SELECTION SUNDAY: Duke Takes #1 Overall Seed in the East

Though it seemed to be an open race, the committee has decided that Duke will be at the top spot as we begin the most important three weeks of the season. As the top seed, Duke will face the winner of North Carolina Central and North Dakota State. Were NCCU to win, it would be an all-Durham Round of 64 as the Eagles are in closer proximity than even UNC and share the Bull City with the Blue Devils.

The other teams in the East are #2 seed Michigan State, #3 LSU, #4 VA Tech, #5 Mississippi State, #6 Maryland, #7 Louisville, #8 VCU, #9 UCF, #10 Minnesota, #11 Belmont and Temple (First Four), #12 Liberty, #13 Saint Louis, #14 Yale, and #15 Bradley. There are quite a few under-the-radar teams in this bracket: for example, for weeks Virginia Tech has been without star Justin Robinson but will regain him for the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, UCF has something virtually no one but the American Conference has seen before— Tacko Fall, the 7’6” yet mobile center. Like essentially any other, this bracket is no cakewalk to Minneapolis.

Bleed blue. Duke will play one of the two #16’s on Friday at 7:10pm, and as we all learned last year, that game cannot be overlooked.

As Allegations Mount, Louisville Basketball Fears the Worst

Literally. Louisville Basketball is fearing what is often referred to as the “death penalty” for the program as the FBI investigations continue, the repeat-violator legislation and worst sentence the NCAA has on hand which usually means a ban from competition of at least one season, if not more. I’m sure the NCAA is tired of the bad publicity (though Louisville only revealed their problems), and really they don’t deserve the be off the hook at all. Multiple assistant coaches are being accused of making multi-thousand dollar payments to relatives of recruits across the board for the program.

louisville-countersues-rick-pitino-lawsuit.jpg
Source: SportsIllustrated <https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/12/14/louisville-rick-pitino-countersuit-ncaa-fbi-investigation&gt;

The “death penalty” has happened before: SMU Football, who was in a similar situation, was axed in the 80s when investigations found the program so riddled with corruption that the penalty had to be used. The full sentence was not carried out: had that happened, they wouldn’t have played from 1987 until 1989, amongst other worst-case punishments. However, the 1987 season was canceled and the four scheduled home games in 1988 were also eliminated. The committee said that they felt the disciplines were fully necessary because of “a program that was built on wrongdoing, deceit, and rule violations”. Only conditioning drills were allowed during the 1987 calendar year, and an existing ban on televised games and bowl games was extended to 1990. In addition, absolutely no off-campus recruiting was allowed until the August of 1988. You can read more on the scandal here, but the penalty was at the root of a twenty-year span in which SMU had just one winning season and no bowl selections until 2009. It’s widely considered one of the worst NCAA infractions and disciplinary actions to date.

 

“We’re looking at the death penalty, no question about it. … We’re in serious trouble.

–Jerry Eaves, former U of L player (1978-1982)

No one knows what will happen to Louisville, but we all know that the potential for it to be drastic is very, very high. Bleed blue.

FBI Probe Sheds Light on Big Problems in NCAA

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 9.05.10 PM
Courtesy: USA Today- For The Win

Many big programs in NCAA Basketball look like they’re in big trouble as Brian Bowen Sr. has shed light on even more schools than the ones originally mentioned in the FBI probe- Arizona, Louisville, NC State, and Miami (all Adidas-sponsored, who is at the heart this whole thing. Brian Bowen Sr. mentioned Arizona, Creighton, Oklahoma State, and Texas for offering him thousands and thousands of dollars in order for his son, Brian Bowen II, to play at their respective schools. Bowen is now playing professionally in Australia after the turmoil at Louisville that brought down Rick Pitino made him the face of the NCAA corruption investigation (Bowen Sr. was paid $100K by Louisville). You can read more, but it’s not just the schools that anyone has mentioned that could be in big trouble: recruiting, in general, has become about the money and no school is safe. ESPN has another good article here that details the schools, coaches, players, defendants, and witnesses involved in the trial.

Bye-Bye, RPI

Thank goodness. After 37 years of RPI rankings, the NCAA is replacing the system in favor of “N.E.T.”, NCAA Evaluation Tool, which values quadrant wins more. RPI, or Rating Percentage Index, was used to help seed teams in men and women’s NCAA college basketball tournaments. It’s considered a God-given move by many, as RPI had, according to many, long expired in the college basketball world.

We all remember when Trae Young and his 3-12-in-the-second-half-of-the-season made it into the tournament soundly. Their 18-13 record was certainly aided by their four Quad-4 (bad teams, basically) wins. But they did have six Quad-1 wins (good teams, basically) that fueled their entry into the tournament (and I’m guessing CBS had a say, with Trae Young being the clickbait of television) But their eventual record of 12-13 against “good” teams was not considered tournament material. Of course, Trae Young and Co. (I don’t know the rest of their names, to be honest) were incredible in the first half of the season, rising up in the rankings to (I think) the top 5. But their descent (it was really a direct downward plunge off of a cliff) happened as soon as teams figured out that by defending Young extremely, extremely well, they could basically cut the team’s scoring in half. Young still managed to average the highest in points and assists for the year, but that certainly didn’t lead to actually winning. You can celebrate the statistics, awards, whatever all you want, but at the end of the day, it’s the score that actually counts and Oklahoma crashed and burned in that category. Oklahoma’s ranking in RPI didn’t actually help their case. Would this system have? Will this system consider events like the downfall of Oklahoma? We must wait and see.

Bleed blue. The wait for Countdown to be here is agonizing, I know, but I’ll try to keep you busy whilst we must endure the anticipation.

⬆︎ Me going back to school ⬆︎

Coach K Speaks Out on NCAA Reforms

After the NCAA put out a proposal for the new reforms for college basketball, including changes in the rules regarding agents, the NBA Draft, and more. The changes were not received well, as many important people in the college basketball world spoke out against the rules put in place.

Now, probably one of the most important people in sports has spoken out. Mike Krzyzewski spoke about how the NCAA didn’t go far enough. He gestured to a picture in which leaders from the NCAA, the NBA, the NABC, AAU, and more, met in a summit in 2005, using it as an example. Coach K said that while the reforms were “well-intentioned”, the NCAA lacked coordination. Many reports say that while the organizations met, both the NBA and USA Basketball, who were implemented multiple times in the proposal, felt blindsided. In addition, he addressed the unchanged rules on communication between coaches and players in the summer months, which hasn’t been solved.

You can read more on Coach K’s comments here, but basically, he appears unimpressed. He also mentions the upcoming Canada trip (four days!). Bleed blue.

Oh, and by the way, Jay Bilas on Zion Williamson’s astronomically awesome size and mobility at that:

 

NCAA Rule Changes Not Received Well

Despite the NCAA trying to at least make an appearance to put the students first, the reforms that the NCAA put in place yesterday were not well received by fans or organizations and participants who were reportedly blindsided by the changes. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a report on NBA and USAB executives’ surprise at the changes, who did discuss the matter, but neither organization believed they had come to any consensus with the NCAA. USA Basketball intends to expand the sport of basketball, not confine it to “elite players” for the sake of determining who is allowed to have an agent. The organization would prefer that this job is left to the NBA instead.

Myron Metcalf spoke of his dismay on ESPN, in addition with SBNation’s Ricky O’Donnell and Duke Basketball Report’s JD King. The changes obviously attempt to address the issues that the FBI’s investigation surfaced, but do not address them. Really, all I can say is that at least they made an attempt. One major issue? Players who want to return to school must have attended the NBA Combine to be permitted to do so, which only includes a handful of players. If a player attended the NBA Combine, the player is likely to be drafted. Look at the list below:

So out of who knows how many undrafted student-athletes last year, only four would have the opportunity to return to school? Wow. What help.

There are a LOT of issues still to be solved. But at least they’re trying? Well, maybe what they’re “trying” to do is win back favor in the public’s eyes. Regardless, there is work to do. A lot of it.

Featured image on the homepage is courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Massive Changes In Store for College Basketball

After becoming immersed in FBI investigations last year for corruption involved with the sport, the NCAA has announced some majorly huge changes for college basketball. In summary, based on the NCAA’s report on the rule changes, here they are:

  • The number of visits has been increased.
  • With a pending decision from the NBA and NBPA, high school players can have an agent by July 1st before their senior year, provided they are identified as an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.
    • This rule becomes effective if/when the NBA/NBPA reaches the decision to allow high school students in the NBA Draft
  • College basketball players can be represented by an agent if they ask for an assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
    • Effective immediately.
    • Agents are permitted to pay for expenses, including meals and transportation for players and their families.
      • This rule is effective when any relevant state laws are changed, including the Uniform Athletes Agent Act, Revised Uniform Athletes Agent Act, and others.
    • Agreements between players and agents must be:
      • In writing.
      • Terminated when a player enrolls in or returns to college.
      • Disclosed to the NCAA (for players in high school) and the school (for players in college).
    • To work with a student-athlete, agents must be NCAA-certified.
  • Students who wish to enter the NBA Draft must seek an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, providing information to advise the students in their decisions on whether to stay in school or enter the draft.
  • Student-athletes who are not drafted, attended an evaluation, and attended the Combine will be permitted to re-enroll in school provided that they alert their athletic director of their decision by 5pm the Monday following the draft.
    • Effective if/when the NBA makes an expected decision making undrafted athletes who return to college ineligible for the NBA draft until the completion of the next college basketball season.
  • Required funding and assistant from schools for players returning for degree completion.
    • Effective August 1, 2019.

These new changes will be groundbreaking for the NCAA and all of college basketball. Of course, many of these changes are pending a decision by the NBA and NBPA. It’ll take a while, but we may just be witnessing the end of the one-and-done era.

De’Aaron Fox had some choice words for the NCAA:

When it comes to the “elite” prospect rule, what about guys who aren’t USA Basketball eligible? International players, like R.J. Barrett, for one?

It’s a work in progress, mostly in the right direction.

The featured image on the homepage is courtesy of The Athletic.

Duke AD Kevin White Appointed Chair of NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for 2019-2020

Duke athletic director Kevin White has been appointed chair of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for 2019-2020. Dr. White has been on the committee since the 2015-2016 season. The current chair, Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen, is set to rotate off of the committee September 1st. Congratulations to him and his family.

⬆︎ Hi, Joneses! ⬆︎

(look to the right side of Mr. President)

NCAA Transfer Rule Amended

While the changes weren’t exactly what many people were hoping and vying for, beneficial changes were made to the NCAA Transfer law. Coaches are no longer permitted to block the transfer of a player and student-athletes will not require permission from coaches to visit other institutions. Simplistically, coaches are not allowed to influence a player’s transfer to another school, which I believe is a good move. If a student-athlete wishes to transfer for his own benefit, a coach shouldn’t be able to block the move simply for his and the program’s benefit. The NCAA is made so that the student can walk away with the best experience to benefit them in the long run (or at least they say so), and this rule accentuates this goal.

Bleed blue, Duke fans. NBA Draft is in one week! According to Rip Hamilton, after his great performance at the combine and workouts, Grayson Allen has a good chance to go early! No surprise to Duke fans, of course, but a good hearing for him.