Basketball thoughts?

Any thoughts from the regular readers/commenters about the NCAA basketball tournament or Auburn’s new basketball hire?


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  1. 2

    A few:

    It’s a shame Kentucky lost; with all the defections, Calipari’s team next season will be a shell of this year’s squad.

    Coaches in the Elite Eight: Calipari, Huggins, Izzo, Krzyzewski, Pearl, to name a few. Anyone agree that there is something different about some coaches? That they can achieve on a high level consistently? Does the name Saban give you the same feeling in football? Does “Chizik”?

    Scarbinsky’s article this week gave me another laugh. He called UAB’s loss to North Carolina the end of UAB’s “special season.” UAB went to the NIT, where if they would’ve won it all they would be tagged the 66th best team in the country. You’re gold, Scarbo. Keep writing.

    Back to Kentucky. Was the UK letdown due to the Cat’s youth, West Virginia’s intensity level against a formidable foe, or simply Huggins owning John Calipari? Bob Huggins is now 8-1 all time against John Calipari.

    How long until Alabama gets back into the field of 65? Is there anything Anthony Grant can do to convince home talent to stay home?

    Does the name Barbee mean anything to recruits? He took UTEP dancing on several occasions. But did the Miners play a significant role? (Gottfried made it to the Elite 8.)

    A new facility will go a long way in helping the Tigers, but when competing for the Cousins, Walls and Pattersons of the world (with the roundball heavyweights), will it really swing the pendulum in the Tigers’ favor? Or is the playing field now just level for the Alonzo Gees out there?

    Does anyone really want to see the field expanded to 96 teams?

    Is there a reason to continue the NIT?

    Can anyone explain how Bama’s baseball team (after going 16-1) has dropped four straight by a total of five runs? (Okay, I know that’s not basketball talk, but I need the answer).

  2. 3
    Logic Crusader

    @ intheknow72:

    On Kentucky — Calipari is losing a bunch of talented freshmen, but he’ll just reload and make another run next season… he did it in C-USA with Memphis, so surely he can do the same at Kentucky.

    On the Elite 8 coaches — the one’s you listed are all veteran coaches that recruit at a high level. But to reach that level, they all had a start as superior coaches with average players… they all had the ability to mold average players and make them winners.

    On UAB — UAB’s season was special.
    -18-2, best start in school history.
    -25 wins, ties school record
    -hosted NC State and UNC in the NIT
    -picked to finish 10th in C-USA, but finished 3rd
    -all this after losing 7 players and only returning one starter from the previous season.
    You might have a beef with Scarbo, but what UAB did in a rebuilding year was special no matter who says it.

    On UK and WVU — WVU had senior leadership who had the experience playing with that type of pressure… no matter how many times the talking heads said UK’s freshmen were now sophomores, they were STILL freshmen with no experience in the NCAA Tournament.

    On Alabama in the NCAAs — I see Bama back in the Dance in the next couple years, but Grant needs to show that he can win with the players he has before he’ll ever land the big-time Alabama recruits.

    On Barbee — This was his first season to ever make it to the NCAAs with UTEP. Barbee recruits nationally with the assistance of World Wide Wes. In fact, Barbee is who introduced Calipari to WWW. Barbee started recruiting at a high level to Auburn the day he signed his contract. The real question is can he coach? UTEP and Memphis fans say no.

    On Auburn’s arena — In basketball, it’s the coach that lands recruits, not facilities. Having nice facilities doesn’t hurt, but it still comes down to the coach and immediate playing time for the big boys.

    On 96 teams and the NIT — Only TV Networks and bubble teams want to see the field expanded to 96. CM Newton said it himself: if the NCAAs go to 96, there is no need for the NIT.

    On Bama Baseball — Just look at the schedule and you could answer your own question. You go 16-1 against an average non-conference schedule, then SEC play starts… Bama wins its series with Vandy but drops the last game… it happens. Bama loses to Auburn in Montgomery… it was a midweek game, so you aren’t pitching your top guys in the rotation and Auburn has a good team this year. Then Bama goes on the road to #15 Arkansas and loses a couple games… again, you’re playing the SEC, not Illinois-Chicago and College of Charleston.

    What made you decide on the name “intheknow”?

  3. 4

    UTEP season ticket holder for the last 30 years consecutively here. Auburn fans are in for a shock. Barbee won’t last 3 years in this deal. The man can recruit serious talent but might be the worst Xs/Os coach in D1. He’s a horrific motivator and never has the attention of the athletes. Having spoken to many of the “stars” on his teams the last few years in El Paso, most of the guys who play for him say he’s an arrogant diva who is thinking only of himself.

    It’s one thing to bring in the talent to win CUSA, but he’ll never be able to win 9 games in conference in the SEC and go to the Dance with Auburn. After 3 years of CBIs and NITs, they’ll throw him out.

    His offensive schemes, which mostly consist of “you’re open! SHOOOOOT!!” will drive Auburn fans mad.

    Even with the recent season’s success, culminating in the Tourney at-large appearance, I’ve yet to meet a fellow Miner ticket holder (including myself) that shed a single tear when he bolted. We’ve been waiting years for him to move on.

  4. 5
    Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    There’s only one word for Kentucky’s disentigration – “youth”. For christs sake in the first half they were 0 for 16 on three point shots while they gave up 10. If they had just taken half those 16 shots to the basket for 2 points they would have had a huge lead. Nobody that’s gets to the elite 8 goes 0 for 16 for gods sake. Blame it on Calipari for continuing to force it from behind the arc. I’m glad you mentioned baseball. Gaspard is certainly doing the right thing and I am sorely disappointed in the last 4 games. But the losses have come against rantked teams and Auburn the best hitting team in the conference. The problem is the same as it’s been for 10 years. No pitching. The starters are very good and that is a tribute to Gaspard since he only has what was left to him. But the relievers suck. You cannot beat ranked teams without a bullpen. That being said – the season is still young. RTR!

  5. 7

    Auburn Basketball is heading toward Probation. You cannot run a clean program there. To get the kind of “One and Done” athletes to come to an rural – somewhat isolated campus like Auburn – you are going to have to buy them. That is just the Facts. Lebo tried to run a clean program and he got the penalty.
    Barbee B. Que knows what the Deal is. With World Wide”s Help – Pay for Play is back at Auburn.

  6. 8

    the tourney’s been wonderful to watch. really great games topped off so far by n. iowa beating kansas.

    if you want to know what beat uk, you just had to listen to calipari. in every interview this season it seems, he went on and on about how raw and inexperienced his team was with that smug look on his face. (that smug look telling you what a great coach he is) then this thing started with the pre-game “dancing” led by wall. (a sign his young champions were “loose”)

    wonder where they’re dancing today.

    wall and cousins can be wonderful players in the association. my sense is they’re not mature enough yet.

    i think auburn went the right direction in hiring a young up-and-comer. whether barbee’s a success is anybody’s guess right now. finebaum disagrees. he was pushing tubby. tubby smith at his best was kentucky’s barry switzer. jj and pitino did the heavy lifting. smith and switzer rode the wave to the beach.

    auburn’s new arena is a big f’in’ deal. any alabama basketball fan that says auburn’s new arena doesn’t matter is feeling penis envy with coleman in his pants. i wouldn’t have picked tubby to begin anew in that setting.

    (and finebaum’s track record with basketball coaches isn’t all that swooft anyhoo)

    in the end i hope auburn’s pick works. their success is the only motivation that seems to get the football flunkies in that athletic dept. to do the halfway right thing for the basketball program.

    uab/nit. the nit is in no way a gauge of success. it’s practice. nothing more. if you win it all you’ve won the football equivalent of the pizza bowl. there’s a reason alabama basketball fans look at the loss to uab with a feeling of embarassment: (1.) it was in the nit (2.) it was to them.

    it was a double-shot wake up call to how bad we really were.

  7. 9

    and for the record:

    in the beginning kansas was the darling to win it all. gone.

    then it was kentucky. gone.

    now it’s duke.

    a biblical sign of the end times: (translation: the final four?)

    “and the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together: and a little child shall lead them.

    Isaiah 11:6

    anybody seen butler’s coach???

    he’s 33 but doesn’t look a day over 25.

    i’m picking the bulldogs to win it all.

  8. 10
    Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    It will be like a home game for Butler. But can a mid-major handle that kind of pressure. I say no. If Duke pulls out the Baylor game they will be hard to beat. But I’m going with Sparty. Izzo is the coach Bama should have, and Saban could have helped get him. If they were gonna sell out and pay a roundball coach as much as the Barners pay Cheeze Butt, then they should have gotten the best. RTR!

  9. 11
    Logic Crusader

    @ Crimsonite:

    Tom Izzo is East Lansing’s Pat Summitt… he’s already built a legacy there and he has the city on a string. The Spartan fans follow their basketball team like Bama follows football. I just don’t know what the selling point could possibly be for Tuscaloosa.

  10. 12

    @ Logic Crusader.

    Calipari sure did do that in C-USA…and then he left Memphis crippled with NCAA probation. As he did UMASS. “Reloading” for vacated or forfeited tourney wins just isn’t worth it. And Kentucky may soon find out. History has a funny way of repeating itself.

    On the Elite 8 coaches, I understand. But screw basketball…I was taking the occasion to rub it in our rival’s faces again that we have a seasoned, veteran winner while they have unproven fledglings. It’s a little hobby I have.
    But thank you for crystallizing the obvious for me.

    On UAB…if a season ends in the NIT, it’s not special. Take the glasses off, brother.

    On UK and WVU…that was my first point. That’s the kind of youthful team Calipari will field every season, regardless of who he “reloads” with. I don’t think the Big Blue want to end in the Elite 8 every year.

    On Alabama in the NCAAs…a couple of years until being back in the dance would be ideal, but you can’t win with the players you have if you only have one legitimate interior player, and I’m not sure he had that. You give it a shot winning with that.

    On Barbee…I think he’ll do great. Auburn is a basketball school anyway, and should be at the top of the conference every year in my opinion.

    On Auburn’s arena…sell that facilities argument somewhere else. Auburn didn’t invest a jillion building that palace because they wanted to get a second rate, upstart coach. And while he has potential, poll 100 sports fans in our state (prior to his hiring) and 96 would have no idea who he was.

    On Bama Baseball…very true. The SEC schedule will tell a lot about Alabama.

    On my name…with the absolutely delusional B.S. you shoveled about UAB’s “special season” and facilities not being important, I was going to pose the same question to you.

  11. 13

    And on the Izzo thing, Tom Izzo would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever leave Michigan State for Alabama.

  12. 14
    Hunter Ford

    I miss the 80s and early 90s when basketball in this state was fun. It was fun cause UAB Ala and Auburn fielded good teams with good players.

    The NCAA expanding the big tourney would be ridiculous. Basketball is a tournament sport but don’t devalue the conference tournaments ( regular season hardluy matters) by expanding the big tourney and letting almost every team with at least a .500 record in.

    As far as UAB, they had a great season considering all the factors mentioned by previous posters.

    UAB going to NIT was very good for them. They got tournament experience hosted three games and won two, and bringing North Carolina to Bartow Arena was the biggest sporting event in Birmingham since Indiana came and played UAB at BJCC. Birmingham sports scene is dead.. no more Iron Bowl, no SEC Championship football game, only a made for TV Pizza Bowl. UAB basketball at least has one big home game per year (usually Memphis) to look forward to, and the NIT game against N. Carolina was great to see.

    NIT winner is better than many teams that get in NCAA Tourney. North Texas got in NCAA by winning Sun BElt. Troy, which won Sun Belt regular season, did not get in. Think North Texas could beat North Carolina? About one third of NCAA field are North Texas types, and about a third of NIT field are better teams than the ones who make tourney by winning conference tourney of a crappy conference.

  13. 15

    As much as I hate to admit it, I was pulling for UT to win. I like Pearl and the way UT plays. That was a great game and they lost to a good, well coached team. I think Pearl will eventually get them to a final four, and maybe even win one. I hope Grant can get Bama to that level soon.RTR

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