Tag:Gary Parrish
Posted on: December 10, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Cronin shines on a bad day for UC-XU rivalry

By Gary Parrish

Cincinnati lost to a crosstown rival by 23 points. The Bearcats best player threw a punch that might end his career. But I'm not sure Mick Cronin has ever had a better day as a college basketball coach.

"There's no excuse for any of it on our side or on their side," Cronin said. "Guys need to grow up."

And it got more intense from there.

In an era when too many coaches play it safe, avoid questions and promise to address everything at a later date, Cronin, clearly emotional, spent roughly 13 minutes talking about the brawl that overshadowed Xavier's 76-53 win over his Bearcats. The fight featured lots of punches. The Cincinnati coach pulled none.

"We accept full responsibility and it will be handled," Cronin said. "There is zero excuse for that in basketball. ... The fact is the guys ... represent an institution of higher learning. Xavier has been a great school for years. We're trying to cure cancer at Cincinnati. I go to school at a place where they ... created Benadryl; I think that's more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have an appreciation that they're there on a full scholarship and they better represent the institution with class and integrity. ... I just told my guys I will meet with my AD and my president and I'm going to decide who is on the team going forward. That's what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period. I've never been this embarrassed."

Cronin went on to explain that he didn't know exactly why the fight started.

He said he needed to watch the film.

But he also made it clear that, ultimately, he didn't care about the details.

If his players started it, he said his players were wrong.

If Xavier's players started it, he said his players were wrong to react violently.

"Toughness is doing the right thing," Cronin said. "You take your ass-whipping and go home."

The entire press conference was fascinating.

You can watch it here.

It's a great example of how to handle a terrible situation. Cronin didn't make excuses and he wasn't guarded. All anybody wanted to hear from anybody involved after the bloody court was cleared was that they were as disturbed by what happened with 9.4 seconds remaining as the nation that was watching, and that those responsible for starting -- or escalating -- the incident would be held accountable. Cronin sat at a desk with a microphone in his face and made both points convincingly. It was a nice performance on a horrific afternoon.

We like to pretend college coaches are "leaders of young men."

Oftentimes, that's laughable.

But on this day, after it was all over, Mick Cronin very much looked the part.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 10, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Ohio State will play Kansas without Sullinger

By Gary Parrish

CBSSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year Jared Sullinger will miss Saturday's game against Kansas with apparent back spasms, according to a Tweet from former Buckeye Mark Titus.

"Was just told Jared isn't dressing today," Titus Tweeted Saturday afternoon.

CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman has confirmed the news.

This development means some of the luster is gone from Saturday's tilt between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 13 Kansas because the much-anticipated matchup between Sullinger and KU star Thomas Robinson will not happen. Tip-off is at 3:15 ET. This will be the second straight game that Sullinger has missed.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Source: UCLA dismisses Reeves Nelson



By Gary Parrish

Reeves Nelson was dismissed from the UCLA basketball team on Friday, a source told CBSSports.com.

An official announcement is expected soon.

Nelson was UCLA's best player, but he's been a problem throughout his career because of his inability to be a decent teammate. The 6-foot-8 forward was suspended Tuesday for the second time this season after being benched during last weekend's loss to Texas. Coach Ben Howland had previously given Nelson countless opportunities to correct his attitude but nothing ever changed. Consequently, the junior who received All-American consideration in the preseason is now off the team and free to transfer into another program that might be willing to take a troubled-but-gifted prospect.

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game last season.

He was averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game this season.

UCLA is 2-5 with its lone wins coming aganst Chaminade and Pepperdine.

The Bruins play Penn on Saturday.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:28 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 5:33 am
 

Sullinger feeling better, dancing

By Gary Parrish

Breathe a sigh of relief, NBA scouts.

Looks like we're gonna get that Jared Sullinger vs. Thomas Robinson matchup after all.

"[Sullinger] just told me he feels great," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. "He said he feels a lot better. He said he woke up dancing this morning."

That's good news for the second-ranked Buckeyes considering Sullinger missed last weekend's win against Texas Pan-American with back spasms. Consequently, the 6-foot-9 All-American had been unofficially listed as questionable for Saturday's game at No. 13 Kansas. But questionable has now turned to probable, meaning the most likely scenario has the two prospects ranked first and second in the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year Watch banging bodies on Saturday inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Sullinger is averaging 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Robinson is averaging 17.4 points and 12.0 rebounds per game.

Both are projected lottery picks for next June's NBA Draft.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:59 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 12:02 am
 

Night Court: WVU wins in double overtime



By Gary Parrish

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

Game of the day: Kansas State coach Frank Martin called a timeout and got his team a nice look at the end of the second overtime, but Rodney McGruder's 3-pointer that would've tied things just didn't fall and West Virginia escaped with an eventual 85-80 victory in Wichita. The Mountaineers got 30 points from Kevin Jones, whose 3-pointer at the end of regulation forced the first overtime. West Virginia is now 5-2. KSU fell to 5-1.

Win to brag about: Harvard entered Gampel Pavilion as a ranked team for the first time but Connecticut exited with the win. The ninth-ranked Huskies won 67-53 thanks to 18 points from sophomore Jeremy Lamb and 12 more from freshman Andre Drummond. They dropped the 25th-ranked Crimson to 8-1. Had Harvard won, Tommy Amaker would've had the first Ivy League team to start 9-0 since the 1969-70 season.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Jack Cooley got 22 points and 14 rebounds in Notre Dame's 87-78 win over Maine. Six of the junior forward's rebounds were offensive. He was 7-of-11 from the field, 8-of-9 from the free throw line.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Patrick Heckmann took nine shots, missed eight and pretty much ensured that Boston College wouldn't upset Providence. The Eagles lost 64-57. It wasn't primarily because Heckmann shot 11.1 percent from the field. But it kinda was.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 8: That's how many steals Drake got in a 66-53 win over Eastern Michigan.
  • 11: That's how many assists Cliff Colimon had in Eastern Washington's 104-54 win over Linfield.
  • 32: That's how many turnovers Central Pennsylvania College had in a 109-86 loss to Virginia Military.

Three other notable results:

  1. Cleveland State improved to 9-1 with a 62-58 win over Robert Morris.
  2. Detroit moved to a game within .500 with a 92-81 win over Western Michigan.
  3. Oklahoma's 73-59 win over Oral Roberts was the Sooners' 11th consecutive victory over ORU.

Notes:

  • St. John's sophomore Nuri Lindsey told CBSSports.com on Thursday that he's transferring out of the program and to another Division I school. He was averaging 11.8 points per game for the Red Storm.
  • Ohio State sophomore Jared Sullinger tops the CBSSports.com Player of the Year rankings this week. Kansas' Thomas Robinson, Xavier's Tu Holloway, Missouri's Marcus Denmon and Kentucky's Anthony Davis round out the top five.

On tap: Florida is the only ranked team playing Friday. The 12th-ranked Gators host Rider at 7 p.m. ET. Meantime, Richmond is at VCU and Iowa is at Iowa State.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Weber State's non-butt-kissing recruiting pitch

By Gary Parrish

The nation's leading scorer is a kid named Damian Lillard.

He plays at Weber State.

I wrote a column about him that's on the college basketball page now. But one of the things I didn't get into is how the Oakland native ended up at Weber State because that's not the biggest school that recruited him. Sure, Lillard was an under-the-radar prospect. Only worth two stars, according to Scout.com. But Washington State was still on him. And so was Saint Mary's. So I asked Weber State coach Randy Rahe how he approached recruiting the 6-foot-2 guard, and Rahe told a pretty neat story about the time Lillard and his father visited campus.

"Damian's dad is just a tough guy. A great guy. But a hard-nosed guy," Rahe said. "He believes in working hard. Doesn't think anything should be handed to you. But throughout the recruiting process Damian was being told this and that. You know, stuff like, 'If you come here you can shoot every ball and you can do whatever you want.' But in reality, that's not how we do things here. So I was just very honest with them."

Rahe's message was simple ...

If you come here, you're good enough to play as a freshman. But if you don't work, you'll be sent home. And if you aren't a good teammate, you'll be sent home. And if you don't go to class, you'll be sent home. And ...

"Then I crossed my fingers and hoped I'd be OK," Rahe said with a laugh. "But they really took to that."

Damian Lillard committed to Weber State about a week later.

"He wanted reality. He didn't want BS," Rahe said. "So that worked for us."
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 1:55 pm
 

UCLA's Nelson suspended again



By Gary Parrish

UCLA's Reeves Nelson was suspended from the men's basketball team on Tuesday for the second time this season, Bruins coach Ben Howland told CBSSports.com via text message. This development contradicts an earlier erroneous report from BruinReportOnline.com that indicated Nelson had been dismissed.

Asked if Nelson was dismissed as reported, Howland responded, "He's been suspended indefinitely."

Nelson was the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Bruins, but his junior season has been just as disastrous as UCLA's in general. The 6-foot-8 forward was suspended after a season-opening loss to Loyola-Marymount because of what basically amounted to an attitude problem that's been an issue for years. He missed UCLA's loss to Middle Tennessee State, then missed the team's flight to the Maui Invitational and played just 11 minutes against Chaminade. Nelson was benched for the second half of Saturday's game with Texas and was reportedly "laughing it up" on the sideline while his teammates lost 69-59.

"[Nelson's] behavior is totally uncharacteristic of what we want from a UCLA basketball player representing this history and tradition," UCLA coach Ben Howland said in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. "It's something that is going to be dealt with when we get together again. It's been an ongoing problem the past two years which has gotten worse."

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game last season. He is only averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game this season. UCLA -- the preseason pick to win the Pac-12 -- is 2-5 with its lone wins coming against Chaminade and Pepperdine. The Bruins play Penn on Saturday.

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 5:08 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Leaving Georgetown unranked is dumb. Leaving Georgetown unranked when you rank Alabama and Memphis is even dumber. But multiple Associated Press voters did it this week. Their punishment is an apperance in the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Did you watch that Georgetown-Alabama game last week?

It was terrific, wasn't it?

Hollis Thompson hit a 3-pointer near the buzzer to give Georgetown a 57-55 win in Tuscaloosa in a game that suggested both are Top 25 teams, and so it should surprise no one that both are in the AP poll this week. But why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?

Both schools are 7-1.

They have comparable resumes.

Both have good wins.

Neither has a bad loss.

But Georgetown has a road win over Alabama and should be ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide. That's not even debatable, is it? Look, head-to-head results can't be the absolute deciding factor in polls. Otherwise, you'd need UNLV ahead of North Carolina and UCF ahead of Connecticut, and that doesn't make sense. But a head-to-head result should be the determining factor when two teams have comparable bodies of work -- especially if the road team won that head-to-head matchup -- and that's precisely the case with Georgetown and Alabama.

Georgetown has two wins over currently ranked teams (No. 16 Alabama and No. 21 Memphis) and its one loss came to No. 13 Kansas. Alabama has two good wins (over Wichita State and Purdue), but neither came against a ranked team, and the Crimson Tide's lone loss came to Georgetown. So while the bodies of work are comparable, Georgetown's is obviously better. And -- I can't stress this enough -- the Hoyas just won at ... Alabama.

So, again, why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?

Answer: I have no idea.

But Michael Phillips is as responsible for it as anybody else.

He works at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He has Alabama ranked ninth.

He has Georgetown unranked.

And that's the dumbest AP ballot I could find this week.

Dude has Alabama and its 7-1 record ranked ninth, Memphis and its 4-2 record ranked 17th and Georgetown and its 7-1 record -- its 7-1 record that features wins over Alabama and Memphis -- completely unranked. That is stupid but apparently not unique to Michael because other AP voters, inexplicably, did the same thing. Bill Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal has Alabama 11th, Memphis 21st and Georgetown unranked. Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has Alabama 14th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. Gary Laney of The Advocate has Alabama 12th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. And Jason Franchuk of the Provo Daily Herald has Alabama 16th, Memphis 18th and Georgetown unranked.

I'm sure all of those voters are smart guys.

But I bet none of them could intelligently defend those ballots.

Coaches poll: I like Ed Conroy and I think he's got Tulane headed in the right direction just like he had The Citadel headed in the right direction before he left for Tulane. The school made a good hire and he's off to a nice start in his second season -- proof being the Green Wave's 9-0 record that was enough to get them two votes in the Coaches poll.

First, let me say this: Good for Tulane.

That school and that city have been through so much over the past seven years, so seeing Tulane receive any sort of notoriety during a perfect start to a basketball season is nice on some level, and I don't even mind it, really. But let's be honest. The Green Wave don't belong on anybody's Top 25 ballot because all perfect records are not created equal.

Kentucky, for instance, is 8-0.

The Wildcats have wins over No. 6 North Carolina and No. 13 Kansas.

That's an impressive perfect record.

And Ohio State is 8-0, too.

The Buckeyes have wins over No. 5 Duke and No. 12 Florida.

That's also an impressive perfect record.

But Tulane's perfect record is different.

The Green Wave have a win over a Division II school and eight wins over Division I opponents with a combined record of 19-41. They've topped zero teams who happen to have winning records against Division I opponents, which is a round-about way of saying that Tulane hasn't beaten anybody of note. Which is fine. Seriously, it's fine. If I'm Ed Conroy, I'm scheduling the exact same way because winning early in a tenure is by far the most important thing. At the end of the season, nobody is going to sit around debating Tulane's strength of schedule. Conroy's boss will only care if the Green Wave improved in the win-loss column, and they're almost certainly going to do that.

So things are going as well as they could possibly go.

If you're a Tulane fan, celebrate this start.

But voters have to use context when putting together a ballot, and the truth is that there are probably more than 100 schools that would be undefeated against Tulane's schedule. Bottom line, the Green Wave do not belong in anybody's Top 25. Not yet. Let them win at Syracuse -- or even play Syracuse competitively on Dec. 22 -- and be 15-0 or 14-1 after a January 4 game at UCF, and then we'll talk. But for now, ranking Tulane is a little silly. Again, I don't mind it, really. I can't be mad at Tulane or New Orleans. But these are the Poll Attacks, and Tulane getting votes is the silliest thing in this week's coaches poll.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com