College Basketball Nation: Andy Katz

3-point shot: Kentucky storylines

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
10:11
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Andy Katz discusses Miami's Angel Rodriguez, New Mexico State's Cullen Neal and the beginning of a potentially historic season for Kentucky.

Podcast: John Beilein and Bob Huggins

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
4:07
PM ET
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg talk to a pair of head coaches: Michigan's John Beilein and West Virginia's Bob Huggins. Listen here Listen to the podcast.

3-point shot: 2014 draft looks loaded

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
10:55
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1. How good is the 2014 draft? Multiple NBA decision makers said this week that the top three picks in the 2013 draft would be high school seniors Andrew Wiggins (undecided as of Friday), Julius Randle (Kentucky), and Jabari Parker (Duke). Assuming all three leave after one season, then this three would go 1-2-3 in some order in 2014. That might be one of the main reasons so many players may leave for this NBA draft. This also proves that any school in the country would take a one-and-done player if that player meets the standard at that particular school.

2. Credit Dan Hurley for knowing who he is and where he fits at this point in his career. He easily could have chased the Rutgers job and the Big Ten. But he didn't want to go to his third job in three years. Hurley made a commitment to Rhode Island, and the school made one to him. He was facing a major rebuilding situation at Rutgers. He has already had to do that at Wagner and URI. Hurley now is determined to make URI a winner in the A-10, which should have a bit more upward movement without Xavier, Temple, Butler and Charlotte.

3. The confusion about the April 16 NCAA deadline has to stop. The experiment of the NCAA trying to create its own date has failed. Coaches are advising players to take their time and decide by the NBA deadline of April 28. That's the only date that matters since that's when an actual early entry list comes out. International players declare by that date, too, and can withdraw from the draft 10 days prior in June. The reason the April 16 date has no leverage is an American player can tell his coach that he's leaving but not send in his paperwork. If he doesn't send in his statement to the NBA, then nothing is binding. The only meaning the April 16 date has is if a player sends in his announcement to the NBA then he cannot come back. The NCAA should enact one rule that makes sense -- if a player goes undrafted and doesn't sign with an agent then he should be able to return to school.

Podcast: Katz on Rutgers, Final Four, more

April, 5, 2013
4/05/13
5:11
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ESPN's Andy Katz says Tim Pernetti and Mike Rice might have a hard time getting another job in college sports. Katz also discusses the Final Four games this weekend.
ATLANTA -- The Final Four teams provided plenty of tough scouts throughout the season.

But each of the four teams has evolved into a tougher foe by season’s end.

Here are four scouting breakdowns from coaches who had to prepare to face each of the teams in Atlanta at some point during the season.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan on Michigan (Badgers went 2-0):

"We knew Trey Burke would get shots. We needed to make his shots tough 2s. You cannot let him get to the rim. You have to run him off the 3-point line. He’s had games where he’s effective from there. You’ve got to make him take 2-point shots. That’s no secret.

"The other thing is that when he’s handling the ball a lot, it’s against man-to-man. But he’s going to face zone against Syracuse. We don’t play zone. Michigan does have the shooters. I think Michigan will get shots -- it’s whether or not they’re going to make them. I know what you’re saying, 'No kidding, Bo.' But that’s not always true. Not everybody gets shots against Syracuse. The last two teams that played against them didn’t. I think Michigan will. I’ve looked at this thing. If there is a team that can beat Syracuse right now, I think it’s Michigan, because [the Wolverines] can score against them.

"Defensively, they’re fairly young and sometimes they leave guys open. But from December to January to March to April, the most improved player in the country is Mitch McGary. In high school, he did some goofy things. But he has become a really good player in our league. He’s now very solid. He’s athletic. He’s an athletic big, and he’s tough enough. All his efforts are toward getting a rebound. He makes a pass, rotates and moves his feet. Look where he was three months ago and look at him now.

"You know a kid like Trey Burke is going to get his points. We made sure other guys didn’t hurt us. If Burke can distribute, then they can win it all. If the ball is in his hands and all he’s thinking about is what he has to do against zone, then he’ll have to give the ball up. I think Michigan will be better against the zone than other teams. That’s why they have a great chance. Burke won’t just do that ball-screen stuff. Michigan can get shots. Tim Hardaway can shoot. Glenn Robinson can score. I like the way they’re playing."

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey on Syracuse (Irish lost 63-47):

"I think the No. 1 thing that makes them so dangerous is that they feel it’s their time. They’ve played the best they’ve played all year. That’s more than 50 percent of the vibe about them right now. They believe. It starts with the guards. Their guards are really good. They’re the best pair in the country right now. They are flat-out controlling the show, and everything's coming off that.

"They also feel good right now about how they are playing defense. Everyone is preparing for them, and they’ve got everyone psyched about them. Everyone is talking about how much better their zone is. I’m not sure. But you’re already dealing with the psychological component, and you’re having to prepare for them and prepare to deal with the psychological advantage to play them. It has become a mental test for 40 minutes. They are getting into low-clock decisions a lot of times, and that’s where their turnovers come from.

"The short corner screen and baseline shots over the top [are] how you can get shots. But you’ve got to get shots in transition. You need for them to feel like they can get easy shots. Syracuse is making teams change their frame of mind right now. They are grinding it out. They are also grinding it out offensively. They were a team that routinely scored in the 80s, and now they’re playing slowly offensively. They’re grinding down the clock and looking for a mismatch. Is it C.J. Fair on the baseline? Is it a ball screen for Michael Carter-Williams and/or Brandon Triche? It’s a psychological test now with them. You’re not getting the ball back with a lot of possessions in this game. It’s almost a way of playing a bit of burn right now in how they’re playing."

Oregon coach Dana Altman on Louisville (Ducks lost 77-69):

"We couldn’t stay in front of Russ Smith. Neither could Duke or anybody else. I think the first thing with them is their overall team speed, and everyone looks at their guard speed and how quick their bigs are to the ball.

"We were a decent rebounding team going into the game. We felt like we had to beat them on the boards, and we couldn’t deal with their quickness to the ball and their length. That enabled them to beat us on the boards. We couldn’t stay with them.

"Now, Kevin Ware played a great game against us. It was unfortunate about the injury. I see that as their only Achilles’ heel if one of the two guards gets into foul trouble. Peyton Siva got into foul trouble, and Ware had to play a lot off the bench and boosted them. So maybe their depth at the guard spot is their only shortcoming.

"We felt like when we broke their pressure we wanted to attack. We felt like with them changing man to zone, which is very effective in throwing teams off rhythm, it felt like we were beating them in the full-court and wanted to attack and try to be the aggressor. Teams have to make a decision. Some of their full-court pressure will be affected by their depth. Will Smith and Siva be able to go after it as much, knowing Ware isn’t there? I don’t know. If you let them get in a half-court defensive set, they are very difficult to set in against. They keep you off balance with the matchup zone, and off balance by switching man to zone.

"[Gorgui] Dieng around the basket is really good. You have to figure out a way to take the pressure off and set your offense and get some stuff.

"I coached against Wichita State, and their physicality is something, too. They’ve got good athletes across the board. They’ve got good guards who can attack and the athleticism can match it. They’re playing with a great deal of confidence right now. They’ll have to shoot 3s against Louisville before they set up that zone. I think it will be a good game. I really do."

Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson on Wichita State (Northern Iowa went 1-1):

"One of the things that’s different from when we played them during the season was that Ron Baker didn’t play in our two games. With Baker healthy it gives them another 3-point shooter. He’s another guy who can pass the ball and run the offense well. Cleanthony Early is playing with so much more confidence, too. He scored well in league play. I’ve watched the last month or so, and he’s playing with so much confidence offensively. Those two players can help them so much. This team can make jump shots, and that makes them really hard to play against.

"They’ve got Carl Hall inside and a really good point guard in Malcolm Armstead who can get points late in the shot clock. The difference right now is the way Baker and Early are playing. They’re also rebounding the ball, which is where they hang their hat. You’ve got to find a way to rebound the ball against them. You’ve got to rebound, because they’re going to defend you as hard as anyone. And they’ve got depth now.

"That’s where they win a lot of games -- with their rebounding and depth. Looking at them playing Louisville, that’s a terrific rebounding team. I don’t know how many guys Louisville is playing right now, but it doesn’t seem like Louisville ever gets tired. Wichita State does a number of things well, rebounding and depth. If they rebound well against Louisville and a number of guys play well against Louisville, then they’ll have a chance to win this game."

Podcast: Katz, Greenberg predictions

March, 27, 2013
3/27/13
6:52
PM ET
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg break down all of the Sweet 16 games and make Final Four predictions.

Podcast: Dakich, Dixon and Ollie

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
12:48
PM ET
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg break down the Big Ten with Dan Dakich and the Big East with Jamie Dixon. Plus, Kevin Ollie talks about coaching UConn without a postseason.

Video: College Basketball Weekend Watch

March, 2, 2013
3/02/13
10:00
AM ET
video
Andy Katz and the ESPN.com college basketball staff preview the weekend's best games.

Podcast: Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
3:15
PM ET
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg talk about storming the court with Dick Vitale. Plus, Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin joins the show.
1. The onus to stay eligible is on the player first, the staff second and the advisor/department officials third. But Syracuse clearly is having problems managing eligibility for the second semester. This is now two seasons in a row where the rest of the players who are doing what they're supposed to be doing are being hurt by one player's inability to stay eligible. Fab Melo disrupted the season last year and clearly hurt Syracuse from reaching the Final Four. Now James Southerland is ineligible for the foreseeable future while a similar issue is being resolved. Southerland has let down his teammates and the staff. Sure, the Orange won without him Saturday over Villanova but there is still a long season and he needs to be on the floor in some form. He hasn't shot the ball as well since going 9-for-13 for 35 points against Arkansas on Nov. 30, going 15-for-55 on 3-pointers since that game. But the threat of Southerland making 3s could be enough of a scouting nightmare for opposing teams. There are plenty of fingers to point because of this transgression. It starts with Southerland.

2. Boise State coach Leon Rice wouldn't disclose what team rule Derrick Marks, Darrious Hamilton, Mikey Thompson and Kenny Buckner broke to get suspended and didn't say what the first three did to be reinstated for Wednesday's showdown against New Mexico in Boise (Buckner will be allowed to play Jan. 23 against Fresno State). Still, Rice had the leverage. He won without all four at Wyoming. Rice has established a winning culture at Boise in a few short seasons on the job. If Boise State can stay in the top four-five throughout the Mountain West then it is a real possibility the Broncos will get a bid after winning at Creighton. I still think that win and Illinois' win at Gonzaga will go down as the best non-conference road wins this season. They both will have shelf life. Kudos to Rice for sticking to his principles to go on the road in the MWC opener without four players. I'm sure he has their attention now.

3. UConn athletic director Warde Manuel is working his Big East colleagues to see if he could convince them to show leniency and allow the Huskies into the conference tournament despite being banned from the postseason due to poor APR scores. The attempt is likely futile since there is no more appeal process for the Huskies. The postseason ban is for all NCAA/NIT/CBI games but the Big East then adopted a similar policy if a team isn't eligible for those tournaments it could no play in theirs so as to not to take away an automatic berth (the league would then only have at-large teams). The Huskies are still bitter that the way the APR changed to go four years back instead of the last two. UConn also isn't thrilled that it has stayed in the Big East (of course that's because no one from the ACC or Big Ten called) and yet can't play in the tournament while other teams who are bolting on the league will participate. UConn probably wouldn't have the depth to win three or four games in as many days but nothing is implausible with the way the Huskies have been playing lately.

Katz: Analyzing the Wooden Award

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
2:00
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Let me start with a disclaimer and say that I'm a Wooden Award voter.

I know the omissions on the midseason Top 25 list won't win the national player of the year award.

At this juncture, it looks like a three-person race for the honor, with Duke's Mason Plumlee, Creighton's Doug McDermott and Michigan's Trey Burke in the mix.

But I must add two players who were missed, but who made my ballot: Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk.

Click here for the rest of Andy Katz's Wooden Award story.

Video: Stricter rules for coaches on way

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
2:30
PM ET

Andy Katz on the NCAA preparing to adopt legislation that will make head coaches in football and basketball directly responsible when members of their staffs commit rules violations.

Video: Nonconference scheduling important

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
11:05
AM ET
video
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg discuss how important a nonconference schedule is to the selection committee and looks at a few recent examples.

Video: Andy Katz on 50 in 50's top 10

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
11:16
AM ET
video

Andy Katz discusses the top 10 teams in ESPN.com's 50 in 50 rankings, which attempted to determine the 50 most successful programs of the past half-century.
INDIANAPOLIS -- One is speaking plain English; the other feels lost in a bureaucratic town of Babel.

To one, it is so obvious.

To the other, inscrutable.

On one side sits a group of well-intentioned people in Indianapolis, folks who make rules and standards not to be exclusionary but to encourage academic success.

On the other side sit kids in classrooms -- some in high school, fretting about being allowed to play in college, and some in college, fretting about being able to play the next semester.

And in between is a chasm wider than a 7-footer's wingspan.

How high school athletes become eligible to play Division I sports and how they stay eligible in college is not exactly in lockstep with how the NCAA would like to see either of those two tasks accomplished.

And so the NCAA makes new rules and increased standards and the students and coaches question their fairness.

The latest changes in eligibility standards will apply to this fall's high school freshman class, but we won't know their full effect until 2016, when those students prepare to step foot on college campuses. They are already sending ripples through the college community because they are so drastic -- a jump in the required minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.3 and, perhaps more challenging, a rule that now requires high school athletes to complete 10 of their 16 required core courses prior to their senior year of high school.

There is recourse for those who can meet the old standards but not the new ones. The NCAA is now calling it an academic redshirt, a sort of nuanced version of a partial-qualifier. Students may receive a scholarship and will be eligible to practice with their teams, but won't be able to compete. Provided they pass nine credit hours in their first college semester, they can compete the following season as a redshirt freshman.

The intent is simple: The NCAA and its Eligibility Center no longer want to see transcripts in which athletes essentially backload the better part of their academic curriculum at the end of their high school careers.

Instead of taking courses in order, kids desperate to earn an eligibility stamp collect classwork like stamps, taking geometry before algebra and English 4 simultaneously with English 3.

Click here for the rest of Dana O'Neil's story.

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