Morning Five: 12.17.12 EditionPosted by rtmsf on December 17th, 2012
- The fields and arenas of play were more reserved than usual this weekend as Americans’ hearts remained heavy in the aftermath of the inexplicable and incomprehensible massacre that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, Friday morning. Moments of silence were observed at games from coast to coast for the fallen children, teachers and administrators whose lives where brutally taken from them much too early. Here at RTC, we generally try to stay above the partisan bickering that passes for national political discourse these days, but enough is enough — whatever we’re doing with respect to national firearm policy isn’t working. We don’t claim to have a reasoned and fair solution to this problem, but our leaders who presumably work for we, the people, need to figure out something better, and now.
- The good people of the state of Connecticut of course are feeling more pain and heartache than anywhere else during this tragedy, and Kevin Ollie‘s Huskies will return to the court tonight with that burden in tow (with videos). It’s a bit more than an hour’s drive southwest from Storrs to Newtown, and many of the UConn players expressed their grief in terms of the connection to their own family members and loved ones: Tyler Olander’s mother is a sixth-grade teacher; Kevin Ollie has a school-age daughter; Shabazz Napier has a two-year old niece whom he adores. The school plans on wearing some sort of commemorative patch on its uniforms honoring the victims — perhaps as soon as in tonight’s game against Maryland-Eastern Shore — and the team will travel to Newtown soon to lend some additional support for the townspeople. As the most high-profile team in the Nutmeg State, these are necessary moves by the Husky program.
- Sigh… on to the rest of the weekend’s news. In a completely expected announcement Saturday, the so-called Catholic 7 Big East schools voted unanimously to leave the conference and set out on its own course as a basketball-centric league. Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence and DePaul have decided that the race to the bottom that its football-playing peers have forced them into during all this conference realignment madness is no longer palatable. Apparently, the RPI anchor that schools like Tulane and East Carolina represented was the final straw. Now, the details on the when and how the exit of these seven universities will happen needs to be settled, but the other major elephant in the room is which schools the New Big East will target to fill out its roster — early reports suggest that Xavier, Dayton, Creighton, Butler and Gonzaga — all or some of them — are on the wish list. Regardless of who this new conference grabs, it’s nice to finally see proud basketball schools pushing back against the football behemoth.
- While on the subject of Butler, Brad Stevens’ plucky squad knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team (per the AP/Coaches, not RTC) on Saturday afternoon at the Crossroads Classic, engendering another round of breathlessness (ourselves included) at just how excellent a head coach the 36-year old wunderkind already is. In a game that was must-watch television throughout, the final outcome hinged on a floater from a sophomore walk-on named Alex Barlow who had made a grand total of six buckets all season. The player who became a Bulldog so that he could apprentice under Stevens with a goal of becoming a head coach, added himself to the lore of a giant-killing school that has already scalped hoops titans North Carolina and Indiana this year. The overtime victory was Butler’s first ever win over a #1 team, and as the Indy Star‘s David Woods writes, it represents just another chapter in a program’s history where reality is better than fiction. Seriously.
- The Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting additional details regarding star guard Michael Carter-Williams’ odd situation last Sunday where people tweeted pictures of him appearing to be under arrest at a local mall. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, MCW was detained and fined after a shoplifting incident at a Lord & Taylor store where he allegedly placed a Polo Ralph Lauren bathrobe and pair of gloves valued at around $120 into his backpack and walked out of the store. He was stopped by loss prevention staff and offered a deal where he could avoid arrest by paying a “civil demand,” wherein he could pay five times the value of the merchandise up to $500 and walk away. One source stated that Carter-Williams paid the fine with his credit card and left the scene freely. After Saturday night’s game versus Canisius (where MCW went for 12/14 assts), Jim Boeheim had little else to say about the matter other than to say that everyone “is satisfied with the result.”