Tag:Big TEn
Posted on: December 30, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 1:43 pm

Michigan State could one day play in Greece

By Matt Norlander

Michigan State's Mark Hollis (right) is considered one of the most forward-thinking athletic directors there is. He was the brains behind the Carrier Classic, and now because it was such a bloody brilliant success, we'll have two teams play on an aircrafter carrier every season for the forseeable future.

He's tangibly added great things to college sports.

Hollis isn't done coloring outside college basketball's lines. He's on to his next dream: sending Michigan State to play overseas. Greece, specifically. You know, Spartans and all. Greece. Yeah, Greece!

Michigan State adventuring out to Attica ties in with the Big Ten-Pac-12 relationship, which became official earlier this week. Hollis particularly wants Trojans vs. Spartans, USC vs. Michigan State, in Athens.

Are you not entertained by the possibility?

"We've been talking about Greece for a while," Hollis told the Lansing State-Journal, because of course he's been "talking about Greece." When you're Mark Hollis, you do not talk about Evanston, Ill., or West Lafayette, Ind. You talk about Greece. You talk about aircraft carriers. I'm sure Reykjavik is in some other equation. Hollis wants the game at Panathinaiko Stadium, which is too small for a football game, but suited for hoops, especially on TV.

More from the Lansing State-Journal:
Along with the basketball game in Greece, Hollis has other ideas for games and venues. He's thinking about basketball games in the Rose Bowl and Dodger Stadium. He has thought about having multiple basketball games going on at once, perhaps in a venue such as Ford Field -- and perhaps with the Big Ten Network providing coverage one game, the Pac-12 Network another and CBS another.

The TV portion of the partnership will provide "more inventory," Hollis said, and that should mean more money for both conferences.

Mulitple games at once inside a venue seems like a catastrophe, but everything else, sure, why not? The Greek game would have to be the first of the year, obviously, since so much travel and time and production would be involved. It'd be something, though. It might even surpass the Carrier Classic's cosmetic appeal, which seems impossible.

But Mark Hollis looks at the impossible and then eats it for breakfast.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 9:16 am

Wakeup Call: 2011, it was good, but we'll see ya

By Matt Norlander

That is Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis at last night's Kansas game. She is beyond reproach in that cap. He looks like the lucky doofus he is. Let's get to the final Wakeup Call of the year.

Many are angry about Verizon's $2 fee to pay their bill, but if you set up autopay you're in the clear. // This thing, this horrifying more-than-animal, didn't get discovered until 2011. // Boston as America's drunkest city, since I guess we're celebrating such a thing. // Cringe-worthy after-date text-messaging. We all know someone like this. The question is, were/are YOU like this? ...

Nice move by former Rutgers guard Mike Rosario after last night's loss against his former team.

★ Insane story: Juco school with 13-3 record kicks all but two players off its team and forfeits the rest of its season.

★ Boston College is not good this year. Think how good it would be if all these players were still on the team.

★ George Blaney's multitude of looks will get your weekend off to the right start.

★ If you'd like to see the personal side of Seth Davis, you'd best read this start to finish.

★ And here's Seth's 10 predictions for hoops in 2012. His final one I'd love to see happen, of course, but we'll disagree.

★ Good hustle from Jeff Eisenberg to present the back story on the revival of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry.

★ The cookie is great, but the Christmas card from DeMarcus Cousins is beyond words.

★ I'd absolutely put the A10 and Mountain West ahead of the Pac-12 right now, wouldn't you?
★ A Stanford pick to win the Pac-12. I can see it happening.

★ This was great: a thorough takedown of the primary reason Washington State is limited.

★ The work of an occupied headline writer with more important matters to attend to.

The case is made for Louisville-Kentucky being a better rivalry thank any other in college hoops.

► This ought to get you fired up for tomorrow at noon.

♬ We'll close up shop in 2011 by playing one of my favorite songs off one of my favorite 2011 albums. My Morning Jacket is the best live rock act going. "The Day Is Coming" is a good lookahead to twenty twelve.

Pic via Twitter
Posted on: December 29, 2011 5:45 pm

Michigan's Jon Horford out with stress fracture

By Jeff Borzello

On the surface, an injury to a player averaging just over 10 minutes per game wouldn’t seem like a big deal. When it’s the only backup big man, though, it becomes a problem.

That’s what Michigan faces going forward, as a stress fracture in Jon Horford’s right foot will keep him out an extended period of time.

“The plan is for next week to have one close look at it to see if there is progress, but we don’t expect any,” head coach John Beilein told the Detroit Free Press. “If we feel the rest of his season is in jeopardy it doesn’t make any sense [to bring him back].”

Horford, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, was the primary backup down low for center Jordan Morgan. He was averaging just 2.7 points, but grabbed an efficient 3.6 rebounds and was also the team’s leading shot-blocker.

Horford had missed the last three games, but came up big in Michigan’s two biggest wins of the year. He had six points, six rebounds and four blocks against Memphis, and 12 points, seven boards and three blocks vs. UCLA.

With Horford on the mend, Beilein will need more minutes down low from Evan Smotrycz, a natural forward who can also step outside. 6-foot-10 sophomore Blake McLimans has seen more minutes the past few games.

“It shortens [the rotation] quite a bit,” Beilein said. “We’ve got to make sure we have the right depth.”

Michigan is 10-2 so far this season, and kick off Big Ten play Thursday night against Penn State.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 9:58 am

Nebraska difficult enough to win - without issues

By Jeff Goodman

It's difficult enough to win at Nebraska. Then when you toss in the rash of injuries Doc Sadler has experienced, it's darn-near impossible. 

That's exactly what Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler is dealing with these days. 

Senior big man Andre Almeida is likely done for the season with chronic knee problems. Junior big man Jorge Brian Diaz, who averaged double-figures last season, is dealing with recurring foot issues and sat out the loss to Nebraska earlier in the week. The status of wing Dylan Talley, another projected starter, is up in the air due to a leg injury. 

Take three of your top five or six guys off your team and it's virtually impossible. 

Especially at a spot such as Nebraska. 

This was supposed to be Sadler's best season in Lincoln. The talent level was as high as he's had here, but the margin for error is so slim at a spot such as Nebraska that everything needs to go right for this program to get into the NCAA tournament conversation. 

Instead, it's gone all wrong. 

"I still believe this is our best team," Sadler said. "That we can get in the top six, but we've just got to get some guys back. We don't have the depth to withstand this." 

Sadler is visibly frustrated with the rash of injuries, and it's especially difficult since it's the program's inaugural season in the Big Ten. The team played with a ranked Wisconsin team for the first 20 minutes before the Badgers pulled away for a 64-40 victory in Nebraska's Big Ten debut. 

Sadler just doesn't have enough bullets. He's is a terrific coach. You won't get an argument from any of his peers about that fact. But again, it's difficult at Nebraska -- where football rules supreme and the in-state recruiting base for basketball prospects is lackluster. 

At least now Sadler doesn't have to make excuses for his facilities any longer. 

The new practice facility stacks up against any throughout the country -- and the locker rooms are superior to anything I've seen. 

Sadler is cautiously optimistic that Diaz and Talley can return sometime soon, but he honestly isn't certain when they'll get back onto the court. He could use them sooner rather than later, especially with the brutal league slate that awaits. 

Michigan State is up next at home on Saturday, then road contests against Ohio State and Illinois follow. Finally the Cornhuskers will be favored in a game against Penn State on Jan. 11, but then Sadler & Co. head to Wisconsin and then host Indiana and Ohio State. 

If you're counting, that's seven of the first eight league games against ranked opponents. 

Welcome to the Big Ten. 

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 29, 2011 8:55 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 8:57 am

Wakeup Call: Making time, breaking ground ...

By Matt Norlander

You'll love Honest Logos. // Samoa quits Friday, leaves our side of the dateline. // The most illegally viewed movies of the year. // I often link to cool picture galleries. I've never seen a sports photo like this. // Dangerous package at the library turned out to be ...

★ Rest in peace, Voice of Cameron.

USA Today took the lead on writing about coaches and power and if it's too much and whether it can be curbed. Start here.

★ Why that Louisville loss was inevitable last night.

★ Some more end-of-2011 college hoops awards to vote on.

★ Uh, wow. Here's a suggestion of how distant Harvard is from everyone else in the Ivy this season.

★ Telling you, the Hurley stories will come weekly if Wagner starts resembling a respectable program in greater NYC.

★ I spent 2,100 words passive aggressively (and just plain aggressively) going after the Pac-12, so I guess the joke's on me.

★ Already looking like another Carrier Dome attendance record will be set later this season.

★ Even with NBA players the past few years, the Pac-12 has sucked, though.

★ Big, wanted changes are coming to the recruiting trail in April. Here's how things will be altered.

★ I know Ohio State's a juggernaut, but Northwestern getting pasted like this reaffirms my belief: Wildcats won't be dancing this year, either.

★ Pat Forde writes on Rick Majerus. Pat Forde writes very well on Rick Majerus.

★ Hand down, man transferring. Mark Jackson Jr. leaving Louisville.

★ By the way, if you'd like to get primed on all our conference resets, click on this. Info and jokes and not-taking-ourselves-too-seriously prose.

♬ Ween. Such an interesting band. I really, really love a lot of what they do (like this one, "Chocolate Town," one of my favorite early-morning songs) but hate a portion of their catalogue as well.

Photo: Getty Images

Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:30 am

Night Court: Two unbeatens fall, Baylor escapes

Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Baylor went into Tuesday 12-0 and Mississippi State had won 11 in a row. On Tuesday, a Pierre Jackson layup with 28 seconds left was the difference, as Baylor stayed undefeated, winning 54-52. Mississippi State had a chance to tie, but Rodney Hood’s attempt was knocked away when going up. The Bulldogs didn’t score in the last 1:35, when Renardo Sidney fouled out and then picked up a technical foul.

Win to brag about: People had varying opinions of Louisville heading into Tuesday, but the Cardinals were 12-0 nonetheless. Then Georgetown went into the KFC Yum! Center and handed Louisville its first loss of the season, 71-68. Freshman Otto Porter had 14 points and 14 boards for the Hoyas, which held off Louisville after the Cardinals went on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes.

Loss to hide from: It’s not exactly a bad loss, but Creighton’s 12-point home defeat to Missouri State to open MVC play was not what the Bluejays needed. They came into the game as the conference favorite, but gave up 45 points in the second half en route to a 77-65 loss. Kyle Weems had 31 points and seven rebounds for Missouri State.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Coming into the season, most questioned Michigan State’s lack of a true point guard. Keith Appling quieted some of the doubters on Tuesday night, when he led Michigan State to an 80-65 win over Indiana – the Hoosiers’ first loss of the season. Appling had 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Spartans.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Northwestern wasn’t expected to beat Ohio State on Tuesday, but a 33-point loss was certainly not in the Wildcats’ plans. Drew Crawford and John Shurna combined to shoot 9-for-30 from the field, and just 2-for-8 from 3-point range. On the other side, Ohio State’s William Buford had 28 points and nine rebounds.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • UNLV scored 124 against Central Arkansas – the most points the Runnin’ Rebels have scored since 1990-91.
  • UNLV’s bench scored 82 points.
  • More from UNLV: the Rebels had 40 assists – and 36 rebounds.
  • Saint Joseph’s sophomore Halil Kanacevic had eight rebounds, 12 assists, seven blocks – and 0 points.
  • UAB’s Cameron Moore outrebounded the entire George Washington team, 24-22. 

Three other notable results:

  1. Fab Melo racked up his first career double-double, going for 12 points, 10 blocks and seven rebounds to lead Syracuse to a 75-49 win over Seton Hall.
  2. In Connecticut’s first game without head coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies needed a big second-half run to hold off South Florida, 60-57.
  3. Darryl Bryant scored 34 points to lead West Virginia to an 83-69 win over Villanova.


  • Terrence Jones returned after missing two games with a dislocated pinky on his left hand. He came off the bench and played 27 minutes.
  • Maryland’s Alex Len made his season debut against Albany, scored 14 points in the 83-72 win.
  • Anthony Lee scored a putback with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give Temple a two-point win over Buffalo.
  • Drake opened Missouri Valley play with a 15-point win over Indiana State.
  • Drew Gordon had 23 points and 19 rebounds to lead New Mexico to an 89-69 win over New Mexico State.
  • Purdue escaped in its Big Ten opener against Iowa, 79-76.

On tap: There’s a nice mix of conference and non-league matchups on Thursday. Vanderbilt looks to notch a marquee win at Marquette, while Florida travels to Rutgers as Mike Rosario visits his old stomping grounds. Cincinnati will try to keep its winning ways going against 9-1 Oklahoma, and Belmont plays Marshall in an underrated game. The top intra-conference battle is BYU visiting Saint Mary’s in a WCC tilt, while the Pac-12 docket is highlighted by Oregon State and Washington.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 28, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 3:46 pm

Big Ten, Pac-12 to play each other often

By Matt Norlander

We're getting a lot of 2017-related news in sports, all of a sudden. Big Ten men's basketball took a big step toward killing its out-of-conference scheduling credibility today, when it was announced the league would have all its teams enter in to an annual series with the Pac-12 beginning as early as 2012-13. The football side of the agreement won't see fruition until 2017.

The scheduling coup is for all sports in both leagues, and of course I'm being snarky, as it's unlikely the Pac-12 will resemble five years from now what it is today: a mediocre basketball league. (Seriously, it can't be that bad down the road, right? Someone assure me.)

It's news that means more for football than basketball (you're going to want to read how our Eye on College Football folks are seeing it), but it's really just plain precedent-setting for both conferences in general. The leagues have met for decades in football due to the Rose Bowl, but this goes so much further than a New Year's Day pigskin arrangement. What do "brands" love more than anything aside from "buzz words"? Synergy! And boy, oh, boy is this move just buzzing with potential thanks to the synergistic properties surrounding it.

From a tactical standpoint, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany (above) told The New York Times' Pete Thamel he wants to have Pac-12-Big Ten hoops games signal the official start of college hoops season, that this series would actually be the first games each year in hoops.

"He suggested that the scheduling collaboration could give the leagues a chance to have a strong start to the season, be it through an exempted event or by playing a marquee game in an N.B.A. arena," Thamel writes.

Not bad, but I still think the sport needs a little more oomph to get its season started in a grand way. We'll deflect that for another time. Meanwhile, my CBSSports.com colleague Dennis Dodd nailed it with this tweet. "Bottom line: More inventory for Pac-12/B10. The conferences have barely scratched the surface of their networks' worth. Look the hell out."

Absolutely. Conference commissioners, like Delany and the Pac-12's Larry Scott realize that teaming up and infusing (there's another buzz word!) their leagues in as many ways possible only rallies programs, fans and corporations into backing their projects. Despite the SEC's dominance in football, the Pac-12 and Big Ten were/are seen as the most viable, promising conferences. This further separates them from everyone else.

Here's more on what's to come, via Steve Wieberg of USA Today.
"It's sort of in lieu of what some other people are doing (with expansion)," Delany said. "Our idea is you can't stand still. You have to build in an environment where people are competing for attention, where they're competing to have the best competitive assets and to present themselves in the best way. I think both of us believe … this is the most constructive way for us to do that."

Together, the Big Ten and Pac-12 encompass 15 states holding 43% of the nation's population and 22 of its top 50 television markets.

Basketball games similarly could land in such NBA arenas as Los Angeles' Staples Center or Chicago's United Center, four teams sometimes gathering for doubleheaders.

That's good for writers, who love to see their sports get more pub and more reason to hype games. It's good for fans, who will have made-for-TV events built around this series.

So everything seems to be peachy. Just one thing left to address: Pac-12 men's hoops. You guys need to get not bad at basketball again so this is actually a thing to look forward to. Then we good.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:58 am
Edited on: December 28, 2011 12:18 pm

Jordan Taylor deferring for his Badgers teammates

By Jeff Goodman

LINCOLN, Neb. - It just wouldn't have been quite as believable coming from most players. But when Jordan Taylor uttered the words, there was no question that he meant it. 

"As long as we're winning, I could care less," Wisconsin's do-everything point guard said. "I'd much rather go to the Final Four and not have any accolades than get knocked out in the first-round and be an All-American." 

Just talk to Taylor a while and you'll realize how unique an individual he truly is. 

He doesn't make any excuses for his shooting woes this season, only to say that he has -- and needs to -- get in the gym with more frequency. 

"It's nothing mechanical," Taylor said. "No secret formula. Just repetition. That's all." 

But truth be told, Taylor has had to adjust to life without Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, two guys who could both stretch the defense last season and two guys that combined to average 28 points per contest. 

Instead of going out there to prove that he's the First Team All-American that many projected Taylor to be this season, Taylor did the opposite. He sat back, let the game come to him and tried to make sure that his teammates got their shots and gained confidence in their new roles. 

Remember, the team's top five scorers this season not named Jordan Taylor combined to average just 16.4 points last season. 

"He's trying to be the guy who makes everyone else better," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said after the 64-40 win at Nebraska on Tuesday night. "He wants to show people we've got more than one player. He's exactly what a great point guard should be." 

Ryan admitted that, at times this season, he's told Taylor to be more aggressive in looking for his own shot. 

"He didn't worry about getting his own at all," Badgers junior wing Ryan Evans said after going for a career-high 22 in the rout over Nebraska. "He's such a great leader -- and that's why he's different. He knows we're young and inexperienced and wants to instill confidence in the other guys." 

"It's what separates him from other All-Americans," Evans added. 

It's not as though Taylor and the Badgers have gotten off to some miserable start, either. Other than his shooting and scoring, everything else is basically on par with last season - when he established himself as one of the nation's elite players. His assist-to-turnover ratio remains at more than 3-to-1; he distributes, rebounds well for a point guard and leads his team. 

It's a group that has suffered just two slip-ups: the close loss in Chapel Hill to North Carolina and the rare home setback against in-state rival Marquette. 

Taylor was impressive in the win against Nebraska, but his stat line once again wasn't eye-popping. He took just a dozen shots, make five and was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc -- with a couple critical makes that helped allow the Badgers to pull away in the second half. 

But Taylor was too busy feeding Evans, who had his shot going on Tuesday night. Too busy trying to get Ben Brust and Jared Berggren looks. 

"We have some really good players," Taylor said. 

Including a special one. 

Photo: Getty Images
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