing conflicts with trying to manage both head coaching duties as the primary reason for his withdrawal, what was left unsaid in his statement on Wednesday was that he was trying to use the summer period to get some great practice time and competition for his Louisville squad against legitimate international competition.  The NCAA allows international summer trips for college teams once every four years, but they’re often against vastly inferior competition and, in this case, the governing body told UL that Puerto Rico, as a US territory, wasn’t “foreign” enough.
  3. Just prepare yourself for roughly one or two of these stories per month until we hit October — it never fails.  Two Winthrop players, including its leading scorer and a key reserve, have been accused of criminal sexual misconduct involving a 19-year old former student.  Sophomore guard Robbie Dreher and freshman center Julius Francis, according to the police report on the matter, allegedly assaulted the woman by restraining her in Francis’ room as the two performed sexual acts on her despite her claim of repeatedly saying, “no.”  Dreher is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.7 PPG in over 31 minutes per contest last season, while Francis played much more sparingly but has great size and considerable promise.  Needless to say, the two have been suspended from the team indefinitely.
  4. It was Huskies Day in Hartford, as the UConn men’s basketball national champs, the women’s Final Four team, and the Orange Bowl football team all visited the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday in a combined celebration of their successes.  Kemba Walker took the opportunity to address his comment made last week about only reading one book “cover to cover,” clarifying his academic prowess at the school (graduating in three years) fby stating that he was referring specifically to loving a book so much that he sat down to read it in one sitting.  Jim Calhoun said that he’s still considering retirement, but there’s no timetable on a final decision — we have a feeling he’ll be back on the sideline next year.
  5. All Jimmer, all the time.  That’s what we might have coming soon with the report that a television show production company named Tupelo-Honey Productions will be creating a reality show involving The Jimmer and his family in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft on June 25.  They plan on shooting over 100 hours of film over 30 days, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether anything Jimmer does or says when he’s not making 28-footers will be, you know, interesting.  Not to go too far down this path, but he’s Mormon — we shouldn’t expect anything resembling baby-mama drama or wild forays to the clubs with his agent.  Drinking a caffeinated soda might be the biggest taboo we’ll see from the guy.  It’ll be interesting to see how this company finds a storyline within its footage to make this something that the general public will want to see.
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NCAA Attendance Figures: A Closer Examination

Posted by rtmsf on April 27th, 2011

It’s always interesting to see the numbers when the NCAA releases its annual attendance figures for the prior season.  After all, ticket sales are still what drives the operating budget of most of these schools, and if a coach can’t consistently put fannies in the seats, he’s unlikely to have a job for very long.  The NCAA’s figures, though, mostly deal in the aggregate: A total of 27.6 million fans attending Division I men’s basketball games;  the usual suspects, Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Louisville, leading the way; the Big East cracking the three million mark with its sixteen-team lineup.  While it’s interesting to know that those schools and leagues are getting massive numbers of people through the turnstiles, it doesn’t really tell us the whole story without the subcontext of arena size.  Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium is the classic example — Duke ranks #48 in total home attendance (158,338 fans), but that figure represents 17 home dates at 100% capacity (9,314 fans each game) — so the truth here is that demand for seats within CIS far equals (or more likely, outstrips) availability.  Let’s take a look at some of the schools in the NCAA’s top 100 from the perspective of that alternate reality.

Changes things a little, right?  Twenty-one of the top 100 schools in average attendance were at 90% or higher in capacity last season.  And although some of the bigger arenas such as those at Kentucky (#3), Louisville (#8) and Memphis (#19) are still represented, this metric gives some love to the smaller-capacity schools like K-State (#1), Gonzaga (#5), Wichita State (#7) and others who consistently sold out (or nearly did so) every night the home team took the floor.  Some extra props need to go to the high-mids who support their teams through thick and thin, as seven of the top 21 on this list came from non-BCS conferences.

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Around The Blogosphere: April 27, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on April 27th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Wally Judge Visiting Maryland, May be Leaning to Rutgers: The former Kansas State forward is a Terrapin target, but he may end up in New Jersey. (Testudo Times)
  • Video, notes from Pitino’s press conference: Some key points from Rick Pitino’s conference yesterday. (Card Chronicle)

Analysis

  • Are Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones NBA Ready?: “Charles Barkley apparently opined yesterday that he didn’t think Brandon Knight or Terrence Jones were ready for the NBA. In fact, Barkley described both Knight and Jones as “not even close.” I think that in an absolute sense, Barkley is exactly right.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • Could/Should Selby have gone to the NBA Development League instead?: Looking at the pros and cons of a touchy subject in college basketball circles. (Rock Chalk Talk)
  • The Point Guard Conundrum and What Can We Learn From the 2010-11 Gopher Backcourt: Reflecting on Minnesota’s problems this season and how they can address them next season. (The Daily Gopher)

 

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Morning Five: 04.27.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 27th, 2011

  1. Some transfer news was made Tuesday, as Michigan State sophomore center Garrick Sherman announced that he would be heading to Notre Dame for his final two seasons, while NC State freshman guard Ryan Harrow and new head Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried agreed to part ways.  The 6’10 Sherman averaged 3/3 while shooting 70% from the field for Tom Izzo last year, and he actually started half of the team’s 34 games — Mike Brey is picking up a potentially solid offensive contributor when Sherman becomes eligible in the 2012-13 season.  As for Harrow, the former five-star recruit has not indicated where he intends to transfer yet, but NCSU said it will release him to any non-ACC school he desires.  He was clearly disappointed in last month’s firing of Sidney Lowe, and although the talented guard averaged 9/3 in 23 MPG last year for NC State, he’ll take his services elsewhere over the summer (hot rumor, later denied: Kentucky).
  2. Keeping with the NC State theme, this is stupdendous.  In four years of doing this, we may have never come across a more pointless article than this one from Andrew Jones on FoxSports.com.  Apparently the relatives of NC State’s new live mascot, Tuffy the dog (a Tamaskan), were poisoned by being fed fish laced with antifreeze.  Not Tuffy himself, mind you, but the relatives of Tuffy, both of whom reside 170 miles away from Raleigh, the city where Tuffy lives and will next season begin work as the Wolfpack live mascot.  You’re probably wondering how someone could come up with 500+ words on this story, but we encourage you to read the full article where you will learn that Tamaskans are Finnish dogs, that they resemble wolves but do not share ancestry with them, and that NC State AD Debbie Yow, who proffered the original idea for a live mascot, thinks that poisoning the parents of Tuffy is “sick.”  Oh, and you’ll also learn some enlightening information as to why actual wolves cannot used at NC State games (y’know, because they’re wolves).  We’re 100% certain that somewhere Gary Williams is loving all of this.
  3. That John Calipari/Dominican Republic thing from last year might come to fruition after all, as the DR apparently has an offer on the table for the Kentucky coach to lead its team in the 2011 Tournament of the Americas. The country is attempting to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and so far, Calipari is playing coy by asking “why are [they] calling me?”  If he decides to take the job, he would work with the team for a six-week period in August and September, giving his cadre of new blue chippers just enough time on campus to cause all sorts of mayhem before the head coach returns for the start of practice.
  4. We hope that if Calipari takes the new summer job opportunity, he doesn’t expect to get the same kinds of crowds he enjoys in Lexington.  The NCAA released its attendance numbers yesterday, and Kentucky had the highest average home attendance with 23,603 fans jammed into Rupp Arena every night.  Syracuse was second last season with an average of 22,312 fans per game, and the sport as a whole totaled 27.6 million fans for the entire year.  Across the entirety of D1 basketball schools, that comes to an average of roughly 80,000 fans per school per season (or around 5,000 per home game).  Two Mountain West schools, BYU and San Diego State, had the largest attendance increases over last year, both averaging more than 4,000 more fans per game in 2010-11.  The full NCAA report is here.
  5. In a blockbuster expose piece on Monday, the New York Times’ Katie Porter blows the cover off the sham known as Title IX and how schools manipulate their team rosters to ensure compliance with the federal law.  From discussions of female cross-country runners at South Florida stating that they didn’t know they were on the team to male fencers acting as female athletes at Cornell, it’s clear from her investigation and analysis that the original intent of this law (equity in sporting opportunities) has been bastardized to a point where reform is not only badly desired, it appears necessary.  Great read — check it out immediately if you have not yet seen it.
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Who’s Got Next? Updating the Class of 2011 Rankings…

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Each week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

This week has been full of events ranging from my final class of 2011 rankings to high-profile commitments to big-time performances to much rumor mill chatter. Players being lost in their recruitment, underclassmen making names for themselves and conference champions rescinding scholarship offers from top-five recruits are just a few things that happened in a very eventful week in the world of college basketball recruiting.

What We Learned

Former class of 2012 top-15 prospect small forward Alex Murphy (#34 – Duke) decided to join the Blue Devils a year early.

Murphy Heads to Duke a Year Early. Former class of 2012 top-15 prospect small forward Alex Murphy (#34) decided to join the Blue Devils a year early (to see why, check out the “What They’re Saying” section below) as he has already passed the necessary courses to graduate and has been in high school for four years. There was speculation since he first committed to Duke that he would reclassify to the class of 2011 and the fact that he never denied it just added to the conjecture. The scouting report on Murphy is that he has a very nice shooting stroke from both the perimeter and mid-range game and is a superb slasher who finishes well around the basket. Given his length and athleticism, he is also versatile and will be able to play either forward position for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. However, he needs to add strength to his frame and become a better rebounder, but there have been rumors that he will redshirt so if true he will have another year to develop both of those attributes.

Kevin Ware is a Knight… I think. Shooting guard Kevin Ware committed to Central Florida Monday joining an impressive class including center Michael Chandler, small forward Rod Days and power forwards Wayne Martin and Kasey Wilson. However, we don’t know whether Ware still wants to be a Knight. Since he already signed a letter of intent with Tennessee (which they released him from after Bruce Pearl was fired), NCAA rules prohibit him from signing another one in the same year with UCF, so Ware is free to do whatever he wants. The first thing that raised eyebrows about his future college choice was the fact that he was announced as “undecided” in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic over the weekend (although his stepfather later said he filled out the forms before he committed and didn’t feel like changing it). The next thing that made people question his commitment was when a Louisville website reported that Ware told them his recruitment to UCF wasn’t a done deal and that he was “absolutely” still considering Louisville (see the “What They’re Saying” section for Ware’s quotes on this). Also, he reportedly told fans at the Derby Classic while signing autographs that he was still considering the Cardinals. The excuse for all of this that has been picking up steam lately is that Ware was simply afraid of potential backlash from Louisville fans at the event, which is plausible since Ware tweeted he was afraid of a backlash before he left for it. We still don’t know what is going on with him but hopefully by next week we will have a clearer picture of his college choice.

UNC Rescinds Shabazz Muhammad Scholarship Offer. In a surprising move, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams pulled the scholarship offer from junior small forward Shabazz Muhammad (#5) this week while at the same time offering his teammate, small forward Rosco Allen (#27). It has seemed as though Carolina was losing steam with Muhammad ever since he didn’t attend the North Carolina vs. Duke game at Chapel Hill (although a reason to why he missed it was never confirmed), and the rumor going around now is that he is close to making a commitment elsewhere. The other schools that he would be presumably choose between are Duke, Kentucky, Texas and UCLA. Muhammad is an impact player who will start from day one no matter the program he goes to since he is such a prolific scorer on the offensive end and is so athletic and versatile. He is a better scorer inside the arc than anyone else in the class of 2012 but needs to work on consistently rebounding and improving his ball-handling to become a complete player.

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Morning Five: 04.26.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 26th, 2011

  1. George Washington University fired longtime coach Karl Hobbs on Monday, and it appears to have been a complete surprise to him.  In ten seasons at the helm in Foggy Bottom, he went 166-129 (84-76 A-10), but after a nice run in the middle part of the decade where GW averaged 24 wins and made three straight NCAA Tournaments, his teams have been consistently mediocre for the last four years (averaging 13 wins and finishing near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 in three of the four years).  Given its academic and international focus in addition to its location in the heart of DC, GW isn’t the easiest school in the world at which to build a great basketball program, but Hobbs did as well as could be reasonably expected for a little while.  He eventually wore out his welcome, though, with a tendency to recruit academically questionable kids and a stubborn refusal to fix a strained relationship with both fans and the local media — it’ll be interesting to see who GW brass gets to replace him.
  2. Former San Diego star and current accused pointshaver Brandon Johnson made his first appearance in federal court yesterday as a result of his arrest for allegedly fixing a 2010 game and soliciting a former teammate to do the same in a 2011 contest.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, he pleaded not guilty to all charges and informed the judge that he could not afford his own counsel and would need an appointed one.  He will remain free on a $25,000 bond until trial is set for later this spring — he may want to spend his time in the next month or two prepping for routines.
  3. From players facing time to those who have already done it, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery announced over the weekend that his team would add JuCo transfer player Anthony Hubbard to its roster next season.  The reason this is a little different than your typical offseason transfer is that Hubbard spent four years in prison as a result of a robbery conviction that he suffered as an 18-year old in Woodbridge, Virginia.  The 6’5 wing will start at small forward, but according to McCaffery, he has a versatile skill set that will allow him to play multiple positions as a Hawkeye.  From what Hubbard is saying, it appears that his head is on straight and is thankful for the opportunity he has to play Division I basketball — still, he should expect to hear all kinds of things on the road in places like West Lafayette and East Lansing next season.
  4. As we mentioned yesterday, the NBA Draft deadline came and went on Sunday night.  The early entrants who have not yet signed with an agent will have a grand total of two weeks to decide if they’re going to stick with the draft or head back to their college campuses for another year.  Luke Winn breaks down the ten schools with the most to lose in the next two weeks, and unsurprisingly, Kentucky with its possible loss of three starters is at the top of the list.  Mike DeCourcy names his four schools who have been hit hardest thus far (with players not returning), and it might surprise you the school he has listed at the top.
  5. This article by the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Rick Bozich takes a look at the NBA Playoffs from the perspective of a college hoops fan.  While we take issue with his choice of “top fifty playoff scorers” as the only metric to determine playoff performance, he still found some interesting results from the analysis.  For example, which school do you think has gotten the most scoring bang for its buck in this year’s playoffs so far?  Any clues?  Would you believe… UCLA, with Russell Westbrook, Trevor Ariza and Jrue Holiday?  Yeah, go figure…
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Introducing The Hottest Ticket In College Basketball History

Posted by nvr1983 on April 25th, 2011

Any time two college basketball powers meet it is a hot ticket. It can be a traditional rivalry where the teams meet at least twice a year like Duke and UNC or a less frequent match-ups like the Kansas-Kentucky one that we will see next season. In either scenario you can bet that outside the lucky few who are able to land tickets through the school or the random lottery that is online ticket distribution, anybody who gets in will be paying a hefty sum. However, there appears to be one ticket next season that is even harder to get and one that is so exclusive that there will not even be a secondary ticket market.

There is one game where you won't be able to watch Harrison Barnes in person next year.

When Michigan State and UNC announced that they would be playing their inter-conference match-up on a naval carrier on Veterans Day in San Diego it added a special dimension to a match-up that would have had college basketball fans salivating even if it was played on a nondescript outdoor basketball court. It would serve as an enticing start to the college basketball season featuring two of the top ten programs in college basketball. While a loaded Tar Heel team will probably be significantly better than a rebuilding Spartan team there will be plenty of interest to see if Tom Izzo can find a way to counter the talented Tar Heels. In short it will be a ticket that every college basketball fan would love to have, but playing it on a ship raised those tickets to another level and made it so that it would be nearly impossible for college basketball fans to see in person.

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Conference Report Card: Big 12

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 25th, 2011


 

 

Brian Goodman is an RTC editor and contributor.

Year In Review

Before the start of the season, pollsters bought into Kansas State as the sexy pick to take the Big 12 in 2011 on the heels of an Elite Eight appearance in 2010. The Big 12 was not overly impressive in non-conference play, as the Wildcats fell hard to Duke in a de facto home game in Kansas City, and Missouri did the same against Georgetown in one of the more thrilling matchups of the early season.

As league play began, the preseason #3 Wildcats disappointed, starting 2-5, and the usual stalwarts of the Big 12, Kansas and Texas, rose to the top. After topping the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in January, the Longhorns looked to be in the driver’s seat, especially after Kansas was blindsided at Bramlage Coliseum to give Texas a two-game lead. However, Rick Barnes‘ team suffered another late-season collapse, going 2-3 to finish the regular season while the Jayhawks dusted off the competition to pull ahead to take their seventh straight conference crown.

Elsewhere in the conference, the Wildcats bounced back to end the season in third place. The middle of the conference wasn’t settled until the latter stages of the season with Missouri falling lat and Texas A&MColorado and Nebraska treading water. Baylor underachieved, given the talented personnel in Waco, and Oklahoma State never really looked in sync. OklahomaTexas Tech and Iowa State all had awful seasons to finish at the bottom of the standings.

In the conference tournament final, Kansas played its best basketball of the season, topping Texas to gain some revenge entering the Big Dance. Colorado was snubbed on Selection Sunday despite beating Kansas State three times, but the Big 12 still managed to get five teams into the NCAA Tournament. However, only the Jayhawks made it out of opening weekend alive, and they fell short of expectations as they lost to Shaka Smart and the Rams’ reign of BCS destruction.

KU's front line of Thomas Robinson (left) and the Morris twins evolved into a strength, and the Jayhawks struggled most when they weren't utilized on offense. (AP/Jamie Squire)

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