Author Archives: Tomas Verde

Nothin’ But ‘Net

Nothin’ but ‘net is our ever so often look at what’s going on around the internet. Enjoy.

This is a great cause, and I’ll probably have more about it in the coming days: Love College Hoops… Beat Cancer Week is next week. (National Association of Basketball Coaches)

What’s been wrong with Florida since those back-to-back titles? (Sparty and Friends)

DeMarcus Cousins tells fans to call him… after they’d been calling him all week and bombarding his cell phone. (Buster Sports)

Your National Player of the Year: Evan Turner… according to a straw poll of 50 voters from around the nation. (RTC)

We all know SC wants Steve Lavin to coach DePaul, but could we see Billy Gillispie there instead? (CBS2)

A couple of bracketology links for your viewing pleasure:

– From ESPN’s Joe Lunardi (ESPN)

– And one courtesy of Blogging the Bracket. (Blogging the Bracket)

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All-President’s Day Team

Keepin' it Presidential Today.

Another day with Fetch bailing on us to live-blog the entirety of the Olympics (you should go visit him, he gets lonely over there sometimes), so again I’ve been left in charge, since SC hasn’t been heard from in days. Today’s President’s Day, which means some of you probably have the day off from work… yet for some strange reason, I don’t get the day off from school. Go figure.

Anyways, in honor of President’s Day, we bring to you the best college basketball players with presidential names:

G – Tweety Carter, Baylor. Much like our 39th president — James “Jimmy” Carter — Tweety Carter doesn’t go by his legal first name (Demond). Beyond that, though, Tweety Carter is averaging 16.1 points per game for the Bears (10th in the Big 12), and leads the conference in assists, with 6.05 per game.

G – Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin. Okay, maybe I’m getting lazy with this name, but Taylor shares a last name with Zachary Taylor, our 12th president. Jordan Taylor is second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (and first in the Big Ten) at 3.4 to 1. He also led the team with a 2.2 ratio as a freshman last season. The more you know!

G/F – Kevin Palmer, Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Who said all the players on this team have to have nonfictional presidential names? Palmer shares a surname with two of the most prominent fictional presidents of our time: Wayne and David Palmer, of 24 fame. For the Islanders, Palmer is pouring in 19.75 points per with a TS% of 59.2. And yes, this will probably be one of the few times you see Corpus Christi get some pub from us.

F – D.J. Kennedy, St. John’s. See, his last name is Kennedy, and he plays for a school with John in its name, so there’s that. Then of course there’s the whole “he goes by initials, as did JFK,” thing. So it kinda works three-fold. High five! But seriously, D.J. Kennedy is doing work for the Red Storm this season. As a junior, he is averaging nearly 15 points and close to 7 boards per game. That’s sort of presidential.

F – Quincy Pondexter, Washington Huskies. Okay, so his name isn’t quite what you would expect for this team. But he plays for the University of Washington, and when I hear the name Quincy, two people come to mind: super-producer Quincy Jones — he of Thriller fame — and John Quincy Adams, our sixth POTUS. Pondexter is averaging over 20 points per game this season for the Huskies while pulling down eight boards per with a TS% of 62.

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Filed under Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Uncategorized, Whimsy

The Big East: Where Black is East and Up is White [Updated!]

It was an interesting weekend in the Big East, to say the least. Let’s recap it, shall we?

  • Jim Calhoun announced his return to the bench for UConn… which then promptly lost to Cincinnati, dropping them to 14-11 on the season.
  • USF has fallen back down to earth by dropping its second-consecutive game after knocking off two ranked teams in a row.
  • Pittsburgh and West Virginia gave us an exhilarating triple-overtime thriller Friday night, where Pitt toppled fifth-ranked West Virginia by three after Darryl Bryant took a jumper just inside the arc… down three.
  • Then today, Louisville put a halt to Syracuse’s 11-game win streak and Rutgers took down Georgetown behind 24 points from former-Florida Gator Jonathan Mitchell.

So what do we know about the Big East at this time?

Um.

Expect the unexpected? Yeah, that’s all I got for now.

It’s no doubt that Syracuse should still be considered one of the top teams in the nation this year — as should Villanova, who survived the weekend — and Georgetown is still a good team. Hell, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has six Big East teams making the tournament, with another five just missing the cut… of course, there are still a few weeks left in the season, so things can undoubtedly change. But one thing is for sure when it comes to Big East basketball this season, anything can happen.

Oh, and for the record, Rutgers fans restrained themselves from storming the court after upsetting No. 8 Georgetown, so big props to those fans.

UPDATE: And the Big East continues to confound us, as UConn, coming off of a bad loss to Cincy, drops the No. 3 team in the nation, Villanova. For those scoring at home, the four highest-ranked Big East teams (including three of the top five ranked teams in the nation) have all lost since Friday… and two of those were at home (Syracuse and Nova). Is the Big East really this deep, or is the madness just getting started a month early, this season?

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A Fitting Valentine’s Weekend Performance

It’s Valentine’s Day, which is the perfect time of the year in the sports world to take a look at some aptly named athletes for this holiday — kinda like what Fetch did for Christmas — and see if any of them actually live up to their holiday-infused names.

But since it’s the weekend, and it was a long night last night, I’m only going to give you one college basketball player who used this holiday weekend to put his name to good use. That player, of course, being Xavier’s Jason Love.

Living up to his name.

Saturday, against Florida, Love went off for 20 points (second-highest total of his career) and double-digit rebounds with 10 en route to the Musketeers’ 76-64 win over the Gators. The defeat of course delivered another blow to UF’s hopes of returning to the big dance, but there’s still some time left.

To go along with Love’s performance, he had a +/- of +17, second only to his teammate, Jordan Crawford — yes, THAT Jordan Crawford — who had a +21. Love was also responsible for Xavier’s fast start, scoring 13 of the team’s first 23 points.

So kudos to you, Jason Love, for living up to your name the one time of year that you are expected to.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day, everyone.

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Storming The Court:When Is It Right?

When should it be ok to rush the court?

It’s an activity that many fans dream of, but only so many get a chance to partake in during their lifetimes. It’s storming the floor following a big win by your team, and it’s something that is unique to college athletics.

But it’s also something that we see too often, and in particular, something done under the wrong circumstances.

So far this season, there have been at least six situations (that I can think of) in which the fans of a team has rushed the court after a big win:

But how many of those instances have been warranted? I’d say one, maybe two of them. That one being South Carolina taking down Kentucky. What makes what the Gamecocks did right, you may ask? Well, when thinking about rushing the floor, fans should take a few things into consideration before acting on impulse.

For one, the upset should be over a highly-rankedĀ  — and of course, your team should be unranked — and over a team that is highly favored. Also, a fan should take into consideration how successful his or her team has been in recent memory.

That’s why South Carolina is a good example: they have never really been good. The school has only had eight NCAA tournament appearances (the last one being in 2004) and has only sniffed the second weekend of the tourney three times. Add in that Kentucky is a storied program, and was undefeated and ranked first in the nation at the time of the upset, and voila(!) you’ve got an ideal situation to storm the court.

The other instance that you could make an argument for? Providence upsetting UConn. Sure, UConn was only ranked 19th at the time, but let’s face it, Providence isn’t as prominent of a program (only five tournament appearances in the last 20 years) and UConn has itself been a great team in recent years. Plus, Providence shellacked them by 15+ points, so there is some gray area on that one.

Which brings me to UConn, who should be ashamed for rushing then floor when it topped Texas. Let’s ignore for a minute the fact that the Huskies have two titles in the last 11 years, and have made the big dance eight of the last 10 seasons. UConn has been ranked most of the season, so there should be no excuse for such a reaction after defeating ANOTHER ranked team.

The same could be said for the Illini, as much as SouvenirCity will argue otherwise, their fans had no business taking the floor. As I pointed out on Twitter when the upset happened, Illinois is five years removed from an appearance in the NCAA final and has made the tournament nine of the last 10 seasons. Not to mention that Sparty was playing WITHOUT its best player, Kalin Lucas.

It was really a shameful display by UConn’s and Illinois’ fans.

What about Indiana and Penn, you may ask? Well, Indiana has been down lately, but they are still a storied program that is also not far removed from success. And Penn? Well, it has won the Ivy League regular season title six of the last 10 seasons. Oh, and not to mention Penn is the 34th most prestigious division 1 men’s basketball program in the nation, according to some weird ESPN Prestige Rankings that I know nothing about.

I think I’ve ranted on long enough about fans storming the floor. Yeah, it’s a cool thing that a lot of us wish we could do one day, but it’s become an epidemic in the college basketball world… and it loses its uniqueness and appeal when it’s done so routinely in unwarranted scenarios.

So let’s close this out with one last rundown of what criteria should be met before an arena rushes the court:

  1. Opponent must be highly ranked.
  2. Your team should be unranked (for most of the season prior to the upset).
  3. Your team cannot have a recent history of success — for this argument, let’s say the last 10-15 years.
  4. YOUR TEAM CANOT HAVE A RECENT HISTORY OF SUCCESS. Repetition drives points home.

(H/T to @TallGuyDuke)

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Dominique Jones > [Insert Your Favorite Player Here]

"Y'all come watch Dominique Jones play."

I know, I know: three Dominique Jones posts in less than two weeks. What gives?

Well, I figured if Fetch is allowed to have a man-crush on the whole Kansas team, and Cole Aldrich, complete with a (discontinued) Aldrich double-double tracker, then I should at least be able to write about my favorite player in college basketball this year, DoJo.

In case you missed it last night, DoJo led the Bulls with 29 points — 22 in the second half– 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals en route to an upset over No. 7 Georgetown in D.C.

The win gave USF its fourth-straight Big East win, and second consecutive win over a ranked team. It also gave DoJo 140 points during the Bulls’ run.

DoJo is putting this team on his back and making them respectable in one of the better conferences in

the nation. He has led them to two signature wins in a row, and if they keep it up, maybe even the possibility of an NCAA tournament berth — which would be USF’s third in school history.

And while the stats are eye-popping, and his game is incredibly entertaining to watch, the thing that makes DoJo especially awesome is this:

With a minute to play in perhaps the biggest win in South Florida history, the star player bellowed to the Georgetown crowd: ”Y’all come watch Dominique Jones play!”

You have to appreciate an incredible young talent with that kind of gall, going unranked into the house of the No. 7 team in the nation and telling that hostile crowd that this is his show.

And that’s just what the second half was: The DoJo Show [I’m totally trademarking that, by the way]. His 22-point second half effort rallied his team from a 9 point halftime deficit, and gave USF the biggest basketball win in school history.

And that, my friends, is why Dominique Jones > Your favorite player.

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Who is Dominique Jones?

Last week, we brought you a post featuring the rarely-mentioned South Florida Bulls and the man-sized performance of one Dominique Jones. Well that was one performance that merely caught our attention, but at the behest of my brother — a USF graduate — yours truly has decided to keep an eye on DoJo as of late.

Sunday, DoJo (yes, that is an awesome nickname) went off again. He scored 37 points while bringing down 8 rebounds and dishing out three dimes in a win over No. 17 Pitt. Not too bad, right?

Well let’s take a look at his last eight games, all of which were Big East conference games. In that span, DoJo has put up 26, 30, 28, 20, 21, 46, 28 and 37 points, respectively. So why haven’t you heard much about DoJo? Well, because he plays for the Bulls, a team that has, historically, not been very good.

USF's Dominique Jones has averaged 29 points over his last 8 games.

Anyways, my brother and I got to talking about DoJo, and tried to figure out who he reminded us of. One of us offered up a comparison of this 6-foot-4, 210-pound combo guard to another Big East* guard of the same build: Dwyane Wade, who balled at Marquette before being a lottery selection for the Heat.

At first, I thought it was a lofty comparison to be making, but then I decided to check out the stats of both players in what was (in Wade’s case) and what likely is (in DoJo’s case) their final college seasons.

How did the two match up? Surprisingly well.

DoJo this season is averaging 22.095 points compared to Wade’s 21.515 in his final season at Marquette. Both shot just about 50 percent from the field, and close to the same from the FT line — Wade shot 77.9 percent to DoJo’s 75 percent. From beyond the arc, DoJo shoots 37 percent to Wade’s 31 percent (an area that many agreed Wade didn’t excel at).

In terms of effective shooting percentage, DoJo shoots 55.7 percent to Wade’s 51.4 percent. DoJo’s true shooting percentage comes in at 60.3 to Wade’s 57.3.

But the shooting realm isn’t the only place where these two combo guards measure up remarkably close. Both average(d) just over six rebounds per game, just over four assists per game, and had nearly identical assist:turnover ratios at 1.5 for DoJo and 1.4 for Wade. Wade also averaged just over two steals per game, while DoJo comes in at just under two per (roughly 1.9). Oh, and Jones also turns it over a tad bit less: 2.8 per game to Wade’s 3.2.

Pretty similar, no? Heck, statistically speaking, DoJo is probably a better player than Wade was.

So do you still think it’s a lofty comparison for DoJo? Take a look at his game the next time you get a chance. It’s very similar to Wade’s in most facets, except DoJo lacks the same explosiveness to finish in the lane that Wade does so well. On a play where Wade will dunk it on a hard drive, DoJo will probably opt for a teardrop floater — a shot that he has added to his repertoire this season, which has become remarkably efficient for him.

If you’re not sold on DoJo, then I would seriously recommend trying to catch a USF game sometime this season, because the kid has improved incredibly since he first arrived at USF as a freshman, and if he keeps up this level of play, his draft stock will continue to raise and come summer time, he could be a steal for some NBA team out there.

*Yes, we are aware Marquette was still in Conference USA when Wade was there.

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