Morning Five: 05.31.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2012

  1. The NBA Draft Lottery was held on Wednesday evening immediately prior to the Eastern Conference Finals between Miami and Boston, and it appears that the winner of the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes will be the New Orleans Hornets. Interestingly, for the eighth straight season, the team with the worst record in the NBA — the Charlotte Bobcats this time around — did not receive the top overall pick. Michael Jordan’s team is relegated to the second slot, where a number of collegiate stars including Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Florida’s Bradley Beal, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Connecticut’s Andre Drummond will be in the mix. Keep an eye on and DraftExpress over the next few weeks to track player movement up and down the board. Also keep in mind that we here at RTC are in the midst of breaking down the top 35 collegians as we head through June into draft season (with an assist from We’ve evaluated quite a few of the guys so far who are hovering at the bottom of the first round in most projections, with plenty more to come in the next few weeks.
  2. Conference realignment theater is the longest running show in college basketball, and Luke Winn takes the opportunity to examine a question that far too many schools — especially at the mid-major level — fail to ask themselves: Is an upgrade in conference affiliation actually better for our programs, especially our marquee ones? For a strong basketball mid-major from a one-bid conference like Davidson, would Bob McKillop’s program be better to position itself as the dominant program in a weakened SoCon (possibly losing College of Charleston and Appalachian State); or would the stronger play be to move up to the CAA and hope that the conference remains a multiple-bid league even after removing VCU, Old Dominion and Georgia State from its ranks? It’s a very tough exercise in risk assessment, and one that we don’t envy Davidson administrators having to make.
  3. From the department of they-take-themselves-way-too-seriously, it appears that Kentucky and Indiana still can’t play nice and learn to compromise with each other in a way that will give college basketball fans (which, at last check, was comprised of legions of UK and IU fans) what they want — a regular series between two regional rivals that rank among the top six programs in the history of the sport. After initial talks stalled, records show that Indiana suggested a four-year deal that included the next two games at neutral site Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, followed by a home-and-home the next two years. Kentucky rejected the offer, citing problems with the initial dates proposed and other red herrings as reasons to not play the game. All hand-wringingn aside, the bottom line is this — so long as Calipari remains in Lexington, the Wildcats will not return to Assembly Hall in Bloomington. It’s up to you to figure out why.
  4. We continue on with our SEC version of the M5 today with news that the league’s head coaches have agreed upon a scheduling format for the new 14-team conference beginning next year. We already knew that the league was moving to an 18-game schedule, but it remained unclear how they planned on instituting the rotation. The answer to that question is that each school will be paired with a ‘permanent’ rival that it will play twice each season, four other schools that it will play twice, and eight schools that it will play once to get to 18 games. The rivalry pairings — Kentucky-Florida, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, South Carolina-Georgia, Auburn-Alabama, Mississippi State-Ole Miss, LSU-Texas A&M, Arkansas-Missouri — make sense with the exception of the addition of the two former Big 12 schools. Forgiving geographic considerations of proximity, it probably would have been better to keep LSU-Arkansas as rivals and pair the two new schools together from our viewpoint. This format will result in an unbalanced schedule, but at least each team will see everyone else in the league once.
  5. Finally, one of those SEC schools goes by the name of Auburn, and at least on the hardwood, the Tigers have been an unmitigated disaster for the better part of a decade. If you’re interested in learning how a school with the financial resources of Auburn ($104M in revenue in 2010-11) cannot figure out how to back its way into an NCAA Tournament bid every now and again (last appearance: 2003), this article by traces its roots of futility back to an athletic department in chaos eight years ago. While we’re sure that there are downstream issues still present as a result of those mistakes many years ago, what is left out of the article is that basketball simply isn’t taken seriously at a place like Auburn. The fans and boosters don’t demand even so much as mediocrity; so a moribund program is what they’ve gotten.
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NBA Draft Lottery

Posted by rtmsf on May 23rd, 2007

 NBA Draft Lottery Logo

As we watched the NBA Draft Lottery last night, we wondered if the ultimate settling and selection of the envelopes in the hopper represented another cruel fait accompli to long-suffering NBA fans in cities like Boston and Atlanta; or whether it would manifest as the final piece to the puzzle in renaissance projects ongoing in cities like Chicago or Phoenix.  Chalk one up for the French. 

The shot on ESPN of Celtic fans in that pub that looked like a place Sam Malone would frequent, heads in hands with despair, was one that will not soon be forgotten – missing on Duncan a decade ago; and Oden/Durant now.  Bill Simmons is probably just stirring awake from the Southie gutter where he chose to rest last night.  (update: he crawled out of the gutter to post this article by 3pm EDT)  Instead, the clean and green cities of the Pacific Northwest should enjoy a basketball rebirth, not unlike that of the area in the past several years of college basketball (Gonzaga, UW, Wazzu, Oregon).  Oh, and the Varsity Conference just got that much tougher.

Boston Draft Logo

Sign us up for Xi Xianlian!!

It’s not always the case that a #1 pick from the draft lottery guarantees success.  In the lottery era, only Ewing (85), David Robinson (87), Shaq (92), Duncan (97), and Lebron (03) were considered no-brainer dominant picks who could carry a franchise from day one.  Shaq and Duncan have had the most success, whereas Ewing and Robinson were somewhat constricted by the pure brilliance of the MJ era.  Lebron is TBD.  Oden is expected to follow the career arc of these players, considering his skills and athleticism as a 19 yr old 33 yrs old.  As long as the Blazers go for the big man over the guard this time, just as  they did in 1984 (that one didn’t work out so well), they should be fine.  Will Oden lead Portland to championships?  Nobody knows for certain, but Portland fans are ready to take that gamble after a long period of “jail blazer” sucktitude, crashing the team website twice last night amidst all the giddiness over their good fortune. 


What about Durant going to Seattle?  Will he become the next T-Mac or KG, or someone who can actually win something once in a while?  He is undoubtedly a spectacular talent, someone who has a presence about him (even at such a young age) that makes you ashamed to avert your eyes.  He also may be the golden cow that inspires Seattle voters into approving a new arena so as to keep the Sonics from eventually moving to Oklahoma.  And as much as the Oklahoma City fans were supportive during the Hornets’ exile there after Katrina, the NBA needs to keep its presence in an internationally-focused and culturally important city such as Seattle.

Draft News:  Roy Hibbert has announced he is returning to Georgetown for his senior campaign.  His frontcourt mate Jeff Green is entering the draft.        

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