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Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

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Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:38 pm

Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Let's be honest here, college basketball has not been in the best of health recently.

To be sure, locally, it's as strong as ever. John Calipari has pumped talent and enthusiasm into the greatest tradition in the history of college roundball.

Celebrations commenced as Kentucky returned to the Final Four for the first time in more than a decade. Another No. 1 recruiting class invades the Craft Center come fall. Big Blue Nation's expectations are soaring.

Nationally, however, not so much. Most believe the product has suffered from too many body blows of late, an analysis apparently shared by the general public.

Average attendance for the 2009-10 season hit a 23-year low. Division I attendance figures for this past season showed only a minimal improvement.

Television viewership was up during the NCAA Tournament, but that had more to do with the coverage being spread over four different networks, plus the tip-to-final-horn broadcasts, not to mention the studio presence of Charles Barkley. Some tuned in just to see what Sir Charles might say next.

Overall, however, when a team that finished 9-9 in its conference wins the NCAA Tournament, you have a hunch things may have gone from prime to decline.

Thankfully, that could change.

Who says so?

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State's star freshman center, who is returning to Columbus for his sophomore season. Harrison Barnes, last year's top recruit, who announced he will return to North Carolina for a second season. Perry Jones III, a lottery-pick lock, who decided instead he wanted to try to play a full season at Baylor before cashing NBA paychecks.

There will be more to follow, once the speed-dating period that is the current two-week evaluation period ends May 8 and college stars who have declared for the draft realize their best bet is to boomerang back to the halls of academia for another campaign.

Don't expect Kentucky's tempted trio of Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins to return to Lexington, but there will be plenty of others who regain their senses.

The looming NBA lockout is a factor, surely, but even if that doesn't come to pass it could work to college hoops' favor. After all, there seems to be growing momentum for the collective bargaining agreement to change the rule that a player has to be at least 19 years old, which has spawned the controversial one-and-dones.

Instead, there is much speculation the age limit will be eased back to 20, meaning most of those who go to college must stay at least two years.

There are other encouraging signs. One is the return of the traditional powers. North Carolina will be flat-out loaded next season. Even if John Calipari loses his trio, UK won't be lacking talent next season. Sullinger will spearhead another strong Ohio State team. Armchair experts believe Syracuse is ready for another rise.

The surprise top-five pick for next year is — drum roll — Vanderbilt. Kevin Stallings has everyone back from this year's team, which should silence grumps who say the SEC will be down next year. Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com put Kentucky at No. 2, Vanderbilt at No. 5, Florida at No. 12 and Alabama at No. 21 in his early, early rankings.

That didn't even take into consideration the fact that Renardo Sidney, the star-crossed center from Mississippi State, went back on his tweet from last June that he would be in the 2011-12 pro draft.

Instead, Sidney decided to spend 2011-12 playing collegiate basketball in Starkville.

When even Renardo Sidney knows it's smart to stay in school, you know better days must be ahead.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @johnclayiv.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/04/27/1720540/john-clay-stars-aligning-for-college.html#ixzz1KpvzhU72
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Re: Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Post  jagator on Fri May 06, 2011 7:39 pm

This guy's crazy. College basketball is probably the third healthiest game in the country. Only college and pro football are more popular right now. Look, right now the economy sucks. Watch a NASCAR race if you want proof. When there are empty seats at Bristol and Talladega what does that tell you? Don't go by attendance numbers compared to five years ago. Look at attendance numbers and compare it to other sports. I would bet that college basketball looks pretty darn good.
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Re: Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Post  Californication on Sat May 07, 2011 2:50 am

Yeah, NCAA basketball is in such an abysse they felt the need to televise every game this year. LOL. What a nut. Jag, as bad as I hate to admit it, I was way wrong about Noah. I didn't think he was physical enough for the NBA, but I was dead wrong. He has a great motor, and is proving to be a very solid NBA presence. Still annoying as hell with the chest pumps and screams, but dude is getting it done.
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Re: Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Post  jagator on Mon May 09, 2011 3:55 am

Yeah my boys are doing all right. Brewer is going to be in the Western Finals and Noah most likely in the East. If he isn't then Horford will be. Not too shabby. That two time title winning team should go down as one of the best college teams of all time. I had little doubt that Noah would be good. Not much doubt about Horford either. But I really thought Brewer was the best player in UF history. I'm a little surprised he hasn't done better in the league.
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Re: Stars aligning for college basketball rebound

Post  Californication on Tue May 10, 2011 12:53 am

I'm with you on Brewer. I knew Noah was physically gifted, I just didn't think he was physical enough. I was wrong.
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