Hypothetical Q: Is it time for adidas to pick a team to stack??

  • Hypothesis time:

    Nike UK reputedly has 10 OAD/TAD apparent Nike leans.

    Nike Duke reputedly has 9 OAD/TAD apparent Nike leans.

    Nike UA reputedly has a huge bunch of OAD/TAD apparent Nike leans.

    Is it time for adidas to pick one team and up-stack it to 13?

    Adidas appears not to have enough OAD/TAD apparent Adidas leans to stack three programs.

    But it does appear to have enough to up-stack one program to 13.

    Should KU agree informally to be that team?

    If Adidas and KU do not informally stack the apparently informal Nike way, is Texas about to become the apparent Nike informal stack in the Big 12 to marginalize Kansas in its own conference?

    Very tough decisions for BGL, Zenger and Self may loom.

    And this could bleed over into Beaty and football.

  • @jaybate-1.0 light years before the NCAA figures out that there should be rules set in place to manage the talent stacking there should be some fighting fire with fire going on and I want KU to remain at the top of the conference for the foreseeable future.

  • @Lulufulu

    I want KU to stay at the top of college basketball

  • @VailHawk Yeah, I meant that too. College basketball in general. But then, are we all ok with that concept? Kentucky is ruining college ball right now by stacking. For us to remain competitive, KU would have to theoretically do the same thing, if they can. Would we all be ok with that? I mean its going to be like pro sports in a way. You have teams like the NY yankees with tons and tons of money for all the best players (that really didn’t work out for them this year) or heck I dont even follow baseball or football well enough to compare but I hope my point is getting across. Because Im trying to echo what @jaybate-1.0 is saying.

  • @jaybate-1.0 There you go again, jb, strumming a Bob Marley classic, raggin’ on the power of predatory capitalism.

  • @REHawk


  • If Kentucky is currently ruining college basketball, why didn’t Wooden’s Bruins ruin college ball? Those UCLA teams had as much of a talent stack as UK has currently.

    Talent is cyclical. Kentucky is loaded this year, but the only reason they are this loaded is because they struggled just 2 years ago, missing the tournament and losing in the first round of the NIT. Had that team done better, there’s no guarantee that Poythress (now injured) and Cauley - Stein stay until this year. No guarantee if Cauley - Stein is gone that Johnson and Lee both stay after last season. UK would still be good, but not like this.

    The real question is whether the Shoe companies are able to steer players to that degree. Are the AAU coaches working with similarly affiliated college coaches? Maybe, although my experience is that coaches steer players to programs that will play them so that they (AAU coaches) can continue to recruit top notch local talent by pointing to how many players they have sent D1.

    I wouldn’t mind if KU was a talent destination. I know quite a few Yankees fans. They had no problem with the way baseball was set up when they dominated in the late 90s and early 2000s. Only recently has it bugged them, and I think that’s more because of the losing than the rules.

    If your team is on top, the rules are great. If not, well I bet UCLA fans feel kind of like we did earlier this season.

  • @justanotherfan

    That is not quite correct. When UCLA started winning their talent was comparable to that of other contemporaneous teams. It is only after it became big that it started to get the top players, such as Jabbar (Alcindor), Walton and the likes, a result of the involvement of one Sam Gilbert, the original version or World Wide Wes; without Gilbert’s money and influence, UCLA would have not qute achieved what they did. . I know some Wooden fans will likely disagree with me; however, it is difficult to believe that Wooden did not know what was going on with Gilbert and his players and he knowingly looked the other way.

    The main reason for their domination was not as much the talent they had (and they had plenty) but the lack of parity in college basketball at the time. When UCLA was dominating, there were a few selected programs. perhaps a dozen, that had the top talent and then it dropped quite a bit. Today, the difference between the top 5 teams and the 25-30th teams is considerable smaller.

    During the time of their more dominant teams (early 60’s to early 70’s) the NCAA tournament had 22 to 25 teams. in 1975 the tournament wast extended to 32 and after a couple of more increases, the modern format of 64 teams was established in 1985.

    Because of the parity that exists today, I firmly believe that winning 10 Conference Titles in a row in the current environment is considerable more difficult than it was in the UCLA glory days.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I guess my point is we may be approaching a time when college basketball is headed back to having the elite talent consolidated at just a few schools (5-10), with the second tier talent consolidated at a small pool (25-30 schools) and everyone else scrapping for third and fourth tier talent.

    Imagine for a moment that all of the top 20 talent every year, except for maybe one or two players, commits to one of the following schools - Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina Arizona, UCLA, Florida, Texas or Ohio State. That’s 9 schools gobbling up basically every McD’s AA every year, plus several other recruits in the top 50 to fill out their rosters.

    Now imaging that every other player in the top 150 is gobbled up by the following schools - Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Georgetown, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Wichita State, VCU, Dayton, Indiana, Illinois, NC State, Stanford, Utah, New Mexico, Gonzaga, Memphis, Louisville and Cincinnati, plus maybe one or two others.

    That would basically mean every player in the top 200 in every class would sign with one of about 35 or 40 programs. The other 300 D1 programs would be recruiting projects, or undersized guys, or guys that are too slow, athletic but unskilled, etc.

    It’s not out of the question that this could happen. Kansas, UNC and Duke would all most certainly put the resources into basketball to stay on pace with Kentucky. Arizona and UCLA would as well. Florida, Ohio State and Texas also have the resources to do that. That next list of schools have the resources to plug safely into that next tier, although they probably won’t climb to the point of that first group.

    And if the talent consolidates that means fewer upsets of the elite teams, which means more matchups in March between the best teams (and talent). I can’t understand how that would be a bad thing.

  • @justanotherfan

    Again, there is a lot more talent to go around than there was 40-50 years ago. Let’s take the top 200 players. Assuming 10 are OAD, it leaves about 190 other players to go around, now most school have typically 3 or 4 scholarships available since the majority of the players stay 3-4 years anyway. if you divide the 190 players at 3-4 per school, that means between 50 and 60 schools get to share them, which is pretty much what we have now.

    I agree that we could get to a point where the top 3-4 programs (or 1, like now) get the lion’s share of top players and they separate themselves from the rest, but the rest of the team will stay pretty much the same as it is now. Just my opinion.

    I have plan that would solve this issue; one of these days when I have a couple of hours, I will work out the details and post it here.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I pretty much agree with everything you said… including how Wooden’s teams don’t really compare to this current Kentucky team.

    I think we are all worried about college basketball becoming too talent consolidated. And also there is a dynamic with how much better the top talent is over the general pool of college players. Those guys receive tons of extra coaching, competitive games, and early spotlight preparing them for all the attention that comes on the college level.

    I’ve stated that I’m glad it isn’t Kansas who possesses 9 McD’s AAs… but UK is already there. So if we become stacked like that are we contributing to the same downfall Kentucky is doing? Maybe it’s at least a better thing if the top tier teams can land that much talent (right now) just to keep one team (Kentucky) from completely dominating college hoops.

    The game today is so different from the game when Wooden was making his statement. Recruits have an easier time with expanding their potential horizon over the entire United States. Schools used to mostly recruit in their region, and target recruits already playing in areas where their conference has a team or two. It was more about competing for talent believed to be headed to your conference. It isn’t like that today… at least… as much. It does still exist. Myles Turner is an example there. He was thought of as a B12 prospect most (probably because he sort of indicated that). We needed Myles for that big hole in our lineup, but we also would have liked to keep him from being a Longhorn.


    “And if the talent consolidates that means fewer upsets of the elite teams, which means more matchups in March between the best teams (and talent). I can’t understand how that would be a bad thing.”

    Your opinion is that of a fan from an elite team. The majority of college basketball fans are from non-elite teams and they represent the majority draw for March Madness. Those fans want to see more parity… more upsets. That’s why we have seen teams like Butler spike in popularity. Those aren’t originally fans/alumni from Butler rushing over to support Butler… they are fans from the general pool that just want to see an underdog win.

    I have to admit that I support most of the underdogs, except when playing Kansas. I think it makes for more exciting basketball to see teams go further than they are supposed to go. I’m sick of teams like Duke and Kentucky… and I know there are many fans out there that are sick of Kansas.

  • @justanotherfan

    I cannot say whether high predictability of four elite teams making it to the Final Four each season would be good, or bad, for fans. Fans are not always easy for me to read.

    But here are the points that I can make.

    1. If I were Nike and could sharply increase the probability of Nike teams dominating the Final Four, I would think that were pretty good for business.

    2. If I were the media-gaming complex, and the four elite teams that reached the Final Four each season were likely to maximize my TV ratings, my click levels, and my betting volumes, I would think it were pretty good for business.

    3. And if I were all of the above and I could depopulate the field of even traditionally exceptional teams from weak markets ASAP in the tournament, I would think that were very good for business.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Here’s the thing. In NY, for instance, the Knicks are more popular than any college team. In LA, the Lakers are terrible and even still are more popular than any college team. The large markets already have basketball fans, but most of those fans are pro basketball fans.

    So it actually makes more sense to have college teams that are strong in areas that don’t have a pro team - i.e. places like Kansas, Kentucky - or historically strong programs - Duke, UNC, Indiana, UCLA, etc.

    Most casual fans root for the underdogs because they don’t have a rooting interest involved. They go crazy for Butler because they don’t have a team they would normally root for. But casual fans are just that - casual fans. They don’t follow regularly. The bulk of big college basketball fans are covered by the teams I listed above. They would watch those games because those games would involve the top teams.


    Upsets are the major draw the first weekend. Everyone loved George Mason or Wichita State as they ran through the tournament, but that fades quickly. Remember when Gonzaga was a plucky upstart? Now they don’t get the same treatment because they are consistently good. But most fans want to see the good teams duke it out. JMHO.

  • @justanotherfan

    You’re right as far as you go, but you don’t go far enough.

    The College Basketball Industry–the aspect of it dealing with OAD/TAD talent distributions–is about:

    a.) getting eyeballs and clicks for games for advertisers;

    b.) getting branding for endorsers in big shoe and apparel buying markets once the OAD jumps in 12 months;

    c.) spiking betting volumes both now and in 12 months when the OAD jumps to an NBA team.

    What the colleges and coaches divert off this revenue river is just a cost incurred in setting up a through c, which are were the real monies are.

    But of course you know that, so I am itemizing these for others that may not be familiar with the college basketball industry, which regarding a through c, is a marketing continuum and not really as separate game at all --at least from a basketball industry perspective. The basketball industry deals with the colleges and college coaches early and the NBA and NBA management later. It is a through c that matter across the continuum.

    Now, once board rats understand this business model and market regime underlying what is called college basketball and what is called NBA basketball, then the issue is how does one serve the marketing continuum to greatest net benefit.

    Clearly you are right to say that there is some benefit to having the elite, 10 OAD/TAD college programs outside the big cities where the NBA franchise operate.

    For one thing, you don’t want to brand an OAD too closely with a big city, if he is going into another big city, because you have a draft in the NBA that often makes unpredictable where the OAD will eventually play. You want him to enter the NBA as a hyped product ready to be put on any store shelf as a desirable marketing addition with minimal rebranding needed. A UK player is ready to go on the shelf in any EST NBA franchise without any rebranding to specialize him to that market. Boom! UK. We get that brand. They are gourmet draft choices we can get juiced about immediately.

    Compare this with a KU player. KU? An EST fan says, oh, yeah, I’ve heard of them, they are a bunch of heartland hicks that had Naismith for a coach once. I don’t recall an of their players names. I’ve never even watched a game with them. No, I saw them play once two years ago. A KU player going into an EST NBA franchise is just short of drafting a guy out of New Zealand. Lots of branding work to do on the guy before you can get an EST fan juiced about him.

    At the same time, you clearly want elite programs located in markets outside the major cities that pull major market viewers to the OAD during his year of branding and hyping in D1. So you want them at a place like Duke, UNC, that can pull the eastern seaboard viewers from Maine to Florida. And UK is great, because it gives you both the eastern seaboard, some of the south, and Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania viewer draw.

    KU in contrast unless it were marketed as America’s team, just has no similar appeal for the college NBA marketing continuum. BoWash corridor folks just will not watch KU the way they will Duke, UNC, or UK. Neither will Great Lakes states.

    KU’s only hope for marketing relevance is tailor itself to be marketed to Texas and that is a very difficult sell, that Texans will only work at enabling in order to keep the Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas oil and gas alliance intact for other reasons. Self is a very good fit as a coach for Kansas because as an Okie, he plays well to Oklahoma and Texas. Hire a guy with no accent into KU and the Oklahoma-Texas marketing angle drops dead asap. For this reason, it is going to be very tough for KU to hire an African American head coach next time, like Danny Manning, or a northern white coach. Self and Beaty are the future of all KU coaching hires in sports that have to play the marketing game. KSU will never achieve critical marketing mass with Snyder and Weber in Texas and Oklahoma. Not gonna happen. So: if African American and all colors of KU fans think it would be a good move to hire an African American coach to KU, one needs to be found with a high profile in Texas and a high Q rating with Texans. But I digress on coaching, which is a facet, but not THE facet of what we are discussing here.

    So: the logical move is for Nike to turn UT austin ASAP into a 8-12 OAD/TAD stack program and leave KU at 3-4 OAD/TAD level and slowly marginalize KU. The college-pro marketing continuum just doesn’t need the Naismith/father of basketball angle for optimizing net benefits. KU always has to be alert to this and they always have to be investing massively in marketing monies to try to counteract this effect, or the program will be marginalized in just half a viewer generation.

    As far as rooting for underdogs and casual fans, all that really matters in college basketball is to brand OAD/TADs to likely fans in major NBA cities and to those that bat at home and abroad on college basketball.

    Those rooting for underdogs are a tiny segment of the eyeballs, clicks and bets that are the bread and butter of the basketball industry across the college-NBA continuum.

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