Tag:Big 12
Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:29 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:34 pm
 

K-State pins NCAA hopes on three-game gauntlet

Kansas State likely needs to win of its upcoming three games to feel good about its NCAA hopes. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Kansas State has felt pretty good about its NCAA tournament hopes for much of the season, but three losses in its last five games has put the Wildcats squarely on the bubble.

The next three games will likely decide the Wildcats’ Selection Sunday fate. Unfortunately for them, it’s a murderous slate: home vs. Kansas tonight, at Baylor on Saturday, and at Missouri next Tuesday.

Kansas State has lost three of its six league games by three or fewer points, and also blew a 13-point lead over the weekend at Texas to lose by double-digits. Frank Martin would likely feel a lot more comfortable had the Wildcats pulled out some of those close games.

“They’re better than what their record is in league,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said, according to RapidReporter Rob Cassidy. “They’re 6-6 in the league, but they could easily be 8-4 or 9-3. It seems like they’ve had something go awry in those close games and that’s the reason why their record’s not as good.”

Although Kansas is rolling right now, tonight might be Kansas State’s best chance at a marquee win the rest of the season. The Wildcats are 10-2 at Bramlage Coliseum this season, while Kansas has had trouble winning there the past four years. After winning 19 straight at Kansas State, the Jayhawks have lost two of the past four years.

“Both teams are better than the first time we played,” Martin said on the Big 12 teleconference today. “Offensively they are a machine right now.”

That doesn’t bode well for Kansas State, which lost the first meeting between the two teams by 18 back on January 4.

If Kansas State can’t get a win tonight, and the Wildcats subsequently strike out against Baylor and Missouri, they will sit at 6-9 in the Big 12 heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. Would they have the resume needed to get into the Big Dance?

Right now, they have an RPI of 51, an SOS of 76 and a horrendous non-conference SOS of 238. They do have a marquee win over Missouri, but after that, it’s barren. Alabama was a good win at the time, but the Crimson Tide are faltering of late (and have four players suspended). Long Beach State looks OK, as does Texas.

Kansas State is right on the cutline at this point, but they need to get one of these next three games. If not, the Wildcats are going to be sweating on Selection Sunday.

Category: NCAAB
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 11, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Contrast between Baylor, Missouri: stage fright

Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon epitomize Missouri's toughness and fearlessness. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Missouri’s supposed to struggle against teams with size. Baylor is supposed to dominate smaller teams.

None of that happened on Saturday, as Missouri knocked down 14 3-pointers en route to a 72-57 win.

Baylor stubbornly stayed in its zone defense throughout the game, even when it was clear it wasn’t doing much to stop Missouri’s shooters. The Tigers consistently found open gaps in the corners, and exploited the lack of perimeter defense Baylor was showing. Marcus Denmon, Mike Dixon and Phil Pressey combined to shoot 12-for-22 from 3-point range, scoring 51 points between them.

Baylor’s size was a major factor early on, but the Bears simply couldn’t guard Missouri’s guards. How Missouri would match up with Baylor’s size populated much of the pregame discussion, but it was the other way around – Baylor couldn’t match up with Missouri’s four-guard lineup. Perry Jones was invisible for most of the game, while Baylor was unable to knock down jumpers at key points in the game. Gary Franklin, Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip combined to shoot 2-for-13 from behind the arc for Baylor.

While Baylor possesses as much talent as anyone in the country, it’s troubling that Scott Drew’s troops can’t break through against the top teams in the Big 12. The Bears are now 0-4 against Missouri and Kansas. While that would not be a problem for most teams, it’s worth mentioning when you’re a Final Four hopeful. Baylor has all of the ingredients to make a deep run in March – except a killer instinct. Jones is the Bears’ best player, but he has never been a killer and he disappears in the biggest games. Freshman Quincy Miller was good tonight, but he can’t be the only player scoring. Does Baylor have enough mental toughness and intestinal fortitude to beat teams that punch back after taking the Bears’ initial punch?

Missouri is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Tigers are simply fearless. Going against the bigs of Baylor wasn’t an issue – they gave up 15 offensive rebounds and were outrebounded by 13. It didn’t matter. Missouri makes teams adjust to them, not the other way around. Sure, Kim English is too small to really compete with Jones and Quincy Acy and other big guys inside, but they can’t guard him at the other end. Denmon was giving up plenty of height to Miller, but he’s also far too quick for the Baylor freshman. For every potential matchup problem, they respond with “well, what about when we’re on offense?” And fortunately for the Tigers, they’re the most efficient offensive team in the country.

Saturday’s game was a perfect contrast. There was one team that maximized its talent and didn’t back down, and another one that seemed to shrink on the biggest stages despite its size. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:22 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Self says Taylor's playing at unprecedented level

Taylor's playing as well in 2012 as Bill Self could expect. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Tyshawn Taylor playing unlike any guard Bill Self's coached at Kansas? That's what Self is saying.

Self joined Jeff Goodman and Bruce Pearl on today's ep of "SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball," and I've done you the kind favor of editing out most of Goodman's voice in the clip below. We'll get to that in a minute. Thomas Robinson is the key, the glue, the most important part of Kansas. Without him, KU's probably a bubble team, Jayhawks fans.

But Taylor, who once was so inconsistent -- and still can be with the turnover issues -- has come to live since the calendar turned to 2012. He's now the fifth-leading scorer in the Big 12, putting up 17 even per game, and he's not scored fewer than 15 in a game since Jan. 7, against Oklahoma. What's intriguing to me about Taylor is, he's definitely a player where you've got to watch him. Watch him a lot, because his stats don't tell his whole story; he's too much of a wild card to rely on what the paper says.

Self is a happy coach right now. Kansas can actually win this league again because Robinson's raised his play to a level few could anticipate, and Taylor's come on to play the way a senior should. Most of the time, at least.

"He makes plays you can't coach and makes plays that look like he's never been coach -- just in a span of seconds," Self said. "We have not had a guard since I've been at Kansas that's played as well as he 's played for as long as he's played."

High praise.

Self talks Tyshawn

Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Tuesday poll, here we go

By Matt Norlander

You know what to do. Here we are again, voting on the outcomes of games. The results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET, as well as "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET later that night. Both shows, of course, are on the CBS Sports Network.



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Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:23 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:57 pm
 

Night Court: Missouri survives another close game

Oklahoma's Steven Pledger reacts after his game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer against Missouri. (AP)

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Oklahoma has had several close games recently, and Monday night against Missouri was no different, with the Sooners falling, 71-68. Both teams came out of the gate knocking down shots, especially Marcus Denmon, who finished with 25 points. Missouri had the lead for the entire second half, but Oklahoma kept it within one possession for the final minutes. The Sooners had a chance to tie the game, but Romero Osby missed two free throws and Steven Pledger’s 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out.

Win to brag about: Beating Texas A&M this season isn’t the same as it was the past couple of years, but Texas couldn’t afford another close loss (or a loss in general). The Longhorns were 0-7 in games decided by six points or fewer heading into Monday, but they held off Texas A&M down the stretch for a 70-68 win. J’Covan Brown had 20 points and seven assists to lead the Longhorns.

Loss to hide from: Remember when we thought Connecticut might turn things around after its win over Seton Hall on Saturday? Yeah, that didn’t happen. The Huskies were outhustled, outmuscled and outworked by Louisville en route to an 80-59 loss. And it didn’t even feel that close. Louisville shot 44 percent from 3-point range, and held Andre Drummond, Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb to 16 points on 6-for-26 shooting.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Marquette’s Jamil Wilson has only reached double-figures in scoring four times this season, and has not grabbed more than seven rebounds in a game. On Monday night, Wilson led Marquette to a 89-76 comeback win over DePaul, totaling 18 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks – on 8-for-12 shooting.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Connecticut’s debacle of an offensive performance deserves more than just one mention. Andre Drummond was dominated by Gorgui Dieng all night, as the Louisville big man finished with 15 points, six rebounds and six steals. Even worse, Drummond went 0-for-6 from the field and didn’t score a single point. Drummond has all the talent in the world, but the desire is lacking.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 4: Four of Missouri’s last five wins have been by three points or fewer.
  • 3:45: Vermont has trailed for just 3:45 in its last 133:02 played. The Catamounts have won seven in a row after beating Maine.
  • 0: Kennesaw State remains winless in the Atlantic Sun after losing at home to USC-Upstate. The Owls are 0-13 in the league, 2-22 vs. D-I competition.
  • 93: Southern beat Jackson State, 49-44. In overtime. That’s 93 combined points in 45 minutes of basketball.
  • 16: South Carolina State had lost 16 games in a row before beating beating Longwood on Monday.

Three other notable results:

  1. Mississippi Valley State is 11-0 in the SWAC after beating Alabama A&M. MVSU was just 1-11 in non-conference play.
  2. Davidson has now won three in a row since dropping its first league game last weekend, beating Wofford by 22.
  3. Stony Brook stayed atop the America East at 11-1 with a 57-48 victory over New Hampshire.

Notes:

  • Belmont steamrolled Austin Peay, 94-55, in a non-conference tilt.
  • Mercer took a half-game lead in the Atlantic Sun, beating East Tennessee State, 54-46.
  • Idaho State played Montana close for a half, but the Grizzlies dominated the second half in a 76-40 victory to move to 10-1 in the Big Sky.
More College Basketball coverage
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.

Notes

  • 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 4, 2012 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 5:28 pm
 

Afternoon Delight: Daytime games don't disappoint

I can't even bite into pudding after seeing Ronald Nored's chipped Chiclet. Butler fell 65-61 to Detroit. (Mocksession.com)

By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five-or-so hours’ worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

The best we’ve seen so far:  The Buckeyes got their first win at Kohl since 2000. Thad Matta won in Madison for the first time. It was close. It was quintessential Big Ten basketball, which means I took fadeaway shots with balled-up socks at my living room garbage can to pass the time and make up for lost entertainment. Jared Sullinger’s performance is addressed below. As for Wisconsin, my adoration’s worn off. I still may pick it to win a game in March, but at this point, I’d be happier getting burned and being wrong if they managed to make the second weekend. Team is limited, Jordan Taylor will never get back the level of play he was at last season and UW is all too frustrating to be invested in anymore.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: It was the inter-conference game that had the most intrigue. Xavier at Memphis. X led most of the way, bloating its lead in the second half to 10 with six minutes remaining. It looked good and in control. Then, a Memphis run. The Tigers finished the game on a 21-6 run. Memphis looks good now. It needs to avoid getting stupid in C-USA and it will saunter into the tournament. Xavier gets to ride the carousel in the A10 and hope it plays better than 90 percent of the league. No guarantee.  

No soup for youI’d like to go out and thank Georgetown for exposing South Florida. The Hoyas won at home today over USF, 75-45. Few bought into the Bulls, but losing like this will convince everyone that Stan Heath’s team isn’t, and never was, tournament-worthy.  

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Sully went for 24 and 10 and had three steals to boot. Eagerly awaiting what Thomas Robinson does to respond in the marquee game tonight in Columbia.
  2. Who is Pat Connaughton? Seriously. I have no idea. Somebody whip up a profile piece. This freshman had 23 and 11 in Notre Dame’s big win over Marquette.
  3. Jamelle Hagins, who plays for Borzello’s Delaware Blue Hens, had 18 rebounds in a UD W over James Madison.
  4. Vandy might’ve lost, but Jeff Taylor had 25 points, six boards and four steals. He was on his game today. He plays like that going forward, Vandy’s a Sweet 16 team. I swear!
  5. Props to VMI’s Keith Gabriel who, as of this post, has a day-high 32. VMI beat Winthrop 86-79.
  6. Andre Drummond had seven blocks and a filthy alley-oop which is not yet available on the Web.

Other daytime action worth your attention

  1. Florida State is a 7-1 ACC team after defeating Virginia at home, 58-55. Want to emphasize just how good this is for FSU, which is halfway home in conference play and will remain atop the ACC standings with Duke and North Carolina. Virginia falls further behind the pack. The Cavs and Seminoles traded turnovers with each other, but at least the game kept my attention, which isn’t the case with 90 percent of tilts involving ACC teams this year.  
  2. Anyone who tries to make Notre Dame’s 76-59 defeat of Marquette more about the Golden Eagles isn’t giving the right due to Mike Brey, who I’m fairly certain came thisclose to having to start a Gatorade cooler earlier this season. The Fighting Irish are now a 7-3 Big East team with DePaul, Villanova and Rutgers aligned in three of their next four games. My God, the Irish stand a good chance of cracking the field! Anything to keep mock turtlenecks relevant: I’m for it.
  3. Goodman will have more on Vanderbilt falling 73-65 at Florida. I’m guessing he’ll be writing Florida, so let me say something quickly on Vandy: I’M STILL NOT GIVING UP ON YOU. LOOK AT ME. WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK.
  4. UConn’s 69-46, Calhoun coached-less win at home over Seton Hall came as dominantly as the Huskies and their fans could have asked for. But we can’t overreact. Seton Hall didn’t have Herb Pope. And Seton Hall has white guys who can’t shoot. Road tests ahead for the Huskies, and it’s then we’ll find out if the team’s got gumption or not. Beating hobbling roadkill like SHU isn’t going to capture the committee’s attention.

Delightful (and not-so delightful) thoughts

  • Difference between home and road. Jan. 14, Baylor plays Okie State at home, wins 106-65. Saturday, Baylor plays Okie State on road, wins 64-60. And if you’ve got a problem with “Okie State,” just know I’ll never stop writing it that way.
  • Fab Melo scored a career-high 14 points after missing three games due to academic troubles. As a people, we cannot let Melo’s haircut to continue, however.
  • Arizona went into Palo Alto and cleaned up the Cardinal, winning 56-43. It basically means nothing, though.
  • I’ll have something on the A10 tonight or tomorrow—depending on how crazy the evening games get—in how it’s a beautiful disaster of sorts. That was reinforced this afternoon once top-ranked La Salle fell to St. Joe’s, 70-66.
  • I’m thrilled to report I’ll continue to not pay attention to Arkansas, as I was alerted to the fact the Hogs fell on the road again today, losing at lousy LSU, 71-65.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com