Aloha Shamburger

April 15th, 2014
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The word is out. Keith Shamburger is one and done. Not one and done for the NBA. One and done for who knows what reasons. Only he and Arnold know ( not sure if evn Gib knows). He says he will try to graduate this summer and then have one year to play somewhere else. Would you want him?

If you read this column regularly, you know I had my criticisms of Shamburger. I though he had way too much attitude and not enough skill. He shot poorly almost all season, but on the plus side, he ran the offensive efficiently. Frankly, there were no other guards on the squad who could run the point, especially in half court situations. But the incident after the Long Beach game, his wearing headphones during pregame warm-ups, his sullen appearance on the bench, etc etc, made it clear to me he had significant attitude issues

Will he be missed? Some of you thought he was the savior at the point and would really come on next year. Some of you blogged that i was too tough on his inability to score from three point range . Some now say his decsion to leave coming on the heels of the news that UH has a committment from Roderick Bobbitt, a 6-3 combo guard, is not a coincidence. I seriously doubt that was the reason. You would hope he would believe that as the incumbent starting point guard, the position was his to lose next season.

But you have to be in denial to say his leaving is not a significant loss to the program. At least on the court it is. You dont transfer from a starting position at one school, sit out a year, start for another school, and then leave early unless something is going on. Some will point to this as another example of what has been a revolving door of players coming and going in the past three years. But this time, the player leaving was a starter so it wasnt a lack of playing time that did it.  And frankly, can he really believe some school will be that desperate for a late summer need for a point guard ?  I guess some team in a  league ranked even lower than the Big West might make the offer.

This departure will cause much speculation and discussion about the program. And it leaves the Bows with only two starters returning. The one spot you would have thought UH didnt need to fill was at the point. Lets hope Issac doesnt get an offer he cant refuse.

Yes these are my personal thoughts. Yours?

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The Day After Musings

April 8th, 2014
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Some old basketball " wives tales" proved to be true again. One always go with the Seniors over the Freshman. Two, always go with great guards over good bigmen. Three, you cant win the big one if you cant make free throws. UConn deserved to win. Kentucky did just about everything it could to lose.

But before the entire world goes on talking about how great a  story UConn is, may i remind my readers that this is the same team that was ruled ineligible for the Tournament last year because of APR violations. Do you know how hard it is to score below 930? Its very hard. It means your team's academic performance is so low that it places you in the very bottom of all Division 1 teams. You have to work hard to get there. You have to basically give up thinking of your players as students first, athletes second.

Yes i know the UConn apologists will say it wasnt these players so why burden them with this issue. It might not have been them, but it was their coach at the time, Jim Calhoun, and their school, that allowed this to happen. I am tired of the National media ignoring issues like this on one hand, and then criticizing the NCAA and others for not doing enough to assist stuednt -athletes in getting a degree.Yes I know Napier is scheduled to graduate in May and i congratulate him on that as well as his play during the tournament. But in the past two days, how many of you have heard the folks at CBS, TNT, and ESPN, remind us of where UCONN was last year ( not even eligible for the Tournament).

And then Napier grabs the mike at the end of the game, and makes a mockery of the probation as if winning this year was in revenge for being put on probation. I dont get it. I guess if that gave them the chip on their shoulder they needed to win, so be it. But who should they really blame other than their team-mates, their former coach and their school. In my mind, winning is great. But at least at the college level, passing your courses has some merit as well. Even graduating may be something to strive for.

People get after Kentucky for using the one and done rule. I dont like the rule either, but you cant blame Calipari for knowing how to use it better than anyone in the Country. At least, Kentucky doesnt make a mockery of the student athlete. Everyone knows they are not students, but minor league basketball players getting their one year out of the way at college.

I am sure some of you dont agree with me on this and that's fine. Would like to see your comments, pro and con. If the college4 basketball purist, Wisconsin should have won the fianl four. They seem to stand for what college basketball should be about, students who love to play basketball, stay in school, and win both in the classromm and on the court. Oh well, life in rarely fair.

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a 7 vrs an 8

April 5th, 2014
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in a great game, Wisconsin missed only one free throw and it cost them a possible win. In a game in which Wisconsin made 19-20 free throws, it was a miss on the first of three free throws in the last minute that left Kentucky only down two. And you guessed it. With less than 6 seconds remaining, the Cats  hit the game winning three. It was only their second made three of the night compared to theBadgers 8. But Wisconsin missed their last three threes.

I said I thought Kentucky would control the inside and shut down Kaminsky. Well,, he wound up with only 8 points and 4 rebounds while Kentucky scored, get this, 46 points in the paint. And almost lost. It was a game of contrasting styles, and while Wisconsin managed to cover by 1, they lost where it counted, on the scoreboard.

So it sets up a Championship game I bet no one predicted.  A 7, UConn, vrs an 8, Kentucky. No doubt it will the two teams with the highest combined seedings in recent NCAA history. Can UConn contain the dominat inside game of Kentucky with its two outstanding guards and great defense? I doubt it. There is not a more athletic team in College basketball and no one plays above the rim like the Cats. They were picked preseason Number 1, but played poorly and selfishly for a good part of the season. But they clearly have the most talent of any team and they are playing good solid team basketball ( yes, with the occasional Freshman mistakes).

By the way, the game set an NCAA attendance record with more than 79,000 fans. They saw one good game and one great game. I will not be able to stay for the Championship game and like you, will watch it on TV. I must say that after seeing where most of the media was put, in the upper press box, I am grateful for my seat. I cant tell you how far away those folks were from the court.

Jackson is back and we will have our usual show Weds at 7 on ESPN 1420. I will discuss the games in greater detail , including what the Jerry Jones palace is like ( yes he was here, as was Troy Aikman). Also here was Seattle Seahwak QB, Russel Wilson, sitting with his alma mater, Wisconsin. But enough of the name dropping.

It was a great Saturday of basketball and I am glad iIwas able to attend once again thanks to the folks at the Star-Advertiser and the NCAA. Nothing like having a press pass. Post game interviews, access to locker rooms, etc. Cant wait till next year in Indy. At least most fans can see the players even in that football Stadium, and you can walk to the Stadium from your downtown hotel.And yes, these are my personal views, not those of any Regent( even me).

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David Slayeth Goliath

April 5th, 2014
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Well iIwas half right. I said UConn would beat the spread. What I didnt predict was that they would destroy Florida, What a win for Kevin Ollie and his Huskies. After a poor first 10 minutes, they played perfect team basketball to win by double digits. Led by DeAndre Daniels double double, 20 and 10, UConn has broken what few brackets remained and they will take their number 7 seed into Monday's final in what could match a 7 against an 8 ( i think that will be a record for the highest total seed number for a Championship game.

 

Shouldnt be hard to find a ticket for Monday. There were far more Gator fans here than UConn fans. In fact, the UConn student section had several rows of empty seats.

The Wisconsin team sat right behind me for much of the second half. Cant remember the last time a final four team watched the early game. They appeared relaxed, but clearly had their game faces on. I like Kentucky in this game. I think they have too much inside and should be able to contain Frank Kaminsky, who has been a one man wrecking crew.

The weather continues to be a story. just announced that because of hail and lighting, folks should stay inside until further notice. And the forecast for tomorrow is not much better. Wonder if it will affect Bruce and the Band.

Fun facts. Florida had been 10-0 in Final Four games before tonight. And remember after UConn won the National Championship, they were declared ineligible for the post season last year because of APR violations. Looks like they are back with a vengence.

Waiting for the attendance to be announced. Has to be a record to see a college basketball game

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finally here

April 5th, 2014
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after a one hour trip from the media hotel in traffic that rivaled the pro bowl, in rainy weather, i have arrived inside ATT Stadium. It is a marvel. Its the biggest indoor stadium i have been in with the massive video screen we have all seen on TV. But i cant begin to describe how far away most fans are from the court.  I am in one of the " floor" media sections and i am at least 40 yards away from the endline. The media hotel is at least 20 miles from the Stadium. There is really very little Final Four activity at the Stadium wth most events in Downtown Dallas. If you ask me, neither the location nor the Stadium is conducive for the Final Four. My best estimate is some fans are a football field away both in distance and in height. There are 8 levels that i can see.

But you know you are in the Dallas area when parking in the premium lots range from 250 to 500 dollars. that's right. And outside in restaurant and shopping lots, the price ranges from 50 to 80 dollars.

If you are a Cowboy fan, and who is anymore unless you live in Dallas, the Stadium has the names of Cowboy greats around the Stadium with room with plenty more. Its almost game time and the place is fully full. My guess is there will be more than 80,000 folks in here by tip-off.

Sittting next to the reporter for the Las Vegas Review -Journal who worked with our Paul Arnett back in the day and two seats over is the guy from the New York Daily News so although the seat is not great, the Star Advertiser is in one of the better media sections.

The game is almost ready to begin after the usual pre-game festivities. i will blog again after game is completed. I still like UConn to cover what is now a 7 point spread, but i dont think Florida will be beat. Although you have to love the UConn guards,the Gators are just too strong at all five positions.

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A Day Away

April 4th, 2014
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I have been in Vegas  the past few days. On my way to Dallas tomorrow morning. Lots of props if you are a gambling person. First team to 15 points, etc. Florida remains a strong favorite over UConn ( 6.5 points) while the  Kentucky odds have dropped slightly from 2 to 1.5. Still much of the talk here is that it will a Florida-Kentucky final and I agree. I think Kentucky will cover the spread tomorrow while Florida will not ( for entainment purposes only)

Coach Arnold is in Dallas with his son and Ben Jay is there as well. My guess is that all lobby nominee Riley Wallace and his crew ( Larry Little, etc) are probably there as well.

There is more than just basketball this weekend in Dallas. One of the bigger events is a three day free music festival highlighted by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Many thousands are expected.

Although the NCAA wants to say this Final Four is being held in North Texas, only the Stadium is not in Dallas. All of the coaches  meetings, the media hotels, etc are all in Dallas proper. I guess the folks in Arlington/Irvine want the publicity.

Looking forward to seeing Cowboy Stadium ( ATT Park). Hopefully my media seat will be within viewing distance, unlike some of the 100,000 seats. Lots more to blog tomorrow.

I guess now that i am officially a Regent I need to note the following. The views in this blog are mine alone and they are my personal views.

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More Honors for Standhardinger

April 1st, 2014
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received word that  Christian Standhardinger has been selected to play in the NABC 2014 Reese's Division 1 College All-Star game this friday in Dallas. He will play on the West team coached by Johnny Dawkins of Stanford against the East team coached by Mark Turgeon of Maryland.

You wont find any All-Americans on either roster as potential first and second round NBA draft picks sit these types of games out. But the next level of senior possible " pros" are usually told by their agents to play if selected. Some of the other players you may have heard of include Talib Zanna of Pitt, Will Sheehey of Indiana, and Joe Jackson of Memphis. Its not usual that a Big -West player gets this opportunity, and for UH, its been awhile since anybody has been selected to play in a prestigious all-star game. It also helps Gib in recruiting to counter those who say you will never get any national recognition if you play at UH.

To be honest,Ii have not always been a big fan of Christian. I thought he was sometimes too selfish and caught up in his own game. But I never doubted his talent nor his effort. And when you are a two-time all Big West first team selection and the only player in UH history to score 1000 points and have 500 rebounds in a 2 year career, you deserve these accolades and the chance to make big money at the next level ( even if it turns out to be in Europe).

I arrive in Dallas on Saturday so I will miss the game, but you can watch it on tape delay on Saturday at noon Hawaii time on CBS.

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Onto Dallas

March 31st, 2014
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Ok, who had UConn and Kentucky in the Final Four? Not me, and I guess not anyone else. What a weekend of basketball. Louisville , Arizona, and Mich St. all going home. UConn, a 7 seed, and kentucky, an 8 seed, on their way to big D.

I had picked 4 number ones to make it. I knew that was not likley, but i never thought only Fla would survive. A basket here, a basket there, and Virgina and Arizona might have made it.

UConn is there because it has two great guards. Sounds like two years ago before they got put on probation for recruiting violations. Kentucky was the pre-season number one, played bad basketball until two weeks ago, and now looks like it may win it all. I like Fla over UConn and Kentucky over Wisconsin, and in a game few will care about, unless you are an SEC junkie, I still think Fla will win it all.

I will be in Dallas to cover the games Saturday for the blog.  Should be something to watch what should be two great games in a lousy basketball venue, the 100,000 seat Cowboy Stadium. Hopefully, my press pass will allow me to see the games without watching them on the screen. There is no need to play these games in football stadiums. I know there are lots of fans and corporate types who  want to see the games, but they should be played in basketball arenas like Madison Square Garden or the Carrier Dome. At least next year it will be back in Indy, and that Stadium is not too bad.

At UH, the NCAA has come and gone. My guess is that there will be some nervous folks around the athletic office until that investigation is complete and the NCAA informs UH what, if anything, it intends to do. Lets hope they decide that the internal sanctions imposed by UH are sufficient.

Meanwhile, recruiting is underway and the next few weeks are critical to next year's success. The top teams in the Big West have lots of solid players returning and teams like Fullerton have signed a full compliment of new players. Hoopstalk will look at how recruiting is going starting next week

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Weekend One of the Contest

March 24th, 2014
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Well, yours truly, the " expert", got 10 of 16 the first weekend. Had Baylor, missed on Duke and Syracuse, among others. The best any of you competitors did was 11 (2). The worst is 7. One of you even had Dayton. So its close as we head towards this weekend.

What a first 68. No one in the billion dollar bracket contest made it to Saturday. Tha's how crazy it was. Some of the games were classics ( UNC-Iowa State, Kentucky-Wichita State) and some were blow-outs, but is there a better weekend in all of sports. i dont think so.

For UH, recruiting enters a critical month. Lots of holes to fill. And it comes at a time when it has been reported that the NCAA will be on campus for interviews arising out of the Akana situation. You can expect opposing coaches will use this until it is fully resolved.

For the Wahine, the season ended quickly in the NIT. The final few games for UH were adversely affected by poor shooting. And now the question is will Coach Beeman leave for greener, i mean richer, pastures. She is a pac-12 person, and Oregon looms. Hope she stays.

The show this week will be at 6pm on Weds.  We will look at the Sweet Sixteen and make some predictions. After a week off while i attend the Big Dance, Jackson and i will return in early april to review recruiting, who is staying and who might be leaving, and we will preview the early prospects for the Big West 2014-15.

The comments here are my own, and are not necessarily those of any Regent. I feel better now

 

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This Year's Bracket Contest- Beat the " Expert"

March 18th, 2014
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Ok all you folks out there. So you think you know more than this blogger about college basketball. This year i am going to give you a chance to prove it.

Here is how this year'sontest is going to work. I will give you my sweet 16, elite eight, final four, and champion. You will do the same. We will total the scores and if your total score beats mine, you win. What you win, besides bragging rights, will be determined shortly. 1 point for each sweet 16 correct pick, 2 points for each elite eight, 4 points for each final four, and 8 points for the national champ. Ties go to me( of course).

Here are my picks. Sweet 16-Fla;SF Austin;Syracuse;New Mexico;Virgina;Mich St;Iowa State; Villanova;Arizona;San Diego St;Baylor;Wisconsin;Wichita State;Lousiville;Duke; and Michigan.

Elite Eight. Fla;Syr;Virgina;Iowa St;Arz;Wis:Wich St; and Michigan

Final Four Fla; Virgina;Arzizona, and Wichita State I know, all number ones- not gonna happen, but i like the match-ups).

Champion  Arizona

Ok. Now all you Mich St and Louisville folks can jump on this.

Tonight ( Tuesday), Jackson and I will have our annual Bracket show on ESPN 1420.  We will also look back at the Men's season and will have Coach Beeman as one of our guests. Hope you can join us. 7 to 9 pm, two hours. WOW

 

Champion Arizona

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