This summer has been a busy one for White & Blue Review. The final College World Series at Rosenblatt took place and we got some great photos from our photographer Adam Streur. Creighton players are working on their games at the Omaha Metro Summer League, leading Bluejays fans to come to the Omaha Sports Academy in droves to watch the games. Add in a new Men’s Soccer Coach in Jamie Clark and the quick turnaround of Softball Coach Brent Vigness coming back to Creighton after flirting with Wisconsin, and it is already mid-July!
Here are a few quick hits from around the hoops world we may have missed in the meantime.
Creighton Grads in the NBA
Korver in the same breath as MJ: Kyle Korver knew his time was up at Utah, so he found himself the best situation as a free agent. Korver signed with the Chicago Bulls, where he will earn $15 million over 3 years. He was close to going to the team that originally drafted him, the New Jersey Nets, but after they signed Travis Outlaw, the interest waned. But the Bulls offer Korver the opportunity to compete for a starting job, a deep roster, and great proximity to his family and friends back in the Midwest.
Tolliver getting a lot of attention: It has been reported that Anthony Tolliver has been in contact with as many as 12 different NBA teams that are interested in his services. After getting a chance with Golden State and making the most of it, Tolliver is a free agent and is fielding calls from teams such as the Utah Jazz, the Denver Nuggets, and the Warriors.
Other Hoops News:
New NCAA Tournament format: There are now 68 teams in the “field of 64,” which years ago actually became a field of 65. It was revealed earlier this week that the Big Dance will begin with the “First Four,” featuring teams battling for a 16-seed and games between the last four at-large teams. Would people really watch four games between 16 and 17 seeds? I doubt it. So, in that regard, the plan seems to be at least satisfactory for most teams that might enter the tournament, whether they are low majors or the Dukes and North Carolinas of the world. Max Univers has his own take on the new games and the potential impact they might have on the Creighton basketball program. Also, the “First Four” games will be on TruTV, which I think should be re-branded back to its original channel name, Court TV, for the NCAA Tournament.
NIT Relevance: On the flip side of the NCAA Tournament talk, one idea floating to make the NIT relevant again is to actually limit the NCAA Tournament to 60 teams and start the NIT before the NCAA Tournament. Then, the NIT champ would gain a spot in the Big Dance’s round of 16. Interesting idea, but it would never work.
What’s my name?: If you want to get schools like Western Kentucky on your bad side real quick, then refer to them as Western Kentucky. I’m serious. You need to refer to them as WKU. There are a lot of other schools that are pretty particular about this as well.
Coaching myths: This one will make your head spin. You have to read it in order to understand, but it is very interesting, as it offers a whole statistical analysis on coaches some key factors:
–Coaching turnover is worse than it has ever been.
–BCS coaches face much worse pressure than non-BCS coaches.
–You need to win to make the NCAA Tournament.
Unlikely Wins: Since we are on a statistical run, if you ever want some good statistical analysis, Ken Pomeroy does a great job using his KenPom ratings to analyze teams. The latest gem: the top 10 unlikely wins from the 2009-10 season. The list includes SIU-Edwardsville’s comeback win against Drake, while Indiana State’s furious comeback against Missouri State received honorable mention. Out of those 10 games however, it is interesting to note that only one included any BCS teams and it was a BCS vs. BCS game.
New Recruiting Network: While we are talking about recruiting, there appears to be a new network in the making. We all know about Rivals and Scout, but it appears that a new recruiting network is being formed called 24/7 Sports. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact it has on the recruiting world; the site appears to be drawing some of the bigger “journalists” from the Rivals and Scout sites to join the network.
Policing by the NCAA:
Hiring Coaches: A new recruiting rule was put into place this year. It deals with the hiring of assistant coaches and is supposed to deter some of the sketchy workings of bringing coaches into programs who are connected to prospects and who work with the prospects while in high school. Schools can still hire whomever they like. But if an “individual associated with a prospect” is hired by a school, that school is no longer allowed to recruit prospects associated with said individual. That could put the brakes on things like hiring Mario Chalmers’ dad to work on the Kansas staff while Mario led Kansas to a National Championship.
Facebook: It is a big no-no for a booster or anyone associated with a program to post messages on potential recruits’ Facebook pages. Northern Illinois had an actual staff member post a message to a potential recruit’s Facebook page, which resulted in self-reporting a violation to the NCAA.
Conference USA raising the bar: Schools are slowly releasing their basketball schedules for the 2010-11 season. While some schools are working to maintain their in-state, don’t-leave-home mantras and play all of their non-conference games in familiar confines, some conferences (such as Conference USA) are trying to have their teams improve their non-conference schedules. The Missouri Valley Conference instituted a similar strategy years ago that seemed to work, but the policy has fallen by the wayside.
Drake going a different way: It appears Drake is taking a different stance on scheduling. The Bulldogs won’t be hosting the usual two weekend tournaments as in previous years, instead opting to hit the road for a couple of contests and a trip to the Great Alaska Shootout.
Others bulking up: Looking at the MVC non-conference schedules we have compiled so far a lot of the Valley schools are not backing down. Bradley is headed to Duke, Evansville is hosting North Carolina, Missouri State is headed to Oklahoma State, and Wichita State is headed to Hawaii to take on a stacked field in the Maui Invitational. The Shockers (like other teams around the nation) get laughed at when trying to schedule several home games. I’m still waiting for that marquee game for Creighton.
There is always something going on in the Valley. We check in with a few schools.
Creighton: Fanhouse came out with a listing of school expenditures for football and basketball. Creighton actually ranks in the top 5 of the non-BCS schools for basketball spending. With that said, I wonder if that number includes the buyout for Coach McDermott at Iowa State?
Southern Illinois: An interesting three-part series on scholarships at SIU and how the different athletic teams are handled under scholarships. Whether it is the full ride in basketball, squeezing 98 athletes into about 30 scholarships in other sports, or how athletes support themselves during the offseason, the series is an interesting read.
Former Saluki Nick Evans is still around. After leaving Southern Illinois last season after his scuffle with Chad Millard and eventual suspension, Evans has re-surfaced at D-II Southern Indiana.
Indiana State: The Sycamores are still regrouping after the Kevin McKenna’s surprise exit, but the continuity of hiring assistant Greg Lansing as the head man has helped things.
Illinois State: Bobby Hill has made a name for himself at Illinois State, but not on the basketball court. He has spent the last two seasons recovering from knee injuries suffered right before the season and now he is completely done with the Redbirds after admitting to a sex crime with a girl younger than 16.
Evansville: The Aces are having workouts this offseason and one of their workouts includes yoga. If Colt Ryan receives some extra support this season, the Purple Aces could make some noise.