Big 12 Stock Watch Reactions

Posted by Taylor Erickson on January 8th, 2014

College hoops fans everywhere, rejoice. With the conclusion of the BCS National Championship Game, the scene in college athletics now focuses squarely on our beloved game of college basketball. In customary fashion, Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis released his annual stock report Monday, providing you his Jim Cramer-esque take on 63 teams across the country, and whether you should buy, sell, or hold firm on each as conference play begins. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of his article, Davis explains the thought process behind his decision on each, essentially explaining that if a team has over-performed in the non-conference season, he’s more likely to sell that team high, and if a team has under-performed in the non-conference, he’s likely to buy low. Here’s our take on a few teams in the Big 12 on Davis’ stock watch.

[Ed. Note: This was written after Tuesday night's games, but it includes the rankings/records from the time Davis' original article was written]:

DeAndre Kane has been sensational for the Cyclones this season.

DeAndre Kane has been sensational for the Cyclones this season.

Baylor (12-1, No. 7):  Seth Davis Says – SELL

Now I’ll be the first to admit that having a chance to watch Baylor play in Ames before writing this article could certainly influence my opinion, but history in league play would suggest that the Bears as the #7 team in the nation would be the perfect time to sell high on Scott Drew’s team. Neutral-site, non-conference wins over Colorado and Kentucky were nice, but if Tuesday night was any indication, playing consistently good defense could be a problem for the Bears.

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SEC Stock Watch Reactions

Posted by Greg Mitchell on January 7th, 2014

SI.com‘s Seth Davis is buying up the SEC. In his “Hoop Thoughts Stock Watch” piece published on Monday, he was overall pretty bullish on the SEC: “buying” four teams, “holding” on another, and “selling” two more. But there’s a qualifier. Davis likes several SEC teams’ chances because they play in a weakened basketball league and will have ample opportunities to pad their records. Let’s join the comment section denizens and react to a few of Davis’ decisions that we disagree with. 

Cuonzo Martin may indeed have his first tournament team at Tennessee, but he needs to find a point guard (msn.foxsports.com).

Cuonzo Martin may indeed have his first NCAA Tournament team at Tennessee, but he needs to find a point guard (Credit: FoxSports).

  • TennesseeDavis = BuyRTC = Sell. This is a close call, but a single dominant win against an up-and-down Virginia team isn’t enough to push the Vols into the buy category. You can’t help but glare at the talent the Vols can put on the floor, and Tennessee is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Cuonzo Martin might very well have his first NCAA Tournament team, and one that has the horses to make a run to the second weekend. But the point guard position still isn’t ironed out, as Antonio Barton would be best served playing off the ball where his three-point shooting can be utilized in creating space for Jarnell Stokes. The answer might be freshman Darius Thompson, but he’s turned it over too much and played only 13 minutes against Virginia. Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 11.14.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2013

morning5

  1. The residual from Tuesday’s Champions Classic buzzed throughout the sports world on Wednesday, with considerable discussion devoted to rank-ordering the superstar freshmen who were on display (Parker, Randle, Wiggins was a popular order), discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the four teams, and projecting the areas in which each will get better. But perhaps the biggest storyline that came out of the game was related to the interview that Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski gave afterward. In response to a media member’s question about the not-exactly-secretive practice by NBA teams to tank games in order to position themselves for high draft picks next summer, Coach K waxed poetically in his response about the virtues of good old-fashioned competition: “As an American, I wouldn’t like to think that an American team would want to lose or create situations where you would want to lose. [...] Maybe I’m naive and I’m going to go read a fairy tale after this.” Full clip here. Speaking of competition, ESPN cleaned up with its broadcast of the double-header, recording the second-highest rated regular season non-conference game in history for #1 Kentucky vs. #2 Michigan State, and the nightcap game wasn’t terribly far behind.
  2. Sports Illustrated hit the newsstands on Wednesday with spectacular timing, choosing to release its 2013-14 College Basketball Preview issue in the wake of all the good Champions Classic vibe and avoiding the AP and USA Today/Coaches polls’ mistake of choosing Kentucky for its top spot. Utilizing a neat four-region cover format, the experts at SI instead went with Louisville as its preseason #1 team, although there aren’t any real surprises among the rest of their list (Harvard at #20, maybe?). For their full top 20 rankings and excerpts of some of the articles printed in the preview, check out this SI.com One and One post here; for complete scouting reports on each of the ranked teams, check out their online post here. But if you really want the full experience, get analog and enjoy the magazine the way it was intended — in hard-copy, ink-and-paper, magazine format.
  3. Speaking of the Cards, the AP announced on Wednesday that the school had negotiated the exit fee from its one-year foray with the AAC as it looks to head to the ACC next July. The final number turned out to be $11 million, which is roughly the revenue that Louisville creates in the price of a handful of hot dogs and beers at the Yum! Center during a basketball game. OK, not really, but the most profitable basketball program in the nation — estimated to bring in an annual surplus of $23-$28 million per year — shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever in finding enough couch change to write the check. With a move to its new conference starting next season and all the additional television revenue that will come with being a part of the dominant east coast sports league, expect those coffers to continue to rise.
  4. When Louisville joins the ACC in 2014, the next basketball season will culminate in a blockbuster ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the 25th time. But with the push to save itself and add teams from above the Mason-Dixon Line, the league is looking to make its hallmark event a bit more inclusive and cosmopolitan than the longtime location of league HQ. A part-time move to New York City is an inevitability, but before the nation’s oldest conference tournament heads to the Big Apple, the league has decided to take baby steps with a trip to Washington, DC, in 2016. The ACC has accepted this dance with the District once before at the Verizon/MCI Center in 2005, an event that was notable for its relatively light attendance over the course of the weekend. The DC area had also hosted several ACC Tournaments prior to that at the old Capital Center in Landover, Maryland, but in all of these events, the Terps and maybe Duke were the only real attractions. Syracuse, Notre Dame and to a certain degree Pittsburgh, on the other hand, all have huge alumni bases in the East Coast megalopolis between Washington and New York, now just an easy train ride between city centers. And Louisville fans travel well. Contrasted with nearly a decade prior, expect the 2016 ACC Tournament even without local team Maryland involved to be a fantastic success.
  5. Finally today, if you read nothing else, read this story from SI‘s Seth Davis about Duke guard Andre Dawkins‘ struggles with clinical depression. By all accounts, depression is a medical condition that people who don’t suffer from it have a lot of trouble understanding. Why not just pick yourself up? Why not just find something that makes you happy? The truth is that picking yourself up and finding something meaningful is extremely difficult for those with the disease. The complicated brain chemistry involved with the condition doesn’t just go away because they want it to, and as Davis elucidates so nicely with the story on Dawkins, the only way it can be solved is through therapy and (sometimes) medical intervention through antidepressants. The happy ending here is that Dawkins is back on the Blue Devils for his senior season and he really wants to play basketball again, something that he had almost no desire to do two years ago. That’s a win right there, and Davis should be commended for bringing this encouraging story to the forefront. Even if you hate Duke, you’ll have to root for Dawkins after reading this one.
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The RTC Podcast: Champions Classic Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2013

So we hear that there are some pretty good basketball games tonight? That’s right, VCU travels to Charlottesville to take on Virginia, and Florida heads to Madison to battle with Wisconsin. Oh, and there might be some kind of made-for-TV event going on in Chicago this evening as well? All kidding aside, we’re just thankful that we have actual games to start talking about — the preseason speculation can get a little boring after seven straight months. But now that opening weekend is behind us, the RTC Podcast, hosted by Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114), can get down to the serious business of reacting to the action on the floor. Starting with tonight.

Seth Davis Joins the RTC Podcast For This Week's Rush the Takes

Seth Davis Joins the RTC Podcast For This Week’s Rush the Takes

Today’s episode reviews some of the biggest games of last weekend and looks ahead to the Champions Classic double-header involving #1 Kentucky vs. #2 Michigan State followed by #4 Duke vs. #5 Kansas this evening. We were also lucky enough to have longtime CBS Sports analyst and Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis join us for this week’s Rush the Takes segment, where he discusses what he’s looking forward to during tonight’s game. Needless to say, everyone’s excitement was palpable. Also remember that you have a chance at winning a free RTC t-shirt if you find the hidden clue somewhere within the podcast. And remember that we’ll be back on Friday of this week with our short-and-sweet RTC Podblast to review these games and any other news that pops up during the next few days.

The rundown is below if you’d like to skip around to the most interesting parts. Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-5:18 – Oregon vs. Georgetown
  • 5:18-8:46 – Baylor vs. Colorado
  • 8:46-12:06 – Maryland vs. UConn
  • 12:06-14:46 – Foul Discussion
  • 14:46-25:10 – Rush the Takes With Seth Davis
  • 25:10-30:24 – Duke vs. Kansas Preview
  • 30:24-35:22 – Kentucky vs. Michigan State Preview
  • 35:22-38:44 – VCU vs. Virginia
  • 38:44-43:17 – Florida vs. Wisconsin
  • 43:17-47:40 – Chane Behanan’s Return/Wrap
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Morning Five: 07.17.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 17th, 2013

morning5

  1. We’re more than officially in the dog days of summer but only the truly committed scribes work all summer covering the sport we love. Seth Davis is one national commentator who came out of his slumber this week to report from Las Vegas with a Hoops Thoughts column on Michigan’s Mitch McGary. The rising sophomore took the college basketball world by storm last March, going from a role player to a key cog for John Beilein’s national runners-up, but as McGary explained to Davis: “So far I’ve only cracked the glass. Next year I’m trying to break through it.” The piece delves into some of McGary’s lesser-known history, specifically his struggles with academics as a result of ADHD, his workout and diet regimen that he enabled midway through last season to give himself a shot at more mobility (and playing time), and his non-decision to enter his name into the NBA Draft because he simply enjoys college life. Great read, especially in mid-July.
  2. Another likely star returning to school for 2013-14 is Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, fresh off a FIBA world championship in the U-19 division. USA Basketball announced its National Team Mini-Roster on Tuesday, and the rising sophomore Cowboy was the only collegian of 29 players selected. The group of mostly young, rising NBA stars will meet in Las Vegas to compete next week, although no roster spots on Team USA are officially up for grabs. This is simply an opportunity for the players to prove themselves against their peers for future international events. Smart of course is unlikely to make the men’s national team roster for the Worlds in 2014 or the Olympics in 2016, but playing against the likes of Ty Lawson, Mike Conley, George Hill, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and John Wall at his point guard position cannot hurt his overall development. Watch out, Big 12.
  3. Louisville‘s visit to meet President Barack Obama will occur next week, on July 23 at the White House. The school waited a bit longer than normal to schedule the event, so that players Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock could attend the event after stints in summer international tournaments. While in The District, the team will also make time to tour the Capitol Building with senator and minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY). When McConnell isn’t busy tormenting his Democratic opposition in the back rooms of DC, he spends quite a bit of time in Louisville taking in the Cardinals’ biggest games. Although as far as celebrity fans go, we’ll stick with Ashley Judd 70 miles down the road. Sorry, Mitch.
  4. Tuesday was the start of SEC Football Media Days, and why do we care? Well, in large part because South Carolina head coach and immodest rabble-rouser Steve Spurrier again went on record stating that the entire SEC — according to him, all 28 football and basketball coaches — is in favor of payments to their revenue-producing players. The stipend he mentioned yesterday amounts to approximately $3,600 per player per year and a little over a quarter-million dollars in annual costs — a relative pittance in a business that regularly deals with annual budgets in the eight- and nine-figure range. And why wouldn’t they want to pay players? It would give them yet another carrot in the recruiting wars against some of the smaller schools and conferences, while correspondingly eliminating much of the regulatory nonsense with monitoring and enforcing illegal benefits that amount to a night out for dinner and a movie.
  5. While on the subject of football crossing over with basketball, Colorado quarterback Shane Dillon announced on Tuesday that he is giving up the gridiron effective immediately so that he can pursue his passion on the hardwood at another school. A 6’5″ wing in high school where he averaged a robust 25/12 for Christian High School in southern California, Dillon suffered a shoulder injury and was looking at starting next season third on the depth chart for the Buffaloes. He asked Tad Boyle if he had room for him on his team, but all the scholarships were filled and Dillon isn’t willing to walk on. He’ll look to make his transfer decision in the next few weeks, with a school in the WCC and Big West perhaps his most likely destination.
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Big East M5: The Day After Edition

Posted by mlemaire on March 22nd, 2013

  1. bigeast_morning5(2)Yesterday was the true first day of the NCAA Tournament and overall it was a good one for the four Big East teams that played. Syracuse and Louisville cruised to easy victories and Marquette won the most exciting game in the day, rallying to beat Davidson on a gorgeous left-handed drive by Vander Blue in the last five seconds. Of course Pittsburgh ruined a perfect day for the conference by making exactly one of their 17 three-pointers and turning the ball over 15 times in an 18-point loss to Wichita State. The story for Pitt is getting old at this point. No matter how many times they win 25 games in the regular season, until they actually win a worthwhile NCAA Tournament game, their gaudy records won’t mean anything. It would be one thing if the Shockers had played a clean game themselves, but Wichita State was just 2-of-20 from downtown and turned the ball over 11 times themselves. For Jamie Dixon, that job at Southern California that he shot down oh so casually shot down this week is looking real nice right now, because it seems like the Pitt fans are starting to get fed up.
  2. You want to know why Vander Blue is an NBA prospect? Watch his game-winning layup against Davidson five times, heck I could watch it all day. Too often players settle for long jumpers on last-second plays, Blue on the other hand didn’t hesitate at all, blew past Davidson’s Jake Cohen, and finished smoothly at the rim with his left hand. That was a grown man move with the game on the line. It helped that on a day when the Golden Eagles shot just 34. 5 percent from the field, they hit three improbable three-pointers in a row in the final minute of the game. They weren’t open three-pointers either, they were well-defended, and the man who hit two of them, Jamil Wilson, made just two other field goals on 11 shots up to that point. It was a game that will be hard to top today in terms of excitement, late-game heroics, excitable coaches (what’s up Buzz). But after watching Memphis suffocate and swat down Saint Mary‘s offense, the Golden Eagles will not be able to play that poorly on offense and hope to win in the third round.
  3. An unintended benefit of having so many games spread out across the country is that occasionally a good story is written that wouldn’t have a news peg if there wasn’t an NCAA Tournament game being played in that city. Such is the case with this piece about Villanova’s experience in the realignment done well by the Kansas City Star. The Wildcats play North Carolina in Kansas City tomorrow and rather than write yet another preview, the Star chose to go back and time and talk with coach Jay Wright about the uncertainty of watching the Big East crumble and the move into a basketball-centric, new Big East conference next season. Things are settled now and that’s good, because the Tar Heels present a stiff challenge.  Not unlike Pittsburgh, Villanova is back in the tournament after a disappointing season and they will be looking to prove they belong.
  4. The best part about Syracuse’s near-50-point thrashing of Montana other than the near flawless basketball the Orange played was watching CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis act a fool in full-on Syracuse gear. The outfit was Davis manning up after he picked the Grizz to pull of the upset and felt confident to make a bet with Syracuse sports radio hosts, a bet he honored by looking extra-bright on national television. Yesterday I mentioned that another data-based formula showed that Montana was a good candidate to pull of the upset and last night’s beat down was evidence that none of these formulas are bullet-proof. The zone defense and length of the Orange defenders were too much for Montana’s shooters and the game turned into a boat race midway through the first half.
  5. Georgetown has had less obvious and publicized recent struggles in the NCAA Tournament than Pittsburgh but the Hoyas and coach John Thompson III could use a deep NCAA Tournament run this season to assuage some of the concerns that have crept out of nowhere since the team’s trip to the Final Four.  For whatever reason, Florida Gulf Coast has seen a groundswell of support and most of it is seemingly coming from people who have never seen them play. They have a win over Miami and they definitely have an argument about receiving just a No.15 seed given their resume and talent. But they also haven’t seen a defense as long and athletic as Georgetown’s and just as Montana found out today against a hungry Syracuse team, the Eagles are going to quickly learn how hard it can be to score against a premier Big East defense.
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Big East M5: 01.11.13 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on January 11th, 2013

bigeast_morning5(2)

  1. When asked after Louisville’s road win over Seton Hall about the five-year contract UConn finally wrote up for Kevin Ollie, Rick Pitino called the situation “a perfect match” and a “tremendous marriage.” He believes Ollie is the kind of charismatic “player’s coach” who can keep a team focused and engaged in the face of an impending postseason ban. “Kevin is the perfect segue into an APR situation… He’ll keep it fun for this team and he’ll have them motivated in the future.” The UofL coach also had some interesting comments about playing in Big East road venues, so check out the linked article.
  2. Seth Davis took a look at 20 potential bubble teams and whether their non-conference strength of schedules will help or hurt each of them in March. Davis subscribes to the school of thought advocating tougher non-conference schedules, and Big East schools don’t fare well in his appraisal. Pitt (SOS: #257) and Seton Hall (SOS: #260) are the only two conference schools to appear on Davis’ list, and he predicts both will suffer with the selection committee because of their soft non-conference slates. Seton Hall, in particular, “will need to at least finish in the top eight of the conference to feel good about their at-large chances.”
  3. That UConn out-rebounded DePaul by 20 boards the other night wasn’t an accident, but rather the product of a blue-collar rebounding ethic Kevin Ollie is trying to instill in the Huskies. Ollie was excited to see his guards in particular contribute more effort on the glass: “They’ve got to come down and get their nose in there and get dirty and box out and hit somebody. I saw that, and I want to continue to see that.” With no Andre Drummond or Hasheem Thabeet types around to clean the boards with their size and natural abilities, the coaching staff’s focus has become “to condition guys to play more physical, to hit their man first.” But they concede that process will take time before it pays dividends, and rebounding will likely remain a major weakness of the Huskies as they hit the most brutal stretch of their Big East schedule.
  4. Tray Woodall played with “a lot more emotion” after Pittsburgh’s recent loss to Rutgers, and it paid off in a big way when he orchestrated Tuesday’s 73-45 win at Georgetown. “This is my last year. It‘s my team. I‘m a senior on the team, me and Dante [Taylor]. There‘s more pressure on me. I want it. I embrace it.” Most importantly, Woodall embraced the challenge Jamie Dixon issued to him to play with the defensive intensity that has eluded his game throughout his career. He held scorer Markel Starks to six points on 2-of-8 shooting, with no assists and four turnovers.
  5. The ever-affable Jim Boeheim is going out of his way to make new friends in the ACC. Speaking nostalgically of his final Big East road trip to Providence after his team beat the Friars on Wednesday night, Boeheim lamented that he’d have to negotiate the new physical environments in his next conference. “I know where all the good restaurants are now, and now I’ve got to go down to Clemson, South Carolina. I’m sure there’s a couple of Denny’s down there.” The millionaire coach either believes Denny’s is actually a “good restaurant” or he’s painting Clemson with the podunk brush. Knowing Jim’s flair for the cynical and alienating, it’s probably the latter. Bret Strelow and Stephen Schramm at the Fayetteville (NC) Observer provided Boeheim with a helpful map. The good news is that the nearest Denny’s is 14 miles from campus –– a veritable hop, skip and a jump by ACC scale. Closer examination on Google Street View reveals that Jim is one step ahead of all of us:

    dennys boeheim wmt

    Boeheim to the ACC: a real GRAND SLAM?

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It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume V

Posted by jbaumgartner on December 11th, 2012

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED… another strong week from Michigan. I’ve always gotten a kick out of subtly rooting for the Wolverines, but have never quite been able to put my finger on why. I guess that while most people enjoy stirring up images of tradition and excellence when programs like Indiana get back on track, with Michigan it’s more about stirring up those memories of just how stinking COOL the program was in the early 90s with the Fab Five. This is a fun team to watch, and it doesn’t hurt that they have two sons of former NBA stars leading the way, either.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Friends Have Been Outstanding This Season

I LOVED… Illinois putting up one of the true statement wins of the young season and perhaps emptying out the Gonzaga bandwagon already. What an incredible start for John Groce, and what a performance from Brandon Paul. That’s probably as encouraging as anything for the Illini, that they had a closer to ride down the stretch of a tight game. That’ll bode well for a Big Ten that is sure to have plenty of nailbiters all year long.

I LOVED…. laughing at this show of solidarity from the ACC presidents about no more schools leaving the conference. I’d say it’s safe to say at this point that potentially 80 percent of all major conference schools are at least entertaining hypothetical scenarios or potential TV deals at the moment. With switches happening almost every other week, it’s fairly comical to deny it.

I LOVED… and by loved, I mean lovvvvvvvvvved App State center Brian Okam’s hysterical blooper-reel free throw, as his charity toss slipped off his hands and literally went 10 feet vertically and maybe three feet horizontally (and that’s generous). But I also loved that Okam could see the humor and took the time to give a statement about the shot. Just remember big man – the next one is always going in.

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The Plot Thickens in Austin As Myck Kabongo Sits

Posted by dnspewak on December 6th, 2012

You’re sick of hearing about Myck Kabongo. We’re sick of writing about him. We’re all sick of talking about the NCAA investigation into his relationship with a professional agent, and Texas coach Rick Barnes is surely sick of answering questions about when his star point guard might return to the floor. Right now, we know this: the Texas Longhorns without Myck Kabongo look like lost puppy dogs, and if he doesn’t come back soon, Barnes’ streak of 14 straight NCAA Tournaments in Austin will probably end. There’s no sense in rehashing all of the horrendous statistics. It’s just too painful. Seth Davis broke down the numbers on Thursday afternoon, and it’s not at all surprising to read that the Longhorns rank 337th in Division I basketball in turnovers per game. They shot 29 percent against Georgetown on Tuesday, which resulted in a 64-41 blowout loss and yet another chapter in this debacle of a season.

If the NCAA clears Kabongo tomorrow, this team will probably have no trouble making the NCAA Tournament. If it continues to wait, it’s likely the Longhorns will keep turning the ball over, keep shooting 29 percent and keep losing, over and over again until their bubble bursts before Big 12 play even begins. That’s why Seth Davis’ article was spot on with respect to the NCAA’s investigative process. Davis secured an interview with NCAA president Mark Emmert — and remember, candid interviews with NCAA officials are about as rare as sitting down the President of the United States — and discussed how such a high-profile player could wait so long to learn of his fate. As Davis and Emmert point out, we always seem to place the blame on the NCAA in these scenarios. When rulings drag out like in Kabongo’s case, we accuse the NCAA of bureaucratic nonsense and assume that the organization is slow, lazy or just doesn’t care about the particular athlete in question. However, as Emmert argues, perhaps that’s not always the case. And perhaps it’s not always the NCAA’s fault.

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Morning Five: 11.30.12 Edtion

Posted by nvr1983 on November 30th, 2012

  1. We were thinking it was a quiet day without any news about conference realignment or player eligibility and then we got what is probably the biggest news of this college basketball season (at least in terms of its effect): Michael Dixon will no longer be a part of the Missouri basketball team. Dixon’s departure reportedly centers around two accusations of sexual assault at the university separated by more than two and a half years. We still aren’t sure if this was a decision that Dixon made on his own or if he got a nudge from the Missouri administration, but he has announced that he will be continuing his career elsewhere. This situation obviously has some similarities to that of Xavier’s Dez Wells in that he too was accused of sexual assault but local authorities failed to bring charges against him. The difference is that it does not appear that Missouri expelled Dixon as Xavier did in Wells’ case, but the result appears to be the same — both players moving on.
  2. Media bans are amusing until you have a serious (non-legal) matter and then you are stuck with the media speculating wildly, which is what Josh Pastner is making everyone do now that co-captain Tarik Black missed last night’s game “to give [Black] some time to figure some things out”. Pastner was vague about what had led to Black’s absence and would not even comment on whether the junior forward was considering transferring. We understand a coach’s need to keep issues internal to the program, but it is beginning to seem like Pastner is using it as a crutch to hoard information that might be provide more ammunition for the growing chorus of people questioning his control over the program.
  3. We have been saying it in this spot for the past few days and yesterday Gregg Doyel joined the chorus of people proclaiming that the Big East is on life support. As Doyel poignantly notes, many of the original programs that are left in the next-generation Big East are too good for what they are being put through. St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, and Providence deserve better — much better — and we don’t disagree with a word of Doyel’s article here. As much as we hate conference realignment, if we were a traditional Big East basketball school we would be looking at whatever options were open to get away from the sinking ship that the once-proud conference has become. The Atlantic 10 — sure. A Catholic school basketball super-conference — why not? Joining the ACC as basketball-onlys — make the call. But the way these remaining schools are tying their futures to the likes of Tulane and East Carolina? It’s embarrassing.
  4. We hesitate at RTC to ever link to a slideshow of any kind — they could be the most annoying aspect of modern web publishing — but this one seemed interesting enough to do so. The Memphis Business Journal unveiled an analysis of the 15 most profitable basketball programs in America earlier this week, and the school at the top spot with 2010 profits of $27.6 million — Louisville — might give people a little more indication as to why the ACC found the Cardinals enticing as a new member. There’s won’t be many surprises on this list with many of the usual suspects represented, but we were most surprised by the amount of expenses that #1 Louisville ($13.3 million) and #2 Duke ($13.8 million) had in comparison to some of its profitable contemporaries (e.g., #4 UNC = $6.5 million; #6 Syracuse = $7.5 million). Are the Cards and Devils serving their players meals in diamond-encrusted golden goblets?
  5. Seth Davis is back with this week’s Hoops Thoughts, focusing on Arizona State’s improvement in large part due to Jahii Carson, Jerry Tarkanian’s fitness for the Hall of Fame, and his usual assortment of tidbits, notes and other bullet-pointed errata. He gives mentions to Ed Daniels’ hair, Pe’Shon Howard’s jumper, the 70/20/10 rule, Gorgui Dieng’s wrist, and rooting for Kevin Parrom. Give it a read before you start you weekend — you won’t be disappointed and you’re likely to learn a few things in the process.
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Morning Five: 10.24.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 24th, 2012

  1. It’s now been about 10 days since the beginning of practices around the nation and you have to figure that coaches have started to get a sense as to what kind of team they’ll be able to put on the floor this season. But running against yourself only gets you so far by way of learning about your squad, so the NCAA allows coaches to set up so-called “secret scrimmages” between Division I schools so long as nobody other than the competitors are invited and nobody ever talks about them. CBSSports.com‘s Jeff Goodman has mined his sources to put together a list of non-games for the next week and there are a few of which we’d like to see some surreptitious 47%-style tape released afterward — a Xavier-West Virginia battle on Saturday; a Georgetown-North Carolina tilt as well as a Creighton-Iowa contest on Sunday; and, a Stanford-St. Mary’s game late next week. How about we just tip off the season this weekend instead — these are good games!
  2. One of the few teams in America who would probably be better off from a competitive perspective playing five-on-five in its own gym rather than schlepping around to find its match is Louisville. Seth Davis reports from his time spent observing the Cardinals, and after describing in detail why he thinks that Rick Pitino truly is having the most fun coaching that he’s had in years (perhaps decades), he believes that Louisville brings back enough heart, defensive scrap and offensive firepower to make a return trip to the Final Four in 2012-13. While it’s true that outside shooting is probably going to remain a problem area and the Cards are prone to injuries, we really can’t disagree with him. With a healthy Wayne Blackshear and the continued improvement of Chane Behanan, we feel that Pitino’s offense will be quite a bit more fluid than the train wreck they often put on the floor last season.
  3. If you had to pick one college basketball team that was the most influential — not necessarily the best, mind you — in the history of the game, who would it be? The 1966 Texas Western team that shocked all-white Kentucky and blew off the doors of the stereotype that black players were undisciplined and couldn’t play championship basketball? Perhaps the undefeated 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, the last team to run the table with an undefeated season and become the archetype for “perfect basketball” forever more? These teams and many others are considered in Alexander Wolff’s latest SI piece examining this very question. His choice: the 1964 UCLA Bruins, John Wooden’s first national championship team, a group that shocked the college basketball world in how it redefined how the very game was played (did you know that this unbeaten team wasn’t even ranked in the AP Top 20 to begin the season?). It’s an interesting read, and one frankly we find more compelling than the tired debates over which teams were “better,” an impossibly futile question to answer.
  4. If you’re a college basketball junkie who loves mid-major hoops, you may want to considering finding the NBC Sports Network on your cable or satellite package this season. The network will show more than 50 games this season, but the majority of those will involve teams from four non-power leagues — the Atlantic 10, the Mountain West, the CAA, and the Ivy League. It is also the only place to find realistic television coverage of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas (apparently something called AXS.tv will cover two quarterfinal games), which for our money is by far the best of the various preseason tournaments this year — VCU, Duke, Memphis, Louisville, Northern Iowa, Missouri, Stanford and Minnesota will all be there this year. The network will also show both semifinals and the championship game of the CAA Tournament next March.
  5. Finally, we’ll end with injury news. If you still have some college eligibility left and possess some semblance of a passing game and floor leadership at the point guard position, give Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard a phone call. His only legitimate point guard, sophomore Aaron Cosby, has sprained the PCL in his right knee and will be out of action for the next four to six weeks. Although the news could certainly be worse, entering the first month of the season and facing games against the likes of Washington, LSU and Wake Forest prior to the semester break isn’t exactly a recipe for winning without someone to run the offense.
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Morning Five: 08.01.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 1st, 2012

  1. The NCAA on Tuesday hammered Central Florida with a one-year postseason ban as a result of the dreaded “lack of institutional control” violation in both its football and men’s basketball programs. The penalty is effective next season, which means that UCF’s last round in Conference USA before moving to the Big East will not contain the possibility of a league championship. For all the nitty-gritty details of the findings and what the probation means to the program, individual players and coaches, read Jeff Goodman’s piece on the matter, but the nutshell is that the athletic department allowed at least one agent to run roughshod through the program even though only one of the players involved (AJ Rompza) ever suited up at UCF. Comically, and as the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi writes: “The most tragically comical part of the whole ordeal is this: The Knights were cheating to get recruits, but none of those recruits ended up playing for the school. It’s one thing to be a cheater; it’s another to be an incompetent cheater.” We’re sure that this makes Ohio State, USC, and all the rest feel much better.
  2. This has been quite a transitional week for a number of college basketball media personalities, as CBS Sports, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated all announced the signing of new talent on Tuesday. The biggest mover was perhaps ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb, who signed on with CBS to serve as a college hoops studio and game analyst, host his own drive-time radio show on CBS Sports Radio and a television show on CBS Sports Network, and provide exclusive online content for CBSSports.com. Gottlieb is one of our favorites in the business because his devotion to research is impeccable and, even when we disagree with his points (which is uncommon), he cuts through all the typical pandering you see on television to make them. This announcement came on the heels of ESPN’s Monday announcement of its own new hires, with former head coaches Bruce Pearl and Seth Greenberg joining the college basketball studio as analysts, and NBA analyst Jalen Rose slotted to replace the departed Hubert Davis on College Gameday. We don’t have much of an opinion on the coaches at this point, but generally feel like Rose’s transformation from Fab Five knucklehead to a solid NBA analyst is one of the greatest we’ve ever witnessed. Others are less impressed with these hires. Finally, SI announced internally on Monday night that the New York Times‘ rabble-rouser Pete Thamel is moving over to its writing lineup. For those wondering, your RTC editors have not yet been contacted by the Times for Thamel’s open position, but we expect the call at any moment.
  3. UNLV basketball has bounced in and out of the Top 25 the last few seasons under Lon Kruger and Dave Rice, but a jump into the national consciousness like the Runnin’ Rebels enjoyed two decades ago with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Tark the Shark and the rest has remained elusive. But, as Jeff Goodman writes about Rice’s 2012-13 Rebs, the upcoming team will be the most talented that Vegas has seen just off strip since that monstrous team some 20 years ago. With elite talent such as Mike Moser, Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch available to him on the front line, and an athletic backcourt including Anthony Marshall, Bryce Jones and Katin Reinhardt, Rice is realistically talking about pushing tempo to put the “Runnin'” back in the Rebels nickname. If the pieces all come together and UNLV gets past its road woes, this team is a group worth watching all season long.
  4. Speaking of Sin City, Seth Davis is working hard this week, with a two-part piece he calls “Summer Springs Eternal” over on SI.com. The article breaks down his July trip to Las Vegas where he no doubt wore a nice white golf shirt and pow-wowed on the bleachers with the top coaches from around the nation. In the first installment published on Monday, he relates anecdotes from Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Colorado’s Tad Boyle, Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, Illinois’ John Groce, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, DePaul’s Oliver Purnell, and Butler’s Brad Stevens. Part two published on TuesdayVir includes stories and quotes from Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, San Diego State’s Steve Fisher, USC’s Kevin O’Neill, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Kansas’ Bill Self, and Georgetown’s John Thompson, III. Even if your team’s coach isn’t on this list, it’s well worth the read to see which guys are willing to drop hints of truth about their players and teams, and those who are completely full of coachspeak.
  5. Lists like the one that Athlon Sports just released naming the top 30 coaches in college basketball are a bit of an exercise in futility because the topic is so completely subjective that everyone has a complaint. Still, you don’t release such a list without asking for attention, so here are the top three problems we have with it: 1) It’s very hard to believe that any list of best current college coaches would have anyone other than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at the very top. Four national titles, 11 Final Fours, countless wins and accolades… but perhaps most importantly, he saved USA Basketball from the abomination it had become. 2) Roy Williams at #7 is astonishing as well. He has his issues, but is he behind Jim Boeheim and John Calipari? 3) Even if Jim Calhoun retired today, there is no way on this earth that there are 21 better college basketball coaches than him. And definitely not Mike Montgomery, Tom Crean or Mike Brey. Get over there and leave your comments on their list.
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