Morning Five: 10.09.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 9th, 2012

  1. With the season now rapidly approaching, the guys have moved away from interviewing anonymous coaches about their perceptions on cheating and whatnot to doing some bona fide analysis. On Monday, the group released its four All-America teams and two All-Freshman teams for the 2012-13 season, with UCLA and Ohio State the big winners. The Bruins and Buckeyes each placed two players among the list of 20, as UCLA’s Baby Bruins (Shabazz Muhammad – first team; Kyle Anderson – fourth team) and OSU’s Junior League (DeShaun Thomas and Aaron Craft – both third team) were selected. The first team other than Muhammad includes Indiana’s Cody Zeller (also their NPOY), Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, and Missouri’s Phil Pressey. A good list, yes, but we probably would have gone with Michigan’s Trey Burke at the point guard slot, even as much as we love the spectacular dime-master Pressey.
  2. The same guys were certainly busy Sunday night, as on Monday also released its top 100 players in college basketball for the coming season. We’ve mentioned before just how much of an exercise in futility it is to distinguish between, for example, the 37th best and 38th best players in America, but the list is always a fun jumping-off point to spur discussion. Some of the stratifications of their list are interesting, with only 12 players entering as incoming freshmen while a total of 56 of the chosen players are upperclassmen (juniors and seniors). Additionally, over a quarter of their selections (28) were from non-power conferences while the Big Ten and Big 12 tied for the most players from a single conference, each with 14.  For what it’s worth, their top five players closely mirrors their AA team (with one difference), but take a look at it and see who you think is vastly over- or under-rated or who they left off the list.
  3. There was some interesting news out of the NEC yesterday, as two-time defending champion LIU announced that the four players who were involved in a campus altercation last month that resulted in third-degree assault charges were reinstated. The players, including NEC POY Julian Boyd and fellow first-teamer Jamal Olaswere, will be placed on probation by the school and forced to sit out the first two NEC games next season. The standard remedial measures of anger management counseling and community service were added to their punishments, but we’re guessing that more than a few of the other schools in the NEC are rolling their eyes at the rather convenient outcome decided by school administrators.
  4. Speaking of rolling your eyes, Bob Knight is building a cottage industry with his multitude of enemies within college basketball, which wouldn’t be a problem if he weren’t acting as an ESPN analyst/personality who is paid handsomely to give his blustery opinions on a regular basis. Everyone knows the story about his tacit refusal to acknowledge #1 Kentucky last season, and apparently he’s moving on to this year’s likely preseason #1 with an equal amount of tenacity. According to‘s Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford, here’s a recent answer Knight gave in an interview where Indiana was mentioned as a possible title contender: “I have no idea [about Indiana]. I can’t even begin to talk to you about teams because I haven’t seen anybody play yet. Next question.” Ever the charmer, Knight.
  5. John Calipari has spent nearly as much time improving the overall marketability and cool factor of his program as he has working on the x’s and o’s on the practice court. World famous rappers such as Jay-Z and Drake have becomes friends of the program, occasionally stopping by the locker room and attending games, with the obvious outcome that young studs around the country who idolize those artists will notice. On Monday a video by a Massacusetts-based artist named Henry Ogirri went viral within the Big Blue Nation (and by proxy, the college basketball universe) with his new release about the Wildcat basketball team called “Drive for 9.” As many others have already noted yesterday, every team can use a catchy anthem to rally the players and fans throughout the season, and this one appears to have already taken hold among the UK faithful. Have a look and listen…

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WVU Keeps It Together in a Trying Season So Far

Posted by rtmsf on January 25th, 2011

Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent.

Everyone remembers that West Virginia was in the Final Four last April, but if one team has fallen completely off the radar this season, it is definitely the Mountaineers. It is quite perplexing that a Bob Huggins-coached team with some talent hasn’t received a great deal of national coverage. When considering the number of  incidents involving this team since the start of the season, it’s even more shocking that this Mountaineer squad hasn’t received a major amount of national headlines.

Huggins Has Done a Great Job Keeping WVU Together This Season

Heading into the season, West Virginia was ranked by most publications to finish in the top half of the Big East. The Mountaineers boasted a deep recruiting class with its four members thought to have the potential for an early impact. Much to the chagrin of Coach Huggins, though, that class has hit so many snags that the current  roster carries zero active freshmen. The first domino to fall was when it became known that center David Nyarsuk would be unable to qualify academically as a student at West Virginia. The next one fell at the beginning of the fall semester when guard Darrious Curry had been diagnosed with a previously undetected heart condition and it would be in his best interest to stop playing basketball. Then Huggins suspended guard Noah Cottrill indefinitely for behavior that the head coach termed “unbecoming of a Mountaineer.” Cottrill eventually withdrew from the school on January 14 and is currently evaluating transfer options. The final freshman domino fell on January 12 when forward Kevin Noreen underwent season-ending knee surgery.

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Morning Five: 09.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 14th, 2010

  1. Delving into the phone call issue in the wake of Bruce Pearl’s self-reported violations last week, Gary Parrish anonymously interviewed ten NCAA coaches across the spectrum, and guess what, they all admitted to making impermissible calls themselves.  We certainly understand the point that several in the article make about the difference between fifteen and two hundred impermissible calls, but with so many of the coaches also agreeing that the calls make little difference in the recruit’s ultimate destination, why do they continue to do it?  Someone in this game once said not to mistake activity for achievement, and we think it might appropriately apply here.
  2. That didn’t take long.  On the Monday immediately following Wake Forest center Tony Woods’ arrest for various kinds of assault, the school suspended him indefinitely.  If the allegations against him are even remotely true, it’s doubtful we’ll ever seen him in the ACC again.
  3. Former UCLA underachiever J’Mison Morgan will be eligible to play at Baylor this winter after the NCAA approved his waiver to be closer to his ill grandmother, his legal guardian.  Normally, a player transferring in who averaged a grand total of two points and one rebound per game over two seasons wouldn’t be cause for celebration, but few players bring the high school pedigree of the 6’10 Morgan — he was a top 25 recruit in the class of 2008 and has the physical tools to be a very good player.  If the new environment suits him and he can get his head out of the clouds, Morgan could legitimately become a major contributor on a very talented Bears front line along with Perry Jones and Quincy Acy in 2010-11.
  4. Steve Lavin is settling in nicely at St. John’s, as this article from the LA Times examines from the perspective of a California boy gone east.  Maybe we’re just suckers for the boyish good looks and eloquence of Lav, but we think he’ll actually be quite successful in NYC.
  5. Would you believe that March Madness darling Northern Iowa could be on the verge of a decision to eliminate all of its D1 sports?  Mere months after the greatest moment in the school’s athletic history (Farokhmanesh!), president Ben Allen stated on Monday that with additional anticipated cuts to the athletic program budget, the school could find itself unable to compete in Division I and would consider such a seemingly drastic move.  It all comes down to dollars (always), but it’s hard for us to believe that a school with a strong basketball program and a nationally competitive football program in 1-AA would be in such dire straits.  Let’s hope the Panthers avoid armageddon on this one.
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Morning Five: 12.03.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2009


So we think we owe you a bonus one today since yesterday was a wash…

  1. Depaul monster in the paint Mac Koshwal will miss 3-4 more weeks with a foot injury that he suffered against Tennessee in the Paradise Jam two Saturdays ago.  He is averaging 15/13 in three games so far this season.  Even without the services of Koshwal, the Blue Demons have been marginally better so far this year, playing the Vols tough in the game mentioned above, and coming out of Puerto Rico with two wins against Northern Iowa and St. Joseph’s.
  2. Minnesota super-recruit Royce White pled guilty yesterday to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and petty theft for an incident in October where he allegedly stole $100 worth of clothing and then shoved a Mall of America security guard when questioned about it.  If he keeps his nose clean for a year, the disorderly conduct conviction will be dropped from his record, but now the burden of what to do with him rests with Tubby Smith.  After a 4-0 start this season, the Gophers have now lost three in a row and could definitely use the powerful forward in the low post for some additional scoring punch.
  3. Mike DeCourcy has been knocking it outta the park lately, but there’s one thing in his latest column we have to disagree with.  With respect to UNC’s Larry Drew II as the maestro of the Carolina attack, MD points out that many teams won titles without great point guards, and plenty of great point guards never won national titles.  Both true.  The issue is that he’s looking at it the wrong way, because we’re not talking about any random team.  We’re talking about Roy Williams teams, and his best teams need an elite point guard (Jacque Vaughn, Ray Felton, Ty Lawson) to push his offense into overdrive.  Whether Drew can become that kind of a guard is open for debate, but we’re not seeing it here.
  4. Luke Winn gives us some efficiency data on why Michigan State might be a good bit overrated at this point in the season.  The Spartan defense is ranked #112 at KenPom, allowing a very un-Izzo-like 46% from two and not forcing very many turnovers (12.7 per game).
  5. Ballin is a Habit has a cool post up today about some of the most interesting/bizarre/exciting pregame jumbotron videos at college arenas.  Our favorite, by far: the 2001 Space Odyssey music with Josh Pastner’s head rising over a basketball followed by his players sitting and walking and dribbling through various Memphis landmarks.  Awesome.
  6. Kentucky and North Carolina fans are getting a little chippy over a post at Kentucky Sports Radio making fun of the state of NC’s, um, unique culture, in preparation for Saturday’s game at Rupp Arena.  UNC fans have been striking back, both on that site as well as on a Charlotte Observer blog called Above the Rim.  There are some hilarious comments on both of those sites — check it out.
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Backdoor Cuts: Vol. II

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2009


Backdoor Cuts is a college basketball discussion between correspondents Dave Zeitlin and Steve Moore that will appear every Wednesday in Rush the Court. This week they review the horror film Binghamton: 2009.

DAVE ZEITLIN: So I have this friend who’s about as optimistic a sports fan as they come. How do I know this? Because he watches nearly every single Kansas City Royals game, and is convinced each summer they have a good team. (They’ve had only one winning season since 1994.) It’s no different when he talks about the college basketball team at his alma mater. He’ll text me as soon as the schedule comes out, claiming the mid-major he roots for will surprise some big-name squads. He’ll predict big things from players I’ve never heard of. He’ll take moral victories out of 20-point losses. If you ask me, rooting for an underdog with that kind of attitude is admirable. But the last time I talked to him about his favorite college basketball team, he took a different tone. It was jarring but predictable. “They should just cancel the season,” he said with a sigh. His favorite team is Binghamton, and this is the point of the story where you should feel bad for my friend, who after these all years may finally need to look for the It’s-time-to-give-up switch.

binghamton hoops 1

By now, everyone knows the almost unfathomable plight of Binghamton basketball. From Division I newcomer to Division I upstart to Division I laughingstock, the Bearcats managed to follow the program’s first NCAA tournament berth last season with the kind of disaster that terrifies even John Cusack and the little girl on his back. After just about every impact player was dismissed from the program (RTC gives a nice recap here) for juicy stuff like stealing condoms, getting in bar fights, selling crack, the head coach responsible for bringing these guys in was put on paid leave for essentially giving high school players his business card a day after the NCAA contact period ended — which almost seems akin to Al Capone getting arrested for a speeding ticket. (Also, paid leave? Can I get paid to destroy a basketball program and then do nothing all day? Is there a listing for that on Monster?)

While the Binghamton implosion has faded somewhat from public view, there are still many things to discuss here. There’s the issue of the right and wrong ways to build a program (guess which way Binghamton did it) and there’s the issue of how Binghamton was even able to field a team this season (though these guys did pretty well with just a handful of players) just to name a couple. But first I’ll let Steve, a fan of a rival America East school, take his digs. Just try to remember my poor friend.

STEVE MOORE: Back in college at Boston University, I covered the men’s hoops team for the school paper during one of Binghamton’s first seasons in Division I. They struggled a little then, but they seemed to have everything in order, and were far ahead of their don’t-call-us-SUNY-school brethren — Albany and Stony Brook — who joined the America East at the same time. They had a beautiful on-campus facility being built, some solid recruits in the pipeline, and a seemingly bright future. They locked up the rights to host the conference tourney for a few years, and everything seemed on track.

But the stories in the last few seasons had gotten a little different, at least from what I read from afar. Friends I knew who covered the team recently told stories about the arrogance and insanely huge ego of head coach Kevin Broadus, and anyone who looked at their roster knew it had more than a few shaky names on it. There’s nothing wrong with scooping up transfers from other schools, but to do so with total disgregard for personal history is irresponsible. And it ended up setting this program back by five or 10 years.

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