TCU to the Big East? No thanks

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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.

Blakely's five throughts from the Green and White Scrimmage

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Blakely's five throughts from the Green and White Scrimmage

Click here for the gallery. 

BOSTON – As has been customary with the Celtics in recent years, their open practice on Friday night featured a pair of 10-minute scrimmages pitting the “Green” team of starters against the “White” team of reserves.
 
The White team, which apparently has been kicking the Green team’s butt for a good chunk of camp, emerged with a 33-26 win. And the Green team had to rally to win the second scrimmage, 24-18.

Similar to summer league, you can’t read too much into what happened and what didn’t happen on Friday night.
 
That said, there were a number of clear and undeniable positives for the Celtics to take from the game and hopefully build upon them going forward.
 
 
5. Al Horford's leadership established
 
The first player’s voice that the 6,000-plus fans at the TD Garden heard from was Al Horford and don’t think for a minute that was just happenstance.
 
For all the scoring and rebounding and defending that the Celtics will look for Horford to do, it is his ability to lead this team that separates him from most of his NBA brethren.
 
The fact that he’s a four-time All-Star speaks to what he has done in this league as a player. But even more telling is that was the fact that he’s been to the playoffs every year he has been in the NBA. And during that span of nine years, he has been pivotal in leading Atlanta beyond the first round – a primary goal for him and the Celtics this season – five times.
 
 
4. Celtics defense could be an elite unit this season
 
The Celtics were a top-10 defensive team last season, and have every reason to believe that they’ll be even better now. Boston has a trio of Pit Bull-like defenders on the perimeter in Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and All-NBA first team defender Avery Bradley. Throw in Jae Crowder’s defensive versatility at the wing along with a pair of upper echelon rim-protectors in Amir Johnson and Al Horford and the Celtics no longer are a team that can put a couple good defenders on the floor at one time. They actually have the depth now to go with a ‘Big’ all-defensive team or a ‘small ball’ all-defensive team which provides the kind of versatility that should result in Boston being a top-3 defensive team this season.
 
 
3. Marcus Smart poised for breakout season
 
Smart seemed about as comfortable as we’ve seen him on Friday, showcasing his range as a shooter while still being able to get after it defensively. Based on what he has done in terms of improving his game, Smart seems more likely to play off the ball than on it. With his size, strength, athleticism and ability to defend multiple positions that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If Boston does indeed have one of those magical-type seasons, Smart is a player that has the potential to help significantly. He understands the Celtics’ system inside and out, and is doing what young players on the rise should do – show growth as a player.
 
 
2. James Young playing best basketball at right time
 
These are some pretty stressful times for James Young, but you wouldn’t know it by the extremely cool demeanor he has exuded. Although it has only been a few short days of training camp, James Young has stepped up his game knowing anything less than his best could result in him being waived and potentially on his way out of the NBA. During the first Green-White scrimmage on Friday night, Danny Ainge said there were five guys essentially fighting for two roster spots. He didn’t single out Young specifically, but it’s no secret that the 21-year-old who is heading into third NBA season is among the players in that group. To Young's credit, he's doing a lot of those little things such as playing solid defense, getting deflections and making "hockey assists" to show he belongs in the NBA and more significantly, should remain a Celtic. 
  
1. Terry Rozier's tremendous strides
 
Rozier was the star of the two scrimmages the Celtics put on in front of about 6,000 people at the TD Garden Friday night. He scored, got assists, rebounded … he did it all. What impressed me the most about him was his defense on Isaiah Thomas. Rozier loves Thomas and respects the hell out of him. But Rozier  has made no secret about wanting to get more playing time this year, and is out to snatch some of the minutes from anyone ahead of him, Thomas included. We saw the tenacious potential Rozier has as an on-the-ball defender, but he seems to have taken that up a notch from his rookie season. And the confidence he has in his shot-making is undeniable. We saw that in summer league and it’s good to see that he brought it with him into training camp. Ditto for his decision-making and leading of the team at the point which are also areas in which he has improved but still needs to continue to get better at on a more consistent basis. There’s no doubt at this point Rozier will play this season and likely get a lion’s share of the minutes vacated by Evan Turner’s departure to Portland.