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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, November 27, 2004

A reporter blogs a prediction. The result?

35, 40, what's the difference? New Mexico crushed Western New Mexico last week.

Rep. Brown? Sen. Brown? Gov. Brown?

Remember when Dale Brown got out of the running?

Dale Brown, a Minot native and former longtime Louisiana State University basketball coach, said Monday he will not run for the U.S. Senate or any other North Dakota office next year.

Brown, who has flirted with the idea of seeking the GOP endorsement to challenge Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., in 2004, said he will urge former Republican Gov. Ed Schafer to make the race instead.

"My political career has ended," Brown said.

Before getting back in?

Former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown says he is reconsidering whether to run for office in North Dakota next year.

The Minot native and former longtime LSU men's basketball coach earlier this year decided against running for Congress against Democrat Byron Dorgan in 2004. Brown said Monday that because former Republican Gov. Ed Schafer is not interested in making a U.S Senate run, Republicans from across the country are urging him to run against Dorgan. Brown said he expects to make a decision within a few weeks.

And then opting out (again)?

In what is rapidly becoming an every-two-year ritual in the North Dakota, former Louisiana State University basketball coach Dale Brown (R) ruled out a candidacy after floating his name in recent weeks. Brown cited family considerations as the primary reason for him to forgo a challenge to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D).

The former coach initially decided against a challenge to Dorgan in February but reconsidered when former Gov. Ed Schafer - Republicans' top choice - chose not to run.

Brown also mentioned himself as a potential candidate against Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) in 2002 but eventually backed out. Brown lives in Baton Rouge, La., although he does also have a residence in the Roughrider State.

End of story? I don't think so.

Dale Brown to stump for Cramer

Former basketball coach Dale Brown will be in North Dakota this week to campaign for Republican Kevin Cramer, who's running for the Public Service Commission.


fools rush in?

ahead of themselves

If the NCAA has yet to investigate the "sins at St. John's," how can the game's ruling body give an assurance that Mike Jarvis Jr. will be free of blame?

Mike Jarvis - who is currently an analyst for ESPN - has admitted to speaking with the NCAA about the matter last spring because he wanted to make sure the career of his son Mike Jr., who is now on Mike Krzyzewski's staff at Duke, would not be harmed if he wanted to stay in the business. He claimed he was assured his son would be fine.

The great White hype

was less than impressive in Indiana's first game. If D.J. lives up to expectations, Mike Davis may get to coach Marco Killingsworth in a game. But if White falters, Marco may be looking at his third coach in three years.

Ever since he signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Indiana University, freshman D.J. White has been heralded as a player who could make a difference. A 6-9 forward from Tuscaloosa, Ala., White was a consensus top 15 player in the 2004 recruiting class. He was the Alabama Player of the Year, a McDonald's All-American and believed to be the Hoosiers' answer to an undersized front court.

Then came White's numbers in a season-opening 56-52 victory over Indiana State on Tuesday night: 19 minutes, four points and one rebound. Both baskets were dunks...One of the most obvious [mistakes] was on out-of-bounds plays under the IU basket. Three times, Marshall Strickland couldn't get the ball in and all three times he motioned to White after the play, as if to say the freshman forward needed to come down the lane and position himself inside.

"I don't have an excuse. I just lost focus out there," White said.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Clark Kellog (!) writes about college basketball for Yahoo Sports. But his "Elite Eleven" make little sense. What do Sean Banks (Memphis), Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont), Ian Crosswhite (Oregon), "Jed" Dudley (Boston College), Nick Fazekas (Nevada), Winsome Frazier (Mississippi State), Glen McGowan (Pepperdine), Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Timmy Smith (East Tennessee State), Chris Taft (Pittsburgh), and Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut) have in common?

Each is "instrumental in their teams' success."

As are dozens of other players, including Ryan Gomes (Providence), Ilian Evtimov (North Carolina State), Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas), Malik Hairston (Oregon) and Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State). Just to name a few.

Kellog's list is no more than an abitrary assortment of eleven players from around the country.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Open Thread: Tonight's Games

Your comments on tonight's games?

Among them Michigan vs. Providence, Arizona vs. Wake Forest, Maryland vs. Memphis and Oklahoma vs. Washington.

And another thing...

St. John's decision to impose two years' of penalties on its men's basketball team is an admission of guilt for both a violation of the NCAA's "extra-benefit" rules and for other as of yet undetermined transgressions during the Mike Jarvis era.

Is ESPN a "worldwide leader" in ethics? Can Jarvis, today found guilty of at least leading a tainted program, continue to work as a college basketball analyst for the venerable network?

news flash

St. John's won't play in a postseason tournament this year.

After losing not one but two starters to injury, the 2004-2005 Red Storm were a very unlikely bet for the NIT (much less the NCAA). A subsequent loss to St. Francis led me to write off Norm Roberts' club entirely.

St. John's other self-imposed penalty, the loss of a scholarship this season and next, may earn the school a lighter NCAA rebuke. Either way, Abe Keita's admission that he received $300 each month from a member of Mike Jarvis' basketball staff made a tough rebuilding job even tougher.


ESPN's Jeff Shelman thinks so highly of Washington's Nate Robinson, he stepped out of his geographic bounds (the Midwest) to pen a tribute to the Huskies guard. I saw Nate in action last night against Utah and was blown away. Forget Brooks, Hernandez, Shakur, and the others. Robinson is the best point guard in the Pac-10. Without a doubt. Forget Gilchrist, Lucas, Thomas, and the others. Robinson may be the best point guard not named Chris Paul.

As impressive as Robinson's 29 points were, when he got the points was even more impressive. While it appeared as if the No. 22 Huskies were going to roll in this game, Utah rallied from 13 points down to make it close in the second half. When Utes big man Andrew Bogut cut to the basket and scored with 5:32 to play, Washington's lead was down to two, 62-60. And that's when Robinson did what top-level players are supposed to do. He took over. He split two defenders on the next possession (including Bogut) and scored a layup. Then, after Utah tied the game 64-64, Robinson really got going. He hit a 16-footer, then drove to the basket, then grabbed a loose ball on the defensive end that led to a Will Conroy layup.

sports on seinfeld

Paul Katcher just hit the big time. Paul was kind enough to post a link to my blog when I was but a newbie and recently added this site to his blogroll. In other words, I'm happy for him.

a game of inches

Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times wrote a nice piece last week about how Arizona-killer Sean Singletary wound up at Virginia.

[Pete] Gillen has not said exactly why he picked Singletary ahead of [Marquie] Cooke, who is 3 inches taller. It was a decision not entered into lightly.

"It was a very tough decision to say 'No' to the top player in the state," Gillen said.

They Said It

"Getting beat by Texas...what's their name again?"
-- Florida State forward Al Thornton, after the Seminoles lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a school that does not have a conference and did not have a basketball team until the 1999-2000 season

the norm

The University of Missouri's Board of Trustees will today vote on a new name for the school's sports arena. The "Mizzou Arena" is the favorite, but count me among those who prefer the venue be named after former Tigers coach Norm Stewart. The original contract language (stipulating the arena could not be named after a past player or coach) be damned.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

even better

Frank Burlison, back at Fox Sports, lets us know that as much as we enjoyed this year's Maui Invitational, next year's could be twice as good. Including, I hope, a match between Jim Calhoun and protege Dave Leitao.

Has there ever been a preseason tournament with the kind of field that has been put together for the 2005 version of the Maui Invitational? Try this on for size: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, DePaul, Kansas, Maryland and Michigan State. And host Chaminade, of course! Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland and Michigan State have all won national championships since 1994. And many think the Jayhawks will bag one in 2005.

Happy Thanksgiving

Parity in college basketball? Uncertainty and intrigue throughout the league?

We have much for which to be thankful. Enjoy the holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

From bad

to worse. Missouri just lost to Houston.

Quin Snyder's club is now 2-3, having lost to Creighton, Davidson and Houston.

Draw your own conclusions.

Regretfully, John R. Wooden

This excerpt speaks for itself.

Heard something funny about five minutes into the second half of the Iowa State-Drake men's basketball game Tuesday night. Hysterical.

"Curtis Stinson is off the watch list for the John Wooden Award," an Iowa State official told me in a hushed voice. The kind of voice you often hear in movies when something priceless and invaluable - Maltese Falcon, Declaration of Independence, John Fogerty - turns up missing.

Here's the story. It's a stitch. Apparently, when the Wooden preseason top 50 was compiled and released in early August, Iowa State's star sophomore point guard was on it.

Then, a week ago, he...wasn't.

When the Cyclones called about the discrepancy, the Wooden people said that he wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. (Hang on! It gets better.) They were very apologetic. They explained that it was their mistake. That an intern had miscounted the preseason votes and accidentally added Curtis to the initial list.

Accidentally. Ha. Ha.

Via Hilton Magic (and reader Alex).

Where is the love (The love, the love)?

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder

Perhaps most prodding of all was a tiny RBC Center crowd of 8,164, especially considering the home team's ranking is its highest this early in the season since 1989. The naked red seats far outnumbered the red-clad fans seated among them.

"I appreciate the fans that did show up to support us the first two games." [North Carolina State's Julius] Hodge said. "(It) definitely would be nice if more fans came out to the game, because when we're out there on the court, we definitely give it our all and play our hearts out. But for the fans who did show up and give their support, I just want to say thanks."
most of us only care about money makin
selfishness got us followin the wrong direction
wrong information always shown by the media
negative images is the main criteria
infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

the redesign

is up. Any problems?

If your browser has trouble with my new template, please let me know! Thanks kindly.

he gets paid

I recently sent folks Ed's way, but I'm not sure everybody made the connection.

College basketball bloggers now have a major leaguer in our midst. Welcome!

all deliberate speed?

The University of Missouri should take a Paige from the Laurie's playbook. Less than a week after their daughter was accused of paying a former roommate to write papers on her behalf, Bill and Nancy Laurie relinquished the naming rights to MU's new basketball arena. But many months after the school's coach was accused (and he and/or his administration found guilty) of no less than 17 violations, including recruiting an illegible player and lavishing gifts upon a troubled star, Mizzou has yet to remove Quin Snyder from office.

go figure

Steve Silver has a question about Wake Forest's Jamaal Levy.

How did a native of Panama with a Muslim first name and Jewish last name end up at a Baptist university in North Carolina?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Open Thread: Tonight's Games

Winners in bold. Not all games have concluded.

Your comments on Missouri vs. Creighton? St. Joseph's vs. Kansas? Texas vs. Iowa? Georgia vs. Western Kentucky? East Carolina vs. Gardner-Webb? Rhode Island vs. Manhattan? Miami vs. South Carolina State? Valparaiso vs. Central Michigan? Texas Tech vs. TCU? Eastern Illinois vs. DePaul? UNLV vs. St. Mary's (CA)?

40 > 6.3

The lack of a buyout clause in Pete Gillen's $900,000 a year contract suggests to some that he is a safe bet for at least a couple more years at Virginia, if not for the entire life of his contract (2010-2011).

But Seth Davis says bigger money is at stake.

You might think that a school would raise the requisite money before it built a huge arena, but that's not the case. The roof is due to go on the [John Paul Jones Arena, the $140 million, 15,000-seat facility scheduled to open for the 2006-07 season] within the next few months, but Virginia still needs to accrue another $40 million before the project can be completed. So you can imagine the pressure on Gillen not just to win, but to prove to the greater UVa community that he is building a foundation for consistent success.

Therefore, when you read articles about Gillen on the hot seat (here, here and here, for example), believe 'em.


The Paige Laurie story had legs. From the official University of Missouri press release.

University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd and University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Brady Deaton announced today that the Laurie family is transferring to the University the naming rights to the new MU basketball arena.

Under the terms of the naming rights agreement, Bill and Nancy Laurie had the legal right to retain the naming rights. Their relinquishment of those rights was a decision they made voluntarily.

Further, USC is hot on Paige's trail.

The University of Southern California will investigate allegations that Wal-Mart heiress and Mizzou basketball arena namesake Paige Laurie cheated her way through the school, St. Louis television station KSDK reported Monday....

A University of Southern California official said the matter was "disappointing and strikes at the heart of integrity."

"One must do one's own work. One must not ask others to do work for them and try to get an unfair advantage over other students," said Michael Jackson, the school's vice president of student affairs.

Reward good behavior here, here and here.

deep dish

Mike DeCourcy writes that the North Carolina State Wolfpack are deeper this year than they were last.

The quality of the bench was evident in an impressive opening victory against New Orleans. [Coach Herb] Sendek used three freshman forwards: Gavin Grant, Andrew Brackman and Cedric Simmons. The Wolfpack recorded assists on 24 of their 35 baskets in the UNO game, with guards Julius Hodge, Engin Atsur and Tony Bethel getting 15 of them.

An important observation. Julius Hodge is a stud, night-in, night-out. Tony Bethel will contribute significant points and minutes, as should Ilian Evtimov. But aside from an inside presence, depth was the biggest question mark for the Wolfpack entering the 2004-2005 campaign. If Grant, Brackman, and Simmons all prove to have the skill and maturity to merit a nine- or 10-man rotation, Sendek's club goes from ACC sleeper to ACC spoiler.

The year's

best post? A mid-majority of votes will do.

Kyle is making me rethink my blog persona. Rather than numerous quick hits, I may move towards one or two longer, more developed thought posts a day.

Or I may wait for the college sports blogosphere to grow and traffic to pick up before massaging my style. We shall see.


The only column you need to read about the brawl.

Cosell's concerns are also applicable to current college basketball coverage.

Notes from

a different era. When Massachusetts played on the national scene.

The rise of the Minutemen to a No. 1 ranking in late November 1994 included Calipari's unorthodox entrepreneurial skills.

"Every time we traveled in the state, we'd stop in a sporting goods store and we'd ask, specifically, for 20 UMass shirts, sweaters and hats," Calipari said. "We'd say, 'You don't have any? OK, do you know who would have this stuff? Because I really want to order it.'"

Let's. Lose. Lappas.

Time. For. Pastner.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Well, that didn't work.

Yesterday I noted that the "Rick-tator" had arranged for Louisville's first game not to be televised. Pitino didn't want to give Iowa the opportunity to watch the Cardinals on film before the first round of the Maui Invitational.

Didn't matter. Iowa 76, Louisville 71.

Steve Alford fans can breathe a bit easier. Boy Wonder may yet remain in Iowa City.

post-it note

The Phog Blog catches the New York Post making stuff up. For the first time. Really.

(The Lauries, by the way, are worth "only" $2.8 billion according to Forbes).

More to come.

Point Taken?

Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge rides in a 2004 Dodge Durango. Kansas coach Bill Self travels in a 2004 Lincoln Aviator. Cindy Self, Bill's wife, also benefits from the "Wheel Club." Missouri coach Quin Snyder drives both a 2004 Toyota Sequoia and a 2004 Cadillac sedan. (Important question: Does Helen Snyder also get a car? A third car for the Snyders? Pigs at the trough).

Now where oh where might these brand spanking new vehicles come from? I couldn't possibly tell you.

Just checking

to make sure there's nothing irregular about that "homecourt advantage." This season the NCAA has mandated rim testing at all Division I men's basketball facilities and has developed a standard to ensure conformity.

Crying wolf?

In November of 2003, Sports Illustrated's Alexander Wolff made a very persuasive case that Steve Lavin would be a tremendous television analyst. Here's why:

He's an outsider. Ex-coaches are loath to knock guys with whom they once shared the lodge; you could go into a diabetic coma from all the corn syrup that ESPN's usual analysts pour on the coaches they cover. With Lavin, there's little danger of pulled punches.

That turned out...to be true. Unlike Dick Vitale, Lavin criticizes the game's coaches as often as he compliments their work. I never sense he holds back on camera in the hope a little tact will help him land a second head coaching gig.

He has a visual mind. It's not just that, with slicked-back hair and a Rileyesque wardrobe, Lav looked ready for prime time from his first day on the Bruins' bench. He has always been most comfortable processing and imparting information via visual means. Steve made his visual aptitude a signature part of his coaching style, and it's perfectly adapted to his new gig.

That turned out...to be true. But I haven't seen ESPN cater to his strengths. The network hasn't created a special segment in which Lavin zeroes in on key offensive or defensive setups. More importantly, they've too often kept him in the studio. He'd be more effective courtside, where his experience and court-vision would enable him to pick-up on details other play-by-play folks might miss.

He sees a world beyond the gym. Basketball people used to bellyache that Lavin didn't work hard. Word that he had gone to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game one summer coursed through the sport like a serpent. July, of course, is when college coaches are supposed to be off scouting and procuring the next raft of talent; who could possibly afford to take time off -- least of all that imposter wearing John Wooden's whistle? Well, think of the broadcasters best able to strike a rapport with their audience. Don Meredith, Joe Garagiola, Al McGuire -- none ever let you suspect that he thought it was more than just a game.

That turned out...not to be true. As an analyst, Lavin takes his job much too seriously. Remember last week's broadcast with Chris Fowler and Rick Majerus? Lavin cited so many facts and figures that even Fowler told him he had to get out more.

He has a real feel for hoops. More, Lavin has a direct and unequivocal way of expressing what his gut tells him. Before the NCAA title game in 1997, most of us were busy fitting Kentucky for its second straight crown. Yet there was Lavin, alone on a limb, making the call for Arizona. He explained how he thought the desert 'Cats would beat the ones from the bluegrass -- with a three-guard set that would bamboozle Kentucky by controlling play. And that, you'll recall, is exactly what happened.

That turned out...to be true. Last year, Lavin not only called Gonzaga's early exit, but he also predicted the ACC would send (at least) two teams to the Final Four. Once in San Antonio, he then went with the Huskies. Of course, Lavin was also wrong -- dead wrong -- on countless occasions. Speaking of Ben Howland's UCLA club, he noted "They have the potential to have three NBA first-round draft picks and five players who could eventually play at the next level." Probably right on Trevor Ariza, had he stayed another year. But wrong on Cedrick Bozeman and Dijon Thompson. That being said, last season I always took note of Lavin's prognostications. The same of which cannot be said about Digger Phelps' expectations.

Yet all in all, Lavin has been only a slightly above-average television analyst. He doesn't have good rapport with his co-workers and while he is comfortable in front of the camera, he isn't likeable.

In short, Steve Lavin is no Mike Jarvis. But he's also no Jon Sundvold.


Virginia whipped Arizona yesterday.

Arizona will win the Preseason NIT.

My rationale is forthcoming. What's yours?


only gets you so far. Tom Penders has adopted a laid-back let 'em play attitude at the University of Houston. But without better athletes, it is difficult to foresee a return to a level approaching Phi Slama Jama. Then again, returning to the 1980's didn't exactly work out.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Extra Tickets?

Why is the Wooden Classic advertising on ESPN.com? Are the organizers having trouble selling tickets? If so, why?

Touche II

Edward Cone on ACC expansion.

(Via reader Barry).


Tom Powers on Dan Monson.

Smart thinking,

even if Rick Pitino strong-armed the Seasiders into not airing the game.

At U of L's request, there will be no TV broadcast of the game at NCAA Division II Brigham Young-Hawaii. Pitino does not want to give Iowa, whom the Cardinals will face Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational, any additional scouting opportunities.

I don't expect Louisville's hardball tactics to become standard operating procedure. Weaker opponents are unlikely to forgo opportunities for big-time exposure. And the networks would be none to happy if they were unable to find footage of a critical early season upset. As the Cardinals quickly learned in Oahu, anything is possible.

Not content to simply play the role of early-season sparring partner for the Cardinals, the NCAA Division II Seasiders led at halftime and were within three points with 2:36 left in yesterday's game at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie.

But Louisville managed to escape the ambush with an 89-79 season-opening win, rewarding coach Rick Pitino's gamble in scheduling the warmup heading into the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

"I thought from the moment we got on the plane it was a mistake, but we needed the game," a relieved Pitino said outside the Louisville locker room. "The more film we watched, the more we thought it was a mistake. In this gym they shoot lights out."

Note the double standard. Pitino was able to watch film as his Cardinals prepared for Division II Brigham Young-Hawaii. But he arranged for Iowa to be unable to watch film in preparation for their game against Louisville in the Maui Invitational.

They Said It

"My window of opportunity of coaching is coming to a close, I've got five or six more years to go, so you always look back and praise your alma mater and the place that gave you your first job. So the University of Hawaii was very significant in my life and I'm very thankful for that experience."
-- Former University of Hawaii graduate assistant and current Louisville head coach Rick Pitino


ESPN will debut a men's basketball version of "College GameDay" in January of 2005. The network's traveling crew of Chris Fowler, Rick Majerus and Jay Bilas will broadcast live from host campuses on eight consecutive Saturdays. Among the games to be featured are the following five.

Jan. 22 -- Pittsburgh at Connecticut

Jan. 29 -- Texas at Kansas

Feb. 19 -- Mississippi State at Kentucky

Feb. 26 -- Louisville at Memphis

March 5 -- Texas at Oklahoma State