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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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Friday, October 29, 2004

Cracks in the Republic?

Both Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson and Auburn coach Jeff Lebo played and started for Dean Smith. Though their playing careers never overlapped, the two share a bond, membership in the vaunted University of North Carolina family tree.

Which makes their recent skirmish over Jarvis Hill and Joey Cameron all the more entertaining. A teaser, from Buzz:

"It's like old Lefty's rule. When a kid commits somewhere, it just lets me know who I've got to beat out. It just lets me know who my competition is."

Read on.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

The preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll is now available. Kansas checks in as the favorite.

Much too busy to comment at great length. But I will note that the poll deviates only at the margins from my preseason composite. No team is more than three spots below or above its mean ranking.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Busy, Busy

The next five days are crazy busy for me at work. Hence the light posting.

The _ _ _ _ er side of Sears

The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one.

The two-time member of the SEC’s all-academic team wasn’t buying it.

David Lee, the only senior on the Florida Gators squad, saw right through the question.

At 6-9, 240 pounds, Lee was excluded from the inquiry that boiled down to: Is Florida a finesse team and Kentucky a physical team? "The biggest problem we have had is a lack of strength on defense and rebounding," Lee said. "When you give up lots of points, you get labeled soft."

It was pointed out that the question had been asked if they were a finesse team and with a smile he replied, "I know what that meant. Soft."

Family Ties?

From the Big East Media Guide:

For the first time since 1972, Georgetown will bring in an outsider to coach its basketball team.

The Big East

Sleeper. The Mountaineers have all five starters back from a squad that nearly won the NIT Championship last spring.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Andy Katz writes that Missouri forward Linas Kleiza has fully recovered from the shoulder injury that cut short his highly productive freshman season.

Take note. Kleiza is a quality player who could single-handedly keep Missouri afloat in the Big 12. If he's ready to improve on his 2003-2004 numbers (11.1 points and 8.4 rebounds a game), watch out.

Keeping up with the Carruths

According to Gregg Doyel, Rashaad’s play and conditioning have fallen off significantly since his days as a McDonald’s All-American. The latest from Southern Miss has Carruth as a bench player.

Carruth is adjusting to the competition upgrade after spending last season in junior college and not playing anywhere in 2002-03. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 5.5 points as a Kentucky freshman in 2001-02, ranking fourth on the team with 27 made 3-pointers.

"Rashaad's not where we'd hoped he'd be," [Southern Miss coach Larry] Eustachy said. "He hasn't had a lot of basketball…not nearly the level he'll be playing at. He's rusty. He's got a long ways to go."

I read this both ways. First, Carruth is performing below expectations. Second, his teammates are exceeding theirs. Which bodes well for the Golden Eagles.

I continue to predict Southern Miss is NIT-bound. But if Carruth lives up to even half of his potential…


a real (Spiders) fan.

They Said It

"The person who follows a dictator is always assassinated."
-- Former Marquette coach Al McGuire

Here's to you, Mike Davis.

I’m jealous

of the Mayor of Rosemont, Illinois.

On Monday, Allstate Arena's crew put together DePaul's new court for the first time.

Made by Robbins Sports Surfaces - the same Cincinnati-based company that built the Bulls' home floor as well as 18 others in the NBA - the $100,000 floor represents one part of a massive upgrade that comes just in time for the 2005 NCAA regional finals to be held March 24 and 26.

Not only has Allstate Arena retired its original floor, which supposedly now rests on Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens' property in Lake Delavan, Wis., there are new backboards, shot clocks, videoboards and "quick-strike" lighting.

The Demons' coaches and players spent Monday afternoon's practice getting their first look at the court (which includes Big East logos that will be covered up by Conference USA decals this year).

"No more dead spots," noted DePaul head coach Dave Leitao, who took a few dribbles on the floor.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Jon Sundvold, a six-year veteran of NCAA Tournament games for CBS, is out at ESPN, taken off "Big Monday" in favor of Fran Fraschilla.

Word has it that ESPN wanted someone under contract with ESPN, which Fraschilla is. Sundvold, who also worked games last season for the Mizzou Network and for ESPN Regional, works as a freelancer.

Sigh. Too bad. Sundvold was among the station's better announcers. The former Missouri star would have done a better job than Mike Jarvis, Rick Majerus and former Duke guard Jay Williams, all three of whom are new additions to ESPN's lineup of 16 analysts for the 2004-2005 college basketball season.

The Daily Howler

With but a year of Pac-10 coaching experience under his belt, Ben Howland is already speaking his mind.

Howland is in favor of reducing the number of conference games from 18 to 16, which he said would improve the chances of more conference teams being selected to the NCAA tournament.

"I have been a proponent of 16 league games and maybe have a couple more non-conference games," Howland said. "There is a mathematical formula that goes into who makes the tournament, and it doesn't help to beat up on each other."

Maybe, but I doubt two additional games against Washington State and Arizona State, for example, annually cost the Bruins (or any other conference squad) an NCAA bid. Rather, the Pac-10's size enables it to operate under the best scheme possible, the double round robin system that ensures schedule parity and develops conference rivalries.

There is indeed a mathematical formula that goes into who makes the tournament. But as Howland’s scheduling at the University of Pittsburgh suggested and his recent comments affirm, even if Ben knows a formula exists, he understands precious little about its makeup.

The NCAA has Myles to go

before its own Brand of accountability takes root. But charting players’ semester to semester progress towards graduation is a reform whose time has come. I expect the more frequent release of data to focus schools’ attention ever more slightly on academic performance.

Groundbreaking is the NCAA's attempt to give a more "real-time" glimpse of individual schools and their sports programs. Beginning as early as December, the NCAA will release data that charts programs from semester to semester, indicating what percentage of players on a current team are on track to graduate.

"We'll be able to project into the future what graduation rates will look like, who's being affected and how," said Todd Petr, managing director of research for the NCAA.

Monday, October 25, 2004

guarding against disaster

A year after starting 28 games, Boo Wade won't suit up for the Badgers...

Boo Wade, expected to compete to be Wisconsin's starting point guard this season, is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team.

while former Penn State star Sharif Chambliss, cautiously optimistic, remains a health risk...

Sharif Chambliss can't tell you if he is 70%, 80% or 90% recovered from the knee injury he suffered late last college basketball season, but he knows he feels good...

Chambliss was cleared to participate in practice just before the team's first workout Saturday and has worked out in moderation in order to avoid developing tendonitis in the knee.

and Kammron Taylor lacks experience.

Taylor, a 6-3, 175-pound native of Minneapolis, played just 41 minutes in 18 games last season, with a total of 21 points, two rebounds, one assist and three turnovers to his credit.

What, then, about freshman Michael Flowers? He's a high school stud who, after committing to Bo Ryan, went on to have -- you guessed it -- an injury-plagued senior season.

Michael Flowers, a guard at Madison La Follette, suffered two torn tendons and a chipped bone in his left ankle last April. He underwent surgery Oct. 24, missed four games, played sparingly in several others and never appeared to fully recover.

timing is everything

Every time Mike DeCourcy writes a column, the Sporting News website publishes his piece first, followed by the MSNBC site several hours later. See here (12:30 PM) and here (6:35 PM).

The moral of the story? Don't get your news from MSNBC Sports. Which, if you're reading this blog, you were probably smart enough to already know.

Read My Lips

No New Northwesterns. Yes, the Red Sox might win the World Series. But even with the cosmos out of alignment, the Wildcats will not be dancing come March.

Read My Lips: If Luke Winn is correct and Northwestern makes its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament this year, I will eat my shorts. Or grab a magic marker and write Dickie V on my forehead in big black letters. Or both.

this train was bound for glory

Years later, Tulsa continues to benefit from the foresight of Bill Self and others. The Tulsa World (members only) just ran a nice piece on the Reynolds Center, the Golden Hurricanes’ on-campus basketball venue, and the impact it has had on Tulsa’s average attendance. In the new arena, TU has averaged 7,896 over six seasons, a significant improvement over the 6,987 the school averaged during its final six seasons in the city’s Convention Center.

"In the community, and with the players and coaches, there's a tremendous sense of pride in this building," TU coach John Phillips said. "We have a facility that can make a difference, and the fans know that they can make a difference in this building. You can't put a value on it.”

Well Endowed

The New Mexican notes that in the recently released Mountain West Conference Medial Poll, clubs with new coaches topped the charts. UNLV placed first, Utah came in second and Air Force was picked third. Fair enough. These rankings mirror my own. But they remain unusual.

Why? Because coaches don't usually quit on teams that have high expectations the following season. Likewise, administrators rarely fire coaches who are expected to direct successful squads. But the Runnin Rebels (Charlie Spoonhour to Lon Kruger), Utes (Rick Majerus to Ray Giacoletti) and Falcons (Joe Scott to Chris Mooney) all brought in new coaches for the 2004-2005 campaign after last year’s floor generals flew the coop.

what gives

Any old yokel can submit a question for Andy Katz, but only ESPN Insiders can read Andy's response.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

They Said It

"We are 63-3 at home in the past five years. That's not just the best record in the Big Ten, it's the best in the nation. So Dick Vitale can take his Dookies and shove it."
-- Illinois coach Bruce Weber

Never thought I would quote from SI on Campus. What next, posting excerpts from SI for Kids?

See Roy Williams Exaggerate


born yesterday

Paul Stackhouse falls all over himself after hearing Dick Vitale give a motivational speech to a group of business people. I'm speechless.

It wasn't in the Cards

for Rick Pitino's Yankees.

Knowing how big a New York Yankees fan their coach is, University of Louisville basketball players adopted a new ritual last week after the Yankees went down to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

Instead of shouting, "One, two, three, team!" before breaking their huddles, the Cards have been shouting, "One, two, three, Red Sox!"

Props to Louisville for cheering on the Sox.

the administration: stupid is

as stupid does.