• Big 12, big money

    There is no doubt that money makes the world go round and the Big 12 has clearly embraced this philosophy.

    Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby made a very interesting proposal in suggesting that the conference could seek a waiver
    to implement a conference title game as opposed to the team with the best record automatically going to a BCS bowl. All major conferences that have 12 teams have championship games, but the Big 12 is one of the few to have round-robin play without a championship game.

    Obviously, the Big 12 is losing out on a chunk of revenue because of the recent departures of Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M in exchange for West Virginia and Texas Christian. Bowlsby claims that the Big 12 moving to have a conference championship with only 10 teams is justified by the deregulation going around the NCAA.

    “At a time when lots of deregulation is taking place, it seems a little bit odd that the NCAA would be describing how we determine our champions,” Bowlsby told The Associated Press.

    However, this proposal doesn’t sit well with coaches like Bill Snyder and Mack Brown, whose teams were both gypped of a national championship appearance because of losses in the Big 12 championship game. There has also been talk of adding ACC schools Florida State and Clemson into the mix because both they and the Big 12 would reap massive profits from the television networks. Monetarily, this would be a good move for the Big 12 to make, but this extra revenue could cost the Big 12 any chance of knocking the SEC off its seven-year reign.

    For the Big 12, the time is now. Act now or see SEC dominance for an entire decade.

  • NBA trade deadline looms — where is Atlanta's Josh Smith headed?

    The NBA trade deadline is 2 p.m. ET Thursday, and this gives us roughly over 24 hours until then.

    Around this time every year, NBA fans are bombarded with trade scenarios, rumors and a lot of very unlikely speculation that can cause their blood pressure to spike.

    This season is no different of course, so here are the major players involved in rumors and the likelihood you’ll see those respective players actually being traded come tomorrow.

    Kevin Garnett: Unlikely

    There has been a lot of speculation as of late about what will happen with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston after the recent season-ending injury to Rajon Rondo. The Celtics seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place trying to figure out if they should rebuild or try to win now.

    Kevin Garnett has been tossed around heavily in recent days in a trade scenario that would send him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a package revolving around Eric Bledsoe.

    It seemed very unlikely all along that Garnett would be traded, simply because it’s hard to imagine a situation where the Celtics' brass parts ways with a player who’s been so loyal to the franchise.

    To add to the unlikelihood of seeing Kevin Garnett in any other color than green this season is a report from Adran Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday saying talks between the Celtics and Clippers have died. And among other reasons, Kevin Garnett has a no-trade clause and has stated he doesn’t intend to waive it.

    Dwight Howard: Unlikely

    The Dwight saga that many fans (including myself) thought would end once he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly hasn’t ended. Dwight is still one of the more common words you hear in the news, and simultaneously one of the least common names you see on the stat sheet.

    Howard is not going anywhere. A strange rumor involving Howard and Rajon Rondo arose for a few days and died very quickly. It didn’t make much sense for LA to trade with their storied rivals in Boston, and it really didn’t make much sense to acquire an injured Rondo since Steve Nash still has a year and a half left on his contract.

    Howard simply won’t be traded because there won’t be a deal worth taking on the table before tomorrow’s deadline. The Lakers appear to be ready to roll the dice and see what happens in the offseason, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has stated the Lakers will not trade Howard. Fans should start preparing for Howard's Indecision III this summer.

    Josh Smith: Likely

    I hope this deal is likely, at least for effort's sake. The Atlanta Hawks have engaged in trade talks with just about every team in the NBA. All right, not really, but they have been involved in talks with Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and even the San Antonio Spurs.

    It seems likely that Josh Smith will be a Hawk, simply because of how involved the Hawks have been in trying to find a deal for him, joined by the fact that Josh Smith is seeking out a max deal when his contract expires this summer.

    Not many teams believe Smith deserves a max deal, but the Philadelphia 76ers have appeared to be one of the most likely places for Smith come tomorrow. Philadelphia is still without Andrew Bynum and will probably be willing to sign Smith in the offseason in order to pair him with Bynum, or give Josh Smith the reins of the team if Bynum is unable to come back from injury. The Sixers are offering Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, two young pieces the Hawks can build around.

    If Smith doesn’t go to Philadelphia, you could also see him in Milwaukee, who has offered Monta Ellis, a free agent this coming summer. Monta’s talent and expiring contract could be very tempting for a team like Atlanta moving forward.

    If any of these players are likely to be traded by tomorrow, expect it to be Josh Smith. But the most likely scenario is the trade deadline coming and going without any major moves revolving around star players. You’ll probably see a few role players being swapped, but with talks dying down it appears that the big names will stay put for the time being.

  • Former Longhorn Gary Johnson in medically induced coma after collision during Israel game

    Former Longhorns forward Gary Johnson is in a medically induced coma following a collision during an Israel Basketball Association Game on Tuesday.

    Johndre Jefferson, a former USC basketball player, was on the other end of the collision. He tweeted that, while chasing down a loose ball, he "accidentally elbowed [Johnson] in the forehead," which "cracked his skull" and put him "in critical condition."

    Jefferson did tweet Wednesday morning that Johnson "is awake and talking."

    Johnson sent a text to Texas trainer Eric Fry, saying, "I'm fine" Wednesday.

    Johnson averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds as a senior for Texas two seasons ago, when the Longhorns fell to Arizona in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 32. The Houston product scored 9.4 points per game and grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game as a junior, averaged 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore and scored 5.6 points per game while averaging 3.7 rebounds per game as a freshman.

  • Top basketball recruit Julius Randle on hand for embarrassing Texas performance

    Saturday’s thoroughly humiliating 73-47 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, in which the Longhorns barely shot over 20% from the field and totaled three assists the entire game, was
    enough to make any Texas fan fall into a deep depression. But the embarrassment didn’t end there.

    Julius Randle, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the state of Texas, and the No. 2 recruit in the entire country, according to rivals.com, was in attendance -- as a visitor for the Jayhawks.

    It was the second time in less than two weeks that Randle watched the Longhorns get embarrassed. The 6-foot-9 forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy visited Texas on Feb. 9 and watched the Longhorns shoot 39 percent from the field and 5.6 percent from the three-point line in a 72-59 loss to Oklahoma State.

    Randle, who is already being projected as an NBA lottery pick, claims that Texas’ struggles this season won’t affect his decision, and true to form, the Longhorns remain on his short list. But it’s hard to imagine such a top-notch prospect declining offers from the likes of Kentucky, Kansas and Florida to save a drowning Texas program.

    The Longhorns have only one basketball commit so far, lightly touted point guard Isaiah Taylor from The Village School in Houston. Randle would be a huge boon to the class and could help lure other prospects to Austin, but the chances of landing the recruit after performances like this one seem slim at best.

  • NFL Combine the test Manti Te’o needs

    Notre Dame inside linebacker and eHarmony’s worst nightmare, Manti Te’o, will be among the draft-eligible players participating in the NFL Combine later this week in Indianapolis. It is at this event that players provide NFL teams a further look at what talent they have to offer. Out of any of the other players entering the draft, perhaps Te’o needs this event the most.

    After being at the center of one of the strangest news stories of the modern sports era, Te’o will be able to participate in an event that calls only for his physical prowess. At the NFL Combine he won’t need to answer any questions about his personal life. No microphones. Just clipboards and stopwatches.

    The Heisman runner-up has a steeper hill to climb than the other participants. He not only has to impress but impress to the point where a team will consider it worthwhile to take a chance on a player with psychological baggage. NFL teams have taken players with issues of personal conduct. Dallas decided it would be worth it to assign wide receiver Dez Bryant personal bodyguards to keep him out of trouble. But an organization cannot regulate the mental state of its players. Aside from possible counseling, there is not much an organization can do to ensure Te’o is mentally prepared for the life of a professional athlete.

    Either way Te’o is portrayed from the fake girlfriend hoax, the victim or possible conspirator, the persona that results is not one any upper management would feel comfortable having in their locker room.

    For one, players in the NFL receive lots of attention. In addition to a possible lucrative income, how would he be able to handle that?

    Let’s not forget about the other players in the locker room. Imagine the potential hazing Te’o would receive. I can already almost hear the rapid typing of ridiculous profiles to request friendship on draft day. With the finances his future teammates would have access to, I can’t imagine what else they might have in store for him.

    But the most important concern deals with whether he will be mentally prepared to go through the strains of training camp, learn the defensive plays and study the strategies and aspects of professional offenses. These tasks will not be well done by Te’o, who is still distressed and distracted by the past.

    These are all concerns that NFL teams will have to consider when evaluating Te’o. But an impressive outing at the combine would minimize these concerns. Talent has always been the main priority when it comes to drafting players, and this will work to his advantage.

    Showing that his mind is focused and his performance unaffected would keep Te’o from falling out of the first round, and it would be the first step in leaving the hoax behind.