Friday, December 31, 2010
The one year rule was put in place to deter bona-fide talents from jumping directly to the NBA from high school. It has succeeded in doing this, but along the way has perverted the meaning of the term "student-athlete." Players who just stay in college for one year are on a fast-track to the NBA, and get nothing from the college experience besides the parties, since they do not have to worry about learning something, much less graduating. If athletes are only going to have to stay a year, they do not have to worry about annoyances like being academically ineligible.
What if basketball players were forced to complete at least two years of school? This would increase the chances of athletes actually getting something out of their education, and would maybe give them some incentive to pass their freshman year classes. It would also give them at least two years of schooling from a big university. Besides the extra knowledge gained, this two years would be a good start if they ever want to finish their schooling. When Michael Jordan had to sit out a season early in his career, he was able to finish his schooling and get his degree from UNC because he had already finished three years prior to his being drafted by the Bulls.
As my colleague and friend Sagar Parikh mentioned in an earlier post, John Calipari is the coach who most utilizes the one and done rule. But what do these freshman gain besides a little extra seasoning for the big dance? Nothing. Imagine if LeBron James had been forced to take a few business classes? He wouldn't have had to rely on his loser friend Malcom Carter for business advice, and maybe the "King" would have made better choices down the road. It is time to at least somewhat put the "student" back in student-athlete by making the required stay at school two years. The rules in place at the present time work great for the David Stern, but not so much for the overall welfare of the athletes themselves.
What's the Point is a weekly column written by David Straple. Feel free to comment
This season, Calipari is putting his hope in to freshmen: Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb, who are the teams top three scorers so far this year. Again, you may be thinking, this is a tremendous opportunity for three freshman to gain experience so that next season or the year after that, they will be the best team in the country; however, these players are looking to enter the NBA draft next season. That makes it even more difficult to win a championship because not only does the team rely on Freshmen, but they'll be gone next year and a few more Freshmen will come in to lead the team.
Compare Calipari's method to building a team to the current coaching legend: Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. His teams have potential NBA players, but a majority of the Duke Blue Devils stay all four seasons. Kyle Singler probably would have gone in the top 15 in the NBA draft last year, but he chose to stay and try to win another NCAA championship. Krzyzewski attempts to graduate his players and that allows his teams to always be in contention and have a longer lasting success. Unless Calipari is able to find a group of freshmen that have a great chemistry with each other and are able to win the championship, Kentucky will have trouble winning the title. Finally, I find it nearly impossible for Calipari to win two championships in a row because his players would probably want to enter the NBA. Yes, Calipari is one of the best recruiting coaches in the NCAA, but I don't see Kentucky winning a championship in the near future.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Both defenses played pretty bad. Chicago gave up 393 yards and could not seem to get off the field on third down. The Jets, meanwhile, gave up 38 points to an up and down
Bears attack. For all of the exotic blitzes and the constant pressure, the maligned Bears offensive line only gave up two sacks, and gave Jay Cutler enough time to beat the Jets secondary badly on some of his throws. So the defenses were bad, and the offenses showed up. What was the difference in this game, and why is one team on track for a bye while the other will be in a tough wild-card game?
The difference was in special teams, and coaching. A huge turning point in the game was Rex Ryan's bonehead call to try a fake punt on 4th and 3 in the first half. The Bears' special teams were ready, as they stopped the Jets. Mike Martz and Lovie Smith, meanwhile, stuck to the plan that has gotten the Bears this far: a balanced offensive attack, relying more on the defense and special teams. Devin Hester's impact on this game was huge. Along with two 40 yard kick runbacks, the Jets were so afraid of him that they would short-kick the ball on kickoffs, or kick the ball out of bounds on punts in order to keep the ball away from him. This resulted in excellent field position nearly the entire game.
When you add in some of the outside factors for the Jets, (foot fetish video, DUI arrest, hard knocks series, for example), and contrast this with the steadying presence of Lovie Smith, it is easy to see who had the upper hand in this game, and who has a better chance of advancing in the postseason.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Tonight, the #4 Uconn Huskies head into the very hostile "Zoo" environment in Pittsburgh, PA to take on the #6 Pittsburgh Panthers. The majority of tough conference games begin after New Years, however this game has the potential to feel like a Big East Tournament final or an NCAA Tournament game. Funny thing is, the Panthers were chosen preseason to win the Big East while Connecticut was predicted to finish tenth. As Lee Corso says, " Not so fast my friends!!", Connecticut has the potential to win the Big East and take down any opponent they face, led by superstar Kemba Walker. Though Walker has shined so far this year, I see the 6th man, the wild Panther crowd, pumping up the Pittsburgh community in order to send Pitt back into the top 5 rankings.
Prediction: Pitt 86- Uconn 82
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Now picture this: A young boy growing up on a farm in Kazakhstan who comes to America when he is 6 years old because his mother wants to give her family a better opportunity. He spoke very little English and had a passion for following the Knicks vs. Pacers rivalry. It was him and his Sega Genesis, as he continued to always play NBA games. He got very little time playing backyard basketball in his neighborhood, but he chose to sit and watch the outstanding talent within his Russian dominated community.
I know what you're thinking...this is a no name player that I am writing about so that he can become known as a "superstar". Well, Anatoly Bose is already a superstar. This 6 ft 6 senior plays at Nicholls State in Louisiana. But his story doesn't end there, because at the age of 12 he moved to Australia, however he continued to admire players such as Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick. Bose soon headed back to the states though becaue he wanted to pursue a career in basketball.
You think you were busy with college applications? Try being Anatoly and sending out 600 letters to Division I and II schools telling each university about his background and experience with basketball. Nicholls State assistant coach saw his email and became veyr curious about Bose.
Bose's story and journey across the world has allowed him to be one of the most successful players in college basketball. He is ranked third in the nation in scoring, in which he is averaging 25 points a game and scores close to 37% of his teams points. Watch out for Bose, he's proven that nothing is a foreign dream in the world of sports.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
It seemed as if in the beginning of the game Boise was dreaming of a BCS bowl game that they should have been in because the offense was unusually slow. The Utes scored their only points of the game in the first quarter. The Broncos then realized that they should make the most of their bowl appearance so the offense suddenly woke up thanks to an 84 yard sprint by running back Doug Martin. This set the tone for the remainder of the game as Kellen Moore caught on fire going 28/38 for 339 yards and 2 touchdowns. Utah was sloppy all night as their quarterback Terrance Cain had a horrible night, going 10/24 and only throwing for 93 yards with no touchdowns. Overall, the MAACO Bowl was something to watch if you were really bored. Boise did have a few trick plays as always but they weren't too successful. Congrats to Kellen Moore and an unbelievable career at Boise State.
Final Score: Boise State 26, Utah 3
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Also, shout out to those in Croatia, Canada, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, India, and Slovenia. We hope you all are enjoying the blog so far as much as we are. Stay tuned for more updates and posts daily! Thanks.
1) Maybe when Harvard hears the chants "Go do homework", they should take the advice. Don't get me wrong, I love the "mid major" schools and am a huge fan of upsets, but c'mon now. When you play the #4 Uconn Huskies at least give them a little competition or swing some bows, do anything at all. Heck, you know the worlds against you for winning (except for me because I'd love for a big upset) so why not just throw a few punches here and there to at least make the game interesting. Unfortunately, this incredible academic university fell just short to the Uconn Huskies, losing 81-52.
2) "America, America, God shed his grace on thee!" Unfortunately, there was no grace or mercy shown to American University today as they took a short trip to Pennsylvania to play against the #6 Pittsburgh Panthers. Oh what a game this was...so much happened that I don't even need to say anything. Pitt won and gots it's 200th victory under coach Dixon. American, good effort, I'll be pulling for you in the tournament. Pitt prevails 61-46.
You get my point now?
Other scores from today:
#8 Villanova 76, Monmouth 36
#5 Syracuse 93, Drexel 65
#14 Kentucky 89, Winthrop 52
#15 Baylor 83, San Diego 50
#20 Notre Dame 93, UMBC 53
#25 Louisville 114, Western Kentucky 82
However, there were at least two interesting games today.
The Florida game was much closer than expected. 2-9 Radford didn't care less about Florida's #19 ranking and gave them quite a scare. The Gators just barely squeaked by in this one, 66-55.
BUT, there was an upset today! #22 Texas went into #12 Michigan State's arena and jousted the Spartans 67-55. Texas now has some quality wins stacking up as they recently also beat UNC. Watch out for the Longhorns, they'll continue to hook every opponent they face.
Let's begin with the #10 Missouri Tigers who battle against the #21 Illinois Fighting Illini. The Illini, after coming off a tough loss to University of Illinois-Chicago, look to climb back up on the polls with an upset of the Tigers. Led by senior gaurd Demetri McCamey, who averages almost 16 points a game, Illinois looks to gain its composure and prove they are the real deal. However, if you ask the Tigers junior gaurd Marcus Denmom, who averages 16.8 ppg, he'll tell you otherwise. Missouri is currently 10-1 and 1-0 on the road, while the Illini are 10-2 and are 7-0 at home. On the other hand, Illinois is going to have to prove themselves as this game will be played in St. Louis, Missouri. You know the Scottrade Center will be rockin' tonight with excitement as the Tigers look to defend their home arena. Look for a constant war at the gaurd postion tonight as these two teams looks to make early statements with convincing wins over a Top 25 opponent.
Prediction: Missouri 84 - Illinois 78
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Oh yeah, and look where my San Diego State Aztecs are right now?
2) Ohio State
7) SAN DIEGO STATE!!
Monday, December 20, 2010
The full-court press does not work because of the quality of the vast majority of Big East teams. At the current time, seven are ranked in the top 25, with three in the top ten! If the teams are this good, then they surely know how to break a press. It is actually common knowledge that the best way to break a press is to pass out of it. This means that two guards bring the ball up, and pass the ball back and forth so that they do not dribble into the trap presented by the wing defenders. And not only do Big East teams know how to break the press, they have the athleticism to do it as well!
When a press is broken, the resulting play is not pretty for the defense. The defenders try to hustle back, but they are tired and out of posistion. As the offense is moving the ball around, the defense is still getting set! This leads to missed rotations, which consequently means wide open shots and easy layups. Good Big East teams do not miss wide open threes from the wing, which was the shot regularly given up by last year's team. Now, for Villanova's easy non-conference schedule, I do not see a problem using the press, as Villanova often posesses a significant edge in athleticism and coaching in these situations. But, when these advantages are mostly or entirely compromised, a consistent press for 20% or 30% of the game can only lead to trouble, and most likely, losses.
What's the Point is a weekly column written by David Straple. Feel free to comment
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Mitchell had a great game for the Eagles, throwing for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns, but perhaps the most impressive stat was his completion percentage of 71%. Freshman running back Mario Brown, making just his second start of his career, rushed for 104 yards as he kept Villanova's front line on their heels with his quickness. Brandon Kaufman had 8 catches for 135 yards, as 76 of his total yards came on a touchdown pass from Mitchell.
Villanova struggled most of the game to string together a few drives, but every time Eastern Washington scored, Villanova seemed to have an answer. Despite having some success in the second half, the six turnovers proved to be too crucial for the defending national champions. Matt Szczur did not have the same impact as he had the last two weeks and finished his Villanova athletic career watching from the sidelines as he was injured on a hard collision.
Angelo Babbaro returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but Eastern Washington answered with a quick touchdown. Two consecutive Villanova offensive drives were stalled by fumbles in Villanova territory in the first quarter, but the Wildcat defense responded by holding the Eagles to two field goals. Eastern Washington will play the winner of the Delaware and Georgia Southern.
Location: Spokane, Washinton
Airing on ESPN2 and ESPN3
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As mentioned, there was very little offense throughout the game as the Cardinals looked to remain undefeated in their new arena. However, Gerald Colds, who led the Dragons with 20 points, and Chris Fouch, who scored 10 points, had something to prove as they strategically chipped away at the red hot Cardinals. Despite what Louisville fans originally thought, Colds mentioned that "Everybody came in thinking we were better than them" and followed by saying "We felt we could do it. We knew it would be physical. We had to rebound, be strong on offense, and slow them down". In fact, the slow pace of the game seemed to throw off Louisvilles offense as there was very little to be proud of after only putting up 46 points on the scoreboard.
The problems for the Cardinals occured mainly behind the three point line, as they only shot 4 out of 16 from behind the arch. Add that to eleven second chance points for Drexel and you have the makings of an upset. The Dragons now have alot of confidence as they continue their blazing start to the season and end Louisvilles best start since 1996.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
College sports are amped up by the passion, pride, and hostile environments where teams play.
Question: What is your favorite college fight song or what university has the craziest sports atmosphere?
Let me know your thoughts.
Our first stop will be to the "Sunshine State": the land of oranges, beaches, babes, and basketball...and did I mention babes? There's been a request that we check in with the Florida Gators basketball team, however their loss to UCF has those gators hiding themselves in 'The Swamp'. Head to Florida State you say? That sounds nice, however after watching a game of theirs a few weeks back, well..hmm how do i say this...they have no offense? Yeah, thats about it. The more those Seminole fans keep singing and chopping their arms back and forth, the more they lose their voices and can't feel their arms. So wait, why are we in this state again? Travel with me to UAB where I'll introduce you to Cameron. No, he didn't just win the Heisman, this is Cameron Moore the 6 ft 10, 230 pound junior who plays for the Blazers. Moore was the 8th leading scorer on the team last year, however Cameron has stepped up his game and is now the number one shooter for UAB. He is averaging 19.7 points a game to go along with 9.4 rebounds. Cameron has recorded five double-doubles already this season and has his scorching Blazers standing at 7-2 on the season. Not to mention, UAB's two losses have come to Arizona State by three and Georgia by two. Oh yeah, and they've already beaten Arkansas 70-65. In their last victory against Kent State, Geno Ford who is the coach of K-State said that Moore is "the most improved player in the country". Not too far away, their inner state rivals the UCF Black Knights are jousting opponents left and right. Led by Marcus Jordan, who is averaging 16.3 points per game, the Knights are out to a quick 8-0 start. No wonder Florida is known as the 'Sunshine State', because these bright young stars are beaming on the hardwood and are burning their competition.
Stay tuned as our flight continues next week!
Monday, December 13, 2010
The game will be played on Tuesday in Tennessee, which will provide a hostile environment for the Golden Grizzlies, but Tennessee might have a letdown after a tremendous win against Pittsburgh over the weekend. Led by Senior Keith Benson, the 5-5 Oakland Golden Grizzlies of the Summit League, has a chance to upset the Volunteers.
Prediction: Oakland 84-76
Keith Benson will have a 20-20 game!
1. Duke (10-0) (31)
Games this week: No games scheduled
2. Ohio State (8-0):
Games this week: 12/15 vs. Florida Gulf Coast (2-5), 12/18 vs. South Carolina (7-1)
3. Kansas (9-0)
Games this week: 12/18 vs. USC (6-4)
4. Connecticut (8-0)
Games this week: No games scheduled
5. Syracuse (10-0)
Games this week: 12/18 Iona (7-3)
6. Kansas State (9-1)
Games this week: 12/18 vs. (24) Florida (7-2)
7. Tennessee (7-0)
Games this week: 12/14 vs. Oakland (5-5), 12/17 at Charlotte (4-6)
8. Pittsburgh (10-1)
Games this week: 12/18 vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-7)
9. Baylor (6-0)
Games this week: 12/15 vs. Bethune-Cookman (4-5), 12/18 vs. Gonzaga (4-5)
10. San Diego State (10-0)
Games this week: 12/13 Cal Poly (3-5), 12/18 vs. UC Santa Barbara (4-3)
For the full rankings, click here
Sunday, December 12, 2010
After all the hype about App. State being a #1 seed and running all over Villanova, my prediction held true. Led by Matt Szczur, who had 5 touchdowns, and Chris Whitney who held his own in the pocket, Villanova marched to victory by embarrassing the Mountaineers on their home field, 42-24.
Better luck next time Mountaineers, I geuss the "Boone" isn't as hostile as they say at Appalachian State.
Next Game: Villanova vs. Eastern Washington
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
You can watch this game on ESPN tomorrow at 12:00.
Prediction: Villanova 30, Appalachian State 27
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Hmm, who could this be? Many who havent been following college basketball may immediately say USC!! (last time I heard about them, was well....who cares). But no, wrong! Your friend next to you may be saying, "This is easy, it has to be the UCLA Bruins." Sorry sweetheart, but UCLA just lost to Montana and is going nowhere fast after they got beat by the University of Cal-Fullerton on the 24 hours of basketball marathon (It's awesome baby!!!). So no one knows?
Well, for those individuals who have actually been reading about West Coast teams, I am referring to the San Diego State Aztecs. The Who??? Yes, the Aztecs. San Diego State is currently 9-0 and it sweeping the West Coast by storm. Dont believe me? Ask Gonzaga who after being ranked early in the season in the top 25 was upset by these mighty Aztecs. Yes, there are those critics who will look up their schedule and say that the Aztecs also have only beaten teams like IUPUI (what?) and Green Bay (Packers?).
The Aztecs next play host to cross town rival San Diego University, who is known for having a solid basketball team the past few years. If you remember, they even upset Uconn one year in the tournament. After that their schedule continues with schools like Cal Poly, Occidental (excuse me?...yes that's a schools name) and UC Santa Barbara. So where's the competition? Well, they play both TCU and Utah twice which could present a challenge, however the Aztecs will make March Madness this year and will upset a big named team, if not two. Call them the new George Mason or Butler of the West, because the Aztecs are here to even make Dickey V say " IT'S AWESOME BABY!!"
Oh, and did I mention that they're ranked #14 AND their football team is playing Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. Go Aztecs!
In a sport like college basketball, it is incredibly tough to have a great, or even good team on a consistent basis. Teams like Duke, Michigan State, Syracuse, Villanova, and Kansas have been in the top 25 for what seems like decades, and look as if they will continue to be. The dynamics of college sports are vastly different from pro sports in the sense that the core of a pro sports team can stay together for five to ten years (Philadelphia Phillies, New England Patriots). In the college game, the core of a good team can only stay together for three or four years at the most. So how do these top-notch college basketball programs stay "top-notch?"
Year after year we see basketball programs rise to the pinnacle of the college basketball world, just to fall into the pool of mediocrity the very next year. Teams like Butler, our most recent example, have come within inches of winning the sport's biggest prize, and have struggled out of the gate the following season. Mid-major schools are more prone to this behavior, but big-name schools are not immune. Teams like UCLA and Oklahoma have caught this disease in recent years. So how have these top-notch college basketball programs fallen so hard and fast? The answer comes in what most programs don't have.
There are many reasons for success in college basketball. Money, recruiting, fan base, location, and resources such as practice facilities and equipment all factor in to the success of a team, but they do not explain how a team such as UCLA and a team like Villanova can be so vastly different. UCLA has a much larger fan base that can lead to more national exposure and draw in recruits. They reside in beautiful, sunny California compared to brisk and windy suburban Philadelphia. As part of the University of California system, UCLA has more resources and money at its disposal than that of a relatively small private school in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Having no knowledge of college basketball, and having read the last paragraph, you would think UCLA is the better basketball program. After all, it is far easier to recruit good players in a relatively watered down PAC-10 compared to the fierce competition of the Big East, "Big 5", and many other conferences cluttered into the North and East. Clearly that is not the case. UCLA, coming off a loss to Montana (MONTANA!!!), and more importantly a dreadful 14-18 '09-'10 campaign, sit at 3-4 and at the bottom of the (again I emphasize) watered down PAC-10. #12 Villanova, at 7-1, has a streak of six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and is a perennial top-25 team in the toughest conference in America. How exactly does this happen? (I promise, this is the last time I ask)
The difference between these two programs is simple. Leadership. It is no coincidence that Tom Izzo at Michigan State, Mike Krz.... Coach K at Duke, Jay Wright at Villanova, Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, and Jim Calhoun in Connecticut always have their teams in great shape, ready to play, and are consistent winners. A great leader needs to have a great work ethic, understand his subordinates, have confidence, be organized, and have an unquestionable will to succeed. These characteristics have allowed these coaches and players to not only buy in to the team's objectives and succeed, but succeed year in and year out on a consistent basis.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Wildcats come in with some things to work on before Big East play starts. First, they must simply shoot better. For a team that relies on guard play and the three-point shot, Villanova has not been getting it done, only making 29 percent of its threes. The Cats also need to get healthy, with Isiah Armwood and Maurice Sutton nursing injuries. These injuries, along with JayVaughn Pinkston's recent suspension, caused the Cats to go to a seven man rotation last game, which is simply not sustainable. Although Penn is improving and building a program around guys like leading scorer Jack Eggleston, twelve-ranked Villanova should have no problem taking care of business as they continue to prep for conference play.
Prediction: Villanova-83, Penn-57
Dec. 8 @ Penn
Dec. 12 @ LaSalle
Dec. 18 vs. Delaware
Dec. 22 @ Monmouth
Dec. 30 vs. Temple
Monday, December 6, 2010
#10 Georgetown at Temple: The Temple Owls are my choice this week, as they look to win their third straight game. Georgetown sitting at 8-0 has continued to climb the rankings, but I see problems arising with Temple's slower pace that could dictate the game.
Everyone knows that every's teams goal is to win the National Championship. With a stacked lineup of sophmores led by the three dominant seniors, Pena, Stokes, and Fisher, Nova looks to bounce back after a very tough year.
Question of the Day:
How far will Nova make it this season?
Let me know your thoughts
Villanova head coach, Jay Wright released the following statement on the situation on Monday: "I am in support of the university's decision. JayVaughn understands that there are consequences to his actions and I believe he will continue to handle this in a mature manner. We look forward to his return in June."
Jay Wright was hoping Pinkston could provide some front court depth on a guard-heavy roster, but it leaves the team waiting until next year to see if Pinkston can get back on track.