Tag:Stanford
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:20 am
 

Podcast: The MWC can no longer be undervalued

By Matt Norlander

We can't turn our heads anymore. The Pac-12 is miserably bad, perhaps continuing in the worst season in its existence -- that dates back to when it was the Pac-8 and the Pac-10. What's the reason for this? Is it doomed to become a one-bid league? The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg says no, even if you want to upchuck your dinner just following this league.

Today's 'cast isn't all negative, though. Jeff and I also give our top five non-BCS teams, waxing on the Mountain West in the process. The MWC could be the fourth-best league in the nation. Let's start talking about that over peanut butter and crackers.

On to the podcast:
  • From the beginning: Banter before the basketball.
  • 1:15: Addressing, examining and a lack of mockery -- but heavy pity -- for the Pac-12. What the biggest story lines with the league right now?
  • 4:26: How'd the Pac-12 get to this point? How'd a Big Six conference become so laughable?
  • 9:27: How many bids is this league setting up to get? Calling it a one-bid conference is easy, and understandable, but by March, two teams getting in seems likely.
  • 12:30: Moving on to the Mountain West -- the fourth-best conference in the country. Believe it, fools!
  • 16:04: Eisenberg's top five non-BCS teams. Xavier makes it. Fo' real.
  • 22:06: We get to this point of the year, there's always a team or two who's undervalued despite playing well. We give our picks.
  • 24:55: Louisville, Missouri, Florida and UConn all fell Saturday. Top 15 teams. Which one will wind up playing the worst the rest of the way?

Continued thanks from me to you for keep coming back and listening. Please: spread the word. Hoops season is ramping up, and I'd love more hate mail. Spread this page and the iTunes subscription link to anyone you'd think would like this sort of think. We post three times per week, with the Wednesday show being a low-rent sitcom wannabe of a half hour, thanks to CBSSports.com national writers Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman Skyping in their opinions. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:33 am
 

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league


By Jeff Goodman

There's no East Coast bias here. The Pac-12 stinks. Plain and simple. 

"No excuses," one head coach in the league texted me. "You're right." 

There's truly no defense for what's gone on out west thus far. The league has been absolutely manhandled. 

Sunday was just another day in the park for the Pac-12, one that saw South Dakota State pummel Washington in Seattle and then watched Virginia go out to Oregon and take care of the Ducks. 

A day prior, there was no shame in Gonzaga working over Arizona in Seattle. But what about Northern Arizona - with a 70-year-old interim head coach -- knocking off Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils?  Or Georgia going west and beating USC at the Galen Center?

The league doesn't have a single victory against a Top 25 team. In fact, it's nearly impossible to find the most impressive win notched by anyone in the league. It's been so pitiful that a case can be made for Oregon State's come-from-behind win in New Jersey against a young Texas team as the flagship win for the Pac-12 thus far. 

This could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league. 

We thought, entering the season, there were four teams that were capable of making a legitimate run to the NCAA tournament. Maybe even a handful - if you want to include an Oregon team that was thrown together due to desperation. 

UCLA appeared formidable on paper, but we quickly learned that one player can truly wreck a season (see: Reeves Nelson). Arizona isn't nearly as talented as some thought, especially with talented freshman Josiah Turner refusing to buy into Sean Miller's approach early in the season. 

Oregon's Dana Altman has already lost his top freshman, Jabari Brown, and is now reliant on a bunch of second-chance guys (i.e. Devoe Joseph, Tony Woods) and Washington, the most talented team in the league, earned its most impressive win against UC Santa Barbara. California was blasted by Missouri and also lost on the road to what everyone figured was a rebuilding San Diego State club. 

Stanford has been the most impressive team in the league thus far with a 9-1 record, but the Cardinal still hasn't notched a victory against an NCAA tourney team. The loss was impressive, against top-ranked Syracuse in New York, but the most significant wins have come against N.C. State and Oklahoma State - a pair of teams likely headed to the NIT. 

Don't even get me started on teams like Arizona State (4-6), Washington State (which lost to UC Riverside), USC (which already has seven losses), Colorado (which has lost to Wyoming and Colorado State) and a dismal Utah team. None will even be on the bubble for the CBI or CollegeInsider.com. 

Listen, I want to defend the Pac-12. I graduated from a school in the league. 

But I'd lose all credibility in doing so. 

The league is currently ranked ninth in the RPI, behind the A-10 and Missouri Valley and barely in front of the WCC and C-USA.  

However, if there's one positive spin I can put on the Pac-12's misery, it's the fact that this league is up for grabs, a complete toss-up right now. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the regular-season champ doesn't get an at -large bid to go dancing - and obviously, the tourney winner gets an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

That means everyone in the league still has a shot. 

Well, maybe not quite everyone.


Posted on: November 25, 2011 8:52 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 8:53 pm
 

Stanford shows more strengths than weaknesses

By Matt Norlander

NEW YORK — The fact Stanford was the final Pac-12 team to lose this season tells you something about that league and something about the Cardinal.

Against what Johnny Dawkins said is “definitely one of the best teams in the nation,” his club played well. And dating back to Wednesday, it’s fair to say Stanford had a prideful showing in its two games at Madison Square Garden — it merely showed its inexperience and hesitancy in the big moment. It was almost as if the Cardinal was a bit surprised to be in it, amid the Orange fan-catalyzed hysteria with four minutes to go in a 60-58 game they had a lead in.

The Garden was rocking near the end; it was then that Stanford fell apart, shooting 1 for 5 with two turnovers and four fouls after the final TV timeout. Syracuse made three field goals and five free throws during the same time span.

To say Stanford lacked a go-to guy, an alpha, a floor leader in the critical stretch of the game is to be completely fair. In fact, the Cardinal’s surprise player, Aaron Bright (listed at 5-11; there’s no chance he’s within two inches of that) — who had only played in two of Stanford’s game heading into this one — was the man on the floor with the most points (13). Bright tried to make something happen, but he was overmatched, and by then the Orange knew he was coming.

“It was really tough to make plays, trying to jump down to [Josh Owens] or (Andrew) Zimmermann or whoever is down there,” Bright said. “He (Syracuse center Fab Melo) had a presence in every pass I made and every shot that I took.”

The runty ringer got rung and hung out to dry, finishing up his day with three fouls, a turnover and no made field goals in the final 6:46.  

“Really, they have long arms, they're big inside,” Stanford’s Chasson Randle said. “They really pressured us to make bad decisions sometimes.  It was on us.  It's what we have to work on and improve on.”

Defensively, it got tougher and tougher as well. Maybe it was the crowd, Syracuse’s talent or just a wave of momentum that couldn’t be ultimately reversed. The Cardinal watched the Orange shot 61 percent from the field, and 44 percent from 3, in the second half.  

“Before we arrived, it's so early in the season that you don't really know the make‑up of your team, how good you can be, because it's still early,” Dawkins. “I found out a lot about our guys during these last couple of days.” 

Orange coach Jim Boeheim learned something as well: he said without the full-court press his team had, Syracuse wouldn’t have won. The team's worked on it in practice since the start of the season, but it never had to be unleashed like it was during this game. Because of that, Dawkins realized his team's weaknesses in the paint thereafter. The press did what it's supposed to do in throwing the other team off its rhythm, often creating turnovers in the process.

“We didn't get some of the things we normally get out of it,” Dawkins said. “You credit them for playing well down there in the paint.  They're physical, they're long.  And it was difficult for us to score on them down there.”

We've got some time to figure out how good Stanford is. It held its own against a top-five team and blew out a fringe NCAA tournament squad in Oklahoma State. That could be good enough to be top-four in the meek Pac-12.

Photo: AP

Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 10:39 pm
 

Stanford's Owens taking advantage of 2nd chance

By Jeff Goodman

NEW YORK - There was a time when Stanford's Josh Owens wasn't certain he'd ever play again.

"There were all types of possibilities," Owens said. "But I just followed what the doctors and medical staff told me."

Stanford's athletic forward missed the entire 2009-10 campaign due to an undisclosed medical condition that he did not elaborate on following arguably the best offensive performance of his college career.

"I'm thankful," Owens said after scoring 13 of his team's first 15 points and finishing with 21 in a 82-67 win over Oklahoma State.

Owens started as a sophomore, but then was diagnosed with the medical condition and wasn't allowed to practice with the team his junior season.

"I just worked out on my own," Owens said. "It was tough."

"I just took it day by day," he added.

Owens said he appreciates being able to get on the court - and is trying to make his final go-around with the Cardinal a memorable one.

With the recent stumbles in the Pac-12 by just about everyone in the league, Stanford - picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll - could sneak up and make a postseason run.

Especially if Owens continues to play with the energy and assertiveness he displayed at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night -- and freshman Chasson Randle (17 points, 5 rebounds) acclimates to the college game quickly. Sophomore Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown are also talented guys who, if they develop, could put the Cardinal in the equation for an NCAA tournament bid.

But Owens said while he is keeping tabs on the league, that's not his concern.

"We're focused on us," Owens said. "It's all about us."

Photo: AP
Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Pac-12 Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

I graduated from a Pac-12 school, but it's still going to take me a while before I don't keep saying Pac-10. Anyway, here's the Pac-12 Offseason Report. 

Pac-12 Offseason Report

Arizona – Archie Miller left to become the head coach at Dayton and was replaced by Joe Pasternak, who was previously the head coach at New Orleans. The Wildcats will play in the Coaches vs. Cancer and also have non-league games against San Diego State (11-23), at Florida (12-7), at Clemson (12-10) at Gonzaga (12-17 in Seattle). Lamont “Momo” Jones (Iona) and Daniel Berejano (Colorado State) both transferred out of the program.

Arizona State – The Sun Devils will play in the Old Spice Classic in Florida and have non-league games against New Mexico (11-18), at Tulsa (12-3) and against Nevada (12-7). Brandon Dunson (Azusa Pacific) and Corey Hawkins (UC Davis) both transferred out while Sendek & Co. added Eric Gordon’s brother, Evan, from Liberty.

California – The Bears will play in the CBE Classic in Kansas City and also have non-conference dates at San Diego State (12-3) and at UNLV (12-23). Mike Montgomery’s team will also travel to Sweden, Norway and Denmark from Aug. 12-22. Justin Cobbs is eligible this season after sitting out last season following a transfer from Minnesota.

Colorado – Tad Boyle & Co. will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (11-17/20) and also has non-league games set against Georgia (11-28), at Colorado State (11-30) and against Fresno (12-7). Carlon Brown (Utah) is eligible this year after sitting out last season.

Oregon – The Ducks will go to Italy from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. Dana Altman’s team will also host a four-team event from Dec. 20-22 that includes N.C. Central, Prairie View A&M and Stephen F. Austin and also play Virginia on Dec. 18. Three players left the program: Malcolm Armstead (Wichita State), Martin Seiferth (Eastern Washington) and Teondre Williams (Clayton State) while Olu Ashaolu (Louisiana Tech) came in and will be eligible to play this season and Tony Woods also decided to transfer to Eugene.

Oregon State – The Beavers will play in the Legends Classic and don’t have any big-time non-league games. Eric Moreland is eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from UTEP.

Stanford – Johnny Dawkins and his team will go to Spain from Sept. 3-14. Charles Payne was promoted to an assistant spot and replaces Rodney Tention (San Diego). The Cardinal will play in the Preseason NIT and also have non-league games against N.C. State (12-4) and against Butler (12-23).  

UCLA – Scott Duncan left to join friend Larry Shatt’s staff at Wyoming and was replaced by former Atlanta Celtics summer coach Korey McCray. Ben Howland’s team will play in the Maui Invitational and also has non-conference contests against Texas (12-3), vs. Richmond (12-23) and at St. John’s (2-18). Larry Drew (North Carolina) transferred into the program and will sit out while two more former Tar Heels – David and Travis Wear – are eligible this season.

USC – The Trojans will take a trip to Brazil from Aug. 12-21. Ryan Hannick is out as the director of basketball operations and has been replaced by Jamal Bode, Kevin O’Neill’s former manager at Arizona. O’Neill & Co. will play in the Las Vegas Invitational (11-25/26) and the Trojans will also play at Minnesota (12-3), New Mexico at home (12-10), Georgia at home (12-17) and Kansas at home (12-22) in the non-league slate. Bryce Jones (UNLV) left the program while Ari Stewart (Wake Forest) and Eric Wise (UC Irvine) both transferred in. Aaron Fuller (Iowa) is eligible this season after sitting out last year.

Utah – New coach Larry Krystkowiak put together a staff of Tommy Connor, DeMarlo Slocum, Andy Hill and Norm Parrish (director of basketball operations). The Utes will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas and also have non-league games at Fresno (12-3), vs. BYU (12-10) and vs. Cal State Fullerton (12-7). Utah has added Glen Dean (Eastern Washington) and Aaron Dotson (LSU) while Will Clyburn (Iowa State) and J.J. O’Brien (San Diego State) left the program.

Washington – The Huskies are hosting an event with Florida Atlantic, Georgia State and Portland and will also play in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6 against Marquette in NYC. Lorenzo Romar’s team will also play at Saint Louis (11-20), at Nevada (12-2) and against Duke at Madison Square Garden (12-10).

Washington State – Ken Bone’s team will play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim and also against Pepperdine in the Cougar Hardwood Classic on Dec. 22 in Seattle. The Cougars will also face Gonzaga on Nov. 14 on the road. Andre Winston (Portland State) left while Royce Woolridge (Kansas) transferred into the program. Mike Ladd (Fresno) is eligible after sitting out last year.

Offseason reports: Big 12 
Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 11:22 am
 

Johnny Dawkins surprisingly earns extension

By Matt Norlander

Wanting solidarity and a continued familiar identity, Stanford has extended coach Johnny Dawkins' contract through the 2015-16 season. The elongated contract gives him a two-year bump; there were no details released in regard to the finances of the new deal. Initial estimates on his first deal put Dawkins' salary around $1 million per season.

It's a surprising move. The Cardinal has not yet been to an NCAA tournament under his three-year tenure. Dawkins, a longtime Duke assistant who was once thought to be Coach K's successor (who knows, maybe he still will be), has gone 49-48 since arriving in Palo Alto. Those kind of numbers seldom suggest a need to draw up a new deal.

But this is Stanford. The rules and perspectives there are different from most other major-conference programs.

"I am very excited about the future of our basketball program under Coach Dawkins," Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "Johnny and his staff have recruited very well and are on the brink of some very fun years ahead. Our team is young but very talented and I am confident of the growth and maturation in the years ahead. Johnny has done a tremendous job of leading our basketball program and is a perfect fit at Stanford."

"I am thrilled to extend my affiliation with Stanford University," Dawkins added in that statement. "Not only am I excited about the future of our basketball program, but proud to be part of a world-renowned university and athletic department."

Last season, Dawkins' first with his recruits, the Cardinal went 15-16. But there is promise, and reason for this extension, just look at the roster.

Stanford should get better next season since Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown are clearly two of the most effective high-potential guys in the Pac-12 (both made the conference's All-Freshman Team). There's also Chasson Randle, an incoming freshman who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois.

NCAA tournament or bust?

Not quite, but the Cardinal should be on the bubble, at least, all season long.

The recruiting impact this will have should also be interesting to see. Dawkins is one of a handful of men who can get this message to recruits this month: I just signed a new deal that will keep me at Stanford through the end of your senior season. I'm not going anywhere.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Stanford
 
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Brandon Ashley stakes claim to top-five ranking

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When discussing the top players in the class of 2012, Brandon Ashley is not always mentioned in the case for number one.

Ashley takes offense to that.

“I definitely feel like I belong in the top five,” he said. “I know I’m just as good or better. My skill level is not an issue. I just have to play harder, play more consistently.”

The 6-foot-9 forward from Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) certainly made his case at the NBPA Top 100 camp last week. Ashley showed off his all-around skill set, scoring with his back to the basket and knocking down face-up jumpers. He runs the floor better than most big men, and also handles the ball and passes well for someone his size.

Ashley’s potential is through the roof, and when he brings maximum effort, he is tough to contain.

“I’m trying to become an all-around better player, an inside-outside player,” he said.

Ashley has plenty of suitors at this point, but said he is ready to cut down his list in the near future. For now, though, it seems a number of colleges have a shot at him.

“I’m wide-open, but a lot of the same schools [are involved],” Ashley said. “The Pac-10, the SEC, Kansas, schools like that. Everyone is coming at me the hardest.”

In addition to the entire Pac-10 and Kansas, Wake Forest, Texas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Connecticut and others are also recruiting him.

One school mentioned in association with Ashley in the past has been Kentucky, but he said the Wildcats’ pursuit has tailed off.

“They’ve sent me a few emails, but that’s it,” he said.

When Ashley does make a final decision – which doesn’t look like any time soon – he is looking for a school that already has established talent on the roster

 “I want to go to a place where I’m surrounded by good players, with a good coaching staff,” Ashley said.

Photo: Media 411


Posted on: May 23, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Conference Catch-ups: the Pac-12

Everybody say 'hey' to the new guy!

Posted by Eric Angevine

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.


The Big Stories

Twelve to tango: It’s the Pac-12 now, which might take some getting used to. At least it’s numerically correct, unlike the 10-member Big 12 and the 12-member Big Ten. In adding Utah from the Mountain West, the Pac-12 has brought aboard a once-dominant squad (The Utes reached the Sweet 16 in 2005 and the final game in 1998) that has fallen on hard times. Head coach Jim Boylen was jettisoned after a second straight losing season, and former Montana and NBA head coach Larry Krystkowiak was brought on board. Colorado, despite finishing out of the running in their final season in the Big 12, comes in with a lot of momentum, most of it attached to the person of second-year head man Tad Boyle, a Colorado native who calls the Buffs his “dream job”. Both squads may start out rough, but a change of scenery might do them good.

It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there: The Pac-12 still gets its share of top players, but stars continue to leave after spending just a year or two out West. This season saw the departures of Derrick Williams (Arizona), Alec Burks (Colorado), Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto (Washington State), Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Nikola Vucevic (USC) and Isaiah Thomas (Washington).  Even Colorado’s Ryan Kelly and Jeremy Green of Stanford took the plunge, though neither has any real chance of getting the call.

Miller puts down roots in the desert: Who can blame the players for wanting to leave when the coaches are burning up the revolving door? With more than half the league’s head men logging less than five years at their respective jobs, sticking around almost seems like a bad career move. That didn’t stop Sean Miller from turning down overtures from just about every other power conference in the nation this spring. He flirted more heavily with Maryland than with anyone else, but eventually accepted an extension to stay in Tucson. It’s sunny there, and he just came off of an Elite Eight appearance. Sounds like a pretty good deal, no?

The Great Unknown

Can this conference recover? Ben Howland’s teams made the Final Four (or better) in every year from 2006 to 2008. Then success bred failure as all of the program’s most talented players jetted off to the golden shores of the NBA long before their eligibility could expire. The league is still reeling from frequent transfers, as well. The strongest programs right now look to be Arizona, Washington and, with more talent on the way, UCLA again. In fact, had the Wildcats broken through to the final weekend this past March, would we even be asking this question?

NBA Draft report

As pointed out above, half the darn league seems to be out the door each season. The superstar out of this bunch is Williams, who has the athleticism and size to throw down some nasty inside dunks, paired with a sweet outside stroke that keeps opponents whirling. Toss in a tendency to make the big, sometimes game-winning play on offense and defense and you’ve got an easy lottery pick.

Alec Burks, who played his career in the Big 12, is considered to be a likely first-rounder, as are Klay Thompson and Tyler Honeycutt. Big man Nikola Vucevic looks like a high second rounder, and everything else is a crapshoot. It would be one thing if all those players left for obvious gain, but so many of them are unlikely to see their dreams come true.

Transference

Coming
              
--Larry Drew II (from North Carolina).

--Glen Dean (from Eastern Washington to Utah)

--Aaron Dotson (from LSU to Utah)

--Evan Gordon (from Liberty to Arizona State)

Going
              
--Lamont ‘MoMo’ Jones (from Arizona)

--Malcolm Armstead (from Oregon)

--Teondre Williams (from Oregon)

--Daniel Berejano (from Arizona to Nevada)

--Will Clyburn (from Utah to Iowa State)

 

Team commentary in 20 words or Less

Arizona: The Derrick and MoMo show is no more, but Miller is staying put. Wildcats rebuilt fast, however, and look good to go under Sean Miller.

Arizona State: Herb Sendek is playing small-ball with guys who can’t shoot straight. Will freshman PG Jahii Carson be able to turn the bus?

Cal: The Bears struggled with a wet-behind-the-ears starting lineup, but all that teaching time could pay off this year.

Colorado: The Buffs have a couple of decent young players, a hot head coach and a little momentum going into their new digs. With little certainty at the top of the Pac-12, they could have opportunities.

Oregon: Dana Altman proved he can coach by building a CBI championship team out of E.J. Singler and duct tape. Year two could be fun.

Oregon State: Craig Robinson is going to be up for re-election around the same time as his brother in law. Running mate Jared Cunningham could make the race exciting.

Stanford: Johnny Dawkins reeled in one of the best young point guards in the nation in Chasson Randle. Still looking for a reliable scorer with Jeremy Green gone.

UCLA: The Wear twins plus Josh Smith makes this a huge team, but the Bruins are still in need of a reliable point guard.

USC: The Trojans are losing Nikola Vucevic to the NBA and don’t look to have anything spectacular on the way in.

Washington: Top scorers Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning are gone, but the Huskies have a loaded freshman class coming in.

Washington State: Klay Thompson was a predictable loss, but the toughness of DeAngelo Casto will be missed as well. This team needs to find a new personality.

Utah: With a new head coach and transfers going in and out all over the place, this team is starting from scratch.


Photos: US Presswire

Big East Conference Catch-up

 
 
 
 
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