Tag:Big TEn
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:36 pm
 

Podcast: Seth Davis shares how he discovered CBB

Jordan Taylor's having a down year, but are there six better players in the Big Ten than him? Seth says yes. (AP)

By Matt Norlander


One of CBS' premier college basketball analysts joins me again. Seth Davis is preparing to basically spend the next month sleeping at CBS headquarters, as he'll be providing insight and analysis for the network. So before he hunkers down, it was time to get him back on the pod. We've our disagreements on the RPI's legitimacy -- and on Jordan Taylor's value and his season so far. .

Audio menu:
  • From the beginning: Treadmill tips. Yeah, I kind of get this thing off to a rousing start, let me tell you.
  • 2:52: OK, hoops. Duke is the first topic. Why does the perception of this team fluctuate so much over the course of three months?
  • 9:00: Seth is down on Jordan Taylor. I am not. Let's talk about it.
  • 13:22: Might as well get into the RPI and let Seth have one more lobbying session for it. This is pretty civil, all things considered. I'm actually proud of myself for not letting this devolve into a 30-minute back-and-forth, which is what I did with myself in the mirror this morning. Day's getting better.
  • 20:56: The refs suck, by the way. Actually, they don't. But everyone thinks so. Let's clear that up and remind people why Teddy Valentine isn't such a bad dude.
  • 27:13: Why is the Player of the Year race a two-man one with Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson? Doesn't Draymond Green deserve to be at that table?
  • 30:00: NATE WOLTERS ALERT.
  • 30:37: The pod wraps up with some of our stories of how Seth and I got into college hoops when we were young.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. 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: February 21, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:07 pm
 

Slip into the poll booth once again

By Matt Norlander

We're back again with our weekly Tuesday poll and we want you to click through and let us know who you're picking for this week's marquee games. All of these games will be discussed on CBS Sports Network programming this week, airing on Wednesday night's edition of "Courtside with Seth Davis" at 7 p.m. ET, then against on Inside College Basketball (Wednesday night/Thursday morning at midnight)

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.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:07 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:10 am
 

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

By Jeff Goodman

Bill Carmody scoffed at the notion. 

"Please. C'mon," Northwestern's head coach said on Monday's Big Ten conference call when posed the question whether Tuesday's home contest against Michigan is the most important game in the program's history. 

But it would wind up being just that if the Wildcats are to pull off the victory and use the win to catapult the team into the NCAA tournament for the first time. 

Ever. 

A win would put the Wildcats at 17-10 overall and 7-8 in Big Ten play with three games remaining. 

"It's an important game," Carmody admitted. "You have four left and if you win a few, you're in the discussion. But if we lose this one, you're not out of it." 

Maybe not, but it would be difficult at three games under the .500 mark in league play. Two winnable road contests remain -- at Penn State this weekend and then on March 3 at Iowa. A home date against Ohio State is sandwiched in-between. 

You'd likely be looking at running the table in those three -- which just isn't all that realistic. 

Let's face it: This may be Carmody's last shot at getting to the Big Dance since the school's all-time leading scorer, John Shurna, will graduate after this season. Carmody has gotten this program close each of the last three seasons, but the Wildcats have been forced to settle for an NIT berth each year. 

The bubble if dreadful this season -- and a .500 mark in the Big Ten, along with wins against Michigan State and tomorrow night against Michigan, could be enough. 

Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:19 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:41 pm
 

OSU probably cost itself a one seed with loss

Trey Burke takes it to the rim against Aaron Craft, something he did often Saturday night. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

The good news for Ohio State is, the NCAA tournament isn't played on the road. The bad: they're not likely to be a one seed when they enter the Big Bracket.

OSU fell to 22-5 Saturday night -- all five of those scratches coming in road games -- when Columbus-bred superstar Michigan freshman Trey Burke cataylzed a 56-51 Buckeyes knock-off in Ann Arbor thanks to a couple of ridiculously tough floating layups in the final minute. Michigan's ascendance and Burke's superb year is another story for another time, perhaps even a post for tomorrow. What a nice home win for them tonight, one that should cement Michigan, at worst, as a five seed.

Ohio State's stumble is the bigger story, though. There's plenty of flux around college basketball's soft bubble right now. Teams like Southern Miss, Illinois, Connecticut, Mississippi State and North Carolina State are giving away games like flowers at a funeral. It's bad over there, but uncertainty abounds elsewhere, too.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ohio State's gotten wobbly on the one line. It's behind Michigan State now, clearly, and Kansas, UNC and Duke (in that order) are starting to cluster with the Buckeyes. Where they fall in the S-curve is a discussion we're better off waiting for until the end of Sunday's games, but in no way does OSU look like or deserve a one seed as of tonight. Additionally, OSU's 10-4 record and head-to-head loss against the Spartans (rematch coming on March 4 season finale -- in East Lansing) means Tom Izzo's team can take command of the conference if it can win at 17-9 Purdue on Sunday.

Ohio State never had the lead against Michigan, so it goes without saying -- yet here I am, saying it -- that the Buckeyes lacked a dominant look Saturday night. It's something that's been evident with this team ever since I wrote this. Many writers are quick to link back to work that makes them look good. Me? I'm an idiot, as many a commenter on this site has attested to. That link there is the latest example, as a reminder. Though I will follow that up by saying I hedged my bet in the post by stating OSU had to have wins over MSU and Michigan to remain in UK's class. Obviously, the test was failed and Kentucky looks leaps better than Thad Matta's team as of now.

The Buckeyes are still an extremely good team (still the best statistical defense against a decent schedule), but recent results and patterns of play suggest they aren't a great one. It's going to take a table run in the regular season and, minimally, a Big Ten title game appearance against someone who isn't Michigan State in order for OSU to earn the right to the one seed back.

It's clear this team lacks the depth, weapons and foul discipline it had a year ago. Only now is it catching up to them nationally.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:41 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 12:39 am
 

Night Court: Bubbles, upsets & BracketBusters



By Jeff Borzello and Matt Norlander

We broke down every bubble game as the day went on, over at the Poppin' Bubbles page. For all the analysis and ramifications of the bubble's winners and losers, check it there. We'll recap all the non-bubble things here. 

Game of the Night: Everyone knew that Long Beach State vs. Creighton would be filled with plenty of offense and two teams that really wanted to prove themselves on national television. It certainly didn't disappoint -- what a game. LBSU was in control for most of the game, leading by as many as 10 points in the second half. However, Doug McDermott and Creighton kept coming and kept coming. A missed layup by Casper Ware and a turnover allowed Creighton to get the last shot. Antoine Young took advantage, and -- well, I'll let the video above tell the rest of the story. 

Game of the Night, Vol. 2:
Dayton. Xavier. City rivals. Both desperate for a bubble win. The game lived up to the drama, with the two teams going back and forth for 40 minutes -- and then an extra five after Dayton's Kevin Dillard made a layup with 1.2 seconds left to tie the game. Tu Holloway controlled the overtime, reverting to the clutch form he showed during Xavier's 8-0 start to the season. If he continues to play like that, might the Musketeers regain their magic? 

Game of the Day: 
Kansas State, perhaps you’ll no longer be underrated. That was the case at the mock selection meetings this week in Indianapolis. The Wildcats were placed into the 8/9 game, and now they’re certainly on the seven line at worst after beating Baylor 57-56 in Waco.

New Mexico, best of the West?: New Mexico, I’ve praised you in recent Power Pyramids, and now I’m fully in love with what the Lobos are capable of. They didn't mess around against UNLV, winning at home 65-45 and taking full control of the Mountain West chase. I've seen a lot of people mention the fact they liked New Mexico at the start of the season. I actually didn't. I came around on them soon, but didn't think they'd be this good. UNLV's a really nice team; the Lobos made them look like Air Force this afternoon at The Pit. 

Michigan, darkhorse Big Ten contender?: With Michigan beating Ohio State at home on Saturday night, the Wolverines could be a potential sleeper in the Big Ten title race. They are only a half-game back of Michigan State in the standings, and are now tied with Ohio State for second place. They also don't play any of the contenders the rest of the way. 

Murray State shows out: Saint Mary's has now lost three of its last four, but Murray State dominated the Gaels from the opening tip and showed that it's still a threat to win at least a game or two in the NCAA tournament. The Racers played tremendous defense all night, and got timely baskets from Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole. 

Rough day for Conference-USAUTEP gets its first road win of the season. Where does it come? FedEx Forum. Memphis sticks a hot dagger right into its foot with a 60-58 loss to the .500 Miners. Conference USA can be a two-bid league, but only if Memphis takes the auto bid and Southern Miss keeps winning until the semis or finals of the conference championship game. No time for duds for Josh Pastner’s team, especially at home against middling foes. That wasn't the only problem for the league. Southern Miss went into Houston and dropped one to the Cougars. Now there's very little separation at the top of the standings -- and that could limit the number of bids from the league.

No soup for you, personally: Perry Jones III. Had four points, four rebounds and fouled out. I’ve recently talked to a few former players who think PJ3 is the real deal. He isn’t showing it, and I’ve never actually seen it. This isn’t just Scott Drew, either (plenty want to criticize his coaching of this talented team). Jones lacks semblance of urgency, anger and pride on the floor. He seems likely to be a big factor in costing Baylor a game in March.

Saturday all-stars

  1. Wichita State is the truth and Joe Ragland is among the best “mid-major” players in the country. The guard who’s shorter than half the guys in your social circle is one of the most efficient shooters in the nation. He put up 30 and seven rebounds in a 91-74 road win against a more-than-decent Davidson team. Shockers were a four seed in the mock selection process. They can easily get that if they win the Valley tournament.
  2. Drew Gordon had 27 points and 20 rebounds, officially. (One UNLV beat writer is shooting down that 20-boards stat). For as much as I’ve been pushing UNM this season, I’ve said they won’t go next level until Gordon plays to his talent. He did that today. UNLV was playing in mud and Gordon did what he wanted. Can be a difference-maker in the tournament, certainly.
  3. Nate Wolters led South Dakota State to a BracketBusters beatdown on Buffalo, taking out the Bulls 86-65. Wolters had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds. #NatersGonnaNate
  4. Jae Crowder with 29 points and 12 rebounds for Marquette in its 79-64 road win at UConn. It’s always been Crowder, not Darius Johnson-Odom, who’s been the most critical piece for the Golden Eagles the past two years.
  5. Keiton Page dropped 40 points in Oklahoma State's win over Texas.
  6. St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson went for 32 points and 13 boards, continuing his dominance outside the nation's watchful eye.
  7. South Dakota's Louie Krogman lost, but 37 points and six assists? Not too bad.

Other action worth your attention

  1. San Diego State lost its second in a row, stumbling on the road at Air Force. Xavier Thames' 3-pointer hit the front rim at the buzzer, and now the Aztecs are out of the Mountain West title hunt.
  2. It was almost pretty bad, and certainly a seed line sacrifice for Louisville in Chicago this afternoon. The Cardinals needed overtime — and were sort of luck to get there — to take out DePaul, 90-82. my attention, which isn’t the case with 90 percent of tilts involving ACC teams this year.  
  3. I think one of the two most important wins of the day came in Seattle. Washington earned a season sweep of Arizona, definitively putting UW over U of A when it comes to whether or not either deserves an at-large. (And as of now, I’d say neither.) However, the 79-70 win for the Puppies was one of the best for Lorenzo Romar, as he had 25 come from Terrence Ross and 22 come from Tony Wroten, Jr. Washington can be fun to watch—but they’ve been like this for years, now. Fun, inconsistent. Loves to run, stumbles over itself.
  4. Tennessee’s not that good, but boy was that a big win for Alabama to just stop the bleeding and beat the Vols in Tuscaloosa.
  5. Mercer lost its share of the Atlantic Sun title, Bucknell lost its second straight game in the Patriot, and Harvard grabbed control of the Ivy League. Mississippi Valley State also improved to 14-0 in the SWAC, while Middle Tennessee continued to cruise.
  6. Texas-Arlington ended its 16-game winning streak with a loss at Damian Lillard and Weber State.
  7. What a comeback by Notre Dame. Down by 20 points, the Fighting Irish stormed back against Villanova and won in overtime. Pat Connaughton had 21 points, and Jack Cooley continued his surprising dominance with 18 points and 13 boards.
  8. Iona simply outran Nevada in the second half. The Gaels forced the Wolf Pack to play too fast and made them turn the ball over left and right.
  9. Gonzaga lost to San Francisco for the third consecutive season, as Rashad Green hit a runner with less than three seconds left. Saint Mary's still has control of the WCC standings.
  10. Georgetown beat Providence. Goodman has his reaction to the game.
Delightful (and not-so delightful) thoughts
  • If you think we missed any of the bubble talk, just go to Poppin' Bubbles. Everything is over there.
  • If you want UConn thoughts, we touched on that earlier today.
  • Iowa State is going to coast through the backdoor into the tournament, FYI. The Cylcones won 80-69 over Oklahoma today. The resume keeps getting more cushion. Mildly concerning was Royce White only scoring four points. A lot of variance in his game.
  • Drexel starting to feel like a CAA team on a huge come, but the 69-49 win at Cleveland State was also about the Vikings having the floor fall through their season yet again.
  • Tiny thought. One seeds don’t lose in conference on the road against bad teams. Missouri 71, Texas A&M 62. Kansas kept pace, by steamrolling Texas Tech on the road.
Oh, and the video below is maybe the best buzzer-beater of the day: Pacific's Trevin Harris knocking down a 3 to beat Idaho State. (h/t @bigskybball

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:16 pm
 

Purdue boots Kelsey Barlow, suspends D.J. Byrd

By Jeff Goodman

When D.J. Byrd was arrested for public intoxication, it was expected that the junior wing would be suspended for Sunday's game against Michigan State. Nothing more than that. 

What wasn't anticipated was that teammate Kelsey Barlow would be kicked off the team. 

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we will move forward as a program,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We expect our student-athletes to live up to a high standard, and when their actions become detrimental to the program, there are consequences.”

According to a source, the story goes like this: Barlow left his wallet in a bar last night and couldn't get back into the establishment. He rounded up a few of his buddies -- Byrd included -- and they went back to the bar. There was apparently a verbal exchange and Byrd wound up getting arrested while sticking up for his teammate. He was booked into jail at 3:35 a.m. and released at 8:31 a.m. 

Barlow was under a zero tolerance policy with Painter for several issues in the past -- including one last season that resulted in a suspension from the NCAA tournament.  

The timing couldn't be any worse with Purdue hosting No. 8 Michigan State on Sunday and now being without two starters. The Boilermakers have won two straight and are 17-9 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten play. However, they can ill-afford to slip-up with five regular-season games remaining in order to secure an NCAA tournament bid. 

Byrd has been terrific over the past five games, averaging nearly 17 points per game and making 18-of-34 from beyond the arc. He was 7-of-9 from deep in a close lose in Columbus to Ohio State and finished with 13 points and was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the win over the Illini earlier this week.

Barlow (8.3 ppg) has been erratic throughout his career, an underachiever of sorts who was suspended for the NCAA tournament a year ago. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Weber is the latest coach to stay too long

In his post-game press conference after Wednesday's loss, Illinois head coach Bruce Weber sounded defeated. (US Presswire)

By Gary Parrish


Bruce Weber should've taken the Oklahoma job last year.

I believed it then.

I believe it more than ever now because the Illinois coach lost for the seventh time in eight games Wednesday night when his Illini fell 67-62 at home to Purdue, and afterward Weber sounded like a man who knows the end is near. He publicly questioned his players. He publicly questioned himself. Privately, he must be second-guessing his decision to pass on various job opportunities the past few years -- most recently Oklahoma last March -- because barring a massive turnaround he'll either be fired or forced to resign within a few days of Illinois' final game this season.

Weber stayed at Illinois too long.

It's a mistake too many coaches make in an era when -- unless you're a surebet Hall of Famer like a Boeheim, a Calhoun, a Pitino, a Self, a Donovan, etc., -- you'd be wise to move every six or seven years. Changing jobs revitalizes you and keeps you from growing content. It also keeps you fresh among your fanbase and ensures you're always one step ahead of the so-called posse.

Leave them before they get tired of you.

Leave them before you start to level out or dip.

Rather than do that, Weber gambled that he'd compete for a Big Ten title in his ninth season and advance deep into the NCAA tournament, and that looks like a bad gamble as he sits tied for seventh in the league with a 5-8 record. But here's the truth: It was always a bad gamble because the Illini fans had already turned on Weber, and once that happens it's nearly impossible to turn them back around. Sure, you can hold them off with temporary success. But once fans stop believing you're the future you're always just one bad season away from a pink slip, and Weber is learning that now.

And it's a tough break for a good man.

Weber is genuinely respected by his peers, and my favorite story to prove this comes from last July when I spent three days on the recruiting trail with Michigan State's Tom Izzo. After a long first day of watching games in Indianapolis, Izzo and I had a private plane set to take us to Akron late on that Wednesday night so that we'd be fresh and ready to go first thing Thursday morning at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Weber did not have a private plane. He instead had a 3:45 a.m. wakeup call that would allow him to grab a commercial flight and take a more inconvenient route to the exact same place we were going, and when Izzo heard this he invited Weber to travel with us. Later, I asked Izzo why he offered a lift to Weber considering the plane was in essence an advantage in a recruiting battle for multiple prospects between Michigan State and Illinois. "I wouldn't do it for anybody," Izzo answered. "But if you lose a kid to Bruce you know it wasn't underhanded. You know he's going to do things the right way."

That's the best compliment a coach could ever give a fellow coach.

But that won't be enough to save Weber's job.

He's had recruiting problems at times and coaching issues at others, but right now, more than anything, he seems to have a problem of disconnect. His players have stopped responding to him. His fans have turned on him. The result is that his Illinois tenure is close to ending, and I can't help but think Weber would've been better off ending it a year ago on his own terms by accepting a seven-year contract worth roughly $17 million from a Big 12 school willing to give him a fresh start and clean slate.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:50 pm
 

From 20 Ls to 20 Ws, Indiana's made the big turn

Crean got his first 20-win season in five years tonight. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There are checkmarks to this season (which now seems like, no matter what happens come March, will be one of the most rewarding Tom Crean will ever have) and the most significant one so far came Wednesday night.

The first checkmark, the one no one talks about, was getting out of November with an undefeated record. That was certainly a surprise lost amid the college and pro football and other early-season storylines in college basketball. Then came the Christian Watford 3 to beat Kentucky (still the only loss UK has this season), a dynamite explosion of a shot that’s already considered among the biggest shots in the history of Indiana University basketball. After that, the New Year’s Eve 74-70 home win over Big Ten favorite Ohio State.

Wednesday night brought Crean a 71-66 win over Northwestern, and thus a 20-win season, his first at Indiana in four years. There was  a fuss, a real big fuss, made about the three 20-loss seasons that came before this unprecedented lopsided one in the opposite direction for Crean and his Crimson crew. It came against the perfect opponent, too. Northwestern had caused Crean’s hair to act as a stress doll in years past. His clubs were 1-6 against the Wildcats prior to Wednesday night. Those younger, greener Hoosiers couldn’t defend NU, couldn’t outsmart Bill Carmody’s crew and weren’t good enough to muscle their way past them.

Not Wednesday night. Crean was thrilled with the W not just because it was a win, but because, so many times in a two-hour span, his defense came up with a play to stymie Northwestern’s deceitful attack. And yet the Wildcats were still successful for a large portion of the night. Stopping the slicing backdoor cuts at a 50-percent rate instead of a 65-percent rate is a huge difference against Northwestern. Crean’s team prepared and had enough talent, stamina and discipline to get one of those proud, finally-we-DID-this games, the celebrations and accomplishments that carry more weight in the locker room than with the fan base.

You might think, Oh, it’s just Northwestern. But think about the 1-6 record and the 20-loss seasons and the calls for Crean’s job two years into this tenure. Wins over Kentucky and Ohio State are enthralling and can fly a man home, but it’s because they are expected. Sticking to task and finally — fin-a-lly — winning the way you want to against a team that’s a nightmare of a matchup: just as rewarding.

The Hoosiers came up with answers, but they also came out of the tunnel with Cody Zeller, a component blatantly missing prior to this season. The Indiana freshman who’s playing like one of the five best in the nation had 23 points and seven boards on 9-of-11 shooting in — well isn’t that nice — 30 minutes of play. (There was foul trouble for Zeller, but Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford each contributed 12.)

“It’s the spirit of the defense,” Crean said. "That spirit of the defense and how our attitude has changed."

This team reminds him of his 2005-06 Marquette squad. Crean wears the NCAA tournament watch from that season. It's a simple ticker with a leather strap and gold trim. Without looking closely, you'd never know it was anything special But it's been Crean's reminder this year that he once had a similar team do so much when, initially, little was anticipated. That '05-'06 group was picked to finish 12th in the Big East. Ultimate result? A 10-6 year in the league, a 20-11 record and a seven seed in the tournament. It fell in the first round to Alabama.

This team’s more talented than that group but it’s exceeding expectations just the same.

“[Getting to 20 wins] is not an exclamation point … but it is a bench mark,” he said.

Though it was already going, Indiana essentially locked up a tournament bid Wednesday night. It’s on course to earn a bid that gives it geographic favoritism (reward to the top five seeds in each region) when the bracket is released in less than a month.

It’s a talented group that’s gotten punched in the Big Ten and regressed, somewhat, at some times, to the team it was expected to be this season. More often than not, it’s played beyond that, though. Crean’s coaching himself to a memorable season no matter the outcome.

“We keep getting better. I keep telling people that,” he said.

Many didn’t or still don’t believe that. But the evidence is mountain and Indiana’s now too talented, too experience and too promising to dip back down to those first three years. But no one wants to talk about those 20-losses seasons now.

Crean wouldn’t mind having the conversation. Tangible culmination took place at Assembly Hall Wednesday night. Indiana's made it's big turn toward sustained national relevance and likely continued success. Whatever happens from now through the end of March is more for the scrapbook in an unforgettable year for this program and its grinder of a coach.

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