Pac-12 M5: 10.24.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on October 24th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. When Oregon faces Georgetown on November 8 in Seoul, South Korea, there will be a familiar face on the other side. The NCAA has cleared former UCLA center Josh Smith to start playing immediately for the Hoyas. In addition, Smith now has two years of eligibility remaining after being granted a waiver by the NCAA, since he only played six games last season. Head coach John Thompson made it clear Smith’s old problems in Los Angeles would be a thing of the past, saying he “has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court.” The Ducks and Hoyas will meet at 5:00 PM Pacific on that opening Friday in a game televised by ESPN.
  2. “We don’t view Arizona as the top, the cream, and everybody is the rest. We view ourselves as the cream and everybody else can fight for the rest of the spots.” Those are the words of junior Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie speaking at last week’s Pac-12 Media Day. Head coach Tad Boyle says he’s preaching for his team to ignore the preseason expectations and to be “humble and hungry”, which is easier said than done after a 20-win season last year and most everyone picking CU to make its third straight NCAA Tournament. The Buffaloes get all the chances they could every want in non-conference play to prove they are legit with a road game at Baylor, home games against Harvard, Kansas, and Georgia, and a meeting with Oklahoma State in Las Vegas.
  3. Four-star power forward Michael Humphrey (AZ) has narrowed his impressive list of offers down to two, but the Arizona Daily Star reports that there is no timetable for a decision from the Class of 2014 big man. Humphrey visited Arizona over the weekend, and Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins made an in-home visit with him on Monday. It appears that Notre Dame, UCLA, and Vanderbilt, who had offers on the table, are now out of the running.
  4. In the “down the road” department of recruiting, Craig Robinson and Oregon State landed a verbal commitment from Class of 2016 shooting guard JaQuori McLaughlin (WA). Citing his long relationship with the coaching staff at Oregon State and their man-to-man defense, McLaughlin wanted to jump aboard early. He averaged 13 points per game in his freshman season at Peninsula High School, but hopes to raise that average to 25 this year. Whether McLaughlin sticks with his commitment (and whether Robinson is still in Corvallis when McLaughlin finally graduates high school) remains to be seen.
  5. We keep it in Corvallis to close things up, as we learned yesterday they would be holding the annual “Nike N7 game” on November 26 against SIU-Edwardsville. This is the game where Oregon State wears the turquoise jerseys to bring attention to the initiative that helps Native communities across the country get access to products that encourage participation in sports. It is nice to see the tradition continue even after Joe Burton, who grew up on the Soboba Reservation in Southern California, graduated after last season.
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Big East M5: 10.10.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on October 10th, 2012

  1. It is funny to think about given its proximity to and history with Maryland, but Georgetown was probably rooting for the Terps to land the Andrew and Aaron Harrison twins last week. For starters, the Hoyas and Terps haven’t played each other in more than 20 years thanks to feuding legends John Thompson and Lefty Driesell so it wouldn’t be as if Georgetown would regularly square off with the highly-touted duo. But also, if the Harrison twins were headed to College Park, the Hoyas would have had a much better chance of landing local product Roddy Peters who has shot up recruiting boards after turning heads on the summer circuit. Peters got the spotlight treatment from ESPN.com recently in an entertaining article that also touched on the dormant Beltway rivalry and the not-so dormant recruiting battle over Peters that is really just heating up. The article doesn’t reveal any new information about whether the storied programs will ever renew their local rivalry, but its a solid read, especially if you didn’t know the illustrious history between the two programs.
  2. Two teams play one game on an aircraft carrier and now everyone wants to do it. The only problem is that while playing a game on an aircraft carrier to honor Veterans Day sounds like a great idea, the reality is that the logistics aren’t quite as rosy, as Syracuse and San Diego State found out this week. Luckily, some local sponsors stepped up and the two teams are once again set to square off on the USS Midway in San Diego Bay on November 9. Syracuse.com gives a good rundown of the behind-the-scenes work on how the game was saved, painting San Diego-based Syndicus Entertainment as rather incompetent in the process. This is great news as both the Orange and Aztecs are likely to be mainstays in the Top 25 all season, and this game will go a long way toward improving the winner’s non-conference resume.
  3. At this point, every coach in the conference has been asked for their thoughts on the changing of the guard that is taking place next season, but by far the most interesting answers came from Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin who viewed the shifting landscape as a chance for the Bearcats to “plant our flag deeper” and then went on to say that his program was never going to get the respect it deserved amongst the conference elite. Now, Matt Norlander correctly points out that we have no context for these remarks, but I am not buying the Bearcats’ basketball program as an afterthought, especially considering its history in the past two decades. You can’t be an afterthought when you had players like former NPOY Kenyon Martin coming through campus. Heck, Bob Huggins is one of the most recognizable coaches in the entire sport, and he will always be associated with his excellent teams at Cincinnati.
  4. If you haven’t noticed by now, we here at the Big East microsite simply cannot get enough of stories about facility upgrades and luckily the programs in the conference have thrown us a few bones by going and upgrading their facilities. Two days ago it was Georgetown, yesterday it was Connecticut, and this week comes news that DePaul has grandiose plans to move out of its outdated arena and into brand-spanking new digs, or the United Center, or the practice facility the Bulls are planning to break ground on. Who knows? Nobody! But we do now that getting a new arena is never a bad thing, especially for a program like DePaul that can basically use all the help it can get. So hey, maybe set up some hardwood at Soldier Field and have them play there. Maybe you can even get the promoters for the Syracuse and San Diego State game to find the sponsors.
  5. It is always good to know that Louisville isn’t feeling the pressure of their immense preseason expectations. I don’t know how Lazer Blaze stacks up against some of the other laser tag spots around the country, but I do know that no matter what age you are, if you can’t enjoy a spirited round or two of laser tag, you just aren’t any fun.

Is It Even A Question Whether Russ Smith is the Cardinals’ best laser tag player?

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Morning Five: 07.20.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 20th, 2012

  1. The Big East may have officially lost some stalwart programs from its lineup this week, but not without taking its commensurate pound of flesh. After agreeing to exit settlements totaling $15 million with Pittsburgh and Syracuse earlier in the week, the league announced on Thursday that it has dropped its lawsuit against here-today, gone-tomorrow program TCU. TCU of course had agreed to become a member of the Big East before reneging on that commitment to accept a better (and more commonsensical) invitation to the Big 12. The Big East had sued the school for its $5 million entry fee, but according to this report, the two parties have agreed to dismiss the case and settle for the disputed sum. If you’re counting at home, that’s a grand total of $20 million that flowed into the coffers of Big East banks this week — that might almost be enough money to buy some future relevance.
  2. When you think of Big East basketball forever more, one of the first images that should come to mind is John Thompson standing on the sideline at Georgetown, towel draped over his shoulder, menacing look on his face, preaching tough-as-nails defense and the togetherness of team. He’s been a radio personality in the Washington, DC, area ever since, and although he has never shied away from making strong statements, he’s rarely been what we would call controversial. As DC Sports Bog‘s Dan Steinberg notes, Thompson may have stepped over that fine line with his comments Wednesday about Penn State’s Joe Paterno. In a number of rambling statements, Thompson ultimately concludes that Paterno was “a damn good man” who made a “terrible mistake.” If you read for the nuance of Thompson’s quotes — discussing  the fallibility of humans and the ‘false gods’ we as a society build up — you see where he was going. But the key question to us is whether anyone who fails to act on knowledge of a known child molester can be a damn good man, and at the end of the day, that’s an equally damn tough argument to make.
  3. We wonder what Big John would think of the Big Ten‘s latest proposal that would give its president Jim Delany “the power to terminate Big Ten coaches for actions that ‘significantly harm the league’s reputation.'” Call it the Paterno Principle if you like, but one thing is for sure — the Big Ten basketball coaches who were interviewed off the record by Gary Parrish are not fans of this proposal. The words “arrogance” and “stupid” were used by his interviewees, and we’re guessing, rather vociferously. While we certainly understand the desire by the Big Ten to protect its own interests, we’re not sure that this idea is in any way legal or even completely rational. Leagues have the ability to punish its member institutions for any number of transgressions, but to interfere with the employer-employee relationship at large state universities (all but one)? It seems like a considerable overreach.
  4. It appears that the decision by Class of 2013 superstar recruit Jabari Parker to shut down his summer activities at the various AAU camps around the country was a good one. His father reported that tests this week show that his right foot is fractured, with no specific timetable for the smooth wing’s return other than sometime before the high school season begins in the fall. Frankly, as Mason Plumlee noted in his quotes in yesterday’s M5, it might not be a terrible thing for a player like Parker to spend some time away from the rankings-obsessed summer circuit in favor of helping his high school team get better next season.
  5. Mike DeCourcy finishes us off this week with his Starting Five column, where presumably Fake Mike DeCourcy asks Mike DeCourcy insightful questions about interesting topics facing the game today. He riffs on Duke without Austin Rivers, Kansas without elite talent, Jabari Parker without summer basketball, Jim Boeheim without the Big East, and Seth Greenberg without the bubble. It’s well worth a read on a beautiful Friday morning.
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Big East Evening Five: 03.28.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on March 28th, 2012

  1. We missed yesterday, so you are getting a double dose of Big East news this morning because we feel bad. We start with the scouting report on Louisville, based on the opinions of opposing coaches, and put together by the good folks at CBS Sports. The information isn’t exactly new if you have been following the Cardinals all season. Take care of the ball against their press, try to slow down their transition attack, keep Peyton Siva out of the lane, and you will have an excellent chance of winning the game. The good news for Kentucky is, that their defense is so good, Louisville should only be able to score in transition and off of turnovers. So assuming that Marquis Teague can handle the press, and assuming Kentucky’s athletes get back and set up defensively, they should be able to handle the Cardinals with relative ease.
  2. You didn’t think we were going to make it a whole week without a borderline insane story about the fervent passion of Louisville and Kentucky fans did you? In fact, we didn’t even make it through half the week before news broke that two fans got into a fight while awaiting treatment at a dialysis center. You really can’t make this stuff up. If you want to look on the bright side, this is part of what makes college sports so awesome. It may be a wild generalization, but fans of professional sports teams don’t care half as much about their teams as these folks in the Bluegrass State. And the passion for Alabama and Auburn football is on an entirely different level. I am setting the over/under on the breaking of more crazy stories like this at two, which won’t count fallout from the outcome of the game, which is sure to bring out only the best in both team’s fan bases.
  3. In predictable and also understandable fashion, the media has jumped all over the “hated rivals” storyline. Luckily, there is only one columnist angry enough to really put perspective on the whole rivalry, and that is noted flame-fanner Gregg Doyel. His column isn’t long, and it doesn’t make any profound points, but it does succinctly sum up just how insane this game will be.
  4.  The list of Big East players headed to the NBA Draft continued to swell yesterday as Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson announced he would forgo his senior season and hire an agent. Thompson tested the waters last season before withdrawing his name and from the looks of John Thompson III‘s comments, this decision is hardly surprising. The real question is whether Thompson will end up drafted. I understand the move, because his stock isn’t likely to rise dramatically even if he has an excellent senior season, but right now he looks like he will need to get lucky to stick with a team. He does have the skill set and size to be an NBA small forward, but he hardly dominated collegiate competition, so how can he be expected to make an impact at the next level?
  5. Our pal Jeff Goodman over at CBS Sports has released his initial transfer list and there are some interesting names worth noting. First, the list is what alerted me to the news that Notre Dame guard Alex Dragicevich is transferring out of South Bend, a blow to Mike Brey’s program which was going to rely more heavily on his outside shooting next season. The list also reminded me of one of the more interesting Final Four storylines and that is that Louisville forward Jared Swopshire already announced he won’t be back next season, but for now he is playing meaningful minutes on a team eyeing a national championship. Thanks to playing time and the scholarship numbers game, Swopshire will be looking for a new home. But for now, we are sure he is relishing the position he is in.
  6. Speaking of Goodman and transfers out of the Big East, soon after the list was published, Goodman tweeted that Providence sophomore Gerard Coleman was a likely candidate to transfer out of the program. Assuming Vincent Council stays in school and both highly touted freshman guards arrive on campus in time for next season, the Friars’ backcourt was looking awfully crowded. But if Coleman does indeed transfer, coach Ed Cooley loses quite the luxury. Coleman’s play tailed off in the second half of the season, but he is a quality scorer and is physical enough to give Cooley a legitimately dangerous three-guard lineup. On the other hand, his departure will open up more playing time for Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn, which can really only be a good thing, assuming the duo is as good as advertised.
  7. As an unabashedly biased Villanova fan, I have spent a good deal of words explaining that Wildcats’ guard Maalik Wayns would be silly to enter the NBA Draft this season, so it’s only logical that Wayns made it final recently, announcing plans to hire an agent and forgo his senior season on the Main Line. Look, players enter the draft for a litany of reasons, so saying he made a stupid decision without knowing his true reasons is rather presumptuous of me. That said, Wayns is looking like a second-round pick at best, and a great senior season probably could have given his draft stock a much-needed shot in the arm. Despite his penchant for taking terrible shots and making questionable decisions, Wayns would have been a huge help to ‘Nova’s rebuilding efforts next season, but now they will need to look elsewhere for that leadership.
  8. Not everyone in West Virginia is spitting on the Big East on their way out the door. Charleston Gazette columnist Mitch Vingle penned a letter to Big East basketball that reads like a breakup letter from a guy who is already regretting the split. He uses some personal reflections mixed with classic personalities from the conference to show plenty of awesome things about the conference and its rich basketball history. The sad thing is, the Big East will miss West Virginia too. Yes, of course they will miss their football tradition and revenue, but the Mountaineers are a quality basketball program, and no amount of SMU and Central Florida will change that. The Mountaineers made their choice, choosing money over tradition, and now so many of us will be left to cling to memories that may never happen again.
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Big East Morning Five: 03.01.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on March 1st, 2012

  1. Hey JaQuon Parker, where did that come from? The junior has scored more than 20 points just once this season, and then all of a sudden, he caught fire last night against No. 8 Marquette and dropped a career-high 28 points on the Golden Eagles with ease. Basically, Cincinnati came to play on Senior Night, and Marquette lost yet another game on the road. The Bearcats repeatedly blew by their defenders for layups and also knew they needed to keep Marquette from scoring fast break points in cruising to the 72-61 win. The win probably takes Cincinnati — who has now won six of their last eight — off the bubble and puts them squarely in the field of 68. For Marquette, they played with fire too many times and they finally couldn’t make another second half comeback.
  2. It is also probably time to stop doubting whether Stan Heath has a legitimately good team this season. It is true that most of their conference success has been against the bottom half of the conference, but after going into Louisville and leaving with a gutsy 58-51 win, it will be very hard to keep the Bulls out of the NCAA Tournament. Even Cardinals freshman Chane Behanan admitted it, South Florida needed the win more than Louisville, and “they came out hungrier.” The Cardinals didn’t play their best game, but Heath’s club is an underrated defensive club and they deserve most of the credit for holding Louisville to just 34% shooting from the field. At this point, the Big East Tournament is completely wide open, and the Bulls are coming in playing really well (winners of five of their last six) and they could surprise some people with a run.
  3. Checking in with the best team in the conference, here is a look at the evolution of the aptly described “most polarizing Syracuse player in the last decade,” Scoop Jardine. The Orange senior point guard has become a much better player over his career, and is enjoying a solid final season as he chases a National Championship. Jardine has drawn plenty of ire from ‘Cuse fans for his penchant for turnovers and questionable shot selection at times. But he has settled into the role of distributor on this year’s team and has become a leader for one of the country’s most talented rosters. He has become very efficient, especially in a slightly diminished role, and despite the team’s depth, the Orange would definitely not be the same team without him.
  4. In news that is maybe only interesting to a former Beltway local like me, legendary former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson signed off of his radio show for the last time yesterday afternoon. It started as an assignment to talk about the 1999 NCAA Tournament and spawned into one of the most interesting radio shows in the area, lasting 13 years. From a personal standpoint, I used to listen to him all the time. He spoke in the smoothest baritone and he was often refreshingly blunt in his criticism, unafraid to speak his mind. In Washington, D.C., Thompson is a larger than life figure and city lifer. I doubt he will step away from the media entirely, but it sure is bittersweet to hear that the 70-year-old wants to spend more time with his family. He will be missed.
  5. There is no such thing as too much piling on Connecticut, so I will use the final item today to talk about the fact that many pundits still have the Huskies in the Field of 68 with the regular season nearly over. Jerry Palm points out that the team’s nine losses in its last 12 games is erroneous, because Selection Committee look at a team’s overall body of work rather than late season trends. So fine, let’s look at their overall body of work. I am well aware of where all of the analysts rank UConn, and I respect folks like Palm, Lunardi, and KenPom so I don’t question the math. But the Huskies haven’t beaten a single team in the RPI Top 25 and their best wins (over Florida State and maybe Harvard) came quite early in the season. They might be in for now but they can’t be far from the wrong side of the bubble. Let’s just say that they should probably beat Pittsburgh at home on Saturday.
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Big East Mount Rushmore

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on February 22nd, 2012

With all due respect to the legions of legendary players the Big East has produced in its storied history, the Big East has always been a coach’s league.  This makes perfect sense given that the conference was conceived by, and molded through the eyes of a coach.  It was the vision of that coach which propelled the Big East and college basketball to new heights beginning in the early 1980s.  The Mount Rushmore of the Big East resides in its foundation and backbone.  In many ways these are the four fathers of the conference.  They all made long-term and lasting contributions to the league, and their statures grew in-kind with that of the conference as a result.  These four men are your pillars.

Dave Gavitt:  It is impossible to conceive any reference to the success or history of the Big East without Dave Gavitt at the forefront.  A true visionary who gave life to the Big East Conference when he founded it in 1979, Gavitt relinquished a successful coaching career at Providence where he led the Friars to the 1973 NCAA Final Four to devote his attention to building the league as its first commissioner.  It is hard to imagine where smaller Catholic schools like Georgetown, St. John’s, Providence , Boston College and Villanova would be today without Gavitt’s influence.  He believed that there was an audience for college basketball, a belief that probably saved the relevance of college basketball in the northeast and one that transcended his league, leading to the national television attention and marketing of the sport as we currently know it.

Jim Calhoun: The long time Connecticut head coach epitomizes the tenets of the Big East.  A New England-born no-nonsense guy and tireless worker who always appears ready for a challenge, Calhoun was hired by Connecticut in 1986. He has led the Huskies to three National Championships, including last season’s historic double where Connecticut came out of nowhere from a ninth-place regular season conference finish to win both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments.  The Huskies have made 22 NCAA tournament appearances and four Final Fours under Calhoun’s watch.  Further, in this age where football and football money are deemed king, it is important to note that Connecticut has major Division I college football today as a result of the success Calhoun and Connecticut had on the basketball court and not vice versa.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.22.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 22nd, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Calvin Leslie had a career night. But once again it felt like NC State’s lack of depth killed it down the stretch of an 86-74 loss to North Carolina. The Wolfpack did it up for the end of a chapter in their rivalry with the Tar Heels, bringing back the old noisemeter from Reynolds Coliseum with an electric crowd reminiscent of the glory days. My favorite tradition was the Technician distributing satirical “Daily Tar Hell” papers in Chapel Hill. But in the end, North Carolina won its twelfth straight in the series, led by Kendall Marshall who finished with 22 points, 13 assists and no turnovers.
  2. Washington Post: Suffice it to say John Thompson, III, didn’t like Kevin Anderson‘s boycott of Georgetown sports until the schools start playing each other in basketball again. He’s got way too many golden quotes to bring up here. The gist is that Thompson feels threatened but isn’t about to bend on anything. He also clearly disagrees very strongly with Anderson’s handling of the situation, even implying that Anderson doesn’t know what he’s doing. This will certainly be interesting to watch. My guess is that things get quiet now, but I also wouldn’t hold my breath for a GeorgetownMaryland home-and-home series in the next couple of years.
  3. Orlando Sentinel: One difference in the stagnant offense showcased by the Seminoles early in the season and the inconsistent-but-generally-superior offense they’re sporting now is the addition of Ian Miller. He’s probably the team’s most effective scorer because he almost never turns the ball over, which is why he’s putting up double figures from the bench. Leonard Hamilton said, “We’re confident that when Ian goes in the game, we aren’t losing much. In fact, we might be gaining something.” I’d have to agree.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs took a minute to look at graduate school transfers, a hot topic for the NCAA. Coaches don’t want players to move around at will because of the turmoil, but it’s hard to argue against a player who’s graduated going on to pursue his or her next degree at another institution. Regardless, this year the ACC has eight graduate transfers with two each at Boston College and Florida State.
  5. Keeping it Heel: [Author's Note: Before I get to the premise of this article (which I agree with), I want to point out the errors in why coaches left. Skip Prosser was not Wake Forest's last coach; it was Dino Gaudio, who was forced out because the athletic department didn't like the direction of the program. Oliver Purnell left Clemson voluntarily because he got a Godfather contract at DePaul (the ultimate retirement contract). Frank Haith also got a raise both money-wise and relevance-wise by moving to Missouri, which he would've certainly taken regardless of NCAA investigations (penalties from which will follow him to Missouri if he's implicated). I also don't know why it's relevant to the rankings that North Carolina beat three Big Ten schools in 2005.] Moving onto the rankings, I agree that Jason Williams’ rankings differ from my own. I’d put the Big Ten on top, the Big 12 second (even though I’m not sold on Missouri or Baylor, but the fact is that both teams have earned their rankings), the Big East third and then it gets tricky. Even right before conference play kicked off, I would’ve put the SEC well before the ACC. But I think the gap is narrowing as the SEC teams beat each other and leave Kentucky alone at the top.

EXTRA: John Adams, Czar of NCAA officials (or coordinator depending on how official you like titles to be) checked in on the NC State ejection situation. His tone makes it sound like he disagrees with the ejections, but thinks the media and fans are taking them too personally. He’s probably right, though I think fans have a right to be upset too. Karl Hess should have given his statement right after the game. He shouldn’t have let two fans get under his skin. It’s part of the job of an official.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.21.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 21st, 2012

Well, the ACC vs. NC State feud isn’t getting any quieter. The conference reprimanded referee Karl Hess for not following protocol, and he released a statement to NC State explaining his reasoning (he apparently thought Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta were getting too close to the scorers’ table). Apparently, Mark Gottfried talked to the students about the incident. I couldn’t get a working link to the Facebook video, but this is the transcript (h/t Luke DeCock):

I think it was weak. It was bad and I thought the official was completely out of line 100%. I’m disappointed, quite frankly, in the ACC, because not only did he throw out two of NC State’s greats, he threw out two of the ACC’s greats, and the league is supporting the official rather than supporting former great players. The former great players, in my opinion, were embarrassed and wronged when they shouldn’t have been. I don’t think you can have rabbit ears like that if you’re a referee and start throwing people out. I was disappointed in the whole thing. So they gave a reprimand tonight to the official, but it was pretty weak in my opinion.

UPDATE: WTVD uploaded the video.

Your move, Swofford.

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Brian Gregory is doing a good job with one area Paul Hewitt struggled by reaching out to Georgia Tech alumni. He’s invited them to games and practices, trying to keep the school’s myriad alumni connected despite a rough inaugural season. Malcolm Mackey, the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leading rebounder, complimented Gregory on his former boss (Tom Izzo) and his new basketball team. Alumni support should help Gregory recruit the Atlanta area, which is crawling with five-star talent.
  2. Washington Post: Georgetown and Maryland should play each other in basketball. Both schools have plenty of history, but for whatever reason the two programs are at a stalemate. Because of the stalemate, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson laid down an ultimatum: The Terrapins won’t be playing Georgetown in any sport until the basketball series questions are worked out. Mark Turgeon sounds game for it, but there’s a lot of coachspeak going on that makes it difficult to assess Turgeon’s real motive.
  3. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Jim Larranaga knows the CAA well. He coached George Mason long before heading to Coral Gables. He’s been to a Final Four. Why not talk some smack and lobby for your NCAA Tournament chances in the meantime? Basically, Larranaga thinks it’s a down year for the CAA, which lacks quality wins. “In short, Larranaga on Monday was like a politician on the campaign trail. He stretched the truth and went negative.”
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State‘s senior class is having a special year. They just became the winningest class in Florida State basketball history. It’s pretty impressive to see what Leonard Hamilton has done with the Seminole program. He’s changed it from irrelevant to top-tier and a consistent NCAA Tournament presence.
  5. NBC 41: Really bad news for Georgia Tech, who already owns the worst record in conference play. The team’s best player (seriously he was the best scorer, rebounder and facilitator on the team), Glen Rice Jr., has been suspended indefinitely. If the Yellow Jackets already can’t win, there’s no way they can win without him.
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Georgetown Has Lost Its Street Cred, But Does it Matter?

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on February 17th, 2012

Once upon a time the Georgetown Hoyas struck fear in the hearts of any opposing player or fan who dared step into their path. With all due respect to Kid Rock, the Hoyas were the original American bad asses, exuding their bad-assness one rejection at a time.

For a generation, with centers and centerpieces like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and Othella Harrington, Georgetown protected the rim with ferocious tenacity. The thing that resonated most about Georgetown then was that their thirst for physical domination appeared to be personal and satisfying. Whether at home or on the road, they took pleasure in the pain they delivered, playing the game with a collective scowl and a knowing smirk.

Polarizing.

People either loved Georgetown or hated them.

Then there was the group that repped the Hoyas because it was the cool thing to do. At the same time Georgetown basketball was a phenomenon. Beyond tangible. Even the word, “Hoya”, seemed to illicit some force of nature that had the power to overwhelm. They played with attitude and with a frenzied rage but seemed to be having fun at the same time. Michael Jordan probably pioneered the crossover appeal between sports and entertainment, but that was more due to his exploits and innovation on the court than his personality or background off of it. The Hoyas fused the relationship between college basketball and hip-hop culture. They had swagger. They had Allen Iverson.  Everyone else had uniforms and sweats, Georgetown had gear.

Players like Iverson had Game and Gave the Hoyas Cred

The fact that Georgetown could care less about image made it all work. They left that to the media, fans, and rap videos. Just kept bruising and winning. Yesterday’s Hoyas were molded in the image of their head coach, John Thompson. Stern and stoic, Thompson got more accomplished with a look than most could with an instruction manual. Like his players on the court, Thompson’s presence on the sideline was palpable. He knew he had the intimidation factor working. Like a savvy catcher handling a fireballer, Thompson did not discourage a hard one up-and-in every once and awhile. He had just enough control to be dangerous and Georgetown was Goliath to everyone else’s David. Except, in true form, the Hoyas wrote their own script and David got swatted out of the gym on most occasions.

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Morning Five: 09.13.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 13th, 2011

  1. A report by the National College Players Association and Drexel University professor Ellen J. Staurowsky is set to be released today that claims that the average Division I men’s basketball player is “worth” nearly $265,000 per year and Duke players come in at nearly four times that (approximately $1 million). We had a brief recap of the information that was released yesterday and plenty of pundits and fans weighed in yesterday across the Internet claiming that this as yet unreleased study was clear evidence that the players were being cheated out of small fortunes. We are reserving judgement until we have time to review the data and how the extrapolated the players reported values. As Homer Simpson once said, “People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”
  2. Another story that was all over the place yesterday was John Thompson Jr. revealing that he was scheduled to be on American Airlines Flight 77 that was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 before a producer from The Jim Rome Show persuaded him to take a flight a day later. According to the report, the Georgetown legend was planning on flying to Los Angeles to make an appearance and wanted to fly there on September 11th so he could make it to a friend’s birthday party in Las Vegas on the 13th, but when the schedule for the interview did not work out Danny Swartz, the show’s prodcuer, insisted that he fly to Los Angeles on the 12th and he would make sure that Thompson made it to Las Vegas for the party on the 13th. Thompson noted that at the time he was quite harsh with Swartz, but after learning that he would have been on the doomed flight if not for Swartz’s persistence he now thanks him for saving his life.
  3. An earlier proposal name the court at Maryland‘s Comcast Center after Gary Williams appears to have run into some significant roadblocks. While support for the proposal still seems strong there appears to be an influential minority that is against the idea because of their belief that it would be a slight to Lefty Driesell and women’s coach Brenda Frease as well as a potential loss of revenue by passing up on having a commercial entity sponsor the court because apparently having the arena named after a corporate entity isn’t enough. [Ed. Note: Seriously though we think Rush the Court sponsored by Apple has a nice ring to it and we know that Tim Cooke has the money for it.] On some level we can appreciate wanting to honor Driesell, who was an accomplished coach during his run at Maryland, and Frease, who also won a national title, but neither of them is associated with the university’s reputation at this point to the degree that Williams is. We also understand the sentiment to “make amends” with Driesell, whom some feel was wrongly fired after the death of Len Bias, but based on our brief interaction with him we don’t think that Driesell harbors any major grudge against what the university did based on the situation although we do think he might still be upset with how the media reported the situation.
  4. It looks like Arizona might be on its way to locking up another major recruit as Kaleb Tarczewski, one of the top high school players in the class of 2012, has narrowed his choices to Arizona and Kansas and scheduled visits to both schools. Tarczewski also still has North Carolina on his list, but did not schedule a visit there so we are guessing at this point crossing off the Tar Heels from his list is just a formality. As for the two remaining schools, Tarczewski is scheduled to visit Kansas this weekend and Arizona next weekend, which will coincide with their football game against Oregon. Although it is possible that the visit to Lawrence could blow him away and he could commit to play for the Jayhawks after some Blue Chips-like scene at Allen Fieldhouse (the scene involving Bob Cousy not the ones involving bags of cash, a tractor, a Lexus, or a new house for mom), but we tend to lean towards the team with the last shot at a player. If that is the case, Sean Miller may be adding another big piece to a class that will be a consensus top 5 class even if he does not add another player after Tarczewski.
  5. As we mentioned only half-jokingly yesterday, we are going to be having a conference realignment item pretty much every day here and we are not going to disappoint you today. Ok, maybe the fact that this continues to make news will be disappointing to many of you. In the latest twist, a group from Texas traveled to Oklahoma on Sunday in an attempt to convince the Sooners not to leave the Big 12 for the new Pac-12 in anticipation of their reported formal application to become the Pac-12’s thirteenth member. Chalk it up to schadenfreude, but the fact that officials from Texas are going up to Oklahoma essentially on their hands and knees begging a school to stay in the conference is hilarious after the Longhorn essentially spit in the face of every other school in the conference by signing a 15-year, $300 million contract with ESPN to create the Longhorn Network in what was a power play to separate themselves from the rest of the conference.
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Best Dressed: Hoya Paranoia

Posted by rtmsf on June 14th, 2011

John Gorman is an RTC contributor. Every week throughout the long, hot summer, he will highlight one of the iconic uniforms from the great history of the game. We plan on rolling out 24 of these babies, so tweet your favorites at us @rushthecourt or email us directly at rushthecourt@yahoo.com. This week, we travel back to an era of powerful and fearsome basketball emanating from our nation’s capital. To see the entire list to date, click here.

You’ve probably asked yourself. “What’s a Hoya?” You wouldn’t be alone. Many think a Hoya is the breed of, or name of, a dog that appears as the logo of the Washington, D.C.-based basketball kennel. They are wrong. It isn’t anything. Not an animal. Not a plant. Not a person. Not a war formation. Not an endemic entity to the Beltway, political reference, or inside joke. It is a Latin Greek [ed. note: corrected] word, which literally translates to the declarative “what.”

These Uniforms Represented Fear in the Mid-80s (SI/M. Millan)

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do you visually represent a ‘what’?” Georgetown University traditionally used a slew of canines to represent the school at home games, but when the varsity football program went under in 1951, the institution was left without an official mascot. Thirteen years later, the students bought an English bulldog named “Yellow Jacket,” whom they wanted to rename “Hoya,” but would only respond to “Jack.” He’s the dog you see on the Hoya unis.

The blue and the grey Georgetown features are the exact shades of both the Union and Confederate civil war armies. This is no accident. Georgetown’s various teams have long since worn the colors to show the unity between the northern and the southern students at our nation’s capital, just south of the old Mason-Dixon line.

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Where Does Jim Calhoun Rank Historically?

Posted by nvr1983 on April 7th, 2011

We realize that Jim Calhoun hasn’t decided to retire yet and there is still a pretty good chance that he will come back for at least one more season given his frequently stated desire to always look for a fight. Still we think that it is reasonable to suggest that even if he doesn’t retire during this off-season he will be retiring in the near future given his age (he will turn 69 in May) and well-documented medical history. So we ask the question that has been on the minds of many journalists during the past few days: where does he rank historically?

Calhoun already has quite a legacy

By almost any measure (ignoring the opinions of some rival fans) Calhoun would be considered a top 10 coach all-time putting him into a category that includes such luminaries as John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, Phog Allen, and others. That much is obvious, but once you get into that group the measures used to differentiate those coaches gets more subtle. Certainly a coach would need to have longevity and a consistent record of putting winning teams on the floor, which could be measured by the career wins. A good bar to set there would probably be 600 wins. If you want to argue for a higher standard be careful because the legendary John Wooden “only” had 664 career wins, a number that many current number-crunching analysts would deem paltry compared to others in this group. Winning championships is certainly important, but as this season clearly demonstrated it doesn’t necessarily reflect having the best team, which Northern Arizona coach Mike Adrus indicated with his vote in the final coaches’ poll. Still at some point that is what the sport boils down to. When we look back at this season we will remember UConn’s tournament run more than Pittsburgh‘s excellent regular season. Setting the bar at 2 NCAA titles narrows the group down to 13, but includes individuals like Billy Donovan, who picked up his championships in back-to-back years, and would have a hard time making a list of top 10 active coaches much less top 10 all-time. It also leaves much to be desired when you consider that highly successful coaches like Jim Boeheim and John Thompson only have one championship each despite having a much bigger historical impact on college basketball than Donovan (at least to this point). The next factor would probably be a coach’s impact on the program and the game, which is a more nebulous concept and consequently impossible  to quantify. Still all other things being equal you would probably have to give the nod to someone who turned a program from an also-ran into a national power over someone who took over at a traditional power and continued to win even if that coach did bring the program up a notch or two. Others have undertaken the endeavor of trying  to rank coaches in order with The Sporting News being the most notable among them, but that isn’t our objective (at least not for today). Instead we will focus on Calhoun, his legacy, and his place in the history of the game.

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