NCAA Informally Exploring Idea of a Season Tipoff Event

Posted by rtmsf on November 18th, 2010

Yesterday the NCAA held a teleconference featuring Gene Smith, the current Chair of the Men’s Basketball Committee, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  The media was afforded the opportunity to ask questions of the three in a structured format, and while we didn’t have a question ourselves, there were quite a few interesting nuggets that came out of the event.  Rather than simply posting the complete transcript, we pulled out the parts that we found most compelling for the sake of simplicity.  (note: entire transcript can be found here)

Three Big Names in the Sport Fielded Questions Yesterday

The line of questioning that perked our ears the most revolved around the longstanding RTC complaint that the regular season trickles out in fits and twitches rather than exploding onto the sports scene as it should.  All three interviewees in this teleconference agreed that such a thing is worth exploring. 

  • Gene Smith:  [This was discussed as] a casual conversation we had in our meetings in New Orleans last week.  We were sitting around and realized that the games started, we were watching games.  We really thought it would be nice if we had, at the beginning of the basketball season, an event of some nature that brought attention and awareness right off the bat on the first games right away.  We’re blessed right now with the 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon just concluding.  While that was going on, there was a great deal of excitement.  In the first week, it didn’t seem to have the energy and excitement that we felt the start of the season should have.  So it’s really a discussion we thought we needed to keep on our radars as we move forward.
  • Coach K:  I’d be in favor of that.  I think what happened yesterday was great for the game.  It actually felt like the start of the basketball season.  People watched those games, and they were great games.   We should have an official start to the season and not let it start from November 4th or 8th.  Nobody really knows when it starts.  To kick it off like that was tremendous.  That was a tremendous thing ESPN did. 
  • Brad Stevens:  Yeah, I think it’s really good.  I say I’d like to see us play a little bit better when we open a place like yesterday.  But I think it’s a great thing for college basketball.  It brings awareness to college basketball.  I think people get excited about it.  Like Coach Krzyzewski said, people now know that the season has kicked off.  I think sometimes towards the waning parts of the football season, or at least the regular season, all of a sudden pops up a college basketball game.  It’s like, I didn’t realize that was going on. 

Let’s hope that the NCAA continues its recent trend of listening to its constituents — the schools, coaches, and the fans — and figures out a way to make something like a true season tipoff event happen.  Another area of inquirey that all three gentlemen addressed was how expanding the NCAA Tournament to 68 teams next year may impact the decision-making process of the Committee. 

  • GS:   It’s really hard to speculate what that moment will bring for us.  Our policies and procedures on selecting and seeding and bracketing will pretty much stay the same.  We’ll move through our process.  Now, as opposed to stopping, we’ll go to 37 at‑large.  I just don’t see us changing anything.  I still believe there’s going to be that 38th and 39th team that feel they should have been the 36th or 37th team.  To my view, it will be a continued level of excitement from that perspective.
  • BS:  It helps four teams.  I don’t know which four teams it helps.  I don’t know they’re in any given league.  I found it to be the case, I think they look at it really objectively and [Smith] addressed that.  What we try to do is we try to go out and schedule the best schedule that we possibly can, which in the coaching fraternity they call me crazy for doing that, so that we at least have a shot to qualify for the tournament in two ways.  At the end of the day it’s going to be the next four best teams, and certainly there’s going to be some arguments, there’s always going to be No. 69 and 70.  But four more teams have a chance to get in.  I don’t think it necessarily helps one program or another. 

The proposal that the NCAA recently deliberated involving a banishment of the summer recruiting period was also discussed, and perhaps expectedly, neither coach was in favor of this measure.

  • MK:  First of all, I’d like to see legislation not put forward without input from coaches.  This summer the conference commissioners voted to get rid of summer recruiting, and there wasn’t anybody from basketball representing the game at that meeting, which sometimes is the reason that poor legislation is passed concerning our game.  We should always have a representative of basketball at committee meetings where they’re deciding things about our game.  Summer recruiting is essential for schools of all levels.  I think the amount of money that you would have to put into it if you didn’t have summer recruiting would be immense because you get to see so many kids during a short period of time in one area.  So it’s essential.  What we do with it, I mean, it should be a consensus with the coaches and our administrators as to what is best for our game.  You’re going to have to do something in the summer, there’s no question about it. […] If people would cut out summer recruiting, it would be a huge mistake.  Now, what we do with it, how we go forward, let’s figure out what’s in the best interest of our game, what’s in the best interest of all the schools involved.  You’re going to need to go out in the summer.  Kids are going to play in the summer.  You’re going to need to go out or else you’re going to have to deal with more people who have no restrictions.  They’re not answerable to any authorities as far as academic authorities.  Less access that we put in the early ’90s proved to be poor for the game.  To have further less access, you know, would be utterly ridiculous to do.  We should have learned our lesson from that.
  • BS:   I’ve been in plenty of discussions with different coaches and people around.  I think the key, like Coach K said, is more access, not less access.  I think we all agree on that.  We certainly can’t eliminate the July period.  But if we can come up with a way to make it whether it means you have more access to juniors, you get more calls, whatever the case may be, then if you want to limit July or cut July back by a couple of days, add a weekend or two in April, have all kinds of scenarios that work.  But you have to make it so we can watch these games, watch these kids all in one place or at least in a few different places.  It’s very cost‑effective.  I think it’s the right thing for us to do.  I think it’s the right way to go.  I don’t think you can, again, I don’t know that 20 days is the right thing.  I think that’s a bit much personally because I think kids are tired, coaches are tired.  It’s well documented how unhealthy the whole month is from that regard.  If you could knock it back a couple days and add a couple days in April, I’d be all for it.
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07.01.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 1st, 2009

Already halfway through the calendar, which means that we’re almost equally distant from Midnight Madness as we are from last Selection Sunday…

  • Rumors Be Damned.  In case you missed it, the rumor mill has been flaring up considerably this week.  Lance Stephenson to CincinnaticonfirmedXavier Henry and brother CJ to KentuckydeniedCoach K to the Lakers – not a chance.  RTC to Vansterdam – pending.  The rumor that had us vexed was the Henrys leaving KU story.  When your father is going on talk radio shows and spouting off about his kids’ unhappiness and unwillingness to stay in a particular place (Kansas), that’s usually pretty convincing evidence that something is afoot.  Turns out, though, that Carl Henry is just a smidge on the aft side of crazy athlete-dads, and he came off as a real sh*t-stirrer in follow-up radio interviews he gave earlier this week.  If Bill Self can manage to get the Henrys to sacrifice self for team, that’ll be a really impressive accomplishment, it appears.
  • All Games Are Presumed Equal.  Even though some are more equal than others.  Um, ok.  The NCAA revised its Tournament criteria to remove the “last 12″ record analysis (which used to be “last 10″) because the selection committee found it confusing to give more value to games played later in the season over games earlier in the season.  In other words, every game is now supposed to count equally in their analysis.  The conventional wisdom is that this is a good thing, but we’re uncertain.  Think about it: all else being equal, would you want a team that started 15-1 but finished 4-8 getting into the Dance over a team that started 9-7, but finished 10-2?  We think that there needs to be some reward for finishing strong.  Basketball is a tournament sport, and teams are built to be working on all cylinders by the time tournament season rolls around, not in November and December.  Our general feeling is that committee members will still reward strong closers over strong starters, but it just won’t be officially sanctioned.  Let’s hope they do, at least.   
  • Bruins Pony Up.  In what’s becoming a national trend in both football and basketball, schools are holding their long-time season ticket holders hostage by requiring enormous donations to reserve the best seats at their venues.  We recently read about this occurring as Cal upgrades its football stadium, and now UCLA is requiring up to a half-million dollars worth of largesse to get the choicest seats courtside at the new and improved Pauley Pavilion (set to re-open in 2012).  Schools can obviously do whatever they want with the seats in their stadiums, but it seems absurd that a family that has held on to seats for generations but may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around won’t be able to keep them.   
  • 2010 Mock Drafts.  Here’s a version from Jeff Goodman, NBADraft.net, DraftExpress, and Draft Depot.  Everybody and their brother has Kentucky PG John Wall as the #1 guy right now. 
  • More Quick Hits.  Cameron Dollar: high hopes for fledgling Seattle U.  SEC Coaches: we don’t suckCraig Brackins: two national articles on the Iowa St. big man in the same week!  Ohio St. AD Gene Smith: will chair the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Tournament CmtesRenardo Sidney: NCAA eligibility meetings postponed to next weekGreivis Vasquez: sweeping the ACC titles next season.  UNC: University of Nike Carolina.  Coach K: of course he doesn’t like the one-and-done rule.  Of course he doesn’t.  Tom Brennan: first Whelliston, now Brennan.  ESPN is shedding all of its best CBB studio people, and that’s sad.
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10.05.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 5th, 2008

Folks, we’re only five weeks from the first games… just sayin…

  • Sixteen months after agreeing to return to Florida after about-facing on the Orlando Magic job, Billy Donovan finally signed his contract
  • Fooling with the Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun setup of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament because of gas prices is pure folly – surely the NCAA isn’t that stupid, is it?
  • This is a pretty interesting NY Times article on how YouTube is changing the world of prospect identification and recruiting. 
  • More foolishness involving the Gazelle Group – they’re apparently trying to move UMass to a different subregional in the CvC at the last minute.
  • The difficulty of playing in the Big East, where 9 teams could be top-25 worthy this year.  Although Jameson at B/R makes a compelling argument that Georgetown is wildly overrated this year.
  • Ok, so it turns out that the George Mason F4 rings on Ebay were stolen and will be returned to the rightful owner, Dr. Scherrens.  Nice investigative work by Chris Brooks over at B/R. 
  • Gary Parrish continues with his ‘seedy underbelly’ offseason theme.
  • So what you’re saying is that the SEC will get seven teams in the NCAA Tournament next year (and deserve four)?
  • So who wants to bet on which coach will have the better 08-09 campaign – Marquette’s Buzz Williams or Indiana’s Tom Crean?
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Fast Breaks 07.16.07

Posted by rtmsf on July 16th, 2007

For some reason, we don’t recall summers growing up as this boring…

  • Mizzou players Kalen Grimes (accused of assault with a shotgun in, of all places, a Jack in the Box) and DeMarre Carroll (shot in the ankle outside a nightclub) were involved in separate incidents within five days of each other. Mike Anderson’s honeymoon is apparently over in Columbia.
  • Bad Luck in Durham: Duke’s Brian Zoubek broke his foot in a pickup game; and Demarcus Nelson broke his wrist at the Pan Am trials within the last week. No word on whether Greg Paulus’s mishap with autoerotic asphyxiation will affect his play next year.
  • The Big East moves to an 18-game conference schedule for 2007-08, so each team will play at least once next year. We like this trend.
  • SEC Commish Mike Slive will head the NCAA Selection Committee in 2009 – Ole Miss and Vandy are already making hotel reservations to reward their 18-10 records.
  • New Ohio St. President Gordon Gee says that he will not tolerate bad behavior on his watch within the Buckeye program… we’re still waiting on the punchline here.
  • The 2007 HOF Challenge on December 1 is set with two solid matchups: UConn vs. Gonzaga and BC vs. Providence.
  • Cal assistant Joe Pasternack takes the head coaching job at the University of New Orleans. Bears fans lament that Ben Braun didn’t take the job.
  • The Fanhouse put together its admittedly premature top 20 for the summer. Georgetown is too low on their list and Indiana is too high.
  • UCLA’s incoming frosh Kevin Love is the Gatorade POY. Still not sure how we feel about him – is he another Psycho T or Aaron Gray?
  • Wake got 2008 verbals from the #3 and #18 players last week (to go along with already committed #10), but is the Class of 2008 any good? Speaking of Wake, TrueHoop unearthed a fantastic introspective piece into the mind of the greatest Deac of all, Tim Duncan.
  • Seth Davis gives his takes from the road on the summer circuit.
  • Apparently Steve Lavin knows how to throw a party.
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