Morning Five: 06.02.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on June 2nd, 2011
- UConn head coach Jim Calhoun cannot go to any public engagement this offseason without considerable analysis as to what his future plans may hold. The latest such situation was Wednesday, where the three-time national championship coach spoke at the commencement ceremonies of one of his first employers, Dedham (MA) High School. Despite a lightning storm in the area, Calhoun said that he envied the 176 graduates “for all the great things that [they] have left ahead” of them, but in an interview afterward, he said he wasn’t even thinking about his future at this time. Unless Calhoun plans on pulling a Dean Smith and leaving the UConn program in the hands of his assistant coach, George Blaney (playing the save-the-day role of Bill Guthridge), we don’t see him retiring yet. Having now had two months to reflect on his latest title and career, we think he knows what he’s going to do at this point — it’s just a matter of when he wants to announce it.
- We’re not sure we’ve ever seen something like this before, but in the wake of the Jim Tressel mess at Ohio State, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne is asking Wildcat fans around the country to drop dime on UA players if they “ever know of a situation where a student-athlete is receiving an extra benefit (something that the rest of the student body would not receive).” It’s certainly an innovative approach to a ubiquitous problem, and Byrne deserves accolades for at least acknowledging the possibility that Arizona players might do the wrong thing every once in a while. Still… can you ever imagine an AD at an SEC school doing something like this? They’d rather eat their own babies than support such a transparent nod to ethics.
- Speaking of the Southeastern Conference, the coaches on Wednesday voted in support of scrapping the East and West division format that it has had for two decades. The reasoning behind this change is to reward the top four teams in the conference regardless of division by giving those schools byes into the SEC Tournament’s quarterfinals, and through some vague and undefined notion, help the overall profile of the league when it comes to postseason selections. Considering the stark imbalance in recent years between the two SEC divisions — nine East teams have made the NCAA Tournament in the last two seasons versus none from the West — we’re having trouble understanding how removing two byes from the weaker division actually helps the conference profile. Consider a 9-7 Mississippi State team, the West division winner, in 2009-10. The Bulldogs received a bye to the quarters and were able to rest while #3 Tennessee (11-5, East) and #4 Florida (9-7, East) played in the first round on Thursday; MSU was then able to beat UF and #2 Vanderbilt (12-4, East) in succession before dropping an overtime game to #1 Kentucky (14-2, East) in the finals. Although the Bulldogs didn’t get an NCAA bid, its bye to the quarters undoubtedly helped its postseason profile, and if they’d been the overall #5 seed instead, we’re not convinced that they’d have been able to make a similar run.
- From the players behaving badly department (noticeably quiet lately, to be honest), Syracuse’s Fab Melo was arraigned on Wednesday for a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief related to “reaching through the open driver’s side window of a 2003 Chevrolet Impala, and breaking the turn signal control arm making the turn signal, headlight high beam control and windshield wiper control inoperable.” Well, that’s certainly one way to do it. The driver in question was allegedly a female SU student who has also filed a restraining order against Melo. Something tells us that Melo is already running the stairs of the Carrier Dome over this.
- In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy in Joplin, Missouri, Frank Haith’s program and local school Missouri Southern are attempting to put together a charity basketball game in October to raise money for the victims of the three-quarter mile-wide tornado last week. Mizzou already has its maximum allotment of two exhibition games scheduled for next season, but the Tiger program is applying for an NCAA waiver to allow it to play the Division II program in Joplin. As Missouri Southern head coach Robert Corn said in response to the waiver, the NCAA has “no heart” if the governing body chooses not to allow it. Agreed.