Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 9:58 am

Nebraska difficult enough to win - without issues

By Jeff Goodman

It's difficult enough to win at Nebraska. Then when you toss in the rash of injuries Doc Sadler has experienced, it's darn-near impossible. 

That's exactly what Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler is dealing with these days. 

Senior big man Andre Almeida is likely done for the season with chronic knee problems. Junior big man Jorge Brian Diaz, who averaged double-figures last season, is dealing with recurring foot issues and sat out the loss to Nebraska earlier in the week. The status of wing Dylan Talley, another projected starter, is up in the air due to a leg injury. 

Take three of your top five or six guys off your team and it's virtually impossible. 

Especially at a spot such as Nebraska. 

This was supposed to be Sadler's best season in Lincoln. The talent level was as high as he's had here, but the margin for error is so slim at a spot such as Nebraska that everything needs to go right for this program to get into the NCAA tournament conversation. 

Instead, it's gone all wrong. 

"I still believe this is our best team," Sadler said. "That we can get in the top six, but we've just got to get some guys back. We don't have the depth to withstand this." 

Sadler is visibly frustrated with the rash of injuries, and it's especially difficult since it's the program's inaugural season in the Big Ten. The team played with a ranked Wisconsin team for the first 20 minutes before the Badgers pulled away for a 64-40 victory in Nebraska's Big Ten debut. 

Sadler just doesn't have enough bullets. He's is a terrific coach. You won't get an argument from any of his peers about that fact. But again, it's difficult at Nebraska -- where football rules supreme and the in-state recruiting base for basketball prospects is lackluster. 

At least now Sadler doesn't have to make excuses for his facilities any longer. 

The new practice facility stacks up against any throughout the country -- and the locker rooms are superior to anything I've seen. 

Sadler is cautiously optimistic that Diaz and Talley can return sometime soon, but he honestly isn't certain when they'll get back onto the court. He could use them sooner rather than later, especially with the brutal league slate that awaits. 

Michigan State is up next at home on Saturday, then road contests against Ohio State and Illinois follow. Finally the Cornhuskers will be favored in a game against Penn State on Jan. 11, but then Sadler & Co. head to Wisconsin and then host Indiana and Ohio State. 

If you're counting, that's seven of the first eight league games against ranked opponents. 

Welcome to the Big Ten. 

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:46 pm

Podcast: Doug McDermott vs. Barnes debate begins

By Matt Norlander

It's that soft spot between Christmas and New Year's, but lots of good basketball is about to get going thanks to conference play starting in earnest. Goodman, Parrish and I have our weekly Wednesday podcast here to discuss: Jordan Taylor's somehow underrated play this year; Creighton's Doug McDermott is about to explode on the national college hoops landscape; Rick Pitino can't be trusted; and this week is so huge for Louisville. The next three games, really: Wednesday vs. Georgetown; Saturday at Kentucky; Jan. 3 against St. John's.
We mix in some other things, too, particularly at the beginning, when I learn Parrish was once a pizza delivery boy.

  • From the beginning: Some weekend wrap-up/catchup chatter. Sometimes this is the best parts of the podcast. It wanders into talking about Seth Greenberg, because of course.
  • 9:00: As for the here and now, it starts with Jordan Taylor, who Goodman saw in person last night. He's not having a down year, you know.
  • 16:29: Now we get to Doug McDermott, who's having an insane year, a First Team All America-level year so far. We've been on McDermott since the summer, but it feels like the coming weeks will finally bring widespread pub and love to a player who's doing much better so far this season than a guy named Jimmer last season.
  • 20:50: This conversation/debate could gain traction if McDermott continues to play so well, but we touch on Harrison Barnes vs. McDermott as college players (the two were high school teammates).
  • 24:09: Why we do not believe Rick Pitino.
  • 27:56: Podcast comes to a close with a nine-minute discussion on the next three games for U of L: Georgetown, Kentucky, St. John's (yes, St. John's). I think it's the most critical non-postseason three-game stretch the Cards have this season.

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.

Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:48 pm

Doc Sadler enters Big Ten with best team

By Jeff Goodman

Doc Sadler has no qualms saying this is his most talented team since he took over at Nebraska.

Now he just needs for this group to get healthy.

For the last few days, he's had difficulty fielding a team in practice. Toney McCray has been out after a pair of foot surgeries this summer. Caleb Walker, Corey Hilliard and Brandon Ubel have all been out for the past few days with ankle injuries and Dylan Talley has missed the last three practices with a thigh injury.

Then toss in 6-foot-11 senior Andre Almeida, whose knee is in bad shape and can't practice at all, and 6-foot-11 junior Christopher Niemann, whose knee injuries have forced Sadler to limit him to one end of the floor in practice.

"He doesn't change ends of the floor at all," Sadler said of Niemann. "When we play up and down, we keep him on the defensive end."

Sadler said he's hopeful that those two big guys can get healthy enough to give him a combined 12-15 minutes per game this season.

Sadler will enter the Big Ten with a team that was a couple of plays away from getting to the NCAA tournament a year ago. Sure, he's without leading scorer Lance Jeter - but there's more overall talent on this team than a year ago.

"This is definitely the best team we've had," Sadler said.

Look for LSU transfer Bo Spencer to battle senior Brandon Richardson (the two can also play together) at the point. McCray and Caleb Walker who started nearly 50 games a year ago - will likely start on the wings and Sadler will have juniors Jorge Brian Diaz (10.5 ppg) and Ubel up front.

Sadler also raves about the potential of 6-foot-7 freshman David Rivers.

"He's going to be special," Sadler said. "He can shoot it, he has a feel for the game and plays his butt off. He's got a chance to be one of the best I've had."

While Sadler is optimistic about his talent, he also realizes stepping into the Big Ten won't be an easy acclimation.

Especially with an unforgiving league slate that includes two games against each of Ohio State and Wisconsin among the first eight.

"You know in the Big 12 how to play people," Sadler said. "You know their strengths and weaknesses. I don't have any idea right now in the Big Ten."
Posted on: August 22, 2011 12:11 pm

It seems nobody of note wants to play Nebraska

By Matt Norlander

Nebraska's move to the Big Ten hasn't dovetailed with an allotment of willing non-Big Ten BCS suitors.

You'd expect the Big 12's 10 teams to coldly look away if Nebraska ever had the gall to call.

But Pittsburgh, Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kentucky, Notre Dame and plenty of other programs haven't found the need, desire or room to fill Doc Sadler's team on their schedules.

The Huskers will have Southern Cal, Oregon and Wake Forest in the non-conference this season. None of those teams should vie for an NCAA tournament bid. Assistant coach Chris Croft has been at the center of scheduling, and Huskersextra.com really presented what he and Nebraska were dealing with this summer.

You've probably heard that Croft has called every BCS school inquiring about playing a nonconference series.

"Every time somebody says, ‘No,' I just ask them if they would play us in the future," Croft said.

Notre Dame's response?

Not this year, not next year, not ever. Please stop calling. Thank you.

"You hate to hear that," Croft said, "but you'd rather they be up front with you."

Not ever? That's harsh. Reminds us all of when we really overshot the landing and finally built up the guts to ask out The Girl back in high school.

Right? ... Uh, right?

Scheduling is an issue for 90 percent of teams. Thing is, we mostly only hear about the mid-majors who can't get a big boy to agree to do a home-and-home or a two-for-one. That's the problem here for a BCS school, though. Take Duke. As its accustomed to doing, the program did not agree to play a return game with Nebraska. The story says Sadler would've made an exception for Duke, but Mike Krzyzewski couldn't arrange a game in time, since there was a conflict on Dec. 4.
"With their name and recognition and how good they are, we decided we'd do that," Croft said. "Our guys deserved the challenge. We were ready to roll the dice on that one."

The problem: NU had already scheduled Creighton on Dec. 4. The Bluejays, Croft said, initially weren't willing to move the date, so Nebraska said no to Duke.

It will be a vicious cycle for Nebraska, which probably won't be able to get some respectable opponents to come to Lincoln until it makes consistent runs at the NCAA tournament -- then wins a game or two in late March as well. Right now the program doesn't have the cache or a low number of enemies, it seems. Moving to the Big Ten has its repercussions. This one may linger for a few years.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 12:13 pm

Big Ten Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

Big Ten Offseason Report

Illinois – The Illini will go to Italy from Aug. 10-20 and will play in the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 23-24. Bruce Weber’s team will also play a non-league slate that includes games at Maryland (11-29), vs. Gonzaga (12-3), against UNLV (12-17 in Chicago) at against Missouri (12-22 in St. Louis). Illinois also added Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco as a one-year transfer who is eligible this season.

Indiana – The Hoosiers added former IU star Calbert Cheaney as the director of basketball operations, replacing Drew Adams (New Mexico). Tom Crean & Co. will play in the Crossroad Classic against Notre Dame on Dec. 17 and the Hoosiers have non-conference games at N.C. State (11-30), vs. Butler (11-27) and against Kentucky (12-10). Bobby Capobianco transferred to Valparaiso.

Iowa – The Hawkeyes will play in the Dale Howard Classic in Des Moines, an event that also includes Creighton, Campbell, Chicago State and N.C. A&T. Fran McCaffrey’s non-league slate includes games against Clemson (11-29), at Northern Iowa (12-6) and at Iowa State (12-9). Cully Payne (Loyola) and Anthony Hubbard both transferred out of the program.

Michigan – The Wolverines will play in the Maui Invitational and also have non-league games at Virginia (11-29), against Iowa State (12-3) and at Arkansas (1-21).

Michigan State – Mark Montgomery left to become the head coach at Northern Illinois and was replaced by Dane Fife, who was previously the head coach at IPFW. The Spartans will play North Carolina in the Carrier Classic in San Diego on Nov. 11 and will also face Duke on Nov. 15 in the Champions Classic. They also have non-league games against Florida State (11-30) and at Gonzaga (12-10). Brandon Wood transferred in from Valparaiso and is eligible to play this season while Garrick Sherman (Notre Dame) and Korie Lucious (Iowa State) both left.

Minnesota – The Golden Gophers will play in the Old Spice Classic down in Orlando and also have non-league games scheduled against Virginia Tech (11-30) and vs. USC (12-3). Dominique Dawson (Kentucky Wesleyan) and Colton Iverson (Colorado State) both transferred out.

Nebraska – Jeremy Cox replaces Tracy Webster on Doc Sadler’s staff. The Cornhuskers will play Wake Forest (11-30) at home, vs. Creighton (12-4) and at TCU (12-10) in the non-conference slate. Eshaunte Jones transferred out of the program while Bo Spencer is eligible this season after coming in a year ago from LSU.

Northwestern – Former Rutgers head coach Fred Hill replaces Mitch Henderson, who got the head job at Princeton, on the staff. The Wildcats will play in the Charleston Classic (11-17/20) and also have a non-league game at Georgia Tech (11-29). Nikola Cerina transferred to TCU.

Ohio State – Assistant Brandon Miller shockingly resigned and was replaced by Cleveland Cavs assistant and alum Chris Jent. Kevin Kuwik also left for an assistant spot at Dayton and the new video coordinator is former Duke point guard and Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus, who was at Navy last season. The Buckeyes will play in the Global Sports Shootout, an event that includes Florida, Jackson State, North Florida and Wright State. Ohio State will play Florida at home on Nov. 15 and also have non-conference games against Duke (11-29), at Kansas (12-10) and at South Carolina (12-17). BC transfer Evan Ravenel is eligible this season.

Penn State – Pat Chambers brought Brian Daly with him from Boston University, added Eugene Burroughs (Navy), Keith Urgo (Villanova) and also brought Ross Condon as his director of basketball operations. The Nittany Lions will play at Boston College (11-30) and vs. Mississippi (12-4). Taran Buie transferred to Hofstra.

Purdue – Paul Lusk left to take the head job at Missouri State and Mike Jackson was forced to leave after a DUI. They were replaced by Greg Gary (Duquesne) and Micah Shrewsberry (Butler). The Boilermakers will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and also against Butler on Dec. 17 in the Crossroad Classic in Indy. Matt Painter’s team also has non-league games against Miami (11-29) and at Xavier (12-3).

Wisconsin – The Badgers will play in the Chicago Invitational (11-25/26) and also have non-league games at North Carolina (11-30), vs. UNLV (12-10) and vs. Marquette (12-3). Zach Bohannan transferred into the program from Air Force.

Offseason reports: Big 12 Pac-12

Photo: AP
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:10 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 7:11 am

Yes you did do what we said you did, Coach Nee

By Gary Parrish

CBSSports.com on Sunday reported the names of nine college basketball coaches confirmed to have invested money with David Salinas -- the co-founder of the Houston Select summer basketball program who committed suicide shortly after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation into his investment business (J. David Financial Group).

Every coach named but one has either acknowledged the financial dealings with Salinas or declined comment. The lone exception is former Duquesne and Nebraska coach Danny Nee, who told the Omaha World-Herald he was aware of our report before adding, "Whatever they said I did, I didn’t do."

So what did we say Nee did?

We reported he invested money with Salinas.

Why did we report that?

Because a source provided us with a brochure from Select Asset Management, LLC -- another Houston-area investment firm that's run by Houston Select co-founder Brian Bjork and is associated with J. David Financial Group. The brochure features a "testimonial" from Nee, now the head coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The testimonial reads: "I have been a client with J. David Financial Group since I was referred to them in 1995-96. After several financial planning sessions, I became very comfortable with their long-term visions and investment style. More importantly, I marvel at their track record in both up and down markets."

In other words, we stand by our report.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 3:03 pm

Finally comfortable, Michael Carey is motivated


By Jeff Borzello

BRONX, N.Y. – After going through multiple high schools in the span of five months last summer and fall, Michael Carey is content with where he is now.

He attended Lamar Consolidated (Tex.) this past year, and is happy with the way things turned out there.

“I’m going to be there for good,” the rising senior said.

One thing Carey is not content with is his standing nationally. Not ranked in anyone’s top 100, the Bahamas native is out to prove people wrong.

“I want to become an elite point guard in the country,” Carey said. “People are starting to see me as a point guard, that’s what they’re going to see at the next level.”

The 6-foot-5 Carey is an offensive-minded player who can handle both guard positions. He is extremely aggressive off the dribble, getting past defenders into the lane and using his length and athleticism to finish strong at the rim. With his size, Carey is able to see over most opponents and also make plays inside.

In order to get recognized as a full-time point guard, Carey realizes there’s work to do.

“I can run a team and break down anybody,” he said, “but I need to get faster. I’m fast, but not fast enough. I need to get quicker.”

After an impressive spring, Carey was set to continue to make a name for himself with a solid June heading into the July live period. Unfortunately, at the Rumble in the Bronx on Saturday, Carey reinjured a toe that he had originally hurt during the school season.

It is unclear the extent of the injury, but Carey will undergo an X-ray back home on Thursday to determine whether he needs surgery now or after the July period.

“My coaches think I should do it now,” Carey said. If he decides to do that, he likely won’t be able to play in any events until the Desert Duel in late July.

“Just as I was playing really well,” Carey said, showing signs of disappointment.

Even the injury won’t keep him down for too long, though.

On Monday, Carey will take a trip to Tallahassee, Fla. for Florida State’s elite camp. The Seminoles are one of the schools to offer Carey, with new assistant coach Dennis Gates taking the lead in his recruitment. Carey has also spoken to head coach Leonard Hamilton.

“I like their style of play, and the way they develop players,” he said. “They have good players, and they can take me to the next level. I’m looking forward to [the visit].”

Carey also holds offers from Nebraska and Houston, and has been offered in the past by Marquette, USC, Baylor, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Kansas, Auburn, Florida, West Virginia and Tennessee are also in the mix.

One interesting facet in his recruitment is his relationship with highly-touted forward Wannah Bail. Bail is also a native of the Bahamas, and plays on the same high school and AAU team as Carey.

“I mean, we’ve talked about it,” Carey said of going to the same college. “That’s my boy, but I’ve gotta do what’s best for me.”

Carey does not have any visits planned besides Florida State, although he did say he wanted to take a trip to Tennessee at some point.

Despite not having a favorite or a specific timeline for a decision, Carey could be ready to end his recruitment.

“It could happen anytime,” he said. 

Photo: Houston Roundball Review

Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:51 pm

What does Nebraska see in Doc Sadler?

Posted by Eric Angevine

Doc Sadler's tenure at the University of Nebraska has been decidedly mediocre. In fact, his entire career has been a series of missed opportunities ever since he led UTEP to the NCAA tournament in 2005 - his first season as a head coach. At Nebraska, it's been three NIT berths in five years, and only one postseason win in those three also-ran seasons.

There's been one 20-win campaign. No winning Big 12 seasons. His highest finish in the league has been 7th place.

So why did Sadler survive to make the move to the Big Ten? He has four signed recruits for next year, but none of those is the type that could make a big impact in a power conference. Nebraska's top player, Lance Jeter, has graduated, leaving the scoring load in the hands of 6-foot-11 Puerto Rican center Jorge Brian Diaz, who averaged 10.5 points and just 4.4 rebounds as the second option last year.

And yet, not only has Sadler survived, but he's been given an extension. According to the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star, the 50-year-old coach has been given a sweet new deal that raises his base compensation from a reported $425,000 to a new high of $800,000 annually. According to the newspaper, the University also agreed to pay Sadler around $800,000 in guaranteed compensation should he be fired, as well.

Are we missing something here? Sadler was a popular name being bandied about for Big 12 jobs that opened up at Texas Tech and Oklahoma this season, based largely on his reputation as a strong recruiter in the state of Texas. Now that Sadler's team will be in the Big Ten, even he has said that he'll be turning his recruiting eye more toward the Midwest region.

Sadler's teams have always had a certain look. They often resemble a mid-major trying to compete in a power conference, though that changed a bit recently. In 2010, Sadler's team was small, but managed to shoot very effectively from deep. That team won just two Big 12 games. Last season, Diaz and 6-11 Brazilian Andre Almeida helped turn the Huskers into a good inside team that defended well, which helped the team upset upper-echelon teams like Texas A&M, Texas and Missouri on the way to a 7-9 league finish in their final season in the Big 12.

Perhaps Nebraska is hoping to continue that defensive dominance now that Diaz is a junior and Almeida a (hopefully slimmer) senior. Exactly who might draw the defense to free up those twin towers now that Jeter is gone is very much up for debate, but the big men will be needed when teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin come to town.

Maybe there's something we can't see about Sadler. Maybe he's a wiz at sweet-talking donors for the new Haymarket Arena. What we do know is that this new contract will make it very difficult for Nebraska to get rid of Sadler if his teams underperform in their new home. That's a rare commitment for a coach who really hasn't shown an awful lot in his seven years on the bench. If Sadler fails to budge the Huskers from second-tier status as a member of the Big Ten, he won't be able to say that he was sandbagged by his administration. Tom Osborne, the legendary Husker football coach and current Nebraska Athletic Director, gets a ton of leeway with fans of the school, and he'll likely trade some on that popularity if Sadler struggles.

With a new practice facility, a new arena and a new conference, Sadler has been given the freshest of fresh starts, and has been handed every tool he needs to do his job better, including job security. There are no more excuses.

Photo: US Presswire
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