Morning Five: 05.02.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 2nd, 2012

  1. The biggest non-Amare Stoudemire basketball news on Tuesday was that the Atlantic 10’s courtship of Butler appears to have finally resulted in a match. reported last night that Butler will formally accept an offer today to join the league in 2013-14, replacing Temple in all sports. As one of the few truly elite mid-major basketball programs unaffiliated with a top 10 conference, this represents a major coup for the A-10 going forward regardless of whether the league is also able to also poach VCU and George Mason from the CAA. Butler’s admission helps to bolster the midwestern footprint of the conference, along with existing members Xavier, St. Louis and Dayton, and it will allow Brad Stevens an entree into the fertile recruiting grounds of the mid-Atlantic with multiple trips to the East Coast cities of New York, Philadelphia, Washington each year.
  2. The other conference realignment news that shook out on Tuesday related to another Atlantic 10 school, Charlotte, and whether that school will be on the move in coming days or weeks as well. The school rejected an offer to join the Sun Belt on Tuesday and reportedly did so because it anticipates an opportunity to join Conference USA after it adds a football program next year. Where this would leave C-USA is really anybody’s guess, as the conference is slowly but surely maneuvering toward an incomprehensible 30+ team behemoth (with the eventual pairing of the Mountain West). Whoever wrote the law of unintended consequences when all of this conference realignment stuff (re)started a couple of years ago could not have predicted this morass.
  3. In the 2008 presidential election, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky voted for Republican candidate John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by a 58% to 41% margin. That 17% victory margin will be put to the test on Friday when the thing that Kentuckians love more than anything else in the world — their national champion Wildcats — will visit the Obama White House to honor and celebrate the school’s eighth NCAA trophy. Of course, these events are rarely political in tenor (apologies to the Boston Bruins’ Tim Thomas), but that hasn’t stopped full-time politicos from speculating that both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), who refused an invitation, and the White House, are playing partisan games in scheduling the event on Kentucky Derby week (which occurs Saturday). Is this an election year?
  4. Tuesday was a busy day in the world of comings and goings, but the most disheartening news is that college basketball will not get another year of Tim Abromaitis at Notre Dame. Abromaitis had petitioned for a sixth year of eligibility because he tore his ACL in November after playing only two games last season — he also had taken a redshirt year in 2008-09, meaning that he ultimately only suited up in South Bend for three full seasons. In other news, Tennessee’s Renaldo Woolridge (aka SwiperBoy) will spend his last year of eligibility at USC, no doubt spending his free time outside the gym over on the Sunset Strip pitching his audio wares.
  5. It was 10 months ago when Michigan recruit Austin Hatch lost his family, his dog and very nearly his own life in a horrific plane crash that left him with a severe brain injury and the possibility of a very restricted way of life. The Detroit Free-Press revisited his story on Tuesday and found that although there are still many steps to go, Hatch’s doctors say that his rehabilitation has been “as successful as anyone they have seen.” Hatch still plans on attending Michigan in a little over a year, and says that he keeps in touch with head coach John Beilein a couple of times a month. He hasn’t yet been cleared to play basketball, but he has the spirit and will to believe that he’ll get back on the court eventually. Considering how far he’s already come and with 17 months before his first collegiate practice in Ann Arbor, it’s hard to believe that he won’t get there and become one of the best stories in all of amateur athletics.
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ACC Morning Five: 10.14.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 14th, 2011

  1. AP: President Obama will be joining Michigan State and North Carolina for the Carrier Classic this November. Tickets aren’t being sold to the public, as the US Carl Vinson is a working aircraft carrier. Roy Williams is excited, having this to say (in his own Roy Williams way): “This is one of the biggest thrills in my coaching career, to be involved in that kind of game […] It really is as neat of a deal as you can possibly imagine.” Even though Michigan State is in a relative “rebuilding year” and UNC is atop the preseason polls, I expect the game to be a good one. Now the only question is who the President will pull for?
  2. Brad Brownell had a very impressive campaign last year, leading Clemson to its first NCAA victory in over fifteen years. That said, things are about to get real for the second-year coach, who lost much of his core from last year’s team. This year “defense will be Clemson’s identity,” which makes at least two ACC coaches who value the defensive side of the court above all else. If you want my guess though, I think the Tigers will be very much in the thick of things for fourth place in the conference (behind UNC, Duke and Florida State) come March.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: “Deacons’ [Jeff] Bzdelik says he’s sleeping easier this year” is quite a title, especially coming off of a historically bad season. What the second-year coach means is he’s not worrying about players’ behavior off the court and getting telephone calls in the wee hours. The good news for Wake Forest fans is Bzdelik is very optimistic about this team’s attitude: “Maturity” is the biggest difference between this and last year’s teams. The bad news is the program hemorrhaged players and will still be quite low on talent.
  4. Sports Illustrated: Luke Winn’s 16 Impact Freshmen showcases two ACC newcomers from Tobacco Road. North Carolina’s James McAdoo checks in at #11, though he’d almost certainly be higher if the Tar Heels’ frontcourt wasn’t so loaded this year. Just down the way at Duke Austin Rivers takes the top spot, as he’ll be critical to the Blue Devils’ offense next season. The accompanying slideshow is a good look at some of the bright young stars you should expect to see on college basketball’s stage starting next month.
  5. Charlotte Observer: North Carolina announced that Roy Williams‘ contract has been extended through 2018 along with women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell. One interesting side note is that Hatchell will actually have a higher base salary than Williams ($360,000 compared to $325,000), though Williams also has somewhere on the order of $1.5 million dollars in supplemental income. In 2018 Williams will be 68 and probably in or at least nearing retirement.
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