Remembering Three Time All-American Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist

Oklahoma’s first breakout star helped win gold for the United States during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles


1984 Olympic Men’s Basketball Team Photo, courtesy of via USA Basketball website


Wayman Tisdale played collegiate basketball from 1982 to 1985 at the University of Oklahoma.  He was the first player in the long history of the Associated Press to be named First Team All-American in his freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

His college stats were eerily consistent as far as achieving points, rebounds, and minutes played.

In 104 career NCAA games, Tisdale averaged 35.1 minutes per game scoring and posting an average of around 25.6 ppg (24.5 as a freshman, 27 as a sophomore, and 25.2 as a junior).  He set scoring records as a freshman and sophomore that still stand today (810 and 919 points, respectively–all accomplished without the benefit of the three-point shot).

He shot a very respectable 58 percent from the floor and 66 percent from the free-throw line, getting better each year (in fact, Tisdale improved from .640 to .703 in his final two years at OU).

He also was Big 8 Conference Player of the Year three times, but his teams were not good enough to compete with the likes of Patrick Ewing of Georgetown, Chris Mullin of St. John’s, Ed Pinckney of Villanova, and Michael Jordan and Brad Daugherty of North Carolina.

The closest his Sooners reached the Final Four was in 1985, when Oklahoma was the top seed in the Midwest.  His Sooners bowed out in the Midwest Regional Final at the old Reunion Arena in Dallas, losing a squeaker 63-61 to then named Memphis State.  Tisdale did finish his college career with a game high 12 rebounds on that particular Saturday afternoon.

If there was a Mount Rushmore for Oklahoma basketball, he would be the first face to be chiseled–followed by 1988 stars Stacey King and Mookie Blaylock and 2016 National Player of the Year Buddy Hield.

Sadly, I tried scouring all over YouTube to see if I could find one of his 104 regular season games that was on cable television at the time.  But I came up with this instead, a brief tribute set to one of his jazz songs from the 2004 Hang Time album–with commentary from NBA greats Michael Jordan and A.C. Green, college stars from that similar era when they were stars with North Carolina and Oregon State, respectively.

He also chipped in to help the Americans win one of the final gold medals in 1984 as amateurs before NBA players dominated the game starting with Barcelona and the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” in 1992.

After spending 12 years in the NBA, he spent the final 24 years of his life playing bass for his first love being jazz music.  A true champion, both on and off the court and music stage–Wayman Tisdale will be remembered not only as a great Olympian, but also as a true ambassador for the worlds of jazz and basketball.








Two top-flight programs, two totally different non-conference schedules


Romeo Void, “Never Say Never”
Found on most compilation albums

Duke and Kentucky take different paths to begin 2016-2017 season reported in separate articles over the last two weeks that the preseason Number 1 team in Duke Blue Devils and the always heralded Kentucky Wildcats have as their opponents pecking all over the RPI board.

Starting with Kentucky, eight of their first 13 games will be against teams with RPI rankings of 150 or less:

Nov. 11: Stephen F. Austin

Nov. 13: Canisius

Nov. 15 vs. Michigan State (New York, Champions Classic)

Nov. 20: Duquesne

Nov. 23: Cleveland State

Nov. 25: UT Martin

Nov. 28: vs. Arizona State (Bahamas)

Dec. 1: vs. Hofstra (Brooklyn)

Dec. 3: UCLA

Dec. 7: Valparaiso

Dec. 17: vs. North Carolina (Las Vegas, CBS Sports Classic)

Dec. 21: at Louisville

Jan. 28: Kansas (Big 12/SEC Challenge)

On paper, there will be a handful of sexy matchups for John Calipari to salivate over, both early in the year and especially before Christmas.  UCLA and Arizona State are on the periphery of maybe cracking the 68 team field, but there will be lots of goodies to sort out by the time the fall chills penetrate most of the United States.  And don’t count out Valpo, since the Crusaders are basically starting over with favorite son Bryce Drew taking over for Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt.

Duke not exactly playing the best teams to begin the season

Normally, you would expect a Coach K team to stockpile with heavy hitters and playing the best competition right out of the gate.  Catching the Fab Five in Michigan during a classic December 1991 game on CBS was one of those cases.

Not so fast, fellow diehards.  Their schedule released on July 13 will more than likely not win the Dukies any brownie points from the Selection Committee.  I would not expect them to contend for another number 1 seed unless they somehow, someway win every game that they play.

Six of their first 13 games will be played at neutral sites, which the Committee of course uses a separate matrix to determine teams that are mired in the middle of the bracket.  In other words, if the unheralded opponent somehow gets hot from the floor, forces many turnovers and can convert all of their free throws–these teams might have a chance.  Otherwise, expect at least several blowouts by a minimum margin of 25 points–which I will not be spending that much time thinking about, let alone typing in this blog space.

On paper, the schedule looks like what Dick Vitale often says as, “Cupcake City”.  They are catching Florida in Year 2 of the post-Billy Donovan era and UNLV is not the same team that they were a few years ago when they were challenging for the Mountain West Conference title.  However, their clashes with Kansas and Michigan State could be on my Top 5 Games To Watch portion of my preseason blog come late October.

But that is another topic for another day.

Here is the schedule for the Blue Devils and all of those Cameron Crazies:

Nov. 11: Grand Canyon

Nov. 12: TBA, *See note below

Nov. 15: vs. Kansas (MSG New York, Champions Classic)

Nov. 19: vs. Penn State (Mohegan Sun Arena, Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
Nov. 20: vs. Cincinnati/Rhode Island (Mohegan Sun Arena, Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off)

Nov. 23: William & Mary

Nov. 26: Appalachian State

Nov. 29: Michigan State (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

Dec. 3: Maine

Dec. 6: vs. Florida (MSG, New York for Jimmy V Classic)

Dec. 10: at UNLV (Las Vegas)

Dec. 19: Tennessee State

Dec. 21: vs. Elon (Greensboro, N.C.)

*(NOTE: Duke’s release initially included Marist as their Nov. 12th opponent, but they subsequently announced that game had not yet been confirmed.)

It will be very interesting to see where Duke will be pegged in the RPI rankings shortly after the first major wave of holiday tournaments come Thanksgiving weekend.


ACC Network to debut on cable in 2019

ACC Network Extra digital channel to stream via WatchESPN this August

At the ACC Football Kickoff media event on Thursday in Charlotte, ESPN and the ACC signed a deal that will span 20 years in covering over 450 live events dotting the 10 state ACC footprint ending with the 2038-2039 academic year.

In the short term, look for over 600 live events from volleyball and soccer to basketball, gymnastics, softball, and baseball beginning this August on and the WatchESPN app.

The link to the press release with the full announcement can be found here:

ACC Network Set to Launch in 2019

Selection Sunday to come with an incentive for nation’s Overall Number 1 seed

Overall Number 1 seed will have the choice to pick where they would like to play

I wonder how the crew at CBS/Turner Sports will spin this news.

Monday, July 18, 2016 will be remembered as a day where the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament got a major shot in the arm.

According to the Associated Press website, along with ESPN, CBS Sports, and The Sporting News sites, this news will hopefully make the overall bracket process more streamlined than it has ever been.

(Small note, I surely hope any hackers don’t get any further ideas after what happened during this past March’s Selection Sunday broadcast.)

Basically, what the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee decided is that the overall number 1 seed will have geographic preferences attached by teams in contention starting in the third or fourth week of February.  There is no indication however whether the preferences made by schools would be guaranteed.

Teams will be able to choose from eight assigned cities for the first and second round, plus the four Sweet 16/Elite Eight regional sites.

The change will take effect beginning in March 2018.

Also on the table is the possibility of reseeding the teams (Hallelujah!) to create a more firm and fairer bracket.

Case in point, here is what I said back in March:

“…only Tulsa should have been replaced by Monmouth and some people felt Vanderbilt or Wichita State should have not been included, but instead where were the Bonnies from St. Bonaventure or the school remembered always by the one shot by the head coach–Bryce Drew and Valparaiso?   They all fit the typical tournament profile, but the ten people that comprised the Selection Committee that enjoyed rather posh facilities in that fancy New York hotel room must have been thinking something else.

My only beefs are again about which teams should have deserved certain seed placement based on how the games turned out this weekend, and again–as Selection Committee Chairman Joe Castiglione kept saying on CBS Sunday night, “They did everything that was asked (by us) for them to do.”  For Monmouth, Valparaiso, and South Carolina, their bubbles sadly burst.  If the top seeds in many of the conference tournaments had won, the likes of Austin Peay, Holy Cross, and St. Joseph’s would not have even had a remote chance to be included–let alone smell the roses for a little bit.

Oregon was chosen over Michigan State, since the Ducks had an RPI of 2 and the Spartans had 11.  If I was on that Committee, I would have put major stock on the Spartans four point win Sunday afternoon over a very gutsy Purdue team.  Oregon basically blew out Utah before the first cards were laid out on the blackjack table.  By the time the dust settled on the Vegas strip, to me a 30 point blowout won’t buy you more than a hot dog at Burger King.”

In other words, teams that deserve to be in the upper seven slots in each of the four regions will deserve it based on their overall body of record.

And if you need a general primer on what questions to ask yourselves as fans when we navigate the maze simply known as the regular season, I will mention three common questions right off the bat:

Who did this school beat?

Did their opponents have their full compliment of players during that game (injuries, academic suspensions)?

How many quality wins (mainly ranked teams) did this school earn on the road, especially during the non-conference portion of the season (typically runs from Veteran’s Day to just before Christmas)? 

I am rooting for the Selection Committee to make these changes.  Not only are these necessary, but it will avoid a lot of the unnecessary confusion and arguments many fans, alumni, cheerleaders, media members, etc. have been taking part in for the last three plus decades.  Like Mariah Carey used to sing during the 1990’s, Make It Happen.




Mid-July Roundup

While top flight programs begin to fill up their schedules for the upcoming season, there were a few key bits of news that highlighted this past week.  Among the key headlines:

  • Due to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s law of banning non-essential travel to North Carolina with the LGBT transgender law dominating the headlines, the much anticipated November 12 game with Albany visiting Duke was cancelled.  I guess Albany will have to find someone else to play.  The move affects only public universities, since Albany is part of the State University of New York system.  It does not affect private schools like Syracuse.
  • A few days after Tennessee held a Celebration of Life honoring Basketball Hall of Famer Pat Summitt, Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter signed a three year extension to remain as coach of the Boilermakers until 2022-2023.  The 45 year old Purdue great is third on the school’s all-time coaching wins list, as he hopes to continue building on a resume that includes winning the Big Ten regular season title in 2009-2010 and claiming the Big Ten Tournament championship in 2009.
  • Larry Brown leaving SMU was very mind boggling.  Clearly, each school’s administration has its’ own policies and procedures on hiring and retaining coaches.  It was just, was it too soon or were there other stories emanating out of Dallas that might be just the tip of the iceberg?  Fully realizing of course why they failed to reach the 2014 NCAA Tournament as a classic case of being a true ‘bubble team’ in every sense of the word, just look back at what I said in some of my past blogs and you will see why.  Some media reports from Seth Davis and Andy Katz believe he is not done coaching yet, and at age 75, I still think he has at least a few more years to give things another crack.

Finally, I found a very lengthy online article from June 22 to be really interesting.  It talked about the unusual path of recruiting where colleges typically field one-and-done players.  Gone are the days where students used to stay all four years, or sometimes stick around for three years before jumping feet first in the NBA.  With many players coming from broken homes, this trend is not breaking anytime soon.

Here is the link to the article by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated Campus Rush:

NCAA Tournament Flashback: 2006 Elite Eight


George Mason Makes History

And the RCA Dome was where they were heading.  With the famed former home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts now but a distant memory, here is the game that vaulted them into an elite class where mid-majors successfully climbed towards the pinnacle of claiming college basketball’s national title.

Standing in their way was the top seed Connecticut Huskies, who won their prior three tournament games by double figures.  Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery had the call from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC for the East Regional Final:


As we all know, the dream died six days later–thanks to Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, and the rest of the Florida Gators.  George Mason became at that time, only the second school in 20 years (LSU was the first in 1986) to have an 11 seed reach the Final Four.  That accomplishment of course would be equaled a few years later.

With this being my last NCAA Tournament flashback for yet another year, I hope you get the chance to purchase this DVD so you can see the three games from Indianapolis in their entirety without commercials or endless promos for CBS primetime shows of the era, such as CSI:  Miami or The New Adventures of Old Christine.  Even Jim Nantz gives some very nice recaps of every round and key emphasis on the Final Four itself.

Below this cover image of the DVD are two links where you can purchase a copy.

Please have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday weekend.


Image courtesy of the DVD store at

Amazon link:

eBay link:


NCAA Tournament Flashback: 2006 Sweet 16

A pair of mid-majors grabbed the headlines in a Sweet 16 matchup worthy of marquee attention.

This game took place less than 21 hours after Adam Morrison of Gonzaga made a major gaffe in Oakland that gave UCLA a stunning, come-from-behind victory in the West Regional.

Wichita State arrived that year in Washington as a true Cinderella, but yet George Mason was still lurking–waiting for that opportune moment to strike.

Verne Lundquist and the always excitable Bill Raftery had the call:


Wichita State would get their true moment in the sun seven years later, but for George Mason–the great times would continue.