College Basketball Nation: Haiti

The other day, college hoops blog Storming The Floor came up with an idea: Since South Carolina was stuck paying a $25,000 fine to the SEC for storming the court after their thrilling, totally storm-worthy win over No. 1 Kentucky Tuesday night, why not put that money to a good cause? Why not donate it to the Haiti relief efforts? Haiti sure needs it more than the SEC, and it's the perfect opportunity for conference president Mike Silve to turn a little harsh discipline into a positive story.

Turns out we bloggers aren't the only ones who like the idea: USC trustee Chuck Allen, a former Gamecocks football player, had the same thought. Allen's plan is to speak with South Carolina president Harris Pastides and then take it to the SEC itself for approval.

“That’s unexpected revenue that, but for some exuberance from our fans, our conference wouldn’t be receiving anyway,” Allen said Thursday. “It seems like it’d be a nice, goodwill gesture.”

Allen's right. It would be a nice gesture, the SEC probably doesn't need $25,000 (every little bit helps the bottom line, I guess, but $25,000 pales in comparison with the SEC's $2.25 billion broadcast rights deal), and the SEC can even net some positive press on the exchange. There's is no reason why this shouldn't happen.
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  • Storming The Floor came up with a fantastic idea yesterday. Since SEC commissioner (Who else hears Heath Ledger's Joker snarling "coMISSioner" in their head every time they read that word? Anyone? Just me?) Mike Slive seems hell-bent on punishing South Carolina for a perfectly legitimate, joyous court storm, and seems intent on collecting $25,000 from the Gamecocks in doing so, how about this? How about we send that $25,000 to Haiti? How about we make it count? The country is still in shambles after a devastating earthquake, but it sounds like aid and relief efforts are helping to stem the tide somewhat, and every little bit helps. Plus, South Carolina students were more than willing to hand over the money to the athletics program to offset their joy, and really, does the SEC need another $25,000 in its coffers? Storming The Floor's Eric is asking you to tweet "send SC's fine to #Haiti' to @SEC_Hoops, and tell 'em @STFHoops sent ya." Sounds like a plan to me.
  • Speaking of court storming, Chris Dobbertean claims last night's Providence-UConn game was the moment court storming officially jumped the shark. I hate to say this, but we're way past that point. The shark was leapfrogged long ago. (Can you leapfrog a shark? Someone should totally try.) When you've got Indiana racing onto the court after a home win over Minnesota and UCLA fans trying to break onto their home floor after a buzzer-beater win over Washington, storming the court no longer means what it used to. I'm over it. Fans are over it. Let's call the whole "getting mad every time a school has a dumb court-storm" thing off. The subsequent complaining is almost as bad as the act itself.
  • A familiar lad named Andy Katz zeroes in on Mike Davis, who is leading the UAB Blazers to their best season under his tenure and a possible at-large bid even if they don't end up winning the C-USA tourney.
  • Former DePaul star Tyrone Corbin, now an assistant with the Utah Jazz, says he's interested in the DePaul job. Chris Lowery and Craig Robinson still seem like much better choices, but life is full of wonderful options, am I right?
  • The Basketball Prospectus boys go back and forth on the subject of Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe's future: Will he go pro this year? Should he? If Bledsoe keeps climbing into the lottery, it's hard to argue he shouldn't, but a John Wall-less year in the driver's seat of John Calipari's Porsche sounds like a surefire way to boost your draft stock.
  • On why Evan Turner's insanely quick recovery from a broken back -- it's hard to keep in mind that Turner literally broke his freaking back earlier this season -- has saved the Ohio State Buckeyes from surefire mediocrity. It wasn't too damaging to Turner's draft stock, either. Meanwhile, here's a non-Eamonn argument for why Turner deserves player of the year honors.
  • Ahead of tonight's interesting Wisconsin-Purdue matchup, Rush The Court checks in on the Big Ten and finds Michigan State in the driver's seat. What else is new?
  • Speaking of Michigan State, Kalin Lucas is hearing the finest plaudits a Michigan State point guard can hear. What? No, they're not comparing him to Magic Johnson. I suppose I should have thought of that. No, Mateen Cleaves! They're comparing him to Mateen Cleaves. I guess Magic Johnson would have been better, but you get the point.
  • Calipari and Texas coach Rick Barnes discussed the perils of gaining the No. 1 seed only to lose it shortly thereafter. I can't imagine this conversation lasted all that long. "It's bummer, right bro?" "Yep. Totally, bro. Total bummer." ... "Uh, so what else is up? Wife and kids good?"
  • Joel Branstrom, the high school coach who hit the half-court shot with a blindfold on -- he was being pranked by his students, who'd promised him Final Four tickets if he made it; they were going to pretend the shot went in and were foiled when it, you know, actually went in -- will end up getting those Final Four tickets after all. Let that be a lesson to you kids: Overpromise and underdeliver, and as long as you have a fun viral video clip, you can achieve anything.
  • Which is a bigger rivalry: Syracuse-Georgetown or Connecticut-Syracuse?
Afternoon Linkage is our daily tour through the college basketball mediasphere. Think your work deserves a link? Want to shoot the breeze? Interested in my musical leanings? OK, probably not, but you should still hit me on Twitter to send me stuff you think deserves an afternoon link. Now, on with the hyptertext:

  • Earlier this season, it tentatively appeared as though the Big Ten was going to, wonder of wonders, not play insufferably slow basketball. How wrong we were: As soon as conference play began, the Big Ten started slowing down again, which the Big Ten Geeks pointed out at their Big Ten Network blog space Tuesday. (Fun fact: Did you know Gus Johnson had a blog? And an awesomely named blog at that? Nor did I. Disappointingly, it's not entirely written in caps. It actually appears to not be written at all. Sigh. Oh well.) Anyway, every Big Ten team currently resides below the national pace average (which is about 68 possessions per game, give or take); even the Big Ten's fastest team, Minnesota, only takes about 67 possessions per game. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Slow basketball can still be entertaining basketball, I guess. But those who like to harp on the inferiority of the Big Ten every year have yet more ammunition, and if you want up-and-down hoops, the upper Midwest is not for you.
  • Some Indiana fans take issue (and some agree) with my complaint about the Hoosiers' and Wolverines' court-storming after home wins over Minnesota and UConn, respectively, this weekend. Look, guys, I get it. Things are bad right now. Fans are frustrated, especially the old-timers who have lived their entire lives with a successful basketball program. But you can't completely forget your program's history just because you've had a rough decade. And the decade wasn't even that rough; IU went to the title game in 2002! Normally, sure, let the kids run on the court as much as possible. Who cares, right? Certainly not me. But the dissonance between beating a decent Big Ten opponent at home and storming one of the most storied courts in college basketball continues to confuse me. I'm not the only one.
  • Oregon State fans and media types are starting to freak out about Craig Robinson's potentially imminent departure to DePaul, while Robinson continues to avoid commenting on the possibility. Can Oregon State build a practice facility to Robinson's liking? Or are the Beavers destined to lose their coach to a school that, let's be honest, doesn't exactly have the best facilities situation in the world itself?
  • College Chalktalk weighs in with a quick statistical breakdown of the A-10 conference at its quarter mark. Yes, Temple is still looking good.
  • Luke Winn explains why Jim Calhoun's absence should be a temporary thing, and the Hartford Courant checks in with a source that gives Calhoun 10 days before he's back on the sideline.
  • This is a few days old by now (I tweeted it back on Friday when I was away from the blog for a few days), but it probably deserves a whimsical mention here: Roy Williams' Amazing Technicolor Dreamties are literally dooming the Tar Heels. I'm not one to hate on a man's tie selection, but -- oh, who am I kidding? I'm like Tim Gunn when it comes ties, and not in a smart, knowing way, but in a catty-even-though-I-have-no-clue-what-I'm-talking-about way. Actually, wear what you want, Roy. I have no idea what looks good. I give up.
  • Seth Davis and John Gasaway disagree on the importance of rebounding margin. Layman's explanation: Because pace changes from game to game, rebounding margin doesn't really give you a good idea of how a team rebounds, because that margin can be affected by how slowly or quickly teams play. If you look at rebounding percentages instead -- which takes pace out of the equation -- this mess is cleaned up rather quickly. So when you see a writer cite rebounding margin (or, more likely, a coach), be skeptical. There are far better ways of figuring out well teams rebound.
  • A quick AP summary of former Gonzaga coach Dan Fitzgerald's passing. Fitzgerald coached the Zags for 19 years, recruited John Stockton, took them to their first NCAA tournament, and basically laid the framework for the modern day club's perennial success. Fitzgerald was 67.
  • I was late to this party yesterday, but if you haven't already read Pat Forde's first Forde Minutes of the season, well, I simply have to ask: Why do you hate America?
  • Political non-jokes aside, South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy has close ties with Haiti -- his daughter was born there -- and is working to raise awareness and money by coaching barefoot Saturday. In the meantime, things got even worse in Haiti last night when a strong aftershock rattled the country as hard as anything since the initial quake. The key passage here: "The most powerful to hit Haiti since the initial earthquake eight days ago, it caused little evident physical damage to the ravaged capital. Everything that might have fallen appeared to have already done so." We should probably keep donating, huh?