Morning Five: 09.09.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 9th, 2013

morning5

  1. A rough offseason just got a lot worse for Fresno State. The Bulldogs who already lost Kevin Olekaibe to transfer and dismissed Robert Upshaw now appear to have lost former Kansas commit Braeden Anderson for a significant amount of time after Anderson and walk-on Kyle Jackson were involved in what has been been described as a “serious car accident” that left one person dead. Information on Anderson is limited at this time, but according to reports he has a neck injury, but has movement in all of his extremities while Jackson escaped relatively unharmed. Obviously, basketball is a distant second to Anderson’s help at this time so we wish him and the other survivors involved in the accident a speedy recovery.
  2. It was not too long ago (or a very long time depending on your point of view) that the public and the sports media nearly lost its mind with Nevin Shapiro’s allegations about NCAA violations at Miami. So the lack of media attention given to the report that Sports Illustrated was set publish details of  widespread NCAA violations committed at Oklahoma State is somewhat interesting. On one hand the allegations all conveniently fall outside the NCAA’s statute of limitations so the NCAA cannot do anything about it (we think, but we thought the same think with Penn State). Still the reported violations are so widespread and the reaction to the Yahoo! Miami report was so over-the-top that the lack of media reaction here has been somewhat jarring. It may speak to way we have been desensitized to scandals after what happened at Penn State or perhaps the indignation will come once the actual report is released.
  3. Yesterday, the Naismith Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony and while nearly all of the inductees had significant college basketball careers the three that are most pertinent to us were the coaches–Rick PitinoJerry Tarkanian, and Guy Lewis. Pitino needs no introduction especially since he is still coaching and just won a national title earlier this year, but we have to say the moment must have been particularly sweet for Tarkanian and Lewis, both of whom many felt should have been inducted years ago. We went over the cases for both several months ago when the decisions regarding induction were still being debated by the Selection Committee. In any event, we would like to congratulate all of the inductees.
  4. Over the past few weeks we have seen the NCAA make several announcements regarding player eligibility that have raised eyebrows. Perhaps none have done so more than the ones regarding transfers with hardship waivers as many observers have been quick to point out the lack of consistency between some of the decisions that have been made. As expected several writers wrote about this topic, but if you want check out a few of the more nuanced takes we would suggest the following three takes: Andy Glockner, Dana O’Neil, and John Infante. All three writers offer slightly different takes, but they are all more thoughtful than what we have typically seen.
  5. The past six months have been interesting ones for Kevin Ware. He went from being a key cog in the NCAA title favorites to being one of the enduring memories of this year’s NCAA Tournament after he suffered a compound fracture during Louisville’s Elite Eight game against Duke. After that there were a series of rumors claiming that Ware had been suspended from the team (subsequently refuted). Now it appears that Ware’s return to the court will be delayed at least until early 2014 according to Rick Pitino. Given the depth the Cardinals have they should be able to withstand Ware’s absence early in the season although they will certainly need him when March rolls around.
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Morning Five: Morning After Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 9th, 2013

morning5

  1. Normally the day after the NCs AA Championship Game leaves feeling a little empty inside with the long off-season ahead, but last night’s game (and the first half in particular) was so ridiculously good that we are still buzzing from it. College basketball may not be at the same level it was in the 1980s, but as last night demonstrated it can still be amazing. So while we will miss college basketball for the next six month (we count practice) last night was a nice parting gift.
  2. Last night may have been huge for Louisville‘s fans in terms of cementing themselves among the nation’s elite programs particularly with the Goliath next door, but according to research by Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, Cardinal fans have nothing to worry about as their program was  already the most valuable in college basketball. We have not had a chance to analyze the methodology for the valuations and we have seen some pretty ridiculous valuation models over the years (see hundreds of Internet IPOs), but the top 10 looks fairly reasonable even if we don’t agree with the order. If we get a chance to analyze the valuation models in more detail we will post more on it at a later date.
  3. The night may have belonged to Louisville, but it was still a special night for 11 other individuals (and Rick Pitino) who were announced as the newest inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The headliners for us were the men’s coaches–Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian, and Guy Lewis–all of whom should have been inducted long ago particularly the latter two. This year’s class may not have the standout name that grabs the headlines like Michael Jordan or the Dream Team have done in recent years, but as usual it should be another memorable class and we cannot say there is anybody in the group with whom we can see anybody making a reasonable argument against induction.
  4. There will be plenty of news about players deciding to enter the NBA Draft over the next few days, but players are already transferring and we have noted several over the past few days. The most recent entries into the transfer pool are Pe’Shon Howard who is leaving Maryland and Anrio Adams who initially left Kansas then tried coming back before apparently being told that he was not needed any more. Howard appears to be leaving for family reasons as his grandmother is apparently quite sick. We don’t know all the details of his family situation, but it appears that his grandparents had a big role in raising him and he wants to be near her for his final season of eligibility. The Adams saga is a little more complex and as the above link alludes to Adams brought a lot of this on himself with his use of social media to announce publicly that he was transferring rather than discussing it with the coaching staff.
  5. The coaching carousel may already started filling many of its open seats, but the position at Florida Gulf Coast is still open after the surprising departure of Andy Enfield to USC, but it looks like they are narrowing down the list of potential candidates. As you would expect the opening has generated more interest than you would expect for a program of FGCU’s caliber. Perhaps the thought of living in Naples (overrated in our opinion) is attractive to many coaches, but the opening has drawn some big names most notably former NBA coach Eric Musselman, who also submitted his name for consideration for the job in 2011 before being beaten out by Enfield. Personally we think the opening is overrated, but perhaps the appeal of the team’s style might lure some recruits that otherwise would never consider the school.
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Morning Five: 02.18.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 18th, 2013

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  1. On Friday the Naismith Hall of Fame announced the 12 Finalists for the class of 2013. Almost by definition there are plenty of big names on the list, but three stand out for us as a college basketball site: Guy LewisRick Pitino, and Jerry Tarkanian. Pitino’s induction should almost be a formality with his national championship and being the only coach to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to the Final Four. We are not sure why Lewis has not gotten in yet with his 592 wins (all at Houston), five Final Four appearances (separated by a generation) as the only thing we can see missing from his resume is a national championship, but it seems like five Final Four appearances would make up for it. As for Tarkanian, we pointed out his omission from the Hall of Fame thus far may be the most notable omission that we can think of. Based on his credentials–729 wins and a national championship–he is more than qualified, but his off-the-court (sometimes in court) issues might make a few voters squeamish. We hope that the voters can look past that and finally put the original Shark (sorry, Mark Titus) in the Hall of Fame.
  2. Many of our younger readers may not be familiar with George Raveling, but those of us who have followed the sport for years are no doubt familiar with his contributions. And on Friday he was recognized for that work as he was awarded the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after John W. Bunn, the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee, the award as its name suggests is given to recognize an individuals work in the game of basketball anywhere from the high school to the professional or international level. For those of you who are not familiar with Raveling’s work his website has an excellent biography that is worth checking out including his involvement with Martin Luther King Jr. that led to Raveling owning the original “I Have A Dream” speech.
  3. It seems like we talk about conference realignment and the Catholic 7 too frequently in this section, but John Feinstein’s article detailing the Catholic 7′s expansion plan is one of the better inside looks we have read. Outside of the usual posturing about the relative strength of various conferences Feinstein points out why if the conference decides to stay completely “Catholic” it would mean going from adding Butler to adding Detroit and why Creighton is not even in the discussion at this point. There are also a few interesting notes on the leadership of the budding conference, which may be of interest to those of you into the behind the scenes action that is going on before the conference officially forms.
  4. If you were on Twitter this week you saw a lot of tweets originating from Indianapolis where a group of writers gathered for the annual mock bracket selection. As you can see the from the mock bracket the mock committee had no issues handing the number #1 seeds to ACC and Big Ten. Of course, this may have changed with this weekend’s results from the ACC. One of the most amazing things about the process is the anger it creates in some fan bases that feel that they have been wronged. With one of our co-editors having taken part in this (last year) we can assure you that it is much more complex than in looks. Plenty of people can try to poke holes in the mock bracket for individual teams, but it any move creates a ripple effect and in general it is there for a reason.
  5. This weekend (actually the entire week) was filled with countless articles on Michael Jordan both on the man, his accomplishments, and his impact on the game. Outside of the outstanding inside look at Jordan by Wright Thompson, the one piece that really caught our eye was from Luke Winn, who took a look at Jordan the college player through advanced statistics. One of the things we feel has not been talked about enough is how good of a college player Jordan was. He was obviously an excellent player having won a Player of the Year award, but looking back at the era he was hardly the force that he became in the NBA even early in his career. While Winn’s piece does not exactly answer that question it does provide a better glimpse at the type of player he was in college even if the comparison players may make some critics roll their eyes.
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Welcoming the Big East Newcomers: Houston

Posted by mlemaire on December 8th, 2011

The Big East announced in a teleconference this week that they would be adding five new schools to the fold. Three of those schools, Houston, Central Florida, and Southern Methodist, will play all of their sports in the conference starting in 2013. Of course it is far too early to tell what sort of basketball impact these schools will have in their new conference, but that won’t stop us from pontificating. First up is Houston.

The Past

Of the three schools, there is no question that Houston has the best track record. There first season was in 1946, but it wasn’t until then-assistant and former player Guy Lewis took over for the 1956-57 season until the program really took off. In his 30 years at the helm, Lewis led the Cougars to 27 consecutive winning seasons, 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament, and five trips to the Final Four, including two appearances in the NCAA championship game, both of which they lost. Lewis is also responsible for recruiting some of the school’s most famous alumni, including Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Otis Birdsong and Clyde Drexler.

Hakeem Olajuwon And Clyde Drexler Are The Most Prominent Members Of Houston's Storied Basketball Past

Despite all that history and tradition, Houston has barely been a blip on the college basketball radar since. Since joining Conference USA in 1996, the Cougars have made the NCAA Tournament exactly once (2010), and perhaps the most exciting time for the program was the failed Clyde Drexler coaching experiment that started in 1998 and lasted just two seasons. Former coach Tom Penders led the team to three twenty-win seasons in his six years as head coach from 2004-10, but they never got over the hump. The team still occasionally roped in top-flight talent like Bo Outlaw, Alton Ford, and Aubrey Coleman, but the Cougars never seemed to meet expectations.

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