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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

I Come In Peace

is the title of the movie in which ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas played an alien cop.

Truth is stranger than fiction.


in New England. Interesting to note that basketball coaches at elite high schools cater their workouts to college scouts.

my thoughts

exactly. The highlights:

I don't want to say Tubby Smith and UK have owned Billy Donovan and Florida lately, but I saw Billy D. fetching Tubby a vanilla soy latte the other day.


Billy is so concerned about the rip-and-run defense the Gators have been playing that he recruited former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt to fix things. If Shyatt delivers, he will be the first Florida recruit to live up to the hype since Mike Miller.

Great minds think alike.

You want to know how harsh college hoops is these days? Tom Izzo took Michigan State to three straight Final Fours, and his fans grumbled about an 18-12 season last winter.

Right again. Lay off Izzo, Spartan fans. Help is on the way.

don't tell us you're not leaning

if in fact you are

(One of the many articles you can access by paying to be a CBS Sportsline VIP Member. Or by visiting the host newspaper's free site. Not the best of business models, eh?)

battle of the bands?

Life in the SWAC, courtesy of Joe Schiefelbein. Read the excerpt. Feel less guilty. Then return to focusing on the power and mid-major conferences and teams that interest you.

The basketball in the Southwestern Athletic Conference can often lack fanfare and certainly almost always misses out on national respect. An unofficial Rating Percentage Index had the SWAC as the second-to-worst Division I basketball conference in the nation last season.

Even among SWAC fans, they love their football teams and their bands way more than they love the round ball. That being said, the SWAC often plays out as tough a league as there is in college basketball.

Balance is the key denominator. Five teams finished tied for fourth place. And second-place Alabama State had just two more wins, at 11-7, than those in fourth place, at 9-9. There is no substitute for mental toughness in this conference. Most of the gyms are small, but that can only turn crowds at Alcorn State and Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley State into raucous atmospheres.

The conference road trips stretch into a five-day affair, starting on Friday and finishing with a late bus ride home immediately after a Monday night game, getting back on campus early Tuesday morning.

Friday, October 01, 2004

go all in

Rename the 2005 and 2006 editions the biggest little conference tournaments in the world.


The Eagles in question will soon be grounded.


On the road today for work. Will post again in the late evening, upon my return.

KC Y'All

Plans for the new College Basketball Hall of Fame are being presented as I write. Glad we're getting our own venue and will no longer depend on the pro game.

"Kansas City has had a rich, rich basketball tradition," said [Duke coach Mike] Krzyzewski, president of the NABC Foundation. "You've had a love affair with college basketball for decades -- nine Final Fours, numerous NAIA championships."

"It's not just a good choice," said Krzyzewski, who spoke at a downtown news conference along with [Kentucky coach Tubby] Smith and former Missouri coach Norm Stewart. "It's the ideal choice."

They Said It

"Logic never interferes with the optimism of a Kentucky basketball fan."
-- Larry Vaught, Danville (KY, Population: 15,294) Advocate Messenger Sports Editor

Thursday, September 30, 2004

the case for one and two year studs

John Schuster sounds the alarm (prematurely) about the University of Arizona's recruiting. Lute Olson has put together several high-quality recruiting classes in a row and nary a year has gone by that the Wildcats have been without a star. Furthermore, last year's troubles were partly a function of having too many chefs in the kitchen, not too few.

That being said, John's broader argument is quite persuasive. To succeed, today's NCAA clubs need athletic, dynamic players. But so do NBA squads, prompting talented players to leave early, after only a year or two of college. Several schools have responded to this trend by adjusting their recruiting tactics and targeting likely three and four year players. Exploring the Wildcats' past, Schuster argues downgrading is an unlikely recipe for success. In other words, stars remain a must. Which may not sound like a radical notion. Until you realize that couresty of elite programs' new recruiting philosophies a school or two has probably forgotten the basics.

Numbers of Fans in the Stands

Who knew basketball was so popular at BYU? Or at New Mexico, despite several subpar seasons? Crean is generating enthusiasm at Marquette, as is Calipari at Memphis. Indiana remains a great place to watch basketball, as does Kentucky. While Arkansas and Tennessee (!) attract more ticketed guests than do Duke and Georgia Tech.

From my review of the NCAA's 2004 National College Basketball Attendance Report.

from blog to print

The Seattle Times confirms the blogosphere's hunch. Top 30 prospect Jon Brockman will most likely stay at home and play for the University of Washington.

With apologies to the Cameron Crazies, it looks like coveted Snohomish forward Jon Brockman won't be playing for Duke starting in the fall of 2005.

In fact, all signs point toward him committing to Washington, possibly as early as today. Brockman would instantly become one of the most high-profile recruits in UW history and the biggest coup of coach Lorenzo Romar's tenure.

Will it be Millertime

at Xavier for a long time?

Gregg Doyel
thought so but Paul Daugherty sounded both skeptical and hopeful in "Can XU break 'ex-U' streak?." In my mind it is much too early to make even an educated guess about Miller's future.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

my first


You heard the rumors there first

Though I called it last week. Dukeblog says Jon Brockman has decided to attend the University of Washington. A huge pick-up for Lorenzo Romar. Huge.

around the blogs

-- You're not a has-been if Dave Sez you're a never-was.

-- I fought the law and the law won? Decide for yourself, but be sure to sift through Ken Pomeroy's data. I remain skeptical about reaching conclusions from an injury plagued year regarding a player's likelihood to contribute positively the following season, even if that player (Vytas Danelius) was not affected by his injury equally throughout the previous year.

who's on first?

Gregg Doyel tells the story of Coach K finding the foreign trip loophole that has enabled numerous programs to finagle extra practice days before the start of the season. He then writes:

This fall has seen an unprecedented number of foreign trips because coaches know the NCAA is about to tighten that loophole and return the rule closer to its original intent. Effective Nov. 1, foreign tours must be scheduled during summer vacation or "any other vacation published in the institution's official catalog," according to the NCAA.

To accommodate their basketball program and facilitate early practices, which institution of higher learning will be the first to add (an excuse for) a vacation to their official catalog? Any guesses, because I believe it will happen.

Don't think any school will sink that low? Remember Jim Harrick Jr.'s "class" at Georgia?

a steal

Gregg Doyel writes of a significant drop-off in the caliber of schools recruiting Dallas big and Top 50 prospect Kevin Rogers -- but not because scouts think any less of Rogers' play.

Rather, because Kevin prefers to package himself with Top 10 prospect C.J. Miles and because a couple coaches believe Rogers may not have the maturity to make an immediate contribution to an elite program.

Ok. But Rogers remains a Top 50 big man. Quality players his size don't come around every day. I figure coaches at several schools, perhaps not Kansas, Arizona, Georgia Tech and Texas, but higher-profile than Baylor and Texas A&M, would jump at the opportunity to sign Rogers. Alone or in a package deal. Here's looking at you, Herb Sendek, Tommy Amaker, Ernie Kent, and John “new money” Brady.

so much for that

The only player in the 103-year history of the University of Washington's basketball program with the last name of Washington just left the Huskies. Although not much of a contributor, Anthony will be missed down low. The Washington big logged 10 minutes a game last season.

Show Them The Money

Excluding Ohio State and Southern California, the two most notable institutions that don't appear in the rankings, the University of North Carolina made more money off its merchandise in 2003-2004 than any other school in the nation.

UNC is a basketball school with a mediocre football squad. Second and third in the Collegiate Licensing rankings were Michigan and Texas, football schools with popular basketball programs. Fourth was Notre Dame, a large chunk of whose sales can be chocked up to tradition and a national fan base. Fifth was LSU, courtesy of Saban's success on the football field.

Not a bad mix, as I would have expected football schools to dominate.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

creating value

Mike Krzyzewski earned $800,000 last year while Duke's former president, Nannerl O. Keohane, made $485,000.

Coach K is worth every penny (and more). For better or for worse, even at a Top 5 school athletic stars are better paid than academic and executive/administrative leaders.

Is he worth it?

I believe Jimmy Boeheim saw this coming. But when is enough enough?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Syracuse point guard Billy Edelin has been declared ineligible for the first semester of the academic year because he does not meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements, school officials said Tuesday.

The NCAA requires a student-athlete to have earned at least half the credits needed to graduate to be eligible as a first-semester junior, and Edelin has not reached that total....Edelin originally enrolled at Syracuse in the fall of 2001, and that's when his eligibility clock began. The university suspended him that October after two female students accused him of sexual misconduct. No charges were ever brought against Edelin, and he was reinstated by the university the following June.

The NCAA also suspended Edelin for the first 12 games of the 2002-03 season for participating in a dozen recreational league games while serving his university-imposed suspension. Last season, Edelin started the first 16 games, averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 5.4 assists before suddenly leaving the team for what Boeheim termed "personal issues."

Is Edelin a skilled player? Sure. Could he make a significant contribution to the Orangemen's success? Yes. But is he worth keeping around amid the accusations of sexual harassment, academic ineptitude and personal problems? From a humanitarian perspective, certainly. But from a team chemistry perspective, no. The ‘Cuse need not be distracted as they begin a season that may well end in St. Louis.


bed of the respect he deserved.

[Washington's Nate] Robinson wasn't even listed in the NBA draft guide because no one at league headquarters thought he warranted a bio. Yet he clearly played his way onto the draft board as a possible second-round pick. Still, he had the sense to return for his junior season and try to play himself into the first round.

Read the rest of Andy Katz's column on Oregon and Washington here. In reviewing the piece, I was struck by the maturity of Ducks' super-signee Malik Hairston.

robbing the cradle




(Via Scott)




Where have I read this column before? Oh, that's right, here.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I couldn't

make this stuff up if I wanted to.

I'm sympathetic to Iowa's concerns and aims, but never thought to expect a policy prohibiting team mascots from university venues or to anticipate the finer challenges of scheduling.

When he's right,

he's right.

"Here's a copy of the United States Constitution," [Bob] Knight said. "It's got 15 pages, and it's served us for a long time...Moses wrote 10 things on a rock that have lasted millenniums."

Knight said the NCAA rules are so complicated that he couldn't find seven answers to a 40-question open-book compliance test administered by the NCAA. Six of the questions, he said, could have had at least two different answers.

"This is what's wrong with college athletics," said Knight, holding the manual again. "This thing needs to be thrown out, and we need to start over again."

And when's he's wrong, he's wrong. Think chair, choke and "if rape is inevitable..."

In both caes, however, the General provides a steady stream of blogworthy material.

an ode to odom

During the press conference introducing Dave Odom, University of South Carolina athletics director Mike McGee incorrectly -- and repeatedly -- referred to Odom as the school's new football coach.

But after last year's campaign, a 23-11 season that culminated in an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament for the school's Gamecocks, few in Columbia recognize Odom as anything but South Carolina's basketball coach.

And a darn good one at that.

I must admit, however, that I was never an Odom fan during his 12 years at Wake Forest. Some years he had talent. Other years he didn't. But year after year, the Demon Deacons faltered in March's main event.

Will South Carolina be more successful? Maybe. But first the Gamecocks must build on last year's progress in a deep SEC.


Will Coach K lose another? Taylor Bell says no. Michael Mueller agrees. As Greg's first love is basketball, I doubt he'll change his mind mid-season. But you never know. Because the consequences of a change of heart would be severe, I intend to keep an eye on Paulus.

Look for football/basketball star Greg Paulus of Syracuse, N.Y., to opt for basketball in college. The 6-2 point guard is committed to Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski is desperate for Paulus to fill a big hole left by 2004 recruit Shaun Livingston's decision to play in the NBA. [Bob] Gibbons said Paulus is arguably the best point guard in the nation, one of the top 12 senior prospects. He also is the top-rated quarterback in the nation by football recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.

Updated College Basketball Preseason Rankings

Pundit or MagazineAndy KatzGregg DoyelYoni CohenAndy KatzDick VitaleDime MagSlam MagPMI's ACCBlue RibbonLindy's MagStreet & Smith'sWeighted** Composite
Wake Forest763141341231
Georgia Tech322472413963
North Carolina6144215274354
Oklahoma State1918176131071221199
Michigan StateNR571551413191281112
Mississippi State12201811221216209181014
Notre Dame15162116141821*NR17132118
N.C. State142212NR202124*1118NR1220

*Slam Magazine ranked only the Top 20. Rather than exclude their rankings, I made selections 21-25 on their behalf.
**The "Weighted" composite gives each of the three pre-NBA Draft rankings half as much weight as each of the eight post-NBA Draft rankings.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

four more years?

Not for Steve Lappas.

"Craig [Austrie] is a hard worker who can come in and play right away and help UMass, which is losing their point guard this season," [Trinity Catholic coach Mike] Walsh said. "The school told me that Craig was their No. 1 recruit and he'll be going to a school which plays in a good conference and plays a good outside schedule. UMass also can provide a lot of things for Craig academically and Coach Lappas has a 100 percent graduation rate."

Walsh notes several good reasons for Austrie to play for the Minutemen. But the graduation rate of a coach who won't be around for Craig's senior year is not one of them.

senior slump

Mine wasn't nearly as long as Ashton Hall's. Despite my slump, I received a college scholarship. So too will he.

There are at least two reasons

I rarely include photos in my posts. First, graphics distract from text. Second, pictures rarely coincide with commentary. Consider Gregg Doyel's latest column. Emphasis (below) mine. Text and picture his.

While Matta can match his first four seasons against any coach in NCAA history, Xavier still could be better off with Sean Miller because Miller has that look of greatness -- and he's not going anywhere for several years. He'll give Xavier the one thing Matta could not: stability.

Sneak another peek at the photo of Sean Miller in Gregg's column. Do you think Sean has the look of greatness? Or the look of a deer in headlights?

talking the talk

Larry Eustachy is winning 'em over at Southern Miss. I agree with Ross Reily, the Eagles will suceed earlier than expected. Look for USM in next season's (postseason) NIT.

local love

Never ceases to surprise me how few Division 1 prospects greater Boston produces.

Kendrick Price, however, is legit. The Herald does him right in this morning's paper. Where will he end up? Your guess is as good as mine. But chances are it will be with a coach who emphasizes academics. Last March the Globe noted Kendrick wants to do his mom right.

"If it was up to me I would decide based on basketball, but my mom basically wants me to go to a school that is good and the academic situation is good," Price said. "That's a big thing with my mom and that's the No. 1 thing. It has to have incredible academics."