It's that time...(hope that doesn't offend anyone)
First games are November 10th (i believe) and things really get going..
Tuesday, November 18th:
Midnight: UMass at Memphis (ESPN)
2 am: Fresno St. at St. Mary's (ESPN)
4 am: Idaho St. at Hawaii (ESPN)
6 am: College Hoops Tip-Off Special (ESPN)
10 am: Penn at Drexel (ESPN)
Noon: Liberty at UNC-Asheville (ESPN)
2 pm: Iowa at Kansas (women) (ESPN)
4 pm: Centenary at Baylor (ESPN)
6 pm: Richmond at Syracuse (ESPN)
7 pm: NIT Regional Final-Purdue (ESPNU)
7:30 pm: NIT Regional Final-Boston College (ESPN2)
8 pm: College GameDay-Chapel Hill (ESPN)
9 pm: Kentucky at North Carolina (ESPN)
9 pm: Florida Gulf Coast at Kansas (ESPNU)
9:30 pm: NIT Regional Final-Oklahoma (ESPN2)
11:30 pm: NIT Regional Final-Arizona (ESPN2)
ESPN Full Court should become available any day...only $100
Nov. 10: 2008-09 season begins
Nov. 18: Kentucky at North Carolina
Dec. 2: Duke at Purdue
Dec. 3: North Carolina vs. Michigan State
Dec. 4: UCLA at Texas
Dec. 4: Southern Cal at Oklahoma
Dec. 6: Wisconsin at Marquette
Dec. 20: Texas at Michigan State
Dec. 23: Kansas at Arizona
Jan. 4: Kentucky at Louisville
Jan. 7: Davidson at Duke
Jan 17: Georgetown at Duke
Jan. 24: Memphis at Tennessee
Feb. 7: Notre Dame at UCLA
March 15: Selection Sunday
April 6: National championship
Coaching changes for the 2008-09 season.
|Alcorn State||Samuel West||5||44-103||Larry Smith|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Van Holt||6||50-124||George Ivory|
|Arkansas State||Dickey Nutt||13||189-187||John Brady|
|Brown||Craig Robinson||2||30-28||Jesse Agel|
|Bucknell||Pat Flannery||14||234-178||Dave Paulsen|
|California||Ben Braun||12||219-154||Mike Montgomery|
|Centenary||Rob Flaska||3||24-65||Greg Gary|
|Detroit||Perry Watson||15||258-185||Ray McCallum|
|Drake||Keno Davis||1||28-5||Mark Phelps|
|Florida Atlantic||Rex Walters||2||31-33||Mike Jarvis|
|Grambling||Larry Wright||9||88-160||Rick Duckett|
|Idaho||George Pfeiffer||2||12-48||Don Verlin|
|Indiana||Kelvin Sampson||2||41-14||Tom Crean|
|Jacksonville State||Mike LaPlante||8||95-137||James Green|
|James Madison||Dean Keener||4||31-83||Matt Brady|
|Kent State||Jim Christian||6||138-58||Geno Ford|
|Loyola Marymount||Rodney Tention||3||30-61||Bill Bayno|
|LSU||John Brady||10||192-139||Trent Johnson|
|Marist||Matt Brady||4||73-50||Chuck Martin|
|Marquette||Tom Crean||9||190-96||Buzz Williams|
|Maryland-Eastern Shore||Meredith Smith||1||4-28||Frankie Allen|
|Massachusetts||Travis Ford||3||62-35||Derek Kellogg|
|Mercer||Mark Slonaker||11||128-190||Bob Hoffman|
|Missouri State||Barry Hinson||9||169-117||Cuonzo Martin|
|Mississippi Valley State||James Green||3||44-51||Sean Woods|
|New Jersey Tech||Jim Casciano||7||66-119||Jim Engles|
|Ohio||Tim O'Shea||7||120-95||John Groce|
|Oklahoma State||Sean Sutton||2||39-29||Travis Ford|
|Oregon State||Jay John||6||26-68||Craig Robinson|
|Pepperdine||Vance Walberg||2||14-35||Tom Asbury|
|Providence||Tim Welsh||10||160-143||Keno Davis|
|Rice||Willis Wilson||16||219-246||Ben Braun|
|Sacramento State||Jerome Jenkins||8||80-147||Brian Katz|
|San Francisco||Jessie Evans||4||45-57||Rex Walters|
|South Carolina||Dave Odom||7||128-104||Darrin Horn|
|St. Francis (Pa.)||Bobby Jones||9||85-167||Don Friday|
|Stanford||Trent Johnson||4||80-48||Johnny Dawkins|
|TCU||Neil Dougherty||6||75-108||Jim Christian|
|Texas Southern||Robert Moreland||1||7-25||Tony Harvey|
|Texas Tech||Bob Knight||7||138-82||Pat Knight|
|Toledo||Stan Joplin||12||203-155||Gene Cross|
|Western Illinois||Derek Thomas||5||40-104||Jim Molinari|
|Western Kentucky||Darrin Horn||5||111-48||Ken McDonald
Head coach: Rick Pitino.
Last season: 27-9 overall, 14-4 in the Big East.
Postseason: Earned at-large bid to NCAA tournament. Lost 83-73 to North Carolina in regional final.
|Breakdown: Probable starters | Backcourt | Frontcourt | Offense | Defense | Outlook|
Coach Rick Pitino has four guards who at one time or another in their collegiate careers have been full-time starters. What coach in America wouldn't take his chances with that scenario?
|PROBABLE STARTING FIVE|
|G Jerry Smith, 6-1/Jr.
10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
|G Andre McGee, 5-10/Sr.
|F Terrence Williams, 6-6/Sr.
11.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.5 apg
|F Earl Clark, 6-9/Jr.
11.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg
|F Samardo Samuels, 6-8/Fr.
Rivals.com five-star prospect
|G Edgar Sosa, 6-1/Jr.
|G Reginald Delk, 6-4/Jr.
9.5 ppg in 2006-07 at Mississippi State
|F Terrence Jennings, 6-10/Fr.
Rivals.com five-star prospect
|G Preston Knowles, 6-1/So.
Sosa and Smith have averaged double-figure scoring in a season, Sosa in 2006-07 and Smith last year. Delk averaged 9.5 as a sophomore at Mississippi State. So there is scoring punch, too. And all four have shot at least 37 percent from 3-point range in a season, so they can dial it up from the perimeter at any time. Smith had a team-high 68 3-pointers last season, McGee was second with 52, and Sosa was fourth with 47.
The odd thing, though, is not one of the four is particularly adept at distributing the ball. Not one averaged 2.0 assists per game. But they all take reasonably good care of the ball. McGee led the team in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Sosa worked his way deep into Pitino's doghouse and had a hard time getting out. The head man expects a "big change" in the young guard. Pitino said some players take longer to mature and that Sosa, a Big East All-Rookie selection two years ago, "is finally understanding what team is all about and is maturing into the type of basketball player I want him to become."
Center David Padgett (11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg) finished up his career, and Juan Palacios (6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Derrick Caracter (8.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) are gone, too. For most teams that loss of production would be a major blow, but most teams don't recruit as well or have as much talent returning as the Cardinals.
Earl Clark blossomed into a major scorer and rebounder as a sophomore last season. He posted 10 double-doubles, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he nearly doubled that total this season. He was a dominant force in the Cardinals' run to the Elite Eight, averaging 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots while shooting 62.2 percent from the floor during the NCAA tournament. As much as last year could be called a breakout year for Clark, bigger and better things are in store.
The other returning starter up front is Terrence Williams, the Cardinals' assist leader (4.5 per game) last season and another main scoring option. He's a 6-foot-6 all-court player who compensates for spotty perimeter shooting with his ability to put the ball on the floor, score around the rim, rebound and set up his teammates. Williams had two triple-doubles last season, just the third and fourth in Louisville history. With Padgett gone, the leadership role falls squarely on him.
The fifth starter probably will be five-star freshman Samardo Samuels, a 6-8, 240-pound power forward who will emerge quickly as a favorite because of his work ethic and diligence on the boards. He was ranked the No. 9 overall prospect in the class by Rivals.com, and No. 2 at his position. He is a force down low, where he can score with a variety of post moves and rebound. Samuels already has NBA strength. He also passes well out of the post, one of Padgett's best attributes. Samuels will vie for Big East rookie of the year honors.
The top man off the bench up front should be another five-star power forward, Terrence Jennings. The 6-10 Jennings was the No. 18 overall prospect, and No. 5 at the position. He's not as polished as Samuels, but he runs the floor very well for a player his size and can finish around the basket. He also is a big-time shot-blocker.
Pitino has a variety of offensive options. The chief creator is Williams, who can drive and kick or score in the lane. Clark can face up from 15-18 feet or score on the block. No doubt Pitino also will try to get the ball inside to Samuels on occasion.
The Cardinals ranked second in the Big East and 22nd nationally in scoring defense (61.5 ppg). Their full-court pressure and half-court trapping not only wear out opponents but also force them to go late in the shot clock. The result is hurried shots, bad looks or turnovers. When opponents are able to set up, Louisville plays an attacking man-to-man and gets into the passing lanes.
Shoes to Fill
Padgett. Pitino ran a good bit of the offense through Padgett because of his decision-making and leadership. Those are tough qualities to replace.
Must Step Up
Clark. He has NBA first-round talent. He considered leaving Louisville after last season, but he's back to ensure lottery-pick status.
Samuels. You don't find many high school players as ready to bang with the big bodies in the Big East as Samuels. He will give as much as he gets.
Kentucky kicks things off tonight, and Illinois I believe has an outdoor Midnight Madness tomorrow.