Morning Five: 05.19.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 19th, 2011

  1. The Big Ten is considering a proposal where it would increase the amount it “pays” scholarship athletes (ok, it is really more like a stipend). The basic idea behind the proposal is to cover “living expenses”, which have been estimated at between $2,000 and $5,000 per student-athlete per year. According to reports, NCAA president Mark Emmert back this proposal, which is interesting because at $300,000 per year for just football and basketball it would create a major divide between the big and small schools. Gene Smith, the athletic director at Ohio State and chairman of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, has come out and essentially said that small schools will just have to deal with being small schools while letting the big boys play a different game. We have a feeling that this could become a very heated discussion in the near future.
  2. Every year it seems like a rumor starts about a major college basketball coach leaving the sanctity of a college campus for NBA riches. Bill Self was asked about this on a local radio show and said that he had “a better job than two-thirds of the NBA jobs right where I’m at, at Kansas.” Of course, some Kansas fans have taken this to mean that there are ten NBA jobs that Self would leave Lawrence for if he were offered that position. Personally, we think that is a little paranoid, but if our last coach did this maybe we would be paranoid too.
  3. After several months of speculation former Kansas State forward Wally Judge has decided that he will be transferring to Rutgers. Judge, who came to Manhattan with high expectations as a McDonald’s All-American, struggled at times to live up to expectations and averaged a meager 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Despite his limited production at Kansas State there were plenty of teams interested in Judge due to his athleticism. Judge will have to sit out next season, but will be able to join what should be a solid Rutgers squad thanks to some solid recruiting by Mike Rice recently. If Judge is able to live up to his potential, the Scarlet Knights could surprise some teams in the Big East in a few years.
  4. Trevor Lacey, one of the last big-time recruits in the class of 2011 who had not committed, announced yesterday that he would be staying in-state to play at Alabama. Lacey chose to go to Alabama over his other three finalists that included Auburn, Kansas, and Kentucky. As you can imagine, Wildcats fans were not too happy that Lacey turned them down, but just because he went to a relatively weak program in Tuscaloosa does not necessarily mean that he cannot be successful according to John Clay. Now, the lone remaining uncommitted star in the class of 2011 is DeAndre Daniels, who was supposed to announce yesterday, but decided to postpone his decision another day. Daniels is reportedly considering Texas, Kansas, and Oregon although there are some rumors that he is also looking at Duke and Kentucky.
  5. The teams that will participate in the championship rounds of this season’s “Legends Classic” were announced yesterday and will feature Texas, Vanderbilt, NC State, and Oregon State. For the record, we would like to reiterate our stance against having a fake tournament where preordained teams advance whether or not they win. As for the actual tournament, Vanderbilt should be the heavy favorites here especially this early in the year (November 19th and 21st) although Texas should have some decent talent that could make thing interesting. The other two teams are only notable for their head coaches with Mark Gottfried and Craig Robinson (aka President Obama’s brother-in-law) coaching NC State and Oregon State, respectively.
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NCAA Informally Exploring Idea of a Season Tipoff Event

Posted by rtmsf on November 18th, 2010

Yesterday the NCAA held a teleconference featuring Gene Smith, the current Chair of the Men’s Basketball Committee, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  The media was afforded the opportunity to ask questions of the three in a structured format, and while we didn’t have a question ourselves, there were quite a few interesting nuggets that came out of the event.  Rather than simply posting the complete transcript, we pulled out the parts that we found most compelling for the sake of simplicity.  (note: entire transcript can be found here)

Three Big Names in the Sport Fielded Questions Yesterday

The line of questioning that perked our ears the most revolved around the longstanding RTC complaint that the regular season trickles out in fits and twitches rather than exploding onto the sports scene as it should.  All three interviewees in this teleconference agreed that such a thing is worth exploring. 

  • Gene Smith:  [This was discussed as] a casual conversation we had in our meetings in New Orleans last week.  We were sitting around and realized that the games started, we were watching games.  We really thought it would be nice if we had, at the beginning of the basketball season, an event of some nature that brought attention and awareness right off the bat on the first games right away.  We’re blessed right now with the 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon just concluding.  While that was going on, there was a great deal of excitement.  In the first week, it didn’t seem to have the energy and excitement that we felt the start of the season should have.  So it’s really a discussion we thought we needed to keep on our radars as we move forward.
  • Coach K:  I’d be in favor of that.  I think what happened yesterday was great for the game.  It actually felt like the start of the basketball season.  People watched those games, and they were great games.   We should have an official start to the season and not let it start from November 4th or 8th.  Nobody really knows when it starts.  To kick it off like that was tremendous.  That was a tremendous thing ESPN did. 
  • Brad Stevens:  Yeah, I think it’s really good.  I say I’d like to see us play a little bit better when we open a place like yesterday.  But I think it’s a great thing for college basketball.  It brings awareness to college basketball.  I think people get excited about it.  Like Coach Krzyzewski said, people now know that the season has kicked off.  I think sometimes towards the waning parts of the football season, or at least the regular season, all of a sudden pops up a college basketball game.  It’s like, I didn’t realize that was going on. 

Let’s hope that the NCAA continues its recent trend of listening to its constituents — the schools, coaches, and the fans — and figures out a way to make something like a true season tipoff event happen.  Another area of inquirey that all three gentlemen addressed was how expanding the NCAA Tournament to 68 teams next year may impact the decision-making process of the Committee. 

  • GS:   It’s really hard to speculate what that moment will bring for us.  Our policies and procedures on selecting and seeding and bracketing will pretty much stay the same.  We’ll move through our process.  Now, as opposed to stopping, we’ll go to 37 at‑large.  I just don’t see us changing anything.  I still believe there’s going to be that 38th and 39th team that feel they should have been the 36th or 37th team.  To my view, it will be a continued level of excitement from that perspective.
  • BS:  It helps four teams.  I don’t know which four teams it helps.  I don’t know they’re in any given league.  I found it to be the case, I think they look at it really objectively and [Smith] addressed that.  What we try to do is we try to go out and schedule the best schedule that we possibly can, which in the coaching fraternity they call me crazy for doing that, so that we at least have a shot to qualify for the tournament in two ways.  At the end of the day it’s going to be the next four best teams, and certainly there’s going to be some arguments, there’s always going to be No. 69 and 70.  But four more teams have a chance to get in.  I don’t think it necessarily helps one program or another. 

The proposal that the NCAA recently deliberated involving a banishment of the summer recruiting period was also discussed, and perhaps expectedly, neither coach was in favor of this measure.

  • MK:  First of all, I’d like to see legislation not put forward without input from coaches.  This summer the conference commissioners voted to get rid of summer recruiting, and there wasn’t anybody from basketball representing the game at that meeting, which sometimes is the reason that poor legislation is passed concerning our game.  We should always have a representative of basketball at committee meetings where they’re deciding things about our game.  Summer recruiting is essential for schools of all levels.  I think the amount of money that you would have to put into it if you didn’t have summer recruiting would be immense because you get to see so many kids during a short period of time in one area.  So it’s essential.  What we do with it, I mean, it should be a consensus with the coaches and our administrators as to what is best for our game.  You’re going to have to do something in the summer, there’s no question about it. […] If people would cut out summer recruiting, it would be a huge mistake.  Now, what we do with it, how we go forward, let’s figure out what’s in the best interest of our game, what’s in the best interest of all the schools involved.  You’re going to need to go out in the summer.  Kids are going to play in the summer.  You’re going to need to go out or else you’re going to have to deal with more people who have no restrictions.  They’re not answerable to any authorities as far as academic authorities.  Less access that we put in the early ’90s proved to be poor for the game.  To have further less access, you know, would be utterly ridiculous to do.  We should have learned our lesson from that.
  • BS:   I’ve been in plenty of discussions with different coaches and people around.  I think the key, like Coach K said, is more access, not less access.  I think we all agree on that.  We certainly can’t eliminate the July period.  But if we can come up with a way to make it whether it means you have more access to juniors, you get more calls, whatever the case may be, then if you want to limit July or cut July back by a couple of days, add a weekend or two in April, have all kinds of scenarios that work.  But you have to make it so we can watch these games, watch these kids all in one place or at least in a few different places.  It’s very cost‑effective.  I think it’s the right thing for us to do.  I think it’s the right way to go.  I don’t think you can, again, I don’t know that 20 days is the right thing.  I think that’s a bit much personally because I think kids are tired, coaches are tired.  It’s well documented how unhealthy the whole month is from that regard.  If you could knock it back a couple days and add a couple days in April, I’d be all for it.
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Opening Round Questions Still Unanswered

Posted by jstevrtc on July 2nd, 2010

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences and an occasional contributor.

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee met this week in Chicago, and the biggest item on their agenda was to decide on the format of the new 68-team tournament. In deciding to expand from the 65-team tournament, which has been the rule for the last ten years, to 68 teams in time for the 2011 tournament, the NCAA has committed itself to four opening round games.  The questions of who will play in those games, however, and where those games will take place, among other logistical issues, are still to be decided. While it doesn’t look like a decision will be announced this week, outgoing committee chairperson and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has spelled out three possible options for who will compete in the opening round games:

  1. The teams that would be the 16th and 17th seeds in a bracket, or those teams seeded at spots 61 through 68 in the overall field — likely teams from the historically one-bid conferences,
  2. The last eight non-automatic qualifiers or the teams generally referred to as bubble teams — generally teams from a mixture of BCS leagues and mid-major conferences, or
  3. Some combination of the first two options, with the most talked-about scenario being the last four bubble teams playing in a couple of games and the lowest seeded automatic qualifiers (seeds 65-68) playing in the other two.

While it is still within the realm of reason that additional options could arise (maybe the lowest seeded automatic qualifiers each match up against one of the bubble teams), the answer will likely be one of the three options above. And, frankly, option three is a bit of a copout, so the decision between options one and two comes down to something of a battle between the big power conferences and the less influential conferences that nonetheless make up the bulk of Division I. And neither side wants to play in those games.

Should a conference champ be sent to an opening-rounder and have a better chance to make more money, or should their performance be rewarded with a spot in the main draw?

“I think that if you are an automatic qualifier, you should not be in a play-in game,” said Winthrop head coach Randy Peele when we talked with him earlier this week, and he’s had experience with the opening round game as the coach at a school that has now appeared in two opening round tournament games, including last season’s loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  Peele’s sentiment was echoed by Michael White, the Associate Athletic Director for Communications at East Tennessee State University. “For teams like ours that come out of a league with one tournament bid, and to have to earn it by winning our conference tournament, we don’t want to have to be sent to a play-in game.”

Even the term “play-in game,” used in reference to the single opening round game played in Dayton for the last ten years, is a divisive one. The NCAA has gone to great lengths to make sure that game was referred to as the “opening round game,” despite it commonly being referred to by fans and media as the play-in game. “The way the NCAA markets the first day is critical,” said ETSU’s head coach Murry Bartow. “They shouldn’t be marketed as play-in games, where you’re not even in the tournament until you win that game.”

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Morning Five: 06.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 20th, 2010

  1. We’re getting closer to the NCAA making a decision on how to handle the four PiGs, and Gene Smith, chairman of the NCAA D1 Basketball Committee, is already giving it a good deal of thought.  His preference is to have the lowest RPI conference champions make up the four PiGs, but he sounds open to the at-large idea as well (let’s hope so!).  He isn’t sure how the rest of the committee feels at this point.  One interesting piece of news from the article is that highly successful  play-in game holder Dayton may be on the chopping block as the site for the four games.  Indianapolis — home of the NCAA –has a substantial amount of support for the move, according to Smith.  Interesting.
  2. The Big 12 is dusting itself off and getting back to the business of running a power conference with its remaining ten member institutions.  Should the Big 12 decide to expand back to, you know, twelve teams again, Mike DeCourcy recommends adding Memphis and UNLV to its mix.  From a basketball perspective, this would undoubtedly make an already nasty conference even stronger.
  3. Utah’s Jim Boylen is doing cartwheels about the recruiting advantages that he can use now as a member of the realigned Pac-10.  There’s no question that joining the west coast league will help the Ute program in recruiting, but we’re still unsure about how successful the program will be simply by moving “up” in conference pedigree.  It’ll be interesting to watch this.
  4. Luke Winn’s report on incoming stud recruit Harrison Barnes at UNC: he “could be the smoothest scoring forward to hit college hoops since [Kevin] Durant.”  High, high praise.
  5. The Knight Commission’s report last week revealing the stratospheric rise of spending on sports per athlete (now $85k per athlete annually vs. $13k per normal student) shows quite clearly just how far down the path of big-money sports we’ve already gone.  There really is no turning back now, and recommendations such as the Commission’s to tie NCAA postseason eligibility to graduation rates (suggested: 50%) will only further cement the huge disconnect between these moneymaking programs and the academic mission of their institutions.  The only viable endgame to this situation is a complete separation of these huge dollar programs from the NCAA — it seems that there can be no other answer.  The question is when?

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Morning Five: Tax Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2010

  1. Yesterday was the first day of the national spring signing period, and there were a couple of mid-major surprises (Butler Effect or just pater familias?) in addition to everyone else in America signing with John Calipari.  Ok, we’re (partially) kidding on the last part, but Cat fans should get used to a revolving door in Lexington for as long as the 1-and-done rule is still in effect.  Here are the updated class rankingsUNC and Memphis both have three 3-star players coming in next season.
  2. Andy Katz introduces us to the 2011 NCAA Tournament Committee chairman, Ohio State AD Gene Smith.  The most interesting part — like seemingly everyone else outside NCAA HQ, he’d prefer that the Tourney stay at 65 teams as well.
  3. A couple of interesting lists here.  First, five players who helped and five players who hurt their stock during the NCAA Tournament, as described by an NBA scout.  This one is five players who should be sticking around for another year, although none of them will be.
  4. Zagsblog is reporting that Rutgers transfer candidate Mike Rosario will visit Florida on Friday.  This would be a solid get for Billy Donovan’s club for the 2011-12 season.
  5. Joe Lunardi has his new 2010-11 Bracketology out, and you’ll note that it assumes a 96-team field.  Enjoy those #12-#21 matchups.

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