Eric Angevine

Screen grab via Instagram

Boston University unveils new floor

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You know who’s cleaning up this year? Companies that install basketball flooring. I mean, if a guy who owns a custom wood laminates company doesn’t end up in the Forbes 500 this year, I’ll be shocked.

It makes sense, though. With so many schools changing leagues in the realignment shuffle, new logos have to be painted anyway, so why not refurbish the whole thing?

That’s likely what led Boston University to make the change, as they officially transition from the America East – a league that sent them to the NCAA tournament six times – to the academically prestigious Patriot League.

The Terriers are one of the schools that eschewed giant logos and silhouettes, opting for a classy, simple design in 1,800 seat Case Gym. Here’s a quick Instagram video tour of the shiny new court, courtesy of BU:

Cards fan gets Pitino tat, or is that Christopher Walken?


Tattoos have recently been a big deal in college sports. You can get your football team in trouble for getting free ones, you can forget to spell-check, or you can – as Rick Pitino did this year – celebrate a national title with one.

One thing that is always a bit dicey when getting ink is the portrait. It takes a quality artist to etch a recognizable likeness on skin, and it can go terribly awry.

I wouldn’t exactly say that a Louisville fan’s recent tattoo went awry, but it’s definitely not what I’d call a definitive image of the intended subject.

Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio posted this image on Twitter, showing a UL fan’s tribute to the newly-minted Hall of Fame coach of the Cards:

Now, I already tipped my hand in the title of this post, but I don’t think this looks like Pitino. Look at that photo and see if any of these phrases spring to mind:

“I need more cowbell!”

I like to starve myself, it keeps the fear up”

“I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my…”

Or, if you’re not really a movie fan, just look at this:


Am I wrong?

(h/t Lost Lettermen)

Pac-12 Networks sign digital distribution deal

Larry Scott
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You may remember that broad distribution of the Pac-12 Network is being held up by DirecTV, which has balked at assigning bandwidth to the upstart sports network. Only the Big Ten Network has managed to make a profit running its own network, and other BCS conferences – most notably the SEC – have turned to big-time partners like ESPN to ensure distribution.

Going it alone, the Pac-12 may do battle with DirecTV for a while yet. But they have added a major piece of the distribution puzzle this week, signing on with AT&T U-verse today. There was no standing on ceremony, either. The network went live on AT&T U-verse immediately, so more homes were able to tune in today’s football games.

From the official press release:

With the deal, Pac-12 Networks now is available on four of the top six distributors in the U.S., and more than 50 television providers overall. Existing partners continue to launch Pac-12 Networks in more markets around the country including Comcast in Chicago, Time Warner Cable in the Midwest, and Cox in New England and the Washington DC area, among others.

As always, football is driving the bus on this deal, but a couple of months from now, college hoops fans on the left coast will have more opportunities to see their favorite teams lace ’em up.

One of the most interesting aspects of the U-verse deal is the plan to make the Pac-12 Network available on mobile devices such as phones, tablets and PCs. Sneak-watching sports at work just gets easier every day.

Lone Star State results prove recruiting is only part of the puzzle

Rick Barnes
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Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard has done a mighty favor for all of us cheapskates. He used his ESPN Insider access to read Dave Telep’s paywalled article about which programs have landed the most top 100 recruits and then passed the info along out in the open.

Waters was, of course, focused on Syracuse, which came in seventh on the strength of twelve top 100 signees over the past five years. Not a bad showing, and the Orange had a Final Four appearance this past season to show for it. Kentucky was, of course, tops on the list, with a whopping 23 blue-chippers, with a huge dropoff to Arizona and UNC, who shared the No. 2 slot with 16 apiece. The likes of Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Memphis and Indiana made the list as well.

The two programs that stood out as disappointments both came from Texas. The Longhorns of Austin tied with Duke for the third slot, with each landing 14 top prospects apiece. Just below Syracuse at No. 8 was Baylor, which has reeled in eleven mega-talents in a half decade. The Bears have done well in the years they made the tournament, just missing the Final Four in 2010 and 2012. But they seem to be in a on-again, off-again pattern, missing the Dance entirely in alternating seasons.

The Longhorns, on the other hand, appear to falter more every season recently. Rick Barnes and his squad haven’t played on the tourney’s second weekend since 2008, and they stumbled to a losing record last season with only part-time contributions from the stellar Myck Kabongo.

So, is talent overrated? Not really. It’s a must for a team that wants to win consistently in a top league, and continue to win in the postseason. But clearly Scott Drew and Rick Barnes are running into deficiencies in other aspects of the game, despite the truly impressive recruiting hauls they are able to bring in. They’ve had stability at head coach (Barnes is the dean of Big 12 coaches with sixteen years under his belt), strong overall support from their athletic departments, and obviously some dominant talent. But they haven’t been able to establish consistency.

If you’re looking for one sign that these teams have what it takes to turn it around, the evidence lies at A quick look at the defensive efficiency numbers for both Lone Star squads for the past five years shows that both Barnes and Drew have their teams playing grinding defense; always in the top half of the Big 12 standings, quite often in the top three. That’s not easy to do when you’re recruiting athletic one-and-dones.

This will be an interesting year to watch Baylor and Texas. Both continue to pull in talent, but underwhelm fans with their recent results. With Kansas and Oklahoma State holding presumptive title to the top of the Big 12, the Bears and Longhorns will need to find a way to marry the defense and firepower into something impressive, or risk being left behind in the league race for a good long while.

Butler’s Jones shows leadership following season-ending injury

Butler v Marquette
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We hear that term “The Butler Way” thrown around a lot. The term stems from a mission statement written by current Butler AD Barry Collier, a man who also played and coached for his alma mater.

Writer David Woods shared Collier’s vision for Butler athletics in his book, also titled The Butler Way.

The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality yet seeks improvement while putting the team above self.

We can see all of that on the court when the team plays. But it’s interesting to see how those virtues shine through in the story of Roosevelt Jones, the junior who’s serving a redshirt season after tearing ligaments in his non-shooting hand during the team’s exhibition tour of Australia. A recent story by Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reveals that Jones embodies all of the traits the Butler Way holds dear, even when he can’t be on the floor.

After leaving the doctor’s office he called each of his teammates to let them know the news. The crux of his message: Don’t feel sorry for meWe’re going to need other guys to step up and be leaders, but just because I’m out doesn’t mean we’re going to have a terrible season.

“That showed a lot of maturity in terms of what was said,” Butler head coach Brandon Miller said later. “He took the attention right off himself and put it back on the team. He immediately went into leadership mode.”

To me, the mental toughness required to accept reality – a key precept of the Butler Way – immediately after the injury was diagnosed, is a telltale sign. This is why Butler players overachieve, and end up as head coaches and leaders after their playing days are over. It’s why the school has promoted from within from the time Collier was head coach of the program, with such great success. Everyone buys in from day one.

Jones will struggle with his enforced year off, but I’m betting he’ll be stronger for it when he comes back, with two years left to play in the Big East.

If you’ve got a strong stomach, check out Jones’ tweet showing his hand full of surgical staples:

That’s one tough kid.

Former Wildcat Liggins charged with multiple felonies

Houston Rockets Brooks and Oklahoma City Thunder Liggins battle for the ball during Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference quarter-finals basketball playoff series in Houston
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DeAndre Liggins may be best remembered by college hoops fans as the big guard who provided some experience and leadership for John Calipari’s freshman-laden 2011 Final Four team.

All of that poise seems to have deserted Liggins, who was charged with seven felony counts, including kidnapping, domestic abuse and battery on Friday.

Liggins was immediately waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA team he was hoping to play for next season, though the Thunder’s press release didn’t give any reason for the decision.

The Lexington newspaper pulled some of the horrifying details of Liggins’ domestic incident from Oklahoma City newspaper reports.

Liggins, who played at UK from 2008-11, was arrested over the weekend after his girlfriend (Jasmine Horton) told police he attacked her in front of their 2-year-old son.

A probable cause affidavit filed in Oklahoma County District Court said Horton told police that Liggins punched and hit her at their home. When Horton locked herself in a bedroom, Liggins “kicked the door in and pushed her down” before dropping a fan on her, stomping her with his foot and then dropping an Xbox on her head, according to the affidavit.

The Oklahoman reported that a doctor who examined the victim said she suffered from a shoulder separation, bruising on the back of her head and multiple scrapes about her neck and back, according to the affidavit.

Liggins is denying that he made any assault, according to his lawyer. The Lexington paper reports that Liggins was visiting his alma mater on Friday, where he posed for an Instagram photo with Calipari. The coach captioned the photo “My sons are starting to roll in to Lexington for this weekend.”

Liggins is presumably in town for Calipari’s charity alumni basketball game, scheduled to be played on Monday. Whether he’ll stay in town for the event in light of current circumstances remains to be seen.