Thursday, December 31, 2009

USC freshman calls out the three that went to Arizona

Kevin O'Neill needs to have a talk with Evan Smith.

Don't know who Evan Smith? I'm not surprised. Smith is a seldom-used freshman on the USC basketball team, but he sure talks like he's a star. Take a look at what he told David Wharton of the LA Times:

I just want to win this (expletive) game because they left us. They all decided over some (expletive) controversy, they decided to dip out. ... Yea, man, that's what it is. You guys left, we're still going to whup your (expletive). You should have stayed.
Really Evan?

The "they" that Smith is referring to are three of Arizona's freshman - Solomon Hill, Derrick Williams, and Momo Jones - who were all committed (along with Noel Johnson) to USC before reopening their recruitment after former coach Tim Floyd was alleged to have taken money from OJ Mayo's handler. Hill, Williams, and Jones all ended up at Arizona.

That was just a piece in a weird offseason that intertwined the two schools:
  • Kevin O'Neill coached Arizona in '07-'08, but Lute Olson decided he didn't want O'Neill has his succesor and had him removed from the position
  • Hill originally committed to Arizona when Olson was supposed to be returning, but bailed when Olson re-retired. Jones and Williams later committed to USC as well.
  • Arizona, during the course of their search for a permanent replacement, offered the job to Floyd. He turned it down, only to resign from USC once the scandal broke.
  • Hill, Williams, and Jones all separately decided to go to Arizona once Sean Miller go the job there.
  • The most ironic twist - Kevin O'Neill eventually got the job at USC.
To be fair, Smith's comments may be tongue-in-cheek, as he and Williams are old friends and have been sending friendly jabs back and forth for weeks.

What is for sure is that its another strange twist to this story.

And for those that didn't read today's pregame beat, these two teams play at 4:00 7:00.
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Louisville-Kentucky talk already?

Hoops fans in the Commonwealth are chomping at the bit as the Louisville-Kentucky game is looming on Saturday. Not only is this one of the fiercest rivalries in the country, there are enough storylines - from Rick Pitino's affair to Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith's fight to John Calipari's first season in Lexington to John Wall - that roughly 8,482,948 reporters will be descending upon Rupp Arena come 3:30 on Saturday.

While John Calipari has already asked Big Blue Nation to limit their vulgarity in the stands, I don't think that he could have envisioned Wildcat fan's first blow. From the Louisville Courier-Journal via RTC:

That is freshly poured concrete at the construction site for UofL's new arena.

Look closely. A UK scrawled in the cement.

Continue reading...

Thursday's Pregame Beat

Great day of hoops for your New Year's Eve, starting at noon.

12:00 pm: Indiana @ Michigan: Indiana takes the court for the first time since Maurice Creek's injury. How will they respond? Michigan badly needs this win to right their ship.

2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Wisconsin: The middle of the Big Ten is a crap shoot. When Evan Turner gets back, the Buckeyes are going to be one of the better teams in the league, but until then they are not a tournament team. Wisconsin needs to win these games.

4:00 pm: Tennessee @ Memphis: John Calipari may be in Lexington, but these two schools still hate each other. Expect a hard fought game.

4:30 pm: Arizona State @ UCLA: And we commence Pac-10 play. If the Sun Devils want to earn an at-large bid, they can't afford losses like this.

6:00 pm: Penn @ Duke: The Dukies should have no problem dispatching a Penn team that has already changed coaches.

7:00 pm: Richmond @ Wake Forest: Richmond is good this season, and Wake Forest has already lost at home to William & Mary. I'm not sure that the Spiders have anyone that can match-up with Al-Farouq Aminu.

7:00 pm: Mississippi State @ San Diego: The Bulldogs are still waiting on Renardo Sidney.

7:00 pm: Arizona @ USC: Who would have thought that two years after Arizona gave him the boot that Kevin O'Neill would actually have the better team at this point? If USC truly wants to be a tournament team, these are the kind of games they have to win.

7:00 pm: Green Bay @ Butler: Butler struggled a bit against some of the better teams in country. They need an excellent season in the Horizon if they want to ensure an at-large bid.

8:00 pm: St. John's @ Georgetown: The Big East opener for both clubs, St. John's will have their work cut out for them with Greg Monroe as they are still waiting for Justin Burrell and Anthony Mason, Jr. to come back.

10:00 pm: Oklahoma @ Gonzaga: One of the better individual match-ups of the year as Matt Bouldin and Willie Warren go head-to-head.

10:00 pm: Oregon State @ Washington: The Beavers won't be a serious threat unless they get Roberto Nelson fully cleared.

Continue reading...

Thursday's Shootaround: Lance Stephenson proves he's ready for the Big East, N'Western and UAB lose

Cincinnati 71, UConn 69: Cincinnati was in the lead for most of this game, twice taking double digit leads. But Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson wouldn't quit, both times leading the Huskies back. With just under eight minutes to play, Cinci took a 12 point lead, but the Huskies slowly chipped away, eventually cutting it to one on a Stanley Robinson lay-up with 29 seconds left. But UConn didn't foul on the ensuing possession, giving up a dunk to Ibrahima Thomas instead. The Huskies got the ball out quickly, as Dyson sprinted the other direction. He got into the paint and found a wide-open Kemba Walker, who buried a three to tie the game.

After the three, Lance Stephenson took the ball and went the other direction. He drove past Dyson and into Gavin Edwards and Alex Oriakhi. Referee John Cahill blew his whistle, giving Lance Stephenson two free throws to win the game with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Take a look. Was it a foul?

Jerome Dyson was clearly the best player on the floor, as he routinely knifed his way through traffic, finishing tough lay-ups in the lane. He had 24 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists, while Robinson added 22 points, 7 boards, and 3 steals. Stephenson led Cinci with 21 in his first Big East game, and I think he more than proved himself capable of handling the pressure. Deonta Vaughn, who has been struggling this season, got into a bit of a rhythm, scoring eight early points as Cinci pulled ahead, and finishing with 17.

Virginia 72, UAB 63: UAB was one of the hottest teams in the country coming into Charlottesville, and looked to be on their way to beating another power conference team as they took a 50-43 lead midway through the second half. But the Cavs responded with a 16-3 run and made the plays down the stretch to win. Sylvan Landesberg had 19 points, 6 boards, and 4 assists and was charged with being the playmaker down the stretch for UVA. Elijah Millsaps had a career high 27 points and 11 boards, but the Blazers missed 10 of their last 15 free throws. Tough to win doing that.

Illinois 89, Northwestern 83 OT: Northwestern started this game on fire, hitting their first four threes and 11-23 overall in the first half. But the Illini's defense tightened up in the second half, and they began to pick apart the Wildcat's 1-3-1 zone. In the first 16:27 of the second half, Illinois outscored Northwestern 35-20, taking a 69-63 lead with 3:33 remaining. The Wildcats would fight back, as John Shurna capped a 9-3 run with a lay-up with 45 seconds left. After two Mike Tisdales free throws, Luka Mirkovic forced overtime as he tipped in his second attempt with 17 seconds on the clock.

But in the extra frame, Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis, who went for a combined 51 points and 28 boards, scored all eight points in an 8-2 spurt, and the Illini never looked back.

William & Mary 83, Maryland 77: The Tribe may end up having more ACC road wins that the Terps when the season done. After beating Wake Forest in Winston-Salem earlier this year, W&M went into College Park and knocked off Maryland despite 26 points and 6 assists from Greivis Vasquez. Quinn McDowell had 28, Danny Sumner had 17, and the Tribe spread the floor against the Terps, opening up driving lanes and open threes.

Vanderbilt 86, Manhattan 48: The Commodores blew out Manhattan in a game that was never really in doubt. Why should you care? Because Kevin Laue, the 6'11" Jasper center who has just one arm, scored his first career point with three minutes left on a free throw. He also grabbed eight boads in 17 minutes.

Baylor 70, Arkansas 47: After Kansas and Texas, the rest of the Big XII is fairly open, and Baylor looks like they may be staking claim to that third spot. LaceDarius Dunn scored 19 points and Ekpe Udoh added 8 points, 15 boards, and 8 blocks as the Bears pulled away in the second half.

Boston College 85, South Carolina 76: BC opened up a 48-27 lead at halftime as the Gamecocks were unable to slow down the Eagles at the offensive end. But in the second half, Darrin Horn turned up the defensive pressure, and South Carolina used a 26-8 run to get that lead down to 56-53. USC would never go away, but without Mike Holmes and Dominique Archie, they clearly ran out of gas as BC was able to gain some separation late. Devan Downey had 29 points and 7 assists for the Gamecocks, but he did it on 28 shots, many of which were tough, quick three pointers or ill-advised forays into the lane. He did spark the comeback, but a comeback may not have been needed if he didn't start the game 5-17. Rakim Sanders had 22 to lead BC.

Other notable games:

  • UNC 87, Albany 70: This game was not as close as the final score indicates, thanks to a 25-2 run from the Great Danes to close it out. Ed Davis had 18 points and 8 boards.
  • Michigan State 87, UT-Arlington 68: The Spartans got 16 points from Kalin Lucas, who didn't come off the bench until the 10 minutes mark, and Durrell Summers and Draymond Green added 20 and 19, respectively.
  • Temple 70, Northern Illinois 60: The Owls didn't play their best, but avoided dropping an obvious trap game as they get Kansas at home next. Ryan Brooks led the way with 19 points, 8 boards, and 4 assists while Juan Fernandez scored 26.
  • Virginia Tech 85, Longwood 50: The only news here: Malcolm Delaney sprained his ankle just over a minute into the game.
  • Western Carolina 87, UNC-Asheville 76: Jake Robinson scored 25 points and hit six threes as the Catamounts won.
  • Harvard 66, George Washington 53: Jeremy Lin scord 17 points and added 8 boards, 7 steals, and 5 assists to lead Harvard.
  • Old Dominion 63, Duquesne 54: Gerald Lee had 24 points, 6 boards, and 3 blocks as the Monarchs broke open a tight games with a 7-2 spurt to put them up double digits early in the second half. Duquesne was never really close the rest of the way.
  • Louisville 73, South Florida 52: Louisville used a 15-0 run early in the second half to put this one away. Edgar Sosa had 16 to lead Louisville, but don't count out the Bulls just yet. Gus Gilchrist didn't play and Dominique Jones was in foul trouble the whole game, picking up his fifth with 13 minutes left.
  • Florida 79, Presbyterian 38: Chandler Parsons scored 21 points to lead the Gators to a much needed win.
  • St. Mary's 94, Howard 46: Omar Samhan was one block away from a triple-double, posting 23 points, 11 boards, and a school-record 9 blocks.
  • Notre Dame 93, Providence 78: Tim Abromaitis and Jonathon Peoples combined for 45 points and 10 threes as the Irish jumped all over the Friars early. A 13-1 run cut it to 54-45 to start the second half, but the Irish responded and PC never got it to single digits again.
  • Alabama 77, Tennessee State 65: JaMychal Green had 19 points and 8 boards, but the Crimson Tide didn't pull away until a 12-3 run with just over three minutes left put them up double digits.
  • Missouri 91, UMKC 57: Missouri missed their first nine shots and didn't score for five minutes, but after a line change the Tigers went on a 14-0 run and never looked back.
  • Miami 73, Bethune-Cookman 52: A 13-2 spurt midway through the first half gave the Canes a 33-21 lead.
Wednesday's Best:
  • Artsiom Parakhouski scored 34 points and added 12 boards as Radford smacked George Mason.
  • Mike Tisdale scord a career-high 31 points and added 11 boards, which included a number of big plays at the end of regulation and in overtime, as the Illini picked up a much-needed win against Northwestern. Mike Davis added 20 points and 17 boards.
  • Omar Samhan is a name you need to remember. He had 23 points, 11 boards, and 9 blocks last night.
  • Buffalo's Rodney Pierce scored 31 points in a win over Liberty.
  • Otis Polk went for 17 points and 16 boards and had the game-clinching steal as Bowling Green knocked off Towson.
  • Our first Marqus Blakely sighting here at BIAH. He went for 26 points, 11 boards, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks in a win at Mt. St. Mary's.
  • Ty Patterson led Chattanooga with 22 points and 11 boards in a win over Eastern Kentucky.

Continue reading...

Thursday Morning Dump

- Jeff Goodman thinks James Anderson is still under the radar, and is worried about West Virginia's PG play

- Andy Katz on the real reason the Pac-10 has been down

- Gary Parrish gives us his mid-season All-americans

- An ode to conference play

- The ESPN hoops crew gives us their favorite live moments of the decade; Top headlines; Fondest memories; Top games

- Pac-10 coaches think conference will get 3-4 bids

- Tubby Smith is getting fed up with the off-court issues with Trevor Mbakwe

- Tom Izzo named Detroit Sportsman of the Year

- Joe Lunardi = dream killer. He's right about everyone except William & Mary, IMO

- Indiana State's Jake Kelly tears an acl. Tough break for a kid that's been through a lot

- Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez denies cursing at fans

- What's next for a Maurice Creek-less Indiana Hoosier squad?

- A quick interview with Duke's Nolan Smith

- Tennessee fans still hate Memphis

- A "meeting of the minds" podcast (Katz, DeCourcy, Davis)

- Northwestern is suddenly attracting a lot of attention

- Syracuse fans don't like Pat Forde too much

- Jim Boeheim as a muppet

- A look back at important non-conference games from Andy Glockner

- Not just CBB, but man are there some funny quotes in this

- A history of the Duke-UNC rivalry

Top 100 street ball dunks

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pat Knight continues to follow in his father's footsteps

Bobby Knight is, has been, and always will be one of the best when it comes to giving good quote.

Don't believe me? Watch this.

His son Pat, now the coach at Texas Tech, may be trying to emulate his father. Take a look at this press conference at the Red Raiders loss to New Mexico. The good stuff starts about a minute in:

Like they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

(h/t WWL's Hoops blog)
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Is John Wall really Kentucky's best freshman?

We've gotten on DeMarcus Cousins quite a bit this season.

Ranging from his defensive focus to his maturity to his intensity during games, it seemed early in the season that Cousins, despite being supremely talented, had yet to tap his full potential as a player.

And if he does, the results could be terrifying.

Cousins is currently averaging 15.2 ppg and 9.0 rpg, which are more than respectable numbers alone. Now consider that he is putting up those numbers while playing just 18.7 mpg.

That's scary.

Statheads will love DeMarcus Cousins.
(photo credit: KY Sports World)

Cousins is leading the country - not just freshman, the entire country - with 32.5 points per 40 minutes and 19.2 rebounds rebounds per 40 minutes. Over his last five games, those numbers increase to 40 points and 24.3 rebounds per 40 minutes. That's absurd.

Granted, the last five games have been against so-so competition, and in two games against ranked teams, Cousins had just a combined 15 points and 15 boards in 38 minutes.

But keep in mind, we are not only talking about Kentucky's second best big man, this is also their second best freshman.

Not bad for a third option, at best.

Kentucky may very well be the most talented team in the country. The sky is the limit for the Wildcats.
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Wednesday's Pregame Beat

7:00 pm: UConn @ Cincinnati: The Huskies seem to be a bit overrated at this point in the season. They have struggled to rebound the ball, they lack perimeter shooting, they have limited depth, and they have struggled to consistently bring the intensity needed to be a top 25 team. Cinci, on the other hand, has been a bit of a disappointment. Their struggles center around Deonta Vaughn, whose scoring has dropped before double figures. Cinci's biggest strength right now? Half court defense and hitting the glass; think West Virginia Jr. UConn, who excels at getting out in transition, is going to need to beat the Bearcats down the floor if they want to score. Otherwise, this game may end up in the 50's.

7:00 pm: South Florida @ Louisville: The Cardinals have seemed to right the ship after losing three games earlier in the year. South Florida looks like they are a bit better than they have been in year's past. Dominique Jones may be the best kept secret in the country, averaging 18, 5, and 5 to go along with 2 steals. This is a trap game for Louisville, who hosts Kentucky on Saturday.

7:30 pm: William & Mary @ Maryland: Maryland better come ready to play. The Tribe has been one of the biggest surprises this season, having notched wins over Richmond, VCU, and at Wake Forest. Greivis Vasquez seems to have finally found his scoring touch.

9:00 pm: Baylor @ Arkansas: Arkansas is always tough at home, but Baylor, who has just one loss on the season, is one of the bigger surprises this year. Epke Udoh has finally begun to live up to his potential. If you haven't had a chance to see Rotnei Clarke play for the Razorbacks, he is quite a pleasure. He's hit 10 threes twice this season, including 13 in his 51 point outburst in the season opener.

9:00 pm: South Carolina @ Boston College: Both the Gamecocks and the Eagles were expected to compete for a spot in the tournament this season, but both have dealt with injuries this season. BC is finally healthy, and this could be a nice tune-up for ACC play.

9:00 pm: Northwestern @ Illinois: Northwestern has finally cracked the top 25. This is the season for them if they want a shot at making the dance. Illinois, despite a lot of press early in the season, has struggled. That said, road games in conference are always difficult, and if last night taught us anything about the Big Ten, it is wide open at the top. Even with a loss, the Wildcats should be considered a favorite to earn an at-large bid.

9:00 pm: Providence @ Notre Dame: The Friars have struggled in Keno Davis's second season, while the Irish are winning despite losing Scott Martin for the season. If you haven't seen Notre Dame play, this is a good chance to get acquainted with Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough.

Other notable games:

  • 7:00 pm: George Washington @ Harvard
  • 7:00 pm: UT-Arlington @ Michigan State
  • 7:00 pm: Albany @ UNC
  • 7:00 pm: UAB @ Virginia
  • 7:00 pm: Duquesne @ Old Dominion
  • 7:00 pm: Presbyterian @ Florida
  • 8:00 pm: UMKC @ Missouri
  • 8:00 pm: Manhattan @ Vanderbilt
  • 10:35 pm: Howard @ St. Mary's

Continue reading...

Kalin Lucas going pro next year?

UPDATE: The Lansing State Journal has a full rundown with Izzo regarding Kalin Lucas missing practice. Definite must-read if you are a Spartan fan.

We mentioned in today's dump that Kalin Lucas had been punished by Tom Izzo at a recent practice. Whether he was suspended, benched, or kicked out of practice, the bottom line is that Lucas has done something to anger Izzo.

Yesterday, Izzo spoke to reporters, and its pretty clear what the issue is:

If he wants to assume the position of being the best player and this and that, he has the assume the position of taking some leadership responsibilities. And I don't think he's done that, so that's where I'm at with it... A leader has got to lead in the locker room, in hotels, in the streets, on the floor, on the bench... I just think there a lot of things we need him to be. I don't think right now his focus is on our team. I think this is one of the things that happens often. People start focusing on things that are beyond here, and then you start listening to people and then you have problems, and I'm just trying to nip those things in the bud.
It isn't all that difficult to see what Izzo is getting at. Could it be that Lucas was suspended because he was focusing more on his draft status than on the Spartan's season?

Regardless, it is obvious that Izzo is very unhappy with the way his captains - Raymar Morgan and Lucas - are handling their leadership roles. In addition the suspending Lucas, whose status is unknown for the Spartan's next game against UT-Arlington, he also named Draymond Green and Isiah Dahlman captains. Dahlman doesn't get a lot of minutes, while Green might be Michigan State's best big man, a versatile 6'6" power forward that can really pass the ball well.

Michigan State is 9-3 on the season, with losses to Florida, UNC, and Texas and has not looked as good as many thought they would be in the preseason. Based on comments from Izzo after the Texas loss, this seems to be an issue that has been building.

"Leadership and chemistry are what's got to improve," Izzo said. "Its not an issue people getting along off the court."

That second statement is something that is not stressed enough. A team may be the best of friends, but that doesn't mean they play well together. Seton Hall, who lost last night to Syracuse, is another example. With guys like Jeremy Hazell, Herb Pope, and Eugene Harvey, Bobby Gonzalez has a team with as much raw talent as anyone in the Big East. But the Pirates just don't always seem to be on the same page, whether it is Hazell taking 25 footers off of one pass, miscommunication on a pass, or losing a man defensively and giving up an easy bucket.

It works the other way as well; you don't have to be friends to win. Ask Shaq and Kobe.

So, yeah, now we have a reason for the Spartan's early season struggles.

But don't the Spartans always seem to struggle early in the season?

Its just a matter of time before Izzo gets this group playing well.
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Wednesday's Shootaround: Six unbeatens in action, six unbeatens win

West Virginia 63, Marquette 62: For 39 minutes last night, Marquette beat West Virginia. They spread the floor against the much bigger Mountaineers, relying on their quickness advantage as they broke down defenders and created open three after open three. They hit 10-16 from deep, and competed just enough on the defensive glass (WVU had just 11 offensive rebounds) to take a 62-57 lead with 52 seconds left.

Lazar Hayward had a nasty dunk over Danny Jennings.
(photo credit: Examiner)

But then Marquette taught the nation the art of the late-game collapse. After a tough Kevin Jones lay-up, Darius Johnson-Odom missed a front-end. Then Devin Ebanks when Devin Ebanks drove the lane, he nearly lost the ball, but he ended up with a wide-open dunk to cut the lead to 62-61. Without the aid of a timeout, Da'Sean Butler rebounded Jimmy Butler's miss of a front-end, and hit a tough 19 foot turn-around with just 2.3 seconds left in the game. (In the video, the comeback starts at 6:00, and Butler's game winner is at 7:40.)

A side note to this game - this was easily one of the weirdest match-ups I have seen in a long time. Marquette essentially plays five guards, and didn't start a player taller than 6'7". West Virginia plays five forwards and their shortest starter was 6'7". 6'9" Devin Ebanks was defending 5'7" Mo Acker. It was a strange thing to watch, but the balance is key for both teams. Marquette runs a five out offense, meaning that they are strictly looking to penetrate and kick when they draw an extra defender. It works because instead of getting typical post touches - throwing the ball to a big man on the block - they simply dribble-drive to the paint, finishing if they have a shot, passing if they don't. Their two biggest players - Jimmy Butler and Hayward - are able to hold their own in the paint on the other end, creating mismatches on the offensive end.

The reason West Virginia is able to play five 6'7"-6'9" forwards is because each of them is essentially the same player. Sure, Butler and Ebanks are a little more perimeter oriented than Jones. But since all five players can defend 1-5, it allows West Virginia to mix up their defenses - last night, they used a straight-up man-to-man, a switching man-to-man, and a couple different zone looks - from a strict 2-3 zone to a match-up zone. Offensively, they put whoever has a size advantage on the block, look to get the ball into them in the post, and if the help is there, all five players can knock down a perimeter jumper. Eventually, West Virginia is going to need more offensively. They are not going to continue to win games without a playmaker and creator on the offensive end.

Syracuse 80, Seton Hall 73: In the first half, Seton Hall was able to pick up the tempo of the game, attacking the Orange offensively and not allowing the Cuse to set up their 2-3 zone. The Pirates opened up a 41-29 lead, but Syracuse was able to tie the game at 43 at the half. Seton Hall again opened up a lead in the second half, but Syracuse responded with a 15-0 run to take a 66-57 lead. The key to that run was Wes Johnson and Kris Joseph, whose athleticism was more than the Hall could handle, as they made plays defensively and were a nightmare to keep off the glass. They scored all 15 points in the run. Johnson, who is making a serious case for national player of the year, had 20 points, 19 boards, and 5 blocks and Joseph added 16 points off the bench.

Kris Joseph sparked a 15-0 Syracuse run last night.
(photo credit:

Seton Hall once again showed that they have talent, but the issue right now is chemistry. They don't run great offense, and the biggest issue might be their best scorer Jeremy Hazell. Hazell has scored 79 points over the last two games, 38 last night, but it has taken him 64 shots to do so. Yes, he has knocked down some big ones. Yes, he has very impressive range. But until he realizes that Seton Hall's possession is about finding the team's best shot, and not just his, the Pirates are going to struggle.

Purdue 67, Iowa 56: Iowa took an early 15-6 lead in this one and went to the break up 27-26 as Purdue was cold from the field. But the Boilermakers came out hot (65.9% shooting) in the second half, led by 15 of E'Twaun Moore's 21 points. The decisive run came midway through the second half, as Purdue outscored Iowa 13-2 to open up a 53-38 lead.

Kentucky 104, Hartford 61: When Kentucky gets it going, they sure are a lot of fun to watch. John Wall set a school-record with 16 assists, many of them the alley-oop variety. DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 12 boards in just 19 minutes. Over his last five games, Cousins has 85 points and 61 boards in 84 minutes.

Texas 95, Gardner-Webb 63: The Longhorns were sloppy at the star, committing six turnovers in the first four minutes, but once they got going this was a rout. 11 different players scored in the first half, and they only player that didn't score for UT was Jordan Hamilton. Damion James had 14 points and 13 boards.

Kansas 81, Belmont 51: Cole Aldrich showed why he doesn't need to score to make a difference for the Jayhawks - he had 14 points and 6 blocks to go along with his 11 points last night as Kansas overcame a sluggish start to win in a rout. Marcus Morris had 14 to lead Kansas.

New Mexico 90, Texas Tech 75: Texas Tech could not stop Darington Hobson, who went for 23 points, 12 boards, and 4 assists while Roman Martinez added 10 points and 11 boards. New Mexico held a high scoring Tech team to just 41% shooting, their season low.

Other notable games:
  • Clemson 70, South Carolina State 67: The Tigers held a double digit lead for much of the second half, but a layup with 27 seconds left cut it to 68-67. Demontez Stitt hit two free throws at the other end, and Andre Young came up with a steal to seal the win for Clemson. Stitt had a team-high 13 points.
  • Cornell 78, La Salle 75: Ryan Wittman had 34 points, breaking Cornell's career scoring record, to lead a Big Red team playing with out two starters. Cornell was up 38-27 at the half, and an Explorer 12-2 cut it to 40-39, but La Salle never got any closer. Rodney Green had 19 for the Explorers.
  • Duke 84, Long Beach State 63: Jon Scheyer had 22 points and Nolan Smith added 19 as the Blue Devils put this one away early.
  • Kansas State 85, Cleveland State 56: Jacob Pullen scored 18 points and Curtis Kelly added 17 as the Wildcats pulled away with a big run midway through the first half, opening up a 40-19 halftime lead.
  • Georgia Tech 78, Winston-Salem 43: Mfon Udofia has done an admirable job filling in while Iman Shumpert is out with a knee injury. The freshman had 17 last night in what could be his last game in the role - Shumpert is expected back Jan. 2nd.
  • Ole Miss 90, Jacksonville State 75: Terrico White had 29 points as the Rebels hit 14 threes and jumped out to a 17-2 run before cruising to the win.
  • Dayton 74, Boston U 60: Rob Lowery had a career-high 23 points and Chris Wright added 19 as Dayton used a late 11-2 run to close out the Terriers. The Flyers have now won eight straight games.
  • Rhode Island 80, Drexel 79: Exciting finish to this one. Rhody was down 79-74 with 39 seconds left, but two free throws from Keith Cothran cut the lead to three. A jumper 16 seconds later would make the lead one. After Cothran stole to the ball, he missed a jumper, but Lamonte Ulmer was there for the winning tip-in with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.
  • Xavier 89, LSU 65: Terrell Holloway led X with 20 points as the Musketeers controlled the pace of the game, running away from the Tigers.
  • Siena 92, St. Joe's 75: A 9-3 run at the end of the first half gave the Saints a 43-42 lead at the break, and they never looked back, forcing 11 St. Joe's turnovers in the second half. Alex Franklins had 25 and 12, Edwin Ubiles scored 20 of his 22 in the second half, Clarence Jackson had 23, and Ronald Moore, the nation's leading assist man, had 12 dimes.
  • VCU 82, East Carolina 74: Brandon Rozzell hit a go-ahead three with 2:29 left to spark a 9-0 run as the Rams knocked off the Pirates. Larry Sanders led VCU with 23 points, 9 boards, and 4 blocks.
  • Oklahoma State 66, Pacific 50: James Anderson scored 25 points, Obi Muonelo had 22, and the Cowboys held on despite seeing a 24 points halftime lead cut to just seven.
  • Louisiana Tech 99, Houston 94: The Bulldogs got 29 points and 10 boards from Magnum Rolle and 17 points and 21 boards from Olu Ashaolu as they knocked off the Cougars. Most impressive - they held Aubrey Coleman, the nation's leading scorer, to just 19 points on 9-22 shooting.
  • Missouri Valley play:
    • Missouri State 74, Evansville 60: The Bears blew this one open with a 23-6 second half run. Jermaine Mallett had a team-high 17.
    • Northern Iowa 60, Creighton 52: Creighton missed 15 of their first 16 shots and never recoverd, as the Panthers got 15 points from Ali Faroukmanesh and 12 from Kwadzo Ahelegbe.
    • Illinois State 72, Wichita State 57: Osiris Eldridge scored 26 points, hitting four second half threes as the Redbirds outscored the Shockers by 15 points in the second half.
  • Minnesota 75, Penn State 70: Lawrence Westbrook scored a career-high 29 points as the Gophers were able to outlast a feisty Nittany Lions team. Talor Battle had 23 points to lead Penn State.
  • UTEP 58, Air Force 47: UTEP got 14 points from Randy Culpepper and 9 points and 11 boards from Derrick Caracter, but could never pull away from the Falcons.
  • San Diego State 58, UC Riverside 53: Billy White scored 13 points as the Aztecs were able to hold off Riverside.
  • Cal 87, UC Santa Barbara 66: Patrick Christopher scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half and Jerome Randle added 23 points as the the Bears cruised.
  • St. Mary's 85, Binghamton 57: Mickey McConnel and Matthew Dellavedova combined for 43 points as the Gaels beat the undermanned Bearcats.
Tuesday's Best:
  • Ryan Wittman scored 34 for Cornell and James Florence had 22 points for Mercer as both players set their respective schools career scoring records.
  • Delaware's Alphonso Dawson had 23 points, including eight straight in OT, and 14 boards as the Blue Hens beat Lafayette in overtime.
  • Keith Cothran scored 28 points for Rhode Island as he led the Rams back from a five point deficit in the final 33 seconds.
  • Markeith Cummings scored 27 points to lead Kennesaw State to a win over Fordham.
  • Justin Greene scored 26 points and added 10 boards as Kent State beat Wofford.

Continue reading...

Wednesday Morning Dump

- Tom Izzo "benched" Kalin Lucas for lack of leadership. The Big Ten Network reported that Lucas was thrown out of practice

- Luke Winn provides his yearly early warnings list. Always a great read for stat heads

- The ten biggest draft busts of the decade (How is Kwame Brown not #1?)

- Jay Bilas's blog on ESPN is fast becoming a must-read. Here he is on the stress of coaching

- Speaking of must-reads, here's Dana O'Neil's latest:Texas big man Dexter Pittman inspires youth

- The updated mid-season transfer list

- Michigan redshirt freshman is done for the year

- Iowa guard pleads guilty to public intoxication

- There is going to be a lot of media at the Louisville vs. Kentucky game

- Don't know who Kawhi Leonard is? Then read this

- Let's keep the USC lovefest going. Gary Parrish chiming in

- Best high school player of the decade. Take a guess who it is

- Drew Gordon is taking is final visit to San Diego State, while Iman Shumpert could be back in uniform Jan. 2nd

After the jump, John Wall athleticism on display

And another dunk of the year candidate

Continue reading...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Roberto Nelson partially cleared for Oregon State

Nothing was expected from Oregon State in the '08-'09 season, but they surprised quite a few people as they went 18-18 on the year, winning the CBI and going 7-11 in the Pac-10 (which was seven more conference wins than they had the season before).

As they returned five of their top six scorers this season, there were some who thought that Craig Robinson's team may be a sleeper in the Pac-10.

But the Beavers have struggled a bit in the early going. They've started the season just 6-5, which includes losses to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Sacramento State, and Illinois-Chicago.

A big reason is that OSU is not getting the same production from guys like Roeland Schaftenaar, Calvin Haynes, and Lathen Wallace, whose numbers have all regressed from last season. As a result, the Beavers, who like to play at a slow pace as it is, have struggled to put points on the board at time. In their five losses, they have averaged 54.2 ppg and have yet to break 63 points. In contrast, they are averaging 70.5 ppg in their six wins.

To be fair, no one thought the Beavers a contender even in their own conference, but it is still safe to say the Beavers have played below expectations.

Perhaps the biggest reason is that OSU has yet to put their full team on the court.

The star of Craig Robinson's recruiting class, 6'4" off-guard Roberto Nelson, has yet to be cleared by the NCAA. Nelson is a scorer, and as we mentioned, OSU needs all the points they can get.

Nelson may be inching closer to gaining eligibility this season, however. On Friday, he was cleared by the NCAA to participate in practices.

"He can do everything as if he's a redshirt," coach Craig Robinson told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. "He can come to home games and be with the guys, go in the locker room, be a part of the team. Before, he was like a student on an unofficial visit. He couldn't eat with the guys, he couldn't do anything with the guys. Now he can take advantage of the dormitory and the meal plan and all that kind of stuff.

"He practiced (Friday) for the first time and it was evident that he can help us, so it's a good feeling but it's even better for Roberto."

But is it too late?

In other words, is it worth using up a year of Nelson's eligibility when he will only be competing during Pac-10 play? He still has the option of redshirting. Oregon State looks to be building a program under the tutelage of Robinson, and assuming he can continue his successful recruiting, the Beavers may be a much better team in what would be Nelson's fifth season in Corvallis than they do this year.

The issue holding up Nelson's eligibility are some online classes that he took while in high school.

"[The NCAA] went through his high school courses," Robinson told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. "They went through all of his on-line course and they probably looked at every single one and all the work he did in it to make sure that it was kosher and came down to the decision that what he needs now is a higher score. Then once he gets a certain score, he'll be able to play."

Here's a mixtape of Nelson from his high school days:

Continue reading...

The BIAH Quotables

This a new feature we are trying out here at BIAH this season. Throughout the week, we are going to post some notable quotes or excerpts that show up in our google reader. Stupid people say stupid things 24 hours a day, and being somehow associated with the college hoops landscape does not preclude that fact. That said, we will not limit our quotables to the simple and idiotic, as the insightful and intelligent will also be highlighted. Feel free to pass along any quotables you stumble across to or @ballinisahabit.
Hope everybody had a good holiday weekend. The hoops world doesn't take a vacation, so we are here to get you caught up on the best quotables of the past weekend.

Former Temple head coach Jon Cheney was recently on Comcast SportsNet in the Philadelphia market. That man still knows how to start a riot. Here he is dicussing the nature of current Owls coach Fran Dunphy:

He is too nice off the court. He needs to go beat up a Republican or something. When a kid makes a bad turnover, he needs to grab him and choke him.
Wow. It's probably a good idea that he's not coaching any more.

Mark Titus, the Ohio State benchwarmer who also is a blogger, had a great line about his team's game against Deleware State:
Delaware State had no white guys on their team, but they decided to play at an incredibly slow pace which seems pretty counterintuitive to me. The game turned out to be rather boring because of this slow-paced brand of basketball. In fact, most of the people I talked to said they changed the channel to PBS to watch Antiques Roadshow because they were so bored.
Final exams finished last week and student-athletes resting for the holidays. St. Joe's assistant coach Dave Duda explains why finals week is so tough:
Final exam week is the week that is the most difficult on a student athlete playing basketball at the Division I level. Most teams have played a number of road games in the first semester, and some class time has been missed. The result of the rigors of going to class, practicing, weight training, and playing games meets in the perfect storm at this time each season.
Gary Parrish makes the BIAH Quotables again, this time for a response he gave to a reader who asked why Gary was so harsh on a particular player:
But what I realized during this exchange is that not every reader is a regular reader, and if you happened to read a column on a random Monday with me suggesting your grandson should have his scholarship taken because he committed 11 turnovers, well, I can see how that might come off as an a-hole move if you weren't familiar with me or what I do.
North Carolina got a much-needed win over scrappy Rutgers, 81-67. Yes the Tar Heels won by 14, but don't think that Roy Williams was pleased with his team's perormance at all:
I'm really not in a good mood about any dumb things that they did right now.
UNC switched to a zone defense for only the second time this season. Apparently, they won't be doing that again:
Well we played zone one possession. We've played zone two possessions all year. One John Wall made a three at Kentucky and this one, I think it was Jonathan Mitchell who made it at the corner. I couldn't tell if it was a two or a three, but if you're going to play zone, if the guy's in your zone, you have to play him man to man. But we just let those guys drive in there. So we've played zone two possessions this year and we've given up six points in two possessions.
Coach Williams thought Will Graves played well in he first half, but in the second, that was entirely different:
The first half I thought he was effective, but the second half...As you guys can tell, my gosh, how can you expect me to be pleased? I've said a million times, 'when you're chasing a ball out of bounds do not throw it back in under your basket.' So, the first half, we threw it back in under their basket, twice. One time in the second half, it was out under our basket so we throw it to the other end, and they make a layup. Will Graves is someone who's been here four years, and I've always said don't shoot it as soon as you get in the game. The first time he went in after a timeout in the second half, he shot from the corner and he missed it.
Sean Miller's Arizona team got pummeled by BYU and Jimmer Fredette. The Cougars won 99-69, and Ferdette had a career-high 49 points. Miller had a lot of praise for Fredette:
Jimmer Fredette played a great game. Did we have something to do with that? Yes. We struggled to defend the other team's best perimeter player. Their victory tonight was largely thanks to his play. He reminds me a lot of Mark Price, who played at Georgia Tech and had a long career in the NBA. I'm not an NBA general manager, but I would put Fredette against a lot of guards in the country. When he does miss a shot, he goes and gets it, and we made that very easy for him tonight.

Continue reading...

The Lost Boys of Sudan

Read this article from the Boston Globe.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Now, answer me this: are you surprised?

You shouldn't be.

It is a well known fact that big time basketball recruits are regarded as commodities. Too often, their handlers, their AAU and high school coaches, and many times even their families see them as a cash cow, a way to make a few (thousand) dollars.

And these are american kids that know full well their legal rights.

You're surprised that the people running the basketball mills would have no issue taking advantage of some naive kids from Africa?

For american kids thinking about playing college hoops, basketball is a way of life. For the african kids talked about in the Globe article, basketball is a way out of a life. They aren't necessarily using basketball as a means to making a substantial living. They are using basketball as a way to distance themselves from the atrocities that occur in their home countries, with the hope that one day they can pay for their family to follow suit. Take a look at these stories touched on in the Globe:

One of 11 children - he never knew his father - Muo recalled armed militia repeatedly raiding his Sudanese village in the middle of the night when he was a child and dragging his mother to jail.

In 1998, as the fighting in Sudan's decades-long civil war surged closer and several relatives were murdered, Muo's mother fled the country with seven of her children and settled in a refugee camp in Egypt. Muo, then 12, was consigned as an indentured servant to an Egyptian family whose matriarch regularly beat him.

"I cried, but I had no choice," he said. "We needed the money to buy milk for my brothers."


Luony’s family fled Sudan in 1997 after his father, a soldier in the People's Liberation Army, was murdered during the long years of civil unrest, which has claimed more than 2 million lives. Walking four days and nights across scorched plains and crocodile-infested rivers, Luony narrowly escaped a murderous militia - his uncle died in a hail of gunfire before he reached Ethiopia.

"After they shot my uncle, they tried to kill us," said Luony, who was 8 at the time. "We ran and hid behind some trees, and they didn't find us."

For the next eight years, Luony was confined to a refugee camp where malnutrition and violence were endemic.
You think those two really cared where they ended up here? You think they hesitated in making the trip to the States? You think that they thought to research to people and the company that brought them over?

Or did they jump at the opportunity to get an education and make a better life for themselves and, maybe one day, their family?

And their "sponsors" take complete advantage of that, controlling their players with the threat of deportation.

Matt Norlander hits the nail of the head:
The recruits only get a certain amount of time and chances to cash in on their dreams, and given what is detailed above, you can’t fault them for trying to take advantage when the carrot is dangled. Some people don’t have sympathy for these young men who are plucked from their homes for a chance to make a living off of God-given ability. That’s fine. What’s not fine is the small amount of press that’s given to this saddening subject.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

The last thing I want is to see this pipeline closed; there is nothing wrong with bettering your way-of-life through basketball. But it would be nice if the process of getting these recruits here was cleaned up. Hearing the awful stories about what the "Lost Boys of Sudan" have lived through is bad enough. We don't need to put them through more turmoil when they get to the States, only to send them back to the Sudan when things don't work out.
Continue reading...

Illinois junior Alex Legion to transfer

That's correct.

For the third straight season, Alex Legion will be playing just one semester at a school as he has officially decided to leave the Illini in the hopes of pursuing his basketball career elsewhere. Legion played in 10 of the Illini's 11 games this season, but got a grand total of eight minutes and three shots while going scoreless in the last two games, losses to Georgia and Missouri.

Alex Legion was a talent coming out of high school. A consensus top 50 recruit in the class of 2007 known for his ability to shoot and score from the wing, Legion committed to Michigan in November of 2005.

Alex Legion never could work his way into Bruce Weber's rotation.
(photo credit: Illinois Loyalty)

That's when the indecision started.

In April of 2006, Legion transferred to Oak Hill Academy, reopening his recruitment, only to recommit to the Wolverines just two months later. After signing a letter of intent with the Wolverines, he asked out of it when Tommy Amaker was fired with the '06-'07 season ended.

Legion eventually signed with Billy Gillispie at Kentucky, but lasted just six games there before deciding to transfer. He wound up at Illinois, where he played 22 games after becoming eligible at the semester break last season. But Legion never could work his was into Weber's rotation, averaging just 11.1 mpg last season, which dropped to 9.9 in his 10 games this year.

As far as next year is concerned, Legion may not have many options. If he transfers to an NAIA school, he will be eligible to play next fall. If he sits out two semesters, he will be eligible to play at the DI level at the semester break during the '10-'11 season. If he sits out three semesters, he will be eligible for the entirety of the '11-'12 season.

Do I even need to tell you that none of these options are all that appealing?

For starters, there is no way that Legion will go to an NAIA school. He is better off going pro and trying to latch on overseas somewhere.

Pro ball may actually be his only option. If you were a DI coach, would you want to use a scholarship on a kid that has twice transferred in the middle of a season? Remember, Legion has averaged just 3.8 ppg in 39 games over the course of three seasons, and will have just one semester of eligibility remaining if he sits out another full year.

Adding a player in the middle of a season is always a difficult task considering that the coach will have already gotten comfortable with a rotation and the players will have learned their role within the team. Is it really worth that risk for 20-some-odd games from Legion?

Someone hasn't be giving Legion great advice. But after reading this, are you surprised?
Continue reading...

Tuesday's Pregame Beat

7:00 pm: Marquette @ West Virginia: If Marquette is going to knock off West Virginia, it is going to be because of Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler. There is no way the Golden Eagles are going to be able to beat West Virginia on the glass, but if they can utilize the mismatch that Hayward and Butler provide on the perimeter and limit the number of second chance opportunities that WVU gets, they have a chance to compete.

7:00 pm: Long Beach State @ Duke: The 49ers are just 6-6 and the season, but they are a scrappy bunch, led by TJ Robinson and Casper Ware, that gave Kentucky problems last week.

8:00 pm: Pacific @ Oklahoma State: The Tigers are a scrappy group that likes to control the pace and beats teams defensively. Oklahoma State is much more run and gun, relying heavily on the three ball and mismatches created by Obi Muonelo and Marshall Moses. If Pacific can dictate tempo and slow down James Anderson, they may be primed for an upset. They have already beaten San Diego State and Nevada this season.

8:00 pm: Cleveland State @ Kansas State: The Vikings are not quite the same team they were last season, but led by Norris Cole, they cam every close to knocking off West Virginia. Can they do the same against a K-State team with much better guard play?

8:05 pm: MVC play starts: The Missouri Valley looks like it is back to being a multi-bid conference, as Northern Iowa, Wichita State, and Missouri State all have a shot at being an at-large team. All ten teams will be in action tonight, but the two best games are Northern Iowa heading to Creighton and Wichita State traveling to take on Illinois State.

9:00 pm: Texas Tech @ New Mexico: This game held a lot more gusto two weeks ago when both teams were still undefeated, but as the Red Raiders and the Lobos both lost in the last week, it is still a match-up of tournament teams. Texas Tech has an underrated inside-outside combo with John Roberson and Mike Singletary, but Darington Hobson is one of the best players you've never seen play.

9:00 pm: Syracuse @ Seton Hall: Seton Hall has a number of players that can fill it up from the perimeter and the size to match-up with the Orange. My biggest concern is that the Pirates won't be disciplined enough to keep from turning the ball over against the Orange. If Syracuse is going to win, they need to prevent penetratin from guys like Jordan Theodore, Eugene Harvey, and Keon Lawrence, forcing Seton Hall to take contested jumpers from the perimeter.

Other notable games:

  • 4:00 pm: Cornell @ La Salle
  • 6:00 pm: Gardner Webb @ Texas
  • 7:00 pm: Hartford @ Kentucky
  • 7:00 pm: Winthrop @ NC State
  • 7:00 pm: Boston U @ Dayton
  • 7:00 pm: Rhode Island @ Drexel
  • 7:00 pm: LSU @ Xavier
  • 7:00 pm: St. Joe's @ Siena
  • 7:05 pm: Purdue @ Iowa
  • 7:30 pm: South Carolina State @ Clemson
  • 7:30 pm: Mercer @ Charlotte
  • 7:30 pm: East Carolina @ VCU
  • 9:00 pm: Penn State @ Minnesota
  • 9:30 pm: Air Force @ UTEP
  • 10:30 pm: UC Santa Barbara @ Cal
  • 10:35 pm: Binghamton @ St. Mary's

Continue reading...

Dear SWAC, be afraid of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Arkansas-Pine Bluff, after a loss to Oregon last night, is now 0-11 on the season.

But they may be the best 0-11 team in the country.


As is the case with the low-major teams in college hoops, APB has traversed the country, playing major conference teams in their home arenas in exchange for a paycheck. That's a fair trade, right? Five figures a game to get beatdown on a nightly basis.

There is something different about this team, however. APB did not play in a tournament this season, and thus has played every game on the road, losing to UTEP, Arizona State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Missouri, and Oregon, among others. As you might have guessed, that is the toughest non-conference schedule in the country (Ed. Note: That ranking does not factor in Monday's game).

Terrence Calvin is the Lions third leading scorer.
(photo credit: APB Athletics)

And through it all, APB has yet to lose a game by 20 points.

Think about that.

Through all their travels, all those major conference and NCAA Tournament teams, all those losses, the Lions have not lost a game by 20 points.

Pretty impressive.

So impressive, that Kenpom is actually predicting a 16-2 conference record for the Lions, and giving them a 17.3% chance of running the table in conference play, which kicks off January 4th against Mississippi Valley State.

Now wouldn't that be an impressive feat?

Winless in non-conference play, undefeated in the conference.

I think I have a new favorite team.

(h/t Mike Miller - not that Mike Miller - over at Beyond the Arc)
Continue reading...

Tuesday's Shootaround: Nation, say hello to Jimmer Fredette

BYU 99, Arizona 69: Forget about Rotnei Clarke's 51 points. Forget about Evan Turner and his triple doubles. BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette can now claim the best individual performance of the season, as he sliced up an Arizona team that looked like they didn't want to be on the court. Fredette finished the game with 49 points, 9 assists, and 7 boards while going 16-23 from the field and 9-13 from deep. How good was he? According to Greg Hansen of the AZ Star, in the last five minutes when the McKale Center was silent, you could hear Sean Miller say to Fredette "just pass, no more shooting." BYU jumped out to leads of 27-7 and 39-16 in the first half and never looked back.

Fredette had the fantasy stat line of the year, scoring 49 points and nearly missing a triple double.
(photo credit: OTR Sports)

Is it time to start paying attention to the Cougars? They are now 13-1 on the season swept the Arizona schools by 43 points, and had dropped their only game in one of the toughest places to win in the country - at Utah State. And maybe while we're at it, we could throw Fredette on an all-american list.

Indiana 90, Bryant 42: The Hoosiers blew out Bryant, as expected. But the win came at a price, as freshman Maurice Creek, who was averaging 17.6 ppg, suffered a grisly fracture to his knee cap (the photo here isn't as bad as the Roland injury, but still isn't for the faint of heart) an will miss the rest of the season.

UNC 81, Rutgers 67: UNC nearly blew a 17 point second half lead, as Mike Rosario and Jonathon Mitchell led the Scarlett Knights back. It also helped that UNC made repeated bone-headed plays - turning the ball over in transition, stepping on the out of bounds line, jacking up tough shots early in the shot clock. The biggest shot of the game - a three by Dexter Strickland (who led the team with 18 points off the bench) with just under two minutes left - wasn't even an intelligent shot. He jacked up a three of the first pass, ignoring Deon Thompson in the post, and just happened to hit it. Rutgers was lucky that they got Hamady Ndiaye and Brian Okam, Rutgers' two seven-footers, in foul trouble, because out scrapped, out worked, and out hustled the Tar Heels.

Other notable games:
  • Temple 63, Bowling Green 39: Temple is back to their old tricks, as they held Bowling Green to just 13 first half points. Ryan Brooks had 19 points and Ramone Moore had 17 in teh win.
  • Gonzaga 94, Eastern Washington 52: Elias Harris scored 22 points to pace the Zags in a blowout win.
  • Memphis 87, IUPUI 67: Elliot Williams continued his excellent play as he scored 27 points in the Tigers win over the Jaguars.
  • Richmond 66, UNC-Wilmington 64: Kevin Anderson scored 24 points as the Spiders overcame an eight point deficit with three minutes left. Anderson hit two free throws with 30 seconds left to cap the comeback and give Richmond a 65-63 lead.
  • Wake Forest 75, UNC-Greensboro 60: The Demon Deacons got 23 points, 17 boards, 3 assists, and 6 blocks from Al-Farouq Aminu, but needed a late 16-6 run to pull away from UNCG.
  • Pitt 65, DePaul 52: The Panthers jumped out to a 15-2 lead, going ahead by as much as 16 in the first half, but DePaul made it close in the second half, cutting the lead to six. Mac Kowshal and Will Walker, neither of whom were 100%, both had 11 points last night, while Ashton Gibbs led the Panthers with 23.
  • Mississippi State 73, Mississippi Valley State 45: Ravern Johnson scored 22 points to lead the Bulldogs, who hit 12 three pointers. Can you guess who is second in the country in three pointers made this season? Mississippi State.
  • UTEP 93, Norfolk State 56: Randy Culpepper had 24 points, and Derrick Caracter notched his fourth straight double double with 15 and 15 as the Miners won again.
  • Cal 85, Utah Valley 51: Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, and Theo Robertson combined for 47 points in the win.
  • Nevada 78, Portland 69: Luke Babbitt scored 22 points as the Wolfpack pulled away from the Pilots in the second half. Robin Smuelders held his own, going for 22 points and 12 boards in the loss.
Monday's Best:
  • Jimmer Fredette. Obviously.
  • Dwain Williams led Hawaii with 28 points, hitting 5-9 from deep, as the Bows knocked off Northwestern State.
  • Tyren Johnson had 23 points and 13 boards, but Louisiana-Lafayette lost to Centenary.
  • Chris Flores had 25 points, 6 boards, and 4 steals as NJIT won their 4th game of the season, knocking off Wagner.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest had 23 points, 17 boards, and 6 blocks in the Demon Deacons win over UNCG.
  • Wendell McKines had 22 points, 13 boards, and 6 assists as New Mexico State beat Prairie View A&M.
  • Eric Wise had 31 points and 7 boards in UC Irvine's loss to San Jose State.

Continue reading...

Tuesday Morning Dump

- A look into the issues with recruiting African refugees. An absolute must-read, and we will get into this more later in the day.

- Jimmer Fredette went bananas last night. 49 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 9-13 from three. Bananas.

- Don't underestimate Bobby Gonzalez and his Seton Hall squad. He also loves Devin Ebanks

- Nebraska freshman Coleman is transferring

- This isn't even the worst Pac-10 of the decade

- Wichita State and Texas Tech are both improved this season

- A lesson on ticket-scalping

- The Syracuse All-Decade Team

- Gonzaga takes a weird trip through the polls

- Northwestern visits the polls for the first time in 40 years

- Every good team needs a puzzleman

- Jeff Goodman doesn't think the unbeatens will last.

After the jump, Hitler is upset with Calipari. Hilarity ensues.

Continue reading...

Monday, December 28, 2009

12/28 The BIAH Top 25's


1. Kansas (11-0)

2. Texas (11-0): Since these two teams are the definitive top two teams in the country right now, I figure I'd tell you why I ranked them how I did. For starters, I thought that Kansas was the best team in the preseason, and while they haven't exactly been blowing out their opponents, they have won games by double digits in the last few weeks against Michigan (not as close of the final) and Cal (closer than the final). True, neither of these teams are playing as well as they were expected too, but both of them were ranked in the preseason, and my money says both of them end up in the tournament come March. Texas was my second ranked team in the preseason, and they have a couple of really impressive wins in the last 10 days, outlasting both North Carolina and Michigan State. But neither of those teams are playing great basketball right now, and both of the wins came in Texas. So while I will agree that Texas has closed the gap between themselves and Kansas, and that Texas has had a more impressive resume than Kansas (not the Jayhawks fault - they could have three top 25 wins if UCLA, Cal, and Michigan were as good as they were supposed to be when schedules were made), but I don't yet believe that Texas is a better team than Kansas.

3. Kentucky (13-0): After obliterating Drexel, Kentucky once again showed off their youth as they struggled to hold off Long Beach State. As I've said all season long, Kentucky is one of the few teams talented enough to be a national champion, but until they can consistently put together 40 minutes of great basketball, they are not going to be a team that can make a Final Four.

4. West Virginia (10-0): People are sleeping on West Virginia. This team does have its flaws - they aren't great perimeter shooters, and they don't have a great point guard, which means that their susceptible to a press - but there are few teams in the country that are going to be able to score on the Mountaineers when they decide they want to defend. There are even fewer teams that will be able to keep WVU of the offensive glass, where they have been absolutely murdering smaller opponents. With Devin Ebanks finally starting to find his rhythm, the Mountaineers may actually be the best team in the Big East. We will find out on Friday, when they head to Mackey Arena to face Purdue.

5. Syracuse (12-0): The Orange have come back down to earth a little bit, as they haven't looked as dominating in their wins over some lesser opponents. Their big wins - UNC, Cal, Florida - also look less impressive today than they did a few weeks ago. That said, I still love this team's size, balance, and defensive ability. While I'm not quite as sold on them as I was a few weeks ago, I still think this is a team that can win the Big East and make a run to the Final Four.

6. Purdue (11-0): I know Purdue is good, I'm just not sure how good quite yet. Wins over Tennessee, Wake Forest, Alabama, and San Diego State are all nice, but, like I've said since it happened, I don't think people realize how much they are going to miss Lewis Jackson.

7. Duke (9-1): The Dukies hold fast with a week off.

8. Villanova (11-1): A win over Delaware does nothing to how I feel about Villanova. Only loss to Temple, who is good this season.

9. Kansas State (11-1): Struggling to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff isn't as bad of a sign as you would think.

10. UNC (9-3): Like Villanova, one blowout win over a bad team doesn't tell us much about the Heels.

11. Michigan State (9-3): I actually think Michigan State looked better against Texas than they have earlier in the season. No shame in losing to the #2 team in the country on the road.

12. Georgetown (9-1): Beating Harvard is a good win, but I was more impressed to see Chris Wright go for 34. Really important player for the Hoyas.

13. Ole Miss (10-2): Like I said with Michigan State, Ole Miss shouldn't be penalized for losing a game to a top ten team on the road.

14. New Mexico (12-1): I think New Mexico bought into their hype a little bit before playing ORU, who is a tough team in the Mabee Center.

15. Temple (9-2): Temple has some good wins and no bad losses, but at home against Kansas will convince a lot more people.

16. UConn (9-2)
17. Florida State (11-2)
18. Ohio State (10-2)
19. Tennessee (9-2)
20. Clemson (11-2)
21. UNLV (12-2)
22. UAB (11-1)
23. Northwestern (10-1)
24. Georgia Tech (9-2)
25. Wisconsin (10-2)


1. Kansas (11-0) - I feel like I keep saying the same thing about Kansas every week. But, what else is there to say? They are the best team in the country. It's a shame we have to wait until February to see them play #2 Texas. I wonder if they will both be undefeated and ranked 1-2 then?

2. Texas (11-0) - It must be tough to be Texas. They are playing like the best team in the country, but apparently there is a team that is just a little bit better. Damion James has been Mr. Double-Double recently, currently averaging 17 ppg and 11 rpg.

3. Kentucky (13-0) - They beat a pesky Long Beach State team by 13 and drilled Drexel, winning 88-44. If I had a vote of PoY and I got to vote now, I'd give it to John Wall. It's a shame that we already know he won't be around this time next year. It's not even 2010 yet! Damn you NBA draft.

4. Purdue (11-0)
- Not much for the Boilermakers during holiday week, other than a 27-point win over SIU-Edwardsville. I didn't even know that was a Division I school. You learn new things every day. Matt Painter's squad squares off against #6 West Virginia on Friday in the game of the week.

5. Syracuse (12-0) - Forget the whole undefeated thing. Did anyone expect 'Cuse to be the Big East favorite heading into conference play? I sure didn't. They open Big East play against a surprisingly-good Seton Hall team.

6. West Virginia (10-0) - I've been on the fence about WVU all season long. They showed why against Seton Hall. But they remain undefeated. I feel a loss coming soon though. It might be on Tuesday against Marquette. But most likely will occur on Friday when they face-off against #4 Purdue.

7. Duke (9-1) - After losing by four to Wisconsin, Duke has been flat-out punishing people. They beat Gardner-Webb by 45 and spanked Gonzaga by 35. They host winless Penn later this week. It's very possible that Duke wins by more than 50.

8. Villanova (11-1) - When they score less than 75 points, they seem to have trouble pulling away from opponents. I would love to see them play Ole Miss this week instead of a month ago.

9. Connecticut (9-2) - The next week will be an interesting one for the Huskies. They open Big East play on the road at Cincinnati, then they host Notre Dame and Seton Hall. That's three consecutive opponents all whom are trying to find themselves. That could spell trouble for the Huskies.

10. North Carolina (9-3) - There's no shame losing to Texas in the way they did. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, The ACC doesn't seem to be as tough as in recent years (meaning, if they played in the Big East, I'd be a bit concerned heading into conference play.

11. Kansas State (11-1)
12. Georgetown (9-1)
13. Mississippi (10-2)
14. Michigan State (9-3)
15. Tennessee (9-2)
16. Washington (9-2)
17. Ohio State (10-2)
18. New Mexico (12-1)
19. Temple (9-2)
20. Clemson (11-2)
21. Florida State (11-2)
22. Texas Tech (10-1)
23. UAB (11-1)
24. USC (8-4)
25. Northwestern (10-1)

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12/28 - College Hoops Week in Review: Hope everyone had a happy holiday

What we learned this week: Could Texas actually be the best team in the country?

All season long, the Longhorns have been pegged right behind Kansas as the #2 team in the country, but after outlasting top 10 teams North Carolina and Michigan State in the last eight days, some have questioned whether or not the Longhorns truly are the best team in the country.

Before we get crazy, remember this: neither Michigan State or North Carolina is a complete team or a finished product right now. The Heels are still searching for consistency from their perimeter, while Michigan State is dealing with injuries and problems defining roles for their stars (Raymar Morgan, Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers). Yes, these two teams have the talent to be a top ten team. Yes, both are going to be in the conversation for Final Fours and conference championships come February. But right now, neither of these teams are playing up to that level.

Texas, on the other hand, is.

And the Longhorns are doing it in the most basic way - playing stauch defense on the perimeter, pounding the ball inside, and dominating on the glass. It is akin to the running game in football - you may be able to over power teams early in the season, but as more talented and complex systems begin to come to fruition, it will be the ability of Texas to adapt that will determine whether or not they succeed later in the season.

GAME OF THE WEEK: West Virginia 90, Seton Hall 84 OT

After an and-one bucket from Da'Sean Butler, this game looked to be all but over as West Virginia had taken a 75-65 lead with under a minute left in the game. But Seton Hall was far from done as Eugene Harvey sparked a miraculous comeback. After drawing a foul and hitting two free throws, Butler missed the front end of a one-and-one. Harvey knifed through the West Virginia defense, making a lay-up that cut the lead to six. After Devin Ebanks then missed a free throw, Harvey found Ferrakohn Hall open under the basket for a dunk that cut the lead to four. After forcing a turnover. Harvey hit Hazell coming off of a screen for a three that made it a 75-74 game with 16 seconds left. Butler would hit two free throws at the other end before Harvey again found Hazell, who buried a three from 25 feet to tie the game and force overtime. Before hitting those two three balls, Hazell was 2-14 from deep. All told, the Pirates went on a 12-2 run in 50 seconds.

Unfortunately, Seton Hall lost their momentum in the extra, again falling behind the Mountaineers. This time, however, WVU would hit their free throws, avoiding their first loss of the season. Hazell finished with 41 points, but was just 4-19 from deep. Da'Sean Butler had 21 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists while Ebanks added 20 points, 17 boards, and 7 assists.

They were good too:

  • Arizona 83, Lipscomb 82 OT; Arizona 76, NC State 74: In back-to-back games this week, Nic Wise hit a buzzer beater to lift the Wildcats to a win at home. One was legit, the other may not have been.
  • Arkansas 66, Missouri State 62: Rotnei Clarke hit a jumper with 4.7 seconds left on the clock, but at the other end the Razorbacks lost Caleb Patterson under the basket who tied the game on a layup at the buzzer. In the extra frame, Clarke hit a go-ahead three with 18 seconds left for the win. It was the Bears first loss of the season.
  • South Alabama 67, Florida 66: Tim Williams scored on a putback with just 1.8 seconds left as the Jaguars scored an upset in Gainesville.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

Many people predicted that Vasquez would be an all-american this season, and possibly the player of the year in the ACC. But Greivis, who is the focal point of every defensive scheme when the Terps take the floor, struggled early in the season. He was turning the ball over, he was missing shots, and he wasn't finding assists like he normally does. In took until the fifth game of the season before Vasquez reached double figures in points.

Greivis Vasquez finally looked like an all-american this season.
(photo credit: Seattle PI)

Since those first four games, Vasquez has found his scoring touch, but it wasn't until this week that he looked like the dominating player that had a triple-double against UNC last season. In a 2-0 week for the Terps, Vasquez averaged 26.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 8.0 apg while forcing more turnovers than he committed (4 steals to 3 turnovers) and shooting 58% from the floor and 6-10 from three. Granted, these were blowout wins against Florida Atlantic and Winston-Salem, but playing these are the types of performances you expect from a star against inferior competition. With Vasquez seemingly on track, Maryland fans hope that the Terps are now primed for a successful run through the ACC.

They were good too:
  • Devin Ebanks, West Virginia: Ebanks struggled initially in his return from suspension, but in two games this week, games where West Virginia beat Ole Miss and Seton Hall and asserted their status as Final Four contender, Ebanks averaged 18.0 ppg, 15.0 rpg, and 5.5 apg.
  • Mike Gerrity, USC: Gerrity has gotten plenty of love since he debuted in USC's demolition of Tennessee last week, but he was just as good this week, averaging 15.7 ppg as USC knocked off St. Mary's, Western Michigan, and UNLV to win the Diamond Head Classic.
  • Jimmer Fredette, BYU: BYU knocked off both Nebraska and Nevada in the Las Vegas Classic, and Fredette was the biggest reason why, averaging 28.5 ppg and 5.0 apg in the two games.
  • Trey Thompkins, Georgia: Coming off of a win against Illinois, Thompkins went for 35 points and 15 boards in a win over FAU in the Bulldogs only games this week.
  • Chris Wright, Georgetown: Wright has been struggling a big with his scoring this season, but he broke out of that slump in a big way in Georgetown's win over Harvard, going for 34 points.
  • Samardo Samuels, Louisville: Granted, it was in games against Radford and Lousiana Lafayette, but Samuels was a monster this week, averaging 23.5 ppg and 14.5 rpg. More impressive, he held Radford's Artsiom Parakhouski to just 14 points and 8 boards.
  • David Lighty, Ohio State: Most people believed that David Lighty was going to be the most important piece for the Buckeyes with Evan Turner out, and he's doing his best to live up to the expectations. He had 30 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists in a win over Cleveland State.
  • Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall: Hazell had 41 points in the loss to West Virginia.


USC has firmly thrust themselves into the national picture as they have now won six straight games. This week, they won the Diamond Head Classic out in Hawaii, solidly beating St. Mary's and UNLV in the process. We've already gushed enough about the Trojans this week, so we will leave it at that.

They were good too:
  • West Virginia Mountaineers: You hear all the talk about Kentucky and Kansas and Texas, and even the chatter about Syracuse in the Big East. No one seems to be talking about West Virginia, but maybe they should be. The Mountaineers continue to pile up wins, adding Ole Miss and Seton Hall to their list of victims. You may not find a more versatile front line than Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, and Wellington Smith. Want proof? There have been times this season where Bobby Huggins runs Butler at the point, Ebanks at the two, and Jones and Smith at the forward spots.
  • Oral Roberts Golden Eagles: ORU has beaten both Missouri and New Mexico this seaosn, the latter coming last week, despite having just seven scholarship players available after having their depth decimated by injuries.
  • UAB Blazers: After knocking off South Alabama and Cincinati two weeks ago, UAB came out against Butler this week and ran the Bulldogs off the court. UAB, led by Elijah Millsaps, has now won 10 straight games and looks to be a contender in C-USA.

  • 12/29 - 9:00 pm: Syracuse @ Seton Hall
  • 12/29 - 9:00 pm: Texas Tech @ New Mexico
  • 12/30 - 7:00 pm: UConn @ Cincinnati
  • 12/30 - 7:30 pm: William & Mary @ Maryland
  • 12/31 - 2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Wisconsin
  • 12/31 - 4:00 pm: Tennessee @ Memphis
  • 12/31 - 7:00 pm: Richmond @ Wake Forest
  • 12/31 - 8:00 pm: St. John's @ Duke
  • 1/1 - 2:30 pm: West Virginia @ Purdue
  • 1/1 - 9:00 pm: Dayton @ New Mexico
  • 1/2 - 12:00 pm: UAB @ Arkansas
  • 1/2 - 12:00 pm: Notre Dame @ UConn
  • 1/2 - 1:00 pm: Gonzaga @ Illinois
  • 1/2 - 2:00 pm: Oklahoma State @ Rhode Island
  • 1/2 - 3:30 pm: Louisville @ Kentucky
  • 1/2 - 5:30 pm: Kansas @ Temple
  • 1/2 - 6:30 pm: Michigan State @ Northwestern
  • 1/2 - 7:00 pm: Georgia Tech @ Charlotte
  • 1/3 - 2:00 pm: Houston @ Iowa State
  • 1/3 - 2:05 pm: Missouri State @ Northern Iowa
  • 1/3 - 3:00 pm: UTEP @ Texas Tech
  • 1/3 - 4:30 pm: Ohio State @ Michigan
  • 1/3 - 5:30 pm: Xavier @ Wake Forest
  • 1/3 - 7:45 pm: Clemson @ Duke

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