JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: March 30, 2014

Tennessee basketball adds another graduate transfer (Image 1)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Pervis Ellison…

  • Tennessee's basketball team took its fans on a roller-coaster adventure this season.

    It ended Friday night when 2-seed Michigan held on to take a 73-71 victory to advance to the Elite Eight.

    A controversial offensive charge call on junior Jarnell Stokes cost the Vols a chance of completing what would have been one of the storybook comebacks in NCAA Tournament history.

    The block/charge call is not one of the most difficult calls for an official to make. It is the most difficult. Vanderbilt fans are still miffed years later about the game-deciding block/charge call involving Vandy's Phil Cox and UT's Tyrone Beaman at Memorial Gym.

    My point would be that Stokes should not have been getting the ball 15 feet away from the basket in the first place. Stokes is a solid player, but he is not a creator off the dribble. It appeared he initiated contact with the defensive player first, but it also appeared the defensive player was not set. That argument can, and I predict will, go on forever among Vols fans.

    But you can what-if that game day and night. What if the Vols had not played so poorly in the first half? They totally went away from what has taken them to that point in the tournament. They got beat back on defense. They allowed open 3s and Michigan made 7 of 9 of them. I could go on, but nothing is going to change the outcome.


  • The most pressing issue going forward is if Stokes will leave a year early for the NBA or come back for his senior year.

    I don't think he is ready now because he is a 'tweener. He is not tall enough to be a 5. He doesn't have an outside game to be a power forward or small forward.

    He is, however, a hard worker and can improve his game. Remember when watching Stokes shoot a free throw was painful? He got in the gym and was noticeably better from the free throw line this season, even in crunch time.

    He's got a Charles Barkley body and Barkley was primarily a rebounder before he learned how to use his body to score on the taller NBA players.

    Stokes is a solid citizen and I pull for those types to make it at the next level. But I still think he needs another college season to improve his offensive game.


  • A little ditty from Ray Charles' hit, I'm Busted:

    Well, my brackets a mess, and I must confess

    That I'm busted.

    I picked teams, saw them lose, baby needs shoes

    But I'm busted.

    I got Michigan State and the Gators, too

    Arizona, Wisconsin and Dayton, who knew?

    But I‘m busted.

    Warren Buffett's billion is safe and ESPN, too

     I know I won't win with my bracket so thin

    'Cause I'm busted.


  • Steve Masiello may be the dumbest college basketball coach ever. He was hired at South Florida until they discovered that despite him claiming on his resume that he had graduated from Kentucky, he had fibbed. Lied, if you will.

    South Florida quickly withdrew its offer, leaving Masiello without a job. His previous employer, Manhattan, has suspended him while they got to the bottom of the situation.

    It sparked a national debate on whether someone had to have a college degree to coach college basketball.

    Can someone without a college degree coach college basketball? Sure they can. But should a university hire a basketball coach that doesn't have a college degree? No. How can you recruit high school and junior college players and tell the recruit's parents you will make sure their little Johnny Jumpshot will get his degree?

    You are making lifelong impressions on college players. Can you tell them how important it is for them to get a degree because only a small percentage of college players ever make it to the NBA? And if you didn't take what it takes to complete a degree, why should they?

    Masiello played the human victory cigar role for Rick Pitino at Kentucky. Pitino said Maseillo was on track to graduate at UK. For whatever reason, Maseillo fell short. He was hired at Louisville, who failed to check his academic credentials. Why didn't Manhattan catch it? Sloppy background checks. It's not hard to find out whether someone has a diploma or not.

    If I were Manhattan, I would put Masiello on probation, allow him to continue coaching the team with the stipulation he obtains his degree within a certain time. Reportedly he doesn't need many credit hours to earn his degree.

    It's a hard lesson to learn, but with all the coaches who have been caught falsifying their resumes and lost their jobs, how could Masiello think he could get away with it?


  • I love politicians, especially influential ones that play a role in leading our country.

    Take Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell. He put out a TV spot recently that touted the state's rich basketball heritage. But in a clip when it showed a team wearing blue and white uniforms celebrating a national championship, McConnell (or his minions) committed an unpardonable goof when that team turned out to be Duke, not Kentucky.

    McConnell's alibi crowd coughed up an apology.

    His Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, wasn't buying it.

    “(McConnell has) been in Washington so long,'' said a spokeswoman for Grimes, “that he doesn't know the difference between Duke and UK.''

  • There must be something in the water at College Station. There must be something in College Station that draws Texas A&M quarterbacks to the waterin' holes.

    Aggies quarterback Kenny Hill, who is fighting other quarterbacks to replace former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, was arrested and charged with public intoxication just before 3 a.m. Friday.

    According to The Eagle, the 19-year-old sophomore first told officers his name was Kennedy. He is facing a Class C misdemeanor that carries a $445 fine.

    Hill was passed out in a planter filled with rocks and plants in front of the bar. A good resting place, no?

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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