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NCAA Has No Plans to Expand Past Current 68-Team Tournament Field

Many people (us included) were freaking out when reports throughout last year’s college basketball season suggested the NCAA tournament would expand to a 96-team field. It got to the point where the plans for expansion were said to be a done deal. What was really going on is that reports were leaked in order for the NCAA to gauge public opinion. They probably figured most fans would be delighted to have more games to watch and (shhh) bet on during March Madness. Turns out the public outcry against the move was pretty strong, so the plans were altered.

Ultimately the NCAA decided to expand to a 68-team field that includes extra play-in games. Additionally, CBS and Turner came together on a television deal that should keep the NCAA and the participating schools rolling in the cash they were seeking. So with the new TV deal in hand, that means we can forget about plans for expansion, right? Sure seems like that is the case.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, the new chairman of the men’s basketball committee, said Wednesday “There are no plans for further expansion. It isn’t even on our radar screen.” You know the best part of the story? Public pressure from the fans is what kept the tournament field from expanding. See what kind of power we have when we bind together for a cause? Now if we could only do something about replay in baseball …

Seth Curry Shoots Lights Out for Duke

Is there room for another Curry brother to capture our hearts this year? Maybe if he were wearing a different uniform. In case you forgot about him because of his year off or in case you didn’t know about him, let this post serve as your official notice: it’s time to pay attention to Seth Curry.

Curry is the younger brother of Steph Curry, the baby-faced scoring machine who led Davidson to the Elite 8 in 2008 while averaging nearly 26 points per game. Both young men are the son of Del Curry, the former NBA veteran, first-round pick, and one-time NBA leader in three-point shooting percentage. Maybe we could get some genetics doctor to test the family’s DNA because it sure seems like the sharpshooting gene has been passed down to the sons.

Seth Curry is a sophomore at Duke, playing his first season for the Blue Devils. He spent his freshman season averaging 20.2 points per game for Liberty before deciding to transfer, forcing him to sit out last season. Curry has already proven that the year off was worth the wait for Blue Devils fans.

In his first game against Princeton Sunday, Seth scored 14 points making 3 of 5 threes. In his second game on Tuesday, he poured in 17 points making 3 of 4 threes. Curry is shooting 66% from beyond the arc on the young season and he’s a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line. The defending champs are loaded once again, and that includes Curry who will be their outside shooting threat the entire season. Too bad he chose to play for Duke because those Curry kids are pretty darn likable otherwise.

NCAA Rules Kentucky Forward Enes Kanter Permanently Ineligible

Unlike the past few years where the NCAA cleared a John Calipari player before the season and then things were questioned after the season finished, they have ruled on freshman forward Enes Kanter early on. A press release says “The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff has ruled University of Kentucky men’s basketball student-athlete Enes Kanter permanently ineligible for receiving benefits above his actual and necessary expenses while playing for a club basketball team in Turkey.”

New NCAA rules allow potential student-athletes to play with professionals but they’re not allowed to get paid more than is necessary to cover expenses such as food and transportation. The NCAA determined Kanter received over $33,000 more than what was necessary, suggesting he was a professional player thereby wiping out his amateur status.

Kentucky plans to appeal the ruling with a reinstatement committee at the end of the month. The committee has the power to reduce or remove the condition, so Kentucky at least has that going for it. The Wildcats weren’t planning on playing Kanter until he was cleared and it now appears as if they won’t have him around period.

Tennessee and Auburn Lose Exhibition Games to Division II Opponents

It’s a down year for the SEC in football and wouldn’t you know, it’s looking like it will be a down year for the conference in basketball as well. Not only is Tennessee dealing with coach Bruce Pearl admitting he lied to the NCAA, but they also stunk it up on the court Monday night.

The Vols fell to D-II opponent Indianapolis 79-64 at home in Knoxville in an exhibition game. Tennessee turned the ball over 25 times — every player on the roster had a turnover. Not only that, but they also shot just 50% from the line while Indianapolis essentially won the game at the free throw line. They went 33-40 at the line, shooting 83% from the stripe.

Auburn, in its first year under coach Tony Barbee, lost an exhibition contest to D-II Columbus State. The Tigers shot just 33% from the field and 35% at the line. Additionally, Auburn was outrebounded 50-44 and saw Steve Peterson hit the game-winner against them with 15.1 seconds left. The upside for the Tigers is that it’s just an exhibition game and at least they held their opponent to 29% shooting. Regardless, losing to a Division II school in any contest looks bad, and that’s exactly what Tennessee and Auburn did. It will likely be a long year for both programs.

John Calipari Does Not Approve of Dale Brown’s Blue Suit

Kentucky beat Dillard (which is now doubling as a basketball team in addition to a department store) in its final exhibition game Friday night (yawn) 122-54. In case you haven’t been following it, the Wildcats may use a similar lineup to what Villanova had a few years ago, four mid-sized athletic guys on the court at the same time. Whatever they did on Friday worked and they were up so big against Dillard they were just having fun. One thing that wasn’t funny was John Calipari’s reaction to the suit worn by his adversary, Dale Brown.

Brown, the former Kentucky player, wore a blue suit with a white undershirt as a tribute to his alma mater. He now is inducted into the ugly suit club for that wardrobe choice, joining Rick Pitino and Pacman Jones. Here’s how he looked in the gumball suit:

After the one-sided ass whopping game, Calipari shared his unflattering thoughts about the suit: “There are three suits that I’ve seen that I say — I don’t know if I want to say gag me. But there’s a white suit I saw. There was a gold suit that I saw — I don’t know if it was yellow or gold — where the pants were too long. The guy at West Virginia wore it. Then that suit right there. Those three right there.”

Brown gets an A for effort, but an F for fashion choice. That badboy was ugly!

Pics courtesy of Loraemily75 and pennington_jl

Iowa Violations Center Around Recruits Meeting Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore

I don’t know exactly what an Ashton Kutcher is, but somehow it keeps popping up in sports conversations. First I hear that this character has a fantasy football show, then the guy shows up as a high school assistant coach, and now he’s getting his Iowa Hawkeyes into trouble via recruiting violations.

The Des Moines Register found out that Iowa self reported violations to the NCAA involving recruits meeting people who represent the athletic department. Two basketball recruits met Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore while another basketball recruit met former players Reggie Evans and Dean Oliver.

The violations became public when the two recruits said they met Kutcher and Moore during a September football game between Iowa and Iowa State in Iowa City. And as most cases seem to go these days, the proof was documented on twitter. Check out this picture Sports by Brooks tipped us off to that unveils the evidence:

Going to be pretty hard for the Hawkeyes to deny allegations at this point. They’ve self-reported the problems to the NCAA but I’m guessing they won’t be penalized too badly. Would meeting Ashton Kutcher really sway a recruit towards the school? Exactly.

Pac-10 Announces New Pac-12 Conference Alignment with North and South Divisions

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott held a news conference Thursday to announce the alignment changes to the conference. First off, the new alignment features a North and South division (for football only). Scott, who kept calling the conference “the new Pac-12,” says all the schools will have equal revenue sharing. He also mentioned that if revenue does not exceed $170 million in media rights in any year, UCLA and USC would receive a $2 million payment. Here are the football divisions that were voted on unanimously by the schools’ presidents:

PAC-12 NORTH: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford

PAC-12 SOUTH: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah

Scott said the divisions were determined based on four factors: the importance of rivalry games, fan friendliness, geography, and competitive balance. Scott said they wanted to ensure the conferences were balanced evenly based on success the football programs have had in the conference.

Another very interesting point to note is that the conference championship game will be played on the home field of the team with the best conference record, not a neutral site. It does not appear that a tie-breaking system has been finalized, but head-to-head record will be the top tie-breaker, and possibly the BCS standings may be another.

Scott also announced how the football and basketball conference schedules will be formatted:

Football

    – There will be nine conference games five divisional, four cross-divisional)
    - The four California schools will be locked in to play each other every year
    - There will be a rotating system for two of the remaining four teams

Basketball

    – There will be 18 games like usual
    - guaranteed home and home against traditional rival
    - six rotating home games against six schools each year
    - one game against the remaining four teams