Tag:2011 Midnight Madness
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:18 pm

Podcast: Midnight Madness storytelling

By Matt Norlander

Today marks the first full week of college basketball season, and so, with diametric diligence, we're going to get after in full, too. From now through the end of the season, we'll be delivering three podcasts per week to you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is when you can find the new episodes. Subscribe to iTunes. Or the RSS feed. Or, if you're one of those with a Zune, yeah we've got you covered, too.

Season tips Nov. 7
Goodman and Parrish will appear pretty much once per week, and normally they'll get hump day duty. (This week, however, they'll be on Friday.) Borzello, who joins me on today's podcast, will also be a frequent guest, but in no way, shape or form is he worthy of regularly scheduled appearances.

On today's episode, Borzello and I recap our trips to Syracuse and UConn, respectively, and really expand on who Syracuse is and how successful it can be this year. Then we talk which recruits hit up which schools, and which of those Borzello thinks is most likely not to commit tothe school he was at Friday.

We wrap up things with an eight-minute conversation that tweaks and prods at the Top 25 (and one) Parrish and Goodman compiled last week. Duke too high at 6? What about Cinci and A&M -- are they getting too much respect? And which teams deserved to be ranked that weren't? (I forget to mention my belief Washington is a top-25 team.)

Enjoy. And forgive me for all my uhs. I'm working on that. I will never apologize my nougaty tenor tone, though.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:05 pm

Two supreme dunk videos from Friday night

By Matt Norlander

Both of these come by way of The Dagger, which is doing a great job collecting a number of funny/endearing/notable season-opening moments from around the nation last night. (This Tubby video ... I'm not really sure what's happening, but it's good to see the man practice the Sweet Science.)

Here are two dunk videos that could very well go viral over the weekend. The first, New Mexico's Jamal Fenton gets his back flip on before slamming it down. What I love: the bounce is absolutely perfect. What I love even more: Fenton's just 5-9.

The second video is one for all the moms out there, who dream of the day their sons will one day brush their heads from above with a pair of mesh shorts. Wagner's Josh Thompson made the gym go wild after he threw down over momma. I love the video not so much for the dunk, but for the spirit in the quaint setting. Plenty of tiny schools get a lot of support on nights like this, even without light shows, famous alums and celebrity performances.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:04 am

Buzz Williams serenades the Marquette crowd

By Matt Norlander

Only the charm of college basketball could make me temporarily put aside my seething hatred for this song.

And Buzz looks downright svelte. If only he had the same control over his voice as he does his diet.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:52 pm

C.J. Fair ready for breakout season

By Jeff Borzello

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – C.J. Fair was the least heralded of the Syracuse signees in the class of 2010. However, he played the most minutes of any of the newcomers last season and showed flashes of his potential.

This season, his teammates and coaches peg Fair as the one player who could be primed for a breakout season.

“The guy who got better is C.J. Fair,” guard Brandon Triche said earlier in the week. “He’s a guy who was more of a mid-range guy around the basket. Now, he’s knocking the three down consistently, off the dribble, off the catch. I see a lot of different things from him.”

Fair, a 6-foot-8 Baltimore native, averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds last season, coming off the bench and providing a boost in the frontcourt. He didn’t start any games, but did play more than 30 minutes on four occasions. In those four contests, he averaged 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.

With a starting spot available in the frontcourt, one can expect numbers close to that from Fair during the upcoming campaign.

“I have a year under my belt,” Fair said on Friday. “This is the year for me to have a big breakout year.”

He said he spent the summer working on improving his outside range and expanding his game. If Fair is able to knock down 3-pointers with consistency, he could pose a major matchup problem for most opponents. He already has a deadly mid-range game, and the lefty forward is athletic and long around the basket.

Fair might be an undersized four-man in terms of strength, but his versatility makes up for it.

“He added something new to his game,” senior forward Kris Joseph said. “He put a lot of work into his game this summer. He can make that jump.”

Fair didn't enter Syracuse with much hype, but his impressive play has bestowed higher expecations on him this time around. 

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 12:15 pm

There's no 'Melo, but Orange pack plenty of punch

By Jeff Borzello 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – There’s no question who the center of attention was at Syracuse’s Midnight Madness.

Despite not doing much of anything for the two hours of festivities, the presence of Carmelo Anthony lifted the energy in the building to a level most onlookers had not seen in awhile.

Heading into the season, there’s obviously no Carmelo Anthony on this year’s Orange team. There’s not a Donte Greene or a Jonny Flynn. Simply put, there’s no definitive go-to-guy that will have the ball in his hands down the stretch of games.

Season tips Nov. 7

And head coach Jim Boeheim’s just fine with that.

“I think if you only have one guy, that’s a weakness,” Boeheim said at Syracuse’s Media Day.

“Even when Carmelo was here, Gerry [McNamara] made as many big plays as he did. Hakim Warrick made some plays, Josh Pace made big plays. The important thing is to have balance.”

A season ago, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche all took their fair share of shots at the end of the shot clock or game clock. Fab Melo made clutch baskets against St. John’s. With C.J. Fair and Dion Waiters ready to take on bigger roles, there are countless options for Boeheim late in games.

“I haven’t seen that since my freshman year, with Jonny Flynn,” Joseph said of having one consistent go-to-guy. “Last year, the ball was pretty well-spread, points per game were really even. It’s going to be the same, with so many guys that can score. I can do it, Scoop can do it, Brandon can do it.”

By the time March rolls around, if the biggest problem Syracuse faces is having too many offensive options, I’m betting they will be in pretty good shape.

It's a problem most teams would love to have. 

Posted on: October 14, 2011 9:17 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 12:15 pm

Calipari: This is a 'players-first program'

By Gary Parrish

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- John Calipari stood on the massive stage, his Final Four-caliber team of future pros seated behind him, the words KENTUCKY EFFECT on a screen as the backdrop behind them, and the larger-than-life Kentucky coach spoke for 12 minutes about what he's done and what he plans to do.

It was more Obama than Krzyzewski.

More campaign speech than are-you-ready-for-some-basketball.

And that's because Calipari wasn't talking to you or I as much as he was talking to them -- the prospects here at Big Blue Madness both officially and unofficially, a group headlined by Class of 2012 stars Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, Dajuan Coleman and Willie Cauley. They won't all attend Kentucky. At least I don't think they'll all attend Kentucky. But some of them will, and Calipari made an obvious effort to make them aware that when they enroll they'll be part of a "players-first program."

"This is a players-first program," he said. "We are here to help them reach their dreams."

That's the thing about basketball prospects these days.

Season tips Nov. 7
Their dreams are different than your dreams.

Fans have dreams of No. 1 rankings and national championships, but kids, for the most part, just want to get picked in the lottery. If they happen to make a Final Four along the way, great. But the dream is almost always the NBA. Calipari understands this as well as anybody. And he doesn't fight it. He embraces it. Which is why he stood on that massive stage in front of a capacity crowd at Rupp Arena and talked mostly about what the UK program can do for players and what those players can then turn around and do for the UK program.

That the Wildcats produced five first-round picks in 2010 was mentioned.

That is, after all, the kind of thing that gets recruits' attention.

"That had never been done before and it may never be done again," Calipari said. "Unless we do it here, of course."

Posted on: October 14, 2011 9:05 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:10 pm

Dunk contest highlights from UConn's First Night

By Matt Norlander

STORRS, Conn. -- UConn's First Night has just ended. Gampel was loud as hell -- particularly because I sat in front of the subwoofers. I can't even hear myself typing this.

The highlight of the evening, truly, was Kemba Walker and Ray Allen being introduced. Both ovations were enormous and roof-rattling. Hasheem Thabeet's fashion choice of a shiny-blue Hartford Whalers winter-type vest was also astounding and didn't go unappreciated by the fans. I particularly adore the face that he's wearing a men's large.

But the dunk contest is what you want to see. I got onto the baseline and captured the video for your pleasure. Freak freshmen Ryan Boatright (who's about the size of an average American ninth-grader) and Andre Drummond made it to the finals, with Boatright winning it. In the final video, kind of thought for a millisecond I was going to relive this.

Here's Boatright's chair dunk.

Drummond's between-the-legs: not likely to be duplicated in game action this year.

Boatright's dunk from the baseline was plenty nasty ...

... but Ray Allen said Drummond's baseline flush was worthy of being among the best in the NBA's contest.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:30 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 8:32 pm

FSU employs new logo for D

By Jeff Goodman

Leonard Hamilton's defense at Florida State has been dominant. 

So dominant, in fact, that the Seminoles have led the nation in field goal percentage defense each of the past two seasons. 

Opponents show just 36 percent a year ago and FSU held opponents to 62 points per game. 

Hamilton has come up with a new logo for his recently renowned Junkyard D. 

It's a dog. 

Named Stopper.

That's the logo. Yep.
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