Stanford’s NIT Title: So What?

Posted by AMurawa on March 30th, 2012

On Thursday night, Stanford earned the right to be one of the handful of teams in Division I basketball to end its season with a win, storming to a 24-point win over Minnesota in the NIT Final. While plenty of people will write that off (with some reason) as just showing that the Cardinal are the 69th best team in college hoops, what exactly does the win mean for Johnny Dawkins and his budding program?

Stanford, NIT Champion

Stanford Took Home The NIT Title, But What Does It Mean For Next Year? (Frank Franklin II/AP Photo)

Conventional wisdom says that an NIT win bodes well for the future, providing a springboard to success in the following season. Even a cursory glance at the history in the last decade shows that this is not really the case. Of the last 10 winners of the NIT, just four teams made the NCAA Tournament the following year, with only one team, West Virginia’s 2006-07 squad, actually earning a victory in the ensuing NCAA Tourney. In fact, over those 10 years, the NIT winners actually turned in a record the following year that was, on average, 4.3 games worse than the record in the year of the NIT win.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

2011 World University Finalists – Will the Next NPOY Be Buried on the Bench Again?

Posted by rtmsf on June 8th, 2011

As summer heats up, the various Team USA basketball rosters also start rounding into shape.  One of the better such international events that includes collegians, the World University Games, is scheduled to occur from August 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.  As such, the training camp roster of 22 current college players was released on Wednesday with a goal of cutting the group to a final 12 in late July.  The remaining dozen will spend early August practicing as a team before traveling overseas to represent the United States in an event that hasn’t been kind to the Yanks in the last decade.  Perhaps as a result of increasingly fewer talented players still in college or representative of the world catching up to the USA in basketball, this team has only finished first or second once in its last four outings — the 2005 team led by Shelden Williams (Duke) went 8-0 on its way to collecting gold in Turkey.  Two years ago, the 2009 team went 7-1 with its sole blemish a one-point semifinal defeat to Russia to bring home the bronze.  This year’s team will have its work cut out for it in an increasingly competitive international landscape.  Here’s the training camp roster:   

It’s a guard-heavy group, as Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs, Xavier’s Tu Holloway, Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor all have All-America potential in 2011-12.  This isn’t surprising, as many of the better big men in the game have either opted out of international basketball this summer (Kentucky’s Terrence Jones; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger), or they’re moving on to NBA riches (Arizona’s Derrick Williams; Georgia’s Trey Thompkins; Kansas’ Morris Twins; Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson).  It’s notable that Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine (2010), Northwestern’s John Shurna (2010, 2009), Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2009), Gibbs (2009), and Alabama’s JaMychal Green (2008) have all had previous international experience, which would presumably give each a leg up to make Jim Boeheim’s team this summer. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 12.06.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on December 6th, 2010

  1. Twelve is evidently enough for the Big Ten, for now. The conference’s higher-ups announced at their winter meeting that as a result of a lengthy study, after the addition of Nebraska next season, they do not “expect to be proactively seeking new members.” That’s fine, but we propose that if a conference’s membership changes through expansion/contraction so that its name subsequently becomes inaccurate by +/-2, they must change the name of the conference. In a few months, none of the four “numbered” conferences — Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic 10 — will actually contain the number of teams their name indicates. The Big Ten and the A-10 have gotten away with this weirdness for a while, and now they’re all doing it. Get creative!
  2. Because Purdue doesn’t have enough injury problems, news arrived late on Sunday that sophomore guard John Hart will miss a month with a stress fracture in his foot. Hart was averaging 17 minutes a game over the Boilermakers’ eight games this season, contributing 8.4 PPG. So that’s Hart with a bad foot, D.J. Byrd with a questionable shoulder, and some kid named Hummel out with a knee. Are we just lipsticking the pig by wondering if the minutes logged by Purdue’s reserves right now will translate to valuable experience later on in the season when (almost) everyone’s healthy? Matt Painter has nine players on his roster who play at least ten minutes a game right now, and you never know who could rise up and give you a boost come tournament time.
  3. We’re on the lookout today for a statement from the NCAA as to whether or not they will consider the “new information” Kentucky has asked to submit in the ongoing eligibility saga of Enes Kanter. The case currently stands in appeal, and that appeal was heard last week. But after the Cam Newton decision came down, UK requested the chance to submit previously unconsidered information to the NCAA. If the NCAA agrees to consider it, the case goes back to square one, almost as if it were a new hearing. If they refuse, the case remains in appeal, and the appeals committee could render a final decision at any time. Got it? Whether it’s today or later in the week, we’ll have something up as events warrant, so just keep checking back here, or our Twitter feed.
  4. Just seven games in, a specific problem for Bob HugginsWest Virginia squad is already evident, according to Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail. Huggins has remarked on how his team “hasn’t finished games” and that he takes full responsibility for this as coach, but Bogaczyk writes that what the ‘Eers really lack in this early stage of these post-Da’Sean Butler days is a vocal floor leader.
  5. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds of watching Jimmer Fredette play basketball to get a sense of how competitive this young man is. Ahead of BYU’s game against Vermont on Wednesday (which serves as a homecoming for Fredette), the Albany Times Union’s Pete Iorizzo pens an excellent article about how Fredette’s competitive drive was evident as early as age five, and how those fires were born — as they so often are — from that classic recipe of a basketball, a family member (in this case, an older brother), and a patch of asphalt in the back yard. We never played major college hoops, Jimmer, but your story is ours.
Share this story

… and Four Teams Down

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2010

David Ely is an RTC contributor.

Every year teams come out of nowhere and burst into the top 25, while sports writers run to their keyboards to type the requisite “Where Did Team X Come From” story. I mean how many people saw Cornell coming last year? Who said last October that Butler would go on to lose the national championship game by just a couple of inches?  Conversely, there are teams that look great on paper in the preseason but fail to live up to the hype once the season starts. Think North Carolina last season. Why did the Tar Heels begin the year in the top 10 again?  Allow us to sort through the mess and pull out this year’s Cornells and North Carolinas for you. Missouri fans, get ready to be excited. West Virginia fans, start thinking of things to say in your hate mail.

On Monday we took a look at four teams that will be up this season.  Today we’ll examine four teams that will be down as compared to where they were last year.

#1) West Virginia

There's a Lot of Pressure on Kevin Jones to Produce This Year

No Devin Ebanks. No Da’Sean Butler. All kinds of problems for the Mountaineers, who are the only team from last year’s Final Four to begin the season outside of the AP top 25. Bob Huggins’ squad lost a lot of what made last year’s team so tough to handle with the depatures of Ebanks and Butler. The 2009-10 Mountaineers got by on their ability to suffocate opponents with their brutally physical play combined with Butler’s brilliance on the offensive end. Now much of the responsibility falls to forward Kevin Jones, who averaged 13.5 points per game as West Virginia’s third option. Can Jones step up his game this year when defenses single him out as the guy they have to stop? If Jones struggles, then the Mountaineers will have a hard time duplicating even some of the success they enjoyed last year.

Reports coming from preseason practices aren’t too encouraging. Huggins recently told the Charleston Gazette that freshmen Kevin Noreen and Noah Cottrill “look lost” at practice. And that was after Cottrill sparked rumors when he was introduced but didn’t participate in West Virginia’s Midnight Madness. There also was the case of Casey Mitchell, who was suspended for a violation of team rules but is now back with the team. These aren’t the kinds of stories that equate to success in the regular season. This year might be one to forget in Morgantown.

#2) Cornell

Such is the Life of a Mid-Major -- Seasons Like Last Year Come Around Once in Generation

The Big Red was the last year’s feel good story, upsetting Temple and Wisconsin en route to an unprecedented run to the Sweet 16. And what was the reward for America’s favorite brainiacs turned basketball stars? A return to obscurity.

Cornell lost its X&Os wizard in Steve Donahue when he opted for the greener pastures of the ACC, taking the head coaching gig at Boston College. The Big Red lost all-time leading scorer and 2010 Ivy League Player of the Year (Ryan Wittman), the sparkplug and catalyst of its NCAA Tournament run (Louis Dale) and six other seniors from last year’s squad.  That would be a lot of attrition for even a team like Duke to endure, and there’s no doubt Cornell and new coach Bill Courtney are headed for a big step backward this season.

The Big Red was predicted to finish third in the Ivy League, which would require a number of players to step up fill the voids left by the likes of Wittman and Dale. Cornell needs big seasons from proven players like point guard Chris Wroblewski and forwards Adam Wire and Mark Coury. Then the Big Red will need some of its unknown pieces (one if its four freshman or maybe junior transfer Anthony Gatlin) to emerge if Courtney & Co. hope to compete for a fourth straight league title.

#3) Purdue

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Where 2010-11 Happens: Reason #5 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on November 2nd, 2010

Shamelessly cribbing from the clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present you with the 2010-11 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we ramp up to the start of the season a little over a month from now.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.  If you want to have some fun while killing time, we encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.  Enjoy.

#5- Where A Softer Side Happens

Share this story

Where 2010-11 Happens: Reason #9 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 28th, 2010

Shamelessly cribbing from the clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present you with the 2010-11 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we ramp up to the start of the season a little over a month from now.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.  If you want to have some fun while killing time, we encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.  Enjoy.

#9 - Where The Butler Did It Again Happens

Share this story

Da’Sean Butler’s Short Story, Now In Living Color

Posted by rtmsf on September 13th, 2010

This thing was floating around last week, but we never got around to posting it.  Originally, former WVU star and postseason tragic hero, Da’Sean Butler, delivered a series of tweets to tell a children’s story that could only be described as equal parts terrifying and genius.  After all, it’s not often that you read a story about a 22-year old “young boy” named Da’Sean who befriends a purple dinosaur named Barney, only have to it all come crashing down when Barney leaves a giant pile of scat on the kitchen table.

The entire bizarre story is reprinted below (h/t Sun-Sentinel via Deadspin), but the good people at Tauntr have done us one better.  They’ve come up with an animated version of Butler’s fairy tale.  We don’t have the video embedded, but if you click the image below it will take you to their site, where you can watch the entire two-minute production.  Strangely, when reading the story for the first time, this is almost exactly who we envisioned it in our heads.  Enjoy.

Click the Image to View the Video (credit: Tauntr)

”A SHORT STORY,” by Da’Sean Butler

Once upon a time there was a young boy named Da’Sean. Da’Sean was 22 years old and lived in Newark, NJ. While walking home from school one day, a Purple Dinosaur jumped out from behind a Brick Wall and tackled Da’Sean to the ground. But just when he was about to let out a scream for help, Da’Sean realized that the Purple Dinosaur was only licking his face, not trying to bite it off. At that moment, Da’Sean decided to keep the Purple Dinosaur as a pet. And on the way home he decided to name his pet Purple Dinosaur “Barney.”

When Da’Sean and his new pet finally got home, guess who was standing on the front porch? That’s right, it was Da’Sean’s mother, Koreena. And boy was she surprised to see a Purple Dinosaur following Da’Sean into the yard! “What in world is that?” shouted Koreena. “It’s a Purple Dinosaur,” answered Da’Sean. “Dah, I can see that, Da’Sean, but what on earth is it doing here?” said Koreena. “It’s my new pet!” answered Da’Sean. “Oh you think so do you?” remarked Koreena. “I wouldn’t get your hopes up. You know how your father hates Purple Dinosaurs. But, well, I suppose you can keep him until your father comes home.” And with that Da’Sean grabbed Barney by the scruff of the neck and led his new pet into the house–even though he knew his father was probably going to disapprove.

Once in the house, Da’Sean and Barney played and played, that is until Da’Sean’s favorite television show, “Family Guy,” started. At that point Da’Sean forgot all about Barney having an unsupervised run of the house. That is until half way through “Family Guy,” when Da’Sean was brought back to reality when he heard his father shout, “OMG!! Da’Sean! Get your whoopie cakes in the Kitchen…NOW!!” With that Da’Sean rushed into the Kitchen to see what all the fuss was about. When he entered the Kitchen, there stood his father, Da’Sean Butler, pointing toward the Table. “Will someone please explain that?” asked his father. Then, as Da’Sean followed his father’s finger to where it was pointing, he instantly knew what his father was so upset about. There, smack dab in the middle of the Table, the biggest pile of Dinosaur doo-doo he had ever seen! “I don’t EVEN want to know how that got there,” said Da’Sean Butler. “But you had better get it cleaned up now! And you had better get rid of whatever it is that could have done such a thing!”

Well, knowing his father as well as he did, Da’Sean knew there was no sense even asking his father if he could keep Barney for a pet. So without hesitation, Da’Sean set out to find where Barney was hiding. After a few minutes of looking, Da’Sean discovered Barney crouched beneath the table that Da’Sean did his Playing X-Box and reading books.

“Come on, Barney, it’s time to find you a new home. And hey, don’t look at me that way, I’m not the one who did the dirty deed on the Table!” scolded Da’Sean. “Thanks to you I’ll never get to have my own pet Dinosaur!! And with that Da’Sean led Barney out of the house and down to the local Game Stop. They had a pet section and Da’Sean knew the owner would find Barney a good home. Da’Sean cried a deep cry. he had lost his only friend in the world.

So after saying good-bye to Barney, and thanking the owner of Game Stop, Da’Sean walked backed home and attempted to drowned his sorrows by slamming down a half dozen Root Beers. But Da’Sean’s pity party came to an abrupt end when his father reminded him about the mess he had neglected to clean up. And low and behold, midway through the clean-up, Da’Sean suddenly became thankful that someone else was going to have to do it from now on.

The End.

Moral of the story: Sometimes you best friends can get your “whoopee cakes” in a lot of trouble be sure to listen to your parents they know what’s best.

Share this story

Summer School in the Big East

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 16th, 2010


Rob Dauster of Ballin’ is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

Around The Big East:

  • NCAA Sanctions: From a basketball perspective, the biggest story in the Big East this summer was up at UConn. The Huskies received a notice of allegations from the NCAA in May, informing them of eight major violations in the recruitment of Nate Miles. UConn will find out its final punishment from the NCAA in October, but the violations have already cost them two assistants — Beau Archibald and Brad Sellers, the son of former Husky star Rod Sellers. Jim Calhoun avoided the heavy artillery — getting grazed with a citation for “failure to monitor” the program, which is ironically what the best coaches need to do to succeed.
  • Coaches: The NCAA infractions weren’t the only reason Calhoun was in the news. Ailing health as he nears 70, impending NCAA sanctions, a team that is going to need some rebuilding, and the fact his contract was up made many believe Calhoun would hang ‘em up this summer. Wrong. He signed a five-year deal instead.  Calhoun had far from the worst summer for coaches in the Big East. Rick Pitino let the world — and every single opposing student section — know about his 15-second tryst on a restaurant table with one Karen Sypher. Bob Huggins fell, a result of being in Vegas the medicine he took on an empty stomach making him light-headed, and broke seven ribs. Fred Hill was run out of Rutgers, in part because he lost it on the Pittsburgh baseball team’s coaching staff. Through all of that, perhaps the worst summer was had by Bobby Gonzalez, who lost his job at Seton Hall, had the entire episode come out in the New York Timessued his former employer, was unable to receive credentials at the NBA Draft, and then find himself arrested for attempting to steal a $1,400 man-purse satchel. The three new coaches to the conference: Oliver Purnell left Clemson for DePaul; Mike Rice left Robert Morris to fill in for Hill at Rutgers; and Kevin Willard left Iona and took Gonzo’s spot at Seton Hall.
  • LOIs: Three Big East teams made headlines for issues with recruits signing LOIs. DePaul initially refused to release Walter Pitchford, Jr., from his LOI. He signed with Jerry Wainwright, who was at DePaul before Purnell was tabbed. After appealing both the school and the NCAA, DePaul finally released Pitchford. The same thing is currently happening to Joseph Young at Providence, who as of this writing has not yet been granted a release by the Friars. At MarquetteDJ Newbill was dropped from his LOI when Buzz Williams had the opportunity to bring in former top 100 recruit Jamil Wilson, a transfer from Oregon. All in all, Big East members did not shine bright this summer.
  • Back to Providence: Man oh man, did they have a rough summer. Two freshmen kicked out of school for beating up a student. Their star, Greedy Peterson, thrown off the team. Another player arrested.  Did Keno Davis have this much trouble in mind when he took the job two years ago?
  • Seton Hall Didn’t Fare Much Better: Aside from their coach being kicked to the curb, the Pirates had their best big man spend nearly a month in the hospital because he collapsed after finishing a workouts and saw Robert “Sticks” Mitchell get arrested for (get this) robbing eight people at gunpoint just two days after being kicked off the team.

Villanova stumbled towards the finish line last season. This year, Jay Wright’s troops are Rob Dauster’s favorites to take the Big East in 2010-11.

Power Rankings:

  1. Villanova: While the Wildcats lose All-American Scottie Reynolds, Jay Wright‘s club (as always) will be more than fine in the backcourt. Corey Fisher, fresh off an alleged 105-point performance in a Bronx summer league, and Maalik Wayns will be as dynamic as any backcourt in the country and should be able to thrive in Scottie’s absence. Corey Stokes is still going to be a lights out shooter. Dominic Cheek and James Bell will be dangerous on the wings. Up front, the five-man rotation of Antonio Pena, Mouph Yarou, Isaiah Armwood, Maurice Sutton, and JayVaughn Pinkston gives Villanova a very deep, very talented roster for the upcoming season. The Wildcats should compete for the Big East title and, depending on how well some players develop (Armwood, Cheek, Wayns, Yarou) and how good a couple of freshmen are (Bell, Pinkston), Nova could very well make a run at the Final Four.
  2. Pittsburgh: The Panthers were the surprise of the Big East last season, and with the majority of their roster coming back this season, its tough to envision Pitt falling off. Pitt has almost reached the level of a Wisconsin — no matter who is on their roster, this is a team that is disciplined and well-coached to the point that they are always going to be competitive. As always, expect a gritty, defensive-minded team from the Panthers. An already-solid back court of Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, and Travon Woodall will be bolstered by the addition of freshmen Isaiah Epps, JJ Moore and Cameron Wright, as well as Lamar Patterson finally getting healthy. Gilbert Brown, who missed the first half of last season due to academic issues, will be back at the small forward spot. Brown had an inconsistent season in 2010, but showed flashes of some serious potential. Gary McGhee and Nasir Robinson will bolster the front line, but the real x-factor on this team is going to be sophomore Dante Taylor. Taylor was one of the most highly-touted recruits last year, but it took him awhile to adjust to the Big East. If Taylor can live up to his promise, Pitt is a potential Final Four team. If not, this is still a club that will be competing for a league title.
  3. Syracuse: It is easy to look at the Orange and think that, with the players they lost (Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku), they will be down next season. Well, they might not win a Big East title, but they certainly will be in the mix atop the conference standings. Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine will anchor the backcourt, with freshman Dion Waiters providing an offensive spark as an off-guard. Kris Joseph should blossom into a dangerous weapon as a slasher on the wing, and if he can add some strength and a jumper this summer, could very well be in the running as a first-team all-Big East selection. Rick Jackson will be paired with Fab Melo, who Jim Boeheim has been raving about (he raved about Johnson last summer, and look how that turned out), in the frontcourt. With guys like CJ Fair, Mookie Jones, James Southerland and DaShonte Riley providing minutes off the bench, there is no doubt Syracuse will be a good team. How good — borderline top-25 or a potential Big East champ — remains to be seen. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

2010 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Posted by zhayes9 on June 25th, 2010

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist at Rush the Court.

Now that the Draft is complete, time to look back at Thursday night’s winners and losers, from coaches to NBA teams to players to conferences and everything in between:

Paul George saw his stock skyrocket all the way to #10 and the Pacers, Al Bello/Getty Images

Winners:

Big 12 – One of the premier college basketball conferences has gained quite a surge of momentum in the last few weeks. Big 12 commish Dan Beebe convinced Texas it was in their best interests to keep the league in tact even after the defections of Colorado and Nebraska, two of the more downtrodden BCS-conference hoops programs in the country. After chopping off those two anchors, a ten-team, 18-game round robin format has been agreed to starting in 2012. The Big 12 momentum only continued at the draft on Thursday where an astonishing seven of the top 24 selections reside from the conference (and Kentucky isn’t even a member). Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh, Kansas’ Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry, Texas’ Avery Bradley and Damion James, Oklahoma State’s James Anderson and Iowa State’s Craig Brackins, not to mention Cyclone transfer Wes Johnson, were all nabbed in the first 24 picks. The Big 12 barely trailed the ACC in terms of overall conference strength last season and the results of the first round only confirmed those numbers.

John Calipari - As Fox Sports Jeff Goodman astutely pointed out, expect plenty of John Calipari mug shots in near future drafts unless he bolts for a dream NBA job. Five of his Kentucky Wildcats from one recruiting class were taken in the first round on Thursday, from John Wall at #1 overall to Daniel Orton at #29. Next year could see two more Kentucky players announced early in the draft in center Enes Kanter and point guard Brandon Knight with forward Terrence Jones another potential first rounder. In 2011-12 when Marquis Teague, Michael Gilchrist and another top ten recruit TBD join Big Blue Nation, it’ll be the same Calipari hugging his revolving door of players on a June night in NYC. Don’t think this is just Calipari doing this for his departing players or that recruits are not noticing. He’s fully aware of what his face constantly showing up on ESPN’ s cameras means: furthering his reputation of sending talented players to the riches of the NBA. And quickly.

Paul George - It’s been a quick ascension for George, a workout wonder who saw his draft stock shoot up in the last few weeks until he landed to Indiana at #10. It’s doubtful even George saw this coming after being lightly recruited out of Palmdale, Calif, and settling on Fresno State for his college choice. George saw both his FG% and 3pt% plummet from his freshman to sophomore seasons and he only upped his PPG by 2.5 and RPG by 1.0 along with very low assist totals. He also played for a 15-18 WAC team against far more inferior competition than, say, Kansas’ Xavier Henry, who went one pick later to Memphis. Henry averaged 13.5 PPG, shot 46% from two and 42% from three on a team filled with players who needed touches.

Greivis Vasquez’ reaction - I don’t think anyone who watched Greivis Vasquez play four years at Maryland was surprised when they saw the emotional Venezuelan surrounded by family and friends in the crowd at Radio City Music Hall waiting for his name to be chosen. Vasquez has been projected as an early-to-mid second round pick- a scorer, leader and improved floor general that simply lacks the lateral quickness to defend NBA guards. Yet rumblings surfaced that Memphis loved Vasquez at #28. Sure enough, when he was pegged at that exact spot, the only outward, raw emotion we saw Thursday night emerged as Vasquez pumped his fist, hugged his family and practically sprinted to shake David Stern’s hand on the draft stage. Congratulations to Greivis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 05.18.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 17th, 2010

  1. From the this-cannot-possibly-be-a-good-idea department, Tennessee forward Emmanuel Negedu — you remember, the Vol who had a freakin’ heart attack last fall during a workout — is transferring to New Mexico because the school will let him play basketball again.  That option had been closed off to him by UT, so he was looking for another school willing to give him a chance.  We certainly understand when Negedu says that not playing basketball made him feel “like he was dead,” but he actually was dead for a little while last fall and we certainly hope that the New Mexico doctors who have cleared him earned their medical degrees away from the Caribbean islands.  Sheesh.  If the NCAA approves his medical waiver, he could play as soon as the 2010-11 season.
  2. This is going to be an ongoing theme all summer long, but the Big Ten is holding its annual meeting for coaches and administrators this week in Chicago and expansion is on everyone’s mind even though it’s not officially on the agenda.
  3. There are reports that everyone’s favorite networker, World Wide Wes, has been quietly contacting NBA teams with coaching and salary cap space about the possibility of bringing John Calipari and LeBron James as a package deal next season.  Our take on this is simple: if Calipari gets a realistic opportunity to coach the best player in the world during his prime the next five seasons, he’s going to take it.  The good news for UK fans is that there are many peripheral issues at play here, and the likelihood of such a package deal actually occurring is not all that high.  Gregg Doyel, for what it’s worth, doesn’t believe the hype.
  4. In a lawsuit pitting former Oklahoma State assistant coach Jimmy Williams against current Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith over a hiring dispute, former OSU head man Eddie Sutton was called as a witness yesterday.  Evidently the folksy coach got very angry under cross-examination when questioned about his time at Kentucky in the 1980s, going so far as to ask the judge whether he could ask the lawyer a question, and ultimately apologizing to the court for his behavior.
  5. Former president Bill Clinton gave the commencement address at WVU Sunday, and Da’Sean Butler was one graduate that impressed the former commander-in-chief, stating that he rooted for the Mountaineers in the Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament after Georgetown (his alma mater) was out.  Butler tweeted out afterward:  Met with the Real Pimp C today—-Bill Clinton. Cool dude n knows his basketball. It kinda surprised me. Oh yea I 4got I’m graduating!!!!!!
  6. A bonus this morning: the NBA Pre-Draft Camp list of invitees is out for this season, and 53 players will get a chance to improve their stock later this month in Chicago.  Here’s the complete list:

Solomon Alabi, Florida State
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
Trevor Booker, Clemson
Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Avery Bradley, Texas
Derrick Caracter, Texas El Paso
Sherron Collins, Kansas
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
Jordan Crawford, Xavier
Ed Davis, North Carolina
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma
Charles Garcia, Seattle
Paul George, Fresno State
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Manny Harris, Michigan
Gordon Hayward, Butler
Lazard Hayward, Marquette
Xavier Henry, Kansas
Darington Hobson, New Mexico
Damion James, Texas
Armon Johnson, Nevada
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
Dominique Jones, South Florida
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Daniel Orton, Kentucky
Artsiom Parakhouski, Radford
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
Dexter Pittman, Texas
Quincy Pondexter, Washington
Andy Rautins, Syracuse
Stanley Robinson, Connecticut
Larry Sanders, Virginia Commonwealth
Jon Scheyer, Duke
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
Mikhail Torrance, Alabama
Evan Turner, Ohio State
Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
John Wall, Kentucky
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Terrico White, Mississippi
Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
Elliot Williams, Memphis

Share this story

Selected Thoughts From Final Four Weekend

Posted by rtmsf on April 8th, 2010

You know how this works… here are some random thoughts bouncing around our head as we come out of a pretty damn good Final Four in Indianapolis.

Welcome to Indy!

Coach K is the Current Dean of Coaches.  But let’s get one thing put to rest right away.  He’s not John Wooden.  For all you presentists out there convinced that the era we’re currently in is tougher than any other previous one, get your head out of your sphincter.  Make all the excuses you want, but Wooden beat all comers west AND east, year after year after year after year (ten times in twelve seasons).  We could go on and on about this, and if the numbers were anywhere near each other (like if K had eight titles to Wooden’s ten), we’d entertain the argument.  But they’re not, and Coach K would probably be the first to chastise you of such foolishness.  Now, with that said, Krzyzewski is a clear #2 all-time with his most recent title.  Tom Izzo came into the Final Four with everyone gushing about his six appearances in the last twelve years, but it’s K who has done it better for longer, now with eleven F4s and four national championships to his credit.  Whenever he decides to retire, and there’s a good chance it won’t be for another decade, Coach K will have far surpassed the man whom he set his eyes on as a target way back in the early 80s — UNC demigod Dean Smith.  What seemed like a herculean impossibility at that time ultimately came to pass, as Coach K is now the Dean of Tobacco Road and the Smith family tree of he and Roy Williams must combine championships at UNC to simply match those of K (something undoubtedly not lost on Williams in his lair at this very moment).  Furthermore, Krzyzewski proved with this year’s team that he doesn’t have to have better talent than everyone else to cut down the nets — his other championship teams were stacked to the brim with future pros, but it will ultimately be the 2010 national titleist that raises his legacy from one of the coach with the best talent to one of the talent with the best coach.

K: Best in the Business

Greatest Title Game Ever? Had Gordon Hayward’s half-court shot found net, we’d be on board with this.  The storyline is just too good.  Even better than Villanova taking down big, bad Georgetown in ’85 or NC State’s miracle of miracles two years earlier.  The Jimmy Chitwood/Bobby Plump comparisons would have been endless, and we’re a little more than halfway convinced that we’d have seen our first-ever title game RTC should the ball have gone through.  Unfortunately for most of America, like many life-story endings awkwardly forced into a Hollywood template, reality leaves you waiting for the next moment that never comes — the Hayward shot didn’t magically bounce up in the air and fall back through…  The truth is that the national championship game was a hard-nosed, calculating, defensive-minded drama between two teams where every single point came with a price tag.  But it wasn’t beautiful, and in order to have greatness bestowed upon a game, it usually needs to end with a make rather than a miss.  This is not always the case, but it’s difficult to buy into the GOAT argument when the last made field goal occurred with just under a minute remaining (as a comparison, the widely-accepted greatest game of all-time, 1992 Duke-Kentucky, had five lead changes in the last 35 seconds of overtime).  So where does it rank?  Still pretty high — for our money, this was the best championship game since 1999 UConn vs. Duke (yes, Memphis-Kansas was thrilling, but not for the entire game), and is definitely in the top 6-8 in the post-Wooden era, but let’s keep our wits about us here. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Final Four Game Analysis

Posted by rtmsf on April 2nd, 2010

RTC will break down the Final Four games using our best analytical efforts to understand these teams, the matchups and their individual strengths and weaknesses.  Our hope is that you’ll let us know in the comments where you agree, disagree or otherwise think we’ve lost our collective minds.  Here are Saturday evening’s national semifinals…aka…THE FINAL FOUR!

6:07 pm – #5 Michigan State vs. #5 Butler The winner of this game will have a built-in motivational mechanism, since this game is popularly considered the “Who will lose to West Virginia or Duke on Monday?” game.  Best be careful, because as we know, there’s almost no better way to get your guys ready to play than to tell them that it’s them against the world.  That nobody respects them.  That everyone expects them to lose and lose big.  In the case of Butler, I know I wouldn’t want to face a team playing in their home city and with that motivational tool.  A lot is being made of the home crowd advantage that Butler supposed to enjoy this weekend, but I ask you: because people love the storyline of a mid-major getting to the Final Four, in what city could you play this thing where Butler wouldn’t have most of the fans in the arena rooting for them?  I’ll tell you — East Lansing, Durham, and Morgantown (or anywhere else in West Virginia).  Well, we’re not in any of those towns.  Let me just add this…walking around this downtown area, I see mostly Butler fans, which is understandable.  But it’s not like the Duke, Michigan State, and West Virginia fans stayed home.  It’s Lucas Oil Stadium, people.  It seats over 70,000 (it must, to qualify to host this thing).  The freakin’ Colts play here.  The Butler cheers might be loud, but the other squads will have their supporters, too.  As to what’s going to happen on the floor, watch the boards.  This will be a rebounding battle for the ages, because it’s the biggest disparity between the two teams.  It’s not something Butler does particularly well, and it’s Michigan State’s greatest strength.  Brad Stevens knows his boys have to swarm the glass to have a chance.  They’ve done everything else he’s asked of them in each tournament game, not to mention the rest of the season, and I wouldn’t doubt that you’ll see them turn in their biggest effort on the boards this whole year on Saturday evening. Can Butler do it but still stay out of foul trouble?

We only picked against you three times, Coach Izzo. And we're sorry. (AP/Al Goldis)

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story