Thursday, November 30, 2006

Deconstructing Carolina

It is only November, but we already know a lot about the North Carolina Tar Heels. We know that they could conceivably go 11-deep without wincing against most teams. On the contrary, we've seen a lack of team chemistry and poor execution result in an embarrassing loss versus Gonzaga. Having faced four tournament teams in Winthrop, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Ohio State, the freshmen and sophomores will undoubtedly grow at an accelerated pace, but not without bumps in the road.

When the Tar Heels are on, they conduct a balanced inside-outside game on offense coupled with a defense that doesn't allow second chances. In last night's contest versus Ohio State, North Carolina did not show its best face. I repeat. North Carolina did not show its best face ... but they put in their best single-game effort of the year. Let's be realistic. They did not communicate effectively on defense until the latter stages of the first half. This resulted in a slew of open looks and easy baskets for the Buckeyes' guards. As it stands, the Buckeyes shot 52% from the field for the game and made 50% (13-for-26) from behind the arc.

On the more positive side of things, the Heels shot well (53%) from the field and from the behind the arc (44%). Even better, Carolina won the hustle categories - 38 to 25 on the boards, 14 to 7 in offensive rebounds, 10 to 5 in steals, and 7 to 3 in blocks. This begins to explain the gulf in free throw attempts (34 to 13 in favor of North Carolina). Clearly, Ohio State had no answer for Tyler Hansbrough and were baffled when Brandan Wright returned to normal play after the start of the second half.

After the month of November, here is what we know:
1. Ty Lawson is the starting point guard. You cannot let his pace fester on the bench.
2. Carolina really cannot defend the trifecta. Since the 103-50 win versus Gardner Webb, the last three opponents have made half of their three pointers (39-for-78).
3. Teams with a firm grasp on the fundamentals can frustrate the Tar Heels.
4. Assertive guard play prevents defenses from double-teaming Hansbrough.

In December, the Tar Heels play Kentucky (Saturday @ 12pm noon) in addition to a host of teams that possess inferior talent. This will allow Roy Williams to decide on his rotation for conference play and beyond. Dating back to his stacked Jayhawks teams (especially the 1997 team), it has been reported that Williams likes his regular rotation to include no more than nine players. Barring unexpected transfers and injuries, here is my prediction for the rotation:

STARTERS: Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Reyshawn Terry (assuming he can get out of his season-long funk), Brandan Wright, Tyler Hansbrough
CONTRIBUTORS: Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Danny Green (if he can avoid pouting about not knowing his role)
BUBBLE: Deon Thompson, Wes Miller, Alex Stepheson
OUT: Quentin Thomas, Mike Copeland, Surry Wood, Dewey Burke

With that said, only time will tell how the players will adjust in adopting the team approach following gaudy high school numbers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Two for Tuesday

This edition of the two-fer focuses on the two jewels of the Midwest, Marquette point guard Dominic James and the nationally-ranked Butler Bulldogs of the Horizon League.

Before I go on, let me say that Matt "Fuego" Carroll has ranted and raved about this guy since he donned a Marquette jersey at the beginning of last season. It was only last week when James smoked perennial powerhouse Duke for 25 points and 7 dimes. Last night, James once again demonstrated his ability to take over games in a 65-62 thriller against Valparaiso. James scored the team's final 18 points, including a three-pointer with 3 seconds left that decided the contest. He might just outdo Ronald Steele after all this year.

The second is the Butler Bulldogs (7-0, 19th in AP; 18th in ESPN/USA Today). In a very unlikely preseason NIT final, Butler won the Bulldog derby over Gonzaga. They are led by sharpshooter A.J. Graves, who leads the team in points with 19.7 per contest. The mystery to the success is not in the record, but in how Butler is winning all of its games when being outshot (41.4% to 40.8%) and outrebounded (33 to 31). Thus far, Butler has compensated for its poor shooting by averaging 10 turnovers per game and shooting over 80 percent from the free throw stripe.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Big Blog Update

The blog is back after a weekend of turkey, conference attending, and football watching. First off, turkey with the fam was awesome. Secondly, I attended a Baha'i conference on Friday and Saturday and it was really good. I got home in time on Saturday night to watch the drama unfold between Florida and Kansas. And of course, no weekend is complete without the National Football League. Nevertheless, we're in college basketball season, so this post will be dedicated to that.

Same Face, New Role
The first is someone we've heard of. Injuries and mono have reduced Josh Heytvelt to a bit-part role in the Gonzaga fold. Following the exodus of Adam Morrison and J.P. Batista, the Bulldogs needed a player to step up alongside pint-sized point guard Derek Raivio. The 6'11" Heytvelt has raised his game, increasing his averages to 17.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game, from 3.4 and 2.0 last season, respectively. Additionally, Heytvelt, when healthy, can grind it out down low or nail a jumpshot from the high post.

Another Sweet 16 team stripped of the majority of its talent was West Virginia. Don't tell that to Joe Alexander who averaged less than two points per game last season in mop-up duty. The sophomore averages 11.2 ppg (2nd on the team) in only 23.3 minutes per game. Just as important, he plays at the top of John Beilein's famed 1-3-1. The long-armed sophomore opened up the game versus Montana with a steal in the passing lane and a flush en route to an easy victory for the Mountaineers. With that said, he is very coachable and has room for improvement.

Eating My Words
Last week, the homer in me came out to speak when Old Dominion of the CAA defeated Georgetown and the MVC had yet to earn a signature win. Two signature wins later for Missouri State (neutral floor) and Wichita State (at LSU) over Wisconsin and LSU, respectively, and I'm eating my words. Mind you, I'm not taking back what I said. The MVC gets too much hype. Just remember these two things.

First, Missouri State was a good team last season and they remain strong. Wisconsin's preseason ranking is high, in my opinion, and of course, I can say that because hindsight is 20/20. Last season, they were embarrassed in the NCAA Tournament. In this day of early exits to the professional ranks, decent teams from a major conferences who return five starters are automatically ranked in the Top 25. Time will only tell if Wisconsin is for real.

Second, I've seen Wichita State play in person and they excel against teams with poor guard play who cannot defend the perimeter. Last season, we saw in the national semifinals what good guard play does to the Tigers. For the Shockers, Ryan Martin has emerged into a P.J. Tucker clone, filling a major void in the blocks left by last year's leading scorer, Paul Miller.

Heavyweight Match in Vegas
Heavyweight title boxing matches take place in Las Vegas, not marquee basketball games. Don't tell that to Florida and Kansas, as Saturday night saw two of the preseason's top three face off on a neutral court to determine a few things. No, it did not determine who's better. But it did determine that should Kansas have a last shot to take or a guy to trust down the stretch, freshman phenom Darrell Arthur is not afraid. Arthur was the recipient of great low post feeds from Julian Wright down the stretch, scoring 19 points and gathering nine boards in only 16 minutes. As for Florida, they did not play well by their standards. This game also determined what the Gators already know -- they are lacking in depth and cannot win on talent alone. Expect Billy Donovan to experiment with his rotation in order to be prepared with the tussle with Ohio State on December 23 prior to the opening of the SEC regular season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What A Difference a Season Makes

Last season, the Big East conference was the darling of college basketball. It was with good reason. The conference was littered with future NBA talent, had three coaches who have won the national championship, and joined by Conference USA's cream of the crop, save Memphis. The momentum of the league came to a screeching halt when Connecticut and Villanova were upset in the space of two hours.

The down year was to be expected after the mass exodus to the NBA Draft (10 of the top 33 picks). The momentum shift just started one week too early while the season was still in session.

With that said, here are some eyebrow-raising home results thus far.

Old Dominion 75
Georgetown 62

Wofford 91
Cincinnati 90

Brown 51
Providence 41

Farleigh Dickinson 76
Seton Hall 71

Jackson St. 71
Rutgers 70

Nevertheless, slow starts can be expected for most of these teams, excluding Georgetown. Meanwhile, Marquette has needed little time in shifting to fifth gear. After being taken to overtime against Idaho State, Marquette coasted to three easy victories and then defeated #8 Duke last night. In the contest, Dominic James (25 points, 7 assists, 1 turnover) dominated the Duke backcourt en route to a 73-62 win. However, don't take too much from the result. Duke point guard Greg Paulus is just returning from injury and Coach K is adjusting to life without J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two for Tuesday

Two points to discuss with you on this Tuesday, both being football-related. One professional, one college - both very controversial.

1. First things first. Reported first on, Broncos offensive lineman Tom Nalen performed a cut block on Chargers defensive tackle Igor Olshansky during a stop clock play late in the AFC West showdown. Olshansky retaliated and was not only penalized with a personal foul but also ejected. With that said, the Broncos have forevermore utilized cut- (legal) and chop-blocking (illegal) schemes to gain the upperhand. As a result, a few defensive linemen have suffered season-ending and/or career-threatening injuries.

For a league that is all about protecting quarterbacks, why are defensive linemen not afforded similar protection of their knees? While critics may be on the side of "letting them play" from whistle to whistle, I firmly believe that cut blocking should be made illegal because it endangers the long-term health of a certain set of players. On the Tom Nalen front, he should be fined. There's no reason to do such a thing, legal or illegal, on a play when everyone in the stadium knows that the quarterback is downing the ball. If the NFL league office has any backbone, they'll scrutinize the teams who utilize this unfair advantage and heavily consider banning cut blocking. And while they're at it, they can reinstate team celebrations because football is a team sport.

2. Let's move onto college football. Who's #2? Currently, it's Michigan by a hair. However, if USC defeats Notre Dame and UCLA, then they're a shoe-in to play in the BCS Championship Bowl sometime not on January 1st when the top bowls should take place. SEC backers have a legitimate belief that since they have the best conference, they should have a representative in the BCS Championship Bowl, should either Florida or Arkansas sweep its final two games.

Nevertheless, this argument, which has been taking place on sports talk shows across America, states that fans, coaches, and teams do not want Ohio State and Michigan to play again. As a fan of neither squad, I believe this is ludicrous. If Michigan is the second-best team after all of the games have been played, then they should get to play Ohio State on a neutral field for the National Championship. Moreover, I believe that coaches who go on record stating they do not want a rematch in the National Championship should be stripped of their vote for the rest of the season.

I know that I come off sounding as an autocrat, but coaches need to start being responsible and not picking the game they want to see. It was only a couple of years ago when Mack Brown was canvassing for votes in order for Texas to leap over Cal and be in a BCS bowl. This is irresponsible, and so is the act of coaches ranking the third- or fourth-ranked team at #2 in order to avoid a repeat game in the BCS Championship Bowl.

Monday, November 20, 2006

CAA outdoes MVC ... AGAIN

Last season, wailiings from Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin were heard for days on end about how his conference should receive heavy consideration for six bids in the NCAA Tournament. As it turned, the MVC sent four teams, with Creighton and more notably, Missouri State, getting the heave-ho. The Valley did an admirable 4-4, sending two teams to the Sweet 16 in the process. Nevertheless, the CAA did better with George Mason doing the inevitable and making to the Final Four. In the process of doing that, George Mason handled the Valley's regular season champion, Wichita State -- the second win against the Shockers in as many months.

Fast forward to the fall of 2006. While backers of the CAA know that there will be unfair criticism of the conference following the success of George Mason in the NCAA Tournament as well as that of Hofstra (quarterfinals) and Old Dominion (semifinals), who had lengthy runs in the NIT, conference supporters know that many teams have lost key players to graduation -- yes, some players still do that nowadays.

Two days ago, George Mason hosted a Wichita State team that returned four starters to Mason's two. As it went, the Shockers (AKA the moving screens) won the game - albeit, with one-sided refereeing favoring the away team. Clearly, calls (traveling, carrying, player control fouls) that went one way did not go the other, and this had a profound effect on the six-point result. Later that night, the MVC switched its focus to Nebraska as Creighton sought to stake its claim as the best team in the state. In short, they failed.

Last night, the second-biggest upset of the season went under the radar as Old Dominion defeated Georgetown ... in DC. While the Hoyas have pronounced difficulties in the backcourt, the Monarchs humbled the then-8th ranked Hoyas with 58% field-goal shooting in the second half and won 31 to 27 in the boards department. This victory far supercedes any non-conference victory won the MVC, repeating the act of one year ago and silencing Doug Elgin for just one more minute.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Inadequate Michigan - Ohio State Preview

If you have watched any sports channel this week, you've been drowned in Michigan/Ohio St. pre-game hype. It's difficult to get away and it's with good reason. Even after the inception of the Bowl Championship Series, which purportedly places the two best teams in a final game to decide the ultimate victor in college football. This makes this game so unique. These are the two best teams in the nation and they get to play each other. This, by itself, is a beautiful thing.

This preview, which does no justice to the countless hours spent reviewing the Xs and Os, key players, and other elements, includes a position-by-position breakdown.

Quarterback: Solid edge to Ohio State
Troy Smith is the best quarterback nation this season. Barring a major lapse in this game, he'll be the Heisman Trophy winner. Meanwhile, Chad Henne (18 TD, 7 INT) is no slouch. He's struggled in big games though and 0-2 versus the Buckeyes.

Running Back: Edge to Michigan
Some people might call this a push, but Mike Hart (1373 yds, 11 TD) is a big-game running back. He is also a leader and rarely fumbles. Pittman and Wells are very good backs, but in the game, you want the horse.

Offensive Line: Push
Michigan tackle Jake Long gets a lot of publicity, but the OSU line is probably more productive on the whole.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Edge to Ohio State
I know that Mario Manningham has played since coming off of injury, but he was a non-factor. Adrian Arrington has stepped up and Steve Breaston has been sighted. On the other side, Ted Ginn Jr. (8 TD receiving, 1 TD punt return) is a playmaker and Anthony Gonzalez is an underappreciated stud who has very sure hands. Watch out for Brian Robiskie as well, as the Buckeyes look for mismatches. We'll see if Kirk Herbstreit's off-colour remarks about Steve Breaston have any effect on his performance.

Defensive Line: Solid edge to Michigan
Quinn Pitcock is one of the best defensive tackles. Too bad, because UM's Alan Branch is better. If you don't agree, just ask Brady Quinn what he thinks. LaMarr Woodley is a force. Remember this: Michigan has 41 sacks and allows less than 30 ypg on the ground. Scary.

Linebackers: Edge to Ohio State
James Laurinaitis is the nation's best linebacker, barring possibly Ole Miss' Patrick Willis. Marcus Freeman is also excellent for a linebacking unit that is capable of making big plays. Nevertheless, Prescott Burgess is no stranger to big plays. He was in the right place at the right time on two picks against Notre Dame.

Defensive Backs: Edge to Michigan
Leon Hall is the best cornerback but it will be the performance of Morgan Trent that will be heavily scrutinized. Malcolm Jenkins is solid, but will be heavily challenged if Michigan can run the ball with effectiveness, as the playaction can prove lethal.

Kicking: Solid Edge to Michigan
If the game comes down to a kick, I'll take Rivas over Pettrey. Pettrey has a strong leg though, as he kicked a 50-yarder two weeks ago Illinois.

Punting: Push
If both teams are smart, they'll do directional punts all game. Both starting punters average 41 yards per punt.

Punt and Kick Coverage: Push
This could very well decide this game. Ted Ginn Jr. and Steve Breaston can decide games with either a huge return or a fumble. They're both excellent but I don't think the punters will take chances, especially late on in this contest.

Intangibles: Slight Edge to Michigan
As we know, the Horseshoe is an intimidating place to play. Not to mention, they are a great team and have a coach who is 4-1 against Michigan. Meanwhile, Michigan remembers two years ago when they had bomb-sniffing dogs search them as they arrived at the stadium in a security ploy concocted by former athletic director Andy Geiger. In his last public comments, the late Bo Schembechler spoke publicly about this because he cared about the kids. They'll play this one for themselves, but they'll play just a little bit harder for the man who made Michigan a national power.

Final Score Prediction [bound to go wrong]
Michigan 20
Ohio St. 17

Friday, November 17, 2006

Weekly Football Predictions
by Chris Clement

Oh man, oh man ... do I suck at these. It's been brutal this year with picks, even with college which I have made some decent bank on in the past [2-6 last week, 8-20 on the year]. As for the NFL, picking straight-up is tough enough, but against the spread can be too daunting a task. Nevertheless, Paymon has the guts to throw out 7 more games. Time to roll out and see if we can somehow put together a winning week.

New England (-6) @ Green Bay
Mark it down, Tom Brady and Bill Billechick won't lose 3 games in a row. Not this year, at least. While Favre has really toned down the turnovers (7 INTS, 3 FUML), the Green Bay defense might be getting more props for being able to keep their teams in games. A.J. Hawk is rounding out nicely while Ahmad Carroll was addition by subtraction. With that being said, the Pats travel well (all 3 losses were at home this year) and should take out the Pack and cover the points.

Indianapolis (-1.5) @ Dallas
All the Tony Romo love has made the Dallas situation a lot more fun the past few weeks. TO has been relatively quiet and Parcells doesn't look like he wants to jump off of the top of Texas Stadium as much. The Colts, 9-0, dodged another one last week and seem to be riding comfortably. Don't bank on this team looking to lose. They took off the last few weeks last year and definitely lost their edge. Addai is running well in the redzone and Dallas will miss the major contributions that Greg Ellis made (torn Achilles). While TO might be able to keep up with Harrison and Wayne, the Cowboys need a healthy Terry Glenn and a dynamic game from Jones and Barber III to pull off the upset. It'll be close, but I'll take Peyton Manning and the Colts to cover and move to 10-0.

San Diego @ Denver (-2.5)
Substituting for the former Sunday Night game (Colts/Cowboys) is this AFC West showdown that might have the inside track to the #2 seed in the AFC, or better perhaps. Denver has shown up when they needed to, outside of the Colts game, and the Chargers seem to be building behind Rivers and that insane LT guy (15 TDs in the past 5 games, we all know). Plummer seems far too turnover-prone, yet I feel like taking a home team for once. Primetime usually leads to Rod Smith playing well and I'll tab a TD for he and Walker as the Broncos squeak out a win and cover.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Cleveland
Three covers and then a trap game. I avoided the Aints/Stillers game last week for this exact reason. Pittsburgh is tricky. Fast Willie, with 10 TDs in his last seven, can be the focus as Ben calms down the 50+ attempt games for a bit. While Cleveland is riding high off of wins against teams wth playoff potential (Jets and Falcons, 7 and 6, respectively, in their conferences), Droughns won't be able to command the yards and touches against this stout Steelers front line. Unless Braylon can eclipse 40 yards and show why Ike Taylor's benching matters so much, I'll take the Steelers to cover the spread.

Moving along to a formidable college weekend, including 'The Game of the Year'. I won't rant on these, as my expertise this year isn't respectable enough to pretend. As for college basketball, I'll be ready when it heats up. Quick hits for now ...

Michigan @ Ohio St. (-7)
Look for Chad Henne to make a big mistake late as the Wolverines attempt to rally, sealing a two-touchdown victory for the #1 Buckeyes.

California @ USC (-6.5)
USC smells paydirt and will use its homefield advantage, but they won't cover the spread as Cal's rushing attack keeps it under a touchdown in defeat.

Maryland @ Boston College (-7)
The Twerps take a step backwards, as the Golden Eagles further prove that the ACC-elite is nothing what we once deemed it to be.

Enjoy the wild weekend of sensational matchups.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Three for Thursday

Three questions on this fine Thursday.

Kansas' home loss to Oral Roberts sent shockwaves throughout the country. Is Kansas still for real or overrated to start the season?
A: Well, prior to the dismissal of C.J. Giles, I had Kansas ranked as the 2nd in the nation overall behind Florida. When Sasha Kaun returns from injury and preseason All Big 12 first-tearmer Julian Wright remembers that he is a force rather than a farce (6 points on 3-for-10 shooting from the field), Kansas will be dominant. Mind you, Chalmers, Rush, and Robinson make up the strongest backcourt in the nation, and don't sleep on Darrell "How did this guy get out of Texas?" Arthur. The freshman phenom led the Jayhawks with 22 in a losing effort. This team is for real. If they are not, Bill Self won't be the coach next year. Book it.

What is the best game between now and Saturday?
A: Probably Texas and Michigan State. Sure, both teams are so depleted that it'll look like a junior varsity game. Nevertheless, it will be the first game for Kevin Durant against real competition. Don't expect much from the Spartans. They're traditionally slow starters under Izzo who throws his players into the fire by creating schedules that even the finest teams would fear undertaking. Last year was an anomaly, as the metamorphosis of Izzo's teams is usually evident by late February.

The PAC-10 gets no pub on this site. Who are the frontrunners and key players who'll decide the conference?
A: According to those more knowledgeable than me, UCLA and Arizona are far and away the frontrunners. The emergence of freshman center Spencer Hawes makes Washington a real contender in the conference. USC would need O.J. Mayo to be eligible this year in order to vy for pole position. Arizona has a very athletic team buoyed by underclassmen swingmen Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger, but ultimately led by senior floor general Mustafa Shakur. Meanwhile, the Bruins' frontline of Mbah a Moute, Mata, and Aboya presents a stark contrast to the run-and-gun Wildcats. Question marks reside in the Bruins backcourt. How will Jordan Collison perform at point guard in place of Jordan Farmar? How will the Bruins get the ball to Arron Afflalo in scoring positions without Farmar setting him up? Can Josh Shipp stay healthy?

As for the Huskies, they are not as talented as the Bruins or Wildcats, but they are well-coached and fairly deep upfront. Justin Dentmon is not only the best ballhandler on the team but its best defender. He will be the guy that Head Coach Lorenzo Romar looks to right the ship following the graduation of Brandon Roy and Jamaal Williams.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The New Preseason NIT - A Boon for Rising Mid-Majors

For those who have no place in your heart for mid-major schools who can achieve when given the opportunity, please stop reading this entry right now. There will be many posts giving love to the major conference schools, and not just the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This post is actually giving praise to a tournament format rather than bashing it (see BCS).
First, there are 16 teams, eight of which are from "major" conferences (and nine if you count Gonzaga). Among the mid-majors, Belmont, Gonzaga, Iona, UNC-Wilmington, and Winthrop made the NCAA Tournament last season. Butler, who has already defeated Notre Dame and Indiana in this year's installment, is always on the periphery of the NCAAs if they are not in the tournament and wreacking havoc.

Secondly, the new regional structure allows for fans from mid-majors to actually travel to the games. There's no need for an East Coast team to travel to The Pit or vice versa with this format.

Third, this gives an opportunity for good mid-major schools to showcase their ability - albeit before the team gels - on national television. Most advocates for mid-majors will agree that a distorted view is better than no view at all.

Fourth, and most obviously, it gives an opportunity for mid-majors to play [and win] against schools from major conferences on somewhat neutral courts. Even in today's landscape of college basketball after George Mason's shocking Final Four berth, mid-major schools are unable to schedule home and home series with major conference schools. The reason is the fear of being a double-digit loss team from a major conference who is overlooked by the NCAAs because of a loss to a mid-major away from the friendly confines of their home arena.

These fears are legit, so long as the NCAA continues to invite these same mediocre teams from major conference schools who avoid to schedule road games against quality mid-major schools. That is, if they decide to schedule any games against quality mid-majors. Nevertheless, the new NIT structure allows for mid-major schools to gain exposure and quality wins by playing on neutral courts, even if the tournament selection committee does not consider these to be as strong. This is a good thing - a very good thing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How Much Does A Trip to the Sweet 16 Cost?

It’s no secret that college basketball is big business. Today, more conferences are cashing in on successful runs in March to secure lucrative television contracts. Despite a momentum shift in favor of mid-major schools in recent years largely due to scholarship limits and star players bolting early for the professional ranks, spending gaps between schools from major conferences and mid-majors still exist.

Below is a breakdown of money spent by last year’s Sweet 16 schools for their men’s basketball program and recruiting, respectively. The national rank among the 330 Division I schools is in parentheses.


Men’s Basketball


Boston College

$1.595m (108)

$336,786 (76)


$1.752m (99)

$118,758 (172)


$5.525m (10)

$531,687 (35)


$7.400m (2)

$754,380 (6)


$4.649m (15)

$749,160 (8)

George Mason

$1.020m (183)

$125,798 (160)


$3.712m (27)

$58,561 (263)


$1.582m (110)

$122,026 (167)


$2.217m (85)

$558,871 (30)


$4.478m (18)

$344,067 (71)


$5.088m (12)

$715,324 (10)


$3.659m (29)

$377,593 (66)


$2.618m (65)

$206,667 (112)


$3.191m (40)

$429,585 (54)

West Virginia

$3.066m (44)

$627,700 (18)

Wichita St.

$2.012m (91)

$133,248 (153)

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education


  • The Bradley Braves spent more on their program than ACC school Boston College; however, BC has a football program that gets more attention.
  • Additionally, Georgetown spent the least amount of money on recruiting. This is absolutely fascinating considering the talent that JT3 has brought to DC.
  • Meanwhile, Florida made amends for continual disappointments in the NCAA tournament and made good on their long-term investment by being the nation’s best team in March and April.
  • The disproportionate amount of money spent in recruiting by LSU paid off … and his name is Tyrus Thomas. Not to mention, he was not highly touted coming out of high school - believe it or not.

Monday, November 13, 2006

College Football's Top 8 Teams -- Version 4.0
by Matt Carroll

1) Ohio State vs. 2) Michigan: Who needs the BCS? Your National Championship game is right here. The greatest rivalry in the greatest sport. 11-0 vs. 11-0. #1 vs. #2. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have seemed to be in a class by themselves for quite some time now. They both had their closest games of the season on Nov. 4th, and in neither one, did it feel like either team was out of control. A lot of the one-loss teams had a chance to capitalize on that and most of them either looked unimpressive or lost.

The Heisman favorite in Troy Smith going against a defense that already put a black mark on one Heisman favorite campaign. Two great defenses. Two balanced offenses. Two of the best return men in the game between Ted Ginn and Steve Breaston. Tressel. Carr. Smith. Henne. Gonzalez. Manningham. Pittman. Hart. Jenkins. Hall. Laurinaitis. Harris. Pitcock. Branch. Woodley. The only thing this game is missing is Keith Jackson.

3) Arkansas: This team is getting better and better as the season goes on. 6-0 in the best conference in the country (albeit, an overrated one) deserves respect on its own. The defense has given up 21+ points only twice this year. They have the best 1-2 running attack in the nation with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. With a very solid win against Tennessee, you can see that this team is playing with a ton of confidence right now. Although...

4) Florida: still the best one-loss team in the country. They have a lot of talent and have felt like the favorite in every game they have played this year. However, they have looked horrible the past month. Their last three wins have been by a combined 14 points against all unranked teams (Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina). These came after their loss to Auburn. That loss to Auburn looks less impressive now that Georgia and Arkansas were both able to dominate them in their stadium.

5) USC: Just like that, the Trojans are back in the picture. What helps them is their schedule down the stretch. Not only do they have two very good opponents coming up, they are both at home. That will give them the opportunity to show that they can play with anyone. If you like WRs then watch these two games. Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett for USC. DeSean Jackson for Cal and Jeff Samardzija for ND.

6) Rutgers: Rutgers had arguably the best half of defense that any team has played in the country when they shut down Brian Brohm and Louisville to get their biggest win ever. Ray Rice showed why he should be getting at least as much attention as Steve Slaton as the premier RB in the Big East. It would be nice to see a good out of conference win from this team, but they have another great chance to prove themselves at WVU in three weeks.

7) Notre Dame: Anybody who has a problem with Rutgers' ranking based on their schedule need look no further than the schedule for this team. Ty Willingham's team (coached by Charlie Weis) have played two teams that are currently ranked, a tight win at Georgia Tech and a home shellacking by Michigan. They have needed two desperation comebacks to beat Michigan State and UCLA, neither team with a winning record. Their game against USC will show how much they have actually improved. The ND offense is extremely potent, but the Irish secondary will need to play the game of their careers to match Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett.

8) Louisville: A great win against WVU and a tough loss against Rutgers in a span of 8 days. Brian Brohm is back in full swing as the offense showed that they are every bit as explosive as WVU's [offense]. Their ineffectiveness in the 2nd half against Rutgers is a big selling point for the Scarlet Knights. WR Harry Douglas has taken advantage of the attention paid to Mario Urrutia, and now both are solid options for Brohm down the stretch.

On the Radar: Wisconsin, West Virginia, LSU

Key Games in the Next 2 Weeks
Nov. 18:
#2 Michigan @ #1 Ohio St.
#17 California @ #4 USC
#19 Virginia Tech @ #14 Wake Forest

Nov. 25:
#9 LSU @ #5 Arkansas (Nov. 24)
#14 Wake Forest @ #21 Maryland
#6 Notre Dame @ #4 USC

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Weekly Football Predictions
by Chris Clement

** Editor's Note: Due to a very busy week last week for me, I was unable to get the chosen games to Clement in a timely fashion. With that said, there will be a slightly heavier load for Clement in the next two weeks. Enjoy. **

Alright, so I took a week off (another 2-3 subpar week to bring me to 6-14 on a pathetic year) and decided to come back strong this week. Yeah, we're all buying that.

Baltimore (-7) @ Tennessee
I won't lie when I say that I really try and avoid the NFL for teams like the Baltimore Ravens. Usually favored because of their defense, they are just as likely to win 10-7 over the NFL's weakest as they are to win 38-28 against its elite. It's scary how many points that defense is capable of scoring. As for Tennessee, reality checked back in last week with a pummeling from the Garrard-led Jags. While the easy money is on Baltimore, don't sleep on the Titans keeping it somewhat close at home. Although the more dangerous option would be to assume the Ravens D couldn't force Vince into all kinds of rookie mistakes. The Ravens cover this week en route to 7-2.

Chicago @ New York Giants (-3)
I love that the Giants are 6-2 (mainly because I had them at 5-3 and was laughed at by many), and, at home, they seem to have earned this spread. The Bears, riding a rollercoaster of emotions, were forgiven for the near-Arizona debacle and then turned around to lay the egg of the year at home against the hapless Joey Harrington-led Dolphins. While the smart money is on the Bears defense as being the strongest unit on the field, I wonder how their offense will play after being kicked in the mouth and being without deep threat Bernard Berrian. I'll take the hot-Giants this week to push or cover with the 3. Either way, you won't lose any bucks.

Buffalo @ Indianapolis (-12)
Indianapolis won't need a 4th quarter rally in this game. Bob Sanders should be better this week and Losman will have a lot of problems as Freeney will have his first multiple-sack game of the season. McGahee is declared out and the A-Train won't be as sterling this weekend without the Packers D not wrapping him up. Look for Wayne and Harrison to each net a TD and the Colts to cover a large 12-point spread.

San Francisco @ Detroit (-6)
I hate the 49ers on the road. Roy Williams is a beast as of late and Kitna and Kevin Jones have been much better than the team's record shows. While the 49ers stifled the Vikes, they were on a short week after getting blasted by New England on Monday Night Football. I'll take the Lions to cover with a touchdown victory this Sunday at Ford Field.

As for the college side of things...

Louisville (-6) @ Rutgers
I'd be lying if I could name more than a half-dozen players on either team this year, especially Rutgers. But I wouldn't be lying if I said Louisville needed Rutgers to be competitive until late in this game. You'd love pollsters to see a 17-14 halftime spread turn into 38-17 and complete second-half domination. With the BCS folks praying that Rutgers doesn't win, they'll get their wish as Brohm (and man, I wish Bush was there) will help the Cards sneak closer to a potential BCS title game with a double-digit victory.

Oregon @ USC (7.5)
It's not unfair to say Oregon has been nothing short of dissapointing following the freebie they were given at home versus Oklahoma. USC has to be a little bitter knowing its national title hopes are all but crushed in the current scenario, fair or not. I look for the Ducks to be up at the half and then down big by the end of the game. The Trojans take it, quite easily no less as they avoid the "Civil War sweep".

Nebraska @ Texas A&M [pick'em]
A lot of Big XII teams haven't shown up in make-or-break games. More importantly, they've often been knocked off (e.g. Missouri) by a fellow conference rival. While I like some of the stuff Bill Callahan has done, I love how the Aggies are playing this year. The 12th man is back and will take the pick'em with the homefield (and yes, that 12th man) being the difference.

Tennessee @ Arkanasas (-5.5)
Tennessee almost pulled off a major victory -- an upset in my mind -- sans-Ainge hosting LSU last week. With Ainge listed as being doubtful as of this yesterday, I have to take the resurgent Hogs. If only we could get a helmet on Corliss Williamson and ask him to line up on the offensive line to take out some of this strong Tennessee pash rush. No rushing game to fear from the Vols leads to pig-sooey, as the Razorbacks take home the big win en route to the SEC title game.

That's all I got folks. Hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did. No, wait. Much much more.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Monday Afternoon Quarterback

With the end of Week 9 approaching, nearly every team in the NFL -- excluding Oakland and Seattle -- have played at least half of their [ir]regular season schedule. With that said, fans and experts are beginning to understand teams by the middle of the season. This year, unless a team has begun rebuilding for the future, flat-out stink, or you’re the Colts, we don’t really know what your team is all about. Sure, the Patriots and Broncos are pretty solid and the Bears are 7-1, but there are many question marks.

Here are nine thoughts for Week 9 as we take a look back at yesterday’s proceedings.

  1. Rex Grossman throwing flat-footed should scare Bears fans. Giving up 157 yards on the ground to Ronnie Brown should absolutely frighten you to tears. Mind you, that’s consecutive 100-yard rushers (Brown and Frank Gore).
  2. New England still has a lot of problems in the passing game. However, their loss last night to Indianapolis had to do with poor play-calling and the inability to run consistently. Last week, the Patriots knew they were playing the league’s top run defense, so they stuck exclusively to the pass. There’s no reason why Dillon and Maroney should not have had 20 carries each.
  3. On the injury front, Michael Strahan (sprained foot) and Brian Urlacher (foot) may be question marks for their clash next week at The Meadowlands. Willis McGahee (ribs) had to be carted off four minutes into the 1st quarter against the Packers. Goodbye, fantasy football championship.
  4. I love it when LaDainian Tomlinson decides not to pace himself. Two multi-touchdown weeks buoyed by 150+ yards of rushing. If the Chargers are smart, expect Michael Turner to get 10+ carries at Cincinnati leading up to the first of two Denver games.
  5. With regard to the Bengals losing 4 of 5, look no further than Chad Johnson's touches. Wait, wrong Johnson. In Cincinnati’s four wins, Rudi Johnson averages 24.8 carries and 97.3 yards per game, respectively. In their four losses, he averages 15.3 carries and 60.0 yards per game, respectively. Sure, Ocho Cinco is not getting enough touches in games they loss and he’s unhappy as a result, but get the ball to Rudi. It’s proven.
  6. I won’t bag on Michael Vick, unless his team loses to the Browns. More bizarre things have happened, and contrary to their record, the Browns have been competitive in almost all of their losses - all six of them. The Falcons' loss to the Lions was in the works after their defense decided to go on sabbatical a few weeks ago.
  7. Question for Week 10 and beyond. How will Philadelphia and Carolina respond after their byes following consecutive losses? Okay, not a thought, but a thought-provoking question.
  8. Don’t be shocked if the Raiders exit Seattle with a victory. Be stunned if their offense scores more than 10 points though. Rob Ryan has concocted quite the championship-caliber defense in the Black Hole with successful free agency grabs (Derrick Burgess) and a secondary rebuilt by the draft (Fabian Washington and Michael Huff).
  9. Pundits complained that the 15-yard facemask penalty setting up the Washington victory should have been a five-yarder; thus, taking the Redskins out of Nick Novak’s field goal range. On its face, the penalty was of the five-yard variation; however, it’s a case of whose facemask Kyle Kosier was tugging on and when – Sean Taylor with time expired. The ball-hawking safety can take it to the house whenever he touches the ball and can benefit from his reputation once in a while -- okay, maybe just once. Much-needed signing Troy Vincent blocked the kick that set up the score. Make note of that, Coach Gibbs.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Three for Thursday

A trifecta of points from me to you on this chilly Thursday with college basketball not only on the mind but on the calendar. Truth be told, official games start in 5 days. In the meanwhile, exhibitions are taking place.

1. Maryland gains a 79-78 win over California ... of Pennsylvania. Louisville shows a lot of [Derrick] Caracter in defeating Georgetown ... of Kentucky by a paltry margin of 2 points and "White Chocolate" Drew Neitzel led Michigan State to a tight 61-57 victory against Grand Valley State.
2. Texas Tech's leading scorer Jarrius Jackson has been dismissed by the team for academic reasons. Head Coach Bob Knight left the proverbial door ajar by saying, "If Jackson is able to do what is required of him that we have discussed, when he has satisfactorily done what is required of him, then maybe, at that time, we might discuss the possibility of him returning."

When did Bob Knight become diplomatic?
3. Former Hang Time and current New Mexico State [second-year] Head Coach Reggie Theus has plenty of optimism heading into the season, as many of his transfers - who regularly crushed the starters last season - will be eligible. A disciple of Rick Pitino, Theus seeks limitless depth in talent. In fact, competition continues to elevate as last season's leading scorer and rebounder, Tyrone Nelson (17.8ppg, 8.7rpg, 1st-Team all-WAC), is battling to keep his starting spot. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that Nelson has been suspended twice since August.