Morning Five: 09.29.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2011
- Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Eustachy received a three-year extension on his contract. You might recall that Eustachy gained some notoriety in 2009 for giving back a $25,000 bonus to his employer because he didn’t feel as if he had earned it. In the two seasons hence, his Golden Eagles have gone 42-24 and were invited to the CIT postseason tournament in 2009-10. Southern Miss was in the conversation for an at-large bid in last year’s NCAA Tournament prior to hitting a tough stretch during the last two weeks of the season. His extension does not include a salary boost, but it will keep him employed at the school through the 2013-14 season.
- Rick Pitino really must not want to end up in the ‘fertile’ recruiting grounds of the Big 12, searching for talent in a place like Manhattan, Kansas, rather than Manhattan island. In an interview with Adam Zagoria on Tuesday night, he went on a somewhat incomprehensible tirade about why Connecticut would be “dumb” to leave the Big East for the ACC if there was another spot available for the Huskies. He invokes none other than the legendary John Wooden to explain why UConn should not consider such a move: “Do you ever think [leaving the Pac-10] crossed his mind? No, when you’re great winner, those things don’t cross your mind. The only thing that crosses your mind is the ability to win a championship and carry on the great tradition you’ve built.” He even goes so far as to suggest that the Huskies might be less successful in a conference like the ACC, citing Boston College’s one soccer title as a relevant example. But… didn’t Pitino tell us a hundred times in March that the Big East was by far the best basketball conference? Why would leaving the best basketball conference for a weaker one hurt them, Rick? We haven’t seen video of this interview, but it reads like the rantings and ramblings of a man desperate to avoid irrelevance.
- We’re all aware that Syracuse is headed to the ACC, although the when behind that move is still up in the air. What might also be up in the air is the idea Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor floated on Tuesday — Syracuse possibly playing some home ACC games in New York City. Calling the Orange “New York’s college team,” Cantor strongly stated that one of the must-haves for her school was to play some home ACC games in the Big Apple. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim fired back with unequivocal statements to the contrary on Wednesday. Suggesting that Cantor was mistaken about which games might be played in NYC, Boeheim said, “we absolutely would not take conference games to New York City. It was never the intent… She meant games in New York. Yes. And bringing the ACC Tournament to New York.” From an economic standpoint to the school, it makes a lot more sense to bring elite ACC teams to upstate New York and the enormous Carrier Dome than to try to play the likes of Duke, UNC, Maryland and others in the much smaller venues of Madison Square Garden or the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
- Speaking of the new NYC arena, we’re already loving this place. New York always felt like it should be a two-arena kind of town, and the Barclays will now allow some interesting simultaneous events for people in the city to enjoy. The first example of this will now occur in 2013, as the Atlantic 10 has signed a five-year deal to bring its conference tournament to Brooklyn. If the league keeps with the format it has now so that the quarters, semis and finals occur on Selection Sunday weekend, savvy hoops fans might be able to commute between the Big East extravaganza at MSG and the best A-10 games over in Brooklyn. With a mere half-hour trip by subway line between the two arenas, hoops junkies like ourselves could find themselves in a heavenly situation.
- Let’s finish with some really good news. Arizona’s Kevin Parrom is back on campus in Tucson and is set to resume classes and begin rehabilitation from the shooting injury he suffered last weekend in his hometown of New York. The bullet entered his leg in the back of his right knee but head coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday that it’s unclear how the injury will impact his basketball activities this season, suggesting that it will be at least a month before a true assessment can be made. Parrom, a junior who averaged 8/3 last season while knocking down 41.8% of his threes, is a key contributor for Miller, but at this point everyone is just happy that he’s alive and not critically injured. Even in what has to be trying times for a young athlete, he still has his humor intact, tweeting at former conference rival Isaiah Thomas, “Idk what hurts more your shot that went in at the end of the game or the 1 i got this weekend smh lol.” Well played, sir.