Morning Five: 11.01.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on November 1st, 2011
- November. Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and the first month of the college basketball season. With only six days remaining until the opening of the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, it’s time to get serious again, folks. If you’re the type of person who loves college basketball at your core — you possess the kind of admiration for the game that leaves you empty during its many months of summer hibernation, read this season’s first post from Kyle Whelliston at The Mid-Majority. There’s something in there that you will relate to — guaranteed. And if not, how many times will you read a college basketball article that slyly references The Sundays? Glad to have you back in action, TMM.
- The AP released its preseason All-America team Monday afternoon, and the only surprise among the group was how completely unsurprising it was. The first team consists of UNC’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor, Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb, and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones. Taylor is the only senior of the five-man team; the other four are sophomores, all of whom could have been high selections in the NBA Draft had they chosen to declare last spring. Barnes received 63 of 65 votes, leading Gary Parrish to suggest that the two voters who left him off the team should account for his omission. It doesn’t bother us that much — let’s be honest, Barnes is really good, but he isn’t Ralph Sampson after two consecutive NPOYs — but keep in mind that last year at this time, Kemba Walker was largely considered a talented but inconsistent gunner not on par with preseason first-teamer Jacob Pullen. We know how that turned out.
- The Big East‘s magical mystery tour to irrelevance is set to continue today with multiple sources reporting that the conference will announce the addition of six new members at its annual meeting in Philadelphia. Prepare yourself for this murderer’s row on the hardwood: Central Florida, SMU and Houston will accept invitations to the conference in all sports, while Boise State, Navy and Air Force are presumed ready to accept in football only. With the league on the verge of losing powerhouses Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, consider us rather unimpressed with the league’s “replacements.” If Louisville ultimately ends up leaving for the Big 12 and Connecticut finds its way over to the ACC, the serious basketball schools like Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, St. John’s, Providence and Notre Dame would actually be better served to make a few calls to Butler and Xavier and initiate the dream of Dave Gavitt in a post-apocalyptic way.
- Speaking of West Virginia, the Morgantown school has filed a civil suit in state court to get out of its contractual obligation to stay with the Big East for another two years as it transitions to the Big 12. WVU would like to leave as soon as next summer, and by taking its case to the courts under a specific claim of “direct and proximate result of ineffective leadership and breach of fiduciary duties to the football schools by the Big East and its Commissioner.” Ineffective leadership — ouch. Big East commissioner John Marinatto responded to the shot across his bow by citing the party line about his conference’s “legal options” and so forth. What the league’s insistence on keeping the three defectors around longer comes down to is that it needs to stay at a minimum of eight football schools in order to keep its auto-bid to the BCS — if the league loses Pitt, SU and WVU prior to making its replacements, then its bid becomes more tenuous (although the FBS rules state that any eight schools will do). If they all left tomorrow, the league would have five — UConn, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and Rutgers. Big East football — the gift that keeps on giving… and giving… and giving…
- Monday was a big day in the recruiting world, as we get closer to the early signing period later this month. Arizona received a commitment from seven-foot center Kaleb Tarczewski (how did Coach K not get this guy?), and the gurus are already projecting Sean Miller’s third class as the top-rated in the country. After a downswing in talent in recent years, the Pac-12 may be on the verge of a player infusion rivaling the draftable talent it had on hand in the late 2000s — as we discussed on our Pac-12 microsite Monday, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and even new member Colorado are seeing returns on the recruiting circuit that have been missing lately. Will it pan out?