Morning Five: 09.08.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 8th, 2010

  1. Yesterday’s big news:  UConn finally got its response on violations into the NCAA, but we’ll have to wait at least another week to see what it says; and, a NYT report stated that Enes Kanter’s former Turkish club team paid him $100,000 that could jeopardize his amateur eligibility at Kentucky.  Much more on these items will be buzzed, tweeted, posted and emailed about today, you can count on that.
  2. The 1990-91 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were quite simply the most devastating college basketball team the authors of this website have ever seen (we’re not old enough to remember the UCLA dynasty teams nor the last unbeaten team, Indiana).  Granted, Tark’s defending champs didn’t win the 1991 national title, but as Andy Glockner writes in this piece, many folks with far longer and better memories than ours tend to agree.  The best team to not win the championship? — yes, we think so.  How could they have possibly lost?  Well, they played a pretty darn good team with an axe to grind in the national semifinals, and the beauty of March Madness is that upsets happen, even to legendary teams.  For more information on this team, check out our breakdown of the epic UNLV-Duke game from the 1991 Final Four in this piece, part of our Greatest Games series.
  3. Embattled Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins retired from his position yesterday, one year earlier than he was originally scheduled to do so.  His seven-year tenure at the school was very successful on the surface — even though he didn’t hire Mark Mangino or Bill Self, both KU football and basketball were extremely productive on his watch, and the athletic department budget doubled from $27M to $55M during this time.  Unfortunately, the last twelve months have been scandal-ridden, from the ugly fights between the football and basketball teams last fall to the recent ticket-favor scandal that the feds are still investigating (Perkins has not been implicated, incidentally).  Sports by Brooks reports that there may be more to this retirement than meets the eye, however, in that KU officials allegedly do not want Perkins’ input on hiring his successor, and sometimes when you want a clean slate, it’s best to cut all ties.  Probably a good move.
  4. Oklahoma State received good news yesterday when Matt Pilgrim, one of the Pokes’ top returning players who averaged 8/7 in only nineteen minutes of action per game last year, was cleared of an emergency protective order placed on him by a woman who accused him of rape.  The judge stated that there was insufficient evidence of rape to substantiate a continuation of the protective order, which likely means that there’s not nearly enough evidence to charge him with the corollary crime.
  5. Gary Parrish gives us his five players that he expects will have breakthrough seasons in 2010-11:  Kim English (Missouri), John Henson (UNC), Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Kris Joseph (Syracuse) and Jon Leuer (Wisconsin).  There’s one crossover player (English) with the twelve that we projected as our very own breakthrough guys back in early July, but we don’t have any major beef with his list.
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Morning Five: 06.11.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 11th, 2010

  1. Might want to set your alarms for this one.  UCLA will be holding a public ceremony at Pauley Pavilion for the late, great John Wooden on June 26 at 11 am PDT, and it will be broadcast live on Prime Ticket and streamed live at www.ucla.edu (brief aside: a smaller tribute will also occur today at UCLA’s graduation ceremony).  We doubt that Wooden’s tribute will get 1% the attention of what another departed Angeleno of far lesser character got last summer, but we’ll do our part (and we hope you will too) to honor the man who helped make college basketball what it is today.
  2. One day after Kansas AD Lew Perkins was cleared of any wrongdoing by the university on an equipment flap, he announced his retirement effective next summer.  Um, congratulations?  Under your watch, you certainly helped to grow the Kansas football program (Orange Bowl winners in 2008) and keep the basketball program on the top plateau (national title in 2008), but the last year has been ridiculously bad, beginning with the football/basketball team fights and ending with KU apparently getting thrown to the wolves by the rest of the Big 12.  Well, he does have another year to solve some of those problems.
  3. Tom Izzo update: he spoke with Cleveland officials today while MSU faithful held a rally on his behalf back in East Lansing.  His quote on the matter: “It’s not going to be forever,” referring to his dalliance with this NBA job.  Stay tuned.
  4. UConn was warned over ten years ago about the “appearance of impropriety” with agent Josh Nochimson, but that didn’t seem to matter when it came to recruiting Nate Miles in 2006 and 2007.
  5. Where’s your glove, Dickie V!?!  The larger-than-life ESPN commentator found a way to get himself into the news during the offseason by throwing himself into the path of a foul ball at a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game last night.

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Morning Five: 06.10.10

Posted by rtmsf on June 10th, 2010

  1. Is it just us, or does this feel like the busiest June in college basketball history?  Between Wooden’s passing, every college coach of note contemplating a chance to coach LeBron James, the insanity of conference realignment, and the endless discussion of violations and sanctions, you’d think that we were in the middle of January.  Whew.
  2. The good news: Kansas cleared its AD Lew Perkins of any wrongdoing amidst allegations of trading tickets for athletic equipment.  The much, much worse news: he may no longer have a BCS conference in which to sell or trade those tickets.
  3. Would Tom Izzo realistically leave his successful program at Michigan State to take a shot at coaching LeBron James in the NBA?  According to various reports last night, the answer is yes.  The MSU coach will visit Cleveland Thursday and his Spartan players already have a sense that he might be leaving for this opportunity, the latest of many in his career.  Reportedly Cleveland is offering Izzo twice his current salary of $3M per year, and of course, the opportunity to coach the player widely regarded as the greatest of his generation for the next decade.  This is a very interesting dilemma for the fiery Michigander.
  4. Get excited now, kids — the SEC/Big East Invitational matchups were announced yesterday.  The headliner is that Kentucky will play Notre Dame in Louisville’s Freedom Hall after Seton Hall and Arkansas tip it off in the first game on December 8.  Three days later, Rutgers will face Auburn and Pitt will host Tennessee in the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.  Contain yourselves.
  5. As much as we like to poke fun at Digger Phelps in his role as ‘analyst’ on ESPN, we’re happy to hear that he’s recovering nicely after having prostate cancer surgery in recent days.  Quick question, though — why did Digger choose to have this surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle?  We thought he was pretty much an east coast guy.
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Realignment Rumors: On Today’s Pac-10/Big 12 Rumblings

Posted by jstevrtc on June 3rd, 2010

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West Conferences and an occasional contributor.

That sound you just heard may have been the proverbial first domino creaking a little. Today, Orangebloods.com columnist Chip Brown reported that, in advance of the Pac-10 meetings which begin this weekend in San Francisco, the Pac-10 is set to invite six Big 12 schools to join in the creation of the first superconference of the new era of college sports. Brown reports that Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech will be the schools invited, leaving Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska behind. All this comes on the heels of the Big 12 meetings, wrapping up on Friday, which opened with a plea by commissioner Dan Beebe for a united front among member institutions and a commitment to the conference. Obviously, this rumor has huge ramifications for the Big 12 and the Pac-10, but the ripple effect of such a move would be felt across the college sports landscape. We’ll take a look here at the specifics of this rumor and how this rumor could affect other conferences around the country.

Why is this man smiling? Beebe has his work cut out for him. (AP/Mike Fuentes)

The Pac-16. Or Big 16. Or the Great New Superconference

According to the Brown article, which cites multiple unnamed sources, the new conference would be divided into two eight-team divisions with the six Big 12 schools joining Arizona and Arizona State in an Eastern or Inland Division and Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State forming the Western or Coastal Division. Then, with the aid of Fox Sports Net, already an operating partner with the Big Ten Network and television partner with both the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences, the league would create its own cable network akin to the BTN. Perhaps coupled with new television contracts with ABC/ESPN, Fox, CBS, Turner or any other bidders, the projected revenues of the new conference (which would encompass seven of the top 20 television markets in the country) could rival those of the SEC or even the Big Ten.

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Morning Five: 06.03.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 3rd, 2010

  1. Why do we keep talking about Coach K going to the NBA?  Recent rumors linked the Duke head coach to the opening with the Cleveland LeBrons, but as expected, K restated that he’s happy in Durham and isn’t going anywhere.  In our opinion, the tipping point for Krzyzewski came in the mid-2000s when he seriously considered leaving Duke for the Lakers job; his dalliance with the prospect of coaching Kobe Bryant in a marquee environment wasn’t enough to get him to leave.  Now, at 63 and with a realistic shot at passing Rupp for five national titles in his career, he’s settled on summering with the US men’s national team to satisfy his desire to work with the world’s best athletes while spending the remainder where he clearly belongs.  Good choice.
  2. The Kansas athletic department is looking more and more like a rogue actor, from top to bottom.  With new revelations coming out yesterday that AD Lew Perkins took gifts of thousands of dollars worth of athletic equipment from a local company, we have to wonder where the lines were drawn there, if they were at all.
  3. John Calipari has no comment about the Eric Bledsoe controversy, but Andy Staples believes that Calipari’s utilization of plausible deniability is phenomenal in its execution — even better than the dribble-drive offense of which the coach has been so successful in using.
  4. To that end, how great would it be if the NCAA finally got serious about regulating these programs and quit concerning itself nearly as much about the Alabama States and West Freakin’ Georgias of the world.  Creating a level playing field for everyone should be the goal, but how about we start with the 75-100 biggest schools and work down from there?
  5. We knew Memphis head coach Josh Pastner was an insane workaholic when it came to recruiting, but we didn’t know just how crazy until we read this.  For better or worse, we suppose.
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