Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Universities' category


November 25, 2010 10:12 am by Coach O

Having watched the three games in Maui, I have come to a few conclusions…..

1) UConn is once again fun to watch. They play with great intensity and appear to be having a great time on the court. During the past three or so seasons they always looked like they were just going through the motions. Maybe the bad chemistry players are now gone. Walker and Oriakhi totally dominated two top 10 teams.

2) They will lose some they should win this year. That’s just the product of youth. With Walker being a junior and Oriakhi a sophomore, the rest of the cast are all freshmen. If they play as hard as they have so far, there will be games when Kemba won’t be so hot or Oriakhi will be doubled down low. Then it will be up to Smith, Lamb, Giffey and Napier to carry the team. But as we have seen already, they will definitely win some that they were thought to have no chance when the season began.

3) Kemba Walker is a big time player. With the influence of Dyson et al we were robbed of seeing the real Walker last season. And they have allowed Oriakhi to become a dominant big man who has destroyed some pretty good front lines in Hawaii.

4) We are really going to enjoy watching these Husky pups grow up for the next few years!

And the fun begins!

November 3, 2009 9:12 pm by Coach O

Just watched Lemoyne beat Syracuse 82-79. I know it’s only an exhibition but it was fun anyway.

Tomorrow night Ill be at the UConn – American International game in Hartford. Didn’t someone tell these guys there’s a World Series going on?

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.

Efficient Talent

March 9, 2009 4:12 pm by Dan'l B

Imagine that you are constructing an ideal college basketball team. How much would you change from this description:

Start with a big who dominates the glass at both ends of floor, capably attacks the rim when he gets the ball on offense, rarely turns it over, commits few fouls, clogs the paint, and deflects or intercepts anything within arms length. Add a point guard capable of leading the nation in assists per turnover because of his superior handle and vision. And then add a wing with 3-point range who always can create his own shot, either by creating space for that jumper or blowing by his defender.

Say hello to the 2009 Pittsburgh Panthers. I find this edition of the Panthers remarkably fascinating because of the efficient use of talent here. Consider how little the skills of the Big Three overlap. None of the three have any business whatsoever replicating what their two teammates do. With so little overlap, all three players’ contributions do not take anything away from the others.

But it’s a blessing and a curse. When Sam Young is not on the floor, Pitt can struggle to score. Without DeJaun Blair, the paint suddenly opens up at both ends. And without Levance Fields running the show, the half-court offense suffers.

I like Pitt against anyone if all three generally stay on the floor. It makes Field’s “injury” something to keep an eye on. Blair and Young must avoid foul trouble. Even with those worries, I’d put this in the “good problem to have” category.

Pitt proves Superiority Over UConn

March 8, 2009 8:45 am by Coach O

Some thoughts on the 2nd meeting between UConn and Pitt yesterday.

1) Pitt is the better team. Hands down. Pitt beat UConn in every aspect of the game each time. Pitt is more athletic (Sam Young), more talented (Young and Blair), and much much tougher than the Huskies. In each of their meetings this year the final score was much closer than the game itself.

2) Pitt has two POY candidates, UConn none. Young and Blair are bona fide candidates for the best player honor. Calhoun has to stop making excuses for why Thabeet didn’t dominate a game. He’s just not as good as those Pitt players.

3) Dixon has outcoached Calhoun both games. C’mon…. Jim really doesn’t think that Jeff Adrien can cover Sam Young, does he? The matchups here favor Pitt at almost every position, but the only Husky with enough athletic ability to guard Young is Robinson.

4) If Levance Fields was really hurt, he has to be related to Superman. A player who supposedly was on crutches the day before the game is not physically able to play 37 minutes as he did yesterday. Pitt doesn’t need  this type of trickery to beat UConn. This is the only negative I saw in yesterday’s game.

Now…. about UConn….. Please bring back the hard nosed Husky player that Calhoun developed during his early stay in Storrs. Teams, and players tend to mirror their coach. As Calhoun has become a celebrity he has gone soft. Players are now recruited with the promise of an NBA career. And as Calhoun has grown too important to watch over his players academic progress and behavior during free time, his players have shown the lack of desire to get their uniform messed by hard work.

We watched Rudy Gay choose to protect his draft status rather than carry his team to success in the NCAA tourney. Now we have the coach spending more time promoting his center for post-UConn accolades than demanding hard work out of team. Oh, yeah, they have some awesome talent. But Pitt showed yesterday that hard work and team concept will beat a group of all-stars intent on getting a big contract.

Rewatch yesterday’s game. Watch each team in half court offense. Watch each team in half court defense. I rest my case.