Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: January 21, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Syracuse big man Fab Melo to miss road trip

By Jeff Goodman

Top-ranked Syracuse will be without its starting center on its current road trip. 

Sophomore big man Fab Melo didn't make the trip for Saturday's game at Notre Dame and also won't play Monday at Cincinnati. 

Sources told CBSSports.com the reason is due to academics. Saturday's game marks the first contest since the second semester began. However, Syracuse is hoping to have Melo back for the Jan. 28 home game against West Virginia. 

Melo is a key reason why the 20-0 Orange remain one of two undefeated teams left in the D-1 ranks and why the team has maintained the No. 1 ranking. 

He is averaging 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season after struggling a year ago. 

Syracuse also announced that Mookie Jones is transferring out of the program due to personal reasons. Jones only appeared in seven games this season. 

Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:57 pm
 

The shot doctor fixes D.J. Cooper's issues

By Jeff Goodman

D.J. Cooper was in a funk. 

Ohio University's standout junior point guard had made just 15-of-64 shots from the field and 6-of-28 shots from beyond the arc in the last four games -- three losses. 

The struggles began with a 3-for-17 performance in a setback to Robert Morris on Jan. 2, continued against Bowling Green and Buffalo -- and then came a brutal 2-for-15 outing in a loss last Saturday at Akron. 

Cooper needed help -- and he got it from an unlikely source. 

Me. 

Ok, I didn't actually do anything to help Cooper get his shot back, but I'm going to take credit for it, anyway, since he was 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep in a 22-point win against Kent State. 

"I'm OK with that," Cooper said on Friday. 

I wound up taking a detour and stopping in Athens, Ohio, on my drive from Huntington, West Va., to Columbus for the Indiana-Ohio State game. Cooper gave me the quick tour of the campus, arena and we also sat down for a quick lunch at Broney's (the wings are big-time). He talked about how he needed to get in the gym more, since teams are daring him to take perimeter shots. 

"They are daring me to shoot it knowing I want to get in the lane and kick it," Cooper said. 

Cooper and the Bobcats had gotten off to a 12-1 start, one that included road wins against Marshall, Northern Iowa and Oakland. However, Ohio has dropped three of its last five. 

One primary difference, Cooper said, was heading into MAC play as the hunted. 

"We had a target -- and we'd never had that before," Cooper said. "The last couple years, we've always entered league play around .500. This was new to us." 

Despite the 2-2 start in league play and the fact that any at-large hopes appear to be out the window now, Cooper comprehends that a few days in March are ultimately what matters most. 

That's because two years ago, Cooper was a freshman on a team that went 7-9 in league play, but ran the table in the league tourney, earned a spot in the Big Dance and then pulled the upset over Georgetown in the first round. 

"We want to win our conference," Cooper said. "Because that'll guarantee us at least an NIT bid. But we also know that it comes down to three days when it's all said and done." 

Cooper is one of the most underrated point guards in the country, averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds. I didn't know his entire story, but he nearly committed to Baylor coming out of high school in Chicago, but opted to go the mid-major route and doesn't regret his decision at all. 

He arrived in Athens as a 145-pound baby-faced freshman and now he's up to about 175 pounds. 

When his shot is falling, he's lethal. Just ask Kent State coach Rob Senderoff. 

Cooper's shooting slump -- for now -- is history.

But if he needs to break out, he's got my number. Soon, they may start calling me the Shot Doctor. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Night Court: Vandy rolls, UNC responds

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 Thursday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Penn State's Tim Frazier, one of the truly underrated point guards in the country, hit a shot in the lane to put the Nittany Lions up 54-52 over Illinois. The Illini had a last-second shot, but Sam Maniscalso was swatted by Jermaine Marshall at the buzzer. 

Win to brag about: Vanderbilt getting its eighth consecutive victory with a 69-59 win in Tuscaloosa against Alabama. John Jenkins had 20, Jeffery Taylor added 17 and Festus Ezeli had 12 points and 10 boards. The Commodores are now 4-0 in league play and are starting to become the team that everyone expected now that Ezeli is getting closer to 100 percent. 

Loss to hide from: I fully understand this was a rebuilding year for Georgia Tech, but a 70-38 loss to Virginia -- AT HOME. Wow. The Yellow Jackets were dominated in just about every area. It was the Cavs' biggest margin against an ACC team since 104-72 over N.C. State in 1991.

Player who deserves improper benefits: California walk-on forward Robert Thurman scored a grant total of three points last season as a sophomore. The former D-3 player (he transferred from Norwich University) went for a career-high 16 points and grabbed seven boards in the Bears huge road win at Washington. Thurman hadn't played more than 13 minutes in any game this year. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Alabama's Tony Mitchell entered the Vandy game averaging 14. 5 points per game. He wound up putting up the goose-egg, missing all eight of his field goal attempts and also five of his 3--pointers. 

Numbers don’t lie:

12: Andre Dawkins has made 12 trifectas in the past two games -- including seven in the rout over Wake Forest. Dawkins had made a dozen in his previous nine contests. 

19: Long Island extended its home winning streak at the Wellness Center to 19 after a 77-62 win over Mount St. Mary's. Jim Ferry's team has also won eight straight overall. 

1-for-15: That's what Georgia Tech managed to shoot from beyond the arc in a drubbing at the hands of Virginia. That's 6.7 percent in case you need some help with your math. 

Six Other notable results:

North Carolina looked sluggish in the first half, but the Tar Heels finally looked like, well, the Tar Heels as they pulled away from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and went onto a 82-68 victory. 

Cal went to Seattle in adverse weather conditions and came way with a huge 69-66 road win. That puts the Bears in the drivers seat in the Pac-12 with a 6-1 league mark. 

Davidson improved to 7-0 in SoCon play after a 87-69 victory over Charleston. Jake Cohen went for 29 points and 14 boards in the win. 

Texas Pan American and coach Ryan Marks won its Great West opener with a 72-65 road victory at Chicago State. I haven't given Marks nearly the amount of pub that I wanted to this season, but that could change with league play here. 

Loyola Marymount went into Provo and handed BYU its first WCC loss, 82-68. Hard-nosed point guard Anthony Ireland finished with 27 for Max Good's Lions. 

Binghamton remained one of two winless D-1 teams in the nation after a 61-58 loss to UMBC. The other team?  Towson. 

Notes:

With Illinois losing, it means Michigan is in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten -- a half-game in front of the Illini, Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue. 

North Carolina's Dexter Strickland had to be helped off the court early in the second half after a right knee injury. There was no immediate word of the extent of the injury, but it didn't look good. 

Duke freshman Austin Rivers wasn't in the starting lineup for the first time this season. With his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in attendance, he finished with 20 points in 32 minutes. 

Kansas State coach Frank Martin has suspended big man Jordan Henriquez indefinitely for the old "conduct detrimental to the team." 

On tap: 

Five total games. No Ivy. 

Take your wife, girlfriend or boyfriend out somewhere.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:02 pm
 

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

By Jeff Goodman

Conference USA is wide-open. 

Marshall squeaked by Central Florida this past weekend in Huntington. The Knights then held serve at home last night against Memphis. Southern Miss is also in the equation. 

"There's more parity in the league this year," Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said on Thursday morning. 

Jones said the court-storming at UCF was the first that anyone could remember in the history of the program. It was also the first time that the Knights had come on top against Memphis. 

"We were 0-10 against them going into the game," Jones said. "It's a big win for our program because of the level that they have been at over the years." 

The game-winner was delivered by junior big man Keith Clanton, whose foul in the final seconds against Marshall allowed DeAndre Kane to go to the line and give the Thundering Herd the win. 

"The place went crazy," Jones said. 

Now Central Florida sits a half-game behind Marshall, which is 4-0 in the league, and a half-game in front of both Memphis and Southern Miss. 

Clanton finished with 23 points and eight boards and rebounded from a dismal performance against Marshall with 20 points. Jones also praised the defensive effort of Isaiah Sykes in the second half, holding Memphis star Will Barton in check after a big first half. 

The Tigers were playing their second game without star freshman Adonis Thomas, who may miss the rest of the season following foot surgery. Thus far, Barton has been the only player on Josh Pastner's team that has lived up to expectations. 

Remember, this was a team that many pegged as a Top 10 squad nationally. 

The Tigers missed on virtually every quality opportunity in the non-league slate -- and now find themselves in the middle of a heated league race. 

Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:01 am
 

Road Trip: Dozen things I learned

Goodman hit up four big games in four straight days. He is now ready to sleep until Friday. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

It feels like weeks ago I left Boston for Huntington, West Va. In fact, it was just Saturday. 

It started with the return of Donnie Jones to Marshall -- which included the Tom Herrion Show -- took a drive through Point Pleasant, West Va., home of the Mothman Prophecies, detoured and had lunch with Ohio University star point guard D.J. Cooper. Then it was onto Columbus, Ohio, where I watched the Buckeyes exact revenge on the Indiana Hoosiers, saw Kansas knock Baylor from the ranks of the unbeaten and ended the trip with a nail-biting Michigan victory over rival Michigan State. 

And yes, that was me smack dab in the middle of the Maize Rage, standing in the front row of Michigan's student section next to my nephew - a sophomore at the school. I was the only one not wearing a maize shirt -- and the only one not jumping around. I cleared it with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo beforehand -- and must admit I felt a bit awkward. However, the vantage point was clearly superior to the new media seats at Crisler. So what the hell. 

Here are my 12 Things I Learned on my travels. 

1) If this Kansas team stays healthy, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey remain out of foul trouble and Bill Self's club gets a decent draw in the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks could make a run to the Final Four. It sounds nuts, but these guys have a stud in Thomas Robinson -- and Tyshawn Taylor is starting to look like the Tyshawn Taylor we all thought we'd see on a consistent basis. I'm not overly concerned with his abundance of turnovers; he needs to make plays for the Jayhawks, so they will continue to be higher than most. The key for KU may be the continued emergence of 7-footer Jeff Withey and consistency from guys like Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson. 

2) I'm just not buying Perry Jones III as a Top five pick in June's NBA Draft. I love his length and skill level, but he's done little to help shed the "soft" label that's been placed upon him for years. There's not much he can't do on the court, but I'd be weary of risking a top pick on a guy that just doesn't have that "it" factor. I'd go Thomas Robinson over PJ3 every day -- and twice on Sunday. 

3) Speaking of Baylor, let's not write off this team just because it got punked in Lawrence, Kansas. Last I checked, not many go into The Phog and leave with a win. The Bears X-factor has been junior college guard Pierre Jackson, who does give Scott Drew much-needed toughness, along with Quincy Acy. However, the defense against Baylor was worrisome - it reminded me of the pre-Ekpe Udoh Baylor defense. 

4) I'm not sure I've seen Tom Izzo more disappointed after a loss than he was following the setback in Ann Arbor to rival Michigan. It's probably because his team didn't play well, yet still had to a shot to win on the road against a Top 25 team. No one fared well for the Spartans. The team's veteran leader Draymond Green struggled yet again going up against Michigan (he has just 35 points in the last five games against the Wolverines) and Izzo's new guys -- Branden Dawson, Brandon Wood, etc. -- all flopped in their into to this rivalry. 

5) I know that Michigan's talent level with skyrocket next season with the addition of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson's kid and Nick Stauskas. I've seen all three -- and they are all immediately impact guys. But the departure of seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass can't be overstated. Novak is the ultra-intangible guy, who brings toughness and leadership to a group of guys that sorely needs it. McGary is talented, but he'll have to learn how to play within a system -- and John Beilein has never dealt with a guy who arrives on campus with the potential expectation of leaving after one season. That'll be an interesting dynamic. 

6) Kansas coach Bill Self believes the Jayhawks will be better next season despite losing Tyshawn Taylor and almost certainly losing Thomas Robinson. I think he may need to have his head examined. However, he'll add two guys sitting out: Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor. Self and his staff feel as though McLemore can be a star and has as much NBA potential as anyone in the program right now -- and that includes Robinson. The starting lineup could look like this: Elijah Johnson (senior), Travis Relford (senior), Jeff Withey (senior), McLemore (redshirt freshman) and maybe either Traylor or freshman forward Perry Ellis. The Jayhawks will add depth with the addition of a recruiting class that includes Top 50 players Andrew White and Ellis. 

7) Marcus Jordan is a nice player, but he's not a first-team all-league guy in C-USA. In fact, he's not even the best player on his own team: That belongs to Keith Clanton. The Son of Michael couldn't make a shot in the loss to Marshall (he was 3-of-17 from the field) -- and missed the front end of a 1-1 that could have put his Central Florida team up two points with 29 seconds left. 

8) Marshall coach Tom Herrion should be nominated for an Oscar for his acting job during the game against Central Florida. Sure, Knights wing Isaiah Sykes may have jolted him when he made contact while running down the sidelines, but Herrion's entire act looked comical. He went down, clutching his chest, and I honestly thought he was having a heart attack. The lead official came over to explain the situation after looking at it multiple times on video and said Sykes, who was hit with a flagrant foul, did not intentionally attempt to strike Herrion. Marshall got a free throw -- and oh by the way, the Thundering Herd wound up winning by one point. 

9) While Herrion needs to tone it down at times, a couple things are clear: The guy can really coach and he's got enough talent on this time to be dangerous. I think it all depends on the play of senior point guard Damier Pitts.

10) Don't wait around for Tom Crean after the Hoosiers lose a game. There are certain coaches that take forever following a loss -- Jim Calhoun, Travis Ford come to mind. Crean took about 70 minutes after Indiana's beatdown in Columbus against Ohio State. Honestly, it had no bearing on me doing my job since I was writing primarily about the Buckeyes, anyway. But Crean should be smart enough to realize that 1) His players will tune him out after about the first 15 minutes 2) No one likes to be kept waiting that long. 

11) While the Buckeyes can really lock down on the perimeter with Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, I'm worried about the rest of Ohio State defensively. Sullinger needs to step it up in this department -- and Thomas needs to do the same. This is the biggest difference from last season's team, where David Lighty was a terrific, versatile defender - and Jon Diebler had turned himself into an above-average team defender. 

12) My top four venues to watch a game?  1) Allen Fieldhouse 2) Cameron Indoor Stadium 3) Rupp Arena 4) Danforth School. The atmosphere at Kansas was second-to-none, largely because of the look and feel of the venue and also the rabid fans. Kentucky fans are crazier than anywhere else, but Rupp doesn't compare to Phog Allen. As for Duke, the proximity to the court -- and the students -- are what makes it elite. As for Danforth, that's where I get to see my 8-year-old daughter knock down jumpers (or, more realistically, 7-foot set shots). 

Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:50 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

By Jeff Goodman

Kawhi Leonard may be in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, but he's still making his presence felt with his former teammates at San Diego State. 

"His work ethic, I think we all watched him and learned a lot," Aztecs guard Chase Tapley said. "I know I did. He's so humble, just wants to win and worked so hard and it rubs off on everyone else." 

But work ethic can only do so much. You still need talent -- and after Steve Fisher lost a first-rounder early in Leonard, and three other starters off last season's team, just about everyone figured it would be a rebuilding year. That San Diego State, one of the true feel-good stories a year ago, would return to mediocrity. 

Instead, the Aztecs - coming off a huge win at the Viejas Center this past weekend, are 15-2 and sit among the Top 20 teams in the country heading into Wednesday's tilt at the Pit in New Mexico. 

Fisher has done a remarkable job with this group, one that should put him right there for National Coach of the Year honors. 

"I think we all thought it was a rebuilding year," Tapley admitted. 

Tapley, the lone returning starter, has been phenomenal this season. He's averaging 16.9 points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 49 percent from long range. This coming from a guy who was a role player last season, one who averaged 8.6 points per game and played in the shadow of Leonard, Malcolm Thomas, D.J. Gay and Billy White. 

Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin is a terrific talent who had to wait his turn and is quickly taking advantage. James Rahon is a threat from the perimeter and two transfers -- Xavier Thames and Garrett Green -- have both been solid. 

The wins haven't been eye-opening until the one against UNLV. There was a road victory in Tucson, which is never an easy task, and another Pac-12 win against Cal. The Aztecs also took down the top two teams in the Big West: Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. 

However, beating the Runnin' Rebels gave this team credibility. 

"We knew that UNLV beat North Carolina," Tapley said. "And everyone knows how talented Carolina is. We knew that UNLV was going to be a huge test for us, and that we couldn't blow this opportunity." 

But now comes another. 

Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:54 pm
 

Kansas to be taken seriously after Baylor win

By Jeff Goodman

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- There were those prepared to anoint Baylor as a national championship contender if Scott Drew's Bears could remain undefeated with a victory at Phog Allen. 

This was the ultimate test for a team that had beaten Kansas State in Manhattan and waltzed into Lawrence with a 18-0 mark. Instead, it was Bill Self's Kansas squad, one that was basically written off as a Final Four contender after a loss to Davidson down the road in Kansas City, that showed it may have a shot to do something come March. 

Self has, at the moment, the nation's top player in Thomas Robinson. Unlike earlier in the season when he forced the issue and attempted to do too much in a loss to Kentucky, the 6-foot-9 sophomore was spectacular against a Baylor frontline that is as deep and talented as any that doesn't reside in Lexington, Ky.

But the difference on Monday night was the play of senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. 

Taylor has been an enigma throughout his entire career, but he was fearless in Monday night's 92-74 victory, knocking down clutch 3-pointers and also attacking the Bears big men with determination. 

Robinson finished with 27. Taylor did him one better, scoring 28 points, while three other Jayhawks -- Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson -- all finished in double-figures. 

There's no shame in losing at Phog Allen. It's a brutal place to play, right there with Cameron and Rupp. It happens to just about everyone -- and fourth-ranked Baylor became the latest victim. 

However, the concern with the Bears is toughness - or lack thereof. And Drew's team didn't show itself all that well in that regard. Kansas imposed its will on Baylor, dominating the Bears on the glass and scoring virtually at will on a porous defense. Perry Jones III, along with most of his teammates, pulled a disappearing act after the first 15 minutes of the game. 

Baylor has fallen and now just two unbeaten teams remain: Syracuse and Murray State. 

Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:57 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 will look ...
  1. Syracuse (19-0)
  2. Kentucky (17-1)
  3. Baylor (17-0)
  4. Duke (15-2)
  5. Missouri (16-1)
  6. Ohio State (16-3)
  7. North Carolina (15-3)
  8. Michigan State (15-3)
  9. Kansas (14-3)
  10. Indiana (15-3)
  11. Creighton (16-2)
  12. San Diego State (15-2)
  13. UNLV (16-3)
  14. Georgetown (14-3)
  15. Virginia (14-2)
  16. Kansas State (14-4)
  17. Mississippi State (15-3)
  18. Illinois (15-3)
  19. Michigan (14-4)
  20. Murray State (18-0)
  21. Marquette (14-4)
  22. Wisconsin (14-5)
  23. Seton Hall (15-3)
  24. Connecticut (14-3)
  25. Alabama (13-4)
  26. West Virginia (13-5)

In: Connecticut, Illinois
Out: Gonzaga, Louisville

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