Morning Five: 10.24.11 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on October 24th, 2011
- Louisville got some great news on Friday when the NCAA announced that it was clearing Wayne Blackshear to play after reviewing some of his academic paperwork. As it stands now the Cardinals have a very deep team, but lack the star power that many of the teams above them have. Once he gets back in shape, Blackshear (a McDonald’s All-American who averaged 32.6 PPG and 14.6 RPG as a high school senior in Chicago) could be the piece that helps lift them from a potential Sweet 16 team to a truly elite team. With Blackshear joining Chane Behanan the Cardinals should have one of the more electric freshmen duos in the nation that could potentially propel them to the next level.
- Like Louisville, Xavier also picked up a big piece when they reinstated senior center Kenny Frease after suspending him nine days earlier for “not fulfilling all the responsibilities of a Xavier basketball player”. Apparently, he learned to fulfill those responsibilities pretty quickly. Although Xavier coach Chris Mack claims that the suspension was “tough” for Frease we are assuming he will be able to overcome the trauma of not participating in Midnight Madness. If Frease can continue to fulfill his responsibilities (whatever they were) and build on a strong junior season (11.7 PPG and 7.1 RPG) the Musketeers could have a legitimate shot at making it into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and making some noise there.
- It may just be posturing, but Gary Harris Jr. does not have a top choice according to his father despite Indiana fans insisting that he is definitely going to be a Hoosier. Instead, Indiana is among four schools that Harris is considering at this time with Kentucky, Michigan State, and Purdue being the other three. Harris is the final piece of a class that Tom Crean is using to reestablish the Hoosiers as the dominant school for recruiting in the state of Indiana after they failed to keep many of the top recruits in-state for the past decade. If Crean is able to get Harris to commit to Indiana he will have secured all three five-star recruits in the state (Hanner Perea and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell have already committed) at which point the Indiana hype machine would go into overdrive along with the expectations for Crean for the next four years.
- Seth Davis drops in on Syracuse to take a look at one of the more interesting teams in the country. As Davis notes, Jim Boeheim calls this year’s team, “the best team we’ve had in a long time”, and the polls seem to agree ranking the Orange 5th in the country. For a team that returns nine of its top ten scorers on a team that went 26-7 last year before losing in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and adds two McDonald’s All-Americans, it seems reasonable to expect this team to contend for a national title. However, like Davis, we get this strange feeling that Syracuse lacks the elite talent to be a national title favorite at this point. It is possible that someone could breakout and have a huge season, but looking through their roster I don’t see anybody who will take over a game. Unfortunately, we probably will not get an idea of how good this team is until later in the year due to their atrocious non-conference schedule as they only play one good team (Florida) before they start Big East play and that game is being played in Syracuse.
- You may be familiar with the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective from their work last year on whether or not a team should foul when up by three points at the end of the game. While that piece got a lot of attention from the national media and was even discussed on television a few times, they do put out work fairly frequently that does not get the same level of attention, but is still quite interesting. Their most recent piece is an attempt to answer the question of whether or not Vegas gets more accurate with college basketball lines as the season progresses. It certainly will not generate as much attention as the previously mentioned post, but it is interesting for those that like to follow lines for “academic purposes”.