Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rutgers Updates

The next few days in the world of Scarlet Knights athletics...

Tomorrow: Rutgers men's basketball (4-2) takes a trip to Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton to square off against Rider (3-1) at 7 p.m. The two schools played the first basketball game ever in the arena in November of 1999, when Jeff Greer led the way with 16 points in a 74-49 Rutgers win. The Scarlet Knights will be looking for revenge after a December 2007 loss to the Broncs at the RAC.

Thursday: Rutgers football (6-5, 4-2 in BIG EAST) will look to lock up its fourth-straight bowl appearance in primetime as Louisville (5-6, 1-5 in BIG EAST) returns to Piscataway for the first time since having its national title hopes dashed by RU on Nov. 9 2006. It will be Senior Night at Rutgers Stadium and the final home game for fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel, amongst others.

Saturday: Rutgers men's basketball vs. Binghamton @ the RAC at 2 p.m.

We should know where the Scarlet Knights football team is going bowl-wise (if anywhere) on Sunday.

The Morning Run

Some cool links to check out while desperately trying to fight off boredom and keep your boss off your back because you didn't file your TPS reports:

This college basketball coach won over 700 games and multiple national champions, but he will be remembered for something else.

Seems like the Mayor of NYC doesn't like how the Giants responded to the Plaxico Burress incident

Michael Wilbon is not a fan of the way the Big 12 handled their epic season ending dilemma


Oscar De La Hoya now has a statue memorializing him. But it doesn't make sense to some people

The Daily Campus says that perhaps it's time to change the way you think about Connecticut basketball

Marquette has been having some trouble staying out of foul trouble


This story may be a little late, but is relevant nonetheless. Jim Boeheim, the man notorious for the 2-3 zone, is switching things up this year.

Monday, December 1, 2008

8 Big East Teams in AP Poll

This is an unprecedented feat for the Big East conference... eight teams in the AP Top 25.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings

The Morning Run

What a weekend of college basketball. Before we get to the links, here are a few things we learned over the last few days:
1. Rutgers is playing like a more talented version of last year's bad team. Follow this formula if you can. 2007-08 RU basketball team + Mike Rosario and Greg Echenique - Byron Joynes = Losses to St. Bonaventure and Lehigh + 26 first half points against St. Peter's.
2. This could be the year Gonzaga finally does something in the NCAA Tournament as a top seed, after impressive wins over Tennessee and Maryland.
3. Michigan St. is either vastly overrated or the Maryland's season will be a bigger roller coaster than the football team's.
4a. Make nothing of Louisville's loss to Western Kentucky. The Cards aren't overrated, but just going through their usual early season hardships
4b) Western Kentucky is still good despite losing Courtney Lee to the NBA.
5) A three-point contest between Kyle McAlarney and James Harden would be thrilling

And away we go...

Have you ever wondered how Connecticut runs their 2-2-1 press so successfully. Well here is your chance

Recruiting has always been a seedy process but nowadays there are more and more ways to be the best of the worst, and coaches are finding it to be aggravating.

ESPN backs up what the Big Beast already said

After what happened to Plaxico Burress Friday, the discussion of athletes and guns has come up again. Brandon Jacobs had something interesting to say

Looks like Zach Randolph is doing pretty good in LA

Goodbye Greg Maddux

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Almost but not quite for Providence

The Friars were with in six of St. Mary's with 4:44 to go but just couldn't pull off the upset as the Gaels pulled away and won 81-75. Patrick Mills led the Gaels with 24 points and three others chimed in with double-digit efforts. Jonathan Kale was Providence's leading scorer, dropping 20 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Weyinmi Efejuku had 11 points. Geoff McDermott had a quiet game, scoring only four points, because of foul trouble.

Georgetown is Dominant

How ridiculous is it that Georgetown is definitely a Top 10 team in the nation, but probably only top four in the Big East conference?

The Hoyas (4-1) looked extremely impressive tonight in a 75-48 win over upstart Maryland (4-2) in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.

Austin Freeman led the way with 18 points and 6 rebounds and freshman Greg Monroe had 12 points and 7 rebounds for a Hoyas squad that had four players in double figures.

John Thompson III's team shot 53 percent from the floor (26-for-49) and outrebounded the Terapins 34-24.

Georgetown held Maryland to 3-for-21 from 3-point range.

Around The Big East

In an ugly, turnover filled game, Rutgers defeated St. Peter's 68-47. Fred Hill mixed up the lineups, trying to spark the team in the first half. Anthony Farmer and Gregory Echenique took a seat on the bench. JR Inman and Mike Coburn started. The Knights committed 29 turnovers, but only allowed 12 first half points on the way to victory.

No. 3 Louisville was upset by Western Kentucky 68-54. A.J. Slaughter led the way for the Hilltoppers, scoring 17. NJ native Earl Clark scored 11 and grabbed 11 rebounds.

No. 8 Notre Dame beat Furman, 93-61. Kyle McAlarney scored 32, hitting a ridiculous nine threes, on an even more ridiculous 17 tries.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News and Notes

Rutgers fans remember Lance Thomas. The Duke forward had a career-high 21 points against Duquense yesterday.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=283330150

The position switch to 2-guard hasn't affected Pittsburgh's Sam Young. He led the way for 6-0 and No. 4 Pitt over Texas Tech in the Legends Classic in Newark.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=283332641

Dayton must be a well-balanced team. The Flyers shot 0-for-24 from 3-point range last night and STILL BEAT Auburn 60-59.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=283332168

A Little Post-Thanksgiving Inspiration

As we watch the Big East basketball conference establish its dominance in the early season and the football side of the grouping produce at least six bowl eligible squads, metropolitan area fans have a lot to be thankful for.

The out-of-conference slate is heating up and our analyses can now be aided by actual game situations.

On a lazy Saturday (full of paper-writing and college football), I thought I'd share an article I wrote in May about former Duke guard and New Jersey-native Jay Williams... his story is truly inspirational.

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080508/SPORTS02/805080407/1095/rss05

Remember, RU men's basketball (3-2) hosts Saint Peter's at the RAC tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Georgetown- Tennessee

Was able to catch the second half of this great matchup and I thought I would share a few things that I learned
  • Greg Monroe is good. But not that good. He's a very talented freshman but he still has a lot to improve on. His defense is weak and needs to do a better job of using his frame. And on offense, his shot selection is sometimes iffy. If you don't have teh shot, pass it out.
  • Georgetown doesn't miss Roy Hibbert. I didn't think they would and this game backs it up. They get up and down the floor quicker and the offense is still smooth. Now if they could just get DaJaun Summers, Chris Wright or Austin Freeman to consistently pick up the slack scoring wise, they're easily a top 10 team.
  • Cameron Tatum is good. And he seems to have no weaknesses. Ok, that's not true but he played like it in the second half. He scored 14 points in the last 20 minutes and seemingly brought the Vols back from a 66-63 deficit to a 90-78 win. This kid was hitting from everywhere. His only mistake was not dunking it on an easy fast break look, on which he missed. But he made it up for it a few possessions later with a nasty transition throw down.
  • The offense is fine for the Hoyas but that D needs some work. Last year they were 4th in the country in points given up but just gave up 90 to the Vols. This is where they miss Hibbert. He did a good job of clogging the middle and forcing perimeter shots. Monroe is not there yet. And they need to improve their rebounding as they got outrebounded 30-23 by the Vols.
After the way the early season has transpired there is a definite division in the Big East. There are four tiers:
First Tier, Best of the best: Louisville, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Pittsburgh
Second Tier, Best of the rest: West Virginia, Villanova, Marquette, Syracuse
Third Tier, Something is missing: Seton Hall, DePaul
Fourth Tier, Have some work to do: Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, St. John's, Cincinnati

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Thanks

In the ethos of Thanksgiving it's time to give some thanks and reveal what everyone should be thankful for this year, around the Big East and beyond:
  • Corey Chandler. The best player on Rutgers, he is a bulldog on defense and sparkplug on offense. He needs more minutes but be thankful that you get a chance to see him play
  • Bobby Gonzalez: The Seton Hall coach may not be the most well liked coach in the tri-state area (not with Fred Hill getting sanctified by every local HS coach) but unlike Hill, Gonzo is getting it done. He already upset one top 20 team this year and the Pirates are looking better than pre-season expectations. But most of all be thankful every time he gets near a microphone or recorder
  • Johnny Flynn: Flash, as I like to call him, is quickly turning into the best point guard in the conference and has already led the Orange to some huge wins this season
  • Stan Heath: South Florida fans should be thankful that their program is in his capable hands
  • Hasheem Thabeet: His offensive game is coming around to match his defensive exploits. And that's SCARY
  • Hamady N'diaye: Quite possibly the happiest person I have ever met, and one of the most exciting players in the nation
  • Terrence Williams: The best player on a deep and well-rounded Louisville team, so that's saying something
  • Keno Davis: For making Providence an offensive juggernaut so far in this early season (only one time under 83 points)
  • North Carolina: No matter what team you root for, save Duke, you should be thankful for the show the Tar Heels will put on this season
  • Kyle McAlarney: For his smooth jump shot
Danny is thankful for:
  • Mike Rosario: I think everyone knows why by this point
  • Making Rutgers basketball worth showin up for again
And of course there are the Turkeys:
  • Stephon Marbury: is an explanation really necessary?
Danny's Turkeys
  • Chad Ocho Cinco
  • Bobby Gonzo for his whole episode with Adam Zagoria

Rutgers drops second game in a row

The Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team lost to an A-10 opponent (St. Bonaventure) on Sunday and people brushed it off as the lone, allowable out-of-conference slip-up for a young team.

Last night, RU (3-2) followed it up by dropping a second-straight home game—this time to Lehigh of the Patriot League.

Rutgers showed little, if any, passion as the Mountain Hawks’ Marquis Hall led the way with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists out of the guard spot.

Both teams shot sub-40 percent from the floor, sub-30 percent from deep and sub-70 percent from the charity stripe. RU only out-rebounded Lehigh 41-40 in a game that may have nullified the Scarlet Knights’ promising 3-0 start.

Freshman star Mike Rosario had 14 points, but shot a horrific 4-for-20 from the floor and 3-for-12 from three-point range. Sophomore Corey Chandler added 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench (he needs to start at this point) and freshman Gregory Echenique was stellar again with 10 points and 9 rebounds.

Lehigh had four players put up double figures in points, sending the RAC crowd home stunned.

Fred Hill has some damage control to take care of after the Thanksgiving holiday, as the Scarlet Knights host Saint Peter’s on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Big East is a Beast

Coming into the season the Big East conference was widely considered to be the best basketball conference in America. As predictions are only speculation, there were plenty of chances for the conference to fall flat on its face and prove the critics wrong. But so far in the early Big East teams have gone nation-wide to prove why collectively the Big East is to be reckoned with.
Since last Thursday, starting with Seton Hall's upset win over then No. 20 USC, the conference has racked up quality win after quality win and taken down more than a handful of the country's best teams. Here is a recap since then

Thursday (3-0)
Seton Hall 63, No. 20 USC 61- Bobby G's club, playing only seven players, took it to the second-best Pac-10 team. A huge win for the conference as Hall is supposed to be the 13th best team in the Big East. Talk about depth.
Providence 111, Sacred Heart 87
West Virginia 86, Longwood 54

Friday (5-1)
No. 2 UConn 89, LaSalle 81- The Huskies struggle with LaSalle, almost falling asleep at the wheel, but are too good to lose.
No. 6 Pitt 86, Akron 67
No. 9 Notre Dame 65, Loyola-Marymount 54
No. 12 Memphis 84, Seton Hall 70- John Calipari is too good a coach and the Tigers are too talented to repeat USC's mistakes.
Syracuse 86, Oakland 66
Rutgers 69, Robert Morris 55- Mike Rosario drops 27. Rutgers fans rejoice because they think they have the next coming of Quincy Douby.

Saturday (8-0)
No. 3 Louisville 79, Moorehead State 41
No. 6 Pitt 86, Indiana (PA) 60
No. 17 Marquette 100, Milwaukee 80
No. 18 Georgetown 81, Drexel 53- The Hoyas wipe the floor with a solid A-10 team, but the bigger story is freshman Greg Monroe. He scores 20, grabs 8 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks.
Providence 83, Maine 62
St. John's 79, Howard 44
Cincinnati 74, Western Illinois 46
DePaul 67, Illinois-Chicago 63

Sunday
(3-1 )
No. 2 UConn 76, No. 16 Miami 63- a great win for UConn, as four Huskies go into double-figures. Jack McClinton drops 27 but on 23 shots and the rest of the Canes are quiet
No. 3 Louisville 81, South Alabama 54- South Alabama was considered a sleeper in last year's NCAA tourney and the Cards make this game a nap for fans.
Xavier 63, No. 12 Memphis- Not a Big East game but an important one for Georgetown. After being trounced by G'town, Xavier proves that either game was an aberration or the Hoyas are a whole lot better than anyone thought.
St. Bonaventure 64, Rutgers 63
Seton Hall 77, Virginia Tech 73

Monday (5-0)
No. 2 UConn 76, No. 19 Wisconsin 57- only one guy over ten points for the Badgers and a new star on the night for the Huskies as Jerome Dyson leads all with 21 to show off UConn's depth.
No. 8 Notre Dame 88, Indiana 50- Bet you Tom Crean never thought it would be this bad this early in the Hoosier state.
Syracuse 89, No. 18 Florida 83- another huge upset win for the Big East. Five guys in double-figures for SU, and two with double-doubles.
St. John's 73, Eastern Michigan 61
Cincinnati 82, Coastal Carolina 56

Tuesday (7-0)
No. 4 Pitt 74. Belmont 60- The Panthers make easy work of last year's almost-David
No. 8 Notre Dame 81, No. 7 Texas 80- it sounds like repition, but another huge win for the conference. Luke Harangody has 29 and 13, Kyle McLarney and Tory Jackson add 19 and 16, as ND beats the best team in the Big-12 with just 23 minutes from their bench.
No. 15 Marquette 85, Texas Southern 68
No. 22 Villanova 71, Monmouth 48
Syracuse 89, No. 23 Kansas 81- read above.
West Virginia 76, Delaware State 42
St. John's 73, Loyola (IL) 54

Final record: 31-2
Wins over top-25 teams: 6

Not a bad start to the year. This conference may really get 10 teams into the the Tournament.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Stuff to Look At

The fall of St. John's has been noticeable anywhere and everywhere in the Big East. SI's Seth Davis takes a look at the problems Norm Roberts faces in restoring luster to a once great program. One of the most interesting problems he must face is something that no one would ever have expected:
NCAA rules permit schools to give their scholarship athletes a cash stipend to cover living expenses. If a school doesn't have dormitories, the amount of the stipend is calculated according to the cost of living in that school's neighborhood. Best of all, the NCAA allows schools to dispense the full amount regardless of what an athlete's actual living expenses are. That means a local player attending St. John's could either live at home and pocket the entire amount of the stipend, or he could bunk up with several of his teammates, pay well under the stipend amount in rent, and pocket the difference. For decades, this was St. Johns's dirty little secret -- only it wasn't really dirty because it was fully sanctioned by the NCAA.
But now with the creation of dorms on campus, this is no longer applicable. And Davis sees it as a huge problem for St. John's. Interesting.

LeBron James will have a tough decision to make in the Summer of 2010. Namely where to continue his career. The Knicks and Nets have been slashing payroll to make a run at King James, perhaps in vain. ESPN's Chris Broussard talks with James to try to get to the bottom of what LeBron's current thoughts are on where he will end up. His leaving is not as clear cut as has made out to be. An interesting tidbit:

LeBron knows he's not competing against only Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Boston's big three and the rest of the league's stars; he's got to approach Jordan. That obviously takes plenty of titles. One, two and maybe even three, won't do. So, in 2010, what team is going to give him the best chance to win ring after ring after ring?

But Jordan didn't just win championships. He built a dynasty from scratch. That's the mentality LeBron was raised with by his coaches in Akron -- that you have to build something to have a legacy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A few Rutgers updates

We will get you some in-depth analysis on these events in the coming days, but here's what went down in the realm of Rutgers basketball and football so far this weekend.

1. The RU women's basketball team lost a tough one at Cal 66-52. The squad never really found the flow of the game and trailed wire-to-wire. The Scarlet Knights (2-1) play at Stanford today at 4 p.m.

2. The Scarlet Knights men's basketball team defeated Robert Morris 69-55 Friday night at the RAC. Freshman Mike Rosario poured in 27 points for Rutgers, the most by a RU freshman since Quincy Douby's 35 in the 2004 NIT semifinals. RU (3-0) hosts Saint Bonaventure today at 2 p.m. in Piscataway.

3. Rutgers football is bowl eligible after a 1-5 start, following a resounding 30-3 defeat of Army at frigid Rutgers Stadium yesterday. The Scarlet Knights (6-5) can lock up a fourth-straight bowl invitation if they can defeat Louisville on Thurs. Dec. 4. It will mark the first time the Cardinals return to Piscataway since the infamous Nov. 9, 2006 matchup that put Rutgers football on the map.

Off to the RAC for Day #3 of Dominic Cheek's official visit to Rutgers... the Bonnies have a lot of talent, so they should be a solid test for the Scarlet Knights.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Cali Update

Berkeley, Ca.- There are always a few givens with the Rutgers women's basketball team. One of them being that if they suffer a tough loss, writers will not make their deadlines. Just like clockwork, C. Viv is nowhere to be seen. Actually, she doesn't care about the clock. The game ended 45 minutes ago. The away team is supposed to be the first team to talk. We have already heard from Cal. And there is no C. Viv or team.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Run

It looks like it's going to be a great weekend to stay in, so we're gonna provide you with some cool stories to read. And maybe another Cali blog update.

There has been a lot of talk about $100 million contracts lately. Will Manny get one? Will CC get one and a half? An SI article breaks down the success of each of the 17 $100 million contracts. What's the results? Not so good.

SI is having a good day. They have a story up detailing the Kobe-Shaq feud. Shaq brought it back to life this week when he said his time in LA was actually fun. Let's just call him The Big Hypocrite.

Connecticut went down to the Virgin Islands, but maybe no one told them that it's not for vacation. The Huskies were only up six at the break over LaSalle and won meagerly, 89-81.

Brandon Jennings isn't fluent in Italian yet, but he sure is getting a good education over there.


The Knicks were so depleted, Stephon Marbury had to dress up.

The Yankees have a new boss, and he's already making his mark.

The 2010 World Cup has some new concerns.

One OSU Beaver is trying to make it to the Rose Bowl for the first time as well, but he's not on the football team

Quick Cali Update

San Francisco, Ca.- If you've been wondering why the California dateline has been showing up in the dateline lately it's because I am in San Francisco following the Rutgers women's basketball team for the Targum. Right now I am in the Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Ca. and its already been an interesting evening.
I showed up to a volleyball match between UCLA and Cal. Gotta tell you, volleyball is a lot better out here. If Rutgers had a decent team then maybe I would go to a game. The game went to five sets, ending at 7:25. Amazingly the court was deconstructed and the players were on the floor shooting around in 10 minutes. Not bad. The tip-off only moved five minutes.
But worse is the media situation. No water, no food. The press sits on a bench. I do not envy the beat writers for the Bears.
On the bright side, today was a t-shirt day just walking around the Haight. I hear its in the 30's in Jersey.

Dominic Cheek: The Movie

Dominic Cheek will be taking a visit to Rutgers tonight and RU fans are excited. But that's not the only news about the St. Ant's star. As first linked to by Zagsblog, there is a new documentary out about Cheek. Here is a link to it as well

Walsh Frees Up More Space


ESPN.com in now reporting that New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh made another big move trading Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to the Los Angeles Clippers for former Villanova star and Rutgers fan favorite Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.
This move came a few hours after Walsh traded Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for forward Al Harrington.
This clears up salary cap space for 2010 for the Knicks to have a real chance in signing LeBron James, Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh.
Knicks fans should definitely be happy with these moves even if it hurts their record this season and next year.
LINKS:
A look back on Thomas' arrival at Villanova
Thomas says no to Rutgers

Carino Piece on Chandler

Jerry Carino of the Courier News (he runs the Hoops Haven blog linked right here at The Big Beast) produced a nice piece today on Rutgers sophomore guard Corey Chandler.

Time will tell if Chandler remains a "super sub," or if getting beyond the issues surrounding his brief stint away from the court was enough to earn his way back into Fred Hill's starting five.

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20081120/SPORTS0202/811200386/-1/sportsfront

RU hosts Robert Morris at 8 p.m. tonight in Piscataway.

Knicks trade Crawford

San Francisco, Ca.- ESPN reports that the New York Knicks have traded second leading scorer Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington.

What this means: On the surface this looks like just another in a long line of questionable trades for the Knicks. Crawford is the superior player, evidenced by his stats and his fit in coach Mike D'Antoni's system. He is having a career year, averaging 19.6 ppg, 4.4 apg in four less minutes than last year, and shooting a career high 45.5% from beyond the arc. Crawford has flourished in the newly installed up-and-down system, combing for a good backcourt with Chris Duhon.
Harrington, on the other hand, has seen his career take a step back. For the fourth straight year his scoring average has dropped, now sitting at 12.4. And the 6'9" power forward is averaging only 5.6 rebounds a game. All this while playing six more minutes than last year. His name has been on the trading block for months and the Warriors finally pulled the deal. They wanted to give more time to their young bigs Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph and this allows them to do it. It also stabilizes their backcourt after the loss of Baron Davis, as Crawford will most likely act ast the primary ballhandler.
For the Knicks, it will be interesting how it affects their rotation. Nate Robinson will most likely slide into the starting line-up and Harrington could come off the bench. But his place on the team will take away minutes from David Lee and the much improved Wilson Chandler. And due to the lack of depth at guard, the Knicks now only have one shooting guard left in Robinson, so expect to see more Quentin Richardson, Anthony Roberson and maybe even Mardy Collins.
But in the long term this deal is a steal. Crawford's contract ends after the 2010-11 season which doesn't fit in with GM Donnie Walsh's plans to clear cap space for the 2010 Summer of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Harrington helps them here as his $10 million comes off the cap right on time.
If the Knicks are willing to give up Crawford for so little, expect to see Zach Randolph on his way out of town soon as well, as his mammoth contract is on the books till 2011

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hall of a Win

San Francisco, Ca. - People have many opinions about Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez (you can vote on the one you think is correct in the poll to your right) but there is one thing you cannot dispute, Gonzo does a good job of getting a lot out of a little. He did it at Manhattan. He's done it on occasion with the Pirates, and he did it again tonight. His Pirates upset No. 19 USC 63-61 powered by the team's ability to force turnovers. In fact, one look at the stats and that's about the only thing they did well. SHU shot only 41% from the field, 30% from beyond the arc, and a horrible 48% from the free throw line. But they did force 19 turnovers, including 14 steals. Gonzalez's seven man rotation was enough as Eugene Harvey went for 18 points, 5 rebounds and assists, and 3 steals. John Garcia had 11 points and 18 rebounds, and Jeremy Hazell contributed 15 points. It was enough to overcome a 15 point deficit at halftime, and a 19 point, 18 rebound performance from Taj Gibson for USC.

The Morning Run

Happy Thursday! The best part about Thursday? That it's almost Friday.

If the Knights want to play with the big boys, they'll have to improve their transition defense.

A video preview of the Big East

Former Tar Heel Alex Stephenson's attempt to play right away at USC gets Hamadyed (denied)

The story of one Villanova recruit and his travel from Benin to Pa.

A quiet Dicky V?

Pollsters love the Big East, the NBA does not. Only four conference players are projected to be first round picks

Memo to NBA teams: getting a new team does not mean improvement. (Findings do not apply if old coach was Isiah Thomas)


Former Hun School star and current Florida State safety Myron Rolle is causing some controversey. He may miss FSU's pivotal matchup against Maryland that could determine a trip to the ACC championship game. And he's doing it because of acadmics. His interview to become a Rhodes scholar is only 3 hours before the game. Granted I do not play for his team or have a rooting interest in the game but any time a student-athlete lives up to the athlete part of his name, it is energizing to hear. But not to everyone.
He graduated from Florida State in two and a half years with a degree in pre-med and a grade point average of 3.75. He is so studious that the Seminoles’ defensive coordinator, Mickey Andrews, publicly criticized him for studying too much last year, saying it affected Rolle’s preparation for football. Rolle said the criticism was a “little unfair.”

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt,” Rolle said of Andrews. “I don’t think he’s ever sat through an organic chemistry lecture and seen just how difficult it is. He’s been through a couple ballgames, but that’s a different arena right there.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Analysis of the Rosario Report

--The very first part of his game that jumps out at me is his lack of a quick first step..
--But, Rosario does have a quick release.
--He sometimes gets greedy from beyond the arc.
--Most likely his worst asset is his questionable decision making.
--He tries to use a two-handed running jump shot from ten feet and in.
--Rosario has a good cross-over move to create shooting space
--On defense Rosario likes to gamble.

Those were Mr. Vorkunov’s 7 points in breaking down the game of Rutgers freshman shooting guard Mike Rosario. Here are my thoughts on each aspect of Rosario’s game.

In terms of a lack of a quick first step, I’d say that Rosario looks slower than your average guard because his moves are smooth and deceptively quick at the same time. While you will not see the explosive jab step out of triple-threat position that you will from Anthony Farmer, one can’t be oblivious to the fact that Rosario’s driving abilities look eerily similar to that of Quincy Douby. The styles are nearly identical, mannerisms and exaggerated movement tendencies included.

I agree with point two wholeheartedly. This quick release is what will make Rosario so dangerous all year long. In a crowd, he can still get a shot off and no player will be able to catch him off a curl before he lets the ball go.

As for getting greedy behind the arc, I have no problem with that. All good shooters are inherently at least mildly greedy. If you shoot until you make it, but can catch fire once you do, by all means, take shots.

Questionable decision-making will plague any second-game freshman. Post passing will come to him as he develops his ball movement skills, but this is a secondary concern.

The two-handed runner is part of his repertoire, but don’t be surprised to see a little Douby floater action with one hand leaning toward the baseline. It’s something the two worked on over the summer.

The cross over is an amazing compliment to the quick release and could make Rosario an elite scorer down the line. Not only can he shoot by working away from the ball, but he can create opportunities with his handling.

I know it’s a bore to return to Douby for the third time in this argument, but gambling in the passing lanes is something he did very well too. Rosario will scale back on this come Big East play because he can’t rely on the frontcourt the entire season when they have to deal with some of the best post players in the nation night-in and night-out.
Rosario will be a special player for the Scarlet Knights while he is on the Banks and is certainly a potential Top 5 candidate for Big East Rookie of the Year if he can continue to play at a high level.

The Run

North Carolina freshman big man Tyler Zeller will miss the rest of the season according to Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman. Zeller, who had 18 points in the opener win over Penn, allegedly broke his wrist in multiple places after being bumped on a breakaway dunk attempt against Kentucky last night in Chapel Hill, NC.

http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/8817864/Source:-UNC-freshman-Zeller-likely-out-for-season

We now know where the NCAA men’s hoops Final Fours will be held through 2016. A couple to note from the NCAA announcement—2014 at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium and 2016 at Reliant Field in Houston.

http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/8817618/NCAA-announces-Final-Four-venues-through-2016

SI and CNN get together again for another interesting list. This one discusses the Top 10 undersized stars in the NFL…

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/gallery/featured/GAL1146295/1/index.htm?bcnn=yes

ESPN outbids Fox Sports to take hold of BCS football game coverage starting in January 2011.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/sports/ncaafootball/19bcs.html?_r=1&ref=sports

The team formerly known as the NY/NJ Metrostars—now Red Bull New York—has a shot at the MLS Cup after 13 down years of soccer in Giants Stadium.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/sports/soccer/20vecsey.html?ref=sports

Connecticut and Rutgers are 1-2 in the ESPN/USA Today Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll. The Scarlet Knights have looked unfazed by youth in their first two games, averaging 84.5 points per contest.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/news/story?id=3711027

President Bush may be on his way out of the White House in a couple months, but that won’t stop him from taking in a tradition-rich football game between two armed forces.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3711414

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Scouting Report: Mike Rosario

This is the first installment of many to come where we break down the game of a Rutgers or visiting player. The first scouting report will be of Mike Rosario. With so much interest about Rosario, it was only fitting that he would be the first subject. Granted this is only after two games, so this could very well change as he gets adjusted to the college game.

  • The very first part of his game that jumps out at me is his lack of a quick first step. He's fine getting up and down the floor, and he moves well laterally on defense, but he doesn't have that burst to get by his defender on the first dribble. This could pose a problem down the road as defenders decide to play him closer, taking away his jumper.
  • But, Rosario does have a quick release. Sometimes it looks somewhat atypical to see him take a shot because he let's it go so quickly that it does not look like a prototype shot. It works for him though.
  • He sometimes gets greedy from beyond the arc, shooting when there is no shot. Yet, he still makes some of them because he is such a good shooter.
  • Most likely his worst asset is his questionable decision making. He tries to make plays that work in high school but aren't panning out at the college level. Sometimes there are problems making the entry pass into the post. Or the unnecessary shots. But this is also the point that can almost be taken with a grain of salt. Rosario is a smart player, and he should stop making most of these questionable decisions as he adjusts to the college game.
  • He likes to get inside for a runner. If Rosario does get by his defender, he tries to use a two-handed running jump shot from ten feet and in.
  • Rosario has a good cross-over move that he likes to use on the perimeter to create shooting space
  • On defense Rosario likes to gamble. This may be because he is still uncertain on defense or because he understands that Gregory Echenique and Hamady N'diaye are behind him to erase his mistakes.
Who does he remind you of?
Most Rutgers fans may hope that Rosario can eventually become a Quincy Douby type-scorer, but at this point he reminds me more of one of the guys who went in that 2006 draft with Douby: JJ Reddick.
Coming into college Reddick was a very similar player to Rosario. He was a great shooter from beyond the arc, and used that skill to make an impact right away. Reddick did not have the best handle, at least not for a 2-guard, or a quick first step. He had to rely on his prolific outside shooting skills to create the chance to drive because defenders had to play him close.
Over the years he developed his handle and created a mid-range game, and eventually became an all around offensive genius. This scouting report from Draft Express after Reddick's senior year shows how he developed his trade and also could be a study guide for Rosario. Here is a snippet:

Beyond just being a threat from behind the 3-point line, Redick has also mastered the art of the mid-range shot which compliments his outside shooting proficiency so well. Because it takes him such little space and time to get his deadly shot off, he’s guarded about as closely as anyone in the NCAA, usually being the focal point of the opposing team’s defense. What Redick will do to counter that is use an impressive arsenal of head, shot and body fakes (which obviously have a ton of credibility) to get his man off-balance and drive right by him. He then is able to stop on a dime, elevate quickly while fading away left, right, backwards, forwards or straight up to knock down the mid-range jumper from anywhere inside the arc. This part of his game has become a deadly part of his arsenal in his senior year, to the point that he has to rely on his outside shot only for about half of his field goal attempts, as opposed to nearly 2/3rds of the time as a freshman or sophomore. His ball-handling has improved enough he can make his way to the basket effectively without much trouble, either to finish himself with a nifty layup off the glass or find the open man on the drive and dish if the paint is too crowded for his liking. In his senior year Redick is shooting an outstanding 50% from the field and 43.4% of his outside shots at the time of this report.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Morning Run

Ok, we messed up. Totally forgot to post anything on Monday. So that's why today's Morning Run is our apology letter to you. We're sorry. To make up for it, today's edition will be super sized and you won't even be charged 79 cents for it. In this economy, it's a big deal when you can save money anyway you can.

To prepare for Delaware, Rutgers went up to scrimmage UMass. It may have been a non-starter for most Rutgers fans, but the two programs have similarities. The Minutemen are starting to build a pretty good program themselves, and its because of Derek Kellogg.


ESPN's Page 2 has 65 reasons that college basketball is great. My favorite is #36, click on the link.

I have a soft spot in my sports heart for guys who focus on the fundamentals. I love dunks and threes, but a well run pick and roll is art to me. That's why it's saddening to read the news. A patriarch of the game passed away yesterday. Pete Newell will be missed.

If mothers didn't want their kids playing football, this might be an even tougher sell. MMA is coming to a high school near you.

Danny and I were talking about this on Saturday, Buffalo coach Turner Gill is doing a heck of a job up there in NY. Now people are noticing. Not really going out on a limb here, but I wouldn't put money on him returning to Buffalo for a 2009 season.

Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall to Syracuse about their new job opening: Thanks, but no thanks

ESPN's Brian Bennett says that Syracuse and Greg Robinson were never meant for each other.

Georgetown holds off Jacksonville to start their season. Greg Monroe has a nice debut.

Gonzo may be at it again. Adam Zagoria reports on his blog that the Seton Hall coach is going a little crazy, threatening to revoke Zag's media credential. A must read for any tri-state college basketball fan.

A talk with his coach is what sparked Mike Teel's turnaround, reports Tom Luicci.


Non-Sports Links

Malcolm Gladwell, one of the best authors of this generation, has a new book out. This one is about rich people and how they got there. Here is a discussion on his book.

A closer look at Justice William Rehnquist

Mavericks owner and sports renegade Mark Cuban may be in some trouble with the law.

President-elect Obama has preached bipartisanship. The Wall Street Journal offers a few cabinet decisions that would achieve it.

Henry Paulson will go down as one of the most influential people in American economic history, but how did he get here?

A frightening tale of the events in the Congo

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Capping off the Weekend

Young teams usually take some time to learn to win on the road and are susceptible to early-season lapses away from home.

The Rutgers men’s basketball team, which has long been criticized for a lack of success away from the RAC, may not need the adjustment period this year.

Junior center Hamady Ndiaye poured in a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds as the Scarlet Knights (2-0) pulled out an 85-77 win at Delaware on Sunday.

Rutgers shot 60.4 percent (29-of-48) from the floor on the day, out-rebounded the Fightin’ Blue Hens 42-26 and made 23-of-33 free throws.

The Scarlet Knights put four players in double figures, as freshman guard Mike Rosario, freshman forward Gregory Echenique and sophomore guard Corey Chandler had 17, 10 and 13 respectively.

Delaware (0-1) started the game on fire, hitting on all cylinders from beyond the arc (finished 9-of-27 from deep). The squad was led by Alphonso Dawson’s 28 points and Georgetown transfer Marc Egerson’s 28 points and 12 rebounds.

RU led 45-39 at the break after trailing 27-16 with 11:51 left in the first half, but needed clutch free throw shooting late by Rosario and senior Anthony Farmer to ice the win. The Scarlet Knights have won 17 of their last 19 over Delaware.

Rutgers’ next contest is another Garden State Challenge tilt, as the team hosts Robert Morris on Friday night at 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Update

Rutgers got off to a good, not great, start to their season yesterday with a victory over Marist. It wasn't their best effort and it wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.

Mike Rosario made his debut, leading the team in points. I should have linked this yesterday, but here is a story I wrote on Rosario, his road to Rutgers, and how he is dealing with the pressure that comes with being the biggest recruit at a school not used to players of his ilk.

And here is a story on JR Inman and Anthony Farmer, detailing their rocky road at Rutgers

Friday, November 14, 2008

Morning Run

Happy New Year… college basketball style. The tri-state area teams tip off tonight in women’s-men’s doubleheaders at campus sites.

Here’s your morning/afternoon run…

Rutgers takes on Marist tonight at the RAC…

http://scarletknights.com/basketball-men/news/release.asp?prID=7112

The Jets stun New England in overtime… there were some truly amazing plays in this game.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/gameTrax?gameId=20081113017

UCLA destroyed Miami (OH)… oh wait, what? A nail-biter? Really?

http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/gameTrax?gameId=200811130606

The Knicks have looked good early, but received a bit of bad injury news…

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3702599

Story on the Yankees picking up Billy Beane’s boy, Nick Swisher…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/sports/baseball/14girardi.html?ref=sports

SI and CNN collaborate to discuss the closest MLB MVP races ever…

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/gallery/featured/GAL1148701/1/index.htm?bcnn=yes

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mike Vorkunov Predicts the Big East


1. Louisville: Too many guys who are multi-talented and the best coach in the conference, I hope Rick Pitino knows a good place to get Italian in Detroit.
2. Connecticut: A.J. Price needs to stay healthy this year, but will be helped by Kemba Walker in the backcourt. If Hasheem Thabeet develops a post game, watch out.
3. Notre Dame- Harangody and McLarney are the best inside-out combo in the conference.
4. Villanova- Scottie Reynolds will lead the conference in scoring, and the Coreys will make the jump.
5. Pittsburgh- Levance Fields needs to stay healthy this year in Big East play. Is there enough depth?
6. Georgetown- Roy Hibbert is gone, and it’s not a bad thing. Expect a huge year from Dajaun Summers.
7. Syracuse- Only ahead of Marquette because Johnny Flynn is that good.
8. West Virginia- Should be much improved in Bob Huggins’ second year, helped by a talented freshman class.
9. Marquette- Backcourt is great. Frontcourt is nonexistent.
10. Providence- Geoff McDermott is for real and Sharaud Curry is back. But can Keno Davis adjust?
11. Rutgers- JR Inman will be the key for this team, he needs to have a good year.
12. Cincinnati- Deonta Vaughn will lead this team, but will need help from Mike Williams.
13. St. John’s- A make-or-break year for Norm Roberts. He’ll have to rely heavily on Anthony Mason Jr.
14. DePaul- Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal are good. Teams will learn that the hard way this year.
15. Seton Hall- I love Gonzo, but it’s going to be a long year if they only have eight scholarship players
16. South Florida- Stan Heath is a standup guy and a great interview. That’s the best thing I can say about
this team.

Preseason Player of the Year:
Scottie Reynolds

Rookie of the Year:
Samardo Samuels

All-Big East Team
A.J. Price
Scottie Reynolds
Luke Harangody
Terrence Williams
Sam Young
Johnny Flynn

Darkhorse Player of the Year:
DaJuan Summers

Danny Breslauer's 2008-2009 Big East Picks


1. Connecticut: One of the best frontcourts in the nation with Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet. The Huskies are dominant.
2. Louisville: The best player in the conference (Terrence Williams) and the best freshman in the conference (Samardo Samuels) make for a dangerous formula.
3. Notre Dame: Luke Harangody is highly-touted in the post and Mike Brey always has a great shooter on his squad (Kyle McAlarney).
4. Pittsburgh: I’m curious to see how Levance Fields’ foot heals, but this is still a dangerous team with a bruiser like DeJuan Blair underneath.
5. Villanova: Jay Wright has more choices at guard than any coach should ever have. Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes with Scottie Reynolds and some talented freshmen… how does he get them to that town?
6. Syracuse: Jonny Flynn gets to be the main target with the early defection of Donte Greene. The Orange could do damage.
7. Georgetown: Despite the loss of Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr., I can’t bring myself to moving a JTIII squad into the bottom half of the Big East.
8. West Virginia: Other than McAlarney, nobody in the Big East can shoot it like Alex Ruoff. Bob Huggins has the pieces to make it happen.
9. Marquette: I love the backcourt—Dominic James, Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal are legit. However, I can’t see a team without a frontcourt to speak of getting into the top-half.
10. Cincinnati: Deonta Vaughn is a second-team player and that’s saying a lot for Mick Cronin’s Bearcats program.
11. Providence: The return of Sharaud Curry is big for Keno Davis at his new school and Geoff McDermott is a legitimate presence on the boards.
12. Rutgers: The year all 16 teams make it to MSG, RU probably would have anyway. With Hamady N’Diaye and Gregory Echenique anchoring the post and a trio of guards who can fill it up (Anthony Farmer, Corey Chandler and Mike Rosario), there will be improvement at the RAC.
13. St. John’s: Anthony Mason Jr. will have a big year and Justin Burrell is the most underrated post player in the conference. Norm Roberts must produce now or look for a new job.
14. DePaul: I don’t know what to make of Jerry Wainwright’s team. Dar Tucker is an athlete, but they’re far from flashy.
15. Seton Hall: Eight scholarship players. Bobby Gonzalez may be racking up the technical fouls again this season if his very talented backcourt (Eugene Harvey and Jeremy Hazell) doesn’t rack up a ton of points.
16. USF: The rebuilding job continues for Stan Heath in Tampa. Dominique Jones is a special player, but that may not be enough to pull them out of the cellar.

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Terrence Williams, Louisville

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Samardo Samuels, Louisville

ALL BIG-EAST TEAM
Dominic James, Marquette
Sam Young, Pittsburgh
Terrence Williams, Louisville
Jeff Adrien, UConn
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

DARKHORSE PLAYER
Dominique Jones, USF

Brian Johnson's Big East Predictions


TEAM PREDICTIONS
1. Connecticut: The Huskies don’t just have the best frontcourt in the nation with Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet, but also have one of the best backcourts. The combination of A.J. Price, Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson and Craig Austrie is deadly.
2. Louisville: Samardo Samuels will make Cardinal fans forget about David Padgett quickly. The Terrence Williams injury will hurt the Cardinals early, but Rick Pitino will get his team running before the Big East schedule begins.
3. Pittsburgh: The Panthers will be as dangerous as they were last year with Sam Young, DeJuan Blaie and Levance Fields returning.
4. Villanova: This year Corey Fisher will emerge as a star guard in the Big East to make the Wildcat mix of Fisher, Reynolds and Stokes an offensive juggernaut.
5. Notre Dame: Everyone’s back for Mike Brey’s Irish including that guy Harangody, but lack of athleticism will stop them from reaching a Big East title.
6. Syracuse: Jonny Flynn is very good and very fast and very dynamic. Eric Devendorf is back to give the Orange the scoring depth with Donte Greene’s departure. Watch for Arinze Onuaku to be even better in the post this season.
7. West Virginia: Devin Ebanks is good enough to give the athletic slashing that Joe Alexander gave WVU, but is he good enough to keep the Mountaineers at the top of the Big East?
8. Marquette: I still think the Golden Eagle’s have enough talent to make the NCAA tournament. Jerel McNeal, Dominic James, Lazar Hayward Wesley Matthews and Maurice Aker is more than enough. I think that will outweigh whether Buzz Williams can coach or not.
9. Georgetown: Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr. were too important to the Hoyas for them not to take a hit this season.
10. Cincinnati: Deonta Vaughn is a good player even though he’s a tad overrated, but watch for Rashad Bishop and Mike Williams to have solid years.
11. Providence: Geoff McDermott will have a big senior year and Sharaud Curry is a decent enough Big East point guard to keep Keno Davis from having a very bad first year.
12. St. John’s: Everyone is counting out St. John’s. I say take a look at the roster. Anthony Mason Jr. and Justin Burrell are better than anyone on Rutgers.
13. Rutgers: Mike Rosario is definitely as good as advertised. So, is Greg Echenique. Now, Fred Hill’s coaching needs to start doing the talking. The Scarlet Knights will be greatly improved this year, even if their record doesn’t show it. The Big East is that good.
14. DePaul: Dar Tucker is a borderline first-round draft pick prospect. But what else do the Blue Demons have this year. I mean, Mac Koshwal and Jabari Currie are decent players.
15. Seton Hall: Bobby Gonzalez is in a lot of trouble on a number of levels. Eugene Harvey and Jeremy Hazell are two exciting players. But Gonzalez has talked the talk, but hasn’t walked the walk on the recruiting trail. Frankly, Fred Hill has embarrassed Gonzo.
16. USF: Stan Heath has a very tough task that will take a few years for the results to show. Dominique Jones is very good, and Heath just needs time to show that he’s getting the right players into Tampa.

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sam Young, Pittsburgh

ALL BIG-EAST TEAM

Sam Young, Pittsburgh
A.J. Price, Connecticut
Jeff Adrien, Connecticut
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Anthony Mason Jr., St. John’s

DARKHORSE PLAYER

Corey Fisher, Villanova

ROOKIE PLAYER
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia

Rutgers Basketball Gets Two for 2009

Danny Breslauer with a Signing Day breakdown for RU:

Fred Hill’s recruiting prowess continues to bring highly-acclaimed players to the Rutgers men’s basketball program. That trend continued yesterday as RU inked two to 2009 letters of intent.

6-foot-7 forwards Dane Miller of Henrietta, N.Y. and Austin Johnson of Cheltenham, Pa. followed up on their verbal commitments from the first few months of the 2008 calendar year.

Miller averaged 22 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks as a junior at Rush-Henrietta HS and Rivals ranks him as the nation’s 94th-best player. He was the All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year in 2007-2008 and is considered a versatile swing option.

Johnson is currently enrolled at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. and gave Rutgers his verbal on the same night that current Scarlet Knight forward Gregory Echenique announced his intentions to play for Fred Hill. He averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds as a junior and has a high basketball IQ to go along with crafty post moves.

Notable Blair alums include Luol Deng and Charlie Villanueva.

Rutgers opens up its 2008-2009 campaign on Friday night at 8:00pm, when Marist visits the RAC for the opening game of the Garden State Challenge.

The Morning Run- Special Signing Day Edition

As most Big East basketball fans know, yesterday was the day recruits could sign National Letters of Intent and picking their schools. Rutgers got Dane Miller and Austin Johnson, Seton Hall got nobody. But we know that's not enough to quench your thirst for signing day knowlegde so here is a run around the country on what other schools did.

A quick roundup of what some of the nation's most prominent schools did, including news Louisville may have found its point guard of the future

Rivals has the top 25 recruiting classes after early signing day. UNC is tops, and Villanova leads the way for the Big East at No. 3

One of the top prospects in the country did not sign today and he is going to take his sweet time

Jerry Carino adds his perspective to all that went down today and illuminates on the key to Rutgers' season

Finally ESPN gives everyone a Q&A session on what to make of the 2009 class and recruiting process

The Morning Run

Yesterday was national signing day and the Scarlet Knights signed two forwards in Dane Miller and Austin Johnson and there will be more up about that later on, including a special signing day Morning Run. But for now check out these links

The New Jersey Devils seem to have some in-fighting going on in their locker room. It's not about their play or arguments about who will replace Marty Brodeur in net. It's about the music

Adam Zagoria talks to several just signed recruits from NJ about the recruiting process

Mets fans rejoice, Francisco Rodriguez will not be returning to the Angels


Thought you'd seen the last of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin? Not so fast. Looks like there is a chance she might be in the spotlight, but leaving the political ring for the squared circle

The economy is the worst its been since the Great Depression. The NJ Nets are the worst they have been since Jason Kidd was a Sun. Unemployment is steadily rising and Nets fans are quickly decreasing (well, more than usual). Looks like the Nets marketing staff might have a solution

The final days of Yankee Stadium (in picture form)

Does Donte Greene regret not being at Syracuse? Not really

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The New Commissioner Speaks

Commissioner-to-be John Marinatto was introduced today in a midday teleconference and he wasted no time in speaking about the future of the Big East. A few of his thoughts on certain relevant topics

  • He does not envision the Big East starting its own television network, a la the Big Ten, as Marinatto is happy with the conference's deal with ESPN.
  • Asked about the first thing on his agenda, Marinatto noted several times that he will try to enhance the Big East's football bowl game affiliations
  • He denied any intention of adding a ninth football-playing school to the conference, but did leave the conference's options open.
    "We’re open minded and we’ve built in precautions obviously in the event that something dramatic happens, a certain school or two become available from some other conferences. But right now I don’t think there is no immediate plan, or any plan for that matter, to expand."
  • There has been no new movement on Notre Dame joining the conference to play football.

The Morning Run

Wednesday morning, November 12… Two days until Rutgers is the first Big East team to take the hardwood in a men’s basketball regular season game.

John Marinatto will be named your new Big East Commissioner later this morning according to Tom Luicci of the Star-Ledger… read Mike’s link in the below post for more information.

Without further ado, your pick of the litter of links…

ESPN the Magazine’s feature story on Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet
http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3687707

New York Times story about the college basketball three-point line moving back a foot
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/sports/ncaabasketball/10trey.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

SI on Rutgers women’s basketball
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/nina_mandell/11/11/rutgers/index.html

Click on Slideshow at the bottom… slide-show essay link—it’s really interesting to see this pictorial analysis of playing styles.
http://www.slate.com/id/2204112/

Surprise, Surprise… The BCS committee doesn’t like President-elect Barack Obama’s plan for a new college football playoff system. Doesn’t he get some sort of executive power override in this spot? Maybe after January we can fix this...
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3697109

Five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law may be ready to play Thursday for the New York Jets in Foxboro, Mass. in a monstrous AFC East clash with New England.
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8781732/Mangini:-

And a shameless plug for one of my addictions… 22-year old Danish poker professional Peter Eastgate wins the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event and over $9 million. Phil Hellmuth Jr. was previously the youngest to take the title at 24 years old in 1989.
http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/8776216/22-year-old-youngest-ever-to-win-WSOP-main-event

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Big East Commissioner

That was quick. Only hours after Zagsblog reported that the Big East will name a new commissioner tomorrow in a conference, the Star Ledger's Tom Luicci reports that the new commissioner will be John Marinatto.

Currently Marinatto is the Big East's senior associate commissioner and is from the Dave Gavitt family tree, as was current and soon to be former commissioner Mike Tranghese.

Breaking News: BIG EAST to Name New Commissioner

Adam Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG is reporting that the BIG EAST will name its new Commissioner in a conference call tomorrow morning.

Over the summer, Mike Tranghese, 64, announced his intentions to step down at the end of the 2008-2009 athletic year. He has held the post since 1990.

http://www.zagsblog.com/2008/11/11/big-east-to-name-new-commish/#more-6708

The Morning Run

Yesterday was the first anti-Notre Dame column that I saw and I guess it has officially started the season. Now comes word that ND itself is not happy with their coach

The college basketball season has yet to begin but it's never too early to hypothesize about June's NBA Draft. DraftExpress takes a look at the top 25 pro prospects from the Big East. (This is a link to the top 5, you can find the rest by going to the articles section. Hint: a Huskie is #1)

The writers at Sports Illustrated take a look at the college basketball world and answer some important questions about the upcoming season


The uplifting story of one Stanford football recruit

When speaking to the players at Big East media day most players said that the new rule pushing the 3-point line back a foot would have a beneficial effect on the game, opening up space in the post and extending the game. UCLA coach Ben Howland disagrees

A story detailing how far Georgetown's Jesse Sapp has come

Alumni Game is a hit at Pitt

Mets manager finds something to laugh at this offseason

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Impressive Exhibition Showing by RU

Mike Rosario is ready to be in the spotlight.

Rutgers men’s basketball highly-touted freshman guard scored a game-high 23 points on 5-of-8 from behind the arc to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 91-56 exhibition victory over Division II Caldwell College tonight in Piscataway.

In front of 2,264 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, the Scarlet Knights showed an up-tempo offense, featuring extra fast break opportunities and adept perimeter shooting (7-of-16).

Defensively, RU even displayed a full-court press for approximately half the possessions and Fred Hill’s squad held the Cougars to 22 second-half points.

Junior center Hamady N’Diaye posted a triple-double, racking up 11 points, 10 rebounds and an astounding 10 blocks. Freshman power forward Gregory Echenique added 14 points and 8 rebounds of his own.

The Scarlet Knights had five players in double figures, as senior guard Anthony Farmer and sophomore swingman Earl Pettis posted 13 and 10 respectively.

Rosario also had four steals and three assists to go along with 23 points in just 29 minutes of game action.

Caldwell was led by Manny Perez’ 10 points on just 2-of-14 shooting.

Rutgers opens up 2008-2009 regular season play at the RAC on Friday night, when RU hosts Marist at 8:00pm.

A Few Notes Following The Knights Exhibition Win

Rutgers defeated Caldwell in its only exhibition game leading up to its season opener Friday night against Marist Friday night. Here are a few highlights and lowlights from the evening:

Corey Chandler did not dress. Mike Rosario started his night off by missing his first two shots, a runner and an 18 foot jump shot. Rosario’s first three pointer drew a rousing ovation from the crowd. N’diaye swatted two Caldwell shots back to back and let out a smirk. Later in the half he missed a tip-back slam. When Gregory Echenique slams, he holds onto the rim that reminds you of the classic Shaq dunk. Rosario’s sixth three-pointer of the night got a friendly bounce off of the rim and backboard before falling in. Patrick Jackson bounced the ball off of his foot on a fast break, leading to a turnover. A technical foul was called on Caldwell’s coach with Farmer nailing both free throws.
The Student section drew as many fans as it did for games that counted last year. N’diaye made a foul line jumper off the dribble. Lunging for a loose ball near the RU bench Christian Morris sent a hard elbow into JR Inman before falling into a seat on the bench. Later in the game Morris went full speed after a ball and had to jump to avoid the fence behind the Knights’ bench. Rutgers spent a large part of the game working a 1-3-1 full court press after made baskets. N'diaye finished with a triple-double, admittedly his first since high school not including summer league, with 11 points, 10 rebounds and blocks.

Young Wins Big East Player of the Week

Rutgers RB Kordell Young was honored by the Big East as its offensive player of the week. He rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's win over Syracuse. It's the second straight game for RU where a player has won the award after Mike Teel's performance in the win over Pitt.

The Morning Run

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel takes a look at this year's UConn's women's team and sees a lot of similarities to the Diana Taurasi led team of 2001-02

LZ Granderson gives an inside look at Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari

Obama had the NBA's vote

Jerry Carino writes that freshman Pat Jackson and Christian Morris will be playing an important role for Rutgers this year


If you had November 10th in your "First day that Notre Dame gets ripped in the papers" pool,
go ahead and collect your money

Turkey has for a long time called itself a moderate and open minded country, at times almost forcing itself to stay secular, but now its tolerance is being tested by transvestites.

The story of an Ironman who is really a boy

Do you want to get inside Babe Ruth's pants?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rutgers was just better than Syracuse

The Rutgers football program’s recent dominance over the Syracuse Orange continued today in Piscataway, with the Scarlet Knights following the same script as the 2007 game at the Carrier Dome.

RU (4-5, 3-2 in the Big East) won its fourth straight game over the Orange, falling behind 14-0 for the second year in a row after an 82-yard touchdown run by Doug Hogue and a blocked punt that resulted in a Syracuse (2-7, 1-4 in the Big East) score.

The stars of the day for Rutgers, which kept its bowl hopes alive with the win, were wide receiver Kenny Britt, running back Kordell Young and defensive end Jamal Westerman.

Britt posted his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season, compiling 107 yards and a touchdown. Young, who has battled injuries, ran for 143 yards and a score. Westerman had two of Rutgers’ five sacks and moved into a tie for third all-time on the RU career sacks list.

The Scarlet Knights even showed a bit of the “Wildcat” formation that has caught on substantially at the college level following the Miami Dolphins’ utilization of Ronnie Brown at the quarterback spot.

A little over midway through the third quarter, red-shirt freshman running back Joe Martinek took the snap and bolted 45 yards down the left side of the field for a touchdown that put Rutgers up 28-14.

Quarterback Mike Teel ended the day with 276 yards passing and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood has his first two touchdown receptions of the year.

RU’s defense held Syracuse’s two quarterbacks (Cam Dantley and Andrew Robinson) to 5-of-19 for 35 yards through the air.

The Scarlet Knights travel to Tampa, FL next Saturday to take on a struggling yet dangerous South Florida squad. Kickoff is set for noon.

Britt's NFL Potential

Rutgers had a big win today over Syracuse, save an early scare, and Danny will have a wrap-up later. But for now the focus will be on one player in particular. WR Kenny Britt had his usual solid performance, catching nine balls for 107 yards and making a TD reception that was definitely NFL worthy. The game also added fuel to year-long debate of whether Britt is ready to or would he go pro early. The question has merit on both sides and we would love to hear what you think by leaving a comment. Arguably the team's MVP (Teddy Dellaganna should get some votes too), Britt is definitely getting attention from pro scouts.
Coincidentally ESPN's resident college scout and draft foreshadower Todd McShay released his updated list of top draft-eligible players at each position and top 64 overall. Britt lands comfortably in the top 64 and McShay has him as the fifth best receiver. And if the chatter wasn't kept to a miniumum before, this article and his play of late should re-raise the issue and bring it up a few decibals.

McShay's Draft Report

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Morning Run

Look towards the end of this story and see how Golden State coach Don Nelson is giving time to a former Notre Dame big man over a top-12 pick. And you will be surprised which one it is

A 73 year old man scored in a real college basketball game.
Bobby Gonzalez announces he will hold tryouts at the local retirement home to fill out his 10 man rotation.

Rollie Massimino is returning to Villanova

How Barack Obama could help sports

Louisville's point guards are not your average backcourt mates

The new and the old are coming together for the Mountaineers

A tale of two UConn freshman

Cincinnati nabs recruit away from other Big East schools

Notes from Syracuse basketball practice

Those aren't my Knicks

Shortly after waking up this morning I took my daily look at the NBA standings, and although I was expecting it, it still astounded me. The New York Knickerbockers were 2-2 and in third place in the Atlantic. Ahead of the Philadelphia Brand Bandits and the We-want-to-be-the-Brooklyn Nets, the team that had been embarassing the Knicks for the last half decade by playing the type of fun, up-tempo style that would have made them Kings of New York and turned Jason Kidd into The Man among men, as he was the point guard New York has been looking for since Mark Jackson (but really since Walt Clyde, Kenny Anderson and Stephon Marbury be damned).
Now granted, being in third place on November 6th is not saying much. It just means that the Knicks have 78 games and five and a half months to slink their way down to the gutter. But the Knicks of November 2008 aren't the Knicks of April 2008, on and off the court. You could see it last night in their win over the Bobcats. The entire last four minutes I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, I was still stuck on last year's mindset where NY would find a way to lose that game. And it almost came after Wilson Chandler decided to step off and give Gerald Wallace his second straight corner three and then Zach Randolph went all Brett Favre on us, throwing the interception to DJ Augustine. But Augustine fell out of bounds, right in front of Spike Lee, and the Knicks retained possession. I doubt that would have happened last year. Last year he would have turned that play into Reggie Miller, circa 1995. And then the Knicks hit their free throws and actually won the game! A game that they would have made sure was a loss last year actually stayed a win.
And sure Mike D'Antoni made his errors last night, like not putting Jamal Crawford into the game late when Felton and Augustine were both on the court, but he brought a new belief to the team and the fan base. And already that's saying something.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Florida Guard to Transfer


Sophomore guard Jai Lucas announced today that he will be leaving the Florida Gators men's basketball program. He is the son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas.

The younger Lucas was recruited by Kentucky and Oklahoma State, amongst many other schools, prior to signing a letter of intent to play for UF.

This is the second player this off-season to leave Billy Donovan's squad, as forward Jonathan Mitchell departed for Rutgers over the summer.


Soon to come on The Big Beast... BIG EAST men's basketball standings and player performance predictions from all three of us by the weekend.

We are just eight full days away from Rutgers' opener against Marist at the RAC, marking the first time in '08-'09 that a BIG EAST squad will take the court in a regular season affair.

The Morning Run

A lot has happened since our last morning run. Namely, we have a new president-elect. We figured to celebrate, we'd do our best for Barack Obama and get the best batch of links yet. It's also going to be a super sized version to make up for yesterday.

UCLA is still the class of the Pac-10, but watch out for this sleeper team that lost its best player from last year

How a Democrat in the White House could help Yankee fans

Some are comparing new Louisville Cardinal and St. Benedicts product Samardo Samuels to Derrick Caracter. ESPN's Dana O'Neil has an interesting story following the path of both

Former Knicks coach Larry Brown is coming back to NY for the first time since being fired. Here are a smatter of stories looking at that:

Marbury has his say
A $22 million haircut
Larry Brown hates NY

Obama's victory may give Chicago more than just a President

Rutgers is asking for your help and it's not for a silly stadium, it's for a good cause

The Rutgers women's basketball had an exhibition game last night and the Star Ledger's M.A. Mehta tells you what to take away from it

Looks like the Chicago White Sox GM and the new president are friends


Steve Nash Backs Change

Brian Johnson is a big story out in Utah

Tim Duncan wanted to help you out on election day

And of course, what kind of journalists would we be without a few day after stories about the election

The headline story in Arizona, from azcentral
The Chicago Tribune documents Barack Obama's new life
Last night in photos
Obama will be facing a challenge
Finally, what the Onion has to say

Now go enjoy your post-election day hangover

Quick Note-- Women's Basketball

We took Election Day off... congrats to Barack Obama for being elected the 44th President of the U.S.A.

The women's college basketball coaches' poll was released... just like on the men's side, two Big East teams are in the Top 3. This time, it's UConn at No. 1 and Rutgers at No. 3.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/news/story?id=3683423

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Morning Run

By now you know how this works. We run around the internet finding the best links and stories. You sit at your computer and read them with a cup of coffee and a donut.

The college basketball season gets started today as Duke takes on Presbyterian

The Team That Shall Not Be Named finally got their first win, Sonics fans drown themselves in mocha lattes

Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News gives his thoughts on the on-going Marbury saga


St. John's wins the Big East in men's soccer, gets story in Daily News. Will Norm Roberts' boys get this much attention?

A look at the Knicks from a non-NY point of view

The election is tomorrow and we here at the Big Beast IMPLORE you to go vote, regardless for whom. But here's a funny SNL skit that shows John McCain trying to win the youth vote

Vegas released its betting odds for the upcoming college basketball season. UNC leads the way at 3-1. Louisville leads the way in the Big East at 12-1. Seton Hall gets on the board at 1500-1. Rutgers? Vegas wants you to save your money.

Florida had a down year last season. Some could point to a loss of the core that led the Gators to two straight titles, but ESPN's Dana O'Neil points to a lack of humility from the highly unprovent team as a cause:
Donovan could have been the slickest salesman in the world, but he would have had an easier time convincing his players to wear short shorts than trying on a little humility. The 2008 Gators waltzed onto a campus where college basketball players were rock stars; where Joakim Noah could wear a muumuu to class and people would defend, rather than ridicule, him; where the job was so good the head coach nixed the elevator ride to the NBA. Forget that of the '07 Florida team, only two players returned; forget that the bulk of the roster was made up of newly minted college freshmen. Dude, this was Florida, where football champions begat basketball champions begat football champions begat basketball champions. "We figured we could just show up," point guard Jai Lucas said.
Pittsburgh is moving leading scorer Sam Young from small forward to shooting guard. Coach Jamie Dixon needs his perimeter shooting with a dearth of reliable shooting from its backcourt, a possible fallacy for the Panthers this year.

One of my favorite sports events was held yesterday, the NYC Marathon. Brit Paula Radcliffe had another great showing, winning the event for the third time, but there was some somber news

Allen Iverson made his home in Philadelphia for over a decade. Now comes news that the Nugget is about to become a vagabond and get traded once again

Win or Go Home for Rutgers Men's Soccer

A Bob Reasso-coached team would have it no other way-- one game at home against a Top-5 squad to decide Rutgers men's soccer's post-season fate.

Tonight at 7:00pm at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, RU (6-8-3, 3-5-2 in the Big East) will kick off against the No. 4 St. John's Red Storm with a Big East tournament bid at stake. Win and you're in, but a loss OR tie ends the 2008 season.

Let's see if sophomore Dilly Duka can pull out a few magic tricks, as he did back on Sept. 12 when the Scarlet Knights stunned No. 6 UC-Santa Barbara on Busch Campus.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Knights in the Pros

A quick roundup of how former Scarlet Knights did in the professional leagues today:

Ray Rice had the first 100 yard performance of his career, rushing for 154 yards on 21 carries in he Ravens 37-27 win over the Browns. In classic Rice fashion, he broke a 60 yard run before being caught prior to reaching the endzone.

LJ Smith missed the Philadelphia Eagles' game toda to an injury. His replacement had over 100 receiving yards

J.F. Kennedy Suffers Another Close Loss

Here's my story which can be seen in today's Home News Tribune on Saturday's JFK-Hillside game. They didn't cut any part of it even though I went long which is cool. I've never seen a football team lose as many heartbreaking losses as JFK. But Mustangs first year head coach Rich Nyers said the team never lets their head down even with the 1-7 record.

Game Story

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Highland Park Football: Gold Division Champions

EDISON—For the second year in a row, Middlesex was between Highland Park and a division title. Last night’s result once again left the Owls at the top of the standings, as they outlasted previously undefeated Middlesex 45-36 in a high-scoring affair at J.P. Stevens High School.

Senior running back Bryant Fitzgerald, who was the area’s leading scorer heading into the game with 102 points, stole the show again with five touchdowns on 262 yards rushing coming off 26 carries.

The Owls (6-1) took home their second straight Greater Middlesex Conference-Gold Division title, but not without a fight from the Blue Jays (6-1).

HP was trailing 14-13 at the break as Middlesex running back Mike Little (whose 97 points prior to the game was second in the area to Fitzgerald) rumbled into the end-zone. Little finished with 163 yards on the ground.

Fitzgerald, a state champion sprinter, not only visited the house five times on the ground, but he recovered a fumble and had a touchdown run and punt return called back on penalties.

“Gentlemen, you’re peaking at the right time,” second-year Highland Park head coach Rich McGlynn said to his team after the game. “This is our division again and now we have a lot more to work for.”

Special teams came up big for HP, who built a 33-14 lead thanks to junior Mike Ryan, as he forced the Blue Jays to fumble on consecutive kickoffs.

Jashon Holloway and Nate Smith added runs for scores for the Owls, who are expected to vault into the Central Jersey Group I top-three in power points following the victory.

Highland Park made it to the sectional semifinal in 2007, before losing to Keansburg. HP defeated CJG1 powerhouse Florence in its quarterfinal game.

NOTE: The game was played in Edison, as the new FieldTurf behind HPHS is in its final stages of installation.