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21 October 2019

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basketball blogs

21 October 2019

basketball blogs
  • Did ESPN Arrange the Georgia-Memphis Game to be Played on CBS?
    21 October 2019
    Georgia-Memphis is one of the big non-conference games, but it has a weird backstory that many missed.

    The Georgia-Memphis series was signed as part of the AAC-SEC Alliance, which is a home-and-home series much like the Big 12-SEC Challenge.  Typically, in seasons that start in an odd-numbered year (2019), the teams that finish in the top ten of the SEC conference standings from the prior season are admitted into the Big 12-SEC Challenge for two seasons.  Teams that do not qualify for the Big 12-SEC Challenge play conference games on the day of the challenge and they are televised on the “double main event” SEC Saturday Night block on SEC Network.  These schools are left out and left to their own devices as to what to do with this extra game that they could schedule during non-conference play, ESPN and the SEC stepped in to do something about it in April.

    The AAC-SEC Alliance is born.

    The idea of the top ten teams being admitted into the Big 12-SEC Challenge actually came to end because of the new AAC-SEC Alliance.  What mattered now was ratings and interest.  In ESPN’s hype factory, the idea of pitting the media acclaimed #1 and #2 recruits of the Class of 2019 in a regular season game against each other is a great one as it would presumably put eyeballs on the ESPN network of choice, which in turn would mean more College Football Playoff National Championship promotions and cross-promotional efforts for the recently crashing Disney Parks (they will shove Walt Disney World down your throat during the Advocare Invitational unlike previous years, you have been warned).  Aside from putting Georgia in this “Alliance”, schools that did not have a good hook with a Big 12 opponent were also put into the “Alliance”.  Ole Miss and South Carolina both would have qualified for the Big 12-SEC Challenge in the past, but were placed on the outside looking in as they will not be participating.  Vanderbilt is rebuilding and do not have a natural opponent in the Big 12 outside of Baylor.

    The Big 12-SEC Challenge is about creating those sexy made-for-television games and in the case of Georgia, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and South Carolina, the network programmers had different visions in mind.

    On April 18, 2019, the announcement was made that an alliance was created.  The matchups still had yet to be determined.

    “Teams to play in the imminent matchups as part of the alliance will not be announced until late May, at which time schools will proceed with scheduling dates and times. All four games will be aired on ESPN networks.”

    ESPN often dictates and facilitates the scheduling of games and tournaments.  ESPN Events owns most of the College Football Bowls and ESPN Events owns many of the non-conference tournaments that take place in November.  The original plan was to have Georgia host Memphis this season, but this was changed at the demands of Memphis and it was a part of the negotiation as the AAC was free to choose the schools they wanted to showcase and the SEC and ESPN sought to maximize viewership.  It is why Texas A&M and Missouri are a part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge and not South Carolina and Ole Miss.  The SEC did not make this call, ESPN changed the plans and also saw the opportunity with Georgia hosting Memphis.

    How did CBS get the Georgia-Memphis game?

    This is the mind-boggling question.  How does something like this happen?  Georgia-Memphis is not going to be as hype-worthy of a game in 2020-21 as it would in 2019-20.  This season’s game is the type of game that ESPN craves and they were supposed to be the beneficiary of what would be a major game with NCAA Tournament ramifications.

    Did ESPN and CBS negotiate to do a home-and-home split between the conferences?  Was it arranged so that CBS would get the games on the AAC home floors and ESPN would get the games on the SEC home floors?  The answer is a succinct ‘no’.  South Carolina will host Houston to be televised on ESPNU, Vanderbilt will host SMU to be televised on SEC Network, and Ole Miss will visit Wichita State to be televised on ESPN2.

    CBS owns rights to air AAC home games, games are even branded CBS AAC.  The rights to the Georgia-Memphis game would fall into the hands of ESPN the vast majority of the time, but CBS has the rights to a small package of games and chose to exercise their priority rights in this case.  This arrangement between the AAC and CBS exists even though in March 2019, the AAC signed a 12 year media rights deal with ESPN worth $1 Billion.

    CBS historically airs a few AAC games a season, they used to air the AAC Tournament.  Last season, they aired two conference games and a UConn-Villanova game that was a part of their Big East television rights.

    ESPN thought they were going to be able to air all four games and CBS swooped in to take highest profile game.  Challenge series’ always have enjoyed continuity in terms of networks airing games.  ACC-Big Ten Challenge on ESPN, Big 12-SEC Challenge on ESPN, Gavitt Tipoff Games on FS1 and the Fox operated Big Ten Network.

    CBS would not have swooped in to air any other possible matchup combination available that took place on a AAC home floor and they would not have had the ability to air the originally scheduled and swiftly changed game, which was Memphis at Georgia.

    CBS may have dropped the ball in choosing to air Alabama-Texas A&M in Football two weeks in advance as opposed to exercising their option and airing Florida-LSU during the same week, but they were able to take a premier College Basketball game away from ESPN and use it as a possible lead-in for an NFL Wild Card game.

    The post Did ESPN Arrange the Georgia-Memphis Game to be Played on CBS? appeared first on Georgia Basketball Blog.

  • The Other Top 25 preseason rankings: No. 11 East Tennessee State Buccaneers
    21 October 2019
    Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    On paper, the Bucs look like the deepest team Steve Forbes has had in Johnson City.

    2018-19 Record: 24-10 (13-5 SoCon, T-3rd), CIT First Round
    Key Returning Players: Jeromy Rodriguez (F, Sr.), Tray Boyd III (G, Sr.), Patrick Good (G, Jr.), Bo Hodges (G, Jr.), Daivien Williamson (G, So.), Octavion Corley (C, Jr.), Isaiah Tisdale (G, Sr.), Lucas N’Guessan (C, Sr.)
    Key Losses: Mladen Armus (transferred to Boise State)

    Key Newcomers: Vonnie Patterson (F, Jr. via. Southeasern Missouri State), Damari Monsato (F, Fr), Joe Hugley (F, Sr. via Central Connecticut State), Charlie Weber (F, Fr.)

    Believe it or not, the best basketball in the Volunteer State has been found at East Tenneesee State in recent years.

    Head coach Steve Forbes’ 100 wins in the past four seasons is 12 more than the next-closest team in Tennesee over that span (More than Rick Barnes’ 88 wins at the University of Tennessee during that same span). This year, the Bucs add transfers in from Southeast Missouri State and Central Connecticut State, making them the likely preseason favorites in the SoCon.

    East Tennessee State is coming off a 24-win campaign and returns its top seven scorers for the 2019-20 season — including four of five starters. Despite those 24 wins and a postseason appearance in the CIT, the season seemed at times like a roller-coaster ride. ETSU’s chances at an NCAA Tournament bid fell short with a SoCon Tournament loss to eventual champion Wofford.

    Key Non-Conference Games:

    There are some real intriguing non-conference games for the Bucs — including two games against Power-5 foes — starting with Kansas in the Maui on the Mainland tournament.

    The second power five matchup will be against the LSU Tigers. An interesting sidenote is ETSU assistant coach Brooks Savage was once an assistant under LSU head coach Will Wade. Perhaps he has the scout for this game and can lend some expertise on Wade and the Tigers.

    Perhaps the game that sticks out most on the 2019-20 schedule is the renewal of the rivalry on the hardwood between East Tennessee State and Appalachian State. It will be the first meeting the Bucs and Mountaineers since the 2011-12 season, when the Bucs blitzed the Mountaineers with a 65-48 win in Boone.

    Nov. 14 vs. Winthrop
    Nov. 19 at Kansas
    Nov. 26 vs.Appalachian State
    Dec. 7 at North Dakota State
    Dec. 18 at LSU

    Three Things to Watch: The Bucs have the best backcourt in the SoCon

    This year, Forbes is much more comfortable about ETSU’s point guard situation than he was last season. The quintet of Daivien Williamson, Bo Hodges, Isaiah Tisdale, Tray Boyd III and Patrick Good are as good as any backcourt in mid-major basketball.

    Isaiah Tisdale (8.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.2 SPG) and Daivien Williamson (9.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.5 APG) split time running the point. Both Tisdale and Williamson got valuable time for the Bucs last season; both will provide key depth at the point guard position.

    Alongside them, Bo Hodges (10.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 52 turnovers, 1.1 SPG, 54.0 FG%), Patrick Good (10.4 PPG, 39.0% from three, 80.8% FT) and Tray Boyd III (12.2 PPG, 36.8% from three) round out the five veterans returning in the backcourt. Hodges ended up on the preseason All-Southern Conference team, as selected by the coaches, but Good and Boyd had cases for that recognition as well.

    Hodges, a junior from Nashville, Tenn, might be the Bucs’ best all-around basketball player, as he gets its done on both ends of the floor. However, he battled injuries early last season during non-conference play and really wasn’t 100% until February. He eventually showed up big down the stretch for ETSU during the regular-season, and made some clutch shots in the Bucs SoCon Tournament quarterfinal win over Chattanooga.

    As good as Hodges can be offensively and as much athleticism as he has on the offensive glass, the strength of his overall game is probably on the defensive end of the floor, as he is one of the premier defenders in all of mid-major basketball. Though he is primarily guard throughout his career, he is versatile enough to play any position 1-4.

    Can the Bucs establish consistent frontcourt depth?

    Size-wise, it’s safe to say ETSU is the biggest team in the Southern Conference on the interior, with two seven-footers, a 6’9” newcomer and two 6’7” players.

    On paper at least, it looks as if head coach Steve Forbes more than off-set the loss of Mladen Armus, who transferred to Boise State, but what Forbes will need is consistency in the frontcourt other than senior Jeromy Rodriguez.

    Keep an eye on newcomer Joe Hugley, who transferred in from Central Connecticut State. The 6’7” forward averaged 12.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG in about 22 minutes of floor action last season as a Blue Devil. He finished the season with 18 double-figure performances.

    The two seven-footers are Lucas N’Guessan and Octavion Corley. Corley redshirted last season for the Bucs, and he’s ready to be a contributing factor for Forbes this season. For his size, has good footwork and mobility giving the Bucs yet another skilled big man.

    N’Guessan, who surprisingly gained eligibility a year earlier than expected, will likely look to be more of an offensive factor this season. The native of De Lier, Netherlands saw action in a total of 23 games, with a total of 10 starts and finished the season averaging 4.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG, while shooting a whopping 72.3% from the field albeit on a 71-shot sample size.

    Jeromy Rodriguez could be the best player in the SoCon

    ETSU’s crown jewel underneath — and maybe the top player in the Southern Conference — is without question Jeromy Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez (11.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 55.5 FG%) decided to return to ETSU a couple weeks after announcing he would test the NBA Draft waters in order to support his family back home in the Dominican Republic. With Rodriguez back in the fold for the Bucs, it could take the Bucs from being just a good basketball team to a special one.

    Last season saw Rodriguez garner first-team All-SoCon honors by both the media and coaches, while also earning praise from the National Association of Basketball Coaches by receiving Division I All-District honors.

    He set new career-highs for points on a pair of occasions last season, posting 21 points in games against both UT-Martin and in a late-season SoCon clash with Furman. He finished the season ranked eighth nationally with 10.9 rebounds per game, was 13th in offensive rebounds per game (3.42), 18th in defensive rebounds-per-game (7.52) and 23rd in double-doubles (15). Additionally, Rodriguez also finished with 64 assists, 44 steals and 21 blocks, showing his incredible ability on both ends of the floor.

    The X Factor

    This team needs to stay healthy. Unfortunately, last season and this summer don’t inspire too much confidence.

    During the offseason, ETSU embarked on a summer European tour without Jeromy Rodriguez and Patrick Good, who both stayed home to recover from offseason surgeries. Both Rodriguez and Good should be good to go for the season opener on Nov. 1 against non-Division 1 Limestone.

    Bo Hodges wasn’t fully healthy until February last season, and it affected the Bucs on both ends of the floor.

    Keeping this team healthy could not only make this group the best Forbes has had in Johnson City in his five-year tenure, but also lead to ETSU’s return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

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  • 2019-2020 Player Profile: Joey Brunk
    21 October 2019

    With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ve transitioned from our look at other Big Ten programs to our player-by-player previews of the 2019-20 Indiana roster. Today, our player profiles continue with a look at Joey Brunk....

    The post 2019-2020 Player Profile: Joey Brunk appeared first on Inside the Hall | Indiana Hoosiers Basketball News, Recruiting and Analysis.

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