Starting to feel like March

Things that a Jersey guy took note of this  week:  The calendar says mid-February, but the intensity feels like early March in the college basketball season.

It would be hard to top Notre Dame’s 5 overtime victory over Louisville on Saturday night in which the Irish wiped out a 7 point Louisville lead in the final minute of regulation time and then turned the contest into the longest regular season game in Big East history.

The next night at Conte Form at Boston  College, the Eagles and No. 4 Duke staged their own drama as the lowly Eagles (2-8 ACC, 10-13) gave mighty No. 4 Duke (21-2, 8-2) all it wanted and then some before missing a buzzer attempt in a 62-61 loss.

It was a good vs. good battle, with Duke’s Coach K and BC’s Steve Donahue matching coaching moves all night. Good stuff.

“They (BC)played well enough to win,” said Krzyzewski after the game, thankful that the Blue Devils. “But so did we.”


Let me say this quickly. Winter sucks. Having to deal with 30 inches of snow, a tree falling 10 feet from my house, no power and no electricity (back on Tuesday maybe) turned the inside of my home into a winter wonderland where you could see your breath. That plus no cable has made it a tough few days.

But we digress.


Recruiting season is over–at least for the time being–and the usual suspects had great years. A consensus Top 10 loaded with SEC schools such as Alabama, LSU, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia, as well as Ohio State Notre Dame and Michigan lead the way.

The  of the ACC appeared to have a good season with schools such as Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech all in most Top 25 rankings.

Good recruiting is not so much quantity, but quality. Take USC, which has been hampered by NCAA  scholarship restrictions the last few years. The Trojans only had 12 scholarships to offer, but Coach Lane Kiffin and his staff landed 5- 5-star recruits–the most of any school and 7 four star recruits. If even half that total develop into reasonable players, the Trojans will be back among the elite.

The problem, of course, is depth. What happens if a starter or starters are knocked out with injuries and you don’t have quality to replace them? That was part of the USC problem last season as the Trojans went from a Pre-season No. 1 team to a .500 also ran.

And then we have Boston College. The Eagles were ranked last in the ACC in recruiting. Even more frightening was that BC was ranked the worst BCS conference team in the country in recruiting.

New BC coach Steve Addazio  was hired in December, which means that he was already behind the pack in recruiting which has become a two and sometime three season process. But of the 15 players that BC signed, none were ranked as five or four star prospects. Again, we don’t take those rankings all that seriously because just as many stars develop in college who weren’t highly ranked as the “can’t miss” prospects.

But one of the Addazio’s strengths is reportedly his ability to recruit.  Addazio didn’t appear to steal any prospects with this class and he can talk all he wants about character and competitiveness, but there comes a time when talent prevails.

Lord knows, being ranked last in the ACC and last among the BCS schools means there is more than enough room to improve.

How bizarre is recruiting. Take the case of Florida high school running back Alex Collins, who committed to Arkansas, but had to wait a day because his mother wouldn’t sign the letter of intent, which requires a parent’s signature. Collins got his father to sign the LOI the next day.


Want a sleeper team in the NCAA tournament? Try UCLA. As our buddy Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times pointed out this week, watch for what the Bruins do in February as an indicator of how they will do in March. According to Plaschke, in UCLA’s three trips under Ben Howland to the Final, the Bruins were 18-4 in February. During the last two non-NCCA tournament seasons, the Bruins were a mediocre 8-8 in February. Which is why UCLA’s 59-57 win over Washington on Thursday drew extra attention…Just when the Celtics were being written off as old and crumbling, they put together a 6th straight game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that IS old and crumbling.. “We’re playing selfless and free, that’s how we have to be,” said Celtic coach Doc Rivers… BC radio announcer for college football and basketball Jon Meter Parel is still in the mix to become the voice of the Patriots to replace Gil Santos. Decision expected by early April.  Who’s No. 1 battle continues. Less than a week after No. 3 Indian “upset” (Indiana was favored) No.1 Michigan, the Hoosiers travel to Champagne an lose a buzzer-beater basket to unranked Illinois….Magic continues for Bryant University and Coach Tim O’Shea, who have rebounded from two-game losing streak last week to re-establish themselves as team to beat in the Northeast Conference…Former Secretary of State, Condolzea Rice, one of the first two women to ever be extended an invitation to Augusta National is playing in the AT &T  tournament at Pebble Beach this week.  Rice has a 17 handicap.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  11 comments for “Starting to feel like March

  1. RudyMass
    February 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    What does Chris Columbo think of the $23M TV deal? But just wait until Tulsa joins.

    • Chris Columbo
      February 12, 2013 at 10:31 am

      The rumored $23 million deal that is being referred to is likely for the basketball component, as they are in need of settling that right away as there is no contract after this year.We will have to wait and see what more details are brought forward. The real issue here is that it is now Mid February and Mr. Aresco has not been able to deliver any kind of TV deal at all. Until he does all the media attention will continue to be negative for the conference. Watching Aresco in action now for a while, I can see why he is getting nothing done. For example, take a look at the c7 situation. He has said for quite some time that everything with the C7 was amicable, well if anyone takes a look at the league by laws it is very clear that the c7 has the upper hand here. They can dissolve the league and force a sale of the Big East as part of the process. There are other complicating factors which of course is why they haven’t done so yet to date. However, now it comes out that there may be a battle for the Big East name. All of these matters should have been hashed out quickly and settled before it got to this place. That is Mr. Aresco’s responsibility as commissioner. The school presidents need to make this a top priority or else it will linger on for months, and no one will win but the media companies who will get a cheaper deal.

      • SJGMoney
        February 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        Wrong. The $23 million dollar figure is not for basketball. It is not for football. It is not for badminton. It is for ALL sports. Can you say Kick In The Nuts!! Business school textbooks will be written about the fateful decision made two years ago to turn down 6 times as much money!!! You are dead right on Aresco, just like Tranghese before him who was asleep when the ACC stole some football schools and Marinetto who was asleep while every other conference Commish was making moves. These pompous asses are like the old emperors of Rome. They still think their league is superior when it is not even close. Maybe one reason Aresco hasn’t delivered the hammer on the C7 yet is because it’s a possibility, as Mark has alluded, he’s angling to become the Commish of the C7. Talk about a conflict of interest!! Instead what he should have been doing is getting he C7 to turn on themselves, convince (monetarily) Georgetown and Nova to go big time football and tell the other Catholics to go to confession. Build the conference back up and start over with a solid core.

        • Question
          February 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

          Would disagree – not on the fact that this offer is for all sports – but that Aresco is asleep at the wheel – the problem is he (Aresco) doesnt have much leverage wiht the C& wanting to leave and the other left over members unsettled – this has got to making negotiations challanging since the media know whats happening and can wait it out

          • SJGMoney
            February 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

            That’s just it Question, Aresco needed to act BEFORE the C7 blew things up. He needed to make bod, pre-emptive moves BEFORE Fox threw all that money at the C7. He has constantly been re-acting instead of acting.

  2. Big Shot Bob
    February 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    BC fans must accept that they will be in athletic purgatory forever. Coaches Donahue and Addazio assure this. At least they are good guys and all opposing coaches love having them in their league. It’s nice to have that sure win on your schedule once or twice a year.

  3. MaroonNGold
    February 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    You know, today’s news may offer a solution to BC’s woeful perception problem as a coach graveyard and a place whose word cannot be trusted..

    That is the Pope’s announced resignation has spurred talk that an American may replace him.

    How good would it be for us at BC if our self-esteemed “leader” were chosen to be the next Pontiff.

    Of course, the flip side is that selection of this guy may well mean the end of Catholicism in the world.

  4. SJGMoney
    February 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Also Mark, no comments on the rumor about the big East only getting $23 million a year for their TV rights? And that’s not $23 million per team, but total!! For all sports!!! That is about 1/3 of what you thought and about 1/5 of what they turned down two years ago. What does your old Providence College/Big East brass connections say about that?

    • js
      February 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Count me in as someone that want hear from Mark on the TV contract issue. So far he is my go to source for all things Big East.

      Count me is as someone that wishes college basketball received more coverage before March too.

  5. SJGMoney
    February 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Ben makes a good point about these being Spaz’ recruits, but my question for all the BC people is why did Daz have to honor the committments, and why would he agree to that deal? That would be a deal breaker for most coaches and either he’s dumb or lazy.

  6. Ben Dover
    February 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Odd when discussing BC’s last ranked recruiting class you didn’t once mention Spaz’s name considering he was the one who recruited this last ranked class and Addazio had to honor all commitments.

    As for winter sucking, we live in the northeast aren’t Jersey guys supposed to “deal with it”?

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