Morning Five: 07.18.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 18th, 2013


  1. On Wednesday ESPN finished its two-day unveiling of brackets for the 11 holiday season events that it more or less controls through its television rights, and the possibilities, as usual, are endless. For a comprehensive listing of those events along with the top storylines as they stand right now in the middle of July, here’s the thread. Be sure to remember that Jeff Goodman picked Boise State over Oregon State in the Diamond Head Classic so that you can mock him on Twitter in late December… but seriously, does anyone else find it more than a little odd that these brackets are released during the time of year when you couldn’t find more people who care less? Why not make this a part of the Midnight Madness/ESPN festivities in October — you know, when fans are actually paying attention to college basketball again. For what it’s worth, Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger and Andy Glockner at have pretty good rundowns of the events if’s marketing campaign isn’t to your liking. From our perspective, here’s what you need to know: North Carolina vs. Louisville (Hall of Fame Tip-off) and Arizona vs. Duke (Preseason NIT). Done.
  2. While we’re on the subject of ESPN, the post-MLB All-Star Game hole in the calendar provides us with our annual opportunity to over-dramatize the strange mixture of sports and celebrity at the ESPYs. College basketball was once again well-represented, with two major awards among the few nominees. Louisville’s Rick Pitino received the ESPY for top coach/manager of the year, while everybody’s favorite underdog, Florida Gulf Coast, won the ESPY for the best upset of the year (over Georgetown). The full list is here, but the only other college basketball nominee was Trey Burke for best male college athlete (won by Johnny Manziel). Still, we’re more than willing to take a smidgen of credit for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given this year to former Sportscenter anchor and Dickie V/Midnight Madness sidekick, Robin Roberts.
  3. We mentioned Seth Davis’ piece on Michigan’s Mitch McGary in yesterday’s M5, and clearly university brass must have also read about his head coach John Beilein‘s prescience in keeping the burly freshman on the bench as a secret postseason weapon last year. Why do we say this? Because on Wednesday Michigan rewarded the 60-year old coach with a three-year extension that will bump his salary up to $2.45 million per year, ninth-highest in the nation. The sometimes-irascible but always competent Beilein has come a long way in his itinerant career, but with another top 10 squad pending in Ann Arbor and a growing NBA pipeline to entice recruits, we’re thinking that he not only deserves the raise, but is well worth it.
  4. The Pac-12 under Larry Scott’s leadership in the last few seasons has certainly been innovative in its approach to its branding and reach, and yesterday’s report that the league recently sent a letter to the NCAA challenging the admission of Division II Grand Valley (AZ) State to play D-I basketball is certainly interesting. On one hand, why does the Pac-12 care about a low-budget for-profit school with some 40,000 to 45,000 online students? On the other, the business model and corresponding accountability for a school answering to public shareholders on financial matters is in fact a much different situation than that posed by a typical college or university (which are all non-profit entities in Division I). It’ll be interesting to see how the NCAA responds to this, and whether other leagues and/or universities get involved. Grand Valley has already begun transition to Division I, entering the WAC as a basketball school and becoming eligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2017-18.
  5. Some transfer/eligibility news from yesterday to finish off today’s M5. Former Kentucky problem child Ryan Harrow has received a transfer waiver from the NCAA to play at Georgia State next season. This move will allow him to remain near his ailing father, who suffered a stroke last year while Harrow was at Kentucky, averaging 10 PPG and shooting 29.6 percent from beyond the arc. By the same token, Minnesota’s Malik Smith, a senior guard who averaged 14/3 APG last season at FIU under Richard Pitino, also received a waiver to play immediately at his new school. The NCAA approved his waiver to follow his coach in part because FIU is not eligible for the 2014 NCAA Tournament (APR violations). This will be Smith’s fourth school in four seasons.
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Some Exhibition Nonsense

Posted by rtmsf on November 4th, 2008

We don’t put any much stock in Exhibition Games, because, well, they’re exhibitions.  But maybe we should – last year, Findlay defeated Ohio St. and Grand Valley St. beat Michigan St., and both of those teams had worse seasons than expected (OSU in particular – NIT).  Someone should do a correlation on this.  Anyway, here are some exhibition tidbits for the discerning fan…

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Maybe the Big 10 Should Join D3…

Posted by rtmsf on November 6th, 2007

… since they can’t seem to handle D2 teams at home.

Findlay Logo

Another UF is Coming For You, Buckeyes!!!

First Michigan St. lost to Grand Valley St. on Saturday. Tonight Ohio St. went down 70-68 at the hands of Findlay (OH). To be fair, Findlay is the #5 ranked team in the D2 preseason poll, and they were 29-2 last year. But still… Findlay? Guard Marcus Parker led the way for the Oilers with 18 pts, and said that MSU’s loss inspired his team.

“I saw Grand Valley beat a Big Ten team (Michigan State),” Parker said, “and I felt we could come down here and do the same thing.”

He was right. From the OSU side of things, the few that are paying attention to hoops this time of year are stressing that this was from a lack of effort, not a lack of talent. From the Ohio St. blog Eleven Warriors:

Thad Matta’s squad simply didn’t match Findlay’s intensity, especially at the defensive end of the floor losing the rebounding battle 34-27 (13 offensive) while surrendering 10 threes. The lack of passion combined with another poor night at the stripe (11/17 64%) was more than enough to hand OSU their most embarassing defeat in the Thad Matta Era.

The good news is that freshman center Kosta Koufos led a second-half comeback with 20/7, but the other forward Othello Hunter laid a prodigious egg (0/1). Jamar Butler had a nice game with 22/3 asst, but the rest of the Buckeyes contributed very little. Looking at their lineup, we’re just not sure where their offense is going to come from this year outside of Butler and Koufos. Please don’t say Terwilliger.

To crib from Doug Gottlieb tonight, you think it might be time to consider replacing the ACC with the Great Lakes Conference in the ACC-B10 Challenge? You know, a league with some teams the Big 10 could bea… uh, nevermind.

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Grand Valley St. 85, Michigan St. 82

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2007

Red flag for Izzo’s Spartans or much ado about nothing?

Last night the #8 Michigan St. Spartans were shocked by D2 school Grand Valley St. 85-82 in double overtime. According to Coach Izzo, some players weren’t bringing it:

“The effort (was) the most disappointing,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said.

“I think the freshmen had a little more tenacity than some of the upperclassmen. Drew Neitzel played pretty hard and Travis played OK, but after that the freshmen definitely played with more tenacity.”

While Izzo took most of blame because of juggled lineups and calling the timeout late in the first overtime, Neitzel also said that the effort shown by the Spartans was not up to MSU standards.

“I think some guys played their butts off and some guys didn’t,” he said. “To play at this level, to wear this uniform, it’s unacceptable not to give 110 percent every time you step on the court. I think some guys take for granted where they’re at, so we have to work some things out and make guys realize how fortunate they are to be in a program like this and perform every night.”

We’ve been wondering why many pundits selected Michigan St. to win the Big 10 this year, and this loss supports that concern. Keep in mind that we put MSU at #14 in our blogpoll ballot (they’re #8 overall). We have issues with why people believe this is a top ten team after they were a fairly mediocre 8-8 Big Ten squad last season. Of course, losing an exhibition game means nothing long-term, but we can’t remember a situation where a team lost an exhibition game early and that team then went on to a great season. Does anyone know of such an example?

Highlights (or lowlights?) here:

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