"LUV" Portraits - 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Report: CAA tournament moving to Baltimore


Sources have told Jeff Goodman of Eye on College Basketball that the Colonial Athletic Association will move its annual postseason tournament to Baltimore starting in 2014.

The move is not particularly surprising. The league was historically heavy on Virginia-based schools, so the Richmond Coliseum made sense as a central location. It was never, as league officials would disingenuously claim, a neutral location. When the final game featured VCU, Old Dominion or George Mason, final-day attendance soared. Especially if two of the league’s local powers squared off against one another for the auto-bid, as has happened five times since the turn of the millennium. Only twice in that same time period has a CAA title game been played without one of the league’s big three on the court.

With VCU gone to the A-10, and Old Dominion heading off to C-USA, the epicenter of the league has clearly shifted. The only member of the big three to stay put is George Mason (so far), so the notion of moving the league tourney into their territory would seem to be a logical decision.

In addition, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metroplex is more populous, has more attractions and is, as Goodman points out, easier to get to for fans of every team. Fans of Boston’s Northeastern Huskies or Hofstra’s Pride had to take two flights to get to Richmond more often than not (and, unsurprisingly, didn’t do so in great numbers), but will find a direct flight to Baltimore easier and cheaper. Fans of JMU, Drexel, Delaware and W&M will not be particularly inconvenienced, and supporters of Mason and Towson will be able to take public transportation to the games now.

Dig UNC-Wilmington or incoming member Charleston? Well, you’re getting the short end of the stick. It’s a fair cop, society’s to blame.

Essentially, there’s not much point in getting attached to any particular team, building, city or iteration of reality as long as realignment rages unchecked. Richmond today, Baltimore tomorrow, Sheboygan the next? Stranger things have happened.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.