Tag Archive: college basketball


Bucket List: pt. 1


Good morning everyone! It’s been over 2 years since I last posted, but I’m ready to get back into doing what I Love and that’s writing about college basketball. Yes, I realize March Madness is right around the corner and I’ve literally missed writing about the entire regular season. But, I can’t think of a better time to pick back up!

In case any of you are wondering it’s been a wild 2 years. Last January (2013) I left for Marine Corps bootcamp, followed by combat training, and eventually landed in California.  (due to security and force preservation reasons I shouldn’t post my whereabouts here, if you really care it’s not that hard to find out lol) Since joining I’ve been pretty busy with my job, but I want to write while the opportunities are here! Before that I was working two jobs and sleeping literally 2-4 hours a day. I didn’t have much time to write….hahaha?

This first post isn’t going to jump right in with my thoughts on the upcoming conference tournaments and who I think will win and why like I usually write about. Honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch that many games up to this point.  So, I thought to get the wheels rolling again I’d start a sporadic, yet personal series of stadiums (campuses) I really want to visit and watch a game. Heck, I’ll even throw in the opponent of the home team I’d like to watch, just for kicks.

1. Allen Fieldhouse (The Phog)

This stadium is at the top of my list.  Not only does this stadium hold many interesting and historic values and stories but the atmosphere created by the fans, especially the student section, is remarkable.  If you’ve read any of my past posts you’ll know I’m a Kansas Jayhawks fan. No, I’m not from Kansas, but I became a fan at a young age because I liked their mascot. I was kid, what did I have to go off of?

fd90e5dae39d9df

The Phog was opened in 1955 and Kansas’ already rich history has grown substantially in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. ESPN has rated The Phog as the loudest college basketball stadium in college basketball. Who wouldn’t want to witness that? The “Home-court” advantage the Kansas Jayhawks feed off of is hard to ignore.  Kansas is the second most winning-est team in college basketball, behind Kentucky.  Kansas also holds some of the longest home winning streaks in the nation.

Phog Allen Fieldhouse is dedicated to Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen.  Allen coached the Jayhawks in the early 1900’s for 39 years.  Allen also played for the Jayhawks under James Naismith, aka the creator of basketball and the only KU head coach with a losing record, Ironic? Being the history nerd that I am I would love to visit this arena and learn everything I could about it and the tradition that continues to collect outstanding high school recruits such as Andrew Wiggins, and posts impressive season after impressive season.

If I had the choice of who I could watch Kansas play in Phog Allen I’d definitely have to go with the Texas Longhorns. Kansas has a few rivalries to talk about. Such as, Kansas St. and Missouri (If you still call Missouri a rivalry after leaving the Big 12).  The Texas vs. Kansas games are always a must watch for me.  Some of the best games I’ve ever watched were between these two teams and I can’t think of any other team I’d want to watch play against the Jayhawks in Phog Allen.  There would be almost too much rich history in one building to handle, but it would be an experience of a lifetime!

I’m keeping this post short and sweet. Don’t want to get too lengthy and lose potential followers! Plus, this is simply a bucket list of places I want to see college basketball played.  I enjoy interaction with my readers so I’d really like to hear from all of you! Leave a comment on where you’d like to see a game and who the home team would be playing if you could choose any team.  Thanks for reading and look for new posts to come soon!

Advertisements

In this post I’m going to give you, the reader, my picks for the SEC this season. You may be wondering, “Does this guy know the division is split?”. Yes, I do. I’m going to format who I believe will win the SEC East and the SEC West. Then, I’ll predict the SEC Championship matchup and overall champion of the SEC in 2011-2012. 

SEC West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide—> The Tide have 3 of their most dangerous players returning and are adding two ESPNU 100 recruits.  Remember, Alabama was royally  screwed last season being one of the tougher bubble teams that was excluded from the NCAA tournament. They’ll have some fire and a chip on their shoulder and will win the SEC West outright!

2. LSU Tigers—> Tigers have 4 of their top scorers returning and are adding a tough power forward (Johnny O’Bryant PF ESPNU 100).  They’re experience will help them beat most teams this year and should give Alabama good, tough competition.

3. Arkansas Razorbacks—> Razorbacks have their second leading scorer returning and are bringing in an outstanding recruiting class that includes three ESPNU top 100’s.

4. Mississipi State Bulldogs—> Once you get passed the first three teams in the SEC West the bottom three are a toss up. When I compare them with who they have returning and who they’re bringing in against Auburn and Ole Miss I see Mississip State being the front runner of the group. 

5. Ole Miss Rebels—> Losing their top two scorers/leaders should show some problems, flaws, and weaknesses in this lineup.  They’re above Auburn simply due to their superior recruiting class. 

6. Auburn Tigers—> Auburn loses their two leading scorers from a season ago. But, they could be the team that upsets and surprises a few teams around the league, however, I don’t see them having too much success this season.

SEC East

The East undoubtedly includes the toughest teams in the SEC this season.  Vandy, Kentucky, and Florida should be fun to watch this year as they battle it out.  Here’s how I believe it’ll play out.

1. Vanderbilt Commodores—> Vanderbilt is not only returning a stunning 7 top scorers but are also bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits.  The Commodores were a team last season that had a shot to win the SEC.  Their experience and talent should be a great combination to lead them to hold the SEC East crown at the end of conference play.

2. Kentucky Wildcats—> Kentucky is losing Knight, Liggins, and Harrellson. Three main guys from last years team. But, they’re bringing in one of the nations best recruiting classes that consists of 4 ESPNU 100’s.  Terrence Jones and Lamb look to lead this squad to an extremely successful season. However, Calipari’s past shows that he’s unable to lead great teams to championships (Memphis lost the lead in 2008 National Championship).  I see him not leading this team to the SEC Championship game. 

3. Florida Gators—> Florida will be that sleeper team. Good experience coming back and some talented recruits. I don’t see them containing the necessary consistency it takes to win the SEC East this year.

4. South Carolina Gamecocks—> Returning their top scorer and bringing in two extremely talented recruits should allow them to finish in the middle of the pack in the SEC East.

5. Georgia Bulldogs—> Losing very talented and experienced players, including two leading scorers, and are only bringing in 1 extremely valuable recruit. I expect this to be a rebuilding season for the Bulldogs.

6. Tennesse Volunteers—> Losing much of their squad from last year and accomplishing to bring in promising talent will lead to an extremely frustrating year for Volunteer fans.  Rebuilding is one word to describe how this season will be for Tennesse.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

I see this matchup coming down to Alabama and Vanderbilt.  I think Vanderbilt’s experience, talent, and desire to win to be the victor of this meeting.  Though, I wouldn’t count the Crimson Tide out. They still have that chip on their shoulder from not making the NCAA tournament last season. It’ll be a very fun and interesting game to watch nonetheless!


Over 300 Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, UCLA, and Purdue football and basketball players have notified the NCAA  that they want some of the pie generated from NCAA DI, school, and conference TV contract revenue.  These student athletes signed a petition informing the NCAA they would appreciate it if the NCAA, “realizes its mission to educate and protect us with integrity” (ESPN, Petition seeks slice of college TV money pg. 1).  Basically the players are asking through this petition that the NCAA forces schools to cover ALL expenses for ALL Division I athletes not covered by scholarships or grants.  Student-Athletes are faced with added expenses to meet needs of academic requirements. Such as tuition, student fees, room and board, campus parking fees, calculators, and other materials such as scan disks.

Ithaca College and the players’ association conducted a research in 2010 that found student-athletes on “full scholarships” actually end up paying $2,951 annually.  That’s terrible! <—–yes that’s sarcasm.  I’m pretty open and will let you know as a former DIII athlete (Beloit College) I owe well over $50k.  Given it costs a little over $42k a year at Beloit.  Yeah, I was given a lot of help as you can tell.  But, to only have to pay approximately $3,000 a year would have been awesome!

The players have issued a solution to cover this, so called, debt.  The NCAA will put aside an undisclosed amount into an “Educational Lock Box”.  What this means is that both the NCAA and college presidents would set aside money gained in TV revenue each year.  When student-athletes would exhaust their NCAA eligibility but not earn their degree yet they would receive an allotment to cover all educational costs.  Or, if they use up their eligibility and graduate they’d simply be handed that allotment of money with no strings attached.

It’s important to keep in mind that college athletes are amateurs, not professionals.  Which shouldn’t be hard to do with the Miami Hurricanes and Ohio State Buckeye scandals being investigated and all over the news recently.  Amateurism is the main argument against the players solution to the NCAA.  BUT! The Pac-12 just made 12 year agreements with both FOX and ESPN.  These TV deals will bring the Pac-12 $3 billion in revenue.  Also, remember that without these student-athletes there would be no college (specifically DI) football and basketball to watch!

Should NCAA Student Athletes be paid?

The NCAA president Mark Emmert is recommending that the colleges themselves will produce an extra $2,000 to cover scholarship shortfall.  This solution would benefit ALL DI student-athletes as opposed to the “Educational Lock Box” solution which would only cover and pay DI football and basketball players.  This solution was combated by Purdue’s Athletic Director Morgan Burke. Burke stated, “depending upon the number of student-athletes, could approximate $1 million a year.” Burke also made it clear that less than two dozen of the 300 DI schools turned an annual profit last year.  He, as well as many others, question how each school would come up to fund this.  Keep in mind that this fund would be supported and funded by the schools, not the NCAA.  Also, each school has the option to opt in or out of this solution.

LSU’s chancellor Micheal Martin said, “I think institutions like us could clearly afford it, I’m not sure all can.” This would not only give certain conferences, but also certain schools, a distinct advantage when it comes to recruiting top notch recruits, believes Boise State’s president Robert Kustra.

Personally, I think it would be okay to pay these student-athletes to cover additional costs of education.  Obviously, if the school is handing out checks they need to monitor somehow and in someway to see if the student-athletes are using those checks for the intended purpose.  However, I’d like DI athletes to put themselves in the shoes of a DIII athlete.  DIII athletes don’t get to fly all over America to play.  We don’t get to miss classes with excuses of “playing” a game for the school. We don’t even receive any athletic scholarship money at all.  We only receive grants, academic scholarships, and need based assistance. To be  honest once again I’m not sure what these players are complaining about.  They have a good deal but I understand that should receive some additional benefits from all the additional revenue they produce for their schools!

I’d be glad to hear what all of you think and your opinions on whether or not student-athletes should be paid!

 

Missouri SEC Bound?


Welcome back everybody! I realize it’s been a long time since I last posted on here.  I’ve been extremely busy with work, staying in shape, studying, and coaching middle school football.  Well, my first season coaching has recently ended and I now have a few minutes a day to read and write about college basketball! I apologize for the long wait on a new post and I hope to be posting more regularly now that my football season has come to a close. 

The topic that’s been on my mind recently is the rumor that Missouri may leave the Big 12 (should be known as the Big 10 now) and join allegiance with the SEC!  Honestly, I think this is absolutely ridiculous.  Now, I’ve always been and always will be a fan and supporter of the Big Ten.  But, I can’t refuse the fact that the Big 12 has some rich history in it’s short existence.  Having produced multiple championship contenders not only in football (mainly Texas), Basketball (mostly Texas and Kansas and some would argue Oklahoma?), and in baseball (again mainly Texas). 

I love the competitive nature of the Big 12. The history of the schools and the heated rivalries amongst the schools within the conference.  Missouri is playing with fate if they’re actually considering making this move.  Yeah, it may (and this is a huge may) increase football commits from recruits but I highly doubt they’ll have any success on the football field in the SEC within the next 20-25 years.  As for basketball, which I feel Missouri is better known for, this move will only hurt them. 

Okay, so Missouri does make the move and they gain an additional $12 million a year in revenue from conference TV agreements….SO WHAT!?!  Money can not buy you a national championship…..I suppose my last statement is debatable. I guess you could build better facilities with that money or hire better coaching staffs…or even pay recruits more money to get them to sign! However, I just see Missouri leaving the Big 12 for the SEC to be a huge mistake. 

Here’s my thinking. Let’s just say for this post that Missouri is in the SEC.  They’re on their recruiting term (let’s say for football).  They’re recruiting and each recruit brings up the fact that Alabama, Florida, and all these other power houses are in the same conference and the odds of them winning a conference championship are slim to none.  Whose going to argue that their chances to win a conference championship in football is more likely to happen in the Big 12? Not many people. 

Now let’s move to basketball, which is why we’re all here.  I see Missouri making the move from a very well respected, competitive, and national power conference to a weak, and not very well respected basketball conference. If you want to argue that the SEC is a respected basketball conference look at all the bubble teams from last year’s field that didn’t make the big dance, especially Alabama. One of the top ranked defenses and didn’t make it.  You’re a basketball recruit being talked to by Missouri and they’re feeding you their speil and you say, “you know what? The Kansas rivalry just isn’t the same without the conference on the line.  If for some reason we don’t win outright the conference we may not be given a chance in the Tournament to prove ourselves due to our presence in the SEC. I’m going to need more time”.  Then you end up signing with another school outside of the of SEC and in the Big 12….good job Missouri. 

Overall I think the move is a bad idea for Missouri. It would be certain basketball suicide. But, obviously the school officials know more than what any of us know and whatever their decision may be will probably be a good one…at least I hope. 

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing some feedback and comments!

It’s good to be back!


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!!!!!

Kansas makes the Cut


Kansas also made the cut that the analysts from College Basketball Final laid out.  Kansas has all of the following met;

  1. A 10 game win streak at some point during the season.
  2. Margin of victory averaging over 10 points a victory
  3. Were in top 10 in the preseason rankings.

Kansas Preseason rank: 7

Kansas MoV: 20.9 (Most out of the 5 teams)

Kansas Record: 28-2 (13-2 Big 12)

Kansas RPI: 1

I’ve always liked Kansas and from when I can remember I’ve always been a fan.  I think my Love for Kansas developed when I was 6 and saw their mascot. I thought it was cool.  Good program to become a fan of right? Anyway, Kansas is one of the toughest teams this year in College Basketball.  Look at their team stats as well; 83.1 ppg (4th overall), Rebounds/game 38 (38th overall), They are 1st in the nation in both Assists/game =18.3 and Field Goal %= .521.  Being ranked in the top 10 for any category is good. Being ranked in the top 10 for 3 of those including two #1’s?  That’s just insane.  Kansas has the ability to put points on the board in a hurry and they don’t do it selfishly.  That’s why Kansas is my favorite to win the National Title this year.  Bill Self is a great coach and always seems to know when to call a timeout or when to let his guys play.  When timeouts are called I think Bill Self’s squad is the best coached in the country.  Not only that they seem to play intelligently 99% of the game.  That’s hard to get out of a bunch of 18-23 year olds.

The Morris twins. Marcus and Markieff

As mentioned above Kansas has the highest MoV of the 5 teams that made the cut.  Winning by 20.9 points per game is ridiculous.  Some might argue then, “Well they must not play anybody”.  If you’re one of those people I’ll inform you.  Kansas is in the Big 12, not a push over conference to say the least.  And!!!!! Their RPI is 1.  That means they are playing the toughest opponents of anyone in the land! Kansas blows my mind this year.  I’m not sure how they’ve lost two games but you have to give mad props and credit to both the Texas Longhorns and the Kansas State Wildcats.

Markieff and Marcus Morris are the obvious leaders on this years squad and I think they’re pretty pissed about being upset last year by #9 seed Northern Iowa.  They’ll have this team ready to go like they have all year, except for two slip ups, and do some serious damage in this years March Madness Tournament.  They’re my pick to win it all.

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.