your favorite music video is replay

my second favorite video is

my favorite ice cream

my favorite eagle is american eagle

my favorite thing is computer

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1.what is your favorite game? Mine is Call of Duty.

2.What is your favorite music video?

3.what is your favorite type of ice cream.

4.What is your favorite sport?

5. what is your favorite movie.

the college i want to go Harvard.

this is why

On Monday, the NCAA announced the format of the now 68 team tournament.  Four first round games will be played.  Two games will be played by the lowest seeds, the lowest four “automatic qualifiers”, and two games will be played by the last four at large teams.  The two winners of the lowest automatic qualifier games will be the #16 seeds in their respective region, similar to the play in game for the past several seasons.  Meanwhile, the two winners of the at large games will be either a number 12, 11, or possibly even a 10 seed depending on how the regions are seeded with automatic qualifiers.  However, both those teams will have the same seeding.  The NCAA has already come up with the marketing name  for these four play-in games – “First Four”.

The games will be played either on Tuesday or Wednesday, with Dayton the likely destination for this year’s game.   The NCAA did say they would look at other sites in the future.

I guess you could say the NCAA went for middle ground on this.  Though the idea had been floated about, mainly by Andy Katz, the most likely scenarios had either been the last eight automatic qualifiers playing the “First Four” play-in games.  Or the other most likely scenario was the last eight at large seeds playing for the lowest at large seed in each region, the scenario I preferred.

The reaction from the college basketball writing community was decidedly as mixed as the First Four format.

  • Jay “Hit or Miss” Bilas stated on his blog – “If it is to be 68 teams (which makes no sense out of the gate), it will be inequitable on some level unless the last eight automatic qualifiers play for the right to play the four No. 1 seeds.”  Another miss for Bilas.  He really hates mid major teams, doesn’t he.
  • Pat Forde had a decidedly different and I believe correct take – “But here’s what I would have liked more: The last eight at-large teams playing for four spots. That would produce either a reasonably interesting quadrupleheader, or a pair of reasonably interesting doubleheaders. And it would have removed the small-conference champions completely from playing in the Stepchild Round.”  X gets the square, Pat.
  • Andy Glockner had an interesting take on the decision – “By choosing a model that involves a pair of play-in games between the final four at-large teams in addition to two others involving the four worst auto-bid winners, the NCAA chose the solution that causes the least amount of change. The net impact on the main 64-team bracket is almost nil. After the “First Four” is over, we’ll have one additional at-large team making it at the expense of one auto qualifier.”
  • Gary Parrish will not be making any new friends in the SWAC or Big South with his comment – “… the First Four will include the final four at-large teams, which isn’t exactly what I wanted, but I’m willing to compromise. I wanted the final eight at-large teams to battle it out in Dayton for the right to enter the conventional 64-team bracket because I would like to be interested in what are unofficially play-in games. That just hasn’t been the case in the past because I couldn’t care less about watching the SWAC champion and Big South champion play for the right to be murdered by the ACC champion.”  As Richard Belzer would say “Ouch, babe.”
  • Kyle Whelliston wasn’t happy with the decision (Kyle wanted the four automatic qualifier PIGs due to win shares – ie money for the winning conference team and their conference) and had two classic quotes via his Mid Majority Twitter account –
    1. 1) “Can YOU think of a simple thing needlessly complicated by design-by-committee? (BCS doesn’t count!)”
    2. 2) ” The “First Four” is a “compromise”? The committee could definitely have tried harder to please everybody, e.g. by giving out free puppies.”  Well I do like puppies, Kyle.
  • Joe Lunardi was the happiest with the hybrid model – “…the hybrid model of “First Four” games involving automatic qualifiers vs. automatic qualifiers and at-large selections vs. at-large selections is a fair way to recognize the importance of conference champions while at the same time adding overdue sizzle to the former opening-round games.”

Finally, if you didn’t see my support for Mr. Forde’s comments, look at the end of my article here for what I would have wanted.  Also, as for the marketing name, First Four?  Sounds like a undercooked variation of the Frozen Four in NCAA Hockey. Ugh.

By the way, in a poll this week by SportsNation, 55 percent of the people wanted the final eight at large teams to play the four play in games, aka the First Four.  So much for giving the people what they want.

Thus, outside of Joe Lunardi, no one got what they really wanted.  So for the NCAA, affectionately known here as the NClue AAll, this next Youtube clip is for you all (especially for Dan Guerrero and Greg Shaheen).

The bright side to all this – at least it’s not “The First Forty Eight”, which is what it would have been had the NCAA expanded to 96 teams.  At least everyone universally agrees that would have been a horrible idea.  Ricky Nelson could have sung to that Garden Party.

Posted by Gary Moore at 12:10 PM 0 comments


Wooden, The Big 12 Survives and One Last Comment On Play In Games

It’s good to finally be able to write an article again as things have finally calmed down.  First, I would be remiss without making some kind of comment about the passing of John Wooden.  I have a friend who is a big fan of Wooden and who has read several of his books.  My friend always talked about how Wooden truly believed and talked about preparation.  Wooden’s belief was that if his teams were prepared, no matter what the other team did, his teams would be successful.  Obviously, his UCLA teams were very successful, winning 10 national championships and posting an .808 winning percentage (in conference play, the Bruins had an .825 winning percentage).

As I read many articles online that discussed Wooden’s passing or his coaching history, one NY Times article in particular highlighted Wooden’s belief in preparation.  Some of Wooden’s players asked him one day if they could miss practice to stage an antiwar protest.

“He asked us if this reflected our convictions,” one player, Steve Patterson, told Sports Illustrated in 1989, “and we told him it did. He told us he had his convictions, too, and if we missed practice it would be the end of our careers at U.C.L.A.”

That quote reinforces Wooden’s belief in preparation.  The NY Times article also talked about Wooden’s three main ideals around his coaching philosophy – his teams had to be in the best possible condition, they had to have “quickness” in that his players, no matter what position had to be quicker than their opponent, and finally, his team “…better play together as a team or you sit.”

One last thing on Wooden.  I was reading a Newsday article on the Sunday after he passed and one of his quotes became my signature line on my e-mail messages at work.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.  I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

Words to live by.

Last week looked like armageddon in the college conference world.  Colorado accepted an invitation to join the PAC-10.  Nebraska joined the Big 10.  Boise State then joined the Mountain West.  And to top all that, the PAC-10 was in serious negotiation to bring Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State into the fold.   In fact, last Saturday, it looked like a done deal.  It apparently signaled the demise of the Big 12, with the Mountain West poised to sweep up the remnants of the Big 12  such as Kansas and Missouri. It also looked like it would set off a chain reaction that would affect other conferences in the country.

Then, an eleven hour reprieve occurred on Monday.  Apparently a group of “influential people” banded together and helped broker a deal that would keep Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the Big 12,  The deal would enable Texas to get $20-25 million annually from a new league TV deal and allow them to create their own TV network.   Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would also get more revenue from the new TV deal as well.

So what does this all mean now that Texas and company are staying put in the Big 12, or whatever it’s called now (They can’t use the Big Ten, it’s already taken)?   Well, let’s look under Winners and Losers.


Big 12 or whatever it will be called –  Hey, whatever you call it, the conference still exists and you could say it’s now stronger than ever.   A larger TV deal and a streamlined conference for both football and basketball.   Now in the Big 12, each team will play each other twice in the basketball season and each other once in football season. They may lose the football conference title game since they are only ten teams now, but that makes the regular season matter more.

Dan Beebe – Only a few days ago, it looked like the Big 12 Commissioner was going to be presiding over the demise of his conference, which would have no doubt put his name in infamy.  Now Beebe stands tall, having fended off the PAC-10’s advances on the core of their teams and made more money for the conference schools in general.  Nice.

NCAA – A few days ago, when it looked like there would be major conference realignment throughout the land, there was the talk of the BCS super conferences joining together and how they might form their own league, change the landscape of college sports and force out the NCAA.   Well, mind you this is speculation, but I really honestly think the NCAA got involved in saving the Big 12.   With the Big 12 remaining intact, the landscape of college sports remains basically same (sans the aforementioned three schools moving and likely now Utah as well).  No Super PAC-16 and the Big Ten remains twelve teams for now.   Sure there is still the possibility of the Big Ten going after some Big East teams, but it looks less likely now.


PAC-10 and Larry Scott – Only a few days ago, the PAC-10 was on the verge of becoming a major superconference.  PAC-10 Commissioner Scott promised the PAC-10 schools significant revenue when the Texas- Oklahoma schools contingent came aboard.   Well all that is left is Colorado and now likely Utah.  Instead of the PAC-16, we have the PAC-12.  Not quite the significant revenue boost the PAC-10 was looking for.

Colorado – The Buffaloes were figuring that their move would be the starting point for the core of the Big 12 to follow to the PAC-10.  Oops.  Now the Buffaloes are the eleventh team in the apparently soon to be PAC-12.  Don’t see how this move helps them, except if they think they can get more conference wins in basketball.

Mountain West – The MWC added Boise State and looked poised to grab Kansas and Missouri with the seemingly certain demise of the Big 12.   If the Big 12 demise had occurred, the Mountain West was the likely choice to replace the Big 12 in the BCS.  Hello huge payday!  Now, the Mountain West continues to be on the outside looking in as far as the BCS.  And to make matters worse, there is a good chance the Pac-10 will even out their league as they have invited Utah to join their conference.

Finally, my friend Grant sent me this interesting and often very hilarious interview billionaire T Boone Pickens did about the Big 12.  I have no doubt he was one of the “influential people” responsible for saving the Big 12.

Here at the College Hardwood, we try to move on in life and in basketball.  We try to talk about subjects at most a couple of times, then move on and refer back to them only when the basketball news of the day warrants us to do so.   So hopefully for the final time, I am going to comment about the expansion to 68 teams and the new four play-in games, only because recent news warrants me to do so.

A few weeks ago, Jay Bilas wrote an article on ESPN called “Play-in teams Will Be Stigmatized?  Please.”  It was based on a comment by Northeast Conference (NEC) Commisioner Noreen Morris who said the following about the play in game.

“I think if you find yourself in that game every year, it becomes a bit of a stigma and it can be used in negative recruiting and just an overall branding problem for our conference.

Morris went on further to say “you don’t want the same conferences in those opening rounds every year.”

Well Bilas, to put it bluntly, went off on Morris’ statements.

“First, a team doesn’t “find itself” in the play-in game. It earns its way there by its record, its play and its standing in the game. You don’t “find yourself” in the play-in game, just as you don’t “find yourself” in the Final Four.

Second, and most importantly, how can one use the term “stigmatize” with regard to the earned honor of playing for the national championship? Stigmatize is defined as “to set some mark of infamy or disgrace upon.” So playing for the national championship as one of the lower-seeded teams is stigmatizing, or a mark of infamy or disgrace?

By that logic, expansion is a mark of dishonor on the teams that are at the end of the line. Perhaps we should contract the field and take it back to 32 teams. After all, we wouldn’t want to brand anyone as a disgrace.”

Now I find Jay Bilas to be a very good in game analyst.  But I often find his commentary on his blog to be hit or miss.  This is a big time miss.   First, I grant you that NEC Commissioner Morris should not have used the word “stigma.”   Not the correct word I would have chosen.  The word I would have chosen is “unfair”.

First, if you are one of the few, the proud, my regular readers, you know how I have talked a couple of times about the original play-in game to be the most unfair game in the NCAA Tournament.  The most recent articlewas this past March. Two teams that have received “automatic bids”, meaning they EARNED their right to make the NCAA tournament, have to “play-in” to the Round of 64.

So now with expansion to 68 teams, there will be now four play-in games.  And there are only two scenarios for this.  1) The lowest eight automatic bid conferences will be in the play-in games or 2) the last eight at large teams will be in the play in games.

If it is scenario #1, then Commissioner Morris has a legitimate beef stating that you will see the “same conferences in those opening rounds every year”.  And here is her proof.  Below is the list of conferences and the number of times their teams have played in the ten play-in games.

SWAC 5, MEAC 4, Big South 3, MAAC 2, NEC 2, Ohio Valley 1, Patriot League 1, Southland 1, Summit 1

The SWAC and MEAC have combined for NINE of the twenty teams that have played in the play-in game.    And notice, there are only nine conferences that have played in the play in game.  So, based on STATISTICS, Commissioner Morris is right, if you have make the four play in games with the eight lowest seeded automatic bid qualifiers, you will likely see the same conferences in the play in game every year.

Here’s what Bilas had to say further about Morris’ comment.

This silliness is really just confirmation of something we already knew. The “play-in” game is not and never has been a part of the “real NCAA tournament.” Otherwise, why would anyone attach the word “stigma” to it?

Here is an idea: If you want to avoid the “play-in” games, play well, win your games and get seeded in the top 60. Every conference has the same opportunity to win, so win — especially when you have the chance against quality nonconfernce opponents — and you won’t have to worry about it.

And if you find yourself in one of the four “play-in” games, then be pleased that a team ranked outside of the top 60 in the nation gets a chance to compete for the national title.

Bilas has never been fond of small mid major conferences. He has in the past actually stated several times that the automatic bid qualifier should be removed and that the NCAA Tournament should be the best 64 teams.

The fact of the matter is that ever should happen, you will have very few mid major teams in the NCAA Tournament and the NCAA Tournament will look like the NIT on steroids, meaning that you will have lots of mediocre power conference teams with .500 and sub .500 conference records in the tournament.

What Bilas doesn’t understand is that the beauty of the NCAA Tournament is that small and mid major conferences get to play on the same large stage together in a single elimination tournament.  But obviously it’s not just the tournament that small conference teams play power conference teams.  Obviously teams like Duke, Kansas, and UConn for example offer small conference teams large sums of money to play regular season non conference games on the big conference teams’ home sites.   If Bilas has his way, why bother with those games?  Why would it matter for a small conference team to play Kansas other than to make money?

Let’s face it, the MEAC, SWAC, Big South, NEC etc are small colleges and universities who simply don’t have the budget/endowment to compete with the Dukes, UConns, and UCLAs of the world.  But the NCAA saw it fit that those conferences are DIVISION I conferences thus they can compete on the same level as the power conference teams.

If Bilas had his way, then the great upsets of the past, #15 Coppin State over #2 South Carolina, #15 Hampton over Iowa State, or #14 Weber State over North Carolina never happen.   And that’s what makes the NCAA Tournament so much better than the BCS or the College Bowl games.  You don’t get upsets of that magnitude occurring in a BCS game or the College Bowl system.

As for Bilas’ comment of ” If you want to avoid the “play-in” games, play well, win your games and get seeded in the top 60″, I want to give you a case in point of a team that did everything it could this past season but still got put in the play in game.

Arkansas Pine Bluff finished second in the SWAC with a very solid 14-4 conference record.  In non conference they went out a play a brutal non conference road schedule with losses to Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, UTEP and Kansas State – all NCAA Tournament Teams (also lost at NIT participant Arizona State).  In fact their non conference schedule was ranked the eighth toughest non conference schedule in the country this past season.  They won their conference tournament and “automatically” qualified for the NCAA Tournament.  They EARNED their way into the NCAA Tournament.Yet, because they play in the lowly SWAC conference, they get to play in the qualifier, which they won over Winthrop.

But if Bilas had it his way, the Golden Lions wouldn’t see the light of day in the NCAA Tournament and a team like Virginia Tech that had a non conference strength of schedule ranking of 307 and couldn’t even make it out of the ACC tournament quarterfinals would make the tournament.  Tell me that’s earning a spot in the tournament.  Tell me that the Hokies were one of the 64 best teams in the country.

If we want the truly best 64 teams in the tournament like Bilas wants, well first, make the play in games the last eight at large teams in the tournament, which are often power conference teams that either played .500 in conference during the season ( examples over the past few years – Minnesota, Arizona. Maryland) or stumbled their way into the NCAA Tournament by losing in their conference quarterfinals (see Wake Forest).   Make them EARN their way into the tournament.   And the even better second step, require that teams eligible for at large berths to the NCAA tournament MUST have an above .500 record in conference.  No more rewarding regular season mediocrity.

Bilas finished his article with “The truth is, there are not enough quality teams that can compete favorably for a national championship right now, so there was certainly no urgency to expand the field for competitive reasons.”   Bilas is misguided.  It’s not the small conferences that wanted tournament expansion.  It’s the power conferences that wanted expansion.

If you want expansion to 68 teams that’s fine with me (sure beats 96).  But if you want to be in that round of 64, make the at large teams earn their way in.  Don’t do at the expense of teams that “automatically qualified” to be in the tournament like Arkansas Pine Bluff and other low conference automatic qualifiers.  They did “earn” their way in.

Posted by Gary Moore at 8:08 AM 0 comments

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2010

Your Homework Assignment – Read Defiantly Dutch When You Get A Chance

Hey guys.  I know this is my first post in three weeks.  Been really a busy time.  This month I have been administering exams, preparing summer projects, dealing with family stuff and I am here in Chicago for certification training.  I will be also busy for the next week or so.  I will write more in June once things calm down.

Here’s your homework assignment.  Read Jerry Beach’s article from yesterday about Hofstra softball.  And follow it up with my December 2009 article on supporting Hofstra basketball.   Jerry’s right on target.  That softball team, which has been one of the most dominant softball programs at its level in the country, and Hofstra sports in general deserves Hofstra fans support next season.  I have been guilty as much as anyone by not going to see them play.  I won’t make that same mistake next season.

Let’s never ever again give our school a reason to take away a major sport from their collegiate program.  Show up and attend softball games next season.  And don’t forget to show up and attend Hofstra basketball games this season to see the best player in the local region and one of the best players in the country – Charles Jenkins.

And here’s a scary thing.  Basically the entire softball team returns next season.  How scary good will they be?

As usual, Jerry, great work.

Posted by Gary Moore at 10:17 AM 0 comments

SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2010

Hofstra Decides It’s Gotta Go to Mo, Kanacevic Lands Nicely, and Why Players Sometimes Shouldn’t Leave for the Draft

Give Jack Hayes credit.  He didn’t waste any time.  Barely 48 hours after Tim Welsh resigned as head coach, Hofstra hired his assistant, Mo Cassara, as the new head coach of the Pride.  It was a surprising move in that there was the mindset that Hayes would want no remnants of the Welsh regime around.

And after Welsh “resigned”, I spoke with several Hofstra basketball fans who thought the program might have been set back a couple of years due to this incident.  They wondered where Hofstra would turn to next for their coach.   Would any recruit want to go to a program where they would have their third coach in a little more than a month?   Would the assistants stay under a completely different coach?  There was also the NY Post articleabout Al Skinner being a candidate and that was after I wrote my previous article comparing Hofstra’s program to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”.

But Hofstra made the right move by hiring Cassara.  First, it brings stability to the program.  Apparently in the span of a month, the current coaching staff has worked very hard to bond with the players in hopes of keeping everyone together (still, Halil Kanacevic requested and received his release – more on that in a second).  Second, the staff has already spent a month recruiting.   By hiring Cassara and keeping the current coaching staff of Steve DeMeo and Allen Griffin, it shows potential recruits that Hofstra has a long term commitment to this staff and program.

Plus I am hearing from several people that Cassara has a very engaging personality and is winning over people quickly.   He certainly impressed Hayes and President Rabinowitz.  Hofstra certainly could use a dynamic presence in their basketball program.   Here’s wishing him well.

As for Kanacevic, he has enrolled at St Joseph’s and will be sitting out the year for the Hawks.  It’s a nice pickup for Phil Martelli’s program.   It happened so quickly that one has to wonder if someone from St Joe’s immediately reached out to him (I am sure they did).  He now jumps up a level in class by going to the A10.  But I think he has the ability to certainly play on that level and I think he will be very good.  As we were driving back to our hotel room from the game against Kansas, we listened to the Kansas post game news conference.  Bill Self singled out Kanacevic,”15″ as he called him, for his play against his big men.

Also I want to give an update to something I stated in my previous article about the Hofstra signed recruits for 2010-11 which mentioned Devon McMillan and Marvin Dominique.   McMillan was let out of his signed agreement early in this past basketball season.  I do not know about Marvin Dominique at this time.

Yesterday was the deadline for players who didn’t hire an agent to withdraw their names from the NBA draft.   A good number of players who might have been drafted such as Jimmer Fredette, E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Malcolm Delaney withdrew their names.  Players who likely weren’t going to be drafted also withdrew their names.  The one that comes to my mind is Rico Pickett.   Wise choice, Rico.

And then you have some that stayed in the draft, with the biggest name that comes to mind being Gordon Hayward.    Hayward announced on Friday that he was hiring an agent and officially staying in the draft. And he will be likely picked in the 15-20 area in the first round of the NBA draft.  He certainly has the talent and game to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft.   It was interesting reading the columns of writers who were in favor of Hayward going, like Gary Parrish’s article and those who were against Hayward leaving, such as Doug Gottlieb.  Unfortunately, Gottlieb’s article is on ESPN insider. But a quick snippet on that article – Gottlieb basically says that Hayward needs another year and a half in the weight room and the gym.

I understand fully that there are several reasons for Hayward leaving for the draft.  One, that this is the last draft before the likely NBA lockout.   And the result of the new agreement from that lockout will be less money for NBA draft picks. Two, there is the mind set that Hayward’s draft stock is at its highest point and if he stays in school, he may risk losing stock, similar to what Craig Brackins did by staying in school another season.

Here are my responses to both those arguments.  First, if you are a good enough player, you will make your money in the NBA, whether there is a lockout/new agreement.   Lottery picks will still be lottery picks and make a lot of money.  And even a non lottery first round pick who turns out to be pretty good in the NBA will make his money in the long run.

Second, who says that Hayward’s stock for sure will fall if he had stayed in school?  Unlike Brackins, who was a one man show on an at best mediocre Iowa State team, Hayward was the star player on a Butler team that made the NCAA Championship game.  Had Hayward stayed, he would have been one of the four starters returning for next season.   A team that likely would be favored to return to the NCAA Final Four and no doubt a top five team in the country.

Plus Hayward’s stock is not at his highest.  His three point shooting percentage went significantly down this season – 28.6 percent as opposed to 44.8 percent in his freshman season.  So he could have come back and improved on that.  And here’s the scary thing, he still shot 46 percent overall this season.  Imagine what he could shoot from the field  with an improved three point shot.

And I will give you an example of someone who was in a similar circumstance but opted to return from his junior season.  Stephen Curry.   Curry had an even greater NCAA Tournament performance than Hayward and I got to witness in person his awesome display at the Raleigh Regional in 2008.  He could have left for the NBA Draft right then and no one would have blamed him. He was certainly first round material right at that moment.

Yet, what did Curry do?  He returned for his junior season so he could work on his point guard skills.  Sure enough, he nearly doubled his assists per game average from the previous season, while still averaging more points per game than the previous season (and yes, despite his FG and three point FG percentages slightly declining).   His team didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament in his junior season, yet it all worked out for Curry.  He was taken sixth overall in the NBA draft, one spot short of the Knicks, whose fans were dying to have Curry selected for the Garden faithful.

Plus, there is that little discussed issue known as a college degree.  Also on ESPN insider, Jay Bilas wrote a very good article about how it’s ridiculous to say you “limit” a college player by telling him to stay in school and not going into the draft.  As Bilas notes, a student who played four years and gets his degree has more options in the business world and in the coaching world once his playing career is over, as opposed to the student that leaves early for the draft and never gets that degree.

That’s why I literally cringed when Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart announced he had started talks on with John Calipari on a new deal in light of the report on the Wildcats GPA for the fall semester.  Perhaps Barnhart hadn’t talked yet to senior associate athletic director Sandy Bell who noted “It’s not something we’re happy with, I’ll tell you that.”  Will Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton among others eventually get their degrees?   I don’t know about that. But I do know one thing  – we got confirmation of what really matters in Kentucky.

In conclusion, Hayward could have stayed and improved on one skill he needs to be a successful NBA player, outside shooting and probably increased his draft stock.  I believe that if you are guaranteed lottery material, you should go.  John Wall, Evan Turner, can’t disagree with their choices.   But if NBA draft prognosticators are talking about you being selected in the 15-20 range right now, then you might want to go back to school and work on improving your stock.  Especially if you are coming back to a really good team like Hayward would have at Butler.

But more importantly, Hayward, an engineering major, could have got a year closer to his degree at one of the better liberal arts schools in the country.  Certainly an engineering degree won’t “limit” Hayward in his future options.

For every Craig Brackins, there is a Stephen Curry.  Unfortunately we won’t find that out about Gordon Hayward.  But here’s hoping he makes it in the NBA and has a nice long career in the NBA.  Here’s also hoping he gets his degree “in the near future” as he puts it.

Something tells me he eventually could have a great career in the coaching world.  But you need that degree son.

Posted by Gary Moore at 7:24 AM 0 comments

MONDAY, MAY 3, 2010

The Welsh Era Ends Before It Started

I thought this song was very appropriate for what’s going on in the Hofstra basketball world. Plus a little Stevie Ray always helps a bad situation.

Well as you all know by now, Tim Welsh resigned today as head coach of Hofstra.   Welsh put himself in a no win situation by being arrested for DWI early Friday morning and registering a .18 blood alcohol level two hours after he was arrested, more than double the legal limit.  Chances are he would have been likely fired if he didn’t resign, and Brian Mull tweeted that he was “forced to resign”.

And if that was indeed the case, that Welsh was forced to resign, Hofstra did the right thing.  Yes, there was a lot of bad press surrounding the Welsh arrest.  It was the top headline on ESPN since the arrest occurred Friday morning.   And this morning, as I drove into work, Boomer and Carton on the FAN discussed the matter, both noting that Welsh had to be fired due to that high blood alcohol level (more on that in a second).

But it wasn’t just the bad press that was a deciding factor in Welsh’s resignation.   Welsh had been at the position 33 days.  He had no years of good will vested in the position where a mistake, even huge as this one, might have been looked at with a lenient light.

Welsh was also at an academic institution, where he was looked at as not just a coach, but a leader of young men.  Your players need to believe you when you tell them “That’s what you are as a coach: You’re a teacher too, and you’re kind of a father to these guys, because you’re with them everyday. So you’ve got to continually try to teach life lessons.”  Then you go out and get arrested for DWI in a county that is rightfully strict on drunk drivers given recent history.  Will those players be able to trust you or take you seriously, especially since you have been on the job barely a month?  No.

Then there was the matter of the university finding out through news reports that he had been arrested instead of being contacted by Welsh directly.  That notes a serious lack of responsibility on Welsh’s part.   And finally, the .18 blood alcohol level is not the characteristic of someone not realizing they had one too many drinks that night.  Had it been .09, then perhaps (and that’s a slight perhaps), you could maybe have some leniency towards Welsh.   The fact that it was .18 denotes a hardcore drinker, or at least a hardcore drinking night.  It really is amazing that he didn’t end up hurting or killing someone when the police found him asleep at the wheel.

Welsh still has to face the DWI charge.  Whether he accepts a plea deal or has his day in court, his career for now is ruined.  And he has no one to blame for this but himself.

Now Jack Hayes has the unenviable position of having to decide whether to start from scratch and hire a new coach or perhaps let one of the already hired Welsh assistants, Steve DeMeo or Mo Cassara have a chance at the job on an interim basis.  Hayes may very well decide that’s its best to have no remnants of the Welsh regime at Hofstra and bring someone new in.  He could also go back and hire Van Macon to bring stability to the program.  Names such as former St John’s coach Norm Roberts and West Virginia assistant coach Larry Harrison are being bandied about as well.

As for the Pride players, they will soon have their third coach in the span of two plus months.   For seniors, Charles Jenkins, Greg Washington and Nathaniel Lester, along with now eligible Brad Kelleher and Fordham transfer Mike Moore, there is likely nowhere to go and they will stay.  However, Chaz Williams couldn’t be blamed if he decided to seek another home, along with the other underclassmen such as Yves Jules and David Imes.  Halil Kanacevic had already received his release prior and Branden Frazier decided to follow Pecora to Fordham.

And then there are the incoming freshmen as well Marvin Dominique and Devon McMillan.  What will they decide to do?   And with apparently two scholarship openings remaining, will anyone want to come here now to fill them (Josh Elbaum is probably now off the radar)?

The program is truly at a crossroads and it’s not a good thing for the players or the fan base the school is trying to increase. What seemed like such promise a month ago with an established coach in Welsh with a seemingly talented senior laden team, is now up in the air with fans openly concerned (and rightfully so).    One man’s incredibly poor judgement not just ruined his career but may have set the program back at least a year, maybe two, maybe even more.

How this all plays out in the next several weeks is anybody’s guess. For Hofstra basketball fans it seems grim.   And I can’t tell you it’s not. As I noted in my previous post, the rough times started weeks ago and hit a real bad point the last few days with the Welsh DWI and subsequent “resignation”.  As bad as it seems, it may actually get worse before it gets better.

As Stevie Ray once sang, “Understand, it’s time to get ready for the storm.”

Posted by Gary Moore at 10:50 PM 0 comments


A Rough Few Weeks for Hofstra

If you are a Hofstra men’s basketball fan, the last few weeks have been various types of punches to the chin. You could say that it all started in late March when long time coach Tom Pecora left Hofstra to go to Fordham. It was a haymaker from Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, but you braced yourself enough, knowing that it was coming. It wobbled you but you got yourself righted and sort of delivered a haymaker of your own, which could describe at least how I felt when Hofstra hired Tim Welsh as their new head coach.

But it really started two weeks ago with Branden Frazier following Pecora to Fordham. That was kind of like making a stupid comment to your wife, then she slaps you in the face. Based on your actions, you knew it was coming. Yes it stings, but you shake it off in a few minutes…and then go back for more 🙂 . Frazier had originally given a verbal agreement to come to Hofstra, but that was when Pecora was head coach. So no surprise that Frazier would go to Fordham once Pecora and the entire Hofstra staff followed suit.

Then last week, Halil Kanacevic delivered a Sugar Ray Leonard right hand to the chin when it was announced that he asked for and received his release from Hofstra. It was definitely a punch you hadn’t seen coming, which resulted in knocking you down for a five count. You eventually get up, but you remember the punch for a while and do anything you can to avoid another one.

In an interview on Defiantly Dutch, Kanacevic talked about how he may have signed up with Hofstra but he had really signed up for Pecora and his coaching staff. Strangely, when he met with Welsh, he originally told him he wasn’t leaving. But he explains in further detail what his thought process was during that time

Kanacevic said his biggest regret was telling Welsh earlier this month that he wasn’t thinking about transferring. “Someone gave me a little advice, talk to the coach, reassure him you’re not leaving,” Kanacevic said. “I was like ‘All right.’ I did that. I probably never should have done that, because I kind of lied to the coach [and gave him] the wrong impression [saying] ‘I’m not going anywhere’ as far as the rumors.
“He brought it up, when I had a meeting with coach Welsh, and I basically told him ‘Man, that was a mistake I made and I shouldn’t have done that to you. I misled you.’ He asked if there was a reason and it was the reason I told you—not the situation I signed up for.”

No doubt that Welsh got a Marvin Hagler hook to the chin. He never saw that coming (as did I and numerous other Hofstra fans). It’s really a strange decision. First, if he transfers to another DI school, he must sit out a year. Also noted in Beach’s article is that AD Jack Hayes gave Kanacevic a conditional release, where he can not go to ten teams. No doubt Fordham is one of them. Most of them are probably other local teams (St John’s Manhattan, Iona, Stony Brook to name a few though no verification on that). And he certainly won’t go to any other CAA teams, because the rule in the CAA is that you have to sit out TWO seasons, not the mandatory one the NCAA rule mandates.

So if Kanacevic is looking locally, his choices are probably limited. And really, it’s a mistake. He had a very good freshman season where he made the CAA All Rookie Team. He certainly showed he is a CAA level quality forward and would only likely get better. Also, had he stayed, Kanacevic had a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament with Jenkins, Washington, Chaz Williams and him back. Throw in Fordham transfer Mike Moore and a now eligible Brad Kelleher and there was much hope. Plus he was apparently well liked by the new coach. So it all doesn’t make sense.

After spending a week shaking off the Sugar Ray Leonard right hand, I thought, well at least Welsh’s recruiting skills will now be put to the test. And I heard through the grapevine that Hofstra was looking at an up and coming prospect in Josh Elbaum. Elbaum actually came to Hofstra for a visit (Siena also has interest in him).

Then late yesterday morning, I was checking my e-mail from my IPod when I received a message from my good friend Tieff. It was also addressed to our friend Mal as well. So that usually means it’s either Hofstra related, since we have Pride season Tickets, or Jets related
since we have season tickets for them. The e-mail said the following;

Is his contract void now?

Immediately, my heart sank. I had a truly bad feeling it was Hofstra related and I knew that the link was about Tim Welsh. And then my finger pressed the link and the WINS story appeared, complete with his mugshot. My worst fear had been confirmed. Welsh had been arrested for a DWI and shortly after was suspended by Hofstra University pending an investigation.

I felt like I had got hit by the big one, a right cross from Mike Tyson in his prime. Out on the canvas for the ten count, in a state where you need to be scraped up with a spatchula. A blow that it will take weeks to recover from. For a Hofstra fan, who had such high hopes on April 1st watching the Welsh press conference streaming live on my computer, it’s utterly demoralizing.

First and most importantly, it’s fortunate no one got hurt. He was very lucky in that regard. Second, it was incredibly stunningly poor judgment on his part. Why would you risk losing a five year, three million dollar contract in such a way? Especially after your second part of your interviewwith Beach where you state the following about an incident at Providencewhere several Friars basketball players were dismissed from the team.

Five years later, I showed the videotape of that to a team, I think, of how it was exposed locally on the news. We took all the articles that came out from it and handed them out to our team.Basically put it on them that you’ve got a lot to be responsible for, but the main thing is how embarrassing it is to your family. You get your players [to think about] your mother and father—what would they think if they picked up the paper and saw you in handcuffs? How devastating would that be?

It’s truly mind numbing that someone gives an interview like that (which is published the morning of his arrest), which should be fresh in his mind, yet goes out and gets arrested yesterday morning. It may be the most damming evidence for Welsh when AD Jack Hayes reviews the situation. Welsh states in the above how important it is to conduct yourself, then he is on news web sites with his mugshot.

And yesterday, I did a stupid thing. For maybe the last time, I reviewed the Hofstra CAA Zone Board just to see what Hofstra fans’ reactions were to the arrest. There were several people who did try to offer support and talked with reason about the situation. But then, I also read on the site someone calling the hiring of Welsh to be a mistake.

Mistake? No, it was not a mistake. Many major college coaches thought the hiring of Welsh was a home run (Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun among others). Jack Hayes contacted Jay Wright for advice on hiring a new coach. And Wright advised Welsh about Hofstra and thought it was a great move. So to say it was a mistake? Sorry, no way.

And it’s not like Welsh has a history of trouble. When Hofstra hired Welsh, Welsh had just finished his second year of working for both ESPN and SNY. I am sure they did their background checks as well on Welsh. This seems to be one truly bad case of judgment on Welsh’s part.

But I could live with someone saying it was a mistake. As I read further on in the discussion on the Hofstra CAA Zone, you had one person, who names himself after a John Candy character, gloating and I mean gloatingabout what happened.

Excuse me, but what rock did you crawl out of?

First, no one and I mean no one, should be gloating about this. Again, someone could have been seriously hurt. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Second, a man’s career may be ruined as a result of this. How can someone gloat about this? Seriously?

Then this genius has as his signature line about how the administration killed Hofstra football. Ok, this begins a tangent.

I have said this before in an article in December and I will say this even more bluntly this time, the Hofstra fans, student body and the community in general is to blame for the loss of Hofstra football by not supporting it enough. And I will put myself in that group. We all could have tried showing up to games and rallying support. We had a good program, but the stadium was two thirds empty at least for most games I went to.

And as I noted in my aforementioned article and as Jerry Beach notes in his article today, that even the basketball program “struggles to draw fans even in the best of times“. It’s sadly a malaise that Hofstra has had since at least I have first been on the campus in 1984. So you certainly can’t blame that on the current administration.

I was there on November 10, 2001 when Villanova with Brian Westbrook traveled to now Shuart Stadium to face Hofstra with Marques Colston. The game was for first place in the A10 (which is now the CAA in football). Westbrook had over 300 all purpose yards as the Wildcats defeated the Pride 54-34. It was really a great game to watch.

And I remember getting there right before kickoff time and still getting good seats. Why? Because the stadium was a third full, that’s why! And this would be the second season in a row that Hofstra would make the I-AA playoffs in football. So it was not like Hofstra football was an unknown quantity. And it was like that even in the late 80’s when Hofstra was still Division III and I went to a playoff home game vs. Fordham on an extremely cold day. The stadium again was a third full.

And again, it’s not like Hofstra was the only team to end it’s football program. Iona did it a few years ago and Northeastern did as well last season. They understood the economics and how a football I AA program (sorry that’s how I still look at the Football subdivision) with poor attendance is such a drain on the program. Kyle Whelliston talks about this in his article about Xavier basketball. Xavier did that back in 1973 and never looked back. Worked out pretty well on the basketball front for the Musketeers I would say.

Yes, there are two facebook groups that have “Save Hofstra Football” and the two groups combined are 2000 people. And that’s great to see that support, but the total members combined are less than 1/5 the size of Shuart Stadium.

Hofstra said it was not taking the money spent on football away from the athletics budget. And it went out and spent money on a CBI home game,which turned out to be a mistake, but at least they tried. And then Hofstra went out and got a top notch men’s basketball coach.

And yet you have a yahoo like the John Candy named character on CAA Zone gloating about Welsh’s arrest because it’s somehow karma for the administration for killing the football program. I have one thing to say to this guy.

This hurts all Hofstra fans and has nothing to do with football. Get over it and get a life.

Now back to Welsh. I don’ t have any idea how this is going to play out and nor am I going to speculate. Currently, though it seems Steve DeMeo, Mo Cassara and Allen Griffin were all hired by Hofstra, there is no formal recognition of them being hired. I don’t know where that leaves them, though they have been recruiting apparently.

All I know is this. What seemed like a glorious second chance for Tim Welsh a month ago, came crashing down in one month due to a very poor decision. All he can do is admit his wrong doing. Be up front about it. As recent history has shown, people will respect someone if they admit they did wrong and are remorseful for it. And as a result, people often will give that person a second chance.

Here’s hoping Welsh will do the right thing. And maybe he will get a second chance.

I just don’t know if he will get it.

Posted by Gary Moore at 10:05 AM 3 comments


Holy Upset, Batman! The NCAA Goes to 68 Teams, Not 96 and Kanacevic to Transfer From Hofstra

Well let’s start with the bad news. Hofstra freshman forward HalilKanacevic, a member of the All CAA Rookie team has received his release from Hofstra and will be transferring to another school. Kanacevic, who I think has the potential to be a very good big man, averaged 8.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. The guess is that he will transfer to Fordham to follow the Pecora crew there. I think it’s a mistake personally if that does happen, because he had a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament next season with the Pride. But here’s wishing him good luck.

Now the good news. Early Thursday morning, I was close to finishing an article entitled “Further Proof That a 96 Team Tournament Is a VERY Bad Idea”. I had included references from several recent terrific articles from Gary Parrish, Andy Katz, Mike Litos and Joe Lunardi. I thought I had an interesting article for my readers and I was going to finish the article Thursday night.

Then, during the only brief free moment I had Thursday, I checked my Twitter account. And what should I see first, a tweet from Mr MidMajorityhimself, KW (Kyle Whelliston) which stated “Today is a day of great celebration and relief. Now who wants a quadruple serving of P.I.G.?!” And before that tweet, he had retweeted from the Orlando Sentinel -“NCAA votes to expand NCAA Tournament to 68 teams, signs $10.8 billion, 14-year deal with CBS, Turner.”

I felt like Gus Johnson – OHHHHHHH! This was a like a sixteen seed beating a one seed!

You see, we had heard for weeks, hell months, that 96 teams were a done deal. NCAA Vice President Greg Shaheen alluded to it. Jay Bilas, Gary Parrish, Mike Litos, Kyle Whelliston, Joe Lunardi, Andy Katz, Pat Forde, any good national college basketball writer said it was basically a done deal. Even Mike Francesa, Jerry Beach’s favorite talk show host said it was a done deal. You even had Gregg Doyel saying “stop your whining” and “Think of another round of tournament games like a batch of brownies. You gonna turn down seconds?”

Well apparently Gregg, the NCAA listened to EVERYBODY’s whining and decided that a 96 team batch of brownies would leave a bad taste ineveryone’s mouth. In fact, NCAA Interim President Jim Isch stated “There was no decision ever to go to 96. ” They were able to get a more lucrative contract from CBS/Turner and only add three teams to the tournament in the process. Thus the NCAA tournament teams and conferences will get a bigger share of the pie now.

All I can say is someone said last December the NCAA should go to 68 teams instead of 80 and 96. His article is here. Make sure to read it.

OK, that concludes the crowing part of this article.

Now we will likely get four play in games (otherwise known as P.I.Gs) on that Tuesday instead of the one pitting the two lowest automatic bid teams. Now the question here is how will the PIGs play out. Kyle Whelliston in a tweet on Thursday stated that it will be the automatic bid qualifiers seeded 16 and 17 and the Orlando Sentinel article seems to back that. I noted in my aforementioned December article it will be the last eight at large bid teams in the tournament. In her article Thursday, Dana O’Neill believes that it will also be the last eight large bid teams as well. And here’s her reasoning.

…But somehow I doubt the networks paid $10.8 billion to offer a quadruple-header matching up North Texas, Robert Morris, Vermont, Morgan State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, UCSB, Lehighand East Tennessee State, this year’s 15- and 16-seeds.

No offense to those programs or their alumni bases, but those aren’t the sort of name brands that drive viewership.

Instead, imagine this lineup going head-to-head: Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Illinois, UTEP, Utah State, Minnesota and, let’s say, Florida and Georgia Tech.

That’s a combination of Joe Lunardi’s last three out this season (Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois) and the lowest-seeded at-large teams from this year’s bracket.

It’s a murderers’ row of desperate teams with name cachet and a murderers’ row that frankly deserves to suffer a little more for not getting the job done during the regular season.

The winners could slide into either the 12- or 13-seed spot, depending on how the NCAA wanted to set it up.

Dana, that works for me. In fact, to drive home my point, here’s what I said in my aforementioned December article as I referred to the teams left out in the 2009 Tournament.

This would work better for many reasons. The first that comes to my head is that it’s usually only a handful of teams, say two or three that truly get wrongly snubbed out of a NCAA bid. Last season, you could seriously make a case for Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Creighton not making the tournament. It’s been like that the last four seasons by my count (see my aforementioned other teams in previous seasons). This way you can get those teams into the play-in round and we can then see which team truly deserved to be in the dance.

And it makes sense. This should basically really end all the bubble talk we have heard the past few years. There are a few teams that deserved to be in that were snubbed – Hofstra and Missouri State in 2006, Arizona State in 2008 and St Mary’s in 2009. And a few teams like Virginia Tech this year that didn’t deserve to be in the tournament. Those teams would have all likely made it into a 68 team tournament and they can now prove their worth in a play in game.

Now my friend Grant Hayden says the bubble talk will never end because teams that get snubbed from the 37th at large bid will still complain. But we both agreed that the easy reply to that is that team would be lower in consideration if it was only 34 at large bids, so the complaint is not warranted. That means Seth Greenberg, try to improve on your non conference SOS of 342, ok?

And the 30th -37th at large teams should be playing into the round of 64, not the automatic bid qualifiers. Now I know KW disagrees with me on this, because he is the biggest supporter of the current P.I.G., which he calls “The Most Honest Game” in the NCAA Tournament, because it pits two conference champions and the winner gets a $1.2 million win share for their school and conference. And there is a lot to be said about that. Those schools and conferences could certainly use the money. And the city of Dayton deserves a lot of credit for supporting the teams that play in the P.I.G.

However, I have long hated the concept of the current P.I.G because it was brought about by the most dishonest means. When the Mountain West split off from the WAC and created 31 automatic bid conferences, the NCAA decided to not eliminate the 34th at large bid for the men’s tournament (which is what the women’s tournament decided to correctly do) and decided to create the play in game between the 64 and 65 seeds. These two seeds have always been the lowest rated “automatic bid” qualifiers.

But I have long stated that if you have an “automatic” bid, you should not have to “play in” to the tournament. And as much as win shares help the winning team, the losing team in this automatic qualifier is denied the chance to play in the 64 against a #1 seed.

Thus, the kids that played for Winthrop who lost to Arkansas Pine Bluff in the play in game this season, never got the chance to play a #1 seed. Those kids won their conference tournament. Winthrop had more of a right to play in the round of 64 than say Utah State, UTEP or Minnesota (who all lost their first round tournament games). They deserved years from now to be able to tell their kids, grandkids, whoever that they got to play Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or Syracuse.

Ask those kids if they cared about win shares. They just wanted to get to the round of 64.

But either way, whether it’s the four 16 seeds vs. the four 17 seeds or the last eight at large bid teams facing off each other, it’s still better than 96 teams. And we are getting now four P.I.Gs either way. Here’s hoping they at least keep a doubleheader of P.I.Gs in Dayton. The city deserves that much for its past support.

One last thing. Mr. Doyel, apparently for now the NCAA listened to the “whining” public. The “whining” public likes their brownies the way they are served now. But we don’t mind four bacon appetizers first.

PS – Thanks to everyone and I mean everyone who spoke up or wrote an article that said a 96 team tournament was a bad idea. See what happens when you speak or write your mind. Sometimes, people in power DO listen.

Posted by Gary Moore at 9:59 AM 0 comments
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