RTC Summer Updates: Big Ten Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 8th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our Big Ten correspondent, Will Green.

Readers’ Take

Summer Storylines 

  • Sully’s Back, But With Demands – In the year 2011, in the age of ‘now,’ in a profit-first educate-yourself-later society, amidst a flittering of teenage NBA draft picks, ferocious freshman phenomenon Jared Sullinger decided to stay in school. How quaint. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing quaint about Sullinger, his (rightly) assumed sense of on-court leadership, his brutally physical style of play, or that Ja Ruleesque snarl that makes him look like a squirrel who just ate a questionable nut. But seriously, it’s highly unlikely that anyone other than Jordan Taylor will stand in the way of Sullinger winning the Big Ten Player of the Year Award, and rightfully so. He has spent the better part of the off-season slimming down and getting faster. The best player on the best team in the conference simply can’t suffer a slump; he’s worked too hard and has clearly made a commitment to improving his game before leaving for the pros. The question is less about what Sullinger’s level of performance will be than it is about the effect his performance will have on other members of his team. Last year, his 17 /10 were a reflection of consistent contribution that was also part of a greater team-wide cohesion. Jon Diebler, David Lighty and even Dallas Lauderdale each had pronounced and vital roles on last year’s team. They’re all gone now. While some of the supporting cast and several new stars-in-the-making will join Sullinger, will increased reliance upon him make OSU more of a one-man show? Or will the Buckeyes continue to roll out a team-focused squad with four scorers in double figures and a core group of five guys who notch 30 minutes a game? Whatever happens, Sullinger will be back and he will be better than last year. Consider yourself warned.
  • Welcome, Nebraska – On July 1, Nebraska officially joined the B1G, an acronym whose ludicrousness we continue to subconsciously validate by pronouncing it ‘Bih-one-ggg’. If you’re scoring at home, UNL’s entry makes for 12 teams in the Big Ten, a conference that shouldn’t be confused with the Big 12, which only has ten teams now since Nebraska left it. Now that we’ve all scratched our heads for second, we should pause to consider how massive the amount of potential football revenue must have been to persuade the intransigent Big Ten to alter its ranks. The Cornhuskers’ inclusion marks only the second change in league makeup since the 1950s. So how will the other 11 schools adjust to the adjustment? Football-wise, they should all watch their backs. On the basketball court, though, it probably won’t have a big (or should we say, a ‘B1G’) impact. Sadly for Husker fans, their roundball team loses two of their top three scorers and has some major offensive issues to solve in a league whose tempo of play limits even the country’s very best offenses. Head coach Doc Sadler continues to recruit a healthy mix of transfers and high school players, but over his five-year tenure nine of them have left due to reasons other than matriculation or the NBA. Nebraska has had some encouraging moments in recent years, including a five game improvement in Big 12 play from 2009 to 2010 (from 2-14 to 7-9). The team’s defensive efficiency would’ve finished fourth and it’s adjusted tempo would’ve finished fourth slowest in last year’s Big Ten. In some respects, Nebraska feels like a perfect match for the conference. And yet, for many of those same reasons, it might be a little out-matched in its first few years.
  • Ed DeChellis Leaves For Navy – Nowadays, stories like these are rarer than that bloody slice of carpaccio you once had at a fancy restaurant: a coach leaving a higher paying, higher-infrastructure, higher strength-of-schedule situation for a middle of the pack team in a unambiguously low-major conference. Make no mistake: Ed DeChellis didn’t become the new head coach at Navy. He stopped being the head coach at Penn State. Unless they’re ousted via scandal or especially egregious results you simply don’t hear about power six coaches voluntarily leaving for a “lesser” job. And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Or is it? The answer to that question centers around just how much “less” of a job the Navy coaching position really is, and if anything DeChellis might have done warranted the move. The wink-wink nudge-nudge consensus is that while DeChellis didn’t necessarily knock anyone’s socks off, the school refuses to take basketball seriously. Some have lambasted the athletic department’s commitment to DeChellis and the program overall at a school that’s known best for intense linebackers and an 84 year-old Italian-American man. It will be interesting to observe new head coach Patrick Chambersin his first few seasons and see whether or not he runs into a similar set of struggles as DeChellis did during his tenure. If the holistic drawbacks of coaching in University Park really outweigh the benefits to the extent that someone would walk away from the position, then PSU has bigger problems to fix than figuring out how to win in the Big Ten this season. But if anyone can overcome whatever said “drawbacks” may or may not be, it’s Chambers.

    The Buckeyes, led by big man Jared Sullinger, are easy favorites in the Big Ten.

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Set Your Tivo: 02.23.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 23rd, 2011


***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

An interesting non-conference matchup and a huge bubble battle in the Big 12 lead the way tonight. Four other bubble teams will also be in search of a marquee win against ranked opponents. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

#23 Temple @ #2 Duke – 7 pm on ESPN2 (***)

We Don't Expect Randall To Be In the Lineup for Temple, But Then Again, This Is Duke In Prime Time

The visiting Owls will be short a couple of important bodies tonight when they head to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a late season non-conference tilt with Duke. Starting center Michael Eric is out for the season while fellow starter Scootie Randall likely won’t play after injuring his foot recently. Temple has won eight straight games entering tonight’s contest, however, although most of those have been against the bottom of the Atlantic 10. Duke is also hot, winners of six straight and 10 of 11 dating back to mid-January.

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Checking in on the… Big 12

Posted by nvr1983 on January 19th, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Oklahoma (17-1)(3-0) (2)
  2. Texas (13-4) (2-1) (3)
  3. Baylor (14-3) (2-1) (1)
  4. Kansas (13-4)(2-0) (5)
  5. Texas A&M (15-3) (1-2) (4)
  6. Missouri (15-3) (2-1) (8)
  7. Nebraska (12-4) (2-1) (7)
  8. Oklahoma State (12-4) (1-1) (6)
  9. Iowa State (12-6) (1-2) (11)
  10. Kansas State (11-6) (0-3)(9)
  11. Texas Tech (10-8) (0-3)(10)
  12. Colorado (8-8) (0-2) (12)

Baylor 98, Oklahoma State 92 (OT): Baylor was down by as many as 17 points in the 1st half, but made a run and was quite the deal to get the game into overtime, but Tweety Carter came up huge for Baylor hitting two three-pointers at the start of overtime. Then he finished off the Cowboys with a third basket and a key steal to seal the game for the Bears.

Sherron Collins, Kansas: Collins was the leader that the Jayhawks expected to have as he helped lead Kansas to wins in their first two conference games this week averaging 21 points (12/12 FT) and 5.5 assists per game. His leadership will determine the wins for Kansas in the conference season and how successful they want to be.

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Nebraska the New Indiana?

Posted by rtmsf on September 10th, 2008

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC Big 12 correspondent and an occasional contributor. 

In the storied not so storied history of Nebraska basketball established in 1897, the program has never won an NCAA Tournament game.  However, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler is doing almost anything he can to get players that might get them the opportunity, and it appears his tactics might be pushing closer and closer to a recruiting violation.


What’s Up, Doc?

The latest case is Jorge Diaz, a 7 foot prospect that played most recently on the Puerto Rico Junior National team.  Diaz is still an oral commitment to Nebraska, but he has not been enrolled in school and did not sign a letter of intent.  Apparently he has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but has not been able to enroll at Nebraska because he hasn’t met their enrollment standards.  The thing holding things up is a checkmark in his application to Nebraska about English not being his first language and he didn’t take a required test to verify he was proficient in English.  But as this gets more and more involved and school officials have started commenting on things, it gets about as close as it can to a recruiting violation. Check this timeline: 

August 29 – the Omaha World Herald Newspaper has been aggressively printing stories on the recruitment of this player.  They start out by mentioning that Diaz’s enrollment was held up because of his English proficiency and point out that “Husker coaches can’t comment on Diaz until he is enrolled.”  He had until Tuesday, 9/2 to enroll at Nebraska

September 3 – The next day after the deadline, the Omaha World Herald published another article updating the Diaz situation, stating that he is still not enrolled at Nebraska yet but printed that AD Tom Osborne and Coach Doc Sadler said that they are “still actively recruiting Diaz.” 

September 4 – the paper published even another article on the Diaz situation saying that Nebraska is re-recruiting Diaz since he was not able to enroll for this semester and the earliest he could enroll now at Nebraska would be after the first semester.  However, the paper quotes Coach Sadler that he is “aggressively” trying to re-recruit the center and is also quoted, “Hopefully, Jorge will get what he has to get done to be admitted to school.”  Tom Shatel from the OWH also wrote an editorial published that day on the Diaz situation.   

The Lincoln Journal Star at the time had very few updates and articles on the Diaz situation, but it was mostly because they had their 360 degree football helmet on.  However the articles in the LJS didn’t have the same quotes that were published by the Omaha World Herald.  Couldn’t all of these public quotes about a recruit not yet enrolled in school potentially be a recruiting violation?

The status on Diaz—still an oral commit and might be able to enroll at Nebraska in December.  However, Kentucky, Arkansas and other schools are knocking on his door.  

This is the latest fiasco in Nebraska basketball recruiting, but let’s look at the rest of the situations that have occurred just in this year’s recruiting:

  • Roburt Sallie—Roburt was originally recruited in 2006, but could not academically qualify to play for Nebraska, so instead went to juco and this year was re-recruited and committed to Nebraska.  However, little did anyone know that in 2006, Roburt enrolled at Nebraska and was in class for a week.  Unfortunately, Big 12 rule 6.2, which says that any student-athlete who enrolls at a conference institution, part or full time, must meet initial NCAA eligibility requirements. Sallie had not met those requirements when he was enrolled as a part-time student in August 2006.  Whoops.  Looks like someone dropped the ball there and Roburt was deemed ineligible to play for the Huskers.  Roburt is now with Memphis.  What a reward for John Calipari.  He seems to get all the luck
  • Christopher Niemann–Niemann, a 6-11 center and the other original from the 2-man recruiting class with Roburt Sallie is scheduled to arrive from Germany. He has been declared ineligible by the NCAA for his freshman season but can participate in practices. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2009-10.  Christopher participated on a German club team that had some professionals on its roster, even though he accepted no pay. The same thing happened last season to players from Iowa State and Washington State who were former teammates of Niemann.  Slingblade for some reason thought he was going to get to play right away this season, but the history of Niemann’s teammates from last year should have said something. 
  • Teeng Akol—Teeng was supposed to make a visit to Nebraska and said, “I think I can help them.  I’m not familiar with everything, but I know they’re in the Big 12.”  He originally signed with South Florida over West Virginia, Oklahoma, Xavier, Southern Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.  Akol signed scholarship papers in June with South Florida. However, USF officials suddenly asked Akol to leave the school because of academic reasons, despite the fact he’d already been admitted and was taking summer classes.  So it sounded like the Huskers were going to get a steal.  However, Teeng visited Oklahoma State first and  never looked back.  He didn’t even make his visit to Nebraska.
  • Eshaunte Jones—Eshaunte actually did get signed and sealed by Doc Sadler for this season.  However he comes with baggage as well.  He originally committed to Indiana in the fall of 2006. He instead went to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where he played last season. He then signed with Oregon State but was released from his letter of intent when the school changed coaches.  Boy the paperwork that must have been done on that one.
  • Brandon Ubel—Brandon, from Overland Park, KS seems like the only normal one in the bunch accepting a scholarship offer for 2009-10, but of course it is still an oral commitment until later this fall when early signing occurs.   

The loser in this whole situation—Paul Velander.  The walk-on that has played significant minutes for Nebraska the past two seasons was originally slated to get the scholarship vacated when Roburt Sallie found out he couldn’t come to Nebraska, but even as the Diaz fiasco continues, poor Paul still doesn’t get a scholarship. 

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