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Tag:Big East
Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:12 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:18 pm
 

Cooley brings passion, defense to Providence

Cooley's first year at Providence has gone relatively well. (Getty Images)

By Jeff Goodman

Ed Cooley's Providence team had no business going toe-to-toe with top-ranked Syracuse last night. 

But that's exactly what happened for the first 35 or so minutes - when Providence somehow was in a two-possession game after Gerard Coleman's bucket with a little more than five minutes left. 

The first thing you notice with this Friars team is that they are attempting to guard. Keno Davis is a terrific guy, but his teams couldn't -- no, make that didn't - check anyone. 

Cooley has a rebuilding job in Providence, but he's exactly what this program needs - a high, energy native who will get his players to go hard and also become a face in the community. 

He inherited a team with a couple of Big East guards in Vincent Council and Gerard Coleman, but not much else. There was virtually nothing up front. 

Cooley managed to land two elite recruits in point guard Kris Dunn and local talent Ricky Ledo, so the perimeter could be loaded next season -- if Ledo qualifies and is cleared by the NCAA (he's attended multiple schools). 

Cooley's passion, though, is unquestionable and contagious. Because he was an assistant under Al Skinner at Boston College, there was a perception -- one that was completely off-base -- that he would being a similar approach to PC. 

While Cooley did learn from Skinner, he couldn't be any different from his former boss. He's high-energy, enjoys interacting with the fans and loves to get out on the recruiting trail. 

Syracuse shot 61 percent from the field and 58 percent from beyond the arc in Wednesday night's 87-73 victory that wasn't nearly as lopsided as the score indicates. 

Cooley only played six players: Council, Coleman, tiny guard Bryce Cotton, freshmen bigs LaDontae Henton and Brice Kofane and sophomore Kadeem Batts. 

Henton went for 11 points and 13 boards and while Batts (14 points) played well, Cooley is one big man away from potentially becoming a factor in the Big East. 

But much of that could rest on the shoulders of Ledo. 

Ledo's talent level is unquestionable. He's a big-time scorer, but he has maturity issues. Cooley maintains Ledo has made significant progress in that area -- and if that's accurate (nothing would make me happier), the Friars could soon have the talent to match Cooley's passion. 

That could be a scary combo. 


Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:56 am
 

Night Court: Hoyas get another impressive win



By
Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Marquette continues to confound everyone. The Golden Eagles dominated Georgetown for the first 27 minutes of the game, taking a 17-point lead with 13:10 left. They then went seven and a half minutes without a field goal, allowing the Hoyas to get back into the game. Hollis Thompson – who beat Alabama earlier this season on a 3-pointer – finally broke a tie with 24 seconds left as Georgetown won, 73-70. Jason Clark scored 18 points in the second half. Marquette has now lost three of five.

Win to brag about: Temple has now defeated a top-10 team in four consecutive seasons, the latest coming against No. 3 Duke on Wednesday night, 78-73. The Owls were extremely efficient from the field, shooting 56 percent from the field, and also outrebounded the Blue Devils. Khalif Wyatt led the way with 22 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers to give Temple a nine-point lead it wouldn’t relinquish. It was Temple’s first win over Duke since 1996.

Loss to hide from: Losing to Illinois isn’t bad in itself, but Northwestern needs to win that kind of game if it hopes to get to the NCAA tournament in March. The Wildcats were up by 10 in the first half, but struggled offensively in the final 20 minutes, falling 57-56. John Shurna had 17 points in the first half for Northwestern, but was held to just three in the second stanza. A Myke Henry free throw with six seconds left won the game for the Illini.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Wichita State avoided a loss at Evansville on Wednesday, carried mostly by 7-foot senior Garrett Stutz. The big man shot 12-for-14 from the floor, finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds. He also contributed four assists and three blocks. Not surprisingly, he grabbed the game-clinching rebound in the 67-66 victory. On the other side, Colt Ryan went for 31 points.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: The entire Towson team. The Tigers have struggled this season, but Wednesday’s loss at Drexel might have been the low point. They scored just 27 points against the Dragons, the fewest points ever scored in a CAA game. Towson also tied the NCAA record for consecutive losses, at 34. The Tigers made eight baskets all game, shooting 21.6 percent from the field.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 43-3. That’s Kansas’ record against Kansas State in their last 46 meetings. The Jayhawks won the latest meeting, destroying Kansas State on the boards en route to a 67-49 victory. Kansas outrebounded K-State, 50-26. Thomas Robinson had 14 points and 15 boards.
  • 2007. That’s the last time Iowa won back-to-back road games in the Big Ten, which the Hawkeyes accomplished Wednesday night by beating Minnesota. They had defeated Wisconsin over the weekend.
  • 15-0. Murray State remained undefeated by beating Eastern Kentucky, 76-67. The Racers are one win away from matching the school’s best start, which was set in 1935-36.
  • 16-0. This is the second year in a row that Syracuse has opened the season with 16 straight wins. The Orange beat Providence, 87-73. 

Three other notable results:

  1. We’re still waiting for Xavier to snap out of its funk. The Musketeers are now 1-5 since the Crosstown brawl, after losing to La Salle, 80-70. On the other side, the Explorers improved to 11-4 with the victory.
  2. Looks like Georgia State is for real. The Panthers went into VCU on Wednesday and knocked off the Rams, 55-53. Georgia State has won 11 in a row.
  3. Dayton led for only about two minutes in regulation, but outscored Saint Louis 15-8 in overtime en route to a 79-72 win.

Notes:

  • Iowa State held off Texas, 77-71. Longhorns’ point guard J’Covan Brown missed most of the second half with an ankle injury.
  • Cincinnati won its seventh in a row, beating Notre Dame 71-55 in Yancy Gates’ first game back.
  • Saint Joseph’s overcame a 16-point second half deficit to beat Duquesne in overtime, 84-82. T.J. McConnell had 28 points and five assists in the loss.
  • Memphis beat Tennessee for the second time this season, 69-51.
  • Rutgers is now 0-2 since beating Florida. West Virginia scored 51 points in the first half en route to a dominant 85-64 victory.
  • The Missouri Valley is going to be fun. Illinois State went into Missouri State and won, while Northern Iowa beat Indiana State by 17.
  • Bet this is the last time Florida State scores 85 points this year. The Seminoles beat Auburn, 85-56.
  • Remember when Tulane was 9-0? The Green Wave have now lost three of their last five, after falling to UCF.
  • Heck of a day for Philadelphia basketball. Drexel, La Salle, Temple, Penn and Saint Joseph’s all picked up victories.
  • Southern Miss improved to 14-2 with a two-point win over East Carolina. Interestingly, the Golden Eagles never trailed.
  • Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins totaled 21 points and 18 boards in a one-point win over Hofstra.

On tap: It’s not as loaded as Wednesday, but there’s plenty of action. The game of the night is in the Big Ten, as Michigan heads to Indiana. Pittsburgh looks to get back on the right track at DePaul, while Arizona trips to UCLA. Stanford also faces Oregon, while California and Oregon State do battle.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:10 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Podcast: Midseason awards; Syracuse is overrated

By Matt Norlander

We're in the throes of conference play now, so the podcast takes this opportunity to share the best and worst of the college hoops season so far. How can Syracuse be overrated? Parrish tells you how. To be clear: this is the opinion of Gary Parrish and Gary Parrish only.

I think this is a top-two or top-three podcast we've recorded. Just a good energy and pace and dialogue. Plus, I can't get enough of the way Parrish says "dribbler." If only I could share with you the things that didn't make the cut. Today's podcast was interrupted by profanity, a mailman and a bad Internet connection. It was also delayed in going to publishing. But we're here, and you should love this one. 

Today:
  • From the beginning: Parrish will be on TV tonight. Goodman will not. Parrish compares himself to Jude Law.
  • 1:52: Michigan State, Wisconsin and that clock controversy that should have never been. We start with Wisconsin. Should we trust them still?
  • 5:22: On Michigan State, a team with 14 straight wins and angling at a No. 2 seed right now.
  • 9:04: A "Falling Down" reference, which means this podcast rules.
  • 9:12: Who's the best point guard in the country right now?
  • 11:49: The Joe Jackson situation which almost became a massive issue at Memphis over the weekend.
  • 17:39: We transition to Jarnell Stokes, who could be playing for Tennessee soon after transferring there. Parrish and Goodman make the case he should wait until next fall.
  • 22:04: Our midseason awards will be up on the blog tomorrow, so we tease each other and basically insult each other's selections at the end of the podcast.

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: January 4, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 11:04 am
 

UConn's troubles vs. zones appear once again

UConn: fooled often by zone defense.(US PRESSWIRE)
By Jeff Borzello

NEWARK, N.J. – It seems like it’s a recurring theme every season for Connecticut: the Huskies can’t play against a zone defense.

Yet, every year, teams zone Connecticut and the Huskies don’t react well. Such was the case Tuesday night against Seton Hall.

After three early 3-pointers gave UConn a lead, Seton Hall’s zone defenses and switching defenses completely confounded the Huskies en route to a 75-63 program-changing victory.

“We started to show [2-3] then we switched it up real fast,” sophomore Fuquan Edwin said.

“They didn’t know what they were playing against,” one Seton Hall coach added.

Seton Hall pressed Connecticut throughout the game, but would then drop back to a 2-3 zone defense and then switch to a man-to-man defense with about 15 seconds left in the shot clock. Moreover, the Pirates played seven possessions of straight man-to-man.

No wonder the Huskies were confused.

“Offensively, we went from passing the ball so great to being very stagnant,” Connecticut associate head coach George Blaney said.

Connecticut made just 7-for-22 from 3-point range, including just four of its final 18 long-range shots. The Huskies turned it over 14 times, 13 of those giveaways coming in the first half. Shabazz Napier was harassed throughout the game, turning it over five times and going 2-for-12 from the field.

Once again, though, it was an active zone defense that made Connecticut’s offense disappear.

“They extended the zone, forced us out really high,” Blaney said. “The bigs weren’t ducking in the way they should be. We wound up with a lot of shots at the end of the clock.”

The Huskies just never seemed comfortable after the first few minutes. Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi seemed passive around the rim, and UConn’s guards couldn’t get the ball inside even when the two big men were open. Ryan Boatright wasn’t his usual sparkplug self. No offense to Tyler Olander and Niels Giffey, but when those two are Connecticut’s second- and third-leading scorers after Jeremy Lamb, there’s a problem.

Connecticut was also outrebounded 36-34, and also allowed 14 offensive rebounds to the more active and energetic Pirates.

“I think it was more the physical play that got us out of it,” Blaney said. “I don’t think we responded well. And that’s not like us.”

The uncreative, sluggish offense in the final 36 minutes of the game is also not like Connecticut. Except when the Huskies play against a zone. It happened earlier this season against UCF, when the Knights made a second-half comeback after packing in their defense and making Connecticut beat them from 3-point range.

The Huskies shoot nearly 38 percent on 3-point attempts, but they’re at their best when the outside shots are coming off of drive-and-kicks or the result of swinging the ball after getting it down low. They’re not built to hang on the perimeter and just shoot contested 3-pointers.

Will other teams follow the lead of Seton Hall and UCF and play extended zones against Connecticut? That remains to be seen, but the strategy clearly works.

Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:17 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 10:35 am
 

Seton Hall's win over UConn cements resurgence

Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore, right, and teammate Herb Pope celebrate after beating Connecticut 75-63. (AP)
By Jeff Borzello

NEWARK, N.J. – For Seton Hall, this was the one.

Sure, there was the blowout win at Syracuse last season, and nice home wins over Marquette and West Virginia the past couple of years.

But Tuesday night’s 75-63 win over Connecticut was the one.

The win that cemented Seton Hall’s resurgence under Kevin Willard. The win that cemented Seton Hall’s place amongst the top half of the Big East. And, yes, the win that let everyone know the Pirates are likely headed to the NCAA tournament.

“Nobody’s coming into our house think they’re going to kick our asses,” senior guard Jordan Theodore said.

After an opening stretch where Connecticut hit three 3-pointers and looked it was going to control the game, Seton Hall dominated. The Pirates forced 13 first-half turnovers and outrebounded the Huskies on the game. Theodore had 19 points and 11 assists, while Herb Pope went for 15 points and eight rebounds.

It was Seton Hall’s first win over Connecticut in 11 years.

“This is a great win for us, it’s a great win for the program,” Willard said.

Seton Hall has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2006, when it received a No. 10 seed before losing to Wichita State in the first round. The Pirates look like they’re on their way back to the Big Dance this season. They had wins over West Virginia, VCU, Saint Joseph’s and Dayton. Solid wins, all of them, but nothing like thoroughly dominating No. 8 Connecticut in a game that wasn’t even as close as the 12-point margin in the box score.

It started on the defensive end, where Seton Hall constantly switching defenses confounded Connecticut in the first half. The Pirates pressed on made baskets, dropped back to a 2-3 zone defense and then switched to a man-to-man defense with about 15 seconds on the shot clock.

Connecticut seemed utterly clueless at times. 

“I can’t remember the last time any of our teams shot 35 percent,” said Connecticut associate head coach George Blaney, who was filling in for Jim Calhoun during the last game of his suspension.

Shabazz Napier shot just 2-for-12, finishing with six points and five turnovers. Ryan Boatright never got going off the bench, scoring only five. Inside, Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond combined for six points and seven rebounds.

The key for Seton Hall was Theodore, who completely outplayed Napier and stated his case – pretty convincingly – that he was the best point guard in the Big East.

“I’m gonna say he is,” Willard said. “I think he’s playing like the best point guard. He’s playing terrific. I like him when he’s aggressive.”

Willard only took over the Seton Hall program from Bobby Gonzalez two years ago, but Pirates’ supporters are already beginning to see the fruits of his labor. And I do mean see. Despite the school being on winter break, Seton Hall had a very good crowd that seemed to get louder as the game went on.

Before the game, I was told by Seton Hall students that the fan support just wasn’t there on a consistent basis. Well, the 8,089 fans packing the Prudential Center sure made their voices heard.

“It’s great for the school,” Willard said.

Everything is coming together for Seton Hall. The Pirates are getting more and more crowd support; they’re playing together; and most importantly, they’re winning games and protecting their home court.

“It means a lot,” said sophomore Fuquan Edwin, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. “It’s going to give us a lot of confidence.”

Going forward, Seton Hall has five winnable games before hosting Louisville on January 28. If the Pirates go 4-1 or 5-0, they could be sitting at 17-3 or 18-2 record heading into late January.

No one thought this was going to happen. Maybe in two or three years, but not this quickly.

“Seton Hall’s back,” Theodore said. “And we’re ready to win.”

Indeed.

Posted on: January 4, 2012 9:16 am
 

Wakeup Call: 'Violence is out of the question'

That was some nice win for Tom Pecora's Fordham club over Harvard. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

This story is unbelievable. Literally. I do not want to believe it. // Also: simply an incredible story. But this one is mostly good. // The power of thank-you notes. // You hating the new Facebook timeline? Here's how to wipe out your embarassments and all things related to that crazy-but-hot ex you once dated ...

★ I can't explain why, but Bo Ryan's "violence is out of the question" quote from last night is great.

Really liked this from a college hoops writer getting more run, Daniel Martin.

★ It's about two weeks too early for my liking, but who am I kidding? I'll read anything on bubbles at this point. Andy Glockner is your bracket prognostication guru.

★ We linked to Troy Bell's R&B work in December. Searching For Billy Edelin went a step further and got an interview with the man about his music -- and still beating basketball career.

★ Iona's quite good, so it's going to have a number of articles written on it. It's already happened, in fact. Ben Cohen drops in with a quickie profile on Scott Machado, one of my favorite players this season.

★ What myths exist with road games in college basketball? Groupies in most Atlantic 10 cities, for starters.

★ They say the rejected marriage proposal wasn't staged. I'm no cynic, but I can't see how that is all organic.

A deeper look as to why MSU was able to win in Kohl for the first time in a decade.

★ We always appreciate the love. Be sure to follow these guys and gals on Twitter.

★ I really hope this was Stew Morrill's Christmas card.

★ Linked you last week about that Juco program that forfeited its season. The conference is trying to figure out what the heck it's going to do with scheduled games.

★ Some more intel on four-guard lineups in college hoops. Wonder if this will become more of a mild trend in the next few years.

It's been a long time since I pick and rolled ...



♬ If you don't have Beck on your iPod outside of "Loser" and "Where It's At," you're cheating yourself. Also, this song will absolutely be played at my wedding. Listen and have your day get off to a start that can't be brought down.


Posted on: January 4, 2012 9:15 am
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Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Calhoun's vacation, um suspension, ends tonight

By Jeff Goodman

At times throughout UConn's last two games, Jim Calhoun has found himself yelling at the television -- at his players and also at his associate head coach George Blaney. 

"Then I realize it's not talking back and no one says a word," Calhoun said. "So I stop." 

Calhoun will serve the third and final game of his NCAA-mandated suspension tonight when the Huskies play at Seton Hall. He'll watch, as he has for the first two games, at home either by himself or with his wife. 

"It's frustrating," Calhoun admitted. "And it's different than when I've had to watch before when I had cancer. But it is what it is." 

"It's allowed me to get a different look at the team, though," he added.

Calhoun said he's been able to utilize his time away from the team -- The NCAA also didn't allow him to attend practice or any team-related activities -- to spend more time with his grandchildren and also catch-up with former players. 

"It's been nice in a way, but I don't recommend it -- at least not for me personally," he said. 

UConn won't practice tomorrow and Calhoun said he'll join the team at night in New Jersey, where he'll meet with the coaching staff and then go to dinner. His first game back comes Saturday night at Rutgers. 

Calhoun said he has jotted down plenty of notes watching the wins at South Florida and at home against St. John's. He wants to cut down on the turnovers, get veteran big man Alex Oriakhi back to how he was playing last season and also have Shabazz Napier defending with more consistency. Nothing, right now, rates higher than shoring up the defense. A year ago, UConn was 18-0 when it made three consecutive stops at least five times in a game. This year the Huskies have only done it twice -- and one came in the win over the Red Storm in the last game. 

"With as good of a shooting team we are this year, we could be really tough if we can get consistent stops," Calhoun said. 

The Huskies are shooting 50 percent from the field over the first 13 games of the season and 43 percent from beyond the arc. Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb are both at 42 percent and freshman Ryan Boatright has made 7-of-12 from deep since joining the team. 

Calhoun also said roles have been established. It's Napier and Lamb in the backcourt with Boatright coming off the bench. There's Andre Drummond, Tyler Olander and Oriakhi splitting minutes at the four and five spots. However, the one position that needs to become solidified soon is at the small forward spot where sophomore Roscoe Smith, freshman DeAndre Daniels and Niels Giffey have all taken turns and had their moments. 

"We need to figure that out," Calhoun said. 

Calhoun was also clear that Syracuse is a step ahead of everyone else in the Big East right now, and part of the reason is that Jim Boeheim has a veteran team while UConn often throws out a lineup that features all freshmen and sophomores. 

"We still haven't played anywhere close to where I think we can," Calhoun said. "We're still far away -- and we're 12-1." 

And Calhoun is almost done serving his time. 

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