TCU to the Big East? No thanks

191549.jpg

TCU to the Big East? No thanks

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Welcome to the Big East, TCU.

Go ahead and read that as a sarcastic greeting. It is. Nobody wants you there.

This is a football move. Understood. But first of all, being sort of located in east-ish Texas doesn't qualify you for membership.

And secondly, you Horned Frogs are joining in all sports so this affects Big East basketball and that's a problem. There are already too many teams and the beloved home-and-home series concept has been all but wiped out. Which is garbage.

Syracuse beats UConn in the Carrier Dome? The Huskies want a revenge match in front of their howling home crowd.

And this is just one more move toward the ruin of the best basketball conference in the country. Yeah, I said it. Am I biased? You betcha. But am I right? Generally always. See for yourself.

1979 -- The Big East is born when Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, and Syracuse add Seton Hall, Boston College and Connecticut to its band of brothers in basketball domination. Choirs of angels sing, all war briefly ends (Bonjour, Cold War dtente) and Michael Jackson releases Off the Wall.

1982 -- Pittsburgh joins just two years after Villanova. The conference has reached the apex of awesomeness. Just take a moment to let this sink in.

1984 -- Georgetown wins the National Basketball Championship.
1985 -- Three Big East teams -- Villanova, St. John's, and Georgetown -- make it to the Final Four. Villanova wins the whole darn thing. Just another testament to pwnage.

1991 -- Somebody decides that the Big East needs more football schools. Stupid idea. Miami, Temple, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Rutgers all pile on. Clearly, this is when things start getting faily.

1995 -- WVU and Rutgers change their football-only contracts. Notre Dame gets a non-football membership.

1999 -- UConn wins. Everything.

2001 -- Virginia Tech decides it wants to play basketball with the big dogs. This is a mistake.

2003 -- Syracuse wins the National Basketball Championship.

2004 -- UConn wins another title. NBD.

2005 -- Virginia Tech realizes its mistake and runs away to the ACC. Miami and Boston College run right along behind the Hokies. Thus begins the new era of hatred for Boston College, no longer as an opponent but as a dirty traitor New England school that whored itself out for football money.

Five teams move to the Big East from Conference USA Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette, and DePaul. The idea of bringing in big name train wrecks like Rick Pitino and Bob Huggins is kind of exciting. And Tom Crean's Golden Eagles are doing good things so bring 'em on.

2006 -- The Big East sends eight teams -- yeah, that's a record -- to the NCAA Tournament. Pat Forde has a nervous breakdown. Doug Gottlieb turns to P90X in his confusion.
2008 -- Eight teams go to the tournament again. For one shining moment, ESPN appears on the verge of imploding. Nothing happens. Bummer.
2009 -- Instead of the top 12, all 16 basketball teams are invited to play in the conference tournament. This is ridiculously dumb. The top four teams now get a double-bye to the quarterfinals. Who thought that people want USF to have a chance for an early round upset? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

2010 -- TCU is slated to join the Big East in two years. This announcement is made barely a week after North Korea hits Yeonpyeong Island with shelling. Coincidence? No way.

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago. 

Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face. 

“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.

Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful. 

“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”