Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:25 am

Podcast: Pay the players? Not anymore

By Matt Norlander

In case you missed it, college players will no longer be afforded a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend bump. After the NCAA voted it into legislation, more than 125 college stood up and voted against it this week, mandating the legislation to be tabled indefinitely. That's kind of a big story, but it's been buried underneath Penn State, Tebow, Syracuse, Xavier/Cincy, etc.

Veteran USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote why the proposal was treacherous from the get-go (Psst! Follow Christine on Twitter). I've long read her work, and it was an honor to get her to come on and discuss the issue; to me she's the definition of talented, old-school columnist voice, the kind of writer that's unfortunately not as prominent in 2011 like they were 15 years ago. The paying-players topic takes up the first 60 percent of this podcast: why the stipend ever materialized, all the systemic issues, paying players, her opinion on if it should happen, how women's sports stands in the way, etc. Good information from Christine, and it doesn't stop there.  

On our list:
  • From the beginning: Introducing Christine and explaining why college players are no longer receiving the cost-of-attendance stipend that was voted into legislation in October.
  • 7:35: The National College Players Association is obviously against this.
  • 9:35: Why did this all happen so fast? It was brought up at a convention in August, voted into reality in October, and by December, it's now off the table.
  • 15:00: With hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue, how is it really possible that just over 20 universities are truly turning a profit?
  • 22:44: Why this is getting closer and closer to the watershed and breaking point of the NCAA and its member institutions. Just on big ol' section of the iceberg ready to get its floe on.
  • 23:54: Why college sports, even with all the ugliness, doesn't really suffer despite the scandals at Penn State and Syracuse.
  • 28:48: Some Pat Summitt discussion. Had to, wanted to chat his with Christine, who's one of the prominent national voices on women's athletics. So we wrap up with a story on Pat and some niceties to close things out.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:07 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 10:20 am

South Carolina 2-sport star to miss one more game

By Jeff Goodman

Darrin Horn will get Bruce Ellington back soon. For good.

The plan is for the two-sport star -- who is also a receiver on South Carolina's football team -- to miss one more basketball game, on Dec. 31.

He'll fly with the football team after the 28th to Orlando for the Jan. 2 matchup with Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Then he'll return and almost certainly take his old spot in the starting lineup.

"He's getting better every game," Horn told CBSSports.com.

Ellington has played three games with the basketball team and is averaging 10.0 points per game. In his last outing, he went for 15 points in 25 minutes.

He's South Carolina's best player.

Listen, I'm not saying South Carolina will be an NCAA tournament team this season - or even taste the postseason of any kind. However, when Ellington returns to basketball form - and when freshman Damien Leonard starts making shots (and he will), the Gamecocks will be competitive in the SEC.

Will they battle Kentucky, Florida, Vandy, Mississippi State or Alabama in the standings? Probably not. But they could compete with all the lower-tier teams in the SEC this season - as long as Ellington gets back to what he was a year ago, when he was focused solely on basketball.

Horn is optimistic regarding his young frontline guys, sophomores R.J. Slawson and Damontre Harris, who have been solid thus far. Freshman Anthony Gill (8.6 ppg) has gotten off to a nice start.

"We're going to keep getting better," Horn. "We've got some pieces."

But it's difficult to win without your most talented piece.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:28 am

Wakeup Call: Reeves Nelson heads overseas

I have an eternal undying appreciation of the hoop player that goes for the fro. That's UC Irvine's Michael Wilder in Baton Rouge.

By Matt Norlander

First and foremost, rest in peace, Christopher Hitchens. The world has been robbed 20 years too early of a terrific thinker and writer. // Oh I cannot stop scrolling up and down, back and forth -- awkward family photos for the holidays! // It's the Word of the Year. I use it with frequency. Is that a bad thing? // Another list of the 20 best songs of 2011. I don't agree with 15 of the picks, which means they're doing it right. // So great, even unbelievable: capturing the speed of light on camera. // Breathtaking views (they look like paintings) atop One World Trade Center ...

★ When had our dream teams, and Jameson Fleming took the concept upon himself and put a twist on it.

★ Reeves Nelson is off to Lithuania to play basketball.

★ Former Boston College stud Troy Bell is now an R&B artist ... and it's actually not all that bad -- and I'm not even a guy with a whole lot of R. Kelly, Joe and Luther Vandross in his iTunes library. (Plenty of Boyz II Men, of course.)

★ Damian Lillard is not only the nation's leading scorer, he's also the most efficient offensive player.

★ Scary, but looks like everything's going to be OK for the Utah redshirt sophomore who needed brain surgery.

★ Things get thinner for suffering Siena.
★ It's not all love here in the Wakeup Call. In an effort to be fair to readers, it's right to point out pieces I disagree with here and there. This -- and I'm not alone here -- is among the most confounding things written about hoops I've seen so far this season.

★ I feel the need to state this often, because his voice on TV can be so polarizing, but Dick Vitale is one of the most generous, kind, grateful people in all of sports.

★ Sebastian Pruiti is the godfather of screengrab/coachspeak/basketball teaching; everyone else is just tracking his footsteps in the snow. Here he is examining Missouri and making the case the Tigers are the most complete team in the nation.

★ Fran Fraschilla's son, a walk-on at Oklahoma, is creating trick-shot videos for the best reason possible: to raise awareness for charity.

★ Butler's under .500, in case you missed it. A closer look why this was destined to happened.

★ Remember when Billy Gillispie wanted that eighth-grader to come to Kentucky? Check who the kid committed to yesterday.

★ An under-the-radar but noteworthy "huh?" story so far: Why's LIU playing this poorly? That team has 13 seed potential.

★ Just in case you were wondering, ESPN owns most of the NCAA programming until you become a grandparent/are dead.

★ FIU doesn't exactly bring in the peeps.

★ One of the best big men in the country you haven't heard about.

► This guy does these things for all sports. It's got potential. Needs more Cougars.

♬ One of the oldest Christmas classics out there. Also, among my five favorite King tunes. We all have our own impressions of this song, question is: Are you brave enough to unleash it in public, at a party, or do you save it for the shower/your car?

Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 11:18 am

Meet the new Kendrick, same as the old Kendrick

By Gary Parrish

Jelan Kendrick was supposed to make his debut at Ole Miss on Wednesday night.

He's finally eligible.

But he didn't play a single minute.

Because he didn't even dress out for the game.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy called it a "coach's decision" and left it at that. But what if I told you I heard Kendrick was late for a team meeting on Tuesday night and then 30 minutes late for a one-hour shoot-around on Wednesday? Would it surprise you? It didn't surprise me given Kendrick's past because you have to be a special kind of knucklehead to get dismissed from a college basketball team before you ever play a game -- especially if you're a McDonald's All-American. But that's precisely what happened to Kendrick last year at Memphis, and, best I can tell, he hasn't changed much since he moved 80 miles south to Oxford.

He fought a teammate and seriously threatened another while at Memphis.

His entire time on campus was a mess.

But Kendrick is so talented that Ole Miss decided to give him a second chance, and I don't blame Kennedy at all. You don't turn down McDonald's All-Americans at Ole Miss. I don't care how crazy they are. You always make that gamble. But sometimes gambles in basketball -- and in life -- become losing propositions, and when that happens what once seemed worth it no longer does. Kendrick is getting closer and closer to falling into that category. He's killing his college career for the second time at a second school.

How are you late to a team meeting the night before your first game?

And what kind of person backs that tardiness with more tardiness the following day?

It's impossible to make sense of it without simply writing Kendrick off as hopeless, and that just might be the case. He's extremely talented on the court but terribly flawed off of it. People have been trying to help him for years. But now it's time for him to help himself or find something else to do besides be a headache for the latest coach who so badly wants to believe in him.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 1:32 am

Night Court: Belmont & MTSU have another thriller

Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Considering the first meeting between Belmont and Middle Tennessee this season went to double overtime, we should have seen a great game coming. In this one, Middle Tennessee prevailed by three, despite going 2-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 40 seconds. Belmont couldn’t convert down the stretch, going 0-for-3 from the field with two turnovers in the final 71 seconds. Middle Tennessee's crowd rushed the court after the win, as seen above.

Win to brag about: It’s not the most impressive win on paper, but Wisconsin-Milwaukee was undefeated at home this season. Therefore, Wisconsin going in there and coming out with a six-point win is nothing to scoff at. Wisconsin looked like it would roll to an easy win, but UWM went on a 16-1 run midway through the second half to make it a game. Jordan Taylor’s 3-pointer in the final minute clinched the game for the Badgers.

Loss to hide from: Nothing in the way of embarrassing losses on Tuesday, as no teams above .500 besides Belmont and UW-Milwaukee lost.

Player who deserves improper benefits: It was against Rochester College, but Oakland’s Drew Valentine’s performance was impressive nonetheless. The junior forward totaled 20 points and 15 boards, shooting 8-for-10 from the field and knocking down two 3-pointers.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Mississippi State made sure it didn’t suffer a repeat of last season, staving off a late rally by Florida Atlantic to get a seven-point win. If the Owls were to pull off the upset two years in a row, they needed a big-time game from guard Greg Gantt. However, the junior only had five points on 2-for-5 shooting. He averages nearly 14 points per game on the season.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • Despite its win over double-overtime win over NAIA Point University tonight, Alcorn State has still not defeated a Division-I team since February 26 of last season.
  • Niagara went 14 minutes and 11 seconds without a field goal in the second half against Drexel, part of the reason the Dragons had a 29-4 run. Niagara fell 71-58.
  • Wyoming won 10 games in each of the past two seasons. The Cowboys’ win over UC-Irvine on Tuesday was their 10th already this year.

Three other notable results:

  1. J’Covan Brown scored 23 points to lead Texas to a 93-40 win over Nicholls State. The Longhorns held Nicholls without a field goal for 15:37.
  2. Villanova bounced back from a three point halftime deficit against Boston University with 45 points in the second stanza. ‘Nova won 68-43.
  3. Michigan racked up 17 assists on 22 field goals in its 63-50 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.


  • In his fourth game back from the football team, South Carolina's Bruce Ellington scored a season-high 15 points in an eight-point win over Presbyterian.
  • Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally only combined for 26 points on Tuesday, but Jamie Serna stepped up with 22 and five blocks in a win for UC-Santa Barbara.
  • Marcus Jordan was suspended for UCF’s weekend win over Bethune Cookman, but he bounced back with a career-high 28 points against North Carolina A&T.
  • Oregon State’s Robert Nelson is heating up. In his last four games, the guard is averaging 15.0 points per game.

On tap: It’s another light day in the college basketball world, but there are some interesting tilts. Cincinnati returns to the court for the first time since the brawl, while Iona travels to Richmond.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:20 pm

UK-IU draws 3.5 million viewers

By Gary Parrish

John Calipari spent part of last week publicly discussing the possibility of ending one of his high-profile home-and-home series -- either with Louisville, North Carolina or Indiana.

The Kentucky coach has his reasons, of course. One of them is that the SEC will move from 16 to 18 league games next year. Another is Calipari's strong desire to play more made-for-TV neutral-site games. So I get it. Honestly, I do. But I still hope all three series remain, and college basketball fans in general seem to agree because 3.5 million people watched Saturday's tilt between the Wildcats and Indiana.

That's a low number for "Jersey Shore."

But it's a massive pull for college basketball.

What Kentucky-Indiana provided was a game between two undefeated teams from two tradition-rich schools at an on-campus arena, and the importance of that last little detail can't be overstated. Take the same game -- and the same Christian Watford buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave Indiana a victory over the top-ranked Wildcats -- and put it at Madison Square Garden, and it loses something. Because the location mattered. It provided the type of atmosphere that makes college basketball special, and it created the postgame celebration that most of us will remember forever. I like that. And it's only possible with a home-and-home series between power programs.

Truth be told, we don't have enough of those these days.

That's why it would stink to lose one of the really, really good ones.

Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm

All that's wrong with the Cincy/X fight/fallout

By Matt Norlander

There was a national writer at the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl Saturday, and we've brought him on the podcast to discuss every angle of this story. Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News lives in the Cincinnati area and knows the two programs as well as anyone.

Did he see this coming? Why were star players on the court in the closing seconds a blowout? DeCourcy and I disagree on the severity of the suspensions. I think they're too soft on both sides, while DeCourcy doesn't really care what sportswriters think about suspension lengths. (I also disagree with him in principle here -- it's writers' job to comment and react to these things, even if DeCourcy isn't particularly interested in what his fellow scribes think).

One quick note: The call was a computer-to-phone connection, which means it makes me sound like I have a lisp. This is not the case, but you'll be amused all the same.

The discussion breaks down like this:
  • From the beginning: DeCourcy was right there. Did he see the fight coming?
  • 7:40: Why were Tu Holloway, Yancy Gates, Mark Lyons and other players of note on the floor with less than a minute to go in the blowout?
  • 9:55: The suspensions discussion. I'll simply tease it and say I don't agree with where Mike is coming from here.
  • 13:40: DeCourcy's case for why so many of us misinterpreted Cronin's words from his press conference, and more of his case for why Gates shouldn't necessarily be off the team or serving a longer suspension.
  • 20:53: It clear the coaches weren't the ones calling the shots with the player suspensions, right?
  • 23:03: We also squeeze in room for the biggest basketball only-related topic from the weekend: Indiana's buzzer-beating win against Kentucky. This doesn't mean Indiana's all the way back, but the Hoosiers still provided a top-10 moment for this season with that W. And Calipari, in some ways, will take this loss because he can use it for a good humbling with his team.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.

Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:18 am

Kaboom goes the bar: Fan reaction of IU's win

By Matt Norlander

Everyone's posting this video, and we will too. Indiana beats Kentucky, Indiana bar goes wild.

Never gets old. Never. I particularly love the reinforced cheers upon the replays of Watford's shot falling true. By the way, check photo No. 2 in this gallery. That's just a sweet shot. Also, Eamonn Brennan posted a video from outside the bar, Nick's, which is featured in the video below. The streets were occupied heavily by ecstastic, drunk and delirious IU fans, who finally found themselves a reason to be outwardly proud of their basketball team.

It's a great Monday in Bloomington.

IU Upsets KY - Celebration at Nick's English Hut from Tarun Gangwani on Vimeo.

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