Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:10 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:26 am
 

UConn may look it, but Huskies not dead yet

It's hard to figure that UConn could be this flat and uninspiring. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

UConn looks like a dead team -- and I know dead teams when I see them. 

I swear I saw one last March 5. That was Senior Night in Storrs, when Kemba Walker went through the festivities despite being a junior, when the Huskies couldn't beat a Notre Dame team without its best player on the floor for the final 8 minutes, 29 seconds. 

The Irish led, 60-52, when Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough went to the sidelines with his fifth foul. UConn regained the lead less than three minutes later, but the Huskies couldn't hold on for the win. The loss dropped Jim Calhoun's team to 9-9 in Big East play. 

That sure looked like a dead team. Dead and buried. At least that's what everyone thought. 

It was like a morgue in that locker room after the game. That was UConn's fourth loss in the past five games and every head on that team was down. No one had any answers, least of all Walker. 

"No clue," Walker said as he shook his head on that day when I asked him what was wrong. "I have no idea." 

Then came the magical, the unlikeliest of runs that started with five wins in five consecutive days to win the Big East tournament and concluded with six more to claim the national title. 

Do I think it will happen again with this team, which was obliterated in the Yum! Center last night by Louisville?  No. But I've also learned never to count anyone out after what happened a year ago. 

My colleague Gary Parrish made plenty of valid points in his column last night. This team doesn't have Kemba Walker. Right now, it also doesn't even have its Hall of Fame coach -- who is out with what appears to be a serious back injury. 

But many of these guys have dug out of the deepest possible hole. 

The Huskies are now 15-8 overall and 5-6 in Big East play with a road game against 23-1 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome up next. Freshman Andre Drummond was abysmal last night, Jeremy Lamb hasn't lived up to expectations some put on him prior to the season and Shabazz Napier has been an enigma. Alex Oriakhi was relegated to bench duty for much of the season, a move I still feel has hurt this team in a variety of ways.  

It certainly doesn't appear promising for this group of Huskies, but if there's one thing I learned last year is that some teams can come back from the dead. 


Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:19 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Coach K calls UNC most talented team in nation

By Jeff Goodman

College basketball is down and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't disagree. 

"The only thing that might change it is what the NBA does," Coach K said on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball on Monday afternoon. "We're slaves to what the NBA does with the early-entry. If they ever put that in on a two-year basis, you'll see more dominant teams." 

Coach K knows this year's Duke team wouldn't be a Top 10 outfit five or 10 years ago. The Blue Devils are 19-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, which is still impressive, but that says as much about the national landscape as anything else. 

"This is not a juggernaut," K said about his current group. "We have a good team."

"The landscape of college basketball is that if you're old and a little more above the talent level of the so-called mid-majors," he added. "You've got a chance to win the whole thing. That wasn't the formula before." 

Krzyzewski knew, heading into the season, it wasn't going to be easy after losing veterans Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler and No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving. 

Everyone -- The Plumlee Brothers, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly - were all thrust into new roles. But as much as anything, K said that the lack of consistent effort and energy has been the primary cause for concern - along with consistency on the defensive end. 

He's also had a difficult time finding a high-level point guard on his team. The Seth Curry experiment didn't last, Tyler Thornton isn't quite up to par for what surrounds him and Quinn Cook is still a freshman who missed last season with a torn ACL. 

Now comes a matchup in Chapel Hill with North Carolina on Wednesday night, one that could determine whether the Blue Devils have any shot of winning the ACC regular-season title. 

"They're an offensive juggernaut," Krzyzewski said. "They have the best frontline is college basketball." 

That's a completely different debate (I'm siding with Kentucky on this one), but Coach K continued with another strong statement moments after touting Tyler Zeller as the potential ACC Player of the Year. 

"I think they are by far the most talented team in the country," he said. "Maybe not by far, but they are the most talented team -- especially offensively. And they've been playing together for two years. We'll have a tough game against them. Hopefully we'll play well, learn and have a chance to beat them at the end." 

Posted on: February 5, 2012 5:16 pm
 

Updated Top 25 (and one)

By Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman

The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.

Here's how it wil look ...
  1. Kentucky (23-1)
  2. Syracuse (23-1)
  3. Ohio State (20-3)
  4. Missouri (21-2)
  5. Baylor (21-2)
  6. North Carolina (20-3)
  7. Duke (19-4)
  8. Michigan State (18-5)
  9. Kansas (18-5)
  10. Florida (19-4)
  11. Murray State (23-0)
  12. Creighton (21-3)
  13. San Diego State (20-3)
  14. Georgetown (18-4)
  15. Florida State (16-6)
  16. Virginia (18-4)
  17. Wisconsin (18-6)
  18. UNLV (21-4)
  19. Michigan (17-7)
  20. Marquette (19-5)
  21. Mississippi State (18-5)
  22. Saint Mary's (22-2)
  23. Indiana (18-6)
  24. Notre Dame (15-8)
  25. Iowa State (17-6)
  26. Southern Miss (20-3)
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:09 pm
 

Kentucky vs. NBA's Raptors: Not an easy call

By Jeff Goodman

Maybe I'm nuts to think a college group could hang with an NBA team, but I'm not so sure. 

Check out the Toronto Raptors starting unit last night against the Boston Celtics -- and tell me you wouldn't take John Calipari's first five over the Raptors. 

Not just for the future, but maybe even right now. 

The Raptors backcourt was Spanish point guard Jose Calderon and athletic freak DeMar DeRozan. The frontcourt: James Johnson, Ed Davis and Aaron Gray. 

Pitiful. 

I understand Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are just freshmen, but it's not like Davis and DeRozan are grown men, either. Both are just 22 years old. Johnson is 24 and Gray is 26. 

I'd take Davis over Gray in a heartbeat. Yes, today. I'd also go with Gilchrist over Davis -- today, tomorrow and every day thereafter. 

Calderon blows away Marquis Teague at this juncture and we'll give a slight nod to Johnson over Terrence "Mr. Enigma" Jones, but not if Jones' head is actually into the game. 

Then there's the matter of DeRozan vs. Doron Lamb. DeRozan is a terrific athlete and virtually a non-shooter. Lamb is a big-time shooter. Completely different players, but I'll go with DeRozan. 

So maybe Calipari's current edition down in Lexington wouldn't come out on top against the Raptors, but they'd certainly give them a run for their money. 

Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:44 am
 

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

Indiana still has two great wins to carry its resume. (Getty Images)

By Jeff Goodman

No, the Indiana Hoosiers aren't on The Bubble. At least not yet. 

But take Assembly Hall out of the equation -- which I believe is one of the top three homecourt advantages in the country these days -- and Tom Crean would be pacing even more than usual. 

Indiana has won 17 games already -- with two of them coming against likely No. 1 seeds Kentucky and Ohio State in Bloomington. As long as the Hoosiers don't go into complete free-fall mode, which I don't expect to happen, they'll be hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. 

However, I think we can all agree now that Crean & Co. were playing over their heads earlier in the season when they beat Kentucky and Ohio State. There was the swagger that had been built up with a strong non-conference slate -- and the rabid crowd in their home building didn't hurt, either. 

Sure, every team has a homecourt advantage. But only a select few possess one similar to what's going on in Bloomington these days. Maybe just Rupp and Allen Fieldhouse. 

Indiana is 17-6 overall. Crean and the IU faithful would have taken that mark in a heartbeat through 23 games this year, but it's the 5-6 league mark -- and the continued ineptness on the road that is worrisome and even confusing for some. Last night came another road setback, this time in Ann Arbor against Michigan. The loss was Indiana's fifth overall in its last seven games. 

If the Hoosiers lose to Purdue in West Lafayette this weekend, they will fall to 5-7 in league play. That puts them in a similar league bracket as Minnesota and Iowa. Then comes an easy stretch where Indiana should be able to get back on track (Illinois and Northwestern at home, at Iowa), but who knows?

Remember, this is a team that lost at home to Minnesota -- and one that lost on the road against Nebraska. 

Cody Zeller is a stud, but Crean needs more help for him up front. Christian Watford is the ultimate X-factor in that he's talented, but you never quite know what to expect -- and never have. Jordan Hulls has had a terrific season and made dramatic strides as a player, but his backcourt mate, Verdell Jones III, is more suited to a reserve role for a team that wants to contend for the Big Ten title. Will Sheehey's injury earlier in the season, one that sidelined him for five games, has stunted his progress. 

The bottom line, though, is that this team is still ahead of pace. Many -- myself included - pegged IU for the NIT this season. Largely based on a pair of wins, the Hoosiers are worthy of a spot in the Top 25. At least for now. 

However, the Hoosiers can't afford to fall much below two games in league play -- or else those wins against Kentucky and Ohio State may not hold enough weight come Selection Sunday. 


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:42 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 11:43 pm
 

Report: Syracuse big man Fab Melo back Saturday

By Jeff Goodman

Syracuse is getting its big man back. 

The Post-Standard reported that sophomore Fab Melo, a key reason why the Orange spent numerous weeks at No. 1 in the country and are considered a championship contender, will play Saturday at St. John's. 

The 7-footer has missed the past three games due to academic issues. 

Syracuse was 1-2 in that stretch -- including its first loss of the season at Notre Dame. 

Melo is averaging 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and leads the team in blocks with 60. He was a disappointment last season, but shed weight in the offseason and has been a factor on both ends of the court this year. 

Without him in the lineup, freshman Rakeem Christmas has slid over and started in the middle and C.J. Fair has moved into the starting lineup. 

Syracuse is 22-1 overall and in first place in the Big East with a 9-1 mark. 

Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:27 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 11:40 pm
 

Night Court: Southern Miss ends streak

Southern Miss' 18-game losing streak against Memphis is finally over. And now USM looks like it's headed toward the NCAA tournament. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

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

Game of the day: Memphis had owned Southern Miss to the tune of 18 consecutive wins, but Larry Eustachy's team finally got the Tigers. Darnell Dodson made a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to put Southern Miss up 75-72 and Chris Crawford's long 3-pointer was off the mark in the closing seconds of the game. Southern Miss is now all alone in first place in C-USA. 

Win to brag about: Wichita State rebounded from a loss at Drake with a road victory against Missouri State. Gregg Marshall got 25 points and 11 boards from big man Garrett Stutz as the Shockers improved to 19-4 overall and 10-2 in Missouri Valley play. 

Loss to hide from: It wasn't just UConn losing. It was the Huskies scoring just 44 points in a road loss against Georgetown. It was also the Huskies dropping four straight. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Miami-Ohio's 6-foot-8 senior forward Julian Mavunga had an insane night in a 62-57 overtime win over Eastern Michigan. He had 19 points, 19 boards and eight assists. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: With Texas A&M down 61-60, Elston Turner took an extremely difficult shot, a turnaround and contested 20-footer, with nine seconds left in the game. Turner must not have been aware of time and score because there was no need for a shot like that. Baylor wound up with the 63-60 win in College Station. 

Numbers don’t lie:

4: Jim Calhoun's UConn Huskies have dropped four consecutive games to fall to 4-5 in Big East play. A few more setbacks and the defending national champs may not even make the NCAA tourney. 

0: Binghamton is still without a victory after getting pummeled by Stony Brook, 82-48. Mark Macon's team is now 0-22 overall and 0-10 in America East play. 

15: Thomas Robinson has 15 double-doubles this season after going for 20 points and 17 boards in Kansas' rout over Oklahoma. 

Other notable results:

Michigan got a split against Indiana after a 68-56 win in Ann Arbor. Trey Burke had 18 points and the Wolverines only turned it over five times. 

George Mason lost at Delaware, 65-60 -- and with VCU and Drexel both winning, it means there's a three-way tie for first place in the CAA between the three teams. Old Dominion is one-half game back at 9-2. 

Three of the A-10's top four teams teams -- UMass, Dayton and St. Bonaventure -- all lost while La Salle, Temple, Xavier and Saint Louis all posted victories. 

Towson lost at Hofstra, 74-49, ending the team's winning streak at one. 

N.C. State struggled, but came away with a 56-51 road won at Boston College. 

Wichita State rebounded from a loss against Drake to knock off Missouri State on the road, 74-67. The Shockers are 10-2 in Missouri Valley conference play. 

Miami improved to 4-3 in ACC play with a 90-86 home win against Maryland in overtime. 

Notes:

UConn coach Jim Calhoun pulled Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi from the starting lineup and replaced them with Roscoe Smith and Ryan Boatright. It didn't help as the Huskies managed just 44 points in a 14-point loss at Georgetown. Napier finished with just one point and Oriakhi was scoreless. Smith had two points. 

The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that sophomore big man Fab Melo will be reinstated tomorrow and eligible to play this weekend for the Orange. 

Miami coach Jim Larranaga wasn't supposed to coach against Miami due to flu-like symptoms, but showed up 15 minutes prior to the game and coached the Hurricanes to an overtime win. 

Michigan State's Draymond Green's knee injury wasn't as serious as feared -- and he is expected to play Sunday against Michigan. 

Doug McDermott is a legit candidate for the National Player of the Year award. He finished with 24 points in a rout over Illinois State -- after going for 17 in the first half. 

Nerlens Noel, a 6-foot-9 shot-blocking freak from Boston, has re-classified into the Class of 2012. Many feel that Syracuse and Kentucky are the co-leaders for his services. 

On tap: 

1) The nation's lone unbeaten team, Murray State, hosts Southeast Missouri State at 8 p.m. ET. 

2) Duke travels to Blacksburg and faces Seth Greenberg's Virginia Tech Hokies at 7 p.m. ET

3) Gonzaga travels to Provo and plays BYU at 11 p.m. in a game that the Cougars may need to get into the Big Dance. 

4) Washington will need to beat UCLA in Seattle if the Huskies are to have any shot of getting an at-large berth. Game is at 9 p.m. ET. 

5) Cal is tied with Washington at 7-2 in the league. The Bears host Arizona at 11 p.m. ET. 

6) Middle Tennessee State is unbeaten in Sun Belt play at 9-0. Kermit Davis' team goes up against Tony Mitchell at North Texas. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:07 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:29 pm
 

Huggins emotional when telling Spoonhour stories

Charlie Spoonhour. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

Bob Huggins called him his big brother. 

Charlie Spoonhour died this morning at the age of 72. Huggins was about as close with Spoon since their days when they went up against one another in the Great Midwest. 

"I've had better days," Huggins said. "He hadn't been well for a long time. It hadn't been easy for him of late." 

Spoonhour received a lung transplant in 2010 after being diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Spoonhour started his head coaching career in the junior college ranks, then took over at Southwest Missouri State before going to Saint Louis (1992-99) and UNLV (2001-04). 

"When we played Saint Louis before he got there, there were about 2,000 people in the stands," Huggins recalled. "One time I bet they had 20,000 or however many they could get in that place. People were running around with these huge spoons. It was like a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight atmosphere." 

His final record was 373-202 in 19 seasons. 

Huggins said he and Spoon talked just about every other day. 

"They'll never be another Spoon," Huggins said. "His charisma, the persona he had. He had an unbelievable magnetism about him. People always wanted to be around him." 

Huggins shared a few stories about Spoonhour. 

- The pair were playing in the Great Midwest tournament. Huggins in his room set to play DePaul and Joey Meyer and Saint Louis was ready to face Dayton and the phone rang. "Junior, it's my turn to host. I'm one floor above you. Come up here. If you don't know what Joey's going to run by now, you're not very smart. We sat upstairs, talked and laughed." Both teams advanced. Huggins then faced regular-season champion Memphis while Spoonhour and Saint Louis had a matchup with Marquette. The phone rang. "Junior, I believe it's your turn. He came to my room and we talked, told stories and laughed." Both teams won and then were set to play each other in the championship game. "The phone rang. "Junior, I'm a man of my word. It's my turn." Huggins walked in and Spoonhour's assistants -- who were watching film of Cincinnati - cut the film off. "Spoonhour just started laughing," Huggins recalled. "He was going to fire all those assistants. He knew what we ran. He didn't care." Later that afternoon, Spoonhour missed his pre-game meal and showed up at the doorway of Cincinnati's pre-game team meal. "He ate with all of our guys," Huggins said. "He actually ate pre-game with us." Huggins and Cincinnati wound up winning the game. 

- He said there was no one better at entertaining people at roasts than Spoonhour. "We did so many of them together," Huggins recalled. "So many guys get up there and aren't funny. Guys got up there with canned stuff, but his was just off the top of his head. People would always walk away saying they wished he would talk forever, He was that funny." 

- Huggins said Spoonhour called him one day, after Huggins had suffered a heart attack, and asked him what it was like. "I told him to get into the doctor and have it checked out. He was in the hospital and I remember him calling me and telling me he was going to retire in about an hour."

"He had a great appreciation for the professional and the people in the profession," Huggins said. "He was an incredible guy and one hell of a ball coach." 

Spoonhour is survived by his wife, Vicki, and two sons, Jay and Stephen. 


 
 
 
 
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