Posted on: December 25, 2010 10:45 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:52 am

Sidney back, Bailey out?

UPDATE: The Jackson Clarion-Ledger has weighed in with the latest on the Sidney/Bailey rumor that began circulating on Christmas Eve (reported below).

No decision has been made on the respective futures of Elgin Bailey and Renardo Sidney, despite a report tonight from an independent journalist in Hawaii that Bailey would be leaving the team after the two were shown on national television exchanging punches in the stands of an arena in Honolulu on Thursday, Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said Saturday night.

-Brandon Marcello, Clarion-Ledger Sports

Lesson for budding sports journalists/bloggers: direct quotes from a knowledgeable source really bolster your Ethos (credibility or trust), which is really the pinnacle of the famous rhetorical triangle.

UPDATE: Here's the latest on the Sidney/Bailey rumor, this time from Jackson Clarion-Ledger sports editor Rusty Hampton via Twitter (@Rustyhampton):

Blogger from Hawaii says R. Sidney will remain on MSU hoops team. AD S. Stricklin just told me no decision has been made. Stay tuned.
Internet=Wild West, confirmed.

Well, I'll be flapdoodled.

According to some current reportage by independent journalist Susan Shan in Hawaii, the blame for the Renardo Sidney/Elgin Bailey punch-up is sticking harder to Bailey, who is being dismissed from the team. Sidney is expected to be reinstated.

Let’s start from the beginning. Bailey, who was supposed to be Sidney’s mentor on the team, has been projecting a bad attitude due to the attention that Sidney was receiving. Bailey was jealous of the media attention and was becoming increasingly problematic in practice and in games. He mouthed off constantly to the coaches and isolated his teammates.

-Susan Shan

Um, so... Merry Christmas, Bulldogs fans? We'll understand if you want to hold on to that gift receipt, keep your fingers crossed, and stop counting your unhatched chickens. At this point, the whole Mississippi State team looks like a ticking time bomb.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 10:33 pm

Big Picture: Florida State 68 - Baylor 61

It's safe to say neither of these teams pictured themselves playing for the bronze medal in Hawaii on Christmas Day. The burden of disappointment falls hardest on Baylor, which came into the Diamond Head Classic ranked in the national top ten, and leaves with two difficult losses. Both Washington State and Florida State play solid D, and the Bears didn't handle it particularly well. Sophomore A.J. Walton simply turns the ball over too often against pressure, and that won't serve him or his team well in the rugged Big 12.

Given the state of Florida State's defense -- currently ranked sixth by -- it's no surprise that the 'Noles seemed to get their hands on nearly every defensive board in this game. If Chris Singleton and company can continue to turn defensive stops into 65-70 points per game, there's room for this tough-minded team to win a few roadies and get a decent seed in the NCAA tourney. If you want to see grown men cry, check out FSU's January 3rd visit to abysmal Auburn. It'll be like oral surgery without the novocaine.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 8:35 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2010 8:38 pm

Big Picture: Hawaii 68 - Mississippi State 57

Mississippi State's season thus far has been a waiting game. Waiting for Renardo Sidney to become eligible. Waiting for Dee Bost to come back. Let the waiting continue. The Bulldogs are 8-5, and the promise of this season, which rested on the massive shoulders of Sidney (or, more accurately, on the one that doesn't have a giant chip on it) is going south in a hurry. Not what Rick Stansbury wanted to see in a year where the top echelon of the SEC outside of Kentucky is very malleable.

For Hawaii, Gib Arnold's first season has been a real bonanza. At 9-3, the Warriors are already one win away from matching their entire victory total from last season. Last night, they beat old WAC rival Utah for just the tenth time ever.

Back when the schools used to meet on a yearly basis, Utah made a tradition of regular beatdowns of UH, especially in Salt Lake City. Of course, as the record will attest, they did so in Honolulu, too, with nine straight overall wins in the series coming into last night (although the last meeting was in 1999). Utah has beaten UH more times than any other school, and the teams aren't likely to meet again very often with the Utes on their way to the Pac-12 and UH going to the Big West.

-Brian McInnis, Court Sense
Now they've beat a power-conference team to keep the aloha spirit alive. Sure, Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey were out, but conventional wisdom still says Hawaii has no business winning the games they won this week. Hiring Arnold and leaving the WAC's sinking ship may turn out to be the best two moves the school has ever made. Arnold's father coached Hawaii in the mid-80s, and Coach Gib was a high school All-American at Pounahou School, where the current President of the United States also saw some playing time. The former USC assistant coach was one of the few people in America who actually wanted the Hawaii job when it came open this summer, and his decision to return to the island may be the most important since the final season of Lost.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 6:03 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2010 6:06 pm

Big Picture: San Diego 67 - Utah 64

Posted by Eric Angevine

Why should we care that the San Diego Toreros defeated the Utah Runnin' Utes to claim seventh place in the Diamond Head Classic today? The reasons are few. However, when you consider that this is the first DI win for San Diego this season, it clearly means a lot to the 3-10 team from the WCC. It's truly ugly news for Utah (7-6), the team that will join Colorado in the twelve-team Pac-10 next season. The weakest league in the Big Six is about to get weaker.

In other words: big picture? Neither of these teams is going anywhere this season. But Hawaii's nice this time of year.

The battle for fifth and sixth places is going on right now, with Mississippi State trying to overcome the absence of their two pugilistic power forwards and a nineteen point halftime deficit.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 11:07 am

Open Thread: The Gift that Keeps On Giving

Posted by Eric Angevine

I live in the Eastern time zone, and I have an eight-year-old son, so I've been up since 6:15 am with my family, passing around gifts. For personal enjoyment, there's nothing like a good family gathering.

As I checked the email messages that came in on Christmas Eve, one in particular caught my eye. I haven't been shy in making fun of Louisville's new KFC Yum! Center, not because it's a bad building, but because the naming rights for the arena have given us a moniker that's somewhat ridiculous sounding, and because the whole thing is nearly a 180-degree change from good old Freedom Hall. As far as I know, it's the only college arena that could be featured in the old Interjections! song from Schoolhouse Rock.

Teasing aside, it turns out that Yum! Brands -- which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, and A&W restaurants around the world -- has been fighting hunger through more than just late-night drive-through windows.

Since its launch in 2007, the company's World Hunger Relief campaign has raised nearly $85 million from employees, franchisees, and their families, who have also volunteered more than 21 million hours to aid hunger relief efforts in communities worldwide. In the United States, Yum! is working to address hunger through its continued commitment to Food Donation Connection's Harvest program, which was launched in the 1990s and has become the largest prepared-food donation program in the world. In 2009, the program generated nearly 11 million pounds of food donations.
That's corporate largesse with a positive impact. Beats massive CEO bonus packages in a down economy.

It also puts me in mind of the two charities that are most associated with college basketball - organizations that can do a lot with any bucks we can spare this season: The Jimmy V Foundation and Samaritan's Feet.

Jimmy V's foundation fights cancer, inspired by the courage of the late, great Jim Valvano (they've also partnered with the group named after the late N.C. State women's coach Kay Yow in recent months). Samaritan's Feet is the North Carolina-based organization that collects new shoes and distributes them to needy recipients in developing countries. A movement that gained its first major TV exposure when IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter went barefoot on the sidelines in a 2008 game between his Jaguars and the Oakland Golden Grizzlies has gone on to make an impact worldwide with the help of college and pro coaches and players who have given of their time and used their fame to draw attention to the organization's goals.

These are just a couple of worthy organizations that give our love of hoops a little added meaning through their year-round efforts. If you have the means, you could do a lot worse than to funnel some cash or time in their direction. Or, if your favorite school is making a notable charity effort (like Penn State's massive Thon project), give it a plug in the comment section below. We'll do our best to share the holiday cheer with the rest of the world.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 8:39 am
Edited on: December 25, 2010 8:41 am

Chestnuts Roasting on Open Flames

Posted by Eric Angevine

From the golden voices who brought you "Illini Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and "Domo Arigato Mr. Rob(ot)o Kreps", it's the UIC Flames with a delightful holiday rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

Truly heartwarming.

Today is my first official day of work here at the Unblinking Eye, a decision that provoked responses like:

"Christmas day start? That's spicy." - my new boss


"(W)ho in their right mind starts work on Christmas Day? What kinda sweat shop are you running?! - guy who was asked to hook me up with email access before December 25th

Here's the skinny, though. There's college basketball today, so there's no way I'm leaving y'all hanging. I'll be back later today to make note of happenings at the Diamond Head Classic, which features three consolation games en route to an intriguing Washington State vs. Butler championship contest.

Our day looks like this:

2:00 pm ET - Utah Utes vs. San Diego Toreros

4:30 pm ET - Mississippi State
Fightin' Renardos vs. Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (in their case, the term 'warrior' is figurative, fortunately)

7:30 pm ET - Florida State Seminoles vs. Baylor Bears

9:00 pm ET - Butler Bulldogs vs. Washington State Cougars

Have a happy holiday and enjoy the hoops with plenty of food and hot chocolate (doctor's orders).

Posted on: December 24, 2010 4:43 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2010 4:45 pm

Sidney, Elgin Bailey now suspended indefinitely

Posted by Matt Norlander

He'll never be able to say he wasn't given a fourth chance.

The verdict on Renardo Sidney (far left) and teammate Elgin Bailey (far right) was brought down this afternoon. The two are the benefactors of some holiday good will, as the ruling is an indefinite suspension rather than an outright expulsion from the Bulldogs program.

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin chose to deliver his message not via e-mail first, but on Twitter.

"Elgin Bailey & Renardo Sidney have been suspended indefinitely and are being sent home from Hawaii," Stricklin tweeted. "The length of the suspensions will be determined by their attitude and behavior going forward. The actions that took place in Hawaii were embarrassing to all of us who love Mississippi State. This behavior will not be tolerated."

Those who are far more familiar with head coach Rick Stansbury and the athletic department at large predicted a suspension, rather than being booted from the team, correctly earlier this morning. While Bailey's public reputation wasn't negative in really any way before this (admit it: You couldn't pick him out of a lineup 24 hours ago), Sidney won't soon escape the spotlight of college basketball because of this. His reputation is now stained worse than DeMarcus Cousins' was at any point during the Kentucky center's one-year career with the Wildcats.

So Stansbury has chosen to take on a situation that will serve as a continual distraction, plot, subplot, sidebar, etc. to this season. There are a lot of questions heading into the Christmas weekend, but the largest one that can't be answered in the immediate future is even somewhat rhetorical in nature, which is sad: Is all this trouble worth it?

Photo: AP

Posted on: December 24, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 11:42 am

Roy Williams fights off a nap while recruiting

Posted by Matt Norlander

I don't think the video below's all that funny. Really, it's sort of creepy — but also revealing.

While on a recent recruiting trip, UNC head coach Roy Williams was deftly videotaped, dozing off as he fought the fight we all eventually lose: the one with our eyelids. Duke Hoop Blog ran the clip on its site yesterday (and a hat tip for the post title; sometimes they just write themselves).

It's an interesting peek. This is the life of most college basketball coaches. There's so much more time spent in echoey, mostly empty gyms, where glamour and fanfare are far, far away.

This is the view of a man trying to keep up with a rival. Said rival happens to be in attendance, too, and remains alert, focused, conversating with his spry assistant, Chris Collins. They are sitting in the bleachers, just a chest pass away.

The recruiting trip took place in Fort Myers, Fla. (I do not know who was being recruited.) While Duke is bringing in terrific prospects by the truckload, Williams and North Carolina staff are suddenly sprinting to keep up, despite the fact they brought in the No. 1-rated player of 2010. After all, Mike Krzyzewski just won his fourth national title in April, Duke remains the country's best team ... while the Heels failed to even make The Tournament last year and are struggling again so far this season. You can bet Ol' Roy's shirt collars have plenty of sweat stains on them.

One last thing: If anyone brings this video to Williams' attention, you can bet he's going to be upset with the voyeuristic nature of the video. Who wouldn't be?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or