It’s hard out here for a Conference USA coach

October 14, 2010 Comments off

Ah, Conference USA. A conference that, for some reason, held its basketball media day in New York City. I suppose it’s for the media exposure. But why not in Dallas? Or Orlando? Oh, the media exposure thing again. Those schools are nowhere near New York (map courtesy of Thunder Treats). It’s 371 miles to East Carolina from New York City, give or take a few miles. And 475 miles to Huntington, WV, where Marshall University is.

Come on now.  “Look at me! I’m a big time basketball conference too!  Look at me!”

Like the league itself, some of the coaches are peddling for respect (from ESPN):

From March 2006 to January 2010, the Tigers played and beat 64 straight opponents from C-USA. It is tied for the longest Division I conference win streak of all-time. So whether it was fair or not, the national attitude about Conference USA was that Memphis steamrolled through an inferior conference….

UAB‘s [Mike] Davis, who has been on the cusp of getting an at-large bid the last few seasons, said Memphis’ dominance under [John] Calipari completely overshadowed the league. Having the conference tournament in Memphis also curtailed getting a second bid for the league. But a year ago, the tournament was in Tulsa and the league was nearly left with just one again after Houston upset UTEP in the championship game.

“Does this league have the opportunity to be better than the WCC, when it had three teams in with Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and San Diego? My guess is certainly yes, when you see the history of this league with the coaches and the players,” [Tim] Floyd said. “This league has to do what the Mountain West did last year and get four teams in and win.”

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Dan Wolken responds:

Reality: Tulsa, UAB and Houston have underachieved since ’05 split relative to program expectations/history. Has nothing to do w/Memphis.

True words. Conference USA is where major-conference coaches go to lick their wounds.

It’s the witness protection program of college basketball coaching.

From Larry Eustachy‘s “Party Down” days, to Tim Floyd’s dances around legality, to Mike Davis’ sensitivity, and Matt Doherty‘s unproven ability to coach basketball, it isn’t a place for second chances, or some of those coaches would have been fired once more. If it were a place of actual second chances, the coaches would go back to the money, prestige, and NCAA Tournament-worthiness of high major conferences. Or the Atlantic 10.

In the past 5 years, Conference USA hasn’t ranked higher than 8th in adjusted average rating of conference teams by Ken Pomeroy’s system. And that was with a dominant Memphis team. Before last year – and after the poaching of Conference USA teams by the Big East – the only other team worth a hot damn was Mike Anderson‘s UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) squad in 2006.

One would think that with all of these big coaching names, they’d be able to get enough non-conference quality wins to get another team into the NCAA Tournament, wouldn’t you? The selection committee would happily take another C-USA team… if the numbers didn’t match the perception – mediocre.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Welcome, College Football Season!

September 2, 2010 Comments off

I don’t know why Minnesota is opening on the road, but here are some pictures taken from the outside of TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis a few weeks ago. Click any picture to embiggen.

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Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Anthony DiLoreto sighting

July 26, 2010 Comments off

Anthony DiLoreto once was the getaway driver for a bank robbery. Being 7 feet tall, he still had a chance to play college basketball. But he was kicked off his eventual team at Utah State University following a citation for marijuana possession.

Anthony DiLoreto resurfaces in the JUCO Showcase in Las Vegas over the weekend (full roster here). He is apparently looking for a Junior College team, as his team was listed as TBD.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Drexel ballers arrested after a (poorly plotted) robbery

July 26, 2010 6 comments

I fully understand that teenagers and early-20 year old young men can be stupid. I understand that sometimes they feel their oats and want to fight. And I know there are some bad seeds working off of impulse and the desire to steal things that they want. But it still saddens me when Division I basketball players go out and find new and dumber ways of trying to rob people.

And part of that is I’m not sure how a player who robs people in a small town (like Anthony DiLoreto last summer) while having a distinctive look (7-feet tall, sunken eyes; to his “credit”, DiLoreto was the getaway driver). And I’m not sure how a player (Robert “Stix” Mitchell) robs 8 fellow students with another former star (Kelly Whitney), tying them up along the way, especially when both are unnaturally tall (6’6″ and 6’8″). And now these dumb f**ks from Drexel try to rob a college student, brandishing guns and expecting money.

From a college student? Who lives in the same complex as them? Even the rich kids in college aren’t flush in cash. Only the pot and cocaine dealers in college have money. Come on, son. Don’t you know anything? At least these guys are guards… they could, theoretically look like someone else (unlike the 6’6″ baller).

Assuming this story is all true, the players are Jamie Harris (starting guard) and Kevin Phillip (backup forward). Both are from New York and have surrendered to the police.

With hundreds of college teams, there are bound to be some kids who commit crimes. And I’m not going to be the kind of scold who pretends that all of these kids have a good sense of where their college degree is going to take them if they’re not much of an academic student. And truth is, a lot of kids are in college ball for the basketball, not for the opportunity for education.

But by any standard, for fairly high-profile guys, that’s pretty damned stupid.

Next summer, let’s all spread the word – the summer of no robberies. Let’s stick to fights like Kansas does.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Nike World Cup Ad

May 20, 2010 1 comment

Seriously awesome.  The Wayne Rooney bit is particularly impressive.

Gossip Day: Tiger Woods

April 8, 2010 Comments off

On the professional “shameless s**t” list, of course, is Tiger Woods, whose most recent revelation was that he carried on with his 22-year old neighbor. Who he’s known for a long time. In all of this, I can’t help but think Tiger married too young (to a woman whose closeness to fame and fortune should be considered suspect, hm?) and should have gotten his “I’m rich and feeling my freaky side” out before popping out kids.

Usually, I feel the “sex addiction” claim is some bull. It’s a combination of power, ability, and lack of perceived restrictions. And I know Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan – often mentioned as Tiger’s friends – have or had their fun. but Tiger’s got a chase problem. The idea of the chase for trim lured him not “away from his family” but to arrange things with people who he could never have thought would stay quiet. He had to know that this would come out, and it’s surprising that it’s only now that the rumors are swirling. Are they all true? Did Elin know? Didn’t these women – even the ones people “feel bad” for – know Tiger was famously married (seriously, come on. Don’t play like an innocent)?

There is always strong appeal to take down golden boys, the perfect, the untouchably famous (though I really would like to hear more about Roger Clemens‘ inability to get up for “night games” with a 15-year old country singer, myself). It’s a leveling mechanism, where people get to feel a little less jealous about what they don’t have and proud of their moral fiber or whatever they pat themselves on the back for. All of this is a fun diversion, but come on. Men have been straying from their wives wince there have been wives. Not everyone does it, but fame and money certainly makes it easier, apparently. It’s sordid, but it happens. (Even if they go to sex therapy on South Park.)

But culture vultures like Gloria Allred and culture outlets – most notably Vanity Fair – are working hard to dig in the dirt. Allred seems to think her client Joslyn James has some claim to an apology, which is shameless and incredible. Especially since James refers to Woods’ wife and kids by name. Shameless. Meanwhile, Vanity Fair seems to think there is some great culture story in photographing the women Tiger slept with in lurid, near-pornographic detail, or in photographing Tiger in a more thuggy-Negro style. If I didn’t know better (or do I know better?), I would think the editors at VF were salivating over ways to make him less human, more animalistic. But maybe that’s just me.

(Of course, this is why you don’t do this kind of shameless s**t, fellas. Keep it in your pants. Besides your love and your vows, this stuff always ends up on blast. Grow up.)

I openly admit that I am rooting for Tiger to kick ass and reclaim his title as the best golfer alive – and possibly of all time.

Addendum: That New Nike ad is disturbing. I won’t be as extreme about it as Dave Zirin is, but… watch. Haunting, strange and… I’m not sure what the point is.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

Gossip Day: The Villanova rumor

April 8, 2010 1 comment

Today is gossip day, where I put down some of the wild gossip on the blog for memory/ electronic safekeeping.  feel free to skip these posts, because they’re not about the games we love, they’re about the rumors we invariably follow.

There’s a rumor going ’round that star Villanova Wildcat guards Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds have a beef over a girl, and it’s disrupted team chemistry. Villanova/ Philadelphia bloggers The Nova Blog, Crossing Broad, and VUHoops both call bulls**t.

Unfortunately, the word “pregnancy” is involved, and as we all know, that word takes beef/ chemistry squabble into a filthy rumor-filled place; this “story” will be repeated as truth for a long, long time.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

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