Category Archives: College Basketball

3 Things We Learned: 2013 March Madness

The Madness is over folks!

March Madness has come to an end and Louisville has proven to be the best team in the country by defeating Michigan 82 – 76 in the Championship Game of the 2013 Final Four at the Georgia Dome in HotLanta.

Here are three things we learned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Louisville’s Rick Pitino becomes the only coach to win a title with two different schools.

1)    Rick Pitino is the Man!

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has just solidified his place amongst the all-time great coaches in Division 1 history.  His postseason resume is staggering. He became the first coach to win the whole thing at two different schools (Kentucky ’96).  He is one of two coaches to lead three different teams to the Final Four (Calipari is the other but the Memphis years are vacated). He is also one of a pair of coaches to lead two teams to three Final Fours (Roy Williams). Pitino has coached a team to the Final Four in four different decades. His teams have made 18 tournament appearances, seven Finals Fours, and have won 11 conference tournaments over his 27 year career.

What do all these accomplishments mean? They mean Rick Pitino gets the job done when it counts the most. His up-tempo offensive attack combined with stifling, full court defensive pressure has led to 662 careers wins. That’s good for 22nd all-time, just two behind John Wooden!  It’s only fitting that a coach with as much style as Coach Pitino be named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on the same day that he makes coaching history…and the scary part is…he ain’t done yet!!

Photo by John Lariviere
A high school basketball players misses a dunk as today’s youth lack fundamentals.

2)    The quality of play is down compared to years past.

The tournament is always exciting. It doesn’t really matter what teams are in it, or if there are any major “stars” showcasing their talents, because the NCAA has built the brand of March Madness to a point where it has become self sustaining.  Brackets, office pools, and Vegas lines are a driving force behind what has become a multi-billion dollar business.  The tournament will always be good.

It’s the quality of play that stinks…

Young athletes are fundamentally flawed because we live in a society that values entertainment over hard work.  Youngsters are taught, by their peers and by the media, that it’s cooler to have swag and style than it is to be fundamentally sound.  24/7 sports coverage on television shows nothing but dunks and flashy plays. This becomes engrained in the minds of young athletes who, instead of practicing bounce passes and foul shots, are practicing lob passes and dunks.

Frank Ordonez/The Post-Standard Jim Boeheim has dealt with bad refs at the University of Syracuse since 1962 when he a walk-on guard for the basketball team.

3)    The Refs STINK!!!

Can it get any worse?

I sure hope not because it’s really, really bad right now for these NCAA officials. There were a multitude of terrible calls throughout this NCAA tournament that affected the outcomes of games. Trey Burke had a clean block on Peyton Siva but was called for a foul because the referee anticipated contact.  There was a charge call on Syracuse guard Brandon Triche at the end of the Michigan game in the semifinal that could have changed the game.

My point is that the poor officiating has contributed to the lack of quality play from the student athletes.  When the officiating is inconsistent (and it sure has been in not only this tournament but in the conference tournaments as well) the players don’t know what to expect when it comes to what is going to be called on a game to game basis.  This uncertainty and confusion leads to poor execution because more split-second decisions have to be made by the athletes instead of allowing their natural instincts to prevail.  The combination of uncertainty and inexperience leads to poor basketball, which doesn’t help when the refs can’t even get it right!

March Madness did exactly what it was supposed to do, entertain and excite while providing unforgettable storylines that we will remember forever.  Kevin Ware’s injury, Rick Patino’s glory week, the Big East goes out with a bang, the Fab-5 reunites at the Final Four…yeah, I would say it was Madness…but at least you learned three things!!!

Most Valuable Video: #CollegeSlam Winning Dunk

In cased you missed it, Doug Anderson from University of Detroit dropped this filthy dunk last night in route to winning the College Slam competition. Not to take away from the NBA’s dunk contest (because UW’s own Terrence Ross won it this year), but this dunk would have won that competition as well.

Lets hope “Dunking Doug”, as he is suitably nicknamed, finds his way onto an NBA team in hopes of one day getting the NBA contest back to form. We all know Lebron James won’t.

Pernetti Fired as Rutgers AD

AP via sportsillustrated.com

AP via sportsillustrated.com

As Ken Harrelson would say, “He gone”.

This morning I woke up to news that yet another Rutgers official would get the axe. This time it was their now infamous Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti. All of this comes after the release of countless hours of video portraying now fired basketball coach Mike Rice abusing and degrading his student-athletes. But you already knew that.

As my alma-mater flails in the public relations shit storm that seems to somehow make its way back to the New Brunswick campus every couple of years, I can’t help but feel sorry for Pernetti. As Athletic Director, Pernetti has done many great things for Rutgers University. Unfortunately, however, he fell victim to a viral video mixed with a hint of overreaction and a dash of  irresponsibility.

I’m not defending Rice here, or saying that Pernetti was unjustly fired. My feelings are that the media caught wind of this story and forced Rutgers into a decision that would please the nation and the professors who have been up in arms for years on the finances of the athletic department. As policy makers and journalist weighed in with their opinion, the snowball continued to roll downhill.

There is no denying that Pernetti acknowledged the situation back when he was first made aware of it. Although the punishment wasn’t as severe as every talking head would have hoped, there is no precedent for Pernetti to go off of here. He did what he thought was the right move with a suspension, a fine, and getting Mike Rice some counseling. Label me biased, but that seems like a responsible move that Pernetti and others on his staff agreed upon.

Sure, in retrospect, Pernetti could have reacted more harshly and fired Rice on the spot back in November. But does he deserve to be caught up in this “scandal” because his effort was not strong enough? If this is 10 years earlier, I think Pernetti keeps his job and this video stays on the hush hush.

Pernetti has been a great AD for Rutgers, getting them out of sinking ship that is the Big East and into the Big 10, handling the departure of Greg Schiano and finding a suitable replacement in Kyle Flood, and improving the program as a whole. I hope that Rutgers can soon find an athletic director and basketball coach who will push this dark cloud out to sea.

Weigh in on the matter here or on Twitter @theorangewedge.

LNS: Andy Enfield Leaves #DunkCity for USC

andy-enfield-fgcu-coach

Dunk City is heading back, back, to Cali, Cali.

Coach Andy Enfield, the mastermind behind the NCAA tournament’s most successful 15 seed, has been hired as the new head man at USC. Early reports indicate it is a six-year deal, and could earn Enfield as much as $1 million annually. Enfield’s salary at FGCU was $157,000.

Enfield is a fresh face that has burst into the national spotlight, and that plays very well in talent-rich southern California. But the task won’t be easy, as USC has been one of the Pac-12’s worst schools in recent years. Tim Floyd’s ugly exit left the program with instability and a handful of sanctions to go along with it.

But can he turn it all around? It’s not impossible. There are a few qualities that make Andy Enfield a quality coach. First, he is a skilled shooting coach. A big part of FGCU’s sudden success was attributed to Enfield and his staff working with players improving their shooting. Yes, they also practice dunking, but there’s no denying that these kids played far better than expected under Enfield’s tutelage, and that speaks towards hard work in practice.

But Andy Enfield can make the biggest difference on the recruiting trail. The top players on FGCU were the only three Enfield was able to lure there, and it probably wasn’t easy. After their win over Georgetown, Enfield told a story during the press conference where he was on the phone with potential recruit Brett Comer while his wife was giving birth. Definition of dedication, people. The guy is super competitive, has the ability to charm recruits, and has a smoking hot wife. Did you really think he was going to stay in Fort Meyers?

Is FGCU going to get over it? Probably not. But this is what college basketball has become. Heck, an even bigger heist took place a few days ago when Steve Alford dashed to UCLA. Programs that have money will spend it. We all talked about how crazy it was that FGCU’s program had X dollars and Florida had Y dollars and yet they were competing. But the same comparison that inspired the Eagles last week is today’s downfall. It’s not fair, but neither is business. And colleges are business, make no mistake about it.

Lunch: Madness Resumes, Plus Memes!

Still reeling from last night’s debacle, we’re switching back over to the college game. And how! This year’s Sweet 16 may have 5 or 6 absolute classics in sotre for us. Here are my picks for today, complete with very little explanation (trust me, when I have been wrong?):

Miami Over Marquette
Too much experience, especially in close games, for a Marquette team that did too much surviving just to get to this round.

Arizona Over Ohio State
I think it’s time to move Sean Miller into that “Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, and Other Young College Coaches on the Rise” class.

Syracuse over Indiana
Syracuse could win this game, but they could also get blown out by 30. But isn’t that every game? Great coaching matchup here.

LaSalle Over Wichita State
Not a great week for the LaSalle Explorers, who had to deal with FGCU Mania despite making a Cinderella run of their own. It continues.

To welcome in the new weekend, here are some memes from the first weekend of March Madness. Enjoy, and enjoy the games tonight.

brain banker picard scumbag steve boromir brian toodanmnhigh stacey fry

Food for Thought: New Adidas Jersey’s are…?

The Big East Tournament has me captivated today. The Cincinnati Bearcats took on the Providence Friars in a second round match up that had no hype and no real reason for me to watch. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the outcome and I really didn’t want to watch either of these bubble teams.

But I did. And it was all because of the uniforms.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Adidas recently released 6 new jerseys for its flagship schools: Cincinnati, Baylor, Kansas, Louisville, UCLA, and Notre Dame. Now I know am a little late to the game, but after getting my first glimpse of in game action, I still don’t know what to think about seeing these fashion forward uniforms. Are they cool? Obnoxious?

(AP Photo/Adidas)

(AP Photo/Adidas)

At first, Cincinnati appears to be the sharpest with nice contrast and a good color combination. Overall, not that bad. But after watching them in game, I found the others. If it was just Cinci rocking these uniforms, I could get over. Heck, I’d probably even endorse it. But as for the others…I am fairly certain my eyes will bleed before the buzzer sounds.

I don’t exactly know what Adidas is going for, but if High School Lax bro was their goal, they nailed it. The shorts are right off the practice field, flaunting an obnoxious pattern with bright color highlights. Throw some shoulder pads under that pinnie and you have a full on laxer rocking a fitted cap and some sweet “flow”. The Notre Dame team most likely reacted like this when seeing their new attire.

As for the other teams, I don’t know if they were psyched or horrified.

Are these jerseys the nice? I for one am still trying to figure out if that is zebra print or some sort of camouflage. Either way, I’ll be watching all six teams, who at this point, appear to be tournament bound.

Weigh in with your thoughts here or hit us up on Twitter @TheOrangeWedge.

Lunch: Back in the Bubble

Joe Harris will need to play big if Virgina wants to dance (STEVE HELBER / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Joe Harris will need to play big if Virgina wants to dance (STEVE HELBER / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

We’re back for Lunch with another round of bubble teams. Picking up right where we left off:

Maryland (20-11) – In order for Maryland to overcome their sky-high computer numbers and make the tournament as an at-large, they’re going to have to make some serious noise in their last ever ACC tournament. Maryland will play Wake Forest in the first round and Duke in the quarterfinals, both must-win games.  A second win over the number one RPI team would usually be enough to make the tournament, but that would be only the fifth top-150 RPI win for Maryland all season. For a team with as many top-150 opportunities as the Terrapins have had (16), five wins doesn’t cut it. A win in the ACC semis over North Carolina might be enough to push them over the edge, but at that point they might as well just win the whole thing and grab an automatic bid on their way to the Big Ten.

Ole Miss (23-8) – Despite a lack of good wins (a home win against Missouri two months ago being the only one), Ole Miss wound up with the three seed and a double-bye in the SEC tournament. The Runnin’ Rebels are in line to play Missouri again in their first game. Even though the Tigers are the second-best team in a weak SEC, a second win over Mizzou doesn’t a tournament team make. The Rebels would then most likely play Kentucky in what would essentially be a play-out game. There’s no guarantee that wins in these two games would be enough to seal the deal, however, and Andy Kennedy may just have to find a way to win the league’s automatic bid to save his team’s season and quite possibly his job.

Temple (23-8) – Temple is in the best position of any team on this page. They took care of business on Saturday, beating VCU convincingly in the regular season finale. The Atlantic 10 tournament actually poses itself as more of a minefield than a profile booster for the Owls. As long as they can avoid a slip-up to a lesser team (starting with the George Washington-UMass winner in the quarterfinals), there’s almost no way Temple doesn’t go dancing.

Tennessee (19-11) – This is the definition of a profile right on the cut line. The Volunteers have four top-50 RPI wins, including an early-season battle with Wichita State and a marquee win over Florida. They also have a near .500 road/neutral record, something that is very important to the selection committee. On the flip side, they are 1-4 against teams on this page, having lost to Virginia, Kentucky, and twice to Ole Miss. It’s going to take a strong SEC tournament performance and perhaps a little bit of luck to go dancing. Tennessee will need to beat a bottom-feeder (South Carolina or Mississippi State) then Alabama in the quarterfinals to have a fighting shot. If Tennessee can’t take down the Gators one more time in the semis, they’ll be left hoping their bubble doesn’t burst on Sunday.

Virginia (21-10) – No team has ever made the tournament in its current form (since 1985) with as many sub-100 RPI losses as Virginia (seven). Only three teams have even made it with more than four such losses. For this reason the Cavaliers have their ACC tournament work cut out for them. They play the NC State-Virginia Tech winner in the quarterfinals, followed by a likely matchup with regular season winner Miami in the semis. If Virginia can find a way to beat Miami, they should find themselves on a bracket line come Sunday night.

My Picks: I see Boise State and Iowa State getting in based on the work they’ve already done and the fact that even a loss in the first round of their conference tournament won’t hurt too badly due to the quality teams both are playing (San Diego State and Oklahoma, respectively). Temple will get in because they are simply playing too well this late in the season to let a poor team get in the way. Kentucky is arguably better than any team in their half of the SEC bracket, and can make it to the tournament final with relative ease. La Salle will put up a fight against Butler, but win or lose will still make it based on the fact that they’ve won 10 road/neutral games, more than any other bubble team.

Ole Miss and Maryland have too many obstacles to overcome, and too few opportunities to do so. That leaves Tennessee, Baylor, and Virginia. Whichever team seizes the opportunities that their conference tournament presents will snatch up the last remaining bid. Based on the ease of the opponents they are facing, my money is on Tennessee. See you on Sunday.

 What do you think of our picks? Think Virginia can sneak in? Will Kentucky get a chance to repeat? Get at us @TheOrangeWedge