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Tag:Matt Norlander
Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:59 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:01 am

Wakeup Call: NCAA fights back at New York Times

As for UCLA, it lost its best chance to get a very nice road win in conference play last night. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

Blue balls spotted falling from the sky. // Make sure you read this over the weekend. Harrowing and curious/unfulfilling law/criminal environment in Venezuela. That stuff is the best Sports Illustrated has to offer. // In space terms, it seems we've just discovered a fairly close Earth-like planet. // Elephant forces curious bro into a tumble that would make any Duke player proud. // Hundreds of people attach themselves to a boat, go waterskiing ...

UCLA fell apart last night after holding strong with Washington.

★ It's a great sign for Kentucky that is has so much balance in terms of playing time and production.

★ I've never seen the NCAA be in an attack mode like this. I like it. I like it a lot.

★ After the way Isaiah Canaan lifted Murray State to a victory last night, we're thrilled we bumped him up to No. 6 in our Player of the Year race early on Thursday.

★ These guys say Indiana's got plenty left in the tank but UConn? The Huskies will see an early sunset.

★ Coach K and how he deals with the losses.

★ If college hoops had a trade deadline, who's getting shipped where?

★ Just to fill everyone in again, yeah, West Virginia: still pretty damn insistent that it's outskees on the Big East come July.

★ I'm far from buying into Arkansas. Hogs are having a nice year, all things considered, though.

★ Look at Troy Machir getting the Q-and-A treatment! Get to know the smart-ass half of Ballin' is a Habit.

► Greatness is not an accident. Getting to 14-7 with two lottery picks is, though.

The Roots are just too, too good. Think you know what this song sounds like? Think you know The Roots? Maybe you don't. After the 14-second non-intro, wait for the groove to kick in and feel your Friday start nice and smoothly.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:53 pm

Ohio State dealing with fake ticket issue

That you are, but you still deserve proper tickets. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

When you're successful, lurkers and hangers-on start to come around.

Right now, Ohio State's in the midst of another terrific season, something they've grown accustomed to in Columbus since Thad Matta got to town. But with this success has come a problem on the secondary ticket market. Someone, or some group, has been printing counterfeit tickets and creating havoc for Buckeye home games.

On Thursday the school sent out a memo, reminding and urging all ticket-buyers and fans to be extra cautious about how they go about getting ducats. In recent weeks, more and more people have found themselves turned away when their stubs didn't beep through at the turnstile.

Here's what OSU has to say about:

"The Ohio State Department of Athletics has experienced a rise in the number of counterfeit tickets showing up for men’s basketball over the past several games. The Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office reminds fans to only purchase tickets from authorized sources: The Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office, or Ticketmaster.

"Fans looking to purchase tickets for sold out games (Michigan State Feb. 11 and Wisconsin Feb. 25 or 26) are urged to search listings on the Buckeyes TicketExchange, the Official Ticket Exchange site of Ohio State Athletics, and the only resale site that guarantees the tickets will be valid. This site is available on the Tickets site (dropdown menu) at About 2,000 tickets are available for the Purdue home game Feb. 7 and about 1,200 tickets remain for the Illinois game Feb. 21. Tickets purchased from unauthorized sources could be counterfeit, stolen or otherwise void. These tickets will not allow the holder admission into the event."

This sort of thing crops up from time to time. It's a huge annoyance, of course. Who here has attempted to buy scalped tickets before? For anything? Games or concerts. It's always a little stressful and uneasy. Before you make the cash exchange you examine the ticket closely, maybe hold it up to the sunlight -- as if that's going to do anything -- and almost reluctantly plop a few 20s in the hands of the man you're negotiating with. Then you pray you didn't just get swindled.

Unfortunately, many Buckeye fans have. Ironically, you'd think this nuisance would implore more and more people to stay home -- therefore not catalyzing a ticket issue to begin with.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:02 am

College basketball's January: In photos

By Matt Norlander

Like most of you, I'm a sucker for good photography. For the past couple of years, I've done best-of-the-year photo posts at the end of each season. But I wanted to get more frequent with my appreciation for the faceless photogs that do tremendous work all season long.

These men and women truly have the best seat in all of sports; they're as close to the action without actually taking part in it. This season, just after each month ends, we've been sharing best 40 or so shots from the previous 28, 30 or 31 days. If you'd like to give November and December's best pictures a peek, go ahead.

Now, January's best.

Jeremy Lamb and the impending doom for the rim. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I'm confused. Does Memphis use two mascots? Or is the tiger in the circle just Wesley Witherspoon messing around? (Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter coaches his fifth annual barefoot game in support of Samaritan's Feet, an organization that provides shoes for underprivileged children in over 62 countries around the world. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Fortunately, the photographer was able to fit every fan attending this Duke game into the shot. This never could have happened in 1994. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Michael Dixon, left, Matt Pressey, center, and Phil Pressey head out to play Texas. Nice shot. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A cheerleader of the Baylor Bears performs during a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the Ferrell Center. (Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Mason Plumlee parachutes back to earth, ready to land on Wake Forest. Seth Curry has already started thinking about how he can turn the ball over. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

An Indiana Hoosiers player is reflected in the floor during player introductions before their game against Nebraska. (Eric Francis/Getty Images)

This is what Nebraskans look like. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Damn, Phil Pressey really knows how to leave a locker room. Play on, player. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The defining image of Thomas Robinson's Kansas career. (Kansas City Star)

Looked so good, we had to show the opposite angle. Should be required wall-decoration for every Kansas freshman for years to come. (Peter G. Aiken/US PRESSWIRE)

Troy's Justin Wright takes a shot over Louisiana Monroe guard Fred Brown. Something about the small gym, the lighting, the peak of the shot. Really like this one. (Thomas Graning/The (Troy) Messenger)

Would you rather have the NCAA breathing down your neck or Jim Calhoun literally doing it? (AP/Fred Beckham). 

Iowa State guard Scott Christopherson, left, just goes with the moment. Chris Allen is ready to share his exuberance with anyone and everyone. Christopherson's look says, Dude, this is great and all, but, Tic-Tac? (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Navy guard Erin Meador turns her head into a basketball. This feel like art. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Murray State Rrrray-sirs! (The Paducah Sun/John Wright)

Austin Rivers leads a tortured life. (AP/Gerry Broome)

Like flowers being beckoned by the sun, hands rise up and chase the orange. Might be my favorite shot of the month. (AP/Jeffrey Phelps)

The capital G in cursive is truly the most cumbersome letter. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Old man ref advises OD Anosike to get his act together and stop listening to Lady Gaga. (US PRESSWIRE)

Kids at games. The best. (US PRESSWIRE)

Man, I'd love a pair of those shoes. (US PRESSWIRE)

Who says newspapers are dead! Much respect to the guy in front here who's very invested in some piece of piercing journalism.(US PRESSWIRE)

John Henson's dunkface. (US PRESSWIRE)

Remember that time Brandon Paul played out of his mind and then blocked a potential game-winning shot from Jared Sullinger? (US PRESSWIRE)

Akron forward Nikola Cvetinovic forgets something on the way to two points. (Andrew Weber/US PRESSWIRE)

Xavier forward Jeff Robinson demoralizes Duquesne's Kadeem Pantophlet. (Frank Victores/US PRESSWIRE)

That's Davidson's Belk Arena blurred in the background. (US PRESSWIRE)

You could practically push a shopping cart underneath the Purdue cheerleaders. (US PRESSWIRE)

Love The Show out at San Diego State. Legen -- wait for it -- ... dary. (US PRESSWIRE)

Urban Meyer and his Sith lords begin their reign in Columbus, introduce themselves to the hoi polloi. (Greg Bartram/US PRESSWIRE)

Shaka Smart reacts. (US PRESSWIRE)

Santa Barbara Gauchos guard Orlando Johnson is fouled by Long Beach State's Casper Ware. The Big West's two best collide. (Kelvin Kuo/US PRESSWIRE)

Vandy's players give love to their fans after a win. (US PRESSWIRE)

Take the next three minutes to examine the reaction of everyone in this picture. (US PRESSWIRE)

Tom Izzo gets win No. 400, and his players surprise him in the presser. Tom Izzo remains to be among the best. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:09 am

Wakeup Call: Time to take stock of Gonzaga

                                                                                                   (Heritage Auctions)
By Matt Norlander

Breaking Bad as a video game is the latest example that the Internet makes life worth living. // The 20 most beautiful bookstores. I'm drooling. // Fellas made remote-control, people-looking flying machines and sent them cruising over NYC. // Original Calvin and Hobbes drawing is up for auction and the price is rising and rising. // The most NPR story ever ...

★ Charlie Spoonhour's impact on Kansas basketball.

★ Missed this yesterday, but it was really cool: Pat Chambers recently dressed like Joe Paterno at a home game. Very cool tribute.

★ Allen Crabbe out for Cal in the immediate future?

★ I've made a few references to this in Wakeup Calls and Nights Courts before, and DeCourcy enforces the notion: Gonzaga's so good, yet we ain't really paying them no attention just yet.

★ GUYS, the Duke men's basketball team is having attendance issue at Cameron Indoor and the New York Times is ON IT.

★ Oh, I hope this kid is OK when he walks the halls.

★ My favorite detail about Jason King's feature on Billy Kennedy was that Billy's still a ways away from having to take medication for his early onset Parkinson's.

★ Yes, everyone overreacted to one play call at the end of a game.

★ Can we still think highly of Colorado State after its 19-point loss to Vegas last night?

★ Shane Ryan said the shot clock should be shortened to 24 seconds. Later that day, I got him to undercut his own idea.

★ John Calipari isn't getting enough credit? Zuh?

★ Pomero, Sagarin, RPI, How different teams get different treatments from each ratings system. You already know where I side on this.

Pretty photos of Creighton vs. Illinois State.

► What a throwdown! This comes by way of Ballin' is a Habit.

♬ Today's music rec: The Hold Steady, which is a band that is a favorite of a guy in your social circle that probably irks you from time to time. Lead singer Craig Finn has a voice made to blend in at a bar, and for many that means they can't stand the band, but this double-dip of the third and fourth tracks from their best album, Boys and Girls in America, might grab you.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:24 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:29 pm

Podcast: Which teams are running out of gas?

Could Jamie Dixon and Pitt wind up playing in the tournament after all? (AP)

By Matt Norlander

We've got a good Wednesday podcast for you. Goodman can't read a gas gauge and Parrish is getting free cars. Let's get to it.
  • From the beginning: How does one run out of gas more than 30 miles from home? Only Goodman has the answer. Apparently, Goodman's not afraid
  • 9:45: Not only is Goodman terrible at reading gas gauges, he doesn't understand geography.
  • 12:05: Michigan State, Draymond Green and the value/unique ability of Green.
  • 15:57: Which teams are running out of gas? Which teams have their honeymoon going sour?
  • 18:00: Kentucky, 22-1: a cut above now? Or should we wait two more weeks to judge?
  • 21:20: "I'm not going to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brother." Ah, Conference USA talk!
  • 25:39: Pittsburgh is becoming an interesting case study. Goodman and Parrish believe they'll thickly be in the tournament discussion. I'm not there yet.
  • 33:06: Parrish is blind and receiving free cars.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.

Get College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:04 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 9:05 am

Wakeup Call: Awaiting word on Draymond Green

He is here to save -- and ruin -- us all. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

T-Rex Trying is the only non-hoops link you need today.

★ More on Draymond Green's injury last night. And we should know more today. MSU is significantly less good without Green, who is such a unique player.

★ How to make a college basketball season start in January logistical and successful.

★ NBA-related, but I loved this from Kevin Pelton. Give it a look.

★ The Big 12's problems, overall, in terms of expansion linger. Louisville wants in?

★ Who are the relevant, game-changing transfers on teams that have tournament sights this season?

★ Nice to see predominant Sports Illustrated college football scribe Andy Staples do the two-month switch-over to our side.

★ If SNY is to be believed, Fab Melo will be playing Saturday.

★ Reeves Nelson has already left his Lithuanian team.

★ The seats at Utah State's Spectrum are straight out of 1975.

★ Josh Verlin is working the Philly hoops beat hard. He looks at Drexel's big game tonight.

★ As of now, who are the top Cinderella candidates for March?

Nice little Q&A with Steve Fisher.

► This Missouri fan video brought equal parts great embarassment and undeniable pride to the fan base ...

So Kansas faithful responded with this, which is absolutely hilarious:

♬ Now, some real music. Wake up, wake up, wake up it's the first of tha month / To get up, get up, get up so cash your checks and get up ...

Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:40 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 12:48 pm

Kevin Murphy scores 50, promptly heads to bed

Murphy is tied for sixth in scoring nationally, averaging 21.3 points per game. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Kevin Murphy scored a cool 50 against SIU-Edwardsville Monday night. It was a season-high in college basketball this season. The last time we had a player putting up fitty it was coming from the hands and distant jump shot of a man named Jimmer.

The half a hundred Murphy collected is a Tennessee Tech program record, previously held by Ron Filipek in 1965-66, and Jimmy Hagan in 1958-59, when those men scored 48.

After his team won with ease, 98-80, Murphy received the team ball, took in the celebratory hugs and handshakes, then headed back to his room. Shortly thereafter, he fell asleep sometime around 10:30. That’s right. No celebration. He told me on the phone Tuesday morning that he slept quite well the night before.

If Murphy tucking himself in before the late local news is surprising, consider this: he and head coach Steve Payne said they weren’t aware until late in the game that the TTU record was being encroached. With less than two minutes to go, the team realized the senior was on the cusp of breaking the record.

“I thank my teammates. My teammates just saw I was hot,” Murphy said. “Through the course of the game I didn’t even realize I had that many points. I was looking to score in whatever ways I could to help the team.”

Murphy got to 50 with aggression. He attacked the lane, scored on a hoop-and-harm, earning a three-point play with 1:36 to go. Murphy said he once put up more than 60 in a summer AAU game, but he doesn’t know the number. In the hours after the game and even Tuesday morning Murphy was hearing from old high school friends that he hadn’t talked to in months.

The huge game lifted him to second all-time in Golden Eagles history, with 1,827 career points.

Murphy’s always been a scorer (he averages 21.3 points per game, tied with Maryland's Terrell Stoglin for sixth-best in the country), but he’s saved his best outings for the most recent games. Last Thursday’s win over Eastern Kentucky turned out to be foreshadowing: Murphy had a then-career best 34. He’s come a long way from what he was as a freshman. Murphy used to be a volume shooter. In his first season, he took 27 percent of his team’s shots yet scored a dismal .9 points per possession.

For Payne, a first-year coach at TTU, it was the second time he'd ever been on the bench while a player of his put up this many points. As an assistant at Georgetown College in Kentucky, he once watched a player score 51. Payne's proud of Murphy and his team so far. The coaches believe this team could easily be 8-2, not 6-4, in the Ohio Valley.

Yes, that's where TTU resides, the OVC. Where undefeated Murray State plays. The Racers have already beaten 14-9 Tennessee Tech this year, by eight. The rematch comes Feb. 25, the final game of the regular season. Imagine if Murray State has to go into Tennessee Tech with an unbeaten record and goes up against a team with a guy who's scored 50 this season. 

“That was going to be a big game regardless of what’s going on,” Payne said.

And now this. That's what Murphy's game Monday night did. It elevated his profile but also added a layer of drama and intrigue to Murray State's quest. Maybe the Racers will have lost a game by then. But as of now, the Feb. 25 game stands as the second-biggest remaining on the schedule, falling behind the BracketBusters tilt against Saint Mary's.

The only thing Murphy will keep from the game is the ball, which is currently in the hands of TTU’s athletic department. They’re getting it properly decorated before he can take it home.

Posted on: January 31, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 31, 2012 10:03 am

Court docs state Fine's wife slept with players

By Matt Norlander

In court papers obtained by the New York Daily News, Bobby Davis, the man who first accused Bernie Fine of sexually molesting him, states Fine's wife, Laurie, was intimate with many Syracuse basketball players.

It was the tape of Laurie Fine talking to Bobby Davis about Bernie Fine's sexual molestation problems/habits that gave this story its fastest legs and overall credibility. Davis has also said before -- and Laurie Fine alludes to it in the infamous phone call -- that Laurie Fine successfully pursued sexual action with him while he was in high school.

Here's an excerpt from the Daily News' story:

[Davis states] he overheard Laurie Fine and the wife of another coach talk about performing oral sex on players, and the “specific size and physical attributes” of their private parts.

The new affidavit was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday by attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang. The suit charged that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim defamed them when he said they lied about being sexually abused by Fine, Boeheim’s longtime assistant.

“It is not only Fine’s relationship with me and other boys that would have tipped Boeheim off. For years, Bernie Fine’s wife Laurie Fine had sexual relationships with basketball team players. Players used to talk openly about it as a known fact.”

The affidavit also states Davis' account of Laurie Fine and Davis going to an off-campus house in 1993, where a player boasted of sleeping with Laurie Fine. "A few years later," according to the story, Laurie Fine and another coach's wife spoke of oral sex with players while Davis drove them from one place to another in Syracuse.

Davis attacked Boeheim in the affidavit saying, "I believe Boeheim deliberately chose to ignore what he knew was improper behavior, or actually knew precisely what was happening and did nothing to intervene."

Syracuse fired Bernie Fine in late November. Syracuse is yet to respond to this story.
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