This Week In Hoops: January 25

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to basketball season. If you were around these parts last year, you remember our weekly feature: This Week in Hoops. It’s changed a bit, but the essence is the same. If you’re new to Palestra Back, TWIH is a helpful guide to the recent goings on in the world of basketball. If something happens on the hardwood, you’ll hear about it here. 

The Biggest Story in Basketball

The third best team in the NBA just fired their coach. A team leading their division and their conference fired their coach in January. A team fired their coach after he and his team started the season 30-11.

There is absolutely a discussion to be had about whether the Cavs are now better off without David Blatt at the helm. That’s a very talented team, who in Blatt’s tenure, have been very good but short of the greatness required to win the NBA Finals in today’s NBA. If Tyronn Lue is an elite level coach, does that pull them even with or ahead of the Warriors and Spurs? It could, but what are the chances a first time head coach taking over midseason is immediately able to elevate his team to that high of a level? Recent history suggests better than you’d think, with Steve Kerr (and to a lesser extent his temporary fill-in Luke Walton) did so. Basketball wise, it’s not a move I would have made, though I can fathom the merits of it.

But when you consider the entirety of the move, when it occurred, and how it occurred, the move is puzzling at best. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle supported his fellow coach, very staunchly:

A coach being fired after that level of success raises red flags about the Cavs organization. Obviously sports are their own animal, but imagine someone you work with getting fired after having the record Blatt had to date. Unless something was truly broken behind the scenes, questions need to be raised about the hierarchy of Cleveland’s decision makers.

Good organizations are built on trust and accountability. Right now, even if this move is what all of the players and higher ups wanted, the pressure has been turned up in Cleveland and the margin for error is now confirmed to be as tiny as imaginable.

Basketball is Fun!

With all of the hot takes and super serious basketball related opinions out there, it’s important to remember that this is a game being played and watched for fun. Every week we’ll highlight something on the lighter side of the hoops world. 

The student fans of Sheridan High School (Ohio) upped the ante on the free throw distraction game. This is now the bar to be topped:

Essential Reading

All the pieces and posts you need to read to be on the ball. 

Palestra Back this week: Who will represent the USA in Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games?

More from me, at Rush The Court: How good are Jarrod Uthoff and Iowa?

Rajon Rondo diagnosed the Hawks’ last second play before it even started.

NBA players still love Chipotle, but not as much as Danny Ainge.

Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo lost both of his parents and his young niece in a house fire. The NCAA and CSU have allowed him to accept donations, so if you can assist in any way, you’d be hard pressed to find a better cause for you money.

Rank Shots

May the Tuesday Top Tens rest in pieces. Long live Rank Shots! If you’re not familiar, this is where we rank the best teams in the NBA, college basketball, and rank another totally irrelevant something.

NBA:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Toronto Raptors
  7. Chicago Bulls

College Basketball

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Iowa
  3. Michigan State
  4. North Carolina
  5. Villanova
  6. Maryland
  7. Kansas
  8. Arizona
  9. Providence
  10. Texas A&M

Things to Do In the Snow

  1. Football
  2. Snowball Fight
  3. Hangout/Drink Beer
  4. Build a Snowman/Igloo/Other Snow-based Structure
  5. Sledding
  6. Shoveling

Something Vaguely Basketball Related You Should Have Seen By Now

On Bill Burr’s Monday Morning podcast, he’ll often ramble on about what he’s watching on TV. On a recent episode, he happened to be watching his hometown Celtics play the Bulls. A loyal fan was then diligent enough to match up the audio from Burr with the corresponding video from the game broadcast. Here is Burr’s call of the game, doing a different sort of color commentary…

(Oh and there’s some language)

Games To Watch This Week

Monday

NBA: (through a megaphone) SPURS AT WARRIORS (10:30/NBATV)

NCAA: #20 Duke at #15 Miami (7 PM/ESPN), #3 Kansas at #19 Iowa State (9 PM/ESPN)

Three. Great. Games.

Tuesday

NBA: Thunder at Knicks (7:30/NBATV)

NCAA: #5 Xavier at #16 Providence (8:30 FS1)

I’ve been really lukewarm on Xavier. This would be a good chance to impress.

Wednesday

NBA: Mavs at Warriors (10:30/ESPN)

NCAA: #10 Texas A&M at Arkansas (7 PM/ESPNU), Cal at Utah (11 PM/ESPNU)

Good night to catch up on teams you haven’t quite gotten a good chance to watch yet. Texas A&M’s great season has been totally under the radar.

Thursday

NCAA: #9 Iowa at #7 Maryland (7 PM/ESPN)

Oregon at #12 Arizona (9PM/ESPN2)

The Terps schedule has gotten hellish. Let’s see what they are made of.

Friday

NCAA: VCU at Davidson (6 PM/ESPN2)

Saturday

NBA: Warriors at Sixers (oh no!), Spurs at Cavs (8:30/ABC)

NCAA: Big 12-SEC Challenge? Now? OK!

#6 West Virginia at Florida (Noon/ESPN), Vandy at Texas (Noon/ESPN2), #19 Iowa State at #10 Texas A&M (2PM/ESPN),  #1 Oklahoma AT LSU (5 PM/ESPN), #23 Kentucky at #3 Kansas (7 PM/ESPN)

jost

#18 Butler at Marquette (Noon/FS1)

#13 Virginia at #17 Louisville (1 PM/CBS)

Nebrasketball at #22 Purdue (4:30/BTN)

#16 Providence at Georgetown (8 PM/FS1)

Sunday

NBA: Bulls at Clippers (3:30/ABC)

NCAA: Northwestern at #9 Iowa (3 PM/BTN)

Wichita State at Evansville (4 PM/ESPNU)

Enjoy the games, folks. 

(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)

**

Header Image via AP

Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org, Rush The Court, and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas, or questions, email them to palestraback@gmail.com.

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