Posted by Dan Lyons on March 27th, 2013
- If nothing else, fans of the current Big East are going to have plenty of channels to catch their favorite schools on when the schools all go their separate ways. The ACC is taking over Big Monday and should have an increased presence on ESPN, the Big East (Catholic edition) will be on FOX, and the soon-to-be-the-conference-formerly-known-as-the-Big-East just inked a deal with CBS, which will get first dibs on the conference’s games through 2019-20. Oh, and West Virginia seemed to be on ESPN like every week this year… so good for the ‘Eers.
- Louisville was the number one overall seed in 2009, much like it is this year. That team hoisted both the Big East regular season and tournament trophies, and made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to Michigan State. That team featured excellent former Cardinals like Terrence Williams, Andre McGee, and Earl Clark, and apparently those guys won’t stop talking about that season. Peyton Siva would like to reclaim bragging rights over the 2009 squad with the one trophy they weren’t able to claim — a national title. “I don’t know a lot (about 2009), I just know T-Will and Dre were on it and they always brag about being the No. 1 overall seed… Our whole goal for the year — they had Andre’s picture on the wall from that ’09 team — is to take him off the wall.”
- Otto Porter is a finalist for the Naismith Award this season, and for good reason. A very good argument can be made that there was no player more important to his team this season, and it showed in Georgetown‘s best games — Porter scored 33 points in front of over 35,000 raucous Syracuse fans to stun the Orange at the Carrier Dome — as well as their worst — Porter could only muster 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting in Georgetown’s shocking loss to Florida Gulf Coast last weekend. While Porter is up against stiff competition for the Naismith Award, he already has accolade in his back pocket as Basketball Times has named the forward its National Player of the year.
- Expansion fever — catch the excitement! Today in schools moving conferences, the old Big East continues it’s mission to restore the halcyon days of mid-2000s Conference USA. Brett McMurphy reports that Tulsa will become the 12th member of the conference, calling the addition “imminent.” According to McMurphy, the Golden Hurricanes will join up in 2014 with Tulane and East Carolina, who will be elevated to full-member status to balance the conference numbers and fill the critical role of having basketball-playing Pirates in the league.
- The Journal-Sentinel sat down with former Marquette great Brian Wardle, currently the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, to discuss the state of Warriors basketball. Wardle was obviously thrilled with the success that the program has had under Buzz Williams, and before him, Tom Crean, stating that MU has entered the ranks of the elite in college ball. “The level that Marquette basketball is at now is an elite level that it has not been in for a long time… they’ve gone to three Sweet Sixteens in a row, a Final Four, everything takes time to build. Nothing happens overnight. You’ve got to go through some failures to succeed. You’re seeing Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen every year with the Michigan States, the Dukes, with Kansas.” There is no denying the success that Marquette has had recently, though dropping the ‘e’ word seems a bit strong. Until Marquette makes a few more Final Fours or captures a national title, they’re a rung or two below the nation’s elite schools, at least to me. However, they’re not far behind, and with the consistent success that Buzz Williams has had with the program, it may only be a matter of time until they break through.
Posted by Dan Lyons on November 14th, 2012
- The first Naismith Award watch list, comprised of 50 players, was released yesterday. While it is difficult to take a ton of stock in a list that is so long and backed by so little in terms of on-court results, it’s always interesting to see who is highlighted. Seven current Big East players have been chosen for this first watch list. Louisville has three players included, with guard Peyton Siva, center Gorgui Dieng, and forward Chane Behanan all named. Syracuse point guard Michael Carter Williams, Notre Dame center Jack Cooley, Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick, and Georgetown forward Otto Porter were also included.
- Villanova‘s Jay Wright and Purdue’s Matt Painter each look forward to their teams’ upcoming match-up in the 2k Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, as they believe the two programs are in a similar place early on this season. Jay Wright explains how the two teams, who are generally known for quite different approaches, mirror each other: “We’re similar to Purdue in that we have a lot of young players, and a lot of returning players who are taking on new roles… Right now, we are an inconsistent team, probably like a lot of people are early.” Villanova has started the year 2-0, but wins against the District of Columbia and Marshall aren’t enough to get people excited about Wildcats basketball again. A win over a quality Big Ten opponent surely would be.
- Marquette got a big boost from an unlikely source in its 84-63 victory over Colgate Sunday: sophomore Juan Anderson. Anderson has been a bit of a forgotten man in the Golden Eagles program, at least he had been before coming one point and rebound short of a double-double in the game against the Red Raiders. Anderson missed much of last season due to surgery and an NCAA suspension, and he was supposed to miss the beginning of this season again after undergoing another surgery, a fact that makes his performance all the more impressive. Buzz Williams was impressed with Anderson’s play as well, and indicated that we’d see more of the forward in the future: “His energy level is what helps us… He had energy last year; he just didn’t have purpose to his energy. I think now he better understands how to play with that energy and have purpose in what he’s doing… I’ve been telling him the last few weeks that he needs to put me in a position where I can’t keep him off the floor, and the way he’s going to do that is by doing the things he did today.”
- Many basketball pundits are high on Notre Dame due to their experience — the Irish return four players from last season’s starting line-up. The prestigious Rush the Court: Big East Microsite preseason rankings place Notre Dame in at #3 after perennial powers Louisville and Syracuse. For all of the experience that Mike Brey returns, there are lingering questions about the team’s depth. Enter: Garrick Sherman and Cameron Biedscheid. Notre Dame was very sluggish in the first few minutes against Monmouth on Monday, until Sherman and Biedschied entered the game and sparked a 12-0 run. Sherman led the Irish with 22 points, while Biedschied added nine points and five assists. If Notre Dame can count on consistent performances like that off the bench, Brey’s squad may be more dangerous than originally thought.
- Many former college basketball players who aren’t lucky enough to carve out careers in the NBA are long-forgotten, but many of these athletes have long, fulfilling careers overseas. DePaul athletics highlighted former Blue Demon stars Will Walker and Krys Faber, a pair who are playing exceptionally well in Bulgaria and Uruguay, respectively. Walker plays guard for BC Beroe, while Faber has become a 20/20 machine for Atletico Welcome. While both players certainly have NBA aspirations, they’re making the best of their current situations. It is refreshing to see Walker spreading an important message to up and coming athletes: “no matter what, always remember it’s a blessing to be playing professionally. Don’t take any of it for granted because there are hundreds of guys wishing for a spot.”
Posted by dnspewak on November 8th, 2011
- The pre-season Naismith Award list was released Monday by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club’s Board of Selectors, and it includes five Big 12 players: Perry Jones (Baylor), Quincy Miller (Baylor), Khris Middleton (Texas A&M), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), and Thomas Robinson (Kansas). All five are more than deserving to make the list, and they’ll all contend for Player of the Year honors in the Big 12, at the very least. The committee left off a couple of notable names, though. If Miller can get a vote, then why can’t Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash? In the end, of course, it’s all semantics. The list will be narrowed to the top 30 players in February.
- It looks as though the Big 12 will continue to confuse most Americans by remaining at 10 teams for the 2012-13 season. You’d think it would make a little more sense for a league called the Big 12 to have, you know, 12 teams, but OU president David Boren said Monday that no expansion will occur next season. However, here’s a curveball: After the 2012-13 season, Boren said the league may have an opportunity to return to 12 teams. The math would finally align, and the world would once again be normal. But does that mean that realignment apocalypse isn’t over yet? We may have to run through this same drill in two years.
- All anyone ever wants to talk about at Missouri is how much the move to the SEC will benefit the school financially. However, there could be some related money troubles on the horizon. According to the Associated Press, MU may need to pay $26 million in exit fees to leave the Big 12. Plus, upon joining the SEC, Missouri may be expected to upgrade its facilities and scholarships to stay competitive. Gov. Jay Nixon wouldn’t comment on the issue, but the state’s budget chairman said he hasn’t heard back from MU officials as to how they plan to pay for the move.
- Speaking of Missouri’s move… Kansas isn’t too happy about the potential death of the Border War. Just take a glance at some of the comments from the Kansas camp. Bill Self has said that KU has “absolutely no obligation whatsoever to play Missouri in basketball. None.” And football coach Turner Gill echoed that statement, saying he does not see the annual game on the gridiron in Kansas City continuing past this season. After a century of battles — both literally and figuratively, as it does of course date back to skirmishes during the Civil War — it’s hard to accept that Kansas may end the Border War just like that. Self also said “the majority of Kansas fans don’t give a flip about playing Missouri,” but we’re not so convinced that’s true, either. From both perspectives, the end of the rivalry would be a tragedy. Let’s hope clearer heads eventually prevail — college basketball is better when the Border War game continues.
- Sticking with Kansas here, ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan had a nice write-up about the importance of Jayhawk guard Tyshawn Taylor. It’s no secret he’s struggled with consistency during his time in Lawrence, but now it’s time for him to step up as the leader of this squad along with Thomas Robinson. Self has said that Taylor has “matured so much,” and that would be terrific news for a KU team looking to win its eighth straight Big 12 title. Without a fine performance from Taylor this season, Kansas cannot win. It’s as simple as that.
Posted by rtmsf on October 8th, 2010
- Players are doing individual workouts and getting a good amount of fullcourt run on their own time as they ramp up to the start of practice next weekend, so injuries are inevitable. A couple of notable ones reported yesterday include St. Peter’s star forward Wesley Jenkins, who is suffering from a partial tear of his ACL, and Michigan State freshman Russell Byrd, who has a stress fracture in his foot. MSU will be fine without their youngster in the lineup, but St. Peter’s is a team expected to contend in the MAAC this season, so potentially losing Jenkins and his 14/5 averages from 2009-10 could seriously hurt the long-term fortunes of the Peacocks.
- Better to be injured than dismissed from the program, we suppose. UNC’s Will Graves, a player who seems to have been in Tar Heel blue since Matt Doherty was hanging out at Top of the Hill, has been kicked off the team for failing to comply with team rules. The 6’6 redshirt senior was supposed to be UNC’s top returning scorer (9.8 PPG) and three-point shooter (73 treys last year), but Roy Williams is going to have to find offense elsewhere now. That Harrison Barnes kid better be pretty good, or it’s progressively looking like another rough season in Chapel Hill.
- A little nepotism never hurts, especially when your brother is a successful basketball coach and you’re looking to get back into the game. Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton has hired his big brother Sean as an advisor, er, “executive advisor to the coaching staff,” which essentially means help out where you can but stay the hell outta my way. The position is a voluntary one, which means that Sean can advise the coaches but he cannot interrelate with the players. Of course Sean is coming off an ugly addiction to painkillers that resulted in several felony charges for which he pled guilty, but if he can keep his nose clean the next six months while assisting his brother, we’re sure that a college somewhere out there will be willing to take another chance on him.
- Luke Winn’s transparency with how he picked his 53-player Naismith Award ballot last week shows a remarkably similar process as to how we here at RTC went through the country to pick our sixty Impact Players for 2010-11. What’s that saying? — great minds… although we’re going to definitely take some heat in coming weeks for a few of our omissions. No doubt about it.
- There were a couple of big commitments yesterday in the recruiting world. Tony Wroten, a 6’4 point guard from Seattle ranked in the top 30 on Rivals.com, signed with his hometown school Washington over Louisville, UConn, Villanova and Seattle. Down the I-5 a piece, new head coach Dana Altman got a huge recruiting coup for Oregon by grabbing 6’4 shooting guard and #22-rated Jabari Brown out of Oakland over Arizona State, Washington, Georgia Tech and UConn. Brown specifically stated that the Nike affiliation and the new facilities drew him to Eugene. There are now only seventeen uncommitted players in the top 50 of the class of 2011.