That’s Debatable: Giving Thanks

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2010

That’s Debatable is back for another year of expert opinions, ridiculous assertions and general know-it-all-itude.  Remember, kids, there are no stupid answers, just stupid people.  We’ll try to do one of these each week during the season.  We’re fairly discerning around here, but if you want to be included, send us an email with your take telling us why at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.  And have a beautiful Thanksgiving, everyone.

This Week’s Topic: It’s the time of year to give thanks.  What college basketball related thing are you most thankful for this season?

Matt Patton, RTC Contributor

Early season tournaments.  This year feels like one of the best years ever: the Maui Invitational (Kentucky, Michigan State, Washington and UConn), Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Vanderbilt, Minnesota and UNC), 2kSports Classic (Pitt, Texas and Illinois), and CBE Classic (San Diego State, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Marquette and Duke) all highlighted at least three at-large NCAA teams with an astounding 13 teams that have appeared in the top 25 counting UConn’s imminent inclusion.  That’s really unbelievable when you think about it: we saw 15 probable at-large bids face off against at-large talent, and the conference season is still a month away!   Some early season tournaments are jokes (here’s looking at you, Cancun), and it’s annoying that the Puerto Rico Tip-Off takes place in a gym the size of my high school’s (with horrible attendance to boot).  But don’t act like it wasn’t awesome to see Duke battle Kansas State on a “neutral” floor two hours from the Little Apple, or Washington and Kentucky take their talents to Maui (and the impressive mobility of Big Blue Nation for migrating across the country).  These are the nonconference clashes of titans that normally take place only in our sleep, in March, and now in November.

Zach Hayes, RTC Editor/Contributor

I’m most thankful for the seniors that have stuck around to play college basketball for four years. Given the pressure of today’s one-and-done-or-failure mentality, the seniors that have graced the college hardwood for four seasons truly represent what this sport should be about on and off the court. Whether it’s Kyle Singler’s silky smooth jumper, the end-to-end quickness of Corey Fisher, the rebounding prowess of Kenneth Faried, the scoring artistry of Jimmer Fredette or the leadership qualities of Kalin Lucas, these wily veterans will have dazzled us loyal hoop viewers from their first day at practice as a freshman to the moment they receive their college degree. They didn’t appear and disappear from our lives after four months. They didn’t decide to play overseas and collect that first paycheck as soon as possible. After studying how they’ve improved and tracking their ups and downs after four winters, these players almost seem like family. They take us back to a time when staying through your senior year was applauded rather than stigmatized. Mr. Singler, Fisher, Faried, Fredette, Lucas and all the rest of the seniors that deserve so much more attention than they receive, I thank you.

Brian Otskey, RTC Contributor

I’m most thankful for the NCAA, believe it or not. The much-maligned organization has had a very good year. Most importantly, they resisted the urge to expand to a 96-team tournament which would have been an unmitigated disaster. Just imagine a 5-11 NC State team or 6-12 St. John’s making it into the tournament. That would have likely happened last season under a 96-team format. I realize they are probably not done with expansion but let’s give them some credit for holding off, at least for now. The NCAA has also cracked down on some name brand programs, most notably Kentucky, declaring Enes Kanter ineligible. This was the correct decision as there is just no way a professional athlete should be able to play an amateur sport. Connecticut and Jim Calhoun have also come under fire from the “new” NCAA. Don’t forget Bruce Pearl’s situation, Baylor being the subject of an investigation and Oregon as well. I’m sure there is more out there and hopefully the organization will continue its crackdown in the coming years. The NCAA is still a heavily bureaucratic operation with many problems but 2010 has been a positive step in the right direction for collegiate athletics.

Brian Goodman, RTC Editor/Contributor

I’m thankful for Marquette and Connecticut turning heads with their performances this week. The preseason rankings in the Big East read as Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown and everyone else. Marquette was tabbed eighth; the Huskies tenth. While the top two have handled things on their end, Jim Calhoun and Buzz Williams’ squads are already in the kitchen cooking up some crow. Five time zones away from Storrs, UConn made an early splash in Maui on par with last year’s party crashing from Syracuse in New York City. The Huskies were predicted to finish in the bottom half of the conference, and those who cover the Big East hitched their wagons to Austin Freeman for individual honors over Kemba Walker. The Husky junior’s response is loud and clear, exploding for 90 points over three games at Lahaina. The nation awaits the conclusion of the NCAA’s investigation into misconduct on the part of the Huskies’ staff, but in the meantime, credit Calhoun for keeping his young team sharply focused. Yes, the Golden Eagles left Kansas City with two losses, but they gave #1 Duke far more than #4 Kansas State could manage against the Blue Devils. The next night, they nearly sent Bulldog Nation into panic mode before falling short. Marquette will readily take on any challenge thrown their way and fight harder than many of the nation’s premier teams to make a name for themselves. Despite their lack of a consistent post option, they will never use it as a crutch. The Big East is at its best when these two teams are in the thick of things.

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Morning Five: 05.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 21st, 2010

  1. The NCAA is discussing the highly-anticipated question as to how to structure the new 68-team NCAA Tournament, and specifically, the four play-in games.  We’ve written extensively about the options on the table (and preferences), but in reading yesterday that there are three possibilities — slotting the last eight auto-bids, the last eight at-larges, or a hybrid of the two (interesting…) — we’re happy that they’re considering the right questions.  In reading the tea leaves, it’s apparent that they are concerned about the same low-RPI leagues ending up in the four PiGs every year, but a proposed “rotation system” seems very contrived.  Does a SWAC team get a bye into the first round as a #15 seed regardless of resume if they’re in the PiG three straight years?  And what of this hybrid option — how would that look?
  2. Was the Class of 2007 one of the greatest high school classes of all-time?  It’s difficult to make that statement just three years out, but so far, as this Basketball Prospectus piece shows, the star power of that class (Love, Mayo, Beasley, Gordon, Griffin, etc.) leaves most other classes in the dust.
  3. Alabama’s Justin Knox will transfer to either Georgia Tech or UNC after the Tide program refused to grant him a waiver so that he could go to UAB, his top choice.  Knox states that he believes the transfer will help his goal of reaching the NBA, but if that’s true, we’re not really sure what he would have been able to get in Birmingham that he couldn’t get in Tuscaloosa.  Or what he thinks he can get in the ACC that he couldn’t get in the SEC.  The whole thing is just very strange, and Alabama fans are convinced that UAB was recruiting him while he was still a member of the Tide program.
  4. With the signing deadline passed this week, here’s your top 25 recruiting classes for 2010.  Kentucky is obviously #1 and Memphis #2 with loads of talent coming in at every position, but the ACC (four of the top ten) and Big Ten (four of the top fifteen) appear to be the leagues with the strongest influx of talent arriving.  In a related piece, Luke Winn lists his top ten developments of the spring recruiting period this year.
  5. Speaking of Memphis, guard Roburt Sallie is leaving the program to transfer to a school closer to his hometown of Sacramento, California, or to pursue professional opportunities overseas.  He is due to receive his degree in August, and if he does so, he will not have to sit out the transfer year and will therefore be eligible to play college basketball in 2010-11.  Mike Montgomery on line two.
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What Should the NCAA Do With Its Four Little PiGs?

Posted by rtmsf on May 4th, 2010

This has been discussed repeatedly since the late April announcement that the NCAA Tournament would be moving to a 68-team design beginning in 2011, but we’ve yet to come across a piece that outlines all of the iterations that the new four-PiG format might take.  Hashing it out on the phone with The Kiff (a longstanding member of the Cult of 64) last weekend, we ultimately settled on two major bones of contention — who gets to play in the four play-in games, and how do you structure it so as to maximize interest, revenue and bracketing?  We’ll discuss each of these questions in turn, but first, it’s interesting to read a quote from one prominent member of the NCAA Selection Committee for insights as to what may or may not be on the table here.  Laing Kennedy, the Kent State athletic director who will finish up a five-year term as a member of the NCAA Selection Committee, has this to say about it:

Going from 65 to 68 means four first-round games. Our committee, when we meet in May, will look at some models on how to bracket that. For example, you can have two afternoon and two night games in Dayton, or two games at two different sites.  But the big question to be decided by the committee is which teams should play those play-in games, and how the winners will be seeded into the field.  Speaking individually, I would look at the last eight, and rewarding the AQs [automatic qualifiers].  Those would be highly competitive first games. But those are things we have to look at in May.

Additionally, Greg Shaheen, the NCAA Senior Executive VP who got lit up by the media in the week leading up to the Final Four, said during a radio interview with Doug Gottlieb recently that all options are on the table with respect to logistics but one of the primary considerations of the committee in structuring the new games will be to remove some of the stigma from them.  A noble endeavor, indeed.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Stigma?

With the hope that reasonable minds ultimately will prevail, here are our thoughts on the matter.

Who Plays In It?

This is the part most fans care about, and with good reason — they want to know whether as standard practice they can continue to ignore PiG Tuesday.  As it currently stands, roughly 99.9% of America* fails to so much as recognize that there is a Tuesday night game ostensibly involving NCAA Tournament opponents.  Only the truly anal among us wait until Wednesday to fill out our bracket on the ridiculous off chance that the winner of the PiG is the “right” matchup to give its corresponding #1 team trouble (and you know who you are).  So let’s cut right to it.  For the last ten seasons, there have been only four groups of people who care about this game.

* unscientific sampling of the three guys walking around the office hallway

  1. #16A’s fans, players and families.
  2. #16B’s fans, players and families.
  3. Overly nervous fans of the corresponding #1 seed waiting on an opponent for Friday’s #1/#16 game.
  4. The good citizens of Dayton, Ohio, who keep attending this thing year after year.

Just about six weeks ago, we saw this played out in real time as the “Opening Round” of the NCAA Tournament between Arkansas-Pine Bluff-Winthrop competed directly with the first round of the NIT and several interesting matchups that included UConn-Northeastern, UNC-William & Mary, Texas Tech-Seton Hall and NC State-South Florida.  From that night’s ESPN coverage to the trending Twitter topics and later to the Nielsen ratings, it was painfully clear that on this mid-March evening, the NIT games were the preferred matchups for college hoops fans.  As anyone working at 700 West Washington Street in Indianapolis is surely aware, that should NEVER happen.  Even on its worst night, for an NCAA Tournament game to be overshadowed by another basketball-related sporting event in March should be an impossible achievement, and yet on that particular evening it was not.

This NIT Contest, Not the NCAA Game, Was the Featured Event of the Night

And therein lies the problem.  Most people, even hardcore college hoops fans like us, don’t consider the Tuesday night PiG to be a legitimate part of the NCAA Tournament.  It involves the two worst-rated teams in the field, which means nobody knows anything about them; and it has zero impact on our brackets, which means there’s no corresponding reason to care to learn about them either.  So the question for the NCAA becomes: how do you legitimize it?  How do you remove that stigma that Shaheen mentioned as problematic?  How do you make people care about the (now) four play-in games on Tuesday so that random NIT games involving struggling national powers don’t take priority over NCAA games on the sports page?  Here are the two viable alternatives as we see them.

Status Quo (x4)

Keeping things as they are now where the #16s play the ‘other’ #16s (or possibly #17s in the new scheme) wouldn’t seem to do much to enhance the legitimacy of the PiGs, but there is precedent for this.  From 1978 to 1985, the NCAA Tournament doubled in size from 32 to 64 teams (can you imagine the outcry in today’s environment??).  There were several fits and starts along the way as it expanded a little more almost every year in-between, but suffice it to say that in 1983, the NCAA invited 52 teams to the ball with the final eight automatic qualifiers slotted as #12 seeds into four play-in games (or the “preliminary round” as they called it then).  In 1984, there were five play-in games with an additional #11 seed added to the mix.  In both of these years, all of the play-in games were played on the Tuesday prior to the first round games, and the teams were sent to PiG sites of Philadelphia’s Palestra or Dayton’s UD Arena depending on relative proximity to the school(s) involved.  The winners advanced to play #5 seeds in the true “first round,” with the one exception of the #11 seed (Northeastern) in 1984 who played a #6 seed in that round.

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Morning Five: 02.04.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 4th, 2010

  1. You probably already knew that Michigan State star Kalin Lucas sprained his ankle in the game against Wisconsin on Tuesday evening, but yesterday MSU officials confirmed the important news that there was no broken bone in his foot.  As of now, he’s listed as day to day but he’ll be re-evaluated after treatment today to determine if he might be back for Saturday’s game against Illinois.
  2. Minnesota forward Royce White has officially retired from basketball as he formally withdrew from the Minnesota program on Wednesday.  You’ll certainly recall White’s bizarre YouTube announcement that he was quitting basketball in mid-December, and it was clear that not all was right with the budding impresario.  A tough week gets tougher for Tubby smith, who lost Al Nolen to academic problems on Tuesday.
  3. This is an internal link, but we want to make sure everyone sees it who comes here.  Have you wondered who some of the teams are that would be invited to the NCAA Tournament if they stupidly expand it to 96 teams?  Check out our analysis for the answer to that.  If you’re not as appalled as we are that the likes of Alabama and Boston College would be part of the field, then you’re a better person than us.
  4. Impressive.  The February 27 Gameday matchup between #2 Syracuse and #3 Villanova has already sold out the Carrier Dome (34,616), and it will set a new record (breaking SU’s own 2006 makr) for the largest crowd to ever see a college basketball game in an on-campus arena.
  5. Mike DeCourcy thinks that the three most likely teams to run the conference table will be the MEAC’s Morgan State, the Horizon’s Butler, and the MAAC’s SienaCornell in the Ivy is another obvious choice, but they do have to visit Harvard, and of course #1 Kansas has a tough road game coming up at Texas on Monday night.
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March Madness…And April Anxiety?

Posted by jstevrtc on February 1st, 2010

Call it what you want, but that’s what college basketball fans might be experiencing as soon as next season.

The buzz today among college hoops lovers is the latest talk regarding changes to that holiest of holies, the NCAA Tournament.  According to an article on the website SportsByBrooks from earlier today, after this season, the NCAA could very well opt out of its current deal with CBS and start negotiating with other networks for broadcasting rights, either in whole or in part.  We’re not saying it’s going to happen for sure, yet, and Jeff Goodman reported this afternoon that it’s not a “done deal” according to the NCAA.  But the talks that are evidently taking place about this are assuming an expanded tournament field — specifically, a 96-team beast — which would evidently meet with the approval of at least one big-time coach (and certainly countless others).

As for when the NCAA will make its decision, your guess is as good as any, but late spring/early summer would probably be a good bet.  Sports Business Journal, citing the NCAA’s RFP (request for proposals) on the matter, states that the organization has until August 31, 2010, to opt out of its current $6B deal with CBS, and can do so at any time prior to then.  Undoubtedly no decision will be made until after the 2010 season is complete, but with the NIT contract also up for renewal after this season, there’s a strong indication that the NCAA could be looking to fold that tournament into the Big Dance.  Other networks said to be in the mix for the Dance include ESPN (no surprise, they’ve been there), Fox (Joe Buck?  Calling NCAA hoops?), and Turner Sports (OK, now we’re alarmed – keep the Carays 500 miles away from any and all NCAA events).

Obviously, money is at the heart of these talks, as it is at the center of any negotiation.  Increasing the number of tournament teams by 50% to a 96-team weirdness would obviously add untold revenue to the pockets of both the NCAA and the winners of the TV rights.  It would also screw up the nice, even, symmetrical bracket and add a round or two of “bye games.”  Adding rounds means you’ll have venues dying to host those games, and probably an extra week added onto an event that already spreads eleven days of actual game play over three weeks.  And of course, the most important issue; the NCAA could never again hold up its alleged value of the term “student-athlete” as some badge of honor.  With money as the only motivating factor here, it sounds like they’d still be willing to pull a greater number of  students out of class for a longer amount of time.

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Why Tourney Expansion to 96 Teams is a Terrible Idea…

Posted by rtmsf on December 8th, 2009

Sunday you were probably there with every other college sports fan glued to your television at 8 pm as the bowl pairings were announced, right?  Orrrr… not, as it came in dead last in its time slot on Fox.  So why weren’t you there with your pencil and brackets bowl matchup worksheets in hand?  Because you knew that there is only one more college football game that matters this season, and you already knew who was playing for it (i.e., traditional powers Alabama and Texas).  Other than to the fans of the individual schools who can take a holiday-season vacation to (hopefully) a warmer clime, the other 477 bowls are utterly meaningless to the crowning of a national champion, a jury-rigged travesty that continues to barf on itself seemingly every year as teams who win every single one of their games are considered unworthy for a shot at the ultimate prize (particular hilarity reserved for when a non-trad BCS team such as Cincinnati is left out).

Why Mess With Perfection?

Why Mess With Perfection?

We Can Actually Learn Something From NCAA Football… Well, Sorta

The best argument that the BCS apologists make every year is that their system values the regular season, and this is true to a certain extent.  The problem is that it overvalues the regular season at the expense of the postseason.  It values the regular season so much that it excludes worthy teams from its national championship picture based on ambiguous metrics that include computer rankings and vaguely-tuned in coaches and sportswriters who have been shown to not put equitable and informed efforts into their ballots.  Consider that last year’s basketball computer rankings — both Sagarin and KenPom — could have placed Memphis against UNC in the “BCS title game” at the end of the regular season.  Given their personnel losses, did anyone actually believe Memphis was a Final Four team last year, much less a title contender?  Of course not.  Thank goodness for small favors… and the NCAA Tournament.

This is why, when those of us who favor a college football playoff argue in favor of it, we push for an 8-team or 16-team playoff.  Like the current format of the NCAA Tournament, such an entity would allow for every realistic potential NCAA football champion to have a shot at glory.  Cincy, Boise and TCU this year – check.  Utah last year – check.  Boise again in 2006 – check.  And so on back through the running comedy that has been the BCS over the last twelve years.  The reason that we support this system (over a 32-team playoff, for example) is that it allows for college football to crown a tested and worthy champion while also respecting the integrity of a national championship by only including deserving and excellent teams.

70% of BCS Teams Do Not Belong in the NCAA Tournament

When we read today that the NCAA is considering expansion of March Madness to 96 teams from its current 65, effectively folding the NIT into the Big Dance and adding another week to the Tournament, we really cannot get on board with this idea.  Why not?  Because put simply, the additional teams that will be invited are not worthy.  Every year there are certainly a few bubble teams that have a great case for inclusion in the field of 65; but there aren’t 32 of them, and if we add another layer of middling BCS teams, we only serve to cheapen what is right now the greatest spectacle for excitement in all of sports while simultaneously further minimizing the importance of the regular season.  Seriously, why even have a 16-game ACC schedule if you’ll get a bid by winning six or seven games?

Only a Handful of Bubble Teams Deserve Entry

Only a Handful of Bubble Teams Deserve Entry

Let’s look at this from a numbers perspective.  Consider last year’s NIT field (presumably the #66-#97-ranked teams, discounting for the regular season champion clause).  We’ll focus exclusively on BCS teams here because they are the most likely beneficiaries of the new setup.  By our calculation, if the 2009 NCAA Tournament had included the NIT field, almost half (15) of the additional teams would have come from the BCS conferences, which would mean that FIFTY-ONE of the SEVENTY-THREE (70%) BCS conference teams would have been invited to the NCAA Tournament.  So what’s the profile threshold that would have gotten you a bid last year using this format?

  • Bubble Team (19-12, 9-10) – the typical team in this group lost to nearly everyone they were supposed to, beat very few elite teams, and mostly built up the majority of their wins in a soft nonconference schedule.  They finished anywhere between 7th-10th in their conference and, on average, won one game in the conference tournament.  There was nothing particularly interesting or compelling about any of these teams, and the odds of any of them making a run to the Round of 32, much less the Sweet Sixteen, would have been minimal.  See below breakdown for a detailed look at the fifteen BCS teams that would have been invited last season.

So why add them?  The answer that the coaches want to expand the NCAA Tournament is not satisfactory (of course they do!).  The answer that media executives also want to expand it also falls on deaf ears (they are selling a product and can’t be relied upon to act in the best interests of the game).  Whoever is seriously listening to this idea really needs to be removed from his or her post.  Why would you mess with something that already works so damn well?  As Mike DeCourcy so succinctly put it in today’s article, this is a “horrible idea” and would end up being a “disaster.”  Couldn’t agree more, Mike.

2009 NIT BCS Team Breakdown

*note – all records and stats are prior to the 2009 NIT (conf reg season finish)

ACC – 7 NCAA teams, 2 NIT teams

  • Virginia Tech (18-14, 8-10) – lost 7 of their last 9 games (t-7).
  • Miami (FL)  (18-12, 7-10) – lost 8 of their last 12 games (t-7).

Big East – 7 NCAA teams, 3 NIT teams

  • Georgetown (16-14, 7-12) – is this a joke?  Georgetown couldn’t beat anyone in the Big East; finished 4-11 in their last fifteen games. (t-11)
  • Notre Dame (18-14, 9-11) – ND at one point lost seven Big East games in a row; five of their final six wins were against teams rated #80 or below. (t-9)
  • Providence (19-13, 11-9) – at least PC had a winning Big East record, right? (t-7)

Big Ten – 7 NCAA teams, 2 NIT teams

  • Penn State (22-11, 11-9) – PSU had a reasonable argument for inclusion last year with their resume, and they showed it by winning the NIT. (t-4)
  • Northwestern (17-13, 8-11) - NW did not and their resume was in no way supportive of an NCAA berth last year. (9)

Big 12 – 6 NCAA teams, 3 NIT teams

  • Kansas State (21-11, 9-8) – K-State is another bubble team that could have arguably received a bid to the Big Dance last year (t-4).
  • Baylor (20-14, 8-12) - Baylor, on the other hand, went 2-10 in their last twelve regular season games prior to making a Big 12 Tourney run (10).
  • Nebraska (18-12, 8-9) – lost five of their last eight and was sorely lacking in quality wins over the course of the season (9).

Pac-10 – 6 NCAA teams, 1 NIT team

  • Washington State (17-15, 9-11) – a mediocre Pac-10 team who lost to nearly every good team it played last season. (7)

SEC – 3 NCAA teams, 4 NIT teams

  • South Carolina (21-9, 10-7) – best wins of the year were against who?  Kentucky and Florida? (t-1 East)
  • Auburn (22-11, 11-7) – at least the Tigers finished strong, winning 9 of their last 11 games. (2 West)
  • Florida (23-10, 10-8) – again, the Gators beat and lost to a bunch of other mediocre SEC teams – how is that NCAA-worthy? (3 East)
  • Kentucky (20-13, 9-9) – losing 8 of their final 11 regular season games does not an NCAA team make. (t-4 East)

Out of the above group, there are maybe 3-4 teams that had a reasonable argument to be included in the field of 65 teams.  Other than that, do we really want teams like the 2009 versions of Georgetown, Kentucky, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Miami (FL), and Baylor getting bids to the Big Dance?  Let those teams stay in the NIT where they belong.  Please.

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10.22.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 22nd, 2007

The hits just keep on comin’…

  • Tough week at Pepperdine.  First, their top returning player Kingsley Costain was dismissed from the school; now they don’t have anywhere to practice due to the insane fires in Malibu.
  • Now that Maryland has instituted a new alcohol awareness program, what’s the over/under on some Terp like James Gist getting a DWI?  Or maybe it’ll be our favorite tool, Gus Gilchrist?  He committed to the Terps over the weekend and will play next season.
  • Maybe Purdue’s Gordon Watt should transfer to Maryland now – he was kicked out of Purdue for a DWI last week.
  • In a nice gesture, the ACC renamed its Scholar-Athlete award in honor of Skip Prosser.
  • BYU extended head coach Dave Rose‘s contract through 2011.
  • Bob Knight really hates cell phones.
  • Beginning next year, the Preseason NIT will guarantee each participant four games at on-campus sites, even for those teams that lose in the first two rounds.
  • We hadn’t seen this yet, but ESPN announced its College Gameday sites a week or two ago.  We cannot wait until Jan. 26 – Creighton at S. Illinois.
  • Thankfully, Myles Brand says there will be no expansion of the NCAA Tournament anytime soon.
  • Raymond Felton didn’t help Roy after all – Iman Shumpert chose Georgia Tech over UNC and Marquette.
  • Andy Katz has a really interesting article about Kevin Love asking the Wizard of Westwood (who turned 97 Sunday) for advice.  We like this kid already.
  • Thad Matta is hobbling around after back surgery this summer.
  • More Preseason Chatter -
    • ACC Media Days – the Research Triangle schools came in 1 (UNC), 2 (Duke), 3 (NC State) in the preseason conference poll.
    • Seth Davis breaks down Indiana‘s prospects.
    • Katz explains why Calipari opted to stay in Memphis over taking the NC State job two years ago.
    • DeCourcy gives USC some love for tough scheduling (even though they’re going to lose all those games), while he rates crosstown rival UCLA #1 in his poll.
    • STF gets us up to speed on what the mid-major conferences are bringing to the table this year.
    • SEC Hoops:TGTBTD chooses Jamont Gordon over Chris Lofton for SEC POY.   Interesting…
    • Final thought – believe it or not, the Colorado Lady Buffaloes actually have a Brittany Spears and a Whitney Houston on their squad this season.   Coke dealers in Boulder are already calculating their profits.
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