Morning Five: 09.07.12 EditionPosted by rtmsf on September 7th, 2012
- Thursday’s buzz revolved around two head coaches who are no strangers to controversy — let’s start with the much more successful of the two, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun. In a piece provided to SI.com by Mark Blaudschun about the venerable head coach, Calhoun said that he plans on making a decision whether he will return for his 27th season in Storrs in the next couple of weeks. And according to the author describing his body language in the interview, Calhoun may be leaning toward hanging up his whistle. We plan on looking deeper into Calhoun’s legacy a bit later today, but our stance on his retirement has always been one of ‘we’ll believe it when we see it.’ Of course, his team in 2012-13 is shut out of both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments (although the school is still lobbying for inclusion in the conference tourney), so the motivation that he had which caused him to come back last season might be missing this time around.
- The other head coach (for now) who has been in the news cycle all week long is Texas Tech’s Billy Gillispie. After six days holing up in a Lubbock hospital as he dealt with stress-related health issues, the much-maligned head coach was released on Thursday afternoon and presumably headed home. We actually don’t have a very good feeling about all of this, but we’d expect that the university will be speaking with him as soon as possible and will announce its position regarding his term of employment very quickly. Regardless of what happens with respect to Gillispie, the reeling program received more bad news this week when it learned that transfer forward Aaron Ross has torn his ACL and will miss the upcoming season. Too soon to joke that Gillispie will have him running stairs tomorrow?
- After two years of domino-tipping, could conference realignment be reaching a sort of stasis? The reason we say this is because the Big 12 is reportedly set to announce a new monstrosity of a $2.6 billion television contract with ABC/ESPN and Fox that will cover the next 13 years of broadcasts. So what, right? The difference is that this deal — similar in scope to the Big Ten and Pac-12 contracts — in that each member institution must sign over its “grant of rights,” which is essentially a legal term that gives the conference ownership over each school’s media properties. So if, say, Texas or Oklahoma were to go sniffing around for a better deal elsewhere in the next 13 years, their media revenue in the new league would stay with the Big 12. This extreme disincentive to give away one’s media rights should all but ensure that those three stalwart leagues keep their members from jumping ship. Given that the Big 12 in particular has already been very close to disintegration, their newfound steadying influence in the nation’s mid-section may ultimately put an end to some of the craziness of the last couple of years.
- Remember that Rick Pitino guy? The Louisville head coach must have enjoyed his 2012 Final Four team so much that it left him (mostly) speechless over the summer. We’ve gotten used to the guy making news pretty much year-round, but there’s been nary a peep out of him lately. Yesterday he made the national news circuit with his comments to WDRB.com that, in light of the fact he has a veteran team with national championship aspirations returning, he wants his players to avoid playing pick-up basketball and only spend 45 minutes per day working on their games. If you read the article, Pitino goes into a long-winded explanation about how he implements his system as a whole versus its parts, but what’s unsaid here is that his teams over the last several years have been often walking M*A*S*H units. The message between the lines here is that Pitino wants his players to be fresh and healthy for the 2012-13 season, with the knowledge that if his group can remain that way into March, the Cardinals will have a great chance at cutting the nets down in Atlanta. This is actually a solid strategy, even if Pitino has trouble coming right out and stating it that way.
- While on the subject of Louisville, Lindy’s has released its preseason Top 10 and the anti-pick-up Cards sit at the top of the heap. Indiana, the other team that will probably share with UL the top spot in many polls, came in at #2. The surprise pick was at #3, with John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines getting the nod, but we have to ask the question whether the choice of St. Louis at #9 was made before or after the news of Rick Majerus’ layoff. No disrespect to interim head coach Jim Crews, but that’s a lot to ask from a guy who has never so much as sniffed the Top 25, much less the rarefied air of the Top 10.