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Tag:Pitt
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:40 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 11:41 pm
 

Night Court: First 50-point scorer of the season

Kevin Murphy, the man who scored 50 tonight. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Monday night’s light slate of games …

Game of the Night:  Thank God Missouri had to play Texas on the road, because if this was in Columbia, I feel like we would’ve had to pick Pitt-WVU as the GotN. This just in last century: winning on the road in conference against competent teams is harder than spinning a ping pong ball on your pinky. Missouri learned the lesson again tonight, as it was unable to shake Texas off despite, largely, playing better than the ’Horns for the majority of the game.

Then came the elbow call on Michael Dixon that gave Texas two technical free throws and helped cut a 13-point deficit down to one with less than a minute to go. J’Covan Brown gave UT the lead on the next possession. Dixon, by the way, hit a ridiculous running, falling left-handed, high-arcing layup to give Mizzou the lead. It was the game winner, and Dixon was 9 for 10 from the field and finished with 21 points. Missouri is playing itself into a top seed. They remain a fascinating case study in teams that inexplicably do well with first-year coaches.

Win to brag about: It’s become an unpredictable college basketball season across the board, in almost every conference. Pittsburgh only adds to the haze with its 72-66 win at West Virginia, causing the Mountaineers to dip to .500 in Big East play while taking one in Morgantown. Seth Davis floated the possibility Pitt could become a faint factor in the bubble chase. To that I only say, Seth, I love ya, buddy.

Loss to hide from: I forgot to make the bed today. My fiancée came home in a huff. So I’m hiding from that — and her. I bring this up because there wasn't really a bad loss tonight. And on Jan. 30 college basketball needs to be offering us more than this.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Kevin Murphy became the first 50-point scorer in college basketball this season tonight. He had half a hundred in Tennessee Tech’s 98-80 home win over SIU-Edwardsville. Murphy, a senior, was 16-of-21 from the field, 6-of-9 from 3, 12-of-14 from the foul line, had seven rebounds and just one turnover. It all amounts to what is likely one of the best sports nights of his life and certainly the most impressive statistical performance in the senior’s college career.

The flip side of the game saw Jerome Jones from SIU-E have a season-high 25 points.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Shame on you for trimming that beard, Deniz Kilicli. Now it’s merely magnificent, instead of Zeusian.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 18. Texas Southern blew an 18-point lead to Alabama State and lost 66-59 in overtime. The ESPNU play-by-play man called it "one of the most startling and unexpected comebacks you will ever see this college basketball season." I don't know about you, but I'm taking his word for it.
  • 4. After a four-game drought where he was held below 20 points -- the only time that's happened this season -- Penn senior Zack Rosen got back to good, putting up 28 against Princeton. Jack Donaghy is not pleased.
  • 3. The number of BracketBusters games that are actually worthwhile. Check out our succinct breakdown of the games.
  • 83. The number of pages I burned through tonight "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." (Again, thanks for the slow night, CBB!) This book is not making me want to see the movie. Only 200 pages to go. I was told this thing picks up the pace 100 pages in. Lies.

Three other notable results

  1. Penn knocked off Princeton in the Ivy, which means Penn is still undefeated, which means they’re tied in the loss column with Harvard. I'd love a good Ivy race, but it feels like Harvard's going to win the league by at least two games.
  2. Norfolk State dropped its first game in the MEAC tonight (87-82 to Coppin State). Yeah, we’re scraping the barrel’s bottom.
  3. Central Florida, what are you doing playing Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 30? Are you not a major player in a respectable conference? Don’t schedule weaklings after Christmas if you want to be a big boy. Now, can someone help me get off this damn high horse?

Notes

  • Did you happen to catch Bob Knight’s mocha sweater tonight? I promptly put on a cup of hot chocolate.
  • I can’t stand the elbow = technical rule in principle. What Dixon tonight warranted two free throws, but all too often we’re seeing players get punished for a natural reaction with the ball. Can we agree to just keep the spirit of the rule alive but chop it to one free throw? That’s a compromise I can live with.
  • I’ll be speaking with Kevin Murphy about his 50-point game early Tuesday morning. Look for the post around lunchtime.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:15 pm
 

Night Court: NFL rightly outshines today's hoops

Don't look now, but Michigan's the best team you don't know enough about. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s slate of games …

Game of the Day: There was no game of the day. Tim Tebow sucked up all the dramatic energy from every other sport and packed it into what was the fastest overtime game in NFL history.

Win to brag about: Penn State’s not as easy to win at as you think. Indiana survived and got out of there with an 88-82 victory. Winning the games it should. Indiana’s on pace for a two or three seed right now, folks. Continues to be astounding. Tom Crean must be blasting a lot of Jon Secada on the way into work these days.

Loss to hide from: Wisconsin’s going to be one of the most tweeted and talked about basketball teams Monday, because the Badgers, although still a treading-water 12-5, lost 59-41 to Michigan, dropping their third straight. They’re a top-two KenPom.com as of tonight, which means my numbers-oriented friend out in Salt Lake has been taking a whooping all day for his system, which has its flaws.

Back to Wisconsin — as a team and regarding this loss. It signals to me a reason (or four) to not trust the Badgers the rest of the way. Even if they end up pulling out a third-place Big Ten finish, or something like that, I think the tendency to molasses themselves into this position will remain out there.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Let’s give some dap to a small-conference player. Siena junior O.D. Anosike had the best game of his college career, scoring 27 and grabbing 14 against Niagara.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Maryland’s Pe’Shon Howard hasn’t become the pick-up-the-slack guy the Terps need him to be. Terrell Stoglin and Alex Len can’t carry this team to respectability in the league this year. Howard was 1-of-8 and scored five points in Maryland’s 79-74 loss to N.C. State.

Numbers don’t lie

  • .78. Ohio State didn’t play today. It played yesterday, but per John Gasaway, the Buckeyes are allowing .78 points per possession in Big Ten play. That’s extremely frustrating for other teams.
  • 9.  Iona’s Scott Machado had nine assists against Marist today, which is lower than his NCAA-best 10.1 per game.
  • 14. The number of teams who scored 60 or fewer points on a slow -- take that both ways -- Sunday. The offense problem continues to invade our sport.

Three other notable results

  1. Purdue made little work of Minnesota, winning at The Barn, 79-66. Big day for Robbie Hummel, who scored 13 and had seven rebounds at the site where he first ripped an ACL two years ago.
  2. Drexel's had its problems. The CAA preseason favorite got to 2-2 by beating VCU -- once coming strong, now fading -- to the tune of 64-58 in Philly tonight.
  3. La Salle’s a 2-0 A10 team. The Explorers defeated UMass, 82-75. And they had foru players in double figures, tallied 21 combined assists and hit 12 treys.

Notes

  • Binghamton is still winless, now 0-15.
  • Per sources, Pitt drop-out Khem Birch will decide UNLV or Florida in the next 24 hours, most likely.
  • Fairfield has had a rough go of it. Goodman mentioned on Twitter that the Stags rank among the biggest disappointments in college hoops this season. He’s right. They’re now 8-8 after falling to much-improved Manhattan.
  • Butler may peter out to a slow death — or not. The 76-65 loss to Detroit today slows the Bulldogs to 9-8 and drops them to 3-2 in the Horizon.
  • The NFL was lame Sunday, refusing to allow fans at a hoops game watch the Giants game in the arena. If I’m Siena, I just do it discreetly.

On tap: Allow me to tease you with this: Beginning tomorrow, Borzello’s going to be putting up a daily post around noon or 1 p.m. that previews all the games upcoming, the ones worth your time and attention. So check that out and develop a habit of swinging by here during the lunch hour — as if that wasn’t already part of your routine.

Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:58 am
 

Making the Leap: Gibbs tests waters

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Could next year be the season that Jamie Dixon’s coaching acumen is once again put to the test?

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com reported earlier Tuesday that junior guard Ashton Gibbs would be entering his name into the NBA Draft, but would not hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to Pittsburgh for his senior campaign.

If Gibbs leaves his name in the draft pool, Dixon would only return one starter from this season’s Big East champion Panthers. Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee and Gilbert Brown were all seniors.

Don’t cry for Dixon, though. He brings in a top-notch recruiting class, led by athletic big man Khem Birch and scoring wing Durand Johnson. More, the returnees aren’t too shabby, with Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna and Nasir Robinson on the inside, and Travon Woodall running the show.

With that said, we should fully expect Gibbs to return to Pittsburgh after testing the waters. He is not likely to be drafted in the first round, and a source told Parrish that Gibbs just wants to workout with some NBA teams.

Gibbs, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 16.8 points and 2.8 assists this season, shooting 49 percent from 3-point range.

If he does return, Dixon will have yet another team more than capable of making a run in the Big East.

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:33 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 1:25 am
 

Wrapping up a crazy Thursday of action

Posted by Matt Jones

Today was one of the busiest days of the year in college basketball, with all six major tournaments having at least three games each and crazy action all over the nation. It was the type of day that deserves a neat summary in conclusion:

Game of the Day:  UCONN vs Pitt

This was the rare instance where the best game of the day on paper, ended up being the best game of the day in practice. Both teams played with a ton of energy and the game was actually executed on a very high level at both ends. Pittsburgh showcased the exception defense that makes them a Final Four contender, but the Panthers had no answer for the one-on-one play from UCONN in the second half. Kemba Walker was once again a revelation and his shakedown of Gary Mcghee at the end of the game is one of those plays that you will see over and over in the years to come. A lasting image in a quarterfinal tournament game?  That is easily the game of the day.


Biggest Win: Colorado over Kansas State

Colorado came into its Big 12 quarterfinal against Kansas State with one clear objective.  A win over one of the hottest teams in the country would not only vault the Buffaloes to the conference semifinals in its final year in the league, but would also put Colorado on the right side of the NCAA bubble.  The ensuing 87-75 performance was one of the best of the year we have seen in college basketball when it mattered the most. Whatever happens for the rest of the tournament, Colorado will hear its name called on Selection Sunday and when that happens, they can look back at this win as the main reason why.

 

Most Impressive Performance: Texas A&M over Missouri

There are many reasons to wonder what has happened to Missouri over the past few weeks. Mike Anderson's team has looked poor on a number of occasions down the stretch, but never has the team seemed to have less life than during today's 86-71 smackdown at the hands of the Aggies. For those around the Texas A&M program, there is some quiet optimism that this team may be clicking at the right time to make some surprising March noise. If the game on Thursday in Kansas City is any indication, it may not be that surprising for long.

 

Worst Loss: UCLA 

I have given up trying to figure out the Pac 10. I can forgive the occasional poor road performance by one of the three top powers, but UCLA's 76-59 loss to Oregon on Thursday was just plain pathetic. You are playing in your home city, with a chance to get a better seed and re-establish dominance in a conference that has somewhat forgotten your existence in the last two years. Instead, you show up and go through the motions of caring, while putting one of the worst teams in the conference through to the semifinals. An embarrassing loss for a program that has clearly slipped in the past three years.

 

Performance of the Day: Michael Thompson

The Big 10 tournament hasn't been around as long as some of its fellow Championship Week events, but it still deserves attention when one of its records is broken. Michael Thompson of Northwestern went out and scored a smooth 35 points in a 75-65 victory by his Wildcats over Minnesota. While Northwestern is not likely to break its NCAA tournament drought this year, Thompson's performance gives the school a rare record that is not based upon futility. And for that, it is worth a mention.


Setup for Biggest Game Tomorrow: Georgia vs Alabama

Only one game tomorrow is a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament and it occurs in Atlanta, Georgia. Thanks to the Bulldogs victory over Auburn, Georgia and Alabama play at 1 pm, with the winner likely into the NCAA Tournament and the loser on the bubble on Selection Sunday. Both teams played to end the regular season and Alabama's win gave the Tide a fighting chance for the Big Dance. Now with this the only game of the weekend in which two bubble teams play each other, you can expect a large reward to the winner.


Worst Day of Basketball:  SEC in Atlanta

This was a terrible day to be stationed as I was, in Atlanta for the SEC tournament. All four games were dreadful. Three were decided by double digits and the four losers represented some of the worst teams in major conference college basketball. Every game saw more Kentucky fans waiting for their team to play on Friday than fans of the teams actually on the court and the gym resembled a morgue during Friday night's finale between LSU and Vanderbilt. The schedule is a bit meatier on Friday, but for Day One at least, the SEC has been a dud.

 

MVP of the Day:  Kemba Walker

One of the most impressive crossovers you will ever to see to get an open final look. Kemba's shot fit in well with all of his heroics this year and reminded everyone that the Huskies are still a force to be reckoned with this March. We will see if they can get four games in four days against Syracuse tomorrow, but that shot and the move that made him open, will be remembered for a long time to come.


Posted on: February 27, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: February 27, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Sunday Preview: Big Ten battle and more



Posted by Eric Angevine

Purdue @ Michigan State, 1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: Gary Parrish does a good job of breaking this one down in the video above. The Spartans have obviously cooked their own goose this season, but they can still play spoiler in the Big Ten and show that there's no quit in Michigan State.

UConn @ Cincinnati, 12:00 p.m., ESPNU: You wouldn't think it with all the hype surrounding Kemba Walker's POY candidacy, but the Bearcats are actually in better position in the Big East race. They currently sit at sixth in the league standings at 9-6, while the Huskies have dropped to a barely tenable 8-7. If Cincy wins and Louisville loses, they'll be tied at 10-6, just behind Syracuse in fifth place.

Xavier @ Dayton, 1:00 p.m., ESPN2: I covered this on Friday. If Dayton can win, it gets to stay on the bubble, and may even end up hosting a First Four game in its own arena if it hold form into the postseason. If the Flyers lose, it's back to the NIT unless they win the A-10 auto bid.

Pitt @ Louisville, 2:00 p.m., CBS: This is the marquee game of the day, so it's fitting that it comes last on the schedule. When the other games are over, even fans of the day's other combatants can turn and watch the rest of this heavyweight matchup. Louisville has a chance to restructure the Big East standings a bit with a home win. Pitt's job is to keep rolling to what it hopes will be a pair of No. 1 seeds -- in the Big East tourney and in the NCAAs.

 
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Pitt and WVU make Backyard Brawl a hoops thing



Posted by Eric Angevine

West Virginia @ Pitt, 9:00 p.m, ESPN

The Backyard Brawl is one of my all-time favorite college sports rivalries. Pittsburgh and Morgantown are so close to one another geographically, but they couldn't be farther apart in the way they approach these games. At least, that's the way it is in football. With just one meeting per year on the gridiron, and overlapping recruiting grounds in the coal country, the football version of the rivalry will always be more intense.

However, I interviewed John Antonik, author of a book on WVU sports history, a while back, and he told me that the home-and-home series for hoops has had its moments as well.

"You can go back to the late '60s," Antonik said, "and there would be a West Virginia guy setting up at the free throw line and a Pitt fan would throw a dead fish on the court. There has always been great tension in that rivalry, even when the teams were just OK or the players were unknowns."

"Just OK" and "unknowns" are not words we'd use to describe this rivalry in recent seasons, and that's a good thing. Despite an 8-6 mark, WVU is coming off a huge win over Notre Dame, while Pitt is trying to shrug off a setback to St. John's at Madison Square Garden from Saturday. A win in this game won't get Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers much closer to the top of the league, but it would definitely signal the beginning of a hot streak coming along at just the right time. Such a win seems unlikely, but so did the upset of the Irish.

In essence, you just can't bet against Huggy Bear, especially in a rivalry game. Watching him battle Jamie Dixon in a coaching throwdown is bound to be entertaining, no matter which team comes out ahead.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com