Morning Five: 12.20.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 20th, 2013


  1. It seems hard to believe, but it appears that Australian point guard Dante Exum is planning on visiting five colleges — Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, and Oregon (which one of these doesn’t belong…) — in the near-future. The reason that it seems so strange is that Exum could enter the coming NBA Draft and is widely believed to be a top five pick if he did enter the 2014 NBA Draft. Andrew Bogut, a fellow Australian, has spoken publicly advising Exum to enter the NBA Draft if his draft stock is that high. Now this could all just be Exum getting a few trips out of the recruiting process or just wanting to test the college waters to see if he likes the system as a way to prepare for a likely NBA career, but we will believe that Exum is going to college when we see him in a college uniform.
  2. If you were hoping for an in-state rivalry to develop between Kansas and Wichita State you can forget about it. Well at least on the court. According to a report from The Kansas City Star, Gregg Marshall would be willing to play a home-and-home series with the Jayhawks, but Bill Self says he won’t because he sees no upside in it for Kansas. While we are not fans of Self’s decision not to schedule games between the two schools we have to agree with his logic that it does not benefit Kansas in any way. Scheduling Wichita State would only make the Jayhawks’ schedule more challenging (and if you look at your schedule this year you know that they do not need it) and the potential cost of a loss to an in-state school that is several rungs below them on the basketball hierarchy would only weaken their stranglehold on the state. In fact, just getting Kansas on their regular schedule would only further validate the Wichita State program (if a Final Four trip last season didn’t do that) so we wouldn’t expect to see this match-up in the regular season any time soon.
  3. In his final Power Rankings of 2013, Luke Winn has his usual statistical breakdowns, but he also has one of the longest breakdowns we have seen in the column looking at how Arizona defended Michigan in the last possession of its win this past weekend. Outside of that the numbers that jump out at us the most are how infrequently Michigan State gets to the free throw line and how bad Baylor is in the post. It will be interesting to see how the latter two issues play out as the season progresses as both teams are top 10 teams at this point and both issues seem like they might be significant going forward.
  4. How much does it take to get your name attached to an historic college basketball venue? At Indiana, it appears that the price is $40 million, after the school announced on Thursday that Assembly Hall would be renovated and renamed the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall by 2016. The renovations are reported to include “revenue-generating box seats, a new south entryway, a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, escalators and remodeled restrooms and concession stands.” All of that is fine and well, and we’d much rather see a philanthropist’s name on the side of the building than a corporate one (Bob Evans Assembly Hall just doesn’t have the same ring to it), but let’s just be sure that Indiana administrators are not going to let Skjodt, the daughter of a shopping mall magnate, turn the place into a hoops version of the Mall of America.
  5. The NCAA makes a regular practice out of tying itself in knots with its public inconsistencies and embarrassing blunders, but Thursday marked a new one for the likes of Jay Bilas and others to skewer. In a Montgomery County (Maryland) court case involving a wrongful death filed by the family of former Frostburg State football player, Derek Sheely, NCAA counsel wrote in a court filing that “The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes, but admits that it was ‘founded to protect young people from the dangerous and exploitative athletic practices of the time.’” From a legal perspective, the NCAA is clearly distinguishing the mission and goals of its current mega-organization from that of something a half-century ago; but from a PR perspective, this is just another quiver in what the public perceives as an organization deeply embedded with hypocrisy and completely out of touch with the world around it. Happy Friday.
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