published Friday, March 11th, 2011

5-at-10: Readers talk 3-4 defense, college hoops and it's Arsenio Hall!

Another great round of questions, and another great week. Thanks for your input on the baseball-movie players draft, and we’ll update the looks of the teams next week.

Anyhoo, here we go...

From SteelerFan

Hey Five-spot: I don’t know much about college basketball. Is there anybody playing a 3-4 defense that I should be following in the NCAA tournament? Also, is it possible to actually break the sound barrier in the 40-yard dash. And, if so, will it make a boom?  

SteelerFan is obviously having the shakes of NFL withdrawal. No worries though, Hines Ward and the DWTS crew will be here before you know it.

As far as a 3-4 defense in the upcoming tournament, well, let’s see if the 5-at-10 can translate.

You’re looking for an aggressive group that attacks in waves. Granted, a 3-4 defense in college hoops would be two players too many. (And three players too many for Norman Dale in his opener at Hickory — “Where are you going? Sit down. SIT down. ... My team is on the floor.” There’s no way not to love, Love, LOVE that scene in “Hoosiers.”) Where were we?

Yeah, the 3-4. OK, we also know that in addition to nearly perfecting the 3-4, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is regarded as the Father of the Zone Blitz.

Ergo, if you’re looking for a college hoops team to follow that has a near-patent on tough-to-handle zone defense, then the answer is Syracuse, which uses a tough-to-handle match-up zone defense.

As for the 40, if Deion Sanders didn’t crack the sound barrier in the sprint, then it’s not possible.

Although, the word “Boom” instantly delivers two fond images to the 5-at-10:

— New Florida coach Will Muschamp, who infamously shouted “Boom” — and a bunch of other not-for-a-family-oriented-sports-based-Intertube-web-rambling words — on the sidelines as a defensive coordinator;

— The “Boom goes the dynamite” kid in this YouTube clip. If you have seen it, watch it again. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and spend the next four minutes enjoying it. Either way, you can thank the 5-at-10 later.

From Anonymous

  • photo
    Mocs head coach John Shulman, second from left, watches the Furman vs. Samford game at McKenzie Arena on March 4, 2011.
    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Let’s break it down:

— Henry Dickerson was 72-73 (.4965 winning percentage) with 2 South division titles in 5 years, and “UTC led the league in attendance each year.”

— John Shulman is 121-106 overall (.533) and 105-106 (.4976) against D1 with 3 North division, 2 SoCo tournys in 7 yrs. I guess it is a slight “uptick.” But very, very slight. Thoughts?

The 5-at-10 likes Coach Shulman; he’s a great guy that is in kind of a tough spot.

The truth is Shulman does not get enough credit for the titles listed about — two NCAA tournament trips in seven years is nothing to sneeze at, regardless where the tournament was played. A large part of that is the dichotomy of regular-season and/or tournament titles, and the debate about which is more important, which our TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer did a nice job of pointing that out here.

The truth also is that Shulman’s Mocs have endured some seriously bad loses (say what you want about playing a zone and trimming a dozen or so points off it, but the fact that Wofford put a 35-plus-point whipping on the Mocs in McKenzie Arena is tough to handle) that have eroded a lot of the goodwill created by those titles.

The 5-at-10 also thinks that the UTC fanbase has every right to question the direction of the program. That said, attendance is dropping everywhere across college hoops, so that’s tough to pin on any coach anywhere. If the Mocs started 20-5 would there be more fannies in seats at the Roundhouse? Probably, but how many more is tough to estimate.

The 5-at-10 thinks that Shulman staying another season — especially with the team he has returning — was the right call in the end. Plus, when athletic directors have a series of success like the recent run Rick Hart has had at UTC, it’s hard not give said ADs the benefit of the doubt on decisions like this.

From CelticVol

  • photo
    In this file photo, University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton speaks during a meeting of the Rotary Club at the Country Place Restaurant on Shallowford Road.
    Staff File Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Hello Jay, Everybody seems to have an opinion on whether Mike Hamilton should be fired or not. Hammy has had one heck of a roller coaster ride during his tenure at UT. I don’t think he should be fired. He made the right call on firing Fulmer. It was just time. Hiring Pearl was probably the greatest basketball hire in Tennessee basketball history. Forget about the violations for a minute, we’re on the cusp of going to 6 straight NCAA tourneys. For the love of Wade Houston, THAT’S UNREAL!! As bad as I hate to say it though, I believe Hamilton will be forced to fire Pearl.

We all know that he screwed up hiring Kiffin, but I believe Dooley will be a good hire in the long run. Which brings me to my last point about why UT should keep Hamilton. Look at the money he has raised for facility upgrades in the last few years in the midst of the worst economy since the 30s. I don’t care what anybody says — That’s pretty impressive.

P.S.: How about those Celtics? They keep winning and the Heat keep crying

P.S. 2: Can’t wait for the Fab 5 show on ESPN Sunday night.

Great question CelticVol — or should we say questions.

OK, moving quickly here:

On Hamilton, the 5-at-10 on the fence and it’s hard to make a call until we know how Bruce Pearl’s situation plays out. Hamilton’s fate is so cloudy because he is tied so closely to Pearl. One of the main reasons that Hamilton and Pearl are so linked is because during the Fulmer-Kiffin turmoil in football, the rallying cry for the pro-Hamilton camp was, “Yeah, but he hired Pearl.” If the NCAA sanctions are super-harsh on Pearl and the Vols, then that feeling on Hamilton could become, “Well, he’s the guy that hired that Pearl character that got us in so much trouble.” Not good.

As for the funds raised, well, yeah, that’s a feather in Hamilton’s cap, but not a huge one. While most of the country has struggled with the economy, UT’s top booster — Big Jim Haslem — is in oil, and well, oil has managed to do OK in these trying times. Plus, the UT brand raises a certain amount of coin by just being the UT brand.

Regardless what you think of the man, Pearl the coach is impressive and you’re spot-on CV that his transformation of this program to a regular NCAA Dancer is borderline shocking.

The Vols and Pearl are now locks to get in the Dance after last night’s win, which helps the cause for Pearl and Hamilton. But is there a team in America that you feel less secure about with a 15-point lead than these Vols?

As impressive as six straight tournaments for Pearl and Co. is, he’s no where near the best UT basketball hire, though. That’d be one Pat Head Summitt, and there’s no debating this.

The Celtics look good, but they made a mistake trading Kendrick Perkins. The Heat are a columnist’s best friend right now.

The 5-at-10 is also giddy about the Fab 5 special. Remember those guys fondly, but we have one huge beef with that group of trend-setters. The Fab 5 came along about two years after the 5-at-10 played high school hoops, so baggy shorts had not arrived nationally yet. The 5-at-10’s high school hoops photos in the Larry Bird-era shorts are shall we say less than spectacular.

From Weena,

What’s up? Are you going to do anything with the brackets next week? Thanks, I’ll hang up my mouse and listen.

Weena, thanks for stopping by — you betcha we’re going to cover the brackets. In fact we’re looking for a contest ideas for the whole group to play along, and there could even be prizes. Something along the lines of first No. 1 seed to be ousted or the lowest seed (No. 4 or higher) that lasts the longest. These are for entertainment purposes only of course.

Any thoughts?

From BeachBum

Mr. 5-at-10. Wow! Very impressive mention of the great singer Mr. Randy Whaaaaatson in the 5-at-10’s handywork this week. Never mind that he was good and terrible as you so eloquently pointed out. Can’t you just imagine Charles Barkley sitting in the church (other than part about Barkley sitting in a church, of course) shaking his head and saying good and turr-able? Anyway, certainly one of the great movies of our time. Makes me mist up recalling the day of the jerry curl while wondering whatever happened to Arsenio Hall.

Didn’t know where to go with this one. For starters, thanks for the kind words. Second, who doesn't love Mr. Watson, the man you probably know better as Joe the Policeman of the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama."

With the NCAA tournament on the horizon — and we talked briefly about it this week, but Charles Barkley’s addition to the Dance is awesome in its awesomeness — let’s go with an All-Arsenio Hall NCAA tournament team:

Qualifications: These basketball players’ careers have to similar paths to the show biz career of Arsenio, who was gold in “Coming to America” and turned that into some success as a talk-show host before falling off the entertainment landscape. So these guys had huge college careers (especially in a tournament), little-to-some NBA success before vanishing:

  1. Christian Laettner, Duke — simply the greatest college basketball player of all-time who became an NBA journeyman
  2. Danny Manning, Kansas — injuries had a lot to do with it, but that 1988 run was magical
  3. Rumeal Robinson, Michigan — he hit the two big free throws to win it all in 1989, but was one of a run of bad-to-awful first-round draft picks of the Atlanta Hawks
  4. Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State — a lot like Robinson, was a star of an NCAA champ, and now probably is the top player in some rec league somewhere (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
  5. Scottie Thurman, Arkansas — Dude flat-out could shoot it for the ‘94 champs but never made much noise in the league.

Enjoy the wekeend. Until Monday.

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