NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice

How will the NCAA reforms being discussed affect the NCAA tournament?

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Every time there is talk about fundamental change in the NCAA’s structure, college basketball fans get nervous.

When we were in throes of realignment, all the changes that were being made had football and only football in mind, with the hoops side of things an afterthought of their afterthoughts.

Think about it: we lost Syracuse-Georgetown, Kansas-Missouri, Maryland-Duke, and Pitt-West Virginia. The CAA lost both VCU and George Mason. The Big East we grew up with is gone. Things could have been much worse, I’ll admit that, but you’d be hard-pressed to find me arguing that realignment was a good thing for our sport.

Which is why seeing Pete Thamel write about “seismic change” and talk about a “subset of Division I” is so scary.

If the Big 5 schools make a change, will it ruin the single greatest event in sports — the NCAA tournament?

It doesn’t look like it. From Thamel:

At this point, it’s easier to predict what won’t happen. There is zero momentum to break from the NCAA and start a whole new organization. Whatever changes will be made will likely be under the NCAA’s umbrella.

There’s also little chance for significant change to the NCAA tournament. The one thing the NCAA does well is run championships, and unwinding the $10.8 billion CBS-Turner deal would be thorny.

The most likely change will be in the NCAA governance structure, and while that isn’t particularly sexy, it’s still significant.

Ok. I like what I am reading so far. Plus, there’s more:

This doesn’t mean that the America Easts, Big Souths and Big Wests of the world will be all that different. They’ll still have access to the NCAA tournament. Most would agree the NCAA tournament is a better event with Valparaiso, Long Beach State and Florida Gulf Coast.

So if a league is “out,” it is really just subjected to a different rules structure. The championship structure will be the same and they’ll play the same teams. This means that the average fan watching Big Monday or filling out a bracket won’t see much difference.


In layman’s terms?

The schools that generate millions and millions and millions of dollars through sports don’t want to be lumped in with the schools that need $100,000 paydays on road games just to run their athletic departments. Texas doesn’t want to be subjected to the same rules as Texas-San Antonio, and that’s probably fair.

The changes are, more or less, going to be based on who has to follow what rules, not what Division they’ll play in.

College hoops, as of now, sounds like it should survive.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.