Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 2:17 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Bob Huggins isn't known for his patience.
But he'll need it this season.
The West Virginia coach has watched his team get taken care of by Xavier in a scrimmage and then lose to Northern Kentucky in an exhibition.
"We've got young guys," Huggins told CBSSports.com on Wednesday. "It's going to be a while, but we've got to find a way to win while they get better."
Just three of Huggins' top 11 players have played a single minute in the D-1 ranks.
Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli.
Freshmen Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne will vie for the starting point guard duties. Freshmen Keaton Miles and Tommie McCune are battling it out for the final starting position on the wing.
The first two big men off the bench will likely be junior college forward Dominique Rutledge and redshirt freshman Kevin Noreen.
"I think we'll be fine," Huggins said.
And when asked whether his Mountaineers will take their lumps early?
"I hope not," he responded.
It's tough to question Huggins with his track record. He has made the NCAA tournament 18 of the last 19 years.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 2:44 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Seth Davis' show "Courtside" will have a special preseason edition tonight on CBS Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.
Gary Parrish, Mike DeCourcy, Jon Rothstein, Jim O'Connell and myself were panelists for the show - and one of the numerous topics we discuss is Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and whether anyone can catch him once he breaks Bob Knight's record of 902 and becomes the all-time winningest men's coach in Division 1.
Jim Boeheim is just 44 wins behind Coach K, but is about 2 1/2 years older than Krzyzewski - who enters the season with 900 career victories.
I posed the question to Boeheim, who turns 67 later this month, on Monday that maybe he'd have a shot - if K retires in the next few years and Boeheim sticks in out a few years beyond K.
"He's not returning anytime soon," Boeheim said. "I think Mike will coach another 10 years. I wouldn't be surprised at all."
The guy who Boeheim thinks would have a shot - if he took care of himself from a health-standpoint?
West Virginia's Bob Huggins.
"He's got a lot of wins - and he'll try and coach forever," Boeheim said. "He's about the only one out there who could possibly do it."
But even if the 58-year-old Huggins stays healthy, it's a stretch.
He has 691 career victories. Let's say he goes 12 more years (until he's 71) and averages about 25 wins per year (which is what he's averaged in his four years at West Virginia).
That would put him just shy of 1,000 victories.
Coach K has 900 right now and has been averaging about 29 wins per year - and he'll likely eclipse to the 1,000-win mark in 2014-15.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:52 pm
By Jeff Goodman
If the Big 12 does add West Virginia - as appears to be the case from all accounts - Kansas State coach Frank Martin is ecstatic.
Not necessarily because it'll bring his mentor of sorts, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, to the league.
"It's a Hall of Fame coach who went to the Final Four a couple years ago," Martin told CBSSports.com. "If it does happen, it's awesome. Our league instantly gets better."
Martin said he spoke to Huggins on Monday afternoon and the two spoke exclusively about basketball.
"I don't think he had any idea this was coming," Martin said of the reports that have West Virginia leaving the Big East.
Martin said his preference is for the league to be at a dozen teams, but he reiterated that he has complete confidence in the leadership of the Big 12 - whatever direction it chooses to go.
"I have never waffled on the decisions that have been made," Martin said. "I know people on the outside want to complain that we don't have stability, but Kansas State is in a better place than it was five years ago because of the Big 12."
"West Virginia's football program is always in the top of the Big East," he added. "It's big-time football and we don't even have to talk about it basketball-wise."
The addition of West Virginia and TCU would replace outgoing Texas A&M and Missouri - which appears set to depart for the SEC.
"People talk about us being vulnerable," Martin said. "But look at who we are adding."
Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 3:19 pm
By Gary Parrish
Nearly every move made in the crazy world of conference realignment is rooted in football and television markets. Sad as it is, basketball has little to do with it. We've been over this before. But -- as I've also written before -- that doesn't mean basketball isn't affected in a major way, and the Big 12's decision to pull West Virginia from the Big East to replace Missouri -- which is headed to the SEC -- probably enhanced the league's basketball product even if the league now makes less regional sense than it did before.
Here's what you need to know about the past decade:
----- MISSOURI -----
NCAA Touranment appearances: 5
Round of 32: 4
Sweet 16: 2
Elite Eight: 2
Final Four: 0
----- WEST VIRGINIA -----
NCAA Tournament appearances: 6
Round of 32: 5
Sweet 16: 4
Elite Eight: 2
Final Four: 1
So over the past 10 years it's reasonable -- and accurate -- to conclude West Virginia has been the better basketball program, and it's historically better, too. This could obviously change going forward depending on when Bob Huggins retires and who replaces him. But right now, at this point, losing Missouri and replacing it with West Virginia isn't a bad basketball move for the Big 12. At all. Plus, it puts best buddies Bob Huggins and Frank Martin in the same league, and that just sounds like fun.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:55 am
By Matt Norlander
Our Brett McMurphy is reporting West Virginia is beginning to take the suitcases off its closet's top shelf.
With Missouri to the SEC imminent, the Big 12 will need another program to pilfer and keep its league at 10 teams. That program is West Virginia, who is all too pleased to be leaving the molding carcass that is the Big East.
Basketball-wise, Missouri in the SEC doesn't do much to improve its stature or NCAA chances. If anything, this is a lateral move. But the school should make more money, so that's why it's going. West Virginia in the Big 12? A little out of sorts in geographical terms, but when has that stopped a league from making a move? The Mountaineers probably stand a slightly better chance at league titles and basketball fruition in the Big 12, though it's not a notable step up.
Football-wise? What a jump. And now the Big 12 looks relatively secure, something that, honestly, didn't seem possible as recently as a month ago.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:35 am
NEW YORK – Conference media days are a dream for writers that want a lot of information and people in one place. Simply put, they provide a treasure trove of nuggets on each team in the league. There were too many leftovers in the notebook to leave out and not share with everyone. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits gathered on Wednesday at Big East Media Day.
- Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis was recently suspended for four games after the NCAA ruled on a violation he committed three years ago. “We tried to fight it, but a rule is a rule,” Abromaitis said. “I accepted it.”
- Who will replace Ben Hansbrough at the point guard spot? Sophomore Eric Atkins (above), who led the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio last season. “He was our sixth man last year, but he’s ready to elevate his game,” Abromaitis said.
- Sophomore Jerian Grant received rave reviews for his work over the summer and in the early part of the fall. “He’s playing really well,” Abromaitis said. “He’s learning things as a player, moving without the ball, guarding his man. That’s what we’ll need him to do.”
- DePaul received three pieces of bad news in the past week. Junior forward Tony Freeland will miss the season with a shoulder injury, while freshman Montray Clemons is done for the year after rupturing a tendon in his knee. Moreover, the NCAA ruled freshman Macari Brooks ineligible. “We thought we were pretty deep,” head coach Oliver Purnell said. “We can’t afford any more injuries.”
- Purnell thinks Cleveland Melvin (right) is somewhat underrated on a national level, after averaging 14.3 points and winning Big East Rookie of the Year honors. “Probably so,” Purnell said. “He had a good freshman year and a really good summer.”
- Rutgers brought in a highly-touted freshman class – and the incoming guards are impressing early on. “Our guards have a little more experience than our big men,” forward Dane Miller said, pointing to Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears. Coach Mike Rice, however, thinks Eli Carter could make more of an impact than both of them. “He might lead my freshman in points per game.”
- Rice is impressed with Kansas State transfer Wally Judge. “He’s a physical specimen. He just has to develop that consistency.”
- Forward Kadeem Jack will likely be out until mid-January with a foot injury. Jack was looking like he would have a major impact in the frontcourt. “He’s somebody where the light was already on,” Rice said.
- Marquette forward Jae Crowder is pegging sophomore Vander Blue (right) as a true breakout performer. “He had a great summer, played in the Pro/Am, played for USA basketball,” Crowder said. “His confidence is up; last year, he lost confidence. A lot of pressure is on him.”
- Out of the freshmen, California native Juan Anderson has stood out the most to Crowder. “He’s athletic, he goes hard, has a great motor,” Crowder said. “Buzz [Williams] loves it, I love it.”
- Despite the loss of three starters from last season, West Virginia forward Kevin Jones thinks highly of this year’s team. “This is the most talented team I’ve been on,” he said – and that includes the Elite Eight group that had Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks.
- Freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds was cleared to play late in the process, but he’s already been impressive. “He had to catch up,” Jones said. “But he’s looking real good, doing the right things.”
- With Czech Republican native Patrik Auda and Latvian guard Haralds Karlis in the fold, Seton Hall has taken a foreign turn recently. “It’s fun,” guard Jordan Theodore said. “I’m trying new foods, trying to teach them slang.”
- Fun fact: Auda knows five languages – Dutch, Spanish, Czech, English and Russian.
- Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson said the Hoyas still laugh about the infamous brawl in China over the summer. “It was a great bonding experience,” Thompson said.
- Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade and other NBA players came back to Georgetown to work out during the lockout. Thompson said the one who benefitted the most was Henry Sims, who played against Hibbert on a regular basis.
Photo: US Presswire (Eric Atkins, Cleveland Melvin, Vander Blue)
Tags: Big East, Cleveland Melvin, Dane Miller, DePaul, Eli Carter, Eric Atkins, Georgetown, Haralds Karlis, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, Jabarie Hinds, Jae Crowder, Jeff Borzello, Jerian Grant, Jerome Seagears, Jordan Theodore, Juan Anderson, Kadeem Jack, Kevin Jones, Macari Brooks, Marquette, Mike Rice, Montray Clemons, Myles Mack, Notre Dame, Oliver Purnell, Patrik Auda, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Tim Abromaitis, Tony Freeland, Vander Blue, Wally Judge, West Virginia
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 9:40 am
By Jeff Borzello
NEW YORK – This year’s Big East Media Day featured the likes of Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and others.
Once the conference shakeup is over, what will it look like? Will we have Donnie Jones, James Dickey and Matt Doherty instead?
The overarching theme of the 2011 Big East media day was, unsurprisingly, realignment. Boeheim, Dixon, Mike Brey, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins and the other nine coaches in the conference were each peppered with countless questions about who is going where, when it’s happening and what they think of it.
Many of the coaches clearly were getting tired of the same questions, over and over.
“I think it sucks like everyone else does,” Huggins told a group of reporters. “Yeah, [it’s a shame]. I think it was a shame the first time. It’s got to stop somewhere.”
The only thing set in stone right now is that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be leaving the conference at some point, but the timeline is still indefinite. Technically, they’re not allowed to leave for more than two years, but that could be an awkward 27 months.
Dixon said the goal of Pittsburgh is not to leave the Big East without a plan for its future as a conference.
“When it’s in the best interest of the Big East for us to move, that’s when we’ll leave,” he said. “Whether it’s 27 months, 12 months or five months.”
The fate of several teams is also still undecided, with West Virginia and Louisville being linked to the Big 12, Connecticut to the ACC, Notre Dame to the ACC (and Big Ten, as always), with Rutgers also thrown around as a potential Big Ten or ACC target.
While the realignment mess could hinder some of the schools, Pitino and Brey are confident their institutions will handle it well.
“Unlike some others, we’re going to land on our feet,” Brey said. “I like the Big East, but we’ll land on our feet.”
“We’ll be fine in the Big East or in the other place,” Pitino said.
Connecticut was expected to follow suit to the ACC after Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and while that’s still a possibility, the Big 12 has also opened up as a potential landing spot for the Huskies.
Calhoun made it clear he is not sitting still and hoping everything just stays the same. He is being proactive as a result of all the changes around him.
“The Big East is special, I am proud to be a member of it. But sometimes what you want is not where you end up being. We are seeing the start of change,” he said. “My obligation to UConn is to be in an advisory capacity and reach out to my friends, particularly in the ACC and Big 12 and see what’s [happening].”
When the realignment carousel eventually stops spinning – whenever that may be – it’s not a stretch to say that the Big East will look very different. There could be a 20-team football conference and a 12-team basketball conference, with some variation of Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston, SMU and a host of other schools in the mix.
Huggins said the new faces wouldn’t change the way he views his opponents in the conference.
“They were these guys at one time,” he said of younger coaches potentially replacing the Boeheims, Dixons and Calhouns of the league. “Somebody is going to finish last and someone is going to finish first. Whether it’s someone in the league now, or someone new.
“We had 11 teams reach the NCAA tournament last year, and nine of them will still be around. That would still have been a record.”
Not everyone feels that way – Pitino thinks certain intra-conference matchups won’t carry the same juice and luster as they previously did.
“Syracuse is playing Clemson on TV tonight!” he said. “It’s not Syracuse-Georgetown.”
Conference commissioner John Marinatto opened up the media day by saying he was glad that he finally could talk about basketball – but soon was bombarded with questions about realignment. This wasn’t what Marinatto signed up for, he said. It’s not what he wanted.
His comments beg the question – if Marinatto didn’t see it coming, how did we get here?
Dixon pointed to the lack of cohesion between the basketball and football sides of the conference. A 16-team basketball conference and an eight-team football conference clearly don’t align perfectly.
“If that is the best situation, more conferences would do it,” he said. “And we’re the only one that does it.”
When it boils down to it, though, money is the biggest factor in the entire proceedings. Pitino put some of the blame on the greed of the school presidents.
“The big is eating up the small,” he said. “The presidents have always said to put the athletes first. The last thing they’ve talked about is the athletes. So there’s a bit of hypocrisy in the presidents and their answer today.”
With so many questions still waiting to be answered, no one is sure about what is next – not the coaches, athletic directors, presidents, commissioners. The future of several conferences is completely up in the air.
What’s next? Brey summed it best.
“Leagues are listed as day-to-day now.”
Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.
"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."
To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.
Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.
"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.
One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.
"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.
``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.
However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.
While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.
"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."
Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?
We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.