Morning Five: 02.04.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 4th, 2011

  1. As the season moves into the final month, players are starting to wear down.  There have been quite a few injuries lately, and yesterday was no different.  Northern Iowa’s heart and soul, Lucas O’Rear, an undersized senior “center” who was averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds this season, will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle.  This comes at a tough time for UNI, as the Panthers are on an eight-game winning streak in the Missouri Valley and are only one game behind leader Wichita State.  O’Rear ends his college basketball career, but he has a promising professional baseball career ahead of him as a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization, so we’re happy to see that he will be able to continue with that dream.
  2. As always, Luke Winn’s Power Rankings are chock full of goodies, from how Jared Sullinger receives the ball in the post to how Texas shuts down the opposing team’s best scorers to a new statistic created by HSAC to track free throw efficiency.  Get on over there.
  3. Everybody has an opinion on what’s wrong with the Michigan State Spartans after their horrendous 20-point loss to Iowa on Wednesday night.  Here are two of the better ones we’ve read:  Gary Parrish, who thinks that MSU simply can’t be fixed at this point; and Dave Dye’s piece that calls out Izzo’s two seniors, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, as having tuned him out this season.  Games coming up at Wisconsin and later at Ohio State are not a recipe for getting better, and at this point we’re not counting on it, but if there is anybody in this business who can turn this thing around, it’s certainly Izzo.  For a contrarian opinion on MSU hitting “rock bottom,” check out Mike Miller at Beyond the Arc.
  4. As Virginia head coach Tony Bennett can attest, it’s a strong incentive to play for your dad.  That’s why UVA freshman Billy Baron will transfer back to Rhode Island to play for his father, Jim Baron, next season.  Billy had a strong start to the season this year, scoring 19 against William & Mary and 14 against USC-Upstate, but he’s gone scoreless in ten of the last twelve games as his time has diminished.  Hopefully in a couple of years, we’ll be talking about the Barons in much the same way we do the Drews and Valpo.
  5. Much has been made about UConn guard Kemba Walker’s shooting slump, but the fortunes of the Huskies seem to rise and fall with the play of his peers, and the most important sidekick he has is Alex Oriakhi.  After a strong couple of weeks where the UConn big man averaged a double-double, he’s fallen off again in the last three.  In the two losses against Louisville and Syracuse, he’s contributed fifteen points and thirteen rebounds, solid enough numbers but well short of what UConn needs from him on a consistent basis to beat teams in the rugged Big East (and also less than what he’s capable of).
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Morning Five: 11.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2010

  1. Wow.  We know of quite a few writers, bloggers, television personalities, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells who are hurting in a big way this morning.  After a 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon that once again did not fail to disappoint, the hangover is here.  We’re guessing that #cbb on Twitter won’t be this quiet again until sometime in May, as everyone around the country comes off their hoops-gasm and starts calculating the actuarial ratios of all-nighters to lost months of life.  Still, seeing all the different schools and fans and courts and cheerleaders and announcers and studio hosts and analysts around the country all day yesterday was pretty awesome, wouldn’t you agree?  As much as we’ve ripped apart the opening week’s haphazard trickle-out of games, this made-for-television event is brilliant and is quickly becoming one of the best regular season must-sees that the sport has to offer.  God help us all during the random future year when the 24HoH mimics a day of the NCAA Tournament and 75% of the games come down to the last possession — the WWL suits had better already have ESPN Legal working on its tort defenses.  Oh, and our guy John Stevens?  Over 11,000 words and untold hallucinations in 25+ hours of BGTDing, without a single drop of caffeine in his system (perhaps crystal meth, but certainly no coffee/soda).
  2. The biggest non-ESPN 24HoH news from the day came from Turner Sports, as the cable network announced that it will provide some of its wildly popular NBA on-air talent such as play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and the brash-but-hilarious Charles Barkley as part of its joint coverage of the NCAA Tournament with CBS.  The general consensus is that this is going to be a very good thing, and given that we are intimately familiar with the chemistry of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Barkley on Inside the NBA (the best sports show on television by far), we think that they’ll pull it off.  Our only reservation — and admittedly, it’s a small one — is that we’ve watched (and listened) in horror to Fox when NFL announcers with their play-on-Sunday focus call college football games during the BCS bowls and it’s obvious they don’t even know or understand the key rule differences between the two sports.  We found this experience exceptionally painful.  Since none of the Turner channels (TBS, TNT, TruTV) are covering college hoops during the regular season, we’re a little concerned that even knowledgeable folks such as those listed above might have trouble making the transition.
  3. And this article is why NBA fans are different in many ways from college basketball fans.  Mr. Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register: in our sport, it actually IS about the names on the front of the jerseys.  Carolina fans will go crazy for their team whether they have a future lottery pick like Harrison Barnes or a four-year guy like Tyler Hansbrough leading the way; Kentucky fans showed as much passion for one-year man John Wall in the blue and white as they did for Tayshaun Prince; Michigan State fans loved consistently-tough guy Charlie Bell as much or more than Zach Randolph.  Here’s our suggestion.  Get out of the suburban and basketball wasteland known as the OC and high-tail it to a Missouri or K-State game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.  While you’re in the Midwest, catch a game at Hinkle before heading over to Rupp for a Louisville or Florida game.  Detour down through Tobacco Road and venture into Cameron Indoor Stadium before your soul goes completely cold; then, since you’re on the east coast, head up to the Palestra for an epic Big Five battle.  Report back to us afterward if you gave a damn whether you actually knew the names of the players who you were watching — that is, assuming you actually enjoy the sport of basketball and not some bastardized version of star-watching.
  4. Gary Parrish takes a look at the oft-bizarre world of AP/Coaches poll ballots in his weekly column, The Poll Attacks.  Every time we read a column like this one, we thank our lucky stars that these flawed polls that reflect current perception are for entertainment purposes only.  Teams will get a chance to settle their real rankings on the court.  What some sportswriter in Eugene thinks about Villanova is about as important as what a Floridian believes concerning a local dogcatcher race in Wyoming — it’s irrelevant.  And we love it that way.
  5. Gregg Doyel examines the case of Enes Kanter and his eligibility through the prism of the NCAA rulebook and asks the question of when a pro is (or isn’t) a pro?  As he correctly points out, the NCAA has drawn a bright line with the apples/oranges comparison between sports, as in the cases of Josh Booty, Chris Weinke and current Clemson QB Kyle Parker, all of whom played professional baseball prior to becoming amateur NCAA football players.  But why have they drawn a distinction — what is the fundamental difference here?  It would be interesting to review the NCAA legislative history on this issue to see what the thinking was.
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Evening/Morning Five: 24 Hours of Hoops Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 15th, 2010

  1. Since you’re going to be up all night with us anyway, we thought we’d get a head start with today’s M5 to give you a little bit of reading material before we get started.  As you undoubtedly already know, John Stevens will be BGTDing the entire event from start to finish, but there are a couple of other nuggets we want to throw your way as well.  We will also have a couple of RTC Live events during the day, starting at 2 am ET with St. John’s visiting St. Mary’s in a battle of  Catholic schools with a little something to prove this year (SMC – that they’re not going away; SJU – that they’re back).  Later at Noon ET, we’ll be in Tulsa for the crosstown rivalry game between the Golden Hurricane and Oral Roberts.  So keep an eye out for those good ones. 
  2. Let’s talk some matchups.  Mike DeCourcy took some time yesterday to rank-order the ESPN games from #1 to #12, and although we don’t have any beef with the top three, that St. Mary’s-St. John’s game should be higher.  Come on… the return of Steve Lavin on the sidelines, the burden of expectations, a packed bandbox of a gymnasium…  that’s a top four game.  Our own Zach Hayes also put together a list of some things each team in selected games needs to do to win in his Ball Reversal post that went up on Monday.
  3. We don’t talk much around here about Division II basketball, but this score caught our attention: West Liberty 154, Lock Haven 48.  The West Virginia-based Hilltoppers put nine players into double figures and shot 68% for the game (including hitting 21 treys).  Still, they fell short of the all-time D2 record margin of victory of 118 points set by Mississippi College nearly forty years ago.  As an interesting piece of historical errata, LIU holds the DI record with a 117-point victory over Medgar Evers (presumably more than just him) in 1997, while Purdue holds the record between current Division I teams with a 112-6 win over Indiana State in 1911.  Yes, you read that correctly. 
  4. There was quite a bit written about Opening Weekend, including Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts where he discusses how impressive Illinois has looked so far this young season, and Gary Parrish’s Monday Look Back, where he belabors the fact that there really were very few (if any) great games last weekend.  That’s what tonight’s for, right?
  5. This column by Ray Holloman at Fanhouse has more than you’d ever want to know about Stetson basketball and its relevance to Coach K/Duke and Jeff Bzdelik/Wake Forest, both of whom dropped a game to the Hatters early in their ACC careers.  If you’re lost, it’s because you should be.  While we’re making absurd comparisons, both Krzyzewski and Bzdelik drink water AND brush their teeth with the wet substance.  We’ll have a story up on this tomorrow.
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Morning Five: 10.25.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 25th, 2010

  1. Injury watch — two more players received bad news over the weekend, as Xavier backup guard Brad Redford tore his ACL and will miss the entire season as a result.  Redford is a dead-eye three-point shooter (career: 44.7%) who shot fourteen treys for every two he attempted last season —  in fact, in a total of 417 minutes played in 2009-10, he took a mere eight shots from inside the arc all season.  His ability to stretch the defense will definitely be missed by Chris Mack’s team this year.  In other news perhaps less hurtful to his team’s fortunes, New Mexico’s expected starting center Drew Gordon will have surgery to repair the same meniscus that he injured two years ago at UCLA.  Because he was a mid-year transfer, he wasn’t going to be able to suit up for the Lobos anyway until the semester break in mid-December, but this injury also means that he cannot practice for the next four weeks.  He is, however, expected to recover in time to play in December.
  2. Oklahoma State’s Matt Pilgrim has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Travis Ford for an undisclosed violation of team rules, as he was in street clothes during OSU’s “Homecoming and Hoops” event on Friday night.  Ford characterized Pilgrim’s possibility of getting back on the team as “maybe” and “we’ll see.”  Last May, Pilgrim was accused of rape by a woman who also served him with a protective order, but that order was dismissed in September and charges were never brought against him due to a lack of evidence.  It seems as if trouble isn’t having difficulty finding the 6’8 senior who averaged 8/7  in only 18 minutes per game last year for the Pokes, but we hope for his sake that he gets things together and finishes out his final season in Stillwater strong.
  3. We were wondering why LeBryan Nash committed to Oklahoma State last week — no disrespect intended, but OSU basketball typically doesn’t appeal to out-of-state top ten recruits in the same way that some other schools do.  Well, we thought that until we saw this feature describing the new hoops facilities at the school.  We dunno about you, but the hairdryers built exclusively into the wall at a certain height for big men would do it for us [ed. note: Nash is 6’7, so maybe that was the clincher for him too?].
  4. Gary Parrish gives us his top ten big men in America, and we have to say that we completely agree with who he chooses at #1.  The national media is fixated on Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving with good reason, but Jared Sullinger is going to be just as big a name as the others in very short order.  As for the rest of his list, the only quibbles we have are that Marcus Morris seems a few spots too high, while Trey Thompkins and Perry Jones seem too low.  Oh, and in case you missed it from last week and speaking of Mr. Barnes, here are Parrish’s top ten wing players.
  5. Mike DeCourcy writes a great article examining the timeline for the Bruce Pearl revelations that came out last Thursday night and subsequently taking Tennessee officials to task for being dishonest, misleading and otherwise having engaged in gross misconduct.  Despite all of the top bigwigs in the school and athletic department having full knowledge that Pearl’s contract had been voided on September 9 of this year, not a single person in the room mentioned it during Pearl’s mea culpa press conference on September 10.  Have you ever watched an out-of-control child going berserk and wonder how he could be so obnoxious… that is, until you see how the parents handle themselves?  We shouldn’t wonder why Pearl felt like he could so willfully flout the rules there in Knoxville anymore — wethinks that mystery is solved.
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Morning Five: 10.18.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 18th, 2010

  1. It was an eventful weekend across the college basketball landscape as programs began officially practicing on Friday night with spirited Midnight Madness celebrations ranging from Duke’s banner unfurling to Michigan State’s astronaut theme to Pepperdine’s For Whom the (Keion) Bell Tolls…  in case you were busy with football and/or the MLB playoffs this weekend, be sure to check out our BGTD: Midnight Madness Edition from Friday night as well as our postmortem of highlights we posted on Sunday.  And believe it or not, we’re only twenty-one days from game action, folks.
  2. Like everyone else, we were extremely sad to hear that Purdue’s Robbie Hummel had once again ruptured his ACL, an injury that will leave him on the shelf this season.  You can really feel the pain in Jeff Goodman’s article over the weekend where he discusses just how unfair it is that a great kid such as Hummel seems to have such crappy luck.  For Purdue fans, this is also devastating — the Boilermakers rallied after Hummel’s late February injury last year to sneak into the Sweet Sixteen, but even with the experience of playing without him and E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson returning, we just can’t see a Final Four run in this squad.  Hummel will have one more year to play college basketball in 2011-12, but he’ll return to a team gutted by the graduation of those two stars and although hope springs eternal, we have a feeling that these couple of years will ultimately represent unfortunate missed opportunities for Matt Painter and his program.
  3. Speaking of Goodman, here’s his preseason Top 25 (keep in mind Purdue at #2 was prior to Hummel’s injury); here’s Mike DeCourcy’s at Sporting News; and here’s Gary Parrish’s over at CBS Sports.
  4. Seth Davis checks in with his 10 Burning Questions to start the new season, a great read as usual.  Unfortunately, we already know the answer to the second half of #2, but he brings up a good point about Duke managing to duck much of the ubiquitous hatred last season largely because most pundits (and the public) didn’t start taking the Blue Devils seriously as a title contender until the very end of the season.
  5. Friday was Midnight Madness at most places, but it was also the date of UConn and Jim Calhoun’s hearing in Indy with the NCAA Infractions Committee.  Calhoun reported that the meeting took thirteen hours, but he provided no additional details as to its substance (although a 13-hour meeting is no joke).  The NCAA is expected to make a ruling on this issue by December.  Let’s hope for Husky fans that their season is generally going well by then; otherwise, it could be a particularly cold winter in Storrs.
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Morning Five: 10.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2010

  1. One of the best UConn traditions is called the Husky Run, a 5k amble through the streets of Storrs where the coaches and players “kick off” the basketball season with a spirited jog.  Jim Calhoun has been doing these since he was back in Boston at Northeastern in the 70s, but he was compelled to miss this year’s event for the first time as a result of preparations for Friday’s hearing in Indianapolis in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee.  Friday’s “First Night” event — the UConn version of Midnight Madness — will certainly be muted without Calhoun in attendance, not to mention the ugly specter of possible further NCAA sanctions  hanging over everyone’s head in attendance.
  2. Earlier this week Luke Winn gave us his top sixteen backcourts, led of course by the ridiculously deep and talented Blue Devils.  So who has the best frontcourt for the 2010-11 season?  Would you believe the scintillating group at Purdue led by JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel and Patrick Bade?  You should.  Duke comes in at #2, UNC at #3, and Kansas State at #4.  Five schools other than Duke ended up on both of his lists, which should give you a pretty good sense as to who the top contenders for the title will be this season:  Purdue (#1 frontcourt, #12 backcourt); Kansas (#5, #6); Syracuse (#7, #10); Ohio State (#9, #9); Michigan State (#15, #2).
  3. TSN’s Chris Littmann put together an interesting list of the top five Twitter All-Americans for the 2010-11 season.  If you don’t have the following players on your feed, get them on there now… Mizzou’s Kim English (@englishscope24), Washington’s Isaiah Thomas (@isaiah_thomas2), Duke’s Nolan Smith (@ndotsmitty), Illinois’ Mike Davis (@illiniballa24), and Texas A&M’s Dash Harris (@dash5harris).  Personally, we can’t wait to see what Thomas has to say leading up to Maui and a potential game against Kentucky next month.
  4. Hubris, arrogance, mere stupidity — or all three?  Gary Parrish has long harped on the tendency for coaches to repeatedly and egregiously get busted for texting recruits when they’re not supposed to be doing so, but it doesn’t seem to stop their madness.  We can only suppose that these are some of the same guys who, after looking up a bunch of porn on the work computer, think that by simply deleting the search history means they won’t get caught.  You mean pressing “clear history” doesn’t get rid of it?  Huh?
  5. We mentioned this situation in a Morning Five last week, but the schizz hit the fan publicly today when St. Louis’ two stars, Willie Reed and Kwamain Mitchell, were noticeably absent from Photo Day on Wednesday.  The reason is that neither is currently enrolled in the school as a result of a year-long suspension meted by the university’s student court for an as-yet undetermined violation of student conduct (later changed to two months on appeal).  Bryan Burwell spoke to Reed’s father about the suspensions, and although details on the specific allegations are sketchy, the father alleges fairly serious concerns about rights to due process and railroading if what he suggests is true.  Michigan State fans would do well to look at this situation with a certain degree of interest, as there are two unnamed players on their campus possibly facing similar inquiries.
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Morning Five: 10.07.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2010

  1. Has anyone else noticed that the little countdown clock above is down to seven days and change until Midnight Madness hits?  Yeah, thought so.  One of the problems with MM (inasmuch as there can be a problem with something so completely awesome) is that many of the events around the country have become, well, rather boring.  The Maryland blog Testudo Times took the Terps’ 2009 version to task for lacking any forethought or originality whatsoever, and have offered a list of improvements that many other schools should also consider utilizing next week.  The best idea we know of, though, isn’t on there — which is to lose all the 7 pm “family-friendly” start times in favor of actually holding the events at 12:00 midnight.  Back in the mid-90s, ESPN would start with several eastern schools at the witching hour and move west hour-by-hour showing highlights from each event across the country, much as the news channels do on New Year’s Eve.  It was fantastic, especially if you attended one of the early ones then got to go home and watch the rest.  The crowds were raucous and it was compelling viewing for every college basketball fan across the nation.  Nowadays… less so (but still awesome).
  2. In an effort to consistently apply game rules across the 32 different conferences and 347 teams in college basketball, the NCAA has established an LLC to put all of the officials under one platform.  The mission of the new corporation will be “to increase the pool of officials; standardize messaging; more consistently apply playing rules, points of emphasis and mechanics; and remove “entry barriers” to those who are interested in becoming basketball officials.”  Hey, if it means that a Big Ten slugfest is called the same way as a Pac-10 roadrace, we’re all for it.
  3. Get ‘er Dunn?  On Tuesday news broke that Baylor star LaceDarius Dunn had been indefinitely suspended due to a domestic violence incident in August involving his girlfriend for which he was also arrested by Waco police.  Yesterday, said girlfriend Lacharlesla Edwards went on the record stating that what occurred (a punch) was actually an accident and that she has no interest in pressing charges or cooperating with police on the matter.  The local DA will still have the discretion to pursue the charges if he thinks he has the evidence to do so — it’s simply tough luck for Dunn that he doesn’t live in Ingham County, Michigan.
  4. Speaking of our favorite District Attorney in the Wolverine State, the Michigan Messenger continues to come correct with its cage-rattling about sexual assault allegations involving two players on the Michigan State basketball team.  After last week’s police report was released by the paper, the DA publicly provided transcripts of interviews with one of the alleged assailants and the victim to justify its decision to not bring charges against the two.  The Messenger responded by showing the documents to three experts in the field of criminal law — “a former Ingham County prosecutor, a defense attorney and a nationally recognized expert in sexual assault investigation and prosecution.”  Interestingly, the prosecutor said he would hesitate to bring the case, while the other two experts had trouble understanding why, at a minimum, further investigation would not be warranted.  Great stuff.
  5. Amen and pass the ammo we say in response to Gary Parrish’s article yesterday that explains just how tired he is of all the offseason negativity that goes on in the game today.  We don’t really believe that there’s any more bad behavior than there ever was, but it seems as if two things have happened in recent years to make it seem worse.  First, the media has changed, for better or worse.  Through no small part of people and sites like us here at RTC, there’s always another story or angle to dig up and talk about — trust us, we know, as this very feature thrives and depends on that very precept.  That endless chase for stories forces everyone, including the so-called mainstream media of which Parrish is a part, to up their games and talk about the next piece of news, no matter how relatively trivial (social networking makes this even more real-time in nature).  Second, the NCAA has gotten more serious about enforcement, and that means that high school players are increasingly being scrutinized for their associations with agents and other unsavories both before and after their enrollment as a freshman player; and, schools are finding that they need to run a much tighter ship because the days of only a few NCAA gumshoes covering the entire nation are gone.  Ten years ago a story like LaceDarius Dunn’s probably wouldn’t have gotten much run outside of Texas and the various Big 12 outlets; nowadays it’s a major story on every national site covering college basketball.  The landscape has most definitely changed.
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Morning Five: 09.24.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 24th, 2010

  1. Put.  The.  Phones.  Down.  UT-Chattanooga was placed on two years probation by the NCAA for “major” violations that AGAIN included a situation where the head coach John Shulman was busily texting recruits during a no-contact period.  The Mocs will not suffer a postseason ban as a result of these violations, but we simply cannot understand why coaches continue to fall victim to such an easily traceable mistake.  Every husband in the entire world knows that you don’t text or call your mistress using the phone that your wife can access — yet coaches seem oblivious to this codified man-law, so time and time again we see problems arise in this area.  Gary Parrish discussed this last week, but coaches have proven to be slow on the uptick here.  Get some burners, fellas — hell, use Skype — just stop this nonsense already.
  2. Speaking of Parrish, his latest article captures John Wooden’s mantra of “don’t mistake activity for achievement” really well.  Too many coaches waste too much time trying to recruit prospects that they never had a shot with to begin with.  To continue with the analogies, it’s like the guy who sadly yet consistently shoots for 9s when everyone in the bar knows that he should be focusing on the 6s.  Finishing second or third in recruiting is like hearing the click with five more bullets in the barrel — you end up in the same place regardless.
  3. Scathing.  That’s how we’d describe the latest piece by Fanhouse’s Ray Holloman about the Bruce Pearl/Tennessee recruiting violations that were exposed last week.  Better than any other article we’ve seen written on this situation, Holloman perfectly exposes the true underlying motives of the “executive officers of a multi-million dollar athletic program.”  The lesson here, and we sorta already knew it: treat these guys like politicians or CEOs by assuming that everything that comes out of their mouths is a half-truth or outright lie.  Start there, and then figure out the rest.
  4. We rarely mention women’s college basketball here but this was too bizarre to ignoreUNC-Wilmington head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke (this is not a joke) apologized for a punishment that her assistant Johnetta Hayes put junior guard Julia Finlay through during practice on Monday.  Apparently Hayes forced Finlay to ‘log roll’ up and down the court at least twelve times in a row during a half-hour period as a penalty for getting booted from practice last week.  She’s suffering from plantar fasciitis, so incredulously, Hayes believed this would be an appropriate punishment in place of the normal sprints a player gets as punishment.  Finlay vomited several times during the “puke-and-roll”, and we’re pretty certain that a little piece of America died as a result of this story.
  5. “Dumb Catholic boys.”  Oh, Bob Knight, always making friends.  Just days after enjoying his roast in Hammond, Indiana, Knight took shots at both the NCAA and Notre Dame during a speaking engagement at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana yesterday.  In reference to whether Notre Dame should join the Big Ten, Knight ripped the ND brass, suggesting that being in the Big East in all sports other than football hurts their recruiting.  Surely this will come up at some point during Gameday with Digger Phelps this coming season, although we think we already know how this ends, right?  Do we even need to say it?
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Morning Five: 09.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 14th, 2010

  1. Delving into the phone call issue in the wake of Bruce Pearl’s self-reported violations last week, Gary Parrish anonymously interviewed ten NCAA coaches across the spectrum, and guess what, they all admitted to making impermissible calls themselves.  We certainly understand the point that several in the article make about the difference between fifteen and two hundred impermissible calls, but with so many of the coaches also agreeing that the calls make little difference in the recruit’s ultimate destination, why do they continue to do it?  Someone in this game once said not to mistake activity for achievement, and we think it might appropriately apply here.
  2. That didn’t take long.  On the Monday immediately following Wake Forest center Tony Woods’ arrest for various kinds of assault, the school suspended him indefinitely.  If the allegations against him are even remotely true, it’s doubtful we’ll ever seen him in the ACC again.
  3. Former UCLA underachiever J’Mison Morgan will be eligible to play at Baylor this winter after the NCAA approved his waiver to be closer to his ill grandmother, his legal guardian.  Normally, a player transferring in who averaged a grand total of two points and one rebound per game over two seasons wouldn’t be cause for celebration, but few players bring the high school pedigree of the 6’10 Morgan — he was a top 25 recruit in the class of 2008 and has the physical tools to be a very good player.  If the new environment suits him and he can get his head out of the clouds, Morgan could legitimately become a major contributor on a very talented Bears front line along with Perry Jones and Quincy Acy in 2010-11.
  4. Steve Lavin is settling in nicely at St. John’s, as this article from the LA Times examines from the perspective of a California boy gone east.  Maybe we’re just suckers for the boyish good looks and eloquence of Lav, but we think he’ll actually be quite successful in NYC.
  5. Would you believe that March Madness darling Northern Iowa could be on the verge of a decision to eliminate all of its D1 sports?  Mere months after the greatest moment in the school’s athletic history (Farokhmanesh!), president Ben Allen stated on Monday that with additional anticipated cuts to the athletic program budget, the school could find itself unable to compete in Division I and would consider such a seemingly drastic move.  It all comes down to dollars (always), but it’s hard for us to believe that a school with a strong basketball program and a nationally competitive football program in 1-AA would be in such dire straits.  Let’s hope the Panthers avoid armageddon on this one.
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Morning Five: 07.20.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 20th, 2010

  1. The biggest news yesterday came when the NCAA announced that UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway has been tabbed to take over as the chairman of the Men’s D1 Basketball Committee for the 2011-12 season.  He will succeed the current chairman, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, next summer.  This is a peculiar choice given the timing that UConn is currently facing eight major recruiting violations in its men’s basketball program (including a failure to monitor charge, and if you believe this report, a possible 2-3 year probation) and rumors that Hathaway has been considering a move to Maryland, his alma mater.  According to the NCAA, if Hathaway takes the Maryland job, this chairmanship will not follow him.
  2. Ask any middle-aged Duke fan if they remember the name Todd Leary, and without question you’ll get a knowing glance.  In the 1992 Final Four en route to Coach K’s back-to-back titles, Indiana’s Leary gave Blue Devil fans heart palpitations as he single-handedly brought Bob Knight’s Indiana team back from nine down in the final two minutes with three long-balls from all over the court.  Well, from that illustrious moment to this one — Leary pleaded guilty to fraud relating to a mortgage company scheme late last week in Ft. Wayne, and he is on the hook for $300,000 in restitution as well as possible prison time.  Nice.
  3. Did you see Gary Parrish’s summer all-americans?  With three Big 12 players on his first team, it’s going to be another fantastic season in the nation’s heartland.
  4. This is an interesting post from Bylaw Blog (“the unofficial blog of NCAA compliance” — awesome!) that suggests that the NCAA Infractions folks may be reaching a critical mass of knowledge in both football and basketball (about how “the system” actually works) to begin focusing on and targeting the volume cheaters.  We can only hope…
  5. What do Rick Barnes (Big 12), Jeff Bzdelik (ACC), Fran McCaffery (Big Ten), Buzz Williams (Big East), Rick Stansbury (SEC) and Kevin O’Neill (Pac-10) have in common?  These six coaches in the BCS leagues tend to play their starters more than any other coach in that league, according to statistics compiled by Dan Hanner over at YABB in his typically stellar analysis.   (ed. note — Bzdelik’s and McCaffery’s numbers were of course from previous schools)
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