Archive for the ‘college basketball’ Category

Does Chicago need another concert venue?

June 13, 2013 Comments off

(This is a companion piece to Rumble in the Garden. you can skip to the end if you’d like. There are videos down there.)

And the debate about DePaul and the publicly funded arena they’re associated with continues. If you don’t know, the City of Chicago has a deal with their McPier Authority to issue bonds to fund the building of an Arena on the near South Side – it will house the DePaul Blue Demons as a tenant, and also host some convention center events, concerts and… some other amorphous stuff.

McPier is the quasi-governmental agency that manages McCormick Place, the huge convention center – and also Navy Pier, one of the City’s big attractions. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is big on building a shiny Chicago that attracts business and conventions.

The public finds it tone deaf at a time when he’s also working to close 50 failing schools to save money (in the long term).

College hoops personality Doug Gottlieb (works for CBS), noted instigator but intelligent fellow, thinks that haters of the deal are being short-sighted:

As a Chicago resident who was attracted to the city in part because of the accessibility of the shows here, let me agree with those who have tried to correct Gottlieb a bit (and not just about the fact that the arena won’t be anywhere near Navy Pier).

Chicago is sick with mid-sized venues. House of Blues, Aragon, Riviera, Congress Theater, UIC Pavilion, the Chicago Theater, the Metro are all indoor venues.

Outdoors, the city manages to host Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Pitchfork Fest in Union Park, and – look, I lose track of all the damned outdoor fests. There are many.

AND THEN there are three to four street fairs each summer along the Blue Line (my stomping grounds) that bring in small to mid-sized acts (for a donation fee), plus smaller clubs.

Chicago is in no way hurting for concert/ show space. It is hurting for a convention center connected to downtown, but putting an arena in that dead zone between the South Loop and the Convention Center doesn’t necessarily connect things.

There could be some merit to not having shows go to the Sears Center (farther west) or the AllState Arena (technically not in the city) or to Toyota Park where the Chicago Fire play. However, many of the shows that end up in those venues seem to have more of a… suburban audience.

And you’ll see, there is not much “damn we shoulda gotten that show” spillover for the city of Chicago to worry about.

Toyota Park [Calendar] One big show – the B96 Summer Bash with Avril Lavigne [wait, what?], Ne-Yo, Macklemore, and Demi Lovato. Consider Jackyl. Do you even know who they are? You remember, the band with the singer who plays with a chainaw on stage? They played Full Throttle Fest last year and this year. It takes place in the Toyota Park parking lot. Bob Dylan is also coming with Wilco (who are ALWAYS playing Chicago).

AllState Arena [Calendar] Along with the WNBA games, the Arena has WWE Payback, Fleetwood Mac, and MegaDeth, and American Idol Live. And weeks of open events.

Sears Centre [Calendar] Feeling creepy? These events are for you! High school graduations! The University of Phoenix graduation! Gymnastics!

Best outdoor concert video

Speaking of outdoor concerts, this Gap Band video takes me to the happy place.

Or maybe you prefer St. Vincent going Chloe in the Afternoon (this performance! Not great quality, admittedly.)

DO you have an outdoor video you dig? Share it in the comments.

Only the big boys go to the big dance.

July 29, 2011 Comments off

* Most of my content is available at the St. John’s blog Rumble in the Garden on SB Nation, but I wanted to make a quick note on this topic.

I share this not because it has much relevance for St. John’s, but because it’s JUST NOT TRUE. Contained in an otherwise sharp and insightful article about new Miami head coach Jim Larranaga – who came from George Mason University, that surprise NCAA Final Four team back in 2006 – is this bit of mythmaking about where a coach/ program needs to be positioned for a real shot at NCAA’s Final Four, the holy grail of the sport, from Andy Katz:

The theory that a coach has to move to a power-six job to compete for a national title seems to have less clout. Larranaga, in large part, helped start the trend that has since been followed by Butler’s Brad Stevens and VCU’s Shaka Smart.

Last year’s results were simply improbable:

Multiplying the probabilities together, we find that the 2006 Final Four had a 0.00213% chance of happening based on seeds, the 2000 Final Four had a 0.00092% chance of happening, and the 2011 Final Four had a staggering 0.00008% chance (about 1 in 1,229,650) of happening.

Even Connecticut’s entry was a bit of surprise, as a #3 seed in the tournament; and their regular season Big East record had them in the middle of the league. Still, in earlier years, the Final Four is almost always represented by power conference teams who earn high seeds in the tournament… by beating other power conference teams.

If a coach wants a real chance to get to the Final Four, not just a once-in-a-lifetime luck shot, and that coach isn’t named Brad Stevens, he has to be in a major/ power/ big six conference. Point blank.

Brian Gregory is the new Georgia Tech basketball coach… a dissection

March 28, 2011 Comments off

* I have let this space go fallow while I write on St. John’s basketball (over at SB Nation’s Rumble in the Garden), but I can’t really justify writing on Brian Gregory on a St. John’s blog.

Brian Gregory’s star has fallen. And rightfully so. A few years ago, programs were getting a little excited about possibly hiring Gregory; so much so that he earned a lucrative extension from the Dayton Flyers program in 2009. I always wondered why. The former Tom Izzo assistant has always earned some accolades for his ability to compete, but he took over a program that was already competing under Oliver Purnell after Purnell left to coach at Clemson. More stats, on his teams’ late-season swoons, and a look to the future, after the jump. Read more…

The East Coast Bias Is Moving/ On Hiatus

January 5, 2011 Comments off

The St. John’s portion of The East Coast Bias is moving to a new home:

Rumble in the Garden.

Check it out, comment, link, tweet about it. Spread the word! The East Coast Bias will take a short break, but will be back in some form in the near future – as in May/ June.

The Week That Was: Jan 4th Edition

January 4, 2011 Comments off

It’s been a good week. It started with the conference schedule preview and the player review of the pre-conference season. And St. John’s has taken their first three games. 3-0 in the Big East, with 2 road wins and a home win over a ranked squad? It’s been a good week. Here’s how it happened:

* So, you might have heard that the Red Storm beat #13 ranked Georgetown at Madison Square Garden. A good deal of the city is waking up to the idea that there is college basketball in New York, and it is good. The Johnnies will try to keep up the momentum; but they have a few days off of game action after the stretch of 3 games in 6 days. We did a Q and A with Georgetown blog Casual Hoya, who is keeping his hand off of the panic button.

* Before that, St. John’s squeezed out a close win against the Providence Friars on New Year’s Day, with some clutch late plays by Paris Horne.

* In the other surprise of the week, St. John’s beat West Virginia fairly handily on December 29th. The difference in score was only 10 points, but on the road in Morgantown, the Red Storm seemed to be in control of the whole game. They Johnnies dew fouls, ran their offense, got deep position… it was a tough, solid win.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ernie Kent let go at Oregon: link to press conference

March 18, 2010 Comments off

He may have lost a bunch of games in the last few years, but he’s not a bad gamble for a school who might like to pick up some Chicago-area talent… youth and lax defensive principles did his team in.

But as he says in his tearful press conference, he was offered the chance to step down in February, btu thought it would be hypocritical for him to walk out on his guys after what they had done in terms of player development and teaching them how to play like men.

Bobby Knight could take a lesson from Kent here. The DePaul fans would howl if they got Kent, but he might just be the right kind of coach for them – Chicago AAU connections, hungry to prove he is better, a coach with a winning record and some Elite Eights on his resume, and I don’t think there were any off-court player incidents, just some on-court player moments (remember Aaron Brooks and Ryan Appleby? That Appleby kid DID use his lanky elbows a lot).

Kent’s a good coach. Here’s a timeline and recap.

Watch the press conference.

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.

Nut Punch Tuesday!

March 17, 2010 Comments off

In the NIT, nut punching is not allowed. No one told Seton Hall’s Herb Pope… or Jackson State’s Phil Williams:

Seton Hall:

Jackson State