Big Ten M5: 04.03.14 Edition

Posted by Jonathan Batuello on April 3rd, 2014

morning5_bigten

  1. Frank Kaminsky wasn’t always a star at Wisconsin, so it’s easy to forget that he rarely saw heavy minutes behind a loaded Badgers’ frontcourt in his first two seasons. This year the junior burst on to the scene when he set the school’s single game record with 43 points against North Dakota. His progression into a star didn’t surprise his athletic family that knew it was just a matter of time before he got there. He has now certainly reached their expectations, as he won the West Region’s Most Outstanding Player award last weekend. Kaminsky’s on-court success lies in his ability to play both inside and outside the paint, causing nightmares for opposing teams and representing a big key to Wisconsin’s potential of winning a national championship this weekend.
  2. One of the Big Ten teams facing the most turnover this offseason is Michigan State. Sparty is for sure losing two starting seniors in Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, and is likely to also lose Gary Harris to the NBA. Add in the potential of Branden Dawson also going league and the Spartans could be looking at four new starters next season. This makes starting lineup projections interesting, with Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, Kenny Kaminski, Matt Costello and probably Javon Bess or a three-guard lineup if Dawson leaves. Michigan State will be a very interesting team next season, having lost a great amount of talent and on paper appearing to be a middle of the pack conference team. Then again, while all the injuries hurt Tom Izzo’s team this season, it gave these reserves minutes that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.
  3. Another team facing plenty of questions right now is the other major school sharing the state. Michigan has three potential guys who could bolt to the NBA this spring, which creates quite a distinguishable best and worst case scenario for next season for the Wolverines. If Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all return, John Beilein’s team won’t just be a favorite to win the Big Ten, but also a national title favorite. If all three leave school, Michigan will still be solid and likely to battle for a top four spot in the conference standings, but its national contender status would certainly be very different barring huge jumps from the remaining players.
  4. The Big Ten had three players in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night. With this in mind the Big Ten Network‘s Shawn Merriman evaluated the top former Big Ten players who participated in the game. Players were rated solely based on their collegiate careers and the winner is none too surprising. Not only is Michigan State’s Magic Johnson the best former Big Ten McDonald’s All-American to play in the game, but he could easily be argued as the best Big Ten player of all-time. Others on the list include plenty of big names like Purdue’s Glenn Robinson and Indiana’s Isiah Thomas and then some college stars like Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves and Illinois’ Dee Brown. Will any of this year’s three participants have careers similar to what these guys accomplished? Probably not, but you never know until they show up on campus.
  5. Northwestern may have not gotten to play in the postseason again this year, but senior Drew Crawford still has another game to go. Crawford will play for the West in the Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game in Dallas this week. He is one of two Big Ten players invited to the game along with Indiana‘s Will Sheehey, who will play for the East. It is a solid career-ending honor for two seniors who were major contributors for their teams this season. Neither may have made the NCAA or NIT this season, but getting one more game will be good for them to showcase their skills.
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Morning Five: 02.07.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 7th, 2013

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  1. Most of the nation was focused on football recruits during National Signing Day yesterday, but Iowa State may have been the biggest loser yesterday in terms of its recruiting when the NCAA denied the school’s appeal to make Maurice Jones eligible for the 2013-14 season. Jones, who averaged 13 points, 3.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore at USC before transferring to Iowa State, was not academically eligible to play when he left USC last September and apparently did not improve his grades enough in time for the NCAA to lift his ineligibility. The Cyclones had hoped to have Jones be eligible in time for the second half of next season, but with Jones having to sit out next season too we wonder if he will take a different route including going to a junior college and if Jones isn’t in Ames we would assume his recruitment would open up again.
  2. We have been talking about the Ed O’Bannon case for a few years on this site, but it seems like the mainstream media is just starting to get a sense of how big this case could be for (or actually against) the NCAA. The latest addition is Charles Pierce, who points out how big of a deal profit-sharing could be for student-athletes and the member institutions. We won’t try to argue that it would not be at the very least a very significant symbolic change we do wonder how the member institutions will try to fudge the numbers in an attempt to give the athletes as small an amount of money as possible. Perhaps all of this talk about major athletic departments struggling financially is just setting the stage for schools to say they cannot afford to pay student-athletes significant sums of money.
  3. One of the great things about Luke Winn’s weekly Power Ranking column is his versatility in pulling out interesting statistics to analyze and present the best teams in college basketball. While Winn has a few crutches like his reliable Aaron Craft Turnometer he usually presents a new statistic to analyze for each team each week. The stat that jumped out at us this week was Florida‘s (possible over-)reliance on three-point shooting. While such high volume three-point shooting makes a team extremely dangerous it also makes them vulnerable to early exits when they go cold from the field (live by the three…).
  4. For years Dick Vitale has talked about how he tried to recruit Magic Johnson to play for him while he was still a college coach at Detroit and if Magic had joined him he might still be coaching. Well Vitale is getting his wish (sort of) as Magic will be paired with Vitale (and Mike Tirico) on February 19 when Indiana plays at Michigan State. While Magic has served in virtually every role imaginable in basketball this game will be his first as a college basketball analyst. We just hope that both Magic and Vitale are able to control themselves to let the players (and not the announcers) become the focus for those of us watching at home.
  5. We are still trying to figure out what exactly happened with the Hamline incident that left one of the team’s players facing a second-degree assault charge and its coach suspended. Yesterday that coach, Nelson Whitmore, left the school in what has been described as a “mutual agreement”. All we know about the case is what reportedly happened between the victim and the Hamline basketball player. What we don’t know is what Whitmore did to merit such a severe sanction as the school said his actions did not violate any NCAA rules. Even though we are never happy to see somebody leave his or her job we are happy to see a school own a problem like this even if we wish this entire episode had never happened.
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Shabbazz Who? Otto Porter Arrives…

Posted by mlemaire on November 20th, 2012

Georgetown point guard Markel Starks may have led all scorers with 23 points and the UCLA trio of superstar freshmen — Jordan Adams, Shabazz Muhammad, and Kyle Anderson — may have offered tantalizing glimpses at their talent and potential. But when the final horn sounded on the Hoyas’ 78-70 victory over then-No. 11 UCLA, there was little doubt who the best player on the floor was. After exiting early in the team’s season opener after being hit in the head and missing the team’s second game too, Hoyas’ forward Otto Porter returned to the starting lineup and delivered a virtuoso performance that reminded his teammates and his coaching staff just how much they missed him while he was gone. There are few, if any, players in the country who have the athleticism and versatility to deliver the type of line that Porter delivered Monday night.

Sorry To The Rest Of The Big East, But Georgetown’s Otto Porter Ain’t A High-Schooler Anymore.

Eighteen points on 6-of-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, three steals, and just two turnovers is the type of stat-stuffing usually reserved for a created player in a video game, yet Porter did that in 35 minutes of play, while helping hold a lineup full of future NBA players to just 40 percent shooting from the field and adding in two late three-pointers to ice the game for the Hoyas. At first glance, it is easy to assume that Porter will never be able to replicate that sort of performance considering it came early in the season against a young opponent still learning to play together, but we aren’t talking about about an ordinary player who had a fluke performance. We are talking about an athletic freak with a 7’1” wingspan who is poised to take a more central role for Georgetown this season.

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The Dream Team 20 Years Later: Reflecting On Their College Careers

Posted by EJacoby on June 13th, 2012

On Wednesday night, NBA TV will air “The Dream Team,” a brand new documentary that relives the 1992 Men’s Basketball USA Olympic Team that’s better known by that same name. This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the team, the inspiration behind documenting the players, and their legendary run through the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The national team of 12 players included 11 future Hall of Famers and some of the greatest players in basketball history all in one locker room. The forgotten member of the team is Christian Laettner, the lone collegian at the time to make the squad, who was coming off of one of the greatest NCAA basketball careers of all-time as a two-time National Champion for Duke. Looking back, how did the other 11 players fare in their amateur careers? Was their collective NBA and international success predicated by dominance in college? On the day the documentary airs, we reflect on the Dream Team from a college perspective.

Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the 1982 National Championship game for North Carolina 10 years before he joined the Dream Team (AP Photo)

As it turns out, the team wasn’t just a collection of all-time great professionals. Exactly half the players on the roster also qualify as some of the greatest collegiate players ever. Six players on the Dream Team were included on ESPN’s list of the 25 greatest players in college basketball history, the highest of whom was Larry Bird at #9. Bird averaged 30.3 points per game in his career at Indiana State, and in his senior National Player of the Year season he led the Sycamores to a 33-1 record and a loss in the National Title game to Michigan State and Magic Johnson. Johnson is another one of the greatest collegians on the list (#15), averaging 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game in two seasons for the Spartans that became a preview of the stat-sheet stuffing machine he would become in the NBA.

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National Championship Game Showcases Rare Treat: The Nation’s Two Best Players

Posted by EJacoby on April 2nd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

This year’s National Championship game not only features the two winningest programs in college basketball history, but from a more tangible matchup standpoint it also pits the two best players in the country against one another. After Kentucky dispatched of Louisville on Saturday and Kansas survived the physical battle against Ohio State, we now get that rare matchup – Anthony Davis against Thomas Robinson in the National Title game. Why hasn’t this pairing received a flood of media attention? When’s the last time the country’s two National Player of the Year frontrunners faced off in the finals? And will these two interior forces even guard each other during the game? We attempt to answer these questions to prepare you for one of the many great stories to track during tonight’s National Championship.

Thomas Robinson vs. Anthony Davis is the Headline Matchup, but Terrence Jones (Left) Must Check Robinson on Defense (US Presswire)

Think it’s a given that the National Title game produces stud players facing one another? Remember how difficult it is to advance this far in the NCAA Tournament, and history proves how rare the opportunity is. Monday’s game will mark just the fourth time since 1979 that two first team All-Americans face off in the National Championship, and that simply encompasses any of the five best players in any given season. With Davis and Robinson, we are talking about the two leading vote-getters for National Player of the Year; two players that have gone toe-to-toe all season to decide the best and most valuable player in all of college basketball. Magic Johnson (Michigan State) against Larry Bird (Indiana State) in the 1979 National Championship game is the benchmark example of the scenario, and that matchup is still famous as one of the great individual battles in college history. The most recent matchup between All-Americans came in 1999 between Elton Brand (Duke) and Richard Hamilton (Connecticut), which is another good one but certainly does not resonate as strongly as Magic vs. Bird, and Hamilton was not a consensus Player of the Year candidate. It’s still unknown what kind of legacy, if any, Davis vs. Robinson will leave, but both players are forwards that are likely to be drafted in the top five of the upcoming NBA Draft, with Davis a near-lock for the #1 pick. The narrative of comparison between these two players truly begins on Monday night.

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Rushed Reaction: #4 Louisville 57, #1 Michigan State 44

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Ugly Offense Favors the Medusa. I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a team make eight field goals in a single half where seven of those were threes. Yet that’s what Louisville did in the first half, and remarkably, they led the game by five at the intermission. Neither team was going to set the other’s defense on fire in this slugfest, but the fact that Louisville was able to scrape up as much offense as it could find in the first half through perimeter shooting allowed it to stick around long enough to put together a game-winning run in the second half. When MSU started to see its own blood, they panicked a bit and lose composure — at that point, the game was over.
  2. Chane Behanan Makes Plays. If I had to pick a single Cardinal on the offensive end to highlight here, it would have to be the freshman Behanan. The do-everything forward was seemingly in the right place on a number of UL’s offensive possessions, finding put-back opportunities and steals when the Cards needed it most. In a tight defensive game like this one, ripping balls away from the burly and physical MSU big men to drop layups are game-winning plays, and that’s what Behanan did several times tonight.
  3. Pitino Has This Team Believing. They’re truly not that talented individually, and they have an awful lot of trouble putting the ball in the hole consistently, but Rick Pitino has done one of his best coaching jobs at Louisville in getting his players to buy in and believe in their system. If you think back to Pitino’s running-and-gunning teams at Providence and Kentucky, it’s rather ridiculous to think about a team of his playing possession-by-possession and favoring the halfcourt. Yet, that’s the reality and guys like Peyton Siva, Dieng, Behanan and the rest are making it work. He’s one win away from his sixth Final Four.

Star of the Game. Gorgui Dieng, Louisville. The Louisville center completely changed the complexion of the game with his defense tonight. His seven blocks and three steals had an awful lot to do with Michigan State’s horrific 28.6% shooting night. He also grabbed nine rebounds and even threw in his first trey of the season for good measure.

Quotable. “The whole game came down to, really, that they made those threes.”Tom Izzo, referring to the first half where Louisville players like Jared Swopshire and Gorgui Dieng, players who do not usually shoot (or make) threes, did so.

What’s Next? Louisville will stick around two more days in the Valley of the Sun to await the winner of the Marquette-Florida game later tonight. Regardless of opponent, it would be difficult to figure that the Cardinals would be an underdog the way that they’re playing right now.

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Big Ten Mount Rushmore

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on February 21st, 2012

When the Big Ten recently added Nebraska and thus broke into two six-team football divisions, fans and pundits alike broke out in disdain over the “Legends” and “Leaders” distinctions. But while every conference has its legends, the Big Ten’s leaders are the men who rise to the top and would adorn its Mount Rushmore…

The man they called “The General,” as fierce and unique a competitor and coach the game has ever seen.  One of the greatest student-athletes (Jerry Lucas) in the history of college sports, and another coach who lives for the month of March every single season (Tom Izzo).  We only wish we could take credit for the Wizard of Westwood, as the legendary John Wooden — you could mold a Mount Rushmore consisting of Wooden’s students alone — spent his playing days at Purdue. Alas, we think we’ve got a pretty good group without him.

Bob Knight

There are very few coaches in all of basketball at any level that demand the complete respect of the players and Bobby Knight is one of them.  Basketball in the state of Indiana has been well-documented for decades but Knight took it to a different level during his tenure in Bloomington.  Every father in Indiana hoped for his son to play for the IU coach because of what he meant for the state and the game.  Three National Championships over his tenure are just the tip of his accomplishments.  What meant more to the state and rest of the Big Ten was how he went about his business.  He had an incredible graduation rate with his players and they played the tough-nosed basketball that has been a staple of the Big Ten brand for decades now.  In addition to his championships, he is the last coach to lead a team to a perfect season (1975-76) and also added a couple more Final Fours to his name.  His knowledge of the game is a treasure to all of college hoops and there was no better representative of the Big Ten’s message at the national stage than Knight.  He dominated Big Ten conference play as his teams won 11 regular season championships during his tenure, and, did we mention that he graduated from Ohio State? He is a true Big Ten icon.

Jerry Lucas

The Ohio State University is known for their football legends – Woody Hayes and Archie Griffin just to name two of them.  But Jerry Lucas left Columbus as the second most influential Buckeye upon graduation in the early 1960s, right behind Jesse Owens.  Lucas’ individual accomplishments include being named the Big Ten MVP three times and as a first team All-America for three years.  He led his team to three NCAA final games including one championship.  He was as good as Oscar Robertson during his college career and he topped it off with an Olympic gold medal in 1960.  He dominated the game during his era and was a great ambassador for Big Ten basketball.

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Who’s Got Next? Noel Re-Classifies to 2012, Jefferson Close To Deciding And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on February 2nd, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Nerlens Noel Re-classifies To Class of 2012

Nerlens Noel Is Now One Of the Top Seniors In the Country. (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Elite Junior Will Graduate A Year Early. There’s been ongoing speculation for a long time that center Nerlens Noel might re-classify from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2012, but he didn’t gave much of an indication that he was going to. However, late Wednesday night the best shot-blocker in the prep ranks in the country confirmed that he was indeed going to graduate a year early and move to the Class of 2012. What does that mean? Well, other than getting to see him in college a year early, it means that he will have to decide which school he’s going to commit to in the next couple of months. Syracuse and Kentucky have long been the favorites for Noel and while a couple sources have told RTC that they think he will pick the Orange, it’s going to be a close race between the two. Other than John Calipari and Jim Boeheim‘s squads, Noel is considering multiple other schools and has already visited Providence and Connecticut while he plans on visiting Syracuse (February 11), Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina soon. He doesn’t have a timetable for committing but keep in mind that the regular signing period is April 13-May 18. We will be interviewing Noel some time in the next several days so if you’re interested in his recruitment, make sure you check back next week to see what he has to say about the schools on his list.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior star Rodney Purvis on why he’s happy he made the Jordan Brand Classic: “Being from the same city and with John [Wall] being like my big brother, I wanted to do all the things he did. I didn’t tell a lot of people, but I really, really wanted to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Like a whole lot.”
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ACC Morning Five: Columbus Day Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 10th, 2011

  1. Boston Globe – Conference realignment gets old really quickly, but the Globe’s piece on the politicking that went on related to the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse is a must-read. We’ll certainly have more analysis up on the piece later in the day, but suffice it to say Boston College’s Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo went out of his way to shoot Connecticut down, and even has a quote about ESPN being behind everything. Conspiracy theorists unite!
  2. Charlotte Observer – Unfortunately, the rumors are true and Michael Jordan will not be North Carolina’s honorary captain for the Carrier Classic. However, Jordan’s college teammate James Worthy will be joining fellow Laker great Magic Johnson to celebrate their respective alma maters in the first of what is to become an annual event. Jordan told Roy Williams he has a personal conflict he can’t escape, but Worthy is certainly a fine replacement. He played on the 1982 championship squad with Jordan before having his jersey retired to the rafters of the Dean Dome. The game is set for November 11 in San Diego.
  3. Raleigh News and Observer – Speaking of conference realignment, Scott Fowler got hold of ACC Commissioner John Swofford to talk about the recent alignment news. An interesting tidbit from the article is that while Swofford was playing football for North Carolina, South Carolina dropped out of the ACC, leaving the conference with only seven members. With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, the conference is up to a whopping 14 members and still maintains the intentionally ambiguous assertion that the ACC “is not philosophically opposed to going to 16 [teams].” Let’s just hope that the conference may not be philosophically opposed but is opposed in practice, as 16 teams would make college basketball scheduling a lopsided disaster.
  4. Winston Salem JournalJeff Bzdelik is doing his best to restore enthusiasm for Wake Forest‘s program. This year for Black and Gold Madness he’s tapping into the rich resources of basketball alumni like Chris Paul, Randolph Childress, Tim Duncan and Josh Howard to play in an alumni game with Duncan and Howard coaching. “We invited everybody who ever wore a uniform,” Bzdelik said to emphasize the importance of all Wake Forest alumni. The Demon Deacons have already picked up one recruit this month. Hopefully events like this will help refill the talent over the next couple of years in Winston-Salem.
  5. The ChronicleDuke‘s student paper is the latest to do an in-depth look at the school’s compliance staff, leading me to believe college students are reading each other’s newspapers (relatively unlikely) or compliance staff members are easy interviews to get. All joking aside, this is another valuable look at the people behind one of the most critical parts of an athletic department that usually only brings bad news to fans.Author’s Note: the above link is for the fourth and final part of the series, but has links to the other three parts.
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Morning Five: 10.10.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 10th, 2011

  1. With the start of the college basketball season rapidly approaching one of the hot topics has been the upcoming Carrier Classic, which nearly every fan of college basketball would love to go to. Apparently, Michael Jordan is not among them as the UNC great has decided to back out of his position as honorary captain for the Tar Heels due to a prior commitment. He will be replaced by his former Tar Heel teammate James Worthy, who will be met on the opposing side by his former Los Angeles Laker teammate Magic Johnson, who will be serving as honorary captain of Michigan State. We are sure that Jordan has a valid excuse, but given his prior history of missing major ceremonies, we are surprised that someone hasn’t come out with some ridiculous conspiracy theory on what Jordan is doing instead.
  2. Suspended Florida forward Cody Larson got a bit of good news on Friday when a South Dakota court ruled that he will not have to serve jail time for the misdemeanor charges related to his arrest in April. Larson could have served jail time for violating probation from a prior arrest in high school where he was charged with illegal use and possession of Hydrocodone. Instead, the court ruled that Larson will have another 120-day suspended jail sentence, serve another 2 years of probation, and complete a community service requirement (tell local high school basketball teams about his experiences). So if you are scoring at home he violated his probation and was given the same sentence with the only addition being talking to local basketball teams. Let’s hear it for the American legal system…
  3. Speaking of the American legal system, a group of Memphis season ticket holders received a $100,000 out-of-court settlement from Derrick Rose, John Calipari, and the current athletic director after threatening the trio with a lawsuit for making their 2009-2010 season tickets worth less than they otherwise would have been. The claims are based on the assertion that the ruling against the program stemming from Rose’s reportedly invalid SAT score devalued the Memphis season tickets. The entire lawsuit seems ridiculous (our legal expert may chime in later), but I guess when you make the kind of money that Rose and Calipari make it might be worth it to pay the money to get the season ticket holders to stop bothering them.
  4. The ACC’s currently announced expansion plans have widely been portrayed as a move that was made to bolster the conference’s basketball, but Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo insists that isn’t the case and that football money was the driving force. While that is the lede the more interesting part of this article is that DeFilippo claims that BC blocked Connecticut‘s inclusion (free registration) and cites comments made in 2005 as part of the reasoning. This seems ridiculous particularly since the lawsuit brought in 2005 attempting to block BC from leaving the Big East to join the ACC was brought by UConn and Pittsburgh, whom BC apparently had no problem letting in the ACC. Basically what it appears to come down to is that BC felt more threatened by UConn encroaching on its Northeastern territory than they did with either Pittsburgh or Syracuse. If this is true, we are kind of surprised that BC has that much sway in the ACC.
  5. While the ACC and nearly every other conference appears to be fixated on conference expansion, the Big Ten is not one of those conferences. At least that is what current commissioner Jim Delany said on Friday. We are usually skeptical of these type of claims, but to their credit we are not aware of any rumors of the Big Ten going after any team and we have actually heard that they have turned down a few potentially interested schools. As we have said before we are getting to the point of exhaustion with these expansion rumors, but now that we are getting to the point where a conference announcing that it is not looking to expand becomes news we are hoping that we are nearing the conclusion although we doubt it.
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ACC Morning Five: 10.07.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 7th, 2011

  1. USA Today: Marien Garcia talked with Roy Williams and Tyler Zeller about North Carolina‘s upcoming game on the aircraft carrier against Michigan State. Williams sounded excited about the game, though it definitely sounds like he expects a few early game jitters from the environment. Zeller indirectly supported Williams’ thoughts, wondering how the boat’s movement would affect shooting. Magic Johnson has confirmed his role as honorary captain for the Spartans, while rumor has it that Michael Jordan may be wavering on his commitment to attend on behalf of the Tar Heels.
  2. Raleigh News and Observer – ACC Now: Rejoice NC State fans! Alumnus Sidney Lowe has already landed on his feet (not counting the million dollar check he’ll be receiving from the Wolfpack athletic department). Lowe was hired by the Utah Jazz as an assistant coach. Lowe’s departure was a double-edged sword: on the one hand his team’s performances and lack of NCAA Tournament invitations mandated his dismissal; on the other Lowe has a lot of history with the program, which made the parting more than a little bittersweet.
  3. Baltimore Sun – Recruiting Report: Matt Bracken profiles Syracuse sophomore CJ Fair, focusing on his rollercoaster recruitment. While Fair played a more limited role for the Orange last season, Jim Boeheim expects him to take on more responsibility for this year’s team. But the coach’s praise didn’t stop there: “But he’s on a tremendous path. I think he can be a dominant player before he leaves here.”
  4. Washington Post – Terrapins Insider: Maryland freshman Alex Len still hasn’t been cleared to play by the NCAA. This isn’t very surprising as Len signed very recently (August) and is from overseas. In other news Mark Turgeon expressed his excitement to play Mike Brey and Notre Dame in the BB&T Classic this fall: “Mike was on the staff at Duke when I played in the Final Four [in 1986 with Kansas]. I lost when I played, but we won the next time…”
  5. The Heights: A new student group at Boston College, Donahue’s Disciples, is out to generate more student enthusiasm for Eagle home games. Having attended a couple of games in Conte Forum, Ryan Dunn and his friends have a lot of work to do. Both games sported a half-empty student section, and the only real noise came from the band (for the record one of these games was a crucial NCAA Tournament bubble game against Virginia Tech). Donahue’s Disciples have some good ideas to get students involved: namely, free food and possibly a three-on-three basketball tournament. The official Donahue Disciple twitter account is @BookOfDonahue, which is already up to 189 followers.
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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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