College Basketball Nation: James Harden
March, 9, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
- As of yet, Jim Calhoun has given little public reason for anyone to think he's retiring at the end of this season. (Whether he should retire is a different story; now seems like as good a time as ever. But that's going to be Calhoun's decision to make.) In the meantime, a pair of self-proclaimed "Loudmouths" are reporting that Calhoun is set to retire at year's end. In response, Calhoun's son Jeff told Adam Zagoria that "unequivocally on my children he has not made a decision to retire and I fully expect him to be back." Which seems like a much more reliable source. In any case, that's not the point; the point is that when Calhoun decides to retire, we'll all know, because he'll tell us. Publicly. At a press conference. Which he will announce. Until then, it's a little silly to spend too much time debating the ins and outs of whether or not Calhoun -- or any coach -- will retire at the end of this season. So let's stop, huh? We have basketball to watch. That's more fun.
- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has suspended sharpshooting guard Chris Allen from Friday's opening Big Ten tournament game for what the Lansing State Journal calls "the cumulative effect of academic problems." Izzo might allow Allen to meet the team on Saturday, provided Michigan State wins.
- Believe it or not, Butler is only 1-4 in Horizon League tournament title games since 2003. Given the sheer dominance the Bulldogs have wrought on the Horizon League in that timeframe, this is a surprising statistic. And one Butler can improve in the team's title appointment with Wright State tonight.
- Kim English -- who is not, as you might assume, a character in an Ian Fleming novel, but is rather a very good basketball player at Missouri -- recounts a difficult childhood in the Kansas City Star: "'Kids can be cruel,' English said as he allowed a glimpse into his fight to control a condition that afflicts more than 60 million in the world, according to the International Stuttering Association. 'I got teased in school. A lot of fights in elementary school. I’d go not talking for days at a time in school. I stuck to myself. Me, having a girl name, and me stuttering. Can you imagine a boy in the second grade stuttering and his name’s Kim?'" The lesson here, as always: Children are evil. Never forget this.
- The Dagger previews the Big East tournament, in which UConn has to make a "miracle run" with wins over St. John's, Marquette and Villanova to get to the title game. Impossible it is not. Improbable? Quite.
- Speaking of the Big East tournament, here are some log5 projections from Ken Pomeroy. Remember that whole "improbable but not impossible thing"? That applies to pretty much everyone except the league's top four teams. Getting double-byes into the quarterfinals of the tournament will do that.
- Lorenzo Romar is displeased that Washington's Quincy Pondexter wasn't named co-MVP of the Pac-10 this year; the award was given to Cal's Jerome Randle, who fit nicely in the Derek Jeter Memorial "Best Player on the Best Team" category of year-end awards. The award wasn't given that way last year, when Arizona State's James Harden beat league-winning Washington's Jonathan Brockman for the award. Which is a fair argument, I guess. It would also have been pretty difficult to ignore Harden's brilliance last season; Pondexter, while good, didn't reach those heights in 2009-10.
- Sporting News releases its list of All-Americans, which has five guards on the team: John Wall, Greivis Vasquez, Evan Turner, Scottie Reynolds, and James Anderson. Somewhere, DeMarcus Cousins and Cole Aldrich are having a very cramped, very valid pity party.
- Oh, and in regards to yesterday's discussion of Cousins vs. Wall for freshman of the year, John Gasaway follows up. For previous Gasaway-penned Cousins over Wall knowledge, well, here you go.
- Mike Miller and Vegas Watch discuss the vagaries of picking your bracket the smart way. Or you could follow the Eamonn Brennan method, which is to throw up your hands, admit you know nothing, and pick teams based on where you wish you'd gone to college. (Just kidding. I don't actually do this. There is plenty of exasperation and hand-throwing, though.)
- FanHouse wonders if North Carolina can win four games in four days. Seeing as the last time North Carolina won four games in a row was from Nov. 9 to Nov. 19, this premise sounds remarkably similar to the UNC fan denial heard immediately after the Tar Heels' blowout loss to Duke last week. But hey, remember: improbable! Not impossible! Mantra, UNC fans. Mantra.
- Former Notre Dame forward Zach Hillesland continues his New York Times Quad blogging with this view of why the Irish played so well with star Luke Harangody out of the lineup.
- Big 12 Hoops gets the conference tournament party started a day early with this preview of the league tournament. Meanwhile, in the hopes of placating the northernmost denizens of the conference, the Big 12 tournament could move in coming years.
- Daily Gopher orders the Big 10's most disappointing teams. The only qualm here is the rather high inclusion of Northwestern; after losing Kevin Coble to injury for the entire year, the fact that the Wildcats were able to stay in NCAA tournament territory for so long was something of a positive surprise.
- Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold makes a case for Kevin Stallings as SEC coach of the year.