Notes, Quotes and Slants
Notebook No. 2
Monday, April 5, 2005
By Denny O'Brien
Tranghese still doesn't get
Mike Tranghese deserves an 'A'
But at some point the embattled Big East commissioner must acknowledge what
he has refused to recognize — that oversized, hybrid leagues in which the
membership is split on its mission cannot survive.
His first attempt crashed just as it was taking flight. Once Miami
rejuvenated itself and Virginia Tech was elevated to elite status, the ACC
updated its pigskin wardrobe by stealing the Big East's best football
The jury is still out on take two, but history suggests a similar result.
"We've got work to do in football," Tranghese said in October 2004. "It's a
challenge but we're excited about it. For all the criticism we're going to
take on the football side, which I think is overwhelming, the praise of the
basketball side is going to be overwhelming."
Even so, football controls the Benjamins in college athletics. And sooner or
later, the Big East must tap into the riches of big-time college football —
the riches that extend far beyond the Bowl Championship Series.
With only eight football members, the possibilities are limited. Television
dictates much of how cash is dispersed, and fewer schools means fewer
markets and less leverage for the conference at the negotiating
Advantage TV suits.
That goes without mentioning the potential losses the Big East will suffer
from its dismal bowl outlook. It's hard to imagine an eight-team league
securing five attractive bowl tie-ins.
And don't forget the looming possibility of a 12-game regular season. Ask
Louisville AD Tom Jurich how difficult it will be to schedule five
non-conference opponents on an annual basis.
This is why the Big East is facing a potential stare-down between its
gridiron and hardwood contingent. Football can't prosper without expansion,
while multiplying likely would do more harm than good to hoops.
Yet Tranghese insists his new league is the model for cohesion.
To a certain degree, Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky deserves
some credit. When his league was pillaged, he remodeled it with a more
Instead of maintaining the hybrid configuration that eventually destroyed
C-USA, Banowsky envisioned a league in which each school had southern roots
and an athletics mission underscored by football.
In doing so, he constructed a conference with a clear direction and
legitimate chance to endure future invasions by other leagues. As a result,
Banowsky should easily be able to replenish the cupboard in the event that a
pair of his schools are courted elsewhere.
Tranghese doesn't have that luxury. It may sound strange, but the Big East
boss could learn something from his C-USA colleague.
The Princeton offense couldn't have a more befitting name. And the reason
extends further than the fact that its inception occurred at the Ivy League
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said the Princeton 'O' is the "epitome" of team
basketball. Instead of relying on one or two superstars for execution, this
system requires all five players to make it successful.
Princeton made it famous during the Pete Carril era, which included a 1996
upset over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. During Carril's regime, the
Tigers focused on spreading the floor, reading the defense, and utilizing
backdoor cuts to get easy baskets.
It was an approach that helped the Tigers' narrow the talent gap by limiting
their own mistakes and lulling the opposing defense to sleep.
Several schools have adopted Carrilball and have enjoyed postseason success
as a result. Most notably, N.C. State and West Virginia run variations of
the Princeton system, and each advanced far in this year's tournament.
It isn't the most exciting style of basketball, but coaches aren't paid to
The NCAA needs to lengthen the distance of the three-point line. The ease
with which long-range bombers nailed treys in the NCAA Tournament magnifies
the need for change.
At 19-feet, nine-inches, the three-point arc isn't much of a challenge
anymore (not that it ever was). Next to the NBA, it is a mid-range jumper.
So much so that shooters sank 47.5 percent of their long-range bombs in the
NCAA Regional Finals.
The NCAA basketball rules committee recommended last May to extend the
three-point arc to 20-feet, six-inches, which is the length used in
international play. In a survey circulated by the NCAA, 65 percent of the
coaches favor such a move.
Not only would lengthening the distance likely reduce the number of
three-pointers taken per game, it also would create more space for pivot men
Coach K's commercial overblown
Thanks to an American Express commercial, Duke apparently will supersize its
order of McDonald's All-Americans. At least that's what Blue Devils
opposition would have you believe.
The commercial, which has been airing during the NCAA Tournament, briefly
showcases the Duke program under K, touches on the coach's principles, and
makes statements about the expectations of players who don the royal blue.
Not exactly front page news. Even so, critics have suggested that the Amex
ad essentially is a propaganda video that will aid the Devils heavily on the
In case anyone hasn't noticed, Duke already has more than 30 recruiting
videos that are televised each year. It's called a season.
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02/23/2007 01:59:45 AM