Morning Five: 03.09.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 9th, 2012

  1. Just a few days after we dismissed a Charles Robinson report as being rather mundane, he comes back with a big story on the FBI investigation into Varez Ward and alleged point-shaving at Auburn. Ward, who was suspended prior to the team’s game on February 25, reportedly attempted to convince members of the team to shave points. According to the report, at least two games (a January 25 loss to Arkansas and a February 7 loss to Alabama) are drawing the most interest as potentially suspect games. Based on Robinson’s reports of those games, Ward’s play seems to be more problematic in the second while the first is a little less clear. We have not reviewed the game tapes and have not have any access to the FBI report, but this is certainly a story worth following.
  2. It probably should not be a newsworthy decision, but given all of the dumb early entries we have seen over the years it is worth noting that LeBryan Nash announced yesterday that he will be returning to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season. Coming into the season, Nash was projected to be a potential one-and-done player with his athleticism and the potential to shine on a stage devoid of another elite NBA talent, but Nash’s season was hindered by several nagging injuries. While Nash still projects as a potential late first round pick, his game is still rough around the edges and he needs work both shooting (39.4% FG and 23.5% from 3) and becoming a consistent defender. Cowboys fans may have been somewhat disappointed in Nash’s performance this year, but they should be thrilled to have him for at least one more season.
  3. Connecticut‘s main focus for next season is the pending decision by the NCAA on whether or not the team will be allowed to play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but it appears that it is not that clear if they would even be allowed to play in next year’s Big East Tournament. According to the conference, they need to address their conference championship across all sports to create a conference-wide policy, but in the case of the Huskies there is also the underlying concern that the conference would award its automatic bid to a team that would not be able to use it. It is extremely unlikely that the Big East would be a one-bid conference, but all the same it would be fairly embarrassing to a conference that has received a lot of negative publicity recently with all of the schools defecting from it.
  4. Over the years there have been plenty of organizations that have worn patches to honor a fallen colleague. They are typically for an injured or deceased individual or in rare cases a disenfranchised individuals. We are guessing the patch worn by officials during the ACC Tournament to honor Karl Hess falls under the latter category. Hess, who has long been a controversial official, declined to participate in the ACC Tournament following his decision to remove NC  State legends Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from the stands last month during a game and Hess was removed from his next ACC assignment. When he was offered an opportunity to officiate the ACC Tournament, Hess, a regular at the ACC Tournament opted to work the Big East Tournament instead. While at some level we can appreciate the solidarity of the officials here, it does seem like a rather idiotic statement to make and the officials in the latter games removed the patches after being instructed to do so by the conference.
  5. Over the past two years, we have read plenty of articles about the rise of Harvard basketball, but this piece in The Harvard Crimson is probably the most exhaustive we have seen on the subject so far. If you haven’t been keeping up with Harvard basketball and want to know pretty much everything there is to know about how the program was overhauled, this would be a very good place to start. One of the more interesting aspects is that the writers (all Harvard students) do not hold back with any of the criticisms of the school including questionable recruiting practices and objections to lowering academic standards to bring in the players to create a basketball of this caliber.
nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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