Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

I drove up to Philadelphia on Friday the 23rd to meet some blog-buddies and take in the Philly Classic basketball tournament.

Read my ode to the Palestra and the good times at Storming the Floor.

And now, back to my super-Turkey sandwich. One of many to come.

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Found on Storming the Floor

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via EDSBS and Pete Jayhawk

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philmartelli.jpgYou may wonder where I’ve been recently. Or, you may click over to my page for three seconds, see nothing new, and go on about your day without a hitch.

Either way, I am still writing, so I’ll just show you where, and you can go there if you wish. Marco has graciously invited me to be heavily involved in his new college basketball blog called Storming the Floor. College Hoops is my favorite sport in the whole wide world, so I accepted. He and I are hard at work on preseason team and conference previews:

The Big 12


#29 St. Joseph’s

#30 Clemson

In addition, we’re signing up a stellar crew of conference correspondents, so get in touch with Marco at stormingthefloor@gmail.com if you are a Big 10 or Big East aficionado

I’m also still writing the Cupcake Report for Losers With Socks. We’ve added Notre Dame to the permanent cake list for this season, so that gives ample fodder for debate:

The Cupcake Report: Can We Go Back to September?

That’s it for right now, but if inspiration strikes, perhaps I’ll post later this afternoon.

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College Basketball is my favorite sport to watch on TV without exception. I’ve started to think bball thoughts as my favorite bloggers have begun to ratchet up their coverage, so I’m going to give you a troika of pieces you should read to whet your appetite:

MCBias interviews WNBA player Erin Buescher. Part onePart two.

Marco at Storming the Floor says students at Davidson are camping out for tickets this year. And they should be.

The CAA: Life as a Mid-Major is running a new collaborative feature that includes moi and some other mid-major-heads. In this edition, we re-write the first CAA poll.

Man, I can’t wait…

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big12logo.gifI am one of the legions of displaced sports fans in America. I grew up in Colorado and Kansas, and my first affinity in college athletics is for the Big 12. Well, technically, it was for the Big 8, because the league was still called that when I was at Kansas, but I think the additions of the Texas schools have just made things more interesting year in and year out.

Anyway, even in a big-time league like the Big 12, one sees new basketball coaches just about every other year. This year is no different, with three new faces in the mix. Let’s take a look at the new guys: where they came from, who they replaced, and their prospects for the upcoming year.

Frank Martin – Kansas State Wildcats: “The course we charted a year ago resulted in some wonderful accomplishments,” university president Jon Wefald said.

frankmartin.jpgI guess that’s one way of looking at it.

The rest of us see it as Bob Huggins being Bob Huggins. He swooped in, got the state pumped for a long run of successful basketball, and just as promptly left, signing with his alma mater, West Virginia. Huggins recruits tried to escape their commitments and play elsewhere, and the whole house of cards seemed to be tumbling down. So the trustees did the only thing they could – they hired mini-Huggins, in the person of Frank Martin.

Martin was a high school coach in Miami for fifteen years before getting his first assistant’s job at Northeastern University in 2000. He spent four years as a recruiter there before taking his talents to Cincinnati and the Huggins regime. When Huggins *ahem* left the Bearcats, Martin stuck with him, and that loyalty has paid off in his first head job at the age of 41.

The cupboard is not completely bare for Martin, thanks to K-State’s decision to play hardball with Huggins’ prized recruits. Prized freshmen Michael Beasley and Bill Walker are still on the roster, though they will likely remember to bring lube next time they sign a letter of intent. Senior forward David Hoskins is good for about 12 points a game, but the four other upperclassmen on the Wildcat roster have very little playing time under their belts. They’ll go as far as the kids can take them, and I don’t think that’s going to be very far in the loaded Big XII.

Jeff Bzdelik – Colorado: Hey, look at it this way: if CU doesn’t work out, there’s always Colorado State.

bzdelik.jpegFor denizens of the front range, Jeff Bzdelik’s face is almost as familiar as John Elway’s these days. He spent the first ten years of his career in unglamorous college jobs before making the big move to The Association in 1988. He was an assistant coach with Washington (when they were still the Bullets), New York, and Miami. He moved to Denver in 2001 and was handed the head job with the Nuggets in 2002. He turned the team around, but was fired nonetheless in 2004.

That led Buzz to Colorado Springs, where he took over the Air Force Academy and immediately put his mark on the team. He ratcheted up the defense to make up for a lack of blue-chip talent, and threw a serious scare into North Carolina in the 2004 NCAA tournament before succumbing to depth in the second half. His ability to win anywhere with defense attracted the interest of the University of Colorado, causing Bzdelik to drive up I-25 from one of the most conservative towns in the state to one of the most liberal. I hope you like jam bands and patchouli, coach.

Bzdelik should settle in and get comfortable, because he has the best job security in America, by my lights. Predecessor Ricardo Patton put in eleven years and amassed a middling 184-160 record and only three NCAA bids. And even then, he wasn’t fired, he stepped down “voluntarily” to become head coach at Northern Illinois. So, Bzdelik has a long leash in the People’s Republic of Boulder.

He’ll be rebuilding, with mostly freshmen and sophomores, which is probably fine with him. However, his team lacks beef, as ESPN’s roster page lists all five incoming freshmen with no height or weight. They’ll probably bring up the rear in the Big XII North, but Bzdelik will absolutely improve the Buffaloes defense, and get them on the right track.

Mark Turgeon – Texas A&M: I was tempted to say that Turgeon is no stranger to the Big XII, but that’s not true. During his playing days at Kansas under Larry Brown, A&M was a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference. Still, Turgeon will know what it takes to compete at this level. He was an assistant coach for KU in 1988 when Danny and the Miracles won it all.

turgeon.jpgTurgeon steps into the most enviable position of the three men listed here. Texas A&M is poised for another great season with the players recruited by Billy Gillespie, who is now head man at Kentucky.

Turgeon is no stranger to success. Despite a rough final year at Wichita State, he is still revered in Kansas for resurrecting the Shocker program. He had an incredible run in the 2006 NCAA tournament, taking his small school to the Sweet Sixteen. Sadly, the Shocker run ended when George Mason exercised their superior Cinderella mojo on them to move on to the round of eight. But Turgeon became a national name that year, and it was clear that he would be moving up despite a meaningful contract revision from WSU.

A&M looks good, with experienced players Dominique Kirk and Josh Carter returning to lead this year’s team. Acie Law is gone to the NBA, and trees Joseph Jones and Antanas Kavaliauskas have left a void in the middle, but something tells me Turgeon will know what to do with seven-foot freshman DeAndre Jordan, as well as three other players listed at 6’9″ on the roster. Elite size is a luxury he just couldn’t count on in his Missouri Valley days.

Turgeon has a nice balance of experience and youth, and his competitive fire will get things done in College Station. Look for the Aggies to be back in the Dance next March.

Out of these three men, only Martin is a wild card. Bzdelik and Turgeon are proven head men of good character. Martin is a true newbie in the head job with ties to one of the shadiest characters ever to vomit down the driver’s side door of a luxury automobile. He might keep Huggins’ recruits around, but will he win? Will he repeat Huggins’ freewheeling, lawless ways? K-State had better hope not. As the old saying goes – “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”.

For more college basketball coverage, check out Storming the Floor.

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orange-fountain.jpgPerhaps even more than the games, what I enjoy about college sports season (football, basketball, baseball, I don’t care) is the partisanship. I love hearing about obscure traditions just as much as I do the instantly recognizable ones. And the recent upswing in entries at College Rule Notebook demonstrates that wonderfully.

You might not know where Maryville College is, but you will after you read TheGoldfishCowboy’s ode to his undergrad days. They have weeks-long water-balloon fights, streaking, and a goofy fight song. I gather TGC will favor me with the Tennessee Volunteers soon as well, which is long overdue.

More familiar to all of us is the legend of Bullet, Pistol Pete, and Barry Sanders. But if that’s all you know about Oklahoma State University, you’re missing out. My favorite thing about filling in the links for this post was finding multiple pictures of Pete – skiing, at a wedding, and even with bikini babes on the beach. Second favorite was reminiscing about Oklahoma Joe’s, which I visited because I had two good college buddies from Stillwater. Good times, worth the trip.

Head on over and immortalize your alma mater as well! I look forward to the link-searching.

Also, no matter who you root for, Patrick Donohue at LWS has a week one college football viewing guide, complete with some thoughts on the healing ability of sports at Virginia Tech and Indiana.

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A reader of my other blog, College Rule Notebook, just put up some information about the University of Colorado, which is truly one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. I hope a lot of you rabid college football and basketball fans, as well as those who just want to brag on their school regardless of sports, will drop by and fill in the gaps in our coverage throughout the season.

University of Colorado

Look around a little when you get there. If your school isn’t represented, follow the link to the survey – it’s a quick and easy way to gain some notice for your school. You never know when a high school senior searching for info about a school might be swayed by your insider knowledge!

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