Tag:SEC
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:25 pm
 

Alabama's Anthony Grant winning all around

By Jeff Goodman

Anthony Grant chose accountability over winning -- and possibly even the NCAA tournament. Maybe Alabama's head coach will be rewarded with both. 

The Crimson Tide got a huge road win at Arkansas last night, one that put 'Bama at 18-9 overall and 7-6 in the SEC with three winnable regular-season games left. 

"Our guys stepped up," Grant told me shortly after the victory. 

Grant earned plenty of praise for his decision to suspend arguably his top four players in recent weeks. He has since reinstated Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele -- who combined for 29 points in the win over the Razorbacks. However, Tony Mitchell's season and possibly his career at Alabama is history. Star big man JaMychal Green has practiced with the team the last few days, but Grant was non-committal whether he'll play this weekend in Tuscaloosa against Mississippi State. 

"We'll see what tomorrow brings," Grant said. 

Grant didn't want to compare the chemistry last night to what it was earlier in the season, but he praised the togetherness and the effort that took place in Fayetteville. 

"We were locked in," Grant said. "The chemistry was good." 

If Green does return to the court against Mississippi State -- as is anticipated -- this Crimson Tide team could still be dangerous if it gets a spot in the NCAA tournament. This is a team that has won five of its last seven games. But Grant, who brings a no-nonsense, old-school approach of holding kids accountable to the table, said he never worried about getting to the NCAA tourney when making the decision to suspend Green, Mitchell, Releford and Steele. 

"Never once did I give it a thought," he said. "I had confidence in the guys we put on the floor. ... This wasn't something that came out of the blue." 

While Grant declined to elaborate on the reasons for the suspensions, it was clear it had been brewing -- and he opted to do something about it. 

"I'm not a send a message type of guy," Grant said. "If you screw up, you should be held accountable. There are consequences. I wasn't the perfect student-athlete and kids make mistakes. They are kids, but we need to hold them accountable." 

As for Alabama's current NCAA tourney chances?

"We're just worried about Mississippi State," he said. "It is what it is. It's an invitation tournament and we've got Mississippi State next. I'm not worried about anything else." 

"We're growing as a team," he added. "I think we're improving." 

And while Grant's intention wasn't necessarily to send a message, that's exactly what he's done. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Pod: Flat tires, court storms, Calhoun's future

Whenever Calhoun does leave, what is next for UConn basketball? (Getty Images)

By Matt Norlander


I have to admit, sometimes, I'd love to make these podcasts just storytelling with Goodman and Parrish and leaving most of the basketball talk out of it. When Nickelback bashing, goalpost hanging, drunk tire-changing and late-night driving is part of the court-holding, why get into the hoops?

Well, we do. All of that described above is on today's pod, plus an assortment of basketball team topics.

In order:
  • From the beginning: It's the worst possible way to start a podcast. Goodman's a Nickelback fan. Let the excuses rain down from the heavens.
  • 2:25: On Kentucky and expectation and why it's logical to believe this team is as good as we want them to be. Final Four seems inevitable. National champs? .
  • 8:06: Kentucky needs a loss? What?
  • 11:00: UConn and Jim Calhoun. Will he coach this Saturday? What's the future of this program whenever Jimbo leaves? And if this team beats Syracuse Saturday, it sort of feels like the 8/9 game is in its future.
  • 17:36: New Mexico's a fine example of seed and expectation and team talent. What have the Lobos proven and what seed do they deserve? Parrish takes up the case that seeds four through eight stand to be fairly similar, no matter who lands on what line this season.
  • 20:55: Storming the court. We bring it up here, but Goodman actually cops to hanging from the goal post after Arizona beat Washington. Just picture that.
  • 24:36: The college basketball player who is shorter than Parrish. Goodman's now obsessed with this.
  • 26:44: And it's time for Parrish to steal the show again by sharing a story of something stupid he did. In this case, it was changing a tire with a drunk Mississippian college kid at 2 in the morning. Oh happy day!

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 4:07 pm
 

Alabama suspends Mitchell for rest of season

By Jeff Goodman

Alabama has suspended forward Tony Mitchell for rest of the season, sources told CBSSports.com, while senior big man JaMychal Green has been reinstated to practice.

Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant suspended Mitchell a couple weeks ago for conduct detrimental to the team. 

Grant then suspended Green, along with starting point guard Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele, just prior to the loss against LSU on Feb. 11. 

Releford and Steele were reinstated and played in the last two games - a loss at home against Florida and a victory in Tuscaloosa over Tennessee. 

Green, Mitchell and Releford are the top three scorers on the team. Mitchell was averaging 13.1 points and seven rebounds. 

The Crimson Tide are 17-9 overall and 6-6 in SEC play heading into Thursday's game against Arkansas. 

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 11:33 am
 

Hold off on the Tennessee at-large talk for now

By Jeff Borzello

Jarnell Stokes' arrival has revitalized Tennessee's at-large chances. But temper your hopes for now. (US Presswire)

As you know by now, my colleague Matt Norlander is at the Mock Selection Committee event in Indianapolis. He took a picture this morning of the group’s at-large board – and Tennessee was a team under consideration.

Combine that with the fact several people in the media have been pushing the “Tennessee as a potential at-large team” train, and we have a full-blown situation here.

Tennessee?? The Volunteers currently sit one game over .500 with a 1-9 record away from home, four sub-100 losses and an RPI in the triple digits. Yes, one game over .500.

It seems that the reasoning for Tennessee’s chances gaining steam over the past few weeks has been the arrival of freshman forward Jarnell Stokes. Well, the team is 5-4 with him in the lineup, and he played a grand total of 11 minutes in the second win over Florida – he wasn’t on the team for its first Gators victory. With Stokes on the team, Tennessee lost at Georgia and was obliterated by Vanderbilt (and Kentucky, but everyone gets obliterated by Kentucky). It’s not like the team is suddenly some juggernaut with him in the lineup. The Volunteers are one game above .500 with him in the lineup, and one-game above .500 with him out of the lineup.

There is still plenty of work to be done – but Tennessee has chances.

It starts this weekend with a road trip to Alabama. Three of the final five are on the road, and they end the season with a home game against Vanderbilt. If the Volunteers can go 4-1 in their final five games, they will have a chance. They need to start winning on the road, and beating Alabama or Vanderbilt would be another top-50 win. Moreover, 4-1 in the last five would give them eight wins in nine games heading into the SEC tournament.

With no one seeming to want a potential fifth bid from the SEC, Tennessee could step forward and make a run.

But the Vols shouldn’t be in the mix just yet.

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 14, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 14, 2012 12:01 pm
 

Tuesday polls: Five conferences to select

By Matt Norlander

Take 12 seconds to make your picks on five upcoming games  and be sure to see the results on CBS Sports Network programming this week. All picks will air on Wednesday night's edition of "Courtside with Seth Davis" at 6 p.m. ET.

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.


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