Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 5:26 pm

Arkansas could slow down without Powell

By Matt Norlander

Mike Anderson's first year in Fayetteville continues to be a challenge and test of patience. Tuesday morning, it was announced by the school that Razorbacks forward Marshawn Powell will sit the rest of the season due to torn ligaments in his knee. The school, oddly enough, did not announce which knee was to undergo surgery. However, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com that it was Powell's right knee.

Powell was the team's leading returner in scoring and rebounding. He also used more possessions last year (26.8 percent) than any other team member, and shot a team-high 29 percent of the Hogs' shots. With him unavailable, an impotency on the offensive end is to be expected. Remember, after a battle with Anderson, sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke transferred out of the program and into Butler this past offseason.

The Razorbacks, currently 2-1 and playing at home against Utah Valley tonight, look like they'll sag well behind the power five at the top of the SEC: Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Mississippi State. Powell was picked on the Second Team in the preseason by league coaches. The 6-7 junior was 15 for 21 through two games this season.

"This is a big blow to Marshawn and our basketball team,” Anderson said in a statement. "He has been working hard on and off the court this year and was in the best shape of his career.  This is definitely a setback, but I told him that sometimes you have to have setbacks in order to have a great comeback.  He is in good spirits and looking forward to helping his team in any way that he can.”

Now Arkansas, a 7-9 SEC team last season, is down to nine players on scholarship. The depth isn't there, which an issue, of course, since Anderson promotes running opponents into collapse. In his five years at Missouri, Anderson's teams averaged 71.1 possessions per game -- well above the national average.

Junior Julysses Nobles and touted freshman B.J. Young will become the key factors on a Hog team that's probably going to have to adjust its style if it wants to remain viable, long-term. It's hard to believe Anderson can condition his team to go for 72 possessions per game and exect to avoid attrition and fatigue throughout the season.

Photo: AP
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:09 am

Louisville's Marra out for the year with torn ACL

By Matt Norlander

Louisville, the No. 7 team in the latest edition of the CBSSports Top 25 (and one), just took a hit it could ill afford. The school annonced late Sunday night that junior guard/forward Mike Marra will be out for the season after tearing his left ACL during the Cards' game against Lamar Sunday.

Marra's injury, which occured with 12:17 to go in the game, caused him to be carried off the court -- it was then that fans feared the worst.

"A magnetic resonance imaging test at Jewish Hospital on Sunday night revealed the damage. Surgery will be scheduled later and the normal recovery time from an ACL reconstruction is 9-12 months," the school said in a statement.

Marra averaged 6.2 points and two assists as a sophomore last season, starting 11 games.

Louisville plays next at Butler Saturday.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 12:01 pm

Hello, season; a rundown for tonight's games

By Jeff Goodman

College hoops season is here. Finally.

I'm biased, but if there's anywhere you need to be checking (over and over) throughout the day and the season, it's here. Four of us - Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, Jeff Borzello and myself - will be manning what will be the most extensive and informative college hoops blog in the country. And we'll have features like Parrish's Poll Attacks, Player of the Year Race, podcasts, columns, etc. each week.

We've also put together a comprehensive preseason package with just about everything you'll need - Preseason Top 25 (and one), All-American teams, league previews, top shooters, top freshmen, breakout guys, top freshmen, a ridiculous non-conference guide.

Anyway, back to tonight. The season officially gets underway tonight with a trifecta of preliminary contests from the 2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic:

This is probably the only place you can get a full injury report heading into each game on opening night:

William & Mary at St. John's, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Barring a last-second major change, Red Storm coach Steve Lavin - still recovering from prostate cancer surgery - will not be on the sidelines. Instead, it'll be Mike Dunlap - considered one of the elite X's and O's guys in the business - running things for the Johnnies.

For William & Mary, don't expect Quinn McDowell to be 100 percent. The team's star player has been out much of the season with a meniscus injury. However, two players are out with injuries: Tim Rusthaven and Kyle Galliard. Rusthaven will likely miss a couple games while Galliard may be out until December.

Valparaiso at Arizona, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Sean Miller (pictured) and the Wildcats will be without Kevin Parrom, who is still recovering from a gunshot injury and veteran big man Alex Jacobson (back), who hasn't played much in his career - but may have gotten some time because he knows the system, unlike young bigs Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol.

Bryce Drew and Valpo won't have the services of Vashil Fernandez and Dino Jakolis - two freshman who haven't been cleared yet by the NCAA. Fernandez is a long 6-foot-10 forward from Jamaica while Jakolis hails from Croatia.

Eastern Kentucky at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. ET

Jeff Neubauer's team will be without Willie Cruz (hand).

Mississippi State won't have the services of freshmen guards DeVille Smith (headaches) and Shawn Long (personal issues) and it's unlikely that sophomore guard Shawn Smith (hip) will play.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: November 3, 2011 11:15 am

ACL injury benches Thompson for 2nd straight year

By Jeff Goodman

J.T. Thompson may have Robbie Hummel beat.

The Virginia Tech fifth-year senior tore his other knee on Wednesday afternoon, meaning he'll miss a second consecutive season.

Hummel, a star forward at Purdue, also suffered a pair of torn ACL's and has been out for nearly two years.

You've got to feel for both of these guys.

Thompson's injuries go beyond the ACL's. He also had a major ankle injury and a double-hernia. There was an MCL injury as well.

"He's such a good kid," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg told CBSSports.com. "It's brutal. He had worked his butt off and was playing great the last couple of weeks."

Thompson was slated to start this season. He averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds as a junior a couple years ago.

Greenberg said that injury came in practice as Thompson was driving baseline and spun around. Thompson could petition the NCAA for another year of eligibility next season, but Greenberg said they haven't discussed it yet.

This is the latest injury for a team that has been snakebitten over the last couple of years.

Thompson and Cadarian Raines have both missed the last two seasons, Dorenzo Hudson sat out nearly all of last year and Allan Chaney was diagnosed with a heart condition that has kept him off the court for the last two years.

"We're not looking at this as an excuse and feeling sorry for ourselves," Greenberg said. "It's disheartening for the kid, but there's no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves."

"We're not going to build an excuse," he added. "My heart goes out to the kid. He's done anything and everything he's been asked to do."

Photo: AP
Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:30 pm

Louisville could get Blackshear back by December

By Matt Norlander

The Louisville Cardinals are becoming an prime example of attrition's impact on a college basketball team.

Coach Rick Pitino said on radio Tuesday night that his team was dealing with yet two more injuries: Peyton Siva (concussion) and Mike Marra (back). Both are unvailable for Louisville's scrimmage Thursday night against Bellarmine. Normally I think exhibitions are completely meaningless and don't serve as a fortune teller in any mild way.

But with Louisville, the team's probably going to have to examine what it has left and use that exhibition as a litmus test for which players can do what in emergency situations.

The good news: Pitino also said on his radio show that Wayne Blackshear, the highly touted freshman shooting guard, is anticipated to return to the team within six to eight weeks. So, by Christmastime. The initial fear/diagnosis was that Blackshear's shoulder injury and subsequent surgery would sideline for the entire season.

But it turns out the McDonald's All-American should be on the court in time for the big game at Rupp Arena, against Kentucky, on New Year's Eve. Wouldn't that be something? He'll probably aim to get back at least one game before that -- it'd be best not to throw Blackshear into that kind of fire.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 5:06 pm

Delvon Roe's career over at Michigan State

By Matt Norlander

Delvon Roe, a senior forward at Michigan State, is retiring from basketball because chronic knee issues have made playing the game too problematic. He's had problem with both of his knees, but primariliy his right one, which required microfracture surgery during his senior year of high school.

The school announced Roe's decision late Thursday afternoon.

"This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make," Roe said in a press release. "It feels that I've been playing through pain throughout my career at MSU, but the daily grind of basketball -- the running, cutting, jumping -- has finally taken its toll given the intensity required to play at our level. I started playing basketball because I loved the game, but the pain has taken that away and forced me to always think about just getting through the next few minutes or the next game. I don't want to just 'get through' anymore. I've played on a leg and a half for most of my career, and that's not fair to my teammates as they go through the daily grind."

Roe started all three years while at Michigan State. He helped the team win two Big Ten titles and reached the Final Four in 2009 and 2010.

"I will always be a Spartan," Roe said. "It remains my goal to walk across the court on senior night."

Roe has already begun to put his time into other endeavors, acting being the most prominent. He earned a role in the independent film "AWOL," and shot his scenes over the summer. He's made it clear he hopes to have a future in the movie industry.
"We've built our program at Michigan State on toughness, and I've never had a player who played through more pain than Delvon," head coach Tim Izzo said in a statement. "It's a shame that most Spartans never got to see the player I recruited. ... Last year, he unselfishly reinvented himself into a defensive stopper that the team needed. For him to call it a career at this time shows the severity of his pain. I look forward to having him remain around the program this year as he finishes his degree."

Roe was considered a top-20 recruit in 2008. He averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in his three years with the Spartans.

Photo: AP
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:27 am

Bullock's injury may not mean too much

Posted by Matt Norlander

An injury this late in the season is always worrisome, but the news of Reggie Bullock going down for the rest of the year may not curtail North Carolina's production all that much.

The bench player with the reliable long shot has a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, an injury that will take the full summer to recover from. If UNC fans are worried this will cost their team in seeding or performance, they shouldn't. This isn't as big as Brandon Davies leaving BYU, not by a long shot. Davies is a pivotal player not only because he's the big man for the Cougars, but he also helped form a starting lineup that truly did have a good post option to counter Jimmer Fredette's insane outside-shooting ability.

Bullock had sparked UNC in certain moments this year, but he was hardly vital. The Heels weren't winning because of the boost they got from Bullock, who is their best 3-point shooter. Fortunately (or unfortunately), UNC is not a 3-point shooting team. The Heels make just 32 percent of their long balls, sinking 49.5 percent of their twos. That's not even 100th-best in the nation.

The group has rallied from early-season stumbles and firmly implanted itself in the 2 spot in the ACC because of its terrific defense and upgrade at point guard.

If Bullock was a starter and more impactful on the defensive end, I might say this is something like Marcus Ginyard's injury from a few years ago. Ginyard was Roy Williams' best player without the ball, and his absence altered the identity of the team.

But Bullock doesn't do that, not yet. UNC can still receive solid outside shooting from sophomore Leslie McDonald, and the interior with Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and John Henson was always going to be where checks needed to be cashed. North Carolina's done a fairly good job of spreading the ball around, and Kendall Marshall's point guard play will ensure that distribution continues.

Plus, you could ask: Is a smaller rotation good at this time of year? Some prefer it. No one prefers an injury by means of getting there. Bullock's the kind of player who will rise and rise throughout his career, ultimately becoming a key guy by his senior season. But he's not that now, and the Heels should still be able to win despite his absence.

Photo: AP

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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