SEC Morning Five: 02.16.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on February 16th, 2012

  1. Arkansas remained one of three power conference schools (joining Boston College and Utah) to not own a road victory in Division I after being clubbed by Tennessee in Knoxville on Wednesday night. Among the 74 current power conference coaches, none of them owns a worse road record over the past two seasons than Mike Anderson. Anderson at Missouri went only 2-7 last year and this year’s Razorbacks are 0-8 so that porous road record could easily be reason #1 why they are likely NIT-bound and not returning the NCAAs for a fourth straight year, matching the program’s longest drought since the 1970s.
  2. Anderson and Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin, the SEC’s two first-year coaches, met for the first time on Wednesday night. Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Mike Strange writes that  the schools that hired these two coaches, both leaving schools in Missouri (and in Martin’s case at least a rumored candidate to replace Anderson), are satisfied with their respective choices.
  3. South Carolina’s Malik Cooke and Georgia head coach Mark Fox already knew each other quite well when the two schools met on Wednesday. Cooke played for Fox at Nevada for two years so of course when the Gamecocks and Bulldogs met for the first of two times this season Cooke took advantage of his chance to beat his former coach for the first time in three tries. He hit the game-winning shot with 20 seconds left. “He’s just a winner,” Fox said. “I hate to see the ball in his hands.” “I respect him a lot,” Cooke said about Fox, “but I was just trying to get a win for South Carolina because we really needed one.”
  4. Kentucky opened up its practice to the public on Wednesday, allowing students, faculty, staff and a national television audience in on the top-ranked Wildcats’ preparation as they seek to become the first team since 2003 to finish the Southeastern Conference undefeated.”I want the students into it, I want the players alert and focused through the week,” head coach John Calipari said. “Our practices are pretty consistent in how we go about it, then it turns into … `Why don’t we call ESPN?’ Then it was like, ‘I bet it rates higher than games.’ It’s Kentucky. That’s the Kentucky Effect.”
  5. Sports Illustrated‘s Zac Ellis found former Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton and his new career path he has charted for himself since resigning in June. Hamilton began work in October as the president of U.S. Operations for Blood:Water Mission, “a non-profit organization based in Nashville that addresses Africa’s clean water and HIV/AIDS crises, two of the leading causes of orphanage in sub-Saharan Africa.” Hamilton has three adopted children from Africa, one of whom, five-month-old Kalu,  is HIV-positive. There are certainly worse things he could be doing with his time.
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The Week That Was: NCAA Tournament Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2011

David Ely is an RTC Contributor

What We Learned

It's Foolish To Think That the Big East's 2011 Tournament Record Proves That It Wasn't the Best Conference All Season

  • The Big East is not overrated; it’s just not as good as it was made out to be. The conference sent an NCAA record 11 teams into the field of 68 and Vegas set the over/under of total wins for the conference at 15.5. This year’s March Madness was supposed to be the cherry on top of an historic season, but instead the tournament has been a complete and utter disaster. Only two teams from the Big East will be playing next weekend (Connecticut and Marquette), and the only reason there are two teams remaining is because each squad beat a conference foe to advance to the Sweet 16. But let’s not jump the gun and label the Big East as the most overrated conference in the nation. For one thing, assessing the merits of a conference over a single weekend slate of games is somewhat foolish. That’s a ridiculously small sample size, especially considering during the regular season the conference posted a 34-19 record against tournament teams, according to the New York TimesNate Silver, who’s been spot-on with his analysis this month. The Big East was justified in getting 11 teams in the field — after all, Marquette made the Sweet 16 — but it was just a good conference, not an especially great one. If anything, we’re guilty of overlooking the fact that most of the teams in the Big East lacked NBA talent on their rosters (a key ingredient to any successful Final Four run). When Kemba Walker is your conference’s top NBA prospect, you know you have a talent deficit.

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It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XVI

Posted by jbaumgartner on March 21st, 2011

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC contributor. In this weekly piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball. This week, Jesse longs for a 16 to beat a 1, discusses how that Butler win can keep on winning, and says it’s time to holiday-ify the first two rounds.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…..Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith in the studio analyzing collegiate games. And frankly, anyone who doesn’t has no sense of humor. These guys have little idea what they’re doing, and the result is an endless string of off-the-cuff observations that contrast with the measured responses from the normal college basketball analysts. My favorite moments were as follows: 1) Barkley ripping the Big East a new one right in front of guest panelist Rick Pitino. The Louisville coach was absolutely simmering as Barkley explained how the conference “has no talent,” and Pitino proceeded to guarantee that Notre Dame would knock off Florida State. That obviously didn’t work out so well. Barkley also said that his first-round picks don’t count and blamed the Cardinals for his red-heavy bracket right in front of Pitino.  2) Kenny and Chuck dissecting a zone defense. Barkley summed up his point by saying something to the extent of this: “The zone is EASIEST defense in the world to play against. You just dribble through it.” Comedy gold, people. Embrace it.


And You Doubted This Man?

I LOVED…..finding out the answer to this question: How long can you keep your job by selling the fact that you recruited Blake Griffin? Answer: an even two years, as we found out with Jeff Capel this week. Some (including Griffin) say he got a raw deal. I don’t know, though – Griffin is the type of recruit you should be able to use to draw other guys in. Frank Martin had a similar situation with Michael Beasley at Kansas State, and he’s still got his Wildcats in the national picture.

I LOVED…..Brad Stevens doing it again. After last year’s Cinderella run, it would have been so easy to see the Bulldogs backslide with the loss of Gordon Hayward. This run to the Sweet Sixteen cements his squad as a consistent contender, and in my mind it makes recruiting that much easier. Now you can tell prospects, “Hey, not only did we make the final against Duke, but we came back and knocked off another No. 1 seed the next year.” I still think it’s hard to see Stevens not leaving in the near future, but it’s good for the college game if he stays and keeps Butler at this level.

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