Tag Archive: basketball



Should NCAA Student Athletes be paid?

The new hot topic among all college athletics is whether or not college athletes should be paid.  The first that I’ve heard to address this topic is Penn State’s assistant football coach Jay Paterno and the Big Ten Conference.  I’ve heard rumors that the Big Ten will be giving their athletes $5,000 for their participation.  I have no idea whether or not this is true. From my current research there’s no actual evidence that this is true.

Assistant Penn State Football coach Jay Paterno

Jay Paterno has stated that the NCAA should not withhold athletes from making money for their participation.  Jay Bilas of ESPN even went as far as to say, “I believe barriers should be removed that limit an athlete from receiving fair compensation for his or her image and likeness”.

I find that to be a very strange statement from such a renowned, and some would argue; well respected, author from ESPN.  However, we’re all permitted to have and share our opinions.  That’s what makes America better than Canada (That and Hockey. Get it. It’s a joke about Boston beating Vancouver for the Stanley Cup).  My first thoughts on this subject however leave me to feel that paying college athletes is wrong and dumb.  Isn’t that what professional athletics is for?

ESPN writer Jay Bilas

After much debate with myself on this subject I’ve decided that I disagree and agree that college athletes should be paid/compensated/or what have you depending on the level they play at.

Division I: No. Most of these athletes have some portion of their tuition, room and board, and other school fees paid for, if not all of it.  I realize that these athletes bring in a lot of money for the schools and institutions they play for. However, they’re getting paid in a sense. Their education is being paid for and they get to travel a bunch for games for free! Not to mention they get compensated for trips home for multiple reasons (I also consider D I AA in this category).

Division II: I feel that D II athletes shouldn’t be paid either. I’m not quite sure how much money these students are given for their tuition bills in scholarships or how much free apparel they receive but I still don’t think these athletes should be paid or compensated for merely being an athlete.  They also get to travel for free to and from games.

Division III: Interestingly enough I do think D III athletes should receive small monetary amounts for their performances.  As a graduated D III athlete I feel a small compensation would help these athletes out a whole bunch! I don’t think they should be paid anymore than $1,000 a year (which I think would be too much anyway) but, I do think they should get some sort of compensation for their services to the institution.  Maybe it was just the school I attended but I received no pride apparel to show my love, passion, and support for my team or other teams at my school. I attended as many games, for other teams at my school, as I could and to support my Buccaneers I had to wear Beloit Buccaneer Football shirts.  We also didn’t travel too far and the places D III schools are aren’t much to look at nor spend time in.  Personally, I think D III athletes should be given a small amount of money to help pay for food, admission to other sporting events, and school apparel to show their school spirit around campus and at other athletic events.

I realize how much time and commitment it takes to play college athletics.  I’ve been there and lived it. I wouldn’t change anything from my college athletic career but, having a few bucks sent my way at the D III level would have been very nice and extremely helpful.  However, I know for a fact that in the upper levels of the NCAA athletes are taken care of very generously and well.  If the NCAA starts paying athletes where will the NCAA go to next? I don’t want to think about it, honestly.

I’m already not too happy with NCAA basketball as it is at the moment. With the new rule changes I’m pretty angry about the charge arc being implemented into the game.  But, that’s another issue.

Yes, college student athletes spend a lot of time preparing (2 hour workouts all year, games =being there 3 hours early for home games and more for away games + the time it takes for the game, 4 hours of meetings in a week, 15 hours of practice each week, a lot of time per week is needed in order to be succesful come game time)  for their sport even during the off season (I worked out during the winter, winter break from school, spring, and summer break for football) so I understand the costs of being an athlete. The gym membership cost is just one example. There are many costs but also many more benefits of being a college athlete, there’s no reason to start compensating and paying student athletes.  Overall, I do not feel student athletes should get paid. However, I have different feelings for each playing level.  But, in the long run they are STUDENT Athletes. Students first and athletes second.  So, why should they be paid unlike their counter parts who come to cheer them on during their games? Again, A whole other issue.

Thanks for reading….I would love to hear others thoughts and opinions on this issue so please leave a comment!!!!!

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Big Ten Brutes


It’s no lie that the Big Ten is a tough conference.  The Big Ten currently has 5 teams ranked in the top 25 (ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll) and 1 team receiving votes.  To me this is impressive.  Only the  Big East has more ranked teams with 8, and that’s out of a 16 team conference.   I would be surprised to see the Big Ten  pick up any more ranked teams starting conference play.  The Big Ten is going to beat the crap out of each other…literally.  As for the Big East, I see them losing ranked teams as conference play continues.

When I look at the Big Ten a few teams stick out to me.  Of course Purdue, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  Some might be questioning my mentioning of Michigan St.  Yes, it’s true that they’ve only posted a sub par 9-4 record but remember their strength of schedule.  Tom Izzo even said that he was concerned with the amount of miles he was putting on his team traveling wise earlier this season, let alone the opponents they were playing (Duke, Uconn, Syracuse, and Texas who are all ranked).  Michigan State is and will continue to be a tough team to beat.  A lot of people seem to be selling Purdue short still.  That’s fine, I like flying under the radar.  Flying under the radar with a #10 rank isn’t heard of very often.

Ohio State.  Here’s where I’ll probably upset some readers but it’s my blog and this is how I roll.  I don’t see Ohio State holding on to their #2 ranking or even maintaining a top ten rank.  I think Sullinger is relied upon too much by the Buckeyes and this will hurt them come conference play.  The Big Ten is full of top notch big men and I think this will get to Sullinger and frustrate him.  Let me not fail to mention that Ohio State hasn’t played anybody! I see the Buckeyes flopping like a fish out of water once they get into conference play.

I also want to mention some teams to keep an eye out for in the Big Ten.  Illinois(#20), Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northwestern.  Illinois and Wisconsin always find themselves at the top of the conference making runs at the conference title.  Bo Ryan will have his Badgers ready to go every Big Ten game especially at home.  Illinois, let’s face it.  They figure out ways to win better than any other team in the Big Ten.  That’s what they do.  Michigan and Northwestern, well they make me nervous every time my Boilermakers play them. They have players and the ability to upset any team any night.  These two teams are no push over wins for anybody.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these teams finish in the top 5 of the conference.

And…let’s not forget the ferocious Minnesota Gophers.  Currently ranked 21st I see them not winning the conference but making things interesting.  I think the Gophers, led by Coach Tubby Smith, have the potential to beat just about anybody.  They too make me nervous when they play Purdue.  After all, it was at Minnesota where Robbie Hummel tore his ACL! The Boilers ended up winning that game but it was ugly.  Penn State also has the potential to stir things up and make things interesting in the Big Ten.

Due to the tough schedule of the Big Ten I think this year your conference champion will have anywhere from 3 to 4 losses.  Plus, basketball (like all sports) is a funny game and anything can happen.  Here’s how I think the Big Ten will play out:

1-Purdue, 2-Michigan State, 3-Wisconsin, 4-Illinois, 5-Northwestern, 6-Ohio State, 7-Minnesota, 8-Indiana, 9-Michigan, 10-Penn State, 11-Iowa

I also see the Big Ten sending 7, if not 8 teams to the big dance.  Because of how this conference will pan out I think the seeds that these teams earn won’t represent how good they actually are.  And going on a gut feeling I see Wisconsin winning the Big Ten Tournament.

 

Purdue Ballamakers


Purdue basketball is my most favorite thing in the world.  When I was a young basketball player defense was my game.I could stop anybody I was put on and had fun doing it. I personally relate to Purdue’s style. I could also shoot pretty well, something Purdue seems to be struggling with lately but defense is Purdue’s identity.  That’s what Purdue basketball is known for, solid pressure D.

This year was supposed to be the Boilermakers year. I thought they were under ranked with their preseason ranking before Hummel re-tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and I was for sure Purdue was going to win the National Championship.  But, that’s the great thing about Purdue basketball.  Once Hummel went down everybody dropped Purdue from their list of teams that could make a final four run in March 2011.  However, Purdue fans still knew they had a chance.  Matt Painter coaches team basketball and it shows. Purdue is currently ranked 17th in assists averaging 17.7 assists/game.

We also still have JaJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore.  It’s no lie to Boiler nation that the Boilermakers are better with Hummel but not down and out! Both Johnson and Moore are averaging over 19 points/game.  Two scorers averaging almost 20 points a game? that’s not too bad at all.  All they need is a little bit of a supporting cast right? So far, that’s been Purdue’s biggest problem.  We haven’t had somebody step up consistently and show that they’re the go to guy when Moore and Johnson are being held in check.  Sure, Hart and Barlow have shown signs of being that guy but neither have stepped up every game thus far.  And then you have Terone Johnson, our own little diaper dandy.  With more experience he’ll be a great player but he’s no Josh Selby from Kansas.  He’s not going to be able to win us a ball game single handedly. I don’t think he quite has the composure just yet to do something like that.

Now, I’m not saying that Purdue is going to crash and burn because they don’t have that 3rd role scorer.  There’s still time. Like I’ve said, Hart and Barlow have shown glimmers of hope and Terone is going to be great and is a very good option as a scorer now.  The two guys that we really need to step up and make buckets this season are our outside shooters; D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith.  They need to pick it up and start shooting consistently to take some pressure off Johnson inside and by shooting well from the outside the defense will have to step out and guard and won’t be able to pack the lane.  In turn this will open up more space for Moore to beat his man off the dribble and open up cutting lanes.

Purdue’s success solely relies on their ability to play solid defense (which I know they will) and on Byrd’s and Smith’s consistency from the outside.  Smith showed great potential and guts in the conference opener against Michigan scoring 17 to go along with Johnson’s 22 and Moore’s 20.  If Smith can continue to produce like this I look forward to Purdue putting up big numbers and becoming a favorite to win the Big 10 and to make a run to the final four in March!

Washington State vs Baylor


It’s been awhile since I last posted.  I’ve been working doubles and have had little time to sleep let alone watch and write about basketball.  However, I’m a dedicated fan and while at my second job managed to watch a little basketball.

The Washington State Cougars have recently caught my eye.  I admit that before watching the Baylor game I knew little about them other than their W over Gonzaga (81-59).  While watching I noticed some really good basketball on the Cougar’s side of the ball.  I also think Baylor is overrated and it showed tonight.  I’ll start out by talking a little about Wash. St., then Baylor, and I’ll finish up with some thoughts I have about each team.

The Cougars impressed me, particularly in the first half.  Their team ball movement created a lot of open shot opportunities and easy points in the lane.  They only average 14.9 assists/game but tonight the pass really helped propel them to a victory.  Washington St. is also a very hot shooting team, 9th in shooting percentage/game.  Give them open shots and they’ll hit them, that’s exactly what happened to Baylor.  Baylor seemed a bit slow on D and was a little lackadaisical and Wash St. took advantage of Baylor’s poor defensive effort and put up 77 (1.9 points lower than their season average).  Klay Thompson also exhibited leadership skills second to none in this game.  He had 20 points and 3 assists and basically sat out the second half due to foul trouble.  When Thompson was out the Cougars seemed a little lost and this concerns me.  It’s always good to have a team leader and a go to guy but when he’s out you still have to be able to make stops on defense and put up points as a team.

Baylor. I don’t want to roast them too badly. After all they are DI ball players and I’m not. But, even I can see mistakes and weaknesses in teams.  As mentioned before the Bears defense was mediocre at best.  They only gave up 77 points but that was with Wash St.’s leading scorer out most of the second half.  They didn’t play help D at all and seemed to have no clue how to get through screens.  They also lacked consistent offense.  They lacked effective ball movement and penetration and settled for too many threes.  They passed the ball around the arc and would launch ill advised shots from the perimeter, a coach’s (and fans) nightmare.  To Baylor’s credit they did go on a 9-0 run midway through the second half when the Cougar’s Klay Thompson was out due to foul trouble.  However, they still lacked knowledge of what a good shot was and decided to play 3-point challenge instead of basketball and it cost them the game.

I think that if Washington St. can find somebody to step up and make buckets to take some pressure off of Thompson they’ll be a very tough team to beat come tourney time (both conference and March Madness).  I think with time they’ll find that guy because of the style they play. They seem to like to share the ball, even though their national rank doesn’t suggest that.  They also have good ball movement and penetration that creates open looks and easy opportunities to score.  As for Baylor, I have no idea how they’re ranked #15.  They have no solid wins and lost to a struggling Gonzaga squad. By conference play they’ll have more losses and will be unveiled as an overrated team.  Kansas and Kansas State will make them look silly and I’ll have a good time watching those games.

Duke Blue Devils


Many of my friends have asked me what’s most surprising about this years college basketball season so far.  Two things that have really surprised me are the Duke Blue Devils(10-0) and The San Diego State Aztecs(10-0).  I’ll talk about the Aztecs in a later post after I’m able to watch them and read up on them a bit more.  Duke so far has really caught my attention.  Yes, they did win the National Championship last year and I expected them to be good once again this year.  But, I did not expect them to dominate as they have so far this season.  Thus far into the season they have only played two top 10 teams, #4 Kansas State University and #6 Michigan State University (rankings are at the time the game was played), and have blown out every other opponent in very convincing fashion.  They stomped #4 KSU by 14 points and beat #6 MSU only by 5 points.  I’ll admit KSU didn’t bring they’re “A” game that night and looked shell shocked, but I have to give Duke credit, Duke took care of business and came out of that game with a very convincing victory.  Some might look at the score of the MSU game and say, “5 points. That’s not that impressive”.  If you watched that game you know that Duke dominated every facet of the game.  They out-rebounded, out-hustled, and all around out-played the Spartans.  They forced MSU to play their game and in turn Michigan State looked uncomfortable to say the least.

That leads to more questions, what makes Duke so good? How are they able to crush the competition?   Ladies and gentleman, the answer is Kyrie Irving.  Irving, a freshman, leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg.  Kyrie Irving is shooting 45% from behind the arc and 90% from the free throw line.  He is also getting to the charity stripe more than any other Duke player.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski changed the offense to make sure Kyrie was the focus point of the offense.  That’s saying a lot considering he has Kyle Singler and the Plumlee brothers (Mason and Miles).  Irving’s talents and skills complement his knowledge of the game perfectly.  This combination allows Irving to make split second decisions and to follow through making very explosive and exciting plays. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils Kyrie suffered a big toe injury and is out indefinitely.  When asked if Kyrie Irving could be out for the season Coach Krzyzewski responded, “He could be, he could be”.

So what does Irving’s injury mean to Dukie nation?  Quite frankly I think Duke fans can rest easy.  With the amount of talent Duke has and a nonthreatening upcoming schedule Duke should be fine.  Nolan Smith, who will be Irving’s replacement, is second on the team in scoring (16.6 ppg).  He’s also shooting 30% from 3-point land and 75% from the free throw line.  Yes, Smith can at times play out of control and isn’t the player that Irving is but he’s a serviceable point guard on a squad that has more scoring threats than some conferences.  Kyle Singler has shown the ability to single handedly take over and win a ball game.  Throw in Nolan Smith, Mason and Miles Plumlee and you still have a solid 4.  Compliment those 4 with Andre Dawkins or Seth Curry and you have a good 6 man rotation.  The only immediate threats I see on Duke’s schedule are Maryland(Jan. 9th), Florida State(Jan. 12th), and Virginia(Jan. 15th).  However, I still think they’ll handle these squads with ease and will continue to prove that they are the #1 team in the nation.  They play Boston College on Jan. 27th and Maryland again on February 2nd.  If Kyrie Irving isn’t back by then the Blue Devils should have enough game experience to be comfortable playing together and should prevail holding on to the top spot in the nation.  If Irving is back by those games I see no chance for any team in the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC).  Other important games to keep in mind for the Blue Devils are on Feb. 9th and the last game of the year on March 5th against the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Rivalry games always make for good contests and the outcomes are unpredictable.

Just because I think the Blue Devils are the best team in the nation so far doesn’t mean they won’t slip and open up the #1 spot for someone else to take over.  This early in the season the only team I’ve seen play consistent enough to give Duke a run for their money is the Kansas Jayhawks(9-0).


Hey There Everybody,

I’ve started this blog not only to kill some time but to express my love for college basketball.  If you’ve read my about me you’ll understand just how much I love college basketball.  In preparation for March Madness I watch college basketball as much as I possibly can.  I will put off doing homework just so I can watch a game, and no it doesn’t matter who’s playing, I just enjoy watching the game.  I’ll gladly pull an all-nighter to watch a few hours of basketball.  If you were wondering, what happens when March Madness rolls around? Do you go to class?  To answer your questions I prepare for March in the most unusual way.  I will not miss a class until March comes.  Even if I’m sick I make it to class to save my absences for the best time of the year.  By the time March Madness comes I’ll have perfect attendance, only to gladly watch it plummet (My parents would be so proud of me if they knew).

My blog will mostly consist of my thoughts about the top 25 rankings and various other stories or requests.  Due to regional broadcasting I usually only get to watch the Big Ten (I go to school in Wisconsin and am from Indiana).  But, I do my best to keep up with national coverage by reading espn.com, reading newspapers, and of course by watching espn/espn2/and espnews.

So, I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts and welcome any requests for posts or suggestions.
Thanks,

Ryan K.