Tag:Jeff Borzello
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:58 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:11 pm

Freshman of the Year: Tony Mitchell keeps rising

North Texas' Tony Mitchell has established himself as the best mid-major freshman in the country. (North Texas Athletics)

By Jeff Borzello

Anthony Davis has separated himself as the clear No. 1 freshman in the country, dominating defensively and getting better and better offensively. There is also a gap between the top five and everyone else, although North Texas’ Tony Mitchell is making a run. He’s clearly the most talented player in the Sun Belt, and has the ability to carry the Mean Green to an automatic bid in the conference tournament. If he continues to produce like he has, he could close out the best mid-major freshman race fairly quickly.

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): 13.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 65.0 FG%
Davis shot 12-for-13 from the floor in the past week, blocking 10 shots and making his case for National Player of the Year. He also averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 boards.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 12.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t have his best week of the season, struggling against LSU with only one point on 0-for-5 shooting. He bounced back with 16 and eight, though.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
Burke found his shot against Indiana, going 2-for-2 from behind the arc en route to 18 points and four assists. He also held his own against Aaron Craft and Ohio State.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 16.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Harkless has increased his stock dramatically lately. He had 30 points and 13 rebounds against Duke, but only shot 2-for-15 with nine points vs. DePaul (although he was hampered by an injury).

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 4): 15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 65.2 FG%
Zeller has been inconsistent in the last three games, sneaking a 26-point effort in between two games where he averaged 9.0 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

6. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 8): 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.3 apg
Wroten’s consistency has coincided with a nice run lately from the Huskies. He’s averaged 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his last two games.

7. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 10): 15.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 64.0 FG%
Mitchell is dominating the Sun Belt like we thought he would at the beginning of the year. He had 21 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks in a win last weekend. 

8. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 6): 14.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Beal has limited the bad shots in the past few weeks, and his efficiency has risen as a result. Against Mississippi State, he went for 19 points and also knocked down three 3-pointers. 

9. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: NR): 16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Harrison made his way back into the rankings with a stellar last four games. He’s averaging 24.3 points in that stretch, and has vastly improved his shooting: 17-for-32 from behind the arc.

10. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 9): 14.1 ppg
Rivers scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row against St. John’s, and also dished out five assists, showing much-needed creativity on the perimeter for Duke.


  • Le’Bryan Nash was the only one to drop out of the rankings, mostly because of his inconsistency. He has shot just 8-for-24 in his last two games, forcing too much offensively.
  • Mitchell was the first non-BCS player to move out of the No. 10 spot in the rankings.
  • If Baylor’s Quincy Miller could develop some consistency from the floor, he would easily make his way into the rankings. However, he’s only shot 10-for-25 in the last three games.
  • B.J. Young of Arkansas has seen his numbers dip as the Razorbacks pick up big wins. His shooting percentage dropped below 50 percent for the first time this season.
  • Providence’s LaDontae Henton is doing his best to make his way back into the rankings, going for 33 points and seven boards against South Florida, followed by 15 and nine in a win over Rutgers.
  • Ole Miss’ Jarvis Summers has made only four shots in the past three games, after scoring in double figures 10 times this season.
  • LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant could be headed for a solid final month. He had 12 points and nine rebounds against Kentucky.
  • Rutgers’ Eli Carter has shot just 27-for-79 in his last seven games.
  • Michigan State’s Branden Dawson has really stepped his game up the last three contests. He’s averaging 14.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in that stretch, shooting 17-for-28.
  • Stanford’s Chasson Randle was inching closer to the rankings, but he’s shot just 5-for-19 in the past two games, averaging just 8.0 points and 1.0 assists.
  • Ricky Tarrant of Tulane has scored in double figures in his last eight games, including a 33-point effort against SMU last week.
  • Marist’s Chavaughn Lewis is the nation’s top sixth man scorer. He’s averaging 13.0 points off the bench.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (18.3); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.2); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.4)
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:06 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:27 pm

Today's Specials: Va. Tech & Duke renew rivalry

There have been plenty of great moments in the Virginia Tech vs. Duke rivalry in the past few seasons. The Hokies are hoping they can revive their NCAA hopes with a win tonight. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Thursday has a host of intriguing games, with four top-25 teams in play, multiple teams looking to stay unbeaten in conference play and, of course, the Pac-12.

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

Best game: No. 7 Duke at Virginia Tech (7 p.m., ESPN). It seems that every time Duke plays at Virginia Tech, the fans are treated to a heck of a game. The Hokies are hoping tonight is no different. They have lost six of their last seven games, with four of those losses coming by four points or fewer. To pull the upset, Tech needs to slow down Mason Plumlee on the interior, and also limit the Blue Devils’ chances from the free-throw line. Offensively, guys like Erick Green, Dorenzo Hudson and Robert Brown need to get to the rim.

Second-best game: Gonzaga at BYU (11 p.m., ESPN2). I’m still a big believer in BYU, but it’s getting more difficult after the Cougars were run out of their own building by Saint Mary’s over the weekend. This is essentially a must-win for BYU if it wants to get to the NCAA tournament. They have zero quality wins, and are running out of chances. The frontcourt battle in this one should be fun to watch: Elias Harris and Robert Sacre vs. Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock. Guards taking smart shots could be the key.

Another one to watch: UCLA at Washington (9 p.m., ESPN). The Pac-12 is still a mess, but it seems Washington is slowly rising to the top alongside California. It has given the Huskies at-large hopes. UCLA has won five of its last seven games, although the Bruins have won only two away games this season (over Chaminade and USC). The tempo battle will be key, as Washington would prefer an up-tempo style to UCLA’s halfcourt action, as will perimeter shooting.

Guaranteed win: No. 18 Saint Mary’s has cemented itself as a legitimate Sweet 16 threat come March, especially after its blowout win at BYU over the weekend. The Gaels welcome San Diego into Moraga on Thursday night (10 p.m.), and it should be another dominant victory. San Diego is just 6-13 against Division-I competition this season.

Potential upset: Oral Roberts is 12-0 in the Summit this year, and could make a case for an at-large big come Selection Sunday. However, the Golden Eagles have to travel to Nate Wolters and South Dakota State tonight (8 p.m.). Oral Roberts won the first meeting by 22, but the Jackrabbits are undefeated at home this season. ORU doesn’t guard the 3-point line effectively, so SDSU can get hot from behind the arc.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Some Ohio Valley coaches say SE Missouri State could be the toughest matchup for No. 10 Murray State – they face off tonight as the Racers try to remain unbeaten (8 p.m., ESPNU).
  2. Two more teams will also look to stay undefeated in conference play, as Nevada hosts Utah State (10:05 p.m.) and Middle Tennessee faces a tough game at North Texas (8 p.m.).
  3. The Pac-12 could get normalcy in the coming weeks, and it might start tonight. Arizona State heads to Stanford (10 p.m.), and first-place California gets Arizona (11 p.m.).
More College Basketball coverage

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:12 pm

UConn hoping lineup changes can key turnaround

After three straight losses, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun is making changes to his starting lineup. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Connecticut is mired in a three-game losing streak, going from a national title contender to one that looks like it might have to fight for an NCAA tournament bid in the final month of the season.

The Huskies have lost to six unranked teams, and are just 4-4 in the Big East. With an important game at Georgetown tonight, head coach Jim Calhoun announced he was switching up his starting lineup.

According to John Silver, our UConn RapidReporter, freshman Ryan Boatright and sophomore Roscoe Smith will be inserted into the lineup, with usual starters Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi getting relegated to the bench.

“It’s for us to get more quickness, more speed,” Calhoun told the Manchester Journal Inquirer. “It’s not against anybody. It’s for the team. It’s what we think is best.”

It’s clear the Huskies need to get faster on the court. Connecticut is averaging more than 63 possessions per game, but they have played five consecutive games with 61 or fewer possessions. In the halfcourt, the Huskies’ offense is stagnant, with multiple possessions involving nothing more than a few passes and then a contested jumper from Napier or Jeremy Lamb.

Connecticut needs to force turnovers and get out in transition to get some easy baskets. The Huskies rank near the bottom of Division-I in defensive turnover percentage, and they have also given the ball away too often. That has created major issues offensively.

If we don’t push the pace, we can’t win,” Calhoun said, per Silver. “And we can’t win over these next 10 games against anybody if we continue to score at the rate we’re scoring.”

In the first 13 games of the season, Connecticut scored more than one point per possession in every contest, which has helped the Huskies rank No. 21 in offensive efficiency. In the month of January, though, they topped that mark just three times.

Napier has been held to single-digits four times in the past nine games, and his inconsistency is one of the main problems in the offense. Oriakhi is a shell of what he was last year, averaging just 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds after being a double-double threat a season ago.

Boatright brings speed and playmaking ability to the offense, while Smith provides athleticism and versatile offense at the power forward position. Calhoun is hoping those two can key a turnaround in the final month.

“At this point we’re not desperate,” Calhoun told the paper. “But we are very, very aware of our situation.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:02 pm

Today's Specials: Indiana & Michigan go at it

By Jeff Borzello

Tuesday featured plenty of big wins from at-large hopefuls, although the “best game” between Michigan State and Illinois was an absolute eyesore. Wednesday has some big games.

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

Best game: No. 20 Indiana at No. 23 Michigan (6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). After Ohio State – and probably Michigan State – the pecking order in the Big Ten is completely up in the air. Indiana has been up and down since its 15-1 start, while Michigan has lost three of its last five. Cody Zeller has a chance to dominate inside against Michigan, and the Hoosiers should have plenty of open 3-pointers. On the other side, Michigan has to knock down its 3-point shots and also control the tempo.

Second-best game: Connecticut at No. 14 Georgetown (7 p.m., ESPN2). This is a bounce-back game for each team. Georgetown got dropped at Pittsburgh over the weekend by 12, and Connecticut has lost three in a row, including two home games to Cincinnati and Notre Dame. In fact, zero of UConn’s six losses were to ranked teams. The Huskies need to protect the rim against backdoor cuts and layups, while Georgetown has to limit UConn’s second chances. Both offenses lack creativity at times.

Another one to watch: Memphis at Southern Miss (8:15 p.m., CBS Sports Network). Both teams have at-large resumes right now, but only the regular-season champ should feel comfortable heading into Selection Sunday. Memphis won the first meeting, but both are tied at 6-1 atop the standings. The Tigers’ defense has been underrated this season, especially inside the arc. Southern Miss will need to slow the game down and make sure they get offensive boards. The Golden Eagles have finve players averaging in double figures.

Guaranteed win: In an Atlantic-10 that is completely muddled at the top, Temple is starting to look like the cream of the crop. The Owls have won four in a row, and get to host Fordham tonight (7 p.m.). The Rams did beat George Washington over the weekend, but they are just 1-9 on the road and have been blown out several times. Temple should roll.

Potential upset: Minnesota has played itself into at-large contention by winning four of it last five games, but the Golden Gophers’ trip to Iowa on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network) is not going to be a cakewalk. The Hawkeyes have already beaten Wisconsin and Michigan, plus they won the first game between these two teams – at Minnesota. Minnesota might have trouble avoiding a loss.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Oklahoma’s sweep of Kansas State has enabled the Sooners to have NCAA hopes, but they need a marquee win. Tonight at No. 8 Kansas would count (9 p.m., ESPNU).
  2. Colorado State picked up a big win by blowing out San Diego State over the weekend, and now they head to No. 11 UNLV (10:30 p.m., Mountain).
  3. First place in the Southland is on the line tonight when 6-1 Texas-San Antonio trips to Texas-Arlington (9 p.m.). UTA has won 11 in a row.
More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:11 am
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:06 am

Night Court: Royce White gives ISU another win

Royce White's shot with 1.8 seconds left capped a 14-point comeback, giving Iowa St. a win over Kansas St. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Iowa State looked like it was headed for a letdown game against Kansas State, getting down by as many as 14 in the second half after its big win over Kansas over the weekend. However, the Cyclones stormed back late in the game and tied it up on a Chris Babb free throw with under a minute left. On the last possession, Royce White isolated himself and hit a short jumper with 1.8 seconds left to give Iowa State a 72-70 win.

Win to brag about: Arkansas was the last team in my projected bracket on Monday afternoon, and the Razorbacks solidified their at-large profile with an 82-74 victory over No. 25 Vanderbilt. Arkansas simply didn’t miss midway through the second half, knocking down 3-pointers on five of six possessions, including three in a row, to gain an 11-point lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. The Razorbacks now have wins over Michigan, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Loss to hide from: It’s not a bad loss, but Seton Hall has now dropped four in a row after its 66-59 defeat at No. 15 Marquette. The Pirates were up by 11 in the first half and led for most of the first 30 minutes of the game, but they struggled immensely on the offensive end and couldn’t stop Marquette during the Golden Eagles’ 20-5 run in the second half. Jordan Theodore went just 3-for-14 from the field, getting held to seven points.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Oklahoma State sophomore Markel Brown went for 30 points and seven rebounds to lead the Cowboys to an 80-63 win over Texas Tech. Brown is averaging fewer than 10 points per game on the season, but has totaled 71 points in his last four games (17.8 per game).

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: The entire Michigan State vs. Illinois game was horrendous. Michigan State shot just 24 percent, with Illinois lighting it up at 33 percent. The Fighting Illini held on for a 42-41 victory, as Brandon Paul knocked down two free throws with 45 seconds left and Keith Appling missed a layup with two seconds left for Michigan State. 

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 3-for-22: Michigan State’s top three scorers – Draymond Green, Keith Appling, Brandon Wood – were horrendous offensively against Illinois.
  • 11: Kentucky made its first 11 shots from the field against Tennessee.
  • 9: Wisconsin scored just nine points in the first 16 minutes of its game against Penn State, but had 43 in the next 24 minutes. The Badgers won, 52-46.
  • 0: Texas Tech is still winless in conference play – the only BCS-conference team without a league win.

Three other notable results:

  1. North Carolina struggled offensively, but still topped Wake Forest behind 18 points and 18 rebounds from Tyler Zeller.
  2. Virginia held off a late rally from Clemson to improve to 5-2 in the ACC with a 65-51 victory. Mike Scott went for 23 points and 10 rebounds.
  3. Anthony Davis went for 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks to lead Kentucky to an easy 69-44 win over Tennessee.


  • New Mexico certainly didn’t overlook Air Force, hammering the Falcons on the road, 81-42.
  • Northern Iowa had lost five of seven heading into Tuesday, but beat Southern Illinois. They have Creighton and Wichita State up next.
  • Michigan State’s Draymond Green left the arena on crutches after leaving the game with a knee injury. He will be evaluated in the morning.
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:15 pm

USF has NCAA optimism heading down stretch

By Jeff Borzello

The Big East is undoubtedly down this season, but they will still get at least seven bids into the NCAA tournament. In fact, my most recent projected bracket gave the conference nine bids – with Cincinnati and Notre Dame sneaking into the field. Pittsburgh is making a run, too.

And what about South Florida?

South Florida?

Don’t look now, but the Bulls are 6-3 in the Big East – and the schedule isn’t terrible the rest of the way. Overall, the resume is lacking in most areas: they have three sub-100 losses, are 2-8 away from home, and are just 6-9 against the Top 150 of the RPI. The computer numbers aren’t very good, either.

However, there are wins over Seton Hall and Cleveland State, and there are still opportunities to pick up marquee victories down the stretch. In its final nine games, South Florida will host Pittsburgh, Villanova, Cincinnati and West Virginia. At 10-1 on their home court this season, it’s not inconceivable that the Bulls will go at least 3-1 in that stretch. They likely also need to pick up a win or two on the road – and it would help if it were against Louisville, Georgetown or Syracuse.

If South Florida gets to 11-7 in the Big East, could the Bulls get consideration for a bid?

The best comparison for 2011-12 South Florida might be 2008-09 Providence. That season, the Friars went 10-8 in the Big East, but their only good ones were over Pittsburgh and Syracuse. They had six losses of at least 17 points against Big East opponents, though. Keno Davis’ club did not make the NCAA tournament that season, and was not really under close consideration down the stretch.

While the bubble is probably weaker this season, South Florida has a far worse resume at this point than that Providence team. With that said, the Bulls do deserve a mention going forward.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:35 pm

Today's Specials: Seven top-25 teams in action

B.J. Young and Arkansas look to add to its surprising at-large resume against John Jenkins and Vanderbilt tonight. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Exactly 50 percent of the games on Tuesday involve top-25 teams, meaning there are some opportunities for statement wins or upset victories.

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

Best game: No. 9 Michigan State at Illinois (7 p.m., ESPN). Two weeks ago, Illinois was atop the Big Ten standings; after three straight losses, the Fighting Illini are now in seventh place and squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. Michigan State is a half-game out of first place. To get the win, Illinois needs to limit second chances and attack the rim. It will be interesting to see what Meyers Leonard can do inside against the Spartans, but Illinois needs to find someone to guard Draymond Green.

Second-best game: Kansas State at Iowa State (9 p.m., ESPN3). After the big three of Kansas, Baylor and Missouri, the Big 12 is completely wide open. There’s no clear pecking order right now, but this game could help us figure it out. Iowa State is coming off a marquee win over Kansas, while Kansas State lost at home to Oklahoma over the weekend. If Iowa limits its fouls and grabs defensive rebounds, Kansas State could have trouble scoring. This would be a nice for Iowa State’s resume.

Another one to watch: Seton Hall at No. 15 Marquette (8 p.m., ESPN3). A matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. Marquette has won six in a row and has a relatively easy schedule in the next couple of weeks, while Seton Hall has lost four in a row and faces two more road games after this one. The Pirates could really use a win, but they’re going to have to knock down outside shots. Herb Pope vs. Jae Crowder is an intriguing battle on the interior. Can SHU deal with Marquette’s versatility?

Guaranteed win: Two of the five best teams in the country have relatively easy nights. No. 1 Kentucky hosts Tennessee in a rematch of a three-point game from two weeks ago, but this game is in Lexington (7 p.m., ESPNU) and the Wildcats seem to hitting their stride. Meanwhile, No. 5 North Carolina faces Wake Forest (9 p.m., ESPNU), which has lost six of its last eight games. The Tar Heels shouldn’t have much trouble, as they have turned it on since Dexter Strickland’s injury.

Potential upset: When making my projected bracket last night, Arkansas ended up as the last team in the field. How the Razorbacks built an NCAA-worthy resume without anyone paying attention is beyond me, but they have a chance to make me look good against No. 25 Vanderbilt tonight (9 p.m., ESPN). A win tonight would give Arkansas three very solid wins (along with Michigan and Mississippi State). Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is looking to cement its case as the second-best team in the SEC.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Clemson will be without junior forward Milton Jennings for its game at No. 16 Virginia (7 p.m., ESPN2). That shouldn’t help them stop Mike Scott on the inside.
  2. No. 19 Wisconsin has won five in a row and will look to keep it going on the road against Penn State tonight (8 p.m., Big Ten Network).
  3. New Mexico needs to fight off Colorado State for the title of third-best team in the Mountain West, and the Lobos head on the road to Air Force (10 p.m., Mountain).
More College Basketball coverage
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