College basketball is back as teams around the country tip-off their seasons this evening. Here are some good reads from around the web that caught our eye on the season’s first day. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)
- Brendan Quinn profiles Jordan Morgan’s recovery for MLive: “I was not the same player at all,” he said, hunched, leaning forward, voice lowered. “It was very difficult to deal with. It’s like, OK, your team is going on a run, your team is having success and you’re not at your best. I knew if I was at my best, there were things I could give to this team that it probably needed. There were situations that I knew I could have contributed. But I wasn’t at my best. I couldn’t do it.”
- Rob Dauster profiles Spike Albrecht for College Basketball Talk: “I would have rather not scored or played at all and won it all than scored 17 in the first half and lose,” he said. “Obviously, I would like to have a chance to continue to play. But then again, I can’t complain if Derrick turns out to be an all-american and I’m in the same role for the next three years. If we’re winning games and playing in Final Fours and National Championships and the team’s doing well, that’s awesome. I couldn’t be happier. The chance to experience all that?”
- Eamonn Brennan on the new new Michigan for ESPN: “The biggest question is, what do you do at shot-clock time?” Beilein said. “Do you have shot-clock plays that could go anywhere? [With] 12 seconds, [do you have] five different looks? Or trusting one person? I think that will work itself out as the year goes on.” In other words: It ain’t so. Michigan might tweak, and Beilein might tinker, but the things that got him from Newfane to the national title game are still firmly in the playbook. And why not?
- Jerry Brewer profiles former Wolverine Jamal Crawford for the Seattle Times: Crawford met Pierce at a barbershop once and traded barbs. “This is the Paul Pierce everyone’s talking about?” Crawford said aloud. “He’s not that good.” “You’ve got talent,” Pierce shot back, “but you’re not even eligible.” Crawford only had the backyard of grandma’s house. “If I make this shot, I’m going to Michigan,” he would whisper to himself. Swish. “If I make this shot, I’m going to the NBA.” Swish.
- Brendan Quinn examines how this year’s Michigan team can’t look back at the Louisville game: “I haven’t watched it, no. Nope.” Robinson said. “I might have watched a couple highlights from it, but I haven’t sat down and watched the whole game. I don’t want to see it.” “I just really haven’t thought about it,” McGary said. “It’s tough. I’ve watched some highlights of it, but never the full game. Just for us to make it that far and not capitalize …” “I never had an interest in watching it,” Morgan said. “I kind of just let that go a little bit.”
- Mark Titus previews the Big Ten at Grantland: “I think the Big Ten will be pretty competitive this season, and the conference will enter a good number of teams into the Big Dance. It’s just that Ohio State is good but not great. Michigan might be the most overrated team in America. Wisconsin is Wisconsin. Indiana’s coach is Tom Crean. Iowa is generating so much buzz for being underrated that it might actually be overrated at this point. Illinois and Minnesota will probably be on the bubble. Purdue’s best player is the most frustrating player in the Big Ten. And Northwestern, Penn State, and Nebraska are … um … yeah.”
- Fred Kerber talks Tim Hardaway Jr. in the NY Post: “Coach said before the [Bulls] game, ‘People that are playing well are going to stay on the court and here’s an opportunity to play,’ ” said Hardaway, who hit a 3-pointer that launched the Knicks’ fourth-quarter rally and feels he has shown “heart” to the staff. “Once I heard that, just tried to take advantage, just tried to do the little things: play defense, run the floor hard, box out, defend on the low post.”
- Adam Zagoria updates Jonah Bolden’s recruitment: Australian small forward Jonah Bolden is headed Down Under for a short vacation with this family, but before leaving he spoke with SNY.tv about the status of his red-hot recruitment The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep forward recently cut his list to 10 schools – UCLA, Michigan, UNLV, Louisville, Southern Methodist, LSU, Arizona, Oregon State, Auburn and Vanderbilt — but told SNY.tv that a few were among those working the hardest. “I’m going to be cutting my list down soon but I’d say the ones that are working hard on me now are UCLA, SMU, Louisville [and] Indiana, that’s probably the top right there,” he said by phone Monday night.
- Mark Snyder previews Michigan for USA Today: But for a legendary grinder such as Beilein, whose first Final Four came in his 35th year of coaching, it’s already a distant memory. He doesn’t have much choice with a wicked schedule ahead. There are trips to Duke and Iowa State and to Brooklyn, N.Y., to face Stanford. There is a strong Puerto Rico Tip-Off field. Arizona visits Ann Arbor. And if the Big Ten looks anything like it did last season — probably the best it had been in 20 years — there’s no relief coming, as Michigan learned while losing at Penn State last season. After the spring, though, the goal is no longer a dream. The Wolverines have touched it and want to hold on.
- Jerry Palm picks Michigan to the Final Four at CBS Sports.