Archive for March, 2012

Kentucky-Louisville, Ohio State-Kansas Final 4 Predictions & Open Thread

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2012 at 5:30 am

Rick evaluates his booth options.

A pair of good games tomorrow, interesting in and of themselves, but with additional spice due to the Calipari-Pitino hate-fest laid over UK and Louisville’s traditional rivalry with Ohio St – Kansas battling strength against strength with interior presence and dominant defensive point guards.

The UK-Louisville dynamic is volatile enough without adding the fact that Pitino and Calipari are mortal enemies, Pitino’s personal reputation has taken recent hits that make Lenny Dykstra recoil in disgust, and Calipari has managed to vacate and probate every school where he’s ever had success. The drama also obscures the fact that both coaches have done a wonderful job with their teams.

Pitino (six Final 4 appearances, three with seeds 4 or less) has Louisville playing with junkyard toughness and uses their press to generate some offense and make runs which, while not pretty, have put them in the Big Easy. When Lousville mans up, they hold opponents to 35% shooting and they held UK to 5 of 23 shooting earlier this season. Like UCONN last year, Louisville is playing its best basketball at the right time and they may have the best tactical coach in the college game calling their shots. (more…)

Crazy Like a Fox: Can Anyone Compete with ESPN?

Posted by    |    March 30th, 2012 at 5:30 am

As some of you may know, I’m the father a two-year old twins (a boy and a girl).  At this age, the Walt Disney Company is constantly vacuuming funds out of my wallet.  In the past year alone, I’ve bought Lion King and Toy Story Blu-rays, movies tickets to see The Muppets, a dancing Mickey Mouse (complete with the ability to moonwalk, which is actually pretty sweet), Lion King dolls, Disney Princess books, Disney Princess clothes, Disney Princess purses, Disney Princess stage show tickets, Disney Princess toys and of course the granddaddy of all Disney wallet sucking experiences, a trip to Disney World staying in a Disney hotel complete with a Disney Princess breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle.

For all of the money that people like me spend on Disney toys, movies and theme parks and others that watch TV properties such as ABC and the Disney Channel, the Mickey Mouse-controlled  subsidiary that provides more profit to the company than any other by a massive margin is ESPN.  In fact, it’s not even close.  Currently, ESPN is in close to 100 million households clearing over $5.00 per month from every single one of them in subscriber fees.  This means that ESPN is making around $500 million in revenue per month and $6 billion in revenue per year before even selling a single advertisement.  ESPN isn’t just the most powerful sports network in America.  That would be vastly understating the network’s power.  Here’s the real bottom line: ESPN is the most powerful media and entertainment company in America.  Period. (more…)

McDonald’s All-American Game Postmortem

Posted by    |    March 30th, 2012 at 5:30 am

Fingers crossed that big man Cameron Ridley is Texas-bound.

Texas commitment Cameron Ridley and his West squad won the McDonald’s All-American game last night, 106-102. Ridley actually had a really good game, posting a box score line of 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. I did a postmortem of the game for Kentucky SBNation website A Sea of Blue if you want to check out my thoughts on the various players. Here’s my take on Ridley’s performance.

Best Big Man: Cameron Ridley (Texas)

This was a spirited battle, and seeing Ridley and opposing East starter DaJuan Coleman (Syracuse) go head to head was enjoyable. Coleman led the game in rebounds with 12, but Ridley was the highest scoring big, posting up 12 points. Isaiah Austin (Baylor) showed undeniable perimeter talent, and Tony Parker (undecided) was a load inside. Also, Arizona’s future twin tower duo of Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett looked sneaky good. (more…)

Texas’ offensive transformation close to complete

Posted by    |    March 29th, 2012 at 5:30 am

Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com wrote a nice piece on Harsin and #tehmajor with the title referenced above and you can read it here.

He added this:

Really impressed with both Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin after spending some time with them, both future HC’s sooner rather than later.

— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) March 28, 2012

Then there was a lot of back and forth on his Twitter feed in response to the article that might be of interest to you.

Check and follow @BryanDFischer if you are so inclined.

I like these guys and suspect they along with Manny will be courted soon.

Take Me Down Like I’m a Domino: Realignment in the Rest of the World

Posted by    |    March 28th, 2012 at 5:30 am

With the Big 12 on the verge of signing a large new TV rights extension deal with ESPN and Fox and seemingly heading toward a period of stability, conference realignment is looking more about completing the domino effect of the moves by the power conferences.

The merger of the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA is progressing at tortoise speed with 16 schools for now and periodic rumblings/threats that it may grow as large as 24.  There’s still the specter of the Mount USA Alliance losing Air Force to the Big East, but that would likely be the extent of any further defections.  Honestly, outside of the possibility of having to replace Air Force, I don’t see any real value in the Mount USA expanding further.  As of now, there can be an easily manageable 16-team conference with 2 logical 8-team divisions.  Adding any more schools would be the essence of expansion for the sake of expansion.  The Mount USA is already in a precarious position with how much their TV contracts would be valued today, so further expansion would likely just dilute any rights fees.  So, if the Mount USA is smart, the WAC will receive a reprieve.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 is the new scene for hot conference realignment action.  Temple will be leaving for the Big East while Charlotte has been invited to the Sun Belt in connection with the school’s move-up to Division I-A football in 2015, which means the A-10 is looking for reinforcements.  Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com has reported that VCU, George Mason and Butler have had discussions with the A-10.  If this is consummated, I like the move from the perspective of all parties involved.  The A-10 would establish rivalries in the Washington, DC area (George Mason vs. George Washington) and Richmond (VCU vs. Richmond) while providing Midwestern bridge between its Ohio members (Xavier and Dayton) and St. Louis University by adding Butler.  In turn, the A-10 has consistently garnered multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament, which is something that none of the potential additions could count on in the Colonial Athletic Association or Horizon League, respectively. (more…)