Author Topic: ¶ NCAA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NCAA Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres  (Read 455729 times)

ESB Daniel Ferrero

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NCAA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments
Baloncesto NCAA Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libre

Weekend eBA Basketball Magazine:

Reform college hoops:
Limit the timeouts, get 24-second shot clock
David Hein's Eye on the Future
Attending basketball games is nothing new for me and neither is the NCAA Tournament. But for the first time this past week I attended the NCAA Tournament live - checking out six games in Seattle.

While it was a truly exciting experience, missing was an upset that so much defines March Madness.
That did not bother me that much since I was able to see great programs such as Louisville - who survived a tough fight against University of California at Irvine - and Gonzaga - who gave the Washington home state fans plenty to cheer about with wins over North Dakota State University and University of Northern Iowa to reach the second weekend of games for the first time since 2009.

But after years of watching much more international basketball, it became clear watching the games at the old KeyArena from the Seattle SuperSonics that U.S. collegiate basketball would best be served with some major rule changes.

There are two issues that I would address if I were in charge of NCAA men’s basketball.

The first are those pesky TV timeouts.

During a 40-minute game (broken down in two 20-minute halves instead of four 10-minute quarters), there are eight mandatory television timeouts, which come at the first stoppage of play under the 16, 12, 8 and 4 minute marks of each half.

Why the TV timeouts - also called media timeouts - you might ask?

The reason is simple: advertising to pay the networks and then pay the NCAA and its conferences and then pay the players - oh, wait, that slipped out. That’s a whole other issue.

In addition, both teams have at least five timeouts during the game. Yes, that means a possible 18 timeouts in one game. On top of that, the halftime lasted 20 minutes at the NCAA games in Seattle.

All those timeouts truly hurt the game, especially watching games live in person. There is little chance for a game to really develop any sort flow if there are so many stoppages of play. But of course there are tactics involved in the calling of timeouts. If your center is getting tired, you as a coach may call a timeout with 8:03 left to play to give him an immediate breather while also knowing that the next stoppage of play will be a TV timeout and that player will get another short rest.

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But something really should be done.

Kansas University freshman Chase Buford calls timeout as he falls out of bounds late in the game against Louisiana-Monroe. In this Photograph by Thad Allender from KU Sports presented by eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis Group.

Photograph: by Thad Allender from KU Sports

At the very least, do what women’s college basketball has done. A coach’s timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout would then take the place of the up-coming media timeout.

While that wouldn’t solve all the problems, it is at least a start. Cut out at least one of the media timeouts, or take away two of the coach’s timeouts for each team. But do something.

The other major rule in college basketball that needs to be changed is the shot clock - cut it from 35 to 24 seconds.

There is so much dead time on the court with a 35-second shot clock. It takes teams ages to really get into their offense - after a couple of failed attempts. There were so many times in Seattle when I looked up and was expecting to see six or seven seconds left on the shot clock and there was often more than 20 seconds left.

And then there would be an offensive rebound and the shot clock would re-set to 35 seconds and I found myself greatly appreciating the 14-second re-set of the shot clock after an offensive rebound as it’s played around the world.

So, cut the fat - make it 24 seconds. Make these teams get into their offense and take a shot.

Apparently there is a trial going on in the NIT - the second level National Invitational Tournament which goes on at the same time as the NCAA Tournament - in which the shot clock is being reduced from 35 to 30 seconds. And Shane Ryan of Grantland reported that average offensive efficiency and pace of play during the NIT have both risen. So, it seems to be working.

But why cut it to 30 seconds and not 24 seconds? That doesn’t make that much sense.

College is about preparing students and student-athletes for professional life. And professional basketball throughout the world has the 24-second shot clock. So, the NCAA would actually be getting its players ready for the world of basketball when they leave the collegiate system.

These are just two major areas where the NCAA games needs to be changed. Will they happen? Probably not.

But it would be greatly beneficial for the game-watching experience.

David Hein from FIBA

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BGA Sandra Mirsov

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Weekend eBA Basketball Magazine:

Dean Smith, the teacher

George Eddy's International Show
The passing of Dean Smith marks the end of an era (please read this excellent article with hommages to Smith from US President Barack Obama, Michael Jordan and Mike Krzyzewski).

This was the era of college coaches as kings when the best players stayed more than one season at the NCAA level.
John Wooden said: "Dean Smith is a better teacher of basketball than anyone else". Coming from the Wizard of Westwood, that says it all!

In 2001, I was working on a documentary about the historic rivalry between North Carolina and Duke and Dean gave me an autographed copy of his biography, "A Coach's Life", which I cherish to this day. I found Smith to be approachable, knowledgeable and humble.

What a life he had. Both his parents, fittingly, were school teachers and Smith inherited his love for basketball and social justice from his father while growing up in Kansas. His father won a state championship as a high school basketball coach in 1934 with a team that included a black player, a rare occurence at the time!

Dean won an NCAA title as a player at the University of Kansas (UK) and then became a coach like his dad.

Kansas represents an incredible family tree of coaches because the inventor of the basketball, Dr James Naismith, coached a certain Phog Allen there, a legendary coach himself who transmitted his savoir faire on to Smith who played and was an assistant for him at UK.

Coach Smith had a strong religious upbringing and moral fiber that was accentuated in the military, a typical apprenticeship at the time.

Mike Krzyzewski and Gregg Popovich followed a similar path when starting their coaching careers.

Dean Smith became an assistant at the University of North Carolina (UNC) when the school was involved in several betting and recruiting scandals and the administrators decided to de-emphasize the sport for a while. He was given the job as head coach with the priority being to clean up the program more than just win games.

After a rough start, he turned out to be the perfect fit for the position which he held for 36 years. His intelligence and moral character were off the charts as he had gone to Kansas on an academic scholarship specializing in math and his tenure at UNC was full of examples of Smith fighting for civil rights and against the death penalty.

We can't imagine how much courage it took to stand up for these priciples in the south in the early 1960s.

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My father fought alongside Martin Luther King for civil rights in Florida at this crucial time in US history so this part of Smith's humanitarian legacy touches me profoundly.

Dean Edwards Smith was an American head coach of men's college basketball. Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Smith was called a
Photograph: Sports Illustrated

The democratic Party of North Carolina would have liked to see Dean run for U.S. senator and his integrity and open-mindedness could have taken him a long way but Smith was, viscerally, a basketball coach.

He won lots of games and two NCAA titles despite running a clean program which, let me tell you, was no easy task at the time because cheating and corruption concerning college recruiting were rampant!

Smith and Wooden were such great teachers and mentors to young players that they could win without cheating.

Wooden taught the finer points of winning basketball to Lew Alcindor (later to be known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar) wheras Smith made Michael Jordan into a fundamentally sound, all-around player.

When Jordan arrived at Chapel Hill, he was an unbelievable athlete, a diamond in the rough and Smith told him "if you can't pass the ball, Michael, you can't play basketball here".

In the end, it was Jordan's jump shot as a freshman that gave Smith his first NCAA title after several disappointing Final Fours.

Jordan was Dean's greatest work as he went on to become, possibly, the best player of all-time!

The two remained close after Jordan's college career because for Dean Smith, if you played for him, you were part of his extended family... forever!

The list of great players that Smith prepared for the NBA is longer than a food stamps line during the Great Depression! He welcomed many international players to his program before this became fashionable. He even coached the ultimate iconoclast, Rasheed Wallace, and they went to the Final Four together in 1995.

Coach Smith invented many things related to basketball and was way ahead of his time. Player huddles, acknowledging the passer, asking to come out when a player was tired and "senior day" were some of his innovations. His use of the "four corners offense" pushed the NCAA to go to a shot clock which, thank goodness, ended the college era of low scoring, "stall ball" games!

His math background paved the way for all kinds of new and inventive statistics, like measuring the impact of setting screens, diving for loose balls, the pass that leads to the assist, deflecting passes and blocking out on defense. He had legions of basketball interns noting all this information at games AND in practices. These innovative stats were the groundwork for the modern fascination with "moneyball" analytics that are so popular in sports now.

Smith's practices and film sessions were meticulously prepared, disciplined and efficient and when a coach spoke you could hear a pin drop! Many of his former players and assistants, like Larry Brown (who was Popovich's mentor), went on to be great coaches preaching "Let's play the right way".

Dean Smith's ultimate basketball slogan and philosophy were resumed in his famous "Play hard, play smart and play together".  So simple and so true...

George Eddy from FIBA

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Coach 4

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NCAA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NCAA Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Louisville-Michigan NCAA final
earns classic status
David Hein's Eye on the Future
Big basketball games actually rarely leave a lasting impression in fans' collective memory. But the final of the 2013 NCAA tournament between Louisville and Michigan can already be considered a classic.

It's not quite "old news" just yet - even in this high-speed news cycle world we live in today - but obviously Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 on Monday to win their first NCAA title since 1986.
The game featured plenty of great storylines as well as a tremendously high level of basketball actually being played on the court. There were at least a handful of future NBA players on the Georgia Dome hardcourt and numerous more who will have a long career in Europe. But the game also featured unsung heroes stepping up, big-time players playing up to their big-time status and a lengthy reel of spectacular highlights.

It was pretty clear after not even five minutes that this was the kind of game that you call/text/Facebook-message friends saying they should tune in if they weren't doing anything else important. And the rest of the game made those who did turn it on happy they did so.

Who will forget Michigan star Trey Burke setting the tone right from the start - saying I am one big star who will bounce back from his disappointing national semi-final (he scored just seven points against Syracuse).

And of course there was Michigan freshman Spike Albrecht, who nailed four straight three-pointers, slapping the floor on defense and making people who haven't been following the Wolverines during the season believe he's one of the team’s leaders.

Albrecht - whose 17 points in the first 20 minutes were 10 more than his career high and 15.2 more than his season average - was so confident that even after the loss he tweeted to supermodel Kate Upton, who was sitting in the crowd wearing Michigan maize: "@KateUpton hey saw you at the game last night, thanks for coming out! Hope to see you again".

Albrecht's heroics helped build up a 12-point lead for Michigan - yet another 12-point deficit for Louisville, who came back from a dozen down in the second half to Wichita State to reach the final. And just like in the national semi-final, Luke Hancock stepped up big for Louisville.

Hancock was one of the main players to fill in for the Cardinals after they lost Kevin Ware to his horrific injury in the Regional final win over Duke. After hitting four straight three-pointers en route to scoring 20 points against Wichita State, Hancock tallied 22 points against Michigan including 5-for-5 from long range - the last to give Louisville a 10-point lead late.

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That's not to say the big time guys didn't do their thing.

Louisville fights back again, beats Michigan 82-76 for NCAA championship; Pitino’s 2nd title
Photograph: Washington Post

The NCAA Player of the Year Burke collected 24 points, four rebounds and three assists and was all over the court - including laying on the hardwood a number of times after being hit hard on drives to the basket. Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr had 12 points each for Michigan.

The Wolwerines were in the title game for the first time since the Fab Five went down in the second of two straight championship games in 1993. And all five stars from that team were in Atlanta to cheer the next generation of Wolverines.

But Louisville showed why they hadn't lost since February 9 - another classic as they went down to Notre Dame in five overtimes - and were the number one overall seed coming into the tournament.

Peyton Siva had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, Chane Behanan collected 15 points and 12 rebounds and Senegal's Gorgui Dieng added 8 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks.

And Louisville coach Rick Pitino just found all the answers - during an amazing week for him. He was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, watched his son get named as the head coach at Minnesota and then made history.

Pitino became the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence 1987, Kentucky 1996 and Louisville this year) to a Final Four and the only coach in the NCAA to lead two different schools to the NCAA title (Kentucky 1996 and Louisville this year).

NCAA title games have rarely lived up to their status, but Louisville-Michigan had the storylines, unexpected heroics and big-time performances to be remembered for a long, long time.

David Hein from FIBA

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NCAA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NCAA Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Pressure nothing new to new UCLA boss Steve Alford

Pressure is nothing new to Steve Alford. So he will be right at home as the new head coach of the UCLA men's basketball team - and should be expected to excel in the new job.

Alford was named UCLA's new coach last weekend, leaving the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a contract that tied him to the Lobos until 2020 to become the 13th coach in Bruins history, replacing the fired Ben Howland.

Alford's job will be to re-establish UCLA to at least close to its storied past.

Expecting Alford to lead the Bruins to seven straight titles and 10 national championships within a 12-year period - like the legendary John Wooden did - is unrealistic. But Bruins sports officials wouldn't have anything against a run similar to the one Howland had from 2005 to 2007 when UCLA reached three straight Final Fours including the 2006 Championship game. And of course, Pauley Pavilion hasn't hung a championship banner since Jim Harrick guided brothers Ed and Charles O'Bannon, Tyus Edney and Toby Bailey to the 1995 title.

Howland had run into problems, losing players to transfers and reportedly having issues within the team. UCLA had reached the NCAA Tournament just three times in the five seasons since the 2008 Final Four, winning just two tournament games in that stretch – resulting in his firing after 10 years at the helm.

Pressure and expectations are high in Los Angeles as the Bruins are hungry to become a power in college basketball again.

But it's nothing that Alford can't handle.

Alford dealt with being a high school star in the basketball-mad state of Indiana, winning the title of Indiana's Mr Basketball his senior season.

Alford then went off to Los Angeles to help the United States win the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics - alongside the likes of future Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin as well as Sam Perkins and Wayman Tisdale.

After playing for Bob Knight in the Olympics, Alford then stayed in state to attend the University of Indiana, guiding the Hoosiers to their fifth NCAA title in 1987. His NBA career lasted from 1987 to 1991 with the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors.

The Franklin native then went into coaching, starting at NCAA Division III Manchester College in Manchester, Indiana, leading the Spartans to the Division III championship game in 1995. He moved to Southwest Missouri State, reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in his fourth and final season in 1999.

A step up followed, moving to the Big Ten Conference, where he guided the Iowa Hawkeyes to three NCAA appearances in seven seasons before taking over at UNM in 2007.

Steve Alford has been named UCLA’s new men’s basketball coach, as announced by UCLA Athletics Saturday morning. Alford comes from the University of New Mexico, where he led the Lobos to consecutive Mountain West titles in 2012 and 2013. From UCLA’s official release:
Photograph: The Pac-12 Post

Located in Albuquerque, the Lobos men's basketball team is as close to a professional team in the area, putting immense pressure on Alford, who lived up to the expectations - turning a deflated, apathetic program into one which won the Mountain West regular reason and conference tournament titles in both 2011-12 and 2012-13 and collected three NCAA Tournament appearances in the past four seasons.

"I would definitely say he's been THE most successful coach we've had in a long time," said UNM alum Os Davis of

"He's the guy that took the program that last step. UNM really gained its national reputation for an on-the-tournament bubble team/perpetual NIT (National Invitational Tournament) host to challenging, viable program with recruitment power. It's a sad, sad time in Loboland, I'd suspect. I'm betting that most fans/students are thinking big in terms of a replacement, but I fear this season's performance may be the best we'll see for a year or three."

Now it's time for Alford to face the next pressure-filled challenge.

The support is definitely there as Michael Warren, Gerald Madkins, Marques Johnson, Bailey and Edney were among the former UCLA players in attendance at Alford's introductory news conference.

Alford's biggest issue will be recruiting - keeping the top level talent from Los Angeles in town. Alford already knows the turf in southern California, having brought in the trio of Kendall Williams, Tony Snell and Demetrius Walker to New Mexico.

Gone from his intact UCLA roster for sure for the 2013-14 season will be senior Larry Drew II. Top talent Shabazz Muhammad is most likely going to leave for the NBA after his freshman season, while Kyle Anderson is expected to come back for his second season. Norman Powell and Tony Parker are believed to be returning as well.

Howland signed three players for the incoming freshman class - Zach Lavine, Allerik Freeman and Noah Allen - and Alford will have to make sure that trio is still on board.

The spring signing period begins on April 17, so Alford definitely has his work to do with scholarships still available to fill. It’s clear that Alford is an excellent coach, but now he has to use the history, prestige and allure of Los Angeles and UCLA to bring in the top level talent.

Alford has shown he can be a good coach. The time now starts to show that he can be a great coach.

David Hein from FIBA

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NCAA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NCAA Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Need proof of internationalisation of NCAA Tournament? Look at 2, 4 and 9

With the NCAA Tournament starting in earnest today, it is once again clear that college basketball’s elite event is a very international affair – and not just the fans watching the Big Dance around the world.

More than half of the final 64 teams in the field have at least one non-U.S. born player. Moreover, the internationalisation of the game can be seen by looking at the numbers 2, 4 and 9.

Two non-Americans go into March Madness hoping to defend their title; four teams have five or more international players on their squads; and nine alums of the Australian Institute of Sports make the talent-producing factory from Down Under well represented.

Dirk Nowitzki was not the only German to celebrate a basketball championship in the United States last season. Niels Giffey and Enosch Wolf helped the University of Connecticut to the 2011 NCAA crown.

And with it, Giffey and Wolf joined the likes of Henrik Rödl with North Carolina in 1993, Christian Ast with Duke University in 1991 and 1992 as well as German-Colombian Magus Pelkowski in 1987 with Indiana University as the only Germans to take the NCAA title.

If UConn were to repeat, Giffey and Wolf would become the first Germans to repeat.

Two other Germans in the tournament also have a noteworthy connection as Elias Harris and Mathis Mönninghoff are part of Gonzaga University’s large contingent of international players.

In all, the university from Spokane, Washington has seven players from outside the United States. The others are Mathis Keita (France), Guy Landry Edi (Ivory Coast/France) and Canada's trio of Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Pangos and Robert Sacre.

And Gonzaga is one of four teams that have at least five internationals on their rosters.

The others are St. Bonaventure University (with Sam de Haas, Netherlands; Charlon Kloop, Suriname; Youssou Ndoye, Senegal; the Canadian pair of Andrew Nicholson and Matthew Wright), New Mexico State (France's Remi Barry and Bandja Sy; Canadians Sim Bhullar, Renaldo Dixon, Christian Kabongo, Hernst Laroche, Daniel Mullings and Tyrone Watson; Tshilidzi Nephawe, South Africa), and St. Mary’s (Australia's Matthew Dellavedova, Matt Hodgson, Jorden Page, Clint Steindl and Mitchell Young; Eividas Petrulis, Lithuania; Kyle Rowley, Trinidad & Tobago).

St. Mary’s also brings up the number 9 as the college from northern California features four players – Dellavedova, Page, Steindl and Young – who received their basketball education at the reputable Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), which has produced past and present Australian internationals such as Andrew Bogut, Patrick Mills and Luc Longley.

Besides the St. Mary’s quartet, the other former AIS players in the NCAA tournament are Shane Harris-Tunks from Colorado; Cameron Bairstow and Hugh Greenwood from New Mexico; Cody Ellis of St. Louis; and Jordan Vandenberg from North Carolina State.

And just like Bogut (University of Utah), Mills (St. Mary’s), Longley (New Mexico) and others, they all chose to continue their basketball training on the grounds of colleges and universities throughout the United States. And some of those in the NCAA tournament this year will undoubtedly eventually make their way into the senior Australian national team.


And perhaps even one of them will have the chance next season to defend their NCAA crown like the two Germans Giffey and Wolf this season.

David Hein from FIBA

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