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Tag:Baylor
Posted on: January 21, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 4:53 pm
 

Missouri proves itself as legit in Waco

The most unlikely great team in college hoops keeps winning. Missouri is 18-1. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

No one had Missouri winning in Waco. 

It appeared to be the ultimate mismatch. Mizzou's lack of size and depth on the road against the endless length and big bodies that reside in Scott Drew's program. 

Missouri's non-conference body of work had been questioned. Then the diminutive and short-handed Tigers went on the road and got smacked in Manhattan by Kansas State a couple weeks ago. 

There were those -- myself included -- who needed to see more from Frank Haith's club. 

This is a team that has one legitimate post player in Ricardo Ratliffe. Haith had no option but to utilize Kim English -- a perimeter player -- on the inside as the power forward. 

The rebounding margin could be embarrassing against the Big Bad Baylor Bears. 

It was. For Drew & Co. 

Missouri actually won the battle on the glass on Saturday afternoon -- and held off Baylor in Waco on Saturday, giving the Tigers the inside track -- along Kansas -- for the Big 12 title. 

Haith's Tigers are now 18-1 with the lone loss coming at K-State. This team just dispatched of the third-ranked team in the nation on its home court, arguably the most impressive victory for any team this season. 

Missouri will host Kansas on Feb. 4 and then face the Jayhawks in Lawrence on Feb. 25. 

Those two games could determine the Big 12 crown and also whether Missouri can earn a No. 1 seed come March. 

Ratliffe was a man in the paint and pint-sized and jet-quick point guard Phil Pressey controlled the tempo, make life easier for his teammates and created havoc for Baylor's ball-handlers. On the "flip" side, Perry Jones III was a no-show for virtually the entire game while freshman Quincy Miller kept Baylor in the game. 

The final score, 89-88, wasn't indicative of how Missouri controlled this game. It was Mizzou dominance. On the perimeter, in the paint. Just about everywhere.

It's about time we started taking this team seriously. Yes, as a Final Four contender. 


Category: NCAAB
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 18, 2012 10:02 am
 

Podcast: Burning down the house

By Matt Norlander

The hump day pod has the normal dynamic duo of Parrish and Goodman on again, but this one's different from others in that, we're not as jump-to-different-topic-minded. The discussion is very conversational, and we sort of get to stretch out on a few big, mainstream points in hoops right now.

Goodman did this from the terminal of an airport, but fortunately the intercom system doesn't interject too much. He also did this on about 13 hours of sleep in four days. Trooper, that guy.

Speaking of troopers, the police -- well, just get to listening to the podcast to find out.

Topics:
  • From the beginning: Watch out. You might get what you're after ... Gary's house almost burned down. So that's going to take a few minutes.
  • 8:25: Baylor-Kansas, though we're 36 hours removed, gets first dibs on hoops topics. This is an elongated discussion that goes a few different places. "I'm not sold on this Baylor team being a Final Four-caliber team," Goodman says.
  • 20:22: Thought we discussed UNC plenty on the Monday podcast with Borzello, Goodman in particular wanted his chance to address everything regarding "soft" North Carolina right now. Again, we hit a number of tentacles on this beast.
  • 31:41: The conversation shift to Syracuse, who deserves some of our time, no doubt. We get into them. I think they're going to the Final Four, barring something pretty shocking. My confidence is that high.

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 16, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:54 pm
 

Kansas to be taken seriously after Baylor win

By Jeff Goodman

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- There were those prepared to anoint Baylor as a national championship contender if Scott Drew's Bears could remain undefeated with a victory at Phog Allen. 

This was the ultimate test for a team that had beaten Kansas State in Manhattan and waltzed into Lawrence with a 18-0 mark. Instead, it was Bill Self's Kansas squad, one that was basically written off as a Final Four contender after a loss to Davidson down the road in Kansas City, that showed it may have a shot to do something come March. 

Self has, at the moment, the nation's top player in Thomas Robinson. Unlike earlier in the season when he forced the issue and attempted to do too much in a loss to Kentucky, the 6-foot-9 sophomore was spectacular against a Baylor frontline that is as deep and talented as any that doesn't reside in Lexington, Ky.

But the difference on Monday night was the play of senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. 

Taylor has been an enigma throughout his entire career, but he was fearless in Monday night's 92-74 victory, knocking down clutch 3-pointers and also attacking the Bears big men with determination. 

Robinson finished with 27. Taylor did him one better, scoring 28 points, while three other Jayhawks -- Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson -- all finished in double-figures. 

There's no shame in losing at Phog Allen. It's a brutal place to play, right there with Cameron and Rupp. It happens to just about everyone -- and fourth-ranked Baylor became the latest victim. 

However, the concern with the Bears is toughness - or lack thereof. And Drew's team didn't show itself all that well in that regard. Kansas imposed its will on Baylor, dominating the Bears on the glass and scoring virtually at will on a porous defense. Perry Jones III, along with most of his teammates, pulled a disappearing act after the first 15 minutes of the game. 

Baylor has fallen and now just two unbeaten teams remain: Syracuse and Murray State. 

Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:06 pm
 

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

By Jeff Borzello

Is it time to take Baylor seriously?

Like that seriously? Like Final Four, national champion seriously? As seriously as we take Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse?

Those four teams have separated themselves as something of an elite quartet this season, the four best teams in the country. After Baylor’s 75-73 win at Kansas State on Tuesday night, though, it might be time to add another team to that group.

The Bears went into Bramlage Coliseum and knocked off a Wildcats team that was coming off a 16-point throttling of previously unbeaten Missouri. They shot 53.7 percent from the field, forced 19 turnovers and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds. Heading into the game, Kansas State was allowing 0.87 points per possession; Baylor scored 1.10 per trip.

Even more impressive, the Bears did it with basically everyone in foul trouble. Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller, A.J. Walton and Pierre Jackson all had four fouls, forcing head coach Scott Drew to go with some makeshift lineups down the stretch.

From a pure talent standpoint, not many teams can compete with Baylor. Miller and Jones are future lottery picks, and Acy is an athletic forward who makes plays at both ends. In the backcourt, Walton is an aggressive defender, while Jackson is an explosive guard who is a tremendous playmaker when under control. Brady Heslip has provided a consistent perimeter option from 3-point range.

There’s plenty of depth, too. Anthony Jones is one of the more versatile players in the Big 12, and Cory Jefferson has had his moments inside. Deuce Bello is a freak athlete, while California transfer Gary Franklin provides a scoring boost.

The personnel is all there.

With its length and athleticism, Baylor is a nightmare to face on the defensive end. As they showed against Kansas State, the Bears can force turnovers in the man-to-man. It’s difficult to score inside against Baylor because of the size it has down low, and they don’t foul very often (despite the troubles against the Wildcats).

So why don’t people believe in Baylor?

For one, it’s hard to trust Jackson or Walton on a consistent basis at the point guard position. Both players have trouble taking care of the ball, and have a tendency to play out of control at times.

Offensive efficiency in the halfcourt has crept up as a potential weakness as well. While Jones is one of the most talented players in the country, he doesn’t always assert himself on the offensive end. Heslip and Jackson have been the only guys knocking down 3-point shots so far this season.

And the issue of coaching also hovers over the team; can Drew win a big game? He led Baylor to the Elite Eight in 2010, but many people still look at him as a guy who just stockpiles talent and isn’t the X’s and O’s coach that some of the other elite head men in the country.

This season, though, every team has problems. Even Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.

It shouldn’t stop Baylor from joining that group. The Bears are elite.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:12 pm
 

Tuesday polls: Not just for New Hampshire

By Matt Norlander

Today is quite the big day for you to cast your vote. No, I'm not talking about the New Hampshire primary (though the political geek in me is anxious to steal some viewing of that tonight while navigating a very nice Super Tuesday lineup). If you missed the debut last week, through the end of the season, we'll be letting you have your voice represented on TV. We've got this weekly poll with a spread of games.

So get to clicking and sharing the word.

You can see the results of this week's voting on "Courtside with Seth Davis" (Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). This is the second installment. We thank you again for making the time to swing by our abode every day. Let's hear it.



Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:22 am
 

Night Court: UVA reps for hoops on Bowl Monday



By
Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Alright, so we didn’t have anything that matched Oregon vs. Wisconsin or Oklahoma State vs. Stanford, but Virginia holding off LSU down the stretch wasn’t too bad. The Cavaliers needed two late free throws from Mike Scott to get the 57-52 win over a Tigers team that had defeated Marquette and was on a seven-game winning streak. Virginia improved to 13-1 on the season; Monday night’s win was its 11th in a row.

Win to brag about: Despite turning the ball over 31 times, Robert Morris went into Ohio and knocked off the Bobcats, 70-67. Ohio had won nine in a row heading into the game, including wins at Marshall and Northern Iowa. The Bobcats’ only previous loss had been to Louisville. The Northeast Conference should be very competitive at the top this season, but Andy Toole’s Colonials might be the favorite.

Loss to hide from: Wake Forest was without leading scorer C.J. Harris, but that’s no excuse for losing 56-52 at home to Wofford. The Terriers had lost four starters from last season and already had losses to High Points and UMKC this season. Travis McKie had 25 points and six rebounds for Wake Forest, but Wofford’s Brad Loesing countered with 17 points – and a win.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel went for the first triple-double in school history in a 67-41 win over Bethune-Cookman. The senior forward had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks. Gabriel shot 11-for-13 from the field and also pitched in with three assists and four steals for good measure.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: In order to beat No. 5 Baylor on the road on Monday night, Texas A&M needed all the offense it could get. Instead, leading scorer Khris Middleton shot just 4-for-17 from the field and also turned it over four times en route to a 61-52 loss. The team as a whole shot below 29 percent from the field and scored just 17 points in the first half, but Middleton’s struggles set the tone. Perry Jones’ 14 points and 12 rebounds paced Baylor.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 16.4: That’s how many points per game Jamal Wilson was averaging before Rhode Island kicked him off the team. The Rams are 2-0 since dismissing him, including a double-overtime win at Boston College on Monday.
  • 10: Georgia State has now won a school-record 10 straight games after beating Drexel by 14 on Monday. The Panthers are one of the biggest surprises in the CAA.
  • 12: That’s how many consecutive points Miami’s Shane Larkin scored against UNC-Greensboro. And he did it in 1:27. The Hurricanes won, 99-89, behind 30 points and 12 boards from Kenny Kadji. Trevis Simpson had 36 for UNCG. 

Three other notable results:

  1. VCU further showed why it is the CAA favorite heading into the final two months, beating Hofstra on the road, 80-63.
  2. Long Beach State kicked off Big West play with a 74-60 win over UC-Irvine. The 49ers can’t afford more than one or two losses if they harbor even remote at-large hopes.
  3. Vanderbilt made just two of its first 14 shots, but the Commodores bounced back to beat Miami (Ohio), 69-62. 

Notes:

  • UC Santa Barbara’s Orlando Johnson hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left to give the Gauchos a 58-57 win over Cal Poly. UCSB head coach Bob Williams is now the winningest coach in school history.
  • Vermont and Stony Brook could be the two best teams in the America East. On Monday, Stony Brook landed the first punch, knocking off the Catamounts.
  • In other America East action, Gerardo Suero had 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Albany in its win over Hartford.
  • VMI’s Stan Okoye had one of the best all-around lines of the night: 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, four steals.
  • Campbell stayed undefeated in the Big South, beating previously-unbeaten Coastal Carolina in overtime, 70-65. The Chanticleers didn’t hit a field goal in the extra session.
  • Keith Rendleman racked up 24 points and 18 rebounds to lead UNC-Wilmington to a win over Delaware. The two teams combined for just two turnovers in the second half.

On tap: The competition picks up a little bit on Tuesday. The game of the night features Michigan State putting its 13-game winning streak on the line at Wisconsin. Two of the best big men in the Big East will battle when Seton Hall’s Herb Pope takes on Connecticut’s Andre Drummond. I will be in attendance for that one. Missouri also puts its undefeated record to the rest against Oklahoma in the Big 12 opener.

Photo: AP

Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:26 pm
 

Podcast: College hoops road trip!

By Matt Norlander

The cross-country American road trip. A staple of how our nation's citizens and families find unfamiliar ways to bond -- and loathe. Rob Dauster and Troy Machir, the fellas who run Ballin' is a Habit, will embark on a three-week gallivant from D.C. to Indiana to Missouri to Wisconsin to Kansas to Utah and about six other states as well.

It's the BIAH Road Trip, and good God am I jealous. Rob and Troy will traverse across the country and catch more than a dozen games in January. Historic buildings and tiny gyms. It's going to be epic -- how could it not? And so I brought them on the podcast in advance of their departure later this week.

Help the guys out and donate them a few dollars. To track their travels in real-time, follow Rob and Troy on Twitter. Let's get to the podcast.

Mapping it out:
  • From the beginning: All the teams, states, arenas and details of the trip. I'd break down individual conversations, but hearing them go through this trip is great. They're prepared ... but not totally.
  • 13:50: The venue they're most looking forward to seeing.
  • 20:18: Getting to hoops talk. Primarily, Indiana.
  • 22:39: Ironic that the "let's talk about Indiana more" has led to further shadowing of two-loss Michigan State. Classic Izzo.
  • 24:42: Who's that over there? ... Ah! It's No. 4 Duke. Sneaky little kids.
  • 26:30: I ask Rob which team he thinks has been the most overshadowed, and you can hear him typing on his laptop to prepare a response. Hahaha.
  • 29:35: Podcast gets closed up with a few lingering storylines and how these two will entertain themselves by spending days upon days in a car. They're going to get very familiar with each other.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.


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