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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, January 15, 2005

from the 'roots

-- Sara, of Sara & Ted's "Most Excellent" Women's Hoops Blog, is pregnant! She's due this summer.

-- The "Comeback Crawford?" According to the Associated Press, former McDonald's All-American Joe Crawford has arranged for a meeting with Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith, reportedly to discuss a possible return to the Wildcats. His teammates' reaction, as echoed by senior co-captain Chuck Hayes? "If he comes back, he's got a place. He's still got a locker with a jersey in it." My reaction? Joe failed to register for Michigan State classes by the Friday afternoon deadline, suggesting he is now unlikely to become a Spartan. Some combination of Tom Izzo's sage advice, Tubby Smith's hardball regarding the national letter of intent and third parties' common sense prevailed upon Crawford to wisely return to Lexington.

-- Lisa Hoppenjans of the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal writes-up the evolution of Wake Forest basketball crowds -- from quiet to boisterous, from Joel Coliseum to "Jolt Coliseum" -- during Skip Prosser's tenure. Importantly, Prosser's progress has been more the result of hard work and creative thinking than of wins on the basketball court. One of Skip's first changes was to move the student section from behind Wake Forest's bench to areas by the opposing team's bench and basket. A second was to hire the architect responsible for host Marquette's February 9, 2003 crowd to prepare the Deacs for a game with Duke. The result? "Zombie Nation," "Screamin' Demons," and several other institutionalized crowd-chaos measures.

-- Josh Robbins of the Fort Lauderdale (FL) Sun-Sentinel notes that, contrary to preseason expectations, Miami is on the up and up and Florida State is going down, down, down. Which reminded me to ask of ye faithful readers the following. Why do only the Seminoles have a won-loss record that mirrors that of a mediocre NBA club? Other college teams have learned to win on the road. But much like the Boston Celtics (for example), FSU has, over several years time, been an NCAA Tournament team at home and an Atlantic 10 team on the road. Pourquoi?

-- Dan Wiederer of the Fayetville (NC) Observer hops on the Gregg Doyel bandwagon, reminding his readers that Matt Doherty is responsible for recruiting the nucleus of this year's Tar Heels club. The better a year North Carolina has, the likelier it becomes that Doherty will be signed to a head coaching gig this summer. A true, but ironic and perhaps cruel twist of fate.

-- Is there a grassroots campaign to fire Memphis coach John Calipari? Blogger Eric investigates, learning that Memphis Sports Talk Radio host John Rainman, "The Rainman," owns FireCalipari.com and that a Florida-based NCAA bulletin-board administrator owns FireJohnCalipari.com. Blogger Dave: The floor is all yours.

-- Myles away from a solution, the NCAA is hoping to Brand a set of recommendations for how university athletic departments can cope with soaring costs. But without being able to address a part of the problem, coaches' salaries (antitrust law), the NCAA might as well feign indifference rather than action.

-- Freshman A.J. Ratliff, whose email address continues to include a reference to his status as Mr. Basketball in the State of Indiana, hopes to be the Hoosiers' savior. Ain't nothing wrong with the audacity of hope, but yours truly believes Ratliff's game will be of more help to Mike Davis' successor than it is to the embattled coach.

-- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Terry Wood suggests the Razorbacks institute measures to limit opponents' spurtability, practice unselfish basketball, and develop a greater trust in their teammates. I suggest Stan Heath be commended for bringing Arkansas back into the limelight and encouraged to seek advise from coaches older and wiser than he on how to take his program to the next step.

-- John Eligon of the Detroit Free Press profiles another freshman to watch: Ron Coleman. The Michigan youngster is a relaxed and talented perimeter player who will help Tommy Amaker return the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament (a year later than expected).

-- With nothing better to write about, beat writers Matt Youmans and Lindsey Willhite pen "you've got to be kidding me" articles about the lack of respect for North Carolina and Illinois (respectively) in the national media.

-- Jim Calhoun signed a contract extension with Connecticut. Among this year's most surprising developments is the Calhoun coaching boomlet, suggesting the Huskies will be able to draw a talented coach to Storrs when Jim finally retires.

-- Billy Edelin still plays basketball. The last two games, with great success. Sooner rather than later, Syracuse will again come to depend on and benefit from his playmaking ability...Before he graduates, Gerry McNamara should thank Edelin for his academic troubles. Billy's absence forced McNamara to demonstrate his potential as a point guard, ensuring the Orange sharp-shooter will receive more attention that he might otherwise have from NBA scouts.

-- More evidence that Tim Floyd is a friggin idiot. His famous last words from yesterday's press conference? "This will be my last pro or college job. My last job, period." In today's job security-less college (and pro) basketball world, such statements are better left unsaid.

-- As lament over North Carolina's lone game against Wake Forest grows and the questions about ACC expansion (re-)surface, Robbi Pickeral of the Greensboro (NC) News & Observer writes a piece on the challenges faced by ACC associate commissioner Fred Barakat in devising a conference schedule. A job that is made all the more difficult by ESPN's love affair with the conference and Fox Sports' bandwagon coverage.

-- Patrick "I've lived up to the hype" Sparks vs. Dennis "I've been weighed down by NCAA sanctions" Felton. Even if Sparks' Kentucky played Felton's Georgia with but four men on the floor, I'd still bet against the Bulldogs.

-- More bad news for St. Louis. And to think, I once, long ago, pegged the Billikens a team with NCAA bubble potential. Brad Soderberg isn't yet on the hot seat yet. But if SLU's malaise continues into next season, I don't expect to see him on the bench in 2006-2007.

-- The Charlotte Observer's David Scott gives the term "mid-major" a go: "A major conference will usually send three or more teams to the NCAA tournament. A mid-major will sometimes have as many as two teams in the tournament. A low-major will almost never send more than its automatic qualifier." Not exactly. The MVC and WCC have and could both send three teams dancing. Yet neither is a major conference.

-- Good News: Quin Snyder and the Missouri basketball team have established a record for team grade-point average in the fall semester (2.91). Bad News: It's less likely the Tigers get rid of Snyder than I originally thought.

-- Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports is writing a book about Jerry Tarkanian. I (too). Can't. Wait.

-- Problems between Gary Williams and John Gilchrist have come to light. See here and here. When Williams has to tell us he is "on the same page" with his starting point guard, we know they are not on the same page. Not regarding the NBA. Or Gilchrist's identity. Or academic failings.