Tag:Big East
Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 5:06 pm

Marquette may be more formidable this season

By Jeff Goodman

Marquette lost an NBA player yet Buzz Williams' team may be improved from a year ago.

There's certainly more quality depth than there was a year ago - or at any point since he inherited the reigns from Tom Crean. Darius Johnson-Odom is a year older and while Jae Crowder may not be Jimmy Butler or Lazar Hayward (a pair of first-rounders over the past two seasons), his production could exceed both.

Crowder, through five games, is putting up 17.8 points and 8 boards per game.

"He's a really good player, is extremely intelligent and instinctive," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.

DJO and Crowder are a potent 1-2 punch, but the difference in this year's team is the maturity of sophomore guard Vander Blue, the presence of a true floor leader (Junior Cadougan, right) and the addition of a potent scorer off the bench (Todd Mayo)

Blue is averaging 12.2 points per game, Cadougan is a significant upgrade over Dwight Buycks at the point guard position and Mayo -- O.J.'s little brother -- is averaging 7.8 points in just 16.6 minutes.

"Dwight helped us win a lot of games, but Junior is a different type of player," Williams said. "He delivers the ball on time and on target."

Cadougan is a true point guard who makes life easier for those around him - and he's finally in shape.

It took Cadougan a while to work his way back from an injury he suffered as a freshman, but he's down to 200 pounds and Williams says he's in the best shape that he's ever seen him. Part of that can be attributed to a contest that Williams posed to Cadougan and rotund big man Davante Gardner. Williams has gone from 233 to a rather svelte 197 pounds and Gardner dropped 27 pounds prior to the start of practice.

"I did it selfishly. I had to turn it into a contest to make me accountable," Williams laughed. "But they weren't going to beat me. I wasn't going to let that happen."

True, the schedule hasn't been taxing. It began with Mount St. Mary's, has included Winthrop, Norfolk State twice and also featured a 30-point pasting on Ole Miss.

However, that'll change soon. Marquette plays at Wisconsin and in New York against Washington in the next 10 days - and will host Vanderbilt late in December when the Commodores are expected to have a healthy Festus Ezeli.

It's difficult to question a Williams-coached team. The constant? They play hard each and every possession. Williams has led Marquette to 69 victories in his first three seasons and a trio of NCAA tournament appearances - including a Sweet 16 berth last year.

Just to compare, Crean won 56 games his first three years and went to the NCAA tournament once. Hall of Famer Al McGuire, who won a national title at the school in 1977, won 43 games his first three seasons at Marquette.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:32 pm

Syracuse Chancellor vocalizes support for Boeheim

By Matt Norlander

Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor has been thorough, direct, abrupt and unafraid to address the Bernie Fine case at Syracuse since it first broke nearly two weeks ago.

Now Cantor has put her support of Orange coach Jim Boeheim out to the public, albeit briefly and not with undeniable definition. She did so Tuesday afternoon. From the AP:

"Cantor emerged from an economic development conference with state officials and said: 'He is our coach.' Some commentators and sex abuse victims' advocates have said Boeheim should resign in the wake of allegations that Bernie Fine had molested three boys, including two Syracuse ballboys."

Here's the story on the sexual abuse support group calling for Boeheim's firing. The calls for Boeheim's job stem from the fact he was defiant in calling Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, the first Fine accusers, "liars" who were after a "money grab."

Boeheim expressed regret over those initial statements Sunday night, once a third accuser and a phone recording claimed by ESPN to be that of Laurie Fine, Bernie's wife, surfaced. Fine was fired by the university Sunday.

Photo: AP
Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:32 pm

Former PD Chief/Syracuse player had info on Fine

By Matt Norlander

CBSSports.com Syracuse Rapid Reporter Thomas Casale checks in from the Salt City with the following:

"Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said former chief Dennis DuVal knew about sexual abuse allegations against Bernie Fine back in [May or June] 2002.

'The Syracuse Police chief at that time, Dennis DuVal, was made aware of the allegations against Bernie Fine. Due to the fact that no investigation was started, detectives didn’t prepare any formal reports.'"

Yeah, that's huge. And possibly very, very corrupt. What makes it so frustrating -- and seemingly wrong -- is DuVal played at Syracuse from 1972 to 1974. It looks like he may have protected Fine by way of inaction.

The Post-Standard has also been on this story, and been doing great work every day since it broke, and it has more.
DuVal, who played for SU from 1972 to 1974, refused to answer any questions Monday when contacted by a Post-Standard reporter. He wouldn’t say whether he was aware of the accusations in 2002, nor whether he’d talked to any law enforcement offcials in the past two weeks, when Davis’ allegations became public. When he reached by phone Monday, DuVal said, "I’m not going to talk to you about it. I hope you respect that. It’s been a long time. I’m not going to get into a discussion about that. Not gonna happen."
No denial, just cowering. Not a good look for him, for Fine, for the Syracuse City Police that was run under him earlier last decade. It should be noted: DuVal left the program two years before Fine officially became an assistant under Jim Boeheim. DuVal retired from the SUPD in 2004.

The Onondaga County District Attorney's Office is currently looking into any past history with this case and what was reported to police -- even if that information didn't go beyond that. This is a relatively large, new piece of information that Fowler is coming forth with.

"[Detective Doug] Fox notified his supervisor in the Abused Persons Unit and it was decided that unless the victim met with the detective or the victim was able to provide names of other victims, then an investigation would not be initiated," Fowler said in his statement. "The Syracuse Police chief at that time, Dennis DuVal, was made aware of the allegations against Bernie Fine. Due to the fact that no investigation was started, Det. Fox did not prepare any formal reports."

There are more details that Fowler came forth with, and again, the Post-Standard lays them out for you, including the anecdote that Davis did not tell Det. Fox that it was Fine who abused him. The story has a lot of gray area, still, in terms of who knew what when and how up front everyone was with the information. It's beginning to look like this case will never be able to get tied down in each area where questions remain.

Photo via Post-Standard
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:00 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 9:08 am

Podcast: Examining new info with the Fine story

By Matt Norlander

Associate basketball head coach Bernie Fine was fired by Syracuse Sunday after a third victim came forward and alleged he'd been sexually molested by Fine.

Now plenty want Jim Boeheim gone too, after his initial statements dismissed any allegations, calling the alleged victims "liars" out for a payday. USA Today reporter Nicole Auerbach -- who covered the Penn State story recently -- comes on the podcast to discuss the latest with what's happening at Syracuse.

It's Nicole's first appearance, and we don't spend the whole time talking Syracuse. You want to hear about hoops on the court? We cover that, too. Carolina, UConn lost, and that's addressed, plus the big week ahead, driven by the huge UNC-UK game Saturday and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge Tuesday and Wednesday.

The rundown:
  • From the beginning: We get to the Syracuse stuff right away, and it takes up the first 40 percent of the podcast. Nicole and I discuss how it is similar and different (from a news perspective and how we react and cover) to the Penn State story, which Nicole was in the middle of earlier this month.
  • 13:50: Per usual with first-time guests, I let Nicole tell us how she got to where she is, and what she does. She's a fast-riser on Twitter, primarily because she has the info before anyone else on the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
  • 17:36: That UNC loss to UNLV, the story that would be the huge college basketball story today if not for the Fine saga.
  • 21:42: What happens if UNC is a three-loss team by Saturday night? Could happen.
  • 22:23: Nicole's biggest takeaways from the first three weeks of the season.
  • 26:02: Duke talk. All you need to know.
  • 27:19: It's at this point I throw Borzello under the bus. The rest of it is wrap-up talk and some niceties, which you know is uncommon on the podcast. But when girls come around, we tend to clean the place up.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts go up here and on iTunes. The Wednesday show is dedicated to keeping the egos of CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish inflated. Mondays and Fridays are for the real people to come on. Here's the iTunes link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. If you're still going strong and hanging on to a Zune, then, yes, you can listen on that as well.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:00 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 10:08 pm

Video: Fine's third accuser

By Matt Norlander

Another revealing television interview has surfaced in the Bernie Fine case. Zach Thomaselli, 23, became publicly known Sunday morning. He is now considered the third accuser against Fine. Thomaselli was interviewed on camera Sunday by Sarah Delage, a reporter with NBC affiliate WCSH, in Lewiston, Maine.

In the video report below, Thomaselli recalls when he was allegedly sexually molested by Fine nearly a decade ago, and how it's led to him having an inappropriate relationship with younger people (Thomaselli has been charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy). He also claims his father sexually molested him before Fine ever did -- and that's why he didn't stop Fine when the coach allegedly made his advances on him.

Thomaselli's father, Fred, is interviewed by phone in the video and he denies his son's claims -- both that he sexually abused him, and that Fine did.

This story and case is quickly becoming as convoluted as the drama that spooled out at Penn State less than a month ago. Sunday night, less than 12 hours after Thomaselli's claims became public, Bernie Fine was fired by Syracuse.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 2:52 pm

Audio, third accuser surface in Bernie Fine case

By Jeff Goodman

UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.: Syracuse University tweeted out the following Sunday afternoon: "In light of new developments, we'd like to reassure you that SU is committed to getting to the truth in the Bernie Fine situation. We hold everyone in our community to high standards and we don't tolerate illegal, abusive, or unethical behavior - no matter who you are."

The evidence seems to be mounting against Syracuse associate head coach Bernie Fine.

The most recent news in the sexual molestation case against Fine is a recorded call back in 2002 between Bobby Davis - one of the alleged victims - and Fine's wife - and also a third accuser who has come forward.

Davis and his step-brother, Mike Lang, have said they were both molested by Fine -- the long-time assistant of Jim Boeheim.

ESPN hired an independent voice-recognition analyst to confirm that the voice on the tape matched that of Fine's wife, Laurie Fine.

On the call, Davis talks with Laurie Fine -- and much of their conversation includes fairly graphic details.

"I know everything that went on, you know," Laurie Fine said on the call, obtained by Outside the Lines from Davis. "I know everything that went on with him ... Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted ... "

"Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind.

Davis also said he had sex with Laurie Fine when he was an 18-year-old senior in high school.

"The issue at hand is he had no business doing what he did with you," Laurie Fine said to Davis on the call. "You know what, neither did I because I really helped screw you up a little more, too."

In addition to the audio of the phone call, The Syracuse Post-Standard also reported that there is a third accuser, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, who told police that he was sexual abused when he was 13 years old back in 2002 at a Pittsburgh hotel room.

Tomaselli was interviewed by police earlier this week, just days prior to a search warrant to search Fine's home was issued.

Tomaselli is facing sexual assault charges involving a 14-year-old boy. His estranged father also has called his son a liar in regard to his son's claims against Fine.
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 25, 2011 8:47 pm

Joseph shows he can be Orange's go-to-guy

By Jeff Borzello

NEW YORK – Syracuse was in trouble, and it was searching for help.

After an Anthony Brown dunk put Stanford up by seven with fewer than seven minutes remaining, the Orange looked lost.

In their previous three plays, Scoop Jardine threw an ill-advised alley-oop pass in traffic; Dion Waiters pulled up from 3 with 30 seconds left on the shot clock; and Jardine threw a pass that hit Kris Joseph in the back of the head. The Orange needed someone to take the reins, and no one seemed capable of filling that void.

In stepped Kris Joseph.

The senior forward hit a tough fadeaway jumper, and then made two lay-ups after Stanford turnovers. A 3-pointer from the wing capped nine straight Syracuse points for Joseph, bringing Syracuse to within four.

Down by one, Joseph banked in a baseline jumper to give Syracuse a lead it would never relinquish. He also had the game-clinching steal and free throw in the final 22 seconds.

“It’s all about heart at that point, in the last six minutes of the game,” Joseph said after the game.

Heading into the season, most looked at Syracuse’s balance and plethora of offensive options as a strength. While it is an advantage in most cases, when Stanford had all the momentum in the second half, the Orange needed someone to step forward. Jardine tried, Waiters tried and Brandon Triche was inconsistent.

Moreover, Joseph was invisible for most of the contest, shooting 3-for-11 before his late-game performance.

“We tried to contain him, limit his touches,” Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “He hit tough shots. He finished plays around the basket through contact, as good as any young man I’ve seen.”

Joseph, who scored 20 points in the semis and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in the championship game, won Most Outstanding Player of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

“He did the things we needed him to do,” head coach Jim Boeheim said.

Syracuse didn’t look like an elite team for its two games in New York this week. The Orange struggled offensively in both games, which were way more competitive than expected. They turned the ball over too much, and they didn’t assert their size effectively on the glass or in the paint.

Without Joseph stepping up in the final few minutes, Syracuse would have left New York with a loss to a Stanford team that isn’t projected to be a Pac-12 contender. People are already questioning the power of the Big East this season, and a loss by the Orange would have cemented most of those thoughts.

In order for Syracuse to be an elite team with Final Four aspirations, Joseph needs to be the team’s go-to-guy on a more consistent basis. He disappears for stretches, and doesn’t always look like he wants to be the star.

“I don’t think he’s close to in shape, but he’s a very good player,” Boeheim said. “I envision him getting better as he goes along.”

Syracuse has plenty of scorers and players who can make an impact at various points in the game. However, during end-clock or end-game situations, the Orange need someone to step up.

On Friday, Joseph proved he could be that guy.

Photo: US Presswire

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