09.30.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 30th, 2009

You know what tomorrow is, right?  Yeah, October.  Us too. 

  • Scare at Tennessee.   A very frightening story out of Knoxville earlier this week was that Vol sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu collapsed while lifting weights on Monday and reportedly had to be revived by UT medical staff prior to his transport to the hospital.  He’s spent the last two nights there under watch, and doctors continue to perform tests on him to make sure that he’s not suffering from something deadly.  We all know the stories over the years, from Len Bias to Hank Gathers to Reggie Lewis, and these are always scary incidents.  RTC wishes Negedu the best of luck and wishes for a full recovery. 
  • Cleaning up at Binghamton...  Two ugly incidents put an early stain on the 2009-10 season, as we discussed in separate posts when they happened last week.  Both were stories capable of sending shock waves through college basketball this week, though, as Binghamton yesterday fired an adjunct lecturer who claimed in a NYT article last February that basketball players were receiving preferential treatment in the classroom (grade changing, independent study, and the like).  The Binghamton program is now in shambles on the court, but we continue to be shocked and amazed that Kevin Broadus, the recruiter of all the problem children who ended up dismissed (and arrested), is skating on this one.  Seriously, think about this – Binghamton cans the whistleblowing prof but not the coach who orchestrated the entire mess?  How is this possible?  Isn’t the SUNY chancellor now the same woman who stood on the library steps and shouted “no more” to the Cincinnati faithful when she 86ed Bob Huggins four years ago?  And yet she’s curiously silent (along with BU’s president, Lois B. DeFleur, for the most part).  Something’s not right here, and we figure there’s more to come.  If there is, we can rest assured the NYT’s Pete Thamel will figure it out.     EDITED TO ADD: Yep, the AD is gone, can Broadus be far behind?
  • …and Kansas.   Perhaps the uglier incident last week was the three fights between members of the KU basketball and football teams.  Much was written about how embarrassing this was to the university, the athletic department, the coaches and players involved, and Thursday’s public, formal apologies did little to defuse the PR hit that Bill Self’s program took last week.  The word is that players were fighting over (what else?) girls and rep, but KU football players shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that just because they’ve had a nice run in that program the last few years that Kansas will ever be anything but a basketball school.  The question now is what will Bill Self do to punish the guilty parties?  We already know that Tyshawn Taylor was involved due to his dislocated finger that’ll hold him out of workouts for around a month.  We also know that one of the Morris twins pushed a football player down the stairs, a very dangerous act of battery (this would be Markieff’s second, btw) that was mitigated by another player catching the falling player as he made his way downward.   News outlets all report that there were some other hoops players involved as well.  We think that, for the sake of his program, Bill Self has to take a very serious stand on this one.  You simply cannot have the players on a preseason #1 team running around campus fighting indiscriminately with players from the football team.  Not only can your own players get hurt, but with so many big bodies involved, run-of-the-mill students can also get hurt.  Luckily, that didn’t happen here, but Self needs to show that he’s totally in charge of his program.  Anything less than a several-game suspension for all of the players involved would reveal that early-season Ws are more important to him than discipline.  If it were us, we’d sit the Morris who threw the player down the stairs for ten games and the others for five each.  No questions asked.  If Kansas loses an early game or two versus Memphis and/or UCLA because of it, well, too bad.  The good will that Self engenders as a no-nonsense coach will provide far greater benefits over time in terms of recruiting and public reputation than it will by letting these players off easy.    
  • Non-BCS Schools Receive Harsher Penalties Than BCS Schools – No Way!!  This jewel made it into our inbox last week from the Orlando Sentinel.  The Michael Buckner Law Firm performed an analysis that showed that the average years of probation meted out to non-BCS programs was longer than those handed out to BCS programs over a 4+ year period in the late 2000s.  The average amount of probation time for a non-BCS program was 2.74 years versus 2.58 years for BCS programs.  There’s no accounting for whether the difference is simple error or actual bias, but what is more damning from this study is the finding that the HBCU schools (historically black colleges and universities) were given 3.83 years of probation versus the aforementioned 2.58 for BCS schools.  That seems a little ridiculous to us.  Of course, the NCAA predictably dismissed the study on statistical grounds, and we understand their complaint.  So here’s our suggestion to the NCAA: hire an independent researcher to examine your enforcement policies and practices for consistency and bias, and get back to us.  Something tells us we’ll be waiting on that for quite some time.
  • Quick HitsBlue Ribbontop 25 and all-americansJames Ischgood luck, sir.   Billy Clyde: offered a plea bargain in Ky.  Gary Williams: one-year extensionNolan Richardson: the descent continuesMVC Nonconf Schedulestremendous analysis.   Gonzaga:  are they reloading or rebuilding in Spokane?  Luke Winn: charting peaks and valleys of the offseason.  Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger: get to know themCvC: pushing for healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.  Goodman: top 20 backcourts and top 20 frontcourts AND his Big 12 previewTyler Smith: who will be the first person he follows on TwitterJim Crews: fired at Army after 7 years.  Herb Sendek: busily not gloating in TempeDemetrius Jemison: Bama forward out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.   Shocker: Derrick Rose says he took his own SATA Decade Ago: Harold “The Show” ArceneauxRay McCallum, Sr.: walking the fine line between parent and recruiter

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The Implosion Continues: Binghamton AD to Resign

Posted by nvr1983 on September 30th, 2009

When we brought you the news that Binghamton was releasing 5 more players last Friday we speculated about how high up the administration would go to clean house. We felt that the administration was punishing the players rather than coach Kevin Broadus because of a buy-out that likely would have approached $500,000, but we knew  that there would be others who would be affected by the fallout of the scandal. The first to feel the effects of the scandal was the Binghamton Zoo, who responded angrily when journalists and school officials compared the basketball program to a zoo. The next in line was Sally Dear, a lecturer in human development at Binghamton who was critical of the program and the pressure she felt to change grades for players. Dear was fired yesterday under the pretenses of an “uncertain fiscal environment” and “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university”. However, Dear noted that the chairman of the department, Leo Wilton, is a big supporter of the basketball program and that their relationship changed significantly after the Dear spoke out about the program.

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

While those are certainly significant events (ok, the Zoo thing is more humorous than anything else), we had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And today that shoe has certainly dropped very hard as Joel Thirer, the athletic director at Binghamton, has announce that he will resign today. Thirer (LinkedIn resume here for programs that are looking for a new AD) has served as an athletic director at Binghamton since 1989  helping them transition from a Division III program to a Division I program. While we usually would suspect that this would be a move forced by the university president, it appears this move may have been of Thirer’s own volition as he was surprisingly candid about his responsibility in the situation. With all this fallout we may end up getting more information on what actually happened than we originally anticipated (assuming Binghamton’s lawyers haven’t already drafted a strict nondisclosure agreement). Given Thirer’s candidness about the situation he may well be the one to eventually give us the details about what actually went on behind closed doors (if the lawyers don’t get in the way first). The question now is how much longer does Kevin Broadus have before he will need to have a similar press conference.

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Binghamton Basketball Program Imploding

Posted by nvr1983 on September 25th, 2009

After the news broke about the arrest of Binghamton guard Emanuel Mayben, we assumed that the program might make a few changes in its recruiting. We had no idea that they would decide to blow up the entire program by releasing 5 more players from the team today including the “should have been” conference POY D.J. Rivera. The university has not released information on why these players (Rivera, Malik Alvin, Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby, and David Fine) were released and we probably won’t be getting an answer in the near future at least from those remaining at Binghamton as Associate Director of Athletics for Communications John Hartrick stated that coach Kevin Broadus, other members of the staff, and players would not be available for further comment on the situation.

In a statement to the Binghamton’s Press & Sun-Bulletin, Hartrick stated that the 5 players were released because “they are not toeing the line. Their attitude and behavior … is not what we expect from our student-athletes.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it sure seems like a program run amok and Hartrick had 2 choices: fire the players or fire the coach. And unlike professional sports where it is much more expensive (and hence unfeasible) to get rid of the players, in college it is more difficult to get rid of the coach. I’m not saying that these 7 players (the 5 today, Mayben, and Miladin Kovacevic) are completely blame-free (particularly Mayben, Kovacevic, and Alvin who all have charges against them), but when half of your players get thrown off the team it usually isn’t a problem just with those players. Instead, it speaks to a larger issue with the program. However, Binghamton just inked a Broadus to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season, which likely would have cost at least $500,000 to buy out given the fact that Broadus was making $205,000 annually on his previous contract as a brand-new head coach. Because of what likely would have been a large buyout, it was easier just to get rid of the “bad apples”.

The question now is two-fold:

  1. What’s next for the Binghamton basketball program? Hint: It’s not a return trip to the NCAA tournament. More likely with just 10 scholarship players (only 1 guard, no point guards, and nobody under 6’5″ according to Pete Thamel–and they don’t have a Magic Johnson-style PG at Binghamton) this team will struggle to stay above .500 even in the very mediocre America East. However, for those of you who think this may be a death knell for the Bearcat basketball program, remember how quickly Baylor recovered from a much worse situation in a much more competitive league.
  2. What happens to the 5 players who were released today? I’m not sure about how the NCAA will handle a situation like this, but all of the players should have some eligibility left so let’s handle each player going in descending order of ability:
  • D.J. Rivera: The man who should have been the America East POY last year if the league’s coaches hadn’t decided to make a statement against how Broadus was running the program, which looks quite prescient now even if it was an idiotic way to make that statement. Rivera, who was our Mid-Major Impact Player for the Northeast, averaged 20 PPG and 6.5 RPG last year as junior making him one of the top mid-major players in the country. As much as programs would normally try to avoid players from situation like this, programs are probably already trying to contact Rivera for his services. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up at a BCS conference school.
  • Malik Alvin: 11.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and an attempt to practice safe sex that will be attached to his name forever. While Alvin won’t draw the BCS schools like Rivera will, some mid-major will snatch him up quickly and direct him to the nearest student health service center to help him stock up as soon as he arrives on campus.
  • Corey Chandler: A transfer from Rutgers, Chandler was an all-state player in New Jersey and put up decent numbers at Rutgers, but never really developed into the star that Rutgers fans expected before he was dismissed from the team in August (notice a pattern here). The guess here is that with those kind of numbers in the Big East and two more years of eligibility left someone will take him. Does anybody know who Binghamton West is?
  • Paul Crosby: A former all-state player in Michigan, Crosby was academically ineligible at Toledo, but was expected to contribute this year for the Bearcats. Honestly, I’m not sure what his next move is as programs will be intrigued by his size (6’8″, 235 lbs), but character issues (first grades and now behavior) and his mediocre overall rating will limit his options.
  • David Fine: Averaging 0.9 PPG as a junior in limited time will likely mean that Fine will have to try to walk-on somewhere or call it a career because I can’t see a program offering him a scholarship for 1 year with his/Binghamton’s baggage.

We doubt that we will hear anything from Binghamton’s athletic department any time soon, but it will be interesting to hear what these 5 released players will say about the situation so keep your eyes open for crazy Twitter feeds or Facebook status updates from these 5 players.

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NCAA Preview: Binghamton Bearcats

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Binghamton (#15, East, Greensboro pod)
vs. Duke (#2)
Thurs. 3/19 @ 9:20pm
Vegas Line: Binghamton +21.5

General Profile
Location: Vestal, New York
Conference: America East/ Automatic
Coach: Kevin Broadus, 37-24
08-09 Record: 23-8, 13-3
Last 12 Games: 11-1, won last 11
Best Win: 91-83, Vermont,January 8, 2009
Worst Loss: 63-60, @ Bucknell, December 20, 2008
Off. Efficiency Rating: 100.9; 178
Def. Efficiency Rating: 100.8; 159

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): D.J. Rivera, 20.1ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.8spg, 46.8% FG
Unsung Hero: Reggie Fuller, 0.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.7bpg, 56.9% FG
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): None
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 26.3%, 280
Achilles Heel: Ineffective bench and only one good forward
Will Make a Deep Run if…: D.J. Rivera scored 30ppg
Will Make an Early Exit if…: they only play like the bullies of the America East they are

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: First appearance
: N/A
Best NCAA Finish
: N/A
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): N/A

Six Degrees to Detroit: Kevin Broadus was recruiting coordinator of 2007 Georgetown Final Four team.
Distance to First Round Site:
School’s Claim to Fame: PTI’s Tony Kornheiser is a proud alum
School Wishes It Could Forget: Malik Alvin was arrested early in the season for stealing condoms early in the season
Prediction: First round loss. The America East is a competitive small conference but nothing that can compete with the big time schools they will play in the first round.
Major RTC stories: N/A

Preview written by Corey Johns of UMBC Sports Blog.

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Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on February 23rd, 2009

Corey Johns is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Over the past two weeks Boston U and Albany played their way out of contention for the regular season conference championship.  Albany just went in a free fall down the standings, losing five straight while Boston U needed to win out for hope but most recently lost to Stony Brook, taking them out.  It’s down to Vermont and Binghamton.  If Binghamton wins out they are the champion.  They beat Vermont twice this year and have the tie breaker.  But if they slip at all Vermont is in perfect position to take the title.

Team    Overall Record    Conference Record

  • Vermont    21-7    12-3
  • Binghamton    18-8    11-3
  • Boston U    14-12    9-5
  • Stony Brook    15-12    7-7
  • New Hampshire    11-14    6-7
  • UMBC    12-14    6-8
  • Albany    13-13    5-8
  • Maine    9-17    4-9
  • Hartford    6-22    2-12

Projected Awards

First Team All-Conference

  • D.J. Rivera, G, Binghamton- (20.4ppg, 6.5rpg, 1,7spg, .487 FG%)
  • Darryl Proctor, F, UMBC (20.2ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.3spg, .490 FG%)
  • John Holland, F, Boston U (17.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9spg, .461 FG%)
  • Mike Trimboli, G, Vermont (16.0ppg, 4.8apg, 3.7rpg, .467 FG%)
  • Marqus Blakely, F, Vermont (15.6ppg, 8.9rpg, 2.7bpg, .598FG%)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Conference Primers: #25 – America East

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2007

Season Preview Banner 3

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Vermont (21-7) (13-3)
  2. Boston U. (18-10) (12-4)
  3. Albany (16-13) (10-6)
  4. Binghamton (14-13) (9-7)
  5. Maryland-Baltimore County (13-16) (8-8)
  6. Maine (9-19) (6-10)
  7. Stony Brook (10-18) (6-10)
  8. Hartford (9-21) (5-11)
  9. New Hampshire (6-21) (3-13)

America East Logo

WYN2K. The Am East has a tendency toward top-heaviness, with a couple of good teams in a given year that are competitive with mid-major and (sometimes) high-major teams while the rest are relegated to the morass of low-major fiefdom. Over the last several years, the three sentinels of America East basketball have been Vermont , Boston U. and Albany, the three of which have won the last six regular season and conference tourney championships of the league (although only once in the same year – Vermont in 2005) . Led by these programs, the conference has gone 119-176 (.403) against nonconference opponents over the last three seasons, which is a clear step up in success from the conferences below it. We expect the same three programs to battle it out for this year’s crown.

Predicted Champion. Vermont (#16 seed NCAA). Choosing UVM here was an extremely close call, as we fully expect BU and Albany to make a push for the league crown as well. Despite the losses of rebounding fiend Chris Holm (#3 in oReb% nationally) and rising star Joe Trapani (transfer to BC), the Catamounts return probable Am East POY Mike Trimboli at the point guard slot. We feel that his heady play, combined with the losses at the other schools will allow Vermont to hang on to the top spot.

Others Considered. BU is rising quickly, led by a quartet of precocious sophomores who surprised the league by finishing 8-8 in the conference last season. The most interesting of these players is Tyler Morris, reigning Am East ROY who also has the distinction of being the HS teammate of Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. See if you can find him in the video below (look very closely for the white kid in green). Two-time defending NCAA entrant Albany must also be dealt with, despite losing Am East POY (twice over) Jamar Wilson. Brent Wilson and Brian Lillis (Am East DPOY) have more than enough support to make another run at the title. A final consideration goes to Binghamton, who hired Georgetown assistant coach Kevin Broadus to bring the Princeton offense to upstate NY. Considering that Binghamton was already one of the most sure-handed offenses in the nation (#9 in oStl%), we think this group will be ready for the transition. It also doesn’t hurt that the 2008 conference tourney will be located in Binghamton. Watch out for the Bearcats as a darkhorse.

Games to Watch. As a one-bid league, only one game will matter to most people.

  • America East Championship Game (03.15.08). ESPN2.

RPI Booster Games. The America East shies away from playing numerous BCS conference teams (18 games scheduled last year; 16 this year), but it makes up for it by playing quite a few winnable games against mid-major teams. For example, last year Albany defeated Utah to go along with the league’s three wins vs. BCS opponents (Vermont 77, BC 63; Binghamton 79, Miami (FL) 74; Stony Brook 59, Penn St. 51). There are several such opportunities this season.

  • Vermont @ George Mason (11.09.07)
  • Vermont @ Virginia (11.11.07)
  • Boston U. @ George Washington (11.14.07)
  • Maryland-BC @ Wichita St. (12.04.07)
  • Albany @ Duke (12.17.07)
  • Boston U. @ UMass (12.29.07)
  • Albany @ Iowa St. (12.30.07)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Zip. Even with Vermont going 15-1 in the league last year and losing to Albany by one point in the conference tourney final, they were relegated to the NIT (losing to Kansas St. 59-57). This year will be a more competitive race, which leaves no opportunity for multiple bids.

Neat-o Stat. We have several today. The Am East is a league where coaches get their starts – names like Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, Mike Jarvis, Mike Brey, and Jay Wright all earned their chops in the league before moving onto bigger and better things. Will Binghamton’s Kevin Broadus be the next coaching star from the America East? Also, just call Maryland-Baltimore County’s Brian Hodges the Human Cannon this season – he ranked sixth in the nation in shots attempted, taking 37.4% of his team’s shots while on the floor. Finally, everyone thinks UVM stands for University (of) Ver… Mont, right? Well, no – it actually is latin (Universitas Viridis Montis) for University of the Green Mountains. Go figure.

64/65-Team Era. The America East is 3-23 (.115) over this era, with three first-round victories from 1989 (#14 Siena over #3 Stanford), 1996 (#12 Drexel over #5 Memphis), and 2005 (#13 Vermont over #4 Syracuse). #13 Albany was blitzed last year by #4 Virginia, but in 2006 the Great Danes were leading #1 seed UConn 60-48 with eleven minutes remaining before Marcus Williams took over and finished them off down the stretch (34-9 run by the Huskies). And who can forget the Sorrentine and Coppenrath show vs. Cuse in 2005?

Final Thought. The Am East is one of our favorite low-major leagues. In the few games we see involving these teams, the fans seem to be incredibly rowdy and into the games. The level of basketball as a rule is decidedly below the rim, but teams make up for it in execution and shooting. And how can you not like resident Am East cheerleader (and former UVM coach) Tom Brennan doing studio work for ESPN all winter.

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