Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Mister D' category

Seed predictions

March 15, 2009 4:45 pm by Mister D

Here are a few predictions before the selection show.

Louisville: #1 seed (maybe even the #1 overall, considering UNC lost)
Pitt: #1 seed
UConn: #2 seed
Syracuse: #4 seed
Villanova: #4 seed
Marquette: #5 seed
WVU: #6 seed

Providence: a young team…will have to hope for next year.

Making a name.

March 14, 2009 8:55 pm by Mister D

Sure. We know what Championship Week and March Madness are all about: the drama and the tradition of the best college basketball teams in the nation going head-to-head, trying as hard as they can to make it to the field of 65. And for those that do make it, it’s about playing in a do-or-die tournament that’s probably the most exciting in the world.

But beyond those general, overarching pursuits, this time of year is also about college players making a name for themselves (and, potentially, millions of dollars in a sweet NBA contract because of their name recognition).

I’ll give you an example. Last year, which names did you hear constantly throughout the season? Michael Beasley. OJ Mayo. Kevin Love. But who, after an amazing NCAA Tournament where he went from a no-name point guard to absolute stud, was the first pick in the NBA draft and the likely NBA rookie of the year? Derrick Rose. He went from nobody to mega-star.

Rose went from little-known guard to #1 pick.

In fact, there are several guys every year who start out the month of March as relative no-names, and who play their way, either by way of their conference tournament or the NCAA tournament, into the NBA. Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Brandan Wright, Jeff Green. I could go on.

The point is, these guys made a name for themselves in March, and they decided to capitalize on it. If they’re smart (assuming they care about making lots of dough), athletes will make the jump and cash in on their name when the buzz is up and player stock is high. After the past 48 hours, I fully expect Jonny Flynn to do this. A few days ago, nobody outside of the Big East knew who Jonny Flynn was. Now, everyone knows this guy is a warrior, a talented floor general, and somebody with tons and tons of heart who also happens to be quite marketable. As much as I love his game and would not want him to leave, I actually think he should leave. His name recognition will never be higher. His stock is up. Sell. There are perils if you don’t.

Donte Greene made the jump.  Maybe Jonny should too.

We said on this site a two years ago that super-frosh Scottie Reynolds, after he dropped 40 on UConn (in Storrs, no less) late in the year and had an amazing Big East Tournament, should have left for the NBA. Was he polished enough for the NBA? Probably not. Was he a little soft? Probably. But his name recognition was huge. He was all over the national media, and we argued that he should have cashed in and gone to the NBA because the opportunity might not arise ever again.

Two years later, he’s still a great player on a solid Villanova squad. But all of a sudden he’s the second-best player on his team, and he isn’t glowing in the national spotlight (especially not after scoring 2 points on 1-6 shooting in the Big East semifinal the other night). Now, maybe he goes nuts in the NCAA Tournament this year and turns some heads. And maybe he gets a shot at the NBA after a stellar senior season. I still like his game, and I think he could make it in the next level. But he had the chance at making millions back in 2007, and he missed it.

So if you’re reading this, Jonny, think on it. Guaranteed cash in an economy like this? Be like Derrick. Don’t be like Scottie.

Duke is to the ACC, as _____ is to the Big East.

February 10, 2009 9:32 pm by Mister D

Think about it.

There’s really only one answer.

OK, class. Pencils down.

If you said “Pitt,” you get +5. If you said anything else, you get F.

As a fan of the Big East, it’s tough comparing the Panthers to the Blue Devils. Really, it is. Nobody, not even ACC fans, likes Duke. But stepping away from your Big East biases and looking at the comparison objectively, you’d be hard pressed to disagree. Duke and Pitt are eerily similar. Let’s stroll through the last 7 seasons.

Regular season conference championships: Duke 2, Pitt 3.
Conference tourney championship appearances: Duke 5 , Pitt 6.
Conference tourney championships: Duke 4, Pitt 2.
NCAA appearances: Duke 7, Pitt 7.
NCAA 1st round losses: Duke 1, Pitt 1.
NCAA 2nd round losses: Duke 1, Pitt 2.
NCAA Sweet 16 losses: Duke 4, Pitt 4.
NCAA Final Four appearances: Duke 1, Pitt 0.

Do I have a case? Or do I have a case?

Like Duke, Pitt is pretty much always going to be in contention for the regular season title. Like Duke, you might as well pencil in “Pitt” in a mid-March bracket (you don’t need to be Joe Lunardi to know this). Like Duke, Pitt is strong in the regular season and in the conference tournament, but has struggled mightily in the NCAA tournament. And like Duke, Pitt will never get blown out because they’re too good…but they sure will choke.

As my colleagues have said, perhaps Blair is the missing piece that helps them “make the leap.” Young and Fields certainly wouldn’t mind. It’s bad enough that they haven’t reached a Final Four. Now some blogger is calling them the Duke of the Big East?

The truth hurts.

For their sake, I hope they prove me wrong.

I realize it’s winter…but long sleeves?

January 25, 2009 12:59 pm by Mister D

The windchill factor outside today is 4 degrees Farenheit.

Looking at Oklahoma’s Tony Crocker, you’d think it was that cold in the arena.

The junior guard has garnered a good deal of attention on the blogosphere (Vent About Sports, Sports Illustrated) because of the white, long-sleeved undershirt he wears beneath his jersey.

Tony Crocker wearing a long sleeved undershirt, drives to the hoop.

Citing a “condition that slows his ability to stay warm,” Crocker has been wearing the long sleeves for a majority of the season. Perhaps Crocker does have a medical condition. Hyper-cooling of the human body could be caused by a metabolic deficiency, nutrition imbalance, or something else entirely. But whatever the cause, I’m surprised we haven’t heard anything from the NCAA brass regarding a waiver, as Crocker’s undershirt choice is a clear violation of NCAA rules.

Rule 3, Section 5, Article 11 of the official NCAA basketball rules states that while an “undershirt is considered part of the game jersey” it must conform to certain guidelines, including the provision that “both sleeves shall be of the same length and not extend beyond the elbows.”

This rule begs a few questions, not the least of which is: why did the NCAA promulgate a rule like this in the first place? Do they believe that wearing a long-sleeved undershirt created some kind of unfair advantage and therefore they sought to ban the practice? Could it be that Crocker, who in his first 10 games this season averaged 7.9 ppg, and in his last 10 averaged 13.3 ppg, is somehow benefiting unjustly?

I certainly doubt it. I really can’t think of any reason why a long-sleeved undershirt would enhance a player’s performance.

But maybe you can…

What’s the word, coach?

May 30, 2008 12:44 pm by Mister D

Jim Calhoun is holding a press conference at 2:00 today.
Information was provided by Matt’s UConn Men’s Basketball blog, and though there’s no indication of what this press conference is in regard to, it can’t be good.