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Jumbo Package: Wednesday, 18 March 2015

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Your daily dose of waking up happy about basketball edition.

Go forth and conquer, young man
Go forth and conquer, young man
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Good news!

2015 NIT Recap: Alabama 79, Illinois 58 - The Champaign Room

It was sickening to watch. ... Senior guard Levi Randolph led the way for the Crimson Tide with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists on 7-11 shooting (2-3 3PT). As a team, Alabama shot an incredible 59.6% from the field and 53.3% from long range.

Amazing what happens when you let these guys run the floor, throw up some shots, and generally play basketball. Instead of a grim Bataan Death March, we were treated to forty of the most fun minutes of 'Bama hoops I've seen in years. And it was a rout.

Our own BamaBlonde42 said it best last night: #Brannsketball

Alabama goes off on Illinois, crushing Illini in NIT 48 hours after Anthony Grant fired | AL.com

Fueled by dismissal of Grant, a new energy was evident early against Illinois. Aggression returned along with a shooting stroke and offensive balance. Interim coach John Brannen was animated on the sideline and the bench had an extra degree of energy all night.

What he said.

Recruiting

Alabama Football Recruiting Offers of the Week | Bleacher Report

Let’s look at Alabama’s offers of the week, which included a couple of 5-stars on name alone from the 2016 class.

Friend o' the program, Mark Torrence, does the legwork on offers. Which is good. 'Crootin' is somewhat tedious to cover 52 weeks a year.

Top tight end target Kaden Smith has family ties to Alabama | AL.com

Kaden Smith, a four-star recruit from Flower Mound, Texas, has a sibling that goes to Alabama. The Crimson Tide, along with Stanford and Texas, stand out early for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect. Smith is rated as the No. 2 tight end in the country and the No. 65 overall prospect by the 247Sports composite.

Spring football (national and otherwise)

Five Teams Heading For a Down Season

Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich and coordinator Scott Frost will spend most of the preseason identifying a favorite under center and retooling a line that loses standouts Jake Fisher (OT) and center Hroniss Grasu. The defense played better in the second half of the season, but coordinator Don Pellum has a few areas to address this spring. The line loses end Arik Armstead, and the secondary must replace cornerbacks Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Troy Hill, linebacker Tony Washington and safety Erick Dargan.

I knew the Ducks had some losses, but that's just ridiculous; those are almost as bad as the yearly losses Alabama must face (throws shade at Oregon.) Seriously, this seems as good a year as any for UCLA or Ariz. St. to finally break the Duck Hegemony. I would say USC, but...Sarkisian.

SEC Football: Alabama has four of top 15 SEC players entering spring | FOX Sports

4. A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama Crimson Tide 2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior 2014 Stats: 49 tackles, 6.5 TFL, three PBU, one FF Robinson won't record monster stats on Alabama's defensive line, but he's excellent at the point of attack and a critical piece in the rush defense.

There are four Alabama players among the Top 15. 'Tis the season for listicles!

Versatile Alabama freshman Bo Scarbrough focusing on just one position for now | AL.com

Saban said, later adding, "With Bo, we're going to try to teach him one thing, and that's how to play tailback right now. "And until we figure out if he can or can't do that we're probably not going to give him multiple roles right now.

Everyone is super excited to see Bo tote the rock. That's the universal part. Now, for the idiotic part: I'm not certain who asked Saban about moving Bo to linebacker -a position of noted depth and potential- but they should be flayed to death with al dente pasta.

Trent Richardson Signs with Oakland Raiders

"I’ll be one of the top running backs from here on out," Richardson told ESPN.com. "They ruled Marshawn Lynch off in his third year. Look at what he’s doing now. My next stop, I’ll be the starter. I still have my pride, and I know who I am."

It really sucks for Trent Richardson to know that the best offensive lines he ever played behind (and likely will ever play behind) were in college. I'm not sure signing with the Raiders warrants such hubris, but best of luck, man. If he has any sort of success, and becomes a fixture in Oakland, the Black Hole is going to love him.

Breaking down Georgia's quarterback battle - ESPN

"With the amount of transition and learning going on, I'm not certain we'll be able to make that determination at that point," he said. "The big thing is to give these guys opportunities, see how they handle it and evaluate and try to make that determination when we get there."

This is up for one reason: UGA has a favorable schedule, all the talent you could ask for, and is probably in the best shape of any MNC dark horse. That said, just copy and paste Richt's quote above and put it on your fridge when you're feeling impatient: That's the nice version of what Nick Saban will be saying until about October. So, be patient, you guys. QB takes some time to suss out.

Lawyer: NCAA decision conflicts with previous rulings on pay | College Football

A landmark ruling that opened the door for college football and basketball players to be paid went against all previous court rulings, including a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision, an attorney for the NCAA told a federal appeals court Tuesday. Lawyer Seth Waxman told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that courts never previously held that rules meant to protect the amateur status of student athletes violated antitrust law. He cited the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that stated athletes must not be paid in order to preserve the character and quality of college athletics.

Precedent is almost always going to win. Given the relative conservative nature of the Court, the (occasional) flakiness of the 9th in bucking precedent, and the fact that P4P has already yielded a putative Union, I'd look for SCOTUS to keep 1984 definitions, and not the O'Bannon-esq version. Note: like I warned you last year, O'Bannon was NEVER about image rights. It was, and always was intended to be, a stalking horse for pay-for-play, as the arguments on appeal make it abundantly clear.

In light of Chris Borland's decision, Bielema's message bubbles up again | NCAA Football | Sporting News

"We have to protect student athletes to extremes we never thought of before," Bielema told Sporting News on Tuesday. "I just read a study that said players in the no-huddle, hurry-up offense play the equivalent of five more games than those that don’t. That’s an incredible number. Our awareness as a whole has to increase."

Coach BERT is going to catch hell for again suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the faster we play the game, the more plays there are in a contest, the more fatigued guys are, the more likely there are to be injuries...and maybe we simply don't know the degree and extent of head injuries as they relate to the spread of the HUNHS.

He's not always the most facile speaker, but perhaps he has a point (and has always had a point.) Maybe we should stop reflexively mocking him and instead take a step back and at least study the problem. Coach Bielema is going to be force-fed crap for this; he shouldn't.

Finally

New .sucks web domain offers new space, mischief - UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, March 17 (UPI) -- The Internet is about to offer more digital real estate in the latest push to open up new space for the world's ever-growing web presence. And one of them really, truly sucks.

So, "Auburn.sucks" anyone? Remember, if you want to buy one for me: 1. My birthday is August 7th, and "Erik" is spelled with a "k." TROLL TIDE!