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Tag:Jeff Borzello
Posted on: February 11, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Contrast between Baylor, Missouri: stage fright

Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon epitomize Missouri's toughness and fearlessness. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Missouri’s supposed to struggle against teams with size. Baylor is supposed to dominate smaller teams.

None of that happened on Saturday, as Missouri knocked down 14 3-pointers en route to a 72-57 win.

Baylor stubbornly stayed in its zone defense throughout the game, even when it was clear it wasn’t doing much to stop Missouri’s shooters. The Tigers consistently found open gaps in the corners, and exploited the lack of perimeter defense Baylor was showing. Marcus Denmon, Mike Dixon and Phil Pressey combined to shoot 12-for-22 from 3-point range, scoring 51 points between them.

Baylor’s size was a major factor early on, but the Bears simply couldn’t guard Missouri’s guards. How Missouri would match up with Baylor’s size populated much of the pregame discussion, but it was the other way around – Baylor couldn’t match up with Missouri’s four-guard lineup. Perry Jones was invisible for most of the game, while Baylor was unable to knock down jumpers at key points in the game. Gary Franklin, Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip combined to shoot 2-for-13 from behind the arc for Baylor.

While Baylor possesses as much talent as anyone in the country, it’s troubling that Scott Drew’s troops can’t break through against the top teams in the Big 12. The Bears are now 0-4 against Missouri and Kansas. While that would not be a problem for most teams, it’s worth mentioning when you’re a Final Four hopeful. Baylor has all of the ingredients to make a deep run in March – except a killer instinct. Jones is the Bears’ best player, but he has never been a killer and he disappears in the biggest games. Freshman Quincy Miller was good tonight, but he can’t be the only player scoring. Does Baylor have enough mental toughness and intestinal fortitude to beat teams that punch back after taking the Bears’ initial punch?

Missouri is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Tigers are simply fearless. Going against the bigs of Baylor wasn’t an issue – they gave up 15 offensive rebounds and were outrebounded by 13. It didn’t matter. Missouri makes teams adjust to them, not the other way around. Sure, Kim English is too small to really compete with Jones and Quincy Acy and other big guys inside, but they can’t guard him at the other end. Denmon was giving up plenty of height to Miller, but he’s also far too quick for the Baylor freshman. For every potential matchup problem, they respond with “well, what about when we’re on offense?” And fortunately for the Tigers, they’re the most efficient offensive team in the country.

Saturday’s game was a perfect contrast. There was one team that maximized its talent and didn’t back down, and another one that seemed to shrink on the biggest stages despite its size. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2012 4:18 pm
 

Lipscomb dismisses nation's top 3-point shooter

By Jeff Borzello

Jordan Burgason has knocked down 71 3-pointers this season for Lipscomb, leading the nation at 52.6 percent from behind the arc.

Burgason won’t be taking any more jumpers this season, as he was dismissed from the university on Friday.

“I love Jordan and wish him nothing but the absolute best,” Athletics Director Philip Hutcheson said. “But we broke university rules that he knew he was breaking. We had clearly advised him, and he was aware of the consequences of making a bad decision.”

Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com ranked the 6-foot-3 senior as the No. 24 best shooter in the nation in the preseason. Burgason holds the school record for 3-pointers with 282.

“My actions have not shown a respect for the university and its policies and for that I am sorry,” Burgason said in a statement.

He averaged 16.4 points per game for the 11-13 Bisons. 

Posted on: February 10, 2012 6:05 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 6:14 pm
 

Pe'Shon Howard tears ACL, out for season

By Jeff Borzello

Maryland sophomore Pe’Shon Howard will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, head coach Mark Turgeon announced Friday evening on Twitter.

“Today we learned that Pe’Shon Howard tore his ACL,” Turgeon tweeted. “Feel awful for him, he’s a great kid and teammate. We’ll miss him on the court.

“Tough year for him. We’ll fully support him through rehab and know that he will make a strong comeback.”

Howard, a powerful 6-foot-3 guard from Los Angeles, missed the first nine games of the season after injuring his foot in the preseason. Many thought he would miss up to three months with the injury, but his rehab went quicker than expected.

Howard has averaged 32.9 minutes since his return, putting up 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Maryland is 8-6 with Howard in the lineup. 

Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:28 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Rivers rises with big shot

Austin Rivers' game-winner last night, plus his increased scoring lately, moves him up in this week's rankings. (AP)

By Jeff Borzello

So much for the freshman wall. What a week we saw from some of the top newcomers in the country. Austin Rivers hit a game-winning 3-pointer; Le’Bryan Nash knocked down a go-ahead jumper and then blocked a shot at the other end; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did it all; Anthony Davis moved closer to National Player of the Year – and that’s just four of them. While Davis continues to separate himself from the pack, the competition behind him is heating up as we head into the final weeks of the regular season.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.8 bpg, 66.0 FG%
You can’t convince me that Davis only had six rebounds and four blocks against Florida – he completely dominated inside. Averaging 18.0 points in last four games.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 12.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist bolted out of the gate against Florida with a bang, finishing with 13 points and 13 boards. Overall, his offense has been fairly inconsistent lately.

3. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 5): 15.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 64.9 FG%
Zeller has really picked up his rebounding in the past week, grabbing 20 in the last two games combined. If he can continue to make an impact on the glass, he’ll be even more of a factor.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 4): 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Harkless has struggled since his 30-point game against Duke, averaging 10.0 points on 11-for-39 shooting in his last three contests. Grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game in that span.

5. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
Burke has been quiet offensively the past two games, making just four shots in each game, averaging 11.5 points. Scoring his dipped since his monster early January stretch.

6. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 10): 15.1 ppg, 40.4 3PT%
Rivers etched his name into Duke-Carolina lore on Wednesday, with his 25-footer at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a one-point win. He’s really starting to heat up, averaging 22.3 points in his last three games.

7. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 7): 15.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 61.6 FG%
Mitchell with another great all-around game: 16 points, 11 boards, five blocks. An interesting note about Mitchell – he’s shooting 53.6 percent from 3-point range.

8. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 6): 16.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg
Wroten continues to be slightly up and down. Washington simply looked better without him against UCLA, but he bounced back with eight assists and one turnover vs. USC.

9. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 9): 16.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Harrison is lighting up the scoreboard the past three weeks. Interesting stat: in his past six games, he’s 24-for-45 from 3-point range – and just 14-for-45 on 2-pointers.

10. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 8): 14.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Beal has become more aggressive in the past four games, averaging 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. His 5-for-15 performance against Kentucky was just one of many bad nights for the Gators.

Notes:

  • No players dropped out from last week.
  • La Salle’s Jerrell Wright needs to stay out of foul trouble. He was averaging 14.3 points in the Explorers’ four-game winning streak, but played just 24 minutes in the last two games total – both losses.
  • If only Le’Bryan Nash could be consistent. He made two huge plays at the end of Oklahoma State’s win over Iowa State, but struggled the previous game.
  • Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant is playing more than 38 minutes per game in his last eight games.
  • Chane Behanan has really turned it up over the past six games. He’s averaging 13.5 and 9.8 rebounds in that span.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope needs to have more performances like he did against Arkansas on Wednesday. 18 points, 6-for-10 shooting, three 3-pointers.
  • Quincy Miller of Baylor is reverting back to his December form. He’s shot just 7-for-23 in the last three games, averaging only 6.3 points.
  • It’s almost time to think about making room for Michigan State’s Branden Dawson. He continues his good play, now averaging 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in his last five games.
  • Freshman Watch wouldn’t be complete with a mention of Georgetown’s Otto Porter. He had 14 points and 13 boards against Syracuse on Wednesday night.
  • Providence’s LaDontae Henton is averaging 19.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last four games.
  • The biggest freshman disappointment could be Connecticut’s Andre Drummond. Other candidates could be Jabari Brown and Khem Birch, then maybe Josiah Turner and DeAndre Daniels.
  • Texas' Sheldon McClellan is averaging 16.0 points in his last two games.
  • Richmond’s Kendall Anthony has knocked down 16 of his last 26 attempts from 3-point range.
  • After scoring in double-figures just four times in his first nine games, Tennessee-Martin’s Myles Taylor has tallied double-digits in 14 of his last 16 contests.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (17.4); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.0); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.4)
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:02 pm
 

Today's Specials: Bubblers try to make statements

Matthew Dellavedova and Saint Mary's can essentially clinch the WCC title with a win at Gonzaga tonight. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Not sure there is any possible way that Thursday can be a proper follow-up to Wednesday’s tremendous action, but there are some good games on the schedule.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 16 Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga (11 p.m., ESPN2). The best rivalry in the West Coast Conference is renewed once again. In the first meeting between the two teams, Saint Mary’s throttled Gonzaga by 21 – something the Gaels have been doing to a lot of good teams this season. They have won 12 in a row and are putting themselves in position for a top-four seed. A win here would basically clinch the league title. For Gonzaga to win, the Bulldogs need to get to the free-throw line and knock down 3-pointers offensively, and not let the Gaels get hot from deep early.

Second-best game: No. 21 Wisconsin at Minnesota (7 p.m., ESPN). An intriguing Big Ten battle. Wisconsin ended its six-game win streak with a home loss to Ohio State last weekend, while Minnesota has put itself in position for at-large consideration with wins in five of its last seven games. A win here by the Golden Gophers would be huge, as it starts a brutal six-game stretch that will decide their postseason future. They will need to get buckets inside and get offensive rebounds, while also defending the perimeter.

Another one to watch: Illinois at No. 23 Indiana (8 p.m., Big Ten Network). Another really good Big Ten matchup between one team looking to keep pace for a good NCAA tournament seed, and one team trying to get a key win for their bubble hopes. Illinois has lost four of its last five, with the lone win coming against Michigan State. Indiana has dropped five of eight, but the Hoosiers dominated at Purdue over the weekend. Illinois defends the perimeter terribly, and Indiana has guys who can knock down shots. Meyers Leonard vs. Cody Zeller should be fun.

Guaranteed win: There are a bunch of league leaders facing easy wins tonight, but we will highlight Maryland-Baltimore County at Stony Brook (7 p.m.). Stony Brook is a lock to win; UMBC is 3-20 this season, with two of the wins coming over one-win Towson and winless Binghamton. Stony Brook could be looking forward to Sunday’s game at second-place Vermont, but we think the Seawolves will be OK.

Potential upset: Plenty of bubble games tonight, with most of them just looking to avoid losses (besides Ole Miss at No. 20 Mississippi State, which is a chance for a marquee win – 7 p.m., ESPN2). The team perhaps most at risk is NC State, which has actually been decent away from home, but heads on the road to Georgia Tech tonight (7 p.m., ESPNU). Georgia Tech won the first meeting between the two, by 11 on the Wolfpack’s home floor.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Murray State continues its undefeated quest, as the No. 9 Racers host Tennessee State tonight (8 p.m., ESPN3). TSU is tied for second and has won seven of eight.
  2. Valparaiso at Cleveland State (7 p.m.) will battle for first place in the Horizon League. Cleveland State is a half-game up, but lost the first meeting to Valpo.
  3. Long Beach State still has at-large hopes if it remains unbeaten in the Big West; the 49ers head to Pacific tonight (10:30 p.m.).
More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:19 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:25 am
 

Poll: Where does Rivers' shot stack up?

By Jeff Borzello

The Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry has had dozens of memorable moments throughout its history. On Wednesday night, Duke freshman Austin Rivers etched his name into Tobacco Road lore with a 25-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer over Tyler Zeller to give the Blue Devils a come-from-behind 85-84 win. As soon as the dust settled, discussions turned to where the shot would rank among the best moments in the history of the rivalry. For the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed it down to Duke buzzer-beaters – where does Rivers stack up?

2012 – Austin Rivers

As mentioned above, Rivers’ 3-pointer capped a 13-2 run in the final 2:38 to give Duke a shocking win in Chapel Hill. Rivers finished with 29 points and six 3-pointers, with the final one going down in history.

2004 – Chris Duhon

This wasn’t technically a buzzer-beater, but Duhon’s coast-to-coast reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left in overtime gave Duke an 83-81 victory. After Rashad McCants knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game, Duhon simply raced past the North Carolina defense and then switched hands under the basket to avoid getting blocked. It was a tremendous, yet understated, finish. 

1995 – Jeff Capel

Duke was winless in the ACC heading into this one, but that didn’t matter against North Carolina. Down by three with three seconds left, Duke’s Cherokee Parks grabbed a missed free throw and gave it to Capel, who was able to dribble freely past midcourt and hoist a running 3-pointer to sent it into overtime. Carolina eventually pulled it out, but this was memorable.

1981 – Gene Banks

Much like Capel’s shot, this wasn’t a buzzer-beater to win the game; it sent the game into overtime. On Duke’s Senior Day, Duke was down by two, 58-56, with one second left. Banks received the inbounds pass above the foul line, and he only had time to turnaround and shoot. Duke went on to win the game in overtime. 

So, which one was the best?

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:26 pm
 

Arizona has revitalized its NCAA hopes

By Jeff Borzello

Kyle Fogg and Arizona have come out of nowhere to put themselves in contention for an-large bid. (US Presswire)

A week ago, no one was talking about Arizona. The Wildcats were 14-8 overall, 5-4 in a horrendous Pac-12 and on a collision course with the NIT – maybe.

Then, they go to Northern California and beat California and Stanford on the road – and suddenly the Wildcats were projected by nine bracketologists to make the field of 68 if it were selected today.

What? How does that happen?

That was my initial thought, at least.

While I still don’t believe the Wildcats would be included if the Selection Committee had to make its final decisions right now, their profile isn’t that much worse than say, Texas or Northwestern or Ole Miss or NC State or whichever mediocre team you want to include in your bracket.

The basics: Arizona has subpar computer numbers – RPI and SOS both in the 60s – and a sub-100 loss to UCLA back in January. However, the win over California gave the Wildcats a top-50 RPI win, and the victory at Stanford put Arizona at four top-100 wins on the season. Is that impressive? Of course not, but it puts them in the discussion. Had they snuck out a win against San Diego State or Florida back in the early stages of the season, we would likely be talking about them as the best at-large profile in the Pac-12.

What makes the Wildcats more attractive is their schedule going forward. They have four home games in the final seven, as well as two road contests at Washington State and Arizona State, who are a combined 7-15 in the league. The key game could be February 18 at Washington. In the first meeting between the two, Washington came up with big defensive stops down the stretch and Arizona missed a couple of chippies late in the game.

If Arizona goes 6-1 down the stretch – with a loss at Washington – it will leave the profile at 22-9 overall, 13-5 in the Pac-12. Considering California has a fairly tough schedule in the final month and Washington has five of its last seven on the road, could the Wildcats win the Pac-12 title?

Arizona is a young group with some key veteran leaders. It has has been playing very good defense and is become more consistent offensively as the season progresses. The Wildcats could put together a run and live up to preseason expectations with an NCAA berth, and that’s certainly more than anyone could have said about Sean Miller’s club before last week.

Like I said, it surprised me too.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:36 pm
 

Today's Specials: Three top-12 matchups on tap

By Jeff Borzello

If Saturday is going to be the best day of the college basketball season, then Wednesday has to be in the running for best weekday slate of the season. There’s three games between top-12 teams. Wow.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 10 Duke at No. 5 North Carolina (9 p.m., ESPN). Although Louisville and Kentucky has become the most heated rivalry in college basketball, Duke vs. North Carolina is still the one that gets casual hoops fans to pay attention. Duke is coming off a loss to Miami (Fl.) on Super Bowl Sunday, while North Carolina has bounced back from its disastrous loss to Florida State with five straight wins. To win in Chapel Hill, Duke needs to keep John Henson and Tyler Zeller off the offensive glass, and get to the free-throw line at the other end.

Second-best game: No. 7 Kansas at No. 6 Baylor (7 p.m., ESPN2). A rematch of the much-anticipated mid-January battle that Kansas won handily. This one is in Waco, though. Last time, Baylor’s long list of big men weren’t tough enough to deal with Thomas Robinson inside; Perry Jones needs to be a killer tonight, and create matchup problems. Moreover, Baylor has to knock down perimeter shots. Kansas doesn’t guard the 3-ball very well, but Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson have to hit them.

Another one to watch: No. 12 Georgetown at No. 2 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN). Any other night, and this would easily be the marquee game of the night. It’s a great rivalry – and potentially the end of the rivalry, with Syracuse moving on to the ACC. Syracuse has won three in a row since losing at Notre Dame, while Georgetown has won five of its last six. It will be interesting to see how Georgetown’s offense goes against Syracuse’s long and active zone defense. The Hoyas need to grab offensive rebounds and take care of the ball, while limiting transition opportunities.

Guaranteed win: Towson did finally break through with a win two weekends ago against UNC-Wilmington, but Wednesday’s trip to VCU (7:30 p.m., ESPN3) won’t be very enjoyable for the Tigers. The Rams have won nine in a row to move to 11-2 in the CAA, and Shaka Smart has his troops looking like a potential NCAA tournament team yet again. The CAA race is heating up.

Potential upset: Georgia has struggled this season, sitting at 1-7 in the SEC and losers of four straight games. However, the Bulldogs welcome Arkansas to town on Wednesday night (8 p.m., ESPN3). The Razorbacks have yet to win a road game this season, with a 0-6 record away from home. If they want to get an NCAA bid, that needs to change – will they break through against Georgia?

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Bucknell and Texas-Arlington are still unbeaten in the Patriot and Southland, respectively. They both go on the road tonight, with Bucknell heading to Colgate (7 p.m.) and UTA facing Sam Houston State (8 p.m., ESPN3).
  2. As if the LIU-Brooklyn vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) rivalry wasn’t heavy enough, the two teams will battle for first place in the Northeast at Madison Square Garden (9:15 p.m.).
  3. Two interesting Big East contests on the docket: Pittsburgh at South Florida (7 p.m., ESPN3) and Notre Dame at West Virginia (9 p.m., ESPNU).
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