Floriani: Behind The Scenes At Big East & A-10 Media Days

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 25th, 2010

Ray Floriani of NBE Basketball Report and College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC, but he also covers many events and games in the NYC metropolitan area. He had the opportunity to attend the Big East and Atlantic 10 Media Days last week and snap a few photos.

Big East Media DayWednesday, October 20 – New York City

The media days are upon us, a sign as indicative of the first leaves falling that the opening tip is not far away. Last Wednesday, the Big East had their day at Madison Square Garden.

The media days often provide a host of scripted quotes. “We have a big challenge… our seniors must step up… there are no nights off in the (fill in your league) conference…” Despite their regularity, they serve a purpose of promoting the conference and they afford the chance to renew acquaintances. For us media types,  it is great to see friends you haven’t seen since March and to discuss the game with the coaches in a calm environment. All coaches are 0-0 and optimistic (for the most part) about the upcoming campaign. With games a few weeks away, you can actually get a chance to engage in some small talk if there isn’t a big media crush at that coach’s table.

The day started with everyone in a theater-type seating area. Commissioner John Marinatto gave a short “state of the conference.” Marinatto opened with a call to remember Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, injured a few days ago, in everyone’s thoughts. Marinatto said renovations at MSG will make the “Big East postseason tournament the premier conference tourney in the country.” The commissioner also noted that since expanding to 16 teams, NCAA bids have increased by 20% for the Big East. Austin Freeman of Georgetown, the preseason Player of the Year choice, addressed the group on behalf of the players.

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams fields questions at the Big East’s Media Day at Madison Square Garden

The working media session was broken into two parts. Each school had its own table where the head coach and a few players were present to field questions. The first half saw eight coaches interviewed by electronic media as TV affiliates. The other half stayed at their tables with a few players from their team as print media ascended. After about 90 minutes, the procedure was reversed. Following the work session a luncheon was provided before everyone adjourned.

A few short notes from someone in attendance:

  • Buzz Williams’ methods of attention to detail and organization always intrigued me, as the Marquette leader is an advocate of maximizing each possession, even if it means limiting them. We discussed the concept of possessions and points per possession. As I discussed the four factors often seen on this site, which include free throw rate, offensive rebounding percentage, turnover percentage and effective field goal percentage, Williams dutifully made extremely meticulous notes in his book. Turnover rate is something of paramount importance to the Marquette mentor. “We have been outstanding in taking care of the ball,” Williams said. “It is something we emphasize.” Looking at the turnover rate (percentage of possessions ending in dreaded TOs) the last two seasons, Marquette’s TO rate has been 15.3% and 14.8%. I noted that 20% is the threshold that teams want to avoid; hitting it, or even worse, exceeding it, is unacceptable.  “If one-fifth of your possessions end in a turnover, your offense is not good,” Williams added. Amen.

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Morning Five: Midnight Madness Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 15th, 2010

  1. It’s been approximately 190 days since we last saw collegians take the floor in their uniforms, but as you surely noted above on our countdown clock, we’re almost down to all zeros.  Tonight is Midnight Madness or whatever people are calling it these days, but the primary concern to everyone reading this site is that COLLEGE HOOPS IS BACK, baby.  For a guide to many of the major events that will be scattered throughout the country tonight and in future weeks, here’s our post outlining the when and where.  ESPNU will be showing the proceedings tonight starting at 9pm ET at several of the schools on the list including Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Memphis and Kansas State, so lock yourselves in this evening and get ready for another great season ahead.
  2. Good work if you can get it…  Former legendary Purdue head coach Gene Keady will join Steve Lavin’s new staff at St. John’s in the role of grandfatherly advisor/executive assistant.  Lavin was an assistant under Keady at Purdue from 1988-91, during which time the Boilermakers went to the NCAA Tournament twice (Keady went back fourteen more times at Purdue).  For some reason we love seeing these kinds of situations when the student brings back his mentor.
  3. Wake Forest’s Tony Woods, the 6’10 junior center who was relieved of his duties as a player for the Demon Deacons, isn’t suffering for suitors as to his next stop.  Jeff Goodman reports that Louisville, Kentucky, WVU, Georgetown, Auburn, Xavier, Cincinnati and others have expressed interest in bringing on the talented but heretofore underachieving player.  We’re all for second chances around here, but there’s clearly no honor among thieves — lots of young people make “mistakes,” but how many of them kick and fracture the spine of the mother of his infant?  Good things seem to find those who have pro size and can occasionally rebound and score a few points, eh?
  4. In what we cannot even possibly begin to describe as anything other than awkwardly hilarious, Ole Miss students, faculty and alumni on Thursday voted that their new mascot should be the Rebel Black Bear, earning 62% of the vote to beat out the Hotty Toddy and the Land Shark.  Colonel Reb has been officially retired, but does anyone else find the use of skin/fur color to describe a cartoonish bear inspired by William Faulkner as something better left to schools without such a violent and ugly racial history?  Just sayin…
  5. Yesterday was  John Wooden’s 100th birthday, and although the Wizard of Westwood wasn’t with us to celebrate it, the UCLA family and his own relatives held their own parties to honor his legacy.  We’ve said this before, but we think it would be a fantastic commemoration of the man and his contributions to the game of basketball if the entire 2010-11 season was dedicated to Coach Wooden — the NCAA and its media partners could easily make this happen, so they should.

Wooden's New Portrait Was Unveiled at UCLA on Thursday (LA Daily News/H. Gutknecht)

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Morning Five: 08.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 17th, 2010

  1. Let us introduce you to the Crossroads Classic, a new four-team event beginning in 2011 that will feature the major college basketball programs in the state of Indiana in a made-for-TV doubleheader — Purdue, Butler, Indiana and Notre Dame.  The 2011 and 2012 events will take place at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with IU playing Notre Dame and Purdue taking on Butler in the first edition.  Indiana and Purdue will switch opponents in 2012, presumably leading to a back-and-forth matchup cycle for the life of this event.  We’re not old enough to remember the original Hoosier Classic that featured these four teams from 1948-60, but we do recall the “Big Four Classic” event in Indy from the late 80s/early 90s that matched IU and Notre Dame against Kentucky and Louisville in alternating years, and that was pretty cool.  Let’s hope this becomes a new annual holiday tradition with some staying power as well.
  2. Former Purdue head coach Gene Keady has been chosen as one of the 2010 recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award, annually given to coaches who have shown character traits over their career mimicking that of the former St. John’s legend.  At Purdue, Keady won six Big Ten championships and was invited to seventeen NCAA Tournaments, but he was never able to push through to the promised land of the Final Four, twice reaching the Elite Eight and losing in that round.  Still, he is widely regarded as a man of great integrity, pushing his players to a 90% graduation rate throughout his career, assisting USA Basketball and acting as president for the NABC at one point.  Bob Hurley, Sr., head coach at Jersey City St. Anthony’s, and Jody Conradt, women’s coach at Texas, will join Keady in accepting the award at the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York on November 18.
  3. In a cost-savings measure, the NCAA announced yesterday that it would be cutting some of its drug-testing program to more effectively target the higher-risk sports and athletes for testing.  In other words, profiling.  Translation: if you play football, baseball, run track or lift weights, expect to see more of those nerdy-looking people in the white coats asking for urine samples.
  4. We hope to have more up on the ESPN 24 Hours of Hoops spectacuganza soon, but what if Transformers/The Rock/Armageddon director Michael Bay got his hands on the direction of this event?  Andrew Sharp of SBNation takes a look, and if nothing else, the photoshops are kinda funny.  Especially the one involving Bruce Pearl (paging Tyler Smith…).
  5. St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin is already thinking outside the box, in that he actually wants his team to have a nice locker room at its home arena, Madison Square Garden.  Imagine that!  Apparently the Red Storm have traditionally used an auxiliary locker room at MSG, but officials are exploring the possibility of allowing Lavin’s team to use the Knicks’ locker room for their home games.  And how long has it been since the Red Storm has been relevant?  We probably shouldn’t be amazed by this news, but we kinda are.
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Morning Five: 07.16.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 16th, 2010

  1. The people in Cambridge, Massachusetts seem to think that Tommy Amaker has turned things around and that the success will carry into this season and beyond because of Amaker’s ability to recruit and the school’s “name.”  While we think there is a better chance of fielding a solid basketball team than a solid football team at an Ivy League school because of the pure numbers — getting five to commit is easier than 23 (or 11 if your players are going two ways) — but we just don’t see that happening, at least on a consistent basis (Cornell last year was a little bit like catching lightning in a bottle). Our favorite part of the article is Andy Katz crediting Amaker with guiding Harvard to its first postseason appearance since 1946 last year, when they qualified for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament created just a year earlier. What’s next? Saying that a team is ranked just because Ken Pomeroy has them ranked even if they are 347th?
  2. We haven’t talked much about this topic yet (at least compared to some other sites), but the news and columns about the potential ban on early recruiting keeps on building. Today’s news comes out of Atlanta where Paul Hewitt said what everybody has been thinking: the new rule will mean that coaches will just have “a wink and a nod” agreement.
  3. We mentioned some of the early fall-out from the Kansas ticket scandal in yesterday’s Morning 5, but we are here with another update as a second former KU official has pleaded guilty to an identical charge. Right now the losses from the scandal are estimated to be between $1-3 million. We have a feeling more heads will roll in this case.
  4. Since Mike Bellotti, who you may remember as the coach who infamously compared the BCS to “a bad disease, like cancer,” left Oregon to work at ESPN, the Ducks have been searching for a new athletic director. They finally announced a successor yesterday when they named Rob Mullens, previously at Kentucky, as their new athletic director. While Mullens’ old job required him to answer to approximately 4.3 million Kentuckians, his new job requires him to answer to just one man: Phil Knight.
  5. Nice piece by Dana O’Neil about new Charlotte coach Alan Major and his unusual path to get a head coaching job. Coming out of high school, Major had a chance to play for a Division II school, but instead opted to go to Purdue and try to walk-on. When he failed to make the team, he decided to essentially become Gene Keady‘s apprentice where he essentially shadowed the coaches. Now after several stints as an assistant coach at various schools, Major gets his chance to be the man, but he won’t have an easy road as he replaces Bobby Lutz, who was fired after a 19-12 season (and the longest tenure in 49er history plus five NCAA tournament appearances and two Conference USA titles). That will not be an easy act to follow for the first-time head coach.
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NCAA Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Purdue (#5, West, Portland pod)
vs. Northern Iowa (#12)
Thurs., 3/19 at 2:30 PM
Vegas Line: Purdue, -8


Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Conference: Big Ten Conference, Automatic Bid
Coach: Matt Painter, 81-49 (60.5%)
08-09 Record: 25-9, 11-7
Last 12 Games: 8-4, 3-game winning streak
Best Win: 72-54, Michigan State, 2/17
Worst Loss: 61-64, Northwestern, 3/4
Off. Efficiency Rating: 110.5, 48th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 86.9, 5th

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): JaJuan Johnson (13. 2 pts, 5.6 reb, 2.1 blk); Robbie Hummel (12.7 pts, 6.9 reb, 2.0 ast); E’Twaun Moore (13.9 pts, 4.8 reb, 3 ast)
Unsung Hero: Chris Kramer (2.2 stl, 2.5 ast)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): N/A
Key Injuries: Robbie Hummel, cracked L5 vertebrae
Depth: 31% (167th nationally), percentage of minutes played by reservs
Achilles Heel: Purdue is a streaking shooting team and had a tendency to go cold for minutes at a time during the second half of the Big Ten season…and Purdue is not a deep team
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Moore and Hummel shoot well
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Kramer gets into early foul trouble, Hummel’s back flares up

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2008, beaten by Xavier in the round of 32
Streak: 3 years
Best NCAA Finish: 1932 National Champs, 1969 Runner-up, 1980 third-place
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.45. On average the Boilermakers win 0.45 less games than they would be expected to based on their seed compared to historical averages

Six Degrees to Detroit: Purdue’s football team won the Motor City Bowl in 2007
Distance to First Round Site: 2,224 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: 22 Purdue alums later became astronauts including Neil Armstrong
School Wishes It Could Forget: Gene Keady’s hairdo…or his post-season woes
Purdue’s lack of depth might hurt during the NCAA tournament as Purdue only goes about 8 deep…foul trouble can kill this team defensively, which is Purdue’s strength.  And Big Ten officiating seems to allow a more physical brand of basketball than does much of the nation’s officiating.  Plus, Purdue’s offensive woes have been painful during periods of this season, especially versus zone defenses.  I look for Purdue to lose in the round of 16 versus Uconn as the Huskies depth will come into play in a close, possibly overtime, loss.
Major RTC stories: ATB: ACC & Big 10 Deadlocked 3-3

Preview written by boilerdowd of BoiledSports.com

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10.12.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 12th, 2008

Have a Happy Rape & Pillage Day, everyone!

  • If Rick Barnes and his one career F4 appearance merits a Legends in Coaching award, we’re wondering just how legendary this award must be.  Well, Gene Keady and his zero F4s won the award in 2007, so whatever.  Katz, for one, believes that Barnes deserves this award. 
  • SEMO fired its AD and put their head coach Scott Edgar on administrative leave this week immediately following the NCAA imposing probation on the men’s and women’s basketball programs.  Good to see the NCAA’s investigative arm is going after the big boys here.  In the last seven years, the SEMO Bears have won 12, 11, 7, 15, 11, 11, and 6 games, respectively.  Awesome.
  • Here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of the ten Cinderellas to keep an eye on this season. 
  • This is a good idea – if you’re interested in knowing what recruits are going to which Midnight Madness – Making the Dance has the list. 
  • Looks like former Hawg Patrick Beverley will not be returning to Fayetteville next season. 
  • The Darrell Arthur grade-changing thing just won’t die.
  • Monty seems to be settling into his new digs across the Bay.
  • USC’s Daniel Hackett:  UCLA does “anything to win” and OJ Mayo breaking his jaw last year was a “bad episode.” 
  • What else can you say about this title of an article dealing with a Minnesota assistant coach being voted most eligible bachelor in Minnesota? – dude doesn’t mince words, that’s for sure.
  • We’re really not sure what to make of this article about Cal St.-Northridge’s Matadome and other things, but we like it.
  • Finally, a trip down memory lane with the 1996-97 Providence Friars
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