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Tag:Night Court
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:05 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:32 am
 

Night Court: Many close games makes us happy

It's not over yet, Northwestern. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday night’s entertaining and landscape-shifting set of games …

Game of the Night: Northwestern got taken to, then beat in, overtime by 13th-ranked Michigan. The Wildcats aren’t out of this NCAA chase, though. I’ll save the majority of the bubble talk for the Poppin’ Bubbles (Borzello, what a predictably awful name you came up with), but it’s key to remember Northwestern still has chances, and if it wins its final three games (Ohio State, at Iowa, at Penn State) and gets one win in the Big Ten tournament, it’s probably getting in.

The game itself was as riveting as 49-all affairs with less than a minute left can be. Michigan played Northwestern's 1-3-1 fairly well and continually hit tough shots. Northwestern did as well. Then the 3-point barrage came in OT, with the Wolverines making three straight and never letting Northwestern flirt with a W.

Win to brag about: Few teams actually do what K-State just did, meaning it walked into a tough road environment desperately needing a prove-it win and getting it. Very impressive by the Wildcats, who are on track for a six seed with the wins they've put together. Rodney McGruder's 24 set the tone, and if he can do that continually? Kansas State can make the Sweet 16.

Loss to hide from: Picking on Illinois here, but man, oh, man did Illinois get dumptrucked at Ohio State tonight. Brandon Paul left the game briefly with an injury, Meyers Leonard got an elbow to the mouth. Buckeys won 83-67 and it wasn't that close.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Because of the field’s relative weakness Creighton is still in OK shape, but man would it have made things a lot hairier if it hadn’t come back at home to beat Evansville 93-92 in overtime. The Bluejays trailed by 14 in the second half thanks to Aces junior Colt Ryan, who went for 43. Forty-three on the road? From a guy named Colt? Love it.

Another player who deserves improper benefits: Kendall Marshall put up 22 points, was 4-of-5 from 3-point range, dished 13 assists and didn't have a turnover in the North Carolina 86-74 win over North Carolina State. It was a game every N.C. State fan not named Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani hated.

Player team who does not deserve improper benefits: 73-55. I don't know. Seton Hall really needed a win (and got a career-best 29 from Jordan Theodore), but there's something so ordinarily boring about Georgetown. Don't trust this team. Remember the Hoyas group that got waxed by Ohio in the first round two years ago? It's not that I think a repeat of that is coming, but this team could still earn a three or four seed and stand a decent chance at getting swiped in its first NCAA game. Nate Lubick is better than he displays himself on a lot of nights. Hollis Thompson only had eight points in this one -- and he wasn't commanding enough.

Numbers don’t lie

  • Kentucky finished its win over Mississippi State with a 20-4 run. There's not much for me to write about UK here, as Gary Parrish was at the game and he'll have is no-way-UK-isn't-winning-it-all column up on the site shortly.
  • 38:18. Amazingly, that is the 3-point to 2-point ratio Michigan had tonight. Insane. But, worked.
  • 32.7 pct and 38.3. According to ESPN, Missouri's two worst shooting performances this season from the field have come against Kansas State.

Other games of note:

  1. Colorado State defeated New Mexico at home, 71-63. That'll quiet some of the New Mexico horns, but what it really does it keep Colorado State's faint hopes of getting into the dance alive.
  2. I could have easily placed this in the loss-to-hide-from category, but since it was a road game, and since Miami is Miami, I didn’t. Blowing a lead and losing 75-70 at Maryland was a brutal job, but the Hurricanes aren’t really an NCAA tournament team anyway. I always appreciate when the fringers go out and lose in hideous fashion. Just let the fruit rot a little quicker.
  3. Virginia got out of Blacksburg with a 61-59 win over the Hokies. The Cavs were always in, but this cemented their status in the NCAAs. Tony Bennett’s team could lose every game until Selection Sunday and it’s still getting in.
  4. Oh, right. Xavier lost. At UMass, 80-73. Goodman was there and he'll have something up on the blog about it Wednesday morning.

Notes

  • If you missed it, I talked with Binghamton’s head coach after the Bearcats dodged having the first 0-30 season in college basketball history.
  • Will Yeguete's got a broken foot, so he's now believed to be done for the season at Florida. Gators could realistically turn into a five seed before this thing gets to tournament time.
  • I do find myself intrigued and unable to pull away from following Butler, which got to 11-6 in the Horizon tonight. This pairs with Cleveland State losing its fifth straight game and relinquishing the Horizon League lead. Truth be told the Bulldogs aren’t a threat for the second weekend this year, but if they do win the league, man would I love to be sent to the region they play in.
  • With Cleveland State out, Valpo earns at minimum a share of the title thanks to beating Loyola (Ill) to get to 13-4. Bryce Drew doing a great job in his first year as head coach.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:51 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:54 pm
 

Night Court: Napier saves UConn's season

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Shabazz Napier saved Connecticut’s season. After it looked like the sophomore guard wouldn’t play at all, Napier contributed key minutes and then hit a pull-up 30-footer with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Huskies a 73-70 win at Villanova. Connecticut got behind by 18 points in the first half, but fought back to tie it at halftime. Jeremy Lamb went for 32 points, constantly bailing out the Huskies down the stretch. If Connecticut makes the NCAA tournament, it might look at Napier’s shot as the one that put them there.

Win to brag about: Mississippi Valley State clinched the SWAC regular-season championship in the best way possible – on a 3-pointer with under a second left by 6-foot-8 big Paul Crosby. The shot gave the Delta Devils a 56-53 win over Texas Southern, and also improved them to 15-0 in conference play. Remember, this is a team that was 1-11 in the non-league. Quite the turnaround for Sean Woods’ club.

Loss to hide from: Texas needed this one. The Longhorns, coming off a loss to Oklahoma State over the weekend, had a chance to solidify their resume with a home win over a reeling Baylor club. After getting off to a double-digit lead, they let the Bears come back on the glass – and on the scoreboard. Baylor pulled it out late, 77-72, after J’Covan Brown turned it over in the final minute. Texas’ NCAA hopes are now in trouble, while Baylor is back on the right track. Quincy Acy had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Bears.

Player who deserves improper benefits: North Florida’s Parker Smith is gunning lately. He’s knocked down at least five 3-pointers in four of his last six games – but nothing topped his performance on Monday. The Ospreys’ guard went 11-for-17 from behind the arc – and also knocked down 9-for-9 from the free-throw line – en route to 46 points in a 75-66 win over Mercer. The loss for the Bears is their second in a row, dropping them two games behind first-place Belmont.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: There weren't too many disappointing performances tonight, although a couple caught my eye. DePaul's Jamee Crocket had taken 82 3-pointers the entire season heading into Monday night; that's slightly over three attempts per game. For some reason, he took 11 shots from behind the arc against St. John's, only making one in the loss. Meanwhile, even though Baylor won, Perry Jones struggled once again. He shot 3-for-11 from the field -- he still needs to step up in big games.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 0: The number of Atlantic Sun wins Kennesaw State has this season, after falling just short, 73-71.
  • 0: The number of MEAC wins South Carolina State has this season, after the Bulldogs lost by one to Florida A&M.
  • 5: Delaware State has now had five games in a row decided by either one possession or in overtime. The Hornets won Monday in double overtime over Hampton.

Three other notable results:

  1. St. John’s is now in 11th place in the Big East after beating DePaul by seven. Given what the Red Storm have been through, that’s an accomplishment.
  2. It looks like Belmont will win the Atlantic Sun, after defeating USC Upstate, 88-79. The Bruins are now up by two games on Mercer with just two games left.
  3. Savannah State took a full game lead in the MEAC standings by demolishing Bethune-Cookman, who entered Monday only one game back of first.

Notes:

  • Look out for Fairfield in the MAAC tournament. The Stags won their seventh straight league game by beating Marist on the road.
  • Kyle O’Quinn struggled offensively, but still grabbed 16 rebounds as Norfolk State picked up an easy win over Longwood.
  • Southern looks likely to finish second in the SWAC after improving to 11-4 on Monday, but the Jaguars are ineligible for the conference tournament and won’t thus be able to take down MVSU.
  • There was a false report claiming that Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun would return for Saturday’s game against Syracuse. It was denied by school officials. 
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:31 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 10:37 pm
 

Night Court: USF won again

By Gary Parrish

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

Game of the day: Florida lost at Rutgers. So did Notre Dame. But Syracuse managed to escape Piscataway with a 74-64 victory thanks to C.J. Fair's career-high 21 points. The Orange now have a 2.5-game lead in the Big East standings. It's hard to imagine them not getting a No. 1 seed.

Win to brag about: South Florida just won't stop winning, and that's gonna be a problem for the Selection Committee. The latest victory is the Bulls' 56-47 win at Pittsburgh. They're now 17-10 overall, 10-4 in the Big East. And though their resume lacks quality wins, they haven't lost to a school currently unranked in the AP poll since December 28. You know how many teams can say that? Four. Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and USF. That's gotta be worth something, right?

Loss to hide from: Indiana took a 78-68 loss at Iowa, so that's another bad loss for the Hoosiers and seven losses overall. But those wanting Tom Crean's team out of the national rankings should recognize that IU owns wins over Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, point being the Hoosiers' entire body of work is still pretty impressive.

Player who deserves improper benefits: John Jenkins shot the ball well at Georgia and Vanderbilt got another nice road victory. The 61-52 win featured Jenkins making six of eight 3-point attempts to finish with 28 points. When he's good, Vandy is tough.

Players who do not deserve improper benefits: Stanford's starting backcourt of Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle combined to miss 15 of 19 shots in the Cardinal's 68-64 loss to Oregon. That means they shot 21 percent from the field.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 4: That's the number of Syracuse players that scored in double-figures at Rutgers. The Orange's balance and depth might be unmatched.
  • 9: That's the number of consecutive games Tennessee State has won after its 68-61 victory over Miami-Ohio. One of those wins, of course, came at Murray State.
  • 10: That's the number of 3-pointers John Jenkins has made in Vanderbilt's past two games. He's only taken 12.

Three other notable results

  1. Duke's 75-50 win over Boston College kept the Blue Devils in a first-place tie with North Carolina and Florida State in the ACC standings.
  2. Wisconsin's 65-55 win over Penn State kept the Badgers alone in fourth in the Big Ten standings.
  3. Loyola's 69-56 win over Boston University kept the Greyhounds alone in second in the MAAC standings.
Notes
  • Western Kentucky announced Sunday that intermin coach Ray Harper is now permanent coach Ray Harper. The decision doesn't make much sense on the surface, but it's good for Ray Harper.
  • Kentucky is still No. 1 in the updated Top 25 (and one). New Mexico and Vanderbilt are this week's new additions. Saint Mary's and Gonzaga dropped out.
On tap: Monday doesn't offer much in the way of great matchups. Baylor is at Texas. That's OK. If you're into great programs that are struggling this season, don't miss Connecticut at Villanova.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Night Court: Duke, FSU with late comeback wins

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 Thursday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: N.C. State had Duke beaten at Cameron -- and it would have been just the signature win that could have gotten the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament. Mark Gottfried's team was up 20 points with less than 12 minutes remaining, but the Blue Devils stormed back and came away with a 78-73 victory. Seth Curry finished with a career-high 26 points -- including 21 in the second half -- as Duke remained tied with North Carolina and Florida State for first place in the ACC. 

Shot of the day: Michael Snaer, he of the game-winner to beat Duke in Durham, buried another 3-pointer -- this time with 2.6 seconds left that rescued Florida State. It gave the 'Noles a 48-47 win over Virginia Tech in Tallahassee. It was also the eighth consecutive loss for the Hokies against FSU on the road. 

Win to brag about: Lehigh handed Bucknell its first Patriot league setback of the season and also snapped the Bison's 20-game conference winning streak. Mountain Hawks star C.J. McCollum buried the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the game that snapped a four-game losing skid against Bucknell and also closed the gap in league play. Lehigh is now 8-3 in the league, two games behind Bucknell. 

Loss to hide from: Ole Miss didn't just lose. The Rebels got smoked -- in Oxford by Vanderbilt. The final score was 102-76 and it wasn't even that close. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor - The athletic senior wing is better-known for his defense, but Taylor erupted for 23 points and grabbed five boards -- in the first half. The Commodores crushed Ole Miss so badly that Taylor didn't need to do much of anything in the second half. Taylor finished with 28 points and nine boards -- he was 10-of-15 from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: We're splitting this honor three ways for this one. Erick Green, Dorenzo Hudson and Robert Brown each went 0-for-2 from the charity stripe in the final 2:11 of Virginia Tech's loss to Florida State. 

Numbers don’t lie:

8: That's how many "and-ones" that Michigan State had against Wisconsin tonight. That's a ridiculously high number. 

3-10: Virginia Tech shot 3-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final 2:10 of the loss to FSU. 

18: Robert Morris racked up 18 steals in its 69-40 rout over Bryant. 

18 &15: Points and rebounds put up by North Texas freshman Tony Mitchell in a rout over Louisiana-Monroe. 

Other notable results:

Michigan State had little problems with Wisconsin in East Lansing. Draymond Green finished with 20 points and 10 boards as Sparty won its seventh straight against the Badgers at the Breslin Center. 

Vandy smacked Ole Miss on the road, 102-76. The Commodores needed this one, having dropped three of their last four. 

West Virginia got a much-needed victory, 66-48, on the road against Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers had lost five of their past six to go from a secure NCAA tournament team to one in danger of heading into NIT territory. 

Texas Pan-American coach Ryan Marks got his 10th victory of the season and improved to 4-2 in Great West play with a home win over NJIT. 

San Diego coach Bill Grier has three freshmen in the starting lineup and the Toreros have made progress this season. USD needed overtime to take care of Portland, improving to 11-15 overall and 6-8 in WCC play. 

Notes:

Mount St. Mary's interim coach Matt Henry, filling in for Robert Burke (administrative leave), got the win after a 77-63 victory against FDU. 

Duke won its 14th straight at Cameron against N.C. State. The last loss came on Jan. 18, 1995. 

West Virginia's Kevin Jones had yet another double-double with 16 points and 13 boards in the road win against Pittsburgh. 

On tap: 

It's Friday. That means Ivy league hoops is the focus -- along with a couple of BracketBuster games. 

1) Northern Iowa at VCU - Shaka Smart and the Rams may have lost out on a chance for an at-large bid with the setback to George Mason the other night. 

2) Valparaiso at Loyola Marymount - LMU is coming off a big road win at Saint Mary's. 

3) Harvard at Brown -The Crimson can't afford another loss or at-large chances are history. 

4) Yale at Dartmouth - James Jones' team is one game back from the Crimson. 

5) Cornell at Penn - The Quakers are 5-2 in Ivy league play, just a game back in the loss column from Harvard. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:19 am
 

Night Court: New Mexico atop the MWC standings

By Gary Parrish

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

Game of the day: North Carolina trailed by eight in the second half and seemed set to lose to the team that Duke lost to before the Blue Devils beat UNC last week, which is to say, Miami. But the Tar Heels closed on a 37-20 run and won 73-64. Harrison Barnes finished with a game-high 23 points for the No. 8 Tar Heels. UNC is now tied in the loss column atop the ACC standings with Duke and Florida State.

Win to brag about: New Mexico got the quality win it needed at No. 13 San Diego State. The final score was 77-67. It was UNM's first victory all season over a currently ranked opponent,  and now Steve Alford's team is alone atop the MWC standings heading into Saturday's showdown with No. 11 UNLV.

Loss to hide from: Illinois lost 67-62 at home to Purdue, and that's not something Bruce Weber could afford at this point in his career. The Illini coach is a good man in a tough spot. He's lost seven of his past eight, is probably on the wrong side of the bubble as I type, and, barring something wild, I'm not sure he's gonna be able to survive this. Weber entered the season on the hot seat. It's never been hotter than it is right now.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Marcus Denmon got 17 points on 10 shots in Missouri's 83-65 victory over Oklahoma State. The senior guard is averaging 21.8 points per game in No. 3 Mizzou's past four wins. He could be -- and probably should be -- a first-team All-American.

Players who do not deserve improper benefits: SMU is a Division I school that awards scholarships and everything, and yet the Mustangs could only muster 28 points in a 47-28 loss to UAB. The four starters not named Robert Nyakundi were a combined 2-of-24 from the field. That's ridiculous. SMU shot 17.4 percent from the field and 10.3 percent from 3-point range. That's also ridiculous.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 9: That's the number of losses outside of But Walton Arena Arkansas has after its 77-58 loss at Tennessee. The Hogs are 0-9 outside of Bud Walton Arena, and five of those losses have come by double-digits. Meantime, the Hogs are 17-0 inside Bud Walton Arena.
  • 9: That's the number of Big East wins USF has after its 65-51 victory over Villanova. The Bulls are 16-10 overall, 9-4 in the league. They're not quite on the bubble yet, but a strong finish to the regular season could get them there.
  • 20: That's the number of wins 18th-ranked Indiana has after its 71-66 victory over Northwestern. It's the first time Tom Crean has won 20 games in his four seasons at Indiana, and it comes with five regular season games still left to play.

Three other notable results

  1. Iona beat Rider 75-62 to move to 13-2 in the MAAC and remain alone atop the league standings. Two more league wins and the Gaels will be the outright champions regardless of what happens elsewhere.
  2. Southern Miss trailed late in regulation but forced OT and managed to beat Tulsa 77-69 to remain in a tie with Memphis atop the Conference USA standings. Both teams are 9-2 in C-USA.
  3. No. 23 Notre Dame beat Rutgers 71-53 to improve to 10-3 in the Big East. The Irish are tied for second in the Big East with Marquette. Both schools are two games back of Syracuse in the loss column.

Notes

On tap: No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 7 Michigan State highlights Thursday's schedule of games. No. 5 Duke and No. 20 Florida are also in action. Duke plays N.C. State while FSU gets Virginia Tech. Both need to win to keep pace with UNC in the ACC.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:25 am
Edited on: February 15, 2012 12:29 am
 

Night Court: Sherrod Wright's 3 highlights V-Day

Sherrod Wright hits a 25-footer at the buzzer to give George Mason a two-point win over VCU. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: VCU and George Mason have battled for CAA supremacy several times over the past decade, but they might have had their most exciting game on Tuesday night. The two teams were back and forth throughout, but the final 82 seconds were electric. They combined for 21 points in that span, with George Mason knocking down three 3-pointers and VCU hitting seven free throws. It all ended when Mason’s Sherrod Wright hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to give George Mason a one-point win, 62-61. Mason is now tied with Drexel atop the standings.

Win to brag about: LSU is finally starting to put some things together lately. The Tigers have won three of their last four games, the latest coming against Mississippi State on Tuesday night. Freshman guard Anthony Hickey hit a runner in the final seconds of overtime to give the Tigers a 69-67 win. With wins over Arkansas, Alabama, Marquette and now Mississippi State, the Tigers are no longer an easy out heading down the stretch.

Loss to hide from: Clemson fell just short against Virginia the first time the two teams played, but the Tigers broke through this time. Clemson outscored the Cavaliers by 12 in the second half, en route to a 60-48 victory. Virginia’s Joe Harris was held to two points as he struggled with a broke left hand. Tony Bennett’s troops have now lost three in a row, dropping down to sixth in the ACC standings.

Player who deserves improper benefits: TCU guard Hank Thorns knocked down 8-of-12 from 3-point range en route to 32 points, leading the Horned Frogs to a 102-97 overtime victory over UNLV. They were down by 18 points with 15 minutes remaining, and 15 with 10 minutes left. Eight of Thorns’ points came in overtime, and the senior also dished out four assists and grabbed five rebounds in the upset win.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Coming off a 28-point outing against LSU, Alabama’s Rodney Cooper was feeling his oats heading into Tuesday’s game against Florida. It didn’t really work out well, as he shot 2-for-9 from the field and turned it over four times in a 61-52 loss. Without Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green, someone needed to step up for the Crimson Tide – on Tuesday, it wasn’t Cooper. 

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 24-for-26: In the last two games, Southern Illinois has allowed teams to shoot 24-for-26 from behind the 3-point line.
  • 3: George Mason knocked down three 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds in its comeback victory.
  • 77.5, 85.7: Creighton shot 77.5 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from 3-point range in its 88-69 win over Southern Illinois.
  • November 27: Tennessee-Martin hadn’t defeated a Division-I team since late November, but the Skyhawks defeated Kennesaw State on Tuesday night. 

Three other notable results:

  1. Ohio State bounced back from its loss to Michigan State on Saturday with a 78-68 victory at Minnesota. William Buford had 24 points and Jared Sullinger went for 23.
  2. Texas won its fourth game in a row, outscoring Oklahoma by 16 in the second half en route to a 69-58 win. Myck Kabongo had 13 points and seven assists.
  3. Seton Hall won its third in a row after dropping six straight games, destroying St. John’s by 30. 

Notes:

  • Cleveland State lost its third game in a row since looking comfortable at the top of the Horizon standings, falling to Milwaukee, 86-84.
  • Butler won its third in a row, beating Loyola Chicago. With the Horizon getting more unpredictable everyday, could the Bulldogs be the conference tournament favorite – again?
  • Kent State knocked off Buffalo, 76-71, putting both teams at 9-3 in the Mid-American. Each team is now 1.5 games back of Akron.
  • Manhattan took another hit in its quest to for a regular-season MAAC title, dropping one on the road to Siena, 70-64.
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:16 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 11:45 pm
 

Night Court: Jeff Withey: CBB's most improved

Adorable. (Mocksession.com)

By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Monday night’s miserably slim pickings worth games. Being the good/smart fiancé that I am, I chose Night Courty tonight so tomorrow I’m totally, absolutely, undeniably free. Veteran move. Borzello will be tracking Tuesday's games, so there you go.

Game of the Night: Anyone not in high school right now remembers when Kansas State had a bad basketball program. The Kansas-Kansas State rivalry had approximately no national appeal. Thank God for Bob Huggins and Frank Martin getting the program back to relevance, because the games have been pretty great for the past half-decade. The two went at it again in Manhattan, Kan., tonight, and for the 22nd time in the last 24 meetings there, Kansas emerged victorious, 59-53.

It's certainly a big brother over little brother ordeal with these two programs, but at least K-State puts up a good fight. I always want to see how K-State brings it, even if it's normally the same result. What concerns me with the Wildcats now is, I'm not sure this team has the makeup to make a tourney run. It falls tonight, and now it gets Baylor and Missouri on the road. It's a 6-9 Big 12 team by next Tuesday night most likely, and so then it'll have to win out, finish 9-9 and get at least a Big 12 tourney win to have hope. Tall task.

Win to brag talk about: You think Syracuse wants to brag? It was its first win over Louisville in eight tries. The first home loss to Syracuse since it joined the Big East in 2005. Boy was it ugly, though. Just brutal basketball. Lots of bad shots. Scoop Jardine was 0 for 8. Gorgui Dieng was 2 for 9. Chris Smith was 3 for 11. Dion Waiters was 3 for 10. Kyle Kuric was 1 for 8.

This game felt like it was played on a court with pot holes and in the rain and with half-pumped tether ball. No flow and neither team deserved to win, but someone had to. Winning ugly adds another character trait to Syracuse, though it’s one few teams every really want to embrace. Win’s a win, though, and this cements — barring a three-game losing streak at some point — Syracuse as a one seed in the East regional next month.

Player who deserves improper benefits: It’s Jeff Withey. Eighteen points, 11 boards, NINE BLOCKS. First guy with that kind of stat line in three years. This junior is transforming into prototypical Reliable and Forceful White Kansas Center. I didn't see it coming. He's genuinely awesome and fun and unpredictable to watch. His play makes me believe Kansas can make a Final Four run and not have it be a fluky thing. Love Withey. Gotta get Withey on the phone. Gotta get Withey to tell me how to live my life. Incredible turnaround. He's the most improved player in hoops this season.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Royce White is the player with pro potential for Iowa State. He’s a matchup problem for a lot of teams, but Baylor isn’t one of them. The Bears won at home tonight, remaining undefeated against teams who don’t have “MIZZOU” or “KANSAS” sewed onto their jersey. White had seven turnovers and hurt the team in some needed spots. He did manage 14 points of 7-of-12 shooting. It wasn’t awful, but we’re dealing with a light slate here.

A quick note on Baylor. I heard ESPN.com’s Andy Katz mention he thinks this team will do better once it’s out of the Big 12 and playing in the NCAA tournament. Maybe. But who says it can’t continue to pick on all the other teams? I’d be very intrigued to see what happens to a five-loss Baylor team that only fell to Kansas and Missouri. Where would they get seeded? The argument for the 3 is legitimate.

Another player who does not deserve improper benefits: K-State's Angel Rodriguez was a killer, also getting way too Bill Gates with the ball. Seven turnovers, 0-of-8 from the field, zero points.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 48. Belmont defeated Stetson 107-93 Monday night. It was the 48th time this season a game between two D-I teams had one squad score more than 100.
  • 6. Louisville fans want a reason to be positive tonight? Under Pitino in the Big East, Louisville doesn’t always pull off six-game winning streaks in the Big East. They did this year, and in the prior two times, Louisville made the Elite Eight (2009, 2008).

Notes

  • Due to school rules, Kevin Foster of Santa Clara has been suspended for the remainder of the season.
  • Hats off to Stetson's Aaron Pegg, who went out and had himself a night, scoring 31 in the Belmont game.
  • Mississippi Valley State's now 13-0 in the abysmal SWAC. Delta Devils have a good chance of returning to the dance.
  • I'm going sunflowers over roses tomorrow. I suggest you do the same. Roses are more stale than last Wednesday's bread.

Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:40 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 8:47 pm
 

Night Court: Seton Hall, Purdue get bubble wins

Meyers Leonard struggled mightily on the offensive end against Michigan, as Illinois lost by nine. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: In a game with major implications for the bubble, Seton Hall went on an 18-5 run to finish the game en route to a 73-66 win over Pittsburgh. Even more impressively, the Pirates played the final six minutes without Fuquan Edwin, who fouled out after making a jumper to cut the lead to four. Brandon Mobley came up with an important steal, while Herb Pope made four free throws in the final 11 seconds, to clinch the victory for Seton Hall. Pitt probably needs to win the Big East tournament to get to the Big Dance now.

Win to brag about: Stony Brook came into Sunday at 12-1 in the America East and on top of the standings. Second-place Vermont simply went out and hammered the Seawolves by 19, holding them without a 3-pointer despite 15 attempts from behind the arc. Four McGlynn had 24 points off the bench for the Catamounts, who can now win a share of the regular-season title – and potential homecourt advantage in the conference tournament.

Loss to hide from: Only two days after beating Iona to take sole possession of first place in the MAAC, Loyola (Md.) was throttled at home by Fairfield, 68-51. The loss ended the Greyhounds’ seven-game winning streak, as they shot just 17.4 percent from the field in the second half. A 12-0 run midway through the second stanza broke things open for the Stags.

Player who deserves improper benefits: In the “Battle for Brooklyn,” LIU-Brooklyn senior Jamal Olasewere shot 11-for-11 from the field, finishing with 32 points and seven rebounds in an 81-78 win over St. Francis (N.Y.). The win keeps the Blackbirds atop the Northeast, and completes a two-game sweep of the city rival Terriers.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Michigan is most vulnerable on the inside, so most expected Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard to have a monster game on the interior. However, he struggled with foul trouble and only finished with five points on five shots as Michigan came out with a 70-61 win. Leonard did grab 12 rebounds, but Bruce Weber needed more offensive production from his big man. 

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 0: Binghamton is still winless after losing a 62-60 game to Hartford. The Bearcats have five regular-season games left to get a victory.
  • 6: The Northeast has a “Rivalry Week” where each team plays their rival twice in a matter of days. All six matchups featured 2-0 sweeps.
  • 26: Kyle Weems became the 26th played in Missouri Valley history to reach 1800 points, as Missouri State beat Bradley by 11.
  • 10: St. John’s became the first team in the country to lost 10 games to top 25 teams this season.

Three other notable results:

  1. Georgetown hit three 3-pointers during a key three-minute stretch late in the second half to hold off St. John’s, 71-61.
  2. The Big Ten featured a monster bubble battle on Sunday, with Purdue getting the big victory over Northwestern, 87-77. John Shurna had 30 points in the loss.
  3. Washington’s Terrence Ross had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead Washington to a 75-72 victory at Oregon State. The game was a must-win for the Huskies, in order to keep pace with California at the top of the Pac-12.

Notes:

  • Connecticut announced that Warde Manuel will be the new director of athletics for the university. Manuel has been the AD at Buffalo for the past six years.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in a missed 3 with 1.8 seconds left to give Virginia Tech a 66-65 win over Boston College.
  • Scott Machado racked up a triple-double in Iona's tougher-than-expected win over Marist. He had 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
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