Morning Five: 09.06.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 6th, 2013


  1. Coming into the season we already knew that Syracuse was going to be loaded up front so the announcement that the NCAA had cleared incoming freshman Tyler Robinson to play should only serve to add to their depth this year. Robinson, who took courses this summer up until late July in hopes of boosting his high school transcript, had been waiting on the NCAA’s decision for more than two weeks to gain his eligibility. Although Syracuse began classes last week the ruling appears to have been made expeditiously enough that it should not be a significant issue going forward. With a roster that features some of the best forwards in the country Robinson should see limited minutes especially early in the season, but he could have an impact later in the season particularly on the defensive end given his length.
  2. When Miami hired Jim Larranaga to be its head coach in 2011 many local writers questioned the hiring given Larranaga’s age (61 at the time) and the fact that the school did not appear to seriously consider Frank Martin, who already had strong ties to the area. We still cannot really address the Martin situation although there are still some issues with his time in Miami while he was the coach at Miami Senior High, but it at least appears that age (or at least how long Larranaga plans to coach) will no longer be an issue after Larranaga signed an extension with the school that runs through the 2021-22 season. Larranaga’s extension comes after a year that was the most successful in the school’s history and although the team will be rebuilding this year it appears that they should be in good shape for the 2014-15 season as they will have several big-time transfers available at that time.
  3. If you were worried about the Big East basketball getting left off your television with college football being the driving force in TV contracts you can take some solace in the fact that CBS has reached an agreement with Fox allowing CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network to broadcast games from 2013-14 through the 2018-19 season. The agreement will give the CBS networks twenty games this coming season and frankly only a handful of the games are intriguing, but it should at least feature some of the conference’s top teams, which will provide the conference with the exposure it will be missing without being on an ESPN platform. It will be interesting to see how Fox and CBS split up the Big East’s games going forward in particular with how the two networks are able to grow and potentially challenge ESPN’s dominance.
  4. Speaking of the Big East it appears their plans for expansion do not appear to have slowed down at least according to Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher who suggested that the conference will be targeting Saint Louis, Dayton, Richmond, and VCU for its next wave of expansion. According to Christopher the conference is looking to expand from 10 to 12 teams sometime in the next five years. It is not particuarly shocking that the Big East is looking to expand (we assume all conferences are always trying to expand), but it is unusual for an athletic director within the conference to publicly state that and in particular while naming the schools. Obviously, all four of the schools would be excellent additions from a basketball perspective, but it is unclear how the current members will view them from a non-basketball perspective.
  5. Former Kentucky star and agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer will reportedly plead guilty to misusing state resources while serving as the state’s agriculture commissioner and could face approximately two years in prison. Farmer has reportedly entered into agreements with prosecutors and is just waiting for approval from the courts and ethics committee before it can be finalized. Given Farmer’s popularity within the state some are still shocked that he could commit so many violations–according to prosecutors the charges include five counts on federal indictment and a state record 42 counts from the ethics committee–but based on our experience sometimes that degree of popularity can embolden people to take risks that they otherwise would not. Farmer is still waiting on a date to formally enter his plea, but it is expected to come on September 12 or 13.
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Big East M5: 11.19.12 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on November 19th, 2012

  1. It’s a sad state of affairs in college sports when the most urgent news is determined in a boardroom rather than a gym or stadium. Just when it appeared as though the Machiavellian engineering of conference realignment had subsided for long enough for fans to actually enjoy a full season, we learned over the weekend that Maryland will likely become the next shoe to drop when its Board of Regents deliberates whether to move to the Big Ten this morning at 9 AM. Pete Thamel reiterated in Sports Illustrated last night that Rutgers will join the Terrapins in the corn-fed dominion of Legends and Leaders. According to his media sources, the rationale for the Scarlet Knight’s inclusion is the $100 million annual windfall promised by the expansion of the Big Ten Network onto cable packages in the New York City market. But one executive issued a warning that should resonate with any fan who’s ever searched for a New York bar screening a college game before March: “Hey, it could be big money… But it’s a lot of risk. Rutgers isn’t the Yankees.”
  2. While it would be a bummer to lose Rutgers, their move could accelerate a far more calamitous result for the Big East if Connecticut is tabbed to replace Maryland in the ACC. The departure would exacerbate a year of chaotic discontinuity for the Big East and completely undermine any bargaining leverage the conference currently wields in its media negotiations. On an experiential level, it would make Big East basketball a lot less fun to follow, with few remaining powerhouses and very little remaining tradition to unify the disjointed reaches of the ragtag Big East tapestry. John Rook at The UConn Blog touches on these points and reflects on the commercial desecration of hollowed college basketball icons from the nuanced perspective of a fan of a school that is, ostensibly, benefiting from this sea change. Rook makes the point that realignment destroys not only traditional rivalries and geographic continuity, but also erases individual program’s accomplishments from our collective memory: “Now, if the Big East no longer exists, UConn’s dominance over it matters less. Do you know how many Conference USA titles Louisville has? Neither do I. You know why? Now that they are in the Big East all that matters is what they do in this conference. The moment UConn goes to the ACC they are no longer the dominant program of the Big East but simply the really good program with no ACC titles.”
  3. Big East teams face two high-profile non-conference tests away from home tonight, as Georgetown takes on #13 UCLA in Brooklyn and Marquette meets Butler in the Maui Invitational. The Hoyas’ odds of pulling off the upset took a hit last Friday when the NCAA cleared star freshman Shabazz Muhammad to suit up for the Bruins. Despite not stepping on the court yet this season, teammate Kyle Anderson predicts Muhammad won’t miss a beat, “because in practice, he’s a beast.” The Hoyas’ wings will have their work cut out for them defensively.
  4. Marquette, for its part, looks to avoid a letdown when it plays a Butler team coming off a crushing defeat against Xavier. Cracked Sidewalks put together a very cogent explanation of why the game is such a watershed moment: a loss could spell “a neutral court loss to a non-top 50 team come Selection Sunday, and would saddle MUs RPI with the record of consolation opponent Mississippi State (#132 in Value Add).” A first-round stumble would also deprive Marquette of a shot at North Carolina in the winner’s bracket.
  5. Last Friday, the M5 mentioned four-star Union, NJ, forward Tyler Robinson’s impending college decision between Syracuse, Villanova and Kansas. Robinson ultimately cast his lot with Boeheim’s crew, which came as somewhat of a surprise after his final visit to Villanova seemed positive enough to inspire him to cancel a scheduled recruiting trip to Lexington. Robinson cited Boeheim’s coaching reputation and the program’s upcoming move to the ACC as major attractions in committing to the Orange. Syracuse appears poised to reload with what’s sure to be another top-15 recruiting class, highlighted by Robinson and four/five-star point guard Tyler Ennis.
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