Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 10:42 am

Kendrick at PG might work for Ole Miss

By Gary Parrish

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Ole Miss freshman Jelan Kendrick scored his first collegiate points late Wednesday.

They came in a 68-56 loss to Middle Tennessee State.

So that's not good.

But the reality is that Kendrick -- the former McDonald's All-American best known for being removed from the team at Memphis last year before ever playing a game -- looked surprisingly comfortable on the court in just his second game since becoming eligible. He played 29 minutes and mostly at point guard, which is something coach Andy Kennedy said he decided to try out of necessity.

"I'm just looking for somebody that doesn't throw it to the other team," Kennedy said. "I don't mean that flippantly, but that's the truth."

Here's some more truth: Kendrick's natural gifts were obvious against MTSU. He finished with eight points, three assists, three rebounds and four steals, and he turned the ball over just once. The 6-foot-7 playmaker operated under control, didn't force much and rarely hurt the Rebels on the defensive end of the court. More important, Kendrick finally provided a tangible reason to believe the possible reward of enrolling the talented but troubled prospect might out-weigh the obvious risks that've plagued his college career to date.

"If he can just do what Andy asks him to do all the time, he's gonna be a really good player," said MTSU coach Kermit Davis. "He's long and athletic, and I didn't think he settled for jumpshots. He kept trying to get to the rim. I thought he played well."
Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 9:54 pm


By Matt Norlander

When looking at some of the more complex offensive and defensive schemes in college basketball, it's paramount to pay attention to Kentucky, which is one of the more athletic teams in the country. Rumor has it a few of these guys may play in the NBA one day, but I'll let the screencaps be the judge of that. After all, we're breaking down film here, which I am unquestionably qualified to do.

Let's examine how Kentucky can score its points, since scoring points is something done frequently in the game of basketball. We'll go with the sequence depicted below, which happened early in the first half of the Wildcats' game against Samford Tuesday night. To avoid confusion about what you should be reading where, below each frame, the explanation for the often-confusing confluence events is laid out for you in reference to the picture above it.

Samford's Devin McNeil has the ball about 27 feet from the hoop. Everyone else is sort of just standing around because it's early in the game and the news Ashley Judd wouldn't be showing up kind of put a damper on the night. In the paint, you'll notice Kentucky's Anthony Davis appears to be burdened by an invisible 60-pound book bag.

I'm now ready to use the first of what will be many arrows in order to help illustrate just how easy this stuff can be to see with the untrained, DVR-accessible eye. By the way, McNeil just dribbled the ball off his foot. Kentucky's Marquis Teague reacts like every basketball player in the world would: he reaches for the basketball. Davis is the only other player to react.

Teague now has the basketball, evidenced by the left arrow pointing directly at it. Teague opts to do the right thing: run toward the other hoop. Meanwhile, my svelte arrow to the right picks up on the fact the baseline referee is still humming Carol of the Bells to himself and is slow to move his roller-skates.

After what must have been tough deliberation, Teague begins to take off down the floor. The baseline ref is now out of the picture, which is completely explainable, but we'll save the strategy behind that for when you're ready to interpret things at a higher level. Oh, the yellow circle? I just did that because I can.

The green arrow means go. It also means I can use Photoshop at an above-third-grade level. Teague's now on the run, and it appears he's looking directly at the Samford bench. He would not get whistled for a technical foul. Teague is able to dribble straight ahead and look to his right at the same time because he's an elite, top-level college basketball player.

A critical part of the play's sequence, and perhaps this will truly help you understand who Kentucky is and what it does. I've opted to go with the circular rainbow effect in an effort to veil my limited coachspeak and basketball knowledge with a flair for graphic manipulation in Photoshop. Quite the ruse. This is so easy. Look, that ref's about to crush that star.

You'll notice Teague's now decided to go for the gold. Two points are probably on its way, but McNeil still has ... well, you see what he's mulling over. By the way, these two players are the only ones in the frame because they're arguably the two fastest guys on the floor. I hope my encircled graphic helped make the clear to you.

McNeil chooses not to foul, because look at the time and score, and so Teague goes up for the layup. I thought you might need some help understanding what was happening at this point of the play, so I slung a few more arrows into the screencap just to help ya out. In no time you'll be digesting all of this great tape evaluation and wanting to take a crack of your own. I highly encourage it!

The ball is through the hoop as you can see (if you can't, look for the yellow circle) and although the ESPN television producers are slow to recognize it, the score is now in fact 6-0. Anthony Davis has essentially wasted his time taking a trip down the floor, and everyone needs to hustle back. I thought about tossing one more arrow into the graphic here, but I think you've come far enough. Two is educational without being patronizing.

Now, let's watch the play in real time to truly take in what we just went over.

And that's pretty much it. I hope you've got a good understanding of how Kentucky's transition offense works, because understanding this stuff makes you the smarter, better basketball person. By the way, no one asked me to do this, and I don't really have much precedent with it, but I went ahead appointed myself as an expert, since this was something the Internet absolutely needed.


Now that our lesson is through, do this for me. Follow Sebastian Pruiti on Twitter, read his work and understand he's the godfather of tape evaluation and everyone else just feeling the fabric of his coattails. The man has spawned a legion of imitators, and it's been hilariously impressive to watch.

And a special thanks is in order to the ever-reliable Timothy Burke for the screencaps.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:35 am

Wakeup Call: Happy, happy Hannukah!

By Matt Norlander

The 10 biggest discoveries in our world in 2011. // A different set of discoveries: the best viral videos of the year. // This could be a day-maker. // The lava lake and abandoned Ferris wheel are my favorites. // A devastating, tragic story, because the girl never knew she was about to die. Her last memory/vision is an innocent millisecond before non-existence. // Vote for the worst Christmas song here; I actually don't have anything against "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" ...

★ I really love what Goodman's done with his informative/notebook-esque Tuesday column. A mushy stew of great info.

★ How about this St. Joe's transfer story from two years ago.

★ In wake of the Xavier-Cincy mess, I think two games would've been better than one, but either way, any punches thrown in hoops need to result in suspension, almost always.

One of the five best things Rob Dauster has written in 2011.

★ Will Shabazz Napier be out for Thursday's game against Fairfield?

★ "As long as the schools make rules to give the Todd Grahams of the world all the power, the Todd O'Briens don't stand a chance." Agreed. But the Todd Grahams are never losing the power.

★ I still disagree -- silly, stupid, irrelevant writer's opinion, I know -- with playing Sullinger when he's got tweaks to kink out, but he did play well against Lamar last night.

★ Seth Greenberg has some interesting protocol his players must cater to on Twitter.

★ If we must ditch "true point guard" then I'm immediately going to start using "pass-first point guard."

Saint Mary's has won eight straight, but I've gotta see them against better competition. No one talks about how Randy Bennett tends to schedule so lightly.
★ By mid-January, I think we see Brad Beal become a real force.

★ Bernie Fine accuser Zach Tomaselli pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of his own.

★ Forgot to link this yesterday, but it's been officially one year since this blog was launched. Very proud of what we've done here in 366 days, and hope to get even better, even prettier and even tighter in the next year. Thank you for continuing to come back -- our numbers have been improving more and more. We love you.

► Robbie Hummel once again can jump. He couldn't get six inches off the ground two months ago.

♬ This is an order from the Member of the Tribe who resides at this blog, one Mr. Goodman, who wanted Sandler's holiday tune in this spot today.

Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:32 am

Night Court: C.J. Leslie beats the buzzer

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Kenpom.com anointed North Carolina State vs. St. Bonaventure as the game of the day prior to Tuesday – and he certainly wasn’t wrong. It was a back and forth game throughout, but it looked like it was heading to overtime once Eric Mosley tied it up at 65 with 3.1 seconds left. Then C.J. Williams launched a full-length pass to C.J. Leslie, who somehow got a shot off to win the game for the Wolfpack. Check the really high-quality video above.

Win to brag about: Northern Iowa was 6-0 on its homecourt heading into Tuesday, but Ohio went into Cedar Falls and came out with a 17-point win. The Bobcats shot 52 percent from the field, 52 percent from 3-point range and stifled Northern Iowa on the defensive end. Ivo Baltic went for 22 points in the win for Ohio, which is now 10-1.

Loss to hide from: There weren’t any truly bad losses on Tuesday, but Stephen F. Austin dropping one to Prairie View A&M tops the list. Prairie View didn’t have a Division-I win all season and had won just two games away from home in the last season and a half. Stephen F. Austin expected to contend in the Southland this season, but going 0-for-8 from 3-point range en route to a 53-50 loss isn’t going to do it.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Richmond’s Darien Brothers scored 38 points to lead the Spiders to a 90-82 overtime win against Old Dominion. Brothers jumpstarted the extra period with a four-point play to give Richmond a lead it would never relinquish. Overall, he had 19 points in the last 11 minutes of regulation and overtime. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Coming off Butler’s win against Purdue over the weekend, we expected the Bulldogs to show better against Gonzaga. Instead, they got behind early and fell, 71-55. Three of Butler’s top four scorers – Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Chrishawn Hopkins – combined to shoot 3-for-21 for a grand total of seven points.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 358: Towson lost to Manhattan on Tuesday night. The Tigers have now gone 358 days without a win.
  • November 16: Prior to its win over UNC-Asheville, Tennessee hadn’t defeated a Division-I team in over a month.
  • 11-1: After its win over St. Francis (Pa.), Pittsburgh has now started 11-1 in 11 of the last 12 seasons. The PA announcer in that game had to call out an update after every basket due to a scoreboard malfunction.

Three other notable results:

  1. Charleston looked poised to pull the upset over Louisville, but a quick 8-0 run in 70 seconds gave the Cardinals a seven-point lead with two minutes left. Louisville held on, 69-62.
  2. Doron Lamb shot 8-for-12 from the field to lead Kentucky to an 82-50 win over Samford.
  3. Syracuse stayed undefeated with an 80-61 victory over Patriot favorite Bucknell.


  • Jared Sullinger returned from a foot injury to play 30 minutes against Lamar. He scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 70-50 win.
  • New Mexico’s game against Montana State was delayed 30 minutes by a fire alarm before tipoff. Per the AP, it was the third time in the last two seasons New Mexico has had a game delayed.
  • BYU bounced back from an early deficit to beat Buffalo, 93-78.
  • North Texas freshman Tony Mitchell is averaging 12.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in his first two games since becoming eligible.
  • Solomon Hill had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Arizona get an 85-73 win over Oakland.

On tap: There are several good games to check out on Wednesday. The best game of the night should be Texas taking on North Carolina, with Myck Kabongo going head-to-head with Kendall Marshall. Seton Hall also faces Dayton, and Alabama looks to bounce back against Oklahoma State. A couple of teams with gaudy records battle in DePaul and Cal Poly, and Parrish will be at Mississippi vs. Middle Tennessee State.

Photo: US Presswire
Video: YouTube

Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:35 am

Wakeup Call: 1 vs. 2 in women's hoops delivers

By Matt Norlander

Kim Jong-il's death will dominate the news today. A photo gallery of the neglected/repressed country he leaves behind. // It was quite a weekend for world news. This is the face of the last U.S. solider to leave Iraq. // How social networking has predictably killed off so much of the fun of high school reunions. // Can't remember if I linked this last week or not, but either way I don't care, because it's that good: the best/worst of 2011 band names. // This is what it looks like to have your life flash before your eyes ...

★ So much for the three-week injury. Tyshawn Taylor is apparently going to give it a go tonight against Davidson.

★ Baylor knocked off UConn in a big night for women's hoops Sunday.

★ If there was a must-read from over the weekend, it was this.

★ This is a biggie: the University of Houston has seen a considerable amount of its assets vanish in the wake of David Salinas' suicide.

★ You need to go back and watch every one of these dunks.

★ Basketball "through the eyes of a child" was one of my favorite reads of the weekend.

★ An interview with SI.com college hoops writer Andy Glockner, who understands the importance of clarity when conveying his thoughts.

★ A great look at how assist-makers in college basketball get their help.

★ The West Coast Conference fascinates me, and this post examinating who can do what in the league is worth a look.
★ Herb Pope, who's like 25 by the way, is getting closer and closer to playing at a level he probably didn't think possible.

★ No. 1 Syracuse is the fifth-biggest favorite to win it all. UK is now atop the betting lines.

Deaf player gets clearance from NCAA to play final 20 games of his fifth season. Good on you, NCAA.

★ Summit League just dominated Night Court this weekend. Here's what lies ahead for a conference that will probably only be a one-bid league, but it's a hell of a race getting thre.

★ Have always loved me some Weekly Watch, but the video of Katz is unsettling to me for reasons I can't explain.

► My buddy Jeff Eisenberg introduced me to this insane D-III dunk over the weekend.

♬ I've been posting some of my favorite Christmas tunes, and The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling" is among the guilty pleasures, although maybe guilty pleasure isn't the right term. This is a great missing-you Christmas tune, and the best part comes at the end: that layered harmony is so buttery.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 5:36 pm

Afternoon Delight: Plenty of daylight drama

By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five hours worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

The best we’ve seen so far: Baylor went into Provo and got a win in one of the toughest environments in college basketball, 86-83 over BYU. Brandon Davies was blocked by 5-10 Pierre Jackson as Davies tried to put up the game-tying 3. No Jimmer in the building, but Baylor had plenty of firepower from Brady Heslip, who drained six 3s. By the way, Perry Jones will be a guaranteed top-four draft pick. He had an injury scare in his leg/knee, but not matter: Jones came back in the game. He finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Love the royal blue Santa suit.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: It was about as quiet of a top-25 game as you could ask for (and not want). Florida got out early against Texas A&M and coasted 84-64 in what they're calling the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The worst thing about the Gators were their hideous orange-on-blue uniforms. This was more about A&M not being a top-25 than Florida proving its worth against a ranked team, which UF finally did by way of a victory.

No soup for you: That was a worse loss for Purdue than it was a good win for Butler. Andrew Smith picked up the trash and tipped the game-winner in with one second to give the Bulldogs a 67-65 win, but the Boilers gave away a 15 point led and was on the wrong end of a 21-8 run. Shaky free-throw shooting and not enough interior presence, either.

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Deshaun Thomas 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting and six rebounds as he showed just how good he can be in a spot when Ohio State needs him. Buckeyes won a 74-6 road game against slippery South Carolina.
  2. The two-overtime game you might have missed was a blast. All sorts of bonkers buckets and Miami beat Florida Atlantic 93-90. Reggie Johnson came off the bench, played in his first game back from a knee injury and 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 36 minutes. Damn, son!
  3. Arnett Moultrie (17 points, 13 boards) was huge in Mississippi State’s tough road win at Detroit. Speaking of that:

Other afternoon action

  1. Mississippi State got a clutch block late from Moultrie and won 80-75 against the Titans, who could be a tournament team down the road. Mississippi State will climb into the top 15 of the polls now that it’s 11-1.
  2. Iona keeps gritting out road wins in the midst of its nine-game away-from-home trip. The Gaels won 63-62 at Vermont this afternoon.
  3. We’d give Temple a lot of credit if it went in and beat Texas on the road. It didn’t happen, and so the Longhorns deserve just as much credit for beating the Owls (77-65), who can finish second in the Atlantic 10.

Delightful thoughts

  • It’s a delightful thing when you can rally twice from double digits. That’s what the Big Red of Cornell did, knocking off Albany in overtime, 85-82.
  • As for the Horizon, consider: Detroit at home can't close out against Miss. St. Butler on neutral floor overtakes Purdue. Muscle memory, coaching, etc.
  • You see Cincinnati play teams like Radford, you see why Yancy Gates only got suspended for one Big East game and the remainder of this patsy schedule.
  • We'll see what the night brings, but after such a down week without any games, this start to a Saturday was uplifting and a joy to see. Felt like mid-February, almost.


Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:15 pm

Midseason additions are a welcome holiday gift

Jeff Borzello

The semester break is the closest thing college basketball has to the trade deadline.

It’s when new players become eligible, whether because of a transfer or from academic ineligibility. Moreover, many injured players point to the semester break as the return point. Of course, lots of players come with hype and anticipation; last year, Josh Selby, Drew Gordon, Renardo Sidney, Jio Fontan and others all became eligible around the same time.

This year’s crop of additions isn’t as strong at the top, but there are still some impact players in the mix. Remember, though, not everyone lives up to the hype – there was a reason they left their former team or were suspended in the first place.

Kevin Ware, Louisville: Academically ineligible for the first semester, Ware should step in and provide depth with his length and athleticism.

Ian Miller, Florida State: The Seminoles have lacked players who can create their own shot, but Miller (right) has shown the quickness to do that.

Reggie Johnson, Miami (Fl.): The injured big man should return in January for the Hurricanes. He’s a double-double lock on a nightly basis.

Gary Franklin, Baylor: Franklin (top) won’t solve Baylor’s turnover issues, but the Cal transfer gives Scott Drew another option to run the offense.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: Could turn around the Sun Belt race for North Texas. He could be one of top 30 impact freshmen in the country.

Pe’Shon Howard and Alex Len, Maryland: Howard will return from injury, while Len from NCAA suspension. Maryland needs their help.

Kadeem Jack, Rutgers: Mike Rice told CBSSports.com that Jack would start practicing in January. Would give the Scarlet Knights an inside option.

Guy Landry, Gonzaga: Suspended by the NCAA for eight games for playing professionally in France, Landry could play against Arizona.

Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton, Loyola Marymount: The Lions top two scorers should return from injury in January; Max Good has some firepower.

Reggie Smith, UNLV: The Marquette transfer made an impact with his defense in the Big East; the Runnin’ Rebels could use the Chicagoan.

Matt Carlino, BYU: Carlino graduated high school a year early to play at UCLA, but he transferred last December. He’ll provide perimeter offense.

Ferrakohn Hall, Memphis: The Seton Hall transfer will become eligible against Louisville on Saturday. He'll be a nice piece and provide some depth. 

Brandon Mobley, Seton Hall: He injured his shoulder over the summer, and has yet to play. However, he was cleared and should help inside.

Devoe Joseph, Oregon: He’s played the last two games for the Ducks, averaging 15.5 points and 5.0 assists in two wins. Big boost for Dana Altman.

Ty Walker, Wake Forest: Walker was suspended for the first semester by the school, but returned last week against Seton Hall.

Twany Beckham, Kentucky: The Mississippi State transfer isn’t a stud, but he should be able to provide some backup point guard minutes.

Mike McFadden, Robert Morris: The Iona transfer hopes to provide some perimeter help for the Colonials, alongside Velton Jones.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:01 pm

Donovan signs extension with Florida

By Gary Parrish

Florida announced Friday that Billy Donovan has signed a three-year extension that places him under contract with the school through the 2015-16 season.

"Billy Donovan has built one of the elite programs in the country at the University of Florida, he and his family have given 16 incredible years to this institution and community," said Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley. "His accomplishments speak for themselves. ... We’re thrilled that he will continue to lead our program for years to come."

As is the case with all contracts in college sports, Donovan's extension doesn't necessarily mean he'll lead Florida's program "for years to come." I mean, he probably will and I have no reason to think he won't. But if Donovan wants out he can get out at any time just like every other coach in America. Simply put, these announcements never mean what a coach or school wants you to think they mean. They're usually announced just to offset opposing schools telling recruits that a coach is leaving for this job or that job "because he doesn't even have an extended contract." That's why Donovan being extended through the 2015-16 season makes sense. Now he can tell high school seniors that he has a contract that'll keep him in Gainesville "through their senior years of college."

Anyway, this is no time to pick apart coaching contracts.

I can do that whenever.

I'd rather spend the rest of this space reminding everybody just how unbelievable Donovan has been at Florida because sometimes I think that gets overlooked. When fans talk about the sport's best coaches I usually hear names like Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Bill Self and Brad Stevens, and those names all make sense. But Donovan belongs on any short list. For proof, consider this: Florida had just five NCAA tournament appearances and one SEC championship in the program’s 77-year history before Donovan arrived in 1996. Since his arrival, the Gators have made 11 NCAA tournaments, three Finals Fours and won two national championships, and they've won four SEC regular-season titles and three SEC tournament titles.

Bottom line, I don't know if Donovan will really lead Florida "for years to come."

Again, that's not necessarily what the extension means.

But I do know this: He's been damn-good leading Florida since the moment he got to campus.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com