Tag:Big East
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.

Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 11:25 am

Calhoun: 'UConn needs to take care of UConn'

By Jeff Goodman

Jim Calhoun's line: UConn needs to worry about UConn.

"We have a lot to offer," Calhoun told CBSSports.com on Monday morning. "We're very attractive now. This isn't 25 years ago."

Calhoun went onto talk about the national championships, the continued growth and success of the football program and the location of the school in regards to its media coverage from New York to Boston.

"It's a different world now here," he said.

Calhoun wouldn't talk specifically about the possibility of UConn heading to the ACC (he said he'll leave that to UConn president Susan Herbst), but he sure sounded like a guy who knew his program was in for a change.

Multiple sources have confirmed ESPN's report over the weekend that UConn is in serious discussions to go to the ACC.

"What UConn needs to do is put it head down and take care of UConn," Calhoun said. "Do what's best for us - just like everyone else needs to do what's best for their institution."

Calhoun, 69, sounded upbeat about the potential change of conference home.

"I'd face any challenge. Anywhere," Calhoun said. "Line 'em up and let's play them. I'd be excited by it."

My sense is that Calhoun would welcome the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Coach K and Roy Williams and Duke and North Carolina as his career winds down.

That may not have been the case a year ago, when the Huskies appeared to be on the downward spiral, but now after a national title - and the addition of the program's best recruiting class in a while - Calhoun's swagger is at an all-time high.


Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 10:36 am

The moment realignment got real for basketball

By Matt Norlander

Suddenly, over the weekend, it started to feel real. Really real, really fast.

Conference realignment -- two words everyone's quickly adapting as cringe-worthy as "Brett Favre" -- just had its first corporeal, wide-ranging impact on college basketball. Before this, the BYU, Texas A&M, Colorado, Boise State (what? Don't you realize it jumped form the WAC to the Mountain West?) and Nebraska scurries from one spot to another were fringe movements; the fray before the tear. They no doubt signaled a larger shift at work, but it wasn't until the swift -- and goodness was this FAST -- bolt from the Big East by Syracuse and Pitt that we really felt the revolt.

We finally have a tear.

The other schools jumping, like most of these decisions, if not all of them, were football-related. But I don't see how the case could be made this Syracuse/Pitt package deal was all about pigskin. This truly, tangibly shifted the perception and existence of the college basketball world.

Two schools leaving college basketball's latest and greatest conference, the best one we have (plenty claim the '09 Big East crop was the best assembled in the history of the game), to go to the old-school best conference. Your older brother's and father's best basketball conference. And with that shift, the ACC can claim perennial paramount over the sport's landscape once again. You don't think that had as much to do with leaving as television/football money down the road? It certainly did.

And the fallout came fast over the weekend. Who knows which school presidents are talking to which conferences now. The rearrangement everyone claimed was coming (and because everyone claimed it was coming, is that why it transpired?) is here. We're fully in the throes. It's clear: Texas A&M may have "tripped the wire" on realignment in 2011, but Syracuse and Pittsburgh undoubtedly shook the foundation on which East Coast college sports rest on. The Big East as we know it is dead and gone, haphazardly and ironically eased into the coffin by one of its founding members in Syracuse.

And so the next question everyone has waits before us. What's next of the Big East? Well, what of the ACC as well? Seems pretty clear based off ACC commissioner John Swofford's quotes that 14 is merely an overnight stay of a number for the league. Could we be at 16 by week's end? And if we are, who are the next two schools? If UConn gets an invite and accepts (which it would), then the Big East gets a full downgrade by any pragmatic measure.

Just a few of the questions that come to mind: What will happen with Madison Square Garden? Will the ACC adopt its postseason in the same amateur way the Big East does/did? Does this affect the tenures of any coaches in their 60s (Boeheim, Williams, K, Calhoun)? And a big one the coaches are vested in: How does this alter the recruiting strategies for all big players involved? For the past 13 months, college football's culture -- its teams, school presidents, ADs, fans and writers -- got busy worrying, ranting, predicting, diagramming and explaining away what was happening in its sport. College basketball politely and quietly stood on the outer circle, taking an occasional piece of shrapnel to the face out of self-mandated loyalty to big brother's fight.

But now the fight is college basketball's, too. Now the future of the sport is truly changing and the traditions, identities, patterns and grooves of the sport as we know it are mutating are an alarming speed. How we see the sport today isn't how we saw it a week ago. And in a week's time, the view could change again.

Photo: AP
Posted on: September 17, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 2:19 pm

The ACC is about to get even better in hoops

By Gary Parrish

You don't apply for membership to the ACC unless you already know you'll be accepted.

So this is happening.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh -- two of the Big East's most important members -- are heading to the land of Duke and North Carolina, and though I'm not certain what it does for the ACC in football other than ensure commissioner John Swofford will run what's on track to be the first so-called super conference, the basketball aspect of this is exciting.

The ACC was already arguably the nation's best basketball conference.

Now it won't even be debatable.

The league is about to add two perennial and rock-solid top-25 programs .

Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim are the active leaders in victories.

Now they'll be fighting for the same league championship.

That's a cool future for the ACC.

Meantime, where the Big East goes from here is anybody's guess.

One option might be to try to pluck Kansas and Kansas State from the Big 12 to get to nine all-sports members (once TCU is added), but West Virginia could still, at some point, leave for the SEC, and Rutgers is always an option for the Big Ten. In other words, the Big East is just as vulnerable as the Big 12. One of the leagues might survive, at best. But the most likely scenario has leftover members from both leagues merging to form something that's a geographical mess and notch below a soon-to-be-enhanced SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12.

"Whatever happens, we'll have to adjust to it," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told CBSSports.com by phone on Saturday. "I'm not commenting on Syracuse to the ACC, but in general I'm saying that I don't see how it's a good thing to have all these huge conferences. But I may be wrong. That's my opinion -- and I'm old. ... [But] some day we'll get to 16-team leagues and everybody may look back on it and say it wasn't such a great idea."

Most agree with Boeheim because there's a chance this makes everybody more money at the cost of happiness.

Traditional powers will have a tougher time winning league titles.

Traditional losers will have a tougher time breaking through.

Traditional rivalries will be sacrificed.

But complaining about those things is like sitting around and complaining about how children don't play outside anymore. Or how our country would be better without fast-food chains on every corner. Or how the BCS ruins college football's postseason. Like it or not, these are the times in which we live. Super conferences are coming, and Swofford should be credited for being proactive in this eat-or-be-eaten world. He's on the verge of poaching two of the Big East's all-sports schools and ensuring the ACC survives this grand shift in the landscape of college athletics, and by doing so he's seriously enhanced the basketball side of his conference.

Yes, I know, basketball isn't what's dictating any of these proposed moves.

But that doesn't mean basketball won't be affected.

Or, in the ACC's case, vastly improved.

Photo: AP

Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:38 pm

I have to address Cinci's non-con schedule

By Matt Norlander

This post isn't spawned by news; rather, by stewing. Cincinnati's out-of-conference schedule was released more than two months ago. I've been sitting on thoughts about it for a good while now. And if I attack UConn and Northwestern over their lackadaisical, somewhat-gutless scheduling, I have to put the Bearcats on trial, too. 

I just don't get it. The team should be good this season. Top-25 worthy, even. After reaching the NCAA tournament last year, Mick Cronin accomplished something a lot of people -- yours truly included -- didn't think was going to happen.

Yet coming off that year, this is what Cronin assembles for his group?
  • Nov. 1 vs. McGill University
  • Nov. 8 vs. Northern Kentucky
  • Nov. 13 vs. Alabama State
  • Nov. 15 vs. Jacksonville State
  • Nov. 19 vs. Presbyterian
  • Nov. 21 vs. Northwestern State
  • Nov. 25 vs. Marshall
  • Nov. 29 vs. Miami (Ohio)
  • Dec. 2 at Georgia 
  • Dec. 10 at Xavier
  • Dec. 14 at Wright State
  • Dec. 17 vs. Radford
  • Dec. 21 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 
  • Dec. 23 vs. Chicago State
  • Dec. 29 vs. Oklahoma
The only major-conference opponents are Georgia and Oklahoma, two teams that, I'm out on a limb here and calling it now, will have a hard time making the NCAA tournament in 2012. Xavier's a great game, but it's a rivalry game; it's baked into the schedule each year, so Cronin gets no credit for organizing it.

One of the things I love about college basketball is seeing programs at any level rise up from what they once were and succeed. Schools that do this usually schedule with a lot of ambition, consequences be damned. Others get timid and line up weaklings throughout November and December. Cincinnati's done that again.

Last year's schedule was just as weak. Now, you can see where Cronin could be coming from. Line up the patsies, bank on winning most, if not all of the games, then tread water in the toughest conference in the country and hope the formula at the end of the season lands you into the 68-team tournament. They did it last year and got in with room to spare. If that's the method, it can and has worked for clubs before. But it's also backfired. We've seen plenty of teams approach their seasons with this philosophy, only to either stumble too frequently against bad teams (therefore putting themselves under the gun by the time conference play starts), or they don't get challenged enough in the non-con and can't take the punches against the league in January and February.

Cronin's done a disservice to his talented team that, while it will get a great intra-conference slate, really won't feel the adrenaline rush hit until after New Year's. I'd love to get an explanation as to why it had to be laid out like this, but reaching Cronin on this issue has been fruitless as of late.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 10:18 am

Someone tell Mullin and Wennington not to worry

By Jeff Goodman

By now, you probably know that St. John's hyped freshman class, the one that was ranked just behind Kentucky and Duke, took a significant hit on Thursday.

Three guys - all considered Top 100 players - didn't qualify to play this semester. Amir Garrett's father told CBSSports.com that his son Amir, a two-sport star who intends to play minor league baseball in the summer, will take classes in the fall with the hope of suiting up for the Red Storm in December.

Norvel Pelle may do the same, but JaKarr Sampson - according to a source - is leaning towards heading back to prep school, where he could re-open his recruitment.

Now the Red Storm Nine are down to a half-dozen. Two of them are junior college kids, one is Chicago guard Phil Greene and the other three are highly regarded, consensus Top 100 high schoolers: Sir'Dominic Pointer, Maurice Harkless and D'Angelo Harrison.

Let's face it: St. John's was going to take their lumps this year, anyway.

Steve Lavin has already proven he can get players - and he'll continue to get them.

This was a setback, but I wouldn't push the panic button if I were, say, Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Bill Wennington or just an ordinary St. John's fan.

This season will be rough as the Red Storm will not only be young, but they'll also lack depth. That's a brutal combination in a league as unforgiving to inexperience as the Big East.

But there were only so many minutes, anyway, and now Pointer, Harkless and Harrison will gobble up the majority of them - instead of having to split them with the JUCO kids and also Sampson, Pelle and Garrett.

There's still a chance, at least according to Darrow Garrett, that his son and Pelle wind up in uniform for the second semester. Sampson is a big-time athlete and many have him ranked highest of the entire class, but he's still not a program-changer. He's a piece that would have certainly helped.

But The Johnnies will be fine. It's just going to take some time.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 6:02 pm

Three St. John's freshmen ruled ineligible

By Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman

Remember that highly ranked recruiting class that had St. John's fans excited?

It's the same class that now has the same fans disappointed.

Class of 2011 signees Amir Garrett, Jakarr Sampson and Norvel Pelle have all been declared ineligible by the NCAA, St. John's confirmed Thursday. The school is still hoping to get the talented trio through the NCAA Clearinghouse in time for the second semester, but it remains undetermined whether that'll actually happen. Meantime, a source told CBSSports.com on Thursday that Sampson, a 6-foot-7 wing, might now elect to return to where he played last season -- Brewster Academy.

Sampson and Garrett were both ranked in the Top 100 of CBSSports.com's Class of 2011 rankings.

Sampson was No. 55. Garrett was No. 89.

Posted on: September 15, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 2:36 pm

Mario Chalmers talked 'sh-t' to Jay Wright

By Gary Parrish

My pal Jason King from Yahoo! Sports has a book coming out later this month. It's called "Beyond the Phog -- Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball's Most Dominant Decade," which means it's an easy Christmas gift for any and every KU fan. That's obvious. But it's going to be a worthwhile read for all followers of college basketball if there are more stories in it like the excerpt published today at KUSports.com.

The story is told by Mario Chalmers.

You might remember him from the 2008 national title game.

He's the guy who hit that shot that forced overtime against Memphis.

Anyway, before the Jayhawks beat Memphis in championship game they played Villanova in the Sweet 16. This was just another Sweet 16 game on the surface, but Chalmers said it was "personal" because Villanova's Jay Wright had previously cut Chalmers and Sherron Collins from a USA Basketball team of which he was the head coach.

I'll let Chalmers take it from here ...
So when it came to the Villanova game, Coach Self called Sherron and me into his office and said, “How do you feel about this Villanova game?” I said, “Coach, this is personal to me. I don’t like Jay Wright.” He was like, “I understand that, but keep it out of the media.” So when the media asked if it was a personal game, we’d say, “No, it’s not personal. It’s just another game.” But during the game we were talking all kinds of s--t to Jay Wright. We’d run by him and tell him, “Sit your ass down! We got this!” Another time we said to him, “This is what you get for cutting us. We’re about to dog you!” Anytime we were throwing the ball in from the sideline, when he was standing up trying to call a play, we’d tell him to shut his mouth and sit down. There was one play where I threw a lob to Shady on an inbounds pass and he dunked over Scottie Reynolds. Right before I threw it I looked at Jay Wright and said, “Watch this!” That game was definitely personal for Sherron and me.

Photo: AP
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