NC State Falls To Mizzou

After leading most of the game, NC State could not hold on and beat Frank Haith’s Missouri Tigers in Raleigh last night.  After being in control for about the first 36 minutes, the Wolfpack seemed like they would pick up a vital OOC win over an SEC opponent.  Instead, things fell apart in the end as the Tigers hit five threes out of their final seven baskets.

Overall it was a good game for the Pack, but they came up short in the end.  It was puzzling that TJ Warren did not score in the final 12 minutes of the game, after pouring in 24 up to that point.  It was also puzzling that Mark Gottfried took Kyle Washington out of the game late, yet left in Leonard Freeman down the stretch.  Washington was clearly having his best game of the season, and Freeman failed to do much all game long.

Also puzzling was BeeJay Anya only getting nine minutes of action when Jordan Vandenberg was limited to 22 due to foul trouble.  I think Gottfried was trying to go a little small due to the guards on Mizzou, but with Cat Barber being in foul trouble the entire game it may have been time to focus on your own strengths versus trying to match-up with the Tigers’.

At the end of the day it was a hard fought game and Mizzou hit a few more shots, including 19/26 free throws compared to 8/14 for the Pack.  Up next for the Pack is UNCG on the 30th, before hitting ACC play against Pitt on the 4th.  A win over Mizzou would have gone a long way heading into ACC action, but we can only hope this lights a fire under them and they tighten up their flaws, like Ralston Turner forcing threes up when they should be feeding Warren down low.

First Coaches Poll of the Basketball Season

The First USA Today Coaches Poll for the college basketball season is out.  You’ll notice the link is to an ESPN version.  This is because the USA Today page is turrible.  Hit the jump for details. Continue reading First Coaches Poll of the Basketball Season

Torian Graham Decommits from NC State

Sure, we are a little bit late on this, but in case you did not know Mark Gottfried’s first big fish as head coach at NC State has wriggled off the line.  Some would look at this news as a sign that the Pack has lost momentum and is settling back into the recruiting abyss.  As our good friend Brett Friedlander of the StarNews Online reminds us, however, it is not time to panic.

As Brett points out, CJ Leslie also “decommitted” from the Pack, only to sign up again later.  The same could certainly be happening with Graham, who still says that the Pack is not only on the short list, but sitting atop it.  Of course, then there is Len Lilly (Graham’s guardian) who says that Kentucky is on top.  (Red flag alert, a “guardian” of a top prospect has gotten involved in the decision process, and obviously likes UK over State.)

Let us take a step back and look at this cleanly for a second.  Graham is a 5 Star SG who is tearing up the Summer AAU tour.  He signed with the Pack early so that he could focus on basketball and not have to deal with the recruiting carousel.  After playing all over the country with his AAU buddies, however, he has decided that maybe he is missing out by not being a member of the recruiting circuit.

It makes sense, from where I am sitting, that Graham would want to make more visits, and get the VIP treatment from the big schools.  What Wolfpack Nation has to hope is that when it is all said and done, he realizes that NC State is the place that he wants to be.  Oh, and that Lilly does not steer him elsewhere.

Premature Celebration UPDATED

UPDATE: Kentucky has given in to the NCCA’s demands.

The University of Kentucky had a little on court celebration after the Wildcats beat Florida back in February.  The occasion, John Calipari’s 500th Victory! Calipari got the game ball.

The NCAA has stepped in and said that was a mistake and they want Kentucky to publicly admit that they were wrong.  Why, because according to the NCAA, the victory over Florida was Calipari’s 458th win as a head coach, not 500.

The NCAA says that Kentucky was off by 42 games.  That would be the 38 games vacated when Cal was at Memphis, and four NCAA Tournament games from when he was at UMass.  Thank you Derrick Rose and Marcus Camby.

In a five-page letter sent to UK’s President Lee Todd, Jr., the school was told that if they didn’t agree, that they would be blown to smithereens like planet Alderaan. Or, that school officials would have to basically have to go the principal’s office and make an appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Kentucky had earlier stated that

“Our only intention was to recognize the fact that, during his career, Coach John Calipari had indeed led his teams to 500 victories on the court,” Bell wrote Todd on April 5. “Regardless of how the 42 victories are statistically noted, they did in fact occur.”

Yes, they did occur, but they don’t count anymore. Like USC football in 2004…poof! Never happened.  They didn’t beat Oklahoma 55-19 in the BCS Title game. Thanks Reggie.

The Saga continues…

Rick Barnes Was in Raleigh This Past Weekend?

According to George Cox of Raycom Sports, Rick Barnes was home in North Carolina this past weekend.  His sources tell him that while Barnes was there, he swung over to Raleigh and met with one Deborah Yow.  This coincides with Yow being MIA at the Final Four in Houston, where everyone thought and expected she would be.  I wonder if they discussed NC State’s current job opening for a men’s basketball coach?

Then we have Greg Swaim saying this morning that it is looking more and more like Shaka Smart is going to be the next coach at NC State.

Interesting.  If Shaka Smart was indeed the number one target right now, one would think Yow would have been there to watch VCU play.  There were also reports that Yow asked for permission to interview Smart, but VCU brass has denied that anyone has asked for such a thing.

Another weekend of speculation goes by, and all we have is Yow being MIA in Houston and Barnes being in NC.  It should be noted, that if Yow and Barnes did indeed sit down, it would not mean that he was going to take the job, or even that Yow would offer it up.  It would be a pretty safe bet that we have all interviewed for jobs that we either did not accept or were not offered before, and this position is no different in those regards.

Either way, with Shaka Smart’s grandfather passing, we are not likely to hear anything in regards to him until Wednesday at the earliest.  Unless we hear that someone else, Barnes perhaps, is hired.  With the way the coaching carousel has turned so far this season, nothing would surprise me at this point.  Not even Sean Miller or Billy Donovan.

So is this more fun than tracking planes?  Oh, here is a last tidbit for you to chew on.  On Robert Montgomery Knight is reportedly interested in the UNLV job.

*I do not expect either Sean Miller or Billy Donovan to be the next coach at NC State.  I think those are pipe dreams, but I would remiss to rule anything out at this point.

Billy Donovan Rumors One Big Joke?

Well, apparently the “report” that he was in Raleigh last night from 97.9 in Tallahassee was/is.  Good one guys.  Very funny.  How bad is your radio show that you resort to pranks about where a coach is to generate calls?  What are you trying to be, a Morning Zoo show?

Anyway, today is the day of the “interview” from what we were told.  Keep in mind, that Donovan would not have to be in Raleigh for an interview to take place.  Skype is your friend, Ms. Yow.  Skype is your friend.

That said, I still don’t buy it.  No one in the national media does, that is for sure.  If nothing is announced by tomorrow, I’m convinced that Shaka Smart is the top target.  And by the way, he was a top target before this run by VCU.  While some might not think Smart would be a “knockout” hire, I actually do at this point.  He convinced me that he can coach his rear end off against Kansas, and I admire his passion.  He has recruiting experience, landing good players for the previously mentioned Donovan at Florida, as well as Oliver Purnell at Clemson.

Plus, he is only 33 years old, which means given the right situation, and success, he could be somewhere for 30 years or so.  If the success is not there, in five years you make a run at Sean Miller or maybe even Archie Miller after he shows what he can do at Dayton.

*It should be noted that Archie Miller is not the head coach at Dayton, nor have I heard anyone else say that he will be.

Billy Donovan IS in Raleigh?

According to 97.9 ESPN radio in Tallahassee he is.  Remember when I said that there was a rumor that he would be interviewing on Wednesday?  That rumor stemmed from a Wolfpack Club insider who is above the ground level.  That is all I can say about that, and even I dismissed it at first.  Maybe he really is in the mix.

Oh, and that same station tweeted that State is the 4th best Tobacco Road job.

Tuesday Evening Update

Well, it is Tuesday night where I am (München, Deutchsland).  Anywho, we have “learned” a little bit today.

Josh Pastner was being courted by Missouri to take over their vacancy, but he has inked a five year extension with Memphis at $1.7Mil per.  Great move by Memphis, as Pastner is one of the rising stars of the coaching ranks.  Does this mean that the national media will start clowning MO for getting turned down?

The “knockout hire” that Tim Brando was speaking about was not Billy Donovan, as I speculated earlier.  Apparently if I listened to his radio show on XM I would have known it was Rick Barnes he was referring to.  So yes, Barnes is still in play, or was yesterday.

Speaking of Donovan, we heard a rumor he was to interview tomorrow in Raleigh.  There have been “reports” on Twitter of a “sighting” on campus today.  Right.  Sure thing, Tweeps, sure thing.  I mean, with as tight of a ship as Yow is running, I am sure that even if Donovan was on campus, no one would be able to recognize him.

So another day of rumors, another day of not really having much to go by.  Almost everyone seems to still be in play (except Sean Miller’s dad), and Rick Barnes and Billy Donovan seem to have some steam.  Or smoke, as in smoke screen.

Billy Donovan Set to Inverview for NC State Job?

For the most part, I have ignored the Billy Donovan to NC State rumors as just fan speak.  The guys over at StateFansNation have been talking about him.  Now I hear rumblings that he could be interviewing for the job, as early as Wednesday.

Is this the “knockout” that Tim Brando was speaking about?  We will know soon, as Donovan has a $500K check he has to cut if he leaves Florida April 1st or later.

For what it is worth, no major media members are buying into this at all.  That could mean it has legs.  Either way, we will know pretty quickly.  The thing I can not forget is that Billy turned down Kentucky.  To wait for NC State?

Breaking News from “Ya Think? The Magazine” – John Wall, UK Receiving NCAA Scrutiny

Breaking news from a new source, Ya Think? The Magazine™, indicates that the NCAA may be taking a look into the University of Kentucky and specifically former point guard (and #1 NBA draft pick) John Wall for possible NCAA violations.

Tim Hall and Erin Summers have a post up at WRAL that cites TMZ, of all places, as saying the NCAA is taking an “aggressive” look at the involvement of agents with current and former Kentucky basketball players. Another site, Sports by Brooks, is reporting that one of the Wildcat players involved is, in fact, John Wall.

Continue reading Breaking News from “Ya Think? The Magazine” — John Wall, UK Receiving NCAA Scrutiny