Municipal Auditorium: College Basketball Still Lives In Its KC Cathedral

Posted by Greg Mitchell (@gregpmitchell) on January 19th, 2014

There’s a revival underway at one of the cathedrals of college basketball. Once upon a time, John Wooden paced the sidelines in this building and Wilt Chamberlain took the floor here. But this isn’t Pauley Pavilion or Allen Fieldhouse; rather, Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Municipal doesn’t have the instant credibility of The Palestra or Hinkle Fieldhouse, but it’s nearly as old as those fabled venues, and steeped in just as much history.

Walt Hazzard leads UCLA past Duke in the 1964 final at Municipal Auditorium. This was the first of many titles for John Wooden and UCLA (msn.foxsports.com).

Walt Hazzard leads UCLA past Duke in the 1964 final at Municipal Auditorium. This was the first of many titles for John Wooden and UCLA (msn.foxsports.com).

Municipal has hosted more Final Fours than any other building in the country (nine) and the second-most total tournament games (only Dayton Arena, buoyed by the First Four, has hosted more). Wooden won his fist national championship on Municipal’s floor by beating Duke in 1964, his 16th season on the bench in Westwood. The win was also the finishing touch on Wooden’s first of four undefeated seasons at UCLA (30-0). Three years before that, Cincinnati walked off Municipal’s floor as national champions, surviving a 27-point effort from Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas in the final. The Buckeyes got two points from a reserve forward named Bob Knight in the 1961 championship game; as it turned out, that one field goal wouldn’t be the pinnacle of his basketball career. Kansas reached the 1957 finals at Municipal on the back of Chamberlain (that tournament’s Most Outstanding Player), but fell in triple overtime to Frank McGuire-coached North Carolina. This was the Tar Heels’ first championship and second Final Four appearance, and things have gone pretty well in Chapel Hill ever since.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

College Gameday Lineup Sizzles, But Can Show Stand To Improve?

Posted by BHayes on August 15th, 2013

em>Bennet Hayes is an RTC  columnist. He can be reached @HoopsTraveler.

During these trying summer months away from the hardwood, a favorite pastime of college basketball fans is putting together the jigsaw puzzle that is the schedule for the season ahead. We still don’t have all the pieces in hand here in mid-August, but over the past few weeks we have heard announcements regarding in-season tournaments, multi-conference challenges, and select non-conference match-ups. The next shoe to drop in the schedule release process came Wednesday, when ESPN unveiled its 2013-14 College Gameday schedule. This new delivery of hoops action to come is a mouth-watering series of match-ups with a pretty comprehensive geographic blueprint (games in seven different conferences are included, plus a Gonzaga vs. Memphis non-conference tilt), and in all likelihood, even more complete coverage of the top of the preseason polls. There is a distinct possibility that every single team in this season’s preseason Top 10 will make an appearance on Gameday. Excited for Saturday nights in 2014 yet? It’ll be hard for that slate to disappoint, but if you will allow for a little nit-picking, we have a few good ideas on how to make Gameday – already a great thing – even greater.

The College Gameday Crew Has A Winter Of Titanic College Hoops Matchups Ahead Of Them, But No Return Trip To Hinkle Fieldhouse Means We Are Probably Safe To Avoid The Crew's Hickory High Jerseys This Season

The College Gameday Crew Has A Winter Of Titanic College Hoops Matchups Ahead Of Them, But No Return Trip To Hinkle Fieldhouse Means We Are Probably Safe To Avoid Davis, Rose, Phelps And Bilas In Their “Memorable” Hickory High Jerseys 

With the original and (still) most popular version of College Gameday coming to you from college football’s most famed venues each fall Saturday, there are a few things we wish the hoops variety would steal from their gridiron counterparts. For one, what’s the rush with scheduling? My Wednesday afternoon may have been a little less exciting yesterday, but why not wait until a couple weeks out (like the football guys do) to set the games? That way we avoid providing disappointing teams a national stage (for example, Southern Illinois entered its January 2008 Gameday spot against Creighton with a losing record), and also potentially allow fans to enjoy games featuring surprise teams that may not have been on the preseason radar. Plus, if nothing better materializes, these brilliant original match-ups can stand. Michigan will still be visiting Sparty on January 25, Duke and UNC will still be facing off at Cameron on March 8, and life cannot be any worse!

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Big East M5: 04.04.13 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on April 4th, 2013

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. After a disappointing single season in Pittsburgh, Jamie Dixon says 6’5″ shooting guard Trey Ziegler is transferring again in hopes of finding “a chance to be more involved” in his final year of eligibility. Ziegler failed to replicate the production he’d demonstrated in two seasons playing for his father at Central Michigan, registering career lows in almost every major statistical category. Ziergler probably wasn’t going to thrive at Pitt next year, but with only six scholarship players returning, he would have provided much needed depth and experience in the backcourt off the bench. Cardiac Hill notes Ziegler is the sixth player to transfer from Pitt in two years.
  2. Less than two weeks after insisting he would return for his sophomore year, Pitt center Steven Adams reversed course Tuesday and announced he would declare for the NBA Draft. Adams’ draft projection fell from top five in the preseason to mid-to-late first round after his production (7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG) failed to reflect his athletic, punishing 7’0 frame. Even before an underwhelming freshman campaign,  Jamie Dixon had evidently alluded to a “four-year plan” Adams had envisioned for himself, which included getting his master’s degree at Pitt. But Adams is one of 18 children, and Dixon implied the wish to provide for his family outweighed Adams’ ambitions in school: “It’s tough, I think he really loved it here. He loved his teammates… I know what he was saying but I also know what his family was saying at the same time.” With Dante Taylor graduating and Marcus Gilbert transferring, Talib Zanna is the only real frontcourt presence Dixon returns next year.
  3. On the topic of reversing coarse, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti fired Mike Rice less than 24 hours after publicly defending his basketball coach on ESPN. Pernetti was contrite in a statement on Rice’s release: “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate [Rice], but I was wrong.” The loose end here is confusion over the involvement of President Robert Barchi, who distanced himself from the scandal yesterday when a spokesperson reiterated that Barchi hadn’t seen the damning practice footage until Tuesday. The problem? Pernetti had initially implied to ESPN that the president was aware of the tapes’ content in December and signed off on his efforts to “rehabilitate” Rice. Don’t be surprised to see Barchi throw Pernetti under the bus and weather the storm. Meanwhile, Adam Zagoria reports that Bob Knight is a long-shot candidate to replace Rice. Which is so unconscionable that it must be a late April Fool’s joke.
  4. USA Today and Forbes have updated the usual financial stats on program revenues and coaching salaries, and Sean Keeley at TNIAAM points out that Syracuse is getting a seriously good deal with Jim Boeheim. The Orange coach ranks number 17th (on a list that omits several more highly paid coaches), raking in $1.9 million per year in base salary. That’s less than Big East peer coaches JTIII ($2.2 million), Jay Wright ($2.3 million), and Rick Pitino ($4.8 million). Looking at Forbes’ comparison of basketball program revenues in the Final Four, Keeley observes that while Boeheim and John Beilein earn about the same salary, Michigan basketball earns just over a third ($9.9 million) what Boeheim’s program makes ($26 million).
  5. Yesterday the leftovers of the Big East were finally named the American Athletic Conference. The UConn Blog is pleased with the inoffensive title, which lends itself to the edgier AmeriCon abbreviation and should, if nothing else, put a stop to the geography jokes everyone suffered through last year. “It’s fine. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not worse, and on the scale of UConn‘s conference realignment news, that makes this a resounding victory.”
Share this story

College Basketball by the Tweets: The Harlem Shake, Bob Knight and Alan Crabbe…

Posted by Nick Fasulo on February 20th, 2013

bythetweets

Nick Fasulo is an RTC correspondent who writes the column College Basketball By the Tweets, a look at the world of college hoops through the prism of everyone’s favorite social media platform. You can find him on Twitter @nickfasuloSBN.

So this Harlem Shake viral phenomenon. You’ve heard of it. I shouldn’t have to explain it. Heck, there’s a chance you’ve made one or been forced to watch your co-workers’ rendition in the last seven days. Anyway… from the Soulja Boy Superman to the Dougie to Gangnam Style, college basketball always has a say in the direction and popularity of dance crazes. So with the latest flash in the pan fad reaching its apex over the weekend, naturally it pervaded DI to NAIA gyms and arenas over the weekend. Like, literally.

Based on my observations, Colin is not exaggerating.

Mike Montgomery Shoves Alan Crabbe

In sports today, almost any altercation, whether physical or verbal, is going to spark conversation on Twitter. Drama moves the needle, and the latest occurrence of that was Saturday when Cal head coach Mike Montgomery shoved his star player, Alan Crabbe. Video shows nothing too aggressive, but a love jolt enough to upset Crabbe and cause a bit of short-lived dissent among the team. Some quickly compared the act to that of Morehead State’s Sean Woods, who verbally abused a player earlier this season The difference is that Sean Woods humiliated his player because of how personal Morehead’s game against Kentucky was. Woods is a former Wildcats star whose jersey hangs in the Rupp Arena rafters, now coaching against his alma mater and trying to squeeze as much out of his players as he could. But only for his own good. Montgomery was passionate and truly trying to motivate, unfortunately displaying that passion in a not-so-ideal manner. Many people saw it the same way.

So I think we can agree that the action was understandable. We can give Montgomery a pass. But what he said in his postgame press conference probably didn’t award him a get-out-of-jail free card, thus leading to the undisclosed punishment.

Oh yeah, and, Montgomery’s act sort of worked, as Crabbe led the Golden Bears’ comeback against the Trojans, and also this…

Assuming Montgomery has spoken to Crabbe privately about this, I’ll tip my cap to the heady coach.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Big East M5: 01.04.13 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on January 4th, 2013

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. Following Providence’s loss to Louisville this week, Ed Cooley called the Cards the best team in the country. While it’s not rare for a coach to stump for one of his conference-mates in a discussion like this, Cooley may very well be right. Louisville has tremendous depth, a legitimate All-America candidate in Russ Smith, and their only loss was to current #1 Duke by five points without defensive enforcer Gorgui Dieng in the lineup. Cooley went on to praise Louisville’s style of play, and probably thanked a higher power that he wouldn’t need to play them annually in a few years time.
  2. Increased off-the-ball movement has led to more scoring opportunities for Notre Dame, and the Irish offense seems to be rolling as Big East play opens. In Tom Noie’s piece, Jerian Grant discusses how the offense switched from an emphasis on ball screens to one on cuts and constant motion, leading to more scoring opportunities for the Irish — who are averaging just under 80 points per game since the last week in November. Mike Brey has also allowed his star guards to open things up a bit more this season, according to Eric Atkins: “Coach has given Jerian and I the green light to get it and go and really push it whenever we see fit. That’s helped us get out in transition.  All that combined has really gotten the points up higher than we normally have had.”
  3. Credit Shabazz Napier for taking a strong leadership role in what was destined to be a tough year for the UConn program. He has taken over as the Huskies’ leading scorer, as expected, but he is doing so with increased efficiency as well. Last season, Napier scored 1.17 points per shot, but this year he’s at a vastly improved 1.46 points per shot.  He’s also attacking the boards with a team-leading 4.2 rebounds per game and 23 rebounds in his last three contests. Napier may not be able to make a Kemba Walker-type run in the NCAA tournament as a junior, but he has done his best Walker impression as a do-it-all star for UConn so far this year.
  4. The great Jim Boeheim legacy debate continues to rage on, and yesterday the Los Angeles Times’ Diane Pucin had a little round table discussion with Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune and Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant about whether Boeheim is the second best coach in NCAA history. Pucin is the person most open to the notion that Boeheim ranks up there with Coach K, Bob Knight, and John Wooden, while the other two writers have more reservations about ranking him that high do to his sole national championship. Amore probably sums the whole exercise best to close the piece: “Boeheim should be respected and admired as one of the greatest coaches, a significant figure in the history of his sport. No. 2? Top 10? … Top 10 sounds about right, but ranking him is as complicated as it is unnecessary.”
  5. With the loss of Yancy Gates after last season, Cincinnati had a pretty sizable hole to fill down low, but they are getting some decent production from junior David Nyarsuk. Nyarsuk, a native of the Republic of South Sudan who spent his first collegiate year at NAIA Mountain State University, has come on a bit of late, and is now averaging 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game. Nyarsuk may not be in line for any all-conference honors, but if he can continue to learn the game and increase his effectiveness, he will play an important role for the Bearcats this year. He is Cincinnati’s tallest player at 7’1″, and is really the team’s only other option at center besides 6’10″ Chiekh Mbodj.
Share this story

Big East M5: 01.03.13 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on January 3rd, 2013

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. With Syracuse’s 78-53 takedown of Rutgers at the Carrier Dome last night, Jim Boeheim took sole ownership of second place on the Division I all-time wins list with 903 victories, passing Bob Knight. These first few months of the season have been eventful for Boeheim, whose ascent up this list has been the focus of tremendous media attention and occasional scrutiny this season. In weighing in on Boeheim’s ranking among the greatest coaches of all-time, Rob Dauster notes the affect that a single Keith Smart jumper has had on Boeheim’s perception. If that shot doesn’t fall, Boeheim is two wins ahead of Knight, has the same number of national titles (two) as the man who many consider the greatest game coach of all-time, and many writers have a lot less material come March.
  2. USF and UCF have played twice this season, splitting two contests that foreshadow what may develop into a nice rivalry for whatever the future of the Big East holds. Tampa Bay Online‘s Joey Johnston argues that the rivalry between the two schools could become a staple for the new look Big East, or whichever conference the two schools find themselves attached to in the future. Johnston believes that the natural rivalry and the high number of television sets in the I-4 corridor makes the two schools very attractive. Let the lobbying begin.
  3. Buzz Williams48-hour suspension from the Marquette basketball team has now ended, and the fiery coach will rejoin the team in preparation for Georgetown. Williams’ suspension stemmed from assistant coach Scott Monarch giving apparel and rides to a Golden Eagles recruit. Monarch, a close friend of Williams, was summarily fired. Williams was not found to have had any knowledge of the violations, but he took the school-sanctioned leave as the program is ultimately his responsibility. Marquette defeated UConn in overtime during Williams’ absence from the team.
  4. Pittsburgh‘s two losses to Michigan and Cincinnati had a very similar feel to them, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Ray Fittipaldo outlines three major factors that hurt the Panthers in both games: a lack of rebounding in the second half, especially from the center position; struggles against talented, aggressive guards on the perimeter; and, opposing teams limiting the Panthers’ transition game.  If Pitt can’t solve these issues soon, the team will have major struggles in league play. Syracuse has a strong interior presence, Louisville has excellent high-energy guard play, and Georgetown will absolutely look to control the game’s tempo, just to name three teams who will look to take advantage of these weaknesses.
  5. Syracuse.com‘s Mike Waters was asked about his all-time Big East team in his weekly mailbag. This is a fun exercise that I’m sure will come up on many sites and blogs this year, especially around Big East Tournament time. Waters weighs in on a number of Big East greats before settling on a strong starting five consisting of Sherman Douglas, Ray Allen, Chris Mullin, Derrick Coleman, and Patrick Ewing.  When a conference could have a second team of Allen Iverson, Kerry Kittles, Carmelo Anthony, Donyell Marshall, and Alonzo Mourning, you know that they’ve been doing something right for a very long time.
Share this story

Big East M5: Doomsday Edition

Posted by mlemaire on December 17th, 2012

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. The writing was on the wall long before the announcement was made but Saturday marked the end of the Big East conference as we all knew it. As expected, the league’s seven catholic schools — Villanova, Marquette, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and DePaulannounced they were leaving the conference together with the assumed departure date tentatively set as June 30, 2015. Although the announcement should sadden any Big East basketball fan now staring at a shell of the conference, the move makes perfect sense for the seven considering none of the group fields a FBS football program and football is the sport that has dictated all of the money-grabbing and maneuvering. Once it became clear that the conference cared less about its basketball pedigree and more about salvaging its standing in the football community, the Catholic Seven were all but gone. There is still much to be played out, however, as many wonder whether the seven will form their own conference and try to recruit other basketball schools like Xavier and Butler, or whether they will try to latch on with another conference. Needless to say, this is huge news in our corner of the blogosphere and rest assured we will have plenty more analysis, memories, and news to share as the weeks progress.
  2. One Big East player who was probably happy to see the conference realignment news take center stage was Syracuse‘s sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams, as he got to watch news of his shoplifting incident slip into the background amidst all the conference realignment chaos. Rumors of the incident spread last week as photos of what appeared to be Carter-Williams being led down a mall escalator in handcuffs circulated around Twitter, and the Syracuse Post-Standard did the rest of the legwork. The gist of it is that Carter-Williams was caught trying to shoplift a bathrobe and gloves from a Lord & Taylor outlet at the mall. He was caught, worked everything out with the store, and the police did not have to get involved. I have seen some rip into Carter-Williams for this and while there is no denying his judgment (as well as his thieving ability) were poor, I am tempted to give him a break here. By all accounts he acknowledged his error, cooperated with the store, and reimbursed them and then some from what he was trying to steal. That sounds like the actions of a kid who knows he did a dumb thing and accepted his punishment. Given all the other sorts of mishaps that college players make news for, I will refrain from calling Carter-Williams a criminal who needs to be suspended and just say this was a kid who made a dumb decision and is still paying for it.
  3. The news surrounding Syracuse basketball isn’t all negative, however, as legendary coach and quote Jim Boeheim is set to win his 900th career game tonight, assuming his Orange can handle a middling Detroit team. If he wins, he will join Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight as the only coaches in Division I history to reach that plateau. The fact that a coach can win 900 games in a career is impressive in and of itself, but its his longevity and loyalty that make this feat so remarkable. Unlike Krzyzewski and Knight, all of Boeheim’s wins have come at his alma mater, as he hasn’t coached at any other school in his long and storied career. We are also talking about a coach who, since taking over the program in 1976, has failed to reach 20 wins in a season just twice and has never won fewer than 16 games in a single year. You can scour the Internet on your own if you are looking for more in-depth celebrations of Boeheim’s achievement, but Boeheim has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest collegiate coaches in any sport, as if there was ever any doubt.
  4. The move out of the Big East could pay additional dividends for Providence coach Ed Cooley as the university’s president, Rev. Brian J. Shanley O.P., indicated that the school would be looking into extending Cooley’s contract to ensure he is at the helm for the foreseeable future. Cooley’s recruiting prowess is well-documented, but his ability to produce winning teams at Providence is not.  That is not to say he can’t do it, it is just to say that he has barely gotten his feet wet at the school, and so handing him an extension at this juncture may be dangerous if the team fails to live up to expectations over the course of the next three or four years. That said, Providence doesn’t have the luxury of being an elite job and the current conference instability doesn’t make it any more appealing. In order to ensure Cooley doesn’t jump ship if things go wrong, the university is willing to extend him now. It is a risky move but the right one as the Friars search for stability and a new home to continue their rebuilding efforts.
  5. Tim Sullivan, a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, hit the nail on the head when he called the Louisville basketball team a “roller derby”. Saturday’s gritty win against Memphis was all the evidence that Sullivan needed as the Cardinals let the Tigers jump out to a huge early lead only to claw back into the game in the second half and eventually emerge victorious. The offense and even the defense for stretches was not a pretty sight, but Rick Pitino’s bunch forced 24 turnovers and drew 33 free throws, scratching out a quality win any way they could against the high-flying athletes of Memphis. The game was so intense that even Pitino couldn’t resist a last-minute jab at a heckler after the Cardinals had won the game. It doesn’t take a basketball expert to see this is going to be a theme for the Cardinals all season long. Some teams have smooth offensive players and tons of NBA talent; the Cardinals have some streaky shooters, a penetrating point guard, a formidable frontcourt, and nearly unmatched competitiveness. That is how they are going to win games this season and I bet if you asked Pitino, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Share this story

Where 2012-13 Happens: Reason #2 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2012

And away we go, headfirst into another season heralded by our 2012-13 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured here what we believe were the most compelling moments from last season, some of which will bring back the goosebumps and others of which will leave you shaking your head. The entire series from #30 to this point can be viewed hereEnjoy!

#2 – Where Greatness Personified Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-092009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons.

Share this story

The RTC Podcast: 2012-13 Preseason Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 22nd, 2012

Welcome back to the RTC Podcast. Last season we unveiled this endeavor along with its less-sophisticated cousin, the RTC Podblast, and we enjoyed the hell out of it. Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) returns as your host, with the RTC editing team and several of our national and microsite writers joining us from time to time to riff about all things college basketball.

The plan for the preseason is that we’ll do two nationally-focused podcasts (this edition plus one more recording during Opening Week), plus a number of power conference-specific podblasts that will break down each of the six major leagues over the next three weeks. If we’re feeling especially frisky, we’ll try to knock out an Other 26 podblast while we’re at it. Look for the Big East and Big Ten to drop a little later this week, and make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record.

We welcome any and all feedback on these podcasts including topics for future discussion or if you want to send us any questions for our “May Not Be From Actual Listeners” segment. For now, enjoy the listen and feel free to jump around to the areas you’re most interested in by using this handy outline.

RTC Podcast: 2012-13 Preseason Edition

  • 2:20 – Connecticut/Jim Calhoun/Kevin Ollie
  • 14:30 – Other Coaching Moves (Frank Martin, Larry Brown, Billy Gillispie)
  • 21:00 – ACC Poaching of the Notre Dame
  • 24:40 – Butler and VCU Moving to Atlantic 10
  • 25:45 – Teams Losing a Lot (Kentucky, North Carolina)
  • 30:50 – Teams Bringing a Lot Back (Louisville, Indiana)
  • 36:05 – Underrated/Overrated Teams (NC State, UCLA, Tennessee, UNLV)
  • 42:55 – Players Receiving Preseason All-American Hype
  • 53:30 – How Many Mid-Major Players Will Make the AA Team?
  • 57:30 – What CBB Memorabilia Would We Want to Own (inspired by Bob Knight)?

 

Share this story

Big 12 M5: 10.16.12 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on October 16th, 2012

  1. Bob Knight is in the headlines once again. The former Indiana and Texas Tech basketball coach is auctioning his national championship rings along with his 1984 Olympic gold medal.  On the heels of Arkansas football coach John L. Smith’s financial issues, was Knight the latest to resort to selling his goods for a quick buck? No, he’s doing this to pay for grandchildren’s college education. Up for bid are his three NCAA championship rings from 1976, 1981 and 1987, his gold medal as Team USA coach (given to him from the LA Olympic Committee) as well as a sports coat and warm-up jacket also given to him as part of the 1984 Olympic team. Good to know nothing’s wrong with Knight financially speaking. You almost had us there, coach.
  2. The Baylor Bears have them a fan in CBS’ Matt Norlander. He likes the Bears as a preseason Top 20 team and it’s hard to think of them otherwise. Ricardo Gathers and Isaiah Austin are bound to make immediate impacts as freshmen with the departures of Perry Jones III and the Quincys, Miller and Acy. Throw in the Big 12 preseason POY in Pierre Jackson, three-point assassin Brady Heslip, highflyer Deuce Bello and you’re looking at a team that can blossom at the end of the year, just like the two Elite Eight teams of recent vintage (2010, 2012). Scott Drew certainly has a type.
  3. Kansas State is still getting used to Bruce Weber just as Weber is to K-State. Kellis Robinett of The Wichita Eagle had an outstanding piece detailing how the two are meshing. The first time the Wildcats tried to run Weber’s motion offense was a comedy of errors. Players were unsure of where to go and featured, as the story notes, “teammates accidentally crashing into each other.” When Frank Martin was around, K-State ran half-court sets so it’s understandable a scheme change would take some time to master. One difference senior Will Spradling notices between his current and former coach is that one mistake would have caused Spradling to hear Martin’s loud voice in his ear while Weber is willing and able to rehearse the play as long as it takes to get right. In the grand scheme of things, this won’t make the Wildcats win more games because KSU would have been projected as pretty good whether Weber or Martin were calling the shots. Gonna miss Martin’s death stare, though.
  4. Former Iowa State everyman Royce White has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start in his NBA career. He didn’t arrive at the Houston Rockets training camp on time due to anxiety issues over flying. To quell those fears, White and the Rockets came to an agreement on traveling arrangements during the preseason. Monday night White saw his first action as a Rocket and, in limited action, he looked every bit the player he was in Ames. He wasn’t put in a box, he was Royce. For Rockets fans like myself, that’s music to our ears.
  5. I am a big fan of the College Basketball All-Name Teams provided by the fine folks at Ballin is a Habit every October. Now that this fall ritual has moved to NBC’s College Basketball Talk, this year’s list of names may be the deepest ever. Big 12 schools have their share of wacky namesakes but the real humor is in the name of each category. Read this while you enjoy your lunch later today. You may not have much of one when you’re done looking it over.
Share this story

Morning Five: 10.16.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2012

  1. From the we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it department, ACC coaches on Monday squarely put NC State’s Mark Gottfried right into the conference crosshairs with their decision to pick his Wolfpack as the front-runner for the 2012-13 league championship. Whew. NC State received eight of the 12 first-place votes, with second-place Duke receiving three, and North Carolina receiving the other top vote. Nobody will deny that Gottfried returns the most talent in the ACC from a Sweet Sixteen team — and adds quite possibly the best freshman in the league to boot — but still, the Wolfpack were a 9-7 conference team last season and Gottfried has never been a coach who has consistently gotten it done in the regular season. His best two teams at Alabama went 12-4 in the SEC (2001-02 and 2004-05) and he wasn’t facing the likes of Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams when he was cementing those records. From our perspective, the league belongs to Duke and North Carolina until it’s taken from them (the last team to win the ACC outright other than Duke/UNC occurred a decade ago).
  2. While on the subject of Duke, the Blue Devil program made quite a bit of news on Monday. While spending the day 90 miles south of Durham at Fort Bragg, going through physical training drills and holding an inspired open practice in front of a number of US Army troops — apparently Duke players applauded the soldiers as they entered the gym – the school also announced some less inspiring news. Redshirt freshman forward Marshall Plumlee has developed a stress fracture in his left foot and will miss the next 6-8 weeks of practice, putting significantly more pressure on older brother Mason and senior Ryan Kelly to man the boards and shore up the low blocks defensively. This is especially true given that the Blue Devils will face an early-season murderer’s row of Kentucky in the Champions Classic on November 13, the Battle 4 Atlantis (including a loaded field of Minnesota, VCU, Memphis, Louisville, Missouri, and Stanford) soon thereafter, and Ohio State at in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the end of November.
  3. Coach K’s respect for the military of course comes from his time at West Point, where he played under a fiery disciplinarian named Bob Knight. The three-time national championship head coach, who has never struck us as much of a sentimentalist, is planning on auctioning his three Indiana championship rings, his Olympic gold medal (given to him by the LA Olympic Committee) as well as a sports coat and warmup jacket he received as the head coach for the 1984 US Men’s National Team (a squad that included Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing). With his regular speaking engagements plus his lucrative ESPN commentator gig, it’s unlikely that Knight is hurting for money — but, sensing that he could pay for his grandchildren’s college educations with one fell swoop through this auction — this was probably an easy decision for the 71-year old. The “Bob Knight Collection” will be auctioned off through Steiner Sports, ending on December 5 – if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, that 1976 championship ring from the last undefeated team in college basketball would make for a great conversation starter.
  4. Harvard appeared to be on the verge of an Ivy League dynasty prior to a recent academic cheating scandal that has enveloped over 100 undergraduates including two of the basketball team’s best players, Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry. Still, there are hopes among Crimson faithful that Tommy Amaker’s team can bridge the gap this season while awaiting the return of its two stars in 2013-14 (both players withdrew from school this year, but plan on returning next season). Meanwhile, in coming off the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in over 65 years, the university is now backing a plan to build a brand-new basketball arena to replace its antiquated 1920s-era Lavietes Pavilion. The new arena will hold 2,700 people and be ready for the bouncing of balls some time between 2017-22. Whether Harvard will grow to become a regular NCAA Tournament participant by that date remains to be seen, but this next step in the progression of the program would not have been possible without the drive and vision for excellence that head coach Tommy Amaker had for Harvard basketball upon his arrival several years ago.
  5. Don’t expect any NCAA Tournament games in the great state of New Jersey anytime soon. The Meadowlands/Izod Center in East Rutherford has held multiple East Regionals (most recently in 2007), and the Prudential Center in Newark has taken that mantle more recently (hosting in 2011), but with the Monday’s publication of regulations licensing and outlining operating rules for Atlantic City casinos and racetracks so as to offer sports gambling, the NCAA’s long-running mandate of not offering its championships in states with such laws has gone into effect. Although there are currently no planned NCAA Tournament events scheduled in the Garden State, five other championships — including the Women’s NCAA Tournament East Regional in 2013 — have been pulled effective immediately. The natural outcome from this mandate is that the most prominent New York and Philadelphia arenas, including the Wells Fargo Center, the Barclays Arena, and Madison Square Garden, potentially stand to gain considerably in future bidding for NCAA Tournament sites. But hey, at least you can bet on the games in Jersey!
Share this story

Bob Knight to Call Two Kentucky Games This Season: Anticipation Will be Astronomical

Posted by DPerry on October 15th, 2012

On Monday, ESPN revealed its broadcasting partnerships for the season, an announcement that rarely produces a lot of fanfare. This year is an exception, though, as the network revealed that Bob Knight will be assigned to Thursday night SEC action alongside Rece Davis. The legendary former Indiana coach caused quite a stir last March when he refused to mention Kentucky by name on the air, opting instead for “that team from the SEC” as a crutch. Knight is a staunch opponent of the “one-and-done” culture in college basketball, making Kentucky and coach John Calipari a natural target for his ire. While Knight won’t be making any trips to Rupp Arena, he is scheduled to call the Wildcats’ SEC opener at Vanderbilt on January 10, as well as their trip to Georgia on March 7.

From ESPN’s perspective, the move makes sense. Kentucky should be heavily favored over the Commodores and Bulldogs, and the broadcasts probably wouldn’t have drawn many neutral viewers. Add in a little controversy, though, and the ratings will skyrocket. Fans will be entertained in noting all the backhanded compliments paid to the Wildcats and the thinly veiled jabs from The General directed at Calipari. Kentucky fans have a ton of experience brushing off criticism, and any vitriol from an impartial announcer will probably just be met with bemusement. Knight will undoubtedly be instructed to play nice, but if we know anything about the man, it’s that he won’t hesitate to speak his mind given the opportunity.

We know what we’re watching on those two nights — how about you?

Share this story