Morning Five: 10.17.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2011

  1. And so begins the shortest ‘preseason’ in all of sports, the 24 days between the start of official practice — as celebrated by Midnight Madness all across the country on Friday night — and the opening games of the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, on November 7.  It’s an astonishingly short window, but all that means is that we’re that much closer to seeing bona fide college basketball on our televisions and in our local arenas very soon.  Let’s get you caught up.  On Friday night we put together a Storytelling piece capturing some of the excitement around the land as MM tipped off everywhere.  Yesterday we put together a list of the 13 best dunks from this year’s proceedings, several of which will have you drooling in anticipation for more.  Immediately following this post, we’ll publish the most interesting Friday night clips from several of the blue-blooded programs like Duke, Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina and several others.  Midnight Madness weekend is great because it represents a new beginning — every team is still unblemished and ostensibly has an equal shot at doing something special.  Welcome to next year.
  2. During ESPNU’s Midnight Madness coverage Friday night, Andy Katz spent as much time talking football through the lens of conference realignment scenarios as he did discussing his favored sport.  Word leaked during the broadcast that the Big East had reportedly offered five schools membership to the conference — Houston, SMU and Central Florida in all sports, and Boise State and Air Force in football only.  The goal, of course, is to keep the conference’s automatic BCS bid, but each step ‘forward’ appears increasingly desperate for a league that built its reputation on basketball three decades ago and has never really been that significant on the gridiron.  As Lenn Robbins writes in the NY Post, the conference doesn’t expect to announce any movement until after the Big East’s basketball media day this week, but we truly feel that grabbing schools without regard for regional ties and rivalries is a shortsighted strategy doomed to ultimately fail.  The non-BCS Big East schools very seriously considered walking away from the rest of this madness, and who would blame them at this point?
  3. Aaron Torres writes that this will be a “golden season” in college basketball, and he makes a compelling case for his argument.  As everyone here already knows, the number of elite players who returned to college rather than face an NBA lockout, when combined with an exceptional class of incoming freshmen, could produce a quality of depth in the sport that we haven’t seen in a number of years.  Torres contends that the last time college basketball was this talented was in 1995-96, at the cusp of the preps-to-pros trend (Kevin Garnett skipped college that year) and featuring upperclassman stars such as Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, among others.  Let’s hope that the NBA’s eventual collective bargaining agreement makes seasons like this the future norm with a two-and-done rule allowing us to enjoy players for a couple of years prior to moving on to the professional ranks.
  4. Seth Davis gives us answers to his ten burning questions as we head into the 2011-12 season.  Starting today, we plan on rolling out our own list of 20 questions over the next several weeks, but we can guarantee you that none of ours will involve Utah State senior superfan, Bill Sproat.  We’re honestly not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the one answer he gives that we can completely get on board with is #7 — which underachieving big man will make a giant leap?  The answer to that question is legitimately the difference between his team being a borderline Top 10 to 15 squad and the overall best team in America.  Tell us what you think.
  5. Kansas released some disappointing news on Friday afternoon just before its Late Night in the Phog celebration.  Two more members of its freshman class, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, will join Braeden Anderson as ineligible to play this season because of high school transcript issues (all three attended three different high schools).  For a team suffering considerable losses of key personnel from last season’s Elite Eight squad, this is another blow to Bill Self’s aspiration to win an eighth straight Big 12 regular season title in 2011-12.  He worked to temper expectations on Friday, especially now that his Jayhawks are down to eight legitimate players and in need of significant improvements from returnees such as Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson.  If Self can outlast Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M again this year in the Big 12 race, he’ll certainly deserve any postseason COY accolades he gets.
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Morning Five: 09.22.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on September 22nd, 2011

  1. A couple of top prospects made their college choices within the last couple of days and the rich keep getting richer. On Tuesday night, Kentucky opened its account within the 2012 class when 6’4”, 180-pound shooting guard Archie Goodwin tweeted his intent to be a Wildcat. It was Perry Ellis‘ turn on Wednesday, and the 6’8”, 220-pound forward chose Kansas, citing Bill Self’s knack for getting the most out of his Jayhawk bigs as motivation for heading to Lawrence. Goodwin is ranked 13th overall and Ellis is 37th in the ESNPU 100 class of 2012 rankings. Ellis was also the first ranked recruit to commit to Kansas from that class, but it goes without saying that neither program is finished mining its talent.
  2. Oklahoma took some heat for the ultimatum it gave to the Big 12 on Tuesday, claiming that it would stay in the conference if, among other demands, some restrictions were placed on exactly what Texas’ Longhorn Network could show, and if current Big 12 commish Dan Beebe was removed. Nobody (including us) bought it as a good-faith negotiating tactic, but it turns out that OU might be getting at least part of what it wants. Evidently Oklahoma isn’t the only school that would welcome Beebe’s ouster, and the most recent word is that the presidents of the conference’s member institutions are having a conference call (no pun intended) tomorrow that will determine the future of the Big 12, beginning with the removal of Beebe and the installment of former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas as the new boss.
  3. Last week, when people who follow college sports weren’t talking about conference realignment, they were talking about the piece that appeared in The Atlantic by essayist and historian Taylor Branch entitled “The Shame Of College Sports.” The 14,573-word diatribe against the NCAA was lauded by almost everyone as a stinging polemic, to say the least, and an utter rout for Branch. CBS’ Seth Davis, however, took Branch and his essay to task yesterday, charging Branch with basing his whole article on a faulty premise and conveniently leaving out obvious counterpoints. We provided a CliffsNotes version of the Branch essay, and we highly recommend you check out Davis’ response, too, linked above.
  4. Rick Pitino had a chat with ESPN’s Andy Katz yesterday in which the Louisville coach predicted that the Big East would survive Realignment ’11, that the conference would add two service acadamies (football only) by the end of the week, it would still remain one of the strongest basketball conferences in the land, and that he is “happy with Big East basketball.” Pitino has a gift for spin that makes even the most skilled of lobbyists envious, but he’s probably right about the Big East staying strong. Obviously it won’t be what it once was if Syracuse and Pittsburgh follow through with their departures, but as far as basketball power, assuming Rutgers and Connecticut leave and Notre Dame and West Virginia stay, you’d have those two programs plus Louisville, Marquette, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Villanova, and St. John’s, all NCAA Tournament teams last year.
  5. We bet you can win a few bar bets — though your chances of success increase dramatically if you’re outside the state of Michigan — on one of the great riddles in college basketball: who was Michigan State’s only three-time basketball all-American? Hint: he was a point guard. Your sucker will probably pounce at the chance to answer “Magic Johnson!” and expect to relieve you of your cash, but he’d be wrong. Magic was a two-time AA as a Spartan (because he only played two years). It’s a Flintstone named Mateen Cleaves who holds that honor, and today he will be inducted into Michigan State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Despite feeling as humbled and honored as you’d expect, the 34-year old Cleaves told Eric Woodyard of the Flint Journal and MLive.com, “It does make me feel old that I’m entering the hall of fame.” No comment.
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Morning Five: 06.23.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2011

  1. It’s NBA Draft day, and depending on where you stand in the American basketball landscape, one of the best or worst days on the calendar.  As college hoops fans, we’re obviously very disheartened to see players we’ve watched closely for the last one/two/three/four years moving on to the next phase of their lives, but as people who like to root for good kids following their dreams, we have nothing but love for the players who will hear their names called by David Stern or Adam Silver tonight.  Hopefully every one of them will realize just how amazing an opportunity they’re receiving to play this beautiful game for big-time money and will make the most of it.  The very best of luck to all the draftees tonight.
  2. To that end, here’s a link to our 35 NBA Draft profiles of the top collegians who are most likely to hear their names called tonight.  From Kyrie Irving to Iman Shumpert and everyone in-between, they’re all there.  We break down their games, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, predict how they’ll be doing in three years, and project which teams would be best served picking them.  As writers who have followed these players as closely as anybody the last several years, we bring a somewhat different perspective on these prospects than your typical NBA-centric sites.  Take a look.
  3. If you don’t like our profiles, or don’t have the patience to wade through nearly 25,000 words this morning, head on over to Seth Davisannual breakdown of the top 40 prospects as relayed to him from six anonymous NBA scouts and one coach at the next level.  As always, there’s some insightful stuff in this piece, but it’s up to the players to perform — not the scouts to evaluate — after tonight.
  4. Former Binghamton head coach Kevin Broadus has found a place to land after his ugly resignation in the wake of a program meltdown under his watch in 2009 — John Thompson, III’s Georgetown staff.  Previously an assistant under JT3 from 2004-07, he will become the Hoyas’ fourth “assistant coach” even though his actual title is “aide” and he won’t be able to “coach, attend meetings involving coaching activities, or scout opponents.”  What exactly Broadus will be doing other than acting as a “sounding board” to Thompson is currently unclear, but the local product who grew up in the DC area will undoubtedly help the Hoyas work the fertile talent pool there.
  5. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar stated unequivocally to Percy Allen on Wednesday that he is not a candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves job despite persistent rumors to the contrary.  With the talent pipeline and relative job security that Romar has up in Seattle, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for him to take a dead-end NBA job like Minnesota, unless, of course, he has lingering memories of Kevin Love spurning his Huskies for the sunnier skies and warmer climate of southern California and wants another shot to coach him.
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Morning Five: 04.28.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 28th, 2011

  1. We didn’t get to this on Wednesday, but Seth Davis checked in this week with a piece analyzing the offseason coaching carousel thus far.  There’s not much there to quibble with, as it’s been a relatively quiet year in this regard.  We completely agree with his take that Tennessee hiring Cuonzo Martin was a very smart play, while Missouri going after (and getting) Frank Haith was perhaps the most questionable.  At the mid-major level, Richmond’s Chris Mooney and VCU’s Shaka Smart choosing to stick on the banks of the James River was the most surprising (how often will runs like theirs at those schools happen?).  Jim Larranaga to Miami (FL) (with Kenny Anderson?) and Sydney Johnson to Fairfield?  Those two situations were just weird.  As of this writing, there are only five jobs left open — Mason, George Washington, UC Davis, Alabama A&M, and Florida A&M.  The Patriots have an excellent team returning next season; that opening left by Larranaga is clearly the true remaining plum of the group.
  2. Perhaps mad about John Calipari’s possible gig with the Dominican Republic (joking), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has canceled his dalliance with Puerto Rico to coach their national team.  Citing conflicts with trying to manage both head coaching duties as the primary reason for his withdrawal, what was left unsaid in his statement on Wednesday was that he was trying to use the summer period to get some great practice time and competition for his Louisville squad against legitimate international competition.  The NCAA allows international summer trips for college teams once every four years, but they’re often against vastly inferior competition and, in this case, the governing body told UL that Puerto Rico, as a US territory, wasn’t “foreign” enough.
  3. Just prepare yourself for roughly one or two of these stories per month until we hit October — it never fails.  Two Winthrop players, including its leading scorer and a key reserve, have been accused of criminal sexual misconduct involving a 19-year old former student.  Sophomore guard Robbie Dreher and freshman center Julius Francis, according to the police report on the matter, allegedly assaulted the woman by restraining her in Francis’ room as the two performed sexual acts on her despite her claim of repeatedly saying, “no.”  Dreher is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.7 PPG in over 31 minutes per contest last season, while Francis played much more sparingly but has great size and considerable promise.  Needless to say, the two have been suspended from the team indefinitely.
  4. It was Huskies Day in Hartford, as the UConn men’s basketball national champs, the women’s Final Four team, and the Orange Bowl football team all visited the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday in a combined celebration of their successes.  Kemba Walker took the opportunity to address his comment made last week about only reading one book “cover to cover,” clarifying his academic prowess at the school (graduating in three years) fby stating that he was referring specifically to loving a book so much that he sat down to read it in one sitting.  Jim Calhoun said that he’s still considering retirement, but there’s no timetable on a final decision — we have a feeling he’ll be back on the sideline next year.
  5. All Jimmer, all the time.  That’s what we might have coming soon with the report that a television show production company named Tupelo-Honey Productions will be creating a reality show involving The Jimmer and his family in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft on June 25.  They plan on shooting over 100 hours of film over 30 days, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether anything Jimmer does or says when he’s not making 28-footers will be, you know, interesting.  Not to go too far down this path, but he’s Mormon — we shouldn’t expect anything resembling baby-mama drama or wild forays to the clubs with his agent.  Drinking a caffeinated soda might be the biggest taboo we’ll see from the guy.  It’ll be interesting to see how this company finds a storyline within its footage to make this something that the general public will want to see.
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Morning Five: 02.15.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 15th, 2011

  1. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger claimed via Twitter over the weekend that a Wisconsin fan spit on him during their RTC on Saturday after the Badgers knocked off then-#1 OSU.  We have no reason to disbelieve his take on what a fan may have done in the aftermath of a huge victory such as that one, but Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said in his Monday teleconference: “All I know is that we won the game, deal with it.”  Something tells us that Sullinger will remember both spittle and comment in the rematch in Columbus on March 6.
  2. This doesn’t sound good at all, but Florida’s versatile forward Chandler Parsons has been on crutches since Saturday’s win over Tennessee, 61-60.  According to this report, he suffered a deep thigh bruise during that game and it has since started bleeding — the expectation is that he’ll be out of practice several days and quite possibly through next weekend’s game against LSU.  Florida’s fortunes have risen the past few weeks directly in accordance with Parsons’ play — in the five games prior to the UT victory, Parsons had averaged 15/11 as UF went 4-1 over that period and moved to the top of the SEC standings.
  3. We love this column from Seth Davis each year — his annual Book of Finch, a mash-up of several scouts’ opinions on many of the best players in college basketball this season.  You  need to read the entire thing, but here’s a preview:  Finch likes Jimmer Fredette (comparing him to Mark Price) and Perry Jones (best talent in the class), but isn’t high on JaJuan Johnson (no post game) and Renardo Sidney (“no interest” in a “fat kid”).  Awesome stuff.
  4. San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher was reprimanded on Monday by the Mountain West Conference for his comments last week ripping Wyoming for firing head coach Heath Schroyer with a month left in the season.  We tend to agree with Fisher here when he noted that the MWC isn’t the NBA or the NFL.  While nobody around here will fall for the idea of amateurism in college athletics, we really don’t see the advantage that Wyoming earned by making the move when it did.  The Cowboys’ season will be over soon enough — there’s no reason to make such a change in the middle of the year like that.
  5. Syracuse beat WVU last night, but perhaps Jim Boeheim read this piece from Searching for Billy Edelin about SU only having three quality wins this season, because he came tonight’s press conference ready to spar with the assembled media about numerous things.  Seriously, though, his beef wasn’t with the quality win issue as much as what his record is against certain coaches (namely, Rick Pitino) and why the Syracuse media had printed only a snapshot of his career against him.   The whole video is worthwhile, but if you’re short on time, the good stuff starts at around the 3:00 mark up until around 7:30.  Enjoy.

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Morning Five: 02.08.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 8th, 2011

  1. The Mountain West has received a lot of attention this year due to the excellent play of top ten teams San Diego State and BYU and, of course, the NPOY candidacy of the Cougars’ Jimmer Fredette.  Yesterday the attention on the league was of a different sort, though, as Wyoming, dead last in the league standings at 1-8, fired head coach Heath Schroyer after three-plus seasons at the helm.  This move comes after the Cowboys lost its seventh consecutive game on Saturday, a three-point home loss to Colorado State.  Schroyer was 49-68 during his tenure in Laramie, with his best season coming in 2008-09 as Wyoming went 19-14 (7-9 MWC) and made the NIT.
  2. Ugh.  Oklahoma State forward Darrell Williams was charged with three counts of rape and one of sexual battery on Monday stemming from an incident in December where he allegedly assaulted two women at a party.  The junior college transfer has given head coach Travis Ford a solid season, averaging 7/7 in twelve starts and around 21 minutes per game, but according to the coach, he will be held out of the lineup and practice until his legal issues are resolved.  His preliminary hearing is scheduled for the first week in March, which probably means that Williams’ season is effectively over.  OSU has been playing better of late, beating Missouri and Oklahoma to get back to the middle of the Big 12 pack, but any further push will be that much more difficult without the sometime-starter available to bang bodies down low.
  3. Dan Wiederer delves further into the phenomenon known as Kendall Marshall going for a record sixteen assists in UNC’s destruction of Florida State over the weekend.   We didn’t know, for example, that Marshall has a tendency to pull a Bill Russell during halftime of games, but we do now and we’re quite sure that Roy Williams will provide the rookie with his own four-year supply of barf bags if he keeps dropping double-figure dimes the rest of the season.
  4. A new Monday meant another version of Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts.  In this week’s edition, he deplores the fly-by-night departure of Larry Drew II from the program (blaming Drew’s mother more than his famous father), St. John’s as the most interesting bubble team at this point, and a Kyrie Irving update that you haven’t seen anywhere else.
  5. The ten final candidates for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation’s top point guard were announced on Monday, and there were a couple of surprising omissions.  The complete list is below, but as Mike Miller at Beyond the Arc points out, there’s really no legitimate excuse for leaving out Xavier’s Tu Holloway and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor.  Both players have been outstanding for their respective teams, and outside of the NPOY candidates Fredette, Smith and Walker, arguably better than any of the other names on this list.
  • Norris Cole, Cleveland State
  • Corey Fisher, Villanova
  • Jimmer Fredette, BYU
  • D.J. Gay, San Diego State
  • Brandon Knight, Kentucky
  • Demetri McCamey, Illinois
  • Mickey McConnell, St. Mary’s
  • Nolan Smith, Duke
  • Isaiah Thomas, Washington
  • Kemba Walker, UConn
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Morning Five: 02.01.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 1st, 2011

  1. Kansas State’s season continues to implode, as news dropped on Monday that sophomore forward and former McDonald’s All-American Wally Judge has quit the team.  Judge wasn’t a major contributor this season, averaging only 6/4 in about fifteen minutes per game, but he only got a single minute of action in recent games against Texas A&M and Baylor, and he had already missed five games earlier this season due to “personal issues.”  There’s no indication yet where Judge might transfer to, but he hails from the Washington, DC, area, so you’d have to figure that the Big East and ACC schools will be inquiring about his services soon.
  2. If you hadn’t heard, Syracuse has now lost four games in a row after starting the season 18-0.  Four-game losing streaks are not common in upstate New York, as Jim Boeheim has only had three teams in his career do so before; and surely none of those started the first two-and-a-half months of the year without a loss.  With a game at Connecticut on Wednesday and the possibility of an absurd five-game losing streak, it’s gut-check time for SU, according to this article from the Daily Orange.
  3. It’s been a trying season for West Virginia and Bob Huggins, but even with only eight remaining scholarship players in tow (seven of whom actually play), the Mountaineers used its game over the weekend against Cincinnati to rally around what they have remaining and push forward through the rest of the year.  WVU has been a tough team to figure, what with wins over Vanderbilt, Duquesne, Georgetown and Purdue, but losses to Marshall, Miami (FL), and St. John’s in Morgantown.  The thing is, with Joe Mazzulla, Kevin Jones and the rest, if Huggins can get Casey Mitchell back in action, he has enough talent and experience here to put together another run.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts this week tackles the touchy subject of whether college basketball parity equals mediocrity, a possible turning point to UNC’s season, Mike Rice’s histrionics on the sideline, Rick Pitino’s masterful coaching, and Kemba Walker’s prolonged slump.  And that’ represents only the first half of it.  As always, a great read as part of your can’t-miss list each week.
  5. This comes from the sometimes-you-just-need-to-let-it-happen department.  Especially when your team is in the midst of pulling off its greatest victory in years on its presumed home court.  We realize that the MSG security folks are trained to keep people off the floor (and the players out of the stands) in an NBA environment, but they could use a little training up on what we call rushing the court in the collegiate game.  NBA fans don’t RTC — they don’t even know what it is; but for college students, it’s a time-honored and generally harmless tradition used to celebrate huge wins (well, it used to be, at least).  That is, until some d-bag Pinkerton wannabe starts choking a 19-year old for trying to run onto the court and jump up and down with his team.  Are we serious with this?  What did the felonious assaulter think was going to happen here — light the goals on fire and take a dump at center court?  Get over yourself, whoever you are, and we hope that MSG’s draconian security team gets killed for this.

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It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume IX

Posted by jbaumgartner on January 31st, 2011

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC contributor. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous week of college basketball. This week, Jesse kicks Purdue while they’re down and questions Peyton Siva’s true motives, but applauds Bob Huggins and — as all human beings with ears indeed should — Gus Johnson’s all-too-short turn at the desk.

The Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…..a coach thumbing his nose at the politically-correct answer. West Virginia coach Bobby Huggins had an interesting development recently when forward Dan Jennings just walked away from the bench during a game. Now, you could just say the kid’s off the team. Or that it’s “unfortunate” and you’re “dealing with it internally” — that’s one of my favorite coach-speak phrases. But no, Huggins gets rolling and says: “The truth of the matter is that he’s been a non-entity. We started him to try and get some other guys motivated and he did work hard in practice for a while, but look at his career stats.” Ouch. If leaving the team didn’t hurt enough, that one should sting Jennings for a while.

Huggins Did Not Mince Words When Answering Questions About Jennings. Anyone Surprised?

I LOVED…..The great diversity of POY candidates this season. You have Jimmer “When I don’t score 40 it’s an off night” Fredette on a solid BYU team. The Mountain West competition might not be great, but man that J is pure. Then there’s a classic NYC guard in Kemba Walker, who has made UConn perhaps the biggest surprise of the season. And finally Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, who keeps coming to play in the big games and leads the nation’s No. 1 squad. We have the shooter, the slasher and the post player – all on intriguing teams, all very different, and all still very much in the mix to be named top dog. My pick? If UConn is a top-15 team after the Big East season, it’ll be tough to beat Kemba.

I LOVED……Roy Williams’ rabbit ears. You can have your own opinion on Williams, but you can’t deny that he’s a bit sensitive to criticism on occasion. Recently it was some unhappy callers on his radio show who prompted this response at a press conference: “Don’t call me next week and say how good we are; keep your [darn] phone calls to yourself.” Could he stay mad at the fans for long, though? Wait for it…..wait for it…..just a few days later: “Do I wish that I would have just let it go and not said a word?” Williams said. “You’re darn right I do. I wish I had not said one word. I wish that I would have just kept swallowing it. I hate that I said that.” And all of Tar Heel Nation lived happily ever after.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Five: 01.18.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 18th, 2011

  1. Illinois freshman forward Jereme Richmond sought to put to rest rampant rumors surrounding a possible transfer by releasing a statement on Monday that, despite some personal issues that caused him to miss two practices last week, he will remain “an Illini for life.”  He also sat out the Wisconsin game over the weekend after driving to Madison from his Waukegan, Illinois, home rather than taking the team bus from Champaign with the rest of the players.  Like many freshmen, Richmond has found the college game much more difficult than anticipated — his minutes and offensive output have dropped since Big Ten play began (in part due to a nagging Achilles injury), but he’s certainly capable of producing (8/5) for Bruce Weber in limited minutes.  He just needs to keep his head up and continue to work hard; his time will come.
  2. The Nike Hoop Summit team was announced over the weekend, with Kentucky and Duke as the big winners.  This team will face the World Select team on April 9 in Portland, and generally tries to choose the ten best high school seniors in America.  The complete list: Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist & Marquis Teague (Kentucky); Austin Rivers & Quinn Cook (Duke); Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse); Tony Wroten (Washington); Bradley Beal (Florida); James McAdoo (UNC); Adonis Thomas (Memphis).
  3. Jeff Goodman describes the current state of Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcat program in year two of its rebuild.  Everybody knows from his time at Xavier that the guy can coach, but despite the Wildcats’ current 15-3 overall record (4-1 in the Pac-10), he’s still lacking the across-the-board talent that Arizona teams in years past became accustomed to.  At one time in the mid-2000s, for example, UA had produced more current NBA players than any other collegiate program in America.  With the hope that super-soph Derrick Williams returns for his junior season and a top recruiting class featuring point guard Josiah Turner from Sacramento on the way, Miller believes that Y3 of the renaissance in the desert could be the season that gets the Wildcats back into the national consciousness.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts discusses the Trevor Mbakwe and Wesley Witherspoon situations from last week, as well as what will happen with Missouri’s Tony Mitchell and of course a host of other interesting notes.  We gave our opinion on the Mbakwe situation a few days ago, and it appears that Tubby Smith’s analysis  came down in a way similar to what we thought (big mistake, but learn from it).
  5. It’s not often that you’ll read a rival school write so fondly about a place where its basketball program took it on the chin to the tune of a 7-52 (.119) record the last half-century, but this piece from Steven M. Sipple discusses how much he’ll miss visiting Allen Fieldhouse as a member of the press corps for Nebraska basketball after the Huskers move permanently to the Big Ten next season.  But that’s what happens when you’re a football school playing a basketball game — you refer to things like “charm” and “fun” while getting waxed over and over again.  We dare say that Husker fans won’t find the Big House or Horseshoe quite so endearing if they win 12% of their games there over the next 60 years.
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Morning Five: 01.12.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2011

  1. Rick Pitino confirmed in yesterday’s news conference that Louisville forward Jared Swopshire will miss the rest of this season with a groin injury.  The senior has missed the entire season already and would probably be eligible for a redshirt should he choose to pursue one.  Pitino said the problem is that he’s simply not getting any better and it appears that he will require surgery to repair this injury.  In some other injury news, Virginia confirmed that Mike Scott will miss the remainder of its season because he also needs surgery to repair his left ankle.  Scott played in ten games in November/December and was UVa’s top scorer and rebounder in those games.  The senior is right on the eligibility cutoff for a medical redshirt next season, so let’s cross our fingers that he doesn’t have to finish his collegiate career with a broken season.
  2. This report from Percy Allen, the Washington beat writer for the Seattle Times, has a few additional details about the allegation of sexual assault involving a Husky player over the weekend, but it does not name the player nor will the team hold anyone out of practice or games at this point in time.  The article notes that the players are off limits to the press at this time and gives additional details as to the alleged incident.  There are no winners in a situation like this, but if it turns out that the story is true, we certainly hope that justice is served.
  3. You’ve waited for it all year, and it’s back.  Luke Winn’s 2010-11 Style Guide.  From the Reeves Sleeve to Scotty Hopson’s “Fresh Prince” high fade to Marcus Jordan’s accessories, it’s all there.  One of our favorite columns of the year, by far.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts from Monday has quite a bit more meat from his interview with NCAA president Mark Emmert over the weekend.  Davis hinted at the primary weakness that the NCAA’s enforcement folks have in the public view right now, and Emmert seems to fail to understand the depth of the problem.  When asked about a seeming inconsistency in the organization’s recent decisions and punishments, Emmert’s response was that these cases (Cam Newton, Ohio State, Renardo Sidney, Josh Selby) were “very different cases with very different facts.”  Undoubtedly true.  We know that the NCAA isn’t a court of law and we don’t have an NCAA version of Lexis/WestLaw to research all the case law pertaining to each situation; but the NCAA needs to establish a core set of transparent jurisprudential guidelines beyond the enigmatic rulebook so that schools and players will have a reasonable basis to know what to expect.  As it stands now, every enforcement proceeding appears to be decided on a “case-by-case” basis, which ultimately means that the guidelines shift so much in the aggregate that nobody can figure out just where the bright lines are.  When Emmert refers to people being “shocked” by a decision on Enes Kanter’s ineligibility, he’s making the same mistake in that he’s looking at the individual facts of that case in a vacuum.  He’s not considering that other, similar cases were decided differently, and the justification needed to distinguish between all of these cases has become downright impossible to discern.  That is what is bothering most people… not the Kanter decision itself (only Kentucky fans care about that).
  5. Jeff Goodman hooks us up with his constantly-evolving midseason transfer list.  Ole Miss appears to be the big winner thus far with the addition of Jelan Kendrick next season; that is, assuming that he doesn’t try to fight everyone on the roster prior to becoming eligible next December.
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The Week That Was: Jan. 4-Jan. 10

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2011

David Ely is an RTC Contributor

It wasn’t the best of weeks for TWTW. Notre Dame and Kentucky failed to live up to TWTW’s lofty praise heaped upon them. Notre Dame’s defense allowed Marquette to shoot 53.1% from the field and 70.6% from three in a 22-point loss, and the Wildcats lost their SEC opener after TWTW proclaimed them a sure-thing to come close to running the table in conference.

What will TWTW say this week that in seven-days will seem ridiculous? Let’s find out…

What We Learned

Walker Is Still Your Leader In the POY Race. (P. Raycraft/Hartford Courant)

Connecticut probably wasn’t quite in panic mode yet, but no team scored a bigger win than the Huskies with their road win at Texas on Saturday. After a 12-0 start to the regular season, the Huskies stumbled to a 1-2 start in the Big East. UConn barely beat USF at home on Dec. 32, and that game was sandwiched between road losses at Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Considering how young the Huskies are (they play six freshmen) and their dependence on Kemba Walker, the slump definitely cast doubts on the Huskies’ bona fides as a national contender. UConn seems to have its mojo back now, as other players proved they can step up in big games. The Huskies received a tremendous effort from Alex Oriakhi (11 points, 21 rebounds), while Roscoe Smith and Shabazz Napier contributed 13 and 15 points, respectively. UConn even survived one of the most mind-boggling shots in recent history: Smith’s full-court heave with more than 10 seconds left in regulation. If you can win in spite of a play like that, you have to think you’re destined for big things this season.

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Morning Five: 01.10.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 10th, 2011

  1. The big news of the weekend other than all the road “upsets” was the NCAA denying Kentucky‘s appeal on behalf of Enes Kanter. As you can imagine, this set off a huge response online, which we will have much more on later, but we were particularly surprised by one notable college basketball personality — Dick Vitale – calling out the NCAA, saying that if Kanter had gone to Washington, where current NCAA president Mark Emmert previously worked, he would not have been declared ineligible. This led to a pretty interesting back-and-forth online, which Seth Davis will apparently answer with a column on SI with direct quotes from Emmert that will appear sometime this morning. We aren’t surprised that somebody mentioned it, but Vitale was just about the last person in the world that we’d have expected to call out Emmert like that.
  2. Vitale’s ESPN colleague Doug Gottlieb put up a column on Saturday morning asking 10 questions that he wasn’t sure about the answer (ESPN Insider required). The questions themselves — (1) Are UNC/Butler/San Diego State legit?; (2) What’s Purdue‘s ceiling?; (3) Does Kemba Walker have enough support?; (4) Will Tennesee survive without Bruce Pearl?; (5) Will Demetri McCamey come through in big spots?; (6) Can Villanova/Syracuse play defense/shoot?; (7) Will Baylor or Kansas State rebound first? — are pretty good, but Gottlieb’s answers are a bit superficial for my liking so we are interested to what you think the answers are to those questions.
  3. A local columnist poses an interesting question about Pittsburgh, asking how the Panthers have changed from a hard-nosed defensive team into a group of sharpshooters. It should be pointed out that most of Pittsburgh’s reputation for being a tough defensive team that wasn’t able to score much comes from Ben Howland‘s time on the sideline there, and that Jamie Dixon‘s teams, to my knowledge, have been better offensively although not to the level of this season’s team. In any case, don’t expect any 47-32 games out of this Pittsburgh team unless you are talking about halftime scores.
  4. By now you may have heard that Roy Williams has a bit of a point guard problem in Chapel Hill. Ever since Ty Lawson left UNC they have been struggling to find someone who would even be described as serviceable. By now, Tar Heel fans have realized that Larry Drew II is not the answer (at least if they want to get deep in the NCAA Tournament) and although Kendall Marshall shows flashes of brilliance, Roy is hesitant to hand over the keys to him. It looks like help may be on the way in the form of Marcus Paige, a top-five point guard in the class of 2012, who has committed to play at UNC. Paige follows in a fairly strong line of Iowans who have committed to play for Williams either at Kansas or UNC with the most recent being Harrison Barnes. For the sake of Tar Heel fans, we hope that Paige doesn’t struggle in adjusting to the college game as much as Barnes has so far.
  5. Finally, our Morning 5 wouldn’t be complete with a shout out to Roscoe Smith for his ill-advised 75-foot heave with nearly 10 seconds left in the game. Honestly, we are shocked that there aren’t around 100 videos on YouTube documenting the funniest shot we have seen in some time. Fortunately for Smith and UConn they were able to escape, thanks to Kemba Walker doing his thing. We have a pretty poor clip below for those of you who missed it, but consider this a plea from RTC to please upload a decent quality clip of this shot.

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