Saturday, October 30, 2010

Around the World of the College Hardwood

Considering it's Halloween and considering my first subject in this article, I thought a proper Halloween motif was needed.  Thus my favorite clip from  "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." If you are one of the few, the proud, ie the dedicated readers of this site, you know that I am not the biggest fan of Kentucky Coach John Calipari.   Thanks to a line from Jayson Williams' book, I have dubbed Calipari "The Antichrist".  And without fail, it seems every college basketball presason, The AntiChrist is the center of controversy.   Last season it was JohnWall and his eligibility.  This season, it's Enes Kanter and his eligibility.

So leave it to The Antichrist to add fuel to the controversy.  In last Friday's Lexington Herald-Leader, an article noted the following;
"According to a transcript posted on Calipari's Web site Wednesday night, the UK coach said of the Kanter case, "I love what the NCAA did with Dee Bost. Dee Bost decided to put his name in the NBA Draft; stayed in the Draft — meaning he was then a professional and could not come back and be an amateur. Yet, they looked at it and said, wait a minute, common sense says, we're going to let him play, sit him out some games and let him play."
If you want to read the transcript, click here to read it on The Antichrist's own web site. Don't worry, you don't have to do any online signup in blood or have to "click here to accept giving your first born to us".  The transcript comes from an interview that the Antichrist did with Jimmy Dykes on ESPN's Big Blue Madness coverage.

Well apparently Rick Stansbury, the head coach of Mississippi State, was watching the ESPN coverage from Hades and was none too happy about the comparison.  At SEC Media Day, Stansbury commented on this comparison by saying about Bost - "He's not a pro...For any kind of comparison to be made, I don't think Dee is a good one to make it on."   Furthermore, Stansbury had the courage to say what many others, including myself have thought, about Kanter and Kentucky in general;.
"Everybody across the landscape of college basketball understands what that situation was," Stansbury said. "Everybody is probably waiting to see (if) Kentucky gets something, is it because, with Kentucky, something's maybe different than another school."

Wow!  Stansbury even went up to Calipari to talk about this at SEC Media day.  Well Stansbury's right, Bost did not EVER play in a professional league, as did Kanter.  Bost's only mistake was not realizing when the deadline was to pull his name from the NBA draft (and the deadline had been just moved starting this past season - still Bost should have had a clue).   That would be like comparing Katy Perry to Meryl Streep as an actress because Katy happened to have appeared on Saturday Night Live.  That doesn't suddenly make Perry "an actress", though the above spoof on her "left on the cutting room floor" duo with Elmo from Sesame Street was pretty funny.

In other college basketball news, it looks like conference plundering is in full swing, thus a little John Cleese pirate humor is in order.  After Utah and BYU stated their intentions to leave the Mountain West after the 2010-11 season (Utah for the PAC-10 and BYU going independent in football and going to the WCC in Basketball), the MWC had to act to keep their conference strong.  They had already added WAC's Boise State to the fold for the 2011-12 season.   Then the MWC struck at the heart of the WAC again by adding Nevada and Fresno State for the 2012-2013 season.

The Mountain West has a history of causing the WAC grief.  The Mountain West was formed in 1999 when eight teams left the one time sixteen member WAC.   NCAA basketball fans can thank the MWC for creating the dilemma of 31 automatic berth teams to go along with 34 at large teams.  Thus the creation of the Play In Game, otherwise known as the P.I.G., what was and still probably is the most unfair game in NCAA championship sports.

Right now the WAC would be down to six teams for the 2012-13 season, which would mean by rules, they would lose their automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA Tournament.  But don't cry for the WAC just yet.  The WAC is already looking to fill those voids.  Among the schools the WAC are looking at are Montana, Texas State, Texas San Antonio, Denver and Seattle.  Seattle is currently a DI  independent in basketball and Denver is only DI in basketball.   Montana and Denver seem like perfect fits.  The Grizzlies, currently members of the Big Sky, are looking to move into DI football.  The  Pioneers are by far the furthest western point of the Sun Belt conference and really don't fit into the conference's southeastern profile.

With the next topic, I thought it was appropo to have a YouTube link to the very recently deceased Paul the Octopus.   As you may know, Paul was very accurate in predicting World Cup games.  And, it's that time of year when prognostications for the NCAA Tournament actually begin.  Yes, in October.  Blogging the Bracket is already on board with their predictions for the Power Six conferences, as well as "The Other 25 Conferences".   First, I have to kind of laugh that there is this split.  ESPN is guilty of it too with their Bubble Watch.   But it's funny how Blogging the Bracket says "The Other 25" as if they are well, not worthy of mention in the first story.

Well, here at the College Hardwood, we do have separation as well, but we try not to make the non Power Six conferences feel like lepers.   Here's how it is broken down into three groups on this site,
  1. The Power Six  - ACC, Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, PAC 10, and SEC 
  2. The Wannabees - Atlantic 10, Conference USA and the Mountain West
  3. The  Mid Majors - America East, Atlantic Sun,  Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC,  MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, Ohio Valley, Patriot,  Southern, Southland,  Summit, Sun Belt,  SWAC, West Coast and WAC.
The Power Six and The Mid Majors are pretty obvious.  The Power Six are the large multiple tournament bid basketball/BCS football conferences.  The Mid Majors are the historically one tournament bid basketball conferences.  Where I differ with some people is "The Wannabees", which I talked about in an article this past January.  Those are the conferences that either are multiple bowl bid football conferences - Conference USA and Mountain West, or have been historically a multiple tournament bid basketball conference - The Atlantic 10.  

To break it down even further, if you are one of the few the proud, the readers of this site, you know that I believe the Atlantic 10 has never been a mid major conference.  This is due to the conferences significant NCAA Tournament history and either the basketball program or overall athletic program funding or revenue of several of the schools - Xavier, Dayton, Temple, St Joseph's and UMass for example.  Plus the A10 has shown a recent history of looking down at the term "Mid Major".  So, if you don't want to be a mid major and you're not a power six conference, you're a "wannabe".

Anyway, back to the point of tournament bid projections.   You will not see NCAA Tournament Bid projections in late October or November on this site (Hell, you won't see them here till February 2011). It's just way too early for conjecture.  Plus an octopus predicting world cup games is far more accurate than a basketball prognosticator in October. Finally, I think Blogging the Bracket missed one of the best "Other 25 Conference" teams in the country (go to the suggested link below in the next paragraph to see who I am talking about)

The only thing you will see is either my thoughts on two NCAA Tourmament teams from last season being possible Sweet Sixteen teams or the soon to be seen preseason Baker's Dozen Poll, the thirteen tastiest/best Mid Major teams in the country (and that's a poll the College Hardwood runs during the entire season).

Forget about NCAA Tournament projections in the Fall.  Just be happy that in about ten days or so, the NCAA basketball season starts.  Isn't that all that really matters?

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