Morning Five: The Morning After

Posted by nvr1983 on April 5th, 2011

  1. While most of the college basketball world has been focused on the Final Four or certain ridiculous coaching hires (more on that in a bit), there was some very interesting news out of San Diego State where according to Malcolm Thomas, Aztec star Kawhi Leonard is essentially set to head to the NBA this summer. Although Leonard hasn’t said anything officially, the statements by Thomas are intriguing as the two players live together. We should probably hear something from Leonard in the next few weeks to make this official.
  2. On to the ridiculous coaching hirings, Missouri‘s decision to hire Frank Haith was widely panned and it seems like he will be coaching some of his own players in the very near future. Although they are stating otherwise, the decision by Kim English and Laurence Bowers to look into the NBA Draft on the same day that news of Haith’s hiring became public looks very suspicious. Both have stated that Haith’s hiring had nothing to do with their decision and neither has hired an agent, so it is possible that both will return and play for Haith. The timing of their announcement, though, will not do anything to assuage the already frail psyche of Missouri fans.
  3. In one of the more interesting coaching transitions of the young offseason, Princeton coach Sydney Johnson announced that he was leaving the school to take the same position at Fairfield. In a short time at Princeton, Johnson turned the Tigers around from a 6-23 record in his first season to the NCAA Tournament this year after that buzzer beater that knocked off Harvard in a playoff for the Ivy League title. In the NCAA Tournament, Princeton nearly shocked the basketball world in playing Kentucky to the wire before Brandon Knight hit a lay-up to win it for the Wildcats in the closing seconds. From what we have read, the primary motives here appear to be a significant increase in pay and the hope of competing on a level playing field, as many speculated that Harvard’s reported decision to ease admission standards further for basketball players would leave Princeton at a significant competitive disadvantage, since their administration was unwilling to budge on its admissions standards.
  4. Former Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams was charged with one count of sexual assualt and four counts of rape based on allegations from two women stemming from an incident in December. The trial is set to begin on May 13th. Technically Williams has been suspended indefinitely, but we can’t imagine that Travis Ford will let Williams back on the team or that Williams would want to remain at Oklahoma State even if he was found not guilty.
  5. Finally it looks like not everybody was in Houston just to see the Final Four. Southern University athletic director Greg LaFleur was in Houston for the Final Four, as were many high-ranking officials from other schools, except that LaFleur was arrested on charges of soliciting a prostitute. The school has released a terse generic statement saying that they will investigate the matter.  LaFleur has been athletic director at Southern since 2005, but we suspect that he will lose his job over this. The one thing saving him from national embarassment here is that he is the athletic director at Southern.
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2008-09 Conference Primers: #31 – SWAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2008

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC conferences. 

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Alabama State  (20-11) (15-3)   
  2. Jackson State  (14-20) (10-8)   
  3. Miss. Valley State  (17-16) (12-6)   
  4. Southern  (11-19) (9-9)   
  5. Alabama A&M  (14-15) (11-7)  
  6. Arkansas-Pine Bluff  (13-18) (8-10)  
  7. Grambling State  (7-19) (7-11)  
  8. Prairie View A&M  (8-22) (6-12)
  9. Texas Southern  (7-25) (6-12)  
  10. Alcorn State  (7-24) (6-12)   

What You Need to Know (WYN2K). The SWAC Conference has long been the laughingstock of Division I basketball. They are the perennial #16 seed in the national tournament (nine straight years), and are generally viewed as a warm-up for the number one team in the nation in their quest for the Final Four.  Last year the league champion, Mississippi Valley St., set a record for worst FG% (19.7%) in an NCAA Tournament game en route to 29 total points against UCLA.   The SWAC is a casualty of out-of-conference guaranteed games, limited resources and a sports audience that knows it by its alias, “Who is North Carolina playing in the first game?”

Predicted Champion. Alabama State University (#16 Seed NCAA). The Hornets finished with the SWAC’s regular-season championship, a closer-than-expected loss in the opening round of the N.I.T., and a whole lotta media coverage for their center, Chief Kickingstallionsims.

Others Considered.  Jackson State University returns two of the conference’s top-ten leading scorers in Grant Maxey and Darrion Griffin, and  Southern University was the SWACs best three-point shooting team and among its best defensive units.

Games to Watch. No reason to pretend that SWAC regular season games have national interest, but here’s a few contests that basketball purists will enjoy.

  • Jackson State vs. Alabama State (01.3.09). It’s the rematch from the 2008 SWAC tournament, with Alabama State hosting the Tigers who upset them in the semi-final.
  • Southern vs. Mississippi Valley State (02.16.09). If the Jaguars continue their hot-shooting ways from the 07-08 season, this game could have tournament seeding implications for the favored Delta Devils.

RPI Booster Games. Arizona State had a close call in the 2008 N.I.T. against Alabama State, and while it won’t be close at home against the Delta Devils, you can’t blame a guy for trying.

  • Mississippi Valley State @ Arizona State (11.14.08)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Not gonna happen. No need to pretend.

Neat-o Stat.  Joel Bosh, a standout forward for the Alabama State Hornets last season, was invited to participate with the Toronto Raptors summer league team. If the name sounds familiar, it should be; he is the brother of NBA all-star and gold medal Olympian Chris Bosh.

65-Team Era.  The SWAC is 4-28 all-time in the NCAA Tourney, and the last time a SWAC team won a game was in 1993, when Southern University defeated Georgia Tech.

Final Thought. The way to be a fan of SWAC basketball is not to look solely at wins and losses, but to look at the historical place of the conference and how hard they are working to get better. Or, you could just not watch at all.

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