Morning Five: 04.20.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 20th, 2011

  1. Predictably, Bob Knight’s comment from a speaking engagement over the weekend about Kentucky’s 2009-10 starters “not been to class that [spring] semester” has gone over like a lead balloon in the Bluegrass State.  Former Wildcat stars Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins shot back today through the popular social networking medium known as Twitter (ensuring Knight wouldn’t see the comments directly), with Patterson stating his graduation and teammates’ GPAs “speak for themselves”; and, Cousins stating that he finished out that semester “strong,” even completing all his classes before going to the NBA.  On Tuesday, Knight apologized: “My overall point is that one-and-dones are not healthy for college basketball. I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize.”  Thanks, General!  We understand the point Knight was trying to make, but in losing track of a key component of the argument against one-and-dones known as facts, he came off as an older, more famous Joe the Plumber than, as others might have us believe, the Grand Czar and Protector of the Sanctity of the Game.  Memo to Knight: get on fishin’.
  2. This week’s Knucklehead Award goes to Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, who was cited by Lawrence police for his involvement in a fight outside a bar called The Cave last week.  Of course, we recognize that Robinson has gone through some of the most horrific times that a young person can experience with respect to the loss of his mother and grandparents in a very short period of time.  But trying situations such as these usually turn out one of two ways, both of which are on the extreme ends, and Robinson would do well to find his way toward positivity because it won’t take many more situations like these to let his prodigious talents go to waste.
  3. The Voice of the Tar Heels, Woody Durham, is hanging up his microphone after forty years wearing the headset in Chapel Hill.  According to the Durham Sun, he has called 23 bowl games, 13 Final Fours and six men’s basketball national championship games while working with four men’s basketball coaches, six football coaches and four athletic directors at UNC.  But for anyone passing through the airwaves of “Carolina basketball” at any point in the last four decades, it was Durham’s work as the voice of Dean Smith’s Heels that will forever resonate in our ears.  Best of luck on the happiest of trails, Woody.
  4. Your daily NBA Draft news…  Washington State’s Klay Thompson will leave school a year early, and is unlikely to return.  Ken Bone will have quite the rebuilding process in Pullman next season without the services of all-Pac-10 players Thompson and DeAngelo Casto back in the fold.  The son of former #1 pick Mychal Thompson is projected as a late first round/early second round selection.  Speaking of NIT teams, Northwestern junior forward John Shurna announced that he will test the waters this spring, but he is not currently projected as a selection and is likely to return for his senior season.  Finally, as if anyone was expecting otherwise, Kentucky three-point marksman Doron Lamb announced that he would be returning to Lexington for his sophomore season.  As for the other two Wildcats everyone is waiting on — Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones — there are rumors that announcements could come as soon as today, and according to BK’s mom, he already knows his decision.
  5. Introducing what we’re calling The Degree of Calamity Scale, as penned by Mike DeCourcy yesterday.  MD breaks down the eight players who have already entered the NBA Draft without signing with an agent who would be very well served to come back to college for at least another season of growth.  Of course, we agree on all counts, and one of the major dangers of folks who support the compromise idea of the NBA adopting a MLB-style rule for early entries is that the slog to the bottom will eventually result in dozens of high school seniors thinking they’re “ready” for professional basketball in much the same way that the names on DeCourcy’s list currently do.  Generally speaking, players don’t make the best decisions about this sort of thing, and neither do GMs — they both need to be saved from themselves.
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Morning Five: 04.12.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 12th, 2011

  1. In absolutely no surprise whatsoever, UConn All-American and Final Four MOP Kemba Walker is expected to announce that he will forgo his final season of eligibility in Storrs and enter the NBA Draft.  His decision to go pro has been an open secret for some time, as he will graduate in May and his jersey has already been retired into the rafters at Gampel Pavilion.  The RTC NPOY will without question go down as the most popular player in UConn history, and when you consider some of the tremendous names who have come through that program — Chris Smith, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Emeka Okafor, etc. — this is high praise, indeed.
  2. Conversely, it was a rather large surprise that a presumptive top five pick, Baylor’s Perry Jones, announced on Monday that he will be returning to Waco for his sophomore season.  The 6’11 forward had a solid 2010-11 campaign, averaging 14/7 and earning a spot on the all-Big 12 freshman team, although his offensive production tailed off in the later part of the season.  Jones’ return, along with UNC’s Harrison Barnes and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger (supposedly), means that three of the very best members of the Class of 2010 will be back playing college basketball again next season.  Thanks, NBA lockout.
  3. The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported on Monday that the NCAA secondary violation that contributed to Bruce Pearl’s dismissal last month involved the director of basketball operations providing two free tickets to a player’s mother.  According to a report sent from UT to the SEC discussing the violation, neither the coaching staff nor the player knew of the violation at the time, which begs the question as to why such a relatively minor problem was deemed a final straw in leading to Pearl’s firing.  Of course, there was the 30-point Second Round NCAA loss to Michigan where his players quit on him… there’s that, too.
  4. While on the subject of tickets, one of the Kansas “consultants” to the KU Athletic Department who was involved in the selling of ducats for private profit was sentenced yesterday to 46 months in federal prison.  Kenneth Blubagh and his wife Charlette, the former Director of the KU Ticket Office, had pleaded guilty to bilking Kansas out of nearly a million dollars in ticket sales over the past half-decade that they used to buy extravagant vacations and other lavish toys.  The best line from this article referred to Kenneth’s role as consultant: “Blubaugh…was on the Kansas Athletics payroll as a consultant from August 2007 until January 2010. Prosecutors say they still aren’t sure what consulting duties he had handled, other than furthering the conspiracy.”
  5. Some transfer news…  St. Louis center Willie Reed, one of two star players (along with Kwamain Mitchell) involved in an on-campus sexual assault last summer and subsequently booted from school for the fall semester, has dropped out of SLU after having become reinstated in January.  There’s no report as to whether he plans on transferring anywhere else, but he’ll obviously need to get his academic house back in order after missing two consecutive semesters if he plans on playing college basketball again.  Also, South Carolina guard Ramon Galloway is leaving the Gamecock program for LaSalle, despite playing nearly 25 MPG and averaging 11/3 for Darrin Horn’s squad last season.  He represents the seventh player to transfer out of the program in Horn’s three-year tenure at the school.  Considering that SC has finished at or near the bottom of the SEC East the last two seasons, this isn’t the kind of confidence-inspiring news that Horn needs as he tries to rebuild that program.
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Morning Five: 04.10.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 11th, 2011

  1. The season is officially over so it’s time for players to start acting like knuckleheads again.  This weekend’s edition comes to you from Gainesville, Florida, where two Florida players — sophomore forward Erik Murphy and freshman forward Cody Larson — were arrested after allegedly trying to break into a parked car in St. Augustine late Saturday night.  Larson was already on a short leash with head coach Billy Donovan as a result of his involvement in a painkiller scheme during his senior year of high school, but Murphy, who averaged 4/2 last season, was expected to start for the Gators in 2011-12.  The most disturbing part of this story?  That the two players reportedly hovered near a bar’s cash drawer before bouncers ejected them, at which time they decided to break into the car — a frightening proposition in the “could have been worse” category.
  2. The biggest coaching news over the weekend involved something that didn’t happen, specifically that former UCLA/Kansas/everybody in the NBA head coach Larry Brown was not selected as the next captain of the UNLV ship in Las Vegas.  Despite his public overtures for the position, UNLV decided to go with BYU assistant coach Dave Rice, a former Rebel assistant who also played on the two best teams in program history — the 1989-90 national champions and the 1990-91 Final Four team.  Rice was a somewhat controversial choice locally, as public support was largely behind Reggie Theus, one of the best players in program history and the former head man at New Mexico State; but he was largely responsible for BYU’s offensive attack that featured NPOY Jimmer Fredette the last several years, and he claims he wants to bring the “Runnin'” part back to the UNLV program (Lon Kruger’s teams were rather methodical).
  3. In case you missed it, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette received the Wooden Award on Friday night in Los Angeles.  With his receipt of the most prestigious men’s award now in tow, Fredette ended up winning all six of the major NPOY awards this season.  This is the fourth time in the last five years that  unanimity across all awards has occurred, with only Evan Turner and John Wall last season splitting awards as the sole exception.
  4. Adam Zagoria reported on Sunday that Manhattan College had hired Louisville assistant Steve Masiello as its next head coach.  The school had initially made an offer to LIU’s Jim Ferry, but they couldn’t figure out the financial terms, so the Jasper administration went with Masiello instead.  He’ll have a five-year deal and a leg up on New York-area recruiting given his origins from the area (Westchester County) and the extensive amount of players that Louisville has pulled out of the region the last few years — most notably Earl Clark and Samardo Samuels.  Speculation is that Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, will return to Louisville from Florida to take Masiello’s place on the Cardinal staff.
  5. This is a little dated, but for all of us who have a lady friend (or six) in our lives from November to April, it undoubtedly rings very true.  (h/t Peter Robert Casey for his tweet alerting us to this particular brilliance)

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Morning Five: 03.02.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2011

  1. The biggest news of Tuesday was undoubtedly the loss of BYU’s Brandon Davies, a sophomore forward who was banging his way to 11/6 nightly, picking up scraps left over from Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, the two leading scorers.  Davies allegedly broke the school’s honor code, and he was suspended for the rest of the season.  The Cougars are tracking toward a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they’ll need to prove that they can play just as well without Davies in the lineup as they have with him to satisfy the NCAA Selection Committee.  Forward Noah Hartsock is expected to move into Davies’ vacated center position, but Hartsock’s power forward spot will need to be filled by a less experienced player such as Kyle Collinsworth or Charles Abouo.  Very tough break for Dave Rose and the BYU program in its best season in a generation.
  2. In other news involving personnel losses (or non-losses), UNC backup guard Reggie Bullock will miss the remainder of the season with a torn lateral meniscus that he suffered during the weekend’s Maryland game.  This is not a huge loss for the Heels, as Bullock was only contributing 6/3 in about fifteen minutes per game this season, but he was third on the team in three-pointers made (29) and this will make Roy Williams’ team a little more suspect against zone defenses the rest of the year.  In much better news, Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen had his right wrist x-rayed after banging it in Monday night’s game against Texas, and although it was sore and swollen, there is no broken bone.  He is expected to play this coming weekend in Senior Day festivities at Bramlage Coliseum against Iowa State.
  3. Luke Winn gives us his top eight potential bid stealers for the next two weeks — teams who could make strong runs through their conference tournaments to knock someone like Virginia Tech or Michigan off the ‘last four in’ line.  Winn’s list is a good one, but we’d perhaps add a few more names to the discussion: Washington State (Pac-10), Alabama (SEC), San Francisco (WCC) and any number of teams from Conference USA.
  4. Remember former Binghamton guard DJ Rivera, the former America East star whom coaches refused to vote for POY in 2009 even though he was clearly the best player in that league?  Oh, he also was partially responsible for the implosion of the Binghamton program when he was arrested in the fall of 2009 for swiping a debit card and subsequently using it to purchase snacks, cigars and a large-screen television before getting caught.  His arrest along with Tiki Mayben’s commensurate arrest for selling crack cocaine resulted in several players getting kicked off the team and a national scandal that the school is still recovering from.  Why is this relevant now?  On Monday, Rivera pleaded guilty to the crime — fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property — and he will face nine months’ probation, which, if he keeps his nose clean, will allow him to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor and pursue a basketball career overseas.  This plea marks the final chapter in the scandal — BU has gone 20-40 since the program was destroyed that summer.
  5. Maybe these guys should talk to our friends at HSAC so as to learn how to properly perform an interesting study.  Virginia Tech, fresh off three straight years on the wrong side of the bubble, commissioned statisticians at the College of Science to determine what the biases are that go into making bubble selections into the NCAA Tournament.  Their conclusion: a team’s RPI, its strength of schedule, and its historical pedigree factor prominently into successful bids.  In other words, everything you already knew.  Across campus, no doubt, Hokie researchers have recently proven that water is indeed wet and sunshine comprises the majority of daylight.  Here’s a memo to Seth Greenberg: how about instead of hanging your hat on a few big-time wins every season, you beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, especially at home.
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Breaking News: Karen Sypher Still Hates Rick Pitino

Posted by rtmsf on January 24th, 2011

It’s been some time since we’ve mentioned Rick Pitino’s old friend and flame, Karen Sypher.  You recall that the middle-aged blonde was convicted of extortion last fall for trying to bilk Pitino of millions of dollars and later accused the Louisville coach of raping her after the feds caught on to her crazy scheme.  She’s had a couple of sentencing hearings delayed already as her attorney earnestly (and we’re sure, honestly) tries to put together more evidence for a re-trial motion.  She’s now due for sentencing to a federal penitentiary on February 18 of this year.

All of this extra free time has apparently given Sypher more creative license to concoct additional stories involving Pitino as a horrible, horrible man.  In this weekend interview with Geraldo Rivera of all people, she states that Pitino threatened to have her four kids buried in the concrete of a bridge in New York if she refused to keep quiet about their tryst on the floor of Porcini’s and her subsequent pregnancy (that Pitino paid for her “health insurance”/abortion).  Apologies for the light volume on this clip, but it’s really worth hearing.

Well, we’ll give her credit for leaving no tried-and-true cliche unturned.   When all else is lost, you might as well go with the Italian/mafioso meme.  Perhaps next week, she’ll claim one of Pitino’s African-American players carjacked her and forced her at gunpoint to perform disdainful sex acts; and the week after that, she’ll be on Nancy Grace accusing a Pitino associate who looks like a leprechaun of breaking into her bedroom to “snatch her people up.”  There seems to be no line between fantasy and reality with this woman — any and all things are possible.

Can someone out there please make her go away?  Please?

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Morning Five: 01.12.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2011

  1. Rick Pitino confirmed in yesterday’s news conference that Louisville forward Jared Swopshire will miss the rest of this season with a groin injury.  The senior has missed the entire season already and would probably be eligible for a redshirt should he choose to pursue one.  Pitino said the problem is that he’s simply not getting any better and it appears that he will require surgery to repair this injury.  In some other injury news, Virginia confirmed that Mike Scott will miss the remainder of its season because he also needs surgery to repair his left ankle.  Scott played in ten games in November/December and was UVa’s top scorer and rebounder in those games.  The senior is right on the eligibility cutoff for a medical redshirt next season, so let’s cross our fingers that he doesn’t have to finish his collegiate career with a broken season.
  2. This report from Percy Allen, the Washington beat writer for the Seattle Times, has a few additional details about the allegation of sexual assault involving a Husky player over the weekend, but it does not name the player nor will the team hold anyone out of practice or games at this point in time.  The article notes that the players are off limits to the press at this time and gives additional details as to the alleged incident.  There are no winners in a situation like this, but if it turns out that the story is true, we certainly hope that justice is served.
  3. You’ve waited for it all year, and it’s back.  Luke Winn’s 2010-11 Style Guide.  From the Reeves Sleeve to Scotty Hopson’s “Fresh Prince” high fade to Marcus Jordan’s accessories, it’s all there.  One of our favorite columns of the year, by far.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts from Monday has quite a bit more meat from his interview with NCAA president Mark Emmert over the weekend.  Davis hinted at the primary weakness that the NCAA’s enforcement folks have in the public view right now, and Emmert seems to fail to understand the depth of the problem.  When asked about a seeming inconsistency in the organization’s recent decisions and punishments, Emmert’s response was that these cases (Cam Newton, Ohio State, Renardo Sidney, Josh Selby) were “very different cases with very different facts.”  Undoubtedly true.  We know that the NCAA isn’t a court of law and we don’t have an NCAA version of Lexis/WestLaw to research all the case law pertaining to each situation; but the NCAA needs to establish a core set of transparent jurisprudential guidelines beyond the enigmatic rulebook so that schools and players will have a reasonable basis to know what to expect.  As it stands now, every enforcement proceeding appears to be decided on a “case-by-case” basis, which ultimately means that the guidelines shift so much in the aggregate that nobody can figure out just where the bright lines are.  When Emmert refers to people being “shocked” by a decision on Enes Kanter’s ineligibility, he’s making the same mistake in that he’s looking at the individual facts of that case in a vacuum.  He’s not considering that other, similar cases were decided differently, and the justification needed to distinguish between all of these cases has become downright impossible to discern.  That is what is bothering most people… not the Kanter decision itself (only Kentucky fans care about that).
  5. Jeff Goodman hooks us up with his constantly-evolving midseason transfer list.  Ole Miss appears to be the big winner thus far with the addition of Jelan Kendrick next season; that is, assuming that he doesn’t try to fight everyone on the roster prior to becoming eligible next December.
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Morning Five: 01.11.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2011

  1. News broke late Monday that a Washington player is currently under investigation for sexual assault of a sixteen-year old girl whom he allegedly met on Saturday night through Facebook.  It’s notable that the report out of Seattle cites the player as “prominent,” which is language that it would be unlikely to use if they were talking about a walk-on or other benchwarmer.  With Abdul Gaddy already on the shelf with a torn ACL and now this disconcerting news, Lorenzo Romar’s team could be on the verge of self-destruction after a strong first half of this season.
  2. Some transfer news for your Tuesday morning.  Former Minnesota guard Devoe Joseph will end up in Oregon to play for Dana Altman next season, while Nebraska forward Christian Standhardinger announced that he is transferring to La Salle.  Both of these players are difference-makers for their new programs.  Joseph was attracted to the more uptempo style of play employed by Altman, while Standhardinger will step into a starting role with plenty of playing time next season on the Main Line.
  3. Speaking of second chances, Kansas forward Mario Little has been reinstated by head coach Bill Self and will be eligible to play immediately.  Little has missed KU’s last six games as he worked through some legal issues surrounding a misdemeanor battery and other criminal charges from an incident that took place in mid-December.  Prior to his suspension, Little was averaging 6/4 in about sixteen minutes per game backing up Tyshawn Taylor and Tyrel Reed.  The rich get richer…
  4. Bill Carmody received a “multi-year extension” recently at Northwestern even though he’s been coaching in Evanston for ten-plus years now and has yet to get the Big Ten school to the NCAA Tournament.  Granted, his career record of 143-160 (.472) at the school is virtually unprecedented, but even though it now appears that the Wildcat program is moving in the right direction (back-to-back NITs in 2009 and 2010), Carmody still has more tenth and eleventh place finishes (four) than he does Big Ten finishes in the top half (one).
  5. The nation’s top 25 freshmen players, as presented to you by Basketball Prospectus.  Since it comes from that site, you know that they have the statistics to back up the choices.  The most amazing thing?  That preseason AP All-American Harrison Barnes hasn’t even performed well enough to be considered one of the top 25 frosh in the country so far — would anyone have taken that bet prior to November 1???
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That’s Debatable: Santa’s Wish List

Posted by rtmsf on December 24th, 2010

That’s Debatable is back for another year of expert opinions, ridiculous assertions and general know-it-all-itude.  Remember, kids, there are no stupid answers, just stupid people.  We’ll try to do one of these each week during the season.  We’re fairly discerning around here, but if you want to be included, send us an email with your take telling us why at

This Week’s Topic: Santa is stopping by your house this week, and he’s bringing you one thing that you really want this college basketball season and he’ll take one thing away when he leaves.  What are those two things?

Ned Reddick, RTC contributor

My wishes for Christmas are pretty simple. I would ask Santa to bring Kyrie Irving back. No matter what you think of Duke it would be difficult to find a part of his game that a basketball fan would not enjoy. He’s fundamentally sound, athletic, and he plays hard. Although his absence makes the season more interesting in the sense that it makes the championship picture less defined, with Irving suiting up for the Blue Devils they would be the heavy favorites to win the title. With him on the sidelines in street clothes they are just one of about four or five teams that have a legitimate shot at the title. As for taking something away I would ask Santa to make players stop putting themselves in bad situations. I know they are just college students who as a group tend to do dumb stuff, but I wish they could stop taking things that the NCAA deems as impermissible benefits (like clothing or money) or just breaking the law (like a DUI or stealing other people’s stuff). It’s unfortunate that they are willing to risk a potentially lucrative career for a short-term pleasure so I hope Santa can take that away.

Brian Otskey, RTC contributor

This is a bit out of left field, plus it will never happen, but I’d want to see live video of the debate inside the committee room in the days leading up to and on Selection Sunday. I think it would be fascinating to see what they focus on rather than what we fans and the media lurch onto as the most important criteria. I’m glad the NCAA allows the media to participate in a mock bracket for a few days because it’s fun to read about the process and how they went about it, but nothing compares to seeing the real thing. Also, last year’s bracket was riddled with procedural errors and I’d be interested to see if they really focus on that or not. As for what I’d get rid of, that’s easy. All the agents, handlers, AAU coaches, etc. that make up the nasty part of recruiting. Seriously, why does a high school kid have to have his “people” decide where to go or what to do? What person that age has to have an entourage? It is terrific that the NCAA appears to be cracking down but they have a long, long way to go.

Andrew Murawa, RTC contributor

Well, I asked Santa to bring me the title of the commissioner of all sports, but he just mumbled something under his breath. “But Santa, all I want to do is ban the use of domed stadiums in sports that are meant to be played outside,” I said, but he saw right through that, knowing that a college football playoff would be coming along right after that. And you know Santa, he’s a big fan of those bowl games. Anyway, after some haggling, Santa has promised me a couple of four-day national holiday weekends in March. He’s got an in with the holiday creation board for some reason – I’m guessing blackmail, but you never can tell with Mr. Claus. He’s a mysterious one. And, just as a personal favor to me (we go back quite a ways), when he leaves on Christmas morning, he’s taking away four NCAA Tournament at-large bids, although I suspect he’s just going to dump them somewhere near the site of the Great Alaska Shootout on his way back home.

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Morning Five: 12.22.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 22nd, 2010

  1. After Josh Selby’s impressive performance last Saturday against USC, took the time to size up his competition for national FrOY.  From what we’ve seen so far (and excluding Duke’s Kyrie Irving from the argument), the list of the top freshmen in the country looks like this: 1) Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; 2) Terrence Jones, Kentucky; 3) Perry Jones, Baylor; 4) Harrison Barnes, UNC; 5) Brandon Knight, Kentucky.
  2. Marquette’s Buzz Williams and USC’s Kevin O’Neill have agreed to play a game in Milwaukee next season, with the obvious storyline being the return of O’Neill to the school where he got his first head coaching job in the late 80s.  The only catch is that it won’t actually count —  affixing onto the trend of some schools to play scrimmages closed to the public and media before the season begins, the two teams will hook up next fall at the Al McGuire Center in lieu of an exhibition game.
  3. Semester break always means mid-year transfers.  A couple of notables came out of the Northeast yesterday, as Seton Hall sophomore forward Ferrakohn Hall announced he was leaving the program, effective Tuesday.  The Memphis native averaged 5/3 in ten games so far this season, but it was clear to insiders that he was having trouble fitting into new coach Kevin Willard’s system.  Across the Hudson River, sophomore guard Quincy Roberts announced he is leaving St. John’s after seeing his playing time dwindle this season, the first under new head coach Steve Lavin.  Roberts missed the entire 2009-10 season with migraines, so we hope that he’s managed that difficult medical condition and will land somewhere else with a fresh start.
  4. Over the weekend, Kent State’s second-best scorer Carlton Guyton (12.7 PPG) was suspended indefinitely for felony theft where he allegedly took a woman’s car without her permission.  The woman is also alleging some kind of sexual assault against Guyton, but police have not yet charged the player with a crime to that effect.  The Golden Flashes are 9-3 after defeating Youngstown State on Tuesday night, but let’s hope for the sake of everyone involved that this is some kind of a misunderstanding between friends and lives aren’t ruined here.
  5. This is a fascinating article from the Omaha World-Herald about Nebraska’s difficulties as a football-dominant school in attracting fans to come out to its basketball games.  The Huskers are now 10-2 but home games so far this season are only playing at 41% of capacity at the Devaney Center.  Not much was expected from Doc Sadler’s team that went 2-14 in the Big 12 race last season, but learning that a major conference school with 23,500 students has fewer than a thousand student season ticket-holders (935 to be exact) is borderline criminal.  The chance to see Kansas, Texas, K-State and Mizzou passing through Lincoln this season should be enough for many students to justify the paltry $2 per game cost for season tickets.
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Morning Five: 12.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 21st, 2010

  1. Dan Wolken’s weekend piece on the status of Memphis basketball provides much-needed perspective about both a team dominated by freshmen who are not yet ready to rule the world, and Josh Pastner as a coach.  It was written prior to last night’s victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but the salient points remain.  Memphis fans see what Calipari has done at Kentucky and expectantly want the same thing — but even Cal had quite a few missteps along the way at Memphis before he got things completely rolling.  Great article.
  2. Coach K, who Monday night just tied Dean Smith for second on the all-time men’s DI list with 879 wins, and Geno Auriemma, whose UConn Huskies just tied the all-time UCLA winning streak of 88 games over the weekend, were honored yesterday as the co-recipients of USA Basketball’s COY award for 2010.  Both legends have won gold medals in the Olympics and are the reigning national champions in their sport — we think they might be solid choices.
  3. Missouri will be even lighter at the guard position for Wednesday’s Braggin’ Rights game with Illinois in St. Louis as a result of freshman Phil Pressey’s broken right ring finger, an injury he suffered in practice on Sunday.  With starting point guard Michael Dixon currently under suspension from coach Mike Anderson and no timetable on his return, Marcus Denmon or Matt Pressey will have to step up and shoulder the load of ballhandling duties in the interim.  The Illini force a fair amount of turnovers so Mizzou’s replacement point guards will have to take care of the ball to give the Tigers its best chance to win.
  4. Michigan State’s Korie Lucious will serve no additional jail time as a result of his August 30 arrest for driving a vehicle while over the legal limit.  He spent a night in jail at the time and will have to pay nearly $1000 in court costs, but his charge was reduced to reckless driving.  Opposing fans may believe this represents some form of special treatment, but for a first-time offender such as Lucious, this is pretty typical.  Let’s just hope he’s learned his lesson and doesn’t do it again.
  5. From the anything-you-can-do, I-can-do-better, nyah-nyah-nyah department, you’ve undoubtedly heard over the past several days that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been in negotiations to take over the reins as the Olympic coach for the Puerto Rico national team (why US territories get “national” teams, we’ll never understand).  As Jeff Goodman writes, Pitino’s motive for taking this on has everything to do with self-interest (recruiting) and nothing to do with the Olympic spirit.  Well, news came out today that suggests Kentucky coach John Calipari might be interested in doing the same sort of thing an island or two over at the Dominican Republic.  This is still in rumor status, but if there’s a shred of truth to this… are you serious?  This is sorta like buying a Benz only to have your neighbor next door show up the next day with a Bentley.  One would hope that such interest by Calipari in coaching a national team in the Caribbean isn’t all about petty jealousies and pissing contests between coaching supernovas, but we’re not completely sure about this.
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