Posted on: September 30, 2011 2:47 pm

N.C. State lands big recruiting coup with Purvis

By Jeff Borzello

Is this the end of the recruiting process for Rodney Purvis?

During a press conference at his high school on Friday afternoon, Purvis announced his commitment to North Carolina State.

"There's no place like home," Purvis said at his press conference. 

Purvis has had one of the more interesting recruitments in the class of 2012. He originally was a member of the class of 2013, and then reclassified last spring. Purvis committed to Louisville -- then reopened his recruitment in early May.

A couple of months later, it looked like Purvis was ready to make a decision early in the summer. He then reversed course and released a new list of seven schools in late August. As a result, many people expected Purvis to take his time with the recruiting process. This could finally be the end of the road. 

Purvis, a 6-foot-3 guard from Upper Room Christian (N.C.), is ranked No. 15 in the class by CBSSports.com. He is a top-notch scorer, capable of getting past nearly any defender and finishing in the lane due to his strength and athleticism. Purvis is a fearless offensive player, with the confidence to get points against anyone. If he improves his left hand and ability to run an offense, Purvis will be a premier combo guard.

Purvis joins point guard Tyler Lewis in North Carolina State’s 2012 recruiting class.

Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:31 am

NYC likely to see even more Syracuse games

By Matt Norlander

When the Orange leave the Big East, they won't be leaving the region. Syracuse's chancellor, Nancy Cantor, said the school very much plans on utilizing New York City as a second home, perhaps even more prominently than the men's basketball team does currently. That facet of Syracuse's conference hop to the ACC was a critical part of the discussions with ACC commissioner John Swofford, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The newspaper talked to Cantor and got her on record for the first time since her school was accepted into the ACC. She also offered up some information about the deal that contrasts with what we've heard previously: that Syracuse was working on this for a good, long while. Turns out, not really, at least it didn't get serious until 72 hours before news of the move leaked out.
In her first interview since the move, Cantor laid out the fast-paced chronology that led to the announcement Sept. 18 that Syracuse was leaving the athletic conference it helped found in 1979. The action started Tuesday, Sept. 13, when ACC officials voted to accept new members. The conference had planned to stay at 12 teams, but that week decided to expand because other conferences were moving in that direction, Swofford has told reporters. The next day, the ACC called Cantor to see if SU was interested in applying. She called Swofford back the next morning, Thursday, and had a lengthy conversation that included the New York City dimension that SU could offer, she said.
Syracuse's proximity to New York and the opportunity to play three or four games there -- outside of any possibility of the ACC tournament, should it even flirt with getting Madison Square Garden down the road -- was really what got this deal done. If Syracuse is located in Buffalo, meaning New York City trips are a little more logistically shaky and a little less attractive overall, then the Orange probably don't leave the Big East.

Cantor and Swofford had their conversation on the 13th, and less than 24 hours later, Syracuse's board of trustees had approved a move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. You can see why there's been plenty of hand-wringing over this swift decision. That's a really fast marriage to decide on. As for the Garden, yeah, it definitely makes sense to get Syracuse in there as frequently as possible; I don't think there's a diminished-returns factor. Orange hoops fans are extremely passionate and devoted to seeing the team as often as possible.

And if the Garden is impossible to book for a few games, remember, the brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn (opening next year) will also have plenty of opportunities. And it'll be a new venue, a new building for Syracuse to make its affiliation with.

Cantor said the other factor in leaving was the TV money. The Big East doesn't have a deal that extends beyond 2013. The ACC is set for more than a decade with its $1.86 contract with ESPN.
“Certainly, we had hoped it (the TV deal) would go through,” she said. “Obviously, when you think about the stability of what was offered with the ACC, that was attractive to us.” SU must pay a $5 million exit fee to leave the Big East. That penalty will be made up by the increased revenues in the ACC “in not too long a time,” Cantor said. SU hasn’t calculated how long, she said.
For nearly a decade Syracuse has somewhat foolishly and hopelessly marketed itself as "New York's College Team," a moniker that few in the fan base ever went out of their way to boast. Seven years ago or so, the Carrier Dome actually had a banner with this logo that ran alongside the Statue of Liberty. But there's no denying New York City -- and the cities and towns around it -- does house thousands of SU alums. The initiative to get more games in that area makes sense, and if the ACC is led into NYC much more frequently because of Syracuse's influence, this move will be as shrewd as anything the progressive Pac-12 has done.

Because, generally speaking, nothing in sports is more valuable than all New York City has to offer.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 27, 2011 12:58 pm

UConn's situation still all the talk in-state

By Matt Norlander

Living in Connecticut, I can tell you the issue of UConn's perceived instability has been the dominant sports topic for the past two weeks. It's living and moving on the surface of mainstream discussion every day. And so much so that politics have gotten involved -- or been vested -- to a minor degree. Reporters recently asked state governor Dan Malloy his thoughts on UConn staying or going in the Big East, and whether the ACC would make a good fit.

Malloy was questioned because the governor's office has always had a tight relationship with the state schools, UConn chief among them. Malloy offered some perspective that wasn't new, but interesting to hear nonetheless.

In terms of Connecticut's prospects in the ACC, Malloy believes Notre Dame is what makes the move happen, no questions, asked, but anything short of that means Huskies fans are going to have to wait a while before finding out where the schools ultimately settles.
Malloy ... said he has spoken with UConn President Susan Herbst "a half dozen" times about the issue. Asked if he would "lobby" Herbst to join the ACC if Notre Dame joined, Malloy said, "I don't think you'd need to lobby President Herbst on that subject." He said that he has spoken with officials from other universities, but declined to detail what he called "private" conversations.

"I think there was an expectancy built up, initially, that this was going to be quickly resolved," Malloy said. "That's clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that's whether they're going to stay at 14 teams or go to 16. I know that there's one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that's been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that's true." Malloy said he believes Notre Dame -- a traditional independent football power with a national following and its own TV deal with NBC that runs through 2015 -- is "not terribly likely" to join the ACC.

"So absent a Notre Dame is there a compelling reason to go to 16 teams immediately or to remain at the 14 they've enlarged to?" Malloy said. "Beyond that then you fall back to the Big East and the Big East has to rebuild itself to fill the loss of the two teams that left and has to worry about its ability to compete on the major sports of basketball and football in particular, as well as how we make that work for student athletes."
Malloy (above, left, with Jim Calhoun in the spring) probably is about as tuned into the discussions as anyone at UConn, since he's close with Herbst and the financial effects of Connecticut's primary university with the state are a big, big deal. Him bringing up Notre Dame is akin to a few flares tossed into the air, but the Irish simply won't be going to the ACC in football, it seems. And so the school will remain as a basketball member in the Big East. Without the ACC finding a good partner for UConn to join the league with, are the Huskies going to be forced to pay rent in the Big East for the long road?

Plenty of questions still linger. Everyone up here is asking them every day. Connecticut's willing to answer and let the world know, again and again, it wants into the ACC as soon as possible.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 22, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 9:47 am

CBSSports.com joint future power rankings

By Matt Norlander and Chip Patterson

Conference realignment has temporarily slowed down. With Texas A&M leaving the Big 12, and Syracuse making a move to the ACC with Pittsburgh, it seems we have seen most of the moves for 2011. But the threat of a complete shift in the college landscape got us at CBSSports.com thinking: "How will this all look in 2014?"

We selected that end date because that is when the current agreement between the BCS and the AQ conferences expires. At that point, each conference will be re-evaluated to determine its status as an automatic qualifier for the Bowl Championship Series. In a meeting of the minds between the college football and college basketball writers and bloggers, we mapped what we believe to be the most likely landscape for the six major conferences in 2014 for both sports. For some explanations on how the moves have/might come to be you can check out these realignment columns from Brett McMurphy and Jeff Goodman.

With the future conference rosters set, we took on the task of ranking the six leagues in our future conference power rankings. Here's the hoops angle and power rankings; Chip looked at the football side at the Eye on College Football.

Based on the projected movements, here are the CBSSports.com Future Conference Power Rankings:

1. BIG TEN (FOOTBALL RANK: 2, BASKETBALL RANK: 2) - One of our criteria for the joint power rankings was stability, and it is hard to get more stable than the oldest Division I conference. From a football perspective they already had a history of greatness on their side, and then in their most recent expansion boosted their stats even more with the addition of Nebraska. By 2014 Ohio State and Michigan will be out from the cloud of uncertainty in football, joining the Cornhuskers, Michigan State, and Wisconsin to lead the Big Ten elite.

Norlander referred to Indiana as a "sleeping giant" in basketball and I think he's absolutely correct. The Big Ten fields the second-most NCAA tournament bids in this future conference landscape, only trailing the ACC. Tom Izzo hasn't discussed retirement anytime soon, and the Spartans will lead the way on the court while a slew of football powers will try to end the SEC's streak of national championships. The reason Delany is not stressed about quantity is because this conference does have the most quality. -- Chip Patterson

2. SEC (FOOTBALL RANK: 1, BASKETBALL RANK: 6) - You see the power that football has in our overall conference rankings evidenced right here. Because for as amazing as the Southeastern Conference is on the field, it’s downright dour on the maple. No matter, the league is arguably the most stable of any conference because it’s so comfortable with its identity. Winning half a hundred football titles will do that. The SEC will continue to dictate the tempo and story of college football so long as its storied programs keep outrunning the rest of the country with that Es Eee Cee Speed.

  Kentucky can carry the load in hoops, and all will be well.  –- Matt Norlander

3. ACC (FOOTBALL RANK: 5, BASKETBALL RANK: 1) - From a football perspective, the ACC is adding three schools that combine for only three Top 25 finishes in the last decade. Additionally Virginia Tech's projected exit takes away four of the last seven conference championships. But in hoops? The expansion gives them 9 of the last 13 national champions and arguably five of the top programs in the nation. The increase in membership to 14 schools also adds stability to the conference, should there eventually be a shift to the 16 team superconference model. Losing Virginia Tech is a huge blow to the conference's football strength, but that fall-out is overshadowed by the new dominance in basketball. The combination puts them in the middle of the road for both sports, but opposite ends of the spectrum in each. -- CP

4. PAC-12 (FOOTBALL RANK: 3, BASKETBALL RANK: 4) - The Pac-12 is poised to eventually climb higher on this list thanks to its leadership and foresight into how to expand its brand and make loads of billions in the next decade. For now, the conference falls fourth in our overall rankings because its across-the-board quality in football and basketball, while solid, lacks the true dominance the SEC has in football, the ACC in basketball, and the utter balance the Big Ten owns in both.

  But the league is secure. That we know. And no matter what happens down the road with conference tectonic-plate shifting, the West Coast will always need and demand representation. The Pac-12 will never fold. It may change names, but the conference will exist so long as we’re turning on the lights and rolling the ball out there.  -- MN

5. BIG 12 (FOOTBALL RANK: 3, BASKETBALL RANK: 5) - The stability of this conference relies on Texas and Oklahoma. As the last several weeks have shown us, that is not a very comforting situation for the rest of the conference. But Longhorn Network be damned, this conference survived the Realignment Scare of 2011. With schools reportedly content with a 10-team football roster, BYU will bring some intrigue with their first opportunity in a BCS conference. The exit of Texas A&M does cause the conference to lose some of the traditional rivalries college football fans have come to know and love, but the Cougars will have a chance to carve their niche in the conference's history. Kansas is the cornerstone of Big 12 basketball, but it has been hard for any other teams to remain dominant over an extended period of time. Texas and Oklahoma will have to play nice with the new leadership in the conference office for this conference to survive past 2014. -- CP

6. BIG EAST (FOOTBALL RANK: 6, BASKETBALL RANK: 3) - Just as the SEC hangs near the top of our power rankings because of football, the Big East lives down below because its football side is not only dismal, it’s on the verge of barely qualifying as a major-conference worthy. Plenty would argue that’s already the case. And with Syracuse and Pitt now gone, in addition to the fact we’re envisioning UConn bolting for the ACC any time now, the basketball product takes a tremendous hit.

While the Big 12 and the Big East really seemed to wobble for a week or so there, the possibility of both leagues collapsing into each other becoming more likely until the Pac-12 stopped that, we rank the Big East lower than the Big 12 based off football alone. Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman talked about with me on the podcast Wednesday, and we discussed when the Big East will eventually come to accept that it’s not a football league, it’s never been a football league, and it’s never going to be one. And no matter how good your basketball schools are, if you can’t even look worthwhile compared to the rest of the big boys, then you probably shouldn’t even be at the table.  -- MN


Posted on: September 22, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 1:21 pm

Dixon not concerned on ACC move for good reason

By Jeff Goodman

Jamie Dixon isn't worried.

At all.

Those who say that Pittsburgh will have difficulty moving from the Big East to the ACC need a dose of reality.

As long as Dixon doesn't bolt back to the west coast - which doesn't appear likely - the Panthers will still compete for league titles.

Yes, even in the ACC.

Pittsburgh was able to do it against the likes of Syracuse, UConn and Louisville, finishing first or second in the league in four of the past five seasons.

The Panthers will be able to do the same against North Carolina and Duke.

In case people haven't noticed, Dixon can coach a little bit - and he'll continue to get players.

"A lot of people are making too much of how it's going to effect our recruiting," Dixon said. "We haven't gotten guys from New York in two years."

J.J. Moore is the lone player out of New York that Pittsburgh has gotten in the Class of 2010, 2011 and thus far in 2012.

Let's face it: Khem Birch would have come to Pittsburgh whether the Panthers were in the Big East or ACC. Same can be said for Dixon's two 2012 commitments - New Zealand big man Steven Adams and DeMatha point guard James Robinson.

And as long as the Big East tournament remains in New York, Dixon and his staff will be able to sell the opportunity to play in Cameron and Chapel Hill - as well as the chance to play in New York.

That's what I like to call a win-win. 

Dixon's already proven he can coach - and he wins largely with under-the-radar, chip-on-their-shoulder players.

He'll play the same somewhat soft out-of-league schedule he always does - and then the Panthers will in the mix for the ACC crown - as has been the case in the Big East for four of the past five seasons.

Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: September 22, 2011 1:23 pm

CBSSports.com future hoops power rankings

By Matt Norlander

The rattle and hum of conference realignment hasn’t fully died off, but we are seeing promising signs of a halt. At least for the short-term. With that in mind, we’ve taken poetic liberty here at CBSSports.com and projected out the six –- that’s right, we’ve still got six -– major conferences in a form we believe they can or will coagulate to.

We want make the most of this team-juggling imbroglio by ranking the six big leagues, best to worst, purely from a hoops perspective. (Quick, someone say “footprint” and “money grab” again!) 

So, here’s the deal. By our best guess, no conferences are doomed … for now. We have done some expanding here, some shrinking there, and in the Big East, we’ve gone ahead and completely jumbled up its arrangement. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once this current wave of transition is complete.

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Villanova, Navy and Air Force as football schools.

With that, we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. So, which is strongest? Deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look. You absolutely should overreact and get bent out of shape because over this, of course. I’m ranking the figmental leagues by putting value on NCAA tournament appearances, Final Fours made and national titles won in the past 20 years. Why? Because those are the things that get coaches fired. Those are the metrics used to determine which programs are great; are good; are average; are sub-par; are DePaul.

The vital stats from the past 20 seasons is a large enough data set to justify rankings and broad program statistical evaluations. Also, I have ignored the NCAA’s toothless vacated-seasons penalties and counted all tournament and Final Four appearances from that time period.

As for my somewhat-subjective “top-tier” qualification, I’ll simply say, if a program is constantly bringing in four- and five star recruits; if it’s winning national titles or reaching Final Fours; if it’s making the majority of NCAA tournaments the past two decades, it’s top-tier.

1) ACC. Eleven national titles, 24 Final Fours, 151 tourney appearances (10.8 per team). Five top-tier programs.

Unequivocally becomes the best conference in basketball with its new neighbors. No other conference even comes close in Final Fours the past two decades. The addition of Syracuse and UConn gives the ACC five of the top 10 programs in the nation when those programs are performing at their apex. That alone makes the conference the best, let alone untouchable at the top -- in the history of the sport. Pittsburgh is also a riser, and arguably a top-20 program right now.

There is a precipitous drop beyond Wake, Georgia Tech and Pitt, though. In researching this, I was shocked to discover how infrequently N.C. State and Virginia Tech had made the Big Dance since the ’91-92 season. Then again, every league needs little brothers.

2) Big Ten. One national title, 13 Final Fours, 116 tourney appearances (9.7 per team). Four top-tier programs.

I’m going with the Big Ten at No. 2 because its dense in quality, has a sleeping national giant in Indiana, and has a higher teams-in-tournament average than those below it. Perhaps without coincidence, it has the second-highest number of top-tier teams. Don’t consider Big Ten upper-echelon when it comes to basketball? Time to reevaluate.

What really keeps the Big Ten above everyone else: the lack of fat. Yeah, the bottom three or four teams aren’t cutting-edge, but no conference can find that in its cellar. The absence of stale add-ons keeps this league stronger.

3) Big East. No national titles, six Final Fours, 108 tourney appearances (6.8 per team). Two top-tier programs.

The Big East takes a massive hit by losing Syracuse, Connecticut and Pittsburgh. But I'm still only moving it from first -- where it stands today -- down to third. Even if this conference is on shaky ground and doomed to one day part with its affiliation in football, Big East basketball is never dying. And it's always going to be around fertile recruiting beds. The league will be relevant so long as it continues to survive, and I think it always will.

The lack of a national title the past two decades is dampening, though. Just goes to show you how vital Syracuse, Pitt and UConn were/are to the Big East. Still, everyone from Louisville to West Virginia to Villanova is nationally relevant right now (and Cincinnati's been to 15 tourneys the past 20 years). These are programs with Final Four runs in them nearly each year. The Big East’s problem is all the garbage covering the floor. Providence, Seton Hall, Central Florida, South Florida, TCU, DePaul: these are all non-factors and really bring the cache of the league down. Bigger is most certainly not better, but may be necessary for the sake of survival.

4) Pac-12. Two national titles, nine Final Fours, 102 tourney appearances (8.5 per team). Three top-tier programs.

UCLA and Arizona carried along the Pac-10 for years. Had Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State come ot the conference, then it's third-best league, no question. But this is still a group that's been lousy as of late, one that's failed to populate the NCAA tournament in recent years. The Pac-12 has potential, especially with Larry Scott as commish, to thrive. But from a basketball perspective, both in product and recruiting, the league doesn't have as much to work with.

It can pass the Big East in the coming years if one or two teams outside UCLA and Arizona really makes a run of it. Until then, the mediocrity as of late keeps it in the bottom half.

5) Big 12. One national title, seven Final Fours, 109 tourney appearances (10.9 per team). Two top-tier teams.

A tourney-per-team ratio higher than even the ACC! But that's what you get when you're league only has 10 teams, and one of those teams is a top-three all-time program. And that's why the Big 12 has to be here. There's too much instability. Yes, Kansas is an amazing program. Texas is certainly a powerhouse, too. Baylor and Kansas State are chic right now, and perhaps those two coaches can build legacies at schools that had none in regard to good basketball prior to their arrival. But, overall, the Big 12 sits on topsoil, not the granite and rock of the earth. And when you get down to it, this league's size hurts it, makes it susceptible.

6) SEC. Five national titles, 13 Final Fours, 109 tourney appearances (7.8 per team). Two top-tier teams.

The SEC gets the lowest ranking and least respect because, inversely, they’re so much interest in football. Loving two women at once is nearly as impossible as having dominant, tradition-laden, nationally appealing football and basketball teams across the board. The SEC has put its stake in football. It’s more than OK with that decision.

But from a basketball standpoint, there’s not a lot of inspiration. Arkansas isn’t half the program it should be … and it’s third here. What's that say? It says exactly what you know: the league will always be inferior, long-term, even if it houses arguably the best program in the history of the sport. Virginia Tech and Texas A&M as hoops additions don't bring much. In fact, they further dilute the product in many ways. The Hokies have only made two NCAA tournaments the past 20 years, and A&M is one of the most boring TV products major college hoops has to offer. Take Kentucky away, and I can’t even include this conference with the rest above it. The SEC's deal with the devil is football. Again, it's a deal they gladly live with every day.

Photo: AP

Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:56 pm

Podcast: Parrish, Goodman talk latest on leagues

By Matt Norlander

The Pac-12 is staying put, and that means there's a whole lot of confusion going on. Naturally, conversation must be had, so Goodman and Parrish hopped on the podcast with me today. Topics addressed:
  • Why did the Pac-12 do this?
  • What does it mean for Texas, and can the Big 12 stay at just nine teams? Because it'd be stupid to stay at nine teams.
  • Are we really just prolonging the inevitable re: Big 12? No way this league exists by 2017, right?
  • How about the Big East deciding to completely abandon football. It should probably happen. When will the presidents and officials in that conference look in the mirror and accept that? Create a super hoop league by inviting Xavier, Butler, Richmond, Dayton, etc.
  • Does Jim Boeheim and/or Jim Calhoun ever coach a game in the ACC? We ask because, as it stands now, the Big East is going to hold Pitt and Syracuse in the league until 2014. Supposedly.
  • And while having these great schools all in one league looks nice, consider the ages of K, Roy, Boe, Calhoun.
  • It's not all alignment talk. Goodman and Parrish touch on Kyle Anderson's commitment to UCLA and why Ben Howland had to go 3,000 miles to get a player. Why's he not recruiting successfully in L.A. right now?
Listen below, download the mp3, or popout the player for continued browsing.

Posted on: September 19, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 1:03 pm

Podcast: McMurphy hops on to talk what's next

By Matt Norlander

Who better to have on Monday's podcast than the man responsible for so much of the newsbreaking over the weekend? Our Brett McMurphy hopped on with me to talk about his reporting of the ACC/Big East mess and who/what/why is next. This conference talk is as much about reaction as it is prediction, so we ride both sides of that seesaw.

For instance, isn't the SEC a little too quiet right now? The conference sits at 13 teams. That can't last for long. Is the Pac-12 going to become the Pac-16 by week's end? How is Texas holding all of this up, and is the Longhorn Network just an albatross at this point?

McMurphy's blog should be in your daily rotation at this point. And follow him on Twitter. Guy's practically doubled his follower count in the past week. Love it. The 'Stache is mighty powerful these days.

If you please, here's the link for iTunes subscription. The podcast goes up a few minutes after it's live here on the blog, so be sure to subscribe. Or, if you're just hanging out, click the player below and enjoy.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com