Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday 02/09 A.M. Quickie:
USC Scandal? Butler Sweet 16? Gil 3-pt Champ?

It's almost too perfect: USC's "next Reggie Bush" is already getting the school in trouble... and the original Reggie Bush is allegedly involved.

Did super-stud RB Joe McKnight have a conversation with Reggie Bush during his recruitment? (Look: You can argue that it's a seemingly innocuous offense, but it's still against the rules.)

More importantly: Did Pete Carroll facilitate it? Here's the story.

(Update: I forgot to add that as soon as the story broke, McKnight's coach "clarified" what might -- or might not -- have happened. Let's take that with the ton of salt it deserves. Did McKnight misspeak? Maybe. But it also might be that his coach heard from "influential" USC boosters.)

USC may have had the No. 2 recruiting class (No. 1, according to ESPN's Scouts Inc.), but I have to offer the newest members of Trojan Nation a hearty welcome:

Enjoy what appears to be your inevitable trip to NCAA Sanctionland.

Cowboys hire Wade Phillips: I'm officially dubbing him "The Seat-Warmer," because he's so obviously there to place-hold for Jerry Jones' favorite, Jason Garrett.

Amaechi comes out, Day 2: It's been great to see the mature reaction from (most of) the media and (most of) the league and (most of) the fans. Want a great exception: Check out this post from MJD (via TrueHoop via Can't Stop the Bleeding).

NBA Last Night: Chris Webber (18 points, 11 rebounds) is really enjoying his new life with the Pistons, isn't he? (Detroit beat the Lakers for their 5th straight win, holding Kobe to 5/13 FG shooting and 8 turnovers.)

NBA This Weekend: Will the Knicks match their entire 2005-06 season win total this weekend? For that alone, you either have to (a) credit Isiah or (b) agree with me that Larry Brown and his "Right Way" is overrated.

NBA All-Star Game: While the dunk contest continues to fade, the 3-point contest continues to draw star power. This year's field includes Dirk, Jason Terry, Jason Kapono, Mike Miller and Damon Jones. Oh, and the player I'm predicting will win it all: Gilbert Arenas. It's just his year. (Yes, but will he bet his final-round opponent $20K, just to make it interesting?)

College Hoops: No. 10 Butler rolls. Any team that can make 20 3s in a game is a legit mid-major to do damage in the NCAA Tournament, right?

Here's the question: How would you assess Butler's chances of living up to its lofty ranking in the NCAA Tournament? Obviously, Butler's No. 10 poll ranking won't actually correlate to a 3-seed, but let's run with it:

Do you think that Butler will be a Sweet 16 team, or will bigger, faster teams than they face in the Horizon League that Butler would face in the NCAA Tournament leave them open for an early-round upset?

Meanwhile, speaking of hoops teams from the state of Indiana, how wild was the ending to that DePaul upset of No. 21 Notre Dame?

CBB This Weekend: I'd put three games on your radar.

(1) Florida at Kentucky in primetime for a rare national-TV chance to see for yourself whether the Gators are worthy of being the national-title favorite.

(2) UCLA at West Virginia. If I was a gambling person, I'd call this an Upset Special. I'm not a gambling person, and I'll still call it the Upset Special.

(3) Marquette at Georgetown: Two teams that could make a run to the Elite Eight, if not the Final Four. Here's a chance to evaluate them up close.

Women's CBB: No. 1 Duke beats No. 2 UNC. After yesterday's argument over the overratedness of the UNC-Duke men's college hoops rivalry, it's worth pointing out that the game between the rival women's teams last night was a lot more interesting, given that it was 1-vs-2.

In the grand scheme of things, it remains overrated, because it's not like the loss either (a) KO'ed one of the teams from national-title consideration or (b) really indicates which team would win a rematch in the NCAA Tournament.

(I have been schooled in the comments for minimizing a much more important game in the scheme of the regular season: Two unbeatens, best offense vs. awesome defense, etc.)

MLB: Does anyone really care if Bud Selig does or does not follow Barry Bonds around as he approaches/passes Hank Aaron's career HR record?

Meanwhile: How about Cincy, spending more like the Red Sox than the Reds. Another day, another pricey contract to one of their anchor pitchers: Bronson Arroyo gets 2Y/$25M.

Tagliabue Hall of Fame debate, cont'd: I'm loving the details leaking out about how Paul Tagliabue didn't make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but for me it mostly just reinforces that the cloak of secrecy behind the voting proceedings should be lifted.

The voters involved are managing a public trust. It isn't their fiefdom to be ruled like some sort of secret oligarchy. I think their debate should be Web cast live or – at the least – certainly recorded with audio equipment for fans to listen to and then transcribed into a public archive.

All the voters are way too happy to turn (usually sincere) fan emails into (usually condescending) column fodder. And they're way too quick to pull out the old "our discussions are secret!" b.s.

A little transparency of the process would, as usual, go a long way. I won't hold my breath.

-- D.S.


Mega said...

Butler has Wright St. coming up this weekend which is a pretty solid team. Then, they play SIU who is currently ranked and #1 in the MVC. Being alumni of Southern, I will be cheering for the Salukis all the way, but I see how Butler is one of those mid-majors that none of the big boys want to draw for the tournament.

solomonrex said...

Looks like the "D" is back in Detroit!

I don't think people should be homosexual, but it's not a big deal. I loved Barkley on PTI, btw.

A much bigger story is Junior possibly splitting with DEI. How can you resist this story? He's giving an ultimatum for business ownership in HIS FATHER's company and the owner is...? His STEPMOTHER! Add to this the reality of who is dad was and having the black #3 car waiting for him on a rival team? ooooh. What a way to start the season.

I can't wait to see what happens.

CMFost said...

Wow, USC and scandal what a shock. The more that comes out on that program the more I am surprised that Pete Carroll did not bolt to the NFL.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

Reds fan here...

Glad to see the Reds are spending money on their 2 top pitchers (maybe even players). The problem with the Reds is simple. When the pitchers pitch great, the offense is nowhere to be found. When the pitchers pitch terrible, they offense gets into a slugfest. The Kearns/Lopez trade to Washington is going to haunt them big time this year.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thistlewarrior said...

Thanks Dan for finally giving Women's Hoops some blog space, but you still short changed the game. It was not only 1-vs-2, but also both were undefeated and pitted the top offence (UNC averages as many pts. as the men's team) against one of the top defences (A. Bales leads the NCAA in blocks and last night passed Rebecca Lobo in the all-time list). While it may not KO either team for the tourney, it will play heavily in seeded come March.

Natsfan74 said...

Maybe more important, yet understated, in the Bush article is that Mitch Mustain plans to visit USC. Why would he go out there to sit behind the 2 solid QBs who are already there? Why would USC want him? They just signed a top 5 QB from this year's class. Mustain will end up going the way of Justin Zwick -- Top 5 recruit sitting behind a Heisman Trophy Winner for his whole career.

TJ said...

Wow, I must be in a nit-picky mood this morning. ESPN uses Scouts, Inc. is different, and has UF #1.

Dogbone said...

Mcknight's coach already said the kid misspoke and never talked to Bush. Funny how Shanoff doesn't mention this in his posting.

Unknown said...

con·sen·sus (kən-sĕn'səs)
An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole.

USC did not have the consensus #2 draft class. I know you want your precious flordia, for whatever reason, to have the consensus #1 draft class... but they don't.

CorrND said...

Hilarious! The conference call with McKnight, Bush and Carroll was reportedly set up in order to ease McKnight's worries about potential sanctions against USC.

Pete Carroll is a genius.

Dogbone said...

"But it also might be that his coach heard from USC boosters and didn't want to lose his prize position with USC -- and as McKnight's valet en route to college stardom and the NFL."

What the heck are you talking about Shanoff? What prize position does a guy coaching some small school in Louisiana have with USC? That school isn't a pipeline for USC. Louisiana isn't a pipeline, and the South isn't a pipeline for USC. If This involved a big school in California your argument would make sense. Sadly, your just throwing crap at a wall hoping something will stick.

Brian in Oxford said...

Hey, Matt Cassel got an NFL job without doing squat at USC.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of Georgetown. It's actually sort of "fun" to see a bunch of guys who don't LOOK like Princeton, PLAY like Princeton. Only with a REAL big guy teams have to worry about.

For the women, UNC and Duke are still going to be #1 seeds in the tourney....the only question is who gets "shipped out" of the Southeast. I gotta say, though, I like "unnatural rivals" better than natural rivals. Like a UConn-Tennessee....the only reason for the hatred is because they're at the top, rather than they're so close to each other and everyone's side is already pre-determined by forces they can't control. Another reason that Indy-NE works well, they're rivals because they play big games, not because fan bases antagonize each other year after year after year. Dallas-SF in the 90s, same thing....way better than Dallas-Wash.

Unknown said...

People shouldn't be homosexual? It's not like they choose to be homosexual. No sane person wants to be ostracized by society. But i agree, its not a big us fans. Players, most of whom have not matured past their high school level, will have bigger issues.

I haven't seen Butler play yet, so I can't debate their worthiness.

I'm also glad that the Reds are spending on their better pitchers. However, I don't think losing Kearns hurts much...Lopez, on the other hand, was a more consistent bat (and error machine). The loss of Sean Casey was bigger than Kearns/Lopez.

Not sold on the UK Wildcats. Florida should run wild.

Dan Shanoff said...

Fair points, Josh. I'm not trying to diminish how a team's fans feel about a particular rivalry -- but I am trying to put local rivalries into national perspective.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to argue that it's totally consistent to want to have a playoff... but also to recognize that playoffs decrease the impact of individual regular-season games. (Naturally, unless those games have playoff implications.)

I have always argued that even though college football could use a playoff system, the lack of a playoff system has created a regular season unique in sports where every week is effectively a playoff. And if you keep winning (and you're from a BCS conference), you have a pretty good shot at making the championship game.

Obviously, this isn't totally true... see the Michigan-Florida debate this year. CFB is probably closer to a "double-elimination" playoff, where if you lose once, you're all but finished, but if you lose twice, your title hopes are definitely gone.

verbal97 said...

I don't understand how anyone can say that they don't think people should be homosexual...that's as dumb as saying "I don't think people should be women...or black". It's an extremely bigoted thing to say.

Anyway, if I recall correctly, I think the fact that Alabama can't beat Auburn was the reason for the whole Nick Saban drama. It doesn't matter if you're doing decently, if you can't beat the rival, you get fired. That should eliminate talk of any rivalry being overrated.

If you want to bring up ridiculous rivalries, bring up one-sided ones like Holy Cross/BC. Honestly, I never knew BC was ever playing Holy Cross until well after I graduated.

Mega said...

jason, I'm going to disagree with you when you say Butler is better than SIU (when you said any MVC team), however as one of my favorite phrases goes- "thats why they play the damn game"!

starkweather said...

Does Reggie Bush just hate USC or what? I don't think the original allegations would amount to much on their own There's nothing that would suggest USC's involvement. But now... Is Reggie Bush to USC what Luther Campbell is to The U? I mean aside from the fact that noone actually likes Reggie?

Moving on: Go Hoyas! I hope Green and Hibbert realize they can actually make more money in the League if they stay for next year, too.

Aitch said...

Hey Dan, did you put together your solution to eliminate the comment moderation. Cuz it is killing me!

Unknown said...

Ya know, if CFB went to a would be less than 5 years before the current system was all but forgotten..'cept for the few sportswriters who would gripe about the 'good ol' days'.
Fans adapt. Players adapt. No biggie.

IkeKrizzule said...

I thought what Barkley said on PTI yesterday was/is/should be a huge part of the Amechi story, but isn't being talked about.

He said that he knew, while he was playing, that 2-3 teammates over the course of his career were gay. So, while Amechi is coming out publicly, there have been incidents in the past (and like at least 10 years ago past) where players knew and accepted that they were playing with gay teammates.

Unknown said...

You have to do a lot of digging to find the "exception" you referred to in the MJD blog. The title ("Amaechi Managed to Not Molest Anyone") is a bit jarring, but the post starts by saying, "And I realize that you probably weren't wondering, and neither was I ... but Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel evidently was."

Like an good blog reader, I followed the link to the Brian Schmitz blog, and couldn't find anything objectionable there. After a bit more reading, I realized that Schmitz cleaned up his post at some point, so it no longer said, "A young friend of Meech's that he mentored while in Orlando --- Meech worked with lots of troubled teens --- tells me today that John never did anything untoward. Never."

Please, don't just link to a guy who linked to a guy who said something stupid. Quote the bastard before he's got a chance to take back what he says.

solomonrex said...

I'm not going to go into the entire reasoning on a sports blog.

But who is really bigoted? Someone with a belief or half of our society who thinks those beliefs HAVE to be bigoted, merely because they disagree?

Brian in Oxford said...

How long has Nick Fazekas been at Nevada? I think it's too bad that he's such a known quantity at this point, it takes away all the surprise a program like that could pull in the tourney. Sorta how Gonzaga doesn't sneak up on anyone anymore.

mark said...

But i agree, its not a big us fans. Players, most of whom have not matured past their high school level, will have bigger issues.

Do you really think so?

Most players who have been interviewed on the subject have said that it wouldn't bother them to have a gay teammate, and surveys in the last three or four years confirm this. Mind you, the comments they give are, on average, more along the lines of tolerance than acceptance--something like, "as long as he does his job on the (field/court/ice) it's none of my business what he does off of it." The gay guy on the team won't be a happy camper, for sure. But I don't think we're talking about the locker room exploding here either.

The most grief the guy will get, on the other hand, will come externally. The GOD HATES FAGS brigade will be on hand, waving signs, at every game. The hate mail will be hideous. There will be a sudden outburst of visibly gay fans to counteract all this, sure, but despite our best intentions we'd only add to the circus atmosphere. In short, you've got the makings of a crucible in which concentrating on the game itself will become very difficult indeed, at least until everyone gets tired of the subject.

solomonrex said...

good point, mark.

The heroin sheik said...

Living in orlando I read brian schmidts magic confidential column where he talked about Meech being gay. Meech was one of the truly classy individuals in the NBA and it would seem from the image he was potrayed as having in the press as being someone who would never do something untowards a child but you never know. With the huge gay community in orlando and they way that the city has embraced gays in general(gay days P-house etc)I found it somewhat ironic that the first player in the NBA to come out was a member of the magic. We should have all seen this coming when Meech had his column in the paper called tea with the meech. Should have known something was funny years ago but all the limey's love their tea so who knows.