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Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:41 am

My favorite irrational UK fan returns tonight

By Jeff Goodman

He may be the most level-headed Kentucky fan out there. I know, that's the ultimate oxymoron. 

In all seriousness, if Ashley Judd is UK's No. 1 fan, then No. 2 could be a dead heat between Josh Hopkins or maybe World Wide Wes. 

Hopkins is a Lexington native who co-stars with Courtney Cox in the show Cougar Town, which makes its Season 3 debut tonight (the show changed from Wednesday's to Tuesday's) at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. I'm not shy in admitting I was a huge fan of the sarcastic comedy filled with one-liners well before I first spoke to him shortly after Kentucky's win over North Carolina earlier this season. 

"It's a really poorly named show," Hopkins said from New York City on Monday night. "There are no cougars in it. People think it's about some 40-year-old looking for young man when it's actually about a bunch of friends who drink wine and make fun of each other." 

The 41-year-old Hopkins went to Auburn, but has been a diehard Kentucky fan since he can remember. He's taken in a handful of games this season in-between shooting the 15 episodes they recently completed for the season, plans to go to the SEC tournament in New Orleans and also the Final Four -- as long as his top-ranked 'Cats made it. 

"If 10 is completely irrational on a scale of 1 to 10," Hopkins said. "I'd say I'm a 11." 

"I don't just think about this team all the time," he added. "I'm thinking about next year and even the year after with possibly the Harrison Twins." 

Hopkins talks about the length of this team led by freshman Anthony Davis, the remarkable job John Calipari has done and that Kentucky's coach should receive more consideration for National Coach of the Year honors and how Marquis Teague has made strides as a young point guard after a rough start. However, the most impressive and overlooked aspect to this team is something I've been saying since the summer. 

"I don't know how much the average fan realizes that these are really great kids," Hopkins said. "Not once have we seen Davis block someone's shot and stare them down, get in their face or yell and scream. These are great kids and it makes it so much more fun." 

Hopkins ducked the question when I asked him earlier this year about being linked romantically to Cox, Erin Andrews and Jennifer Aniston. That's yet another reason I'm a big fan: That's not a bad trio. 

"It's a real funny season," Hopkins said. "Tell everyone to watch -- or else I'll be looking for a new job." 

Then he'll have even more time on his hands to obsess about his 'Cats. 

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:33 am

Podcast: CBS Sports Net's Wally Szczerbiak joins

Tom Izzo is doing it again. Think about it, if MSU gets a one seed, shouldn't he get Coach of the Year? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

OK, for a day, for one podcast, no writers. I had to get someone who's actually played the game to come on and give a different perspective. That man is CBS Sports Network analyst Wally Sczcerbiak. (My boss, and Miami University alumnus, Eric Kay, is so thrilled right now. This podcast's for you, man.) 

Wally's new to Twitter and would appreciate your follow, so go ahead and give him a click. Enjoy the pod. It's a breeze.
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: If he had a good knee, how many points would Wally average in college today?
  • 3:35: Which current hoops player does Wally think most resembles his game?
  • 4:30: It's been 13 years since Wally played college hoops. I ask him to compare the eras and say which one is better.
  • 6:15: Kentucky as the clear-cut top team, it's a talking point that's picking up steam. But Syracuse is 1A, and a strong 1A.
  • 9:34: Tom Izzo and coaching and the common threads between the best basketball coaches. I also ask him to pick his coach of the year, given only the optino of Izzo and Frank Haith. Is that a hedge I hear from Wally?
  • 16:25: The results that stood out the most to Wally from over the weekend. There is mid-major love to be handed out.
  • 18:52: Since Wally's been a part of so many teams and played basketball for so long, I took the opportunity on this podcast to get his perspective on things that most writers flatly can't interpret the same way. At this point, I ask him what February feels like and how teams stay on message without looking ahead ot March.
  • 23:36: Think you might be a little surprised with Wally's take on conference tournaments.
  • 26:45: We wrap up things with a couple teams Wally and I are high and low on. He doesn't hold back with his Baylor and Perry Jones III critiques, which is refreshing to hear.

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 Wally, 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 10, 2012 11:30 am

Podcast: Rivers, 'Bazz and the weekend ahead

San Diego State could realistically cement itself into a four or five seed if it beats UNLV this weekend. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

Murray State. Duke. Rivers. The big games this weekend. Substitute teachers. Pickup basketball. The best recruits waiting the longest to commit to schools. It's all on today's podcast.

Oh, and Borzello's my guest. Sorry about that. Had to inject some "flo" back into the proceedings. 
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: Some jibbing and jabbing before the hoops.
  • 2:50: We get right to the Murray State talk. What seed are they now? How many games can this team afford to lose?
  • 9:35: Duke and Carolina and Austin Rivers. Why that amazing ending doesn't change things for Duke and why UNC is now questionable as a one seed.
  • 15:50: Top 10 freshmen are who? At this point in the year it's fair to say who's the biggest surprise and the biggest disappointment.
  • 19:48: The games this weekend. Let's chat about the ones that stick out to us. A good dozen games are touched upon. Lots and lots of good hoop Saturday and Sunday. Can't wait to be ensconced in it.
  • 31:52: Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 2012 recruit, recently said he'll wait until at least April to announce where he's going. UCLA and Kentucky are in the lead. I don't think he's good enough to make coaches wait into May, but Borzello brings up a good point why he's bound to.

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 8, 2012 10:32 am

Podcast: Kentucky now a cut above?

Once again, Duke vs. UNC tonight. But Duke's loss at home to Miami has tempered the anticipation for this game. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

After last night's Florida-Kentucky game, Parrish settled into the Gators' locker room and taped this podcast. Goodman was at his home, and I was just happy the connection stayed strong.

We've got a consistent, basketball-heavy edition of the pod today. Normally that's not always the case, with Parrish, Goodman or myself tossing in some non-hoops stories. Actually, that eventually happens too, but this one stays on message for most of the 36 minutes we talk.
The obvious topics:
  • From the beginning: After the way Kentucky won so convincingly, and how Ohio State barely got by Purdue, is it now that UK is on a shelf higher than other teams? I say no, but Goodman and Parrish disagree.
  • 8:00: The first segment is more Kentucky and Florida. This is the Ohio State talk.
  • 13:20: Parrish will be at tonight's Duke-UNC game, which doesn't have the urgency it's had in the past. Duke is coming off that loss to Miami, and a double-digit fall to UNC wouldn't be shocking at all.
  • 15:44: Somehow we get into Las Vegas, ATM, strip club stories. If I don't run this ship tightly then it stands to get really, really sketchy territory.
  • 18:20: Back on topic with Duke.
  • 22:00: We address UConn and The guys also hammer UConn for its incredible fall as of late. Goodman puts Calhoun in a wheelchair while coaching.
  • 27:00: In other news, Memphis is headed to the Big East. Why is that really good for Memphis, really good for the Big East and not all that great for Memphis coach Josh Pastner?
  • 32:00: You think we can end this on a graceful note? Of course we can't.

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.

Get College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:19 pm

Night Court: KY dominates, Ohio State sneaks by

By Jeff Goodman

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

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

Game of the day: Ohio State and Purdue were tied at 73-all late in the game, but it was Buckeyes senior William Buford who stepped up and made certain his team avoided the upset. Buford had a career-high and also had seven straight points as the Buckeyes pulled away, 81-73. 

Win to brag about: Kentucky came into the game as the No. 1 team in the land, but the Wildcats were still somewhat of a mystery -- especially in SEC play. Well, the Wildcats pummeled No. 7 Florida at Rupp. Anthony Davis was a game-changer on the defensive end, Doron Lamb had 18 and Michael Gilchrist had another double-double. Despite a quiet night from Terrence Jones, the 'Cats blew out the Gators by 20. 

Loss to hide from: Creighton losing its second straight, this time on the road against an Evansville team that entered the game below the .500 mark in Missouri Valley league play. The Bluejays were just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc and fell a half-game behind Wichita State and into second place in the Valley. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Le'Bryan Nash entered Stillwater as a big-time recruit, but has been erratic throughout his freshman season. However, the Oklahoma State forward knocked down the game-winner against Iowa State with 4.6 seconds left on a step-back 12-footer and then swatted Chris Allen's shot at the buzzer that could have sent it to overtime. The Cowboys aren't headed to the NCAA tournament, but the win got Travis Ford & Co. to 12-12 overall and 5-6 in Big 12 play. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Florida senior point guard Erving Walker was 0-for-7 from the field, missed all four of his shots from beyond the arc and finished with the goose-egg in the Gators 20-point loss in Lexington against top-ranked Kentucky. 

Numbers don’t lie:

6-27: Florida had made more trifectas than any team in the country, but the Gators were off the mark against Kentucky, making just 6-of-27 from deep. 

49: That's Kentucky's home winning streak after the rout over Florida. John Calipari has never tasted defeat at Rupp. 

17: Providence led by that many points at Villanova with less than 13 minutes remaining in the game, but JayVaughn Pinkston went nuts (28 points, 14 boards) for Jay Wright's team -- which came back and pulled out the 74-72 win. 

Other notable results:

Maryland knocked off Clemson, 64-62, behind Terrell Stoglin's 27 points. The Terps improved to 14-9 and 4-5 in ACC play. 

Kansas State pummeled Texas Tech and sent Billy Clyde Gillispie and the Red Raiders to 0-11 in Big 12 play in the process. 

Alabama knocked off Auburn in a key road win for the Crimson Tide -- which improved to 15-7 overall and 5-4 in SEC action. 


Memphis appears to be headed to the Big East. That's what our very own Brett McMurphy broke earlier today. 

Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl (my co-host on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball) was courtside for the Florida-Kentucky game. 

Jack Sikma's son, Nate, had 20 points, seven boards and five assists to lead Hartford to a win over UMBC. Sikma is a 6-foot-6 freshman from Washington. 

Villanova star guard Maalik Wayns suffered a left knee injury in the win over Providence and will have an MRI on Wednesday. 

On tap: 

1) Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m. - If it's not the best rivalry in college hoops, it's No. 2 behind UK-Louisville. The Blue Devils are in danger of losing two straight. 

2) Kansas at Baylor, 7 p.m. - The loser will fall to third place in the Big 12. 

3) Georgetown at Syracuse, 7 p.m. - The Hoyas have been a major surprise in the Big East, but it'll be tough to go into the Carrier Dome and pull out a win -- especially with Fab Melo back for the Orange. 

4) Marshall at Central Florida, 7 p.m. - I hope Tom Herrion is well-protected in this one after what happened the first meeting -- which resulted in a one-point win for the Thundering Herd in Huntington. 

5) Notre Dame at West Virginia, 9 p.m. - Two teams heading in opposite directions The Irish are red-hot while Bob Huggins' team has lost three of its last four. 

6) Pittsburgh at South Florida, 7 p.m. - If the Panthers are to get back into the NCAA tournament picture, they have to win this one. Since Tray Woodall has really been back, they have reeled off four straight. 

Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:19 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 4:20 pm

Coach K calls UNC most talented team in nation

By Jeff Goodman

College basketball is down and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't disagree. 

"The only thing that might change it is what the NBA does," Coach K said on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball on Monday afternoon. "We're slaves to what the NBA does with the early-entry. If they ever put that in on a two-year basis, you'll see more dominant teams." 

Coach K knows this year's Duke team wouldn't be a Top 10 outfit five or 10 years ago. The Blue Devils are 19-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, which is still impressive, but that says as much about the national landscape as anything else. 

"This is not a juggernaut," K said about his current group. "We have a good team."

"The landscape of college basketball is that if you're old and a little more above the talent level of the so-called mid-majors," he added. "You've got a chance to win the whole thing. That wasn't the formula before." 

Krzyzewski knew, heading into the season, it wasn't going to be easy after losing veterans Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler and No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving. 

Everyone -- The Plumlee Brothers, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly - were all thrust into new roles. But as much as anything, K said that the lack of consistent effort and energy has been the primary cause for concern - along with consistency on the defensive end. 

He's also had a difficult time finding a high-level point guard on his team. The Seth Curry experiment didn't last, Tyler Thornton isn't quite up to par for what surrounds him and Quinn Cook is still a freshman who missed last season with a torn ACL. 

Now comes a matchup in Chapel Hill with North Carolina on Wednesday night, one that could determine whether the Blue Devils have any shot of winning the ACC regular-season title. 

"They're an offensive juggernaut," Krzyzewski said. "They have the best frontline is college basketball." 

That's a completely different debate (I'm siding with Kentucky on this one), but Coach K continued with another strong statement moments after touting Tyler Zeller as the potential ACC Player of the Year. 

"I think they are by far the most talented team in the country," he said. "Maybe not by far, but they are the most talented team -- especially offensively. And they've been playing together for two years. We'll have a tough game against them. Hopefully we'll play well, learn and have a chance to beat them at the end." 

Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:27 am
Edited on: February 5, 2012 12:42 am

Night Court: Kansas-Mizzou delivers the goods

That is a 'Breaking Bad' reference for those who don't get it. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday night’s light slate of games …

Game of the Night:  It was Kansas-Missouri, of course. It couldn't be anything else. Parrish was there, and he'll have reaction/column on the experience shortly. As for my thoughts on the Tigers' 74-71 win, I thought the game was marred by officiating, but rarely does that bother me. The refs blow calls in every game, and at this point, unless it's particularly brutal -- like, among the five worst calls in a season -- I just consider it another turnover. I think it's a damn shame that could've been the last time Kansas takes the bus to Columbia for a game, though. Missouri wanted nothing to do with the Big 12, and now the rivalry is set to die after the season. Too bad.

Win to brag about: The Northern Iowa buzzer-beating win at home against the Valley's best team was bodacious. UNI is fighting to be an NIT bubble team, but it mucked up the MVC race by getting such a sizzling victory.

Loss to hide from: A lot of teams don't have wiggle room. Nevada was 19-3 entering the day, but it was a soft 19-3. It lost to 12-11 Idaho at home. The Wolf Pack now can most likely only afford to lose in the WAC finals if they want an at-large.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Thomas Robinson one-upped Jared Sullinger, scoring 25 and getting 13 rebounds after Sullinger had 24 and 10 earlier in the day. What's particularly egregious: Robinson didn't get a touch on the final three Kansas possessions. I checked the tape. The Jayhawks could have made it happen.

Another player who deserves improper benefits: The man who blocks. Anthony Davis, who set the SEC freshman record for blocks in a season, passing Shaq's record for more than two decades ago. Davis' eight swats today put him at 116 for the year. Davis will likely put this record beyond orbit by the end of February.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Chace Stanback's two points in 20 minutes in UNLV's loss at Wyoming was pretty glaring. I still am very high on Vegas, but I'd like to not see Stanback disappear like this again. He's the wrinkle that makes UNLV hard to contain.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 12. The MAC East beat the MAC West 12-0 this week. On the year, the East leads the battle 21-3.
  • 25.1. That's Damian Lillard's points per game average, tops in the nation, and stays that way thanks to 35 tonight against Northern Colorado.
  • 40 and 40. The Summit League's two best players, Nate Wolters and Dominique Morrison, both played 40 minutes and led their team to wins tonight. DoMo had 36 and Wolters had 31.

Other notable results

  1. Dayton is now 4-5 in the A10 and 14-9 overall. I'm embarrassed to have ever put this team in the Power Pyramid.
  2. For the first time since being coach of Indiana, Tom Crean got a road win in the Big Ten against the team that wasn't named Penn State. 78-61 over Purdue is just what the doctor ordered for IU. Purdue seems destined to play in Dayton in the First Four.
  3. The game will be a bit of an afterthought on this day, but UNC struggled on the way to an 83-74 win at Maryland. Tyler Zeller was again spectacular, putting up 22 points and seven rebounds.
  4. Important game in the CAA saw George Mason beat Old Dominion 54-50. Mason (19-6) remains in a tie atop the league at 11-2 thanks to the win. Playing its way to an at-large if it can win most of the rest from here on out.
  5. Iowa State 77, Oklahoma 70. Iowa State now 7-3 in the conference and, yeah, this is a tournament team.
  6. Boy, oh, boy did Alabama need to avoid losing at home to Ole Miss -- and it did. But it took two overtimes. A 69-67 Tide win. If it can win at home and just get by in the SEC Alabama will sneak in to the field of 68.


  • Mentioned that Creighton loss above. Wichita State won at home over Indiana State, which means WSU and Creighton are tied atop the Valley. The two play each other next Saturday.
  • Middle Tennessee State was another unbeaten-in-conference team entering the day. No more. Fell at Denver 75-60. If it was a five-point and not a 15-point loss, that'd have been much better. Blue Raiders are a bubble team, but barely now, and they have no BracketBuster opportunity.
  • I've never seen a basketball stanchion just go to sleep like this after a dunk. 
  • Crazy to know that Texas A&M was picked by league coaches to win the Big 12. Aggies fell 64-53 at K-State and are now 3-7 in conference.
  • Apparently it's rumored UNC and Kentucky will not play each other in the non-con next year. Would be dumb for both teams to opt out of that.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:09 pm

Kentucky vs. NBA's Raptors: Not an easy call

By Jeff Goodman

Maybe I'm nuts to think a college group could hang with an NBA team, but I'm not so sure. 

Check out the Toronto Raptors starting unit last night against the Boston Celtics -- and tell me you wouldn't take John Calipari's first five over the Raptors. 

Not just for the future, but maybe even right now. 

The Raptors backcourt was Spanish point guard Jose Calderon and athletic freak DeMar DeRozan. The frontcourt: James Johnson, Ed Davis and Aaron Gray. 


I understand Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are just freshmen, but it's not like Davis and DeRozan are grown men, either. Both are just 22 years old. Johnson is 24 and Gray is 26. 

I'd take Davis over Gray in a heartbeat. Yes, today. I'd also go with Gilchrist over Davis -- today, tomorrow and every day thereafter. 

Calderon blows away Marquis Teague at this juncture and we'll give a slight nod to Johnson over Terrence "Mr. Enigma" Jones, but not if Jones' head is actually into the game. 

Then there's the matter of DeRozan vs. Doron Lamb. DeRozan is a terrific athlete and virtually a non-shooter. Lamb is a big-time shooter. Completely different players, but I'll go with DeRozan. 

So maybe Calipari's current edition down in Lexington wouldn't come out on top against the Raptors, but they'd certainly give them a run for their money. 

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