Morning Five: 09.07.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on September 7th, 2011
- Word leaked Tuesday night that the worst-kept current secret in college athletics will finally see the light — Texas A&M has been invited to formally join the SEC beginning in the 2012-13 academic year. The school plans to announce its acceptance of the invitation later today, but the question on everyone’s minds from California to New York is what happens next. Will the SEC now seek to add a 14th team like Missouri or West Virginia? Will the Big 12 quartet of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech migrate en masse to the Pac-12? Will the Big East move to swallow up Mizzou, Kansas and Kansas State? Does the Big Ten convince Maryland to jump ship? Or will the ACC raid the Big East for Syracuse, Connecticut, Rutgers and Pittsburgh? The possibilities are seemingly endless and nobody knows how all of this will eventually play out. Our conference realignment expert, Andrew Murawa, will be posting his thoughts on the myriad possibilities later this morning.
- One of the more intriguing possibilities from a basketball standpoint was reported by the New York Post‘s Lenn Robbins on Tuesday. If the Big 12 implodes, the 17-team basketball version of the Big East is considering adding Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State to create a ridiculous 20-team hoops juggernaut that would include as many as 14 NCAA quality teams in a given year (last season’s 11 plus the additional three). The format would divide the 20 teams into four five-team divisions, with each team playing home-and-homes within its division and rotating games among the other teams on a yearly basis. It’s been said a million times that all of this conference realignment stuff is driven by football, but if the Big East expands as proposed here or if the ACC raids the power players in the Big East, we’re going to end up with one hell of a basketball league as a byproduct of all this madness.
- Luke Winn loves his efficiency stats, and we can’t really blame him. The rise of KenPom-like statistics in college basketball has helped us more deeply understand how to measure and quantify the hidden parts of players’ games who we know are really good despite perhaps only marginal numbers when it comes to the traditional metrics of basketball performance (PPG, RPG, APG). In the first of a three-part series running this week, Winn takes a look at the top ten most valuable point guards of the efficiency era, and you might be surprised with the relatively unheralded player who ends up at the top of the list. It’ll be interesting to compare the lead guards against the other players later this week, but three of the top ten single-season performances by those players were as a part of national championship teams, lending credence to the theory that superb play at the position is almost essential to winning a title.
- About that NBA lockout thing. In case you haven’t yet noticed, the NBA has now been locked out of its facilities for over two months and there are no indications of the ongoing labor problems between players and management subsiding soon. The New York Post reported on Monday that Madison Avenue firms who are accustomed to putting nearly a billion dollars worth of annual advertising into the marketplace during the NBA season are looking for other options, and college basketball (along with the NFL) might be one of those beneficiaries. Although college hoops and the NBA generally attract different fans, there are some demographic similarities: for example, both groups skew younger and male than they do among professional football fans, an extremely coveted group of eyeballs among the creative class.
- It’s never too early for a preseason All-American team, and in that spirit The Sporting News released its fifteen-member group on Tuesday. Your first-teamers: UNC’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Baylor’s Perry Jones, Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb, and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. That’s right — one year after Barnes was prematurely selected as the first AP preseason All-American in the history of the organization, TSN is staking its reputation on the extremely talented but oh-so-young Davis. Of course, there have been seven freshmen first-teamers in the last five years, but the hard part is picking the right one. Duke’s Austin Rivers and UConn’s Andre Drummond, for example, might end up being just as worthy as UK’s Davis.