Tag:Big East
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:57 pm
 

St. John's freshman Amir Garrett eligible

By Jeff Goodman

St. John's finally received some good news when Amir Garrett was cleared to play for the Red Storm. 

Garrett's father, Darrow Garrett, confirmed the news to CBSSports.com on Tuesday night. 

The program has been without its head coach, Steve Lavin, for much of the season while he recovers from prostate surgery, its talented guard Nuri Lindsey decided to transfer and three recruits were deemed ineligible to play this season. 

Jakaar Sampson returned to prep school and Norvel Pelle favors UNLV - but Garrett, a two-sport star, has stuck with his pledge and his father said he could play as early as Wednesday night. 

"I'm happy he's now at St. John's and can play basketball," Garrett's father said. 

Garrett's father also said that the plan remains to play baseball in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system this summer. Garrett was selected in the 22nd round of the draft and received a bonus in excess of $1 million spread over five years. 

Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Louisville's Behanan: "We're going undefeated."

By Jeff Borzello

Like the Kentucky vs. Louisville game in two weeks needed any more ammunition between the two teams.

Louisville freshman Chane Behanan had some interesting things to say after the Cardinals beat Memphis on Saturday.

“We’re the No. 1 team in the country in my eyes,” Behanan said. “We’re going undefeated. Point blank, period.”

Oh boy.

Louisville? The best team in the country? I think unbeatens such as Syracuse, Missouri and Baylor might have something to say about that. Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State probably have an argument too.

With that said, there’s a better chance of Louisville being No. 1 than going undefeated.

Sure, the Cardinals are 10-0 with wins over Memphis and Vanderbilt, but undefeated? They have Georgetown and Kentucky before the calendar turns, and then the entire Big East gauntlet in January and February, not to mention a season finale at Syracuse.

Strong words from anyone, let alone a freshman.

I get that Behanan is just being confident, and you love to see that from a newcomer, but this comment could come back to bite him.

(h/t Card Chronicle) 

Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:35 am
 

Wakeup Call: 1 vs. 2 in women's hoops delivers

By Matt Norlander

Kim Jong-il's death will dominate the news today. A photo gallery of the neglected/repressed country he leaves behind. // It was quite a weekend for world news. This is the face of the last U.S. solider to leave Iraq. // How social networking has predictably killed off so much of the fun of high school reunions. // Can't remember if I linked this last week or not, but either way I don't care, because it's that good: the best/worst of 2011 band names. // This is what it looks like to have your life flash before your eyes ...

★ So much for the three-week injury. Tyshawn Taylor is apparently going to give it a go tonight against Davidson.

★ Baylor knocked off UConn in a big night for women's hoops Sunday.

★ If there was a must-read from over the weekend, it was this.

★ This is a biggie: the University of Houston has seen a considerable amount of its assets vanish in the wake of David Salinas' suicide.

★ You need to go back and watch every one of these dunks.

★ Basketball "through the eyes of a child" was one of my favorite reads of the weekend.

★ An interview with SI.com college hoops writer Andy Glockner, who understands the importance of clarity when conveying his thoughts.

★ A great look at how assist-makers in college basketball get their help.

★ The West Coast Conference fascinates me, and this post examinating who can do what in the league is worth a look.
 
★ Herb Pope, who's like 25 by the way, is getting closer and closer to playing at a level he probably didn't think possible.

★ No. 1 Syracuse is the fifth-biggest favorite to win it all. UK is now atop the betting lines.

Deaf player gets clearance from NCAA to play final 20 games of his fifth season. Good on you, NCAA.

★ Summit League just dominated Night Court this weekend. Here's what lies ahead for a conference that will probably only be a one-bid league, but it's a hell of a race getting thre.

★ Have always loved me some Weekly Watch, but the video of Katz is unsettling to me for reasons I can't explain.

► My buddy Jeff Eisenberg introduced me to this insane D-III dunk over the weekend.



♬ I've been posting some of my favorite Christmas tunes, and The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling" is among the guilty pleasures, although maybe guilty pleasure isn't the right term. This is a great missing-you Christmas tune, and the best part comes at the end: that layered harmony is so buttery.



Photo: AP
Posted on: December 17, 2011 9:05 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 9:44 pm
 

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

By Gary Parrish

MEMPHIS -- The easiest thing to do is point to last season and insist this is exactly the same.

But it's not the same.

Despite Memphis' 5-4 record and lack of number beside its name, these Tigers aren't like those Tigers because those Tigers were awful. They were 8-1 at this point last season, and that looked OK on the surface. But they had been blasted by Kansas, struggled with Miami and LSU and taken to overtime by Arkansas State and Austin Peay. Memphis never really got better and went on to finish 10-6 in Conference USA. It was a bad season. But it won't happen again.

Because this team is not that team.

So while this city is in (basketball) panic-mode after Saturday's 95-87 loss at fourth-ranked Louisville that dealt the Tigers their fourth defeat in nine games, it's worth reminding people that context matters. Memphis hasn't been pushed by the likes of Arkansas State and Austin Peay. The four losses this season are to four ranked teams -- namely No. 4 Louisville, No. 16 Georgetown, No. 20 Michigan and No. 24 Murray State -- and the Tigers were in three of those four games until the final minute.

Is that good?

No.

They need to learn how to close and win.

A team ranked 11th in the preseason shouldn't have four losses already.

But a lot of the questions that plagued last season's team aren't issues with this season's team. They're much better offensively (top 30 in offensive efficiency), and they have an obvious star in Will Barton (28 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday). That's why Memphis will get rolling once league play begins and string wins in January like John Calipari's teams used to do.

Which reminds me of the 2008-09 Memphis team.

You remember that team?

That team started 6-3 with losses to Xavier, Georgetown and Syracuse, and that team didn't look good through nine games, either. But then Tyreke Evans turned into a star and the Tigers started overwhelming overmatched opponents in Conference USA, and my guess is that this season will evolve into something similar to that season. Does that mean I'm predicting a 27-game winning streak? No. But I do believe the Tigers will win 13 or 14 C-USA games, take the league title, win the C-USA tournament at FedExForum, make the NCAA tournament and be a scary outfit on their side of the bracket in March. All the advanced statistics suggest that's likely because all the advanced statistics suggest this team is closer to the 2008-09 team that overachieved than it is to the 2010-11 team that underachieved.

Bottom line, Memphis will be fine.

I really believe that.

The 5-4 record looks bad right now, obviously.

But I bet it's still something like 26-8 on Selection Sunday.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 5:36 pm
 

Afternoon Delight: Plenty of daylight drama

By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five hours worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

The best we’ve seen so far: Baylor went into Provo and got a win in one of the toughest environments in college basketball, 86-83 over BYU. Brandon Davies was blocked by 5-10 Pierre Jackson as Davies tried to put up the game-tying 3. No Jimmer in the building, but Baylor had plenty of firepower from Brady Heslip, who drained six 3s. By the way, Perry Jones will be a guaranteed top-four draft pick. He had an injury scare in his leg/knee, but not matter: Jones came back in the game. He finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Love the royal blue Santa suit.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: It was about as quiet of a top-25 game as you could ask for (and not want). Florida got out early against Texas A&M and coasted 84-64 in what they're calling the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The worst thing about the Gators were their hideous orange-on-blue uniforms. This was more about A&M not being a top-25 than Florida proving its worth against a ranked team, which UF finally did by way of a victory.

No soup for you: That was a worse loss for Purdue than it was a good win for Butler. Andrew Smith picked up the trash and tipped the game-winner in with one second to give the Bulldogs a 67-65 win, but the Boilers gave away a 15 point led and was on the wrong end of a 21-8 run. Shaky free-throw shooting and not enough interior presence, either.

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Deshaun Thomas 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting and six rebounds as he showed just how good he can be in a spot when Ohio State needs him. Buckeyes won a 74-6 road game against slippery South Carolina.
  2. The two-overtime game you might have missed was a blast. All sorts of bonkers buckets and Miami beat Florida Atlantic 93-90. Reggie Johnson came off the bench, played in his first game back from a knee injury and 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 36 minutes. Damn, son!
  3. Arnett Moultrie (17 points, 13 boards) was huge in Mississippi State’s tough road win at Detroit. Speaking of that:

Other afternoon action

  1. Mississippi State got a clutch block late from Moultrie and won 80-75 against the Titans, who could be a tournament team down the road. Mississippi State will climb into the top 15 of the polls now that it’s 11-1.
  2. Iona keeps gritting out road wins in the midst of its nine-game away-from-home trip. The Gaels won 63-62 at Vermont this afternoon.
  3. We’d give Temple a lot of credit if it went in and beat Texas on the road. It didn’t happen, and so the Longhorns deserve just as much credit for beating the Owls (77-65), who can finish second in the Atlantic 10.

Delightful thoughts

  • It’s a delightful thing when you can rally twice from double digits. That’s what the Big Red of Cornell did, knocking off Albany in overtime, 85-82.
  • As for the Horizon, consider: Detroit at home can't close out against Miss. St. Butler on neutral floor overtakes Purdue. Muscle memory, coaching, etc.
  • You see Cincinnati play teams like Radford, you see why Yancy Gates only got suspended for one Big East game and the remainder of this patsy schedule.
  • We'll see what the night brings, but after such a down week without any games, this start to a Saturday was uplifting and a joy to see. Felt like mid-February, almost.

Photos: US PRESSWIRE


Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 8:15 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

By Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello

Khem Birch is leaving Pittsburgh after just 10 games. 

The 6-foot-9 Canadian, the highest-ranked player to commit to the Panthers in the history of the program, told CBSSports.com he has decided to transfer. 

"I'm leaving," Birch told CBSSports.com on Friday night. "I'm headed to Toronto now. I enjoyed my time at Pittsburgh, I love Coach (Jamie) Dixon, had no problems with the staff and the players. It just wasn't the right fit for me."  

Birch informed CBSSports.com that he does not have a new list and has not decided on his next destination. 

Birch, who attended Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) last season, was averaging 4.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks through 10 games. It looked like Birch was on the verge of breaking out in late November, when he totaled 23 points, 21 rebounds and nine blocks in two wins over Pennsylvania and Robert Morris. He has started six games.

However, his minutes decreased the last couple of games. Birch averaged just 13.5 minutes over the last four games after playing 28.5 the previous two.

If there is a team that could sustain this type of loss, though, it's Pittsburgh. Jamie Dixon has Taylor and sophomore Talib Zanna in the post, and Robinson, a senior, at the power forward position. Without Birch, freshman Malcolm Gilbert will likely get increased minutes. Next year, touted New Zealand prospect Steven Adams will be welcomed into the fold. 

Birch decided to reclassify to the class of 2011 last November. Scout.com ranked him No. 15 in ’11 after originally being a top five player in the class of 2012.

Photo: US Presswire 

Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Midseason additions are a welcome holiday gift



By
Jeff Borzello

The semester break is the closest thing college basketball has to the trade deadline.

It’s when new players become eligible, whether because of a transfer or from academic ineligibility. Moreover, many injured players point to the semester break as the return point. Of course, lots of players come with hype and anticipation; last year, Josh Selby, Drew Gordon, Renardo Sidney, Jio Fontan and others all became eligible around the same time.

This year’s crop of additions isn’t as strong at the top, but there are still some impact players in the mix. Remember, though, not everyone lives up to the hype – there was a reason they left their former team or were suspended in the first place.

Kevin Ware, Louisville: Academically ineligible for the first semester, Ware should step in and provide depth with his length and athleticism.

Ian Miller, Florida State: The Seminoles have lacked players who can create their own shot, but Miller (right) has shown the quickness to do that.

Reggie Johnson, Miami (Fl.): The injured big man should return in January for the Hurricanes. He’s a double-double lock on a nightly basis.

Gary Franklin, Baylor: Franklin (top) won’t solve Baylor’s turnover issues, but the Cal transfer gives Scott Drew another option to run the offense.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: Could turn around the Sun Belt race for North Texas. He could be one of top 30 impact freshmen in the country.

Pe’Shon Howard and Alex Len, Maryland: Howard will return from injury, while Len from NCAA suspension. Maryland needs their help.

Kadeem Jack, Rutgers: Mike Rice told CBSSports.com that Jack would start practicing in January. Would give the Scarlet Knights an inside option.

Guy Landry, Gonzaga: Suspended by the NCAA for eight games for playing professionally in France, Landry could play against Arizona.

Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton, Loyola Marymount: The Lions top two scorers should return from injury in January; Max Good has some firepower.

Reggie Smith, UNLV: The Marquette transfer made an impact with his defense in the Big East; the Runnin’ Rebels could use the Chicagoan.

Matt Carlino, BYU: Carlino graduated high school a year early to play at UCLA, but he transferred last December. He’ll provide perimeter offense.

Ferrakohn Hall, Memphis: The Seton Hall transfer will become eligible against Louisville on Saturday. He'll be a nice piece and provide some depth. 

Brandon Mobley, Seton Hall: He injured his shoulder over the summer, and has yet to play. However, he was cleared and should help inside.

Devoe Joseph, Oregon: He’s played the last two games for the Ducks, averaging 15.5 points and 5.0 assists in two wins. Big boost for Dana Altman.

Ty Walker, Wake Forest: Walker was suspended for the first semester by the school, but returned last week against Seton Hall.

Twany Beckham, Kentucky: The Mississippi State transfer isn’t a stud, but he should be able to provide some backup point guard minutes.

Mike McFadden, Robert Morris: The Iona transfer hopes to provide some perimeter help for the Colonials, alongside Velton Jones.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:25 am
 

Podcast: Pay the players? Not anymore

By Matt Norlander

In case you missed it, college players will no longer be afforded a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend bump. After the NCAA voted it into legislation, more than 125 college stood up and voted against it this week, mandating the legislation to be tabled indefinitely. That's kind of a big story, but it's been buried underneath Penn State, Tebow, Syracuse, Xavier/Cincy, etc.

Veteran USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote why the proposal was treacherous from the get-go (Psst! Follow Christine on Twitter). I've long read her work, and it was an honor to get her to come on and discuss the issue; to me she's the definition of talented, old-school columnist voice, the kind of writer that's unfortunately not as prominent in 2011 like they were 15 years ago. The paying-players topic takes up the first 60 percent of this podcast: why the stipend ever materialized, all the systemic issues, paying players, her opinion on if it should happen, how women's sports stands in the way, etc. Good information from Christine, and it doesn't stop there.  

On our list:
  • From the beginning: Introducing Christine and explaining why college players are no longer receiving the cost-of-attendance stipend that was voted into legislation in October.
  • 7:35: The National College Players Association is obviously against this.
  • 9:35: Why did this all happen so fast? It was brought up at a convention in August, voted into reality in October, and by December, it's now off the table.
  • 15:00: With hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue, how is it really possible that just over 20 universities are truly turning a profit?
  • 22:44: Why this is getting closer and closer to the watershed and breaking point of the NCAA and its member institutions. Just on big ol' section of the iceberg ready to get its floe on.
  • 23:54: Why college sports, even with all the ugliness, doesn't really suffer despite the scandals at Penn State and Syracuse.
  • 28:48: Some Pat Summitt discussion. Had to, wanted to chat his with Christine, who's one of the prominent national voices on women's athletics. So we wrap up with a story on Pat and some niceties to close things out.

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