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Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:31 pm
 

Ohio State delivers payback to Hoosiers

By Jeff Goodman

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- So, maybe Ohio State isn't quite ready to be bounced from the "elite" category. Or maybe Indiana isn't quite ready for the Prime Time. 

Likely a combination of both. 

Thad Matta and the Buckeyes exactly a measure of revenge for the loss in Bloomington two weeks ago with a resounding thumping against the Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon. The final score was 80-63, and that doesn't even tell the story of how one-sided the game was from start to finish. The outcome was never in question as Ohio State jumped out to an early lead thanks largely to its defense and role guy Lenzelle Smith. 

The score at halftime read: 35-14. 

Truth be told, it looked like a Final Four team going up against an NIT squad. 

Smith abused Jordan Hulls and Matt Roth and set his career-high in the first 20 minutes. Jared Sullinger, William Buford and Deshaun Thomas weren't spectacular, but the trio remained out of foul trouble and on the floor -- unlike the last time the teams met. On the flip side, this Indiana team looked nothing like the one that has pulled out two of the most impressive victories this season against Kentucky and Ohio State. 

The Hoosiers followed-up a troubling home setback against Minnesota earlier in the week with this lackluster performance -- and now Tom Crean's team sits in a tie for sixth place in the Big Ten, just a half-game in front of Wisconsin and Iowa. 

This group is clearly a major upgrade over last year's group, but the Hoosiers - despite their lofty ranking - aren't ready for Prime Time just yet. 

Sure, Christian Watford's 3-pointer gave Indiana the win over Kentucky and the Hoosiers got another impressive victory against Ohio State on their home floor, but it was the perfect storm. Indiana came into the first matchup with swagger, without having faced any adversity -- and then three of Ohio State's top four players were saddled with foul trouble. 

Now it's a team that has lost two straight -- and sits right in the middle of a tightly contested Big Ten race. 

That's the bad news. The good?  Next up for the Hoosiers are the league's doormats -- Nebraska and Penn State. 

Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:05 pm
 

Marshall becoming the favorites in C-USA?

By Jeff Goodman

HUNTINGTON, West Va. - This Marshall team could be dangerous in the NCAA tournament -- if the Thundering Herd manage to get there. 

Coach Tom Herrion has a strong and fearless wing who can score the ball in DeAndre Kane, one of the nation's top rebounders in Dennis Tinnon, an experienced point guard in Damier Pitts, seemingly endless length and size up front and no shortage of role guys. 

These guys can give Memphis a run for the league title. 

In fact, these guys may just be the favorites in C-USA with Josh Pastner's Tigers struggling as much as they did in the non-conference slate. 

"We've been waiting for four years," Pitts said after Marshall pulled out a 65-64 win over Central Florida on Saturday night. "We've gotten a lot of hype, but people are still talking about Memphis. We feel like we're the ones with the upper hand." 

"I think we can play against a lot of teams in the country," added Thundering Herd coach Tom Herrion. "Obviously, Memphis is really talented and were picked to win the league. But I think we match-up relatively well with them." 

Marshall improved to 4-0 in the league with the win over Central Florida and former Thundering Herd coach Donnie Jones. Next up for Tom Herrion's team is a neutral-site matchup Wednesday in Charleston against West Virginia. The first showdown with Memphis comes on Jan. 28. 

This is a Thundering Herd team that knocked off Cincinnati on the road back in November, pummeled Iona - and played Syracuse tough in the Carrier Dome. It's also a team that has lost to Ohio and Akron -- and split with Belmont. That means Marshall probably needs to either win the C-USA tournament or finish in the top two in the regular-season -- and lost in the league tournament title game. 

"Our margin for error is so thin," Herrion said after the win. "You've got to protect your home court." 

That's exactly what happened on Saturday in front of 8,379 fans that made the Cam Henderson Center one of the better environments I've been to in the last few years. 

"Crazy," was how Kane described the home crowd. "Bananas." 

He's right and Kane may have been too amped up as he struggled early. However, he made up for it down the stretch, culminating with a pair of free throws with 14.5 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner. 

"No pressure," a confident, almost cocky Kane said after the victory. "It was good all along." 

Posted on: January 13, 2012 2:02 pm
 

St. John's transfer Lindsey headed to Arkansas

By Jeff Goodman

Nurideen Lindsey wanted to remain close to his mother, but it didn't work out -- and now he's headed to Arkansas.

The St. John's transfer should be an ideal fit with the breakneck style that Mike Anderson employs down in Fayetteville. The 6-foot-3 guard, who averaged 11.9 points before opting to leave the Red Storm, is quick and athletic. 

"The whole idea of staying close to home was definitely more ideal," Lindsey told CBSSports.com shortly after announcing his decision via twitter. "But unfortunately, the schools close to home weren't a fit and most didn't have scholarships." 

Lindsey said Temple and Saint Joseph's were among them. 

"Arkansas seems like a great fit with the way I play," Lindsey said. "They showed a lot of interest and made me feel excited about wanting to be a Razorback." 

Lindsey said he will leave for Arkansas in the next few days, sit out this semester and the start of next season before becoming eligible at the break -- and having 1 1/2 year left of eligibility. 

He'll give the Razorbacks more quality depth. Anderson has freshmen B.J. Young, Rashad Madden and Hunter Mickelson, leading scorer Marshawn Powell should be healthy next season and guards Mardacus Wade and Rickey Scott have played well this season. 

Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:23 pm
 

Weber needs consistency from Paul, Leonard

Brandong Paul, left, and Meyers Leonard, right, have been good but need to actually improve to give Illinois a chance at a good seed and good run. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

Bruce Weber's Illinois team was a question mark for many this season. 

Some figured losing veterans Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale - - despite their production over the course of their careers -- would force the Illini to take a step back. Others felt it could be addition by subtraction since that group had underachieved, going to a pair of NCAA tournaments, one NIT and even failing to advance to the postseason in one of the four seasons on campus. 

Troubled, yet talented freshman Jereme Richmond was also gone -- which clearly appeared to help the chemistry of the team. 

Weber was left with a core group consisting of ultra-talented 7-footer Meyers Leonard and a bunch of solid, yet not spectacular perimeter guys that included Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson. Weber's expectation was that Paul would quickly emerge as the team's go-to guy. but it didn't happen. In fact, Paul struggled for much of the season -- until his spectacular 43-point outburst on Tuesday night in a win over Ohio State. 

"I've seen some great performances, when Glen Robinson went for 49 and when Scott Skiles had 40-something against us when I was at Purdue," Weber said. "This one was right there. It was pretty special -- and the crazy thing is he did it on just 15 shots." 

Now the key for Weber will be if Paul and Leonard -- who has also been erratic this season -- can establish a level of consistency the rest of the Big Ten slate. Can they sustain it?

Weber is optimistic that starting point guard Sam Maniscalso will return to practice this weekend and return on Jan. 19 at Penn State, but said he'll likely keep freshman Tracy Abrams in the stating lineup for the time being. 

Illinois improved to 15-3 with a trio of respectable losses: against UNLV in Chicago, against Missouri in Saint Louis and on the road to Purdue. The Illini now have two resume wins: against Ohio State and Gonzaga at Assembly Hall. 

Now the key will be whether Paul can use his most recent performance to kick-start the rest of the season -- and whether Leonard can avoid the ups and downs that have plagued him much of this season. 

Posted on: January 12, 2012 8:17 am
 

Vanderbilt, Ezeli getting close to full strength

By Jeff Goodman

They have become the Forgotten Team. More so than Xavier, than Memphis, more than their SEC counterparts from Gainesville. 

The Vanderbilt Commodores. 

Kevin Stallings' team slipped up early and often, losing to a pair of mid-majors in Cleveland State and Indiana State as well as Xavier and Louisville. 

Everyone wrote off the team that began the season ranked seventh overall. 

I figured the time to judge this Commodores team would be after the New Year, but that's when Festus Ezeli figured to be back at 100 percent. That wasn't the case. 

Ezeli's left knee injury, a sprained MCL and PCL, had healed. Ezeli appeared to on his way back when he made his season debut with 15 points and six boards in 21 minutes against Davidson on Dec. 7. Then his other knee, the one that underwent surgery back in the offseason due to tendinitis, began feeling sore. 

Ezeli sat out games against Longwood and Lafayette before returning in Vandy's smackdown of Marquette in Milwaukee. 

Ezeli has logged limited minutes in the past four games and has averaged just four points and six boards per game, but his impact is clearly noticeable on the defensive end. Teams are shooting just 37 percent overall and 31 percent from beyond the arc in the last four games -- all Vandy victories. 

This team, one that most refer to as soft, went on the road and kicked the you-know-what out of a Marquette team that has become synonymous with the word "tough." 

Vanderbilt still isn't worthy of judgment quite yet. Ezeli is still working his way back -- both physically and mentally. Defensively, he's fairly close. Offensively, it's going to take more time. 

But just having Ezeli on the court, clogging the middle and being a threat in the post, the trio of John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor and Brad Tinsley has made 35-of-64 3-pointers -- 55 percent. 

Stallings said he's optimistic that Ezeli should be back at 100 percent in the next couple of weeks. 

Then we can begin to truly evaluate Vandy. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:59 pm
 

Saint Mary's: contender or pretender?

The Gaels are good -- but how good? Gonzaga on Thursday night should help us find out. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

It's finally time to see if Saint Mary's is for real. 

Randy Bennett has played a soft non-conference slate for the most part. There was the tournament in November in Las Vegas where Saint Mary's split against Baylor and Missouri State, but it's been difficult to tell whether the Gaels are a legitimate NCAA tournament squad thus far. 

Tomorrow night Bennett welcomes Gonzaga to Moraga for its anticipated matchup with the Bulldogs. 

We know the 'Zags are a legit Top 25 team. Mark Few's team always plays a brutal non-conference slate and this season was no different. Sure, they lost at home to Michigan State and on the road against Illinois -- but Gonzaga has beaten a bunch of decent teams: Arizona, Notre Dame, Butler and Oral Roberts. 

Few has plugged the most noticeable hole from a year ago -- at the point guard spot -- with freshman Kevin Pangos. The 'Zags have Elias Harris and Robert Sacre up front and freshman Gary Bell has started to emerge on the wing. There's also depth with guys like Marquise Carter and David Stockton in the backcourt, Guy Landy on the wing and Sam Dower up front. 

No one quite knows what to make out of the Gaels. 

They have a 1-2 punch in Aussie guard Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones. 

But with a lackluster resume, Saint Mary's will likely need to finish in the top two in the WCC to have a shot to get to the NCAA tournament. 

Bennett's team beat BYU already in Moraga, but that doesn't mean all that much. Last I checked, Jimmer wasn't in Provo any longer -- and the Cougars and the Missouri State team that the Gaels beat in Vegas could both be NIT teams come March. 

One loss came against defeated Baylor, the other at Denver. 

I'm a huge Dellavedova guy -- and Jones has been performing like a first-team all-league guy. 

But that's really all we know about Saint Mary's. Until Thursday night when the 'Zags come to town. 


Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:46 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:07 pm
 

Louisville's free-fall down to earth continues

Has Louisville played its best basketball this year?. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

I have said it all season. Louisville is overrated. 

When the Cards rose all the way to No. 4 in the rankings, it was clear to just about everyone outside of Louisville that the Cards did not belong in the same class with the Kentucky's, North Carolina's, Ohio State's and Syracuse's of the world. 

They had reeled off a dozen straight, but had only ventured out of the Yum! Center once - against a Butler team that is still trying to find itself. It was fool's gold. This is an solid Louisville team, maybe one that that win a couple games in the NCAA tournament - or maybe one that will be one and done, as was the case last season.  

Russ Smith gave Rick Pitino's team hope when he nearly single-handedly kept Louisville competitive at Rupp, but this team is a fringe Top 25 club these days in terms of pure talent. 

They can't shoot - and they aren't nearly as efficient defensively as the numbers indicated through the team's first 12 games of the season. In the four losses -- which have all came in the past five games -- the Cardinals are shooting just 27 percent from beyond the arc. 

Pitino's team got crushed on the glass against Kentucky -- but there's no shame in that. But Louisville also lost the battle on the glass to Georgetown and allowed a lackluster Providence frontline to dominate. 

Kadeem Batts went for 27 points. 

Yes, Kadeem Betts. 

Russ Smith has been a non-factor in the last couple of games, there's been virtually no production from the bench -- and after a home date against DePaul, Pitino & Co. will head out on the road for games against Marquette and Pittsburgh. 

The Cards could well be 2-5 seven games into league play. 

It just goes to show how quickly things can change -- especially in the Big East. 

We ranked Louisville in the Top 10 of the preseason with the thought that the Cards would have the prize of their recruiting class, Wayne Blackshear. However, the Illinois native has been out with a shoulder injury and it's anyone's guess when -- and if -- he'll return to the court. 

Even if Blackshear does come back, it's difficult to ask a guy who hasn't played a game in eight months and is a true freshman to make an impact this season. 

So, what you see is probably what you'll get -- and that's a decent Louisville team. 


Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:44 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:19 am
 

Wooden Award Midseason Ballots

By Jeff Goodman

The deadline for submitting the 25 names for the Wooden Midseason List was last night. Gary Parrish and I figured we'd share our lists with you, so you can make fun of us, demean us or do both. Mine are on top because, well, they are superior. Check Parrish's below and then go ahead and make fun of him. Have no problem putting two guys on from Kentucky and North Carolina, but a pair from Seton Hall?  I just couldn't do it. 

Jeff Goodman's Top 25

  • Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
  • Will Barton, Memphis
  • William Buford, Ohio State
  • Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
  • Jason Clark, Georgetown
  • Anthony Davis, Kentucky
  • Marcus Denmon, Missouri
  • Draymond Green, Michigan State
  • John Henson, North Carolina
  • Kevin Jones, West Virginia
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
  • Perry Jones, Baylor
  • Jeremy Lamb, UConn
  • Damian Lillard, Weber State
  • Scott Machado, Iona
  • Doug McDermott, Creighton
  • Mike Moser, UNLV
  • Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
  • Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette
  • Thomas Robinson, Kansas
  • Mike Scott, Virginia
  • Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
  • Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall
  • Dion Waiters, Syracuse
  • Cody Zeller, Indiana
Gary Parrish's Top 25
  • Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
  • Will Barton, Memphis
  • William Buford, Ohio State
  • Trey Burke, Michigan
  • Jason Clark, Georgetown
  • Anthony Davis, Kentucky
  • Marcus Denmon, Missouri
  • Draymond Green, Michigan State
  • John Henson, North Carolina
  • John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
  • Kevin Jones, West Virginia
  • Perry Jones, Baylor
  • Kris Joseph, Syracuse
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
  • Jeremy Lamb, UConn
  • Damian Lillard, Weber State
  • Doug McDermott, Creighton
  • Mike Moser, UNLV
  • Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
  • Herb Pope, Seton Hall
  • Thomas Robinson, Kansas
  • Mike Scott, Virginia
  • Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
  • Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall
  • Cody Zeller, Indiana
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com