Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 8:07 pm
By Gary Parrish
Can Washington lose at Saint Louis and move up five spots on a ballot?
But it's a stupid ballot.
Let's do some Poll Attacks.
Associated Press poll: Did you watch any of the Coaches vs. Cancer event last week?
But guess who didn't?
Answer: Future Poll Attacks Hall of Famer Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News.
How else to explain his ballot?
Mississippi State beat Texas A&M by nine points and Arizona by 10 on consecutive nights to win the CVC. The Bulldogs looked good in the event; Arizona and A&M didn't. But you wouldn't know that from Scott's ballot. He's got Arizona ranked higher than any other AP voter, all the way up at No. 11. And he's got Texas A&M ranked 25th.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs?
They remain unranked on his ballot.
But there's always next week, I guess.
Another interesting ballot -- actually, this one is much more interesting -- belongs to Kevin Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner. He's got Washington ranked 14th even though the Huskies were considered nothing more than a fringe Top 25 team last week -- back before they lost by 13 points at Saint Louis on Sunday. And that's not even the craziest part. The craziest part is that Kevin had Washington ranked 19th last week, which means he moved the Huskies up five spots after a double-digit loss to Saint Louis. Seriously. That really happened. Swear to God.
(Kevin has SLU unranked, by the way. So he moved Washington up five spots to No. 14 after losing to Saint Louis but kept Saint Louis unranked. If anybody wants to try to explain this, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Coaches poll: My biggest pet peeve when it comes to rankings is when teams drop in polls following close road losses to higher-ranked teams. I mean, how does that make any sense? If you're ranked eighth you are, by definition, supposed to lose a road game to a school ranked third. And if you lose that road game in competitive fashion, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be ranked eighth. In fact, in some cases, it might mean you should be ranked higher. But under no circumstances should you be punished for losing a close game on the road to a higher-ranked team.
And yet that's exactly what happened to Florida.
The Gators were ranked eighth last week.
They lost 81-74 at No. 3 Ohio State.
And now they're ranked ninth.
Again, the Gators were dropped for losing a close game to a higher-ranked team on the road.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Also dumb: Texas getting 31 points. The Longhorns are 2-1 with a loss to Oregon State. They might be good when all those freshmen grow up, but they're not Top-25 worthy right now.
Also also dumb: Jackson State coach Tevester Anderson voted Ohio State No. 1 last week. He then lost to the Buckeyes by 44 points on Friday. He then dropped them from the top spot on his ballot on Monday. Would a 50-point win have been enough to keep OSU No. 1 on Anderson's ballot? What about 60? Or 90?
Posted on: November 20, 2011 11:21 pm
By Gary Parrish
The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.
Here's how it will look:
In: No. 23 Marquette, No. 24 Creighton, No. 25 Cleveland State, No. 26. Mississippi State
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:06 pm
By Gary Parrish
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the day: Kent Bazemore got 23 points and nine rebounds while leading Old Dominion to a 68-66 overtime victory over USF in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament that extended the Monarchs' winning streak to three games. Next up is a showdown with Kentucky. So that winning streak will probably peak at three.
Win to brag about: It's a down year for Butler (or at least a down November), but No. 8 Louisville's 69-53 win at Hinkle Fieldhouse was still big because folks just don't go into that building and beat Brad Stevens too often. "I did get a little concerned when I read the game notes and saw he was 57-5 [in home games] since taking over as head coach," said Cards coach Rick Pitino, who dropped Stevens' record in home games to 57-6.
Loss to hide from: Cincinnati entered this season ranked for the first time since the Bob Huggins era. That's good. But the No. 20 Bearcats will enter next weekend unranked after a 56-54 loss to Presybyterian. That's bad. Really, really bad. Because Cincinnati actually led by 15 with less than eight minutes left, then absolutely collapsed down the stretch despite playing a Presbyterian team that spent last Saturday losing to Duke by 41 points.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Let's just go with whichever Cincinnati player was in charge of guarding Khalid Mutakabbir. That's the dude who hit the go-ahead jumper for Presbyterian and finished with 25 points on an 11-of-15 shooting effort.
Numbers don’t lie:
Three other notable results:
On tap: No. 1 North Carolina vs. Mississippi Valley State, No. 2 Kentucky vs. Old Dominion and No. 4 Connecticut vs. Coppin State are all Sunday afternoon afternoon games, but the best matchup comes at night. That's No. 16 Alabama vs. Purdue in the finals of the Puerto Rick Tip-Off. It tips at 7:30 ET.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:24 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:50 am
By Gary Parrish
Here’s everything you need to know about Friday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the day: That Texas A&M beat St. John's 58-57 isn't much of a surprise. That Texas A&M beat St. John's at New York's Madison Square Garden despite the fact that the Aggies shot just three free throws compared to the Red Storm's 38 is kind of remarkable. "New York is a great city," said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy. "We were fortunate."
Win to brag about: Mississippi State lost its opener to Akron, which pushed various MSU graduates to the verge of suicide (especially considering the Bulldogs' football season isn't going all that well, either). But now look. Mississippi State spent Thursday beating No. 19 Texas A&M, then backed it with a 67-57 win over No. 15 Arizona. Consequently, the Bulldogs are now 4-1 and positioned to enter the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one) on Sunday night. That should get everybody on the ledge off the ledge.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Drew Crawford proved Northwestern is more than just John Shurna's team. He took 19 shots, made 11 and finished with 28 points in a 69-65 win over Tulsa that pushed the Wildcats to 3-0.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Tu Holloway didn't look like a preseason All-American in 13th-ranked Xavier's 66-60 win over Miami-Ohio. He took 12 shots, missed nine and finished with just nine points. Rest assured, the senior point guard will be fine in time. But this Friday was not his best Friday.
Numbers don’t lie:
Three other notable results:
On tap: Rick Pitino vs. Brad Stevens (also known as No. 8 Louisville vs. Butler) highlights Saturday afternoon. No. 2 Kentucky (and all its freshmen) plays Penn State in Connecticut. No. 18 Vanderbilt gets North Carolina State in New Jersey on Saturday night.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 4:05 pm
By Gary Parrish
Jim Boeheim better hope these allegations aren't true.
Not necessarily for Bernie Fine's case.
For his own.
Because it's one thing to come out and strongly deny that you ever walked into a hotel room and saw your 35-year assistant with a young boy. And it's one thing to insist you never had any reason to think your longtime friend was molesting children. But it's quite another to attack the alleged victims, to call them liars and suggest they're simply after cash, and by doing so Boeheim has raised the stakes on this case.
"I believe they are looking for money," Boeheim told ESPN. "I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe. You want to put that on the air? Put that on the air."
With those words, Boeheim pushed all-in.
If these allegations are ever substantiated -- if the Syracuse Police Department ever has enough proof to charge Fine with a crime -- the iconic coach will seem really foolish for attacking two men who would, at that point, look like brave souls for speaking up and bringing down another pedophile in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, and Boeheim might just pay with his job and legacy.
Bottom line, Jim Boeheim bet his reputation on Bernie Fine.
He didn't have to do it.
He didn't have to go that far.
But he did.
And he'd better be right.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:05 am
By Gary Parrish
This is what the Jerry Sandusky case has done.
It's inspired people to come forward. To speak out against molestation. To speak up against monsters who prey on young people, abuse them sexually and scar them for life. And if that's the lasting effect of this ongoing scandal at Penn State, great. Every tragedy needs a silver lining. Perhaps that's the one that'll come from this -- previously silent victims finding the courage to speak.
But what if it also brings liars forward?
And good men down?
That's all I can think about as I sit here late Thursday unsure of what to make of the allegations against Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. A former Orange ball boy and a relative have both told Syracuse police that Fine molested them when they were teenagers, but here's the problem: One of the alleged victims, Bobby Davis, who is now 39, told this story to ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard in 2003, but neither media outlet could corroborate the allegations against Fine. The University investigated the allegations years ago, too; it also found no one to corroborate. Consequently, the stories never ran and Fine's career continued uninterrupted.
So what changed between now and then?
Mike Lang came forward.
He's Davis' stepbrother.
He's now 45.
It could be that watching the Penn State scandal unfold has given Lang the courage to speak out just like his stepbrother spoke out years ago. Or it could be nothing more than a publicity stunt and cash-grab, which is what Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim suggested late Thursday.
I have no idea.
But this is scary stuff regardless of how it goes.
If the allegations are true, my god, we've got another sexual abuse scandal within the athletic department of another institution of higher learning. That's sickening. But if the allegations are false, a 35-year assistant's reputation has been wrongly ruined forever. This bell, as they say, cannot be unrung. Bernie Fine is now, in the public's mind, Jerry Sandusky 2.0 even though he has, at this point, merely been accused by two men whom Boeheim called "liars." That's way different than being charged by a grand jury after years and years of testimony, but it won't slow the headlines, and it won't keep Fine off television, and it didn't prevent him from being placed on administrative leave late Thursday.
Again, I don't know where this story is going.
I'm not sure anybody does.
But this is what the Jerry Sandusky case has done.
And though that could be a good thing, it could also be really, really bad.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 11:19 pm
By Gary Parrish
Syracuse police are investigating an allegation that longtime Syracuse basketball assistant Bernie Fine molested a team ball boy over an extended period of time beginning in the 1980s, according to a Thursday night report from ESPN's Mark Schwarz and Arty Berko.
CBSSports.com left a message on Fine's cell seeking comment.
The message was not immediately returned.
The alleged victim is Bobby Davis, who is now 39. He told ESPN's Outside the Lines that Fine began molesting him in 1983, shortly before Davis entered seventh grade. Davis was a Syracuse ball boy from 1984 to 1990. He said the abuse occurred at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips. A second man, identified by ESPN only as "a relative of Davis," has said Fine also molested him around the same time.
Fine is in his 35th season at Syracuse. He was placed on administrative leave late Thursday even though Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim released a statement backing Fine.
"This matter was fully investigated by the University in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded," Boeheim said. "I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support."
Outside the Lines -- as well as the Syracuse Post-Standard -- reported Thursday that it initially investigated Davis' claims in 2003 but decided against running the story because no additional alleged victims talked. But in recent days, according to the ESPN report, a second man -- inspired to talk because of the ongoing Penn State scandal -- contacted Outside the Lines with information alleging Fine had also molested him, which led to ESPN running the story.
Kevin Quinn, Syracuse's senior vice president for public affairs, issued a statement late Thursday on behalf of the school. It read: "In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach.
"The alleged activity took place in the 1980's and 1990's. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired. On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach.
"The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations. Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately. We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every member of our campus community."
CBSSports.com reached a former Syracuse player by phone on Thursday.
Asked for comment, the former player said: "Sad to hear if it's true."
-- CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman contributed to this report.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 4:20 pm
By Gary Parrish
North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall started a mini-controversy Tuesday when he Tweeted the following: "I feel like I'm watchin an AAU team when I watch Memphis." Some, if not most, of Marshall's followers took that as a shot at the Tigers' style of play, but Marshall later told me he was merely commenting about how watching Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Tarik Black and Adonis Thomas play together in college reminded him of when they played together and won the Adidas Super 64 event in Las Vegas as high schoolers.
Either way, by then, perception was reality. Word travels fast on Twitter. But Marshall took it all in stride -- proof being his Tweet that came moments after Kentucky's John Calipari said his Wildcats looked like an AAU team during their win over Kansas late Tuesday. Mashall's Tweet read this way: "Haha Coach Cal said they were playin like its an AAU game. I wonder if I had said that what woulda happened? Oh wait..."
And it served as the latest bit of evidence that suggests Twitter isn't all bad for student-athletes. Yes, it can get a high-profile player in trouble (or even start in NCAA investigation), but it's also a really good way for fans (and writers) to get to know the people and personalities inside the jerseys. From a distance, Marshall is just a great point guard with a unique ability to create scoring opportunities for teammates. In reality, he's a great point guard with a unique ability to create scoring opportunities for teammates ... and a pretty personable, well-rounded, typical college student. He proved that further by hosting an online chat Wednesday. You can read the full transcript here. My favorite part came when the college sophomore addressed comments from UNC assistant Steve Robinson that indicated Marshall is going bald. Already. "Coach is totally right," Marshall said. "It runs in my family. I tried to hide it last year but it's part of life. I also don't think Coach Rob has a lot of room to talk."
Photo: Getty Images