The Afternoon Links are (intermittently) back, and they are exactly what they say they are. Some days will bring more than others. This is the offseason, after all. If you have a link you'd like included, your best bet is to hit me on Twitter. You can also e-mail your link to collegebasketballnation at gmail.com, or use the submission form here.
If I had my druthers, I would dig a hole in the ground and put my rather large head in it each and every time the words "conference realignment" flickered past MacBook Air. Since that route is professionally untenable -- plus, I'd have to go buy a large shovel to accomodate this dome -- I suppose we're better off facing up to the cold, harsh realities of realignment. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn does exactly that Tuesday. Winn crunched Ken Pomeroy's Pythagorean expectations formula numbers in order to, as he writes, "compare what actually happened over the past 10 seasons against what the stats say would have happened, had the past 10 seasons played out under the new alignments." Winn adds and subtracts various schools from various leagues, and presents a chart-heavy picture that will look downright sad to fans of the Big East, Mountain West, all three of which would have been significantly worse leagues under their current alignments. No surprise there, of course, but Luke's work puts a much finer statistical point on the unfortunate realities of football-driven money grabs. Maybe that head-hole isn't such a bad idea after all.
On Monday, Pacific coach Bob Thomason announced that the 2012-13 season -- his 25th year at the school -- would be his last. Among a long list of accomplishments, Thomason posted nine 20-win seasons, won five Big West coach of the year trophies and led Pacific to four NCAA tournament appearances, two of which included first-round upset wins over Providence and Pittsburgh in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Stony Brook is putting $21.1 million into a new basketball arena. You can see an artist's rendering here.
Draft Express's Jonathan Givony reports back from the New Jersey Nets NBA draft combine (complete with a sortable results chart) and some of the athletic test results were fascinating. Among them? Penn's Zack Rosen tested out as the fastest player in the three-quarters-court sprint, only a fraction of a second slower than Derrick Rose; Stanford's Josh Owens posted the highest vertical jumps and the best bench press numbers; and Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney (wait for it) was the heaviest player in the combine (there it is) by 40 pounds, with a body fat percentage of 22.4 percent, the highest of the combine and the second-highest in Givony's entire database. (Only the legend that is Oliver Miller ranked higher.) The kicker: "Sidney quit pretty early on in the workout after being seen grasping an inhaler on the sidelines." Never change, Renardo. Never change.
Speaking of the draft, on Friday ESPN Insider Chad Ford released his list of players for whom draft workouts could most affect their stock. Candidates include Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Terrence Ross, Andrew Nicholson and a host of others.
Our own Jason King checked in with new Illinois coach John Groce, who is unfazed by the notion that he wasn't Illinois's first choice, and excited by the prospect of a long-term rebuild of the proud Illini program. Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Myron and I debated whether the program Groce inherited is indeed as overrated as we all now seem to think.
Mental health break No. 1: "The Yankee Commandante" is no doubt one of the longer magazine stories you will read all year. It is no doubt also one of the best.
Mental health break No. 2: I would by lying if I said I hadn't been listening to 8-bit "Kid A" all day.