College Basketball Nation: The Palestra
January, 29, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
To send me your links, hit me up on Twitter. Onward:
- Coach K has been thinning his rotation in recent weeks. Freshmen Mason Plumlee and Andre Dawkins aren't logging nearly as many minutes as they did before the season. What does it all mean? Well, it means Duke's big three -- Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith -- are stuck playing more minutes than before, which could, theoretically, lead to some fatigue. (This was not a difficult equation to figure.) It could also mean nothing: Fretting about Duke's rotation is nothing new, and the aforementioned big three are highly conditioned athletes in their early 20s with years of college hoops experience under their respective belts. Does Duke really need to be deep? The lads at Duke Basketball Report seem unconvinced.
- Mike DeCourcy looks at historical trends and current lineups and figures out who has the right combination of pro talent, post scoring, guard play and coaching to make a legitimate run at the national title. There are few surprises in the offing, but it's an interesting way to whittle the wheat from the chaff.
- SI's Pablo S. Torre wrote about Harvard's hoops resurgence in this week's Sports Illustrated. Torre went to Harvard, and this led New York Times writer Pete Thamel to question the veracity of Torre's story, leading to a totally awesome and unexpected Twitter spat between the two. (Thamel said he was merely reminding folks that Torre gave a "warm fuzzy hug to his alma mater." Uh, thanks?) Anyone following both on Twitter felt a little like a child watching his parents fight. No! Stop it! Stop yelling at each other! Don't question Mommy's journalistic integrity! Something like that, anyway.
- SB Nation's Blogger Power Rankings have Kansas on top of Syracuse, but only by a smidge. Will it be the same after the weekend?
- UNC-Wilmington coach Benny Moss resigns. This may or may not have had something to do with Wednesday's 40-point loss to Hofstra.
- Rush The Court opines on the latest college basketball hoops phenomenon ... rushing the court. Like everyone else in the world (including yours truly), RTC is shocked and appalled at the behavior of you darned college kids, with your MySpaces and your Nintendo. Stop it, already! Get off my lawn!
- A breakdown of the Mountain West's bubble. At-large teams, ahoy.
- In honor of former N.C. State women's coach Kay Yow, Oregon wore some delightfully tacky white and pink uniforms on Thursday night. Yow's logo was stiched on the uniforms as well. And, to be honest, these unis are not all that bad. (Not that it would matter if they were; aesthetics are beside the point here.) I'm being serious. Oregon takes its fair share of guff for its ugly uniform combinations, but, much like BYU's uniforms for Saturday, these unis pass muster.
- Indy Star reporter Terry Hutchens does a few man-on-the-street interviews with Indiana fans to gauge what he calls a "hint of dissatisfaction" among Indiana fans with coach Tom Crean. (For more on this weird phenomenon, go here.) Most of those interviewed remain pretty positive, though there is the obligatory "this coach doesn't run motion offense like Coach Knight" quote: "I like the enthusiasm of Tom Crean, but I have to say I am not impressed by his coaching style," [1978 grad Bruce] Kinsey said. "I see a lack of motion, picks and screens, and movement without the basketball." For those who didn't know, in Indiana, there is only one way to play offense, and that is the same way the Hoosiers played it in 1976. Ignore 30 years of basketball theory. Ignore the success Kentucky coach John Calipari has had playing a dribble-drive system. Just set screens! It's that simple!
- Kyle Whelliston spends the night in the Palestra, hears voices, lives to tell the tale.
- Using the power of statistics and projections, Buster Sports breaks down what would happen if Kentucky played the New Jersey Nets right now. Spoiler alert: The Nets win. Let's assume Buster didn't run the numbers for Kansas because the same result would happen. Though it might be a bit closer.
- Wisconsin's Jon Leuer's wrist is improving, but no one is saying when he'll be back -- only that he won't be ready in a week. That precludes an appearance in the Badgers' lineup for a showdown with Michigan State Tuesday.