New season, different arcs on the landscape in college basketball
You can tell a lot about a society from its iconic arcs. The ancient Romans built an empire on the curved supports of their bridges, aqueducts and architecture. The reign of
Now imagine that the golden arches suddenly appeared in, say, lime green. You'd still recognize the symbol, of course, but it would seem strange -- jarring, even -- and you might wonder if the new look signified a groundbreaking change. The same sort of thoughts might occur to you at the start of the 2008-09 college basketball season. In what could be the most significant rule change to the men's game since the three-point line was installed 22 years ago, the arc has been moved back a foot, from 19-foot-9 to 20' 9".
This is good news for court-painting companies, but whether it's beneficial for basketball is up for debate. Talk to coaches and you'll hear all sorts of opinions on the new line. Connecticut's
Long story short: Nobody knows what the impact will be. "I don't think it will be significant," says North Carolina's
The notion of changing arcs applies to more than just the three-point line this season. The career arcs of college players are going through their own transition games. North Carolina senior forward
In fact, if you're looking for transcendent one-and-done freshmen, this season won't be for you. A few newcomers could make a major impact -- USC forward
Speaking of changing career arcs, it's an odd turn of events when
As for Jennings, the 6-foot point guard from Compton, Calif., signed with Arizona but failed to meet the NCAA's minimum academic requirements. So he became a pioneer, following the advice of former shoe company czar
"I think you'll see a guy or two every year going to Europe," says Alabama coach
Michigan State coach
Maybe it has something to do with the 40-12 hole that the Tar Heels fell into against Kansas in last April's national semifinal, when they lost 84-66. Maybe their stars saw this season's weak freshman class and realized their draft status would be higher in '09. Or maybe they just want to win, as their coach might put it, a dadgummed frickin' championship. Just as long as that's not the
With all the talk of elite players like Hansbrough serving their full four-year terms, it's only natural in this election season for SI to hail the men's and women's "running mates" on our preview covers. More than ever, it seems, basketball powerhouses of both genders are emerging on the same campuses: not just old standbys such as Connecticut and Tennessee but also at places like Arizona State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh. At Louisville the women's basketball team enjoys the same kind of financial support -- and, increasingly, fan support -- as the men's does. "We're seeing women's basketball [programs] become much more aggressive," says Louisville athletic director
The result is an electricity that's arcing through college basketball, no matter how many arcs may be on the floor.