Tag:central Florida
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:02 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

By Jeff Goodman

Conference USA is wide-open. 

Marshall squeaked by Central Florida this past weekend in Huntington. The Knights then held serve at home last night against Memphis. Southern Miss is also in the equation. 

"There's more parity in the league this year," Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said on Thursday morning. 

Jones said the court-storming at UCF was the first that anyone could remember in the history of the program. It was also the first time that the Knights had come on top against Memphis. 

"We were 0-10 against them going into the game," Jones said. "It's a big win for our program because of the level that they have been at over the years." 

The game-winner was delivered by junior big man Keith Clanton, whose foul in the final seconds against Marshall allowed DeAndre Kane to go to the line and give the Thundering Herd the win. 

"The place went crazy," Jones said. 

Now Central Florida sits a half-game behind Marshall, which is 4-0 in the league, and a half-game in front of both Memphis and Southern Miss. 

Clanton finished with 23 points and eight boards and rebounded from a dismal performance against Marshall with 20 points. Jones also praised the defensive effort of Isaiah Sykes in the second half, holding Memphis star Will Barton in check after a big first half. 

The Tigers were playing their second game without star freshman Adonis Thomas, who may miss the rest of the season following foot surgery. Thus far, Barton has been the only player on Josh Pastner's team that has lived up to expectations. 

Remember, this was a team that many pegged as a Top 10 squad nationally. 

The Tigers missed on virtually every quality opportunity in the non-league slate -- and now find themselves in the middle of a heated league race. 

Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:01 am

Road Trip: Dozen things I learned

Goodman hit up four big games in four straight days. He is now ready to sleep until Friday. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

It feels like weeks ago I left Boston for Huntington, West Va. In fact, it was just Saturday. 

It started with the return of Donnie Jones to Marshall -- which included the Tom Herrion Show -- took a drive through Point Pleasant, West Va., home of the Mothman Prophecies, detoured and had lunch with Ohio University star point guard D.J. Cooper. Then it was onto Columbus, Ohio, where I watched the Buckeyes exact revenge on the Indiana Hoosiers, saw Kansas knock Baylor from the ranks of the unbeaten and ended the trip with a nail-biting Michigan victory over rival Michigan State. 

And yes, that was me smack dab in the middle of the Maize Rage, standing in the front row of Michigan's student section next to my nephew - a sophomore at the school. I was the only one not wearing a maize shirt -- and the only one not jumping around. I cleared it with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo beforehand -- and must admit I felt a bit awkward. However, the vantage point was clearly superior to the new media seats at Crisler. So what the hell. 

Here are my 12 Things I Learned on my travels. 

1) If this Kansas team stays healthy, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey remain out of foul trouble and Bill Self's club gets a decent draw in the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks could make a run to the Final Four. It sounds nuts, but these guys have a stud in Thomas Robinson -- and Tyshawn Taylor is starting to look like the Tyshawn Taylor we all thought we'd see on a consistent basis. I'm not overly concerned with his abundance of turnovers; he needs to make plays for the Jayhawks, so they will continue to be higher than most. The key for KU may be the continued emergence of 7-footer Jeff Withey and consistency from guys like Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson. 

2) I'm just not buying Perry Jones III as a Top five pick in June's NBA Draft. I love his length and skill level, but he's done little to help shed the "soft" label that's been placed upon him for years. There's not much he can't do on the court, but I'd be weary of risking a top pick on a guy that just doesn't have that "it" factor. I'd go Thomas Robinson over PJ3 every day -- and twice on Sunday. 

3) Speaking of Baylor, let's not write off this team just because it got punked in Lawrence, Kansas. Last I checked, not many go into The Phog and leave with a win. The Bears X-factor has been junior college guard Pierre Jackson, who does give Scott Drew much-needed toughness, along with Quincy Acy. However, the defense against Baylor was worrisome - it reminded me of the pre-Ekpe Udoh Baylor defense. 

4) I'm not sure I've seen Tom Izzo more disappointed after a loss than he was following the setback in Ann Arbor to rival Michigan. It's probably because his team didn't play well, yet still had to a shot to win on the road against a Top 25 team. No one fared well for the Spartans. The team's veteran leader Draymond Green struggled yet again going up against Michigan (he has just 35 points in the last five games against the Wolverines) and Izzo's new guys -- Branden Dawson, Brandon Wood, etc. -- all flopped in their into to this rivalry. 

5) I know that Michigan's talent level with skyrocket next season with the addition of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson's kid and Nick Stauskas. I've seen all three -- and they are all immediately impact guys. But the departure of seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass can't be overstated. Novak is the ultra-intangible guy, who brings toughness and leadership to a group of guys that sorely needs it. McGary is talented, but he'll have to learn how to play within a system -- and John Beilein has never dealt with a guy who arrives on campus with the potential expectation of leaving after one season. That'll be an interesting dynamic. 

6) Kansas coach Bill Self believes the Jayhawks will be better next season despite losing Tyshawn Taylor and almost certainly losing Thomas Robinson. I think he may need to have his head examined. However, he'll add two guys sitting out: Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor. Self and his staff feel as though McLemore can be a star and has as much NBA potential as anyone in the program right now -- and that includes Robinson. The starting lineup could look like this: Elijah Johnson (senior), Travis Relford (senior), Jeff Withey (senior), McLemore (redshirt freshman) and maybe either Traylor or freshman forward Perry Ellis. The Jayhawks will add depth with the addition of a recruiting class that includes Top 50 players Andrew White and Ellis. 

7) Marcus Jordan is a nice player, but he's not a first-team all-league guy in C-USA. In fact, he's not even the best player on his own team: That belongs to Keith Clanton. The Son of Michael couldn't make a shot in the loss to Marshall (he was 3-of-17 from the field) -- and missed the front end of a 1-1 that could have put his Central Florida team up two points with 29 seconds left. 

8) Marshall coach Tom Herrion should be nominated for an Oscar for his acting job during the game against Central Florida. Sure, Knights wing Isaiah Sykes may have jolted him when he made contact while running down the sidelines, but Herrion's entire act looked comical. He went down, clutching his chest, and I honestly thought he was having a heart attack. The lead official came over to explain the situation after looking at it multiple times on video and said Sykes, who was hit with a flagrant foul, did not intentionally attempt to strike Herrion. Marshall got a free throw -- and oh by the way, the Thundering Herd wound up winning by one point. 

9) While Herrion needs to tone it down at times, a couple things are clear: The guy can really coach and he's got enough talent on this time to be dangerous. I think it all depends on the play of senior point guard Damier Pitts.

10) Don't wait around for Tom Crean after the Hoosiers lose a game. There are certain coaches that take forever following a loss -- Jim Calhoun, Travis Ford come to mind. Crean took about 70 minutes after Indiana's beatdown in Columbus against Ohio State. Honestly, it had no bearing on me doing my job since I was writing primarily about the Buckeyes, anyway. But Crean should be smart enough to realize that 1) His players will tune him out after about the first 15 minutes 2) No one likes to be kept waiting that long. 

11) While the Buckeyes can really lock down on the perimeter with Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, I'm worried about the rest of Ohio State defensively. Sullinger needs to step it up in this department -- and Thomas needs to do the same. This is the biggest difference from last season's team, where David Lighty was a terrific, versatile defender - and Jon Diebler had turned himself into an above-average team defender. 

12) My top four venues to watch a game?  1) Allen Fieldhouse 2) Cameron Indoor Stadium 3) Rupp Arena 4) Danforth School. The atmosphere at Kansas was second-to-none, largely because of the look and feel of the venue and also the rabid fans. Kentucky fans are crazier than anywhere else, but Rupp doesn't compare to Phog Allen. As for Duke, the proximity to the court -- and the students -- are what makes it elite. As for Danforth, that's where I get to see my 8-year-old daughter knock down jumpers (or, more realistically, 7-foot set shots). 

Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:54 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 10:45 am

Bizarre: Tom Herrion fakes injury during game

By Matt Norlander

Before you read, watch.

How this video didn't get out until today, I don't know. Regardless of its curious delay to the Intertubes, or the fuzzy video quality, Tom Herrion, you've amazed us all.

The Marshall coach ... well, who knows what he's doing or what he was thinking. Goodman was at this game, and he told me he thought Herrion was genuinely having a heart attack when this happened. Like, frightened he was possibly watching a coach die on the sidelines. After the incident took place, officials took 15 minutes to evaluate the play, ultimately deciding to give a Isaiah Sykes a Flagrant 1.

Marshall went on to win the game, 65-64, against Central Florida. Both teams are in the chase for the C-USA title.

Herrion was asked about the melodrama in the postgame, but he shrugged his geriatrics off, calling it a "non-story." Nopers. This is the most bizarre thing I've seen this season. At the end of that video, a reporter asks if Herrion's ever been fouled before. He responds with a "next question." Another question follows about how badly the foul hurt, and he repeats the phrase.

Herrion's considered one of the grander characters amongst college basketball coaches. This, though, I don't know what this is. Is it bush league by Herrion, or did Sykes really take a shot? We're not afforded a clean angle or video. It looks as if Herrion forgot he was coaching during a critical conference game, and instead opted to entertain his dinner guests. It's not as egregious as throwing a chair, but it's just as ham-handed.
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:41 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 12:04 pm

Podcast: Why does UNC's 33-point loss matter?

By Matt Norlander

If a team gets beatdown like UNC did at Florida State Saturday, does it mean they won't win the title? Well, nobody's ever lost by 33 and gone on to cut down nets. In fact, no one's ever lost by more than 27 in a season and gone on to win it all.

CBSSports.com recruiting savant and bro supreme Jeff Borzello calls in from the Hoop Hall Classic to discuss Carolina's chances of bucking that trend, as well as Roy Williams taking his team off the floor before that game was over. Bro-zello and I also get into the Ryan Boatright situation at UConn -- he's sitting out of games again, pending NCAA review of his eligibility -- as well as a look ahead to tonight's huge game: Baylor at Kansas.

Here it is:
  • From the beginning: Borzello's watching the best high school tournament of the season, the Hoop Hall Classic, up in Springfield, Mass. For people that follow this stuff, or want more, he runs down the essentials.
  • 7:13: It's on to UNC. That huge loss. No team's ever loss by more than 27 points has gone on to win a title that season. Why should UNC be any different?
  • 13:40: Roy Williams complied with Leonard Hamilton's suggestion of getting UNC's coaches and guys sitting on the bench off the floor before the storm. But the walk-ons on the court? Left for dead. Williams deflects talk from the loss. Brilliant.
  • 16:24: Ryan Boatright is again ineligible. He sits and waits while his situation is reviewed. Why's this happening right now and what's the crux of the problem?
  • 20:21: The nation's most underrated great player? Arnett Moultrie.
  • 23:24: Advance of Baylor at Kansas, which amounts to a game that could have some more big-picture reaction if Baylor smothers the 'Hawks.
  • 26:42: Some gib-gab to finish up. Insanity workouts, Borzello trying to drop 20 pounds in two months, the NFL playoffs, 30-person birthday parties at german restaurants.

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: January 14, 2012 11:05 pm

Marshall becoming the favorites in C-USA?

By Jeff Goodman

HUNTINGTON, West Va. - This Marshall team could be dangerous in the NCAA tournament -- if the Thundering Herd manage to get there. 

Coach Tom Herrion has a strong and fearless wing who can score the ball in DeAndre Kane, one of the nation's top rebounders in Dennis Tinnon, an experienced point guard in Damier Pitts, seemingly endless length and size up front and no shortage of role guys. 

These guys can give Memphis a run for the league title. 

In fact, these guys may just be the favorites in C-USA with Josh Pastner's Tigers struggling as much as they did in the non-conference slate. 

"We've been waiting for four years," Pitts said after Marshall pulled out a 65-64 win over Central Florida on Saturday night. "We've gotten a lot of hype, but people are still talking about Memphis. We feel like we're the ones with the upper hand." 

"I think we can play against a lot of teams in the country," added Thundering Herd coach Tom Herrion. "Obviously, Memphis is really talented and were picked to win the league. But I think we match-up relatively well with them." 

Marshall improved to 4-0 in the league with the win over Central Florida and former Thundering Herd coach Donnie Jones. Next up for Tom Herrion's team is a neutral-site matchup Wednesday in Charleston against West Virginia. The first showdown with Memphis comes on Jan. 28. 

This is a Thundering Herd team that knocked off Cincinnati on the road back in November, pummeled Iona - and played Syracuse tough in the Carrier Dome. It's also a team that has lost to Ohio and Akron -- and split with Belmont. That means Marshall probably needs to either win the C-USA tournament or finish in the top two in the regular-season -- and lost in the league tournament title game. 

"Our margin for error is so thin," Herrion said after the win. "You've got to protect your home court." 

That's exactly what happened on Saturday in front of 8,379 fans that made the Cam Henderson Center one of the better environments I've been to in the last few years. 

"Crazy," was how Kane described the home crowd. "Bananas." 

He's right and Kane may have been too amped up as he struggled early. However, he made up for it down the stretch, culminating with a pair of free throws with 14.5 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner. 

"No pressure," a confident, almost cocky Kane said after the victory. "It was good all along." 

Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:46 pm

Night Court: MJ's son takes center stage in upset

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBBon Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

Here’s everything you need to know about Friday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Central Florida stormed back from a 17-point deficit with 16 minutes left in the game and knocked off No. 4 UConn in the Bahamas. Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan (right) each had 20 points in the 68-63 victory. 

Win to brag about: Marshall has received plenty of preseason hype and the Thundering Herd got a huge victory at Cincinnati. The Bearcats are no longer a Top 25 club after a loss last week to Presbyterian, but this was still an important win for Tom Herrion & Co., if Marshall wants to be in the conversation for at an-large bid come March. 

Loss to hide from: Florida State falling to Harvard. Listen, there's no shame in losing to Harvard this season. The Crimson could wind up running the table in the Ivy League. However, the Seminoles only scored 41 points in the entire game - and a team with a frontline with NBA size was outrebounded by Harvard, 40-30. Leonard Hamilton's team had just five assists. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Michael Jordan's younger son, Marcus, went for 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and also dished out seven assists in the win over UConn. He made huge baskets - and also critical free throws - in the waning minutes of the game. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: We'll give to to a pair of Oklahoma State freshmen: Highly touted forward Le'Bryan Nash and point guard Cezar Guerrero. Nash finished with the goose egg in 11 minutes and Guerrero had just three points, three turnovers and no assists in the loss to Virginia Tech in the NIT consolation game. 

Numbers don’t lie:

32: That's the number of points scored by Boston College freshman Patrick Heckmann. The German native was 9-of-13 from the field, 4-of-5 from deep and make all 10 of his free throws in an overtime win over UC Riverside. 

250: Rick Pitino won his 250th career game at Louisville, but it was more difficult than expected - as the Cards beat Ohio University, 59-54. 

11.6: That's the rebounding average of UNLV's Mike Moser through five games this season. Moser transferred after one season at UCLA and had 13 more boards on Friday - in a win over USC. 

Three other notable results:

Saint Louis knocked off Villanova, 80-68, and went to 5-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign. 

Ole Miss took care of Miami, 64-61, in overtime down in Oxford, Miss. 

Dayton beat Fairfield, 56-49, to advance to the championship game of the Old Spice Classic down in Orlando - and a matchup with Minnesota for the title. 


Florida junior forward Erik Murphy suffered a knee injury in practice on Thursday and sat out Friday's win. The extent of his injury is still unclear - per source. 

Xavier's Travis Taylor, who averaged just 4.3 points and 5 boards over the first three games, had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) in a 70-56 win over Georgia. 

Clemson's Milton Jennings, a heralded Top 50 recruit coming out of high school, had a career night with 22 points and 14 boards in a win over Furman. 

On tap: 

The Battle 4 Atlantis consolation game may be more intriguing than the title contest. UConn plays Florida State at 2 p.m. and will be followed by Central Florida vs. Harvard for the championship. 

President Obama will be in attendance for the Oregon State-Towson game. No, not because it's Pat Skerry's home debut with the Tigers. He'll be there to watch Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, better-known as Michelle Obama's brother. 

Posted on: November 25, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:12 pm

Central Florida pulls huge upset over UConn

By Jeff Goodman

“Whoever you bring, I like sexy names. So what names? Central Florida would be kind of good but it’s not a sexy name right now." - Jim Calhoun

That was a quote from UConn's head coach a few months back -- when Central Florida was mentioned as a possibility to land in the Big East.

Well, the Knights, who could still be headed to the Big East in the future, looked far sexier on Friday afternoon after storming back from a 17-point second half deficit to pull off arguably the upset of the young season, a 68-63 victory over No. 4 UConn.

Donnie Jones' game plan worked to perfection down the stretch, mixing between man-to-man defense after misses and zone defense following made baskets. He said that key to the game was trying to slow down UConn point guard Shabazz Napier - and that's exactly what he did after the first few minutes of the contest.

"He makes them go," Jones said of Napier. "He's the head of the team and we had to control him. He makes everyone else go."

Central Florida got out of the gates quickly a year ago before struggling in league play, but Jones said that this team is different.

"We've got experience," Jones said. "Our two best players (Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan) are juniors and our guys now the system now. Last year they were still getting used to it."

Without starting point guard A.J. Rompza, who is serving a suspension as the school is in the midst of an NCAA investigation, Marcus Jordan was forced to play point guard for much of the time. However, he spent most of the stretch off the ball - and was clutch in the final minutes of the game.

Both Jordan and Clanton finished with 20 points in the upset.

"The bigger the stage, the harder he plays," Jones said of Jordan. "He's so competitive."

The win puts UCF at 4-1 with a matchup against Harvard Saturday in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. It was also just the third time that the program has knocked off a ranked opponent. A year ago, Central Florida beat Florida. The Knights also beat College of Charleston in 2002.

Jones' team came back from a late seven-point deficit the day before in a victory over College of Charleston.

"I love the fact that we didn't live in the last victory against Charleston," Jones said. "And that we came back again."

They delivered UConn its first loss since the start of the Big East tournament last March and in the process, may have changed Calhoun's perception of the basketball program a bit.

Photo: UCF athletics

Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 5:06 pm

Central Florida AD out, Jones suspended 3 games

By Jeff Goodman

Central Florida athletic director Keith Tribble resigned and men's basketball coach Donnie Jones has been suspended for three games as part of the school's pro-active approach to the NCAA investigation into the athletics program.

The school received the NCAA's notice of allegations on Tuesday and a news conference was held on Wednesday afternoon.

"The strengthening of UCF's commitment to compliance with the NCAA starts today," UCF president John C. Hitt said in a statement.

Assistant football coach David Kelly has also parted with the program.

Both Tribble and Kelly were both cited for unethical conduct when meeting with NCAA investigators.

"I thank former AD Tribble and former assistant Kelly for their many positive contributions to UCF and wish them well in the future," Hitt said.

The investigation, which also includes the football program, was spurred months ago following reports by ESPN.com and the New York Times that UCF had involvement with Ken Caldwell - a third-party individual who the NCAA has classified as a runner and also a booster.

There were no allegations that Jones or his staff offered money.

The NCAA's report discloses that Caldwell had a relationship with the previous staff - including former coach Kirk Speraw - as well as Tribble.

Caldwell was already connected with current Central Florida guard A.J. Rompza - who was recruited by Speraw - and was also the legal guardian of Doukon Kuzuean - a former walk-on at the school who was brought on by Speraw.

Caldwell's son also attended Central Florida.

The allegations by the NCAA are that Caldwell was involved in the recruitment of players that Jones was recruiting - including Michael Chandler and Kevin Ware.

It also alleges that Jones didn't promote an atmosphere of compliance.

"As the program's head coach, I accept responsibility for mistakes when they occur," Jones said. "I respect Dr. Hitt and the University of Central Florida and believe the decision in this case is fair. I look forward to representing UCF in a positive manner on and off the court."

Central Florida will have 90 days to respond to the allegations.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com