Office Hours: Finals Week Takes Over

By David Scott - December 10, 2007


Most everyone heads into finals this week bringing a bit of a lull in the college hoops schedule. The Professor, however, takes no breaks, knows no limits and will give homework during finals AND after exams as well. So wipe that Holiday-Break-is-coming smile off your face and pay attention as we once again open the grade book.

D: Jim Calhoun, UConn
That's a "D" as in "Disciplined" for the clearly frustrated Calhoun, who was reprimanded by Big East commish Mike Tranghese after Calhoun trashed the game officials involved with his team's win over Northeastern. Calhoun - who apparently has also taken to grading - was also T'ed up last weekend in Boston against Gonzaga (but not ejected).

His response to the reprimand was a bit dubious as Calhoun said he will "do everything I can to keep this from happening again in the future. . ." If it does happen again - and with this edition of the Huskies, you can virtually count on it - Calhoun will need to be suspended and fined if the new decorum rules are to have any teeth at all. Tranghese was kind and gentle in this instance. Next time he can be neither.

A: The NEC Conference and Its TV Crew
In memory of and in tribute to, the NEC honored former Wagner and NEC SID, Bob Balut over the weekend and the TV crew working the league's weekly game donated their game checks to the Aidan Robert Balut Scholarship Fund. [Aidan Robert Balut Scholarship Fund, c/o PNC Bank/Church and Greentree Road, Marlton, NJ 08053. For more information, call 732-469-0440, Ext. 6.]

Classy move by the always classy folks at the NEC.

C-minus: Southern Illinois
My guy Jerry Palm was bashing the Salukis last week when we met up in NYC for some adult beverages and I did my best to fight for the honor of senior Randal Falker and the boys. But the Salukis have lost three in a row to slip to 3-3 and Saturday's miscue at Charlotte was anther sign that SIU may not be all we though they'd be. Worse yet, it's another sign that Palm actually knows what he's talking about and that we know nothing. Against the 6-2 49ers Falker was held scoreless for the first time since his freshman year and tried just three shots before fouling out in 21 minutes.

A: Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers General Manager
The Brew Crew GM took in Marquette and Wisconsin in Madison on Saturday night. (Author admission: This was a cheap trick so that I may feasibly include the name Bean Stringfellow and not just seem like I was making a gratuitous mention of the agent's name.)

Melvin sure did seem awfully happy for a guy who most likely had just signed near-Red Sox goat, Eric "Gag Me" Gagne.

Oh, and it also allows us to gush over Marquette's fantastic guard duo of Jerel McNeal and Dominique James. They will win Tom Crean a whole lot of Big East games by themselves.

F: John Brady, LSU
See: Villanova 68, LSU 67. To blame the Tiger players (or specifically the fouled out Anthony Randolph) would be too harsh. Brady watched this one slip away and looked as dumbfounded as anyone watching at home, not to mention broadcaster Bill Raftery who was beside himself over the Tigers' meltdown. Yes, Jay Wright pushed every correct button down the stretch for 'Nova (chiefly Malcolm Grant), but Brady's bunch was undisciplined and scattershot and that falls on the coach.

D: The SEC
Not even in the Top 5 of the conference RPI, the league that gave us back-to-back national champion Florida has only two Top 50 RPI teams (Vanderbilt and Arkansas) according to weekend ratings. It certainly appears - at this point - to be a transition year for the power conference that isn't supposed to have such major dips.

B-Plus: Indiana Basketball
Even with all sorts of hullabaloo swirling around the Hoosiers, they still manage to head into the relaxed holiday-time schedule with an 8-1 record and a convincing win over Kentucky on Saturday, despite not having all-everything Eric Gordon (tailbone). DJ White has had double-digit rebound efforts in each of his last six games and needs to be in every discussion about legit Top 5 players.

Rook Look
A weekly check-in with a professional player who was toiling on college campus last year at this time:

During the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando this past summer, we latched onto Herb Hill (of Providence College) and tried to get a feel for what a "tweener" was going though in his effort to make the league. Hill was hoping to grab comparisons to ex-friar Ryan Gomes, but the hype never got that hyped-up and Hill fell to Utah, late in the second round. The Jazz moved him to the Sixers and that's where Hill has remained but is part of what NBA.com calls the HNPAMY - The Has Not Played a Minute Yet Club.

We're still rooting for good guy Hill and can't wait til he joins the HPAM club.

Information and quotes from school releases, official websites and wire stories were used in this notes column.

Posted by David Scott at 12:14 AM on December 10, 2007
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