Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday rewind!

  • The Pac-10 season opened today, with UCLA comfortably beating Stanford, Arizona's offensive struggles become an advantage over Washington State, as the Arizona defense has been pretty good so far. Cal wins at USC and break's Tim Floyd's 9-game winning streak, but USC could have easily won that game. And no shocker there, Washington gets a W over Arizona State.

  • Parody of the Year? One of the TV talking heads, I forgot who, said this after Dockery's game winning miracle shot to beat Virginia Tech: "My Life, My Card, My Dockery".

  • Who will transfer out of Kansas? There are many talented names there, a rotation of 13 (!), but they can't all play at the same time. My random prediction: Micah Downs returns to his home state @ Gonzaga, wishing to become Adam Morrison II.

  • Monday, December 26, 2005

    Holiday rewind

  • Game of the Week - this Tuesday, Gonzaga at Memphis on ESPN2 with Dick Vitale
  • A Duke game not on national TV? That's a shocker! Duke plays UNC-Wilmington this week and it will only be available on local/regional networks and espn's full-court.
  • You can still make Jimmy V donations at
  • Inconsistent team of the year so far: De Paul: Beats Dayton and Wake Forest on the road, gets owned at ODU by 40, then beats Cal on the road in front of Pete Newell, Pete Carrill and Jud Heathcote.
  • Recalculated NCAA graduation numbers
  • Numbers: Stat leaders in Kenpom's blog

  • Pac 10 Rewind

    In the first of many conference rewinds, we will be rewinding the season so far. First, the Pac-10:

    Arizona: Just like last year, the defense is ahead of the offense. This is a good problem to have. Perhaps their best player (Jawann McClellan) will start playing in a couple of weeks. On the downside, they may have a similar season to 03-04 where barely they got in the NCAAs and lost to Seton Hall.

    Stanford: Surprised a lot of people with their struggles given their veteran trio of seniors and reputation as a cerebral, tough team. Unfortunately for them, the Lopez twins are not coming until 06-07. Can they maintain their NCAA tournament appearance streak? They'd have to have a solid Pac10 season and probably beat Gonzaga in February (Stanford's own Bracker Buster!).

    UCLA: Year 3 of Ben Howland has always been a success. Unlike his boring Pitt teams, this team is fun to watch and runs and guns at times. With all the pieces trickling in, and Josh Shipp just around the corner, this is starting to look like a Sweet 16 team.

    Washington: With only one big game - against Gonzaga (another run and gun team), the Huskies are somewhat of a mystery. They were able to grind a W against New Mexico but we need to see more of them against NCAA-caliber teams.

    Washington State: The Cougars sold their soul to ...Dick Bennett and he is delivering. This team could even make the NCAAs, although NIT is more likely. But it may be impossible for other Pac10 teams to win in Pullman.

    Oregon: The Nike Ducks are continuing to fail to win. At this rate Ernie Kent may find himself on the hot seat by March.

    USC: After a shakey start, the Trojans have a winning streak (!) and beating UNC for the first time in their history bodes well for Tim Floyd and their confidence. An NIT bid is likely, but if they continue winning, they may shock the world with an NCAA bid.

    Arizona State: At least they were not expected to win like Stanford and Oregon, but losing to a former JC team at home, and failing to beat a beat-up Minnessota team at home, in overtime after a game-tying momentum-three-pointer means no NIT. At least they will make the Pac10 tourney - all Pac10 teams will this year.

    California: The Show is back! Great news for Leon Powe(r) and Cal fans. Their perimeter continues to be suspect and Cal fans should wonder what has Ben Braun been smoking up there in Berkeley - the team needed guards the last two years, and guards are a lot easier to recruit than big guys. Yet a former walk-on in their 3rd best guard. Perhaps their "Ivan Radenovic" point guard that just got eligible can save the day?

    Oregon State: A middle of the road Pac10 team that can be opportunistic and fidn itself in the middle of the pac(k) given the disappointments of Oregon and Stanford.

    The secrets of the Memphis Tigers offense

    Sunday, December 25, 2005

    Composite national and regional TV schedule has a very comprehensive (but not 100% accurate) composite TV schedule of college basketball games (and other college sports too) on their website. They not only list the national outlets, but they also list local and regional stations and networks. And the link is

    As always, check your local listings for more accurate results.

    ABC Sports:

    Saturday, December 24, 2005

    What's under the Christmas Tree?

  • Randolph Morris for Kentucky
  • Marcus Williams for UConn
  • Jawann McClelland for Arizona
  • Sean Williams for Boston College
  • Josh Shipp for UCLA
  • DJ White for Indiana
  • EK for the Zags
  • Jensen for Washington
  • Horner for Iowa
  • Darr. Jackson for Kansas
  • Demarcus Nelson for Duke
  • Marcus White for Purdue

    Lots of coaches will be thanking Santa this holiday season :-)

  • Friday, December 23, 2005

    The JP Batista appreciation thread!

    Adam Morrison gets a lot of deserved coverage. Raivio gets a some PR partly because he looks like a little kid but is a solid PG, does very well under pressure and makes 3s. But how about JP Batista? If you watched him play, he is unstoppable deep inside the paint. It is very refreshing to see a player dominate with his back to the basket moves. And did I mention he is over 90% from the free throw line?

    Wednesday Rewind

  • The "Peasant" has crashed the party of superstar coaches? This year's run of the Illini is starting to hint at Bruce Webber as a superstar coach. While there are many "designer name" coaches out there, the unheralded Bruce Webber's team is having a Duke-like run - for the 2nd year in a row!
  • Pete Gillen may not be coaching, but he called at least a dozen time-outs while serving as an analyst on CSTV's coverage of the Pete Newell Classic. Pete Gillen is by the way an entertaining analyst. And since he talks so fast, he probably has the highest words-per-minute among TV analysts.
  • California is pulling an Ivan Radenovic on the Pac-10. Their new Serbian "free-agent" point-guard just became eligible.
  • Question of the Day: Was the recurring high-school coach character on Mad TV based on Georgia's Dennis Felton. There are striking similarities in mannerism! Speaking of Georgia, Dennis Felton has the program going in the right direction. They have five versatile guards and four serviceable big men, most of them have a lot of room for improvement, and they are all coming back next year along with new recruits and redshirts. This team is definately going to the NCAA or NIT in the 2006-07 season. They may even do it this year if the team matures faster.
  • You know you are getting old when the sons of players you were watching are now playing

  • Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Who gets fired first?

    The race is on! Which one of these coaches gets fired first? Will anyone get fired before March 2006?

  • Quinn Snyder @ Missouri: Bad hair-day and bad loss in St Louis against Illinois in the bragging rights game
  • Rob Evans @ ASU: Lost at home to a former JC team. Ouch!
  • Louis Orr @ Seton Hall
  • "Adam" Kennedy @ Cincy (he is an interim coach so a lame-duck by definition)
  • Pete Gillen @ CSTV (okay this is a joke)

  • Tuesday Rewind

  • Most entertaining game of the day: North Carolina at USC. If you missed it, it will repeat numerous times on FSN and Fox College Sports.

  • Someone needs to make a gift bag of hair-gels for Quinn Snyder. The only thing more messy than Snyder's hair was the final score against Illinois.

  • You have to be careful when you use a player's name in a sentence! Rick Majerus's sentence made Steve Lavin laugh on TV. When discussing UConn's Rudy Gay, Rick Majerus said: "I'm not a big Gay guy" - obviously referring to not being a big fan of Rudy Gay's hype because of his inconsistent play, but Lavin parsed that as a stand-alone sentence and LOLed. This happened during a break in ESPN2's triple-header.

  • The Polls are such a joke. They are a beauty contest that takes a life of its own and quickly loses touch with reality. But they do generate debate and discussions.

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    The RedShirts List for 2005-2006

    Since no one else is tracking Redshirts, here is one attempt. This list does not include transfers. In alphabetical order:

    David McClure (Duke) injury
    Ryan McBride (Arkansas) injury
    Kendrick Johson (Georgia) injury
    A. Morrill (ASU) - possible medical redshirt/eligibility reclaimed
    Fendi Onobun (Arizona) development
    *odrick Stewart (Kansas)
    Curtis Sumpter (Villanova) injury - may redshirt
    David Teague (Purdue) injury
    Jesus Verdejo (Arizona)development - has since transfered to Miami
    Weaver (Wake Forest)
    Nick Welch (Air Force) injury

    21-day Rewind!

    And we are back to blogging. Here is an extreme rewind of the last three weeks, broken down by segment:

    The Game

  • Is this the year the Missouri Valley Conference gets national respect as at least the 7th best conference?

  • I have a proposal on how to name the ACC-Big 10 challenge. The winner of each annual challenge goes first in the next year's challenge. So calling it ACC-Big10 challenge was correct the last few years. The Big 11 has to win one before they can whine about it not being "Big10-ACC challenge".

  • As if two lossess were not bad enough for Texas, Dion Dowell decided to transfer

  • Many teams are looking forward to the new semester. So many talented players becoming eligible: Marcus Williams @ UConn, Jawann McClelland @ Arizona, Sean Williams @ Boston College

  • Seven footers are not all that. Kentucky has three of them but they rarely produce proportionately to their size. Little Saint Mary's of California has two seven-footers, but they rarely produce. UCLA has the two Lavin 7-footers but they have fallen in the depth chart behind two true freshmen, and a wild sophomore. So having 7-footers, as rare as it may be, it's not all that!

  • Six year seniors are increasing in numbers. Andrew Wilson of Florida State, Adam Boone of Minnessssootttta, and quite a few more

  • Random prediction: Jamal Boykin will transfer back to the west coast by July 2007 because of lack of PT. He doesn't play now and they are without Demarcus Nelson.

  • Was the Oklahoma at Villanova game the battle of the overrated? Oklahoma does not seem to be a top 10 team, while we have yet to see how Nova does when their guards are overmatched with talented bigger players.

  • How about the preseason experimental rule changes? I like the longer 3, I like the block/charge semi-circle, and I have no problems with a wider lane.

    The Coaches
  • Recruiting Violations? Coach K is blatantly recruting future Dookies in his American Express TV commercial. Yet no one cares. TV analysts keep repeating that Bob Knight was the only coach in the gym watching Martin Zeno at a basketball camp when Zeno was in high school. Violations perhaps? The NCAA doesn't seem to care :)

  • Jim Harrick resurfaces! The former Pepperdine coach was actually the analyst for the Pepperdine home game on the SoCal FSN, but also broadcast nationally on FCS-Pacific. He is back!

  • Tubby's recruiting is a constant whine in the bluegrass state. And the whining is not without merit. Take the 2006 class for instance. One of the deepest classes of recent years, and what does Tubby have? Apart from very underrated Derrick Jasper, what else?

  • Rick Pitino needed some carbs, so he scheduled a lot of cupcakes. Obviously it is not his fault his team was ranked so high, but at the moment they are definately a work in progress. On the other hand, the bad rep they got from the loss at Kentucky is unfair, since Padgett played only 2 minutes in the first half, and that's when they got 0wned by Rajon Rondo and KY. Do you think Rondo forgot about being left waiting while Pitino hopelessly waited for Telfair not go to the NBA?

    The Analysts and Broadcasters
  • CSTV should add more Memphis Tigers basketball games to their national schedule. This team is fun to watch when they are clicking on all cylinders! And Carney is a highlight show on his own.

  • Memo to Seth Davis: Penn State @ Pittsburgh is not a conference game. He seemed puzzled a couple of Saturdays ago doing highlights during a CBS Saturday broadcast: "Why PennSt and Pitt would play a conference game so early?". Perhaps because they are not in the same conference? They are just in the same state, Seth!

  • TV Basketball analysts seem to have a poor understanding of prep schools and the difference between a freshman straight out of high school, and a freshman "hiding" at a prep school, coming in as a 19/20+ year old.

  • It is only a matter of time before Rick Majerus gets ESPN in trouble. Last year's classic moment was "peeing in the shower". His biggest "violation" this year is probably rating Josh McRobert's mom and grand-ma as 10s. While Dick Vitale can get away with just about anything he says, no matter how inappropriate or self-promotional, I don't think Majerus or anybody else can get away with it.

  • Another violation: Jimmy Dykes considers his wife and kids as "possessions"? At least that's how it comes out when he tells his story from a coaches perspective of "besides my wife and kids, the ball is my most valuable possession". Ouch!

  • Someone please teach Fran Fraschilla and Dick Vitale the meaning of the word "dilemma". They seem to think it's a synonym to "problem" or "trouble". They dont' seem to know about its binary nature!

  • Speaking of Dick Vitale, his persistent prediction that Cincy will fail to make the NCAA tournament is more of an homage to Bob Huggins than anything else. But "Adam" Kennedy, the interim Cincy coach is using this to motivate his team before every game.

  • I have nothing against Bob Carpenter, but his voice is very very annoying

  • The CoachSpeak segment on the FSN ACC and SEC season previews was a great idea. Three coaches (Bobby Cremins, Perry Clark and Eddie Fogler) breaking down each team was a brilliant idea at FSN! On the other hand, FSN seems to insist on the idea of "ACC Sunday Night hoops" on Fridays or Saturdays. The last time I checked Sunday was not Saturday!

  • Bill Raftery doing a game on Tuesday, and the next day, he is doing a live NBA TV show. He is everywhere! Of course it does help that the NBA TV studio and his residence are in the same state!

  • Monday, November 28, 2005


    Especially if you like number crunching and such, this is a great page to visit:

    Huggins and Recruiting

    On Huggins and Recruiting:

    Endangering the lives of players on the floor...

    "Endangering the lives of players on the floor" said Chaney. The same Chaney who sent the "goon" in who broke the arm of a St Joe's player!

    Feast Week Tournament Recap

  • Syracuse's Eric Devendork confirmed his "thug" reputation by kneeing an opposing player in a very sensitive spot during a scramble in the Coaches -vs- Cancer. That almost started a fist-fight between the two teams.

  • Gonzaga's injuries: Erroll Knight is down, and now Heytvelt is out for the season. But despite all that and despite a slugish season opener against Idaho, the Zags has shown a lot of onions. After Maui, it is fair to say Pendergraft is starting to resemble a "PJ Tucker Lite" and with Heytvelt out, he will get even more minutes. What happened to that 7-footer from New Zealand that was redshirting last year? Speaking of big men, JP Batista is a very solid college post player. People are focusing on Morrison and the "little kid" at the point, and are not praising JP Batista enough!

  • South Carolina is a fun run and gun team Odom-style. The freshman trio of Marquette means business. And Novak is not the only Marquette big man hitting the 3s! (As Jimmy Dykes put it) Ryan Amoroso may look like a player who is about to commit a foul but he can hit the 3s baby! USC just glued itself to the #10 spot in the Pac 10.

  • The super-sophomores at Florida are delivering as a team. Funny how good a team becomes when it loses two shoot-first shoot-second plays (Matt Walsh and A. Roberson).

  • UCLA showed promise with Shipp and Aboya being injured but the Lavin 7-footers continue to under-perform. Darren Collisson looks like a good get for Ben Howland.

  • UConn's all-stars can win without Marcus Williams. That will get Calhoun even more leverage when dealing with Marcus Williams. And please tell me why isn't UConn the #1 team in the polls? They beat three solid teams in Maui, while Duke needed help from the zebras to beat Drexel and Memphis.

  • Speaking of Memphis, the Mercurial Tigers are in a much better shape this year. The Laurenburg Tigers (oops Memphis Tigers) have a solid rotation of athletic, energetic, talented and seemingly coachable, interchangeable parts. This looks like an Elite 8 team, if not a Final 4 team.

  • It may have looked like Arizona was struggling in Maui but it was the good kind of struggling. The defense was there. The defense was solid. It was the offense that struggled and that is easier to fix with the talent level at Lute Olsen's disposal. And his best offensive player is coming back December 17 (Jawan Mc Clellan). Cool-hand Luke was exposed as a drama-queen when he was throwing fits at the end of the UConn game. And while on the topic of Arizona, is it time to call off the Shakur Experiment? It is Year Three already, with Nic Wise coming in 2006 and Bayless in 2007.

  • I could have told Skip Prosser that Gray is not a point guard. I could have spared him and his star player the embarassment of double figure turnovers. But Skip is to blame. He did not recruit a replacement for Dawson. He lost two point guards last year but how many did he bring to Wake Forest this year?

  • Izzo loves overtimes it seems. But don't feel bad for Michigan State. They did alright after their cramping loss @ Hawaii.

  • Game of the Year so far: Gonzaga - Michigan State with three overtimes at the Maui Invitational

  • Drexel is good, really good. At least so far.

  • The Guardians classic joined the Feast Week rotation this week on ESPN. Three games on ESPN/s and one on the U. West Virginia was robbed of a victory when the zebras favored the big name team (Texas). Kentucky has three 7-footers but Tubby doesn't play them. Iowa is solid and drama-free at the moment.

  • Not to be outdone, CSTV had its feast week tournament at South Padre Island featuring Illinois and Fox College Sports shyly showcased the Paradise Jam in the Virgin islands featuring a solid final between Old Dominion and Wisconsin.

  • It's all about the Zone!

    Zone defense mastermind Jim Boeheim joins the team of US Basketball coaches under Coach K. Good choice here as zones are very common in FIBA basketball. Now imagine what Boeheim can do if he can set up a zone with some of the top level long and athletic NBA players!

    Tark gets his home court, next HoF?

    Saturday: UNLV names the court after Tark the Shark.
    Next step: Hall of Fame!

    More on this here:

    Wins matter most?

    After perhaps seeing his team is not as good inside, and perhaps after not signing solid post players for 2006, perhaps the New Mexico coach decided it was a good time to give rebounding-space-eater Aaron Johnson a second chance. But no scholarship for Aaron in 2006. And he has to videotape practices for this season (!). Having a space-eater inside will be the perfect complement for JR Gidden's next year. How can you blame the coach? :-)

    Need your college hoops fix?

    Need your college hoops fix? This is a great site to read:

    Coaching Records: Include RPI!

    Coaching records are looked upon with a lot of reverance. However, there is one important aspect missing from the numbers: the quality of the wins! Some coaches (not to mention names) play loads of cupcakes, and sometimes they don't even leave their state (cough Boeheim cough) until conference season begins. So to be fair, the weighted RPI should be accompanying each coaches's record. If nothing else, it may encourage coaches to play more competitive ...competitors :)

    Play by play clones

    Not just Kevin Harlan and Marv Albert, but how about Tim Brando and Rod Thulin (sp?) of Fox Sports Net?

    ESPN takes 30-second timeouts!

    ESPN has just started to take 30-second timeouts during the games. At least they are not taking -every- 30-second timeout like CBS does.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Season Preview Magazines

    Despite increased Internet coverage of previews and more TV shows on digital cable, the preview magazines continue to live! And there's plenty to choose from.

  • Blueribbon Yearbook
  • Sporting News
  • Athlon
  • Street and Smiths
  • Lindy's
  • CBS Sportsline
  • SI - NCAA preview issue
  • ESPN - NCAA Dickie V's preview issue (which is actually just this week's issue of ESPN the magazine)

    The Blue Ribbon yearbook costs $20+ and has the most in-depth coverage. The rest of the magazines are in the $5-$7 range. While they all attempt the same thing, there are differences in the scope and depth of their coverage. Check your local newstands/bookstores for comparisons.

  • Boeheim now selling shoes?

    The TV commercial for Carmelo Anthony's brand new shoe "Melo" features a quick cameo by Jim Boeheim. The HoF coach is turning into Al Bundy!!!

    ESPN analysts and ... body parts

    There is a new trend on ESPN: body parts! Majerus and calves, and Lavin and buns. At least Majerus wasn't talking about p-ing in the shower again.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    UNC Wilmington does it!

    In a group of four, three teams came big name conferences (Charlotte, Northwestern, and Wyoming). UNC-Wilmington was the only mid-major. Guess who won? UNC-Wilmington!

    ESPN ratings nightmare!

    ESPN and the NIT cmte hoped for a Princeton - Missouri quarterfinal on Thursday at 8pm EST. But they are getting neither! They are getting Drexel -vs- Sam Houston State. This is great for those two schools and conferences and for all the mid-major programs around. But it won't the ratings, given that one of these two teams is going to MSG next week to play two guaranteed games on TV! Meanwhile the very exciting game of Temple-UCLA will be shown on ESPN-U, which very few people have access to. And one of Memphis/Alabama is not going to make the trip to MSG. And yes they are both Top 25 teams!

    ESPN/NIT screwed up big time!

    UCLA Run and Gun?

    Yes, UCLA played run and gun last night against New Mexico State in the first round of the pre-season NIT. Ben Howland may have been notorious at Pitt for slow down, pound it in style, but his NAU team was dropping 3s all the time.

    At one point UCLA had three point guards on the floor at the same time! (Farmar, Bozeman, and Collison). Granted the team was missing Shipp and Aboya, so it had to play smaller. If it wasn't for LR Mhab Bhute (sp?), Bozeman would play full-time PF like Dijon did last year (bad idea).

    Andrew Wilson of FSU is not the only six year player: Janou Rubin was just granted a 6th year and played a bit.

    UCLA has been unable to recruit big bigs, perhaps because they were worried that they would be behind the two 7-footers (Fey and Hollins). There is promise for 2006 with James Keefe signing on the dotted line. Oregonian super-big Kevin Love (2007) was visiting UCLA, but can they get him to sign?

    On a totally unrelated note, it is no secret that the two Lavin 7-footers (Fey and Hollins) are total busts :-) Ironically Lavin sort of tried to defend them in-studio!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    The Princeton Offense Invitational

    The Princeton offense and its modified/sped-up derivatives are picking up momentum! Here are some places where the classic Princeton offense (or a faster version of it) are employed:

  • NC State (is this Sendek's last year?)
  • Vanderbilt (they played NC State in the 2004 NCAA tourney!)
  • Georgetown
  • Princeton
  • Air Force
  • Richmond

    Perhaps someone needs to sponsor a new pre-season tournament: The Princeton Offense Invitational!

  • Monday: Not without surprises

    Sam Houston beating Missouri at "Paige" arena? A big surprise, although not a shock to those who follow the Misery program with Quinn "one foot out the door" Snyder.

    Mild surprises:

  • Northwestern, despite their defections, managed to beat Charlotte
  • Air Force and new coach Jeff B. got their first big win over Miami
  • Drexel was not lulled to sleep by the Princeton offense

  • Monday, November 14, 2005

    CBS buys CSTV (not a surprise)

    CBS needed to capitalize on college sports and particularly on their exclusive deal to cover the NCAA basketball tournament. Getting CSTV only made sense. 300 million dollars later CSTV is in an ever greater position, both in terms of expansion and in terms of infrastructure.

    How does this help CBS?

  • Each weekend CBS broadcasts national and regional games. CSTV could pick up the out of market regional games, and also show repeats of the CBS games.
  • CBS can't afford to rebroadcast NCAA games, but with CSTV on board they can replay games at night or at a later date, show out of market games live, and add pre-coverage and post-coverage shows.
  • With the power of CBS/Viacom it is gonna be easier for CSTV to get picked up by more cable systems and move up in the digital cable packages.

  • Team previews on Fox College Sports and regional FSNs

    Check your local listings! Fox College Sports along with regional FSNs are producing 30 minute preview shows. They mainly cover SEC and ACC teams, but not exclusively. Kentucky got two previews: One from FSN and one from the Big Blue Sports Network.

    Why is it so interesting? Each preview concludes with CoachSpeak: Bobby Cremins, Perry Clark and Eddie Fogler discuss and debate each team among themselves!

    Overall these are solid productions, and they clock in around 20-25 minutes without commercials.

    Preseason NIT committee screws up big time!

    It only took the NCAA a few weeks to screw up the preseason NIT (now known as NIT Season Tip Off). They wanted so badly to get Duke -vs- Missouri at MSG. So they screwed up Alabama and Memphis, two top 25 teams, now have to play each other in a regional final! Why so? So Missouri (renamed to Misery right about now) would simply walk over Sam Houston State and then walk all over Princeton/Drexel and get to New York and play against Duke. Coach K against one of his former players/assistants? High ratings!

    But this backfired for the NIT cmte, and now the winner of Drexel and Sam Houston state will get a trip to the NIT Final 4 in MSG. Great for one of these two, but at the expense of Alabama/Memphis, not to mention Temple (having to travel to the other side of the country to play UCLA), and Seton Hall. Each one of these teams deserved a better schedule. But no, the NIT selection cmte wanted Missouri. And what bites even more, Princeton didn't win either!

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    And so it begins...

    Cornell - Syracuse
    Syracuse got a scare from Cornell but managed to pull through. Those of us without ESPN-U were able to watch pieces of the game through ESPNews live look-ins. Eric Devendork has the potential of becomign a great compliment to G-Mac. Potential... Is this the year the 2003 Syracuse recruiting class delivers? I don't think they'll get as maligned on a national level as the Michigan State group (Anderson, Hill, Tolbert), but I am sure they will be murmurs at the Carrier dome.

    Sonoma State - Arizona
    This one was on FSN-Arizona and Fox College sports pacific. This didn't count (exhibition game). Arizona showed a lot of depth and that's without McClelland who is ineligible for the fall and Jesus Verdejo who is going to redshirt this year. The rotations throughout the game were set in this fashion:
    Two Bigs: Any two of Radenovic, Fox, Walters, Tangara, Brelmaier and Onobun
    Three smalls: Any three of Adamas, Rodgers, Shakur, Dillon, M. Williams, Prince, Bragga.

    It looks like Prince and M-Williams will compete and grab minutes. Tangara has physical abilities and could surprise. Versatility and flexibility are keys for this team.

    The Arizona squad will get a good test in Maui where they can put their depth to the test after three days of humid run and gun and press.

    Those with ESPN-U have already had the chance to watch a few games from Coaches vs Cancer and such. I do not get ESPN-U at the moment.

    College basketball TV listings

    Here are some reference urls:

    Searching all the Fox channels (FSN, FCS, etc) - the search and scheduling is a bit flaky, and the FCS schedules are always changing.

    Yahoo TV search

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    The new season officially starts tonight!

    The new season officially starts tonight with the Syracuse bracket of the Coaches -vs- Cancer pre-season tournament. Unlike the exhibition and intra-squad scrimmages, these two games count! Those with ESPN-U access can watch these two games live!

    The biggest question for the Syracuse game is not who will win, but will Coach Boeheim get ejected again? :-)

    Online Live Game Coverage offers live games on audio (and some video). While most of the games are for subscribers, there is plenty of free stuff as well. Yahoo College Basketball Broadcast

    CSTV offers different levels of online/internet coverage (audio, video, game tracker)

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Most underrated freshman (pre-season award)

    Joe Krabbenkroft of Wisconsin. His game is ideally suited for Bo Ryan's style of play. You heard it here first!

    ESPN announces TV schedule

    The ESPN family of networks will show a total of ... 475 games during the 2005-2006. This is a big increase from 340 during last season. This is partly because ESPN-U will carry 144 games in its debut season, and a lot more repeats. The total includes ESPN, ESPN2, ABC Sports, ESPN-U and ESPN-Classic. At least 185 Division I teams will make an appearance on the ESPN family of networks! 130 of those games will be on HD. ESPN Full Court is apparently renamed to Homecourt Advantage, and the Guardians Classic is added to the early season exempt tournaments.

    ESPN announcement

    There will be seven College GameDay specials visiting the campuses of Louisville, Oklahoma, Florida, Gonzaga, Syrcause, Texas and Duke (vs Carolina!).

    The detailed schedule has not been posted yet.

    Monday, October 31, 2005

    College basketball produces the best NFL Tight Ends?

    The top two NFL tight ends are arguably Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. What do they have in common? They both played significant minutes of college basketball :-)

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Composite Conference Schedules 2005-2006

    Conference Composite schedules
    Big East
    Big 11 (aka Big 10) [PDF file]
    Big 12
    Pac 10

    Conference TV schedules
    Big East
    SEC [PDF file]

    Basketball Media Days
    Big East
    Big 11 (aka Big 10)
    Big 12

    Please keep in mind the TV schedules are subject to change and new games are being added, especially on local and regional channels.

    More coming soon...

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Big East Media Day all day all networks!

    Big East has a ...big media today. CSTV ran a two hour media blitz with Seth Davis interviewing players and coaches from each team and then sucking up to the commish.

    But the Big East media blitz did not end there. Three Big East coaches played Big East Jeopardy on Cold Pizza, while five Big East coaches spent an hour with Stephen A Smith on "Quite Frankly". An observation: All the coaches featured on ESPN were from the old-school Big East. I guess they didn't want Rick Pitino to outshine the HoF duo of Calhoun and Boeheim :-)

    More on the Big East Media Day at

    2005-06 TV Schedule

    This post will grow organically as more information becomes available.

    For this season, the following TV channels are going to be broadcasting college basketball games nationally:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN Classic (bring back the clock specials, and hbc specials)
  • Fox Sports
  • Fox College Sports (Atlantic, Pacific, Central)
  • CSTV
  • Comcast Sports Net
  • CBS
  • ABC
  • WGN (I believe they carry one of the Wooden tournaments)

    and last but not least:
  • ESPNU: Brand new for this year!, the preliminary ESPNU schedule looks very promising as they will be showing lots of games as well as repeats of games shown on ESPN/ESPN2.

    Regional and local networks will be showing additional games, but it's impossible to keep track of all those for the whole country.

  • Athlon Sports posts their previews online for free!

    A big thank to you Athlon Sports for making their preseason previews available online for free.

    Tracking the Transfers

    Basketball Times does a good job of keeping track of Transfers between the seasons. Their list shows not only the players eligible for 2005-06, but also the ones eligible for 2006-07.

    And while we are on the topic of transfers, Collegehoopsnet lists their top transfers for the 2005-06 season.

    And here is my list of the top transfers for the 2006-07 season (so far):

  • Justin Cerasoli @ Ole Miss (this is my pick for the biggest surprise once he becomes eligible)
  • Toney Douglas @ FSU
  • Churchill Odia @ Oregon
  • Mike Cook @ Pitt
  • Fred Peete @ NM State
  • Lorenzo Wade @ SDSU
  • Gary Fobes @ Umass
  • JR Giddens @ New Mexico
  • Aaron Johnson @ .........
  • Martin Iti @ NM State
  • Keith Bulter @ DePaul

  • Matchup zone seminars coming to a city near you

    It was recently mentioned in the media that Jim Boeheim gave the San Antonio Spurs a seminar on his famous matchup zone. It was also mentioned that Alabama is going to have to play zone because they have run out of guards but have lots of long and athletic wings/forwards. So what they need is the MatchUp Zone Seminar by Jim Boeheim!!!

    Dickie V on Mike and Mike

    Dick Vitale was on the Mike and Mike ESPN Radio show this Monday morning. (The show is also simulcast on TV on ESPN News). Dickie V talked and talked and talked about sports from baseball to tennis, but not a single word on college basketball! Wow! But in typical Dickie V fashion, he managed to mention two members of his extended family by name, he did his italian surname routine, and mentioned his motivational speaker appreances :-)

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    PreSeason Coaches on the Hot Seat and more

    I know, I know it's not even November, but here are some coaches on the hot seat:

    Hot Seat

  • Snyder @ Missouri
  • Mike Davis @ Indiana
  • Herb Sendek @ NC State (by default)

  • Room temperature, seat may get hot later on
  • Rob Evans @ ASU
  • Louis Orr @ Seton Hall (didn't they beat Arizona two years ago in the NCAAs?)
  • Triangle offense @ Kansas State
  • Leonard Hamilton @ FSU

    Coaches on the rise
    This is the exact opposite of the hot seat, these coaches are so hot they may get offers they can't refuse:
  • Mike Anderson @ UAB
  • Mark Few @ Gonzaga
  • John Beliein @ West Virginia

    Coaches on the ...Bench
    Looking for a new coach but can't wait until the season ends? Want a big name? Want a coach with TV analyst experience? How about these:
  • Nolan Richardson
  • Rick Majerus
  • Bob Huggins
  • Mike Jarvis
  • Steve Lavin
  • Pete Gillen
  • Steve Lappas (it looked like a Fired Coached support group when the last two were providing expert analysis during CSTV's Midnight Madness show)
  • Fran Francilla
  • Gene Keady
  • Henry Bibby
  • Perry Clark
  • Companion blog: Recruiting Wars

    Our companion blog, Recruiting Wars, successfully predicted that Georgia Tech would get Thaddeus Young, one of the top 5 players of the highly celebrated and anticipated 2006 recruiting class.

    The Recruiting Wars blog will concentrate on recruiting, which some people find exciting because, just like the stock market, it's wide open with almost infinite possibilities.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    The One Year Dream

    Carmello was the first, Marvin Williams was the second. This may be the path (or dream) for future generations of elite players. Play one year in college, win the championship, and then swim to a Top 5 draft position. Not bad eh?

    Greg Oden maybe heading in that direction, although he may be serious about being ...serious about staying in college until he graduates. He started a new trend: take some of your very talented friends along. OJ Mayo may follow suit in 2007 with Billy Walker and the forward from their team.

    Time Travel: UAB-Washington

    Can't wait for the new season to start?

    Here is a great game to watch to get you even more pumped for the new season: 2004 NCAA 1st round UAB-Washington

    Big East Media Days on Tuesday

    CSTV will present its third edition of college basketball media days this Tuesday. This time they will feature the Big East. Expected to be similar to their MWC and C-USA presentations, Seth Davis will interview the coaches and players for a few minutes while the in-studio host opens the revolving door for the commercials in between interview segments. The Big East coverage along with the MWC and C-USA presentations will rebroadcast a few more times on CSTV before the season begins.

    My Big East predictions? This actually looks like a sub-par year for the Big East considering some of the big names in the 16-team powerhouse. The three Big Apple schools are in recovery mode, South Florida is there for football, Providence will struggle, Marquette and Notre Dame are having a change of ...guard (literally), DePaul is having a new coach and system, Louisville is suffering from injuries and pre-season attrition (just like every year), Cincy has an old new (!) coach but the core of seniors is in tact so there is hope. The Pitt bubble may start bursting unless they find a way to win by scoring 40 points per game (Herb Pope doesn't arrive until 2007).

    Who is gonna be solid then? UConn, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgetown

    Even in a transition year, the Big East looks strong but it is not the big monster everyone is hyping this season..

    Marquette, Notre Dame and DePaul could potentially get it together before next season. They have the raw materials to get it done by March.

    My bold prediction: DePaul's coach Jerry Wainwright is the next Thad Matta.

    Post #100 - And we are back (for real this time)

    This is post #100 - And we are back (for real this time).

    Coming soon: lots of preseason commentary and previews and such.

    Until then, check out the daily coverage at

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Big East All Stars win Gold at University Games

    Jay Wright coached a solid team full of seniors to the gold metal of the world university games. The last two games were shown live on Fox College Sports with boring commentators who apparently never left the midwest before this event ;-)

    The team played solid most of the time (in the two games I watched on TV). The prime-time rotation consisted of Randy Foye, G-Mac (Gerry McNamara), and Chris Hernandez at guard, Vincent Grier as a wing/forward, and the two space-eaters (Craig Smith and Shelden Williams) were complimented by the inside-out game of Stanford's Matt Harycz. The other teams (Russia and Ukraine) were really helpless in the paint with Craig Smith and Shelden Williams being "bulls in a china shop".

    About half of the players on this team were from the ....Big East. A more appropriate name would be "Big East All-Stars". Did I mention Jim Boheim was in charge of selection and Jay Wright coaching? Coincidence? I think not!

    Granted the US team has an inherent advantage in the University games (aka Universiade) because college basketball is nowhere near as strong in Europe. The top players there sign with club teams in their early teens and stay there until they are ready for prime time.

    Fire Nancy or Fire HuggieBear?

    The most bizarre thing of all is that Huggie Bear is going to stick around for another three months to help prepare the team for the upcoming season! That perhaps can be partially explained because Andy Kennedy has been a close friend of Huggie Bear?

    For a list of 10 candidates for the permanent Cincy job: check

    And we are back!

    This blog is back! Content and commentary coming soon!

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    Sour grapes?

    Pitino left KY, went to the NBA, sat out and then got a new job at Louisville. And in 2005 he got to the Final Four with an over-achieving team. Meanwhile Tubby Smith has been at KY since Pitino left. He won the Big One the year after Pitino left but hasn't made the Final Four since. How do KY fans feel about that?

    15 years at Kansas and plenty of wins, talent and Final Fours but did not win the Big One there. Then on Year 2 at NC "Ole Roy" wins it all! How do Kansas fans feel about that?

    They recruited almost all the players in the NCAA Final game but they were not there to coach them! How do Bill Self and Matt Doherty feel about that?

    And now onto the 2005-06 season!

    Both ESPN and CBS Sportsline are running stories on the next season (2005-06). I haven't checked other sites - there may be more. ESPN's story is quite detailed - they present a preseason Top 25!

    ESPN's Top 25 for the 2005-06 Season
    CBS Sportsline: 10 teams to watch in 05-06

    Speculation: Lavin to Fresno State?

    Just hours before the tip-off of the NCAA Championship Game Steve Lavin flew OUT of St Louis. He appered live on ESPN News just minutes before tip-off, from a Cable TV Trade Show in San Francisco (perhaps promoting ESPN-U as they desperately try to get more cable providers to pick it up).

    Lavin mentioned during the interview that during the flight he sat next to Tark (Jerry Tarkanian, former Fresno State coach and I believe Fresno resident). SF is just 2-3 hours away from Fresno by car, a lot closer by air.

    Why is this fishy?
    * Sitting next to Tark during the flight
    * Near Fresno
    * Leaving St Louis the day of the Finals game tip-off where former associate Bruce Webber was in?


    Ole Roy ain't that good?

    The only team to win the NCAA championship four years after a losing season - and a bad one at that at 8-20 with Matt Doherty.

    Illinois jacked up too many threes (most than any other team in a championship week). Ironically perhaps, the teams with the most 3PT FG attempts in the championship game, all LOST! But it was the first half that hurt Illinois: NC's defense took the Illini out of their rhythm/motion. They looked rushed. They had very few possessions running their crisp patented motion o(a)ffense. The Illini won the second half, and made a furious comeback (So now Arizona doesn't feel as bad) to tie the game after being 13 down at the half. They only needed 2 of the 26 3-pointers they missed to go in for a W. It was -THAT- close. But NC wore them down, May was unstoppable inside, and Felton made plays when it mattered. The zebras were unfair to Augustine essentially taking him out of the game with five "nickle-dimers".

    Celebrations: May turned over the ball after the buzzer rushing to hug Coach. McCants went "soccer player" (removing shirt), perhaps in a symbolic move that this was his last game as a Tar Heel.

    Feeling a Draft: ESPN News reported that McCants may be NBA-bound, Sean May returning (unless a top 10 pick). Marvin Williams may have played himself out of the Top 3 with his jittery play in the Final Four.

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Memo to Everyone: Please stop using Binary Labels!

    Please stop using "binary labels" on players. Analysts, writers and even fans sometimes like to divide players into "stars" and "role players". This is just silly. This is by no means a binary distinction. It may make things easier for the writer/analyst, but it's far from reality. Dick Vitale does this a lot but then again he is an average [at best, and I'm being nice here] analyst.

    In fact someone [I think a coach] on TV [during March Madness] mentioned this and explained that a role player is someone who comes in and does one thing [eg a walk-on comes in and gives away 3 fouls or shoots a three]. This does not describe the majority of starters on most teams, because they can do more than one thing well! They are not role playes you silly analysts :-)

    In reality it's more a continuum, with terms such as "program player" making more sense.

    Move back the 3-Point Line!

    I think it's about time the 3-Point Line gets moved back - at least to the international level. Too many marginal shooters are jacking up threes and too many good shooters are making them like lay-ups! Some people are even shooting 50%+ from the three (eg Salim Stoudamire). That's the equivalent of 75% from the field, or 150% from the free throw line :-)

    Pushing back the three also gives coaches more leverage to pull back the reigns on marginal shooters shooting the three. It also opens up the lane, and makes the mid-range shot more fashionable and meaningful.

    Field of 96? Wow!

    A recent "Outside the Lines" on ESPN examined the possibility of NCAA Tournament expansion. They presented a field of 96 (!), where the top 32 seeds get a bye for the opening round, while the remaining 64 teams play in the opening round. This is a bold plan and would put a lot more teams in the field. Basically 2/3rds of the teams that qualify for the NIT would be in the Field of 96. About half of those "NIT teams in the field of 96" would probably play in the opening round against the mid/low majors. This could also allow the regular-season conference champions to earn an automatic bid.. This argument alone will get a lot of proponents from the mid/low-major schools. One potential disadvantage is it would make it harder to get a cinderella like Bucknell over Kansas or Vermont over Syracuse. Although in a field of 96, Vermont would have been seeded a lot higher.

    Another suggestion by an ESPN VP (and former CBS Sports exec) was to expand the opening round to 4 games instead of 1.

    Other brilliant ideas thrown in the past: Have the bubble teams play each other in the opening round.for a spot in the NCAA tournament. This would preserve all the mid/low majors in the field of 64, while the bubble teams would have to earn/lose their bid by playing other bubble teams. [put-up or shut-up for those whining that they have been left out]. These games could even be played at MSG appeasing the NIT whiners. The last time I heard this argument was from Digger Phelps during Championship week.

    The Final 2 Show!

    Partially thanks to the Selection's Committee quasi-screw-up in 2003 where they potentially matched-up the top 2 teams (Kentucky and Arizona) in the Semifinals instead of the Final, we now the #1 and #2 meeting in the Final! [Quasi-screw-up because both KY and UA lost in the Elite 8 to Dwayne Wade (now that Wade is an NBA superstar that loss does not look as bad), and to "Ole Roy" Kansas team.]

    This is huge for college basketball. The top two teams that were running opponents out of the gym are now going head-to-head in the Final! It promises to be a great game. Either team can win. The game and match-up have been disected like a frog by the various online, offline [newspapers] and TV analysts. Illinois is the sentimental favorite as a story/team/team-of-destiny, "Ole Roy" is the sentimental favorite as a coach because he is 0/4 in Final Fours. My prediction: Illinois unless NC brings it for 40 minutes. (or 45 or 50 or 55) :-)

    Exactly the opposite thing happened in the Women's Semifinals. The two SEC powerhouses (Tenneesse and LSU) lost to Baylor and Michigan State following [you guessed it] 15 point comebacks! This is great for Baylor following the DaveBliss-era tragedy/debacle.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2005

    Draft Madness!

    As always on the heels of March Madness, it's..... Draft Madness!

    Already a bunch of college players, a lot of whom are marginal 2nd rounders, have entered the draft but not hired agents yet. Testing the NBA waters is almost a must for Juniors with NBA dreams these days as they get loads of feedback from multiple NBA sources. Only one HS player so far - another moral victory for Stansbury at Miss. State, but no player!

    Perhaps this is something the NCAA and NBA can work out and make it easier for the Juniors-to-Seniors. This is very similar to the Career Fairs and on-campus interviews and Career Centers all college students can take advantage of on campus. Why not do something similar for the NBA? :-)

    NIT Final Four!

    Four teams made it to the Garden! And the two "biggest names" lost in the semifinals. Nevertheless this was a great experience for Maryland, getting Ledbetter and other players extra PT with Gilchrist and Strawberry injured. Memphis has once again shown that [by his absence] Jeremy Hunt is the silent MVP of the team - despite all the other NBA prospects on their roster.

    St Joe's is playing great as a team maximing their skills and picking up a lot of experience and momentum. Phil Martelli looks like a genius now!

    I admit I have only seen South Carolina play just once - in the NIT semifinals game - but I was very impressed with Odom's team. With all but two of the 8-man rotation returning next year, and some intriguing recruits/redshirts, South Carolina may have a Top 25 team next year.

    Right now I predict South Carolina winning the NIT! - unless they lose ;-)

    Monday, March 28, 2005

    Weekend games get great TV ratings

    As expected the dramatic games of the weekend has brought in more TV fans!

    Why so many comebacks?

    Because teams change their style. What gave them the big lead was their aggressive play! Once they pull back on the reigns and go slow and conservative, they lose the edge that gave them the big lead in the first place. This has been the case in the three overtime games in Elite 8. Michigan State was the only one who managed to escape with a victory, while Arizona and West Virginia tasted bitter defeat.

    Elite 8 - Part II

    In the only non-overtime game whose outcome was never seriously in doubt NC kept marginal distance over Wisconsin throughout the game and got their Final Four ticket punched. Obviously a great situation for the NC seniors who had to live through the 8-20 season under Matt D. And it only took "Old Roy" two years to get back to the Final Four, after back-to-back Final Fours at Kansas. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Bill Self has an Elite 8 and a 1st round ejection with Roy's players. Maybe "Old Roy" is that good after all :-)

    Why didn't Wisconsin use their big guys to wear down on the three NC forwards? Their four bigs off the bench only played a few minutes. They could have been used to wear down May & the two Williams and try to explore matchup issues defensively or offensively. Steinsma seemed to do well at the end of the 1st half in the few milliseconds he played.. I guess Bo Ryan more secure with his upperclassmen. Well, why collect all those bigs if you are not going to play them when they give you a size and matchup advantage?

    OTOH Wisconsin has shown that they can actually play and be competitive at a faster pace game. This may have surprised more than a few people. That's food for thought for Bo Ryan during the summer! And Alando Tucker is that good!

    On the second game and third OT game of the Elite 8, MSU's seniors also had something to cheer about! A Final Four trip! This class was also underachieving compared to the Flintstones, so beating Duke first and now getting to the Final Four is huge. It also solidifies Izzo as one of the top coaches showing that his three Final Fours were not a flash in the pan. That, along with his crazy number of recent Elite 8 appearances, two more than the closest coaches. It also perhaps shows that the brutal schedule of the 2003-04 season has finally paid off [the hard way]...

    Sunday, March 27, 2005

    Elite 8 - Part I

    What a great set of games in the Elite 8 on Saturday. Full of drama, suspense, comebacks and meltdowns... Both West Virginia and Arizona players thought they had the Final 4 ticket in their back pocket at one point, but they didn't! Arizona's case is more dramatic as they held a 15 point lead with 4 minutes to go, and had chances to win the game both at the end of regulation and overtime. The Illinois comeback was unreal! It only goes to show that a game is not over until it's over. This is a comeback that players may be dreaming of but knowing that's almost too impossible to even dream about. But yet it happened! Now they look like a "team of destiny"!

    On the other hand, it may be not as dreamy after all: the Illini played a home game in front of an all orange AllState arena and more importantly the refs swallowed their whistles during the last four minutes which obviously helped the aggressive pressure defense of the Illini and fueled their run.

    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Pitino is back!

    A 30+ win season, regular season and conference tourney championships, and then onto the Sweet 16 after two previous disappointing exits. And now onto to the Elite 8. Their season looks more and more impressive. And he says "almost as rewarding as Providence" [on this season].

    Watch out Pretenders and Contenders! Rick Pitino is offically back! It took him four years but now he is back and here to stay!

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    Sweet 16 predictions!

    The 8 teams that move are on:
    Washington (OT)
    West Virginia
    Michigan State
    North Carolina

    The Mercurial Memphis Tigers - Part II

    Part 1

    And now to Part 2!

    What a transformation! Sean Banks and his NBA hype are gone! High-flying Carney is coming off the bench. Hunt has temporarily recovered from injuries and legal issues and is very effective on the court. D-Wash is improving every minute he plays. The Tigers have a glorious run in the last competitive C-USA tourney. They almost win it all (on their home court). The player who made this great run possible misses two free throws [with time frozen] and costs them the NCAA invite. So much drama! But the team keeps on ticking. NIT Final 4 yet again! Will they win the NIT and lose D-Wagner (oops! D-Wash) again? History repeating? And back to square one? Perhaps...

    But this was impressive turnaround. Partial credit goes to Calipari. This team was loaded with talent and promise but not playing like a team in the fall. Not having enough ball-handling guards probably hurt them earlier on. But despite all the mess, Calipari managed to pull it through. And almost made it to the NCAA along the way! The NIT run should be huge for this team [yet again].

    Next year another highly-touted recruiting class is kinda-sorta coming in. Some of them may not qualify. Some may bolt for the NBA. Some of this year's team may bolt for the NBA [Banks, Carney? D-Wash?]. 2005-06 could be a feast or famine season for the Tigers yet again. But at least Calipari showed some risk management skills by picking up Waki Williams late from the JC ranks to offset all the non-qualifiers/NBAers last season. If it wasn't for the injuries, Waki W. would have probably pushed this team to the NCAAs...

    There's so much drama involved with this team, Part 3 is guaranteed by Summer 2005!

    And oh by the way, how about a Pitino -vs- Calipari comparison? Since that famous Final 4, they've been sort of shadowing each other. High profile NBA jobs that didn't work out. High profile rebuilding jobs in college. But as of right now, it looks like Pitino is BACK! First Sweet 16 since he left KY, a solid 30-win season yet still undermanned, with some new wrinkles in his game [zone defense? w0w!], and a boatload (literally) of talented players who will actually arrive on campus next year.

    The Bill Self bubble is officially BURSTing!

    Just two years ago Bill Self was the hottest name in coaching. Kansas fans were ecstatic to get such a great coach and some even thought that "Ole Roy" was underachieving there and Bill Self would bring them championships.

    Fast forward to today and here's what's happening:
    * Kansas has a post-season meltdown and falls to perhaps the greatest upset in modern-era NCAAs to Bucknell. This after being everyone's favorite and top RPI team. And Self "forgets" to shake hands...
    * Illinois without Self has a glorious season with just 1 loss and in the Sweet 16.
    * "Ole Roy" has a glorious season at NC and in the Sweet 16.

    So now if you look back at Self's years at Illinois, was he underachieving there? If Illinois is this good with Weber, and if Self was -that- good as a coach? Hmmmmm....

    So Kansas fans, "Ole Roy" doesn't look so bad now, does he? :-)

    Pat Summit coaching men's team?

    This has been getting a lot of attention recently, fueled by Pat breaking Dean Smith's record and the men's team not having a coach. A popular topic on ESPN's PTI as well.

    First of all this is totally up to Pat Summit. She has established a glorious legacy as a Coach. So she may be happy where she is doing what she does. Just like Coach K said "no" to the NBA because his true calling was where he was. Then there's the rivarly with UConn and Geno Au...

    But this is may also be perceived as an intriguing challenge by Pat Summit. Would she be interested in it? It's a chance to make history, and break down one of men's sports biggest "taboos": A woman coaching power conference men basketball. This is a unique situation/opportunity because she wouldn't even have to move to another University. And a great victory for gender equality and such...

    If it happens, this will also bring a lot of attention to Tennessee and college basketball. People who do not normally watch college bball may be tuning in to witness history.

    But the decision is totally up to Pat...

    March Madness!

    UW-Milwaukee Still in it! But they already got two big wins against BC and Bama!

    Bucknell Perhaphs the greatest upset in modern-era NCAA considering the RPI and talent level of Kansas.

    Vermont A dream season and glorious ending for the Ben&Jerry team! And it looks like ESPN has found its Vitale-TNG (for non Star Trek fans: The Next Generation) in Tom Brennan.

    West Virginia It's all about the team and it's all about hitting 3s and it's all about 1-3-1!

    NC State Right Place Right Time works to their benefit for a change. Julius Hype is finally delivering.

    Texas Tech Another team-oriented team. Classic Knight with modern-era influences from his son Pat Knight. Just like the Sutton & Son hybrid approach, it has resulted in success in March!

    March Sadness!

    Kansas A heavy pre-season favorite, they have a post-season meltdown and end up on the losing side of perhaps the biggest upset in modern-era NCAA tourney!

    Hype Forest Yet another earlier dismount from Wake Forest. The soft label will no doubt continue to linger. Not having any mid-size guards perhaps hurt more than people thought it would.

    Syracuse A veteran team with talent and experience from the 2003 title is upset in the 1st round by an underrated Vermont team.

    Boston College The balloon deflated towards the end of the season. But it was a disappointing exit for the Big East regular season co-champs.

    Pittsburgh Oh look! Another Big East meltdown! The "tough" Big East eh? Well Pitt has been going on fumes and cupcakes the last few years. Did not surprise me!

    GoneZaga This is the fourth year in a row the Zags have been unable to get past the 2nd round. Two of their last four outs were reasonable (OT-thriller vs Arizona and close game against Knight's Texas Tech). However, they were physically and mentally dismantled by Nevada and Wyoming one and three years ago. It looks like NCAA success is easier if you are a cinderella [at least in this case]!

    Alabama The core returned from an Elite 8 success story last year only to fall to a cinderella in the 1st round.

    LSU A great record and regular season, this team fell to UAB, a team they beat just a few months ago. A little bit of a strange line-up at LSU with two big bigs and two small smalls...

    Mississippi State They tried hard to lose to Duke. Missed layups, free-throws and on and on. A game they should and could have won! But this only shows why Coach K/Duke is Duke, and why Miss State under Stansbury has been unable to get past the 2nd round the last few years despite having great regular season records (but lots of wins against OOC cupcakes).

    UConn Lots of talent and potential but not a lot of "team intangibles". Just one ball handler also hurts. Two shooting guards who didn't shoot also hurt. Super talented forwards who'd rather look pretty for the NBA than play team D also not good.

    Oklahoma They thought they had this team turned around and had high hopes. Perhaps they over-achieved this season and raised the expectations for the NCAAs.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    Coach K now holds the record

    Coach K now holds the record of most NCAA tournament wins surpassing Dean Smith after beating Mississipi State over the weekend. But there is an asterisk on this record, since Coach K coached during the expanded tourney (6 games vs 4 games).

    Nevertheless, it's an amazing number of wins! Some fans can argue that there should be an asterisk here as well because "Duke gets all the calls". ACC-homer Billy Packer was the latest to utter the "Duke gets all the calls" line.

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    March Madness on eBay!

    March Madness is on eBay as well! Some wacky stuff there:

    • Someone is asking for $800,000+ for a march madness domain name.
    • A more "affordable" url for just $500
    • 1985 Big East Championship ring (currently at $220)
    • Final Four tickets
    And then there's the more predictable stuff, like copies of SI, video games, autographed gear, jerseys, shoes, etc...

    College basketball is all over the airwaves!

    This is a huge year for college basketball over the airwaves.

    The men's tournament is on CBS, with some CBS affiliates showing a 2nd set of games on their HDTV channel. Access to out of market games via broadband was just $15 at The only thing missing is the availability of that package on cable systems. (Already available on satellite).

    The women's tournament is also getting more airtime with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN-U and Full Court!

    Division 2, 3 and NAIA are also getting additional airtime with live games on CSTV!

    College sports are picking up momentum after yet another "work stoppage" in Pro sports (NHL this time, MLB and NBA not long ago). The average fan is probably not thrilled about billionaires fightining with millionaires over money.

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Coaching Carousel!

    It didn't take long! It started a few days ago on some west coast schools. Now it's gone big time! Happy Trails Pete Gillen, Steve Lappas, and Buzz Peterson!

    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    Packer does not want to "touch" mid-majors

    Jim Nance kept asking Billy Packer for an opinion on the mid-majors on the bubble [Buffalo, Miami-Ohio, Northern Iowa], but BP did not want to comment because he has not watched them play and probably he is not even aware in which conference play! Isn't he paid the big bucks to be a basketball analyst? Maybe he should cut down on golf and watch a few hours of tape on mid-majors!

    On a different note, he was very happy to point out that Saint Joseph's is OUT this year! The feud with Martelli continues!

    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    Pacific rolled over for the greater good?

    Is Pacific rolling over for the greater good of the Big West conference? Remember Utah State was [unfairly] left out of the NCAAs last year! I swear i saw a white flag... or maybe it was their shirts ;-)

    Memphis - are they back on the bubble?

    A heroic and at the same time dramatic performance by D-Wash may have put the Memphis Tigers back on the bubble. He kept the team in the game in the 2nd half only to lose the game at the free throw line! Memphis's 3 wins in C-USA combined with a handful of bubble teams losing games they were supposed to win in their conference tourneys, may have put Memphis back in the bubble!!

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    ESPNU is up and running!

    ESPNU is up and running! Currently showing live and repeats of Championship Week games! More details at Currently only available on DirectTV and Adelphia cable.

    Speaking of championship week, Comcast SportsNet is also showing some MWC/WAC tourney games [some of them are ESPN Regional/Full Court games].

    Selection Sunday TV specials!

    The brackets are releaved on a 1-hour show on CBS at 3pm pacific.
    ESPN follows-up with a 2-hour ESPNU Bracketology show at 4pm. This will repeat at 6pm on ESPN2, as well as ESPNU [for those who get it]
    CSTV will also have a "1 College Sports Show" special on the brackets!

    Who wants to be in the NCAA?

    Bubble "BCS" teams keep on falling!
    This should widen the door for the "mid-majors" at large

    Latest bubble bursts: Indiana (Goodbye Davis?), and Virginia Tech!

    ESPN is ....Tilting!

    Championship week, important games left and right and what does ESPN choose to showcase on Thursday night? TILT!

    Is Poker a Sport? NO!
    Is a TV series about Poker a Sport? NO WAY!

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Gene Keady's final game!

    Gene Keady's 25 year career at Purdue is officially over! The ESPN reporter tried to get some emotion out of Keady, but he only gave us some eye moisture and a hints of a quivering (sp?) voice.

    Great games today!

    A lot of great games were played today! Some teams played there way in, others played their way out! Quite a few bubble teams lacked "desire" to win! One bubble spot is gone now that Nevada lost! And Memphis looks -very- serious about winning C-USA on their home court! Facing South Florida instead of Huggy Bear should help!

    Politicians and ACC tourney promos!

    ESPN decided to get "creative" and use politicians to promo the ACC tournament. Yes, you know, politicians and DC, the host of this year's ACC tournament. They should have used the politicians for the Selection Sunday show instead!

    Bubbles are bursting left and right!

    Looks like Doug Gottlieb was right on the money when he kept repeating today on ESPN: "Do any of the bubble teams really want to go to the NCAA?". Lots of teams are playing their way out! Now the M-word is becoming popular. M for Mediocre bubble teams!

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Thad Matta is a record spoiler!

    If you plan on having an undefeated season make sure you don't play against a Thad Matta team!
    His teams dethroned Illinois this year (Ohio State) and St. Joseph last year (Xavier).

    Notre Bubble has burst!

    And the Notre Dame bubble officially bursts! Yes, Quinn did not play but Rutgers was the #11 seat.
    ND could not stop the 3s! As Raft says, "Douby-Douby-Doo"!

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Tim McCormick has a VERY annoying voice!

    I'm sorry but Tim McCormick has a VERY annoying voice! There I said it :-)
    This may explain why instead of doing ESPN/ESPN2 games, he is doing ESPN FullCourt and Mid-Major games.

    Not a Golden child after all

    Chris Paul almost declared a saint by ESPN is now officially just like any other player:
    Chris Paul gets one (1) game suspection for punching Julius Hodge's Onions!

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Seven days to Selection Sunday!

    It feels like the 04-05 basketball season just started yesterday. Yet we are just seven days away from Selection Sunday! Seven days for teams to make or break the NCAA and the NIT! If today's games were a preview, we're in for an exciting championship week and Tournament!

    Yet another Duke-CarolAna classic!

    Yet another Duke-CarolAna classic game! McCants absence was felt when NC had an offensive dry-spell. The game was a great ...block party! There may be a repeat of this in the ACC tournament final! Now "Ole Roy" is 2-6 -vs- Coach Kryzoonski.


    Last play of the game, last shot, timed perfectly by Salim, helps Lute Olson break Wooten's record on the home court of their bitter in-state rival. Onions!

    Destiny: Last game, last minute, last shot !

    That's how long the Illinois winning streak lasted! It took a career game and onions from Sylvester to take down the undefeated Illinois. It was oooh-sooo-close for Bruce Webber & Team! Just one shot managed to undo an undefeated dream season!

    On the other hand this was a great gift for the Ohio State team and especially its seniors who were UNFAIRLY PUNISHED by their University/AD and the NCAA for a Jim O'Brien violation years ago. Now on Senior Night, they go out by making history by preventing Illinois to make history!

    Digger Phelps is a Homer!

    Despite loss after loss, Digger has been adamant that Notre Dome is an NCAA lock? Why? Because he's a homer! Notre Dame is a bubble team at this moment after losing AT HOME to two other bubble teams (UCLA, Pitt). And if it wasn't considered a "designer name" by some people, it would be considered sliding (Georgetown is considered sliding and out, but ND is in?)

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    This blog has been silent for a while...

    This blog has been silent for a while...
    But the conference championships and the NCAA tournament is just around the corner.
    And now if you have broadband, you can watch all out of market NCAA games with Broadband Video on Demand for $20 or less from a CSTV/CBS collaboration.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    New Hall of Fame members?

    Some are emotional favorites like Lou Henson and Gene Keady. Some are tainted unfavorites like Tarkanian and Eddie Sutton?

    What exactly is the definition of a Hall of Fame coach? Is it on the court achievements only? Is it just Wins and Losses? Is it winning championships? Is it off the court achievements as well? How about the RPI/SOS of those wins and losses? Jim Boeheim can certainly relate to that: sitting in upper state New York in November and December and picking up a handful of guaranteed cupcake victories each year will no doubt boost the numbers of wins per year.

    Until someone from the Hall of Fame clears that up, it will be highly debated...

    Majerus is boldly going...

    Majerus is boldly going where no ESPN analyst has gone before:
    Ashley Judd, adult videos, Vitale and Sean McD sharing the same bed and combing each others hair!

    Send It In Jerome!

    Last night (January 25) was the anniversary of that 1988 game when Jerome Lane shuttered the backboard and Raftery uttered the classic "Send It In Jerome!". (Yes, it was featured in ESPN's "This day in basketball history" during one of the 30 second timeouts).

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Coaches on the Hot Seat!

    Down in the ACC, Pete Gillen is always on the hot seat. An 0-5 start in the ACC after a promising preseason, will fan the flames. Eight years at NC State, and Herb Sendek is back on the hot seat. Will making the NCAA be enough to save his job? Will not making the NCAA be enough to let him go?

    The Big East is getting bigger and the coaches headaches will too. Jay Wright was on the hot seat until he dethroned West Virginia and Kansas. But the team has to be consistent throughout the season, otherwise the seat will heat up again

    In the Big 12, Quin Snyder is on the Watch list, and for sure, if he wasn't a Coach K disciple he would have been coaching in the NBDL by now. Not on the Hot Seat, but on the Watch List are Patton at Colorado, Woolridge at Kansas State and Collier at Nebraska.

    Down in the SEC, Billy Donovan should be on the Hot Seat but he is not. An NCAA bid or a strong finish in the NIT may be the only things that save Buzz Peterson at Tennesee. The Tulsa coaching factory myth is starting to unravel. First John Philips and now Buzz Peterson are proving not to be of Tubby Smith and Bill Self caliber. John Brady must have sent USC a recommendation letter for Tim Floyd, but just because Tim Floyd is not available it doesn't mean Brady is safe at LSU. This season may determine his future. But LSU has a good incoming class next year, so that may save Brady for another season. Rod Barnes should be safe at Ole Miss as he has a huge recruiting class coming in next year.

    In the Pac10, Rob Evans is on the hot seat because the team has not been able to capitalize on having Ike Diogu for three years now. Perhaps an NCAA bid or an NIT final four will save his job.

    Everyone seems safe in Conference USA, but we should not understimate the firing power of the ADs.

    In the Big Eleven, Mike Davis is on the Hot Seat, even though he got the team to the NCAA finals just three years ago. Steve Alford is too, especially if this season ends in a meltdown. An NIT bid would not be enough. At Purdue, Gene Keady would have been on the hot seat if he wasn't retiring already. More trouble in the Big Eleven, as Dan Monson has yet to deliver, but to his defense he inherited a troubled program with loads of NCAA sanctions and restrictions. At Michigan, Tommy Amaker should be on the Hot Seat, but he won't be (yes, being a Coach K disciple has many benefits).

    Elsewhere, Steve Lapas is on and off the Hot Seat at UMass - depending on what day of the week you look at. Destroying UConn was huge, but losing to lesser opponents on a regular basis won't get this team in the NCAA. To his defense, he has played a tough non conference schedule this year.

    Current Head-Coaching Openings: Tulsa, New Mexico State
    Available Coaches: Majerus, Lavin, Jarvis, George Karl, Nolan Richardson, Fran Fraschilla, Matt Doherty, Mike Bibby, John Philips

    The 2004-05 Gonzaga team

    Gonzaga started the season quietly with lowered expectations because so many experienced players had graduated: Stepp, Violette, Bankhead, Skinner and Fox. Doudney was lost to injury. Their first few games verified that. Then came the Illinois game; a wake-up call perhaps? After that, they have played great, beating Oklahoma State on "neutral court" in Oklahoma (!), Georgia Tech in Vegas, UW at home, and UMass in Seattle (essentially home game).

    So what makes this year's Zags team tick? Turiaf, Adam Morrisson and S. Malon were known quantities before the season started. How about the unknowns?

    1. JP Batista has been impressive. Even though he was regarded as one of the top JC players, it does not always translate into a good Division 1 player *cough* Robert Whaley *cough* Nate Daniels *cough*. JP Batista probably exceeded everyone's expectations.
    2. Raivio. He looks like a little kid. But he got game and he can shoot. Yes, there are many areas he needs to work on, but he too has exceeded expectations.
    3. Erroll Knight. He brings energy, intensity, defense and athleticism to this team. He causes the team chi to flow. Without him, they looked flat and lost to USF.
    4. P-Mac and Pendo both have contributed and would contribute even more if they got more PT.

    Unless they have a meltdown and end up with a losing WCC record, Gonzaga will be in the NCAA and will probably get a good seed. How will this team do in the NCAA tournament? The last two years they have been Gone-Zaga, in the 1st and then 2nd round, beaten up physically and mentally by Wyoming and Nevada. How would they fare this year when playing a tough talented team? Will they have a meltdown like the Illinois-game or will they play to the level of the competition like the OklahomaState/GeorgiaTech/Washington games? March is just around the corner :-)

    Jason Williams debuts on ESPN2

    Last weekend Jason Williams made his broadcasting debut on ESPN2 as the analyst of the Memphis-UAB game. It looks like Jason/Jay Williams did his homework and "watched tape" as he used phrases like Billy Packer's "that was a good play on his part", and he had his version of the Brad Daugherty "hoo hoo hoo HOO!". Speaking of Brad D. where is he now?

    Phoenix Rising Part II: Oregon State (- Washington)?

    Last season, Washington started its dream run to the NCAA by making a wild comeback and beating Oregon State in overtime. That was Phoenix Rising Part I: Washington, and it got started at the Washington - Oregon State game.

    This year during the Oregon State - Washington, it is perhaps Oregon State's turn to play "Phoenix Rising". They had a major scare when Coach Jay John had to be taken to a near-by hospital at half-time. They didn't come back to win the game, but the they got a solid W against ASU in their next game, and had a good game against the hot Arizona Wildcats. Will this year's Oregon State - Washington game result in Phoenix Rising Part II: Oregon State? Only time will tell!

    Must read: West Coast Recruiting

    This is an in-depth article on West Coast Recruiting, mainly the 2005-06 class.
    The first part analyzes the University of Washington, while the second part (which would be of interest to a broader audience) goes through the Top classes in the West/Southwest. The third part ranks the players in the Puget Sound area. You can read it right there: 2005 Recruiting at

    Digger's Dagger

    One of the ESPN analysts commented that the refs missed a call or something like that. Digger Phelps interjected by throwing a dagger: "they are always missing it". Onions!

    College GameDay thoughts

    Overall I think the debut of College Game Day for Basketball was a great success for ESPN. I would like to see more in-depth coverage and more special features, but other than that, it was great.

    Please Fire Dick Bennett!

    Not because of his job performance. Not because he flipped the UW fans.
    Because his style of play is U-N-W-A-T-C-H-A-B-L-E.

    Prediction: Maryland will upset Duke

    And here is a prediction for you: Maryland will beat Duke!

    Why? As we all know the Duke - Maryland rivalry is very intense. I predict that the Maryland team will be reborn from its ashes and get it together and beat Duke at Cameron Indoor on Wednesday in a close game.

    I cannot predict whether Dookie Vitale will start crying after Duke loses :-)

    A Tale of Three Seven Footers

    That's not an NBA starting line-up. That's the Colorodo State team. The three seven-footer line-up got some national exposure last night as the Mayor of the Mountain West, (and college football side-line reporter, and dog-show play-by-play guy (!!)), Jimmy Dykes called the game on ESPN's Big Monday.

    It is rather surprising that this Colorado State team has been able to recruit three seven footers, but they have not been able to recruit guards to compliment them! Usually it's the other way round with most teams :)

    A Tale of Two Meltdowns

    That could describe last night's Syracuse at Rutgers game. Syracuse had a defensive meltdown in the 1st half, while Rutgers started the 2nd half with a textbook meltdown crumbling under pressure.

    "oafense" is the new offense

    Thanks partly to Rick Majerus and partly to the ESPN in-studio analysts fascination with the Majerus/Wisconsin pronounciation of "oafense/offense", "oafense" is the new official word for offense this year!

    Andrew Bogut is rising

    With Utah not being on national or regional TV a lot, Andrew Bogut's performance has been flying under the radar, until people started realizing that he is having an All-American season and he is rumored to be not just a lottery pick but a potential #1.

    What's even more impressive about his numbers is that Utah is a slow-down team, so he gets those numbers in fewer possessions that the average college basketball team.

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Too many cupcakes Alert!

    Teams with Very High RPI and Significantly Lower Strength of Schedule (SOS):

    • Illinois #9 RPI, #67 SOS. Any more cupcakes Mr Webber?
    • Boston College #4 RPI, #44 SOS
    • Syracuse #11 RPI, #70 SOS. Cupcakes taste better at home Mr Boeheim?
    • Charlotte #49 RPI, #125 SOS
    • Domers #33 RPI, #74 SOS
    • Louisville #25 RPI, #86 SOS
    • A few mid-major teams but that's mainly because of their conference RPI

    The Brave Ones
    : They'll play anyone anywhere anytime: Higher SOS than RPI:
    • Purdue #2 SOS, #131 RPI. Gene Keady wanted to go out on a bang, but not this kind of bang!
    • Temple #3 SOS, #42 RPI
    • Missouri #8 SOS #43 RPI
    • Indiana #9 SOS, #36 RPI
    • UMass #15 SOS, #52 RPI
    • Clemson #16 SOS, #56 RPI
    • East Carolina #18 SOS, #167 RPI

    These teams overdosed so badly in cupcakes their Stregth of Schedule is over 200:
    • New Mexico
    • South Florida
    • Baylor
    • Southern Miss
    • St Bonnies

    These teams overdosed so badly in cupcakes their Stregth of Schedule is over 150:
    • Virginia Tech
    • George Washington, Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island
    • Oregon State
    • Fresno State, La Tech,
    • Pacific
    • Air Force

    The numbers were taken from this excellent website:

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    College basketball is rising!

    I just counted the number of LIVE TV games on TV tomorrow (Saturday): 22 live men's college basketball TV games on ESPN, ABC, CBS, FoxSports, FoxCollegeSports, Comcast SportsNet! And three hours of ESPN Gameday. Add to that the replays and the classic games. Add to that the Women's games. Add to that the games available on FullCourt. College hoops are HOT again! Maybe people are tired of professional sports, prima donna athletes and $greedy$ owners/players.

    Kent dynasty at Oregon

    Ernie Kent is the coach. His son Jordan is on the basketball team. His daughter is a cheerleader. And another son is the leader of the student cheering group known as the Pit Crew. Building a dynasty :)

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Conference Realignment Recap

    As you all remember, there was a big soap-opera played out the last few months with lots of universities changing conference affiliation. So now, half-way into the 2004-05 season, how do the new conferences project into 2005-06 and beyond?

    Big East: As many others have said, the new Big East is going to be tough! Since the schedule will be far from balanced, one would have to break down individual schedules/games to figure out the best teams there. How many NCAA bids will they get out of 16 teams? An 8-8 recrod may not be easy even for an NCAA-bound team. A strong out of conference schedule will become a must if teams want to differentiate themselves from the other competing Big East teams. This may force Syracuse and Pittsburgh to play tough games and play road games or at least get outside their state for neutral court games. South Florida who cames in mainly for football looks like it's gonna be the only cupcake - at least on paper until they can catch up recruiting-wise. But then Miami and Virginia Tech were supposed to be cupcakes this year in the ACC, but they are clearly not! Geographically this conference is not just East anymore; they should change the name to The Big Sprawl.

    ACC: In comes Boston College from the BigEast, after the in-and-out drama. It would be really funny if BC goes on a streak next year in the ACC, just like they are doing on their way out of the BigEast. Al Skinner has been able to find diamonds in the rough but being in the ACC will only help recruiting even more. 12 teams and unbalanced schedule means more traditional home-and-home rivalries disappear. But with FSU, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson on the rise, and BC already there, the ACC will give the BigEast a strong run as the super conference in basketball.

    Mountain West. In comes TCU and more importantly it gives the rest of the MWC teams a backdoor into the very fertile recruiting grounds of Texas. I'm guessing this was a football move, but TCU fits just fine in the MWC basketball-wise. They do have an odd number of teams (9) but i dont think that's an issue.

    Conference USA: Out of the 14 current teams, 8 of them eject to other conferences next year, leaving just 6 behind. But 4 new teams come from the WAC (3 from Texas), and 2 football schools with mid-major basketball programs (UCF, Marshal). A total of 12 teams in 2005-06 and C-USA looks just a step above the other powerful mid-major conferences. Memphis and the FedEx forum are the jewel of the crown, but UAB, UTEP and Rice are solid programss. Willis Wilson at Rice is becoming the new Mike Montgomery/Stanford. Two other high profile coaches, Turnaround Tom Penders and Larry Eustachy have a very good chance to build C-USA powerhouses at Houston and So.Miss now that the Louisville, Cincy, Marquette, and Depaul are gone. Any other year Tulsa would have been seen as a solid program, but they clearly have to rebuild now. Tulane, East Carolina, SMU, UCF and Marshall will fight among themselves for conference tourney bids and perhaps NIT bids.

    WAC: Poached by C-USA who was poached by Big-East who was poached by the ACC, the WAC added three new "mid-major" teams (Utah State, New Mexico State, Idaho). Both Utah State and Lou Henson's New Mexico State are solid basketball programs. Utah State has probably lost 2-3 NCAA bids over the year simply because it played in a smaller conference. Going to the WAC should help. It looks like another round of realingment with the Mountain West is not unreasonable, as west coast and mountain teams are split between the two conferences. On the rise is Fresno State with the new Savemart arena, and Nevada . Hawaii is consistently solid. Utah State and NewMexicoState are probably going to be competitive from the get-go in the new WAC. Boise State gets a natural rival in Idaho. Louisiana Tech is Paul Millsap at the moment. If it wasn't for football, San Jose State would not be able to compete in basketball in the Big West, let alone the WAC. And nobody's buying SJSU's "silicon valley" excuse, because Santa Clara (SCU) is just 2 miles away and they are doing much better! Another conference with 9 teams for 2005-06. Clearly the WAC is weakened by the moves.

    Atlantic 10: (aka Atlantic 14) Adding the underrated Charlotte program really helps. Charlotte gets a chance to shine by escaping the shadow of the Big 4 in Carolina (Duke,NC,WF,NCSt) and the shadow of the Big 4 in C-USA (Cincy, LVille, Memphis, Marquette). St. Louis looked good on paper at the time, but now this looks like a boring slow-down team. But that's not the biggest problem. There are 2-4 teams in the A10 that are ruining the conference's RPI and they should be sent to the regional mid-major conferences. St Bonnies and Dusquene come to mind first, while Fordham and LaSalle are not far behind. At 14 teams the A10 is already overcrowded and will have even more unbalanced scheduling. If those four teams are dropped, A10 would have ten solid teams: Temple, Xavier, Charlotte, UMass, St Joe's, George Washington, Richmond, Dayton, St Louis, and Rhode Island. That looks like a tough league that would be able to maintain a high RPI during the conference season. But until then, it's the Atlantic 14 :)

    Big 10: Well no changes here, but they should REALLY change the name to Big 11.

    Turn Back the Clock is cool!

    ESPN Classic's "Turn back the clock" is a really cool idea. For those not familiar, they broadcast LIVE games on ESPN Classic every Wednesday night, using the attitude, style and graphics of the earlier days, and using announcers/analysts/guest-analysts from the earlier days such as Jim Simpson, Jud Heathcote, Rollie Massimino, and the one and only Bill Raftery. This year they are doing nine consectuive Wednesday night games.

    Boston College keeps on ticking

    The fact that Boston College is undefeated is a surprise. The way that they have managed to remain undefeated is even more surprising. Don't look now, but this is starting to look like a team of destiny.

    And what a great way to eject from the Big East after last year's in-and-out drama with BC and the Big East conference. I bet the Big East commissioner is very happy that BC is the flag bearer of the conference :)

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Recruiting Wars

    Recruiting is a lot like the stock market: Lots of speculation, millions of possibilities, nothing is really certain. With the stakes being higher and higher every year, and with the NBA always an option, there are many twists and turns on recruiting.

    Things are rather quiet at the moment, but they'll heat up in just a few weeks. Believe it or not, it's January 19th already, just 7 weeks away from conference tournaments.

    The 2005 class does not seem to have many NBA caliber talents, so there won't be as much suspense as last year on who stays or who goes to the NBA. The majority of the 2005 top players have already committed but if the coaching carousel starts spinning like the summer of 2003, people will be moving around. For example, Arizona can thank the coaching carousel (Nolan Richardson and Arkansas drama) for getting Iguodala.

    This blog will have increased commentary and analysis on the recruting wars in the next few weeks! Stay tuned!

    Why did ESPN2 include Paul Westphal?

    What's the deal?
    During the half-time show of one of the games on Tuesday, ESPN2 showed a list of successful NCAA coaches who made recent jumps to the NBA from the college ranks and did not have similar success. Yes, they included the likes of Pitino, Calipari, Leonard Hamilton, Lon Kruger and ....Paul Westphal! But they did not include Tim Floyd (or Mike Montgomery).

    Why was Paul Westphal included?
    1) First of all he had a winning record in the NBA both regular reason and playoffs and reached the NBA Finals:
    2) Second, his college coaching career before becoming an NBA assistant and coach was just three years in the small college leagues (which included an NAIA title in 1988). That's not even recent. That's Larry Brown era!

    Where can I see the latest RPI/Team Rankings?

    1. Lots of numbers, and free:
    2. CBS Sportsline publish their own RPI but they dont break it down
    3. Some free content, but the detailed analysis requires an annual fee:
    4. ESPN's InsideRPI but you have to be an Insider which requires a monthly or annual fee
    5. Free stuff but detailed content for pay:
    6. Sagarin ratings (not the NCAA RPI), at
    7. Not only RPI and SOS ratings but more unique statistics all for free:
    If you have any other sites to recommend, please let me know and I'll add them!

    Instant classic: WakeForest at Florida State

    Wake Forest was supposed to be in an Instant Classic. They were hosting North Carolina. Two of the hottest teams in the country. Last year's games between those two (especially the first one) were great. But instead, Wake Forest found themselves in an instant classic three days later on the road at Florida State.

    Speaking of Florida State, they continue to show flashes of a great team when they play at home. Now if they can be consistent and do that on the road... They have 11 players who play significant minutes. They can wear opponents down, run up and down, and they have potential breakout stars in V.Wafer, Al Thornton and T.Galloway.

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    Majerus taking shots at Billy Packer?

    During the ABC Sports telecast of the UCLA-Arizona basketball game, Rick Majerus was commenting on Dickie V saying "everybody loves Raymond" referring to Raymond Felton of North Carolina and using the name of the long running CBS sitcom by that name. Rick Majerus essentially called Dookie V better than Billy Packer! Since Dookie V does just about everything but analyze a basketball game during his telecasts, this looks like a shot at BP!

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Historic compromise in USC head coaching decision

    The USC Athletic Director(s) had to make a difficult decision in selecting the next coach. The main trade-off was whether to (1) hire someone that was available NOW or (2) wait until the end of the season and go after both current and former head coaches.

    What probably led USC to option #1 is that at most 4 players are returning next year. It may be less if some of them decide to transfer or become ineligible. Hiring a coach now and using him as a recruiter until April when he takes over completely allows the new head coach to go out and recruit both HS and JC players and perhaps bring in some of the available transfers that would be eligible for the 2nd semester of the 2005-06 season. This probably gave Tim Floyd the edge over George Karl, as Tim Floyd is more familiar with the insanity of NCAA recruiting rules, even though George Karl is a bigger name. George Karl would have probably needed a former college head-coach or seasoned veteran assistant as his #2 to help him catch up with NCAA rules, regulations and violations.

    If they went with option #2 and a new coach hired in March/April, he would have a hard time filling up the roster, let alone field a competitive team in 2005-06.

    The AD probably wants to have a competitive team when the new arena opens up so they can fill up the seats.Getting a coach now essentially salvages the 2005-06 season and saves them from one year of rebuilding.

    But it is rather ironic that the last two USC coaches are former UCLA people, while the former USC super-star and SoCal coach Paul Westphal was not even given a chance! With the two high profile SoCal jobs now filled, Westphal may look into getting a "BCS" job, probably in the west/southwest. As always, some jobs will come up this summer. This is all speculation but having the Arizona connection (being a former Phoenix Suns coach), Westphal may find himself at ASU next season, or perhaps at U-of-A in Tuscon if/when Lute Olson decides to retire.

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    lifting a redshirt in January!

    This is filed under interesting developments. After a lot of deliberation it was decided that Kirk Waters was to be red-shirt this season. But apparently Lute Olson has not been happy with his bigs, and I guess not happy to use Hot Sauce and McClennan as PFs, so they decided to pull Waters out of the redshirt and throw him into the fire at the USC game last Thursday. So this is the 2nd year of eligibility that Waters is using when he was supposed to be redshirting! But on the plus side, if he is as good as Lute thinks he is, he may be the 2nd best big man on the team before long.

    Latest posts

    Latest from Recruiting Wars