Sunday, March 23, 2014

Did Refs Miss Game Changing Call In Kentucky Wichita State Game?

With 7.2 seconds remaining in the game and Kentucky up 1, the Wildcats' Andrew Harrison dribbled the ball up the court guarded by Wichita's State Ron Baker.  A foul was called on Baker whose Shockers needed to stop the clock.  Almost simultaneously as the foul was called Harrison lifted his elbow into Baker's head based on the picture below.

 The referees have the opportunity to review calls like this on the monitor but chose not to.  A flagrant 1 call on Kentucky would have given Wichita State two free throws and the ball.  

What do you think? Should the refs have called a flagrant foul on this play?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

5 Names For The Next Auburn Basketball Coach

Tony Barbee was not delivering on the $92.5 Million investment Auburn/credit:AuburnTigers.com
 Multiple reports are stating Auburn Basketball Head Coach Tony Barbee has been fired after four seasons. 

Auburn is by no means a basketball powerhouse and fan support is very low right now.  But here are five names which can help bring the basketball program back to a competitive level in the SEC.

1. Bob Hoffman, Mercer
Mercer won the A-Sun Tournament and tied for the regular season championship this year.  But the Bears have enjoyed increasing success over his time in Macon.  Hoffman has 61% winning percentage and 64% in conference.  His ties to the state of Georgia will help with recruiting a critical area for Auburn's success.

2. Brad Brownell, Clemson
It seems hard to believe a basketball coach in the ACC would leave for the SEC but if Auburn throws some of their football money Brownell's way he will listen.  As one of the lowest paid head coaches in the ACC with an above average record Brownell is due a raise.  Can Clemson pay that considering what they just gave Dabo Swinney?

3. Ron Hunter, Georgia State
After toiling at IUPUI for many years, Hunter has Georgia State vying for a NCAA Tournament bid after winning the regular season title in the Sun Belt.  More importantly, Hunter has connections in the talent hotbed of Atlanta where Auburn must succeed in recruiting to return the program to prominence.

4. Mike Young, Wofford
Young took over a struggling program and has taken it to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons.  This is while going head to head for a single bid in the Southern Conference with one of the most underrated coaches nationally, Bob McKillop at Davidson.  All three of the Terriers NCAA appearances all-time are under Young.

5. Bruce Pearl
Pearl is the ultimate wild card for any program looking for a coach.  He took Tennessee to six straight NCAA Tournaments but he has a NCAA "show cause" until August 23rd of this but that that doesn't preclude him from being hired; it simply means a hiring institution must "show cause" for why the sanctions against Pearl should not follow him to his new job.  So what if Auburn goes under a one year post season ban for hiring Pearl?  It is not as if they have been missing out on much as of late.  Another plus for Pearl is he made a living off recruiting Georgia for players to build his post season teams.

If AD Jay Jacobs wants  Pearl he may to fight off Boston College who is on the verge of firing Steve Donahue.  Pearl is a Boston native.

Whomever Auburn hires must have recruiting ties to the South.  Ties to the state of Georgia and specifically Atlanta would be a major plus.

Who do you think Auburn should hire? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Would UGA Basketball Be On The NCAA Tournament Bubble If They Had Beaten Georgia Tech?

Mark Fox didn't think the loss to Ga. Tech was funny and especially not now/AP
 The Georgia Bulldogs hoops team finished the SEC regular season in a tie for second place with preseason number 1 Kentucky by virtue of winning 8 of their last 10 games.

In a normal year, tying for second in the SEC would be a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament.  But this season the conference is down ranking last of any of the seven major conferences in RPI.  Also, anytime UGA's NCAA Tournament chances are discussed the conversation ends with their poor showing in the non-conference part of their schedule where they were just 6-6. 

The Bulldogs RPI is in the 70s, which is off the NCAA bubble, largely because of these two factors.

One of those six losses was to in-state rival Georgia Tech back on November 15.  The Bulldogs were down by five at halftime, down by 17 early in the second half, and spent nearly the entire second half in a double-digit deficit before pulling within nine in the last minute.  The loss was the third straight to Georgia Tech.

After that game, everyone in the crowd thought the team with NCAA Tournament aspirations come March was Georgia Tech, not the Bulldogs. 

But a multitude of injuries sank the Yellow Jackets season and their RPI to the 160s at its lowest point this season.  Ga. Tech currently ranks 149th after defeating Syracuse and Virginia Tech this past week.

After frustrating non-conference results UGA's RPI was in the low 200s and it seemed like a foregone conclusion Mark Fox would be fired, maybe even before the season ended.

Bolstered by a 12-6 league record the Bulldogs have moved their RPI all the way up to 73 and still have a chance at the NCAA Tournament, but will need to do it the old-fashioned way by winning the SEC Tournament.

If we look at what is hurting Georgia's chances of an at-large bid it is that nasty non-conference record.  The loss to Georgia Tech is one of the worst based strictly on RPI.

But what if UGA had beaten Tech?

The website RPIWizard.com can forecast such a change in history.   

If Mark Fox had notched a win over Brian Gregory, UGA's RPI would jump 15 spots up to 58.  This RPI would put Georgia on the NCAA bubble. Jerry Palm's bracketology as of March 9 has Arkansas as one of the last four teams in the Tournament and the Razorbacks RPI ranks 62nd.  

College basketball detractors say the sport's importance has been watered down by not enough games mattering like they do in football.  I think UGA hoops 2013-14 season is a great counterpoint to that argument and one Fox will harp on to his team all offseason.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AJC [Lack of] Coverage of Georgia Tech Upset Win Over #7 Syracuse

The Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, Ga, scored their biggest basketball win of the season (maybe even the last four seasons) beating 7th ranked Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on the Orange's Senior Night.

Yet trying to find coverage of the Yellow Jackets win in the "hometown" paper I had to dig through headlines of Vince Vaughn visiting Atlanta, a radio DJ [possibly] losing his job, and "More breaking news at ajc.com" headlines.

Here is a screenshot of the AJC.com front page at Midnight, only 3 hours after the Yellow Jackets scored one of the biggest upsets of the season in college basketball.


Here is a screenshot of the front page of the AJC.com/Sports page.


Not one headline mention of the school located a few miles from downtown Atlanta even in the Sports front page!

There is a headline about Michael Jordan playing baseball 20 years ago and "5 tips for getting to Wednesday's soccer match".

Honest Question: Did someone at Georgia Tech royally piss off the AJC?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Top Georgia High School Basketball Coach Dishes on UGA Hoops

After a humbling non-conference portion of the season, Georgia basketball has rebounded in SEC play with eyes on a top four conference finish and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament. 

I doubt even the most optimistic UGA basketball fan thought Mark Fox would have his club vying for a NIT bid after their November performance including losses to Georgia Tech, Davidson, and Temple and the perceived lack of talent on the roster - the Bulldogs average star ranking is 2.6 which is second worst in the SEC.

Like much of the SEC as of late, basketball success has been a struggle for the Bulldogs.  The Georgia Sports Blog did a nice post on the recent history of the program. Fox's detractors have consistently pointed to his lack of success on the recruiting trail as the reason for the program's most recent slide.

Former Milton coach David Boyd dished on the current state of the UGA program and their recruiting efforts to the AJC:
‘’It’s very very simple. What my players have told me in the past is they aren’t going to Georgia because they perceive it to be considered second-class to football. If Georgia can defeat that perception, that basketball is second class, then they will come, and they will come in droves. It helps that Georgia now has a couple of Miller Grove players there, Kenny Gaines from Whitefield Academy, Charles Mann from Milton. It helps to have that Georgia flavor to the team. This year is going to really catapult Georgia into some great things.’’
What are your thoughts?  Do you see Fox's recruiting starting to turn around based on this season?  Can football and basketball both have large followings in Athens?

Georgia Tech, Georgia Battle It Out For 2014 Recruits

Unlike college football, college basketball has two signing periods. An "early signing period" in November and a "late signing period" starting on April 16.

The Bulldogs have just 1 scholarship to give out in 2014, but have 7 offers out according to VerbalCommits.com.  The Yellow Jackets have 3 spots available for 2014 after dismissing Solomon Poole earlier in the season.  Both programs are also loading up for a huge 2015 recruiting year in the state of Georgia where 7 prospects are already ranked in Rivals Top 150.

In addition to several 2015 prospects, Mark Fox and Brian Gregory are now going to head to head for Jackson Davis of Lexington, Kentucky who was offered by both programs last night.   Davis is ranked as a 3 star by Scout.com and ESPN .

Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory was in Lexington last night to watch Davis along with assistants from UGA.

In addition to the battle for Davis, the Jackets also recently offered 3-star F Matt Cimino who has had an offer from UGA since mid-January.