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So Long, Farewell? April 9, 2010

Posted by Casey in College Basketball, NBA, NBA Draft.
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In a sport where it often feels ethics are dead, the NCAA and NBA may have something right.  Prospective NBA players are allowed to attend pro camps, interview with teams, and essentially measure their draft stock.  A perfect example of this is the recent announcement that 5 University of Kentucky basketball players will enter their names into the draft.  The NCAA allows prospects until May 8 to finalize a decision.  A withdrawal restores full remaining eligibility provided the player hasn’t signed with an agent.  Freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins , and junior Patrick Patterson  will likely stay in the draft (and be 1st round picks).  Freshmen Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton will likely proceed through pre-draft activities without committing to test their grades versus other prospects.  Orton played just the 8th most minutes and scored the 8th most points on the Wildcats.  However, he has NBA-size (listed 6-10, 255) and will get a chance to show he’s worth the risk, or learn he needs more of John Calipari’s special blend of coaching herbs and spices.   College coaches can use this experience as a bargaining tool to motivate players (see Ty Lawson, UNC 2009), and the NBA is spared a player who may not be ready.  By giving these time to make an educated decision they can hopefully avoid potential pitfalls, but sometimes ‘protential’ can lead a player to be picked too high, too soon.  Hey, at least you keep the paycheck (hopefully).

Let the Madness Begin March 9, 2010

Posted by Casey in College Basketball.
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The Big East Tournament takes the stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena (Madison Square Garden, NYC) and tomorrow’s quadruple-header features four teams looking at the wrong side of the bubble.  ESPN2 has the afternoon session at 12:00 ET beginning with #9 South Florida battling #16 DePaul.  USF needs this badly to have any hope and won on the road in the team’s only meeting March 2.  The #12/#13 game follows with the higher seeded UConn Huskies facing the St. John’s Red Storm in what amounts to a St. John’s home game.  How will Connecticut’s Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards react to being benched in the second half of Saturday’s loss at South Florida?    ESPNU takes the night session at 7:00ET with #10 Seton Hall looking to ride high scorer Jeremy Hazell past #15 Providence.  The Hall had five players score in double figures in a 12 point win at Providence Saturday.  The nightcap features #11 Cincinnati and #14 Rutgers, who both are probably out of NCAA contention.  Of these teams, all are in trouble, but with the right chips falling elsewhere South Florida, Seton Hall, and Connecticut can all make the big dance.

The first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament is played tomorrow on various on-campus arenas.  #5 Rhode Island takes on #12 St. Joseph’s-in their previous matchup URI romped 101-74.  Another one to watch (or not watch since neither is on TV) is #7 Dayton against #10 George Washington.  Dayton will need to put a good run together in the A-10 tournament which will resume with quarterfinal play March 12th (Friday).  ESPN will have the Horizon League tournament final at 9:00 ET Tuesday.  Top seeded Butler likely has a secure at-large bid so bubble teams everywhere will hope Wright State doesn’t pull the upset, and keeps an extra at-large bid available.  The UConn Women will look to extend their women’s record 71 game winning streak and capture a third consecutive Big East crown at 7 ET against West Virginia.  Bubble teams everywhere were unhappy to see St. Mary’s pull away from Gonzaga in the West Coast Championship Game Monday night, and more importantly force Gonzaga to take an at-large spot.  It should be a fun, full week of hoops, and we are just getting started.